Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Party Planning 101

This weekend we had Makensie’s 2nd birthday party, and it was not exactly what I had expected. I read up a little bit on it. I mean, I’m a new mom, what do I know about throwing birthday parties for toddlers? I need to be prepared.

“Add two to the age of your child, and that’s how many kids you should invite to the party.” How can I only invite four kids? One of my closest friends has four kids himself!

“Have a family dinner with a couple of cousins, but don’t invite too many people. That will likely overwhelm a two-year-old.” We have family dinner every night around here. What fun will that be?

“Don’t overspend on party supplies and decorations for childrens’ birthday parties. They won’t remember it, and you’ll break your wallet.” Let’s see, I just got laid off last week, so I don’t see how I could overspend!

Online research. Check.

I called friends with kids and asked their opinions (mind you, this is the South, and no matter what it says on the Internet about keeping toddler parties slight, Southern women do not throw meager parties). I got website addresses for party themes, advice on parties they threw for their kids, advice on where to get the perfect cake (at $100 a pop) and decorations. (My girlfriends know what they’re talking about when it comes to their kids.)

Personal research. Check.

I made the decision after much toddler-birthday-looking-into that the best way to go was with a water party at the house. Kensie adores the water, so I knew she’d love her buddies coming to her house to romp around the yard in a baby pool and the sprinkler (we had both in the garage already), and I was sure she’d be fine with a few more kids than four. So I sent out 10 invitations. (One family had four kids; one had three; a couple had two kids; and a couple only had 1—what’s a few extra kids, right?).

Party theme and invites. Check.

Next, I headed out to get the cake. I didn’t go with the expensive bakers like some friends suggested. I had one made at a local grocery store. It looked lovely, I saved a bunch of money, and Kensie’s not allowed to eat sugary foods anyway, so I was sure the local grocery-store cake would be perfect for her.

Cake. Check.

Next we headed to buy gifts. I bought Kensie a bike (not too expensive, and I’ve got one more paycheck coming, so it’s all good), and my parents bought her a sandbox. Nothing lavish. No telling how many gifts she’d get from party-goers.

Presents. Check.

As my mother and I drove through town, I spotted a sign: “Party City.” Hmmmm? We’re throwing a party; I’m sure they’ll know what kinds of supplies we need. $200 later and with a full-on beach-themed party extravaganza, this 2-year-old’s party had taken on a life of its own. We now had two cars full of decorations, accessories (tablecloths, centerpieces, leis, hats, sunglasses), tables, chairs, pools, sprinklers, Slip ‘n Slides, gift bags, even a blow-up cooler for organic juice boxes, sodas, and water.

Party supplies. Check.

While we’re at it, why not make it a cook-out! I mean, Pa (my dad) loves to grill, and since the party doesn’t start until 3, it’ll be dinnertime before we know it. Burgers and dogs, buns, sodas, chips, baked beans, potato salad, macaroni salad, M&Ms (a must-have), beer and wine (just in case). $180 later, we had enough food to feed the neighborhood (even though no one in the neighborhood was invited).

Outdoor barbecue supplies. Check.

Saturday morning arrived, and it was a hot one. At 8 a.m., I couldn’t walk five feet without breaking a sweat. But I had a party to get ready for, there was a toddler following my every move who knew it was all about her, and she was ready (she was playing in the water by 10 a.m.). At this point, we hadn’t yet gotten a pump to blow up the baby pools and Slip ‘n Slide and cooler and water accessories, but no worries. We’d just make a quick run to Wal-Mart. I was sure a simple bike pump would do. Not! Once we realized it’d take us a week to pump everything up by hand, we had to send my dad to the automotive store down the road to get an electric pump. Long story made short, it took us from about 10 a.m. until literally the beginning of the party (again, 3 p.m.) to get all the blow-ups blown up and everything else ready.

