I Hate You!

I came home amidst a whirlwind of drama.  My oldest upstairs in his room crying with the door shut.  My youngest running to me to try to tell me what his brother had done.  My au pair telling me she was handling it.

Since I had not even had the chance to take off my damn heels, I decided to let her deal with it.  Besides, nothing was broken or bleeding, so it didn’t seem to be a huge emergency.

Once I desuitified and adorned myself with my home uniform, consisting of sweats and a t-shirt, I came downstairs to a quiet house, and began to make dinner.  My 5 year old then came into the kitchen to give me an updated report.

“(My brother) said, ‘I mmmm you!’  It was a bad word that I can’t say, mommy, but it starts with an H.”

“Hate?  He said ‘I HATE you?'”

“Yes.  And then he said that he wished that he had a different brother than me.”

Oh boy.

This was bigger than I had previously realized.  I knew that although the initial drama had been handled by the au pair, this was significant enough that I was going to have to address it myself as well.

At dinner, I told my oldest son that we were going to talk later, assuring him that he wasn’t in trouble or anything (he had since apologized to his brother as requested), but that there was just something that we needed to discuss.

“Is it serious?” he asked.

Realizing that the last time his father and I told him we needed to talk about something, a mere 4 days prior, we broke the news to him that our beloved dog had died.  Seeing the look of apprehension in his eyes as he asked me about the seriousness of the upcoming topic, I assured him that it wasn’t anything too serious, but just something that he and I needed to have a chat about.

Later in the evening, once my youngest was in bed and some TV had been dutifully watched, it was almost time for bed for my oldest son, but that’s when he reminded me about the talk.  Apparently, after 7:00 at night, my brain pretty much shuts down for the day.  I had completely forgotten about this promised discussion.  He, evidently, had not.

I had no script for this moment, never envisioning that I would have to deal with this issue prior to the teenaged years.  But shit happens, and deal with it I must.  So, I dove in.

But as I started to talk, I found myself getting choked up.  I was having a hard time speaking to him calmly and reasonably, while at the same time trying not to start crying.  I was not expecting that, either.

I told him that no matter how angry or upset he was, that it was never okay to tell a family member that he hates them.  That he can not like what somebody is doing, but hating family is not acceptable.  That not only is it hurtful and untrue, it is dangerous.

And then I hit him with the big guns . . . and also really started to tear up.

“What if your grandfather (who lives with us downstairs), did something that you really didn’t like and you got really angry?  And you said, “I hate you!” to him.  And what if right after that he got really sick and had to go to the hospital.*  And that ended up being the last thing you said to him?  How bad would that be?”

At this point, I noticed that not only was I barely able to get the words out around the tears that were closing up my throat, but he was starting to cry as well.

But I wasn’t finished.  And I couldn’t let his tears dissuade me from my objective.  So, I went in for the kill.

“When grandma passed away a couple of years ago, how horrible would it have been if those were the last words she heard from a family member?  And if you got mad at me or your dad or your brother, and then something bad happened to us right after . . . would that be the last thing you would want us to hear you say?”

I know.  I know, I know, I know.  This was possibly harsher and more terrifying than I needed to make this conversation.  Especially to an eight year old.  And by the end of it, both of us had tears flowing down our faces.  Him, probably more because I was crying than anything, and me because the thought of any of those scenarios makes me unbearably sad.  So, I hugged him and held him tight.  And I told him how much I loved him and that everything was alright and that everyone in the family is fine, and nobody is going to get hurt.  We both knew that last part was a lie, but eventually we both stopped crying.  I might have had to employ The Tickle Monster to get his tears to dry.  It is an exceptionally effective tear dryer and I would highly recommend it.

