Thursday, July 26, 2012

Anger Management

Today’s Post brought to you by the Letter L, the Number 3 and Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writing Workshop

2.) List 10 things that make you angry

To the driver in front of me at the light:
If you are making a left hand turn, please, pull forward so the rest of us can get past you……that’s why there is all that extra space there in the intersection
Just pull forward a little
You don’t have to start your turn that would be dangerous
Just move up a bit so the rest of us can get past you
I know, I agree, it’s a tough intersection and there really should be a left turn arrow but there’s not so please, just pull up a little
I’m trying to help you out here
Plus the guy behind me honking and flailing his arms is really starting to stress me out
Please, just pull forward

If I ask you to do something a certain way, it’s not because I think I’m right and you’re wrong
I don’t think I am smarter than you
I’m not trying to be bossy
I don’t think it’s my way or the highway
I’ve been doing this for 12 years
You haven’t
I do this every day, you don’t
So please, just do it the way I am asking you too
Saves me the aggravation of having to do it over because I really don’t like having to re-do work that’s already been done
It is a waste of time, money and resources

Laws are in place for a certain reason
Not because the government wants to control our every move or monitor what we do
Some laws are meant to keep us safe
Now I know you think pedestrian laws are silly because, well, you think your 150lb body should have right of way over my 2,900lb Corolla but really, they are for your safety and mine
So could you please, please for the love of God, follow the pedestrians’ laws (which by the way does not say pedestrians can do whatever they want)

Same goes for you people on bicycles and motorcycles
Just because you can fit in between the two lanes of traffic does not mean it’s a good idea to do so
If we have to stop at the Stop sign, so do you
Being on a bike does not give you right of way
If you are on the same road I am, yes, the road rules are the same for you….can you please just follow them?

IT people
Some people I know and love are “IT People” but you people, oh how you make me crazy!
You and your shut down and restart and log off versus switch user
You who tells me what I’m telling you happens does not happen because you do not see it on your event log
You, oh lovable IT person, who thinks you are so much smarter than the rest of us because you can read code, write code, decipher code…or program shit or whatever it is you do with all your mumble jumbo dingo lingo
You are still not a bad ass spy like Mitch Rapp or Jason Bourne
Oh lovable social misfit IT persons
I can line up 5 of you and get 5 different answers/solutions to the same question
How about you just make it work?!?!
I don’t care how you do it and I can’t answer why the IT person before you did what he did, just please make it work
And please, don’t tell me the computer I just spent $2700 on less than two years ago is old and out dated………
You’re the one who told me to buy it!!!!

You know what else makes me angry?
What absolutely pushes me even closer to the edge I am already on?
When we, society, talks about stopping to smell the roses
We urge one another to live in the moment
To live each day to the fullest
We try to convince one another and ourselves to slow down, to savor the moment
But we don’t
Instead we rush
We’re impatient
We’re pushy
I walked into a store that shall not be named so as not to signal you and your big red bull’s-eye out and you know what was there?
I was mildly shocked two weeks ago when the back to school supplies were out but really?
You just took away like three months of moments for me
And you stressed me out and I caught myself almost buying stuff so I would not miss out on anything
Can you please just let me finish my summer watermelon before you entice me with Halloween candy?

I like animals
I really do
I like dogs and cats and goats and ok, not snakes
And I get that for some people, pets are an alternative to having children for whatever reason
I get it
I do
But please, listen to me….
You did not birth that puppy dog sitting at your feet
That kitty?
The one who just scratched the hell out of my leg with his claws because I was “sitting in his chair?”
He did not spring forth from your loins
Please, stop calling yourself Mummy and Daddy
And please, do not refer to your human child as their sibling
They will never share clothes
They don’t share the same DNA
And they are not related by blood