I finally got in the shower at a quarter ‘til 3, and by the time I got back outside to greet guests, I was, again, sweating profusely. (Tip for those of you not from or living in the South: Showers during summer are either completely unnecessary, or you have to take three a day. Your choice.) When people started arriving, the real work began. Carrying chairs, filling pools, moving tables, running in and out for supplies that need replenished, getting drinks for adults, fielding questions from the kids, keeping towels on hand, showing people to the bathroom, preparing burgers and dogs, schlepping presents from the front to the back of the house then to the front again, carrying bags of sand for the sandbox: the glamorous life of “Mom of the Birthday Girl.” (I’m no Tori Spelling: I don’t have “guncles” to pick up the slack of an absent father!)

Needless to say, the kids had a blast, the adults enjoyed themselves, and Kensie was more than thrilled to have all of these people at her house celebrating her. Everything seemed to go off without a hitch (well, there may have been a few hitches, but no one really noticed), and party-goers hung out until the sun went down. Though still sore and ecstatic to be inside in the air-conditioning for awhile, I am glad I chose to throw more than a family dinner for my daughter’s 2nd birthday. It wasn’t easy, and I couldn’t have done it without the help of my family, but it was worth every bead of sweat, both burnt shoulders and nose, the dirt strip left in the front yard from the Slip ‘n Slide, all the sand that still needs to be cleaned up on the back patio, and the remnants of balloons and flip-flop cut-outs strewn all about the neighborhood that still need to be picked up.

Successful 2-year-old party. Check.

Now, where the hell are my keys!?!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

My New Do

To those of you who've asked that I post a picture of my new hair, here it is. Yep, it's pretty short, and truth be told, I've only really been wearing it in a tiny ponytail lately because I'm just not sure how I feel about it. But it's light and airy, and down here in the Southern summer swelter, light and airy is good. So I'm embracing the short do for now, but this time next year, I might be back to looking like I did in high school (and college, and after college, and pretty much every day of my life until last week). Hope you like it (and if you don't, please keep it to yourself, as I'm pretty emotional these days)!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What’s in a Number?

Have you ever had one of those days when you’re the happiest you can be and the most afraid you can be all at the same time? Today was one of those days for me.

It started out great. Kensie woke up happy; we had a great morning just hanging out; we went and met two of my best friends and their kids at the pool; we swam for hours; Kensie happily played with the other kids. I thought to myself, “This is the life! Maybe this unemployment thing won’t be so bad!” My two girlfriends are stay-at-home moms, and I’ve always thought how lucky they are to have that kind of stability in their lives. I still think that, especially after today. Unfortunately, the entire day, I was hyperaware of the fact that their lives were not in my future—not right now. Then I got home, and that reality really struck hard.

A letter came in the mail from the great state of Alabama. I knew it wouldn’t be good, but I didn’t realize how bad it could be. I mean, I’ve got a kid to support; I was sure they’d take that into consideration! I don’t get child support; surely that will make a difference! I have to pay for COBRA health insurance; they know how expensive that is! Diapers, wipes, baby clothes, organic food, car payment, health insurance, gas, daycare. Oh how na├»ve I can be.

After the initial shock of a number—$255 per week—I began to realize that I had so much for which to be grateful. I don’t have to worry about losing my home or not being able to feed and clothe my daughter or my car being repossessed or not being able to afford gas to get to job interviews. So I can’t buy myself or my daughter everything I’d like to whenever I’d like to. So I can’t go out and buy $12 glasses of wine with friends right now. So traveling might be out for awhile. What I quickly began to think about were all of the people out there who are not as privileged as me—the ones who live in their cars and in tent communities; the people who lived their lives straight and thought they were doing the very best for their families only to lose everything; the families who are split apart because they can’t afford to stay together. Those are the people who really need help.

Me, I’ll take my $255 and make the best of it because I am lucky enough to be able to do that. I’m sure I’ll be working soon (probably sooner than I’d like), and I know how precious this time with my daughter is. Whatever the future may hold, right now, you can find Kensie and me at the pool!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bad Hair Day

When life is turned upside down for any reason—losing a job, having children, getting a divorce, moving across the country—I tend to think that’s the perfect time for some drastic change. I mean, I went from too busy to exercise, eat, and sleep to going to the gym in the morning, working on some things that are important to me (not my employer), taking a nap in the afternoon, and having time to write this blog in the daylight hours. I’m not sure things could have changed much more!

