Tom Selleck Called. He Wants His Mustache Back.


I have been lucky enough to call myself a hockey mom for the past 13 years. My son Matthew started playing when he was five years old. He had gone to the ice skating rink with his dad one Saturday afternoon just to skate around the rink. He had played t-ball and done some karate, but when he saw the players coming out of the locker room in their full gear and skates, he decided he wanted to play hockey. Now he had never seen a hockey game before and wasn’t even tall enough on his skates to look over the top of the goal net, but once his mind was made up, that was it. He was going to be a hockey player.

My hockey mom status started with me being (mostly) quiet during his early years. I became the obnoxious hockey mom during his high school years. Matthew made the Varsity high school team while still in middle school so yayyy – I had an extra year of high school yelling.

Hockey isn’t one of those sports where you sit quietly like you’re watching a chess match. Hockey is rough and tough. People are fighting. People are yelling at the coaches and the referees. People are banging on the glass. People are embarrassing themselves.

Wait. I’m talking about me.

That’s right. I’m the loud mouth hockey mom that all of the other parents avoid like I have leprosy. I’m the one decked out in my team’s colors and sometimes I even have a cowbell. I don’t sit down. I’m usually yelling. I sometimes bang on the glass and yell through the seams of the glass JUST TO BE SURE they heard me. And the other parent’s on the team act like they have never seen me before.

“Who is that?” the other team’s parents ask.

“Never seen her before! She looks a little crazy”, our team parents say.

And this all started when Matthew was in first grade. He’s 19 now, so that’s a lot of time to work on my yelling pitch.

Through the years my reputation grew to being a “lipstick-pitbull” (as Sara Palin called hockey moms). The game would begin and I would start yelling. Another parent would lean over and look down the bleachers and me and say “I wondered when you were going to get here.” hockey mom

Yep. I had arrived. I rarely missed a game. I think in the 13 years I missed less than 15 games.

There were few that my fury would not be directed at. What is the coach thinking? Why is he playing that line instead of the other line? That kid he just put on the ice just got his training wheels off his skates. (No, not really. There aren’t training wheels on ice skates.)

The refs were not exempt. As a matter of fact, they received the brunt of my wise cracks.

“WHAT??? How on earth did you miss that penalty??? He was HIT FROM BEHIND you BONEHEAD! My 93 YEAR OLD GRANDMOTHER COULD HAVE SEEN THAT HIT!!!”

Or

“HEY HOPKINS – you must have gone to Collins Hill High School since you’re not making any calls against them. Way to keep your Alma mater winning!!” Incidentally, we were playing Collins Hill that night.

Or even better…

“Hey Linkissy – YOU SUCK at reffing. And by the way – Tom Selleck called from 1986. He wants his humongous mustache back.”

And although I only started yelling at opposing players when my son got to the high school level, they were no less victims. (And don’t worry – what I yelled was G, I mean PG, I mean PG-13 rated.)

There was one guy who always played so dirty – the kind that would take a swing with his stick when the ref wasn’t looking, or checking from behind, or tripping the players with his stick. Penalties that could have caused another player serious injury should have been called and sometimes were. I didn’t like him AT ALL. His hockey pants were so shredded (from what I heard was what he thought was good luck) because he would put his skates on BEFORE his pants, so the blades of his skates would cause tears.

“Hey #81, we can see your pretty lacy panties because your hockey skirt is so ripped.” I would usually get the third finger salute back at me.

That’s right, #81. I just got under your skin. Let’s see how well you play NOW.

And now that my son has graduated and is going to a college that does not have a hockey team, I feel a little sad and melancholy. I miss the smell of the rink after the Zamboni has cut the ice. I miss the chill of the metal bench freezing me to my core.

I miss watching my favorite player and his teammates win two State Championships. Oh how I miss the game.

I ran into another hockey parent at the grocery store recently and I asked how the season was going. I felt a little stab of jealously since her son is still in high school and she is able to continue on with the weekly rituals of being at the rink.

“Yep, the team is playing pretty well” she said sweetly, “but some parents from the other teams were just saying that the games aren’t nearly as entertaining this season without your loud mouth there.”

Oh. My. Gosh.

I’m a legend.

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To Eat or Not To Eat

For years I was not a good cook. Not because I didn’t know HOW to cook, but it was hard because cooking for only two people wasn’t always easy. (I’m REALLY not good at math so dividing recipes was a nightmare. Sorry, Mrs. Wylie, but that math tutoring on fractions you helped me with in high school DID NOT stick with me).

