Wednesday, July 27, 2011


In the late Winter/early Spring, my orchid, one that I had almost given up on too many times to count, bloomed in a way that it never has. In the past, maybe two flowers bloomed. Never more than that. But this past year, the orchid yielded over 10 beautiful light purple blossoms. They sparkled, and dazzled. I was obsessed with it, and took photo after photo of them. I felt like it was the universe throwing me a sign. I know that sounds crazy, but I look for quiet reassurances sometimes. Mostly from people. But when they can no longer let me know everything is going to be alright, I took my orchid's beautiful blooms as a signal of what might be coming. It seemed like hope, right up there on the shelf, beneath my kitchen window.

Facing foreclosure is scary. When I see a sheriff driving up my street, my chest tightens. I almost always stop what I am doing, and check the driveway, to see if this is indeed the day we are given notice of the sale of our home. Each time the phone rings, I jump. Maybe they call you first, I tell myself. Or maybe it will just be a scary letter in the mail. 

I started to feel OK, when we thought David was going to be deployed. This was answered prayers, and I was anxious to get on with it. Emotionally, I was scared, but when the orchid started to grow it's long green stem, and each day, more and more buds became visible, I thought that this was symbolic of what was taking place in my families life. What had always been a plant that sometimes blossomed, and sometimes, took a year or two off, was showing a side of itself I had never before seen. It had to be because my family was about to get out of our financial jam. This was it! Growth was taking place all around me!

The plans changed. And with that, went my hope. And ironically, the orchid, within the last week, looked thirsty. I gave it some water. In the last two days, every blossom has fallen off. There is but one, lonely bloom. The show is over. My sign from the universe...clearly read by me, as the end. For now.

But how silly of me to think that. How could an orchid signify the changes in my life. How can I be that kooky to look at it that way? I think the universe offers you little bits of hope in ways that are not so visible. Not as dazzling as an orchid, in all of it's intricacy.

I met an old friend of mine today. Our friendship ended over a year ago, over something stupid. She recently wrote to me, and I have to say, I have really missed her, and it made me happy. It took me by surprise. So we met today. And we talked. And we laughed. And we fell into it like no time had passed.

And when we parted, we hugged. And I felt it. Hope. 

It wasn't in the form of the sparkling, luminous petals, of the orchid that I tried so hard to get a glimpse of a brighter day from. It was a hug from an old friend. So quiet, but real.

 Really real.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Back again.

Hello Worry. You haven't been here in a while. And I see you have brought along your friend, Impending Doom. I was just thinking how nice it was not to have you here. The house was calmer, and my sleep came easy. Laughter began to bubble out of me on a daily basis, and my nails had just begun to grow. Each day was faced with a smile, and a feeling of possibility. It was great while it lasted. I knew it was too good to be true, and you would resurface.

And Poof! There you are, in all of your glory. Plans changed, and opportunity went with it. A fresh start for my family that is not to be. A renewed sense of self, and family, bruised.

Maybe we make it too nice for you to not want to leave. I have to believe this, because there is no way you could be here, yet again, if it wasn't a welcome environment.

So, I am going to try and make this as unpleasant for you as I can. Because you are really screwing things up, and I don't like unexpected guests, even a little. You show up everywhere, everyday, and I just want to strangle you. You call on the phone, and you are in my mailbox. You shadow us wherever we go, and frankly, we have had enough.

Go away. Please. I am begging you.

Monday, July 25, 2011

This part of Summer moves too quickly. Back to School sales are everywhere. Already. David and I talked about possibly going to Long Island for Labor Day weekend. One last trip to the beach. Charlotte wants bangs cut in her hair for the first day of 1st grade...*dislike bangs*...and we made the girls dust off their Summer packets of school work that they were supposed to working on daily. I realized that I have not been good about entering all that they have been reading for the Summer reading club at the Library. All that I thought this Summer was going to be, has morphed into one quite different than what I had thought. Like everything else, I suppose.

I am turning 40 in a few weeks. I am having a hard time with this birthday. I feel officially older. I have always felt young. It seemed to take forever to get out of my twenties. Each birthday felt like I was a little bit more validated as a grown up. Thirty didn't bother me. My life really bloomed that year. I met and married David, and life began. I have been busy being Mom, and wife.