Last week (pre-layoff), I made a hair appointment. Just the typical trim-a-little-off-the-ends trip. But when someone handed me my life on a platter, I searched for something—anything—that I could control! So I went to see the girl who does my hair, and I told her to chop it. For those of you who know me well, you know that I have always had and probably in all likelihood should always have long hair. So this may come as a bit of a shock. But after much back-and-forth with Steph and assuring her that it is “just hair and will grow back, I promise,” I got what I wanted. (Well, not exactly what I wanted: I wanted to dye it black, but my mom was with me, and she’d have none of that!)

As I walked out of the salon about a pound lighter and my hair eight inches shorter, I wasn’t sure I’d made the right decision. I cried a little bit, and my mom reassured me it looked fabulous (that’s what mom’s are supposed to do, so that doesn’t offer much comfort). My daughter happily played with the new do but looked at me as if I might be someone different than she’s known for the past two years. My dad said nothing.

I haven’t shown the new “me” to friends yet (though I told a girlfriend on the phone this morning what I’d done, and she seemed in complete disbelief), and I haven’t decided whether I’m gonna start growing my hair back out today or keep the new look. But I know that I made the right decision. Taking control of your life is important. So many of us are stuck in this “machine” with others dictating when and where, how and why. Although there’s not always much that can be done about that right away, the one thing that each and every one of us can do is take control of our own destinies. Getting my hair cut off was the first step for me. Whether I keep the bob or grow out my locks (yet again), I know I’m now on the right road and that something great is just around the corner.

(Picture to come just as soon as I can get my camera cord back from the former employer.)

Friday, June 19, 2009


Yesterday, I blogged about being a single working parent, how hectic my days are, how little time I get to spend with my daughter, sitting in traffic to and from work, my eight different daytime “zones” that make scheduling enough time for the things that are most important─time with my daughter, sleep, exercise, diet, personal projects—difficult. Oh how the universe works.

After lunch yesterday, I was called in to speak to our HR director at work, and when the COO is sitting next to you in a meeting called by the HR director, you know it isn’t good. And it wasn’t. I am no longer a single working parent; I’m now simply a single parent.

Yesterday, I got laid off. Assured that it was not because of anything I had done or not done, and that I had done my job very well and had been a great asset to the company for the past year and a half, my position was eliminated, and I joined the thousands upon thousands of unemployed workers in America.

I follow the news. I feel terrible for all those who have lost their jobs during this trying time in our country. I’ve watched as fellow journalists—writers, editors, designers, publishers, marketing and advertising specialists—all across the United States have gotten the ax right and left. I’ve watched as newspapers and magazines have gone under one after another after another. I’ve watched what was once a thriving industry in my hometown become the one business of which you don’t want to be part. It’s heart-breaking to me to know that the profession I chose so many years ago has come to this. Last week, I noticed that our newspaper had stopped arriving in our driveway. I have yet had the time to figure out why. I guess today, I should give them a call.

My daughter and I are lucky: We have a wonderful support system. I have a mother and father who help me everyday raise my daughter—from keeping her a couple of days a week and putting a roof over our heads, to stopping by the store for milk or showing up at home with a new toy or outfit. I have great friends who keep Kensie for me when I need a hand or are willing to meet me for drinks or a movie or just to simply talk when I need some adult time. Makensie and I are so blessed that we have the support we do, especially in this trying time in our country. I may not have a job right now, but what I do have is a wonderful family, great friends, and a beautiful, healthy, happy daughter. The job will come. Right now, I think I’ll hang out and enjoy some much-needed downtime with my family and friends. That’s my positive.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

(Lack of) Sleep

For the past two years, I’ve been wondering one thing above all: Will I ever really sleep again? I don’t mean the typical eight hours a night. I don’t mean the occasional nap on Sunday afternoons. I don’t mean sleeping late during a weekend trip without the kid. I mean solid, lay-down-and-don’t-move-all-night, don’t-remember-your-dreams-because-you-were-so-dead-asleep sleep. New parents know that during the first year, sleep is pretty nonexistent. Single parents know that during the first few years, sleep is rare because of the load of other things that must be done and, being you’re the only one to do them, can only really be done when the kids are asleep. Single working parents know that sleep is simply a luxury. Since I fall into the final category, I’m worried that I may never sleep again!

