Lost Time

Lost Time

time

When someone you love drops dead in front of you, time does a back flip.

It erects itself into a pose, frozen, suspended, in a seemingly endless purgatory. Then just like that, it speeds through space catapulting into the air twisting like a pretzel before it lands…before it takes its next breath…before you take your next breath. It races and slows according to its own rhythm. You don’t get a say; time is in charge, and time is ruthless.

When Shawn’s heart stopped, it took the ambulance four minutes to get here. Four minutes of me screaming at the 911 operator, begging her to help him. It took four minutes of me pounding on his chest, four minutes of me running across the lawn hearing the ambulance but not able to see it. Four minutes of Annie doing CPR. Four minutes of cruelty…time taunting me like a schoolyard bully.

And somewhere in those four minutes, he died.

Those four minutes didn’t feel like four minutes. They didn’t feel like 14 minutes or 40 minutes. Those four minutes were immeasurable. The stiff tick-tock hands on the clock turned to mush. Time devoured itself. It still existed; it was relevant…oh how it mattered. But it didn’t make sense.

As EMS worked on him, I just waited to hear the time of death. I waited for them to say numbers. I waited for them to say something precise; something exact. But they didn’t. Instead they said, “We have a faint rhythm we can work with.”

His heart wasn’t beating like when the nurse presses her fingers on your wrist and stares at her watch all calm and focused. It wasn’t beating like yours or mine. It was fluttering…like it existed in some other universe. His heart was on its own planet deciding if it wanted to stay there or come back here.

Do you know what our last conversation was before Shawn dropped dead? We bickered about a shitty diaper. Who was going to change Kieran’s bum? We didn’t argue; we didn’t fight. We snipped at each other until someone changed the diaper, then we watched Stranger Things while giving each other the cold shoulder.

We bickered for those 15 seconds because we thought we had 15 seconds to waste.

And isn’t that the way it goes…

We go cold and rigid toward the ones we love. We turn stiff like the hands of a clock because we think we’re going to be able to make up that time later. We hold a grudge for three years because we think we have 1000 days left on this planet. We don’t call now because we think we can call later. We don’t visit today because we think we can visit tomorrow.

Somehow, by some explicit miracle of spirit and science, Shawn was brought back to this planet of calculated time. We were given a second chance. Do we still bicker? Sure. Do we still brush cold shoulders? Of course. But we come back to each other a hell of a lot quicker than we ever did before. Because we know now. We know firsthand, you might not have 1000 days left on this planet of measured minutes and hours and days. You might not get to see the next season of your life here.

So don’t call later; call now. Don’t visit tomorrow; visit today.

Because once death is declared, you don’t get to make up for lost time.

This Just In: Gwyneth Paltrow Finally Takes Giant Dump, Says She Feels ‘Much Better’

This Just In: Gwyneth Paltrow Finally Takes Giant Dump, Says She Feels ‘Much Better’

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After 43 years of holding it in, Gwyneth Paltrow finally pooped.

“I don’t like to call it ‘pooping,’” stated Paltrow. “I prefer something gentler like ‘conscious unstooling.’”

“I used to think conscious unstooling was just for regular people and assholes…you know, those who make $25,000 or less a year. But then I tried it, and I just feel so much better (than you),” stated the pretentious actor. “I plan to do it more often, but I’m a movie star AND a mother so my schedule is so much busier than yours.”

The actor said she first had the urge to relax her asshole after testing recipes from her website, Goop. “I invited Beyonce and Jay-Z over to try my new Tricolore with Chianti Vinaigrette and Parmigiano Reggiano. Jay-Z made a joke about the high fibre content of my cooking. “Straight from Goop to poop,” he laughed as he ran to the comfort station. I thought about having a friendship termination ceremony as I did not appreciate his joke, but then I remembered it’s important to have important friends.

When he returned from the comfort station, I mentioned how surprised I was he partook in conscious unstooling. That’s when he said both him and Beyonce do it every single day! I was like, ‘Oh my Goddess! If it’s good enough for Beyonce and Jay-Z, then it’s almost good enough for me!’”