 Now that the years of having babies are over, and the concentration is on raising good people, I have taken a moment to think about what is next. Where will we be in a year. What does the next decade hold. I worry about my health. I worry about the person my girls think I am, and I see so much room for improvement. I know I can do better. I know what is inside of me.

Olivia told me yesterday that she doesn't want to die. Ugh....she is so my child. I recall having those thoughts at her age. I still have them. I sometimes become overwhelmed that I have possibly lived half of my life. I am creeping closer to not being here anymore. I don't want to miss a second of anything. I want to know my girls when they are old ladies. And I want to be a part of every moment in between now and then. But I won't see that through with them.

That makes me cringe inside, sometimes .I was there when they drew their first breaths. I sometimes feel like when they are little old ladies, taking their last breaths, I should be there with them. I should be holding their hand, and stroking their hair. 


Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Last week, I took the girls to Long Island,to stay at my parents. They were excited to go. "Vacation". That's what they called it. And it was. We swam in my cousin's pool. They live across the street from my Mom and Dad's house. We got up early, and walked around town, before my parents were out of bed, and ate donuts, and went to the park. We spent the day at the beach, floating in the salt water. Molly loved the water, and thought she could swim, and swallowed so much sand and surf.

 We heard the ice cream man, and instead of saying no, I said yes, and knowing I only had just a few $20.00 dollar bills to last me until payday, we ran up the hot sand, and got snow cones and ice cream bars, and sat in the sand, laughing at Molly, make a huge mess of herself.

David stayed home to work, and came out on Saturday. We had a wedding to go to, and my parents were watching the girls. It was hard for me to leave them for the night. Especially Molly. We have never been apart for more than a few hours. I felt riddled with guilt as I drove away from my parents home, yet excited for a night alone with my husband. It has been 4 years since we have been alone together. It was the highlight of our summer. We danced and laughed and stayed up way too late.

The wedding was for David's side of the family. His Mom and Dad were there, and his sister and niece. They flew in from Arizona. We don't get to see his family often. It is always a little overwhelming. is a short visit, and in that time, it is concentrated time together. Numerous personalities, and opinions. People's moods, and everyone trying to all be on the same page. Throw too many cocktails in, and there you have it. Multiple dynamics happening simultaneously. A family. It is interesting to be a part of. At the same time, there are moments you want to run screaming, fleeing from the scene. I suppose most families are like this. I suspect this, because it is like this when I am with my own. And stories of friends are all similar. It is an inevitable evolution I fear.

Sitting in the waves with my girls the other day, I thought that if I could just freeze this moment forever. If I could just return to this shore line tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, all would be OK. The bond my family has...the love between all of us, would never change. It would never fade. I know the day will come, where my three daughters get together, and roll their eyes at what their father and I say, and about how peculiar we become in our old age. It will happen.

But for now, they thought we were on "vacation". They thought I was their hero for buying ice cream and sitting in the sand with it. I saw the thrill in their eyes when they played in the pouring rain with their Grandma, and Aunt. I watched them do cannon balls, and belly flops, and felt how happy they were.

For now, they love us, and all we have to offer. And what we offer is not much. But it is wonderful.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Most days, the house gets a lick and a promise. I "clean" the same surfaces, and quickly Swiffer the floor. Run the vacuum, and wipe down the bathroom. Mostly the mirror. I hate toothpaste and soap splatter. And the smiley faces the girls write in the steam. I should love it. After all, beings from my own body, made from love, created these smiley faces looking back at me. But I get very irritated when I see them. Bad Mom, I know, but they bug me.

When the clutter gets too much, it is shuffled into a pile, or placed in one of my famous "baskets", or "crap keepers" as David likes to call them. They really create the illusion of tidiness for me. But even my crap keepers were looking out of control. 

 Today, I purged. I got up at 7:30, and it began. My in-laws are visiting next week, so it was a good excuse to really get to the nitty gritty. And nitty that gritty I did. Crap and more crap. I still can't believe the stuff I hang on to. Receipts, and drawings. School work, and little notes. There were people's names written down with telephone numbers, and I honestly don't even know who they are. And coupons! The amount of hours I have sat, and clipped coupons, that were never put in my coupon folder....ugh. And that coupon folder is filled with expired coupons! I swear, somewhere in me is an extremely organized person. OK, that's a lie, but I so wish I had the ability to keep track of everything, and let go of things, and not place memories in a doodle of a ladybug by one of my girls.

