Monthly Archives: June 2013

Letter Writing Challenge Day #7: Letter To An Ex

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Dear Andrew,
Maybe we were too young. I was 21 when we made those vows. You were 23. Whatever the reason, we didn’t have that bad of a marriage in my opinion. I mean, we had our typical little spats like all married couples go through. But nothing huge. The fact of the matter is, you were selfish. Plain and simple. You wanted out of the responsibilities and commitment. You wanted that old life back. The one that consisted of partying and drugs and didn’t include children and marriage. Ya know, all that “man” stuff. You had no desire to be a man any longer.
I got down on my knees and begged you to stay. I swore I would change who I was if you stayed. Now, I wish I could go back to that day 6 years ago and yank that old me up off of her knees and smack a little sense into her. Because love is not about losing who you are, nor is it about letting go of your dignity. A true lady doesn’t need to get down on her knees and grovel. Because a real man is strong enough to take her as she is and treat her right. You weren’t worth my tears. It’s a real shame how you played things. You lived with your new girlfriend and your baby that you had with her just ten minutes away from me and our sons. (Hell, our youngest son was 2 months younger than the son you had with her.) But how often did you make that ten minute drive over to my place to see your sons? And child support. Six years of not a penny. Least you could have done is paid THAT. But you had other priorities, didn’t you?
What really pist me off is that recently I found you and extended the hand of grace and forgiveness to you on the phone. Hadn’t heard your voice in 6 years. And not ONCE did you apologize. All you had were excuses. And though I do understand how alcoholism and addiction work, I also know that part of a recovery program is to apologize to those you have wronged. How damn hard would an apology have been? How much pride are you still wrapped up in that you can ramble out excuses for fifteen minutes but not once just say “Hey, I fucked up. I’m sorry.” ?
I’m keeping in touch now because no matter what I do understand that my sons deserve roots as much as wings and the fact is you are part of their roots. As long as you are staying sober and clean I will continue to allow you some contact with them. But you must understand how fiercely protective I am of them. How it annoys me when I speak to you and you call them “Our Sons.” Sure, I know technically speaking they are OURS. But I have been here for 6 years doing this on my own. Raising our boys into fine young men without any assistance from you. I held the fort down. I paid the bills. I taught them about faith and God and grace and love and peace. I doled out discipline. I homeschooled them. I played Santa. I wrapped birthday gifts. I clapped at the awards ceremonies. I cried when the three older boys got saved and baptized. And normally I am not a selfish person. But in this case I think I deserve every single shred of selfishness.
The only reason these boys are as awesome as they are is because of me. You gave up any chance to take a bit of credit for that when you chose to walk out that door. You missed out on a lot. You left me with a heartache that took a long time to heal and a messed up sense of self esteem that I find myself STILL working on. BUT, you also left me with 4 beautiful boys who have been my heart and soul all along. I think in the end that pretty much means I win.

Sincerely,
Tonia

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Letter Writing Challenge Day #6: Letter To A Stranger