My son, Matthew, was always pretty easy to cook for because all I needed to do for him was boil water for his beloved Ramen noodles. Water is boiling? Dinner’s ready!

My friends from my previous employer all knew of my poor cooking skills. (I have been rumored to burn water and I MAY or MAY NOT have made a grilled cheese once, forgetting to add the cheese). On one company trip, the Vice President came to our condo stating that she had been told I was cooking…with vodka…and she was a little nervous. No need to worry, I told her. Turns out, I was a pro at making jello shots!

When I got remarried I was sort of forced to fine-tune my cooking skills. Now, not only was I going to be cooking for five people, but there were now food allergies being thrown into the mix. My step-son, Austin, has Celiac disease, so he can’t eat anything with gluten. My step-daughter, Bailey, has a nut allergy and also eats only gluten free food, and my husband can’t have MSG.

Oh, the joy of cooking…yeah, right. Not ONE of my new family members can eat Ramen noodles…it’s chock full of gluten and MSG.

Making two to three different meals for one dinner time isn’t easy, so I began to get creative with recipes so that I could make variations of the same meal.

Yummy AND Gluten Free!

Yummy AND Gluten Free!

I realized that most ingredients can be easily substituted with gluten free products. This past week I made shrimp scampi – one with regular breadcrumbs, and one with gluten free breadcrumbs. It was a hit. Austin gave it two thumbs up and actually asked for me to cook it again sometime. That was a shock because he is extremely picky…I never know what he is going to like or not like.

Bailey’s favorite meal is my homemade fettuccine Alfredo. The Alfredo sauce is naturally gluten free, but I use GF pasta for her and regular pasta for us. She asks for it every time she is over at our house and it makes me smile because it’s something special that I can make for her.

Cooking gluten free can be a bit frustrating for someone whose favorite foods always start with “enriched flour” in the ingredient list, but I’m learning. And there are still days when I throw a piece of fish in the oven because the kids don’t want to eat what we are eating, even if it can be made GF.

I recently got a nice compliment from the kids. Bailey asked her mother if she could make some of the recipes that I make for her when she is at our house because she loves my cooking.

SCORE!

I found that cooking can be very rewarding when people actually like what you’re spending the time to cook, so taking the time to find out what they love is worth its weight in homemade gluten free pumpkin pie.

Why March Is A No Nookie Month

Nineteen years ago today, my life changed in a way I never could have imagined:

I became a mom.

It all started with the infamous “blizzard” of 1993 in Atlanta, GA. We actually got enough snow that year to cover the street, which, if you are familiar with living in the South, means that all normal ways of life come to an absolute stand-still.

It’s pretty simple. We don’t know how to drive in the snow. It is rare that we see more than an inch of it at a time. Even the mere mention of the word “snow,” people will flock to the grocery store to stock up on bread and milk even though the snow more than likely won’t last past 11 a.m. the next morning.

Such was the case in March, 1993. What started off as snow flurries quickly turned into what would be soon plastered across the news as a “blizzard”. Anyone living North of Tennessee would have considered it a light dusting, but people in Atlanta were in a panic. You would think us Southerners will begin to contemplate cannibalism if we can’t get enough bread and milk to last us a few days.

Then the power went out.

With no power and no backup generator, what was a young newlywed couple to do?

Five weeks later, I was in for quite a surprise.

I made an appointment with an OB and soon found out that my husband and I weren’t the only ones who lost power. A RECORD number of pregnancies were reported that year and they were all due in December.

Fast forward eight more months.

My son was actually due on my mother’s birthday, which is Christmas Day, but he had other plans.

For the first time in his life, he came early and showed up on my father’s birthday – December 9.

Now that would be a coincidence in itself, right? Due on my mother’s birthday but born on my father’s birthday?

December 9, 1993

December 9, 1993

What is really interesting is that my father has a brother and three sisters. Three out of five children were born on December 9. And when my sister was pregnant, her due date was also December 9 (but he broke tradition and arrived two days later.)

December 9, 2012

December 9, 2012

March, it appears, is a very fertile month in my family.

And as we celebrate the lives of two of the most wonderful men that I have in my life, I am also thankful that I have an equally wonderful and understanding husband. Because he knows that March is officially EXTRA SAFETY MONTH in the romantic department at the McIntyre house.

