Monthly Archives: April 2021

I don’t “got this”

Photo by Askar Abayev on

I really hope this woman will excuse the fact that I borrowed her picture for my column on motherhood. Yes, yes, I know it’s a little soon for a Mother’s Day post, but I was reminded this morning of my own attempts at motherhood and I felt moved to write about it now.

This woman, beautifully appointed, her face lovely, and shining with calm and composure, with a loving child clinging to her, has always been my ideal of motherhood. I always envisioned that I would be a calm saint–perhaps with flowers in my hair–a perfectly appointed outfit on, sweet music filling the air, while happy children frolicked at my feet, wearing expressions of pure joy. The real thing is not so much.

I mean, think about the whole thing for a moment. We are responsible for bringing replacement humans into the world and somehow, without instructions or a guide, we are expected to get the whole motherhood thing down and in the meantime, not mess up the little darlings that we are raising. I thoroughly enjoyed my children (and still do) but I’m the first to say that motherhood is a mystery of the universe and I am fairly certain that no one does it perfectly! But, inevitably, someone will come along, while your child is having a tantrum, or creating a scene or even just puking up the candy they overate and say something bracing like, “You got this.” Well, I’m here to tell you that not only do I not “got this”, but also, that expression has always driven me crazy by its vague reference and extremely bad grammar!

It isn’t that we don’t have people willing to help with this project, you know. Everyone has a theory on how you can better raise your children. “You should not let them watch so much television,”–please, I would have let them watch murder mysteries just to get five minutes of peace locked in a bathroom. “Too much sugar will make them grow up to be crabby people,”–I figure that they have a head-start on crabby watching my attempts at motherhood, they may as well have the sugar too!

Instead of setting women up for some idealized version of parenthood, it might be better to just admit that motherhood is a swamp full of quicksand and if we managed to navigate any of it successfully, it was sheer dumb luck or God taking pity on us! It is unlikely, however, that we will make it out of the mire without at least some of the mud clinging to our shoes. In my opinion, it is a miracle that my children are sane and functional people, because they went through quite a bit of quicksand with me as a mother and there was never a moment where we danced through the meadows, weaving daisies into a chain and experiencing perfect harmony.

Even when motherhood reaches the point that mine has, there are still pitfalls that can trip you up. I must constantly remind myself that their choices in life must meet their vision, instead of mine. Just because I think they would be an awesome prime minister of New Zealand, they may have something entirely different than political fame in mind. (Although, it’d be great if one of them would be President and I could stay at the White House). It’s also hard for me to see those mimes about how they should drop in anytime (I like to sit around in my underwear and they might object to that), check out my refrigerator and cupboard at will (the little darlings might eat all of my Ho Hos) and stay as long as they like (if they make me miss Blue Bloods, I’ll be mad). I love to spend time with them, but honestly, shouldn’t they be allowed to do other things that they like?

There is one thing I think all children owe their parents, however. They should listen, over and over, to all the stories their parents want to tell. I don’t care if I’ve told the story about my older daughter cutting her own hair at the age of four or the younger one stirring the toilet and soaking her good clothes with it at the age of two, my children should wipe that blank, deer-in-the-headlights look from their faces and listen again!

So, while I love the picture of the mother and daughter that I selected for this column, I am suspicious of the calm and in-sync picture they present here. I am willing to bet that Mom has done as many things wrong as I did and that the daughter may feel like strangling her mother rather than hugging–at least once in a while. And while we are at it–I will bet she “don’t got it” all of the time, either!


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Mattress Madness

Photo by Max Vakhtbovych on

Before anyone asks, no, this is not a picture of my bedroom. If we had a picture of my bedroom, you would be able to tell by the clothes scattered on the floor near the hamper (which I can never hit) and the bedside table littered with cups, bowls, etc. from my midnight snack runs. This is merely a picture to get you into the mood for my subject today–mattresses.

Mine has been a long and checkered history when it comes to mattresses. I have to admit that I have not given them a lot of thought over the years. I started married life with a contraption known as a waterbed. It will date me considerably when I tell you that this mattress was the “in” thing when I got married. It consisted of a large, fairly durable rubber bag, filled to whatever was your comfort level, with water…which was also heated. So, basically, you were sleeping on a giant, heated water bottle which had all the support of a hammock. But, we were younger and tougher then.

The added joy of a waterbed included the phone calls I received at work from my children informing me that “there is water leaking on the floor under your bed.” This always meant a mad dash for home and a rapid draining of the bed so I could repair the hole (which always appeared mysteriously when my children were “nowhere near it”). The repair kit reminded me of those old kits they used to repair car tires, but it wasn’t nearly as efficient.

When we had finally had enough water disasters to suit us, we bought a conventional mattress and we replaced it from time to time when we could no longer turn over at night because of the “body holes” we had worn into the mattress. Buying a new mattress was never difficult: you went to the furniture store, they pointed to the two types they had: soft and hard and, feeling much like Goldilocks at the Three Bears’ house, we made our pick.

Times have changed. During the past year or so, both Roy and I have developed back issues and shoulder complaints and the old “close your eyes and pick one” method of buying a mattress no longer works. Apparently the entire mattress industry has discovered that we are getting pickier in our advancing age and we need something to compensate for the glorified water balloon we ruined our backs on in the first place.

