Archive for June, 2014


There are people that live in my computer.  I cannot hear their voices (cause if I could, well…..THAT would make me kinda crazy-pants).  But I know that we are connected, in good times and bad, just the same.  Of course, I have friends in real life as well because I’m not a complete anti social misfit.  But I’ve come to know and love the people in my computer nearly as much as I do the people in my real life.  Decidedly,  I kinda detest that often-used sentiment…..friends in real life vs friends in my computer.  Because they are, essentially, one and the same.  Just as easily as I can ring up a friend on the phone, I can instant message my computer peeps and be talked out of my crazy tree with the same amount of ferocious love.

Pop a squat and let me tell you a little story…….

Once upon a time a lovely (though overly haggard mom) named Nikki started a Facebook page called Moms Who Drink And Swear.  Before she knew what the hell had happened, it morphed into something so vital that it was crossing the global plains and reaching the hearts of tens of thousands of moms (and the lucky dads we’ve come to know and love as well).  The page continued to grow to epic proportions, as did her famous blog of the same name.  So many of us across the nation and beyond finally found “our people”.  We pay homage and give thanks to Nikki often for giving us a platform to fly our collective freak flags daily.

 

We’ve commiserated with one another……we’ve been there collectively offering virtual hugs through divorces and new babies.  We laugh and we cry with one another with sweet abandon.   We have one anothers back first and foremost.

 

When I’ve tried to explain this eclectic group of kick ass moms and dads, I’m generally met with equal parts cautious curiosity and a touch of skepticism.  What if they are crazy (some of us are….but the really GOOD kind of crazy).  What if they are maniacal killers, lurking around, trolling for a new victim to add to their body count in the crawl space under that house.  These generalizations often make me chuckle.  How can you EVER make a new friend if you’re constantly waiting for them to slice open your throat.  Of course, you proceed with caution.  But you proceed.  And that’s important.

 

Mostly, I’m asked how can I possibly feel SO connected to people that I’ve mostly never met and possibly never will.  First, I feel compelled to point out that I HAVE met some of them.  We’ve worked hard to organize meet ups and gatherings that are all-inclusive. When Nikki’s book was FINALLY published, several hundreds of us converged on Chicago to offer our support and congratulate her personally.  Some, I’ve merely traded text messages with, witty banter abounding with each press of send.  Some, I’ve spoken to on the phone.  Many of these personal connections have thankfully morphed into bonafide friendships that I feel positively blessed to have.  But correctly, many will always live in my computer and I will never hear their voices or get the chance to dry hump their legs with happiness from FINALLY meeting.

 

But the fact remains that we will hold each other up and tell it like it is when necessary.  Not too long ago, when I was struggling with my feelings about the Dick and contemplating what was certain to be a messy divorce……do you know who offered me free therapy and words of wisdom plucked straight from their own experiences????  Those wonderful friends in my computer.   Messages of “I’ve been there and I’m here if you need me”……offers to move in with them until I figured things out.  Check ins to make sure I was safe and hanging on.  While I love my family and the friends that are tangibly available to me every day, there is something to be said for people who are so far removed from your personal situation that they can see things far more clearly than those who are right in the midst of it all.

 

I’ve often likened my experience to these friends in my computer with the wave of emotion that people get from on-line dating.  I actually really get the attraction to talking to people you might never meet.  You have the freedom to be you because they don’t see you when your hair is acting wanky and you haven’t painted your toenails or shaved your legs in a month.  They can’t see your messy house or hear your whiny kids.  Without all the daily distractions that generally muddle up daily life, you get to see the real them and they see the real you.

 

So….to the reason for this particular blog tonight.  Today, many of my friends in my computer and I woke up to find out one of our beloved MWDAS dads had passed away quite suddenly.  Absolute shock waves across the MWDAS community.  Immediately messages went out to one another offering love and support to our group and his family.

 

We laugh together……we bitch together…..we mourn together.  Period.  And while many of us didn’t know this man PERSONALLY……we KNEW him.  We are wrapping our arms around his family from a distance and holding onto good thoughts of him in our hearts.  When the time is right….we will be happy to take up a collection for his widow and young children.  We will, collectively across the nation, have a drink in his honor tomorrow during the Tiger’s game.  We do our very best to take care of our own.  THIS is what its about.  He meant something to each one of us.  And that something isn’t any less because it was someone who lived mostly in our computer.

 

To my friends who will likely always remain in my computer….I just needed you to know that you will also always have a home in my heart.

Angry Birds……

I have always referred to my penis people as my “little birds”. They eat tiny amounts of food that I must force down their gullet and they squawk when I insist they eat more. The Dick’s family would be considered mostly fluffy in size, as is my own Italian family. Each of the families have vehemently insisted that I should just be grateful that they will never need to diet. However, being of that same wonderful Italian descent, I am what one friend affectionately refers to as a “food pusher”. Nothing makes me happier than to cook for and feed the people that I love (and sometimes, oddly, even people that I don’t particularly like very much). Ingrained in my psyche is this idea that food, and full bellies, equates love and happiness. So it pains me to watch my young penis people reject food. They aren’t picky eaters. They would quite literally eat dirt if I allowed it. They simply don’t have huge appetites. And no cajoling them, bribing them, punishing them will change that. They are happy little birds with the few morsels I will absolutely require at each meal. I’m by no means a member of the “clean plate” club. I don’t require them to eat EVERYTHING that is placed in front of them. I simply ask that they maintain enough calories to fuel their (always in motion) little bodies.