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m8
Dear Stranger(s),
I know a thing or two about being judged. About having folks make snap decisions about me based on what they see in the first five seconds of meeting me. Sad but true. You are one of those types.
I’m petite. I look younger than I am. For this reason, even at age 33 I have had a tough time convincing people I am even legally old enough to buy wine. Seriously, I get that this is a GOOD thing. But it’s not so great when you have 6 children and people do the math in their head of how old they figure the kids appear to be and how old I appear to be and then they figure that means I must have started popping kids out when I was 12 or something. This is for the lady at Wendys back when my oldest was 2 and I was hugely pregnant with my second son and she looked right at me and said “I was just talking to my friend about how sad it is….babies having babies.” I was appalled at your lack of discretion and explained to you that I was 23 years old. Christ, my husband was sitting right there with me! You just shook your head and walked away, clearly not believing me. I had to restrain myself so I wouldn’t chase after you and shove my ID in your face just to prove I really WAS 23. And married. :/
I have had total strangers message me on Facebook demanding I stop having children and “go get a job”. As if raising my sons isn’t a job in and of itself. Since when is the measure of a person measured only by how large of a paycheck they obtain? I ‘m sorry if my choice of being a Stay At Home Mom offends you for some reason. Frankly, I find that to be YOUR issue, not mine. I don’t give a rip about STUFF. Monetary gain, name brand belongings, etc….it doesn’t phase me in the least. I’m not here on this earth to get the nicest living room set, the shiniest diamonds, the hugest tv, the fastest car. I’m here to raise my sons to be honorable men. Being a Stay At Home Mom means I get to be here for it all. First steps, bedtime story reading, family prayers, movie nights, cooking together, discussing our future, soothing wounded knees and hearts. It is my greatest calling. And there is more to it than that. It opens me up to the opportunity to be available to my loved ones when they need me. I can sit and have tea with a friend who is going through a divorce. I can offer child care services to my friends when they desperately need a break for a few hours. I have time to volunteer at the local soup kitchen. I have more time to be there when folks need me. Because I’m not out there in the workforce seeking extra hours and more money. Because time with people. Real flesh and blood PEOPLE.(especially my offspring) is far far far more important to me than money.
No, this doesn’t mean I neglect my childrens needs. The bills still get paid. They are well cared for. What it means is when other peoples kids are all sucked into the latest Wii game my kids are playing with homemade play dough or catching fire flies in mason jars or building a fort in the woods. It means they will grow up to put more value on a human soul than on a price tag in a store. That’s what I am teaching them. That you don’t need to be slaves to the system. That your impact on other people is what will have lasting effect on this world.
Oh, and by the way, judging me for the fact I have a couple failed marriages and 6 kids from 3 different men is pretty damn narrow minded of you. Don’t assume I just jumped from man to man with no regard for anything else. Does it bother me at times? Heck yes. No girl grows up thinking that’s how life will work out. I wanted the happily ever after. But lets clear up the BS here. I was married for 7 years. We had 4 sons together. He decided the temptation of drugs and a new woman was too great to pass up. I got down on my knees and begged him, begged him HARD not to go. He left anyway. I wasn’t a whore. I didn’t do anything wrong. He just left. It was a solid 14 months later before I got into another relationship. I was using birth control. I got pregnant anyway. It was 6 months into the relationship when it happened. It wasn’t some random guy. We were together for 18 months until he got locked up for a crime that had NOTHING to do with me. Something I did not expect him to do. I moved on. 2 1/2 years later I got re married. Got pregnant with my new husband. But guess what? Alcoholism and abuse are deal breakers for me. So, I sent him packing. He was real good at making it look like he had his shit together when we first began dating. When I saw the truth I finished it. Baby or not, I knew what was healthy for myself and my sons. I DO know some girls who get knocked up like clockwork by every guy they even SPEAK to. I’m not one of them. I had children with 3 different men, all of whom I was in long term, committed relationships with. I judge myself enough on that one. I really don’t need YOUR two cents. Trust me.
I know I tend to march to my own drum. But please stop assuming that just because of my hair color or style, or clothing or choice in music or the fact that I think marijuana should be legal or the fact I call myself a hippie…..that these things in and of themselves or all accumulated as one make me a bad mom in any way. My kids have rules. They have boundaries. They know what respect and empathy mean. They know all about God and His love. Did I mention my goal here is to raise honorable men? So, if you think the fact that I have a particular color hair or listen to Pink Floyd makes me neglectful or abusive in some way, then you are sadly an extremely ignorant person. And I frankly feel sorry for your children. Because I’ll be damned if I want to teach my children how to fit oh-so-nicely into those round holes with the round pegs. Life is about adventure and passion and love. THAT’S what I am teaching them. So, step off my case, ok? Unless you are a fly on the wall in my home, you don’t have a clue how I run this ship.
Look, just step back and relax. Ok? I don’t even understand why you feel the need to spend so much of your precious time judging me for MY life. Why would my existence impact yours in such a strong way? Seems pretty silly to me. How about you spend a bit less time paying attention to MY life, and a whole lot more time carving your OWN pathways? That’s called inner peace my dear. Try it some time. It feels great. It’s why I guess you get so wrapped up in the obsession of picking at ME. Because I am walking out this life to my own tune and don’t give a crap what others are saying about me, it won’t make me change a single solitary step. And I guess that really irks some people.
Oh well. Such is life.
Sincerely Yours,
Tonia
xo

Letter Writing Challenge Day #4: Letter To my Dreams

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Dear Dreams/Passions/Aspirations,

You’ve always been big. Probably bigger than I myself actually am. But then again, I always bought into the wisdom that I could do and be anything I put my mind to.  I believed in you with a fire and a ferverence. I stood firm on the possibilities for many years and saw myself molded into the shape of you alone. I wasn’t Tonia so much as I was the future singer/dancer/author, etc…

Fact is, somewhere along the way I lost that firm grasp on you. And for a moment I regretted it. I longed for the life I never really got to experience, mourned for the loss of something I never had attained in the first place. It was such a tough transition, to realize the plans I had formed within my mind were not ever going to come to be.