Ms. Paltrow only has one problem with her new found penchant for pooping—she doesn’t like to wipe. “I still haven’t found an acceptable way to purify my stool chamber,” stated a troubled Paltrow. “I absolutely refuse to wipe because…ew…and I won’t use a bidet because everyone knows water has feelings.”

Ms. Paltrow says she plans to take on a volunteer to wipe her ass for her.  “What an honor for someone to get to wipe my stool chamber; of course the ass wipe won’t go uncompensated. I’ll be sure to pay him up to $25,000 a year in condescending comments, hypocrisy and unlimited access to my Goop recipes.”

Paltrow then excused herself so she could visit the comfort station. Apparently, her constant diet of cigarettes and tofu makes her really full of shit.

 

 

Community Suspicious After Local Woman Goes For Leisurely Stroll For No Reason

Community Suspicious After Local Woman Goes For Leisurely Stroll For No Reason

leisurely stroll

Kara Freeman is known for her odd, sometimes eccentric way of life. But Saturday morning she really turned heads when she woke up, put on her sneakers and went for a walk just for the hell of it.

“I have nowhere to go…nothing to do,” stated a happy-go-lucky Freeman. “I’m just out for a leisurely stroll with my dog.”

But her suspicious neighbours weren’t buying it.

“I thought for sure she was trying to capture a creature,” stated Pokemon GO enthusiast Iris Burns. “Then I remembered Ms. Freeman doesn’t have a cell phone…not even an old-fashioned iPhone 5.”

“Going for a walk for no reason is so 2015,” chirped Norma Lea Petty. “Like, hello? It’s 2016. It’s time to create yourself an avatar and join augmented reality.”

Assuring her neighbours she is perfectly happy with her diminished reality, Freeman carried on her way.

As for Burns and Petty, they refuse to accept Freeman does not want to join Pokemania. Instead they’ve convinced themselves Freeman is actually a real Pokemon who has come to inhabit the earth. They contacted local police over their concern. Police say they’ll check out the situation because just like everybody else, they gotta catch ‘em all!

Today We Did Nothing

Today We Did Nothing

happy smiling child playing with dandelion outdoor in a garden

Today we did nothing.

We stayed in our jammies until noon. We would have stayed in them all day, but we needed to put our bathing suits on to jump in the sprinkler. You’ve never experienced the sprinkler before. “Wuh DAT?!!!” you asked with delight. “It’s a sprinkler!” I said. “Pinker?” you asked. “Yes!” I said. “ME?” you asked. “Yes, you can go in,” I responded.

You ran straight into the sprinkler without a thought or care. I watched your face. It was a delirious mix of exhilaration and terror. I laughed as I scooped you up for a cuddle, and as I wrapped you in a towel, I noticed the tiny peach fuzz on your upper lip. It glistened in the sun and I just…watched it. I touched your lip and you giggled. “Fuffy,” you said. “Fluffy,” I responded.

We didn’t go anywhere today.

Unless you count the walk around our neighbourhood. We went to look for Buttercup the dog and Kitty the cat. We stopped to catch ants and examine gravel. We waved to a baby and watched a women cut her grass for an awkwardly long time. “Engine,” you said. “What does the engine sound like?” I asked. “Grrrrrrrrrrr!!!” you growled. “Yes!” I giggled. “Grass,” you said. “The woman is mowing the grass,” I responded. “Lawn mo-mo,” you said. “With her lawnmower,” I responded. We took the shortcut home through the gully. The shortcut always ends up being the long-cut because there are ladybugs to catch and dandelions to eat. Plus there’s all that grass we simply MUST roll in as you perfect your summersaults.

I didn’t work out today.

But your brother is obsessed with soccer so we did a hundred and fifty ball kicks around the backyard. I’d kick the ball way in front of him and he’d run as fast as he could and dive and roll over the top of the ball. You cheered for him. We laid on the grass and you guys traced your fingers on the pentagonal imprints in the ball. I touched your finger…so sweet and fat. I guided it over the shapes and felt its curiosity. Until you noticed the swing. YOUR swing. You did a MacGyver roll and bolted. “FING!” you declared. “Swing!” I said. “Mommy, do it,” you ordered. “Say please,” I insisted. “Peese,” you said. I pushed you in that swing for half the day, I swear.

