Sunshine & Rainbows

I have been waking up every day smiling.

 

I shit you not. I open my eyes, look over at my kids who have hogged my bed, and smile. I smile when they ask me for breakfast. Two weeks ago I would have thrown a half frozen waffle at them and said, ” Here. Eat.”. Now, I actually toast the waffles properly and add butter with syrup. Like a real mom.

I smile at my dumb dog when he has go to pee first thing in the morning.

I smile at my husband, which is basically unheard of in this household.

 

I can’t stop smiling. I’m smiling about everything, all day long. I used to believe that the people who were like, ” I woke up with a smile on my face!”, were chipper assholes who needed to calm the F down.

WHERE IS THIS EXTREME HAPPINESS COMING FROM?

That’s easy. I’m sober and I’m finally grateful for every single day. That’s not to say that shit gets hard and I feel like I”m losing my mind sometimes, but I recover from it. I don’t dwell on it. Just keep chugging along. There’s these things, they’re called coping skills, and apparently they work pretty well. Who knew, right?!? Crazy.

 

I keep looking into my kids eyes and it’s like I’m finally present with them. I hadn’t realized how touched out I was before. There was this fog in front of me before. I couldn’t see my way through it, but slowly it’s finally starting to fade little by little.

My dad has a saying that he repeats all the time, “Great to be alive!”. I thought that was pretty corny before.  My sister and I would look at each other and giggle or roll our eyes, but I get it now. I get it. It is great to be alive. It’s great to be present in my own life for once. It’s great to be open and honest. It’s all just really freaking great. GREAT.

 

My kids are still going to poop on me, my dog is still going to pee all over my house, my husband and I are going to fight about something dumb, but we get through it. It’s not an excuse to drink anymore. It’s an opportunity to deal with whatever is going on with a clear mind and heart.

 

As I’m typing this, I”m like, ” Who the hell is this person writing this?”. I sound like a cheesy life coach or something. But I don’t give a f***. At all.

It’s sober life baby, sober life. It’s not all sunshine. There aren’t unicorns barfing up rainbows (although, that would be fun.), it’s life. A life worth living. A life worth smiling about.

 

YASSSSSS QUEEN.

Twelve steps to happy hour…

Habits are hard to change. They become imbedded in our bodies. Muscle memory. That’s just how it is. My habits were out of control.

Cooking dinner? Here! Have a glass of wine!

Putting away laundry? Here! Have two glasses of wine!

Cleaning the house? Here! Have the whole damn bottle!

 

I was cooking dinner the other night and I had the strongest urge to have a glass of wine. I felt like I didn’t know how to cook without it. I was folding laundry and my body just ached to get buzzed so it wouldn’t suck so much.

 

Bad habits are incredibly hard to change. I decided to quit drinking and go sober for one month. My relationship with alcohol had become incredibly desperate and dangerous. I could make up a reason, any reason at all, why I deserved to have a drink. It was easy. I could have a glass and block out my postpartum anxiety like magic.

 

It was very easy to slip and slide into self medicating mentality. It starts with one glass.

 

But it’s never just one glass, is it?

 

I don’t like committing to things at all. I like to have excuses. I like to have a way out if I need one. I need to be in control. But, by my second day of sobriety, I realized I couldn’t do this on my own. I couldn’t commit to making this change all by myself. I needed help. I didn’t even realize how much help I needed, but holy shit did I need it.

My husband half jokingly asked me if I was going to start going to AA meetings. Normally, I would have laughed. I did not laugh this time. Only two days into this whole sober living thing, I realized that my relationship with alcohol was toxic. Slowly turning me into a shell of a human being, hiding behind drunken smiles and laughter.

I couldn’t do this on my own.

So, seven days ago I walked into a room in a local church, scared shitless. I was scared to know that I was going to have to face my demons right then and there, without the cozy warmth of a buzz. As I walked in, a woman rushed over to me and asked me if this was my first meeting. Still skeptical, I said yes. She immediately hugged me and told me how proud she was of me. A woman that I had never met before opened her arms and heart up to me. The tears started pouring out of me. It didn’t stop with her. Every single woman in that room introduced themselves and hugged me. I felt wrapped up in the love that was being poured all over me. I felt something else too.

Support. I felt supported.

Within that first hour, I cried, laughed, listened and embraced the women who had just opened up their lives for me. I walked into that meeting thinking that I was just going to see if I could gain some insight so that I could have a healthier relationship with alcohol. Because, apparently I believed I could have a nice, clean relationship with booze. I figured I would learn a few tips on how to stop drinking after two drinks, and gain some control back in the relationship. I had no idea that I was going to fall to my knees in humility and admit that this wasn’t just a bad relationship.

