Drowning, my fears – 911, poison control, and other parenting mishaps

I, myself, have never been afraid of drowning. Maybe I would’ve been if my brother drowned that warm spring day.

It is a topic of conversation that never goes away. Why did my mom let my dad talk her into leaving the 6 year old me in charge of watching my 3 younger brothers alone in the water? Was I always the protector or did I become that way? 

A few weeks ago, my brother told me that he has nightmares of me watching him drown. How can he remember? He just turned two. I remember everything that happened that day. I stood on the dock paralyzed with fear watching my brother gulping water and gasping for air. As he flailed his arms, my 3 year old brother exclaimed excitedly over and over that he was swimming. My autistic 5 year old brother stood in the shallow water flapping his hands oblivious to the surrounding peril. 

I knew something was wrong, but I couldn’t scream. I couldn’t seem to move. My mom came back to check on us and saved my brother. I knew that I failed because I couldn’t protect him.

I never was afraid of drowning. I was afraid of watching others drown.

Fast forward another 6 years to when I was 12. I watched my baby cousin in their swimming pool while her mom was at work. She was sitting in the water on a pool chair. She fell off the chair backwards into the water. I grabbed her leg and pulled her out. I was so happy that I didn’t panic and let her drown. But everyone else seemed so angry. My uncle got scolded from his wife for letting me watch my cousin in the pool. No one seems to remember that I protected her, that I didn’t let her drown.

Fast forward another decade after I had children of my own. We were told as new parents to never leave your baby unattended even for a few seconds in the bathtub. If the phone is ringing in the other room, let it ring. I suppose this is not a problem anymore for the new generation of parents.

Then my kids got older to the age where I didn’t need to sit and watch them bathe. I could go in every few minutes and check on them. One day I checked on Arabella in the bathtub after there was an unusual period of silence. I opened the tub door to find her floating in the water fast asleep. For a brief minute, as I gazed at her motionless body, I was terrified that she drowned. It was the most horrible anxiety ever. I thought that I failed to protect her.

After that happened, I worried that my children would drown. I never liked my kids taking showers when I was gone or asleep. I mean, they could slip on a bar of soap, hit their head, and drown. I don’t let them go swimming alone. I feel the need to keep an eye on them when they are swimming in water.

Even having my 3 kids swim together at the beach in front of me in shallow water wasn’t enough. I looked away for a minute and then there were 2 kids. My youngest wandered off from her siblings and couldn’t be found. It was a large beach with a lot of people. In just a few seconds they got distracted and separated. I ran up and down the beach combing the water until she was found safe. Another terrifying moment. 

So I worry. Worry makes me feel like I have some control, that I will be prepared for the worst that could happen. I worry about the things I can’t control. I feel like I am responsible for everything that happens. I am the protector. Sometimes I even try to control when I need to let go. It leaves me a nervous wreck. 

Within this last month, my daughter became an adult. My son turned 16 and got his driver’s license. Sometimes I can’t even tell anymore if my worries are rational or irrational. I don’t know anymore. 

People that don’t worry tell me not to worry, to worry about things I can control, and that I need to trust God more. Believe me, I wish I was a carefree person. I have an extreme fear of failing to be a protector. When something goes wrong, I blame myself.

I want to relax. I want to let go. 

But sometimes the worry drowns me.

Running with razor blades – 911, poison control, and other parenting mishaps

A long time ago, back when both of my grandparents were still alive, Paul and I took our little girl Angel out for a visit. My grandparents lived in a house where all of the main rooms downstairs were connected in a circular pattern. Think indoor running track. Well, that is exactly what my kids used it for anyway. It wasn’t bothersome, they wore off some extra energy, and you always knew their whereabouts.

On that day, Angel ran quite a few laps. After awhile we tuned out the constant tread of her little feet. That is until we heard the noise that no parent ever wants to hear…

Absolute silence.

I went to check on her.

What I saw next made me shriek in terror. I sqawked louder than a mother bird protecting her nest from predators.

Angel was holding a handful of straight edge razor blades. Her bloody little fingers were bringing them towards her mouth in slow motion. I screamed! She dropped her find and cried in response to my fear. I freaked out as Paul calmly inspected her bloody hands.

My grandma felt horrible. My grandparents kept everything. Although their house did not reflect hoarding or clutter, they kept many useless objects. They tucked those objects into hidden nooks and crannies like they were treasure. The razor blades from another era were hidden in the back of a bottom lower cupboard. In those brief seconds of silence, Angel found them and attempted to eat them.

Thankfully, she didn’t get seriously hurt. She didn’t need stitches. She just had a few cuts on her hands. Sometimes I shudder to think about what could have happened if I didn’t get there when I did.

It was on that day that I learned a lesson as a relatively new parent.