Single parenting is all a juggling act. If you’re not a good juggler, you’re gonna suffer. Me, I have never been able to catch the balls. I wake at 5 a.m. with the baby (well, toddler now, but Kensie still won’t sleep much later than that), start my day by conceding to let Kensie get into my bed, fill a sippy cup with milk to soothe her while begging her to relax and close her eyes so I can get a few extra winks, finally resign myself to the fact that I may as well get up because she’s not falling for it, get Kensie dressed, get myself showered, dressed, and make-upped, gather the mounds of things I must carry to the car every morning, beg Kensie to “Please walk this morning, Baby, because Mommy doesn’t have enough hands to hold you, Baby Alex, the diaper bag, the lunch bag, my purse, my computer, BB, Bubba, and the sippy cup,” pack up the car and buckle K into the car seat, head to Nonna’s house (daycare) and drop K off, head to work but end up sitting in traffic for 20 extra minutes because the freeway is still under construction and has been for at least a year, arrive at work and finally enjoy a moment of quiet before the race begins, work hard all morning while looking forward to the 45 or so minutes I have to grab lunch and run any errands (Whole Foods, Target) that may be necessary to make it through the evening and next day unscathed, head back to work, eat lunch at my desk while perusing CNN.com for my daily dose of (almost always very negative) news before getting back to the grind, work through the afternoon and into the evening, head to pick up K and end up sitting in even more traffic than that morning (sometimes taking nearly an hour to go 10 miles), pick up K, listen to the ABCs and Five Little Duckies songs (among some other choice children’s music) all the way home, unload all the things that took me so long to load that morning, head into the house to make dinner, make K’s lunch for the next day, wash sippie cups and plates and forks and spoons and bottles, bathe K, play with K, read bedtime stories with K, put K to bed, turn on the monitor (which I’ve been told it’s time to get rid of, but I’m struggling with that) and stuff it in my back pocket, head out to feed the dogs and cat, pour a glass of red wine, and plop down on the couch with my computer to begin the next part of my day: writing tomorrow’s blog entry. (This part of the day I really enjoy!) There’s really just little time for sleep in my world. My days are always overfilled, and when one day ends, the same routine looms heavy. Add a couple of other projects that I work on in the evenings and on weekends, including writing a children’s book and doing research for yet another project, and you see why I wake every morning feeling as if I’ve been plowed down by a truck!

My days can be broken into several zones: getting-ready-for-the-day time, driving time, workday time, after-workday time, Kensie time, planning-for-tomorrow time, me time, and sleep time. Sleep time is obviously at the end of this list, and it always depends on how effective my “time zones” have been working throughout the day (and on many outside influences, such as traffic, whether Kensie is into staying in the tub for a long time, whether it’s litter box night, whether I’ve gone to the gym or plan to go outside and get some exercise, whether I need to take some time to have a nervous breakdown, etc.). It’s been nearly two years since I had Makensie, and I still have not figured out how to effectively “schedule” my day so as to allow for enough sleep time. Like I said before, single parents know, especially after two years, that sleep is a luxury that may never be the same as it was in good ol’ days: summers when you were a kid, going outside and playing until dark, coming inside to a comforting meal, heading to bed at 8 p.m., sleeping soundly and quietly and restoratively, and waking to begin yet another day of leisure. Yes, those days are gone, but what I have to replace them are silly giggles; gentle kisses on my eyes and nose; cozy cuddles; big hugs after a long day at work; smooth, chubby hands holding onto mine; soft, blonde curls; a quiet head on my shoulder; a sweet voice saying “Mommy”—that’s my positive!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Family Travel 2009: DONE!

I knew going into this weekend that it could be hectic, and I accepted that and tried to make the best of a not-so-comfortable travel situation (less than two days in Tulsa, a half-day of travel on both Friday and Sunday, dragging a toddler across the country all by myself), but never in my wildest dreams did I realize how bad it actually could be!