But frankly, I don’t miss you as much as I thought I would. Sure, I have my moments when I see someone else living out what I had envisioned for myself and I get that twinge of jealousy. But it’s brief. Because what I trade you for is so much greater than you ever were. And no offense, but I wouldn’t trade back for anything.

I have a family now. A simple country hippie life with my sons, my man, my friends, my church. I blog. I dance in my livingroom. I bake. I am an activist. A researcher. An adventurer. I hike. I pray. I sing in church. I worship in bare feet. I live in simplicity and beauty and grace. It’s basically as far away from the single-girl in the city glamour life I had originally envisioned. But that sounds pretty empty at this point in my life.

I’m happy here. Truly happy. I feel more complete and at peace with my life than I ever imagined I could possibly be. That’s  a really beautiful, amazing place to find yourself in life. I am beyond grateful I DIDN’T  follow you. Don’t take it personally. I mean, I still gather myself around glimpses of you. My writing my poetry. My singing. These small seemingly insignificant ways I still walk out your existence. You are still there. It is just that you exist in new shapes and ideas now. That’s basically how life works anyway. We learn and grow and evolve with the passing of time. And sometimes it is bittersweet but it always turns out to be ok.

That’s where I am. Not regretting the missing of you. Happy. Ok with me. I can’t ask for more than that.

Love,

Tonia

30-Day Letter Writing Challenge: Day 3-Letter To My Sister/Letter To My Brother

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Me & NickNickTamar1Tamar & NickMe &Tamar

Dear Nick,
I never requested a brother. Just for the record. I was 8 years old when mom started growing me a sibling in her belly. I requested a sister. Apparently mom is hard of hearing or something. Because what I got out of the deal was you.
Turns out that isn’t such a bad deal. You actually grew up to be a really cool guy. Someone I would probably be friends with if we weren’t brother and sister. I mean, we ARE friends anyway….but we could have skipped the years of being FORCED to be nice to each other by mom.
On one hand, I find it amusing and fascinating how different you and I are. You have lived most of your life in the same state. This fact is even more amazing to me because the state you live in is about the same size as the TOWN I currently live in. Meanwhile, I live like a gypsy, hopping from one place to the next. I have lived in 10 different states and god knows how many towns within those ten states in my life. As much as I enjoy stability and predictability, I get bored easily and love to find new places and new faces. You have worked at the same place since you were what? 16? Almost a freaking decade. Me? I’m a Stay At Home Mom who sells homemade tye dye shirts and other oddities for spare cash. I freelance write. I babysit for friends. Whatever. The point I am making is I float and you walk on solid ground. You have roots. I have wings. Neither of us are doing it wrong. It just strikes me as so odd that we can come from the same background, the same family….and be so different. As if we took totally different paths somehow.
But then I catch moments of like-ness. Moments when we both crack up over something we find hilarious. Moments we see eye to eye. On something political, something social, something about LIFE that clicks within us both and resonates as fact and helps us remember that we are cut from the same fabric.
I remember one time when you were just a kid. I think you were 14. My then-husband was being a jerk that day and said something mean to me and you, in all your adolescent awkwardness of glasses, and scrawniness, busted outside and went right up to that 6 foot tall man and ordered him to be nice to your sister. He turned around and told you to shut up and mind your business. Which resulted in our little sister busting outside in all her still-baby-fat 4-year old glory and hollering at him “Don’t you yell at my brother!”
I had never been more proud, nor loved the two of you more than in that moment. Because that’s what mom taught us. To stick together. To love.
I love you, bro. More than you know. You may not have been what I requested, but you were exactly what I needed in my life. A little root for my wings.
xoxoxo
Love,
Tonia