I have one child; notice I dropped the “only one”
And just because I have one child, I am not less of a mother, wife or woman than that frazzled lady in the line next to me at the grocery store with 6 kids hanging off her cart, one in the sling on her back and one that appears to be due in about 3 months
I have one child, and guess what?
My child, my one child, makes me….wait for it….
A mother………….
And please, don’t ask me if it is by choice I have one child (something I too have been guilty of but usually when I am having a conversation with another Mum about having an only child) or if there some other reason
Don’t assume I can’t handle or afford more than one child
Don’t assume I can’t medically have more children because guess what?
It’s none of your business
You have no idea how offensive that is
And how much it may hurt
Me or any other mother of a single child
You have no idea what that Mum and Dad have been through
So not, DO NOT diminish my parenthood, their parenthood, because we have “only” one child
Because if I have one child or 11, I will love them
I will still strive to be the best mother and mentor I can be
I am still a Mum if I have one child or 11 children
So stop with your questions and comments about my motherhood and whether or not I deserve it because I “only have” one child

What are we up to? 7…...great, I have 3 more

I don’t care what Church you go to, what God you worship, what holidays you observe – because I too have my own
And guess what?
I have them for me
God is part of my life because I need him to be, I want him to be
I said Merry Christmas to you because I celebrate Christmas which is not about the giving of gifts but about the birth of Jesus
I don’t say it to offend you, I say it to celebrate
So how about you just smile and say, Same to you or Happy Holidays
When my Muslim neighbors celebrate the end of Ramadan, I celebrate with them (those cookies she makes are delish!)
And when my Jewish work colleague celebrates Yom Kippur, I wish him well and tell him to enjoy his resting day
And if you wish me Happy Holidays because that is what you are comfortable saying, I’m okay with that….I appreciate the sentiment – but lighten up about the Merry Christmas will ya?

Just because I am Republican, it does not mean I am stupid
Or that I am close minded
Or that I hate for the sake of hating
It does not mean I hate gays, blacks, or immigrants
It does not mean I carry a gun or think everyone should own guns
Just because I am a Republican, it does not mean I don’t or can’t have some liberal opinions (like I see no problem with wearing white after Labor Day….pretty darn liberal if you ask me)
Just because I am Republican it does not mean I am sexually repressed or worse, and some weirdo closet pervert
Just because I am a Republican does not mean you can’t talk to me about politics or religion or sex
Just because I am Republican and Catholic and you are Democratic and spiritual as opposed to religious (and by that I mean you don’t subscribe to an organized religion because you think people who do can’t think for themselves and are nothing but followers) it does not mean you can’t talk to me about politics and religion
Do you think I am going to try to convert you?
Do you think I am going to tell you you’re wrong?

Because if you do, dig deeper: it’s probably you who will try to tell me I’m wrong

It’s probably you who will try to lure me away from the Church because it is such an awful entity
It is actually you who is more closed minded because you won’t have discussions with me about politics and religion
Instead, you’ll just tell me Republicans are stupid, and rich and white
And that we hate minorities and gays
Then you’ll tell me Catholics are sheep....followers because we can’t think for ourselves
And we hate gay people and don’t have a grasp on social issues
You’ll tell me that Catholics don’t care about sex abuse victims or scandals, that we cover everything up
Hey, look in your own closets because I’m pretty sure you have your fair share of rich folks, white folks, haters and liars as well
And that makes us more alike than I am sure you care to admit
I relish having friends who are different from me
I look forward to talking to people who subscribe to different ideologies and religions than I do
It’s how I learn
And yes, sometimes, someone will change what I think or what side I’m on
And sometimes, you’ll only solidify my resolve to remain true to my conservatism and Catholicism

My sister told me a story about how someone at work was offended when she referred to a ream of paper as colored paper
He was offended by her use of the word colored
I have a friend who when one is talking about certain groups of people, will correct people when they say black instead of African Americans or he’ll want you to say of Latin Descent instead of Latino
That I can’t call all people from India Indian because Indian is offensive
And that if I am referring to a group of men and women, I should not say you guys I should say you folks or all of you people because “you guys” could be offensive to the women…and some men
But I should not say men and women or ladies and gentlemen because there may be someone who is transgender (or was it transsexual) in the group
I wrote a memo listing the holidays the office is closed
I was informed I should not call it Christmas Day but simply write December 25th because not everyone celebrates Christmas
Same was true for Good Friday
My point?
What makes me angry?
We are too overly PC in this country
We are so hypersensitive that we can’t carry on a conversation without finding a reason to be offended
Stop looking for reasons to be offended and I think you’ll realize you are not as offended as you think you are

