Things that go bump in the night…

I remember when I was a kid I was scared that there was a monster under my bed. I was terrified that this monster was going to grab me and pull me under the bed into the land of terrors. I had no idea what a real monster could do. I had no way of understanding that there were monsters in my everyday life. I hadn’t been introduced to alcohol, I hadn’t been told to take this pill or that pill to feel better.

Not yet at least.

 

Fast forward to July 2016. I had just brought home my second beautiful daughter, and life was pretty good. I remember my husband asking me if I wanted a drink or anything. I was so focused on the baby and making sure our eldest felt loved in the midst of all the changes in her life. I told him I was fine. I didn’t need a drink. I was oozing out happiness and bliss from every pore. I made sure I gave myself a big ‘ol pat on the back for turning down alcohol. At the time, I said to myself, ” See! You don’t have a problem. You can say no.”

That lasted for approximately two hours. The sun was setting, the house started to quiet down, and bedtime was approaching. I told my husband to sleep on the couch so I wouldn’t wake him when I was up with the baby. Around two am I started to feel like there were bugs crawling up my legs. I couldn’t sit still. I became terrified to close my eyes. My heart started to race, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I thought I was dying. I woke my husband up and told him he needed to bring me to the ER immediately. The feeling just got worse and worse. I realized I couldn’t go to the ER, because I would have to take the baby too and she was too little to be surrounded with all of the germs that lurk in an ER.

Instead, I ran out into the backyard hysterically crying. My husband had to hold me super tight, I was scared shitless. Eventually, the feeling left.

Twenty minutes later, round two started. Same crazy feelings, same terror. This time I decided I had to do something about it. If it kept happening I would be exhausted from being up all night panicking or feeding the baby. I had to sleep. I had to turn off my mind to make the panic go away.

Drinking seemed like the obvious solution.

I pounded two glasses of wine. That’s all I needed. My brain started to slow down. Well, if two glasses managed to help, two more wouldn’t be a big deal. I was trying to develop a healthy breastfeeding relationship with my newborn, but I had some formula stashed away. It didn’t matter. I fed her formula as I felt my boobs just straight up fill up with milk that I couldn’t even feed her.

 

As time went on, this nighttime panic bullshit got worse. I started these weird rituals when I could feel the anxiety creeping in. If everyone else in the house was asleep, I wasn’t allowed to sleep. Someone had to be up. I would look at my windows and try to see if any of my neighbors were still up. If they were, then I could go to sleep. If that failed, I would watch infomercials until 3 am when the news came on. If the news came on, I could sleep.

Constant racing thoughts, scared of dying in my sleep, feeling inadequate as a mom, hating my curvy body, worrying that I might trip on the stairs and drop the baby, and so many other intrusive thoughts just ran a marathon in my brain.

 

All of this crap became an excuse. I’m depressed! I have anxiety! I have OCD! Drinking will help. Look- see, I had some wine and now I’m totally functioning! I’m smiling! Alcohol was the solution to all my postpartum issues.

 

Cracking open a bottle of wine at 2 am started to seem more and more like normal behavior. I thought it was helping me sleep. It wasn’t helping me sleep. I was BLACKING out every night. Over and over and over and over. Reality started to become blurry.

“Are there other moms that do this? There has to be. I can’t be the only one. But, just to be safe, I’m not going to mention this to anyone.”

 

Hundreds and hundreds of dollars spent on my ” medicine”.

 

Happy moms drink! It makes us better moms! What a relief! I don’t have to feel anything at all, EVER. AMAZING!

 

It never occurred to me that those rituals that I made up in order to fall asleep weren’t exactly rituals at all. They were excuses that I created in order to feed my monster. The list got longer and longer. It got to the point that if someone even looked at me the wrong way, I would tell myself to go drink.

 

Sure, drinking would knock me out, but over time it made everything worse. My depression was all-consuming. My anxiety started to debilitate me. My OCD was getting worse and worse.

 

The harder it got, the more excuses I made. “It’s noon on a Tuesday and you have to fold laundry? Laundry is stressful! How about I Just start drinking…”

 

I would go in and out of different doctors, begging them to help me. I felt like my mental health was in bad shape. They’d prescribe this and that, never once asking me how much alcohol I drank. And if they did ask? I’d lie, obviously. Only a couple glasses a week!

