Monthly Archives: February 2015

RARE DISEASE DAY 2015

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wrdd

Today is the 8th Annual Rare Disease Day.

When I first began to do research on rare diseases I became quickly overwhelmed with the inundation of information. There are more rare diseases than I had ever even heard of. Many that I had because friends of mine live with them, many new ones I had to read up on to understand better because I had never known anyone with them in my own circle of peers. It is a fascinating subject, science and how the human body and brain work. I am an obsessive researcher at heart. What I quickly discovered was simply this encapsulation: one can never know what direction life will take. You can carry a child within you, filled with hopes and expectations, only to find out during a routine sonogram or at the birth, that this child will live with struggles and pain. You can live the first 2 decades of your life perfectly healthy mind and body and wake on one random normal Wednesday with one small random odd symptom and by the time you go to a doctor three weeks later you will be told your entire world is now upside down.

One of my dearest friends lives with rare diseases. Plural. She is one of the lucky ones who has been touched by rarity in more than one way. And I use the word “lucky” in a sarcastic way. Like, a  “This bullshit isn’t fucking fair at all” kind of way. In her younger years (and God knows she isn’t old now, she’s my age right now.) she was active. She was vibrant, healthy and filled with life. She ran track & field. She worked in social work. She served and played and lived. Fully. With ease. But over the past few years she has been in and out of a wheelchair. She has lived hours and days ebbing and flowing in and out with pain unimaginable.Pain so bad she would cry and her own tears on her face felt like searing burn. Laying in bed screaming because you are all out of options. Brain fog. Frustration. Her children in the other room being cared for by her phenomenal husband who has chosen this life out of his ferocious love for her, no matter how tough the journey may become. There are days she is prisoner to her own body. And then there are days she walks and plays and lives just fine. Days that pain is a shadow of a bitch that crouches in the corner and doesn’t bother her. She is my soul sister, my spirit animal, my hero on a million different good days and bad days both. And I can’t do a damn thing to help her. This is living with a rare disease, an invisible illness. This is loving someone who has a rare disease, a rare illness.

It is the parent I know who worries deep into the night for her teenaged son. He will be going away to college soon and it is with a mixture of pride and fear that she is preparing to send him off. He is incredible. Funny and kind and so smart. He has dealt with more than I ever have in my 35 years. He has fought his way through disappointments and pain and frustrations. He has always wanted to play basketball. But can’t. But ironically his disease makes him appear as if he should and could play, with his height and long limbs, so people who do not know jokingly ask him if he plays. It’s a slap in the face every time. He says “It feels like I’m being sucker punched every time someone asks me that.”   Tough for a kid. Dislocation of hips at school. And now this odd chest pain……and the EKG and blood tests come back inconclusive and his mom is scared. Because a few weeks ago I made mention of a friend of mine who had the same thing her son has and my friend passed away from complications of complications of the illness. An unlikely scenario to repeat in her son , but the worry remains.

It is the woman who lives daily with fear her kidneys may shut down. Symptoms of her struggle are painful. And can lead to death. Stress makes it worse. Imagine knowing stress can shut down your organs and lead to you leaving behind two young children as a single parent. Imagine knowing that fear every day.

It is the woman who some days gets up and goes to work and some days stays curled up in her bed like a pillbug biting her tears back and breathing through the pain that medicine doesn’t help. It is the man who used to make 3 figures and now lives alone in a small apartment with his wide array of pill bottle son the counter and his constant far that there will not be enough time, never enough time, before it all ends. He is only 6 years older than I am. I cannot imagine.

It is the woman who longs for the things she used to enjoy doing so much but now she must avoid those things for fear it will lead to serious injury. Something as simple as being around animals on a farm is now a danger because what if she passes out and gets trampled unseen? Consider that for a minute…..imagine a life where you cannot do certain thinsg if they require simply STANDING for too long because standing causes you to pass out. Constant pain. CONSTANT pain. Contemplate that for a moment. Dizziness. Moving slowly with caution so your joints stay in place where they belong. Loss of quality of life is what it is called. And what is life without quality?

It is still life.