And for the love of God America, mind your manners!
Say please and thank you
Respect people’s personal space
Stop pushing and shoving on the T and in the stores 
If you receive a gift or you stay at someone’s house or someone helps you with something, write a thank you note
Hold the door open for one another
Stop and let that car out into traffic
And if someone lets you out into that line of traffic, wave and say thank you
Stop having conversations on your cell phone in public
If we’re talking, if I am standing in front of you, pay attention to me! Don’t be “checking in” on Facebook, posting your status or texting someone else
We were out with Lucy the other day, some place where there were other kids with their parents….we were the only parents paying attention to their child
The rest of the parents?
They were on their phones
Two actually shooed their child away while they finished typing something
When you make eye contact, smile, say hello
If someone smiles and says hello to you, smile and say hello does wonders for your soul
Just be nice
Listen to Dalton America
Be nice

And finally, no one, and I mean no one, is entitled to anything except Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness
I don’t care who your parents are
I don’t care what color you are
I don’t care what you’re ethnicity is
I don’t care what your nationality is
I don’t care who your ancestors are
I don’t care what you’re sexual orientation is
I don’t care that you have a bachelor’s degree or a master or a PhD
You want something?
You need something?
You want to be someone?
Work for it
Earn it
Don’t just expect it because of who you are
Earn it
Deserve it
And when you get it,
Appreciate it
Savor it
And never let it go

**And please, do not take anything I've written personally...I'm probably not even talking about you......unless I've actually said some of these things to you about you and then I am talking about you....but I'll have already said it to you so really, you should not be offended
It is people who are extreme in the behaviors I reference that make me crazy
And if you do think I am talking about can't be mad at me for that

Maria the Mum

Doin' the Neutron Dance

On the way home last night, Lucy and I stopped at Stop and Shop for a couple things (pizza and Chocolate Fingers)

At one point, she was sort of dancing through the aisle

Lucy, honey do you have to go potty?
No Mama! I just happy that why I'm dancing
Oh, its not the pee pee dance?
No Mama
OK, well, we're almost done

At the self check out, Lucy started dancing again

Honey, are you sure you are OK? Are you sure you don't have to go to the bathroom?
No Mama! I just dancing 'cuz we got Chocolate Fingers

We're out the door and walking towards to the car when my phone rings

No response
Donna? Hello...?
No one was there

Lucy tugs my hand

Mama....I just had an accident....a little pee pee just got out of my jayjay
That's OK Lucy.....Auntie Dodo just hung up on me
Oh....guess we're both having a bad day.....

Maria the Mum

Friday, July 20, 2012

This little light of mine

Sean calls me every morning after he drops Lucy off at School
He tells me how she was, which teacher was on, what activity Lucy started in on and who else was there (kids)
Then we just chat about what we have coming up that day, what we should do over the weekend or some other pressing issue that needs our attention that we did not get to the day before

This morning, as were driving, I let out a huge sigh and said to my husband

The closer I get to the office, the more I feel the life being sucked out of the marrow of my bones

He laughed

Honey, I said, I'm serious, this is serious! This is not funny! Please stop laughing at me! My will to live is being sucked away from me as we speak (i look out the window convinced I will see bits and pieces of my will to live hovering over the car)

He laughed harder....and then tried to tell me it was a sympathetic laugh.....I do not think there is such thing as a sympathetic laugh

Sean! I'm serious! I can feel my will to live being sucked out of my very being!
The closer I get to the office, the more faint and woozy and light headed I feel
Now I know how Superman feels when he is in the presence of kryptonite
I could totally evaporate right here right now

Still, no words of encouragement from my husband, my life partner, my rock, because he was too busy laughing at me

Sean! I'm not kidding! Now I can't breathe (my breathing is now rapid and shallow)

So you just pulled into the office then huh?

Yes! And I think I may pass out........
 I.............(heave a sigh)
..................................can't......(gulp for air)
...........................................................breathe......(exhale and wait to pass out)..................

I put the car in park and close my eyes

I think I may just rest here for a few minutes, you know, just close my eyes and take a nap (its barely 20 of 8)

That's a good idea says my husband all supportive like

Think anyone would notice? I ask

You mean that your car is in the parking lot and you are no where to be found? Don't you think they'd notice that Maria?

