Excuse My Absence, I’ve Been Under the Elbow

If you’ve ever broken a bone as an adult, you’ll relate with this post. If you’ve ever shattered an elbow and were still left to adult, these life lessons learned while under the elbow will resonate with you. Sit down, grab a coffee, and come feel my pain.

Life Lessons from a broken elbow 9 29 15

Y’all, the past month (OK, 25 exact excruciating days) has been rough. I’ve been absent from here, I’ve been absent from social media, and honestly, I’ve been pretty absent from life. Why you ask? I’ve been pretty much under the elbow. Most people are occasionally under the weather, they’re gone a few days, they come back. But you see, when you fall “under the elbow”, you’re pretty much down and out for a good long while. Why do I keep saying pretty much? Well it’s either the pain meds or the fact that no matter how broken (literally) I am, I still have to adult. Honestly, I really haven’t felt like adulting, but I’ve pretty much been pulling it off. Anyway…before I get on to the lovely life lessons I’ve learned as a full-time wife, mom, and employee as a one-armed bandit, let me back up and fill you in on what happened in case I haven’t whined it out enough.

dislocated broken elbow 9 4 15

We were out in the historic district…nothing happens there. I was on the sidewalk. I was standing. I went to walk. Someone stepped on my flip flop. I started to go down and pulled a rookie move. Hand out, hand grab closest chair, elbow shatters, arm bones break. It’s a thing. Kids, don’t try this at home (or anywhere else). Take my word for it, that bruised knee would not have been catastrophic. Just fall, dammit, just fall!

relocated elbow 9 4 15

After a super fun ride in the ambulance, 3,793 x-rays later, it appeared this was not a simple dislocation. Putting it back in place took way too long, and honestly, it looked better before the relocation. But they gave me drugs. Drugs (legal…shut up) give me wings. It was a holiday weekend so I took those drugs and ran with them before they could cage me in until that Tuesday when everyone showed back up. The good news? That super swollen, totally messed up arm, was my right arm. Cool. I’m left handed. This would be simple. I can still play. I can still adult!

jeepus 9 9 15

Yup. I was handling things well. My arm was literally hanging in a sling, I wasn’t sleeping or eating, but after my orthopedic appointment 5 days after the break, B was able to pick up my BRAND NEW JEEP that I can’t drive for months because it’s a stick. The irony. It’s cute though, right? Sitting in the side yard. Dammit. On to the story. I missed other things. It’s been fun.

bugs bday day before surgery 9 13 15 crop

Bug’s 9th birthday was on September 14th…10 days after “the fall”…the day they scheduled the dreaded reconstruction (yes, please, put this shit back together). But, birthday. We changed all plans. We stayed home. We smiled. It wasn’t the same, but…family. I grimaced. I smiled. She loved her presents. I love her. I adulted. She humored me.

rebuilt elbow 9 14 15

On September 14th, I was rebuilt. After five hours of surgery, I got a kitchen hinge, a rake, a new half cast, and a sling. All ready to adult again.

I clean what I can, I wash clothes (no folding required), I cook and clean up the kitchen, I work full time at my real job, I get the kids back and forth to school. I cry in between. I don’t eat much because those drugs don’t like food. I don’t sleep much. But dammit, I’m adulting. I have to.

During this journey, I’ve learned some one-armed bandit life lessons I wanted to share with you. This is a temporary situation (40% anyway since that’s the usage I’ll get back in the perfect world) but you need to know. If you ever find yourself one handed, here are some things you need to know.

