seriously, i slept through child labor

that’s right! you read it correctly.  i seriously slept through the labor of my son.  not his birth, just the labor.  this will be the recollection and sharing of WHAT I REMEMBER regarding my son’s birth.  my version, through my eyes,  which obviously, were closed.  this is not the horrific birthing story that makes young girls cringe, men turn an about-face and leave the room or gramma’s weep where they stand.  this is the story of my son and i.  by far, one of the happiest and uplifting birthing stories i have ever heard.  yes, he was my first.  yes, i had an epidural.. ok, wait!  i’m getting ahead of myself.  i will address all of that as i tell the story.  i promise to spare you the most intimate details of the process and if at all possible i’ll keep the gory details to myself.

my son will be 4 years old in april.  he is by far the most beautiful and rewarding thing (yes, thing) that i have ever made.  i spend the latter part of most of my days in awe of him.  he is particularly handsome, i find, and just as mischievous.  he is “a boy” in every aspect of the word.  whatever you can imagine to be associated with “a boy” is certainly a part of him.  he’s rough, rugged and brawny.  he’s my joy and i love him dearly.  and here is the story of how we became…

on the morning of april 5th, 2007, i woke up much the same as i always have.  some blinking, yawning, stretching, followed by more blinking.  my body was held hostage by Swee’ Pea (that was my son’s first nickname).  i weighed a whopping blankety-blank pounds and had a belly the size of a very large watermelon.  it was scary.  i called myself a duplex.  my bladder was the size of a small walnut and bathroom trips were not only frequent but almost always bordering on emergency.  that morning was no different.  however, in the middle of the blink-yawn-stretch combo i got this very tight and tense squeezing of my add-on (the du in my plex).  i thought it was my unborn son, also stretching… with his foot in my ribs.  i shook it off and made it to the little mommy’s room with no time to spare.

the day proceeded as planned.  i had a pre-scheduled ob/gyn appointment for eleven o’clock that morning and was also in the process of making some fan-damn-tab-u-lous wedding invitations.  my bestie, danielle, picked me up to take me to the doctor.  when i got to the check-in desk, the nurse was shouting my name.  they immediately took me in to see my doctor who basically said “i was here all night last night, don’t go into labor today because i won’t be there”. um, ok?  she moved on with my little examination, including poking and pushing on my humongous belly.  she asked:

“what’s he doing?”

“nothing”, i said, “which, as you know, is very unlike him”

“what do you mean nothing? because you know, nothing could be a sign..”

“see?!?! he’s doing that right there!” (at which point that tight and tense feeling came back)

she put her hand on what i’m certain were his feet… up near my ribs, she squeezed and held her hands taut against my deformed tense belly and looked me dead in the eye;

“um, those are contractions”.

o_O  “what?  really? ok.  i didn’t realize that. uhh, what do i do?”

“nothing.  if they take your breath away, come back.  otherwise, i’ll see you next week”.

“ok”.

so, danielle and i left.  i had to go buy ribbon for those wedding invitations and that little errand was quite a hoot.  there were two senior ladies shopping together and i heard one of them say to the other, “my wooooord. look at the belly on her. i think she’s going to give birth right here in the store”.  it made danielle and i belt out in an overly rambunctious guffaw.  we looked at them and smiled and they smiled in return.  both of them looking at me with the fear that they might be involved in my son’s birth… any minute now.  it didn’t happen.. not right then, anyway.

we left the craft store and i demanded to have lunch at Cuca’s because, just like every other day during my pregnancy, i wanted spicy food.  chicken tacos, crispy, to be exact.  while eating lunch, i continued to have more contractions and a very amusing conversation with danielle and her mother about me and spicy food.  they tried to deny me hot sauce. hmph. um, bad move?  i’d say so!  i was blankety-blank pounds of currently-in-labor craving some hot sauce crazy woman.  i wanted my hot sauce and by jove, i was going to get it.

i went home, and continued on with my invitation job.  cutting, folding stuffing, gluing.  over and over again.  the day progressed and i was fine.  my aunt left to attend the local market night about 5:30 that evening.  the only person who knew about my contractions was danielle and she was sworn to homegirl secrecy.  i refused to have people calling me every few minutes to “check on” me.  or to be forced to go to the hospital only to be turned away with a “false labor” diagnosis.  i’d heard the stories and seen the tears and frustration of those women and i was determined to not be one of them.  my son was too.

about 6pm, i had one of those contractions that made me pause and say out loud “hmmm. that was different”.  i was unable to concentrate on my invitation project because sitting had now become a chore.  my tiny bladder managed to shrink even more and my visits to the bathroom were almost as frequently as my stifled breaths.  i distracted myself with phone calls.  i called a couple of people and chatted them up over the next couple of hours.  all the while, pacing, contracting and crossing my eyes in “oooomph”.  are you surprised to know that i didn’t actually KNOW that i was in labor?  i suspected so, but i was not experiencing what i thought i was supposed to be experiencing.  knew it, know it or not, i was in labor.  perhaps i didn’t pay close enough attention to the “signals” in my other bestie’s lamaze classes five years prior because lord knows i didn’t pay the $75 dollars to go to my own suggested classes.  $75 dollars? are you out of your mind?? and for what?  so you can tell me to “breeeeeeeeeeeeeathe” while there’s a whole person trying to vacate my happy place!  thanks, but i’m good.  i’ll breathe if i need to, and i’ll push when i need to.  i don’t respond well to coaching during crisis or to being told what to do (what? if anyone knows how difficult i am, it’s me).