Actually no, no I don't
I think they would notice my car is here
I think they would realize I am not anywhere to be found
But I'm not sure how hard they would look
And I think they would all stand around and say funny, there is Maria's car but where is Maria?
But no one would come looking because no would would want to take on the responsibility or accountability for finding me!
Because then, they might actually be held accountable for something!
No one would want to go beyond the scope of their job and look but, rest assured they will stand around for 20 minutes trying to decide what should be done but will never determine who should do it!

Wow......latent anger much?!?

Yeah, you should take a rest says Sean, take a couple minutes to regroup and then go in

So we say our good byes, declare our love for one another and I reclined my chair, closed my eyes, inhaled, exhaled, started to pray

I felt myself relaxing
I felt my will to live slowly reconvening in my body and soul
I was pretty sure if I opened my eyes, I would see St Jude sitting next to me praying along with me

The I got a text from my co -worker telling me she was running a bit late....then I got a second text asking me if I was almost to the office as something needed my attention
Then, I looked up and saw a turkey lurking to the right of my car

Really? Seriously? Are you kidding me?

God bless us and save us this day I say aloud

I haul myself out of the car keeping the turkey in my eyesight
Slip into my office without turning on the lights and take care of the pressing issue I was texted about 
Then, I sat in the darkness of my office to finish my prayer

I heard a voice at the end of the hall say her office light is not on, she's not here yet

I almost yelled out yes I am, I'm right here
But I stopped myself
I needed a minute, I needed to finish my prayer and meditation
And, if I say nothing, they will not know I am here
Better yet, if I don't turn my office light on, no one will know I'm here as they don't even walk down the hall to see if my office is occupied
They simply stand at the end of the hall and look for the light to be on


We're all just looking for light

I still don't call out
I'm praying
I'm asking God and Jesus and all the Saints to please help me be more patient, more kind, gentle and loving
I'm asking, begging, for the patience of Job to be bestowed upon me
I'm praying and asking God that if I need to be some one's light, please, please give me the strength the wisdom and the patience to do so
Please God, give me the strength and courage and will to get up out of this chair and turn this light on so they know I am here

It took a bit but I turned my light on

I'm here

And I was just asked if I want to be here today by a co-worker

Totally I say, need help with anything?

Maria the Mum

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Forty isn't old, if you're a tree

I turn 40 this year

I announce this not because I’m on the verge of some sort of a breakdown about being 40 but because one time, I thought I was 32 and it turned out I was 33

A co-worker whose son was born a few months before me was the one who corrected me

One day she overhead me telling someone (who had asked) I was 32
No you’re not she said
Uhh, yeah I am
No Maria, I think you’re 33
I think I know how old I am
Oh…I thought you were born the same year as my son
I was, I reply, we’ve had this conversation; he and I graduated from high school the same year
Well, he just had a birthday and he turned 34
Yeah, she says, he was 33 now he’s 34

33, you’re 33
He turned what?
34, he was born in 1972, like you

Firstly, I was mad at being a year older than I really was (read I was mad I was wrong)
Secondly, I was mad because I thought I got shorted a birthday cake

So I need to remind myself now and then of how old I am so I don't miss cake

Sometimes other people remind me

My husband will randomly say wait till you turn 40 in a few months (weeks as it were now) and then you’ll feel all kinds of new aches and pains (ok its usually not random that he’ll say this; it’s usually prefaced by me complaining and whining about something…like how much my feet hurt or about the ache in my neck from falling asleep on my book or when I can’t see/hear the computer screen/TV)

Sometimes it comes in a failed reference to Pop Culture (and I’m not talking about failed references I make to my English husband as many of my TV references from the ‘80s are lost on him and he’s older than me)
Like one time, at work, I made a reference to Welcome Back Kotter (ooh ooh, pick me Mr Kotter, pick me!) and the three people in the room had no idea who Mr Kotter was let alone Horse shack

Sometimes, someone will straight up ask me how old I am and when I tell them, they respond with
Oh, I thought you were older……which is sort of a bitch slap which turns into a kick as they back peddle by saying
You know because you seem so mature…..
When someone is in their early 20s and you mistake them for being older than they are, you can use the whole “you are so mature for your age” thing for back peddling out of insulting them
When someone is 39, not so much

