I Should Take a Day Off

October 12, 2017

I wrote the below essay when I was desperately trying to get the most out of a little free time. When we have a day off, are we truly able to shut down? This isn’t just for parents, but anyone who has trouble truly putting their mind in a relaxed state. 

I am taking a few hours off, I decide. From everything. I am ignoring the pile of dishes that beg for my attention like my absent toddlers. All these things ring in my head like the distant church bell echoing the words, “should, should, should” But guilt is always in my atmosphere. I should update my calendar, I should watch this show, and I should clean my room. My TV is stuck on the Netflix screen saver in all its glorious temptation of shows that reach for my legs to trap me like quick sand onto my couch. I hear Jackson’s little voice interpreting the show previews, as he often does. Orange is the New Black: look at all those doctors. The Crown: The princess is looking at a helicopter. House of Cards: Those guys are monsters. Fuller House: they are having a picnic and need another dog. Luke Cage: He is trying to get through the window. But Jackson isn’t home right now, and I really don’t want to watch TV.

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June 7, 2017

I lay in my hospital bed shortly after giving birth for the fourth time. A spot I knew too well. I struggle to find the right position that doesn’t rupture my still aching lower body, and upper body and tired brain. “Are you comfortable?” a nurse asks, after taking my temperature for the millionth time. “I think so.” I lie.

 I am in Cece’s bed. Again. She never wants to sleep all night, alone, or with her brother. I am too tired to train her, so it goes like this: she cries. I wake up. I glance at Josh’s loud snores, and I go to her room trying not to wake Jackson up as I crawl out of bed. He has been barreling out of his room lately just as we are about to go to bed. I spin another round of wondering if we will ever be the kind of family with normal sleeping arrangements, again. I cuddle next to Cece, calming her crying. She looks at me, “where Papa go?” she asks, drifting back to sleep. I kiss her squishy soft little cheek and try my best to ease my body into the mattress, between pillows and blankets. I pull a block from under my leg and set it under the bed. So often we end up scattered, like our various throw pillows, with at least one toddler awkwardly lying near my feet wondering what is going on beyond our closed eyes to get us here. Somehow, I am perfectly aligned with the direction of the bed and Cece curled right under my chin and we are breathing in sync. The air outside is unsettled as thunder rumbles a soft roar in the distance and the rain taps melodically against the window. I pull her even closer in a soft embrace, imagining the rain is feeding her growth like the outdoor garden we just planted. If I can just hold her long enough, I can stop it, or slow it down, or just enjoy it. My back is always sore from the many nights of sleeping where ever would calm a crying toddler. But yet, in this moment, the soft tap of rain is echoing her breathing. Her hair tickles my nose as it gently sways from the ceiling fan and her little golden curls move in a slow bounce, a contrast to the way they bounce about due to her awake constant motion. In this passing moment of a thunderstorm causing us to sleep too late, I am the most comfortable that I have been in a while.

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Princess Fiona

May 9, 2017

We had a cat. She hides under couches, behind doors or in the dark corners of the basement, terrified of strangers and half the people living in our house. Except Layla, she loved Layla and they were best friends. That is the hardest part. She was the runt of the litter, the shy one, and Layla immediately loved her. It took her eight years to go out side. One day, we watched her boldly come to life and walk out the back door and onto the end of the deck. She never went farther than that. But don’t worry, she didn’t die a virgin. A male cat snuck inside and her life was different, for that moment. “What is happening?” The girls asked. “Is she ok?” Then we continued our awkward talk about sex and other adult things.

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A Confidence Makeover

April 30, 2017

I started wearing glasses when I was twelve. Most girls cringed at the idea, begging to replace sophisticated specs for the chore of touching and maintaining their eyeball every day. Not me, I was secretly happy the day I found out I had to wear glasses, and an obsession was born. I am the kind of girl that dreams of a collection of glasses that would rival most shoe collections. So, I wrote my own little makeover story—a story where glasses equal sophistication and sexy intelligence.

Around me, people were shopping for toilet paper and shaving razors, and I was endlessly putting on different pairs of glasses. I was at my eye appointment in a big box store sometime during my early teens. I pressed my finger on the nose pads of yet another pair of wire rim glasses. I was unimpressed and picky; I was looking for refinement, as I always do with new glasses. The selection looked so ordinary and plain. I ruled out contacts about as fast as my mom said no to the purple-tinted ones. I couldn’t remember which solution was for cleaning and could barely tell my left from my right (a skill I am still mastering). I already knew I wasn’t the kind of person who could take on such a responsibility, for life, unless I planned to enjoy frequent bouts of pink eye. The first time a contact fell out of my eye, I reacted the same way I do when a stink bug lands on my arm—a shrill shriek, followed by hesitation to touch.