It is life filled with screaming echoes and doctor tests and walkers and pain and pills and home healthcare aids and agony and fears and worries and one more funeral for one more friend and people looking at your child funny and someone asking “why is that man in that wheelchair, mommy?” and tubes in your throat keeping you breathing and a body in constant rebellion and a brain that used to be so able but now is caught in a fog and worries and another friend passes away………and another and another…..

Too many die as a result of rare diseases. And those who don’t are left to find their way through this spiderweb. It is an estimated 7,00 rare diseases that we know of. And out of those thousands, only around 400 have therapies in place for treatment. Rare means a whole lot of misinformation, ignorance and lack of understanding. This means lack of funding available for treatments and cures.

My desire is that you read this blog today and get a better understanding of the daily intricasies of living with a rare disease. That perhaps you can see a glimpse of yourself in the what-if of being one of these folks. Because the fact of the matter is, not one of these folks planned this or intended it to be their existence It can happen to anyone. If not to you, then to someone who you care more than anything about. I cried through writing this blog. Because the people I wrote about I  know and love. They are not statistics or labels. They are loved ones. They are dear friends, family members, the woman who will be my maid of honor in my wedding in a few months. They are my world. They matter so much to me. I wanted to put a face on some of these diseases and syndromes. You can Goggle symptoms yourself. Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Marfan Syndrom, Budd-Chiari Syndrom, Facial Hemiatrophy, Reye Syndrome, Tay-Sachs Disease, Sandhoff Disease………and more and more and more……Read. Learn. Imagine it is you. Be thankful it is not. Never take your healthy body and mind for granted for a single moment.  Donate. Raise awareness. Raise money.

Or, if it IS you, or your loved one or your friend, if you have danced with this demon personally and looked straight into it’s eye of fire and fear and pain and worry and frustration….if you know because you live it every single day, I applaud your courage. Your incredible bravery. Your phenomenal strength. And I wish you didn’t have to be so courageous and brave and strong every damn day of your life. Call it genetics. Call it fate. Call it shitty luck. Call it chance. It is like a tornado, touching down on one side of the street and demolishing homes and leaving tragedy in it’s  wake…..but the other side of the street is untouched, pristine and safe and whole.  If you are one the latter side, be grateful. Be part of the help in paving a way to healing. If you are on the former, please know  that you are not alone. That is the purpose for this day. World Rare Disease Day. Raise your flags. Bring awareness. Help find cures. There is always hope.

Day 5 Word Prompt Blog Challenge: Peaceful Parenting

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I have seven children.
I do not discipline with corporal punishment.
I do not make empty threats, bully, scream and yell.
My kids are not out of control brats.
They do chores. They help with younger siblings. They respect their father and myself.

