Going to My 10 Year Reunion

capssucka

Yep.  I’m going to my 10 year reunion.  For high school.  With people I graduated next to.  Because:

Social Media. capssucka

10 years ago, I was so freaking happy to be out of high school.  My life ahead of me, my not terrible but not amazing years as a high school student behind me.

I was NEVER going back.

Reunions?  For suckers.  Glorified preening parties for people who were popular in school and wanted to show off that they still had it.

‘It’ being something that I never had.

I was a choir geek, horrible at sports, and “not skinny” or moderately fashionable.  Of course now I would kill to have my high school body again, but hey, such is life.  My close friends had either graduated the year before me or would graduate the year after me.  There really wasn’t anyone in my class except my best friend/soon-to-be-roommate that I was terribly worried about keeping in touch with.

As far as I was concerned, everyone from my graduating class may as well not have existed for how much thought I would give them for the rest of my life.

And then, social media happened.

First, it started with old acquaintances reaching out to me, and, eventually, me to them.  Hey, well, maybe this isn’t so bad.  It’s cool to know they’re doing well.  And look at how much we actually have in common when you take away the bullshit of high school hierarchy.

Next, reconnecting with some friends who had gone their own way on not-so-pleasant terms.  Cautiously reconnecting, it was a great feeling to be able to say, Dude, I was stupid, I’m sorry.  Are we cool now?  And we were.  Side pondering: Is that how guys apologize?  Just all zen, water-under-the-bridge type stuff?  Because it’s so easy peasy.

Then, suddenly finding yourself having a dialogue with people you barely interacted with on a daily basis in school, via a mutual friend’s posting.  Enjoying the dialogue so much that you cautiously reach out the ‘hand’ of social media friendship, and there you are, given access to the pieces of their daily life they wish to share with the people they’re connected with.  You.  You are suddenly part of that circle.

It becomes the new platform for sharing achievements, woes, and general lifely things that you never would have guessed at or known about on your own.

Engagements, marriages, children, degrees, jobs, deaths, vacations, moves, achievements…  You have a front row seat to see and remark on them when they happen.

Gone are the days of storing all of your cool happenings for a night or weekend of preening in front of the people you spent 4 years elbowing to maintain your place on the social ladder of high school.

Now, we can come together just as people, already knowing the amazing or mundane things the others have been up to.

Sure, there are many of my class of 400 people who I am not in touch with, who may not even remember me or know who I am.  For the most part though, the playing field has been leveled.

And I am so ready to go out and play.  Of course, by play, I mean party.  Because we’re adults now, and our parents can’t stop us.

Husbands are a different type of Best Friend

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Do you guys know Robin O’Bryant?  She’s hilarious.  Insightful.  A published author.  I adore her.

She wrote a piece that was published on the Huffington Post about how she’s not married to her best friend.  It’s really, like most everything she does, a great post.

Robin brings up some great points about her relationship with her husband, Zeb, vs the relationship she wants/has with her best gal-pal.

In my eyes, though, everything she describes about her relationship with her husband, does, indeed, make him her best friend.

I just think that husbands are a different type of best friend.

Now, I don’t know about your friends, but mine are all so different.

I have my best friend since childhood.  The one who I’ve been friends with for so long, it would just feel wrong to not call her my best friend.  She’s artistic, geeky, and loyal to a fault.  In the 18 (!!!) years that we’ve been friends, I think we have only had 1 argument, and that was very early in our friendship.  I can tell her most anything, but she’s not particularly girly, and we’ve always had a few differing interests.

My best friend since middle school, she’s my troublemaker friend.  Passing notes in class, introducing me to what being a teen living in the city was like.  The one who got to hangout with whoever she liked, whenever she liked.  Hacky sack, smoking dope, and listening to her friends play in their garage band.  An awesome dancer, so cute that everyone loved her, and quick to make friends.  We barely knew each other and then one day we started hanging out and have loved each other since.  We fell out of touch for a while, but when she had her first baby we found each other again and it was like we’d never stopped talking.