We napped.

You barely made it until lunch time. You melted into a puddle of tears and snot declaring, “Me, Mommy, blankie, bottle, rock.” “Okay,” I said. We snuggled in your rocking chair. You made me sing “Happy Birthday” to everyone you know. I rubbed your hair marveling at its determination to stand straight up. I watched your feet, crossed at the ankles with perfect baby toes. I listened to you gulp. “Nigh, nigh,” you muttered with your puckered baby lips. I tucked you in, but not before I sniffed your milky skin. I lingered over you and listened to your breath…so gentle and steady.

I’m one of those people who is always racing—racing to get to work; racing to pick you up; racing to get stuff done. I plant fleeting kisses on your cheeks as I fly out the door in the morning…coffee dripping, buttons mismatched; hair damp and tangled. My mind churns thoughts like butter relentlessly organizing information trying to keep my feet plodding one in front of the other in this harried rat race.

But not today…

Today we took our time. We relished every moment together basking in each other’s company. Today we went slow.

Today we did nothing…

And it meant everything.

Never Will I Ever

Never Will I Ever

bambina dal parrucchiere

Never will I ever let my kids walk around with dried snots in their noses. It’s gross and makes them look homeless. Likewise, you’ll never catch me lick my fingers and matte down my kids’ hair.

I won’t feed my kids garbage. Racoons eat garbage. My kids will eat good food; wholesome food; real food. All. The. Time. Wonder Bread is called “Wonder Bread” for a reason…because everyone wonders what the hell’s in that stuff to make it so fresh, and fluffy, (and strangely delicious) for weeks on end. My kids won’t eat that garbage.

I won’t document their every move and bother people with endless pictures on social media. (Look at little Jenny sitting in the grass! #milestone)

I won’t cut their hair myself.

I repeat—I WON’T CUT THEIR HAIR MYSELF.

I won’t let them cry themselves to sleep.

I won’t co-sleep.

They won’t drink bottles after one.

They won’t wear diapers after two.

I’ll never yell at my kids. I’ll take three deep breaths and that’ll do the trick.

My kids will never yell at me. THEY’LL take three deep breaths (just like I taught them) and that’ll do the trick.

Never will I ever let myself go. I won’t walk around like a bag of hammered dog shit talking about how tired I am or how motherhood is hard. I won’t rely on coffee to pick me up or wine to talk me down.

Never will I ever…

And then I had kids…

And never will I ever….

Say never will I ever…

Ever.

Again.

Today It’s Your Turn

Today It’s Your Turn

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I plunk my kids into the cart at the grocery store. They’re thrilled because they got the one-and-only race car cart. Today they’re a comedy act…a veritable Laurel & Hardy. One makes beeping sounds while the other buzzes his lips like a motor.

They smile at strangers and melt old ladies’ hearts. They each take a banana from the free fruit basket and eat like little gentlemen. The oldest makes monkey sounds triggering the youngest to bust into giggles. Today, they are dreamy. Today I have a surplus of patience. The sludge of motherhood can’t touch me…not today.

I see you at the end of the aisle. You have two toddlers too, but today, it’s your turn. They are demanding Goldfish crackers but you’ve clearly said no. I see your daughter bash your son over the head with a frozen bag of peas. He retaliates with a ruthless bite. She screams and kicks off her boots. He screams because she’s screaming.

You tear into the Goldfish crackers and offer them up as a peace bond despite your earlier boycott. Their screams dwindle to whimpers as they drown their emotions in salt. You huff down the aisle biffing stuff in your cart. Your goal is to get out of that store as fast as possible and still manage to gather enough food to make three meals a day for a week.

Today, your kids are nightmares. They are testing your internal fortitude to its breaking point. You look frazzled; you ARE frazzled. Lord knows their testy attitudes have been simmering all day. You have tears just waiting to take centre stage but you manage to hold them back. You get to the car, and that’s when you cry.

Today it’s your turn.