Just in case.

My Other Thanksgiving List

As Thanksgiving draws closer, I realize how blessed my life is and how many things I have to be thankful for.

I’m thankful that I have a wonderful husband, great kids, loving parents and a warm house. I’m very thankful my dad’s cancer is in remission. I’m thankful for my 93 year old grandmother who is here visiting for this Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for all of my friends who make me laugh. But I’m also thankful for a lot of other stuff that never receive any recognition.

So here’s my list of “other” things I’m thankful for:

1. I’m thankful that I don’t have another gynecologist appointment for another full year, because those appointments are just not any fun.
2. I’m thankful that I have a zero balance on my credit cards. (Which means I can go hog wild at ANY MOMENT.)
3. I’m thankful for my favorite restaurants that offer take-out when I’m too lazy to cook.
4. Which makes me also thankful for whoever invented microwave ovens because when I’m too lazy to leave the house to grab take-out, I can just nuke a hot dog.
5. Now that I’m in my 40’s, I’m thankful for hair dye.
6. I’m thankful for plug-in air freshener that makes my house always smell like I’m Betty Crocker and I’ve just taken an apple pie out of the oven.
7. I’m thankful for FaceBook, because it allows me to mass-notify people of things going on in my life.
8. I’m thankful that Girl Scout cookies only come 15 to a box, so when I have a sweet tooth it’s not as damaging to my waistline as eating an entire package of Oreo cookies…unless I have TWO boxes of Girl Scout cookies, which I have done before.
9. I’m thankful that I have not had a cavity in 20 years, because I loathe going to the dentist just as much as I loathe going to the gynecologist.
10. I’m thankful I have not found any wiry chin hairs yet.
11. I’m SUPER thankful to the girl who invented Spanx so I can eat like a Sumo wrestler and still squeeze myself into my clothes without looking like a stuffed sausage.
12. I’m thankful for texting because there are just some people I don’t want to talk to on the phone.
13. I’m thankful that when I forget to take my 6 pound dog out and she accidently poops in the house, there’s not much to clean up.
14. I’m thankful that I have had the opportunity to eat Twinkies and Ho-Ho’s in my life, because my future grandchildren will never know how wonderful that creamy filling actually is.
15. I’m thankful that I live in a country where I can practice my faith and not worry about whether I’m going to get shot in the head.
16. I’m thankful for Purell. If you’re a germ-o-phobe like me, you will totally get why I’m thankful for this.
17. I’m thankful for MapQuest because otherwise I might end up in Alabama when I want to go to North Carolina.
18. I’m thankful that my step-kids don’t view me as their Step-Monster, even though my husband tells me they are a little afraid of me. Winning!
19. I’m thankful that my husband’s SUV and my car are both paid off, even though the windshield is cracked and the bumper has a dent in it from where my husband backed into my son’s truck.
20. I’m thankful for heated seats in my car so when it’s freezing cold outside, my butt is toasty warm.
21. I’m thankful for Dutch Monkey doughnuts. If you don’t know what that is, look it up and have some shipped to you. You’ll be thankful too.
22. I’m thankful that I made it to 43 years old before I had to get reading glasses.
23. I’m thankful for my high school girl friends who I’ve known for (cough) over 25 years but when we get together, we are taken back to 1986 and giggle like we are 16 years old. But then again, that could be the wine.
24. I’m thankful for the Weather Channel so I know how to accurately dress each day.
25. I’m thankful for e-bay so when I want to buy something but I don’t want my husband to know, I can sell stuff and have cash to go buy what I want.
26. I’m thankful for Clorox wipes to help my Obsessive-Compulsive tendency to easily clean everything.
27. I’m thankful that someone mixed tequila with some frozen lime juice and created the margarita.
28. I’m thankful that I have a dishwasher because I would totally hate to have to hand wash those utensils we used for our take-out dinner.
29. I’m thankful that I don’t have any other body-invasive procedures on the schedule such as a colonoscopy or anything super fun like that.

I’m sure there are a zillion other things I’m thankful of and should put on this list, but that could take all day to list and seriously, no one is that interested in my life.

But there is one more thing…I am thankful for the people who actually read and enjoy my blogs. It’s fun to write them, but it’s even more fun when people acknowledge that they enjoy them.

So, dear reader….I’m thankful for YOU.