with that said, my aunt returned from the market night with cinnamon roasted almonds in hand.  yum!  they were my request upon her leaving.  she retired to her room and began her cool down session for the evening.  at 9 o’clock, ON THE DOT, i experienced that contraction that “took my breath away”.  it was the kind of out-of-breath that you would get if you were to chase a runaway mugger fifteen blocks after he’d stolen an old lady’s purse.  the kind of out-of-breath that comes from “running with the bulls” in spain or playing world cup soccer.  needless to say, it was intense.  i was standing next to the bed, on my curled up toes, with the bedspread gripped in my hand.  my back was arched, my jaw clenched and eyes my completely crossed.  when that meanie of  an introductory contraction passed, i tried to sit down again.  why?  i don’t know.  i ask myself that question to this day.  but i tried, and when i started to bend at the waist, i felt that familiar tension and stood back up again.  i paced around my room and counted the minutes.  five minutes later, ooomph.  breathe.  five minutes later, oomph.  breathe.  and then… (oh lord, i can feel it now) at 9:15pm on april 5th, 2007, the contraction came that took the cake!  it stole the show.   i think it brought a tear to my eye.  i was still standing and when it passed, i hobbled, as quickly as a duplex on feet can move.  i went to alert my aunt but she was in the shower.  i opened her bedroom door and stepped inside, trying to call out to her.  when that contraction passed i was able to belt out;

“DD. (that’s what i call her)DD? um… i think”

“what? what?”

“um, i think we need to go to the oooooooooooooommmph”

“oh! OH! oh! oooooooooh”

“oooooooooooooooooooo”

“oh! ok! ok!”

“well! whatever we do, you need to get out of the shower!”

“ok, ok”

i went back to my room and had the grand idea to change clothes.  again you ask, why?  i don’t know.  and i even put on socks.  i hate socks.  have you ever seen a pregnant woman, in active labor, try to change her clothes?  it ain’t pretty.  i saw it, so did the mirror and we are in total agreement.  after successfully changing, i realized that i had not seen my aunt, for minutes.  several of them.  i proceeded down the hallway, one hand holding my add-on and the other propping me up against the wall.  oooomph!  i started down the hallway, calling out to her.  she didn’t answer.  i kept walking and calling out and still nothing.  when i got to the end of the hallway, the front door was open.  she flew in, went into the kitchen and then blew past with a trash bag in hand.  a trash bag? what?  you got it!  she was water-proofing the backseat of the “Jesus 300” (that’s her chrysler with a strategically placed “Jesus” adornment).

i don’t know if i remembered “the bag”.  i vaguely remember my aunt asking me about my purse, my keys and my phone.. i think.  i mostly remember “oooomph”.  i struggled to the car and tried to fold myself inside.  i remember having one foot on her headrest and the other on the rear passenger window glass.  i don’t know how many miles it is from my house to the hospital but it was entirely too many.

from here on out, this story is undoubtedly from my point of view only and missing a lot.  we pulled into the emergency room ambulance parking spot, only to be harassed by security “um, ma’am, you can’t park here”.  my aunt was running to get a wheelchair and yelling back “she’s in labor!”  my guess is that he didn’t like or want to accept that answer so this man opens the rear door of the aforementioned “Jesus 300” and says to me

“young lady, can you walk, because she can’t park here”.

cover your children’s ears…

“what the *&^% did he just say?  what?  are you #%!&%(* serious??  i’m in *&^%$#@ labor here, @$$#*!3. no, i can’t &^$(@)# walk, and no, she’s not going to move the %&*#(#& car until i get out!”

ahem.  you can uncover their ears now.  into the wheelchair i go, docked me on the curb, moved the car, rushed me in and under the peering eyes of the emergency room wait line another contraction hit me.  this one was earth shattering.  i think i got chills over my whole body and my ever-so-popular “oooomph” had now turned into a very low, very gutteral “uuuuuuhhhuuuuuuuuughhhh”.  i was whirred past the sickly people, past some nurses, and into a very cramped closet-like office.  someone asking me questions.

“do you have your medical card?”

“what? uuuuuugh”

” how about your i.d.?”

“what? uuuuuugh”

“do you know your medical record number?”

“six three seven floor blue blight blue uuuuuuuuhhh”

“ok. i’ll check with your family and we’ll see if they have you wallet and we’ll go from there”

i think my aunt came with the purse, the wallet, the medical i.d. card, but i don’t really know.  somewhere along the way, the bitchiest nurse ever comes up behind me and says to the other nurse:

“you call ob?what’s going on?”

now, you oughta already know that i had nothing nice to say, but what ran through my head was “bitch! what? do you see me? i’m in labor stoooooooooopid!”, but what came out was “oooomph.  uuuuuuuuuuuuugh”.  she responded to my obvious torture with;

“you girls always come in here thinking you’re in labor and you’re not, we’ll take you upstairs and find out FOR SURE”.

again… in my head i said “you mother-*%^&@#, i’m in labor, it’s *&%(#&% obvious to everyone but your stoopid @$$, now shut the %$&* up and get me to someone who can help me!!!  bioooootch!”.  what acrually came out was “uuugh”.

upstairs, into another closet-like room, but now on a hospital bed.  out of my clothes and donning an open-backed not at all flattering, simple hospital gown.  nurse in, nurse out.  nurse in, nurse out.  my aunt was on her phone “uh huh, well she’s in labor right now”.  um, hello?  could you be quiet?  i’m in uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugh over here!  someone kept asking me “have they checked you yet?”  i did not know what they were referring to, but after having been checked (this is one of those details you don’t need), i wished i’d said “yes, they have”.

one lovely nurse said to me “you don’t look so good, you’re really hurting, i’m going to give you something for your pain” and she disappeared.  she came back later, gave me and i.v. and “something for my pain”.

zzzzzzzzzz

seriously.  it knocked me out.  except for those contractions.  and once the “something for my pain” stepped in, who knows how far apart the contractions were.  i’m sure someone did, but it was most definitely not me.  picture this if you will; me  sportin’ that death-to-sexy hospital gown, on a hospital bed in a room the same size as the bed, with a vulcan death grip on the bars and my toes curled under… sleeping.  until “uuuuuuuuuuugh!”.. and that’s what happened for the next twenty minutes or more.  the next thing i knew i had peed myself.  peed? you say.  nope, my water broke and they had me on the move.  this is where it really gets fuzzy.  i’m asleep, i’m having contractions and i’m dreaming…. dreaming about eating… eating the cinnamon roasted almonds that my aunt brought me from market night that were left behind in my nightstand because labor makes you forget about food cravings, or shaved armpits or pretty much anything.  i’d been moved to a humongous room that was very bright, but i didn’t REALLY care, because i was asleep.  until i had a contraction.  somewhere between the uuughs and the lights i realized that i had to pee!  and bad!  my small walnut sized bladder had been crushed to the size of half a peanut.  i felt like i had needed to pee for a month.  what follows is the conversation that ensued between me and my nurse:

“i have to pee.”