Dear Tamar,
Took you long enough.
I wanted a sister my entire life. And you go and show up when I am almost 18 and already moved out of the house. Typical of you. Always running on YOUR time.
Sounds a bit familiar.
When you were born I teasingly told mom you would grow up to be “just like me”.
“Over my dead body” was her adamant reply.
Turns out I was right.
Not that I was that bad of a kid or anything. I really wasn’t. I just happened to be a bit high maintenance. I was classic-case ADHD with an attitude to boot. And pretty disorganized. Loud. Talkative. And by talkative I mean I talked 22 hours a day. Straight. With no pauses.
You and I are more alike than mom would probably like to admit. The reason she probably wouldn’t like to admit that fact as truth is because SHE is our common denominator. So, clearly, we get the crazy from HER. 😉
But seriously, I adore you. At times we fight. And boy do I mean FIGHT. Pull hair, throw punches, call each other names. I sat on you once when I was 9 months pregnant. You called me a bitch in retort. That’s just life with a sister. I never really fought like that with Nick. Nick was more go with the flow. Only time I ever saw him get stressed was towards himself. You and I on the other hand….we FEEL more often than we THINK. We have a lot of passion in our souls, fire in our hearts. I remember what it was like to be a 15 year old girl. Somedays I still feel like I am. We might get into some brawls at times….but man I would beat the crap out of anyone who dared to hurt you. Seriously. You are my beautiful baby sister. I have hopes for you. I pray for you. I believe in you and all of your potential. Poor Nick, stuck in the middle of us two crazy-ass sisters.
I love you my dear. Always.
Now go clean your room.
xoxoxo
Love,
Tonia

Letter Writing Challenge Day 3: Letter To My Parents

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mom&me
This will be two separate letters today because my parents aren’t together and I have vastly different opinions on the two of them.
Dear Dad,
I use that term very loosely simply for the basis that “Dear Piece Of Crap Who Isn’t man Enough To Be A Real Dad In Any Way Whatsoever” is probably an overly facetious way to begin a letter. No matter how much truth is actually in it.
I don’t have a clue what to say to you here. You have always been a part of who I am. But honestly, I don’t think very often about you. Never have. I never really lacked too much in my life without you in it. I mean, sure, as a kid, when they did Father-Daughter dances at school or whatever, a part of me would long for what all of my friends seemed to have.And as an adult I see my girlfriends who have great Dads and I have moments when I kinda wish I was a Daddys girl.
But mostly, I never really missed you. Not in any way I was aware of anyway. My mom did an awesome job raising me alone. She was a stellar single mother. Made doubly impressive with the fact she was just barely 18 when I was born.
The only way your absence really impacted me was in a way I didn’t realize until I was in my 30’s. I spent my 20’s looking for a man who could fill your shoes. A man who would love me and stay with me. I found a lot of guys who traded “love” for sex. A lot of guys who fed me lies and I took them as gold. All I really wanted was one steady man in my life. I had been taught by your leaving that all men leave. I know better now. Its not men who leave. Its boys. I can’t measure all men to your standard. Because you set that bar pretty low.
You missed out on a lot. I turned out to be a pretty great person. And you have 6 amazing, awesome grandsons that you will never know. That’s sad. My mom taught me a lot about grace and love and treating others right. It’s only because of her that I can sit and write to you now and say I forgive you. I can’t say I agree with your actions. I can’t say I condone the way you treated my mom. But I forgive you. I release any hurt or anger I may have held onto towards you. Because you are just not worth it.
Wherever you are, wherever life has taken you, I want you to know I am praying for you.
Love,
Tonia

Dear Mom,
Where do I begin? How many times can I say thank you and make it enough?
You are a rock star. I know at times you doubted your abilities as a mother. Being a mom now myself I can say that ALL moms feel that way. But the fact is, you have two grown children now and neither of us have ever gone to jail or done anything immensely stupid. Clearly we were raised right. And that’s all you.
I am the kind of mother I am to my own sons because of what you taught me and how you raised me. The reason I spend one on one time with each of them as much as possible, the reason I read to them all every night, the reason I talk to them, snuggle with them, do Family Days with them on Sundays….all of these things are the legacy you passed down to me. As kids, Nick and I didn’t have much as far as “stuff”, but we sure had a pretty solid understanding that we were loved. I thank you for that.
I’m sorry I was such a pain as a kid. Sorry I had an attitude and took that chip on my shoulder that developed majorly when I was a teenager and whittled it into a likeness of you so I could blame you for everything. I didn’t know better. I was just a kid. As an adult and mother now, I can see clearly how hard you tried. And how much heart you put into raising us. I appreciate that more than you know.
Tamar is going to be 16 this year. Two and a half years and she’ll be leaving the nest. You have ben a mother for 33 years now. I wonder if you have stopped to consider the next chapter and what it will mean for you as a woman. Without the hindrances and ties that bind of raising a child or being stuck with a douche bag of a spouse. When its just you and the cats. I hope you take that time to nurture your soul. Seek your dreams. Because it’s never too late in the game to start playing. Decorate the whole house as YOU like it. Cook meals you love. Go on adventures. Meet new people. Live. Live knowing you did well raising the three of us. Live and embrace the fact you are not “just” a mom, but you are also Doreen. And that woman you sometimes lose sight of in the midst of being a parent is a really cool, genuine, kind woman. I like that I have reached a point in my life when I can call you not only my mom, but also my friend. Because I have come to know both sides. And love them both equally.
I love you. So much. Thank you for everything. Everything.
Thank you seems pretty weak. But it’s all I got. If I could get you Johnny Depp feeding you chocolate and peanut butter on a private island I would get you that. But I can’t. All I have is thank you.
xoxoxo
Love,
Your sunshine
Tonia