It’s Okay To Play Hooky With Your Kids

There are some days that life just catches up to me and I just want to take a day off. I don’t want to turn on my computer. I don’t want to see what e-mails have come in. I don’t want to check Twitter or Facebook. I just want to veg out.

And then something wonderful happens. My sweet husband will say, “Hey – let’s go out to dinner tonight – just you and me.” And my day doesn’t seem so hard. Something as simple as that can really just make you happy.

I remember when I was in first grade. I was sitting in Miss Lapin’s class when the school secretary called my name over the intercom to come to the office. I was a good girl! I didn’t talk during class! Why was I being called up to the office??

With my heart beating a mile a minute, I rounded the corner to see my mother smiling at me.

“Am I in trouble?” I said.

“Nope! I have a surprise for you”, my mother said, leading me out of the school.

Thirty-eight years later I can still remember it as if it were yesterday. We drove into Downtown Atlanta to the Fox Theater… (If you’ve never seen the Fox Theater, google it!!!)…to WATCH A MOVIE! During school hours! This was awesome! I looked at my mother. She was grinning at me. My heart burst. I was so excited! This was by far one of the most fun days of my young life.

Me, not too thrilled about going to school

Many years later, I showed up at Matthew’s school to do the same thing. He is a hockey player, and the movie with Kurt Russell about the 1980 Olympic Hockey team that beat the Russian team had just come out. He was dying to see it and said so every time the trailer would come on TV.

I went to the front office and told the office staff that I needed to check him out of school for “an appointment”. Thank goodness they didn’t ask me what for.

As we got to the car he finally asked me what we were doing. I told him to wait and see. We drove to the local mall and he looked at me like I was crazy.

“Shopping? Please, no.” he said.

But when we got to the line to buy movie tickets, things began to fall into place.

“Are we going to watch ‘Miracle’????” he asked, the pitch in his voice raising with each word.

“Yep!” I said.

The grin on his face is one that I will remember for the rest of my life.

Recently, my husband did the same with my step-son, Austin. They went to a midnight release for a video game that he had been saving up for. As Austin was getting ready for bed, Dale said “Hey, get dressed – we have to go somewhere.”

Austin looked confused but did as he was told. As they pulled into the BestBuy parking lot, it began to register that they were there for the game release. Dale said that Austin had that look that I had described to him that Matthew had when I took him to the movie.

Playing hooky from work or school isn’t something to make a big habit of. My mom only did it once with me, and I only did it once with Matthew. It was so special that I wouldn’t want to ruin those memories by doing it over and over.

I realized at that moment that we don’t need to buy our kids expensive gifts or take them to exotic places for them to be happy. It’s really just the little things that they will remember the most.

Matthew recently mentioned that day we played hooky from work and school just to spend the day together, doing something that he really wanted to do.

And I hope he does the same thing with his kids one day, and those “hooky day” memories will continue on for the next generation.

Wiring The Technical Generation Gap


Technology isn’t easy. We all know that. But technology is extra difficult for those who didn’t grow up with it. My parents are no different than anyone else in their age group. They don’t like change, and technological change is an even harder pill to swallow.

My parents have never had a passion for technology.

I remember in the 1980’s when my dad purchased a VCR. It was one of the most technological events in the history of the Gunn household. We could actually rent movies and WATCH THEM ANY TIME we wanted. We were late to the party, but at least we were taking baby steps into this new electronics world.

The next step was to get a microwave. Regardless of the fact that it weighed 300 pounds and you could fit a compact car in there, our family finally had one.

In the mid-1990s, my parents got their first computer. It was a 380 with a 5 ¼ inch floppy drive and offered a dial-up modem that connected to AOL. (My parents still have the same AOL account.) They had a dot-matrix printer that you could hear printing from the next house over and felt like a tiny earthquake every time it would print a line. Zzzzzzzzzzzz. Zzzzzzzzzz. Zzzzzzzzzz. Zzzzzzzzzz.

But they were opening up to change and I was very proud of that.
In the early 2000’s my dad decided he needed a new computer because his floppy drive went out. By this time, mind you, there weren’t any more floppy drives on computers. Everything had moved to CDs. My dad however, had to special order a floppy drive and had it installed on his new computer. In the father/daughter world, this is known as “pick your battles.”

The next step for the Gunn household was to upgrade their internet connectivity. The Bellsouth installer came out but had one little problem: My parents still had permanently installed rotary phones….and this was 2004. I might have the only kid under the age of 30 that has ever even SEEN a rotary phone, much less talked on one. Thank you Bellsouth for helping to guide my parents into the new and high tech world of push button telephones.

