Is Pain Robbing You of Happiness?

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It has been a long excruciating year; between the death’s in my family, to the robbery, to the new house…an agonizingly long year.

I made friends and lost friends, found out what is important and what is nothing more than time-consuming f*ckery.

My husband and children have been troopers through this whole ordeal. And let me tell you I have been anything but a wonderful human being. I’ve had meltdowns, tantrums, scream fests, depressive episodes, and moments of divine clarity… I’ve been in indisputable pain.

Just when you think you have a grasp on life, you find out that life isn’t yours to control…you’re just an irrelevant passenger.

Don’t get me wrong, your life belongs to you and you make of it what you will. But, when it comes down to controlling what happens in it, well… you can only control how you react. And my reactions were far beyond spectacular…I should have been a dramatic actress, I had some very award-winning soap-operatic moments, to say the very least {and I am}.  

It’s funny how complicated we make our lives. Every single detail has to be perfect and completely under our control. Why? Because we honestly believe that we have some god-like influence that enables us to change things that we don’t like and turn them into something we desire. But it isn’t about what we want, it’s solely about what we need.

Nobody needs supremacy; we need to learn how to be kind and gentle, loving and supportive. We need to be a far better person than what we expect our family and friends to be.  

We expect all of these ridiculously unreasonable things of others, yet we don’t budge an inch to be better people ourselves. And on top of that, we have the audacity to give hundreds of pathetic excuses as to why we can’t be more than what we already are. Oh yes, we are quite incredible, aren’t we?

So why can’t we be better people? Why are we so demanding of others to be more, but so incredibly fearful of our own impending greatness?

It’s like I once told a friend of mine… “I’m afraid that if the pain is gone I won’t be able to write with such passion anymore.” My pain is why I am passionate… or maybe my passion is why I am in pain. Either way I was in pain.

I enjoyed pain; it was the only thing I knew to be real. It was the only thing that could allow me to stay hidden from happiness and love. It was effortless to blame those that hurt me instead of being responsible for allowing them to continue hurting me.

Pain is addicting, it is a beautiful justification for everything. But pain is self-inflicted…let me clarify that. Emotional pain is self-inflicted. Yes, it initially hurts when someone uses you, or ignores you, or takes advantage of you, or talks bad about you, or tosses you aside like a rag doll. That hurts like hell.

But, it is brief. We hold on to something far longer than we need to. Why do we hold tight to something so insignificant and unworthy? Why do we torture ourselves? Don’t we deserve to be pain-free? Don’t we deserve happiness and love?

We do! We deserve happiness and love…from ourselves. Who cares if some imprudent former friend/family member/stranger hurt us… hurt people hurt people. What they need is forgiveness and time to learn from what they have done. It may not be today or tomorrow or even this lifetime, but they will learn.  

When you grow up in a society of revenge, you can’t possibly expect that the world will wake up one day and just be forgiving. It takes education, experience, and a strong will to grow and learn. It will take better people to teach others how to be better people… learning via example.

That is what I am focusing on, being the person that I want others to be. I’m ready to be pain-free and happy. Will you join me?    

The Mice Before Christmas

The Mice Before Christmas

Read the story of the three mice brothers reading The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve. Will they finish the book before Santa comes?

A Friday Moment

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A Friday ritual. A single photo — no words — capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

“This Moment” is a ritual found on Life inspired by the Wee Man adopted from SouleMama which was introduced to others by Sarah-Jane, of Almost There.

I was asked to participate in this by Anna Sides, of The Other Side of Anna and the other great blogging members of the Facebook group Blogplicity.

If you find yourself touched by a moment and would like to participate, post your picture on a Friday and leave your link in the comments section.

Copyrighted: InjensMind

Countdown To The Breaking Point

As I laid in a zombified, neither asleep nor awake state, in my bed this morning, thoughts racing, I had a realization that I may have never come to had it not been for the events that have taken place  in the last year and a half. The universe’s sole responsibility is to continuously batter human beings with loads of things they can barely handle emotionally, mentally, and physically until they reach their breaking point. It’s kind of like that place called Hell that so many speak of.

Several times I have just nearly escaped being irreversibly imprisoned by my own looming breaking point. I have stood on the edge of it, teetering back n’ forth, just waiting for the universe to give me that final kick in my ass that throws me over. I have come to the conclusion that there are only a handful of people left in my life that matter to me to the point where I very well could end up losing my mind completely and forever. Not to say that I don’t love each and every person in my life with all my being, it just means that the last bit of strength that I possess is only enough for that final  handful of people. There are 7 people left before I reach my permanent breaking point and depending on the order in which I lose them, it could be a full 7 or it could be just 1.

After getting the phone call from my grandfather last night I knew how flimsily my sanity hung in the balance. Hell, I knew before we even concluded our conversation, and I’m pretty sure both of my grandparents had a damn good idea of it as well. Thanks to the sudden death of my sister, I will forever be tainted and paranoid by the words, “____ is in the hospital.” Name any of those 7 people and my heart is beating out of my chest, my thoughts begin racing more than usual, and paranoia becomes the desert of the day. Well, it just so happens one of those people were named in that very phone call late last night, my mom. You could pinpoint the precise moment when I lost it, it was the moment when my voice cracked and I began cursing like a sailor on the phone to my grandfather who has been known  to tell all of us women, “Don’t use those 4 letter words. Ladies don’t speak like that.” Well F@&* THAT, I am well aware that a lady I am not. I am also aware that I am probably the last person in my family who can curse in my soprano cracking emotionally charged voice and also be the voice of reason and motivation at the same time.  It’s a gift.

The good news is after speaking to my mom last night, I was more at ease and relatively optimistic. However,  I fell asleep and while I was tossing and turning per my usual nightly ritual, my subconscious revealed things to me that my conscious mind was unable to speak openly about. My dreams were pummeled time and time again with my sister and my twin nephews. All of the bullshit that has been going on since my sister’s death has built up inside of me to the point where I can no longer function on the same level I was functioning at just a few months after her death. When she died I had my writing and I buried myself in that. Then there were mountains of things piled on top of that, from the boyfriend who up and gave his parents custody of my nephews secretly, to the middle men who are keeping my mother and grandparents from fully bonding with the boys, who by the way just turned 2 years old in August.  All these things that I have been forbidden to speak about openly, so that the saintly (hmmph) boyfriend’s family don’t get pissed off and just up and deny visitation completely to my family. This, is the moment when I say… if I had money and a gun!!!

OK…Clearly, I am joking about the gun part. Killing someone for being a thorn in my side is NOT how I do things. And we all know how easily my words get twisted around by the exact same people who I’ve spent years protecting. That alone is some kind of nightmarish form of Hell in its own right. I digress…But, yea…I don’t have money and I am helpless at the moment to do anything about these things. I ache deep down inside of my soul for my nephews and let’s not even go into details about my nieces. Let’s not even bring up how pathetic I feel to have such a loud, strong, and proud voice and to have it be hushed for the sake of family. I am reaching critical mass. It is not long before I reach that breaking point. I just want to do what is right and like all people who fight for rights I am faced with what CAN be done and what SHOULD be done. Those two things are clearly not the same thing.

As for my mom, hopefully she will be released in the next day or two. Then I can start breathing again and go back to waiting. Waiting for the universe’s final blow to my backside while I am not looking… that unavoidable breaking point. And so begins… The Countdown!

After The Storm Passes

Google Image. Vinyl designs by CJ

My last post really had several people concerned. I appreciate the comments and the messages and those of you who basically got a slap in the face wake-up call with that post.

I assure you all though that I am fine, the kids are fine, and my dogs and husband are all fine. No pun intended. Seriously, unlike my last post states we really are fine.

 

This isn’t the first time that some of you have seen me fly off the handle like I did yesterday. In fact, many of you who have known me for some time now, know all too well how hot-tempered I can be. And although I was angry when I wrote the post I assure you, I have had time to calm down and work through those overwhelming feelings and emotions.

 

I also want to say that, unfortunately anger is an emotion that must be expressed on occasion or it will do more damage later on to others and ones own self. It is a very explosive and extremely volatile emotion and as you all know, it had built up like a pressure cooker inside of me. If I hadn’t closed the lid so tightly and let some of the steam escape occasionally, I may have been able to stay calmer and have kept a cooler more level head instead of blowing up like an atom bomb.

 

The post I wrote, wasn’t meant to upset those who really do care and check in on me frequently. It wasn’t aimed at any one person specifically. In a nutshell, it was directed at society as a whole. It was a “Wake the fuck up people you aren’t the only ones struggling!” type of message. Which I admit, I most certainly could have portrayed my feelings in a less demanding and ignorant manner.

 

We have become a society of immensely selfish people. We allow our lives to be entirely consumed with so much trivial bullshit that we cannot possibly think of anyone else and how their lives may be turning out for them. We quickly jump from one thing to the next without stopping and realizing that even though we have moved on from the sadness and empathy we had once felt for a friend, that maybe they were still not over the thing that they had went through. (Example: my sister’s death and my family’s health and financial situation.) We are so quick to forget about our grieving friends feelings and if they don’t constantly remind us about their situation, it slips to the back of our minds. The more time that passes the more we believe they are no longer hurting and it not only shocks us but often time annoys us that they haven’t “moved on” yet. But, that is not how some of us see it and those of us who are on the receiving end often times get angry because our friends have left us stuck in time when they swore they’d always be there. We feel abandoned and neglected. As time continues to pass, we often feel alone because the world just kept on spinning while we stood there dizzy in need of assistance. We don’t want to ask for help because we don’t want to be a bother to anyone and we get angry because no one ever needed to ask us for help we just did it. It becomes a vicious cycle that many don’t break until after they have lost many people from their lives. And even then it may still  continue.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as guilty as everyone else. As I was writing my last post I knew exactly what it was I was saying, feeling, and projecting. I also know it came off very childish in a whole temper-tantrum sort of way. I was screaming for attention and oh boy did I get it.

 

But not only in the ways you might imagine. Letting all of that anger and emotion out really helped me to see things in a different light. I realized after writing it that I am not the same person I was before as I thought I was in my post. I’m really not that depressed, weak-minded, angry person anymore. I know you are shaking your head at me, like wtf is she talking about…the post was full of depression, anger and weakness.

 

Yes, it surely was. I thought it was all that built up stuff coming out and once I could calm down enough to reflect I realized how much of the past 7 months were actually anything but anger, depression and weakness on my part. Regardless if I was truly feeling and dealing with the emotions or just flitting back and forth between them, I did have many more happy and content days than I did depressed and angry days.

 

I have gone through a lot in the last year and a half and my writing reflects that. I know I don’t need to tell any of you who have been by my side throughout it all. What I learned in this experience was that I can no longer hold things in and just wait hoping they go away. I also learned that I have a good handful of online people, be it family or friends, who support me more than I was aware of or wanted to admit. Also, that I am a writer and as such I have to write. It doesn’t matter if I am a paid writer or if I am nothing more than a blogger with a never realized dream… I HAVE TO WRITE! So, the best thing for me to do is give you all smaller doses of my mind more frequently, instead of bombarding the world with larger doses all at once like I did yesterday. Not only is it better for all of you it is better for me too.