Things started off well enough. My packing didn’t take as long as I had thought the night before. I got everything into one suitcase and my backpack (including all diaper bag essentials, books, DVDs, and snacks), and I got to bed at a reasonable hour (about 10). I woke the next morning early and got the car packed, jogging stroller to boot, and everything fit in nicely. I got Kensie up and dressed, her Bear Backpack stuffed with passies and a slinky, and got her safely transported to Nonna’s (Nonna is Makensie’s home-care provider). I got to work and had a very productive day trying to tie up loose ends before heading out, and I was even able to go home and take a short nap before picking Makensie up and heading to the airport (which also gave me a chance to eat a decent lunch and do some last-minute stuff at home). All was going well, and I was amazed at how relaxed I was.

Something I should share with you before going any further: I am not a good flyer. I do it because life wouldn’t be fulfilling to me without the option of traveling to new places and experiencing new things, but I certainly don’t enjoy it. It terrifies me to think about how high up we are and how fast we’re going and how, if anything goes wrong, we’re not likely to make it out alive. When I was younger (in my 20s), it took Xanax to get me on a plane; but the older I get, the more I realize that even though I’m a bit more relaxed after taking Xanax, I’m still terrified we’re going to crash and burn, it’s just not quite as apparent to those around me. So now that Kensie is in my life, I figure drugging myself up to get on an airplane with her in tow is not such a great solution and may not go over well with the passengers and flight attendants who would end up being baby-sitters. Surely a toddler can keep my mind occupied!

So we did well at the Birmingham airport, and our first flight was pretty uneventful (other than my typical neurotic fear). But in Dallas, we had to run to make our flight (I think this may be typical at the Dallas airport from my experience), as we were running a little bit late due to weather issues and having to sit on the runway to wait for a terminal at which to unload. But we made it, got on the plane, and . . . nothing . . . for an hour and a half! Our flight crew had been delayed, also due to weather, so they had to scrounge up a new crew to fly us to Tulsa. So we sat, and we sat, and Kensie got restless and tired (it was already past her bedtime), and I got even more nervous with anticipation (the view from my window showed the weather increasingly getting worse), and finally, we took off.

This flight, however, was far from uneventful. It was raining lightly, but what I worried most about were the massive black clouds and the lightning that flashed all around the plane. This flight was a short one, less than an hour, but it seemed to last forever! We flew the entire way surrounded by a lightning storm. Luckily, Kensie fell asleep, which allowed me to order a mini-bottle of wine, but right as I poured a little bit into my munchkin-sized cup, K woke and began to scream at the top of her lungs in that tired-not-quite-awake-but-can’t-figure-out-why-I’m-mad state! Thankfully the lightning and thunder outside (and the fear that seemed to plague many other passengers on the flight) drowned out much of her tantrum. We landed after experiencing only heavy turbulence and a few gasps from the passengers who also thought we were about to die. We were more than an hour late, but we were on the ground, so I was happy. My mini-bottle of wine ended up in my backpack never to be drunk.

My mother and cousin picked Makensie and me up, and after dropping my cousin at her house, we, GPS in hand, headed to find an all-night Wal-Mart to get some earplugs and a couple of essentials for hotel living. Of course, we got lost. All of Tulsa’s streets are named with numbers (110th St., 81st St., 94th Ave.), and it can really get confusing (though my cousin enjoyed pointing out that it’s actually quite simple and that every street is separated by a mile). At 12:30 a.m., we arrived at the hotel only to realize that Makensie was in pain and required a trip to the hospital (which turned out to be right around the corner, one positive of the trip). After more than two hours there and a diagnosis of a possible bladder infection, we were back at the hotel by 3 a.m. Sick kid + Hotel bed + Post-Flight Trauma + Late-Night Hospital Visit + Impending Family Gathering = Very Little Sleep.

The next morning began with another sickly meltdown by Makensie, but she finally perked up when I told her we were going to see Pa (she adores her grandfather), and we headed to my aunt’s house for breakfast. It was pretty uneventful (but, of course, great to visit with my aunt), which I’m realizing can be a good thing. Then we headed back to the hotel for a much-needed nap. (This was the best part of the weekend! I actually got to nap!)