Recently, we got a phone call that went like this:

“Hey Dana! Can I talk to Dale? I’m having a computer problem.”

I handed the phone to my husband (the default technical support for our family) who said, “Hey! What’s up?”

“Well, I was opening my e-mail and I got a message from someone I thought I knew, so I opened it and now my computer won’t do anything”.

Nine hours and two trips to their house later, my husband has made sure that their computer is now 100% hardened against a potential criminal attack from China. (And he did the same for my computer too!) I don’t know how families without an in-house technical support person can keep their computers running these days, but God help you all.

Recently my mother was given an iPhone by my sister and brother-in-law. We have the most fun going through her photos seeing how many times she has taken a photo of the inside of her purse, or a picture of herself when the camera lens did the “flip” feature. But I am proud to say that she has mastered texting and is even using LOL and emoticons.

And my sweet daddy is perfectly happy with his featureless flip-phone, but it was extra nice when we finally convinced him that keeping it turned on all day wouldn’t ruin the battery life.

The moral of this story is to be patient with your parents and their resistance to change and technology.

Because OUR children are going to think that WE are technology challenged when we don’t understand how teleporting works.

(These are not my parents, but this video made me laugh so much that I had to include it!)

I’m Not A Hoarder…I Just Collect Lots of Things

My husband and I are probably going to be moving in the next six months. We have been renting a home since we got married because we both had houses to sell, and in this market we knew that was not going to be easy and would probably take some time before we could buy something. Now it’s that time.

To get a jump start on our moving process, I decided to take this past weekend to start figuring out what we would be moving, what we would be donating and what is going to stay boxed up in the basement from our last move.

I put on my raggedy sweatpants and an old t-shirt and just for the look, I tied a pink bandana around my head, kerchief style, just in case that would help motivate me more if I looked the part.

I opened the garage door and looked around. To my left I found all of our camping gear, which takes up a ton of space. To my right is the deep freezer, more shelving with hockey sticks and lacrosse equipment, four sets of golf clubs and eight bicycles. We are a family of five. With eight bicycles.

I turned around and shut the door. I’ll conquer that room later.

I opened the basement door and went down stairs. I looked around. Two more bicycles that the kids have outgrown are by the back door, waiting for the garage sale that I can never seem to put together. Mismatched furniture from before we were married sits against the wall with more stuff from our pre-marriage days. Boxes that have NEVER BEEN OPENED that we both moved from house to house before we got married – my stack is on one side; his is on the other. What the heck is in them? Who knows? Probably my old Halloween costumes from when I was five…that my MOTHER wanted out of her basement.

I turned around and go back up the stairs. Maybe I’ll just start on my closet.

That’s when I realized something.

Oh. My. Gosh. I might be a hoarder.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m clearly a very ORGANIZED and clean hoarder. My house is spotless. Everything has a place and is usually IN it’s place. I don’t have boxes towering up to the ceiling waiting to slide like an avalanche and crush the next person to walk by. Or old rotten food from 1995 in the kitchen. Or so much junk everywhere that there are decaying animals in the dining room that died because they were trapped behind 97 boxes of QVC deliveries. You know what I mean…you can admit you’ve seen the real “Hoarders” on TV.

I just have stuff. Lots of stuff.

I collect antique books, but they are all nicely kept on bookshelves. I have knickknacks, but they are all in a display case.

I think what did it was when my mother passed my old toys (that were in boxes in HER basement) on to me, which for many items, I have proudly displayed: the old metal Peanuts lunchbox, a Mickey Mouse watch, Baby-Beans (the bean bag doll with the pull string that would say “I love you!”), my old Winnie-the-Pooh, Romper Room toys, marionettes, etc. They are all displayed nicely on the bookshelves in my family room.

But it’s still a lot of stuff.

I started having an irregular heartbeat.

Because I realized that moving doesn’t mean just moving the furniture. It’s all of the other stuff that makes a house a home; clothes, toys, dishes, patio furniture, potted plants, pictures…EVERYTHING. And now I’m going to have to pack it all up and move it.

I start to realize that maybe we should have started packing for this move the month after we moved in.

But wait! I sort of already have. Those unopened boxes in the basement from the last move?

They’re all ready to go!!