 

So thank you all for bearing with me through my ups and downs. Thank you for reaching out to me and letting me know you care. And above all, thank you for always allowing me to be who I am, even when I am not on my bestest behavior.  Nothing in this world feels better than the love I have felt in the last couple of days from those of you who prefer me just the way I am. I can now move on with my head held higher just knowing that I do indeed have  several shoulders to lean on if I just reach out for them.

 

Oh and before I end this, I’d like to give a special shoutout to my new readers and followers. Thank you for joining me on what was a very difficult day in my life. I hope you stick around and continue to ride with me on this crazy ride that is my life.

I’m Fine. Really.

One misconception people have of me is that I don’t pull any punches when it comes to verbalizing the way that I feel. I say many things that others wouldn’t say, that is true. But, I do pull punches, I do censor myself, I do internalize a lot of how I feel until it’s been pushed far enough down where I can go out in public again and not be an utterly incomprehensible asshole… so to speak.

 

But, because I do this I end up feeling more stressed out than I should. And right now I am in Stressville eating from the Stress Buffet and praying that nobody says a fucking word to me for fear that I may completely lose my mind, my temper, and my lunch! However, since so many really want to know what is on my mind… let me break it down for you.

 

I’m freaked out. I didn’t expect to fall back into a depression. I didn’t expect to go from being an optimist who helped others rise up into the light, to just rapidly decline back into what it was I had fought so hard to get out of the beginning of last year… a dark abyss of nothingness and despair.

 

Last year; despite everything that happened,  I was optimistic. I was hopeful. I was happy. My happiness hasn’t entirely been depleted yet but my optimism and my hopefulness have just about been sucked right the hell out of me.

 

I had pushed through grieving my sister rapidly, choosing to bury myself in writing instead of dealing with that whole ordeal. Then there was the family and friends I lost. I shook that off and kept on my journey, never looking back. Then in October, there was my breast issue. Again, I picked up the pieces and ran off towards my vision.

 

Despite all I had gone through in a short period of time, my descent didn’t officially begin until the week of New Year’s Eve when I spent 3 days in the hospital with my daughter. She was very ill and it was then when I began to notice how very mentally exhausted I was. It was when I had time to really think about life and death and everything in between. I had a chance to slow down enough to realize what was going on with me. And of course, I was worried out of my mind about losing my daughter.

 

Everything I had went through had all managed to catch up with me and it had multiplied into something that I clearly wasn’t prepared for or capable of handling. And I’m sorry to say it has cracked me in a way that nothing else ever could.

 

I had aspirations, dreams, goals… I thought every post I wrote on Yahoo, Technorati, my blog, and guest posts were leading me to being a paid writer. I seriously believed for a good minute there that I was talented enough to make it. But, talent doesn’t pay bills when there isn’t enough work experience to get you a job. And I just don’t have that experience and now I’m afraid I don’t have that drive anymore either.

 

I cracked beyond repair at the beginning of the year when I got paid for my hard work from Yahoo. They paid me a whole $1.42 for the 8 articles I had written. My friends told me not to let payment determine my worth as a writer. But, as much as I wanted to believe them I couldn’t get past my husband’s laughter about how even Yahoo thought I was a bad writer.

 

I know, I know… I shouldn’t put so much value into words. But I am supposed to be a writer and writers use words and words are supposed to mean something very important, if they didn’t what would we need writers for?

 

The more I focused on those words the more depressed I became and my blog posts dropped off to maybe one or two a month. Because at this point who really cares if I write or if I don’t? I know I surely don’t.

 

I tried to stay strong. I made it through my sister’s deathaversary. But, more and more things began to bother me. My kids had countless doctor appointments going on and those brought up old feelings about why they were disabled. Then my husband ended up in the hospital for heart palpitations because he was completely irresponsible and drank 3 energy drinks in one freaking day. And financial issues kept resurfacing. Not enough money and too many bills, not enough food and too many mouths, not enough work and a vehicle that kept breaking down…

 

And through this all, I smiled and laughed and kept pushing it all further and further down. I kept pretending it was all ok. I kept insisting that I was strong enough to handle it all and everyone else’s problems too. I didn’t want to bother anyone with my problems but I took on their problems. I didn’t want to fall back into the type of person who feels bad for what is happening in their life when so many have it worse. And I know there are many out there worse off than I. Truth is though… it has been pretty bad for my family too, and the people around me have really pissed me off.

 

I have kept as much of my emotions and feelings to myself as I could throughout this entire year. I looked on the bright side as much as I could. But, all of these people with their bullshit and their “woe is me” and their “oh if only I had this”… They don’t even realize how much better they have it than my family does right now at this moment and how badly I wanted to tell them to their face. But, I didn’t and I haven’t and now I’m becoming one of them by complaining. Uff! But, I don’t care because I need to let it all out so…

 

My car died just about 4 years ago. There are no roadtrips, no vacations, no going out…I only get outside of the house when I grocery shop, which is at night once a month or less, or when the kids go to the doctor, or when one of us ends up in the hospital, or once a summer for the Festival of Nations… oh and last week we got a special trip to the Science Center. Wooo, one extra day this year that we haven’t had in 4 fucking years. My friends have either removed themselves from my life or don’t have time or live too far or don’t care or whatever they have going on. I live in a bad neighborhood. And I do mean bad, so it’s not like my kids and I can just go a-walkin’ outside and enjoy the scenery. Noooo, we get to sit inside and wait… Wait for the day when my husband (who is never home except to sleep a few hours) to have enough money to do things with us or let us go out and do things. Because to him money means power and respect and love, I guess. So because I have none to offer him I am not top priority.

 

Speaking of money, I haven’t been shopping in 4 years. I haven’t had new clothes in 4 years. I am lucky to go out to eat 4 times a year, my kids birthday’s, mine (if my husband feels like being nice to me that day) and my husband’s. (sometimes) Grocery shopping is a nightmare, I never have enough money to buy things I’d like to make, so we stick to simple and cheap recipes. Here’s another little thing that has me on edge. I quit smoking in October and not only do I now have more issues breathing but, I gained 30 pounds as well. Isn’t that great???!!! Who knew that smoking was actually de-stressing me? I guess I do now, huh…

 

Oh and while we are on stressing about weight, here’s something that keeps me awake at night. My son’s doctors are harassing me because my son isn’t at a normal weight for his age. I’ve done all I can to get my son to lose the weight; changed his diet, put him on an exercise plan. But, despite my efforts he just doesn’t understand that if he doesn’t lose the weight the state will take him away from us. How do you like that? My husband who also was told to drop weight, refuses to listen and continues to buy foods that shouldn’t be in the house. And me? Well I can’t do shit about it, short of divorcing him and moving to Alaska, or stay up all night and day guarding the refrigerator. Because lord knows I am already not sleeping anyway so why even bother trying anymore.

 

My husband and I are nothing more than roommates now. He is on the couch and I am in the bed with my daughter who hasn’t left my side since I was in the hospital in Oct. Apparently, the idea of losing me scared her so deeply that she cannot be away for me more than 5 minutes at a time since then. I spent my whole life protecting my children from the scary things in life and my daughter ends up worrying about me. That screws with me more than I can explain.

 

And as if there wasn’t enough going on, my husband had the bright idea to bring home another dog. Only this dog has major issues from being abused when she was a puppy. Now she is over a year old and still paranoid, still barks at my husband who clearly she doesn’t like, she still sleeps near me, lays on me because I am her salvation. She isn’t training at all for me. I’m losing my mind over this dog because I don’t know how to help her. She just won’t leave my side for anything. And clearly I am selfish and an asshole for wanting some space and time alone.

 

So here is the final kicker. My 9 year old pitbull, Rosko has been sick. I’m worried this could be the last of his life. My husband being the person he is may or may not take him to the Vet. And if the Vet suggests a treatment that we can’t afford well I get to sit there again with one of my babies in my arms and watch him die.

 

I am stressed beyond the imagination and meaning of the word. Yet, I get to sign on to my social networks, where I go to get adult conversations (that I don’t get from my husband or anyone else in my day to day offline life) and to clear my mind of all the shit going on in my life for a brief time… and I get to see half of the people on there complaining about how “bad” they have it. OMFG, really???!!!! Ugh. And if I say something about how shitty I feel well then I get to be told how dramatic I am being and bla bla bla… Because if things were so bad for me I’d have posted it so they’d all know, right???

 

So I drop to my knees throw my hands up towards the stars and scream, “WHY ME???” And the answer comes back…Because this is my great fucking life. This is the part of my life I don’t talk about, the part that my enemies love, and my friends ignore. The part that keeps me awake at night in tears. So please, if you would can you tell me once again how bad your life is going for you?  Because I’m fine. Really. Aren’t I always?

My Wedding’s Quinceañera

15 years ago (tomorrow), on my then 22nd birthday; my fiancé decided it would be the right time to get married. Clearly 3 years into a relationship that had already produced a daughter, was the perfect time to tie the noose… err I mean the knot.

It’s not like either one of us didn’t want to be married. Hell, we were already living as husband and wife that entire time anyway. It’s just… there were bills to be paid and a child to feed… If you really want to know the truth, we were doing our part in saving the planet by not creating superfluous paper. Sounds funny I know but, eh, it’s the least we could do for our children’s future, right?!

But seriously though, the reason’s we both had; although looking back I’m not so sure it was a “we” thing, were our reason’s and ours alone. Nobody, no matter how important they thought their opinion was, had the right to tell us when we should get married. Of course, that didn’t stop them. 37 years later in my life and those same people still haven’t stopped trying to manipulate and control me and my life. SMH!

Anyway, back to the day at hand… July 17th, my 37th birthday/wedding’s Quinceañera . Aww, I feel like I should throw it a huge party while wearing a bright multi-colored billowing dress and be surrounded by a bunch of drunken people, that may or may not be my family, and they will be gyrating and partying like it’s 1999. Because if there is one thing my anniversary/birthday is lacking, is the extravagant publicly humiliating celebration of leaving behind the innocence of childhood and diving head first off the deep end straight into the abyss of womanhood. *SIGH*

I have yet to figure out what it was that ran through my husband’s head the day he decided to forever taint my birthday with a wedding anniversary. I’m pretty certain that it was the countless bottles of booze that he ingested on the regular, but that is just too obvious an answer to be the correct one. So it must be something more diabolical; like say…I don’t know, the satisfaction he gets from knowing that I will never have another day for the rest of my life that is totally just about me! That sounds a lot more like the evil drunk I have spent my entire adult life with.

Or it could be that he was just trying to be what every woman dreams of… Prince Charming! Oh hell… now I feel bad for calling him names and being angry every single year for the last 15 years.  Way to go Jen, you fucking Romance Nazi!!!

Copyright InJensMind DO NOT COPY OR REPRODUCE July 17, 1997 @Shalimar Wedding Chapel Las Vegas, NV

C’mon Baby Light My Grass On Fire

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As the 4th of July rapidly approaches, I sit here and reminisce about our country’s Independence Day and the memories I have from when I was a child.

From the age of 8 years old, until I was almost 19; I lived in a very small town in the upper part of Michigan, not to be confused with the Upper Peninsula. I don’t remember doing a lot of things on the national holiday at my father’s house in that small town. Most years, crowds of people would flock to the Ausable River where they could see the little city’s puny fireworks show. As a child any and all fireworks shows look amazing and produce the signature ooh’s and ahh’s.

