Posted in Family, Home, Personal, Relationships, Work

If I Met Myself For The First Time

Ever since I got pregnant, I’ve been having the strangest dreams. Last night was no different. I think watching an NCIS marathon with my daughter Parker is partially to blame and the wonky hormones are mostly to blame. In my dream, I woke up in a hospital, not knowing where I was or who I was. I had been in an accident and had amnesia. I still knew that Obama was President and that 12 X 12 was a gross, but my husband and family were strangers. This was especially difficult for my youngest daughter Mikayla who was positive that upon seeing her, my memory would come back… but it didn’t. It was scary. Like in a nightmare when you are paralyzed and can’t scream, even though you try your damnedest. I remember being in my hospital gown and approaching the bathroom, headed for the mirror so I could take a look at who I was. That’s it, that’s all I remember of this dream, but I woke up wondering…
…wondering what it would be like in real life if I had been in some sort of accident that cause me to have amnesia. What would I think of myself?

Would I stand naked, under the harsh fluorescent hospital lights in the cold, white bathroom, looking down at my 40 year-old pregnant body and be happy with what I saw? Would I see the stretch marks on my belly from the three children I’ve birthed and see horrible, ugly scars or I would I see a beautiful permanent record of motherhood? Would I gaze into my own eyes through the mirror and see an aging woman with bags, lines, and wrinkles, or would I see exquisite, sparkling blue eyes? Would I look at my mouth and think I should have taken better care of my teeth or would I see a warm, genuine smile? And my hair? Would I see the roots beginning to grow out, salted with gray, or would I adore the reddish-caramel color with Bettie Page bangs? Upon seeing my tattoos, would I judge myself as trashy or think myself as artsy? Would I notice the large deep scar on my ankle where I have seven screws and a metal plate and think I must be klutz or would I assume I must be an exciting, adventurous person? If I glanced down at my breasts which are now enlarged and swollen, would I only notice the slight sag from gravity and years of breast-feeding? Would I be bothered by the now noticeable green veins and dilated nipples or would I feel blessed to have a voluptuous pair preparing milk for my baby?

Upon meeting my family…
Would I look at my husband and question his burly beard, tattooed body, and skater dude sense of fashion? Or would I get weak in the knees with butterflies in my stomach just by looking into the bedroom eyes of the man I have given my heart and soul to, enamored simply by his scent, attracted to his masculinity, infatuated with his smile, the sound of voice, the touch of his hand, his sun-kissed skin, and the mop on his head of perfect, natural curls?
When I met my children, would I feel the over-whelming sense of pride in the amazing persons they have become like I do now? Would I only notice the stretched out gauges in my sons ears or would I see my own eyes in his eyes? Would I meet my oldest and judge her for having a child at such a young age, or would I admire her for overcoming so many obstacles and doing an excellent job at raising my grandson? When my youngest daughter stood before me, would I only see a stranger or would she trigger my memory back as she predicted in my dream?

Upon walking through the door of my home…
Would I be disappointed in the scratches on the wood floors, hate the awkward layout of the jack-and-jill bathroom, be unsatisfied with the eclectic hodge-podge of new and thrift store furniture, and feel like I should have done better for myself by having a newer built, updated, and modern cookie-cutter house? What if I walked through the door and fell in love with the charm and character that a 100 year-old home possesses with high ceilings and original wood floors? Would I immediately feel the comfort of my funky style, vintage collectibles, and tchotchkes?

Upon seeing my workplace…
Would I walk through the campgrounds feeling the sticky heat, swatting at mosquitoes and other creepy flying insects, freaked out by the abundance of buzzards, squirrels, raccoons, deer, snakes, and other wildlife? Would I walk in my office and think I should have gone to college and done something better with my career? I could have been a doctor, a lawyer, a politician, an activist, a world-changer, but instead I chose to live a small, insignificant life in an office in the woods. What if I strolled through camp, serenaded by the singing birds, wooed by the sound of the river flowing, comforted by the warm sun on my shoulders and blue skies overhead? If I walked in my office, finding solace in my framed certificates and memory board? If I felt the adoration of my children on the “Mom Wall of Fame” housing nine seasons of love notes?

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We all know our own flaws. It’s been said that we are our own worst critics and that’s probably true. I want you to ask yourself, “If I was meeting me for the first time, would I judge myself so harshly?” Would I even notice the chicken pox scar on my forehead or that stupid pimple on my nose? Probably not. We need to stop being so hard on ourselves. Embrace your gray hairs – they highlight your wisdom. Embrace the lines on your face – they show you have lived your life. Embrace your curves – for you are well nourished. Embrace your scars and stretchmarks – they prove that you a fierce warrior. In fact, you are a mother fucking bad ass who has possibly made some bad decisions, but decidedly made mostly right ones. Maybe you think didn’t change the world, but to your children you did. Maybe your home isn’t your dream house, but dammit, it’s yours and you worked hard for it. You didn’t grow up to be mayor of the town you love? You did grow up to become something and you work your ass off at it to support your family.
Be proud!