My aunt had mentioned at our breakfast that the only thing she could think for us to bring to the party was wine, and my cousin reiterated that sentiment when she called by stating that all they had was tea, water, and beer. So we stopped for wine, which became an issue when I came out with five bottles. The way I see it: When you go to a party, and someone mentions something you can bring, you don’t just grab enough of that item for yourself, you get enough to share with at least a few others at the party. So that’s what I was thinking when purchasing the wine, but my mom was not on the same wavelength (likely because I bought it with her credit card). Luckily, after a bit of discussion, she accepted my decision, and we headed to the party. (Just FYI: I’d only had a glass and a half of wine when I realized that the bottles I’d bought were gone, so I think I was right about this one.)

Upon arrival at my cousin’s house, my mother and I quickly realized that something was amiss. What gave it away? Let’s see, the shorts, the T-shirts, the countless kids running around and swimming and splashing (yes, there was a pool, which Kensie noticed immediately and wanted into, but alas, we had no suits), the table full of barbecued meats and chips and baked beans (and, yes, hunks of bologna, which I have never in my life seen). To be fair to my cousin, whom I adore, maybe I missed it on the invitation to this “after-wedding party,” but a pool party was just not what I had expected. So instead of hors d’oeuvres, wine, jazz music playing in the background, and a little adult conversation (which is truly what I expected and all I’ve ever experienced at an after-wedding party), we had an outdoor pool party in the blazing heat, me leaning over the pool trying not to get wet while my daughter splashed about in her dress and got soaked, my glass of wine heating up in the sun whilst not a sip is being taken, sweat seeping out of every pore of my body, pop music blaring from the speakers, kids running and screaming and splashing not only themselves but everyone within striking distance, and more tank tops than I have seen in one place since playing in the summer softball league when I was 12! Relaxing it was not, but once I got a little wine in me and wrapped my brain around the fact that this was something very different than what I had expected (and accepted that I was going to be forced to be outside in the 90-plus degree Oklahoma summer heat in dark blue jeans and a black silk shirt that showed every bead of sweat), the party turned out to be a nice get-together for our family.

So about 9 p.m., we headed back to the hotel. Kensie was extremely tired at this point but seemed to be feeling a little bit better. But after waking five times in the night screaming, I realized she wasn’t. The next day, after a nice breakfast with family at my cousin’s house, we headed to the airport. My parents drove me (they drove to Tulsa from home while Kensie and I flew), and being in the car with a GPS and a father who thinks he’s a GPS (and that the actual GPS is always wrong) is not fun. Needless to say, I was ready for an uneventful travel day and to get home. But it was not to be.

I left my check card at the check-in counter and my laptop at security, both of which I had to retrace my steps to retrieve. Both flights were overbooked, so Kensie had to sit on my lap during both trips. We nearly missed our second flight in Dallas, and when we got there (door closed and plane about to leave), I was sweating profusely and gasping for breath. (Have you noticed a common theme here? I’m a sweater.) On the flight from Dallas, we were in the last seat at the back of the airplane with no visibility out the window (which, to me as a bad flyer, is unsettling). When we arrived in Birmingham, of course our bag did not. But to top it off, I had to wait in line to file a missing luggage report behind the entire University of Alabama track team! We were there for two extra hours, and Kensie was beginning to get tired (being it was almost her bedtime, and we were nowhere near the house).

I had the genius idea of ordering a pizza (sometimes a single working mom just has to do what she has to do, especially when she’s been traveling for two weeks), so once we got home (sans luggage), I was sure that it was all downhill from there. Our luggage was supposed to arrive that evening (all of Kensie’s sleep gear, including her fishies that calm her before she drifts off and when she wakes in the middle of the night, were in that bag), so as long as we got that, all would be right with the world. I fed Kensie (she eats organic, not Domino’s), got her ready for bed, decided to skip freshening up (I looked like a worked football player after three-a-days during summer training—frizzy hair pulled back in a bun, sweat glistening on my nose, face, and chest, disheveled clothes, flops with my toenails looking like they hadn’t been touched in months) and instead sit down with a glass of wine and wait for my pizza. When the doorbell rang, I expected nothing but to grab the pizza box and pay the deliveryman, then sit back, relax, and enjoy the peace and quiet with my wine and pizza. But instead, the deliveryman was a guy I used to make out with in high school. Of course he was! He was very sweet and did not look at me like I was a monster (which I appreciated), and we caught up for a few minutes before I actually, finally got to sit down and eat. At this point, my appetite was pretty much gone, my eyes were half-mast, and my body was begging for some TLC. So I ate one piece of pizza and packed it in for the night.