I learned that sometimes my kids are going to do things that hurt them. As a parent, it is very difficult to watch. If they would only listen to me, then maybe they could save themselves the pain of learning things the hard way.

Unfortunately that is not the way life works.

Sometimes I wonder if that is how God feels about us.


Broken snow globes – 911, poison control, and other parenting mishaps

Back when Angel was a very little girl, perhaps before her siblings were born, I started a snow globe collection for her. Beautiful dancers and assorted wildlife swirled in the glistening snow. I put her collection safe up high on a ledge that she, for sure, couldn’t reach. She could gaze at them during nap time.

Ah, nap time. Well, what was supposed to be nap time.

When I entered her room that afternoon, there was a carnage of broken creatures that escaped their forever winter out of shattered glass. All of the snow globes were broken and Angel had glitter coming out of her mouth.

I called poison control that day.

What do you suspect is in snow globe water? Not drinking water, I’m sure.

Is eating globs of globe glitter harmful?

God forbid, did she swallow any of the glass??

Somehow she managed to survive until adulthood.

I learned a valuable lesson that day. Even if I had the snow globes suspended from the ceiling, they wouldn’t be high enough to keep out of the hands of a curious toddler.

Not long after that, I put the number for poison control on speed dial.


Wanted, a few good friends…

Do you ever wish there was an online ‘dating’ site to find friends?  
My wanted ad would go something like this: Looking for a married woman in her upper 30’s to lower 40’s with at least two fairly well behaved children. Must be athletic and adventurous. Must like long walks on the beach. Must not have a fear of water. Must be a thinker who likes deep conversation/debate yet not too serious. Must have a sense of humor. Please no one that drinks, brags, or talks too much. Must be honest with a good personality and morals. Must be a runner, send picture of running shoes or medals.

That is what my ad would be like.

I have been having some problems finding a few good friends. The fish that have been in the sea lately have been rather disappointing.

Yesterday I went out with my friends for my birthday, or should I say that I went out with my friend and her husband. I invited 4 couples. 

The first couple I am not even sure why I am friends with. We have been friends for a decade now. I keep them at arms length. I might even want to break things off. A few weeks ago, someone I know asked me why I was friends with her. She has a tendency to get drunk, be verbally abusive towards her husband, and cheat. I wouldn’t want my husband to hang out with a guy version of her. I had a hard time answering why we were friends. Honestly, I don’t even like her that much. She has gotten in trouble with friends for hitting on their husbands. Believe it or not, she does have a few redeeming qualities. She is fine when she is sober, which isn’t very often. Maybe we should break up?

The second couple I asked were friends for over ten years as well. At one time, I thought we were best friends. We even planned to go on vacation together a couple years ago. I think that is the point where our friendship started falling apart. They asked us on vacation, then ended up canceling out before we really started planning. They decided to remodel their house instead and could no longer afford to go. After that I think they felt ackward around us. Then her mom got cancer. With her mom, four kids, and work she didn’t have any extra time. 

They were on vacation over my daughter’s grad party. They were flying back the day of and said they might stop by which they never did. While they were on vacation, they received a call at 5 AM. The message stated that there was a family emergency and to call the hospital upon receipt. (I can worry about that now because stuff like that really happens). Her mom had a massive heart attack. She keeps saying that we will get together sometime, but sometime never seems to come. Our friendship is falling apart. 

Then there is Lisa. I planned on running a 5k to celebrate my birthday, followed by sailing to the beach, and an evening of dancing at a local festival. 

Lisa stayed out drinking all night the evening before. When she got to my house in the morning, she said that she didn’t sleep and was probably still drunk. At bar time they were so drunk that they ended up walking back to her house. Everyone walked except for her friend and another friend’s boyfriend. It took them a half an hour to walk to her house and another hour after that for the two friends in the van to arrive. The driver claimed that he got lost. Meanwhile the passenger was unconscious in the back seat. It took them 40 minutes to wake her up. It wasn’t the first time she drank that much. Then the girlfriend accused her boyfriend (in the van with another woman) of cheating which ended in a breakup. Honestly, that is not the kind of excitement I want in my life! 

Lisa ended up running the race with me, then cancelled out of the rest of my birthday celebration. I am so disappointed. Maybe I should ax all of these people out of my life for good. Just stop responding to their invitations. Even if we have been friends forever doesn’t mean we always have to be.

The last couple was Cindy and Ted. Cindy is not a runner, but after the race they made us a huge breakfast. Then they spent the afternoon with Paul and I sailing to the beach. We had a great time swimming, sailing, and chatting. They said that they would do whatever I wanted for my birthday. We never did make it out to the festival. The weather was hot and stormy. To be frank, I was tired anyway. They are great friends, the kind that are hard to come by.