It goes against what many people believe when I say I do not use physical force and yet my children are still well behaved.
I am not here to debate who is parenting right versus wrong. I am simply writing this blog to explain why I parent how I parent and how it works for my family.
I’m a Christian. And in that circle, spanking as discipline is touted as the correct way to raise a child. So I will start with that point. First of all “Spare the rod, spoil the child” is NOT EVEN IN THE BIBLE. It’s not. The closest one can find in the Christian bible is in Proverbs chapter 13, verse 24: a verse that says “He that spareth his rod, hateth his son but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” (King James Version) In the New International Version the verse translates as: “Whoever spares the rod, hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.”
Many folks take the verse at face value and assume a rod is a stick to beat with. But in the book of Proverbs the word shebet (rod) is used 5 times. We need to keep in mind that the book of Proverbs is a book of poetry and it does not neccesarily need to be taken in the literal sense of the word. In Psalms, we all know that popular group of verses that mention “Thy rod and thy staff comfort me.” In those verses is the same word “shebet” but it clearly is speaking about a tool of guidance and safety. Shepherds used rods and staffs while working out in the fields to keep their sheep from wandering astray and to protect them from wolves. They did not BEAT their sheep with the rod, they gently but firmly guided them. If we are honest with ourselves while studying the word of God we will see how violent that culture was historically. (example:they stoned adulterous women to death.) But Christ himself stepped forward and did away with that form of dealing with transgressions, did he not? You know the story where he stood up and said “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” If he was in opposition for corporal punishment of an adulterous adult woman, why in the world would he be in support of hitting small children? Perhaps we have been interpreting that verse incorrectly for far too long. A rod as a form of discipline, not cruel painful punishment.
At the end of the day it comes down to this for me. I cannot love, trust and worship a God who says it is acceptable practice to cause physical harm to a child. It is cruel. And my God is not cruel. He is firm and wise and holds me to high standards. But he is not cruel. I utilize wisdom in raising and guiding my children. My discipline is my rod my shebet. It is not a large stick to beat my children with.
The research is there. Statistically speaking, children who are raised with corporal punishment are more likely to grow up to be felons of violent crimes. I am not saying ALL children by any means. I am just saying the facts are there that violence begets violence. If a young child is taught that a proper penalty for a wrong doing is to hurt a person, they may grow up and feel justified to right wrongs physically themselves. I am not saying it happens to every person. I am saying the risk is higher. Just like every person who smokes will not get lung cancer but your risk goes up the more you smoke in comparison to a non smoker.
There has to be significant changes that take place in a child’s psyche when they are hit by a parent. It is pure logic. For the first few years of a child’s life they understand that their parent will be there to protect them. That parent keeps them safe 100%. Then all of a sudden one day that same parent inflicts pain. This causes confusion in a child’s way of understanding. Suddenly the dynamics have changed. Personally I have always found it a bit twisted that we teach our children to respect their privates and not let anyone touch nor see those certain body parts but then we hit them on one of those private areas. I was spanked one time as a young girl of 9 by my stepdad and I can honestly tell you I was more humiliated by the fact he spanked me on my butt than about any pain the spank might have inflicted. I was mortified and embarrassed. It was not a bare butt hit but it might as well have been by the way I felt during and after. Ashamed and confused. We are sending mixed messages to our children. My assumption is we encourage hitting on the fleshy buttocks because it leaves little to no marks. This rationale makes perfect sense to me because I was a victim of domestic violence for 4 years. I understand all too well the intricacies of abuse. Abusers go for the parts of a body that won’t show marks so easily or can be covered up by clothing. It is easy to not feel guilty if you don’t see the proof of your abuse.
The fact is, the long term effects of hitting a child are psychological, not physical. Marks on flesh fade away for the most part. But the changes that take place in our understanding of the world around us, about discipline and love and trust and security, are all morphed when we are hit by a person we fully trust. Don’t tell me it doesn’t. I can tell you with vivid clarity exactly the way I felt the very first time my ex husband shoved me down in the grass that day. He was never the man I fell in love with after that moment in my mind. Never. We are teaching our children by our actions.
I am raising 6 sons. And I have heard the argument a million times over. If I do not spank my sons, they will grow up to be out of control punks. Can you just IMAGINE? Six boys growing into hormonal raging teenagers in one house at one time??? It will be chaos and anarchy!
But yet…..
It isn’t.
My oldest son is 14 now. He is one of the most calm, focused, studious teenagers I have ever known. He is not rebelling. He is not up in my face yelling or throwing stuff or punching walls. He understands how to communicate his feelings, how to resolve conflict with patience and a matter-of-act attitude. I think he, at his age, is a wonderful testimony to the fact that a child CAN be raised in a loving home without violence as a threat of punishment and still carry all of the tools required to function in society without being a criminal.
My greatest hope is that this legacy is carried down to my grandchildren some day. That I can set a snowball in motion to ensure that my children are the kind of loving parents who know how to teach and discipline without becoming physically abusive and that they can raise children themselves who understand what true discipline IS: training, teaching, preparing for life.
Children do not learn the lessons desired by being hit. And if they manage to, it is in a roundabout way. I am teaching my sons that hurting another human being solves nothing and simply causes damage. My hope is that they will apply this concept to the rest of their journey.
I wish more people practiced empathy and peace in their daily lives. Imagine what this world would be like if we all did. Imagine a world where we were all taught as children to sit down and discuss differences in a respectful manner, where we could be taught the WHY behind the rules and come to respect the need for order and laws because we truly understood them, where communication is key and respect means being and giving not just receiving.
I want to live in that world. I am creating it for my children in our home.
World peace begins at home.

