May 2015

To The Dimples on the Backs of My Thighs

by Priscilla on May 16, 2015

Hey there,

You seem to like me…a lot.

For the past 30 some years I’ve tried to get rid of you, and you appear not to take the hint. I’ve run miles and miles while you’ve tagged along. I’ve swum in chlorine and salt water for hours and hours, and you are always right there waiting for me whenever I yank off my cap in exhaustion. I’ve had to double and sometimes triple up on bathing suits because they’ve worn thin…but you don’t. You remain the same.

Depending on my age and life circumstances my weight and clothes size has fluctuated from 4-12 and now back to a steady 6.  I’m ok with 6. You don’t seem to notice my size or my weight though, dear Dimples on the Backs of My Thighs. I thought you’d leave and run away, but you’ll have none of that. You are faithful if nothing else.

I’m stronger now than I’ve ever been, and yet, I try to box jump, wall ball and kettle ball snatch you away, but nothing doing. I sprint. I pedal. I push press. I row. I mow. And you are with me.

Quite frankly you are becoming something like a psalm written about God. Always right there. A part of me. Not going anywhere.

And so, today I’m making my peace with you. You’ve hung around a long time so clearly you like me. Maybe it’s time I like you back. You remind me I’m human. You, along with your cousins, The Spider Veins, gently point out that I’m a woman of a certain age and with that age brings wisdom. I see you seem to like a lot of my girlfriends as well, so I’m in good company.  

I supposed I could pay someone to suck you out of my life, but that seems a bit ridiculous at this point. I mean, I think you’ve won the right to be heard. 

Someday you’ll want to meet my daughters. Like me, they may not like you much at first, but hang in there. They are stubborn like their mother. When the time comes, I’ll put in a good word for you.

TIS.

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A Prayer for Children of Divorce

by Priscilla on May 12, 2015

This past weekend God in His graciousness reminded me that not only do adults going through divorce hurt…so too do the children involved, and because I’m a Mom, it’s my job to stand in the gap, not just for my girls, but for all the children out there, young and old affected by divorce.

Dear God,

I’m a mom, and I’m terrified. I don’t use that word lightly, God. On the outside people see something other than what is roiling around inside of me. I heard words like strong, confident and resilient when people tell me what they see. But you see my mind and my heart. You know my innermost being, and you know…you know how angry and scared and pained I am for my daughters now that they have to now be Children of Divorce. I don’t know what to do with all of these emotions, so I’m just going to be honest with you and cry out to you on their behalf.

Dear God, please guard their eyes. Help them to recognize that everyone else and every other family has their struggles too -that what they see isn’t always what is true, and not to judge their situation by the situation of others. Open their eyes to the beauty of the world around them…for there is beauty to be seen every day. Every.Single.Day.

 Dear God, please guard their ears. Especially when in my anger and loneliness and exhaustion, I let things slip out that shouldn’t.

Dear God, please guard their mouths. Don’t let them be like me, God. Just don’t. Please.

Dear God, please guard their ears. Keep them from hearing conversations between adults that could hurt or harm them more than they already are. Give them good things to hear instead…loads of good things like music, and laughter and instruction and wisdom.

Dear God, please guard their hands. May they always be hands that do good. Always. Even when they don’t feel like it.

Dear God, please guard their feet. I can’t always be there now to guide them like I could in the past. Take them only to the places that are best for them. And when they are tempted to walk down a path that isn’t in their best interest, show them a different trail. A better one. There’s always a better one, God.

Dear God, please guard their minds. Guard them from doubt and despair and depression. I know you can use these emotions as vehicles to perfect us, just please don’t allow them to go down any path of any one emotion that they can’t handle. Instead fill their minds with HOPE. Did you see that, God? I wrote it in all caps so there’s no mistaking what I’m asking for here.

Dear God, Please guard their hearts. Repair the damage done by parents who have let them down. Fill those closed off parts that I can’t see and don’t know about with Your love -the love that transforms.

