You Pray And You Pray And You Don’t Realize Your Prayer Was Already Answered…

This post was recognized at BlogU as Term Paper of the Year in Women’s Studies. My BlogU roommate was kind enough to capture the video of my reading. Enjoy.

When you’re nine years old, the Grade School Powers That Be separate the girls and boys into different classrooms and begin an annual ritual of education that continues for several years. Girls learn all about getting their first periods, weird hair growth, and unusual body odor. Boys, I can only assume based on my experience, learn about making fun of girls, making fun of each other, and how to change a tire. I think.

After watching an embarrassingly long video about a girl who played Little Orphan Annie on Broadway and her first period, we were given all sorts of pamphlets to bring home to our mothers, including an order form for a giant box o’ lady things…you know, like a period sampler pack. Obviously, I shoved these papers into the depths of my cluttered locker, never to be seen again (until locker clean out day).

Of course, the mom-network message arrived via telephone a few days later, when my mother called me down to lecture me and cry about how I didn’t talk to her about this very important day at school. “You never tell me anything,” she complained.

In my head, all I could think of was my dad’s favorite line, Telephone, telegraph, tell-a-Nudd. Nudd being the collective whole of my mother, her sisters and her mother. As soon as one of them knew something, the world knew. Mass communication that ran faster than I could possibly imagine—probably faster than the internet. I knew that the minute I told my mom anything, the world would know. And this whole period nonsense? Totally embarrassing. I wanted nothing to do with it…until I was in middle school.


For months, I prayed to get my first period. I begged God to let me be like the other girls. This is the crazy thing that happened when he answered my prayer.

When I was eleven, I was already among the very unpopular, invisible kids in middle school, but my best friend in the whole world was a cool kid. And I wanted to be just like her. I distinctly remember when all of my childhood friends started to get their periods. They talked about it like it was a special club that only girls who had been visited by Aunt Flo could be a part of.

And so I prayed. Like the good little Catholic girl that I was, I said my prayers every night. And I prayed to God, begging and pleading with everything I had to bargain, to get my period and be just like the other girls. Every night a relatively similar prayer would follow the common prayers I learned as a toddler. God, I know you’re a pretty busy guy and all, but if you could please let me get my period, I would really, really be thankful. Also send my love to Grandma and Grandpa…Thanks. Of course, this is reminiscent of a strikingly similar prayer that I would eventually repeat several times throughout the course of college and some time afterward…but that’s another story for another day.

I had, in fact shat myself overnight

Even though we ran in different social circles at school, my friend and I still spent lots of summers together hanging out. Of course, on the nights when I slept at my friend’s house unexpectedly, I found myself sleeping in an old t-shirt, without an extra pair of clothes for the next day. On one particular morning, I woke up and went to the bathroom to discover that I had, in fact, shat myself overnight. I had felt stomach pains the night before, but still I was painfully ashamed of my little mishap. I checked the fold out bed and was thankful that nothing had stained that. What baffled me, of course was how my poop managed to make it to the front of my underwear and hardly touched the ass-end of my panties…I worried for the cleanliness of my lady bits, so I wet some toilet paper and wiped them clean.

Embarrassed and afraid to say anything to my friend or anyone in her family, I wiped my underwear with toilet paper, rinsed them as best as I could, dried them with more toilet paper, and put them on backwards. My thought process? The poop needs to stay on the poop side.

I put the rest of my clothes on and feigned illness to get my mom to pick me up and take me home. For the next few days, I continued to discover that somehow I was crapping my pants with some frequency, without even realizing it. Being the quiet and shy, embarrassed little girl that I was, I did everything I could to hide the evidence. I threw at least 3 pairs of underwear away, spent a lot of time in the bathroom wiping myself and wondering what the fuck was going on with my body.

Eventually, the problem resolved itself, and I went back to life as a pre-teen. We weren’t called tweens back then. I continued to pray to God that I would get my period like the other girls and wonder what it would be like when I finally did get my first period.

A few weeks later, though…it happened again. I crapped my pants. Again. And somehow it kept sliding to the front of my underwear. I couldn’t understand it. Was I sleeping on my stomach? This has got to be really bad for me, right? Of course, a normal kid may have gone to their parents for help…but me? I just kept throwing away underwear and spending a ridiculous amount of time in the bathroom.

The third time it happened, the brown spots were less brown…and more red. And all of a sudden, I knew what the problem was. Apparently, God had already answered my prayers three months prior, and I was cursed with Aunt Flo for all eternity. It was awful.

