Monday, March 12, 2012

Bait and Switch.... and Bait

“Wow, look at your ass!”

First thought was, what did I sit in?  Then I thought of the last time my hub said this.  Almost 9 years ago, when I was pregnant with our First Born.  After his comment, I looked in the mirror and said,  “WHOA!  What the hell?  Why didn’t you tell me it got this big?”  He responded, “I thought you knew.” 
So It was 7am on a Saturday and I was standing at the counter fixing my 3rd cup of coffee.  I turned to look him in the eye, and said “What about my ass?”  and.... now wait.... ladies, friends and fellow moms, please don’t think that my husband is the complete asshole he is about to sound like.  It is his own form of entertainment to have me completely lose my shit.  He says all these things with an adorable smile on his face and then waits for the storm.  I have learned to not cater to it and just role my eyes and laugh with him.  But this was not that kind of morning. 
“What about my ass?”   I said, in an - aren’t you starting a little friggin early today - tone.  He says, “NO, it looks hot. I mean it’s back.”  I respond, “What do you mean it’s back?” He said, “Your ass, pow, like the original bill of sale, when we first met.”  I had to put my eyes back in my head and restrain myself from getting the kitchen knife that was within my reach and carving out his tongue. My blood was seriously boiling and I said, “ORIGINAL BILL OF SALE?, Are you fucking kidding me?  You just said that?”  He was laughing now as he had achieved his mission and continued further with , “Yea, it was like bait, switch, bait.  We are back to bait, pretty nice.”  I was trying so hard to just laugh this off and see that he was trying to be funny with his backhanded complement. But I couldn’t. I mean he said ‘BILL OF SALE!... Bait switch bait!’  He thinks because he listens to Howard Stern, he is actually on the show! I had just had sex with him the night before too! I wanted to take it back!  
As I am typing this I have almost squashed this story about 5 times.  I so don’t want people thinking he is this big of a dick.  He really is a great guy.  You have to understand where we grew up.  The more you hammer someone, the more you verbally put them down and make fun of them, especially in a crowd,  it shows how much more you love them.  I am not saying it is healthy, but sometimes we revert back to it, because it is so much fun.  No, it really is fun and hysterical especially when we are with friends. Just not for me that morning.  
I had no response that would work without the kids catching wind of it.  I had already dropped the f-bomb and they were somewhat within earshot. I did not want to do further damage... to them.  He watched me turn about 3 different colors of red then I regained composure. Because I have been eating better and working out (not consistently, but getting there) I know that I am looking a little better. I am definitely feeling better about the way my clothes are fitting and not having to put on Spanx to walk out the door.  In what way could I use this to my advantage and make him eat his words?   

I smiled and sweetly said, “Thank you dear, I did not know you noticed.”  Then stared wistfully in the air (I actually forced myself to think of Johnny Depp, just to complete the effect)  He looked at me and slowly stopped laughing.  His eyes got wider as he watched me. Sheepishly he says, “Uh, so, uh, who are you trying to bait?”  
Ah, Touche! Mission Accomplished.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Proud, No..... Well rested, YES!