Once upon a time, long before I had kids of my own, I may have been a smug asshole who judged you. I may have thought, get a hold of those kids, lady! I may have raised my eyebrow when you gave in and handed over the Goldfish. I hope not, but I may have judged you.

But not today.

Today I’m standing at the end of the aisle wishing you the grit and guts it takes to hang on. I’m with you in that cracker aisle sending you mom vibes full of the tenacity it takes to muddle through the days we feel crushed by parenthood. I’m sending you telepathic thoughts saying, “You’ve got this, Mama Bear!” “I know these moments suck.” “We’re with you because we’ve all been there!”

Yes. We all take a turn being “that” parent…the one whose kids run amok leaving us feeling browbeaten and broken. But just like we all take turns feeling defeated by motherhood, we also take turns having those dreamy days…the days where parenting seems to have that effortless je ne sais quoi. We all take a turn with those days too.

So hang on Mama Bear, because tomorrow it’s your turn.

On the Eve of the 2-year-old Turning 3 by Karen Johnson

On the Eve of the 2-year-old Turning 3 by Karen Johnson

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Dear Child #3,

I’ve realized lately, as we navigate the choppy waters of your toddler years, how spoiled you are. But I’ve also realized that I am okay with that. I think it is okay that you get your way now and then, because so much of your life has not been your way. You weren’t scooped up every time you cried as a baby. You’ve never had a nap schedule. You’ve sat through endless basketball and baseball games and gymnastics practices and school performances, being shushed and told to sit still. You skipped right over Sesame Street and were plopped down in front of Star Wars instead. I think a lot of times we forget that you’re 2, and we make you do big kids things. So yeah, the other day when you were having your 11th meltdown of the morning, I let you have fruit snacks at 9 a.m. Because I could tell you were tired. And I could tell your molars hurt. And because, well, I think it is okay that you are sometimes spoiled.

You see, your whole life (even your time in my big old belly) has been rushed by me. As you and I neared the 40-week mark, I couldn’t wait to not be pregnant anymore. You were just lounging around with your enormous fetus-self, on top of my poor bladder. There was one day at Costco that I would have bet anything and everything that you were about to fall out. Right there in the bulk toilet paper aisle. But you didn’t. You stayed right there, using my bladder as your own personal pillow, until medical interventions said, “Let’s go,Tub-O.” And boy was I happy—for about 37 seconds. And then I was instantly sad. I was sad that I had wanted it to be over, because now I had to share you with the world. And I regretted that I had rushed you and that I hadn’t savored our last few days together more.

Lately, my dear, sweet, tyrannical, temper-having #3, I am doing it again. I am rushing you. I want you to not be 2 anymore. Frankly, my love, you’re making me bat-shit crazy. Like borderline day-drink lose my ever loving mind how can you be freaking out about the green marker again crazy. And I keep thinking that things will be better when you are 3. So here I am, wishing away our time together. But you know what? As much as 2 is probably one of the hardest parenting years, it is also the best. It is the year that I sit outside your door, listening to you kick the wall with anger because Mommy said no more cookies, but it is also the same year that once you’ve calmed down, you curl into my lap (where you still fit perfectly) and say I sorry Mama, followed by a kiss that misses my mouth and often lands on my nose.

Your birthday is in a couple of weeks. You really are going to turn 3. And 3 is close to 4. And 4 is close to 5. And I remember when your brother and sister turned 5. I know 5. I know what happens. I have to really start sharing you with the world. I have to give you away for so many hours a day. So as much as I am beyond exhausted with you right now, I also want to freeze time. I want to keep you 2. Part of me wants to keep letting you pee everywhere and pour syrup on the kitchen floor. Because that means you’re still 2, and you can still fit all curled up in my lap, and you still want to climb into my bed and grab my arm and put it around you while we say prayers. And it means you’ll still say, You stay, Mama? You stay with me?

In a couple of weeks, my wish will be granted. You won’t be 2 anymore. So until then, I am going to cling a little bit harder to your baby-ness. I am going to hold you every time you ask. And I am going to try very hard to stop rushing you. I am going to try very hard to let you be 2 for a little bit longer.

