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Just The Two Of Us

Is Mommy coming back?”

He was not quite six years old when he asked me that question about our mother. I didn’t know the answer then. I was only nine. I knew he needed me. I knew he was sad and worried and really, really scared. I told him the first thing that came to mind.

Yes. She’ll be back.”

It took a few years, and in that time, he and I grew very close. I helped him with his homework, did his laundry, and beat up his bullies. I tucked him in at night, made his grilled cheese sandwiches with ketchup, and wiped away his tears.

Now, he’s thirty and I’m thirty-four. We’re both parents. Both have been divorced. Both wounded. But I will always be the big sister.

His fatigues are packed for the war zone, again: for the fourth time. Fuck.

I left him a message. And then he left me one. And then finally today, we talked.

“Am I coming home, Sis?”

“Yes. Yes, you are coming home.”

“With my tags on my toes?”

“NO. Not with your tags on your toes. You’re coming home to kiss your son.”

“Take care of my wife & son, Sis.”

“I promise.”

“You’re the best sister and mom I’ve ever had. I love you.”

(I catch my breath.) “Watch your ass, baby boy. I love you too.”

Oh dear God, please watch over my baby brother. Keep this 6’4″ soldier safe and bring him home where he is loved most: where he has a son who needs his father; a wife who needs her husband and a sister who wants to keep a promise that he is coming home safely.

Amen.

Ask The Band: Heartbroken

Sometimes, you lost something so devastating that you don’t know if you’re going to be able to breathe. The Band is paying tribute to the losses you’ve had. Please share with us a loss you’ve experienced (doesn’t have to be a person, can be a dream, or a pet, or an item).

Click here to add your post.

I am infertile.

We have been trying to have a baby for years to no avail. I will spare you the details, but I was approached by a potential birth mother who is a friend. She is pregnant, doesn’t want the baby, was going to have an abortion and decided she didn’t know if she could go through with it. She asked if we might be interested in private adoption.

YES, oh YES, it would be a dream come true.

I did it. I got my hopes up against all logic and warning from everyone.

I got a text today that says she is not going through with the pregnancy and is having an abortion. I am so sad right now. I am heartbroken at the needless loss of a life that could be my baby.

I had such a tight lid on this I never let myself feel this hope or dream. I let the lid off and now I am devastated.

Where do I go from here?

Losing My Sister

Sunday will mark five years since my sister died. I had a hard time losing my sister to bone cancer. She fought for over three years with bone cancer that caused her daily pain and stress.

Her life ended when she’d had too many surgeries and her body couldn’t keep up. Losing my sister is the hardest thing I’ve experienced.

I don’t feel bad for her now, because she’s free from all of that. But I do miss her; more than I miss my grandparents who have passed away. Her death was a trauma for me, as her 27-year-old soul was ripped away from my family and we were left with a forever empty chair at the table.

Now, I have a daily regimen of seven medications that keep me here on this earth from antidepressants to mood stabilizers and sleep aids. I fight suicidal thoughts and feelings near-constantly during this time of the year.

I have two girls; the younger one is my lifeline. I was pregnant with her when my sister died and I live in fear that she will die and leave me just like my younger sister left my mom.

My faulty logic says that little sisters die; I am so afraid that I will lose her. Her presence is one of the biggest comforts to me, which makes me love her more than her sister.

losing my sister

There, I said it: I love one kid more than the other.

What can I say? What else is there to do but keep pushing on, trying to move past a pain that is so old and yet so fresh.

I love you, Wends, and I will see you one day.

Dose of Happy: Reality Check In The Spa

Last night, after my session, (which was a combination service and whipping session that, in itself made me feel better) I treated myself to a cleansing evening at the local Spa.  I sat in the heat and watched the parade of local naked girlies walk by and I realized something:

We women come in a LOT of shapes and sizes. Very few of them Playboy-ready.

  • The adorable curvy girls who mentioned being from the Pacific Northwest and sported HUGE dark bushes to prove it.
  • The skinny ass lil tattooed and shaved (yes, down there. No landing strip, no nothing) Emo Girl types.
  • The HUGE chicks. Both tall and… well. Just big. Two of them. Gorgeous and loud.
  • The tiny little Asian girls who sat in the water with their towel wrapped around them. Can’t tell you much of what was under there. It was tiny, and I’m thinking pretty firm.
  • The freaking adorable young blond with the tight ass, the tiny waist and the perfect perky boobies (not to mention the HUGE ovarian reserves) who probably hated her body as much as the rest of us do because she doesn’t like… well…. I’m not sure what there was to not like, but I know she was of the age where she doesn’t feel she measures up to what she, in her mind, should.
  • The other mommies with our soft bodies and stretch marks.
  • And, as in any Korean Spa, the obligatory 60+-year-old women who used the sitting shower the entire hour I was there. And yes, graphically scrubbed both the front AND the back door. Oh, my eyes!