Day 4 Word Prompt Blog Challenge: CONTENTMENT

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Irony: Missing a day of blogging because you are so distracted and feeling obligated to tasks and at the end of the day you are kicking yourself in the butt because you have a to-do list ten miles long and have barely made a dent in it in a solid week and the stuff on the list is BIG STUFF and you basically sucked as a productive human being today and you failed and you didn’t even blog and what the heck was the word prompt anyway?
Oh.
Look at that.
Contentment.
Oxford dictionaries defines contentment as: A state of happiness and satisfaction.

So. I can sit here and tell you how overwhelmed I am with wedding planning or how frustrated I am with myself for not helping my son more with his reading work or how I didn’t work out at all today or how the dog STILL needs a bath…..But how about no. How about instead, I focus on what creates a sense of contentment in my heart?
My list of 30 random things that have recently brought a sense of contentment to my spirit. Which is a really big deal when you are a type-A, OCD, anxiety, aspie. Trust me. Letting go and just being in a moment can be tough for me. But I am learning. Because peace, love. joy and contentment are delicious.
1) The way Lucy smiles wide and her eyes roll back all silly when she throws herself back over and over in my arms.
2) The way Drezdyn says Good morning
3) A snoring dog on my lap.
4) The birds singing outside of my bedroom window
5) warm grass under my bare feet
6) he smell of fresh baked bread
7) when Justin comes home
8) coloring in my Hello Kitty coloring book
9) coffee in the morning
10) the still silence of 2 a.m.
11) reading a good book in a hot bubble bath
12) a ice cold beer while soaking up the sun in my backyard in a lawn chair
13) my children all eating a healthy, vegetarian meal that I prepared for them
14) feeling safe in my own home
15) a letter from my Gram
16) the painting on my daughters wall of the mermaid mama nursing her merbaby
17) Lucy sleeping on my chest
18) laughing with my sons
19) holding hands in the theatre with Justin
20) taking baths with my merbaby
21) snuggling with Justin after lovemaking
22) my son Aidan giving me a foot rub
23) sitting at the park feeding Lucy and watching my boys play
24) the neighbor kids knocking on the door asking if my sons can come out to play because I know we are in a good place now.
25) an afternoon nap on the couch under my electric blanket
26) looking at my engagement ring on my finger
27) dancing
28) complaining out loud how my dog Sasha is such a pain always being up my butt but secretly savoring how loyal she is.
29) Roses in a vase by my bed
30) My bathroom cabinet stocked with all of my own products and knowing I am living my dream step by step

There is far too much to be content about. Why bother wasting time berating myself for not being perfect. I never wanted perfection in life. I simply wanted happiness. And I damn sure have it. And I am unbelievably thankful for all of the not-so-small things that draw me to a place of contentment.
So, what’s on YOUR list?

Day 3 Word Prompt Blog Challenge: LAUNDRY

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laundry

If there is one thing I know, it is laundry.

Back in 1998 when I lived alone I would tromp down the 3 flights of stairs (ugh) in my apartment building where I lived alone with my 2 loads of laundry and dutifully wash and dry them in the basement machines. And I complained about that chore. Because laundry sucks. I did this chore every 2 weeks.

I. Did. Two. Loads. Every. Fourteen. Days. And. Bitched. About. It.

Ever just wanna go back in time to your past self and smack her/him in the back of the noggin?

Fast forward seventeen years later. Seven kids in. One in cloth diapers with cloth wipes. Another in cloth diapers at night. One that wets the bed. We use Family Cloth instead of toilet paper. Cloth “hankies” as my Gram calls them, instead of tissues, rags instead of paper towels, cloth napkins,…..Six boys who wrestle in grass, ride bikes through puddles, play soccer in mud and simply demolish clothes, and a baby girl who is a master at grass-staining the knees of all of her pants and tights. My 1 load a week has become 3-5 loads per day. Yes. I am serious. All of you who complain about your 3-5 per week…shut your dirty mouths. My life is laundry. I never see the end. My machines are going all day long. Let’s shoot low, below reality, and say I “only” do three loads per day. In one year, my washer and dryer have done almost 2,000 loads. On top of that, is folding and put away time. the older boys do their own but that still leaves 4 kids, two adults, plus linens, towels, diapers, etc.. I put in approximately 3.5 hours per week simply folding and putting it all where it goes. That’s 182 hours a year folding clean clothes and putting that shit away. That’s 7.5 DAYS of my year every single year folding clothes and putting away. OVER A WEEK OF MY LIFE.