If Your Beard Is Real, You’re Too Old To Trick-or-Treat

Tonight is Halloween. It’s truly one of my favorite holidays. I don’t like all of the evil witchcraft and Satanic stuff that surrounds Halloween, but I love hearing the sweet little voices shout out “Trick or Treat” while they are wearing flowing Princess costumes or red and blue Spiderman costumes.

Each time the door rings, my dog goes utterly insane. She has on her Halloween “Security” costume but no one gets to see her because I have to put her in the bedroom and shut the door. She is only six pounds but she is scratching at the door like a caged tiger.

I drop handfuls of candy into pillowcases or orange plastic pumpkins, or even cute handmade Halloween bags that some overly-crafty supermom made and the children happily trod off across the lawn to the neighbor’s house to collect their next bounty.

As soon as I sit down, the doorbell rings 14 times. My dog goes crazy. I get up off the couch and go to the door thinking about what little crapheads the kids at the door must be.

I open the door and look down expecting to find three-foot tall goblins. Instead, I have to look up and find four teenagers (all taller than me) saying in deep tenor voices, “Trick or treat.”

Seriously?

For once in my life I am speechless.

Isn’t there an age limit on when you need to stop trick or treating?

I drop candy in each bag simply because I’m kinda scared of them and I just want to shut the door and lock it. I have pictures of CSI going through my head and headlines for tomorrow’s newspaper:

“Local Woman And Her Dog Murdered Over Twix and Kit-Kat Bars.”

I think that for next Halloween, I’m going to make a sign for my front door that reads “Don’t knock on my door if any of the following pertain to you.”

1. If you can grow a beard.
2. If your breasts are bigger than mine.
3. If you are driving yourself through the neighborhood.
4. If you have tattoos (because you have to be 18 to get a tattoo).
5. If you are a parent.
6. If you are smoking cigarettes.
7. If you understand what the word “pertain” means.
8. If you are walking around the neighborhood with a beer, and are of legal age to drink.
9. If you are old enough to vote in the Presidential election.
10. If you have your own apartment.
11. If that stripper costume you have on is one you use at work.

And for anyone ringing my doorbell next year that matches any of the above, please note that you won’t be getting any chocolate.

You’ll be getting a box of stale raisins.

Do You Suffer From Mom Brain?


I’ve always said that our intelligence is highest when we are babies. We probably know all of the answers to the universe but we just can’t say anything or let anyone know what we are thinking.

As we get older, we start losing some of our brain power. It comes to a head with what I call “Mom Brain.” It’s very similar to what my cancer-survivor father calls “Chemo-brain”, but “Mom Brain” isn’t caused by cancer. It’s caused by children.

Mom Brain Sufferer

Mom Brain was diagnosed for me when my son was young, but really went active when he was about ten years old. I was divorced, working crazy hours to make ends meet, taking my son to his hockey practices and weekly games, and trying to have enough energy to cook dinner, (which was apparently very rare since the Domino’s delivery guy knew me by name.)

In other words, I was exhausted. ALL THE TIME.

“Hey Mom, Is this milk still good?”
“It should be. Smell it.”
“It smells like… milk. Should I drink it?”
“It’ll be fine.”
“Is it supposed to be thick?”

In a nutshell, Mom Brain means that you when have a baby, you lose a ton of brain cells along with the afterbirth. Unfortunately more kids could mean a more severe case of Mom Brain. I’m not a doctor so this isn’t medically proven. it’s just my excuse for why I am forgetful and frazzled for 99% of my day.

I’m naturally blonde, which is a strike against me in the first place, so I’m lucky I only gave birth to one child. Any more than that and I’d need to be institutionalized or at least heavily medicated.

The best (or should I say funniest?) case of Mom Brain comes from my dearest friend, who I will not name or else she will probably end our friendship. She is the mother of two beautiful young daughters, both under the age of two. To her horror, her oldest has finally started the terrible two phase, and it seems that she wants to stay there until she’s 10. Her youngest has been screaming with colic since coming out of the birth canal. This has now caused my friend to lose endless hours of sleep and put 147 extra miles each week on her car due to driving around the neighborhood at 3am to help put the baby to sleep.

We were discussing the effects of Mom Brain and she said she was certain she had it. She was telling me about a conversation she had with a girl she ran into at the gym a few months after her daughter was born.

“Hey! You had the baby! Was it a girl or a boy?”
My friend replied, “I had a little girl!”
“Oh that’s wonderful! What did you name her?”
“I named her Anna!” she said. (Long pause here as she thought to herself). “No, actually I didn’t name her Anna. I named her Abby.”