Finally, God, please guard their spirits. This world is a hard place, and this divorce has just made it a lot harder on my girls at a much younger age than I ever experienced. Don’t let this experience break them. Don’t let it set them back. Don’t let it keep them from being and doing all the great things I KNOW you have for them to Be and Do. God, never for a moment have I doubted they are here to do something BIG, but God, I just don’t know how it will happen. I’m angry…so angry because they deserve so much better than this big pile of shit that’s been dropped on them. I prayed and prayed and prayed for this family to remain intact.

And you shut the door, God. You SLAMMED it hard in my face.

 People tell me trite things like God has something better planned for you or You have to trust that God sees the whole picture, and In the end you are better off. God, can I admit something? I mean you know it anyway so I might as well say it out loud. God, when I hear those things from people who have no idea what it’s like to be walked out on, I just want to throat punch them.

Dear God, please help me not to throat punch people when I feel the urgeeven when they deserve to be throat punched.

So, God, you and I are going to wrestle. A long time. I’m going to put Jacob to shame with my wrestling skills, because all he was worried about was his brother. I’m worried about my girls, God. Daughters trump brothers any day.

 God, I know they aren’t they only ones, so I’m putting this out there for all the kids going through divorce right now. Hold them.Protect them. Guide them. Love them. Love Them.

LOVE.THEM.

Amen.

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Reality Bites….and so does lice.

by Priscilla on May 11, 2015

This past weekend I attended a fantastic fundraiser for a cause near and dear to one of my oldest and dearest friend’s heart…The Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital St. Vincent House. Her little girl is one of the stars of the video. Take a look will you?

I’d been looking forward to it for months. I’d sweated, run, Crossfitted and Paleo’ed my way into a stunning red size 6 cocktail dress for the occasion. The evening lived up to expectations as I sat with some fascinating conversationalists. Peyton Manning mastered the ceremonies, and Dierks Bentley entertained the heck out of the crowd.

Dierks Bentley

I touched his finger…or maybe I should say he touched mine. Yes, I think that’s how I’ll phrase it.

The concert’s highlight transpired when Mr. Manning materialized onstage to sing Folsom Prison Blues (very badly) with Mr. Bentley. I’d like to think Johnny himself was looking on and laughing.

I ran into my childhood neighbor and friend, Andy, whom I haven’t seen for year. As great as it was to share the room with lots of big wigs and celebrities, running into an old pal topped my evening’s pleasure.

And then the clock struck midnight. My four inch heels came off, my eyeliner smeared and my Spanx started burst at the seams. Back to reality. I woke up the next morning, canceling my breakfast plans to see one of my favorite nephews while in town in order to drive the three hours back to my girls…but not before running out for coffee…Heather’s coffee maker broke…this was a sign of things to come. Good things never happen AFTER the coffee maker breaks. 

For as I sat at the kitchen table sipping God’s Elixir, Heather’s sister who was in town to babysit for the gala announced, Your daughter, has lice. Actually, she didn’t announce it. She coaxed Heather out into the garage acting as if she had a life altering secret to reveal like a terminal illness, and there she whispered the dreaded news.

Lice! That’s all? She whispered back to her sister. I can handle lice.

Brother #1 couldn’t. Well, that’s it! Now we’ll all get it. You get lice just by being in the room with someone who has it. I can’t go in the play room now. She was just in there. Brother #1 has a touch of Frank Constanza in him.  I think he’d confused lice with biblical leprosy and might as well have marched through the neighborhood shouting Unclean! Unclean! and called the local rabbis to come perform a purifying ceremony. We tried to convince him that he was overreacting, and that this wasn’t the case, but to no avail. By the time I left, he was donning a Hazmat Suit and taping yellow quarantine tape around the perimeter of their property.

#Brother 2 opened the refrigerator door looking for something to eat.

Heather and I drove to the store where we hunted for lice treatment acting more like embarrassed teenagers looking for the condom aisle. We made eye contact with no one while circling the drug store twice before I swallowed my pride, marched to the front of the store and queried, Where are your lice treatments? and then experienced The Walk of Shame back to aisle #7. For the record, condoms are on Aisle 8. Also for the record there are approximately 4,938 kinds of lice treatments all costing $39.99 and all with directions printed in Times New Roman size .5.

We grabbed a box of lice treatment stuff and  picked up some reading glasses on our way to the front counter. As we paid the bill, we listened to another customer regale the check out girl with stories of her gifted children both of whom started talking before age one and now at the age of three her oldest’s tech company was going public the next day.