30 Day Letter Writing Challenge: Day 2-Letter To My Crush

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Dear Crush,

You have such a beautiful soul. A sincere heart. There aren’t too many people in the world like that. It’s amazing to me you aren’t aware of how awesome you truly are. Inside and out. Seriously. I wish I could tell you.

Please lets be clear, I have zero intention of neither cheating on nor leaving my man. My man has my heart 110%. Nothing changes that. But that doesn’t mean I don’t step back and take note when something wonderful passes through, by or into my life. You and I won’t ever be a couple. Ever. You have a wonderful girlfriend whom I have all the respect for in all the world. I think its fantastic that she truly does appreciate you for who you are. You deserve that.

I’m not talking cheating here. Im just wanting to let you know you really are a very attractive, awesome guy. True story. It’s probably your humble attitude in regards to yourself that appeals to me more than anything else.

You have given me the ability to see things in a better way when all I saw all around me was hopelessness. You made  me laugh when all I really wanted to do was cry. When you aren’t around, honest to God I miss your totally out-there jokes and stories. And your smile. Most of all I miss your smile.

Just wanted you to know I love you. I respect you. I appreciate you.  And I think you’re pretty awesome.

Love,

Tonia

Aside

I got inspired by Sarcasmom and Bitchin’ Barefoot, both of whom are currently doing a 30 Day Letter Writing Challenge on their blogs. So, here goes. Day 1, a letter to My Best Friend.
ken2ken1
Dear Ken,
It’s so hard to believe it has been 28 months since I last heard your voice or saw your face. It’s such a strange realization to think you have been gone just as long as I had you in my life. Life really isn’t always fair, is it?
I only ever toyed with the idea of “soulmate” until you strolled through my life. I always sort of thought it was a cute fairy tale idea. But then BOOM I met you. And it was as if someone somewhere along the way had taken a pair of scissors and cut my soul in two and lent half to you. You GOT me. We clicked. We could laugh until we cried. Talk deep. Share our deepest insecurities and fears. Discuss philosophies and dreams and desires. Silence between us was never awkward. You were my rock when I needed a rock. I was your courage when you needed courage. You were my best friend.
These boys were ours. For two years you called thm yours just as much as you called them mine. You doted on them, especially the baby. Man, the sun rose and set in your eyes to him. You were only Daddy to him, having come into his world when he was only 2 months old. That boy loved you a million times more than he loved me. You died 9 days after his 2nd birthday. I think that’s why he is like my little shadow now, at age 4. I think he is still waiting for you to come back home.
They found you in that river with those rings still in your pocket. They gave me the small box at the police station. The officer was kind enough to keep it separate from the brown paper bag of your belongings that he handed me. The rings were muddy, I had to wipe them off a bit. But I took that box outside, stood alone and cried over them. They were truly beautiful. I don’t know what you were worried about, texting me that day telling me you wanted to get something better when you had more money. They were perfect. I had imagined in my head what the proposal would have been like, how I would have reacted. I never got that moment with you.
I know you struggled a lot with insecurities, self-worth, doubts, self-loathing even at times. It aches me at times to think of the weight you carried within yourself and tried to drown with alcohol. I wish you had truly truly known that you were loved. Really loved. You should have seen the funeral. People you hadn’t seen since high school 24 years earlier shared their stories and wept. The funeral procession on the highway on the way to bury you….man, those cars went on forever. I still remember your mom looking out the back window of the limo, her voice cracking as she said “Oh I wish Kenny could see this.” She knew as well as I did that you never really felt comfortable in your skin, never felt good enough. I wish you knew.
You were deeply loved. By your friends. By your family. By myself and our boys. I wish you had never felt insignificant. Because you certainly weren’t! Not to me. Not a single day has passed in the last 28 months when I have not thought of you and missed you. Not one. Your time in my life, and the subsequent loss of you has drastically changed my life forever. I am eternally grateful for that.
I find a small comfort in the fact that I did TELL you quite often how treasured, appreciated and adored you were. Those 96 little random love notes I had hidden all over the house the week before you died. You did find a good portion of those. And the last contact you had with anyone was me, a text ending in “I love you.” And your text back telling me you loved me. You left this world carrying love in your heart. And isn’t that our greatest purpose? To love and be loved?
I miss you. Always. I knew you were the ONE from that first stupid note you left on my kitchen counter signed “Kenny Felangie.” (Friends fans will get the context) Princess Conseoula still loves Crapbag. 😉
Oh, P.S. The Browns are lame, your hair is stupid, and you did say “dip”, right?
xoxo
Love,
Tonia
L