Even though I might be seen as a mean mom, who scarred her poor child for life with my horror story of family members dying, I have no qualms about what I did.  My hope is that I did both scare AND scar him.  I hope that he always remembers how harsh and frightening this discussion was, and understands the power of words.  I hope he thinks about the effect words can have before the next time he wants to tell one of us that he hates us.  I wielded mine as a weapon with intent, and believe I struck my target.  I hope that prevents him from unintentionally hurling hurtful words at those he loves in the future.  Hopefully, he is young enough for it to have hit home and stuck with him.  

And hopefully, I’ve disarmed one teenaged grenade that was heading my way in a few years.

* This conversation happened prior to this occuring.  I have never wanted to be less presentient in my life.

Views from the Beach

I realized that I never reported back on my time at the beach a couple of weeks ago.  And based on recent events, I think we could all use a little light fun beach time, yes?  Ok then . . .

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This was what I was viewing as I began my drive to the beach to join my family, already in progress since that morning.  Don’t worry, I didn’t eat all of this stuff.  Just the Ruffles and about 2/3 of the M&Ms. 

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This was my view the next morning when my lovely husband, knowing how desperately I needed some relaxation time, told me to sleep in and then take a bath, while he took the kids to the pool.  And, if after that, you still have any doubt as to his wonderfulness, I present Exhibit B:  he went to the lobby of the hotel and bought me TWO large lattes (and a cupcake).  Per him, “I just didn’t think one would be enough!”  God love that man.

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This was the view from our hotel room balcony.  Note the fun kid’s pool and also the adult pool, with a swim up bar.  Yeah, now this was a vacation.

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Unfortunately, we only stayed at that lovely hotel for two days, and then we had to move all of our stuff about 100 streets up the highway to the condo we were renting for the week.  It was very hot that day.  And my A/C was broken.  I drove up and down that very long street and packed and unpacked my car about 6 times that day.  Not very relaxing or fun.  Where is my bathtub again?  Oh, that’s right . . . back at the hotel.  Bummer.

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As per the norm with us, the condo we rented had some interesting accoutrements.  There were two walls full of paintings going up to the top level, and a painting on almost every other wall of the house as well.  I found it interesting that the artist was able to capture exactly how I would look on the beach in a bikini without ever having seen me.  Now that’s talent!

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This was some sort of crazy, flying, magic mirror holding, green mermaid thing.  I see Nemo, I see Dory, I see Ariel . . .

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This was my actual view of the beach.  Not bad.  Ignore the bright white knees.  They got a touch less flourescent while I was there.

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Apparently, there was some sort of theme on the beach this year of which I was previously unaware . . . matching swimsuits!

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FIREWORKS!!  Because . . . yeah, do you really ever need a reason for fireworks?  Exactly.

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On the boardwalk, I found this little ditty.  Yeah, as if I’m not going to have to try the fried cheesecake!  I mean, have you met me?

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Apparently, this is what happens when you put hot gooey liquid batter inside a fried dough shell and then try to take a bite.  Cheesecake explosion!!  It was a delicious explosion, at least.

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Much better than the original meaning, for sure.  Gotta love a place that has a tip jar with a sense of humor.

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This was the start of our annual family shenanigans night out as we were approaching the bar.  There weren’t really all that many shenanigans this year to be honest, but as we were headed towards the bar, we did pass this sign, and thus late night shenanigans were planned . . .

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That’s right . . . we were gonna steal the “west.”  Last year ended with a letter theft on a neighboring sign that transformed it from “We make custom shirts” to “We make custom shit.”  Good times.  So, we would be altering yet another sign after achieving maximum drunkenness.  Or at least, that was the plan.  This was before everyone got tired of hanging out at the bar and paying ridiculous sums for alcohol, and instead decided to go back to our condo, grab some booze, and sit out on the beach under the full moon, and drink the rest of the night away.  It was a lovely plan.  And a lovely evening to be sitting on the beach with a cocktail in hand.  Only problem with that plan, in regards to the sign . . . there are way too many people milling about at midnight to vandalize a sign.  Oh well.  We’ll just have to envision the beauty this would have been.

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The entire time I was at the bar, I had the strange feeling that I was being watched.  Spooky . . . . .