First, I had to tell my mom. I dreaded this. I dreaded this more than anything in the world. Not because my mom isn’t wonderful…but more so because I was incredibly embarrassed. And ashamed to talk about anything personal. Everything embarrassed me. I didn’t want to talk about things, I didn’t want to know about things…I just wanted to exist, hidden.

When I finally got out of the bathroom to tell my mom that I think I got my period…I failed to mention the last two months of pant-crapping horror. Seriously. She didn’t even know until she read this story.

I mean…No one TELLS you that it might come out brown the first few times. They just say you’re going to bleed from your lady bits. And that’s that. I saw the movie, Carrie. I knew what I was supposed to expect. This was not that.

You Pray

So of course, when I whispered to her, “I think I got my period…” she practically jumped for joy. Of course, for someone who was anxiously awaiting my period the way some moms await their daughter’s first dance recital…you’d think she would have been prepared. I mean sure, I didn’t ask her to order the period sampler pack when I was nine, but maybe a box of pads under the sink just in case? Yes. Pads. I know. Gross. Don’t even get me started on that. But whatever. I was eleven, and quite frankly, the thought of shoving something up my lady bits frightened the crap out of me. Just not the period crap. That was different.

My mom hadn’t had a period in years, so she didn’t have to deal with pads or tampons or bleeding like a stuck pig sixty fucking days of the year. So she had to run out to the store to get the things I would need. Before she left, I begged her not to tell anyone. I begged her especially not to tell my dad. Within hours, the entire family network knew that I had become a woman. Including my father.

Eventually, I came to accept the horrors of this monthly curse that I had prayed so hard for. I wanted to be a part of the club, but I realized that the other girls just wanted everyone else to be as miserable as they were once a month. These days, I’m not praying to get my period. Instead, I find myself asking, how long until menopause?

Was your first period even remotely as embarrassing as mine? On a scale of one to awkward, where does this fall? Tell me something painfully embarrassing about your childhood, my friends.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

I Was Born on Memorial Day

I wanted to tell you the story of my birth, but even my near idydic memory isn’t that good. So I enlisted the help of someone who would know better than anyone else.

Blog Friends, meet Mom. Mom, meet the Blogosphere. (I’ve taken the liberty of adding my own two cents in pink).

Chrissy and Mom

This is my mom and I at the White Sox game a few weeks ago.

Well, I was awakened by my daughter this morning at 9:11am to write a blog post…which she’s wanted to do for a while. Oh, if only 30 years ago today it had been so easy. You see, she was born on Memorial Day. Although, it was actually May 30th, it was Monday, Memorial Day, 1983.

None of our friends had children. For the past 5 months or so, I had been their slave. I was the designated driver everywhere (hmm that still has not changed). I was very sick of the drunk people, especially my sister and my husband! So the Sunday night before Memorial Day was party time. At our apartment. Larry (Chrissy’s dad), Susan (my sister) and her then-husband, Jay, had me making drinks all night…until 1 AM! I kept complaining my back hurt and they called me a baby.

After falling asleep for a couple of hours, I awoke to a leaking water (and some other stuff that Chrissy edited out). I was thrilled!!! She’s coming! Christine Regina! The enjoyment of waking up my husband was twofold. Number one I wanted to get to the hospital and see her as quickly as possible. Number two, I knew he was still drunk! Hello payback!

I was calm and collected for the next few hours. My father-in-law arrived to witness, or at least be there for her joyous moment into this world. Yeah, well…that didn’t happen.

Hours went by, and still, no Chrissy. After 8hrs I was still only dilated to 1. At 12 PM, they decided it was time for Pitocin to move the LABOR along. After several hours of this nonsense, and much screaming involved, a nice shot of Demerol may help. GO FOR IT!! A few hours later, still no success and no doctor. You see he had a feeling I was going to need a C-Section, and went home to sleep for a few hours. I was positive that I was dying. My father-in-law went home. My parents and family were told we would call them.

The doctor came back and ordered an X-ray of my pelvis. NOW??? It was 10pm!! And I had been on Pitocin for 10 hours!!! Now an X-ray?

