22 Days

22 days. Last month it was 25. The month before, a standard 28. These last 2 months may just be a fluke. Or it could be the beginning. I’m 43, can I really be perimenopausal? Is that really a word? Ok, so it is, I googled it. “The time when a woman’s body naturally makes the transition to infertility.” Well, my friends, the stories I’ve heard about menopause around town makes it seem anything BUT natural. Supernatural, maybe, but definitely not natural. What it sounds like is what would happen if I stuck my finger in a light socket and then hopped in the bathtub. Cruel and unusual is my best estimate.

The symptoms of perimenopause sound like one of those new drug commercials: side effects may or may not include dizziness, shorter/longer periods, heavier/lighter periods, hot flashes, cold toes, tired but unable to sleep, severe cramping, clotting, death, leprosy, dermatitis, narcolepsy, blindness, paralysis, general emotional unrest, moodiness, flat out bitch-mode and/or psychopathic tendencies. Natural? I think not. So my body begins the process of stopping to produce eggs and apparently everything inside me goes haywire. And my friends, this process can take YEARS. Hell, I can produce another human being in 9 months flat. I’ve got 3 of them as proof. I’m calling bullshit. At least with your period you know what to expect every 4 weeks or so.  Menopause apparently brings you an erratic, maddening, painful, and turbulent experience.  Sign. Me. Up.

My Mom started menopause early, around 40 if memory serves. But my sister who is 45 is going along just like normal. So it wouldn’t surprise me if I drew the short straw here and got involuntarily signed up for the 120-month payoff program. Not that I wish for the need for surgical removal of one’s woman parts, but every time I bring up periods and menopause, my friends and family who no longer experience the exhileration of a monthly visitor, belly laugh, throw their heads back and point at me. It’s kind of an evil laugh, too. Not ashamed to admit that I’ve considered more than once, faking some pretty serious medical symptoms and kinda, sorta, make some off-handed remarks about a hysterectomy to my gynecologist. It could totally work.

The flip side of this of course is the fact that I won’t be able to have another baby. What’s that you say????  Can’t get pregnant?!?! Oh, you mean there’s a sunny side to this horror show? To some, the realization that you can’t reproduce any longer is some sort of loss. As if you are less of a woman now that you can’t make babies. (Don’t get me wrong, I am only speaking of those women who go thru the process as they age out of fertility, not those who prematurely lose the ability to have children.) I knew when my third child was born that I didn’t want any more children, buuuuuuuuut, I didn’t know it enough to have my tubes tied after numero 3. I wasn’t ready to make it permanent. But now that that decision may be taken out of my hands 13 years later, I’m totally ok with it.  I know I’m ok with it because I see other women around my age who are pregnant and I feel bad for them. Like reeeeeeally bad. I think about going thru the child rearing stages again and I swear, it’s enough to make me want to cry. Yes, I love my children, and I’m not saying I wouldn’t love other children that I could have, but it’s not wrong to say I don’t WANT any more children. I am done with that stage of my life, no more diapers, no more 2am feedings, no more shoe-tying, no more elementary school, no more babysitters, no more tantrums, and the list goes on and on. My family is complete and I am totally at peace with that.

But I digress…I had 2 IUD’s after my 3rd child, and they were fantastic!  Birth control I didn’t have to think about and the big bonus? Almost non-existent periods. I was living the dream for 10 years. When I had the 2nd one removed, my gynecologist told me some women’s bodies take up to a year to go back to regular periods. 3 weeks. That lying bitch. Been every 28 days for a while now. Until it wasn’t. So now I fear I am going to have to pay the piper with this menopausal roulette wheel. I had it too good for too long. The unpredictability of it all has me nervous. I’m a planner, and word on the street is, you don’t plan menopause, it just kind of owns you.

So now what? Sit around and wait for my randomized periods? I’m really at a loss here. And that doesn’t happen to me very often. Stuck between a rock and a hot flash. Guess I may be on this roller coaster ride whether I want to be or not. But maybe 22 days was just a fluke and I’ll be waiting in line for another 15 years instead.  Whatever it turns out to be, I see a whole lot of complaining in my future.  Shocker, I know.

