It Will Be Dead By Morning

But it wasn’t.

My stepdaughter called us late one evening with a sad story about a baby squirrel. She called her dad and I could only hear his half of the conversation.

Awww, how cute. Awww, how sad. No. No. No.

No to ‘will you take it?’

No to ‘can you save it?’

No to ‘can I bring it over?’

His last words were, “Do not bring that animal to our house.”

I had been able to squeeze in a question or two during this conversation and learned that the kids she worked with at the pool had found a baby squirrel. A little one that had been crying all day under the dumpster in the parking lot at the country club. They were trying to feed it and save it and would we help.

I told him to go ahead and let her bring it to us. My logic said by the time we were able to tend to it it will have been away from its mom for more than 24 hours and there is no way it will still be alive. My logic said it will be dead by morning, so we will not really be taking on the care of a baby squirrel. My logic said  we would only be taking on the burial of a baby squirrel.  We took it and I fully believed my logic would become fact.

It was not dead the next morning. So I got on the web and googled many, many, many questions about how to save a baby squirrel. Then I went about saving him. This is the story of Sheldon the squirrel and how I saved him and at the same time, how he saved me. This is the story of how I prayed to God for something to fix my sadness and how God answered, with a squirrel. It’s going to take a while. Get some coffee.

I realize now, looking back, that when Sheldon came to me I had not been in a good place for way too long. With the deep, deep sadness comes apathy. I didn’t care, actually, I couldn’t care, about anything. I’d nap a lot, sit on my computer, eat unhealthy foods, decline invitations, neglect housework, have no desire to cook. The effort involved in just trying to make the decision about what to cook was too much for me. I don’t think Bob understood that when I asked “What would you like for dinner?” I was actually asking because I couldn’t make the decision.

So his answer of “Honey, everything you make is so delicious, I don’t care what you make.” was meant to be a compliment. He really is that good to me. It could be taken as flippant but he means it from the heart and my head knows this. A depressed brain on the other hand treats words like a kaleidoscope treats glass. What goes in looks one way, what comes out, how it is interpreted, is not anything like the original.

My reaction to his response is totally irrational.  I feel like I have just asked for help and he is refusing to help. So screw it, I’m not cooking, you can have whatever you want, I am eating ice cream. And I do. For dinner. For more nights than I care to admit.

It gets worse, this kaleidoscope thing. Later in the week I decide to cook. I can cook, I make good stuff. I make a meal and  my sweet husband says how delicious everything is and the depression kaleidoscope turns it into a passive aggressive move. My brain convinces me that what he is really saying is, “It’s about time you actually took care of me, acted like a wife, stepped up to your end of our partnership and cooked a meal.” And I decide that is absolutely the last straw, I don’t need his attitude and don’t cook for the next eight days.

The only thing that made me happy  then and in the days to come was that squirrel. The only thing that I was able to do consistently was take care of that squirrel. The only thing that made me smile, gave me hope, made me feel worthwhile was that squirrel.

This is a long story. I can’t write it all out in one day. Please come back and read on tomorrow.

Does This Still Work?

Gosh, I think it’s been two years since I’ve been here. 😦

Do you know how many of my posts on this blog are about the fact that I haven’t blogged in so long? Too many.

I am a non-sticktoitive kind of girl. Aspirations abound. Visions of sugar plums…no, visions of great success dance in my head. But the dancing stops. Projects and blogs are left untouched for days, weeks, months, years.

“I will post all the projects I want to get done on the blog and track my progress!” I will use the blog as a journal to get my life going again. But then I become overwhelmed. My busy life takes precedence over all else. But you know what? I don’t have a busy life.

Up until a week ago I only worked part time. Which would leave plenty of time for productivity or blogging or finishing projects or cleaning the house. Or playing Runescape. Which is a game for adolescent teenage boys. A game I love. A game that I have set a timer for. A timer that will let me know that it is time to harvest, or check my ships, or cap at the citadel.

It’s a time sucker, worse than Facebook. But I love it. I can get lost there. It’s a time waster. But I have no desire to do anything else. It allows me to get lost.

Get lost? From what? I have a very nice life. I do not have problems of great size. I no longer have kids to take care of, I can pay my bills, I go on lovely vacations. I have no debt to speak of. My health is great. My marriage is great.

And yet…I waste time. I am not productive. I abuse myself for this.