This conversation is absolute proof that Mom Brain exists. I think that maybe webMD should add Mom Brain to their list of diseases so we can self-diagnose ourselves. It kind of makes it a little better to deal with when you know what you have.

I can see it now. The list of symptoms is as follows:
Short term memory loss?
Difficulty performing familiar tasks?
Disorientation?
Increasing problems with planning and managing?
Trouble with language?
Rapid, unpredictable mood swings?
Lack of motivation?
Changes in sleep?

If you answered yes to any of these, then you either have Mom Brain, Dissociative Identity Disorder, Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Because the symptoms are EXACTLY THE SAME.

And like me, if you too suffer from Mom Brain then I’m not even sure why I wrote this blog entry, because by tomorrow you will probably have forgotten you even read this post.

An Unconventional Friendship

Two young girls are playing together upstairs at my house. Even from downstairs, I can hear them giggling and dancing around the bedroom. One is trying to teach the other how to dance “Gangnam Style”. The song plays over and over and over. I shake my head. I have no idea what that song means, but it really doesn’t matter.

They are best friends, but these two girls do not have what many would call a “typical” friendship.

One is my step-daughter.

The other is the daughter of my ex-husband.

Yes, you read that right.

How did this unusual friendship happen? Well, let me explain.

Being silly

My ex-husband and I divorced 12 years ago and believe me, it wasn’t cordial. Our divorce was finalized after two years of name calling of words that hadn’t even been invented yet, playing “This is Mine, You Can Keep That”, and paying barrels of money to our lawyers who loved us for basically covering their mortgages each month.

Fast forward another year when I was out visiting my then 85-year old grandmother in rural Mississippi. I had been griping about something my ex had done, when she looked at me and said “Why do you hate him so much? You were best friends until you divorced.”

“Well”, I began, “He did this, and this and this…” (of course, not taking any of the blame for myself!)

Pitifully, she just shook her head and said “You’re divorced. You don’t love him. He doesn’t love you. But you have a small child together and you both need to stop acting so selfish and start acting like parents. Forgive each other and move on.”

Ok. Let me tell you that when your grandmother (who normally has you on a pedestal and thinks you can do absolutely nothing wrong) begins to notice that you’ve become nothing more than a griping whiner, you have to really look at yourself. What I saw wasn’t pretty. I had always been a cheery, happy, funny Mommy but somewhere I had turned into an extremely bitter person, and I didn’t like myself like that.

Upon returning home, I called my ex and told him what my grandmother said. We decided we needed to try to work out his – I mean our “communication” issues. Although we had never argued in front of our son, we realized that if we wanted to bring up a good, well rounded child, we would need to stop the constant complaining and arguing. The plan worked. Over time we actually were able to become friends again.

We realized the important thing was for our son to be able to see his parents as respectable friends who just couldn’t stay married. He didn’t have to choose sides: he could spend weekends or holidays with either one of us and it was okay.

My ex married a wonderful lady who has become a very good friend to me. I have said before that I would have been drawn to her as a friend if we had just met at an office or school. We really get along and I especially appreciate how much she loves my son.

My ex and his wife now have a ten year old daughter. I would babysit her when she was a baby and I’ve watched her grow over the years into an amazing young girl. I have been to her birthday parties and I have cheered her on at her soccer games. I adore her.

I remarried three years ago, and as unconventional as it sounds, I invited them to my wedding. We introduced their little girl to my new little step-daughter. At first they were shy around each other, but soon they began running around the reception like old friends. They danced out on the dance floor and giggled over slices of wedding cake.

Making Monster Wreaths (idea by @babyrabies)

They truly hit it off. They now spend the night at each others houses as many times as possible. They do arts and crafts together. They build tents on the catwalk overlooking our living room.

Although they have both voiced that they would love to have more siblings, (sorry, but this baby factory is CLOSED) neither of the girls has a sister. One afternoon when I was putting away freshly laundered clothes, I overheard them trying to figure out how they could possibly be sisters because they sort of share the same brother….my son.

And now as I sit at my desk writing this post, I hear them upstairs laughing and playing, and my heart giggles along with them. It is so amazing to me that out of a sad and hurtful past, a beautiful new friendship was born. And what could be sweeter than that?

But I still don’t get what “Gangnam Style” means.