“no, you don’t, it’s the baby pushing down”

“no. i have to pee.”

“no, you don’t. it’s just the baby pushing down.”

“no! i have to pee!!! and really bad!”

“ok. here. sit on this bedpan, you can’t be walkin’ around”

“what? serious? no. i want to go to the bathroom.”

“nope.  if you’re going to pee, it’s going to be right here”

“ok”

i swear i sat there for an hour.  i don’t know the real length of time.  i cried and begged and pleaded to be allowed to walk and to use the restroom at my leisure.  i was denied.  and i was also right back to zzzzzz.  somewhere along the way the bedpan was removed.  i don’t know if it was used or not. removed by request or not.

so, i’m still sleeping in between contractions.  i have a room full of people around, including, my aunt, my two best girl friends, my son’s father, his best friend and his friend’s girlfriend and my nurse. i’m uuuugh.  i’m asleep.  somewhere along the way i got an epidural.  you would think that i would remember a huge needle to the spine right in the middle of my tattoo, right?  um, nope.  not me.  zzzzz.  and this is the rest of what i remember:

“it’s time for you to push”

“what? shhhh.”

“excuse me, it’s time for you to push”

“what? i’m sleeping” (i swear to you that i was sleeping so so good, i knew it and i gave the nurse hell for trying to wake me up)

“do you want to see your baby? it’s time for you to push”

“you are really getting on my nerves”

the nurse asked my son’s father “can you talk to her?  because she’s kinda out of it”.  so he tried to persuade me awake with “babe” and “honey” and eventually had to get ghetto and snap his fingers in my face and say

“HEY! you’re at the hospital, remember?  we’re going to have a baby, remember?  so, can you push?”

“ooooooooooooooooooooh yeah.  you guys are just rude though.  i was sleeping so good. but i’ll push, ok?  can i sit up?  because i can’t push from here”.

they raised the bed, locked my feet into place and took their positions by my side.  the nurse coached me on the pushing process and then said “we’re gonna practice push from 1 to 10”.  wtf?  you woke me up to practice?  yes.  so we practice pushed, one to ten and then the real madness started.  i pushed for reals (yes, for reals)!  we counted from one to ten and then i was allowed to take my deep breath.  we started the next push, but this time i only got to six (this part is gonna knock your socks off).  my nurse told me:

“stop pushing.”

“what?”

“stoooop pushing, the umbilical cord is wrapped around his throat, i need to get a doctor”, and she walked towards the door…

“ok, but i don’t know if i can, this is bad timing” (that coulda been just a thought only, i don’t know if it came out or not).

the nurse  actually left the room.  my friends and family were pacing and staring at me.  shannon even said “you make it look so easy” (she had one of those birthing stories that makes people cringe and run the opposite direction).  i don’t know if she said it right then or hours before.  all of the memories are fuzzy and mixed with sleep and dreams of almonds.  the nurse returned, slightly exasperated and said “he’s in two emergency c-sections he can’t make it”.  i don’t know if it was right then, before then, or just after then, but everyone suddenly started clapping.  clapping, you say? mmm hmm, clapping.

“what are you clapping for?”

“he’s out”

“who’s out?”

“kenneth is out” (that’s my son’s name)

“he’s out of where?”

“he’s out of YOU”

and just like that, without my help my son gave birth to himself.  i think at that time, the doctor came in and said “hey, looks like you don’t need me”.  they did something to this and that, cut the cord, took my son to the other side of the room and i think the entire room and all it’s inhabitants sighed a collective sigh of relief.  he was born.  it was over.  i was no longer pregnant, but a mother, and i had slept my way through the first act.  friends and family were dismissed with love (it was after 3am) and i started my life as a mother.

you’ll never catch me complaining about being pregnant or giving birth.  the fact of the matter is that neither of those experiences warranted a complaint.  of course, i gained weight, fell in and out of hormonal tornadoes and ate like a fully developed two-ton elephant.  all expectancies of the expecting.  there were some concerns here and there, but with time they all diminished.  my labor was problem-free, minus the coma i was in and the umbilical cord around the neck fiasco, but even that didn’t stop my son from coming into the world.  he was just about 40 weeks to the day.  at 2:51 in the morning he brought my entire world to it’s knees.  he was 8 pounds, 7 ounces and twenty-one inches long.  he had 2 inch long slick black hair on his head, peach fuzz all over his body and 2 dimples.  his legs were sooooo long and i was finally able to see the feet that had been lodged in my right rib.  he was perfect!  SCORE!!!

see? it was an amazing story and you didn’t hear dilated, effaced, episiotomy or lactating.  you’re welcome!  believe it or not, it’s all true.  for the rest of that day, and the next, i was introduced to my son and 94,267,294,571 things to do for him, with him, near him and around him.  i learned a few things, cried about a few things, signed a buncha things and prayed for a lot of things.  i was now a mother and there was only one thing on my mind: those almonds in my nightstand drawer.