Showing that it would be very doubtful Chrissy would be able to come through my tiny body. (I would kill to be as TINY now, 9 mos and 3 days pregnant I was still 60lbs less than today). At this point, I had been screaming for hours. Loud, piercing screams. NO offense to Chrissy, but I was yelling things like…”Get this fucking thing out of me!!!” That’s not very nice, Mom. The doctor was furious with me. I was scaring all of the other mothers..the ones who had not been in labor for 20 and 1/2 hours and on Pitocin for nearly 12 hours.

Ay 11pm I was prepped for the c-section and as soon as that needle went into my spine, I was like “THANK YOU!” Numbness was good…no pain. Ahhh…where’s my baby!!! I was awake for her birth, but could not see. Larry could not watch it. he had been drunk and happy when it all began. He was now tired beyond measure (poor baby), hungover, and had stood by my side for nearly the entire 20 1/2 hours of labor. Good things take time. He had to wait to see her. She was perfect! Of course, I was.

Aside from the very pointed head, Hey! Who you calling pointy? because she had tried nonstop to come out, I thought she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. Happy almost birthday, darling…I love you.

P.S. 10 months and 2 days later, her brother Brian was born. The doctor looked at me after his birth and said…Are you going to listen to me now? I did. Ew.

You guys, I love this story, because my dad was all hammered and had to suck it up and deal with it. And then I took my sweet, sweet time. So I knew I had to share it with you.

Blog Friends, I know a lot of you are moms. Were your kids as much of a pain in the ass as me?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

I Made Pictures in My Mind to Remember You

Caution: This post may make you cry. But it may not. It made me cry writing it. So read at your own risk that you may or may not cry. And I promise I tried to put some humor in it. Whether or not you laugh is up to you. So really, you could laugh AND cry. Or neither. The choice is yours, really.

You may have been wondering why I disappeared for a week of guest posters in March. Or why I’ve not been quite as socially active. Or why my posts are lacking that special oomph that makes me me. This is why.

In August of last year, we received a devastating blow. Brian’s mom, who was the nicest and most wonderful lady in the whole world, without a mean bone in her body, was diagnosed with Stage 4 Metastatic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. In layman’s terms, she had a non-smoker’s lung cancer that had already spread.

Until February, she fought and fought and fought. And we both (she and I) believed that she would fight it, kill it, and stomp on its grave. That stupid cancer. We spent a lot of time talking about how she was going to make this cancer wish it had never paid her a visit. She was strong. But February came, and reality set it.

The cancer was taking over.

Cancer. Was. Taking. Over.

On March 23, the world lost a fine lady, and Heaven gained an angel. It sucks. Cancer sucks.

But I am lucky. Lucky that I knew her. Lucky that I spent as much time as I did with her. For a while we were spending most of our weekends with Mom. And while there may not be a lot of photographic evidence, I have pictures in my mind. Lots of them. Sweet ones and funny ones. And those will live on forever. I am lucky.

But I’m still sad. And while she wasn’t my own mom, she was family. And I loved her.

One of the best pictures, though, is not a picture in my mind. It’s a real picture. After surgery, she couldn’t walk very well, but I promised to take her to the grocery store. I promised to teach her how to ride the driving cart at the store. Surprised that I knew how to maneuver it so well (Thanks to my Mom, my Gram, and my own silly injuries), she became less reluctant to try it out (Because she didn’t see me almost get hit by a car on my way into the parking lot) and she was ready for it. If I could do it, so could she.

So we had a grocery adventure, Brian’s mom and I. Just the two of us.

Driving like a rock star. She had a great teacher, you know...

And then we had more driving cart adventures. Because we could. But those are all brain pictures. And not real pictures. Lucky for me, I’ve got a pretty colorful brain.

Blog Friends, tell us about someone you love. Tell us a memory. Tell us about a picture in your brain.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Turning thirty-five scares me, but not as much as the cost of that dress!

Hi everyone!  It’s April from First Time Mom & Dad.  In case you do not know me, which I expect, I am a filterless southern belle turned filterless southern belle MOTHER with, SURPRISE – A parenting weblog.  Yes, I am one of the 4 Zillion mom bloggers on the Internet.  Trust me, if I knew there were that many moms already trying to peddle cute photos of their kids attached to advice and narcissistic stories, I would have considered a different genre… but whatevs… I’m a mom, I have a kid, and I love to write…

I am so stoked to be guest posting today for Chrissy! Besides the fact I love Chrissy long time, I love this weblog long time too!  So here goes…

I am fast approaching my 35th birthday with a ridiculous amount of apprehension.  It’s not so much turning 35, as it is turning 35 without a job, focus, style or sense of who the hell I am anymore.  I had my first child a year ago and am only now coming out of the haze that is post-partum mixed with becoming a mother.  Trust me, both will turn your life upside down then right side up so you can see the dysfunction and mess lying in front of you.