Another friend was Captain’s best friend’s girlfriend.  The more we’d all hang out, the more we came to enjoy each others’ company until she and I became great friends, despite being in completely different phases in our lives.  We became shopping buddies.  She, and another friend, filled the need I had for feminine past times.  Shoes became Cabin Girl’s first word because of the amount of time we’d spend shopping and having lunch dates together.

When Captain and I moved across the state with Cabin Girl, I made my first real, ‘from scratch’ adult friendship.  Our firstborns were born a few weeks apart and we were both looking for a friend in a new town.  She’s cautious and an introvert, but, surprisingly, I didn’t scare her away.  A bit nerdy and an insanely talented crafter, once she opened up, there was no going back.  The bond that began as commiserating mothers became a fast friendship of shared experiences and thoughtful conversations.

I consider all of these women, still, to be my best friends.

They each provide me with something the others don’t but it doesn’t make any of them less of a bestie.

The same way that what Captain provides me doesn’t make him any less of my best friend, either.

Robin said, “I want best friend who will tell me I need one more pair of shoes and a man who will remind me to save for my retirement account. I want to call my best friend when I feel I’ve been wronged and hear her say, “What a b*tch! I can’t believe she said that to you!” I want to be married to a man who says, “Who gives a sh*t what she thinks?””

My best friends offer me counsel just as often as they get mad on my behalf.

They gently remind me of what’s important after listening to me rant and rave about stupid things that upset me.

We commiserate on the frustrations of everything from diet to kids to societal issues and then bask in each others triumphs.

They are my shoulders to cry on and hands to hold.  My support system and my sounding boards.  My biggest champions and some of my most cherished people.

All of these things can be said about Captain, too.

Captain just gets the added bonus of seeing me naked almost every day.

So, yes, my husband is my best friend.

I don’t know what else I should call someone who has held me while crying, puking, and giving birth (on many separate occasions), knows all of my hopes and fears, has cared for me and those I love when we’re sick, can make me laugh until I hyperventilate with a well-timed look, infuriates and excites me simultaneously, and has made me feel complete these past 8 years.

Happy Anniversary, Captain.

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I am proud to call you my Best Friend.

 

Accept that aging doesn’t diminish spousal attraction

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Does age change the attraction you feel for your spouse?  Do you worry about your spouse wishing you looked different?

Even though I’m not yet out of my twenties, being a mother of 4 is taking its toll on me.  Mentally, emotionally, and, most notably, physically.  Captain will be 30 this year, and the tolls of hard work and stress are showing on him, too.

Tell-tale signs of self-neglect lay the foundation for insecurities that I’d hoped to be past by this point of my life; Dry skin, yesterday’s makeup still smeared beneath my eyes, crows feet, frown lines, and frizzy hair, to name a few.  Add onto those the major changes having babies puts you through; Wider hips, stretch marks, extra weight, and changed breasts.

So many things that I look at and think: Ugh.

Enough things to make me wonder why Captain still takes an interest in me, as I’m clearly not the 17 year old girl he encountered when we first met anymore.

Things that make me consider expensive treatments to fix.

Until the other night, when I was cutting Captain’s hair and noticed that his hair is thinning.  If, as they say, men should look to their mother’s side of the family to find out what their predispositions for hairloss will be are true, then he’s on the road to becoming completely bald before he’s 40.

I looked at him, really looked, later that night, and saw what I’ve always known was there: stretchmarks over his muscular thighs, laugh lines and crows feet of his own, moles, and his receding hairline.  Things that really aren’t attractive at all. spousalattract

I really absorbed the way Captain has started to age, and you know what?

It didn’t change the way I feel about him one bit.

His extra weight doesn’t make me want him less.  His complexion doesn’t make me less attracted to him.  His silvering, thinning hair doesn’t make me want to go out and find a younger man to romp around with.

Why would I assume that the faults I see in myself would make him love or desire me less?

So, the next time he calls me beautiful, I’ll accept it with a smile.

When he says he finds me sexy, I’ll put my self-depreciating doubt behind me.

Because I love more than his body.

He deserves me to be accepting of his loving more than mine.

Will YOU Be My Galentine?

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Yes, YOU.

With all the hype about Valentine’s Day, many women are listing why they don’t care about it, they hate it, or they could do without it.

Myself included.

Is it a defense mechanism?