It is harder to find friends when you are a couple. The guys have to hit it off along with the girls. It doesn’t work if I end up getting along with the husband better than the wife. Or if I like the wife, but the husbands don’t mesh. Or if I like the wife, but dislike the guy she is with. There are so many dynamics.  

I tried to brush off my disappointment with Lisa. I considered her to be a best friend. Now she is nothing more than an acquaintance to me. Cindy moved up and took her place. 

Do you rank your friends like I do? 

We have tried to make friends with other couples. 

We invited another couple to supper but they cancelled out when the food was on the table because they ended up getting a better invitation. You’re out!

Or the people that we invited over that never reciprocated. One sided friendships suck. You’re out!!

Or the other couple we thought could be friends that kept cancelling out last minute. We rescheduled multiple times to have them cancel over and over again for no good reason. You’re out!

None of those friendships ended up going anywhere. 

It is really hard to find good friends. 

But how do you find new ones that are of high quality? 

Maybe I should take out a wanted ad.

Wanted, a few good friends….

Eye blinks

I took the day off of work and spent half of it at the mall. 

It is out of character for me. I HATE shopping! I hate spending money. Mall clothes are absolutely boring. 

I, myself, prefer the 60’s bohemian style of attire. Flowers galore, even in my hair. Long flowing dresses. Gaudy rings. I would even have a hippie van if I could with lava lamps and beaded curtains. I decorate my house with floral patterns but don’t have what it takes to make a flower grow.

Or I prefer the punk look. Edgy, studs on my pants, dark eye shadow, lots of earings. Band t-shirts, jeans that are ripped. 

But mainly I wear athletic clothes. 

I am very picky about the clothes I buy, especially clothes shopping in the mall. Racks of clothes with nothing exciting to wear. But today that is where I ended up. I bought a deck of Pink Floyd playing cards and a floral hair band for myself. The rest of the items in my cart belonged to Angel.

My daughter Angel turned 18 today. I am now the parent of an adult child. Every time I think of that for some reason I think of AA. Crazy how my mind works…

We awoke this morning to storms with strong winds that brought area trees down. It was nothing like the sunny day that I gave birth to my first child. I closed my eyes for a brief moment, when I opened them she was gone. Eye blinks! I tell sleepless parents of newborns that they grow up fast. I never thought that I would be like one of those parents. I never imagined this day would come so fast when I held my little baby in my arms for the first time 18 years ago.

Angel, my mom, and I went to the spa this morning. The distant thunder relaxed me more than the soothing music did. Then we went out to eat. Afterwards, we went to the mall to start buying Angel some items for college. Shopping is so boring that it tries my patience. After awhile I just wanted to run out of there screaming. There is so much to see, my senses overwhelm me. I felt tired and needed to rest. I have more energy running a marathon than I do for shopping. Okay, okay…Half marathon.. Let’s just say that I have a low tolerance for malls. 

I really wish there was such a thing as a blog when my kids were really little. Maybe I could’ve vented about potty training or temper tantrums. I always told myself that I would keep up with writing a diary all through my kids early years, but I only wrote an entry or two total. There never seemed to be enough hours in the day. A lot of the day to day memories are gone already. Forgotten.

With that being said, I have decided to write a very short series entitled 911, poison control, and other parenting mishaps to write about the most comical things that have happened over the years. Not only will it be funny, but I will be able to write the stories down to remember forever. 

Happy 18th birthday to my adult child, Angel! I am excited to see what the future holds as she holds the pen to write the very first chapter of her adult life. 


A tempest is raging

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It was felt before it was seen. There was a tension in the air. An edginess without explanation. A premonition of pressure change. A calm that was unsettling.

Then it began, the first teardrop fell. A lightening bolt flashed through the evening sky. A small flash mocked at its side. The wind roared battering the potted plants knocking them down. The thunder boomed shaking the trees. The creatures of the Earth stirred from their silent slumber within. There was nowhere to hide from your anger.

June 2016 069

The sky glowed a fiery orange. Although beauty was in full bloom all around, the lilacs couldn’t compete with your ethereal radiance. The night was electrical, exciting perhaps. We felt the full force of your wrath.

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Miscommunication. Things aren’t what they seem.

A celestial being from the heavenly realm calms the raging tempest. The moon is full, the stars are bright.

That is what you would think. Instead a few lingering rain drops sprinkle across my lens, distorting my view.

The storm is over.

I walk into the house and shut the door.

Urgent matters

Work has been busy. Tempers have been flaring. Angry hot words sizzle like an egg frying on the hot summer sidewalk. 

On Monday, I paid for the afternoon I took off from work on Friday. I am afraid to take any time off because I have to work ten times as hard to make up for it. I feel guilty leaving our employee to cover for me when the work load is heavy.  