It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s and living in Las Vegas did I realize the true beauty of huge firework displays. Whereas most of the entire city flocked to ‘The Strip’ and ‘Fremont Street’, I had small children and it was too much of a hassle to battle overly drunken crowds of that magnitude. Fortunately, for my kids and I, there were plenty of places off the beaten path where we could catch those giant, colorful, gloriously booming stimuli in the night sky.

Still, watching those magnificent displays of our nation’s pride and joy couldn’t be trumped by one specific childhood memory I have of long ago.

It was summer, a hot and sticky, worst drought ever, Michigan heat wave. My younger sister Jessica and I were at our mom’s house in Mt. Morris for our summer vacation. Mom was always on the go, so for the most part we spent much of our vacation days at one of her friends’ houses. This particular 4th of July was no different.

She took us over to one of her good friends, Fred’s house. This had to have been maybe my second time at his house. There were many adults and some kids, three being my 2 siblings and I. Of course, the kids were anxious and restless from anticipation. I mean… Really, what kid doesn’t love lively fiery objects that go boom? But, the damn drought had rained on our parade, washing away all of our little hopes and dreams.

A  severe drought that summer had everyone in the city under advisement to not set off fireworks of any kind. The odds of starting a major uncontrollable fire were far too high of a risk warned the city officials.

However, Fred being the greatest and most genial of all the adults, tells us that if he were to strategically place one measly  firework on the picnic table it would be perfectly safe. All of the children delightfully screamed, myself included. Because even though it was technically illegal, it is what the 4th of July is all about, right?  We were free men and women. We were free of the English tyrants. We were independent, free to do as we damn well pleased… FREE TO BREAK THE F**KING RULES MAN!!! *Said in my best Janis Joplin voice* WOOOOOOOOO!!!! Way to go, stick it to the man, Fred.

First Fred placed a little green army tank on the picnic table and lit it. Eyes glued to the table, we waited for it to do something patriotic. Without disappointment, it soon started racing down that table, leaving fiery tread marks behind it. The table had been just as dry as the grass.

Still, that little incident didn’t deter Fred the Magnificent. He grabbed another miniature firework, placed it in the middle of the picnic table, and lit it.

We all stood there staring at it. Then suddenly it started spinning; faster and faster and faster and then…it shot up into the sky.

Blinded by the mid-day sun we lost sight of  it for a moment but, soon it reappeared in all its fantastical glory.

It had landed on a patch of grass in the backyard catching it on fire. Someone scurried to go get the water hose to put it out. The little hellish firework jumped up again. By this time adults and children were screaming but not from delight. In the meantime, the little firework that could, had landed and caught a second spot of the yard on fire.

By the time the hose was retrieved and the flames doused, there were 3 burnt crop circles in Fred’s back yard. Now, I’m sure that Fred and the rest of the adults weren’t happy with that Independence Day fiasco. But for me… BEST 4TH OF JULY MEMORY EVER!!!

Father’s Day Project: Build-A-Dad

Google Image. Copyright info on photo

Yesterday was Father’s Day. I am sure I do not need to remind any of you. As I sat around, well no… that isn’t exactly accurate. My husband was home all day and when he is, there is no sitting around. Clearly, he can sit around, demand things to be done/brought to him, or blankly stare at a plethora of asinine TV shows in English and/or Spanish but, me… I am required to go, go, go!!! Do I look like Speedy Gonzalez to you? Don’t answer that…

So as soon as I woke up, I mean got up, at about 10 am or so… I don’t remember. I just know it was still morning. Don’t judge me…. I’m an insomniac and sleeping is a problem for me. My husband started with his usual assholery and yelled something about the clips. “Where are the clips?” he yelled. “What clips? You mean… the clippers?” I replied while trying hard not to call him an illiterate son of a bitch. After all, it is his day, right?! So… I got up and waddled around the house. No, I am not pregnant but, I am somewhat fluffy these days. From room to room to room I went. Dodging dogs, shaking my head at the children that were still sleeping, over/around/up and down through the junk that has taken up permanent residence in my home from lands far and wide. Why was I cursed to marry the Mexican Fred Sanford from ‘Sanford and Son’? Or would that be, Federico Sanford de  ‘Sanford y su Hijo’? *Sigh*

Finally, I remembered where they were last put and handed them to him. All of this, not because he wanted to cut his hair mind you. But because he wanted to shave his beard and apparently shaving it with a razor or 5 was just too much freaking work for him. But, me wandering the streets of Can’t-Find-A-Damn-Thing-Without-My-Help-Ville wasn’t work at all….. *SIGH again*

I made sure at some point to mention, that I would like to go to the store, since it was Father’s Day and we had no gift for him and more importantly we had no damn milk. There is no way I was cooking breakfast on Father’s Day. I mean, hell, you know what I mean… I cook every single day. Why do I have to cook a meal that no one and I do mean no one, in my house even likes to eat? Besides it was starting to heat up in the house because the Midwest is in the center of Hell (hence the name Bible Belt) and we still have no working air conditioner. So I dressed myself, yes I know… woo-hoo Jen has finally learned how to dress herself. Do you guys always have to be so mean??? *Insert evil snort laugh*

My daughter got up and decided she would like to go with me to the store.  Shopping is one of our mother/daughter bonding times. Frankly, I take her along more often than my son because she isn’t the type to whine and throw a fit if I don’t buy her something. Just as we were about to walk out the door, my husband yells out, “You can’t leave. I need to go to Home Depot.” Didn’t I tell him not more than 10 minutes before that I needed to go to the store? *Scrolls up* Yes, yes I did. Welcome to my life people. Isn’t it a hoot?

In the time my husband is gone, I wash the dishes, that he requested I do. “You SHOULD wash the dishes before you leave the house,” he gently told me. Haha who am I kidding, right?! He has never gently told me anything in our nearly 19 years together. But, instead of complaining, I just do those loving things that a doting wife does out of the sheer goodness of her happy and fulfilled heart. *Awwww* Stop it…

My husband though… I mean, you just have to know that this man doesn’t know the meaning of a day off. Holidays, birthdays, Sundays… they are just another day to him. He is the epitome of a workaholic without the skanky secretary and the bank account to make it all worth my err, I mean his while. LOL So, what does my husband do on his day off? The one day where a father is allowed to be a mushy couch potato? The one time where everyone in the house is at his disposal? My genius of a husband chooses to rebuild the patio. Because his paranoia trumps mine by a longshot… “I have to fix this before it falls and the city condemns the house.”

At first, it was supposed to be just the railing because it was at a 45-degree angle and well… that is not what a railing on the second floor above a concrete driveway should be doing. The kids and I had long abandoned going out there because the patio door kept getting stuck on its track and I was terrified it might fall out and break. But, as the day progressed it became more and more things that needed to be done to that patio.

My daughter and I came back home from shopping to find my son sitting in the driveway guarding the wood and tools. My husband was standing on the patio, with the entire railing torn off. I graciously handed him a Monster energy drink and then continued carting bags inside the house.

It was a long day for all of us.  My son helped his dad out on his all day into the night Father’s Day project. Build-A-Dad; blackened by sweat and hard work, barely touched the dinner my daughter and I made for him. My daughter was exhausted from all the things she helped me do that are my daily requirements as housebitch.  *Sorry, I had to get in that last dig before wrapping this up*

And I? Well, I was my usual self. Tired, because being a mom and wife is hard work. Wired, because I have so much more work still left to do. A bit insane after all the “my dad is the greatest” crap I kept seeing over my Facebook feed when I finally had time to sit down and enjoy me time. But most of all I was thankful, because my kids and I have their dad in our life. And unfortunately, that is something many people don’t have. Hope you all had a splendid Father’s Day or just another Sunday in June, if you don’t celebrate.

Mother’s Day 2012: A Letter To My Mom

It’s Mother’s Day again… don’t act so surprised, I mean, it does come every single year in May. Last year, I was talking about Mother’s Day and how I was struggling with my sister’s birthday coming up and how my husband always acted like “my” days didn’t matter.

This year is different, even though May 13th is Mother’s Day and would have been Jess’s 35th birthday. So before I get into the mom stuff, let’s have a moment of silence for my sister.

Happy birthday Jess! You will never be forgotten. I love you & miss you so much!

When I started writing this post my brain took me on a wild journey that could have left me stranded in the abyss of negativeness and uncontrollable rage. But, I decided I would save that trip for another time, a time when I wasn’t trying to write a dedication post. So instead of writing about how having two “moms” on Mother’s Day meant to me, I have chosen to write about just my biological mom… and quite frankly the ONLY MOM I have. (Another time I will elaborate but, today this post will remain free of that…)

My mom got pregnant at age 17, she gave birth to me 1 month and 5 days after her 18th birthday. She delivered me in McLaren Hospital in Flint, Michigan on July 17th, 1975. My father, who she had just married on Valentine’s Day of that very year was nowhere to be found. I exaggerate because he could have been found but, needless to say nobody cared enough to drag his sorry ass to the hospital so he could do his husbandly/fatherly duty. (I know I said I wouldn’t mention them but, that part was extremely important. It shows how brave my mother was.)

I have heard countless times about my birth from my mom… Don’t all children? I was breach, “You had your little feet on both sides and you refused to come out.” And now you all know when and where my stick-it-to-the-man never back down attitude started. There are many things over the years my mom has told me about the first 5 years I lived with her. There are even more stories that were passed on to me by people who think that I don’t remember. For some reason they act like I didn’t witness it for myself. Those people and their stories are irrelevant at this time.

Now I can’t sit here and lie to you all and tell you that I have loads of fond mother/daughter memories as a child and teen, because I don’t. I can’t tell you that I didn’t have my fair share of issues growing up without my mom in my daily life. My mom wasn’t perfect… no human being is. My mom often tells me, “I know I will never be mother of the year.” I always laughed that comment off. I thought it was silly that mom thought like that, because I have never cared one way or another. I figured that once someone apologized and you forgave them then it was done and from that point on it was no longer an issue. Maybe it wasn’t for me that she was saying it.

But, now I am going to award her. I am going to give her something that is better than Mother of the Year. Because she deserves more than a title that comes and goes every year and here is why…

My mother did the best she could with what she had. She made mistakes. She didn’t always say or do the right thing. She made choices that weren’t the best. But…

  • She NEVER abused us. There was no emotional blackmail, no beatings, no psychological terrorism laid upon us by her whatsoever.
  • She ALWAYS loved us unconditionally.
  • She worried and fretted and if at any time one of her kids were not speaking to her she would ask about them to the ones that were. (In other words, she’d always ask me.)
  • She APOLOGIZED for all the things she did or didn’t do.
  • She NEVER repeatedly did those things after apologizing. (That is something many do not do.) When she said sorry she meant it.
  • She NEVER did to us what was done to her.
  • She lost a grown child who wasn’t speaking to her and lives with the guilt from that. (Even though she shouldn’t torture herself over things she had no control over.)
  • She went back to school, taking college courses at age 55.
  • She is the ONLY person helping to care for her 77-yr-old mother and her 79-yr-old step-father.
  • She has 7 grand-kids, 2 that she has never met or been allowed to know. (Jess’s older daughters) 2 that are just starting to open up to her. (Jess’s twin boys) All 7 living in other states away from her. Yet she holds out faith of one day having all of them close by in her life and loves each and every single one of them with her heart and soul.
  • She’s not fake… She doesn’t smile in your face and at the same time try to turn people against you behind your back.
  • No matter who tried to stand in her way she never stopped being who she is.
  • She wakes up every day, goes out and gives the world her all.