  1. I do way more around here than anyone thinks, including myself (this place is a hot, disgusting mess…the toilets, the kitchen, the floors…gross, for real).
  2. If you go to take a “bath” with one arm, you will cut, scrape, or bruise something. Oh, and you’ll never feel clean. Ever.
  3. Arm pit waxing. It’s a thing. Use it before it’s almost too late.
  4. Cutting a frozen pot roast to put in the Crock Pot is way simpler than it seems.
  5. Cutting a small onion to put in the Crock Pot with said pot roast is way harder than you’d think.
  6. Writing with your dominant arm is so simple. Until you realize you were holding that paper with your non-dominant arm all along. My handwriting sucks right now. Don’t believe me? Put one arm away and try. Exactly.
  7. Being “lazy” with folding clothes for a mom compares to no one else’s idea of lazy folding. We can’t even find our bed right now. Actually being a “lazy mom” only makes everyone else around you look lazier, if that’s even possible. Oy!
  8. I typically load and unload the dishwasher 27 times per month. When I can’t do it, it happens about 10 times per month max and the house smells.
  9. You really cannot make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with one arm. Try it. I dare you.
  10. When you’re effed up, you find out who your friends and true supporters (inside and outside of your home) are. I really already knew, but it’s more obvious at the moment than ever before.

And so folks (all 5 of you who are still reading), that’s where I am right now. I’m adulting. I’m coping. I have my surgical follow up today. Good vibes appreciated. This clunky non-cast needs to come off today. I need some normalcy. My family needs some normalcy. I need to clean this place before they let the bugs take us away. I’m ready to be well, to be whole. I’m ready to work at a desk again. I’m ready to sleep and eat. I’m ready for this chapter to be over.

I’ve learned my lesson. I’m tired of being under the elbow.

Dear Kids, About that Allowance You Never Got from Me

An open letter to my kids, all six of them, about that allowance that they never got from me no matter how hard they begged, no matter how hard they worked, no matter how hard they tried to state their case about how much they earned it. Dear Kids, you’re welcome!

Dear Kids, About that allowance I don't give you. You're welcome. Love, Mom

Dear Kids,

About that allowance you never got from me? You’re welcome. All of you have asked for it over the years (except you, Bubby, my youngest and current favorite, but you will). You see, I’m one of those moms that doesn’t believe in a traditional “allowance” because, really, I already pay you enough. I pay you too much, in fact. Let’s dissect allowance, shall we?

Allowance

  • the amount of something that is permitted, especially within a set of regulations or for a specified purpose.

Huh?

Every time you broach this topic, my dear lovelies, I scratch my head. Can I have an allowance? By definition, it makes no sense. With practicality in mind, it makes even less sense.

You cleaned your room and you want an allowance? That’s earning your “keep”.

You washed the truck? Wait. Did you want to take that truck to the prom? Earn your keep, kid.

You did well in school? Good for you! I actually did quite well too and I was proud of myself for working so hard and making my parents proud.

You put your clothes (that I picked up out of your bedroom floor, washed, and folded) away? Wow, amazing. You are an overachiever. Maybe you do deserve an allowance.

BUT you don’t. AT. ALL.

Let me ask you, allowance-hungry children, something. Do you pay me for dinner? Do you pay me for putting a roof over your head? Do you pay me for driving you to school every day and picking you up? Do you pay me for those school clothes and supplies? Do you pay me for doing your laundry? Do you pay me for that TV you watch or the video games you play? Do you pay me for your never-ending electricity (that I try to keep down by constantly turning off lights and fans you hap-hazardly leave on)? Do you pay ME for buying your food (all of your favorites, you’re welcome) and cooking all of your meals and cleaning up after you, even when I don’t (which is almost never) eat that food myself? Do you pay me for any of my many services?

You do NOT. I don’t ask for payment. Why? It’s my job!

Instead, I ask that you “occasionally” clean up after yourselves, my loves. I ask that you flush and close the toilet. I ask that you show me respect and love. I ask that you appreciate that you have food, clothing, shelter, and so much more. Those things are your “allowance”, dear children, and you’re very lucky to have the things that are afforded you. Many children do not have what you have.

Don’t ask me for extra payment for “extra” things you do. Seriously, it’s stupid and you won’t win this argument. You want to charge me? Let’s play that game. Every time you do something, I’ll pay you. BUT every time I do something, you pay me too. My palm is itching. Look it up, I’m about to come into some big money!

Hey! I just unloaded the dishwasher that I loaded after I cooked your dinner that you loved and you remembered to put your plate in the sink. You put your plate in the sink? I owe you $1.00?