My husband recently had a big surgery, rotator cuff. With it comes immobility and pain. Physically the recovery has been better than he expected but mentally it’s wearing him down. My perpetual pumpkin of happiness. My personal bringer up of  gloomies is fighting the fight.

We were discussing depression yesterday. There is no definitive thing that causes it, it just is. I think I have been battling it something fierce the last few years. Lack of desire for anything. No motivation. I can’t care about anything.  Proof that it has been going on for years? The birthday countdown. The birthday countdown brought me so much joy and yet I have been unable to muster the energy to do it. I love the birthday countdown and even that can’t pull me up.

Do you ever sit at the beach? The ocean beach, with a tide? Do you ever see something floating on the top of the water, seaweed or whatever it is? And it comes in towards the shore and is then washed away. In for a foot, out for a foot. In. Out. Constantly moving, floating but never really getting anywhere. That is what depression is like.

So many of you will say “Gosh, but you’re still so funny.”  “But you get up everyday.” “You laugh.” So many will say, “I never would have guessed.” Because, like the little floating seaweed. I can keep moving and give the impression of going somewhere, doing something. But I am simply moving with the ebb and flow of life. Not really going anywhere.

I am not interacting with life. I am letting life move me rather than the other way around.

I need to journal it out.

Does this still work? The blog. The blogging. Do I still have the ability to do something?

Does this still work?

It has to. I am going to be double nickels this year. (So frightening that I can’t label it with the real number.) I don’t want to slide my way into the next decade of my life. I want to take giant strides towards it, arriving with a flourish, with stories to tell, with memories to take me on the the next decade. I want to arrive at 60 with a bang and fireworks and happiness and joy.

And an awesome outfit.



The Best Advice You Will Get Today

I have impeccable timing for getting to the post office. The line is almost always out the door. Being a bit of a procrastinator I usually have no choice but to go in and wait because whatever it is that I need to mail really should have been mailed the day before. Fortunately there is the self serve center just inside the door and normally I can get all my business done there and avoid the long line. Today I was mailing something as registered mail and had to go inside.

I  had no other errand on my list today and so it did not phase me too much to have to stand in line behind five other people.  I think it goes without saying that there was only one counter person waiting on the six of us.

Lady number one had two packages all clearly labelled that contained no flammables, bombs, alcohol, live animals or living plants so she was in and out. You could hear the collective sigh through the line when the counter person asked her if she needed any additional stamps and she answered no.

Next lady up. She had questions. She looked to be around fifty and quite frankly I can’t believe there would be questions she could have. It’s the post office. I know she’s been here before. She wasn’t prepared? What could she be asking?  Which corner does the stamp go on? The crowd is restless and twittering with annoyance at her questions and five additional people are now in line.

As our mail guy is tallying up her order he asks her if she needs any stamps.  And she does. But-get this—she wants to see her choices. So the counter guy pulls out a book, a book of choices and starts flipping through the pages. “I have forever stamps, I have flowers, I have astronauts, I have wild animals, I have fruit. ” She interrupts, “Can I see the flowers again?” A groan goes up through the crowd. She chooses her stamps and now she starts in with small talk about how busy it is. The counter guy (whose name is Malek) responds with “Yes, Monday’s are always busier than the other days of the week but for some reason my supervisor has them all working in back.” Malek has just thrown his supervisor under the bus…or the mail truck.

She finally leaves and while persons three and four get their stuff taken care of I start listening to the old couple who are number eight. She has been chatting to number seven and I hear her say, “Him? No, he’s not my husband, he’s my boyfriend and I only date him because he has all his teeth and can drive at night.” Number seven looks at me and we are both biting our lips so we don’t laugh. I think perhaps she also dates him because he is hard of hearing as this comment did nothing to remove the smile from his face as he stood gallantly holding her package. And his car keys. Despite the shaking hands. And cane.

At this point I hear Malek call in for back up over the loud speaker. “Tom Schneider to the window please, Tom, to the window please. Supervisor Tom to the window please.” Malek just offered a sacrificial lamb to the ever growing line of people who are a bit peeved at the lack of help behind the counter and they cannot wait to give Tom the supervisor a piece of their mind.

Now it’s my turn. I realize I don’t have an envelope and I tell the guy, I don’t have an envelope and behind me I can hear the old lady say, “She doesn’t even have an envelope.” Her hearing seems to be fine. I continue with my need to send it registered mail and he shows me the form, tells me how to fill it out, directs me to the envelopes on the wall that are for purchase and says I can fill the stuff out at the next window (or even the next window because all the windows are available for my use).