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1500713911030&set=a.1378801143287.54100.1029658302&type=3&theater

There’s A Frog In The Toilet (And Other Reasons Being A Mom Of Boys Rocks)

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Seriously. There was a frog. In my toilet. I discovered this fact last night. Thank God it was BEFORE I sat down. Because I’m fairly certain I would have screamed like a little girl if in mid-pee a slimy little frog had bounced up and ricocheted off of my bare ass. But the point is, WHY was the frog there?

Because he wanted to swim. Said the four year old. Impenetrable logic. How to argue with it?

You don’t.

You just accept the answer and move on with your life. There’s nothing more to see here, folks. Because that’s just life when you live with 6 boys. Stuff that would freak out the average person becomes so commonplace you don’t even bat an eyelid when it occurs. Its just a shrug and a “Meh.” response. If even that.

Their shoes are spotless. But the SOCKS, that were IN the shoes are covered in thirty two coats of mud.

Don’t question it.

They took a shower for 47 years. Drained the entire damn water tank so you now cannot do dishes. But somehow their hair is still dry.

Don’t question it.

They ate enough for dinner to satisy a small country. A small country of elephants. they ate so much there wasn’t enough food for you so YOUR dinner consisted of peanut butter on stale bread. Ten minutes after dinner they are back out in the kitchen complaining about being hungry. (WTF?)

Don’t question it.

This is just life with boys.

But you know what? It balances out quite nicely.

When the 8 year old picks you a huge bouqet of daisies from the back yard. When the four year old sees you standing in front of the mirror wearing nothing but a sports bra and a pair of shorts, and youre cursing age and gravity and he exclaims “Youre pretty like a princess mommy!”. When one of them makes a truly amusing joke about farts (c’mon now, I like bathroom humor. Im a mom of ALL BOYS. Its kindain my contract.) and you all crack up together over it. When you all go outside and play football together and no one even makes fun of you when your “spiral” looks more like a dying duck hurtling drunkenly through the air.

Life is pretty darn awesome with all these boys. Is it what I had envisioned for my life back when I was 15? Heck no. (Well, back then I was gonna marry Jared Leto from My So Called Life, so, whatever.) But honestly, I wouldn’t want to change a thing. Its fun, its loud, its messy, its beautiful. It rocks.

Aside

http://www.spdlife.org/symptoms/general.html

The above link is a list of the possible signs and symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder. If you clicked on it and actually read through the whole thing, congratulations. There went 15 minutes of your life you’ll never see again. That list is crazy long. Ridiculous.

But that’s what SPD is all about. Its a confusing disorder that many people have never even HEARD of. I know. I have it. When people ask what it is, I find it a tough question to answer. But here goes:

SPD for me is a blend of hyper-sensitivities to touch, sounds, smells, etc…. that are heightened in extreme ways when I am stressed. And most of those sensitivities exist even when I am totally calm and relaxed. Someone coming up behind me and tapping my shoulder to get my attention will cause me to react by basically jumping out of my skin. A dog licking my hand feels akin to a giant basketball-sized wad of slime being smeared across my skin. If music is playing loudly and a person is talking to me at the same time I cannot focus on the person speaking AT ALL. Its like chaos in my head. There are moments when the kids are talking and the tv is on and the kitchen sink water is running and the dog is barking and I literally stand in the middle of my kitchen with my fingers plugging my ears, breathing deep and slow, trying to stop the noise. Because in my head it all sounds like a deafening roar, all mashed together in this incomprehensible chaos of almost physical pain in my ears.