Now that the haze has lifted, I realize that I have actually been out of the social and fashion scene for two years now!  I got pregnant 8 days after my 33rd birthday and now here I am… turning 35 with a closet full of maternity clothes piled on top of my old pre-pregnancy clothes and not a damn thing fits me anymore. Yet, I still have this goal of showing up to my 35th birthday like a rock star!

This attempt at rock star status has been in full swing since New Years day.  I have created a mini goal for each month leading up to my birthday in May.  January’s goal was to create more “me” time… or to find the ME in MothEr. I did OK with that.  I go out on my own at least three to four times a week to shop, or unwind and managed to have a two lunches and a one girls night out a month.  Trust me that’s EPIC for me.

February was all about Dump the Frump. Throughout February I did my hair and makeup and dressed nicely regularly. I painted my nails (toes too!) and coordinated handbags.  I instantly began to feel renewed and sassy, even when everything around me looked winter grey and dismal.

March has been all about New Mommy Autonomy. I finally recognized that I no longer need the new mommy crutch. Even though my son is a year old now, I was still running around calling myself a ‘New Mother.’  Which clearly was not true, and imagine the look on the person’s face when they asked how old my ‘baby’ was.  My baby is a man-child now; there is nothing baby about him. I am a mother, but that is not my defining role and should not be the first thing I tell someone when we meet!

So, here I am on the cusp of April.  Closing in on my birthday… Shit!  The biggest transformation is still ahead of me, my new mid-thirties look and style. The goal for this month is, “All about April” – or ME!  This coming month I’m working on what image I want to portray.  Since I am no longer the 32-year-old ‘happy hour’ princess (nor can I wear those clothes), or the pregnant or post-partum frumpy chick (thank God I can no longer wear those clothes!), it’s time for a Mom to Fab makeover!

To find some inspiration for this final leg of my journey, I picked up my favorite magazine in the whole word… The Enquirer… KIDDING! Self Magazine. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that glossy print Goddess! It is a perfect mix of my favorite things; food, fashion, fun workouts and quick tip sheets that I love to use to make false promises.

As I was flipping through the pages of my old friend, I came across a dress I loved! Most times Self publishes cute clothes I can afford, like a summer maxi from HM that only cost $30. So, I look over to the side for the info on the ‘Shift’ dress and see that it’s by Moschino with a price tag of $2,995.  I honestly did a double take!  WHAT THE FUCK??? THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS!! For a long t-shirt? (Or as my husband called it, a bloody tea towel!) Really?  To add insult to injury, the bracelet the model was wearing cost $600. For fuck’s sake! Thankfully she wasn’t wearing any shoes, because I am certain I would have dropped a load in my pants had this tiny outfit crossed the $4000 mark.

photo 1photo 2

I’m sorry, ok not really, but I have to ask, Does the dress give a happy ending? Does it clean itself?  Does it make you look three sizes smaller?  Is it made from a cotton that is so hard to find an entire village has to be employed to collect it from the caves of Neverland? Why is this short Shift dress $2,995????  I know I have been out of the social and fashion scenes for a couple of years, but what the hell has happened that we are now expected to pay 3k for a mini-dress?

We are still in a recession right?  Don’t get me wrong, I understand fashion coming at a price. Pre-baby I would pay a couple of hundred for a great pair of denim jeans or a few hundred for well tailored business suit, but never for a summer garden dress! I like to think before my days of becoming a mother I would still think that was crazy.

I admit, now that I am a mother I live on a strict budget so the value of money has COMPLETELY changed to me.  I can no longer, consciously, drop more than $50 on a great pair of jeans, and really that number is closer to $35.  Still, my financial situation aside, I just cannot ever imagine a day will come where I will justify that kind of a purchase when the world is still in the shits.  A donation of half the cost of that dress would feed 10 villages for a month! And possibly medicate the villages as well.

This whole in-and-out makeover that I have been undergoing these past few months has taught me that not only has my outward appearance and lifestyle changed, but also my outlook on life and the world in general. I still do not know for sure what I want to be when I grow up, but what I do know is I better figure it out and fast, because I am growing up quickly now that I am a mid-thirties mother.  I have no doubt I will ring in my 35th birthday like a rock star, but I can guarantee you even if I get a miracle financial boost between now and my birthday, I will NOT be wearing a $3,000 dress with $600 bracelet stumbling around in a $800 pair of stilettos, that life is not mine, THANK G!