This is an addiction.

 

For the past five years, I’ve jokingly portrayed myself as the wino mom. Almost every single night I would open up a new bottle of wine and drink the whole damn thing. No problem. I told myself that I could stop whenever I wanted to. I told myself I had a high tolerance. I told myself that it was normal to buy extra wine and hide it in random places throughout the house. I had hundreds of excuses as to why this was normal and that I deserved it.

When I was pregnant with my first kid, I told my birth doula that I couldn’t wait to have champagne after the baby was born. She said, ” You could probably have one glass if you really wanted one.” I replied, ” No. You don’t get it. I don’t want a glass, I want the entire bottle.”

That was the beginning down the path I’ve been drunkenly crawling through for years.

 

As I listened to these women share their stories of sobriety, accomplishments and failures, I could feel my guarded wall slowly breaking down. Slowly but surely. I related to these stories. I have felt the same things.

I found more than just a meeting of women discussing their sobriety, I found a community. A huge, unwavering, welcoming, understanding community. I didn’t even realize how long I had been searching for the peace I felt while sitting in that meeting. The weight of the world was finally off my shoulders.

I could finally admit that this is a huge problem in my life. I could finally admit that I had been lying to myself for years. I could finally admit that I couldn’t do this on my own.

Complete strangers were willing to tell me their deepest, darkest secrets to help me realize that I wasn’t alone. My heart was in shock. I couldn’t believe it. After everyone else had spoken, they asked me if I wanted to share anything. My heart was racing, because I knew exactly what I needed to say.

 

” Hi. My name is Kate and I’m an alcoholic.”

I let out a deep, long breath and felt lighter than I have felt in years. The first step.

I left that meeting with a new sense of purpose, a new reason to be honest with myself and others. The next day I decided to go again. And again. And again. Pretty soon the women started joking that I really got around the block, with all the meetings I was attending. In truth, admitting that I’m an addict was the absolute hardest thing I have ever done. But, attending those meetings made me feel so happy and so alive. I started to look forward to it. Every day around five pm, I start counting down the minutes until my next meeting. My happy hour. 

 

I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. I can only handle one day at a time, but instead of handling it with a box of wine, I’m handling it with faith, strength, and sharing with others. I know that I could very easily fuck this up. I’m very aware of that. It isn’t easy being sober, it’s a constant battle. I am ready for the fight and I know that I won’t have to fight it alone.

I left that first meeting as an entirely different person. There was the wine drinking, shit talking Kate from before, and now there’s the sober, but still shit talking, Kate.

It feels amazing. This is my new normal. I’m fighting for myself so my children have a mother, so my husband has a wife, so my parents have their daughter back, and a million other reasons. This is probably the best thing I have ever done for myself. I’m going to fight this shit day in and day out, but I’m gaining the skills to kick the hell out of it.

 

One day at a time.  Serenity.

Sober.

This past weekend was a blast celebrating St. Patricks Day.

 

Or, what I should say is, I think it was a blast, because I can’t remember a damn thing. It’s a miracle I even made it home. Sunday morning I woke up just filled with dread. Absolute dread. I’m a 31 year old mom of three amazing kids, and I decided to get black out drunk? What if something had happened to me? Some sort of switch just went off in my brain and I realized… This has to stop.

When I became a mom I would spend hours looking at peoples instagram accounts with funny jokes about moms, coffee, and always wine. It seemed obvious that all moms need coffee in the morning and at 4 pm switch to wine. That’s just how you get through the day right?

 

So, I bought into this. I became a wino. I loooooooove wine. LOVE. Love, love, love. It was fun at first, drinking wine while cooking dinner for the family, or sipping some on my back porch with my friend at 2 pm on a Wednesday. I thought this was normal and cool. I thought I could handle it. But, it didn’t take long for one bottle of wine to turn into two and so on.

 

I realized that I was drinking way too much. Too many glasses while prepping dinner. Too many glasses at kids birthday parties. Too many glasses at family gatherings. Too many too often.

 

That’s not me. That’s not the kind of person I want to be. Alcoholism runs in my family, I have always been hyper aware of that fact. So, this past weekend my mom asked me if I thought I could just stop, and my answer was yes. Absolutely.

 

So, that’s what I’m doing over here. Taking a break. I never could connect the dots together before, but drinking certainly has not helped me climb out of the darkness of my postpartum depression, anxiety and ocd. In fact, I’m pretty sure it made it significantly worse. I feel like I’ve been wearing beer goggles for five years and I finally took them off.

 

I don’t know how long I’ll do this break. Maybe a few months. Maybe a few years. Maybe never again.