 

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My Guilt

For all my short attention span followers, this is for you.

I am 100% positive that this is not a complete list. I have so many things that I love that I have been told are “bad” for me in one way or another. Even if I haven’t been told they are bad, that is the insinuation, collective opinion, and internal dialogue that assaults my otherwise happy go lucky sense of self. The end result, however, is guilt, guilt, guilt.

1.  McDonald’s and other fast food. Love it. It’s poison, I should be making homemade kale and lima bean salad with a spritz of olive oil with an organic, freshly caught fish bouillabaisse soup, but I don’t. I do make semi-nutritious homemade meals 4 or 5 out of 7 nights a week, but you will see me in the drive-thru, too.

2.  Diet pop and/or pop. Never read anything that says it’s good for you.  It’s just good, period.  I enjoy it.  I don’t go overboard, but I have one a day usually.  I have an old friend who was also addicted to diet coke who said, “I’ll probably grow a green glowing tail from all the aspartame.”  Frankly, it wouldn’t surprise me.

3.  My 600 LB Life, Hoarders, Sister Wives, etc…it’s not like I DVR them, but I will watch them if they are on.  I don’t get into the Bachelor shows, dancing shows, housewives, or most of the ones where rich people act stupid, but for whatever reason, I enjoy several TLC “reality” shows, they intrigue me. Sue me. I also watch “smart” TV, like Modern Family and The Middle 🙂

4. Facebook. I came onto the scene late with FB, I stayed off for a couple of years on principle. Not sure what principle it was, but I was standing my ground, damnit. I like the interaction on FB, I like keeping in touch with old friends and family far away.  It makes it easy for me to reach a large audience quickly. Not everything I do on there has a larger purpose though, a lot of times it’s just mindless fun.

5. 50 Shades of Gray.  I’m reading it. Again. I saw the movie, too. I enjoyed it. I read purely for pleasure, an escape from MY reality.  I enjoy many genres of books, but mostly I will only pick up a book if it truly will entertain me.  I spent 6 years in higher education, I’m done educating myself. (And randomly, I also loved Brokeback Mountain, I thought it was a very touching love story.)

6. Cell phone.  See Facebook above. Addicted–enough said.

Most of my adult life I have been guided by the opinion umbrella, everything in moderation. Some may feel the things I enjoy are evil, some may think they are no big deal at all. It’s all relative. But just think about how many times a day you do or don’t do something that you feel guilty about. I don’t smoke, I think it’s gross and the chances it would kill me are pretty good. So I don’t smoke. But I admit, I look at people who smoke and say “what is wrong with you?” So am I guilty of making those people feel guilty!?!?!  It’s a horrific circle of guilt! Oh God! Am I wrong for not drawing that SAME line in the sand for fast food or pop for myself? Am I foolish for enjoying FB and not reading history books and becoming a more well rounded person? Where does the madness end?!?!

My point?  I guess I just want to sit back, have a diet coke and Big Mac, watch some rated R porn and browse FB for 2 hours on my cell phone. And I don’t want to feel guilty about it.  Who is with me?

Soccer Mom and (mostly) Proud of It

I’m a soccer Mom. I’ve got the whole package going on. And I’ve got it x3. Coffee thermos?  Check.  Spiritwear?  Check. Folding chair? Check. Blanket?  Check. Sunscreen?  Usually, check. Until a year ago I even had the dreaded mini-van (in truth though, I loved it, buttons to open doors? Yes please!).  I’ve logged hundreds of hours and miles in the car and on the sidelines of soccer fields from Kentucky to Illinois. Practices went from Wixom and Livonia to Trenton, a 30 mile radius around our home.  I don’t even want to begin to total the amount of money we’ve spent over the last 12 years.  Pretty sure we could have opened up our own 7-11 franchise with it.  Which incidentally could have saved us money with as many times as we’ve stopped for slurpees after practices and games. You may call us crazy.  Go ahead, it probably was (and is) to a certain extent.  3 boys, who at one point were in 3 different travel soccer clubs.  Thank God for carpools, we never would have made it this far.