It was one of the best ideas I had ever had.  First Born was invited to his classroom friend’s birthday party at the local moonbounce/lazer tag/indoor playland germ factory.  Wait, don’t get me wrong, these places are genius and I have also used them for a couple of my sons’ birthday parties.  I mean what is better than having a party, where you don’t have to clean up before, during and after the party.  All you have to do is show up, bring the cake and watch them go nuts for 2 hours!  The kids love it and you are a guest at your own party.  I don’t knock it and I think these places are great. With that being said, when it is not YOUR kid’s birthday, they suck. I know, total double standard, but I gotta be honest.  
So First Born is invited to his friend’s party.  It is from 1pm to 3pm on a Saturday in January.  Normally I would go with him and stay to help out the parents in charge or just hang out with the other parents.  However, I did not know anyone at this party. I met the mom and dad at a back-to-school night but that was it.  I brought my son in and when I asked if I could stay and be of any help, they basically said, no and just to be back at 3pm for the pick-up.  Sounded good to me.  I grabbed my son, and had to hold his face in my hands so he would listen to me.
Me: “OK, here is the deal, is it ok if Mommy leaves and comes to get you when the party is over?”
First Born: (Looking at me like I have tusks) “Uh, yea!”
Me: “Pay attention, eyes here, you never leave this play area, you stay with the party, and if you have to go to the bathroom, you tell Mrs. New Friend and you go with a buddy. Look at my eyes, are you listening?”
First Born: “Yep, stay here, pee with a friend, tell Mrs. New Friend. Mooommmmm I am 8 years old!” 
Me: “OK I know, and you are a good boy. Now - eyes here! - Remember to say please and thank you and if there is an emergency,  what is my cell number?”
First Born: Rolling eyes “610-555-5555”
Me: “Very good, - hey, eyes HERE- are you sure you are ok with me leaving?” 
First Born: “MOMMMMM, all the kids are already playing, you can go!  Love you!” all this is said as he is running off.
OK, I double check with Mrs. New Friend and I head out to my minivan.  I start the car and start going over in my head all the things I can do with this new found 2 hours.  I have laundry that needs to be folded, our bathroom needs a good once over, the cat box needs to be cleaned, our yard needs to be cleaned of dog poop,  bed sheets need to be changed, etc. etc.  
As I am doing this I am yawning.  The Little One has been hijacking our bed at night on a regular basis and since it was extremely windy the night before, both Little One and First Born were scared and joined us in bed.  We live in a new construction type house and we also live on the area’s windiest hill, so when there is 50mph gusts, the whole house shakes.  I probably slept a total of 3 hours that night.
Then it hit me.  Hubs is not expecting me home.  I could just stay here.  I could get some sleep.  Oh, I was giddy!  I turned the car off, locked the doors and climbed into the back seat of the minivan.  It was very sunny so the car would remain warm.  The back of the van has tinted windows, so I was not easily seen.  I moved the various games, books, and jackets off the seat, used a sweatshirt as a pillow and covered myself with my coat.  I set the alarm on my cell phone for 15 minutes before I had to walk back in to get First Born.  I think I was asleep within 3 seconds.  I woke up on my own about one hour later, arm hanging off the seat, head lolling to the side with drool coming out of my mouth.  If someone looked into the car, they probably would have thought I was a dead body.  Luckily no one did, or if they did I did not know. I readjusted myself and fell back to sleep for the next 45 minutes, I even hit the snooze on the alarm.  
This may seem a bit ridiculous to most.  I mean I was 15 minutes away from my house that is fully equipped with my bed.  But this was the most peaceful uninterrupted sleep I have had in a long time.  There was no one calling me, no one climbing in next to me, no one yelling for me from another room, no one groping me, no phone calls to answer, no computer to look at, no door to answer; It was wonderful.   I did have some second thoughts about people seeing me and wondering if I lived in my car.  If you look in my car, it kind of looks as though someone could sustain themselves for at least a week, with the half eaten boxes of Animal Crackers, bags of Goldfish, and various half full bottles of water.  Not to mention the practical wardrobe of clothes.  But I must admit, at that moment I really did not care.  I was so excited that I was getting a nap that it just didn’t cross my mind for more than a minute.  
Immediately upon returning home I send my First Born into the shower to kill all the germs from the germ infestation.  My husband asked, with sympathy in his eyes, “So how bad was it?’  I hesitated.  I am not proud to say that it crossed my mind to lie and use this as some sort of leverage, since he got to stay home with our Little One while he napped and I had to go to the party.  I KNOW!  I am not proud.  BUT to my defense, I did tell him that I slept.  He looked at me and said “What?  You slept?  Where?”   I told him about my 2 hours in the car like I just cheated on him.  I did, I felt guilty.... for about 10 minutes.  He just looked at me and said “O.... Kay....” with a perplexed look on his face.  
See I know there are some out there who are right with me on this one.  I know for a fact that some of you have slept in your car, or in an office, or in a bathroom stall, and that you are all mothers.  We really don’t sleep like normal people.  As a mother, it starts off with late night feedings, infant rockings, diaper changes, that turn into late night, bad dream soothers, vomit fests, wet bed cleans, cough calmings, thunderstorm reassurances, fever checks, concussion interviews. Not to mention our own late night problems, like night sweats, getting up to pee because these damn kids ruined our bladder, sex since the kids need to be SOUND asleep before I can feel comfortable having sex and generally staying up late because it is the only time we have to ourselves.  For instance it is currently 11:47 pm. I should be sleeping, but I enjoy doing this, damn-it and I can’t concentrate on things I like doing when my children are awake. 
For my fellow mothers out there you know what I am talking about.  You understand what it means to get unexpected alone sleep.  Which is completely different than night time sleep.  We are still on the clock at night.  Mothering does not end when you close your eyes and turn off the light.  But when you are curled up in the back seat of your car and your husband is taking care of one and the other is being supervised only 100 feet away, well, you can sleep like a baby.    