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my birthday is on tuesday

birthdays are often bittersweet.  aging isn’t always a party.  during our youth, we couldn’t wait to invite people over, show off our gifts, share our sweet tooth and have an overall celebration in honor of ourselves (and our mothers).  as we get older, these celebrations tend to take place less often and they are sometimes not at all.  for some, birthdays are a reminder of age.  perhaps an age that they don’t want to be.  an age they don’t want to turn.  and for some, no matter what the age bracket may be, we celebrate it and we do it out loud.  i am one such person.

for me, birthdays are like personal “key to the city” days.  where i am honored and cherished.  adored by all.  main streets through town are closed for a parade.  children are kept home from school and everyone eats free at the local cafe.  i am the queen, it is my day and i do everything shy of wearing a floor length ball gown, diamond studded tiara and carry a magic wand.  i love my birthday today, just as i have all of the years before.  age ain’t nothin’ but a number for me and i don’t even care what the number is.

this year, my birthday lands on a tuesday.  i know, right?  even typing “on a tuesday” has a definite sense of “let down” to it.  this is hilarious.  in my world, february eighth (um, my birthday) is a national holiday.  there’s no school, no work, no mail and no banks.  bills aren’t due, fat and calories are free and everyone is allowed a second piece of cake (to celebrate with me, no matter where they are).  normally, i want to shout it out.  radio air time, billboards, bus stops and skywriters.  but this year? .. this year it lands on a tuesday.  who shouts out “my birthday is on tuesday”?  try it.  i bet you’ll hear crickets, a brief silence and then an very distinct “ooooh” as if you’d said “i got a mosquito bite on my eyelid”.  both statements hold about the same amount of enthusiasm.

there seems to be an unspoken rule where birthdays are concerned.  naturally, any and all parties worth their weight in after-party guilt would fall on a friday or saturday.  where birthdays are concerned, the after-party guilt is welcomed, before the weekend, and even at the end of the weekend, when the laundry should be the task at hand.  mondays are even popular for celebrating employee birthdays or perhaps sharing birthday coffee or birthday lunch with the “birthday haver” of the weekend before.

where does that leave tuesday and wednesday in the birthday having rotation?  out in the cold, i tell ya!  out. in. the. cold.  even wednesday can become a birthday party a-lister when the party is due to start early.  especially since wednesday is affectionately known as “hump day”.  and that’s just short for “the weekend is on the horizon”.  if your birthday falls on wednesday you can celebrate the weekend after and be as popular as the friday birthdays, provided you leave early and get to where you’re going before the real friday birthdays crash the scene.

but tuesday?  poor tuesday.  tuesday is the birthday outcast.  as the second day of the week it screams “show me your productivity” not “where are we going tonight?”  when you share with others that your birthday “is on tuesday”, you’ll get one of two responses.  it will either be an astoundingly soft and monotone “ooooh” or my personal favorite “well, what day does it fall on next year?”  as if to say that your birthday this year is kinda watered down.  it may as well have already past.  you’ll be granted a birthday, in concentrate, next time around.

this year i plan to party big.  and naturally, with my birthday landing on a tuesday i felt the need to overcompensate with a weekend in las vegas.  per birthday party etiquette, i will celebrate the weekend before so as not to confuse my watered down birthday with those full fledged “i’m having a birthday, on a friday, and i’m in vegas, oh yeah, what happens here stays here” folk.  i was tempted to go all out and buy myself a tiara and a wand, to take my birthday vision to the next level (hmmm, it’s still possible). however, i am certain that if i shout my mouth off about having a birthday, i will undoubtedly be asked “when is it?! is it today?!” upon which time i will reply, sadly and with certain audible disappointment, “nooo, it’s on tuuuuesday”.

i said this in passing conversation the other night and my friend and i got such a laugh.  i can picture the tfss-birthdays (that’s thursday/friday/saturday/sunday birthdays) doing an about-face and walking away with attitude, bashing me and my watered down tuesday-birthday.  similar to the way the bachelor party passes the bachelorettes but are quickly denied the checking off of their “kiss a total stranger” scavenger hunt list.  i asked “do you think i should say anything or just keep my birthday to myself?” he said “keep it to yourself unless you want sympathy”.  we both chuckled.

so, my birthday is on a tuesday.  and i’m going to celebrate in las vegas like it’s the last friday of the last month of all time.  i’m going to shout it from the rooftops, taxis and elevator cabs.  tuesday or not, i’m going to celebrate and tohellifidonttry to party like a rock star!  i’m going to party like it’s 1999.  i am going to have a party in my name, and the rest of las vegas just might get invited.  and when my beloved birthday minions inquire about the actual day of my glorious birth, it will be no secret that it was “on friday”, of course.  😉

teaching tanisha tenacity

i’m certain that if you’re a breathing person over the age of seven, you have heard the phrase “terrible twos”. this statement, obviously refers to the year after the glorious first year of life, of one’s offspring. the first year, filled with well, firsts. first smile, first tooth, first full night’s sleep. first word, first step, first haircut. but ask any parent, and they will assuredly tell you that on the three hundred sixty sixth day of that child’s life, something switches. a button is pushed or a seal is broken. whatever the case may be, the child becomes an unceasing broken record repeating everything you have tried to instill.  mostly it’s “no”, “don’t”, “stop” and “mine”. all words that we as parents say to our darlings in hopes to correct an action that is most likely on its way to certifiable disaster. no matter the foresight and all-be-it good intention of the ‘rents, the kid knows only that he is being deterred from whatever they may be doing and THAT obviously is an error on our part. and so we are corrected.

the terrible twos segue into what i have always referred to as “the tumultuous threes”.  if two is the age of discovery, three has got to be the age of testing limitations.  all limitations.  their limitations, your limitations, the weight limits of small furniture.  the number of grapes they can shove into their cute little mouths.  or perhaps how far up their button nose they can shove an artificial pea-sized foam cranberry (that’s a real life example, and it was waaay up there).  every limit within their understanding can and will be tried, repeatedly.  three-year olds are exhausting.  they are talkative, energetic, clever little people.  they are often smarty panted little know-it-all versions of oneself.  my son is exactly that.  (you’re shocked, right?)  he thinks he can slide anything by me by saying “ooooh kay?” at the end.  and he doesn’t forget a thing!  his faultless memory is the inspiration for the following:

“if we all approached our life with the passion, tenacity and determination of a three-year old, some $h!t might get done. happy friday and cheers!”

reflect on the quotes you’ve heard over time about children.  while always entertaining and predominantly truthful, they usually refer to the sweetness and innocence encompassed in the impish smile of a child.  most intriguing to me is “out of the mouth’s of babes”.  children have no sensors.  no inner monologue.  they aren’t politically correct or censored.  they are pure souls.  unadulterated and “live on the line” at all times.

for christmas i bought my son a battery operated mechanical train set.  like the good american consumer i am, i woke up in the night and pulled the ump-teen molded plastic pieces from their box.  for 35 minutes i toiled to get all of the numerically ordered pieces in some other order.  an order unknown to me and not well explained in the instructions.  i had skipped christmas the two years prior (yes, i’m a scrooge, but it was mainly ’cause i didn’t have the budget).  but this year, i really wanted to give my son something to remember.  a running, functioning train set oughta do the trick!  christmas morning arrived and my little conductor was not at all interested in varying from his usual routine.  i almost had to bribe him to get him to come down the hallway and see his surprise.  he soon figured it out and his eyes and face lit up!  i done good.  SCORE!

now, with that said, what on earth would posses me to buy something that could and would easily fill the empty square inches of floor space that we share?  who knows.  but, we manage.  for the first few days following christmas, the train had to be taken apart, relocated and put back together in varying rooms of the house.  BAH!  curses!  lucky for us, our aunt and roommate, purchased a snazzy black-friday-flat-screen-tv (uh huh, that’s a brand — lookitup!) for our very large, hardly inhabited tv room.  i had train videos and was able to convince my little conductor to relocate the train, the track and its accompanying stuffs into this much larger area. again, SCORE! train relocated, no one walking over or tripping on it and everyone was happy.  was.

for whatever reason, one random morning my little conductor woke up demanding and insisting that the train and it’s 8,756 parts (i exaggerate, there might be 25) be relocated to the bedroom, once again.  we haggled like a chintzy customer and seasoned salesperson at the swap meet.  i explained repeatedly that we were getting dressed to leave for the day and IF in fact this mom-gineer should decide to relocate the train it would be LATER, after we’ve returned from work and childcare.  still an unsatisfactory answer for the conductor, but one he had to accept anyway.

the day proceeded.  upon returning home from work and childcare, and having breached the threshold of our home my son, without missing a beat says “mommy? thomas train in bedroom?”.  wtf?  serious?  how on earth did he remember that?  i know, i know.. he’s young, he doesn’t have a lot on his plate, he doesn’t have account names, numbers and passwords to store, but how how how did he remember it at that exact moment?  coincidentally, he does the same thing every morning.  no matter what it is that he went to bed with (a train, a car, or a book and tag jr) the night before, he’s going to wake up like frankenstein and look for that exact item.  amazing.  again i say; “if we all approached our life with the passion, tenacity and determination of a three-year old, some $h!t might get done.”

where does that tenacity go?  why does a child, who has nowhere to go, nowhere to be and nothing to do, wake up with the dawn and own the type of outlook and determination that we, as adults, struggle to find?  why can’t we wake up and instantly remember everything we need to accomplish for the day and actually attempt to check those items off our list?

it is these questions that lead me to believe (actually, just affirm) that children possess the purest soul.  within them is an undying need and desire to see, hear and absorb all they come in contact with.  they are hopeful, loving and unconditional.  they are resilient and persevering and they don’t have to put forth an ounce of effort into any one of those things. they are free from despair and disappointment.

i for one believe that as we get older, the wind gets released from our sails.  most of us come into the world with nothing more than an imaginary timer stating “ding! you’re done”.  suddenly (and sometimes, not so much) we are thrust into the world with nothing but our looks.  as infants we are dependent and defenseless.  while simultaneously caring for and loving us, providing for our every need, our families are also forced to show us that they cannot always be there for us.  that they cannot cater to our every whim.  as we mature into toddler-hood and preschool-ism we are guided towards the acceptable and responsible behaviors.  we are introduced to birthdays, parties and holidays.  our parents, our guardians, our loved ones tell us stories about teeth stealing fairies, egg laying rabbits and jolly gift giving fat men.  and we believe.  we haven’t any reason not to.  our minds and our hearts are open.  it is here, i believe, in the hearts and minds of children that hope and optimism procreate uncontrollably.  the constant dreaming and fantasizing breeds like rabbits in their souls and spills out everywhere they walk and talk.  they glow from the inside with determination!

aging is inevitable.  we all age, whether we want to or not.  whether we politely accept it for what it is or attempt to fool the hands of time.  some of us are lucky enough to “grow old gracefully”, while others appear to literally wither and dissipate.  everything around us affects this delicate process.  from our specific genetic combination to all things consumed or exposed to; from birth until the day we die.  no amount of pills, waters, creams, lotions, injections or carvings can keep you from it.

don’t get me wrong, it ain’t all bad.  we grow into our skins, our bodies, our souls.  we grow into our voice, our spirit and our love.  we learn and we teach.  with age comes maturity, wisdom and hopefully peace of mind and soul.  and with this same age comes “real life” and “reality”.  two phrases that could make grown folk cry!  wind is released from our sail when we discover that the tooth fairy is really gramma’s spare change, rabbits don’t lay eggs and that santa claus and toys ‘r us are somehow in kahoots.  with every reality, a dream is crushed.  it’s not as much fun to hunt colored eggs when you find out that your auntie em bought them, boiled them, colored them and hid them in the plants.