Plain and simply put… She is my best friend, I love her, and I am blessed to call her mom!!!

Dear Mom,
Happy Mother’s Day. I love you more than you probably even know.
Words; even from someone as prolific as I am, just cannot express the
love that I have for you. I don’t need for you to be anything that you aren’t,
I never did. You and I know the truth of our relationship. We both know what
we went through. You have given me more than any one ever could by just you being you. You don’t ask me to be anyone or anything that I am not. You don’t
try to change me. You’re not embarrassed (yet… lol) by me. I know that you
love me and the kids and even Gustavo. I couldn’t have asked for a better mother. I don’t feel the need to punish you for the past, we have long since moved on
from all that bullshit. 
I am who I am today partly because of you. Nobody in
the world can ever take that from you no matter how much they think they can, they can not! I am proud of all you have accomplished and what you will do. I am honored that you have allowed me to be included in all that
you do. I am proud to be your daughter. I am proud of all that you are and all
that you aren’t. Simply stated… I AM PROUD OF YOU!!! I wish I could be there to say this all in person and hug you tightly. But, that just isn’t in the cards right now so…
May you have the
happiest of days today and every day.
And never ever ever forget that
I LOVE YOU!!!

NaPoWriMo Day: 4 The Wedding Blues

The bride-to-be gets ready
the groom is nowhere to be seen.
He’s off getting drunk
as he always has,
wondering if he is making a mistake.
The bride-to-be’s mother
helps her to get ready.
Pastel colored shadow
swept across sad and confused
distant eyes.
A baby girl all grown up with a baby girl of her own.
No longer needs her mommy
or does she?
The bride-to-be slips on her white wedding dress
it’s cheap, from Ross
no frills, no lace,
just a plain
white colored dress.
Ill-fitted and a mess.
The bride-to-be looks in the mirror
she hates what she sees.
A sad, depressed blob of a woman.
Unrecognizable to the woman’s memories.
Those eyes,
once alive and full of sparkle
now dark, dead
full of pain and disappointment.
She waits,
scanning the parking lot
for the “man of her dreams.”
Finally,
as the sun begins to set
her prince charming shows up
drunk,
nothing new to their daily life together.
He reeks of alcohol and a future filled with empty promises.
Tears flow down the bride-to-be’s cheeks
as she watches her soon to be groom get dressed.
For one moment their eyes lock
and they both know instantly
their future will be fraught with more pain
more tears
more fights.
Maybe she should run away
maybe she should have listened to her parents
maybe she is making the biggest mistake of her young life
for nothing ever ends well that starts out this damaged.

Don’t forget to visit, share, and comment on these following poets pages as well:

Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World
Lyric Fire
AscendingTheHills
142 Books
Sulekha Rawat: Memoirs

To create…
memoirs of a homemaker
One Time Pad
Thoughts Of Beauty In The Stillness Of Dawn…
EllieBloo
Chris Galvin 

The First Year Deathaversary

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It’s hard to believe that it has already been a year since the passing of my younger sister, Jessica. A whole year! Time flies by when you are living, I guess.

It’s been a long and painful year, full of ups and downs. It’s also been a very enlightening and freeing year. Every day I wake up and give thanks to the Universe for helping me break free of so many unhealthy and one-sided friendships. Friendships I had clung to because I am just that kind of caring and loving friend. Friendships that I believed would be forever. I also give thanks, love, kisses and hugs daily to my children, husband, and pets. For without them I wouldn’t be able to function, even a fraction of what I do now. They are the glue that holds me together.

I have spent several of the last few weeks trying to prepare myself for this day. Some people may find it unhealthy to place so much emphasis on the anniversary of a loved one’s passing. I don’t. I find it perfectly normal to get your emotions, thoughts, and memories in order before the day hits. Then again, I’ve seen more death in my lifetime then most and at a younger age. This is why some of the things people say just knock me out cold. I mean do these people even know what it is to lose a sister? We’re not talking about comparison here. We’re not talking about who has suffered more. We’re talking about how someone can tell another person how to deal with something that they’ve never been through! It’s like saying that the pain of giving birth is nothing compared to menstrual cramps, yet you’ve never given birth. That’s like me telling someone who lost their mom to “get over it, it happened while she gave birth to you.” First of all, I’d never say that. One because I am just a caring, sympathetic person and that comment is one only an asshole would utter. Secondly, I’ve never lost a parent yet, knock on wood. So obviously I have never been close to that same situation. Lastly, just because you might not have known your mother doesn’t mean you have no connection to her. You have a connection that nobody else has with her. You have the connection of coming to life and growing inside her and you also have the guilt. Nobody wants to blame anyone but, Lord knows many a child has been shunned and abused by their father or family for “killing” their mother. It’s asinine and it sucks and well… people can just be irresponsible loudmouth jerks.

I don’t just mourn one day a year. I mourn throughout the year. A happy memory from my childhood could start out so wonderful and the more my mind remembers the bond we once shared the more painful it becomes… Then walks in the guilt, shame, regret, and the tears. Let’s not forget the tears that strike at any given moment. And usually, when this happens I become distant, as I try to remove the horrific pain from my soul. I revert to that scared little child looking for a place to hide from the monsters that were enclosing upon me. I don’t do it intentionally, it’s automatic, instantaneous, habitual, and it’s how I grew up without being more screwed up then I already am.

If you’ve never lost someone you know, count yourself lucky because it never is easy and won’t get any easier as you age either. It’s a painful thing to experience and even though you try and tell yourself that they are in a better place with no more pain, you can’t help but to question why you are left to carry the painful burden. Why do some people get out and some of us have to stay and experience more than our fair share of suffering? Outliving those you love has to be one of the most stressful things you could ever experience.

It reminds me of my grandma who has outlived all of her siblings. (She is the oldest of 4.) How excruciating it must be to have none of them left. To have no parents left. To only have your grown children, and grown grandchildren (1 of the 4 gone a year now), and great-grandchildren left. But, she doesn’t have all of them with her. All she has at this very moment is my mom. The rest of us are too far away and some of the great-grandkids don’t even know of her and may never know her. That is some very sad sad shit if you ask me. I know she puts on a brave face but, just as I know how much it hurts me, I know it hurts her a lot too. Death sucks bigtime!

So the next time a person decides to tell another person who they should care for, who they should mourn for, how long they should mourn, etc… Bite your damn tongue!

As the Cherokee Proverb goes:

“Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes.”

Unfortunately, many people don’t understand this because they think it’s easy to just put on someone’s shoes and that’s that. So let me give you one more, so you really grasp what it is I am saying to you…

“You never really know a man until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1960

We all need time to handle our unresolved business. And nothing is more unresolved then a loved one who dies suddenly. Nothing can be resolved when you don’t get to say good-bye. There is no peace of mind when it comes to all the questions that will never be answered. There is no possible way to “just let it go and move on” when no one is held accountable.

If you want to help someone who is hurting, mourning, grieving, dying in mind, soul, and heart… send them your love. Send them your sympathy. Let them know that it even though she wasn’t your sister you hurt because you see your friend hurting. Check up on her and let her know she isn’t alone. That’s all you can do.

And trust me when I say, anything else that you might think is helpful but comes off asinine will be met with rudeness and anger. Do you want your friend to curse at you for being a jerk? No, you don’t! Keep in mind this little bit of information… Everyone dies eventually and there will come a time when death will strike in your home. Don’t be left alone without comfort from your friends because you thought they were taking too long to heal over their loss. You will find out soon enough that healing on the inside always takes longer than healing on the outside.

As for this day, well… it had its ups and downs. (Look for my favorite moment from today on Friday.) I cried a lot here and there. Wiped my tears, loved on my children, drank some wine, listened to The Beatles and John Lennon, burned meditation candles, stared at Buddha while the candles flickered, laughed a bit, cried some more, loved on all my friends who came to my side, and well… I got through the first year deathaversary of my sister, Jessica Rae.

And to my mom, grandma, grandpa, and brother…I love you more than there are stars in the heavens. Even if I don’t believe in a heaven per se… I believe that Jess is among the stars waiting for us. Right now all we can do is be the best people we can be while we are here. Forgive those who’ve wronged us… that hate is only hurting us, we don’t need more hurt. Love those who are still here… they need our love and we need theirs. “Love is the answer.”

May you all be safe, sound, and find the strength to be where I am at!

Click to order tee-shirt

I Want To Be Like You

I Wanna Be Like You The Jungle Book Movie Disney

Have you ever read other people’s blogs and thought to yourself, “Wow, their lives are so great. If only mine was so blessed.”? Have you ever wondered why some people’s lives seem relatively easy-going, stress-free, everything you wish you could have in yours? Have you ever imagined what you could have done differently, if only you had been given a chance? Have you ever wanted to be just like someone else?

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not a jealous person and in no way would I ever compare my struggle or lack thereof with another’s. I wouldn’t change one thing in my life if it meant not learning the lessons I have learnt. I am me because of what I went through and what I got out of it. Nobody else could ever be who I am. If a group of people lived the same life, no two people would ever come out of it the same way.

It’s been a very difficult month and umm… yea, I’m not counting. It’s been awhile since I have sat down in the quiet of my home and written anything pertaining to anything. (You know you like that statement.) My life has been many things but, never has it been easy. Even as I sat at home and raised my kids with absolutely nothing pressing to do; my children made it their life’s mission early on to make me work for the roof my husband provided over our heads.

My daughter was the first child and she started out her little journey by damn near killing me in the first month of pregnancy. I was in so much pain I couldn’t move and when I got to the ER and was finally seen, the doctor nonchalantly stated, “There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re pregnant.” I was 19 years old, unmarried, it was only about a year since I had moved out of my father’s house, my husband and I had been together a earth-shattering 4 months, I had moved 2000 miles away 5 months before, I had no job, my husband had no insurance, etc, etc, etc… There’s nothing wrong with me? Oh, I beg to differ! My daughter showed up late, 6 days late to be precise. She was just short of 9 pounds and forced the doctor into inducing me and breaking my water. She also allowed me to gain a whopping 100 pounds because mommy didn’t know how to cook and since nobody was home all day to cook for her, she had to order such delicacies as Taco Bell, pizza, Chinese, KFC, etc… Her father wouldn’t allow mommy to go anywhere, pick up anything, or even take a simple Tylenol. The first child is ALWAYS the hardest. When Her Highness decided to make her entrance, she took her dear sweet time. As if the 6 days wasn’t long enough she had to add another 20 hours of labor to it. She refused to take her place and right before a C-section was getting ready to be performed, she about-faced right out of breech position and let me dilate enough to start delivery. The only reason I was finally able to deliver her was because I was coughing constantly. (Because I had bronchitis… got to love doctors.) The nurse putting all her weight on the top of my stomach and pushing on me didn’t help at all. The 5 other medical staff watching didn’t help. The doctor who was delivering my daughter and yelling at me because I was too weak, sure as hell wasn’t helping. But, then she came… like the Queen she was meant to be, with a crown over her head and veil over her face. (The placenta broke as she was born) Her right pupil was a lovely triangle. My mom held her first and tried to heal her eye. (She has a congenital cataract and is nearly blind in it. It is also been diagnosed lazy and astigmatism) Then the nurse handed her to me and we tried to get her to breast feed. Her mommy was exhausted and still coughing, she refused to latch on and so formula it was. Her highness stayed in the hospital in ICU 24 hours after I was released. She was the biggest baby in there and the other mother’s gave us the stink-eye. Luckily for us though, her heart murmur closed and she got to go home. A month later her mommy almost died in an ER waiting room with a fever of 109 because the doctors who noticed she had bronchitis after delivery sent her home with no meds and mommy got pneumonia. Now baby girl made sure that mommy got no free ride and as she grew more illnesses came too.