So yes, I may not like my mommy belly, my sloppy boobies, or my extra IVF pounds. I may someday get a Mommy Makeover, but I’m about in the middle. Not so bad for being 41 with four kids.

And never ever working out. Ever. Even my Wii fit has given up on me. She just looks at me and says.. oh, YOU again…

I think we should all get to spend a couple of hours sitting in the hot steam of a Spa and realize: we all have our curves and our cellulite and our war wounds, but we are all pretty awesome when we are naked. It all adds up to make us what we are; who we’ve become.

So once my number was finally called and I was taken to the massage room – and not the private, darkened, quiet massage room where they step out for a minute so that you can position yourself on a pre-warmed massage table under neither a protective layer of sheets – but a large room, lit with fluorescent lighting and filled with massage tables, where a smiling lady women strips you of your towel and positions you by force, naked on a wet plastic massage table, and starts tossing hot buckets of water on you.

Thankfully she will toss a towel over your face to prevent you from opening your eyes and accidentally seeing the women on the next massage table over treated much like your dog at the groomer.

Just like you are about to be.

Sounds humiliating, but they get in and exfoliate and massage EVERYTHING. They get on top of you and dig their knees into your butt so they can get a better grip on your shoulders. They spread your legs so they can make sure those inner thighs are smooth as silk. They flip you, turn you twist you and stretch you until they knock the cry-baby right out.

Then they toss a couple more buckets of hot water on you and start again.

You leave feeling like a new person.

The Christmas After Grandma Died

Three weeks ago my grandma fell and broke her neck.

Three weeks ago she was rushed to Peoria to see if they could fix her.

At 82 with severe Parkinson’s Disease, degenerative bone disease, (from which she’d lost a whole 12 inches off her height) dementia, and multiple other health problems, we didn’t know what the options were.

The surgeon suggested surgery to repair the fracture. He was hopeful that it would work. Do nothing and she could become a paraplegic if she so much as coughed too hard. Or she could live with the neck brace, which she hated, her lungs could fill up with fluid and she could develop pneumonia.

In such poor health, that’s not good.

We opted for surgery; really the only option. Grandma was scared but we all told her we loved her. I told her we would go dancing after she was done as she hasn’t walked in over two years.

She smiled and held our hands, said she loved us, and off she went.

Surgery went well and they were able to fix the break. That was not the major hurdle though. Even in good health, Grandma has never done well with anesthesia. Two days before her fall, the dentist didn’t even want to give her a local to fix a couple teeth as she’s allergic to Novocaine.

After surgery, she was put into a regular room and about an hour later, her vitals crashed.

She was gasping for breath. She looked so very scared. She gripped my hand as a wonderful nurse held the oxygen mask on her for close to an hour until they were able to get a bed ready in the Surgical ICU. Once she was settled in the ICU, we each took turns going to see Grandma.  She was on a ventilator to help her breathe and give the swelling a chance to go down after surgery.

This was against her wishes and she was miserable.

She had the vent in for 3 days until it was removed. She did so well.

They observed her for a day in the Surgical ICU (SICU), then transferred her down to another room for a few days.

When she was ready, she was discharged. They didn’t send her back to her assisted living apartment, but to a skilled nursing facility with hospice. Everyone came to visit. Friends, grandchildren, family, everyone. Someone was by her side 24/7. She would talk a little, barely a whisper. Grandma looked at pictures and had us to sing to her while we sat by her side. She told us that she saw my grandpa who’d passed away in 1978.

She told us all of the beautiful things she was seeing and hearing. It was amazing to listen to her.  She told us so many stories. She told us there would be no more pain there and no more wheelchairs. We all laughed and cried and held her hand.

On Tuesday November 16, Grandma took her last breath while my mom sang to her. My mom said it was very peaceful. Grandma wasn’t afraid like she had been in the hospital. I am so very thankful for that.  I miss her, maybe more than I can ever express.  My kids miss her too.  They are hurting.  I have given them songs that help them feel better, or so they say.  I don’t know where to go from here. I don’t know how to fix their hurt, or mine.

This holiday is especially going to be hard for me.

Last year I was upset because I wouldn’t get to spend it at Grandma’s house. At least I got to spend it with her.

Now I don’t even have that.