By 39, you should be mature

Sometimes, I accidentally remind myself

Like the other day, I was preparing a census of employees and saw the age 39.11
I chuckled because I was all ha-ha, that person is about to turn 40…plus, 39.11 just looked funny to me
Then I realized it was my name to the left of the listed age of 39.11

Other times, I’ll just say out loud, I’m going to be 40 this year
I just remind myself so I don’t miss out on birthday cake

Last January, my youngest sister turned 30 so for a spell, all 7 siblings were in their 30s
Birthday wishes were sent via email and one sister pointed out we would not all be in our 30s for long as our oldest (and only) brother would be turning 40 days later

He responded with this email:
Yes I am the eldest.  Unfortunately for women in our society, being in your “30s” is equivalent to a man being in his 50’s.  So, as I approach 40, technically older than all of you, society will still view me as “young,” whereas all of you are either past your prime or approaching the business end of 35.  However, unlike me, at least you women still have most of your hair. So you got that going for you.   
Sorry, I don’t make the rules.  It’s just the way our society works. 
Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.

So according to my brother, and society, I am, potentially, past my prime
I don't even remember having a prime

If you Google turning 40 or what to know about turning 40, you’d be amazed at what comes up:
tips on how to handle it
what it should feel like
how you should celebrate (big party, little party, trip to Paris, trip to a plastic surgeon, lipo, a mani and pedi)
what you should do and not do
how 40 is the new 20
how 40 is when you find yourself and know how you are

Sometimes, I wonder if people write what they wrote just to make themselves feel better about getting older….that is I wonder how true their sentiments really are

You know what I think about turning 40?

That I’ll be 40
I won’t be in my 30s anymore
I’ll be 40

And I’m not really seeing a problem with it

Did I have a problem turning 30?
Maybe a bit…..but I think that had more to do with sobering up than getting older

Did I have trouble turning 35?
Not really – I was a newlywed – I was shrouded in bliss, nothing bothered me that year

I break it down like this:

For ten years, I lived in the bubble of protected me, allowed me to have fun and zero responsibility

I had no idea of the struggles, frustration, and pains my parents went through to provide for 7 children while maintaining a marriage

I was a kid

My 5 younger siblings were being born
I was sharing a room, clothes, toys and sometimes even a bed with my siblings and loved every minute of it
We had games of hide and seek, tag and softball in the yard
I spent ten years riding bikes, climbing trees, fishing in the ditch
Playing, just good old fashioned playing
There was spending the night at Grammy and Grampy's, catching fireflies, going to the beach, Fort Knox
And school, oh how I loved school!
I loved going to school so much that I was actually disappointed when it was Summer Vacation
Ten years of Santa, the Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy and Paul Bunyan (yeah, I thought he was real)

I loved being a kid – it was 10 years of little or no responsibility, no awareness of the world around me and no fear….I think it was the only time in my life I’ve had no fear

In this decade, love is unconditional
There are no lines in the sand
No sides, no cool table to be excluded from,
Everything is unconditional

The next ten years were my least favorite
Struggling to grow up but still be a kid
Struggling to be a grown up but still a kid
Thinking I knew it all and not wanting to hear differently
Jr High and High School were a nightmare
I longed to either be a kid or be a grown up…..but I had no idea which one to be

Being 10-20 is like being in purgatory

There were seven kids and I was starting to realize what my parents were going through trying to raise all of us and balance a marriage
I saw their struggles and the struggles of others around me
It was in this decade I learned life is not as easy as it starts out
It was in this decade I realized that it gets harder as you get older, not easier
It was in this decade I learned fear, hate, selfishness, jealousy
It was in this decade that I learned there are conditions; there are lines in the sand, sides to be taken and being excluded from the cool table sucks

I think this is the decade that ruins so many people
I think this is the decade in which kids need their Moms and Dads the most
This is the decade which dictates how you’ll venture out into the world – with your eyes wide open and your head held high or your eyes wide shut and your rose colored glasses firmly affixed on your face

It’s this decade that a lot of people will spend their next two decades undoing, fixing and analyzing…with or without professional help