My son was no different. He was a screamer from Acid Reflux Disease and would vomit constantly between screams. His screaming matches would last for hours (several times a day for the entire first year of his life) until he was physically exhausted and would finally pass out. He was tested in the Hospital for 24 hours, and then placed on medications for the Reflux. (Which is a fancy way of saying he vomited a lot due to acid backing up in his throat. Some people call this Heartburn, only this is much worse.) The test involved a tube being put up his nose and down his throat to his stomach to monitor his acid levels. He would drink juice completely lying down and then 4 hours later completely sitting up, and back and forth for the 24 hours. Sleeping for me was not an option, as I held him in my arms in a chair the entire time. One of his medications turned out to have a little side effect that could cause this wonderful thing known as a heart attack. My son was not even a year old and was taking two medications, a special (extremely expensive) formula, and now had to have a test to make sure his heart was ok. After the test and putting him on a heart monitor for several days we found out his heart was fine. That special formula came into play because he wasn’t gaining weight with the first one and then the next one he vomited more and lost weight, finally after trying every formula on the market we ended up with one. It wasn’t enough that my son didn’t make himself known through pregnancy tests until right before my 7 month. It wasn’t even enough that in the first 2 months of my pregnancy I was told I wasn’t pregnant and was given the Depo shot. Which resulted in me taking medications and drinking because… “I WASN’T FRICKIN’ PREGNANT REMEMBER!” And it surely wasn’t enough that he forced me into bed rest less than a month after I found out I was pregnant, because he decided that I was far too comfortable and well contractions were a must. Then he decided that he wasn’t coming out on time (also 6 days late), so he forced the doctor into inducing me and breaking my water. And then when His Highness did finally decide to show up for the audience awaiting him, he had the audacity to come out saying “Dad” and weigh damn near 10 pounds. He went on for many years like this doing little things here and there to make sure that mommy never got a free ride. He continued to grow and brought more illnesses too wouldn’t you know.

I could go on all day and night about the things I’ve been through raising my two children. Or about my 17 years with my husband. Or about how I did any number of things since I grew up and left my father and step-mother’s house. Or I could even be so bold as to share how I didn’t die or go crazy living in Hell for 14 years (age 4-18).

Maybe one day I will but, not today. Today I want to share with you that life is not easy for anyone. Nobody gets to a peaceful place without enduring the harshness of the elements. It is very easy to assume things. It is very easy to look at where someone is today and think they have never known hardship, struggle, or pain… and we would be wrong. We can’t see where someone has been by looking only at the soles of their shoes. It only tells a part of the story, just the most recent part of it. Remember this…The grass you see in the treads of one’s shoes today, have covered the grains of sand from yesterday, and with tomorrow’s rain will be entirely washed away.

A Marital ‘Moment’

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A Friday ritual. A single photo — no words — capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

“This Moment” is a ritual found on Life inspired by the Wee Man adopted from SouleMama which was introduced to others by Sarah-Jane, of Almost There.

I was asked to participate in this by Anna Sides, of The Other Side of Anna and the other great blogging members of the Facebook group Blogplicity.

If you find yourself touched by a moment and would like to participate, post your picture on a Friday and leave your link in the comments section.

Copyrighted- InJensMind/TerrieB. 12-10-11

A Merry Kenia Christmas

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Sunday I went to Cardinal Glennon Hospital to visit my niece, Kenia. She is my husband’s cousin’s daughter, which doesn’t make her my niece in American culture but, her mother has the same last name as my husband. (Their parents are siblings on both sides.) That makes them more like siblings than cousins. I realize it’s a bit confusing; she is nonetheless to me, my niece.

I have known Kenia since she was a tiny baby. I first met her and her family when they were living in Las Vegas for a short time in 1997. Kenia has Crouzon’s Snydrome. Her skull fused together prematurely causing abnormal development of the eye sockets and mid-face.

I didn’t become reacquainted with Kenia and her family until I moved to Chicago in 2001. Kenia and her older brother played with my kids like all little cousins do. They all got along really well. My children, like me, see a person’s inner self. Unconditional love truly is blind.

Kenia attends the school for the blind, because of the Crouzon’s Syndrome, her eyesight is very bad. Over the years, Kenia has had major surgery several times to make space for her growing brain. She recently had another surgery in August of this year. Friday, Kenia was admitted to the hospital because of an infection that she contracted while at school.

It is difficult to fight illness this time of year and even more so when you have a brace attached to your head and face and are around other children who may or may not be carrying a simple cold virus.

Kenia’s mother hasn’t worked since the surgery in August. She took a significant reduction in income so that she could be with her daughter. What parent wouldn’t do the same thing?

December 23, one day before their family celebrates Noche Buena, (Christmas Eve) Kenia will be undergoing surgery again, to remove the last bit of equipment from her August operation. This is when the doctors will find out whether the surgery went well and if her skull will hold its new shape. If the surgery didn’t go well, her skull will collapse, crushing her brain and killing her. Kenia will be 15 years old next January. She is scheduled for another surgery next year.

Many times this month, you have seen me say how important it is to give to those less fortunate. In fact, if you’ve been a reader since the beginning, you know I speak about it often. We live in a society where it’s all about, “ME”. People going into debt at Christmas to spoil already spoiled children. Children asking for more and more every year, even when they have too much already. People buying cars that are beyond their means and paychecks. Where does it end? There is nothing wrong in wanting to have nice things; after all you work hard for them, right?

But, what about those who are in need? What about the family who spends their holiday in a hospital room praying for a full recovery? What about the child who hopes to be with her family for Christmas? A child who has asked Santa for her health.

No, Kenia doesn’t believe in Santa but, Kenia and her family wants those things just the same. My husband, children, and I are doing what we can to make sure Kenia has a great Christmas this year. Despite the financial difficulties we also have faced these last three years. If we have to forgo our own Christmas celebrations and sit in a hospital room to make her Christmas special, we will. Because it is the season to give and it won’t feel like Christmas without her.

Many people will throw in a couple of dollars or a handful of coins into a kettle for a stranger to have a Merry Christmas, how about doing the same for my niece? If you’d like to contribute to Kenia’s Merry Christmas you can contact me directly or use the donation button on my blog’s sidebar. All donations ‘For Jens Sake’ receives in December will go directly to Kenia’s Christmas gifts. Thank you all for being loyal readers and may you all spread the joy and magic of Christmas to everyone.

Kenia with her older brother, younger sister, mother in Sept. 2011

This is a rare photo of Kenia since her surgery, she didn’t want to be photographed while wearing the brace.

Tis The Season

I randomly hum Christmas songs and then just when you think I couldn’t get any more annoying… BAM!!! I break out into a top of my lungs version of ‘Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer’ or the ’12 Days of Christmas’. If you’re lucky, you’ll hear my version of a song as well. Bowels of Holly anyone?

Deck the halls with bowels of holly fa la la la la la la la la!

Am I the only one who does this? Probably not, but I will bet I am the only one who does this year round. Ok, that might be reaching a bit. I definitely know many people who are far too freaking jolly and put my juvenile jubilation to shame. To those overly jovial Christmas crackheads, I come off as Scrooge. Bah-humbug!

Speaking of Scrooge; I don’t miss an opportunity to watch any showing of the 5 million versions. If one is fortunate, I may forget that somewhere on some channel; some form of Scrooge is playing. Lord help my family because I will force them to sit down and enjoy it with me or else. The holidays are about family after all, and I can be very persuasive. LOL The family enjoys watching the shows as much as I do though.

Sunday, we bought our Christmas tree from Home Depot; a tradition that was born when we moved into this much bigger house in 2008. We lived in an apartment complex for too long and although many people enjoy a real tree in their apartments we stuck to plastic. I grew up with a plastic tree and every year we would grow bigger until we were all taller than the top of the tree. It was the livelihood of my redneck childhood.

Our trip to Home Depot was as merry as are all of our family outings. By merry I mean at some point someone is going to shout, someone is going to pout, and someone is most definitely going to be in tears. (Usually, me.) So, my son wanted to get a dark green tree. My husband had his heart set on an 8/9-foot Balsam fir. My daughter had no idea what she wanted. But finally, with the help of the greatest mom on the planet (Umm, that would be me, duh.) the kids picked out a lovely 8-foot White Pine tree. The husband was ecstatic because he had chosen a $65 tree and the White Pine was a sweet $18. *Ding ding ding we have a winner here folks!* I am a little nervous and “You get what you pay for” is dancing like sugar plums in my head but, so far we love it.

Christmas 2011 Copyrighted-InJensMind

My grandparent’s (on my mom’s side) always had a real tree. Well, I think they did, I only visited them every other Christmas so I’m not sure. The funny thing is I have no recollection of many things from my childhood, except for some of the really horrible things. Wow, I need to work on recovering my happy memories. Ah memories.

Anyway, I digress. One year my grandparents had decorated the entire tree in stuffed animals. Grandpa had a morning habit of going up to the local coffee shop in Mt. Morris, MI every morning for coffee. I know what you are thinking and no, I couldn’t have worded that sentence without saying coffee twice. *Tee-hee* Anyway, grandpa would play the claw game (wait for it) and he had this streak of awesome luck where he won loads of stuffed animals. So like any other person in my weird as all get out family, he put them on the tree. It was a child’s dream, I know because I am telling you about it hence, I loved it enough to remember it.

In my children’s lifetime; they have enjoyed such colored trees as green, white, and pink. Yes, one year I made the men in my house endure the tiny tacky pink plastic tabletop tree. My son, now 13 years old, asked me to buy another pink tree this year. I love his enthusiasm but, he will have to wait until next year when I pull off the ultimate Skittles Christmas. Taste the rainbow, bitches! LOL I jest, I jest!

A few years ago, ok more like 9-10 years ago, my husband and I decided to flip our white plastic tree upside down and hang it from the ceiling. Right now as I write this, I am mad that I never took pictures of it. Argh! That was the year I found out that my Scrinch of a husband was really Santa’s number 1 elf in disguise.

Our kids; 4 and 6 years old, sat with me in amazement at their father hanging up every single Christmas decoration that we owned. By the time he was done, you would have sworn that you were smack dab in the middle of the North Pole. Several years later we allowed him to decorate again and before long it looked as if Rudolph had been binge eating the decorations again and then vomited them all over the ceiling and walls. Why yes, I do have a picture for that one.

Christmas 2006 Copyrighted-InJensMind

Well what do you use for your Christmas tree; paper or plastic? Err, I mean real or plastic?

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: A Lifetime of Cancer

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As we come to the end of Pinktober for this year, I can only hope that all of my Breast Cancer Awareness posts have brought a new outlook to all of you.