So, my point here is twofold, clearly. (twofold….hehehe..pun intended? mayhaps.) Anyhoozle: 1) If you ever plan on having 7 babies and being environmentally and health conscious and using cloth products for everything, join a damn nudist colony. It’ll save you a whole ton of time and money, and 2) I know a thing or two about doing laundry. Lame? Maybe But maybe I can pass on a little wisdom to you. Say, ……a detergent recipe?

This is the detergent recipe I have used for the past 4 years. And I SWEAR by it. It gets clothes flawlessly clean without any residue left over and no harsh chemicals. For more info on the most common ingredients and risk factors of prolonged exposure in most commercially sold clothing detergents you can check out this link:

http://www.diaperjungle.com/detergent-ingredients-glossary.html

My recipe is safe even for sensitive skin and infant clothing/diapers.

And cost wise: it costs $17.50 to make enough to wash  512 small/average sized loads or 256 large/heavily-soiled loads. That averages out to about 3 cents per load. In comparison, here is rundown of the lowest prices of some of the most popular powdered detergents and how many loads they wash per box:

  • Cheer-$10.97-80 small loads
  • Tide-$17.97-102 small loads
  • Gain-$19.47-150 small loads
  • Sun-$9.97-177 small loads
  • Oxi-Clean-$10.84-92 small loads

So, as you can see, the homemade stuff is better for the environment, better fr you an your loved ones, and much nicer to your wallet.

Homemade Laundry Detergent (Powdered)

Need:

2 boxes of washing soda (55 oz. each)

1 small box baking soda (16 oz.)

1 bar Fels Naptha, grated (it’s a soft bar soap and grates very easily.)

1 box borax (76 oz.)

All you have to do is mix all of the ingredients together. Voila!  And all you need to do is use 1 Tablespoon per load. (2 for large loads) So, if you do 1 large load daily, you can expect this stuff to last you about 8 1/2 months. Not too shabby for less than $20! Don’t expect lots of suds nor a strong perfumey scent. It simply CLEANS. If you prefer, you can add about 10 drops of tea tree oil and 15 drops of your favorite essential oil. (I use lavender. )

So, there is my laundry wisdom, imparted on you mere mortals of the laundry universe. Take, make, wash, and enjoy. 🙂

Day 2 30 Day Word Prompt Challenge: SNOW

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I know, I know. You’re sick of snow. I see your photos, your comments on Facebook. Winter has been dumping so much icy freezing white stuff on you and you are totally over it. I get it. I really do. I am a New Englander born and bred. I’ve driven in blizzards, gone out to play in 6 foot high snowbanks, layered my clothes and put plastic grocery bags on my feet under my boots.Snow was simply a part of my life. For half of the year.

I have lived all over the place. I just happened to luck out to at least be someplace with a dusting of snow a couple times in the winter at least. Until now.

Texas is fabulous. I am loving the fact that while friends and family and bunkered down or braving the miserable cold and unrelenting snowfall, I am hanging out on my deck barefoot in a sundress. I love the fact that I have flowers blooming in pots and my children are outdoors playing and enjoying the sunshine. It’s nice.

But it’s not home. And I find myself missing home. A lot. I find myself missing snow. Maybe not wishing for feet and feet to drop from the sky. But a few inches sure would be nice. It just isn’t winter. Christmas was odd this past year. We didn’t celebrate in December. We were waiting for tax return time since we used our holiday money on a new house and buying gifts for 2 families in need. It wasn’t the lack of holiday traditions I found I was missing though. It was the lack of SNOW. I kept telling Justin, “it’s so WEIRD.” I told him I missed the crunchcrunchcrunch of walking through the snow. He told me he has never walked crunchcrunchcrunch through snow. Ever. In his whole life. The fact makes me want to cry a little.

So, maybe you are sick and tired of snow. I understand.

But I miss it. I wish my children could go outside in their ridiculously puffy snowsuits and clompy boots. I wish I could throw snowballs with them and take photos of them with snowflakes in their hair and on their eyelashes. I wish I could just stand out in the snow and listen to the way it blankets the world in a muffled soft silence. I miss that crunchcrunchcrunch under my feet.

Anyone wanna mail me a snowball?