I complete my paperwork just as number seven pays for his order and give a nod to Malek to let him know I am ready. At this point I hear the old guy say “Step up.” His lovely girlfriend says “Oh no, she’s next, she’s got her envelope now and she’s going next.” Emphasis was placed on ‘she’ each time.

I return to Malek, confessing that I stole his pen but was returning it, to which he smiled. I also tell him how patient he is with all these people, being the only one up here and having a boss that ignores his call for help.  Now he likes me. He presses the seal on my envelope. Asks me several times if I want insurance. Presses the seal again. Gets an additional piece of tape to secure my envelope-much to the dismay of number eight as I hear her say “Oh, she’s got a lot. Look, now he has to go back and get tape for her. She should have brought an envelope.”

The whole time the line just keeps getting longer. But my guy Malek is as unhurried and unruffled as can be. People are grumbling and still there is no Tom the supervisor.

And now here is my advice that will save you agony and pain but not time.

1. There is no such thing as a quick trip to the post office. Let me say it again, there is NO such thing as a quick trip to the post office.

2. There is never going to be more than one person behind the counter.

3. Christmas is coming. They will not add more staff. It will just take twice as long to get anything mailed out. I’m telling you this well in advance. There should be no surprises when you get to the post office on December 23rd to mail twelve packages to family members that must be there TOMORROW and there are fifty people already in line and yes, there will be only one counter person. Bring a Starbucks. Perhaps a fold up chair. And a book.

You’re welcome.






NaBloPoMo. It stands for National Blog Posting Month.  It’s a challenge in the blog world to post every day in the month of November. I did  it last year and it had me blogging through April or Mayish. And then I stopped. And I’ve missed it. Now it’s back and I am going to try it again. I think last time I posted all but three days. My hope is that this time I can make it all the way to November 2015.

Where have I been since Mayish?

I think I had a bout with depression and am just now starting to step out of it. It’s so hard sometimes to know that I am in down mode. It’s a mix of knowing and not knowing. To know that a walk or journaling or moving would make me feel better. Yet unable to motivate myself. Like lead weights keeping me pinned to the bed.  To know that eating poorly will only make me feel worse but unable to avoid the Cheetos, the ice cream, the cookies. Telling myself it’s okay not to shower when you don’t leave the house. It’s okay that there are three baskets of laundry waiting. It’s okay that there’s no food in the house, we’ll go out. Better yet, we’ll order in. It’s okay to go to bed at 7:30.

Berating myself for feeling sorry for me when there are others out there that have so much less than me. Poor health issues. Family illness. Job loss. Knowing that prayer would pull me out of this but unable to let it go. As if somewhere in me I like this feeling and am nurturing it. Comforting it. Finding it a cozy bed and feeding it it’s favorite food. I have no doubt that God thinks I’m pretty awesome but I just can’t see it. Hesitant to bring it to God because I know He will forgive, He will make me feel better. I don’t go to Him because I don’t really want to feel better. I just want to sit in my muck for one more day. And one more day. And one more day.


The hardest part this last time were feelings of failure. Self abuse. My self talk can be negative even when I am not depressed. When I am already in a bad place it seems my mind pulls out all the stops. The brief moments of confidence that peak out are quickly shot down with the ammunition I’ve stored over the years. Negativity that has been a constant companion is waiting in the sidelines. Drooling in anticipation of the next weak moment. Sensing my frail state a full on attack ensues. And wins. Taking all moments of confidence as hostages.

It’s been quite a battle.

I come out of these things shell shocked. Battle scarred and sensitive to everything. Old wounds are easily reopened. Fortunately, the pain is less and it doesn’t force me to go back to bed. To hide behind the computer. To park the car in Jewel and stuff those feelings down with pistachio muffins. To cry in the shower-daily. But the memory of where I was is still so close it scares me. I can see clearly these thoughts have no factual basis. I can move through them. I have hope that these thoughts will soon lose their hold of me. I see that God doesn’t make crap. I can say “I am not crap.” And I can sort of believe it.