I can smell when the cat uses the litterbox from across the house. When the bathroom door is closed. The sizzle of the bacon in the frying pan sounds like the applause of a stadium. The click of the dogs claws going down the hall is obnoxiously loud. If the shower spray hits me directly in my face I feel like Im drowning. Somone splashing me at the pool with cold water feels like Im being stabbed with an Icicle. The clink of ice in someone glass and the sound of them gulping that drink…..those two sounds make me want to grab the glass from them and throw it out a window. The hum of the lights in a grocery store and that high pitched sound TVs make when they are turned on gives me a headache after awhile.

 

I’ve been told many times I am just being over-dramatic. If you have never dealt with SPD you cannot begin to understand. Its the most annoying way to live.

Clothing. I try on at least three outfits a day until I find something that feels right. Bra straps dig, shirts itch, jeans can be too tight around the waist……clothing drives me nuts. I tend to live in sports bras (no evil underwire stabbing me), tank tops (sleeves always sem to feel like they are way too tight and constricting), long flowing hippie skirts or yoga pants. Forget shoes. Shoes are torture. I prefer the appeal of barefeet. Which is the one way I am definitely NOT hyper-sensitive. I don’t mind the feel of grass or dirt or whatnot under my feet. I prefer it. Ive grown used to it. I wear shoes maybe once a month. And I despise them. Despise it too strong a word? No its really not. Its exactly how I feel. Shoes are torture devices.

Then, just for fun, throw SPD together with adult ADHD and OCD. That’s me. Me with all my odd idiosyncrasies. Issues. Oddities. Don’t mess with my fridge or pantry. That stuff is all organized in the most obnoxious way possible. By category AND by size. All labels facing forward, thankyouverymuch. There is a particular way to fold the laundry so for the love of god please don’t fold it. Im just going to unfold it and fix it myself. But more than likely that pile of clean laundry is going to turn into a mountain before I finally get it all folded and stacked in anal little piles. Because the ADHD will take over and Ill take off on a dozen different random rabbit trails. I always joke that having ADHD and OCD at the same time means everything in my house may look perfect, just not for very long. My teachers always sent notes home to my mom about my inability to “stay on task”. Yeah. That issue still exists.

Ive taught myself coping skills. I have  learned to write down stuff I need to do so my ADHD doesn’t make me forget it because it prefers me to remember useless crap from ten years ago. When my SPD attacks at full force I step outside alone and smoke a cigarette. I have triumphed with little things with the OCD but frankly I don’t mind that one so much. My house is surprisingly organized and tidy, especially considering I have 6 young boys. Turns out OCD can be a bit of a blessing.

So, yeah. Im a lil crazy. (Arent we all?) My boyfriend informed me last night I was “The good kind of crazy”. (This was after my OCD caused me to freak a bit while watching him organize my shelves in my bedroom. I let him do what he wanted, then came in behind him and “fixed” it.) Im not certain there IS such a thing as good crazy. But if there is, Im glad Im it. 🙂

So, who else deals with PITA stuff like this?

The GOOD kind of crazy

Money Can’t Buy Happiness (It can buy chocolate…and thats kinda the same thing)

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But seriously, money isn’t of much use as far as adding joy to your daily life. Some of the most self-focused, miserable souls are loaded down with so much cash they could use twenties as toilet paper and never notice a dent in their bank account. Some of the most content, joy-filled folks I have met have slim possesions and not much else to brag of. But what they do have is love. Peace. Laughter. Creativity. Family and friends. Faith.

That’s basically all it takes.

My family is poor by societies standards. And Ive ealt with plenty of people who have been ignorant in their understanding of my focus on life and they have given me advice like “Put the kids in daycare and go get a career.”

Thing is, I’m HAPPY.

Are there portions of my life I am working towards bettering and developing over time? Of course. Because I believe if you do not continue to learn and grow and evolve as a human, its pretty pointless for you to be here. But I refuse to waste my time embracing what society claims is important. I don’t give two craps about money, other than  eh fact that right now I need enough of it to cover the bills. (someday I’d love for us to be commune living so that can be done away with.) I know so many have been brainwashed into believeing the entire point of life is to get a degree sop you can work to pay money into corporations and the government until theday you kel over from stress and/or exhaustion. And by all means, PLEASE understand I in NO WAY support being lazy and expecting others to support me and my family. My ultimate goal is to be able to live off of the land. To grow my own food, o hunt the rest, to educate my children (I hold knowledge in very high esteem), to help others, to spread peace and love, to share what I know, to live in a community of like-minded souls where we can all lift eachother up as needed. That way of living is actually harder. There won’t be any strolling into a grocery store to buy foods. It will be hours of labor to grow and can and cook meals from scratch. Im not talking laziness here by any means.