Day 1 Word Prompt Blog Challenge: BREATHE

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I just laid my newborn son down on the chair in the livingroom. I am 6 paces away in the hallway, flat on my back, my hands trying to peel his fingers off of my throat. I can’t breathe. My toddler and preschooler sons are a few feet away, in the doorway of their bedroom. I always thought it I was choked like this one of two things would happen. Either I would summon the werewithall and kick someone square in the balls, gaining my breath back. Or I would panic and flail and struggle and die. Neither happens. Instead, I continue to try to get his steel fingers off of my throat and somehow, despite the fact I cannot breathe, I find my voice (in a whisper, barely a voice at all) and I plead “My babies, my babies, my babies.” I am trying to break through to him, his face a contorted mask of rage, I am trying to remind him that my young children are right there. I am not panicked except for that, that my children will watch me die and carry that with them. I am less afraid of the fact I am sure I am going to die right now and far more afraid of what it will do to my babies.
Finally he lets me up, just as the world around me starts to funnel outwards and turn black. I am sobbing on the floor. He leaves. I am alone. With my children. Still here.
I do not recall what motivated him to do that. All I know is I did not call the police that day. The mark of a good abuser is to be able to manipulate the abused into believing it is all HER fault. I am sure I smartmouthed or burnt something or made eye contact with a man at a store. Whatever it was, it warranted him trying to kill me. And my brain had become so twisted at that point that I blamed myself and was grateful he had let go, gotten up, walked away, and given me back my breath. As if it was a gift from him, this ability to breathe. I recall how scary it was, later, within a half hour, when my whole throat swelled from the inside and I could hardly breathe or swallow and I thought “What if I have to go to the hospital? Then they will know.”
Know what? That I am a bad girlfriend. That I deserved it. That I fucked up.

This is the beginning of a story. And the ending.
This is how being abused feels. Like a whirlwind of blame within yourself and it very rarely dawns on you that it might just be his fault as well. Or in entirety, actually. That the reasonable reaction to not making dinner on time or being friendly to the male cashier or having a bad day and acting like a bitch is NOT to hit/stomp/punch/bite/choke/shove. I would not allow my toddler to behave in such a way.
This is a small glimpse into my past. Into where I came from And the fact I will always know what it feels like to not be able to breathe and believe, be 100% CONVINCED you are going to die on this day. If nothing else, death does not scare me so much anymore. Leaving my babies does though.
This is also the rest of my story.
The fact I have not had a mark on me from a man in 2 years now. 2 years. I used to have at leats one mark on me every day. A scrape, a bruise, a bump. Always something. 2 years is an amazing amount of time to be walking around without any marks on my flesh. It has been 6 years since that day. I have been breathing every single day since that one took place.
I am still here. I am still breathing. Sometimes my breathing gave way to sobs. Sometimes my breathing helped me laugh out loud. My breathing helps me sing to my baby daughter. My breathing gets faster when I make love to my fiancé. My breathing is harder when I am sick and the my sweet son brings me a cup of tea and some cold medicine. I can smell the flowers in the vase on the counter. I can hold my breath and swim underwater at the ocean on our family vacation and burst back up into the sunshine and see my love (the one who never put marks on me and never will.) holding the toddler and laughing in the waves and there at the shore my oldest son holds the baby and the others are there in the sand building castles and cities and I am grateful grateful deeply grateful to be here in this moment. In every moment this life has to offer.
This is living. And I am doing it. Not just surviving, but thriving. Planted someplace new now, blooming.
Breathing deep.
Take a look around. This is home. This is family. I am safe. Take a look around. And BREATHE.

If you, or someone you care about, is currently in a domestic violence relationship of any type (male or female, abuse knows no gender.) and you or a friend/family member need help, please call The Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) This number is open, free and available 24-7. You can also go to http://www.thehotline.org/.