As I pondered whether to blog or not I was filled with fear. There are sooooo many other bloggers out there that have deeper thoughts than me. Bloggers that have a purpose. Food blogs. Craft blogs. Family blogs. Bloggers that write with more eloquence. This overwhelms me. So I try and narrow down my wishes of what to include, of how to organize, of which direction to go. This overwhelms me even more. Eventually I am so overwhelmed that I don’t go in any direction. Back in my muck. Stagnant. In prayer the answer comes to me. Just do it. Don’t question what gets typed.

Just do it.

Here I am just doing it. I’ve started out with such an uplifting post I bet you can’t wait to see what else I have up my sleeve!

There’s a woman in church that I have admired from afar. A woman I have wanted to get to know better. Others have even said to me “Oh you and (no names please!) would get along great. You guys are so similar” I have finally gotten a little closer to her. She is all that I hoped she would be. Funny, wise, honest, vulnerable, awesome.  She has a saying, “To say hello to me is to know me.” That is where we are similar. I tend to over share. I sometimes cringe at what I’ve just said because it may have been too intimate. But yes, I share what’s going on in my head. I share my family stories. I share my struggles. I share my successes. I share my birthday countdown. I share stories about me…still growing after all these years.

I share, therefore I am.

Please come back and see what I share tomorrow…I’m usually  much funnier than this.

Make a great day people.

















And Baby Makes Three

I’m here to tell you that writing these mini salutes to my children the past couple of days has kept me close to the tissue box. I find that as I try and write this last one that I am tearing up before I even start. It seems that the baby makes me cry the most. She is associated with so many lasts.

If only I knew how much I would miss those things now. The last time she fell asleep in my arms. The last time I made her boo boo feel better with just a kiss. The last time she came in with a fist full of dandelions. The last time I was the smartest person she knew. The last time she said “Mom, watch me.” The last time she crawled in my lap. The last time I fell asleep while she read to me. I know that sounds backwards, but in our house the kids read to me before bed and I always fell asleep to the lull of their voices. Waking only to help with a hard word and quickly dozing off again.

For the last time I was going to have a baby. I was pretty sure was in labor. I checked with my OBGYN  neighbor and she said, “No, you are much too pleasant to be in labor.” Half hour later I called the doctors office and she said, “Well, maybe, but you sound too pleasant. Go to bed and we’ll probably see you tomorrow.” Half hour later the nurse is wheeling me in and asking me how I feel. “I’m ready to push.” She chuckles and pats my shoulder. Five minutes later the nurse goes running out of my room to get the doctor. Five minutes later six nurses are prepping me for labor. Five minutes later the doctor slides in, barefoot, just in time to catch her. Ten minutes after that I am signing the paper work giving everyone permission to deliver my baby.

That is the very last time Ellen was ever involved in doing something out of order.

My last chance for legal narcotics-foiled again. At least this time I realized that I could have a plan, but things weren’t necessarily going to go according to that plan. I am really getting a good grip on this parenting thing. With this child I will surely make no mistakes.

Ellen always has a plan. She doesn’t need any help seeing it to fruition. She completes her plans pretty regularly. This is different than what I am used to…

This one gave me a run for my money. For as haphazard as I am, she is orderly. For as gray as my rules are, hers are black and white. For as much as I go with the flow, she has a thought out plan. As a matter of fact Ellen runs best when there is a plan. Don’t tell her we are going to the grocery, the park, the pool and the library and then not go to the library. She will become unglued at the end of the day when she realizes the plan has changed.

This one threw me for a loop. She did not like hair bows and dresses. No matter how hard her older sister pushed that bow on her head she would rip it out and toss it casually to the ground. She would rather play in the dirt than help make cookies. Her hair was always a little messy. She had a temper. She had meltdowns. She cried for her daddy. She followed the rules. She ratted out those that didn’t. She was brave. Logic was her MO. She is most definitely not haphazard. She is self sufficient. She needs me the least of the three. She gets in no trouble. I did not understand this child of mine. I was certain I had all the parental knowledge I needed and then…Ellen.

She has no fear of aliens. She will never make a video about pooping. She realizes the idiocy of being shocked by a dog collar.  She is not influenced by peer pressure. She has snored since she was two. It’s pretty loud. She functions best when she has rules to follow. She color coordinates her textbooks, folders and notebooks. She adores shopping for school supplies. Her pet of choice is a fish. She doesn’t cry often but if the fish’s life is in peril she’s a basket case. The loss of Steve the Trailblazer still causes her grief. She does fear going in to have her tonsils out which is why hers are the size of golf balls. All the time. Her favorite animal is a rhino.