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sexual Abuse, Lies, Money and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia

When trying to figure out what to write about, it had crossed my mind to expand further on the Rush Limbaugh thing.  I just don’t want to give him my time or energy.  Other than him having a radio show and reaching thousands, he is just another opinion with an asshole.  He deserves no more or no less.  I don’t like him so I don’t listen to him.  The only person who should and can have a beef with him is Sandra Fluke.  He attacked her personally so that is that.  Let them hash it out.  I really have no say in it, other than my little blog.  
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has me pissed off again.  But that is nothing new.  I was sincerely happy to hear that there were many Catholic schools who won their appeals to the Archdiocese and will remain open. (Msgr. Bonner being a family favorite! GO GREEN!)  It is wonderful news for these hard working families who’s fears and concerns for their children’s futures weighed in the balance for the past month.  It is good that their anxieties and worries ended in relief.  At least for now.  
The question that has many of us jaded and suspicious wondering is: Did the Archdiocese pull a fast one on us?  Was this a huge cash pulling cow?  I mean the Archdiocese has some hefty expenses coming up  The many political fights like lobbying for the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC or school vouchers).  The continued lobbying AGAINST Statute of Limitation Reform for victims of childhood sexual abuse. (Don’t believe me?  You can read about it here )  The continued lobbying against CIVIL same sex marriage.   How this affects them or us as Catholics I will never know.  The lobbying for ANY company to deny birth control health care coverage for woman.  Again, this is for anyone, not just Catholics.  And let us not forget the 100s of thousands they are paying the four criminal defense lawyers for Msgr Lynn in the upcoming sex abuse trial.  
By-the-way, if any of you doubt the credibility of the claims against Msgr Lynn, Rev. Brennan, or Edward Avery, please read the 2010 Grand Jury Report.  It is disturbing to say the least.  Please be warned that it is not for the faint of heart or anyone who may have been groomed and abused as a child.  

       The fact that has now come forward that further corroborates the Grand Jury’s findings seems almost out of a Dan Brown novel and the plot thickens.  On January 30, 2012, Philadelphia Judge Sarmina declared that Cardinal Anthony Bevilaqua was competent and could be called to testify at the child sex-abuse and endangerment trial of Msgr Lynn.  The next day Cardinal Bevilacqua died.    Within 2 weeks of his death new evidence is produced by the Archdiocese.  A 1994 memo written by Bevilacqua ordered a list that identified 35 Archdiocese of Philadelphia priests suspected of sexually abusing children be shredded and destroyed.  On this list were Lynn’s fellow defendants names.  Lynn who prepared this evidence in 1994, continued to assign these pedophile priests into and out of unsuspecting parishes.   The affected average in the thousands. This memo stating that the list be shredded along with the list itself, was hidden in a secret lock box by Msgr. James Molloy, former assistant vicar for administration.  Molloy was troubled by the lack of action by Lynn and Bevilacqua and hid this evidence.
Molloy is documented as saying, "I couldn't be sure that I could trust my superiors to do the right thing." 
So, he said, he became diligent about documenting his actions. "I wanted my memos to be there if the archdiocese's decisions were eventually put on the judicial scales.  This way, anyone could come along in the future and say, this was right or this wrong. But they could never say it wasn't all written down."  
Molloy died in 2006 and this lock box was opened and the evidence discovered.  It took the Archdiocese six years to turn over this evidence.  And they did so only in an attempt to get the case against Lynn dropped, siting that Lynn was only doing what he was told to do by a man (Cardinal Bevilacqua)... who is now dead.  
       Incidentally an otherwise healthy 60 year old Molloy was found dead, sitting up in his bed when he was late for 5:15 Mass on March 7, 2006.  This was shortly after he was interviewed and testified for the first Grand Jury report on the Philadelphia Archdiocese.  Here is that despicable report. Again, this is a difficult read.   
One thing that I have heard many say in the wake of all this is to the effect of, ‘victims are lining up to get paid.’  There is no truth in this.  There are a lot of victims coming forward but they are coming forward for justice, and to make sure that these monsters can not hurt more children, not for money.  If they seek any money, it is to cover the years of extensive therapy that were and are needed.  They are coming forward to shine a bright light on the predators and co-conspirators who ruined their lives and murdered their souls.  