That’s fascinating. I cooed. Her kid has lice. I shared, waving a big box of lice treatment in the air. We paid and ran out.

Back home Son #2 remained in front of the open refrigerator door.

Heather can handle lice, but her daughter didn’t get the memo. Turns out like most kids, the star of the video doesn’t like to be poked and prodded much, because, let’s face it,  if the first three months of your life are spent being poked and prodded and stared at and weighed and measured and tested, you get a little testy come nit picking time.

It became clear after three seconds into the lice treatment, that since I was a Lice Expert, it would be better for everyone involved if I treated Little Sister’s lice. Twin B once discovered a louse in her hair, bagged it, did an online search and then came downstairs to announce, I have lice. (THIS is what gifted kids looks like. Not someone who jabbers away before his or her first birthday. Gifted kids discover their own head lice when their slacker mothers take no notice whatsoever).

Plus as all we moms know, we are all much nicer to our friends’ children than we are our own and vice versa. Also, it’s the least I could do as payback for getting to touch Dierk’s finger the night before.

So the three of us sat in the garage going over Little Sister’s head with a fine tooth comb, watching the neighborhood boys play basketball in the driveway. (Son #1 still gave us wary looks.) Heather and I entertained ourselves with the idea that we should start a monkey rental company, and place monkeys in cages in CVS so people can rent them to pick out the nits much like you can rent a carpet cleaner from Meijer. This would be much easier than trying to comb through a feisty seven year old’s thick blond hair. We started outside and then after 45 minutes moved inside for a change of scenery.  30 minutes later, I declared Little Sister lice free…or at least we’d see in seven days. Just to be sure, we covered her hair in hair gel and wrapped it all up in pink Saran Wrap for 20 or so minutes to smother any other signs of life.

About this time Husband #2 (Years ago Heather divorced and remarried…not a bigamist…I should probably clarify.) returned home with a brand new ski boat he’d purchased. He shared his exciting news, and we returned with ours, and then the whole family went outside to climb around in the new boat including the Son #1 in his Hazmat suit and Little Sister with pink Saran Wrap on her head. Son #2 closed the refrigerator door and headed outside to see what all the fuss was about.

At this happy family scene, I bid my adieu and made my way north to my home complete with its dandelion ridden yard, nit free (for now) children, two crabby cats and one overly excited dog.

Cinderella is back home among her people.

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Twins A, B, their Thinks She’s A Triplet Friend and I pulled out of our drive way this morning, and headed to church down our quiet, idyllic street that’s coming alive with the full blooms of spring. Our neighborhood this time of  year looks like something out of a Town and Country magazine. Except for our house….our house looks like the Addams family moved in and set up shop.

Dandelion Manor

I’m trying to start a national campaign called, “All the cool kids purposefully grow dandelions in their front yards.”

We passed our neighbor’s house two doors down and much to my dismay, I saw it was covered, and I mean COVERED in toilet paper. My heart sank. Not because kids pull pranks. (Although, has the younger generation never heard of forking? Seriously, it’s much more fun. You can spell out messages. It leaves a mess owners can clean up in a snap, and bonus, someone gets a lot of free plasticware for upcoming summer fetes.) But because I know the owner is a single mom who, while a gracious, successful professional, raising beautiful, talented daughters, has walked a path similar to mine and doesn’t deserve a Mother’s Day gift such as this.

By unanimous vote, it was decided our cars’ occupants would return from church to help clean up the mess. By clean up, I mean the girls would go over with trash bags, and I would  write about it.

Ironically, the pastor’s sermon today reminded me that the phrase God helps those who help themselves isn’t found in the Bible…anywhere. Be Kind to One Another is. Along with Forgive One Another. Comfort One Another. And Encourage One Another. We aren’t supposed to do this thing called Life alone. One Another, People. One Another. 

So, while TIS in her natural impulsive state wanted to write and tweet word like dumbass, dips***s and d-bags about whoever did this to my neighbor’s house, the Good Thing She Went To Church This Morning, TIS decided it better to use this opportunity to show her kids how the whole Love Thy Neighbor thing works. Did I mention while at church, the clouds opened and poured forth rain…much rain? The kind of rain that can really discourage an owner of a  TP’ed house that much more.