I hope that more of you have taken Breast Cancer more serious and have learned things about it that you didn’t know before. I hope that you all have passed on the information I have given you this month to not only the women in your life but, the men as well. I hope that you do your monthly self-exams and get yearly mammograms if you are of age or have a family history. And last but, certainly not least; I pray that nobody you love becomes afflicted with any type of Cancer or illness.

My goal this month was to raise Breast Cancer Awareness; to reach out to as many as I could, spread life-saving knowledge, and to show the masses that cancer affects us all even if you don’t see the connection. I have heard that awareness has sufficiently been raised and there is no more need for it but, I don’t think enough people are aware of how much Breast Cancer has invaded our families. I have heard it is time for more action. Well, I believe in action but, when I think of awareness it is a given that action is included. I was aware of Breast Cancer before it hit me directly. I have spread awareness to others by my actions, my words, my wish for a cure, etc…

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We can support the companies that are dedicated to Breast Cancer and we can be a part of our own health regimen but, other than that what more can we do? We can give money to find a cure for this heinous disease but, we can’t go marching into the Lab and actually find a cure by ourselves. We can donate our time, money and effort to someone afflicted with the disease but, we cannot remove the disease from them. Just because the things we can do are small, doesn’t mean that they are ineffective or not worth doing. Nothing worth doing is ever easy; all paths start with small steps…shall I go on or do you get the picture?

I started this month off with a challenge for all of you… a Facebook event to wear some form of pink visible on your person all month-long, did you do it? I did! I also offered all bloggers a way to support Breast Cancer Awareness by taking part in Pinktober on Blognostics site; did any of you join in? This post is dedicated to the question Blognostics asked, “How have you been affected by Cancer?”

May 5th, 1959; my paternal grandfather (my father’s dad) William George Babcock Sr. died from Leukemia. I don’t know his year of birth but, I guesstimate he was born the same year as my grandma making him age 23 when he died. My father was 4 years old and I wasn’t even a glimmer in his eye yet. You may ask me how this affects me if I wasn’t even born; well my father grew up without his dad. His earliest memories were of his 18 month old sister dying and a year later his own father was taken from him. My father’s firsthand accounts of dealing with death so early in his life resulted in his mental instability,etc… his lack of skills as a father is partly to blame for who I am today.

October 16th, 1974; my maternal grandfather (my mother’s dad) Leeroy Nichols died from Throat Cancer. He was 15 days short of his 40th birthday. My mother was 17 years old and at the time was in the beginning of her pregnancy with me. He walked out when my mom was very young as well. His abandonment of my mom resulted in her lack of trust/abandonment issues in men which trickled down into abandonment/trust issues in me.

I wasn’t even born yet and there I was, well acquainted with Cancer and what it does to “normal” people. Cancer changes everything in a person’s life when they get it but, it doesn’t just stop there…it has the audacity to change the lives of those who love the cancer victim as well. Cancer can and will break the strongest link in any family.

March 29th, 2001; my paternal grandmother (my father’s mom) Rosalie Mabel Simmons died from Stomach/Liver Cancer. She was 64 years old. It’s not quite certain as to which she had first because she wasn’t diagnosed until she had a stroke and ended up in the hospital; by then it had already effected her weight and was too late. It was only a matter of time until the cancer took her life. I managed to make it to Michigan to say goodbye to her the weekend prior to her death. She was so skinny but, for a little while she was her usual self. She was loud, talking shit about Chicago and how terrible a city it is and why on Earth would we want to live there. That was the grandma I had known my whole life. Then the hospice nurse came in and medicated her. She might as well have medicated the entire room because grandma turned into a zombie, she whined, whimpered, and was in terrible pain… all I could do was cry. I had known her my whole life; she was one of the few people in the world I could trust. She was one of the few people in the world who I knew for certain loved me unconditionally; as I did her. It was a Sunday the last time I saw her alive. My husband, the kids, and I drove to her house from the hotel and a song came on the radio. ‘You’ll be in my heart’ by Phil Collins; you may know this song as the one in the Tarzan movie. I cried out uncontrollably and to this day cannot listen to that song; I make the kids skip it when they watch the movie. My grandma died exactly one year to the day that I miscarried. She was and is still one of the hardest deaths I have had to deal with in my life.

June 2nd, 2002; my paternal aunt (my father’s half sister) Dawn Marie Like was diagnosed with diseased breasts (confirmed Breast Cancer during surgery). She was 39 years old. She had a double mastectomy, upon surgery it was discovered that she had cancer in both breasts which if not for the surgery would have gone undetected and treated late resulting possibly in death. She has been cancer-free for 9 years now. My aunt Dawn is the first and only person to date in my family, who was diagnosed early enough to be treated and be a Cancer survivor!

September 6th,2004; my maternal great-uncle (my mother’s mom’s brother) David McGinty died from Pancreatic Cancer. He was 60 years old. I barely remember my great-uncle David; I only remember meeting him once. My family wasn’t good about staying in contact and my father wasn’t good about letting me interact with my mother’s side of the family. My great-uncle had gone back to his normal activities after the Cancer was in regression; traveling and living life, when he went back home the cancer was back in full swing and he died shortly afterwards.

December 24th, 2010; my step great-aunt (my mother’s stepdad’s sister) Sara Isabelle Upton died from Lung Cancer. She was 68 years old. Now you may say “But Jen she is step family and doesn’t count.” I would reply, “You are right if we were talking about my bloodline and my chances of getting cancer. But, we are talking about how cancer has affected me in my life.” So, my step great-aunt, who I also only remember meeting one time in my life had also fell victim to cancer. I wish I had gotten a chance to know her better.

February 8th, 2011; my sister (my younger, only sibling who shared the same two parents) Jessica Rae died from… I want to say Breast Cancer because the doctors were adamant in telling her over and over and over for 3 days that she had Breast Cancer. I was later informed, that the same doctor who swore it was Breast Cancer and was ruling out other cancers when she died, had put on her death certificate… Lung Cancer. She was Stage IV when they told her it was cancer on the Saturday before she died. This same doctor had given her the run around about what was making her have difficulty breathing for months. She had an X-Ray on Wednesday, Saturday they were telling her Breast Cancer, Monday she was dead. She had 4 lymph nodes popping out of the side of her neck, months before this X-Ray. She had increasing difficulty breathing. They told her she had several lesions on her liver, liquid around her heart, and liquid in her lungs. She was 33 years old. She was the mother of 4, two which had just been born 6 months earlier and were living with her. She went into cardiac arrest when they drained liquid from around her heart for the 3rd time in those 3 days. I could go on and repeat everything I have said since her passing but, I won’t. She was and is the hardest death I have had to deal with in my life to date. She will also be the reason that I continue to spread cancer awareness!!!

Click on the image to read My Sister

October 7th, 2011; I had a sharp pain in my right breast.
October 8th, 2011; I have a 6×8 inch mass in my right breast.
October 9th, 2011; Admitted to the hospital pending an exam by a Breast Specialist.
October 11th, 2011; I get an ultrasound and sent home.
October 18th, 2011; I have a mammogram and another ultrasound and finally told I do NOT have Breast Cancer.

As you can see, I have spent my whole life of 36 years so far, being affected by Cancer. (These are who I remember while writing this, so if I missed someone it was purely accidental.) Not to mention, all the women I have met since February of this year who are still battling the beast. I value these women and am glad to have them in my life! This past year I have met, well not actually met per se, became acquainted with my cousin (my mother’s mom’s nephew) Terry and come to find out he had two lumps removed from his breasts (chest) as well. Proving that this is not a “woman’s” disease, if you don’t know that men can also get Breast Cancer, please read ‘Men are not Immune.’

Cancer is devastating, it breaks families apart, it isn’t your friend; but, I am and I am telling you to stay on top of your health because early detection is key to surviving any cancer. As your friend I want you to be around for many more years to come. So, self-exam, see a medical practitioner, and For Jen’s Sake… spread the word, share the knowledge, and support the finding of cures for all cancers!!!

And on that note: I want to thank everyone who joined in this month for Breast Cancer Awareness, you have all made me proud and may you all have a Happy and Safe Halloween!!!

I’ll Have The Living My Life: Hold The Fun

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I don’t remember time ever flying by so fast in my life but, this month has flown.

I wanted to get so much more done for Breast Cancer Awareness than I actually did. Isn’t that how life works though? It keeps right on flying by while you are trying to savor a moment or two.
I learnt a long time ago to slow down and let life flow naturally. My natural flow is faster than some and slower than some but, it suits me just fine. At least I thought it did anyway.

After Jess died, I knew what I wanted to do with the remaining years of my life and dove head first into it. When I found that lump in my breast; I climbed out of the water, wrapped myself in a towel and sat waiting under a giant umbrella. It was during that ordeal and the mammogram, that I realized life was moving at warp speed around me and I was just sitting there on hold again.
How did I wake up one day to teenagers? Why has my life with them been great but, not what I wanted for them? Are they too old now for me to make it all up to them? And for the love of monkeys, when will I be able to afford to do the things I have always wanted to do with them?

A lot of people would like to step into a time machine and go back in life and fix things. I want to freeze time. I want to stop the kids from getting any older until I have done all the things that a mother should do with her kids… Disneyland, vacations, spa days, shopping, Six Flags, road trips, family reunions, Zoo’s, Festivals, etc… Time is flying by and these things have been on hold. Why on Earth are they on hold? Because money, although made of paper, does not grow on trees. That statement was a wee bit too cliché for me, I am most definitely above that but, it is true nonetheless.

I grew up in the fiery depths of Hell and still managed to do a few of those things as a child. Does that make me a bad mother? They say, “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” (Yes, again… another common, beneath me cliché) Well, my intentions have always been good and I swear… I have been a good person (yes, I know… famous last words of a psychopathic serial cannibal) most if not all of my life. Have I been a Saint? Well, no, who is? Should I fear the day my children are grown and scream at me that I “f@cked up” their lives? I don’t know! What I do know is, that in an effort to protect them from the nastiness of the world I have also managed to teach them a rather common and painful lesson… People with no money, live life on hold.

My kids understand that bills come before all else, it is the way life is for everyone, except those in constant debt I imagine. But, how do you explain to your kids/teens/young adults that no matter how much work you do you will never have quite enough money to enjoy life? Now, I’m not saying I don’t enjoy life because I do. I enjoy life over death, health over illness, and having happy kids over sad ones.

Ok, maybe I should rephrase that question… How do I explain to myself (at 36 years old) that no matter how much my husband works or how hard I try to get a writing gig, we will never have enough money to be a “vacation” family? I guess we are just one of those families who despite our good intentions, good deeds, or perfect Karmic standing, this life will always be below average. I don’t know if my kids are disappointed by this life, I do know that I am to an extent and I know they are when I have to say, “Sorry I don’t have money for that.” That happens way more than I ever expected.

I need some Karmic relief in my life. How long exactly, does it take to see Karma seeds grow into a fruitful tree? I could have sworn I used Miracle Grow on those puppies but, alas nothing. Just another wasted tactic, another get-rich scheme, another typical day in the life of an atypical yet broke mom. Ok back to being on hold, thank goodness for call waiting!

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By the way, I do know this isn’t a Breast Cancer Awareness post per se . I figured I would shake things up a bit by showing how life has a way of screwing with your plans, which is exactly what an illness does. There is a week left for the Facebook event and to get in your B.C.A. posts on Blognostics. Please make sure you do that and I will be asking for everyone’s links shortly to link to my final Pinktober post next week.