We didn’t set out to be a soccer obsessed family.  We just wanted to expose the boys to new things, get outside, be one with nature and all that shit.  At age 4, we took Riley first to the city soccer league. I remember it well. He went out on the field. He cried. We went home. Maybe next year. Then we saw kids playing in the school field across the street season after season.  When the boys were old enough, we signed them up for that free soccer program.  Alex and Matthew both started when they were 3, Riley when he was 5 (he didn’t cry this time).  It was easy, we walked across the street, they ran around on a small field with kids who had no idea what they are doing either, for an hour or so.  Then they played games on Saturdays where there were 2 teams of kids who had no idea what they were doing. It was World Cup level skill, and we cheered accordingly. Kids would sit down on the field, walk off, cry, only play if they were holding the coaches hand, pee, stand still for the whole game.  It was like shooting fish in a barrel to see that MY sons had REAL talent in this bunch of yahoos.

But, in the interest of getting our kids to try out different sports, we took them to the driving range, went bowling, took them ice skating, etc.  None really stuck, although Matthew was a natural skater, he even played hockey for a year, it was great! We loved the change of pace, change of scenery, new kids, new parents and Matthew was fun to watch. The cost, again, not so fun.  But when it came down to it, he couldn’t play both at the same time, our schedules just wouldn’t allow it. He picked soccer. Oh well.

Riley played one season of t-ball when he was about 7. Aside from the birth of my healthy children, the day Riley said he didn’t want to play baseball was the happiest day of my life. Voluntary root canals, mammograms, and dog bites rank higher in enjoyment than watching highly unskilled kids play baseball. I admit, we very purposefully never asked the other 2 if they wanted to play. Evil, I know, but I can still sleep at night.  I like watching the Tigers play, there ends my baseball attention span.

I played a LOT of different sports growing up. I started out in gymnastics with my sister. She stayed there thru high school, I moved onto ice skating, bowling leagues, tennis, golf, and volleyball.  I very proudly wear the award of Varsity Athlete of my senior class with 7 varsity letters. I still play golf and tennis to this day, skills you never really lose, I am only limited by my agility and high cholesterol.  Brendan also played a variety of sports as a kid, including soccer. My parents were not crazy (with regard to sports anyway), at least not that I remember. So I guess that means it’s a personality flaw. Or personality flair. That sounds better. I hope my kids branch out when they are older, I let that fall under that category of “they are my kids, but they are not me.”  But like I said, we didn’t set out with our sights on ONLY soccer for our kids, it just kinda…happened.

So how do crazy soccer Moms rank with other sports’ crazy Moms?  A dubious distinction exists, no doubt.

As the secretary to the Athletic Director in a middle school, I deal with all sorts of sports and sports parents, mostly tangentially, but boy I’ve heard stories, from ALL sports.  Hockey, softball, volleyball, cheer, basketball, swimming, you name it, there will be crazy parents lurking close by.  (Not so much track or cross country though, wonder what their problem is?  They must not love their child as much as other parents. Crazy=Love).  I think I know where the crazy stems from…At one point or another, we’ve all thought “MY kid is the one. MY kid is special. MY kid is going pro.” And for some infinitesimally small percentage of the parents out there, those are true statements.  We’ve all seen the statistics about how many athletes go on to compete at a professional level.  The odds are not forever in your favor.  But that does not stop parents from going ape-shit when their kid is not getting the attention they so clearly deserve or has been wronged by a vision impaired referee. All in all, the level of crazy across sporting parents is fairly level I think, which is strikingly similar to Defcon 3.