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Shit I’m Really Glad My Mom DIDN’T Do

There are some things that I see and I think, Seriously?  I look back on my own childhood and thank the world that I had my mom doing things the way she did things.

Sometimes (not always, of course) I feel like my mom’s a little too hard on herself. Even though there are definitely times that my mom drives me or drove me up the wall…I think she did a fucking bad ass job of raising a couple of relatively normal human beings. So I’d like to take this opportunity to thank her for the shit she didn’t do. Because I am a better person for it.

Things My Mom Didn’t Do

Call alcoholic beverages “mommy juice”

Please. Please. Please for the love of God. Stop. Your children will eventually find out that you’re a lush. Calling it “mommy juice” doesn’t make it any better. It makes you sound silly. And drunk.

Now, I grew up surrounded by alcohol, without having alcoholic parents. My parents owned a bar. I knew alcoholics. I knew I didn’t want to be one. So I knew what booze was. I even knew when my parents were drinking it. Big fucking deal. Get over yourself. You aren’t the first parent to need a glass bottle of wine after a rough day. Call it what it is. Wine. Vodka. Beer. Whiskey. Name your poison…It’s okay, I promise. Your kid will thank you one day. Besides, I think I turned out okay.

Make alcohol seem taboo

I was allowed to taste everything, including, but not limited to wine and beer. I hated alcohol. It tasted gross. Children’s taste buds don’t actually LIKE booze (unless you’re drinking the super fruity stuff that tastes like candy. Don’t share that with the kids.) It’s the idea that it’s forbidden that makes so many kids experiment.

Sure I made jokes about drinking when I was a kid… When told I should drink MGD when I grew up, I told my older sister, Deven, that I would “drink Bud Light like my Daddy.” When she later told me that she would take me to a college party (at the age of 9) and get me a beer, I responded with, “I prefer cocktails.” In kindergarten, I drew a picture of a bar for what I wanted to be when I grew up. Instead of playing house or grocery store, we played bartender. But I’m almost 30 years old and I drink MAYBE once a week. So I think I’m alright on that front as well.

Give me a time out

Nope, I was never given a “time out” and asked about my feelings. Instead my parents would slap me on the ass and tell me that what I did was wrong. Seriously. Just like Pavolv’s pup, I knew when I did something bad and when I did something good. I was praised for good behavior, and taught not to be an asshole. I grew up with a healthy fear of punishment. Which is part of the reason I was such a Stepford child.

When I was an education major (twice), all of the books for child development were saying that you need to ask children about their feelings and why they did bad things. This pissed me off to no end. I even wrote a paper for Argumentative Writing in favor of corporal punishment for kids (when combined with a lot of affection.)  Mostly this pissed me off because I know kids who had that kind of parent…and I know kids like me who had parents who actually punished their kids, and you know what? We were the teenagers who didn’t end up drunk off our asses and naked in the middle of a public street…(Yes, this actually happened to someone).

Let Me Run Wild

Whether in a restaurant, the grocery store, or even a kid-friendly locale, my mother had us on strict orders to behave. We weren’t allowed to run around like assholes, we had to ask to leave the table at a restaurant (even to go see the lobster tank at Red Lobster), and we had to stay close to her in stores. In other words, we were well-behaved little assholes. Most of the time.

I remember being pulled out of a restaurant and getting spanked in the parking lot, after which we returned to the table, and I was a silently crying, but sitting and not yelling, little girl. Another time, I remember playing in someone’s basement for 20 minutes, and mom thought we were outside. When she couldn’t find us, we were no longer allowed to go to the pool with our babysitter that day.

Consequences. There were consequences to running wild. I see too many kids who dominate their parents, and the parents look frazzled and unsure of what to do…At which my point my mother would look at us and say, “I am the parent. You are the child. When you’re the parent, you can do what you want. Until then sit down and shut up.”

For the record, my dad’s pretty fucking awesome, too.

My first legal shot with my parents. (Isn't my mom short and adorable?)

My first legal shot with my parents. (Isn’t my mom short and adorable?)

What about you, Blog Friends? What are you glad your mom did or didn’t do? Will you do the same for your kids?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!