Over the past couple weeks, one of our vendors was updating their website which caused an order that we spent over an hour placing to be all messed up. This kept our clients waiting longer than they usually do. Our vendor did not return our calls regarding our issues because they were bottlenecked which caused us to be bottlenecked. Deadlines were approaching, clients called in desperation. Tetris again. I made the decision to spend a couple hours after work placing the order again despite the double charges. I asked for reimbursement but we might end up eating the double charges. Stress. It seems to happen day after day.

Paul and I were finally getting along only to fight again. We only have time for the urgent matters now not the important things. I was upset that he had play practice on my birthday. He said that he wished he never decided to try out for the play. He was pressured because he would make a perfect lead. He thought I would understand the commitment that 450 lines would take. The play is only a few weeks away. He apologized.  

I was a little miffed that he took 2 of his theater friends sailboat racing last week. I didn’t like the fact that he took a younger single woman that has the hots for him. He had an open invitation to whoever wanted to crew and she took it. Not me. Whatever. I guess she had a horrible time. He had 2 new crew members on a really windy race night. The boat did a lot of heeling and the woman was terrified. She spent a lot of time hiding in the cabin. It wasn’t a peaceful evening like their first sail. Paul didn’t do too well that night. He apologized that I felt left out. 

We finally were able to talk things through and work things out just to fight again. Friday night Paul exploded. He tends to let it all out in one angry storm. It reminded me of a time last summer when Paul was angry. He made homemade pizza for supper which we were starting to enjoy on our deck table outside. He was angry about something. He set his glass down on the table hard to emphasize a point. The table cracked and shattered into a zillion little pieces. Then he went around the house roaring and screaming as loud as he could with the windows open. I briefly wondered what the new neighbor’s thought. Afterwards, he apologized. 

There have been a lot of stressors for Paul. He is stressed about the play, work, the kids, and his mother with terminal cancer. He had a screaming fit Friday night, the day before the graduation party. It was stressful preparing for the party. Would the weather be nice? Did we have enough food? Etc..  Plus it was hard for Paul because not one family member of his would be attending. How strange is it to have a big party for your child with no one respresenting you there? He is like an adult orphan, all alone. He only really has me.

I have been really stressed out too. My anger releases slowly, just a little steam at a time. I criticize. I condemn. I judge his outburst with unforgiveness. I hate. I consistently pour out whispered four letter “s” and “f” words throughout the day. I am no better. SSsssstttrreesssss…

I think that we are finally getting along again. It took awhile. Marriage can be like that at times. 

I am trying not to let the day to day stress get to me. Paul and I have to be on the same team to make this marriage, family, and business work. 

I need to look forward to some stress free time away. I am starting to plan a business trip out to California this fall. Paul and I have never been out to the west coast. Maybe we can add a couple of days of fun while we are out there.  

Cha cha changes


I just got a hair cut. Seven inches of golden tresses fell to the floor. They were swept up and thrown away. Gone.

My life is changing. I have no control. I just turned another year older. My daughter will be an adult this week.

I still have control over some things, like my hair. I haven’t had my hair this short for over a decade. What was I waiting for?

I took half a day off on Friday to get my hair done. After the hair cut, I felt stressed because things were out of control at work while I was gone. In the matter of two hours, I had 5 voicemail messages and my email was blowing up with problems at work. Big time Tetris. I find it harder and harder to take any time off because I end up paying for it later.

Then I ran into someone that I know. She said she was not doing well because her husband lost his job. That really put things into perspective for me. I have a job. We can pay our bills. This business is going to pay off big time. I just have to make sure the stress doesn’t kill me first.

We had our daughter’s graduation party this weekend. I spent the rest of the afternoon on Friday running errands for the party and preparing food. The party itself went great. The event was rather uneventful which was really good. We had enough food and drinks. The weather was great. It wasn’t too hot or too cold. It didn’t rain. Really, what more could we ask for?? I admit, I had a lot of anxiety beforehand. This was the first party that I planned with so many people attending. Seriously, what was I worried about? Everything turned out.  

We had the party up north at the family cabin. Everyone pulled through to prepare and help clean up which I really appreciated. So many family and friends offered to bring food. 

Alex brought up his new girlfriend to meet the family. Now that he has his license he can drive the old moped that is up there. He gladly drove to the gas station for ice and whatever was needed. I am afraid though that he drove it too fast. He wants to get a motorcycle someday. Oh, that kid is going to be the death of me yet!

Angel had a great party. I am sad that she grew up so fast. She was so much fun to raise. Next month she is leaving to start her own life. I feel happy and sad at the same time. So many aspects of my life are changing. I don’t have control over time. But I do have control over my hair. Well, most of the time anyway.