It pains me that the hierarchy is so deceitful and secretive.  It seems so archaic and medieval!  When you look at how they have mishandled the sexual abuse crisis, even AFTER they were called out on the carpet in 2006 and promised to make changes.  They continue to lie, hide and protect child rapists.  I can not comprehend it.  I know there are good priests out there.  I know they are as disgusted by this as the rest of us are.  If they would just start standing together and fighting the hierarchy they would have so much support.  They can help Catholics take back their Church.  
All of this begs the question:  If they can not stand up and fight for basic decency, if they can not be honest and transparent when dealing with men who rape children, how can we trust them with all this money that was raised for the Catholic Schools?   How can we trust that the millions of dollars that the parishioners raised from their already bruised and battered wallets will actually go to the schools that they were raised for?  How can we trust that the fate of the Catholic schools in Philadelphia was as bad as they stated?  How can we trust anything they say?  

Friday, March 2, 2012

My Walking, Talking Hearts

My life, although fulfilling and enjoyable is not all that exciting right now.  We are watching ‘Thomas’ and Percy just slammed into the cars.  My Little One is lying next to me on the couch and seems a bit out of it.  He went to bed much later than usual last night so I am hoping that he takes a nap today.  Naps rule!  There was a time when my life was nothing but excitement and fear. 
The Little One is not a difficult child.  For the most part, he is a real joy; very easy going, mild mannered, calm and happy. Little One was a premie and spent 18 days in the NICU.  He was always a calm, tolerant, smiling child even there.  My heart broke every time I had to leave him in that isolette, in that loud, beeping, active, alarming room.  He was so tiny and so helpless.  We were emotionally drained and exhausted and he would great us with a smile.  The nurses nicknamed him “Smilin’ Sam.”  I think he was only 4 days old when he first smiled at us.   I called him my hero.  His strength and determination and joy were more than I could muster on most days.
He hated the tubes in his nose and at times would figure out a way to pull them out.  There was a time when I was there and watched as the nurses had to put the feeding tube back in his nose, down his throat and into his belly.  Then they had to reattach the cpap and put in another IV.  He was so tiny and the veins so small that they needed to put the IV into a vein in his scalp.  I was sitting there, in physical pain, emotionally drained, and quietly crying, trying not to make any noise.  I just wanted to hold him, but had to wait until they were done.  They asked me if I was ready to take his temperature and weigh his diaper, like I did every day.  I quietly and sadly just shook my head, no.  The nurse looked at me and said.  “C’mon, you can do it.”  So I stood up and fighting the tears and exhaustion, I held the thermometer under his tiny arm, with my other hand on his chest and belly.  I looked at my little guy who just looked so defeated after struggling with getting the tubes back in him and the leads stuck back on his silk-like skin.  He was wide awake and looked at me.  I said “Hey there Angel Face!” and he looked at me and cracked a smile.  I almost lost it, but did not want to ruin the moment.  I continued to talk to him, telling him about how much I loved him and that he would be home with his big brother, daddy and me real soon.  I told him that the monitors and tubes would all go away and it would be up to him to eat, breath, maintain his temperature, and his bilirubin.  I told him that that was a big job, so he had to be patient and the doctors would know when he was ready.  After I weighed his diaper and redressed him, I could hold him and try to feed him.  He was too small to latch on to me, so I gave him a bottle of my milk.  He tried so hard, then just fell asleep in my arms.  My little Angel Face.  