A Puke-In-Your-Own-Mouth Blog

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I gross my kids out as often as possible.
That’s no easy feat considering six of my seven spawns happen to be boys. And anyone who knows boys knows they tend to revel in atrocious ick as often as possible.
I can’t fight fire with fire by dropping down to heir with bodily functions and bugs and squirrel skulls and armpit fart. (sigh.)
Nope, instead I kick it up a notch.
I love my fiancé.
Voila.
No, seriously. That’s it. I kiss him lots. An obnoxious amount. I kiss him hello and goodbye. I kiss him when he goes to the store or to the coffee shop. I kiss him when I leave the room to go make lunch. I kiss him because he looks sexy in a suit and sexy in his Superman pajama pants. I hold his hand while he drives and in church. I hug him when he brings home a new outfit for Lucy. I snuggle with him on the couch while we watch family movies. I tell him I love him while we are out to eat as a family. I tell him I love him in love notes that I stick in his lunch cooler or in the pocket of his work pants or on the dashboard of his car. I wash his clothes and fold the and stack them neatly on his shelves so he doesn’t have to search for work shirts or socks. I make him lunches and breakfasts and dinners to take to work, with special little snacks and homemade meals. Each night I wash out his tupperwares and re-pack his cooler. I thank him for being such a good man. I tell him how wonderful he is, what an amazing father he is, how much I respect and admire the man he is and the man he is becoming. I sit at his feet and rub them when he has had a long day at work. I give him shoulder rubs. I run him baths. I bring him a towel warm from the dryer for after his shower. I serve him his meals when he is at home to eat them. I pour his drinks, bring him a cold beer, help take his boots off.
I do these things out of pure love. And many of them my children see. And all those kisses and snuggles, they might go ewwwwwwww. But the fact is, what they are seeing is love lived out loud. Healthy love. A give and take.
I am no feminist. Never have been.
It gives me joy to make him happy. To show him in all of these small simple ways that he is loved.
So many women like to complain about their men not showing them affection, not being romantic, etc. I have learned that in giving I receive.
Because it is certainly not one-sided by any means.
He shows me how I loved I am all of the time. He kisses me and holds me and whispers sweet things in my ear. He comes home with flowers or small gifts. Things that don’t cost too much but show that he really knows the little things that can make me happy. Hello Kitty coloring books and crayons. A huge stuffed elephant. my favorite candy. He tells me to dress up and takes me out to the ballet, the concert, concerts, restaurants. He takes me clothes shopping. He knows I hate mornings so he gets up before me to go get me a Starbucks drink or make me a coffee at home. Holds open doors and opens car doors for me. Leaves me little love notes on my laptop or in the kitchen by the coffeepot. He rubs my feet, reads my blogs, tells me how awesome the house looks everyday, tells me my meals are delicious tells me I am beautiful.
This is love lived out loud as well. And the kids see it.
What are we doing, besides making our children fake gag in their own mouths every time we sweet talk and kiss? Are we just out to gross them out?
No. Not really. That just happens to be an added perk.
What this is truly about is showing them what real true healthy love is all about. Love lived out loud every single day. Because I want my sons to see how Justin treats e and take mental notes. I want them to woo a girl someday in the old fashioned way. To show her respect, to treat her like a princess. To take that extra time to write a sweet love notes. Not just SAY the words I love you, but really SHOW that love. I want them to see how I treat him in return and settle for nothing less than a girl who will likewise show her love and resect him. I don’t want them settling for some girl who demands they spend money on her but never reciprocates the gestures in any way themselves. There should be no doubt that you are cherished and valued when you are in a relationship.
And my daughter, she will be watching Daddy very closely. I want her to go out into the world someday and find a man who will hold open doors and respect her words and hold her when she is scared and praise her when she needs courage. I want her to refuse to settle for a man who only has intentions to make himself happy at her expense. And I want her to watch how I do this, this marriage thing. How I honor the man I love with my actions and attitude. How easy it is to get a man to return romance by BEING romantic.
Romantic relationships are not 50-50. Ever. Not if you want it to be strong solid down to it’s core. Romantic relationships require 100-100 effort from both people. You get up every single day with the intention of living love out loud. And then you DO it.
We have our little stupid arguments. Although those really only occurred when my PPD was at it’s worse and now once in a while we have a small one if he is overtired from working so many days in a row or I am lacking nicotine or coffee. For the most part we have learned to perfect this dance of give and take and keep rowing onward up the stream and loving each other every single day. To take the challenge to SHOW each other how much the other matters to us from moment to moment. In small, simple ways. Ways that perhaps gross the kids out in the process.
I call that a win-win-win, really.