I am guilty.  I’ve been talked to by a coach and was reprimanded by a referee, but in my defense, it was a “Mom group” disciplinary talking to. I claim mob mentality breakdown. I’ve gotten better over the years, not quite as loud, not quite as belligerent.  2 things have helped:  aligning myself with parents who are louder and crazier than me and medication. Brendan tries his best to keep me in check, but when I see my son go flying through the air from an illegal hit, I admit, my Mom instinct flows thru me like Indian food after taking Correctol.  I want blood and I want the 16 year old Assistant Referee to get it for me.  I never get it.  Surprisingly, yelling things at the other team or the referees does not change their behavior. I will continue to try and better myself. Promise.

At the center of it, we just love our kids, want to see them play a fair and fun game and don’t want them to get hurt in the process.  Oh, and win.  We want them to win.  Anyone that tells you different is lying.  I always want my kids to give their best effort, no matter the outcome, but winning is just more enjoyable.  I have a shit-ton of participation ribbons and trophies and medals for my kids, but the ones that say “Champion” just sparkle a little bit more, I’m not ashamed to say that. I’d always rather be celebrating than giving my son a consolation Mom hug.  Emotionally speaking, after travel soccer comes playing for the High School team, which is a whole new level of wistfulness for me.  I can’t talk about that just yet.

I don’t regret being a soccer Mom. It’s a role I just kinda stumbled into and did my best.  We made some missteps along the way, but over all, I think my kids are better off having experienced life in the world of club soccer. The friendships my boys have formed are monumental.  And so are the ones I’ve been lucky enough to find in the chaos that is travel soccer (insert any other club sport as necessary). Traveling to tournaments, sitting outside in snow and ice and rain or the blistering heat, driving 2 hours one way for a 1 hour game, only to discover your adorable little boy forgot his soccer cleats, crying on the sidelines because the other team is crushing your son’s team and making fun of the beat down so loudly that everyone on the field can hear, crying because your son didn’t make the A team–again, beaming because your son made the winning goal, it’s all part and parcel of a soccer Mom’s ride.  I wouldn’t trade a crazy second of it.

Hello world!

Hi, my name is Rose and I love to talk. To write. To opine.  I think that’s why I’m going to try blogging. I think. My life is a chaotic, brilliant, sparkling, hysterical heap of wonderful. Usually. I think my life is interesting.  My 3 sons, Riley, Alex and Matthew, 16, 14 and 12 respectively, make sure that I am on my toes all the time.  And I have my supremely awesome husband of 20 years, Brendan, to thank for them.  More on them later.

I post a lot of my thoughts on Facebook currently, and I get a lot of responses echoing support, familiarity, concern, etc.  Truth is, I am not looking for hoorahs or pats on the back, usually putting my thoughts to paper helps me sleep at night.  Helps me cope.  Helps me feel normal.  Helps me.   There are a lot of topics I feel I could write about: family, money, work, being a Mom, being a wife, being me, friends, and most recently, high cholesterol. If politics is your thing, you probably won’t find any rants here.  But if kids that don’t put the cereal box back in the pantry really gets under your skin, then you and I are going to be fast friends.

I have discovered that the older one gets, the more mental organization must take place.  It doesn’t seem like information falls away when new information is brought into the fold of my life.  The proverbial mountain of emotions and activities and everyday life just gets bigger.  And not all the layers are nice raspberry filling or chewy nougat, there are ugly things there, like layers of mistakes, sorrow, and regret.  Being good at life to me, means climbing this ever growing mountain and trying to do better every day.  I want more layers of chocolate and less layers of shit.  So that’s what I’m going to write about, all my chocolate and all my shit.  Well, maybe not all of it.

Things to consider about me to see if you want to continue on my blogging journey:

1. I like wine.

2. I swear. A lot.

3. I can be really emotional.

4. I’m sarcastic.

5. I love wine.

6. I’m not perfect.

7. I think I’m smart, but that probably isn’t true all the time.

8. Did I mention the wine thing?

9. I’m pretty enamored with my family, I think they’re pretty great (when they aren’t leaving cereal boxes out anyway)

10. I’m a lucky, lucky girl.

So it begins.  Hope you’ll join me.