 

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: There’s a Lump in my Breast

I have written and written and written…about Breast Cancer Awareness since losing my sister to it in Feb of this year.

 

I have made it my mission in life to do right by her and all women who get sick with some form of Cancer and make sure people stand up, fight, and take charge of their health.

Now here’s the kick in the ass moment:I am writing this post from a hospital bed. Night before last as I got ready for bed I felt a sharp pain in my right breast. I got up yesterday still hurting and did what all good mommies do; I cleaned my house and spent time with my kids. By the time 4pm or so had rolled around I was in agonizing pain.

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Jen you idiot when people say get involved it doesn’t mean get a damn lump in your own breast!

I laid down on the couch and tears rushed down my face. It wasn’t until my husband came home and I took a shower that I noticed a massive lump, yes I said noticed. It was that big. Now normally people would start looking for a connection… I knew that Breast Cancer causes a lump but, not a painful one and oh my God was this painful. It wasn’t until later in the night when the pain worsened that I begged and pleaded for my husband to take me to the hospital. He was apprehensive about doing it, thinking we should wait until Sunday morning. He told me 100 reasons for why we shouldn’t go tonight. But, I, being the jerk that I am, did as any aggressive and irrational human being does and threatened him. “Take me to the hospital or I will drive myself.” I then told my daughter to get ready. Don’t tell him but, that kind of “do it or else” usually works on him. But, hey I am not an evil person; I am a person who had a sister die 3 days after a Breast Cancer diagnosis. I am the one who wrote countless posts after her death demanding that everyone get a mammogram and self-examine their breasts. Now it was my turn…do or die time… “don’t be a damn hypocrite Jen get to the hospital and get it checked out.”

Obviously, I did; arriving at the hospital at 11 pm last night. I know in my own little world I am a very special person, which is why I fully expected to get an ultrasound and mammogram last night. Yes, they pretty much let me know how it was going to be. Apparently they had no idea who InJensMind is, bummer! Just about 1 am the doctor saw me, commented about my Celtics tattoo because he is from Michigan too and well Pistons fans are still butt hurt about losing to us too many times.

“Shut up I am sick and fully entitled to talk shit, thank you.” LOL

Afterwards, I heard him tell a nurse in the hallway to get bloodwork and hook me up to an I.V. oh yippie. An hour later, right before two more nurses came in to draw more blood, the doctor informed me my white blood cells were high and because they couldn’t get an ultrasound done they had no choice but, to follow protocol and admit me as if I had a breast abscess. They couldn’t promise me whether I would see the breast doctor on Sunday or if I had to wait until Monday. Since I am still here in the hospital you can assume I won’t be seeing her until Monday.

I play strong really well, not one tear fell nor did my voice shake as a million and one thoughts raced through my head. My kids are going to take this the hardest. 13 and 16 years old and have been away from me a total of two weeks ever in their entire lives. I am one of those moms that where I go they go and if someone don’t like it well they can f@ck off. My kids always have and always will be more important than anyone else, hence the reason I am laying in this hospital bed. My sister ran through my head and my mom…oh my dear mom there is no way she will be able to take losing another daughter. I looked over at my husband, the one person who has caused me more stress and tears than any other person on the entire planet and his macho ass was balling; he was trying so hard to not let me see those tears as he quickly wiped them with his hand.

By 3 am, I was finally upstairs in my room. I was instructed to not eat or drink anything in case the doctor wanted to operate. Wasn’t much chance of that happening, seeing as they had given me some painkillers that made my head float away and made my stomach nauseous. Sunday, I slept more than I think I have ever slept in my life. My husband brought my kids to see me, they were little red-eyed angels and smelled so good when they laid down in the hospital bed with me and cuddled. Their voices, that still sound like little 4-year-old voices, were shaky and they were holding back tears. If this had happened over a year ago they would’ve probably been ok with me lying here. But, in Feb. 2010 our dog got sick and we said she was fine; we took her to the pet hospital and didn’t return with her. The kids still don’t know we put her down and she is in an urn in my bedroom. I can’t bear to tell them. Then Feb. of this year the loss of their aunt who was in the hospital 6 days before dying and the effects that had on me. Yea the kids are definitely worried.

So while I was lying here, debating on if I go back to sleep again or get up and write this post, I realized something… Things aren’t as bad as I always manage to imagine them to be. Hold that thought, in case the verdict changes when I actually see the doctor. But, I have been such an ass to my husband for being such an ass to me that now here we are hoping, praying, and crying to please not finally be at our “til death do you part.” The love we both thought the other one had lost was sitting right there waiting for us to remember it.

How quickly a tragedy will unite even the ones you think don’t care anymore. I would have thought divorce would happen before anything like this. I’m not giving up though; I will fight this…whatever IT is. And I will WIN. Because, I may not be Charlie Sheen or have Tiger blood but, I have lioness blood and in my opinion it is way better. Don’t let another second pass, go and tell your loved ones you love them. And for Christ sake err, I mean and For Jens Sake… go to the doctor and get a damn breast exam. Thank you all for your prayers and I will let you all know how I am doing on Monday. Until then, may your dreams always come true and may you never walk through your life alone.

You know the drill by now, click on the side bar button and help give mammograms. Get a badge for your blog and go join the Facebook event.

My Twin Nephews Turn 1 Today

One year ago today, I became an aunt for the 4th time when my sister Jessica gave birth to twin boys, Harley and Marley.

Of course I am an aunt to all my husband’s nieces and nephews as well but, this special post goes out for the birthday boys.

I haven’t gotten a chance to hold my nephews let alone spoil them rotten or even throw them a huge party. As sad as I am about that, I am much sadder that their mom isn’t there to do those things neither.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 6 months already since Jess passed. It still feels so surreal to me. She would go M.I.A. for months at a time and if I don’t think about it too much it’s as if she is still here. But, when I see a movie or hear a song, I get slapped back into reality. She’s gone and isn’t coming back ever! That fucking sucks!!!

Jess left behind 4 beautiful children and it hurts my soul so much that I haven’t had a chance to spend the time that an aunt should get with her nieces and nephews. On top of that I don’t even have pictures. Well, luckily my mom has a chance to spend time with the boys and I can get pictures from her but, it’s just not the same as being there or taking the pictures yourself. I will take what I can get though because that’s what a loving aunt does… happily accepts what is offered her with a saddened heart but, keeps her tears hidden from the world and still says thank you.

But, today I won’t complain and I won’t cry because I can’t see my nephews on their first birthday. Instead, I will sob silently for my sister while the Happy Birthday song will loudly flow from my still grieving soul. I will sing so loud that the heavens will have no choice but, to open up and send angels down to sing along with me! 

Happy Birthday Harley and Marley… Your aunt Jenni loves you very much! And because your mom loved how crazy I could be and was so ecstatic every time I listened to New Kids On The Block… I must post a birthday video for you both so that you can know a small portion of your mom and my childhood memories.

No Pictures Please

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I hate having my picture taken…hate hate HATE it!!! I am always behind the camera, snapping away at everyone I know. But, here I am looking at all these pictures; some in boxes, some in computer files, some in albums and some on Facebook.

Where the Hell are my family portraits? Where are the goofy pictures of me and my siblings as adults? Why do I not have one single picture of my grandmother and me? In fact where is the mother/daughter pictures of my mom and me or my daughter and me? Where is the picture of me standing on a chair so my son and I can be the same height? Where are the happy couple pictures of my husband and I???

 

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I’m scared to be photographed! I’m Native American Indian…pictures will steal my soul, I will never be able to reincarnate, the light bulb demon that lives in the flash will break free and take over the planet… I cannot be responsible for that.

 

 

Ok, that’s not the real reason but, it might as well be because my reasoning is as silly as that is. My ridiculous ass never thought to take pictures of my sister when I was in Vegas in 2007 and now all I have of her is childhood photos, her second wedding pictures that she gave me years ago and pictures of her with other people who are not me!! *Sigh*

Me 1993

Every time I see a camera, I scream like I’m 2 and hide…When the Hell did I start doing that? I was never frightened to put on a stupid face and be right smack dab in the middle of the picture. I was always doing something retarded looking with a huge smile on my face. When did I become the scary old hunchbacked recluse in the haunted house on the corner???

Oh, yes I remember… I got married, got fat and lost my smile. Yep, all excellent reasons to stay far away from a camera that will only amplify the horror of not being a happy person. It takes me 20 pictures before I find one that is worthy of Facebook let alone to be cherished forever by my family.

My husband has always been a busy man, so he is in very few pictures; yet he always has a huge smile and goofy face when there is a camera thrust upon him. Which just confirms that men are big kids and don’t stress half as much as we women do. But, I digress because this isn’t a slam men post it’s a Jenni, you dumbass post!!! *Facepalm*

The last family picture we had taken was when our daughter was born, she’s 15 now. My son and daughter have a picture together he was sleeping; a few years ago I took them to a place and got a free picture of the two of them. A few years ago, HA more like over 5 years ago. When they were in public school I always paid for picture packages. I take loads of pictures of my kids, those memories are priceless.

But, what if I died… what if I was in a coma… what if… My kids won’t have photos of their mom; just because I was too terrified to have any permanent reminder that showed my internal sadness or anger. There are no goofy smiles or a sparkle in my eye pictures for my kids to cherish.

 

 

Jess & I circa 92-93

Just like I have no pictures of my sister and me since we were teens in High School. How depressing is that?

 

 

I don’t even own a camera; with cellphones coming equipped with them, I figured why spend money on something I don’t need… just shoot me now!!!

I am going to buy my first digital camera in the next week or two and I will give it to my daughter. She wants to try photography anyway. Looks like I am going to have to suffer and just let unflattering pictures of me be flaunted. I am already shaking at the thought but, I can’t allow my family to feel the guilt I do, when an unexpected death happens and you look at photo albums then realize all the memories in your aging brain never got saved.

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Birthday Reflection

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When I sat down and wrote the poem ‘Nobody’s Birthday’ all I could think was how my birthday has sucked since 1997 when my husband decided it would be a “great” idea for us to wed that day.

 

In an emotional fit of jealousy and anger he had finally realized that calling me his wife for 3 years before we were actually married was not the brightest idea… only because I was getting more and more aggravated with it. I figured if I was to be strapped with the title of wife I should at least have the document proving it.

Albert Wenzell- The Marriage Proposal

You see when my husband and I were merely boyfriend and girlfriend he fell in love and proposed, I obviously wasn’t against it because I said yes and of course I loved him too.

 

The date he chose for us to get married was February 14th, 1996, a year and 5 months after we had begun dating. In February of 1995, we found out we were expecting and I guess that might have been the moment when things started falling apart…it was in my screwed up head anyway.

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You see I had this idea of how a relationship and love should be; funny because I didn’t exactly grow up around any stable loving relationships in my life, so where I got that idea from I will never know… maybe it was The Brady Bunch or The Cosby Show.

For years I have held it against him that we never got married on the day we were suppose to and as the world will tell you… Hell hath no fury as a woman scorned and I was scorned. It always made me madmade me furious that he chose not to marry me on that date simply because of a few words my callous father had said about him… “He’s only marrying you to get his papers.” Which was a fabrication that he had created in his own mind, for my husband already had papers 7 years before even knowing me. So not only was that comment a lie and unnecessary it was clearly meant to hurt me and my relationship.