I bought the groceries, cooked your dinner, cleaned up the kitchen, ran the dishwasher, and unloaded it. You owe me $50. Wanna just give me that $49 and call it even?

Or do you want me to pay you that allowance for ALL THAT YOU DO?

Your allowance?

I feed you. I clothe you. I buy you everything you need…and more. I clean up after you. I do your laundry, your dishes. I work and I provide. And as busy as I am, I still take the time to talk to you and love you. Yes, you’re welcome.

You say you want an allowance?

I allow you to stay here because you’re my children, I love you, and that’s what I signed up for. I allow you the finer things in life. Again, you’re welcome.

You know what? I grew up on a self-sufficient farm. We got up early, took care of animals and a garden, then we got ready for school and got good grades. We helped my mom clean on weekends (the what you say?) and do you want to know how much “allowance” we got? We got love, food, clothing, and shelter. We didn’t even get video games or cell phones. *GASP*

It was enough. My parents gave me life and the things I needed in life. It was enough and I didn’t DARE ask for more. Why would I need more?

Why do you?

So, my loves, my minions (look up the true meaning of that word…not the yellow guys…and you’ll know why I use it so often). Know how much allowance I owe you? You’re already overpaid considering the services you provide.

You’re welcome.

You may not like it right now, but I’m attempting to raise good humans, productive members of society. That’s hard work, y’all. I deserve a little more payment. Don’t pay me in complaints. Don’t pay me by asking me for more. Do the things you’re asked (which seriously are tasks a 5-year-old could accomplish with ease), and appreciate what you have.

Does all of this sound a little harsh to you? I really am doing you a favor and some day you’ll “get” it (ask Bry, she’s grown and she gets it now, or ask Paetyn who is now a parent herself…she totally gets it). You four youngest really have NO clue at this point in your life. You will, but you don’t now. Have patience. The lightbulb will go off and you’ll thank me.

Life gets harder (like super hard) when you grow up. You’ll honestly have to work for a living and that “allowance” and you’ll look back and wish you didn’t get one again.

So, about that allowance I don’t give you now? You’re welcome.

With Love,

Your Mom (who will never pay you an “allowance”, but will always be proud for raising good humans)

PS – Bubby, when you get old enough to read this and think it’s OK to ask for an allowance. Don’t. Just do what mommy asks and appreciate what you have. You’re my current favorite for a reason. Don’t sully your reputation.

1st Day of School 2015: The Making of a Meltdown

The first day of school is a joyous occasion for many, a new year of learning and making new friends. But in our house, it’s often the making of a meltdown. I’m never sure who is going to breakdown, be it me or one of the kids, but I know it’s bound to happen. How do you deal with a childhood meltdown? Here’s our story of the first day of school 2015!

The first day of school: The Making of a Meltdown

The first day of school around our house is a pretty big deal. We bend the rules significantly during the summer months and truly give the babies a break. It’s always been that way in our house, with all 6 kids, but possibly more with the youngest two for obvious reasons (hello, I’m not ready to let go of two more AND I know how quickly it passes). But with that said, when school time rolls around, specifically the day before, it gets real up in here. The day before is chaotic at best, scrambling around to get last-minute supplies ready, lunches made, uniforms laid out, dinner on the table on time, BED TIME…that kind of thing. I anticipate the meltdown. I never quite know who is going to have it in the morning, whether it be me or one of the kids or a combination of both, but it’s sure to happen. For us, a high-strung family, the first day of school is always the making of a meltdown. 

The first day of school 2015 actually started out lovely. Everyone up on time. Lunches made. Breakfast on the table. Supplies at the door. Smiles on our faces. Was this going to be the first year without a major meltdown? My hopes were high. We got out the door in more than plenty of time, stopped to take the obligatory “by the door” first day of school photo, and off we went, still smiling and in great moods, just the babies and I.

How stressful is the first day of school at your house?

Got to school and the kids seemed happy, eager almost. Oh no, are my babies growing up? They don’t need me anymore. The what? Maybe it was my year for another meltdown. Fingers crossed, we were ready.

Major meltdowns and the first day of school
Seriously, it was all going so well, I was sure that this was going to be the best first day of school ever!

