The last real day….

This week it will be a year since Hunter died. On October 1st he went into the hospital and October 5th he died.

I don’t want to commemorate his death. Why would I want to give any focus to the worst week of my life? That’s not how he wants to be remembered anyway. I’d rather focus on his life. His birthday. Our anniversary.

And today.

September 30th. This was the last real day Hunter had. A year ago tonight, sleep apnea would damage his brain and he wouldn’t recover. But let’s not think about that. Let’s focus on the day.

Most weekend afternoons after running kids all over town to different activities, Hunter would be in his office watching football, paying bills, reading. I would be running around the rest of the house, yelling at kids, making lists, pretending to get organized for the week ahead but really just procrastinating on social media. We’d catch glimpses of each other but no real connection. Until the weekly budget talk…which never ended well for me. Then we’d give each other a quick peck on the lips and I’d go upstairs for the night while Hunter binge watched some  20 part documentary on quantum physics.  A typical day without a moment of true awareness of each other. Or what we mean to each other.

But last year was different. We went to the beer festival!  We were out of our routine and out of the house. We held hands. We talked about life. We said I love you a lot. We kissed more.

What a blessing that on the very last real day of Hunter’s life, we were a couple. We loved. We connected.  September 30th will always be a reminder to me that life is short and that daily connection is important.

I was lucky. Not everyone gets a beer festival on the last real day of their loved one’s life. If I hadn’t had it, then we more than likely would have had a typical weekend of passing each other in the kitchen. No hand holding. No kisses. No intentional connection.

So on this day, September 30th, and every day after, I want to encourage you to take a moment to connect with your person. An intentional connection. It doesn’t have to be an afternoon at the beer festival. It can be 15 minutes of coffee, or even 2 minutes of really seeing each other and saying I appreciate you.

I hope you can go for longer than that though.

And I hope you hold hands.

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So…..my husband died.

I know that’s blunt. But what is the right way to let you know? Might as well just say it.

4 months ago my husband died. It was unexpected.

 Who knew sleep apnea could kill you. 

Maybe you did.

We thought it just interrupted sleep and could wreak havoc on your body long term. 

We were wrong.

I’ve always been a positive person. In high school I had to come up with a phrase in theater class. Something like a motto I guess. Mine was “Let a smile be your umbrella and no one will rain on your parade.” My theater friends aka cynics loved giving me a hard time about it. And I do know that I built off of a phrase that already existed. lol But it seemed to fit me. 

And through the years there were lots of times when someone tried to rain on my parade, but it didn’t seem to bother me too much. I knew I was strong. I knew I had something to offer even when someone else didn’t see it right away. I believed that my thoughts create my reality. If you can believe it, you can achieve it! Energy goes where attention flows. A positive outlook can create a positive outcome. <—— I think I just made that one up. It’s pretty good. Can you tell I love self help books? 

And then my husband died. 

Positive thinking was not going to change that. 

So I had to decide pretty quickly….was I going to keep my motto? I never imagined it would be my husband that rained on my parade. He was always helping me hold the fucking umbrella. Can you tell I love metaphors? 

We had a few days with him in the hospital before he died. I remember thinking, “What a blessing. He could have died in a hotel room on a business trip. He could have died at home before I came downstairs and noticed something was wrong. What a blessing.” 

His parents and brother were able to say goodbye. His kids could see him one last time. He became an organ donor. Those are blessings.

And that’s how it started. That’s how I coped. I started looking for the blessings. OK fine… I also started binge reading any book I could find on the soul or the afterlife. It was a problem. I had like 4 books going at once along with multiple videos open to mediums connecting to the dead. I know that freaks some people out. It comforted me. I wanted to talk to him again. I wanted to know he was around. I believe that the soul lives on. I believe that some are more connected to that world than others.  

I started looking for ways to connect with other widows. I needed to see what it looks like 6 months in, 1 year in, 10 years in. So I met some amazing women. And connected. And I thought, what a fucking blessing. To be inspired by them. To learn from them. To connect. Because that’s what my soul wants to do. Connect with people. 

I wear his watch. And his wedding ring around my neck.

I also got a tattoo of his pet name for me in his handwriting. He called me Sweetie. I swear, it takes everything I have not to become the painted lady and get his handwriting all over me. Kind of like Angelina Jolie but maybe a bit creepier. Although she wore a vial of blood around her neck, so maybe not. I can feel him rolling his eyes and saying- stop using me as an excuse to get a tattoo. lol sweetie

I’m not sure why I am writing this out with the intention of posting it. I think it’s partly because I’ve been MIA on my Carpool Confessions page and I wanted to let you know why. I think it’s partly because I feel proud of myself for how I’m handling it and I want to share it. Maybe it can encourage or inspire someone else to look for the blessings. 

In one of the million books I’ve read, it said something like “In the midst of tragedy can come great beauty.” I’m paraphrasing, but I love that idea.  I’ve seen a lot of beauty in the last 4 months. Because of my family, my friends, my community, my kids, my own strength. Connections.

I did have to look for it. The sadness can definitely cloud your perception. But I am holding on to my umbrella. And it seems to be working ok. 