Thank God for my 20s
The last two years of college were a blur - worked my ass off to get out of there and hurry up and start living
I just wanted to be on my own; I wanted to come into my own
I wanted to find other people like me to be around
And find them I did, and then I settled into my 20s

Ten years living life like a rock star
I was now an adult who was of legal drinking age, living on my own with a great job and surrounded by other twenty something year olds who wanted to have as much fun as I did

We laughed, we dated, we broke up, we drank, we laughed some more, sometimes we dated again but mostly we just laughed and drank
We got arrested, pierced things, got tattoos, quit smoking, started smoking again
Went to weddings together, took road trips, got drunk, went to concerts
We spent Friday night at the Pub, Saturdays shopping and at the movies, Saturday night back at the Pub and Sundays sleeping the weekend off
We were there for one another no matter what time of day it was and no matter what the circumstance were
We cried together, hugged it out, then drank

I was lost when I was removed from this little insular world of mine
I had zero self confidence outside of my world
When I was away from my friends, I was so scared it came off as an attitude, as my being better than those around me
Really, I was just like a fish out of water; I did not know how to exist outside of the life, the world I had created for myself

And then we all started growing up....and by that I mean getting older

Some moved away, then back
Some moved away never to come back again
Some started having babies and 30 was fast approaching

The I turned 30
I hated turning 30 because I had had so much fun in my 20s
I loved my 20s and was so not ready to give up that life…but I needed to

I was starting over – new city, new job, no friends - the first few years were awful
But I started to make new friends, found a new pub to hang out in and settled in to my new 20s
And then, one day I woke up and things started to change….mostly because I realized if I was going to be in my 30s, I could not do what I did in my 20s…my 30s could not be my 20s

I was changing and no matter how hard I tried to fight it, I could not

I truly believe that we all change weather we want to or not – you have little or no control over it
The world changes, we have to adapt
The environment changes, we have to adapt
Circumstances change, we have to adapt
Our bodies changes, physically, emotionally, hormonally….so we have to adapt

We have to change

Does not mean our core changes….integrity, ethics, morals, beliefs….you don’t have to change or adapt those unless you want to, unless you choose to

But we all change
And try as one might, it is not something that is easy to fight

So once I stopped fighting, stopped trying to still be young and 20 somethingish, once I got rid of all preconceived notions about where I should be in my life (married, with kids, a kick ass job and a big house) and went with it, my 30s were great

And I feel better about myself than I did in my 20s for as fun as they were, not everything was quite right…there was still some uncertainty that I sort of just ignored and figured would go away the more fun I had
But it didn’t…as hard as we laughed, as much as we drank, as many concerts we saw, as many road trips we took, there was always something missing

I think it was my self-worth

And when I about 32/33, I found it
I was less worried about what people thought……
Co-workers, friends, the guy behind the counter where I bought my cigarettes, my brother and sisters, my parents…whatever thoughts they had about me, whatever judgments they were going to pass, I realized that was on them not me
Nothing I did or said would change that and the less I worried about what they would think, the happier I became

And the happier I became the more settled I became
And I relaxed
And I was less worried about being right
I was less worried about how gray my hair had become
I was less worried about being accepted
And I was less worried about doing the right thing because for me, doing the right thing had somehow turned into what I thought others wanted me to do

And the next thing I know, I’m getting married, having a baby, buying a house and suddenly, I’m thirtysomething and right where I should be

Now I’m on the cusp of 40…and by that I mean a mere 3 weeks away

And it is far less intimidating than I thought it would be

And I have much more than I ever thought I would

I read an article that said something to the effect of ‘The forties are the old age of youth, and the youth of old age’

I suppose that is a pretty accurate statement…too old to be young, too young to be old….this must be what it feels like to be the middle child

40 is the mid way point

I will not be having any type of melt down because I am 40
I will not put myself through some crazy makeover thereby changing my appearance because no matter what I do, I’ll still be 40
I am not about to embark on some sort of mid-life crises because I’ll be 40
I will not change my political beliefs, find a new religion, sell all my possessions and buy a backpack or get a tattoo or a piercing because I’ll be 40

I’m just going to be 40……….and I'm going to have cake with it…………..

Maria the 40 year old Mum