Mom Wall of Fame
Mom Wall of Fame
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Posted in Uncategorized

My Day Off

When I have to work early, I stealthily roll out of bed, tip-toe to bathroom by the light of my phone, making sure to quietly close the door behind me and get dressed. Then, I sneak in the kitchen, make a pot of coffee like a ninja, grab the lunch I made the night before, and gently kiss my husband on the forehead before I glide out the door. 

On my day off – his fog horn alarm set at maximum volume blares through the neighborhood, waking the dead. He grunts and moans, tossing and turning before he finally let’s out a loud sigh and jerks the blankets off the bed as he stumbles to the floor. He turns on the lights as he makes his way to the bathroom, shuffling through the house like herd of elephants, leaving a trail of destruction in his wake. As he fumbles with the coffee pot, making sure to clank every mug against each other, he continues to grunt and burp and I’m sure he has a megaphone under his shirt. Once he finally has all his shit together, he comes back to the brightly lit bedroom, tells me to have a good day and says, “Please try to get some rest, baby.”

…I WAS TRYING.


Posted in Family, Home, Personal, Relationships

5 Things You Should Never Say To A 40-Year-Old Pregnant Woman

It was Monday, March 9th. We were sitting on the sofa finalizing the playlist for our wedding on Saturday, March 14th. I was fidgety. He kept asking what was wrong and I asserted I was fine. But I wasn’t. I was nervous. I kept assuring myself it was due to wedding stress, but I knew I had to tell him. Finally, he set down the notepad and let out a sigh. “What is going with you?!”
I blurted out, “I’m late, baby. TEN DAYS late.” Then I sucked in a deep breath and held it waiting for his response. A sly smirk slowly creeped across his face and my heart was beating so loudly I was sure it could be heard in Houston. He motioned towards the table and told me to grab some cash so I could pick up a home pregnancy test. I practically bolted out the door to drive 3 blocks down the street to Walgreens. I’m pretty sure I was sweating and my knees were wobbling as I tip-toed to the check-out, test in hand. Two minutes later I walked in my back door, made a bee-line for the bathroom and ripped open the packaging. It had been a decade since my last home pregnancy test, but I was pretty sure the directions hadn’t changed much. I did my business and within seconds, the results were clear. I walked into the living room, looked at Jose and said, “Well, I guess you’re going to have to finish my beer.”
And on that day, 5 days before our wedding and 3 weeks before my 40th birthday, we found out we were expecting our 8th child. (I have 3 children ages 17, 20, and 21. He has 4 children ages 7, 10, 11, and 14. This will be our first together.)

We decided to wait until after the wedding to share the good news. We told our kids before that and by the wedding day, most of inner circle already knew, but once we broke the news via Facebook, well, that’s when the awkward comments started rolling in….

1. Aren’t you worried there will be complications?
Of course we’re worried there will be complications! You’d have to be living under a rock for 40 years to not know that women my age have a greater risk. But you know what? When I was pregnant at 19, 20, and 23 I was also worried about complications. Pregnant women aren’t supposed to have added stress, so why you tryin’ to stress me out, dude?

2. You’ll be almost 60 when your baby graduates high school!
Congratulations! You can do basic elementary school math. Guess what? So can we. We’ve already calculated how old we will be when our baby starts school, graduates from school, and what year it will be when he/she can vote in a presidential election. Age isn’t going to stop Jose from coaching soccer or me from roller skating through the park with our child.

3. Wow! Did y’all plan this?
This is not okay. Honestly, it’s none of your business if we planned this. Would you think differently of the situation if we did plan it? Would you be more accepting of it if we told you this was a total surprise, but we are embracing it? Turns out, this was God’s plan and apparently He has faith in us and we have faith in Him.

4. You must be crazy.
Maybe I am. Maybe I’m totally and completely certifiably batshit bonkers. Whatever. You’re crazy, Jose is crazy, we’re all a little crazy and life is crazy. Who cares? This is how we chose to live the one life we were given and we are thrilled about it!

5. I can’t imagine starting over!
This is the one I struggle with most. Starting over implies that at one point we actually stopped being parents. Once a parent, always a parent. My 68 year old mother still thinks of me as her baby and at 40 years old, I still need her. My grown children need me everyday of their lives and I will still parent them when they are my age. Just because I’ve already raised my 3 children, I am NOT starting over! I am continuing. This isn’t a wrench in my spoke. I’ll still be able to travel, go to concerts, and live my life, I’ll just be doing it differently now that we have a baby on the way.

We understand that your intentions aren’t to be hurtful, but sometimes perception is everything. Maybe next time you find yourself in this situation you should offer a genuine handshake or hug and offer your congratulations.
I’m sorry if I sound snarky, it’s just that I’m a little stressed out. I am still coming to terms with turning 40, having EIGHT children, worrying about complications, thinking about how old I’ll be when my baby graduates from high school, starting over gathering all the essentials baby needs, and my hormones are totally wonky.

Always,
Miss Liz

Baby Chepo
Baby Chepo