Those days went on forever.  Those 18 days seemed infinitely longer than the 9 weeks previous that I spent on hospitalized bed rest trying to keep him in my belly. The NICU is a surreal and alien place.  It is not a place I want to ever encounter again.  My NICU baby was so much better off than a lot of the beautiful babies in there.  My heart ached for all of them.  Seeing them every day then not seeing them, never asking if they went home or to a different unit or the unthinkable.  The parents and caregivers who we would see scrubbing in before going in, all looked like we did.  Nervous, tired, angry, perplexed, and sad, so deeply, deeply sad.  
NICU or not, words don’t express the feelings I have for my children.  Words are not adequate and they are almost insulting.  My boys are my life. Not in the sense that I don’t have my own life, but in the sense that I gave each of them part of me, which is life.  I sustained them in my body and they take that sustenance with them when they leave my body.  I still feel like that part of them is me. 
When my First Born was little and even now, he has always had an abundance of energy.  We never sat.  He needed constant entertainment.  I have two very different boys.  First Born son was a healthy baby.  But since he was our first born, we treated him like a fragile egg.  We worried over the silliest of things, constantly checking, monitoring, listening and evaluating.  My poor boy is such an independent natured child that, this is probably the reason that as an infant, he screamed every evening from 5pm to 11pm. It might have been his way of saying, “Will you back off!! I AM FINE! Just let me be a baby!”   Now he is an active, high energy, low attention span, artistic and athletic 8 year old.  He likes to play outside, morning, noon and night.  He will be in the driveway and backyard and go from basketball, to hockey, to riding his bike, to baseball, to soccer, to throwing a frisbee, to playing army in his fort, all in about the span of an hour.  He is a riot and a joy and all of the energy I used to have.  
My little premie is still a peanut.  He is 27 lbs. soaking wet and will be 4 years old in May.  He is healthy and happy and makes us laugh.  He adores his older brother and will do anything just to be near him.  He is calm, easygoing, and accommodating.  He likes to play games like Uno Moo and build his Thomas tracks.  He does not like taking chances or being daring.  He takes his time and likes to help cook.  He loves gadgets like his daddy’s iphone, ipod and laptop. He awakes in the middle of the night and ever so quietly climbs into our bed and snuggles in.  He hardly moves when he sleeps and is still so tiny that it is the most comfy feeling in the world.  This will have to stop someday, but I have not started to tackle that yet. Mostly because I don’t want to. He speaks very well and when he looks at you with those big blue eyes, unless your heart has shriveled up, you will say yes to anything he asks.  He has an amazing sense of humor and comedic timing for such a young boy and is such a love.  
Right now I am spending the most time with the Little One since he is not in school yet.  I am really enjoying it.  Don’t get me wrong there are days when I am ready to throw “Thomas the Tank Engine’ out the window and if I hear another Disney Movie theme song I will scream.  But for the most part, I am loving every minute of time with my Little One and he seems to be enjoying it too.  I don’t need excitement.  I don’t need fear or anxiety. I don’t need to be constantly busy or worried.  There are times when some may think me too laid back.  I don’t clean my house like it should be, I don’t (as I have said many times before) stay on top of the laundry.  I don’t run my kids around to different activities.  I am sure this will change and flux as life does, but for now I am perfectly content with snuggling up with my Little One and watching my animated First Born tell me about his day.   
It is such a cliche and a facebook post but,
“Being a mother is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”- Elizabeth Stone
It is so true.  We can’t prepare for it.  We can’t control it and we can’t even predict it.  It is this love that makes me think that I can do anything in the world.  My boys seem to be the proof of my existence and the proof of power that I possess.