I’m not sure how this is all going to go. I just want my body, mind and heart to be healthy.  I want to remember all the moments with my children day by day. Maybe this is the kick in the ass I needed to finally start taking care of myself. I’ve put everyone before me for so long (because, duh that’s what moms do), it’s time for some self-care.

Sober self-care. I’m excited about it.

Part of the reason that I’m sharing all of this with you, is that I need to hold myself accountable. My family will read this. My friends will read this, and I need people to call out my bullshit when it needs to be called out.

 

Life is so beautiful. We’re only here for a short amount of time. I’d rather live in these moments. Instead of  living with my head in the toilet after a night of rough drinking. Maybe someday I will be able to just have one glass of wine. Maybe I won’t. Who knows? But, I’m giving this all I’ve got, because my family deserves it. I deserve it. 

My women.

*I meant to post this during women’s day, but here it is…*

A list of the women in my life who have made me strong, kind and unbreakable…
My mother. The woman who brought me into the world. The woman who always picks up my calls, because she knows that sometimes, a girl just needs her mama. The woman who cries at hallmark commercials, because her heart is so big and feels so much. The woman I almost drove into a ditch while learning to drive down our country roads. The woman who knows exactly what to say and do to fix any problem I’ve thrown at her. The woman who still loves me, even though I told her I hated her when I was 16. The woman who works hard every damn day to support our family. The woman who first showed me that a woman can be the boss. The woman who cut out hundreds of paper hearts and wrote on each of them just how much she loved me. The woman who has held my hand as I cried over how hard it is to be a mother. The woman who has always reassured me that I’m doing it right. The woman who always brings the sunshine.
My stepmother. The woman who came into my family and treated me like a daughter, even though she had never been a mom. The woman who finally convinced me to eat something other than chicken nuggets and mac and cheese. The woman who has sacrificed so much for her children, even if that means missing her own home across the ocean. The woman has loved me as her own, even when I wasn’t on my best behavior. The woman who has always appreciated a good fart joke. The woman who has become my childrens beloved nanny.
My grandmothers. The women who taught me about love and life, while raising their own families. The women I can always call, just to say hi. The women who let me have the extra cookie. The women who let me stay up late, as long as we didn’t tell my parents. The women who showered me with love no matter what. The women who taught me to be brave, even when life isn’t easy. The women who brought me laughter and a warm place to stay whenever I needed a break from my parents (or my parents needed a break from me!). The women taught me that you can overcome anything life throws at you.
My aunts. The women who I have laughed with. The women I have drank wine with while we laughed about my cousins and their latest shenanigans. The women who have treated me as their own when I needed them. The women who have opened their hearts to my own children. The women who have led by example in my family, by creating an everlasting circle of love, warmth and support for all of us.
My mother in law. The woman who has always called me her daughter. The woman who gave me my husband. The woman who has opened up her doors and heart to us whenever needed. The woman who spends countless hours working so she can take her family to places where dreams come true. The woman who you know you can call when there’s an emergency, and know that everything will be ok.
To all these women and more… thank you.

“She’s really let herself go.”

Imagine you walk into Target to buy some useless stuff and while you’re in the dollar section, you see a face. A person. Someone who you may have gone to highschool or college with. You notice her body looks different. Way different. You start to feel sorry for her. She’s really just let herself go. What a shame. She used to have such a nice figure.

” That woman must have just given up.”

“At least my legs aren’t that stumpy, like hers.”

” I wonder when was the last time she showered. Doesn’t she know how to use dry shampoo?”

 

I am the first person to admit that I am JudgyMcjudgerson over here, and I’ve thought all of those thoughts and more. I like to preach that I’m this slightly crunchy, non-judgmental, *do what you want* kind of friend to other moms, but I’m not. I’m a jerk. Total jerk. A jerk who’s judging and watching your every move to make myself feel like a superior person. A superior mom.

It’s super easy to make fun of other moms. We all do it, but for some reason today this really just struck a nerve with me.

 

I no longer weigh 130 lbs. I no longer have beautiful hair. My eyesite is getting worse. I have excess skin where I used to have my flat tummy. These breasts were once perky, but after breastfeeding for over four years…they look like two pathetic fried eggs. What if I’m that person that you see? What if you see me and you immediately think, ” Omg. She’s really let herself go.”

 

I would die of embarrassment if I knew. If I knew what you were thinking of me, I would cry and throw myserlf into a pit of self-pity and depression. I struggle everyday with my body, and how I percieve it.

Maybe I should start actually letting myself go.