At three, she was a fisher woman. She could yank an eight inch night crawler out of the mud and rip him into three pieces and think nothing of it. Something her mom cringed at. She loves to have a good bruise. She played lacrosse. She is not easily intimidated. She is conscientious. She loves with all her heart. But will cut yours out if you cross her, or someone she loves. She can be soft but will argue with me that it’s not true. She has her daddy’s good qualities and is a bit like my sister. But she will argue with me that that is not true either. The world better watch out.

She is in college. And likes it. If you need something done, Ellen is your woman. She studies. She is an introvert. She needs her down time. She is afraid of the police. She loves a good prison. She is studying criminal justice. There are rules there. There are guidelines for what happens if you break the rules. It is a very black and white profession. Ellen loves order and justice. Unless it is regarding her bedroom. She will now argue with me that her room is orderly. She learns by example, as in, I saw my brother and sister try it that way, it didn’t work, I won’t try that. What a concept. She is original. She prefers snow to sand. She may have an addiction to carbs. She likes things that are awkward.

She will make it using her own abilities. She finishes what she starts. I drive her crazy. Her siblings drive her crazy. Bob drives her crazy. She prefers people to be a bit grumpy rather than happy all the time. Happy all the time drives her crazy. People who hug drive her crazy.Hugs are few and far between. Little does she know this makes them more precious. She does not like emotions, nor does she like people who have emotions. I was told I could not drop her off at college if there was a chance I might cry. I did not cry while there, but I cried a good hour on the way home.

When I first found out I was pregnant with number three it was a shock. I was not going to have three children. God once again laughs at my plans. I did not have an appreciation of the gift she would be. As my last baby I held her more. I let her sleep in my bed more. I let her get a way with more. I let her do more. I appreciate her lasts more because they are my lasts too.

Ellen is the child that made me grow up. Ellen is the child that is the least like me. Ellen is the child that I strive to be more like. Ellen is my last teacher. The least patient teacher. The most difficult teacher. Lessons I won’t soon forget. Partly because she won’t let me. I adore my baby girl. I am so proud of her strength and perseverance. I envy her ability to stay on the straight and narrow. I admire the way she confidently chooses a path, goes for it and stick with it. I will always strive to be more like her. I love her, my last little.






Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice

I remember being pregnant with my second child. To say I did not do well as a pregnant woman would be an understatement. Physically I was fine. I gained little weight. I did not suffer morning sickness. But emotionally and hormornally? Watch out. I pretty much hated everyone unless they were offering food.

Being pregnant with the second baby was different than being pregnant the first time. This round I had someone to share the excitement with. Instead of laying in bed alone wondering if that was gas or a baby kick I had a second opinion. Being pregnant as a married woman was more accepted than being ‘a young girl in trouble.’ Now I was ‘glowing’, having baby showers, people were exclaiming in anticipation how round my belly was instead of trying not to notice that the impending birth would soon be upon us.

Around the eighth month I started thinking I had made a mistake. I really did not enjoy labor. I was afraid of the pain. I could usually calm myself down with the fact that soon this huge lump would be removed, I would no longer suffer indigestion, I would not be uncomfortable sleeping, eating, coughing. I would not have to pee constantly. And that irritating little foot that was always jammed under my ribs would be removed. And I was asking for drugs three days in advance.

I also felt sorry for this new little one. I already had a beautiful bouncing baby boy. How could I ever possibly love another child as much as I loved him? I just couldn’t see loving this one as fully as I loved the first one.

March 5, 1991. Here she comes and I got the drugs. For me, this meant that I could actually rest between labor pains. It also meant I had brief conversations with the seven dwarves…narcotics are a good time. When she arrived we looked at her and couldn’t decide what to name her. We had a couple names picked out but I think her birth certificate was blank for a whole day. We named her before we left the hospital. Emily Lucille and somewhere along the line she became Emmer.

Once again, I am at a loss as to where to start the story of this one.

She cried a lot more than the first one. She was the apple of her daddy’s eye which is funny because now when people describe her they point at her and say “Apple.”  then point at me and say “Tree.” Sometimes sour, sometimes sweet, sometimes pithy, sometimes rotten.

I was confident that raising this one was going to be a breeze. I mean I already had one and he is six years old and  still alive. How hard can a girl be?