i discussed this topic with a few friends.  one such friend stated that he, in fact, did not agree with me “at all”.  he said he considered himself to be “a big kid”.  well, that’s all fine and dandy, but i can guarantee that what he is referring to is not at all what i am referring to.  children stand in the face of adversity without fear.  they challenge everything and accept nothing at face value. they do not take no for an answer.  their drive and determination is as necessary as breathing and just as automated.  they do not have to think about being tenacious.  they just are.  ever tried to swerve a child’s attention from one thing to another?  it’ll work with an infant and even some toddlers.  but once you hit preschool… it’s over.  they do what they want.  what fulfills them.  and they don’t forget!

when i grow up, i want to be a child.  i want to see the world through rose-tinted glasses.  i want to be tenacious and not have it exhaust me.  i want to have the memory and passion of a terribly-two-turned-tumultuous-three-year-old.  understand me.  i don’t want to be young-er, naive or child-ish.  i want to possess some of their qualities.  their most admirable qualities.  i want to have their unadulterated sense of self.  their overwhelming forgiveness.  their pure love.  tenacious tanisha?  i think i like it.

thirty days of thanks

the figurative essence of a man (an excerpt that was also posted, but  has since been removed to eliminate the repetition) is an interesting rambling on of my favorite aspects of man.  Not just man, but men.  Men in general and men in specific.  It would like to be something more complicated than a list of my favorite attributes of men. However, it turns out that “the essence” was merely the appetizer portion of my blogging debut.  The meal itself, would follow in a whirlwind of hopes, dreams, realizations, ideas, inspirations, dedications and memories.  I would be lying if I took any credit for this idea or its pure soul-searching motivation.  In the interest of giving credit where credit is due, I want to highlight my facebook friend, Paula F, for the encouragement to give thanks out loud.  She encouraged her whole world to share their thanks with her each day for the month of November. To truly celebrate Thanksgiving.  I enjoyed the initial thought so much that I may have, literally, raised my hand as if to scream “Teacher! Teacher! Pick meeeee!”

even though I was very excited and anxious to participate, I took a little time to consider the dedication that I wanted to promote with my posts.  I knew I would start light and eventually end up heavy handed, but such is the way.  Once I started, I was already on a roll.  With a meager, yet humble and encouraging audience I started my day thinking about my thanks.  Actually taking time to form the thought, and draft the prose in my mind before publishing any flighty nonsense.   Of course, I want to have fun, encourage fun and always bring a smile to my readers, but I found myself searching, better yet, requiring, that my posts be clear minded, well formed thoughts and some sort of “method to the madness”.

It turns out that being grateful and expressing thanks is not as easy as it sounds.  In fact, it doesn’t sound easy.  Not to me, anyway.  I feel that the best way to express any thought requires the use of vocabulary.  And one cannot properly use vocabulary without a clear cut understanding of the word(s).  You have to comprehend before you can use them to communicate.  With that said, being thankful is simply that: expressive of thanks; effectively conveying meaning or feeling.  Effectively conveying meaning or feeling?  Wow, this is serious business.

lemme catch up. day 1: i’m thankful i have life. that i made it into this world and was given a chance. day 2: i’m thankful for my body. while i am aging, it APPEARS to be gracefully. LOL.

day 3: today, i am thankful for the will to do what is necessary and the ability to follow through.

day 4: today i am grateful for grade AA butter and warm Belgian waffles. MMMMM!! just kidding, today i am grateful for the desire to be helpful, even in the face of certain disappointment and adversity. perseverance! i can’t hide my shine! 😉

day 5: today i am thankful 4 men. MANLY MEN! (4 me, 1 man in particular), but men who care for themselves. well groomed and handsome men. freshly shaven men with new haircuts. men who smell good and who’s smile melts your heart. men who care enough about any and everything 2 care out loud. men who remind u that u’re a woman. men who make u smile when u don’t know it and give u butterflies when they look at u. men.

Jennifer Perez Awww….I want a manly man…=)!!!! Enjoy yours:)

Nicole Reese oooo I second that, you made me thankful!

Tanisha Ware installment 2: men with strong arms and broad shoulders. a man you can hide behind because of his strength and size! men who hold you up and never let you down. arms that hug you, hold you, love you and bring you flowers. a man that adores you. a man that cares for you. men. mmmph!

Camille Fairman Williams OMG, you worded this so accurately and beautifully. Can i steal this for my wall?? I’m in absolute agreeance.

Tanisha Ware take it honey! have it! it’s all yours! i’m just saying out loud what we all feel. and even if your man, the man, her man, his man, any man isn’t the “size” or exact “make and model” as i have described, you missed the point. as long you feel good when you’re with him and great when you miss him, you found him.

Camille Fairman Williams uh oh if that’s the criteria… i think i may have caught me one of those…YAY!!

Julie Stropka Word! Mine is not always clean shaven but he smells yummy and he does all the rest!! ♥

Tanisha Ware bahhha! @Julie Stropka, you said “word”… wooooooooooord!!

Tanisha Ware installment 3: a MAAAN! a man that makes you bite your lip in anticipation. a man who asks what you want and listens to the answer. a man who waits patiently for your response to a question he already knows the answer to. a man who is truly disappointed if he is forced to disappoint you. a man who will always make it up to you. a man.

Julie Stropka Don’t you just love it! 😉

Tanisha Ware mmm hmm! i do. like a fat kid loves cake!

Camille Fairman Williams alright… where are you getting this from?? are you picking my brain when i sleep? Gathering all the hopes and dreams of my wanted man? LOL

Tanisha Ware it’s just what was in my head when i woke up with this morning. 😉

Camille Fairman Williams and the funny thing is, is that what you’re saying and what most women want isn’t far reaching or far fetched in the least. very attainable, i know those guys are out there (fingers crossed) ♥

Tanisha Ware they are. but they wear figurative camouflage and are hard to see… knights in shining armor disguised as runners in nikes.