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But, every month that passed that I was not married I was told the most horrendous things by people who claimed to love me because I was an unwed mother.

 

You just have to love family whose ideas and warped sense of love taints perfectly loving relationships. I loved him and he loved me, we were faithful and raising our daughter together as a married couple…what more could a piece of paper give us?!

Those depraved mental games eventually infected my brain, as I began to wonder why we were still not married 3 years after our relationship began. So in a last dire attempt to rescue what was left of our relationship he married me, on my birthday. He was drunk out of his mind and couldn’t repeat the vows; I was angry in every one of our wedding pictures and was trying to hold back impending tears. It was the beginning of me dreading my birthday.

Year after year passed and more than not I would end the day upset and in tears because it seemed like nobody cared that it was my “special” day. No gifts, no cards, occasionally a cake and a happy birthday. The kids would do their best to make up for my sadness by showering me with several homemade cards and as much as I loved them it just never felt like enough. Call me selfish but, I wanted to be appreciated and pampered just for that one day.

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There came a point when not only was it my birthday that went uncelebrated but, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and Christmas too. Now instead of hating just my birthday I began hating the entire year; day after day, month after month, year after year. My husband would always say, “It’s just another day.” God, how I hated hearing that!!!

Then this year as my birthday approached; I became melancholy just like I do every year, knowing it wouldn’t be any different. We were still struggling with extra money and as usual I would get the short end of the stick; that’s where my poem came in to play.

Instead something happened…something magical and unexpected. It occurred to me that this year was different from all the other years because I WAS DIFFERENT. I had accomplished many things this year that I didn’t even know I wanted to carry out until they happened. Clearly my mind was holding a secret that my heart hadn’t uncovered until a few days before my birthday. Nobody’s Birthdayis a sad, depressing poem but, it unlocked my ability to see what truly mattered this year…my life; every single day of it not just the one day that comes and goes.

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I am a mom, a writer and a friend and every day of my life I show exceptional love, kindness and understanding towards my friends, family and fellow writers. Some may not have seen that and that’s ok because frankly they hadn’t seen anything I have said or accomplished in quite some time now. I have made leaps and bounds in my personal life as well as my professional life in 5 short months; my hard work was finally paying off and that my dear readers is something I never expected to see this year.

Needless to say, I had a great birthday because instead of expecting others to celebrate me… I celebrated me, something I have never done in my entire 36 years of life. I am proud of myself.

Isn’t it wonderful when you finally appreciate yourself for who you are and what you’ve accomplished? Did you find out something about yourself this year? Are you proud of who you’ve become?

Spaghetti Mafia

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When I was about 13 years old we spent our usual court appointed three weeks during the summer at my mom’s house. Mom was working during the day so she decided to drop Jess, Rion and me off at her aunt’s house; good ol Aunt Janet, my grandmother’s younger sister.

 

I grew up around my aunt on and off during my life but, mostly it was when I was younger because we lived a couple of blocks away from her in Flint. When I got older my aunt became disabled and was in a wheelchair for many years from diabetes and her plethora of other medical conditions. Although she was fairly sick most of the time that I was ever around her, she never failed to crack us up when we visited. We would spend hours listening to her talk about her youth and all her comical adventures. Some of them seemed too funny to be true but, we never called her a liar because the stories were definitely side-splitting hilarious and we were just children so who were we to say they didn’t happen.

 

On one particular day we; Jess, Rion, Aunt Janet and I were all sitting in the kitchen at the table talking and eating ice cream. After awhile Aunt Janet tells us this one story that I will always remember for the rest of my life; here is what she said…

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“When I was a girl I went out on a date with this nice Italian gangster, he picked me up and we went to his family’s restaurant for dinner; I had spaghetti. Time seemed to fly by while talking with him and his family. At one point the conversation became so intriguing that I forgot about my spaghetti, I was just winding and winding and winding it around my fork and when I lifted my fork to take a bite… there was no pasta on my plate, it was all on the fork!!! It was the size of a baseball.”

 

My siblings and I busted out laughing…my aunt knew how to tell a story and her facial expressions along with her hand gestures were downright entertaining. She had been twisting her hand like she was actually winding the spaghetti on the fork and her mouth dropped open as she lifted her hand to her face.

 

I am very fortunate to have spent quite a bit of time with my Aunt Janet before she passed away in 2001. Every time I eat spaghetti I recant the story she told us and laugh half way through dinner!! And don’t even get me started singing that parody song of On Top of Old Smokey. LOL

Jessica’s Sonnet

At long last… I finished my Sonnet homework last week and can now share it with you all. Hope you enjoy it, it took me 3 hours but, I am content with the outcome.

 

I must not grieve thee nor shed a lone tear
I must proceed as if I do not care
For weeping makes losing you worse my dear
Agonizing memories I cannot bear
Every dewy teardrop that escapes me
Burns my flesh like the fiery depths of hell
I must not succumb to sorrow of thee
For I shall be reminded of our farewell
But, weeping cleanses the grief-stricken soul
Easing each previous moment of pain
Allowing the broken to become whole
Sanctioning lovely memories again
Dire sorrow causes me not to cry
But, sans tears for your loss I’d surely die

Evelyn De Morgan- Angel of Death

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Freedom For Father’s Day

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Father’s Day brings mixed emotions for me. One, for my kids who rarely see their dad because he is a workaholic; I guess if he is going to be an aholic I prefer it be work over alcohol. It would be nice if their dad realized that there is more to being a dad then providing a roof over one’s head. I’m certain one day he will grasp that idea but, the kids will be grown by then.

The other is for my father who is still alive but, I don’t call him or send him a card anymore for various reasons.

One reason being, he has disowned  me too many times to remember. Secondly, I don’t receive cards or calls on my “special” days including my birthday and neither do my kids; his grandkids. And lastly, I am just tired of trying to keep a relationship alive when it’s apparent he doesn’t care. Therefore, I have taken up the position of “You don’t know me then I don’t know you.” After all these years of trying what more can I do…

Am I wrong for this? I don’t believe I am wrong, I did my best most of my life to be a part of his life and in my opinion the road goes both ways. Yet, here I am, the one putting in the effort all the time. It just isn’t worth it to me to keep trying when it’s obvious I am not wanted in his life. I did the “Christian” thing; I forgave, accepted apologies and gave apologies but, did I get unconditional love back? No, I did not get back a fraction of what I put into the supposed father/daughter relationship. What we have here people, is a failure to reciprocate.

I’ve moved on now, there is nothing left to do but, move on and as my husband says; “Just say I love you and leave it at that.” (He can be a wise man sometimes.) I have bent over backwards to be included in the lives of people who swear they love me and my kids but, don’t actually know us. My kids have grandparents and they are a mystery to them. There are no phone calls, cards, or letters… absolutely nothing except, the occasional; “You know we love your kids” statement that I have heard during a phone call. Yet, still no effort is made on their part to be a part of their grandchildren’s lives. I have a hard time with this because I was taught that family is everything; how strange… because only certain family was ever included in our lives when I was growing up the rest were “disowned.” Well, looks like I too am a part of the “do as I want or be gone” side of the family. Thank God I believe that the most important family is my husband and kids or I might just be torn up about being exiled…

I can no longer accept such half-assed attempts from anyone, no matter who they are. It is one thing to be upset at me for whatever you believe I have done wrong but, to alienate children just because they are my blood is not only ridiculous it’s asinine and childish. One day my kids will be grown and in my opinion better off for not knowing people who didn’t take time out of their busy little fantasy isle lives to acknowledge them and love them.

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So my gift this Father’s Day is the gift of… freedom. I am freeing myself of annoyances, games and intolerable trivial nonsense and I am giving my father the freedom to never have to deal with me or mine ever again; which is clearly the greatest gift for any father who constantly disowns people like they were material possessions.

What I will not give though is my silence; I have spent too many years not saying what needed to be said and watched while those around me were verbally assaulted. I know for a fact that neither of my grandparents raised any of their children to be bullies or to deny their grandchildren just because they were mad at their children for something their child did as a child. In fact my grandmother not only accepted all her grandchildren she also accepted step-grandchildren and would take all of us during the summer to stay with her at her house. So I know very well her children were raised better than to “disown” anyone.

It’s time to grow up; the child is almost 36 years old now and if I am being judged as an adult for something I did as a child, well I guess you just aren’t as smart as you think you are. Everyone makes mistakes and when you say “I’m sorry” or “I forgive you” than that is where it ends. You don’t hold on to something that transpired 17 years ago. I am not the same person I was 17 years ago and it’s a shame that some people haven’t changed at all in that time. So I end this with; I love you and I wish you well but, I cannot keep being a part of such constant hatred and childishness anymore. God loves all of his children no matter what; I know those are big shoes to fill but, you might want to give it a try.

To all the dads out there… Happy Father’s Day, love your children unconditionally and treat them well so that one day they will remember the good things about you and pass them down to their children.

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I Became A Boy So I Could Play Baseball

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I am the oldest girl in my family; my father had three daughters and always yearned for a son.

Naturally, it became my job to carry out his fantasy. Believe me when I say, I would have much rather been taught how to be a girl but, it just wasn’t in the cards for me.

From the time I could walk I had a baseball in my hand, pretty strange for a little girl but, dad for some twisted reason needed me to play the son role.

My sister who was two years younger than me, got to play girl, in some ways I envy that but, in other ways I don’t. Since I was daddy’s little boy, I learned how to play sports like a boy.

There was no girl who played baseball like I played baseball. I could throw hard and far, I could hit any kind of pitch thrown at me and I could switch hit. Those of you who know nothing about baseball; switch hitting is when you hit right-handed then switch to hitting left-handed or vice versa. Being, ambidextrous, I have always excelled with either hand.

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As I got older I started playing softball because that was what “girls” played and even though I was good at it, it was not baseball. I spent my days practicing; throwing, catching and batting. Dad had a wooden bat I practiced with; it was heavy but, if I could swing that and hit the ball, just imagine what I would do with a light-weight aluminum bat.

Every weekend during the summer when dad would come home from work, we would go up to the park for baseball practice. Dad would pitch and I would hit and then we would switch. I could strike dad out several times while playing; my sports abilities were the only thing I received praise for.

The thing I can say about dad teaching me to play baseball is I played like a man; both dad and I could hit damn near any kind of pitch, including ones you would never swing at if you were playing in the Major League. If the ball was within arm reach we would swing at it. It was all in fun and kept our talent at maximum peak.

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One day the family went up to the park and played our usual game of baseball. I was pitching, my step-mom was catching, my sisters were in the outfield and dad was batting. He managed to hit a few of my pitches then all of a sudden, I throw this one pitch that maybe dad shouldn’t have swung at. In fact, I know he should NEVER have swung at that. Dad managed to tip the ball with the bat and we all stood shocked as the ball circled high in the sky and CRASHED right into the windshield of his car that was parked on the other side of the fence. It took a few moments and finally dad laughed; “Look what you did.” he told me. “What?! I didn’t hit it.” I replied. Dad never parked that close to the fence ever again.

 

I can honestly say this is a happy memory from my childhood and I am ok with being treated like a boy so I could have the excellent baseball playing skills I posess. There are many things I might change from back then if I could but, this gift I wouldn’t change for anything.

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