That means going to the mattress store provides you with more choices than the cereal aisle at the grocery store! You can get soft comfort, foam middle and cushion outside, memory foam, firm and supportive, twin, queen, king or a division of the same. Beds can be adjustable, without box springs, softness-varied and massaging. If I had looked hard enough, I might have found one that delivers breakfast in the morning and in all truth, if there was one of those, that’s the one I’d pick!

My husband is the family shopper, but he dragged me along for the mattress hunt. We went to the furniture store and he laid down on the store sample mattresses, carefully keeping his feet on the pads made for that purpose. He wanted me to try them out as well, but I have trouble getting up from any mattress. I have developed a well-executed roll off the side of the bed to a standing position, but in a store it would too closely resemble a barrel rolling off the loading dock for my comfort, so I contented myself with testing their softness with a leaning push of my hand.

Roy then came home and began researching mattresses on the Internet and through his Consumer Reports magazine. Each site he visited had a different idea and, of course, we are now being inundated with advertising, pictures, testimonials, you name it, from every mattress store from here to Kalamazoo, wherever that is! Each one has just the mattress we’re looking for and we are welcome to try them out for 100 days to see if we like them. I know this is a great sales pitch, but I’m finicky in that I don’t want a mattress someone else had for 100 days and sent back. And for that matter, you might not enjoy the one I tried out while eating graham crackers in it for 100 days!

Eventually, we will make our selection of a new mattress and hopefully, our backs and shoulders will find that it is to their satisfaction. In the meantime, I have begun dreaming about our search. Last night, I dreamt that we had to take our 100 day trial while sleeping on the mattress at the store. The salesman woke us up every hour to ask if we wanted to buy it and I kept setting off the store’s burglar alarm system with my snoring. So much for a peaceful night’s sleep!

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Regarding the “Fauci Ouchie”

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

Note to anyone reading this: This is NOT a political post concerning the Covid-19 vaccine. Whether you get it or not is up to you, but since I chose to get it, I have a few thoughts….

I love that they call it the “Fauci Ouchie.” I have been impressed by the aura surrounding Dr. Fauci for some time. I frequently don’t like what he says, but he can always be counted on to shoot it to you straight…usually between the eyes. I’ve often thought how it would be to have Fauci as my family physician. “Now, I believe the numbers don’t look good, it might be best if you cut back on the carbohydrates and maintained a distance of six feet, and for pete’s sake, wear the darn mask.” With that kind of a straight-shooting medical history, the fact that people are referring to the vaccine under his name seems appropriate.

I knew that I would be getting the vaccine, even though I am not a fan of needles in any respect. The first dose came as a bit of a surprise and I was not dressed for the occasion. It is not often that I am willing to take off my shirt in a Walmart pharmacy, but this is just exactly what happened. There was a flimsy little divider around me, but I still think there were probably people (including the technician) who wanted to gouge their eyes out, but I did a very willing little striptease to get that shot.

I expected repercussion from it, but truly, it has a lot to do with your mind as opposed to your body. For some unlucky souls, shots like this make them genuinely ill. For me, if I’m told my arm will be sore, it is. If I’m told I’ll feel a little queasy, I generally do. The first shot was reasonably uneventful and despite having to remove my shirt, I got through easily.

Unfortunately, that first shot isn’t the end. Dr. Fauci warns us not to get cocky. I agree with him, but that hasn’t prevented me from getting a little careless with my mask. Both the fact that I would forget and go strolling down the hall of my school without it (I actually had an elementary student gasp and draw back from horror, which was my first clue that I was walking down the hall with a naked face.) The other carelessness has come from the biggest issue I’ve had all year: now, when I can’t hear the kids through their masks, I’m apt to say “Pull your mask down and say it again. It’s alright, I’m 58 percent protected….Dr. Fauci says so!”

I was scheduled for my second shot the middle of this week. I held onto that card to the point I practically slept with it because I didn’t want anybody turning me away because I couldn’t produce it for the second shot. Considering that I have actually lost my husband, children, and grandchildren on shopping expeditions, I was pretty proud of the fact that I still had that card at the second innoculation…it looked like it had been through a war cause I mostly kept it in my bra strap, but nobody complained.

The second shot was different from the first. For one thing, the technician was a smart alec. I said, “I’m going to look away because I hate watching shots.” He said, “That’s fine, I’m the same way, so we’ll both look away.” He was pretty pleased with himself, shrugging and adding, “Just joking.” He knew not who he dealt with.

I waited until he was in the middle of the shot before I asked, “So, how much weed can I smoke after having had this shot?” He actually looked startled and probably pulled the needle out less smoothly, but the look on his face when I said, “Just joking,” makes my sore arm more than worth it. And I don’t even care that he gets to tell people that he gave the final shot of the day to an old hippie with a pot problem!

Now, I’ve heard all the warnings about the vaccine and some of them are legitimate. The two I chose to ignore were first, that the shot would make me infertile – I gotta tell you, this is not that frightening for a woman in her mid-sixties; and second, that there is some microchip in there so the government can track me. My thoughts on that are that I should be flattered that the government would put some high-tech, doubtless expensive piece of computer equipment in my shot just so they could track the number of times I go to the bathroom and have midnight snacks. Riveting information!

No, I think I’m okay with my two doses of the Fauci ouchie, and I’m looking forward to the day when the good doctor tells me that masks and social distancing are not as important. I will miss that part some, though, since this is first year in quite a few that I didn’t have even so much as a cold. Well done, Dr. Fauci!

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