(um try…four boxes a week…)

Then after a couple years of that shit, something happened. I woke up for a brief moment and looked at my family. I was turning this home into hell for everyone here. The guilt and shame over my selfish behavior pushed me into start thinking about getting sober.

It didn’t happen overnight. It happened after several months after more blackouts. I finally realized I had to kill the monster. This monster disguised it’s self as a friend.  I wasn’t sure how I could live without it.

 

Then this really crazy thing happened. Sobriety. 

The most sobriety I have, the more that extra crap fades away. Who would have thought that alcohol made all of my mental stuff worse? I thought it was helping. It wasn’t helping. It was killing me.

I’m not perfect. I can’t tell you what tomorrow will bring, but I know that I have faced my monster and I kicked its ass to the curb. It will try to creep back in over and over again, but I’m not weak anymore. I’m a fucking warrior and I will beat that asshole senseless before I let myself believe the lies it tries to tell me.

Nighttime isn’t scary anymore. If I can’t sleep I don’t freak out. The exhaustion that came with being a raging alcoholic is no longer there. If I don’t get those recommended 8 hours a night, I get a red bull and I deal. It’s ok to be tired sometimes. It won’t kill me, but drinking will.

I’m happy. I’m healthy. I’m spiritual. I’m all the things that I wanted to be for so long, but could only achieve through sobriety.

The monster doesn’t fool me anymore.

My Little Bear.

A lot of things have happened these past few weeks.

 

I got a sunburn.

Lucie learned to climb down the stairs.

Maeve ate a tub of ice cream for breakfast.

Fiona graduated preschool.

 

I have to repeat it over and over, my baby is going to kindergarden in the fall. How did this happen? I blinked and POOF she’s tying her shoes and telling me she would like some ” me time”. This is a first for me as a mother, my first born growing up right before my eyes. Without even realizing it, she became a little girl.

IMG_6865

The toddler days are gone. She doesn’t need me as much as she used to. She radiates and shines with such tenderness and love. She doesn’t need me to hold her hand to walk to the potty. She doesn’t need me to pick out her socks. She doesn’t need me to hold her close after falling asleep in her carseat. She doesn’t need me to tell her how to spell her name. She doesn’t need me to show her how to do the monkey bars or play on the swings.

But, I do. I still need all of those things. The seconds, the minutes, the hours, the days and years that have passed have gone by so quickly. I know that this is part of being a parent. Kids grow. But, my heart tugs to keep her close always. IMG_4607

She asks me to put her to bed and rub her back. After a few minutes, she’ll reach her hand down and put it in mine. She falls asleep holding my hand. That’s a memory I”ll cherish forever.IMG_2213

She sits her sisters down and tries to teach them their colors and ABC’s. She’s quick to grab a paper towl if the baby has spilt something on the floor. She’ll run upstairs for diapers and wipes if we’re all out. She makes sure that we all look both ways when crossing the street. She asks me to tell her about the night she was born, how I became her mommy. She understands why Mama goes to meetings at night sometimes, she says it’s ok. She knows that those meetings help me be a better mommy for her.

 

She is a gift.

 

I know this is all kind of rediculous. She’s just going to kindergarden, which is two blocks from our house. She’ll be there all day monday through Friday. Children go to kindergarden. That’s how it works.

But, how will we make it through the day without her? I want to hold her hand forever and keep her safe. I want to be the one making her lunch. I want to be the one who puts a bandaid on her booboos.

I can’t keep her in my arms forever. I have to share her with the world now. I have to let her open her wings that will take her to places she’s dreamed of. I have to sit back while new friends are made. I have to smile and her beautiful face and know that she’s going to be ok.

 

She is going to soar and I’ll be right here when she needs me. It is true, the days are slow, but the years are fast.

 

Can you imagine how unbelievaby sappy this blog is going to be when she goes off to college? I can’t help myself. I’m a sappy, proud mommy.

 

Oh, the places she’ll go. IMG_2043

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.

Money makes the world go ’round…

I’m lucky. I grew up with four parents (my parents divorced, and soon after I was given two more parents, whom I love) who made sure I had everything I needed. Clothes, food, roof over our head, Dr appointments, tutition for dance and music classes…anything I needed. I was raised in two homes and the overall theme was that family, friends, love, and the fact that money doesn’t make you happy.