Love, your exhausted, but very lucky mama.

This post was originally published on The 21st Century SAHM: http://www.the21stcenturysahm.com/on-the-eve-of-the-2-year-old-turning-3/

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Karen Johnson is a freelance writer and editor. Her blog The 21st Century SAHM is a cathartic mix of sarcasm, angry Mama Bear rants, and heartfelt confessions about how she’s probably screwing up her kids. She is a contributing writer in two anthologies: Lose the Cape: Never Will I Ever (and then I had kids!) and in What Does It Mean to Be White in America? Karen has had work featured on Scary Mommy, The Good Men Project, Mamalode, and Sammiches and Psych Meds (where she is also assistant editor), among other sites. Follow Karen on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Local Woman Outraged After Favourite Yoga Pants Go On Strike

Local Woman Outraged After Favourite Yoga Pants Go On Strike

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Local mother, Nadia Stretch, is outraged after her favourite yoga pants went on strike.

“I tried to pull my favourite yoga pants out of the dirty clothes hamper yesterday, and they refused to get out,” Stretch stated.

“I was perplexed; I wear them everyday! I can barely even stand to take them off to wash them. I love them so much, I even wear them to bed most nights. I just don’t understand why they’d quit on me.”

Stretch’s yoga pants went to their union and are on strike until working conditions improve. They are in negotiations until a collective-bargaining agreement can be reached.

A union representative spoke on behalf of Nadia Stretch’s yoga pants, “They refuse to be worn more than eight hours in a row, and she mustn’t sleep in them after wearing them all day. They’re also demanding intermittent breaks, insisting Ms. Stretch alternate her favourite yoga pants with at least one other pair of yoga pants. Her pants insist they must be washed immediately if they’re covered in baby food, snots, tears, and/or any unidentifiable substance.”

Nadia Stretch agreed to the aforementioned conditions, but refused one final request.

“Get this…they expect me to wear them to a…wait for it…an actual YOGA class! Their demands are ludicrous,” stated a disgruntled Stretch. “I won’t comply.”

Her yoga pants responded by saying Ms. Stretch is denying them their true destiny and passion in life.  They yearn to feel the burn of a downward dog. They ache to nearly break in a common bridge pose. They want to feel alive!

The union is filing a grievance which will be resolved through arbitration. In the meantime, Nadia Stretch has resorted to wearing pajama bottoms fulltime.

 

The ‘B’ Word by Karsson Hevia

The ‘B’ Word by Karsson Hevia

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It occurred to me the other day, while surrounded by brimming piles of overstuffed laundry baskets, thousands of teeny-weeny pieces of Lego strewn across the house like sprinkles atop an ice cream cone and a laptop whose cursor was condescendingly blinking back at me, just why, as a working mother, balance is so difficult to achieve — something by which finding the Holy Grail or the ever-elusive Fountain Of Youth might be more easily attainable. But to answer this question, it’s imperative to take a stroll marathon back down memory lane.

Once upon a time, when kids were a mere dream and my own comfort and happiness were an actual consideration, I had what I would have considered, a really balanced life. I worked hard and I played hard. I allotted ample doses of ‘me’ time as well as time for my friends and family. I focused on my professional achievements as well as personal ones. I read, watched, and wrote till my heart was content. I was for all intents and purposes, content and balanced, living a life peppered with variety and harmony.

But looking at that former life, however, it’s become blatantly obvious why my life is so out of balance now… I’m attempting to apply the same subset of expectations to a life that doesn’t even begin to resemble to my former one. I’ll never again exist in a world steeped in such freedom or solipsism. So why then, am I looking to it for answers on how to achieve it now?

Just as my role and responsibilities have changed drastically with the addition of each child, so too, does the need for my expectations in an effort to fully comprehend what balance actually looks like within the confines of such framework.

Over time, a seismic shift has occurred, by which most of my day is spent tending to the needs of my children. Therefore, balance can’t mean having as much freedom as I do obligation, or dedicating as much time indulging my own desires (or even the occasional solo trip to the bathroom) as I do those of my children’s.