Julie Stropka and they find you when you aren’t looking…I promise! I met my hubby at Best Buy! 🙂 He is a good man who takes good care of our family..♥ Trust they are out there, and I hope you find yours 🙂

Tanisha Ware installment 4: a man, dammit! a maaaaan! not a boy who thinks he’s a man, not a boy who has to tell you he’s a man. a man you can see from a distance. a man that exudes man. a man who loves himself and those who love him in return. a responsible man that can handle business!! ALL business. a man. dammit! a man.

Julie Stropka You should be a blogger..seriously this is good stuff chica..

Tina Edwards ok, yer killin’ me. yes yes, manly men are good, don’t want to think about you and whoever too deeply, so cut it out. I mean, honestly, would you wan’t me to go into any kinda detail about how I feel about Jase? Really?

Tanisha Ware installment 6: a man of quality, integrity, dignity and dare i say; grace. a man who can walk, talk, move, stumble, fall and always make it look like something you want to be involved in. a man who will always have your back, be at your side and live forever in your heart. a man you love to watch and who watches you. A MAN!

Tina Edwards I’m gonna start listing Jason’s tattoos… I mean it!

Tanisha Ware Tattoos don’t scare me! You should know that. I’m plotting and planning No. 5.

a thankful day 6: as my dear sweet granny used to say “if it wasn’t for the bitter, how would you know what was sweet”?

day 7’s thanks… today i am thankful for being resourceful. for seeing the forest and the trees. for seeing the snake, letting it bite me and treating the wound accordingly.

2day i am thankful 4 my mama! it’s her bday. so HAPPY BIRTHDAY Michele Tazzi ! there’s no 1 in the world like my (or ur, if u wanna be picky) mama! i wish i had me somma her cookin’! wish we closer in proximity & able 2 njoy a night of kamikaze shots (down 2 our last dime) like we did so many years ago! 😉 oops! was that ‘posed 2 b a secret? I ♥ u mama!

Michele Tazzi Shhh.don’t tell all our secrets..lol but Kamikaze shots are just wonderful.I Luvs my Biggie ones both and wish u were here too so I could cook for you and make bread so I could watch you tear the loaf up getting a chunk…lol Luv Ya Baby

Tanisha Ware I love you too, ma! Happy father’s day and happy easter to you!!

day 9: today i am thankful for my aunt. she’s going away on an medical missionary excursion. she’ll be far away, physically, but not far from my heart. she takes better care of me and my son than i do. i wish her safe travels, rest and food when she needs it, but most of all, I WISH FUN FOR HER! i hope she has a great …time. i think we’re both homesick already. have fun DD! we’ll miss you! XOXOO

day 10 of thanks: today i am grateful for the opportunity to start anew. sometimes life just sinks. but everyday that we are blessed to wake up, we have the chance to make a change and bring us that much closer to what we really want. the hard part is separating the “what we want” from “what we deserve” or the “what we… need”. wants will never outweigh needs. fill your needs and your wants will be met.

Deb Avila Davis what a inspiration T 🙂 thanku for sharing u got a beautiful soul friend!

Tanisha Ware ‎*blush*

Deb Avila Davis lol 🙂

Nicole Hannibal awwww well said!

Tanisha Ware who let me post “sinks” and not “STINKS”? lol

Deb Avila Davis me lol i knew what you meant lol

day 11 of thanks. november 11th. a bittersweet day for me. i am grateful to all that have served, continue to serve and will serve. but for me, today is the date of my dear sweet granny’s birth… and sadly, her death. she died 4 years ago, today, on her 82nd birthday. lord love a duck if i don’t miss my sweet gertrude…. bless the lord and the heavens above for sending me such an angel. x

Tanisha Ware she loved me sumthin’ FIERCE, and i loved her back! i only hope that i can be the kind of mother, sister, aunt, and hopefully grandmother that she was. she was the most phenomenal person i have ever known.

Tanisha Ware with that said, i GIVE THANKS this day for my grandmother, Arlena G. Ware, for without her, i would not be me. she gave me her heart. everyday. thank you gertrude!! i love you! i miss you terribly!

Kim McNamara Revelles Wow you just touched my heart! Well said my friend. Your grandma was a special woman! I remember her, she was such a sweet lady. I believe you will be just like her and even better! Love ya girl, hope you have a great day! ♥♥♥

Tanisha Ware agreed! if you knew her, then you felt her, if you didn’t know her, you would have wished you did. thanks kim! xoxoo

Lana Ross wow sorry

Sharly Eckley She must have been special if God gave her and took her on the same day. You were blessed to have her as long as you did. I miss my grandma, too. Grandmas are so great!

Tanisha Ware i agree sharly! i whispered that to her, that day… “gramma! you gotta me some-kinda-wonderful to be born into and removed from the world on the same date!” amazing right? and i agree, grammas are great!

thanks on the twelfth: today i am thankful to be “healthy”. to be whole, have and use all five senses and not in need of any medication on a daily basis. i am thankful that i haven’t ever required a cast, crutches, a brace of any nature, surgery, replacements or upgrades. i am here, now, just as i came. i’m taller, heavier and more talkative. but i am free of pesticides and preservatives. 😉

thirteenth thought of thanks: perhaps the END of the day is the best time of day to confess one’s appreciation for the day. *shrug* today, i am thankful for friendship. for true friendship, lifelong friendship, facebook friendship, family friendship, acquaintance friendship. the general ability to connect with others.

day 14: today i am thankful for kisses. in love kisses, not aunt margaret kisses. sweet “end of the day” gentle pouty lipped kisses. kisses that linger… on the lips and the mind. the kind of kiss that makes you stare off into space and grin unknowingly.