Maybe.  It’s one of those ‘comparison is the thief of joy’ type things.  I know my husband won’t do anything nearly as romantic as Suzy Q’s husband, so I’ll just tell myself that I don’t need it/want it/care about it.

I know some of you out there really, truly don’t care.  Massive kudos to you!

Others, well… others just want to feel a little special.  A little appreciated.  Just a bit.

That’s why stumbling upon Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls Galentine’s Day event on G+ has me SO excited. (Yeah, yeah… Jessica, they did that on Parks and Rec, like, forever ago! Well, I don’t watch Parks and Rec, sassy pants.)

Because, we DON’T need to rely on the lovers in our lives to make us feel special.  We have whole communities of people who love each other just because they’re people, and worth loving.

People just like you.

YOU, who works 60 hours a week.

YOU, who works part time while going to school.

YOU, who is laid off and taking time to rediscover your hobbies.

YOU, who stays home with your kids.

YOU, who serves in our nation’s military.

YOU, who jetsets and explores this huge, amazing world we live in.

You.  Yes, you.

I want YOU to be my Galentine.  I want to celebrate the awesomeness that is you.  Not because I want to get laid, or because I’m socially obligated to make you feel special.

But because you deserve it, Galentine.  For being awesomely, perfectly, unapologetically you.

Call me sometime, and we’ll go do Gal-Pal stuff.  I’ll listen to you rant about the new guy at work, I’ll spare you the details of the latest poop catastrophe my 2 year old created, and we’ll laugh over mimosas and pedicures.

gal1platonic gal2crazy gal3pedisI put stuff in my hair and did my makeup for these, you guys.
You’re welcome.

Why I Don’t Expect Romance on Valentine’s Day

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With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I’m finding myself in a tough spot.

The spot where, while I love being romanced, my husband is not a romantic guy.

I know this.  I’ve always known this.  He’s sweet, but he’s never been over the top.

He proposed to me while we were getting ready for bed, for Pete’s sake.  But that’s a story for another day.

This June will mark 10 years of us being together and I can’t remember one epically romantic instance initiated by him.

For him, Valentine’s Day is one of 4 times a year I hope for flowers; Valentine’s Day, our wedding anniversary, Mother’s Day, and my birthday.  We rarely get each other cards, because we clearly express our feelings for each other on a daily basis.  No need to waste money to write the same sentiments out.  While I would love the thoughtfulness, Captain just doesn’t see the point.  If I ask, he’ll take me to a nice dinner, or we might go on a date.  Most of the time, though, we choose to stay in and have a nice Valentine’s Day dinner as a family.

None of it excites me.  For the most part, Valentine’s Day is the same as any other day, with a lot of extra hype.  I still have kids to take care of, he still has a job to go to, and there will still be fights and messes along the way to bedtime.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I would LOVE for there to be a Valentine’s Day when he goes all out and treats me with surprises and sweet sentiments.   But in our 9.5 years of being together, I’ve learned that if I want something from him, I have to spell it out, and getting a gift because I told him to get it doesn’t have the same significance as being surprised with a heartfelt gesture.

It’s the difference between having hopes and having expectations.  Sure, I’ll always hope to have a super romantic Valentine’s Day, but will I expect it?  No.

And that’s okay.

Because,

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It’s the every day I Love Yous.  The hand holding during dinner, just because we want to touch.  His doing the dishes because he knows I hate it.  Me bringing him his coffee.  The flirty pats on the butt as we pass each other in the hallway.  Him knowing that I can’t fall asleep if he’s wrapped around me, me understanding that he enjoys falling asleep physically connected, and the compromises we make to ensure we both feel fulfilled.

So you can keep your fancy chocolates, your glitzy jewelry, your expensive flowers, and your glamorous nights on the town.

I’ll be happily parked on the couch with the man of my dreams, who makes sure I know I’m loved every day, indulging in our Friday family ritual of pizza and a kid movie.

And, maybe we’ll get a dessert pizza for the occasion.

Thankful for: The Big 3.

Here it is, the ubiquitous post about gratitude.  It’s the spirit of the season, and though the traditions of Thanksgiving have a controversial background, it doesn’t make the holiday less special for those of us who look forward to it year after year.