Were you ready for the first day of school?

We got there early as we typically do (if you really knew me, you’d find this quite surprising…possibly humorous) so we headed to the gym to meet up with old friends and wait for the start of a new year of learning. Third and first grade, y’all. When did they grow up? Stop that! Bub, first grade check in and line up…check!

Happy 3rd graders ready for school

As I looked over at my “big” girl (she tends to meltdown as much as her momma does) and saw her smiling face after she told me that I didn’t need to walk her to class this year *sigh* because she “had this” and I should take care of Bubby since he’s only in first grade, I was both happy and sad to let go all at the same time. I was beginning to believe the meltdown would belong to me this year. But Kylee Bug was happy, Bubby was happy, I “had this” too.

First day of first grade 2015

Best year EV-AH! Second year of school and this little man was a born natural. He blends in so well, he’s happy to reunite with his BFF, and he’s just eager to learn. He truly “has this“. Bittersweet, but I love seeing him thrive and I thought I’d get out unscathed.

1st day of school was a success

Sat him down, he went right to work, intent on being the next big thing because he’s going to learn and he’ll go places. I was going to get out without a tear. No tears. No meltdowns. It was like the perfect morning.

Until…I turned around to walk out. Standing just behind me, in the back of Bubby’s room, was my Bug. Full of tears, trembling, and sweating. She had gone to her classroom, she had remembered her horrible experience last year at school, she’d had a meltdown.

My 3rd grader had a meltdown. How do you cope with the first day of school?

I wasn’t in the room with her when it hit her, so she found me, exactly where she knew I’d be. Still settling her little brother in, as I would have her had she let me in the first place. I said one last goodbye to Bubby, who hardly noticed I was still in the room, and then my baby girl and I walked, hand in hand, toward her classroom while she sobbed and I tried to console her. As a mom, that’s brutal. It’s the worst kind of meltdown. I’d rather have a meltdown any day than to watch any one of my children have one. It was a long walk down the hall.

It was very hard to walk her down that hall while she trembled and I fought back tears. I couldn’t let her see my tears.

We made it to her classroom (felt like 30 minutes), and I tried to tell her things would be different this year. Her teacher is awesome (so hopeful) and she’s an amazing girl that needs to learn incredible things. Her friends were waiting. They looked almost as concerned as I was. But the sobbing, the trembling, and the sweating continued. That meltdown was real, y’all, and I felt helpless.

I had her call her daddy because he always makes her feel better. Didn’t work.

I talked to her, her teacher, and her BFF once more. Didn’t work. Best bet was to leave with a big hug. She’d be better. She’d be fine. She’s tough. My little hot mess is always fine. But she wasn’t, and at that point, neither was I.

Against my (over doting parent) better judgement, I walked away. After all of these years, I know it’s the right thing to do. It hurt. She ran out of the room, she chased me down the hallway, she BEGGED me to take her home.

I walked her back to her room, told her I loved her, and left as I should have done. I left sad, dry eyed, but trembling…just like my baby girl. Because I should have. Because I had to. Because she WILL have a better year. She’s going to have an amazing year.

Upon later checkin, her tears dried up in about 10 minutes. Oddly enough, I think I took them from her because when I got to my car, I had a meltdown. I sat there, I cried, I trembled, and I sweat for 15 full minutes before I could regain my composure and drive home.

She’s fine now, I didn’t come away unscathed. I’ve been a parent for 25 full years and it just never gets easy. It’s always worth it, but it’s never easy.

This morning? I anticipated a meltdown, I did everything possible to avoid the first day of school meltdown, we were doing so well.

This morning? Another meltdown happened, for no reason at all, but for so many reasons. I’m ready to tuck another (two actually) meltdown under my belt and have a GREAT school year. Who’s with me? I can’t be the only one, we can’t be the only family, that goes through this.

I see other meltdowns on the first day of school and I always feel the parent’s pain, the kid’s pain. If this happens to you, how do you deal with the meltdowns and HOW do you come away feeling OK? Because, honestly, I never feel totally OK again after one of my kids loses it!