The makeover story is always about the girl, an ugly duckling, who goes off and gets new clothes, a hairstyle, wears makeup and ditches the glasses only to become pretty and popular. I wasn’t that person either. I sought out the unique, a way to be unapologetically myself—the girl with her face in a book and a cute pair of glasses who clearly spent many Saturday nights alone watching melodramatic 90s teen comedies. I began to idolize that face, the dark hair, and the thick glasses. I wanted to be some combination of Lisa Loeb and Daria—artsy and sarcastic. After the long deliberation at the big box store, I found my perfect tortoiseshell “nerd” glasses in the sunglasses section. Can you make these into regular eyeglasses? I asked. They were perfect. “And you say, I only hear what I want to. “

Modern day me is still a misguided teenager at times, standing idly in my underwear looking for a perfect outfit  an acceptable outfit that will make up for today’s batch of insecurities. My beautiful high heels are tucked away in a bag, reminiscent of the days when I wore confident career clothes. The days when I had two kids and time. Now I settle for something quick—jeans, black t-shirt or a simple dress. It is all thrown on and no longer prepared. My tired (at home) mom wardrobe hasn’t experienced summer yet, so getting dressed has been one wardrobe identity crisis after another. I pull aside the splashes of color and pattern that was my old life, the one that no longer fits my fourth child postpartum body. (It is still under two years, so I am still allowed to call it that, right?) I ultimately end up in something black, the color of elegance and convenience. It is plain, easy; the way things have to be now. I channel my middle school uniform days and rely heavily on accessories to declare my individuality. (Does this choker make my neck look fat?) I look at my nightstand; it holds a cute ring, an old Anthropologie catalog (in case I win the lottery), a sewing kit, a pictureless frame and three pairs of glasses. I put on my new clear frames. Girl, mascara, now. They tell me. I think about writing my own makeover story. A tired mom, returned back to a new state of ugly duckling. She gazes longingly into her closet, yearning for the days when all those beautiful dresses and printed pants fit without shapewear or a promise to lose ten pounds. The magic wand of time waved over her, and that side-boob fat went away. She knows she can’t go back. After four kids, her body is totally new and once again different—just like her transformation. Her goal isn’t to be popular or get the perfect guy; it is for her to feel confident. She puts on her clothes and shoes, resting into her vanity with an open makeup bag. The crystal glasses capture the sunlight of another beautiful spring day. The perfect finishing touch, like a tiara for her face, that amplifies her beautifully tired eyes. I see the world clearer now, thanks to a quick confidence makeover and my sexy, sophisticated glasses.

This essay was written for DiscountGlasses.com who provided me with my beautiful new facial accessory. After I perused their large selection of affordable frames, I chose the one I wanted, uploaded my prescription and I had my new glasses in mere days. If you are like me and dream of a large collection of frames and are super frugal, this is a great option. Thanks to DiscountGlasses.com, I am one step (pair) closer to a selection of glasses to fit all of my (many) moods.

Spring Bloom

April 20, 2017

The trees sway in the breeze with abundant swagger. Each one is a mural of vibrant color and I absorb it all as I take my usual morning run through the graveyard. Running has become as much of a constant in my life as toddler tantrums in grocery stores. The trees around me, they were dormant a few weeks back, dormant and bare. Their winter hibernation was building up radiant color for the spring renewal. Now they are alive with color, different vibrant colors. Each one is completely unique. Just like us – I think as I round the corner and press myself up the hill. My lungs are getting heavier now with the humid spring air. They are just like us. No comparisons, no apologies, just shining our most beautiful colors. One tree is purple and the next one is a bright, almost neon, green. The purple tree with the fragrant soft buds faces the green tree. Does it wonder if it should be green too? Do the other trees expect it to be green? In front of the purple and green trees were two smaller trees that had yet to bloom. They were twigs, jetting out of the trunk and pregnant with buds. They looked like old, arthritic fingers – like the grandparents I imagine are buried underneath. That is really all I want to imagine, grandparents and great grandparents that lived long, joyous lives, not the ones whose dates I shudder to do the math on. The twig trees seemed oddly proud of the way it formed a branch web over the purple and green tree. It was as if they knew they hadn’t even begun to reach their potential.

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