The moral of this story: Expect the unexpected, and if the unexpected happens, try not to lose your mind because, no matter what, if you don’t stay positive, it’s just gonna get worse. I’ve decided that my fear of flying set this weekend into a tailspin, and I had no way out. No more travel for me this year, and I’m OK with that. The beach is only four hours away, and I’m in control when in a car.

We finally got our luggage two days later, dropped off in front of the garage at midnight in the pouring rain.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Going on a Jet Plane

Why is it that no matter what, when children and travel are combined, the only thing that comes out of it is chaos? My daughter, Makensie, and I have traveled quite a bit in the last few weeks. We just returned from Denver, where we spent the week with my niece and nephew while my brother and his wife took a much-needed adult respite in the mountains, and now we’re headed to Tulsa for my cousin’s wedding party. We don’t leave until tomorrow, but already my stomach is in knots. I know that at 11 o’clock tonight (when I should have long been in bed getting much-needed sleep for the impending journey), I will glance toward the front door at the three full bags and a jogging stroller brimming with “necessities,” and I will no doubt wonder to myself: “Why do we have so much stuff for a trip that will be finished in less than two days?!” The answer: Because if we don’t have Baby and BB and Bubba and Blanket and Bear Backpack and Passies and Fishies and Juice and Cheddar Bunnies and Cereal Bars and Diapers and Wipes, not to mention 8 outfits apiece “just in case,” how will we ever survive the next four hours in airports and on airplanes and the next two days in Tulsa? You gotta do what you gotta do, and since I alone am embarking on this journey with no help and a not-yet-two-year-old, I’m going to err on the side of caution and take everything but the kitchen sink. No matter that I have to park my car a mile away in satellite parking and haul all three bags, overloaded jogging stroller filled to the brim, and daughter clutching BB and Baby and God knows what else she’ll want to hold herself (“I got it!”) all the way across the lot, into the airport, through check-in and security, and down to our gate all by myself. I’m a single mom. Is there anything I can’t do!?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Band of Single Mothers

I am a huge fan of the blog. I follow several blogs on a daily basis (it’s addictive!), and there’s nothing more real to me than reading the thoughts of a person who’s dealing with many of the same issues I deal with on a daily basis. However, my world seems to be surrounded by people who just don’t get the craziness with which I live on a daily basis. Don’t get me wrong: I know everyone’s “crazy” surfaces and wreaks havoc from time to time, but personally, I am surrounded mostly by “normal” people who have “normal” lives—so different from mine, in fact, that it’s difficult to relate, both for them and for me. So I’m constantly seeking out that small band of people who have lives similar to mine and deal with similar situations on a daily basis. I read a number of parenting blogs, all of which contain incidents and stories to which I, or any parent, can relate. I love getting this glimpse into others’ worlds and relating them to mine. But the reality of my world is quite different from most of those about whom I’ve read thus far, which is why I chose to delve into the blogging world and offer a different perspective—one of a single mom raising a daughter on her own and doing her best to make sure that she learns to respect the world and everything in it—from a luscious bite of fresh mango to the creepiest bug ever to crawl the earth (my vote: the potato bug) to the calm of a beautiful sunset. I have so much to be thankful for, and I want her to feel the same way when she fully understands what that means. It’s a big job, but it’s one I take on gratefully and with much hope. So, with that said, welcome to my world!

Some topics that are a defining factor in my world today and which I will, at one time or another, discuss:
Organic Food
Animals (especially my three dogs and cat)
Children’s Books
The Universe