I could list the million and one things that I’m thankful for throughout the year, but I’d probably just end up annoying myself.

So instead, I’m going to list the Top 3 things on my thankful list this year.  Technically, there are 4 things I’m especially thankful for, but rather than rehash it, you can read why Captain is my most important one here.

1) My kids.  They are healthy, obnoxious, thriving, beautiful, demanding, and bring out the absolute worst in me.  They test my patience almost constantly, and it has made me into a better person than I’d ever imagined.  They have opened my eyes to the complexity and glory of a life worth living, and I will never stop being grateful for it.

2) My family.  Both blood related and not.  We have recieved such an overwhelming amount of help and support from my parents, Captains parents, and the friends we have surrounded ourselves with.  Whether they were babysitting so Captain and I could have a night out, bringing me coffee, donuts, and company as a pick-me-up, rallying at the last minute to help us move, letting us live with them, or lending their support during the birth of the Kraken, we have been enveloped in so. much. love.  I can never say Thank You enough.

3) This tiny double-wide.  Never would I ever have imagined myself to be grateful to be living in an old mobile home.  But here I am.  Here WE are.  Together.  After several months of uncertainty, our family separated by a 2 1/2 hour freeway drive, and lots of gut-wrenching tears, we are all under the same roof, thanks to this little, affordable house.  It is allowing us to be whole while we save for our future, and that is an amazing gift.

These are the things I’ll be reflecting on while I sneak bites of dressing out of the slow-cooker at my parents’ house today.

What are your Top 3?

Oh Captain, My Captain

captain

There are a lot of sayings out there about love.  How terrifying it is.  How great it is.  How much work it is.  How simple.  How complex.  How it fills you up and leaves you empty at the same time.

All of them?  True.  Undeniably, inexplicably true.  How can so many adjectives apply to the same thing?

When I met Captain, I had just come out of a semi-serious relationship of 2 years.  When he walked in the door all of my insides seemed to flip upside down and inside out.  I knew; He was special.

I fell in love with him, hard and fast.  The feelings I had for him began to permeate every bit of my heart, mind, and soul.  Every fiber of my being, there is now a piece of him in it.  Thinking about being without him?  Unimaginable.  Considering it makes me physically ill.

When we started having kids, that didn’t change.  I don’t love him more than I love my kids, but I love him different.

Our relationship came first, and it always will.  A day will come when our kids leave to start their own families.  To find their own spouse that will become their entire universe, and I hope they do find them as early as Captain and I found each other.  But when they leave, we will be left with just each other, and I want that time to be just as passionate as our time before kids.

He is the most important person in my life.  My kids are important, yes, but we share the love and responsibility for them.  If he were to leave I would be left alone in that burden.  I would have to leave my kids in the hands of someone else every day so I could work.  If he were to leave I would lose my biggest champion.  I would lose my best friend.

So he is my priority.

Oh, I don’t leave the baby screaming so I can rub his feet, but there are a few things I try to do as often as possible (and that lately I need to do more of) to show him that, despite all the chaos, he is the most important person in my life.

Bring him his coffee. (If I’m up at the same time.)

Make him a hot breakfast. (Again, if I’m awake.)

Help make his lunch.

Send him a text or two letting him know I’m thinking about him, and that I appreciate him.

Make sure he gets a half hour of uninterrupted time after he gets home from work to wind down and shower off the day.

Serve some of his favorite meals rather than kid friendly ones.

Give him back rubs/head rubs while we’re watching tv.

Ensure he has clean laundry.

Initiate intimacy.

Yes, a lot of it is gender stereotypical stuff, but we’re a stereotypical family.  We share the duties of some things (i.e: He helps me with dishes because I HATE them, and we fold laundry together), but for the most part it is my job to keep the house running smoothly while he brings home the bacon.  Making our home a welcoming place for him to come to after he works a long day to take care of us financially is one of the ways I take care of him.

Without him, I wouldn’t have my beautiful family.

Without him, I could very well still be on a path of self destruction.

Without him, I wouldn’t get butterflies in my stomach every single day.

Without him, I wouldn’t know what it’s like to be chosen as someone worth loving every day.