What Im talking about is getting back to the nitty-gritty of living.

What does a family of 8 do with no vehicle and limited financial means?

Are we neglecting our children?

Not in the least. In fact, I think its pretty sad when parents toss video gaming consoles and computers at their kids intead of spending TIME with them.

Its all about time. That’s how you build relationship with your children and your significant other. Time together. Time to discuss differences, laugh, tickle, debate, read, dance, play…..

And that’s what we do.

Someone requested I blog about ideas to stretch a dollar and spend time with kids. So, here’s my list of the things we do as a family here. A lot of these things are stuff my own mother did with my brother and I when we were kids. She was a single mom. She has expressed regret in the past for her feelings that she somehow caused us to lack “stuff”. I don’t remember it that way though. What I hold dear to my heart from my childhood are thinsg like going to the beach with my mom, taking walks in the evening, sitting and listening to mom read The Hobbit aloud to us….those are the sorts of things I carried on in my own parenting as an adult.

My family is blessed to live in the mountains in a house with a big yard and a dirt road behind our house that leads to an old abandoned farmhouse that has a path behind IT that leads off into the woods. So, we do a lot of outdoorsy stuff. Football, basketball….any sort of ball out in the backyard. Frisbee. Badminton. sack races. (I found burlap sacks for really cheap on Amazon) We go on walks a lot. We go on hikes even more often. I grew up in the city up North so hiking is still a pretty new concept to me. Aside of the mosquitos and creepy spiders I find it pretty darn awesome. I strap thebaby into his sling and away we go. We find cool bugs (aside of those mosquitos and spiders I mentoned), my boys bring home treasures like pine cones and petrified mushrooms. (No, I don’t know why they are so scared.Ask them yourself) Nature is an amazing thing. We tend to forget that sometimes when we get caught up in the fast pace of life.

We do a lot of picnics too. Picnics are a great way to do a date as well, by the way. If youre ever lucky enough to get a sitter for the Littles and you need an idea for a free date. Picnics rock. 🙂

Outdoor activities that require movement and noticing the world around us are top of the list. But rainy days can throw a kink in those plans. In which case we let our creative juices flow. I adore Pintrest for giving me some realy groovy why-didn’t-I-think-of-that ideas for crafting or baking with my Littles. Even the 12 year old, who is quickly becoming “too cool” for many things, will willingly get down and dirty with some painting or clay making goodness. Google recipes for homemade playough, homemade paint, homemade chalk, etc….. Have the Littles MAKE their gifts for Fathers Day. Bake bread together. My boys LOVE kneading dough. They beat the CRAP outta that dough quite efficiently. They adore edible playdough. (Its peanut butter, honey, and powdered milk. Google it. Its fun to play with and yum as well.) We do fingerpainting on table tops or windows with shaving cream. We do scavenger hunts. We do kickboxing workouts and yoga together. (Even the 10 month old does a great “Downward Dog” pose) We read. That’s a big one. we read and read and read. I read stacks upon stacks of picture books to the younger ones. With voices and sound effects. Because that’s hwo my mom did it. I ead chapter books to all of them. All of them. I hear parents say they cant get their toddler to sit still. But if you make reading together a habit you begin at birth, you will be surprised to find they WILL sit. For a long time. The first time I read a book as a Mommy, my firstborn son was two days old in the NICU. Ive been reading aloud ever since. We all gather together in my room or in the older boys room and read chapters and chapters. The Wind In The Willows, The Little Prince, The Phantom TollBooth, Charlottes Web, Marley And Me……..I nurse thebaby to sleep as they listen. They always beg for “One more chapter!” Six rowdy boys sit still and read until I go hoarse.

Are there days my older boys whine a minute about some particular “thing” they want? Sure. Even with no television they still deal with commercialism all around them, sadly. Society still tries to break through and convince them that wants are actually needs. But at the end of it all, when my boys are men…..I believe they will look back and know without a doubt that they have value and that they are loved. That to me is far far far more important than any STUFF I could buy for them. THAT is my gift to them as their mother. Self-worth and love. If more parents gave those gifts to their children we would be far closer to obtaining world peace.