days 15 and 16: yesterday i found myself unable to place thanks on any one thing. i thought about it for most of the day. i figured if i went back to posting in the morning it would help, but still, nothing came to mind. i listened to a lot of music. specifically “pretty wings” by Maxwell. even as i drifted off to sleep, he serenaded me and when i awoke his words and downright passion resonated in the air around me.

i want to take time to thank anyone that follows their musical calling. music is so very powerful. i am grateful for any song that has made it to my ear, past my heart and straight into my soul. music brings everyone together. it speaks for the lost, the quiet, the meek, the unloved. it reaches into your memory and brings out memories, people, smells, places, other songs. it’s amazing.

so for my thanks, i would like to be thankful for Maxwell. and i would like to thank any musical artist and every musical artist for bringing the funk!

day 17: today’s thanks include nubi hawaiian delight frozen yogurt with mochi, clean white fluffy fuzzy robes straight out of the dryer, “tisses” from my son, lunch and errands with the gal pals from work, texts from just about anybody (bahah!) and the very rare pat on the back from the boss.

day 18: today i am thankful for curiosity. for that nagging feeling that makes me look under the foil on a week old refrigerator experiment. the desire to see what’s in, what’s next to, what’s behind, what’s near, what’s under, what’s covered by anything else. the need to know the answer, even if i don’t want to know the answer.

the want of all the information, not the selective judgment free aspects that i am provided. the facts, the goods, the truth and the light. the real and never the fake. the substance! i am a seeker of the why.

day 19: today i am thankful for the unexpected. the things that keep me on my toes. keep me, at least attempting to be, one step ahead. the things that knock the wind out of me when i’m already in full motion. the things that make me rearrange my plans or throw them out the window altogether. the things that make life GRAND.

23 days of thanks: although i have been a total slacker since thursday, i am here to give my thanks. for the 19th: i am thankful for payday. what a way to start the weekend. for the 20th: i am thankful for my bestest friend Shannon Adcock and her two beautiful children. they came to visit with us and we had a tornado o…f fun. for the 21st: i am thankful for sleeping in late with SuperBoy.

installment 2: (a continuation of the 21st) children are always angels when they are sleeping and mine is no acception. he’s just so darned cute.

installment 3: for the 22nd: i am more than grateful for the lingering of love. the impish smiles, the slight swelling of pouty just kissed lips, the swooning in delight. the feeling that you love, have been loved, have made love and all is what it should be. i am grateful and thankful that someone’s heart is open to me and they are willing to let me in, to hold their heart and care for them. thankful they will do it in return. thankful.

installment 4: for today, the 23rd of November, i am thankful for the kindness and understanding of others. i am not the easiest person to get along with (no commentary allowed). but there are quite a few SPECTACULAR people in this world, who not only tolerate me, but actually like me (some of um love me! i know! can you imagine?), and that means the world to me. i do what i can to be a good person, a good woman and a good friend. i’m not always right, and i hate to admit that (sometimes), but i always have the best intentions. i love my life. i love my family and i love my friends. thanks for listening.

today, today i am thankful for my family. i am a holiday scrooge!! but i have too many good memories of thanksgiving to let them die. we ’bout to get this kitchen fired up!! if we’re fb friends it’s because i knew you, know you, love you, work with you or care about you in some way, so that makes you special to me. have an awesome day with your family! make some memories!!! XOXOO

Tanisha Ware says “Don’t sit over there thinkin’ you can escape my last 5 days of thanks for the month of November. I ain’t done yet! You just wait.

while shaking my head in shame, i must admit that i did not make it back to express my thanks, not  for those last five days of november.  and i haven’t expressed anything more than random thoughts during december.  however! for every moment leading up to thanksgiving day, i was focused and sincerely grateful.  i lost a lot of my holiday spirit just growing into an adult.  and whatever little light still shined was completely burned out when my granny passed away.  but i’m a parent, i am someone’s mother.  not just someone, but Kenneth.  i am Kenneth Michael T’s mother.  i owe it to him to provide a warm and safe environment in which to grow and learn.  i also owe him fond FAMILY memories full of traditions and fabulous food.  and it took aaalllllll the way up to noon on Thanksgiving day for me to actually pull it all together and get off my ass and say “let’s do the damned thang”!

and i did exactly that.  my son spent the holiday with his father and that side of the family.  i talked with my aunt and co-chef around noon.  we planned out a menu and headed to the grocery store.  ludicrous, right?  but we did it anyway.  we spent an insane amount of money for a full turkey dinner with only two guests.  she and me.  we filed the groceries away accordingly and started our mission.  we turned on the music, had some laughs and got the party started.  a full turkey dinner planned and executed by the ladies of Ware.  the menu included turkey, sage cornbread dressing, greens, brown sugared yams, sweet potato and lemon ice box pies.  oh, and kool aid.  it was de-lish!  almost dead on.  my sage cornbread dressing was so close to my sweet granny’s that it actually brought a tear to my eye.

but i was thankful.  for all of it.  for every last bit of it.  i don’t think that i would have been as inspired or as thankful without my new found attitude.  is it an attitude?  a perspective?  a “way of life”?  i’d like to think so.  i’d like to think that each day i have awakened renewed and refreshed but most importantly appreciative.  happy to alive, to be loved and be living my life!  indebted to the lord, the moon and the stars for blessing me with my son.

there is something to be said for living up to a challenge.   there is more to be said for accepting the challenge and persevering!  i’d like to think that i not only accepted and lived up to the “thankful” challenge, but that i grew from it.  that i am a better person for it.  i am trying to see things differently each day.  not always succeeding, but trying to see the brighter side of life.  the silver lining.  learning to embrace what has come to pass and prepare for what is on the horizon.  but never, never losing sight of the light.

thank you to Paula F, for encouraging me to be a better me.  you are my light.  and thank you to my cyber-clapping internet-encouraging facebook friends.

hello world!

i have successfully created a blog account.  now what ideas should i wow you with?  wait, i’d better get back to work (for now).  i’ll see you ALL later!