I just wanted you to know.

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What’s in a name?

~It’s 2015 and even though I don’t like to make resolutions, I do like to put some intention into the new year. Energy flows where attention goes, so the least I can do is point the year in the right direction, right?

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I LIKE TO NAME THE YEAR.  It helps me stay focused.  Plus I can shout it out randomly when I need to be inspired. It’s fun and empowering to declare things.

I declare this year, the year 2015……

THE YEAR OF ASKING!

You see, I don’t ask for things.  I wait around and hope that someone will think of it on their own. Sure, I’ll give hints. Try to “lay the groundwork.” But ask for it? Out right? No no no.

It’s not polite.

It’s selfish.

It’s downright unladylike!

or so I thought. I am more comfortable with being uncomfortable than with you being uncomfortable. (Did you get that?) So I push my needs to the back. That hasn’t worked out too well for me. How can I get what I need if noone knows what I need? Duh, Whitney. So now,  I’ve got a plan.

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Here’s my plan, people: 

~I will accept my needs as valuable.

~I will be clear and direct on what my ask is.

~I will not take a no personally.

~I will not let fear of rejection or judgement keep me from asking for what I want.

I’m not gonna lie. Those are exactly the things I am afraid of. And what if I get what I ask for and blow it? Well then……

oh wells

 

Wish me luck!

What’s the name of your 2015?

Riding the break!

 

That’s not a typo. I’m not talking about car brakes. I’m talking about a break from parenthood. A break from responsibility. A break from that 24/7 unpaid job we all agreed to do. A break that every mom deserves. Yes, you do. Don’t argue with me, I said you do!

Hey, if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

No laundry. No carpool. No lunches to make.  Just me myself and I…and a few friends. Sleeping in. Movies. Room Service. Dinners out. A photo shoot. Champagne blow outs. lol Did I throw you with that? Hey if you are going to make the time to take a break…you need to make it count!

Here are a few tips when taking a break.

1.Take enough time.

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SO many times, I try to plan a weekend getaway but I want to make sure that the kids are fed, and the laundry is done and the meals are pre-planned, and loveys are folded neatly on the beds…FORGET IT! By the time you get everything ready to go, you’ve given up half a day or more! To make sure we had enough time on our trip to NYC, we took a red eye flight. Granted we did not sleep well but we also had the great idea of going straight to the spa when we arrived. Pampering began immediately and that red eye was a distant memory.  If you only have a weekend or even a night, stay some what local or within a 2-3 hour radius and GET AWAY EARLY AND SPEND THE NIGHT! A glorious night of uninterrupted sleep is worth more than any pampering session!

2. Send in reinforcements.

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I always try to have my inlaws come in to stay if I am going away for more than a few days without my husband. My mother in law loves to take care of her baby (my husband) as well as the grandkids. If you don’t have that option, use other family members or friends to farm out your kids or run carpool for you. If you have the cash, hire a babysitter to help out your spouse. You want it to be an enjoyable experience for him too so he is open to another girls’ getaway. 😉

3. Be flexible.

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I’m gonna kick my heels up regardless!

We had all kinds of plans when we hit New York, but the weather and a bout of food poisoning had us scrapping lots of ideas and regrouping. Aside from our friend who was ill most of the day, it wasn’t bad hanging out in the room watching movies and talking. It’s good to have a plan but be ready to just go with the flow.

4. Pamper yourself!

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We planned this trip far in advance so I made sure there was money in the budget to do some really fun things. But pampering can be something as inexpensive as a $20 foot massage or $30 blow dry with free champagne!

5. Do something different!

For this trip, we booked an awesome new company called Flytographer.  You get your very own photographer in the city you are visiting. You can have professional photographs taken of you and your friends having fun in the city! They have photographers all over the world!They can be candid or more posed. It’s lots of fun and you have great mementos of the trip!

http://www.flytographer.com

   PicMonkey Collage nyc

So let’s recap:

A break. You need it. Take it. Fun and flexible….like Olivia Newton John.

There’s an elephant in the room and she has swollen lips….

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Here’s a confession that is hard to admit:

I had work done.

I admit it. I’ll also admit that it’s taking everything I have not to type a million little disclaimers like “I don’t do it regularly” and “it’s only because my friend gives me a discount”…blah blah blah.  Why is it that those of us who get a little “freshen up” seem to feel like we have to hide it? For me, I think I feel like by admitting that, it takes away any credit for “natural beauty” I may have. But who is taking away that credit? Probably other women. Other women also getting work done. 😉

I got some botox and filler put in my face/lips two days ago. No one would ever know about the botox, but due to the filler, my lips swelled up to the size of Mushmouth from Fat Albert. I could barely talk.

This morning I had traffic duty for my kids’ school. Trying not to talk, for me, is already an almost impossible feat….throw in the intoxication of authority (Traffic Duty,) and I’m a goner. I had actually made it through the entire carpool process with barely a face to face interaction…and then 2 moms had questions. For me! What’s crazy is that these are two moms I am friends with. We’ve shared wine together and war stories of parenthood. I know that at least one of them also gets work done. At least one of them also does that Brazilian hair straightening thing. And yet, I admitted nothing.  Nothing when every word I said regardless of how it was spelled, seemed to start with the letter B. Nothing when their eyes dropped to my lips multiple times.  The entire time, my head is screaming:

“For the love of God, just say something! Just get it out there! They see it! This elephant cannot be hidden!”