 

Maybe I should start loving myself. Maybe I should accept and admire this body of mine that has brought three human beings into the world. Maybe I should notice my dimples and smile. Maybe I should forgive these breasts for needing an extra push because they’ve nourished three little people. Maybe I should laugh at the grey hairs, instead of pulling them out.

It’s easy to look at someone else and jump to conclusions about them. Fat? Well, they’re lazy. Tired? Well, no one in the world is as tired as you. Yelling at their kids? Well, you would NEVER do that in public.

(HA. I literally told two of my kids that I was leaving them forever in Kroger today, because they just wouldn’t stop fighting.)

 

I’m so sorry for being that person. For being the one thanking God that I”m not that fat. We’re all in this mess together. It’s motherhood. I can be the worst selfish, jugmental, bitch that you’ve ever met, and it’s made me a bad friend, wife, and mother. I want to rewrite my narrative. I want to accept and love others, while loving myself as well.

 

It’s time to accept that perhaps, we should all let ourselves go. You can’t ever expect change without a challenge. For myself, this is the biggest challenege.

 

Letting go. ( This in no way, shape, or form is an advertisment for Frozen or any songs relating to letting go of anything…because, we’re all so FUCKING SICK OF FROZEN.)

 

(Sorry.)

 

By letting go, I hope that I become a person who spreads love and self acceptance. By letting go I hope that I learn to toss aside judgement and offer up love. We only have today. Make a difference.

IMG_1084

How will I ever be able to send my child to kindergarten?

I was sitting on my couch when I turned the news on December 14, 2012. I was four months pregnant with our first child. When I clicked the on button I sank into my seat. My whole body recoiled. Those babies. Those innocent children. How could this happen? I’m from Connecticut. I had friends who lived only a few miles away. My friends had parents who worked in the school district. How? How?

I watched for hours and hours, listening to survivors, seeing grief stricken parents on live television, and I couldn’t turn it off. Something had to be done. Something needed to happen right then and there to make sure that this NEVER happened again. We all sat and our hearts broke for the victims families. I couldn’t stop thinking about the little boy who used his body as a shield to protect his friend. He gave up his life. His name was Jesse.

 

He was a child.

 

We all said our prayers and held our families close. We watched President Obama speak to the parents and faculty, his voice shaking and his eyes watering. We all said we would do something. We didn’t know these kids or their teachers, but we knew something had to be done. Something. Anything.

 

We thought good and hard about how we could make a difference.

 

And then guess what happened? After we were done with all of our prayers and thoughts we went back to our lives. “It will never happen here. No way.”, we said.

 

It would never hit too close to home, because our neighborhoods and schools were safe. There weren’t any mothers burying their children in our cemeteries. We watched children play at the school park, without even considering that they could have been in danger.

We just went back to living life, just as if it had never happened.

 

Don’t get me wrong, we always remember once a year when there’s news coverage about the anniversary. We hug our children tight again and go back to cooking dinner or reading on our kindle.

We were safe. We didn’t need to worry. We didn’t need to protest, march, call our senators…no, we didn’t need to do any of that. Other people would, and how could we even make a difference? We’re just one person in a fishbowl of millions and millions of other people.

 

Then Parkland happened. Once again, I was glued to the TV, only this time I was holding my three children. I was confused. I thought we all decided that this kind of violence would never happen again. I thought we, as a country, had learned our lesson after Newtown.

Not a fucking chance.

More lives slaughtered. More parents who will never hug their children again. More spouses who will never sit at the dinner table with their loved ones ever again.

This is some extremely fucked up shit and it never should have happened.

Never.

But once again, here we are, offering up our thoughts and prayers as if Jesus himself is going to show up and make it all better. Its kind to say that you’re praying. It’s nice. But it doesn’t change a damn thing.

The survivors who courageously spoke up against our gun laws, against  AR-15s, and against our leaders who sat around and did nothing, are braver than you or I will ever be. These students are our future and they are mad as hell. I want their anger, their hurt, their disappointment, their strength, and their bravery to trickle down to the next generation. I want everyone to feel the way they felt and still feel, because that’s the only way that this is going to change. The future voices of America are evolving into warriors of reform, and I’m damn proud of them.

They are setting an example for all of us. They are leading our marches, leading our vigils, and going directly to our President asking for necessary and immediate change. We all can choose to sit back and let someone else deal with this, or we can stand beside the youth that are leading us into a safer future. A safer future for all of us.

 

I registered Fiona for kindergarten a couple of weeks ago. I almost cried thinking how grown up she was and how much fun she will have. I was excited for her.

Now, I’m terrified. If it can happen anywhere. One day I could send her off to school and possibly never see her again. I cannot even begin to fathom that. I can’t go there. I just can’t.