He is my most important person.  My special someone.  My person.  We dream of growing old and grey together.  After the kids are gone and busy with their own families, he is the one I will spend the rest of my days with.

He is my Captain, and I will always be grateful for him.

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We Become

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Surround yourself with beauty.

Surround yourself with people who make you happy.

With people who build you up.

Surround yourself with positivity.

And you will become; Beautiful, happy, uplifting, positive.

But, those of us surrounded by the constant mayhem that comes with having children?

The ones who already live with the threat of depression ever on their minds?

When the simple act of going to the bathroom alone leaves room for the unmitigated destruction of the rest of the house?

When the people we care for do nothing but whine, bicker, and fight?

What do we become?

We embody that which surrounds us.

Chaos.

Disorder.

Noise.

Destruction.

Like the poor who can’t make a long term financial plan, because an extra $10 saved won’t matter in the face of three overdue bills, we, the depressed, struggle to see the point in doing just one thing for ourselves.

Why should we?  We’ll only return to the same old environment.  Hear the same complaints.  Clean up the same messes.  Fight the same fights.

That 30 minute run is our $10 bill.  The toys thrown everywhere, the lack of well-fitting clothing, and the meal that will take too much energy to prepare are our delinquent power, utility, and phone bills.

Once those bills come in, that $10 won’t matter.  Because we’ll still be so overdrawn, so in debt, that the $10 becomes a drop in the ever growing bucket.  We can try to squeeze out every drop we can, but the bucket grows into a tub, the tub becomes a pool, the pool turns into a lake, and the lake suddenly morphs into an ocean.  webecome

 

Missing something

Today was busy.  But it was a good busy.

Family breakfast, getting ready for pictures, knitting a baby hat, having pictures taken, sharing lunch, taking a nap, making deviled eggs to take to a birthday party, then going to the party itself.

All in all, it was awesome.

At the party though, I realized that there’s something I don’t do anymore that I really miss.

And that thing, is dancing.

Not necessarily out in the club getting wasted and shaking my ass for potential guys to grind against… just feeling the music and moving to it without thinking.

Something you can do every day.

It hit me as I bobbed gently to the hip hop blaring through the speakers in our friend’s shop, while wearing the baby.  Watching some of the other women there move freely, without fear of judgement.  Safe in a space that held their closest friends; their chosen family.

I want to do that again.

So I’ll start tomorrow.  In my living room.  With the Cabin Kids and Captain dancing and laughing with me.

Because you have to start somewhere.

Stop With Your Memes: I’m the One Who Cares

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I’m going to start this with a vent: I can’t stand those “No one cares” memes.  You know, the ones that say “No one cares what you did at the gym today” or “No one cares about what you made for dinner.”  Kids, pets, food, workouts… everyone seems to have something they don’t want to see people posting about.

someecards.com - No one cares what you think no one cares about.See what I did there?

Maybe it’s because I am one of those people that posts about my workouts, my kids, the chores I do, the meals I make that I hate them.

The things is, I LIKE seeing other peoples’ posts.  That’s why I like social media.  I like seeing what other people are doing.  I like supporting my friends in their every day endeavors.

If we were hanging out in person and you proudly told me about the workout you did yesterday, or the meal you cooked for your family, how big of a douchewaffle would I be if I flat out said, “No one cares about that crap, let’s talk about something else.”  That’s a happy side effect of a healthy friendship; you support each other.  And even if I can’t do it in person, I still want to support my friends in their every day triumphs.

Is your baby another month older?  Hell yeah, look how cute he/she is! 

Did you make a freaking awesome meal for your family out of scratch?  Share the freaking recipe!

Have you and your partner lost 50 pounds together?  Tell me how you did it!

Get your whole house clean and still pick up your oldest from school on time?  You’re a beast!  Good job!

The next time someone proudly posts their workouts every day for a month, don’t get pissy because it’s not something you’re interested in.  Give them a virtual pat on the back, or hell, give them a phone call and congratulate them on their consistency.

Quit being a Negative Nancy trying to shame people into not sharing what’s important to them.

Or, if it’s honestly a problem for you, stop following them.  If you don’t care about their every day happenings, what’s the point of being in touch with them anyway?

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