But it's done. I dumped and cleaned, and swept, and dusted, and rearranged. I moved things around in my kitchen, and it felt so nice to just be in it. Floors vacuumed, and clean clothes finally put away, and not just sitting in piles. I blitzed the place. I actually am enjoying being in my own home tonight.

 I sometimes wonder how much time we actually have here. I know that I have stopped wanting to hang pictures, or "redecorate" with my own belongings, by switching them around from room to room. I guess I am worried that we will have to leave soon. Why bother? I had begun to not really worry about that for a while, when we thought David was being deployed. I thought that soon, we would save our home. It would all be OK. But now, since that is off the table, the worry is back.

But for tonight, the house is spotless. The girls are bathed, and tucked in bed. Everyone has a full belly. The shower I just took was so refreshing. I am sitting here with a fan blowing on me, and I feel cool, on this hot night. My mind is clear. Less cluttered. Purged. I feel good.

 For tonight, anyway.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

36% More

Yesterday, we received a letter from PPL, our electric company. It stated that our electric use was 36% higher than that of our neighbors. This cracked me up, as most of my "neighbors" are empty, long ago, foreclosed upon homes. I guess my electric use would be that much higher, compared to homes using no electricity. Seems the electric company doesn't take that into account when figuring these things out.

Our water bill is late. David gets paid on Friday, so this part of the week, we are normally squeezing the last bits of meals out of the refrigerator and cabinets, and I am rationing juice and bread, and fruit. I find that I spend most of these mornings making sure the girls drink their juice, and if they do not, in the fridge goes their cup, to be re-visited later. Yesterday, Molly took one bite out of an apple, and tossed it in the trash. I freaked. It took all of my might not to fish it out and save it for later, but it landed on a dirty diaper. Even I have my limits.

I was filling the baby pool for Molly yesterday, and I noticed the water company truck driving around. I started to get worried that they were coming to shut off my water."We just need to make it until Friday", I said to myself. As I filled the pool, I thought that, in a pinch, I could have the girls "fetch me water from the creek" with beach pails. They would probably love it. I, however, would not enjoy it so much. At least it is summer, I thought.

It made me remember being around age 6. It was Winter. Freezing cold. We ran out of oil. That was what heated our home. I recall my mother waking me up, and telling me to gather all of my blankets, and put on socks and a sweater. We were all told to go into the living room. We had a fireplace in that room. My father hung heavy blankets from the entryway, blocking the living room off from the rest of the house. He made a fire, and we were only allowed to leave to go to the bathroom. I thought it was so cool that you could see your breath in the hall way. My brother and I were laughing about it. My Mom...not so much.

 Even cooler was making toast, right there, in our living room, over the fire. I couldn't believe it! We were all huddled in blankets, and we played cards. It was the greatest day. Looking back now, my parents were probably horrified, but it is one of the best memories from my childhood. I remember when the heat finally came back on, I was disappointed. I didn't want Dad to take down the blankets over the living room door. It was so much fun, and I hated to see it go.

Don't get me wrong, if they show up today, and shut my water off, I will not be pleased about boiling water out of a baby pool. But I guess while my girls are still so little, it wouldn't be the end of the world.

For all that we don't have, we have more than we need.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Crystal clear

"What does authentic mean, Mommy", Charlotte asked me the other day. "It means something is real, not fake." That was the best I could come up with quickly. " this box of cookies is authentic, and this juice is authentic, and people are authentic?" Ugh.....I thought, no. "No, Charlotte. These cookies are not authentic. In fact they are jammed with I don't even know what. People....well. "Yes Charlotte. People are authentic. Some people. Not all people".

 That one went right over her head. And honestly, I just don't want to get too deep with a six year old. She takes everything so literally. How could I explain that some people are the real deal. They are authentic. They do as they say. They are not pretending to be something else. They just are authentic, in every sense of the word. Not false or copied. Genuine. And some people are not. How could she even grasp that? 

Some days, the elephant in the room is not seen. Some times, it is so still, I do not notice it. And after a while, it becomes part of the room, and accepted. It is no longer blaring. Just ever present. And some days, I smack right into it, and realize that it has no place here. It doesn't belong, and never should have been allowed in.

If I want my little girls to see authenticity, in it's true form, and hopefully, they too will live what they learn, the elephant needs to go.

Once and for all.