The scales will always be tipped in the direction of my kids, and after all, that’s what parenthood is all about, rendering the theory of balance to be truly what you make of it and not at all about the actual evenness of reality. Motherhood catapults you into a new balance which while certainly does not favor me, overall, I favor it.

***A version of this post originally  appeared on Karsson’s blog, 2ManyOpenTabs: https://2manyopentabs.wordpress.com/***

Karsson Hevia is a Mother to two little dudes working as a Blogger, Content Writer and Social Media Strategist in the Bay Area(while maintaining her deep Midwest roots). Karsson writes about the excruciatingly beautiful juxtaposition of motherhood and her continual desire to find the so-called balance of life on her blog 2ManyOpenTabs.

 

The Three-Year-Old Race by Diana Kane

The Three-Year-Old Race by Diana Kane

boy running

We showed up to the “raising a three-year-old” race merely as spectators. I held tight to my son’s hand as my infant quietly rested in a ring sling across my chest. These cantankerous three-year-old kids and their frightened parents were being called to the starting line as we neared the crowd.

This so-called-race had been graciously called a fun run, but we all knew the truth…

These poor parents were lining up for the exhausting marathon of raising a three-year-old moments after barreling through the terrible twos. Our child was nearing this treacherous birthday so we were solely there to peer into the world that would soon be ours.

“Kane— to the starting line!  Would Kane please report to the starting line?”

Sheer terror invaded my body as I noticed an official approaching with a bib number. My stomach churned as the number three was pinned to my shirt, and I was ushered to the starting line. I panicked. There’s been a mistake?! I didn’t register! We just came to watch. He’s not three yet? I forgot to put deodorant on. In fact I’m out of deodorant! I ate doughnuts for breakfast! I drank two glasses of wine last night…I’m dehydrated!

I lost feeling in my hands as I fought off the urge to puke.

On Your Mark! Get Set…

My son took off running as I screamed behind him, “Stop! I can’t sprint in flip-flops.  There’s an infant strapped to my chest! I’M NOT WEARING A SPORTS BRA!” No one could hear me. The crowd had exploded with encouragement as everyone raced after their little ones setting the pace.

Please No! Make this STOP!

I scrambled. This was survival of the fittest and I was clearly not in shape. He tore through grocery stores and raced dangerously close to roads pausing only for the occasional tantrum and meal refusal. He taunted me from the top of the playground as I struggled up the steps behind him, and then wept as he barreled down the slide. I can do this I repeated to myself…I have to do this! I brushed myself off channeling my best “Little Engine That Could,” and drudged on.

I fought my way through the obstacle course of parenting a three-year-old as the days turned into months and the months rolled into a year. Then one glorious day the clouds started to clear and I caught a glimpse of the finish line. It was the most magnificent sight full of please and thank you’s, empty dinner plates, and a quiet shopping companion.

The crowd roared as I rounded the corner and closed in on the finish line. I stumbled across into the arms of my sweet tolerable boy. “That took heart,” they said. “It wasn’t pretty…but she finished!” Yes, onlookers…YES I DID!

My feet were blistered, I hadn’t eaten a proper meal in months, and my clothes were going on a third day of wear…but we had successfully made it to the other side of three. That was the only thing that mattered.

***************

I slowly make my way to the bleachers as I grab the hand of my now 3 1/2 year-old. I look down to admire the child still strapped in the ring sling across my chest. Shock fills my body as she looks back at me with a mouth full of teeth and shoulder-length hair.

I catch a glimpse of an official approaching again with a bib number. This can’t be happening?! My aching bones clench to the icy bleacher as he informs me the next race is in ten minutes.

There may not be anyone left in the stands to slow clap when we cross over into more bearable four-year-old years, but I’m confident we will survive it.

***A version of this post originally appeared on http://mamaneedsacupcake.com/.***

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Diana Kane is a wife, mom, and frequent companion to coffee and chaos. She is a proud supporter of ice cream cake for breakfast and perpetually struggles with being on time. Diana blogs at Mama Needs a Cupcake, where she writes about the less than perfect version of motherhood and recently published her first book, “Mama Needs A Cupcake.”