For the most part she was a little easier. She did not give me half the worry the first one did but she has her own claim to the gray hairs on my head.

Bob calls her a little butterfly. She flits around the house spreading joy and laughter. Alighting here but moving on quickly. She is as laid back as they come. Nothing ruffles her feathers. She truly practices acceptance and tolerance of all things. Her name easily could have been Grace for it is what she offers everyone.

She had a pretty bad horseback riding accident. Broke her ankle, dislocated her shoulder. Was in the hospital for about a week, laid up in bed for a week more and in a wheel chair for a few weeks after that. I could see how much pain just sitting up caused. While she was still in the hospital the nurse came in and needed to change the sheets on the bed. All I could do was sit and watch as my baby (she was almost a teenager) grimaced through every painful movement.  When the nurse was done Emmer looked at her and said thank you. All I wanted to do was choke the woman for putting my girl through that and yet my Emmer was just grateful.

Again, as a parent, I was in awe of what she was teaching me.

She was happiest when her socks, hair bow and outfit all matched. Throw in a pair of high heels and she was ecstatic. While flipping through old photos she looks, points and exclaims “I loved that dress!” In preschool they had a mock Thanksgiving dinner with the parents.  All the children had little place mats that said “I am thankful for________.” The children filled in the blank. As I walked around the table and looked at everyone’s place mats I noticed most had a reference to parents. “I am thankful for my mom and dad.” “I am thankful for my family.” I am thankful for Mommy.” Then we found Emmer’s. “I am thankful for my Snow White dress.” It was apparent that this was a girly girl who knew the importance of a good outfit.

When I first met Bob he was in a bit of trouble. I was in the living room, on my knees praying. Asking God if I was the right person to help this man. Was I strong enough to give him what he needed? Emmer came down and asked what I was praying about and when I explained that this man needed some help, some saving, and I was wondering why God had sent him to me she looked at me and said, “Maybe God put him in your life not so you could help him but so he could save you.” So Emmer, Bob is your fault.

Wise beyond her years that one is.

This one can make me laugh until I cry. She makes me rethink my judgmental ways. She forces me to look at people with no preconceptions. She encourages me to be more carefree. She takes risks. She is loyal. She makes no sense. She takes fashion risks…can you say  ‘zebra pants’? She has bad luck with cars. She makes funny videos about pooping. She has an affinity for gingers. She prefers Starburst over chocolate. She wants a puppy, not a kitten, but she’d take a kitten. She once sat in the car for two hours after watching an alien movie because she was afraid of being abducted. She has not been abducted but does think it could possibly happen. She will miss Matt when the aliens take him back.

She is the peacemaker in the family. She quickly defends or offers comfort to the sibling that I am yelling at. She forgives easily. She does not remember transgressions. She never holds a grudge. She apologizes. She wants to make everyone happy. And she pretty much does. She is haphazard. She is a little messy. She often makes the same silly remark about something at the exact time that I do. She sometimes cries when this happens.  She is the apple. I am the tree. She still has great fashion sense. She has a very artistic eye. She can decorate. She can paint. She can take great photos. She breaks out in song…often. She does not allow me to dance to rap music. She is the reason we have a neurotic, nail biting, skittish border collie.  She doesn’t do math well. But, she wanted a horse. You need five acres of land per horse. She was a whiz at calculating how many horses you could have on 187 acres of land.

She left me for a boyfriend. I sometimes wish he would send her back to me but a happy daughter far away is more important to me than a sad daughter here at home. I left my own mom for a boyfriend. I did not realize at the time the bittersweet feelings that kind of leaving brings. As moms we raise them all to leave.To make their own lives. To be happy, to love, to be loved. And yet when we are successful and they do go we wish we hadn’t been so eager for them to test their wings. As a matter of fact I sometimes regret giving her wings.

And once again, as with the first born, I am back to wishing I could do it over again, change some things along them way. Do things better. I wish I could slow it all down instead of willing it to go faster. I can only go forward. I can only tell her now that I love being her mom. I love her. I love her as fully as I love the first child. I am so proud of her. She is my Mem. She is my apple and miss her often.

Now if only she AND the boyfriend would move back to Illinois. Oh, and call me!








Lucky Number 13

Today I celebrate thirteen years of sobriety. When I tell people I am a recovering alcoholic they have questions. Here are some of them and how I answered.