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Mmmm, beer.  The hubs and I went out for dinner one night at this place called The Taphouse.  As you might imagine, it had a bajillionty beers on tap.  While we were waiting for our table to be ready, we sat at the bar and ordered a sampling of those beers.  These were mine, and they were delicious.  Oh, and if you think I’m kidding about the bajillionty? 

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Yeah, seriously.  So much goodness. 

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Remember how I said the hubs was wonderful?  Well, it’s not every man who will give you a plastic faux-jewel encrusted mustache shaped mood ring, now is it?  Almost as romantic as the day he proposed. 

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Just because it’s my kids, and they are adorable, and I love this picture of them waiting to get their ride wrist bands.  Don’t mind me.  Let’s just move along . . .

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How about a picture of my niece trying to drown her brother in the pool?  Much more exciting, right?  Ok, you’re welcome.

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BOOBS!!  You know, because when I think family friendly train ride around the amusement park, I think girl pirates with huge overflowing knockers and a half-clothed, panty showing, pirate girl tied up on the ground behind her.  Fun!

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Well, just to give equal time, I figured it would only be fair to show a penis on display as well.  So, here you go . . . look closely (I mean, if you’re into that kind of thing).  Are you wondering why I have a picture of a lifeguard’s shlong?  Well, it was a very rough day on the ocean, causing this lifeguard to be seen numerous times running up and down the beach to help people out in the water.  Finally, he figured it was time to address it, so he called everyone on the beach over to his chair, and he told us all about what to do if we got caught in a riptide.  At least, I think that’s what he was saying.  I was a wee bit distracted by his little friend poking his head out at me and waving hello.  So, while I may not know what to do if a riptide gets me, the one thing I do know is that this man has been circumcised.  Mazel Tov!

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Sadly, after many days of fun and festivities, we finally had to leave the beach (and the boobs and penises) behind.  This was our view as we headed out into the sunset.  Bye beach!  I miss you already.  Sniff.

C is for . . .

C is for . . .

Caring.  There could not be a more loving and doting grandfather than my kids’ Pop.  Always there with a hug or a silly joke, he has been there for them their entire lives.

C is for . . .

Cohabitation.  Staying in our in-law suite in the basement, he’s lived with us for many years.  He is there any time we need any extra help with the kids or the house.  He is a constant presence in our lives.

C is for . . .

Candy.  His great grandkids don’t call him “M&M Pop” for nothing.

C is for . . .

Carrying on.  He still signs every birthday and Christmas card with “Love, Pop & Mom-Mom” even though his wife passed almost 2 years ago.  He loves and misses her every day.

C is for . . .

Coughing.  He just can’t seem to shake this nagging cough.  And he can’t sleep through the night.

C is for . . .

Checking in.  He goes to the hospital to finally get it looked at.  They admit him and run some tests.  The x-ray finds a nodule on his lungs.  We wait for further testing as to its nature.

C is for . . .

Certainty.  The doctor tells him the results.  He says he’s 100 percent sure of what it is.

C is for . . .

Calling.  I find out in the grocery store when my husband calls to inform me of the news about his father.

C is for . . .

Crying.  I hold back the tears until after I hang up with my husband.  It is my job to stay strong for him.  I am very good at my job.

C is for . . .

Concern.  How will we tell the boys?  What will their reaction be?  How will they deal with yet another difficult time, in their short lives already so full of tragic moments?

C is for . . .

Coming home.  Released from the hospital today, he will return home while waiting for more test results.  He and the doctors will have to decide what they want to do depending on what those tests say.  He is 80 years old.  This must be taken into account.

C is for . . .

Crap.  This is really hard.  And I can’t seem to stop random tears from falling.

C is for . . .

Can’t.  I can’t believe it.  I can’t talk about it.  I can’t be funny.  I just can’t even say the word.  That big, scary, deadly word.

C is for . . . . . . . . . . . .

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