I didn’t though.  Instead I never looked them in the eye and tried to keep my head to one side as if only seeing half of my face would somehow hide the truth.

I HAD WORK DONE!

I walked away from that encounter with a need to scream it from the roof tops. I HAD WORK DONE! (of course everyone already knows. I’m not fooling anyone when my lips get to the destination a good 2 minutes before the rest of me.)  That’s why I wanted to shout it. It’s no big deal!

Don’t worry. The swelling will go down. It’s already starting to, see?

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And in two more days no one will even notice that I did anything at all. Except for the fact that I am writing about it here. But when the swelling goes down, I hope the lesson I’ve learned will remain. What’s the lesson?

Don’t have traffic duty the day after you have work done.

No, that’s not right. The lesson is:

Don’t feel shame for doing things that make you feel better about yourself.

And definitely don’t ignore the massive swollen elephant in the room because you aren’t actually “saving face.”  Embrace it.

Disclaimer: I am not consistent with my botox etc. I only get the filler to decrease mouth lines. My good friend gives me a discount. I still have natural beauty. I’m not that old.

Disclaimer #2: The first disclaimer shouldn’t even matter. And yet I still want to have it in here. Damn.

My Balls

Balls. They can be scary. I never think I’m handling them the right way. It’s hard to know. Big ones. Small ones. I’m told to grab them but then I think some should be handled with care.  I am no expert, but I definitely have balls.

50 shades balls

My balls are labeled with names like: school, soccer practice, dinner, homework, career, relationships, the budget, dogs. What balls were you thinking of? Oh right. Those balls are another ball. Yep, lots and lots of balls.(Maybe you should drink every time you read the word balls!)

I’m rarely on the ball and I am constantly dropping the ball.  They are rolling around on the ground by my feet, tripping me up. (Kind of reminds me of a song: “Do your balls hang low do they wobble to and fro…” Yes I know it’s actually ears.) Anyway, back to my balls.  How do I get a good handle on all these balls? (You are drinking, right?)

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 I could set up a schedule!  The red balls are juggled on Monday and the green balls are Tuesday…I will save the blue balls for Friday night. 😉

I could give my attention to one ball at a time! Be fully present with whatever ball I have at that moment. Juggle one. (But isn’t that just holding the ball?)

Or maybe I just keep doing what I’m doing and watch my step. No one has broken their neck, YET.

Whatever I decide, one thing is for sure:

No one can ever say I don’t have balls.

And my own personal balls should be a priority.

(Yes, I realize that’s actually 2 things.)  

Because if momma’s balls aren’t happy, ain’t no balls happy.

What about you? What do you do with all those balls?

Do you make time for your own balls? (Who’s drunk?)

Look! Sports! Funny!

(Ok I lied. But I want men to read this.)

I’m jumping on the band wagon. We’ve all gotten the posts lately about what your sons and daughters should know. Well, my husband knows a few things so I thought I’d share them with you.  So guys- here’s what you need to know about your wife.

#1. We like sex.

(I know it’s a shock…I even heard a few of you women gasp, but it’s true.) We want to have our world rocked. We just may need to be reminded. Let me put it in simpler terms….

Men are like microwaves, women are like slow cookers. u-crockpot6_5q

Turn us on low in the morning and let it simmer all day.

~Tell us we’re pretty~ Bring us coffee ~Kiss us FOR REAL~Send us a flirty afternoon text ~

Make us feel like we are the only person that can quench your hot dirty desire . Yes, I read Twilight and 50 Shades. We might not want our blood sucked or to use a safe word, but we all want to be desired! (And if you play the “I must have you right this very minute because you are so freaking sexy” card, then that slowcooker becomes a microwave pretty darn quick.)

#2: We need validation!

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Oh yeah, validate us, baby.  Punch that card! Punch it with a “I couldn’t do this without you” or  “I appreciate what you do.” It will go along way. You might even get some “free parking” …if you know what I mean. 😉

#3. Change the oil.

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This is not a metaphor. We really want you to get the oil changed in the car. Or get the car washed. Or fill us up (again not a metaphor.)  The car is where we spend most of our time ~driving your offspring (or your dry cleaning) around. It’s such a bummer when we have to worry our pretty little heads about car maintenance.

#4.  It’s the “ask” that counts.

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Here’s a little secret, fellas. All you have to do is ask if we need help. 9 times out of 10 we will say no thanks, but the effort was made and you get points. Score! We want your willingness to pitch in, and then most of the time, we still want to do it ourselves.

#5. Boom Goes the Dynamite.

This has nothing to do with your wife. I just feel guilty for the lie I told earlier.This is your funny sports clip.

Enjoy. http://youtu.be/5nnitLnqqVo

And one more for inspiration: http//youtu.be/LHXsFH7gHW8

What do you think? Yeah, you! Leave me a comment. 🙂