So, what can I do? What can we do? It’s all so much. Every single step towards reform, whether big or small, makes a difference.

 

If you live in the metro Detroit area and you’re a mother, there’s an amazing group called *Moms Demand Action*. You can start there.

And just about anyone can go to this website, https://momsdemandaction.org/about/, and make a donation or figure out how you can help.

I decided to write this blog about this, because I want to hold myself accountable. I want to make sure that I do get off my ass and do something, because I can’t sit here and watch this all unfold again.

It could happen here. Let’s make sure it doesn’t.

I poisoned my husband, and I think (hope) he still loves me.

I don’t claim to be a master chef or anything, but I really enjoy cooking. It started with an obsession for baking, which I’m actually pretty horrible at. I just liked being in the kitchen. Once we had a wedding shower, I was gifted a few cool cookbooks. I started experimenting, and began cooking some good (mostly good) stuff. There’s a lot of really good cooks in my family and I felt like one of them.

 

This didn’t happen overnight. If you had asked me to cook something for dinner twelve years ago, I would have laughed at you.

Cooking? No.

Beer? yes.

I was a semi-sophmore/junior in college (five year plan baby, fiver year plan.), and met my future husband at a halloween party where he swept me off my feet.

That’s not exactly how it went. The cops showed up at our underage party in Logan Square, and I raced home like a bat out of hell. But…somehow he found me. He ran from the party too and ended up spending the night on our couch in my very first apartment. I’m sure my roommates were thrilled, but I think my dad would be even more thrilled to learn that I slept in my own bed alone, because I was a lady and he was a gentleman.

A few weeks later, I heard from him again. He wanted to take me out. I had just gotten out of some toxic ass shit, and was not looking for anyone at all. I thought I would try dating casually, because I was nineteen and in college and that’s what you’re supposed to do. He picked me up for our first date in his janky ass car. The muffler was so loud you could here it three miles away. In the city of Chicago. THREE MILES AWAY. Vroom, vroom.

We went to this swanky Lincoln Park pasta place on Halsted & Armitage. I love pasta. Seemed like a good idea. He was nervous as hell. I remeber thinking, “Jesus, this kid is really trying to make a good impression.”

It worked.

We both ordered the same thing. A creamy pasta dish with spiral noodles and grilled chicken. I laughed, I couldn’t believe we ordered the same thing. As the night went on, I could tell something wasn’t right. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but this guy was either REALLY nervous, or something was wrong with him. Hours passed, we watched a movie, hung out at my apartment, and then all of a sudden it all came to a head.

He remembered seeing some of the chicken in the pasta dish didn’t look quite right, but because he was trying hard to impress me, he just ate it. I didn’t notice anything wrong with mine.

Hours later as I clicked the channels on the tv back at my apartment, his face grew paler and paler. At one point he just couldn’t take it anymore. He ran to my bathroom and proceeded to throw up for the next twenty-four hours.

He got food poisoning on our first date.

It’s hilarious to think about now, but in the moment I was like, ” Crap… this is our first date and I have this extremley ill human being dying on my couch right now.” He mentioned his mom was a nurse, and I encourged him to call her ASAP.

He recovered eventually and spent the next thirteen years together after that incident. If I had barfed at someones house on a first date, I”d make sure to never see them again. I would have died from embarrasment.

 

So, let’s fast forward to this past week. I decided to defrost some beef. I do it all the time. I was sick of tacos, sick of meatballs, and sick of shepards pie. I decided to make meatloaf. I should have stopped myself right there, because meatloaf is never a good idea. Ever. As I was prepping the food and veggies, I realized the beef looked…strange.I said, “Whatever!” and went on my merry way finishing dinner up.

It just so happened that my children and I lost our appetites right before we were about to sit down. I don’t know what happened, but perhaps the memory of the weird beef got to me.

…Of course, he loved it. Said it was delicious. Had three helpings. I was rather pleased with myself, because he’s a damn picky eater. Next thing I knew, it was 4 am and the poor guy was praying for Jesus to take him home. The bathroom was a battle zone, his stomach vs the porcielen throne.

I’ll never make meatloaf ever again. 

I’m going to add this to the list of horrifying and yet hilarious stories of our family. You never know how much you love someone, or how much they love you, as when they’re sick puking their brains out. Especially, if you’re the one who has served the poison. It’s safe to say he’ll never eat anything I cook ever again, but we had a good run, you know? Maybe he can survive on Mexican food and Chicago’s Portillos for the rest of his life.

I love you Ryan. Thanks for not divorcing me over my failed meatloaf.IMG_2118