But, everything I saw on tv or heard on the radio led me to believe that differently. If I didn’t have those se7ven jeans I wouldn’t fit it in. If my makeup came from CVS it meant I was cheap. Cool kids bought make up stuff at Sephora. I needed to have UGGS, because everyone had UGGS.

See that guy in that jewlery commercial? He bought the woman in his life a ring, and now they’ll have eternal happiness. How about those women in the bra commercials? You will never achieve great joy in your life if your bra doesn’t have sparkles and padding for a push up.

How the hell do I go about raising my kids to know that the size of your bank account doesn’t determine your happiness?

 

Commercial after commercial, all the same,

” My new Barbie has a tutu that changes colors, and she sings too!”

” This fluffy pillow is ALSO a big stuffed animal. You’ll have someone to snuggle with all night long!”

” You’ll have so much fun doing this 3,000 piece lego set!”

 

I remember Easter with my dads side of my family. We  would go to brunch at a beautiful restaurant, right on the long island sound. We would gather together and spend time on the beach, my cousins chasing each other near the waves. Seagulls would fly past, and we would worry that they might poop on our heads. We dug our toes in the cool April sand as we watched the waves crash. I remember the smell of the sea.

I didn’t buy that experience. I lived it.

I remember years and years of Thanksgiving dinners where we all held hands and sang a prayer over our food. After everyone was done eating, we would gather in my Aunt and Uncles living room and proceed to put on our annual family talent show. We would sing, dance, tell blonde jokes and laugh our asses off.

I didn’t write a check for those memories. I was there.

 

When I was in my early twenties, I spend night after night going to auditions in Chicago. I would sing, dance, get call backs (once in awhile…) and eventually get cast in a show. A show that I believed in. I didn’t audition or become a member of the cast looking for a big pay day. I did it because it brings me joy. Performing on stage was my passion, and it didn’t matter if I made any money off of it.

You can’t put a price on that.

 

I remember the first time I held my baby sister and my baby brother. I’m twelve years older than them, and the love that was oozing out of me was priceless. It was love at first sight with the both of them. They looked so little and squishy, wrapped up in their newborn blankets.

 

Priceless.

 

I remember dancing to Mariah Carey’s Christmas album at my mom and stepdads house. I would pop the cd in and spend hours twirling and leaping throughout the living room. Dancing like a fool did the trick. Instant happiness.

Happiness can’t be bought.

 

Standing in line with my mother waiting to audition for American Idol, season two. We had such an adventure. We waited in line until the middle of the morning for our wrist bands, we were brought to room after room and told how the process would go. I was scared shitless, but I had my mom by my side. We laughed at the craziness of it all, and even though I got cut, the memories made with my mom will last for the rest of my life.

 

BAM. Cash can’t replicate that experience.

 

Basically, what I”m trying to say is… none of my memories throughout my life were happy memories, because they weren’t bought. They were in the moment, blissful contentment.

 

When I was pregnant with my first kid, I spent hours online looking up expensive strollers. My child would only have the best of the best. So what if the stroller at $900? MY CHILD WILL LOVE IT.

My child was an infant who could give two shits about what kind of stroller she was being pushed around in. We would take walks around the block and her giggle warmed my heart. She would ” oooh” and “aahhh” over the flowers, trees, the kids at the playground. I didn’t get that $900 stroller. We still had a great time.

 

I can’t keep up with the Joneses. I don’t want to. I don’t have an expensive car, I don’t buy my kids expensive crap that they’ll toss tomorrow. I want my kids to remember playing with each other in the basement. I want them to remember sliding down the slide, while screaming with glee. I want them to take in all of the nature at our local nature center, while we enjoy hiking together.

The more time I spend sitting at my computer, the more I realize I have instant access to almost everything, with the click of the ” purchase” button. If I want it, I want it right now. It will make me so happy to have it sooner rather than later. I demand prompt delivery for my new *whatever it is*.

I’m not stupid. I know money makes the world go ’round, but I will fight for my children, my family, to know grow with the knowledge that happiness starts here, with us, with our life experiences.

Happiness comes from spilling chocolate milk and giggling while it dribbles down the table. Happiness comes from watching my children run in circles, chasing each other with glee and determination. Happiness comes from sitting by my husband while enjoying a bonfire in our back yard.

 

Can’t buy me that kind of love.

 

 

Here’s a little treat…