How did you get to the point of realizing you had a problem?

Nothing was more important to me than my next drink. Where it came from, when it would be, what it would be. My entire day revolved around that thought. Watching the clock. Playing games about the ‘appropriate’ time to have the first drink of the day. Rationalizing that if five o’clock was okay then certainly four thirty would be fine. Thinking that these kids, or this person, or this chore, or this thing was keeping me from drinking. Resenting these roadblocks. Conjuring up elaborate plans on how to sneak a sip. Sending my husband on errands so I could drink without interference. Picking fights so he would leave and I could be alone with my vodka/tequila/wine.

How much did you drink?

I drank a lot but I lied about it to everyone. Even myself. I would decide that a shot at three o’clock was crazy, but a half a shot was probably okay. So I’d pour a half a shot that was really 3/4 of a shot.  Then I’d pour another to drink in forty five minutes. My rationality was that when I drank that second one It would only equal one shot. In reality, I have had a shot and a half. In reality, I never waited forty five minutes.

I would drink a beer with a friend without them knowing I had primed myself with a few pre-beer shots. I would have margaritas with my spouse but pour extra tequila in mine. There was a sick power in knowing that I was pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes. When I told my (then) husband that I was an alcoholic he exclaimed, “No you’re not, I drink the same amount as you.” Ha! Win! I was pounding down three shots in the kitchen to your one shot with me. Ha! I have alcohol hidden in the basement. Where’s yours? Ha! I only TELL you this is my first shot of the day when the truth is, I’ve been drinking for three hours.

How did you know you were an alcoholic and not just a heavy drinker? How did you know you weren’t a normal drinker?

Normal drinkers don’t have to hide the fact that they are drinking. They don’t make up stories about how much they’ve had to drink. They don’t drink large quantities alone…every single day. They don’t take an inventory of the liquor cabinet and panic when there is only one bottle of wine left for the evening. The best part of the day does not revolve around alcohol. You don’t wake up thinking, I only have to get through a, b and c and then I can have my wine (or vodka, or gin or whatever is left in the pantry.)

Normal drinkers don’t have empty gallon bottles in their recycling bin every week. There shouldn’t be an empty gallon of vodka and tequila, plus five of the BIG wine bottles plus twelve empty beer bottles in your recycling bin…every week. Normal drinkers don’t feel the need to bag some of the empties and put them in the garbage can so the neighbors couldn’t see what was really in your recycling bin.

Normal drinkers would look at ‘large quantities’ above and think that an entire bottle of wine is not a large quantity, it is. One bottle of wine is SIX servings. Four ounces is a serving of wine. WATER is eight ounces per serving, not wine. One ounce is a serving of hard liquor. Measure it!

I could justify drinking more and earlier if I had a bad day, if I got bad news, if I was depressed, if there was a tragedy. If bad things were going on I rejoiced. Now I had an excuse to drink. I could defend my drinking with “you don’t know what I’m going through.” “This will make me feel better.” “I need this drink to get through this.” Whatever this was. A burnt dinner, a sick child, an injured child, a death, a birth, a bad grade, a ticket, a trophy and the list of excuses to drink is endless.

When was your turning point?

I read a book, “Drinking, A Love Story.” Several light bulbs went off in my head while reading that book. Her description of her love of alcohol was similar to mine. She says somewhere in the book that if someone thought her drinking was over the top she stopped hanging out with them. She found new friends to drink with. She’d rather give up a friend than give up alcohol. At the time that made sense to me. And that scared me. I mentioned to my mom that I thought maybe my drinking was getting out of hand and she agreed. My mom agrees? Once that little kernel of doubt got into my head I couldn’t get it out.  I think it actually made me drink more temporarily. I thought if I have to give this up I better get all I can in before I call it quits.

How did you stop drinking?

Here is the story of my last drink. My hand was forced. Day to day beyond that first night I had to do it one day at a time. One hour at a time. One minute at a time. One second at a time. With my fingernails clawing at the side of the sink to just. Get. Through. This. one minute without a drink. With tears. With AA. With doubt. With a sponsor. With God. With fear. Lots of fear.

Drinking took over my whole life for many years. I did not like the woman I was back then. It was tough work. It was not fun but today, when I look in the mirror, I like the woman I see. I am no longer ashamed. I no longer feel out of control. I love my life. That is priceless.

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