So, they came home, changed, and headed down the street… Love thy neighbor

where they commenced to Love One Another.

My faith story ends with Love Wins. Sometimes folks on my team, myself included, get caught up in that final scene with all its glory and trumpets (literally) that we forget our Leader expects us to practice up with little Love Wins scenes each and every day, and tells us He isn’t coming back until we’ve spread the message of Love to everyone, everywhere.

And sometimes, that starts with our neighbors…the literal ones.

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A Girl and Her Gun

by Priscilla on May 7, 2015

I went to the gun range the other day with one of my BFF’s…and the Former Mr. TIS.

No, don’t worry. The Former Mr. TIS and I aren’t rekindling anything, especially romance. It’s just that I now bear a bigger responsibility in protecting the safety of our children since he’s moved out, and since I’ve never heard of anyone literally being talked to death, I’m going to have to do more than run my mouth on an intruder if my house is ever broken into.

(Before I continue, I realize guns and gun ownership is a hot button issue. I get it. I get arguments on both sides , but here’s the deal. It’s my life. I’m going to do what I have to do to protect my children. When you’ve walked a mile in my shoes, you can judge me, otherwise just butt the hell out if you don’t like what you are about to read. I really don’t care if you don’t agree with me…and I say this in all Christian love.)

Why go shooting with the Former Mr. TIS? Simple. He’s cheap.  The gun range charges $60 for an hour of instruction. Mr. TIS charges for ammo.  Tuesdays is Ladies Free Day.  Do that math, and there you have it. Also he’s a West Point Grad, Airborne, Air Assault, Expert Infantry Badge yada, yada, yada there are lots of ribbons and bars on my uniform veteran of the US Army. (I think that last sentence explains why I didn’t make the list of Top 10 Officers Wives to Emulate. While my friends were busy learning ranks and awards, I was checking out the latest Mary Higgins Clark novel from the post library and trying to figure out how to get out of going to the next battalion formal.)

Why go shooting with a BFF? Simple. She wants to learn to shoot too. Her dad’s a former Chicago cop.  She figures if I can deal with the Former Mr. TIS, so can she, but she did warn him that she’s Italian so he needs to tread lightly and watch his back for the next year….or two…or 10.  I have THE BEST badass girlfriends.

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We spent about an hour at the range trying out different hand guns. She’s better shooting a Glock 9MM than I am. I prefer the smaller, single action revolver. The double action takes too long to pull back, and I don’t have time for that nonsense if someone’s trying to come through the back door. I have to give it to the Former Mr. TIS, he’s a great instructor. Very patient. Very thorough.

We shot at a pink asexual hanging paper target because I guess pink is fun for the ladies. Next time I’m going for the Scary Dude Comin’ Atcha target. Once we got comfortable, we hit the “10” circle and the bullseye more than we expected to. The Former Mr. TIS told us women make better marksman because we have a more healthy respect for shooting than men do in general. (The Former Mr. TIS shows  a hell of a lot more sense as a shooting instructor than he ever did as a husband…and I say that in all Christian love.)

I didn’t take any pictures as I was too busy shooting to worry about social media. My BFF took a picture of her target to prove to her husband she has skills. I tried to convince her that she needed to take the target home and hang it on her refrigerator as a reminder to him that he needs to behave.

I’m not going to lie, I like marksmanship. I like shooting bows and arrows. I like shooting guns. And now after one lesson and the fact that the third season of Longmire is on Netflix, I think I’m ready to trade in my nice little SUV hybrid for a dusty, beat up Bronco, buy some cowboy boots, shop for a pair of Wranglers and create a profile on DateACowboy.Com.

…or maybe I’ll just drink a glass of Cab while  looking over my girls’ 5th grade homework assignments, spend some time on Pinterest and call it a night because let’s face it, at the end of the day, while I’d like to picture myself as one half of Thelma and Louise, my friends will remind me that I’m still the girl who got ham salad stuck in her eyebrows in middle school lunch and owes the library $2.45 in overdue book fees.

 

 

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