wpid-20140618_180854.jpg My oldest penis person, full of fun/crazy energy and sprinkled generously with ADHD, takes medication that helps his ADHD immensely but greatly diminishes his appetite. Under the watchful eye of both myself and his psychologist that specializes in ADHD, he gained merely ONE POUND in ONE YEAR. At nine years old, he can still wear a size 5T. He’s worn the same shorts for the past three summers. He is thin as a rail and expels those precious calories as quickly as he takes them in. His psychologist and I monitor his weight diligently, even going so far as to encourage what some would consider unhealthy snacks of cupcakes or cookies. He’s just that tiny little bird who will always BE my tiny little bird.

wpid-20140618_180807.jpg Wee penis person has type one diabetes. Diagnosed at only 3 years old, he is managing it well. And yet, his favorite game is to drive momma crazy refusing to eat. He is small as well. Being 4 years old now, he can still wear a size 2T. He will eat well sometimes, but mostly he takes a bite or two of each item offered and claims complete fullness. Positively maddening!

It baffles my mind. Both myself and my husband are proud chunky monkeys. Not incredibly unhealthy but WE LOVE FOOD. We embrace our fluffy selves whole heartedly and have no weird hang ups about food. How did our combined genetics morph into two penis people who balk at the idea of eating. Because they are my little birds. And they become very ANGRY BIRDS when I make them eat. When I count down with them how many bites they must take before we can consider their meal complete. I try NOT to put a lot of pressure on meals. But meals are important and food sustains you.

So tonight, I made home made mac and cheese. The good shit. Not the normal shit that comes out of a box that I make when I’m too tired to give a shit. And hot dogs. What kid DOESN’T like hot dogs. The little birds had just two minutes ago begun squawking about being SO hungry. Plates of food were issued, ready to be eaten. Normal dinner chit-chat ensued. Fart noises sprinkled about. Two bites in and both penis people declare done. Nope…..nope…..and uh wait….let me check….NOPE! I tell them that people are starving in the world and would kill their own granny for a morsel of this tasty meal. I instruct them that wasting food is NOT an option. Side your little behind down….pick up that damn fork….and EAT. What they heard in their minds is “Mommy is about to lose her shit AGAIN and its easier to just do what she asks then not….so we will eat…but we don’t have to be happy about it one bit”. Angry little birds……

I’ll be the first to quite honestly say that I’m not entirely sure where I stand on the issue of more stringent gun control, and indirectly, the new trend of open carry.  My husband is a Detroit Police Officer and I’m generally very used to him carrying his department issued weapon when we are out and about with our happy little family. It’s become so ingrained in our every day life that it barely even registers on my radar any more.   I’m not entirely sure that constructing tougher gun laws will make the world a safer place.  Mostly because we all know that criminals pay not the slightest bit of attention to laws anyway, so making tougher laws will mostly impact only law abiding citizens.

However, as mom of two adorable little boys, I am fixated on the recent rash of shootings, shootings mostly involving children in schools. And I’m as desperate as every other parent to find a way to make sense of the senseless.  To temper the tragedy with a concrete solution to prevent such a thing from ever happening again.  Sadly, I don’t know that there truly IS a way to eliminate this threat from our lives…or the lives of our children.  I fear that many of our kids are numb from an overabundance of facts and statistics, bombarded by violence daily.  Blinded by the idea that guns can’t REALLY kill people because their lives revolve mostly around a make believe world of video games that encourage weapons of mass destruction.  

Yep…I went there!  I NEVER thought I would be THAT parent that immediately links desensitized children to violent video games and an disproportionate amount of senseless violence cluttering their world.  But the moment I became a mom, my views shifted dramatically. For better or worse, now I’m just a mom trying to make sense of the senseless and trying to keep my children safer in an unsafe world.

My husband is a police officer with 18 years on the job in a city fully shrouded in never ending violence.  I have been his “partner in crime” for every single one of those 18 years.  I sometimes suspect that I should have received an honorary badge for my own silent service.  I have listened, horrified, as he described the immeasurable heart break that comes with working a call that involved the accidental death of a child killed by either their own hand, or the hand of an equally innocent child, when an unsecured weapon was discovered.  Senseless!  There is simply no other word to describe it.  This is the ONE single situation that could EASILY be prevented if only the weapon owner had been responsible and secured that deadly weapon.

 I can’t even attribute their lackadaisical sense of logic with lack of intelligence.  I have seen with my own weary, nervous eyes people whom I’d assumed responsible, respectable members of society leave a loaded weapon in a place that they ASSUME is out of the reach of notoriously curious children.  The argument is ALWAYS the same…..”Well, MY kids know NOT TO TOUCH IT”.  Hmmmm…..how simply FANTASTIC for you.  But are you REALLY SURE????  Are you prepared to wager that bet, with 110% certainty, on the life of your child or a young friend of theirs?  Because, essentially, this is a gamble that doesn’t seem logical and could potentially fail with tragic consequences.  But I digress.

The point is, it would be far simpler to blame such tragedies on the minds of simpletons, those who are uneducated or just plain stupid.  But the reality is, it happens far too often and its always the same……the family who says “I never thought it would happen to me”.  

If you own a weapon, it is your RESPONSIBILITY to secure that weapon properly.  Gun locks are minimal in cost and are sometimes given to gun owners free by their local police department.  If you are a parent, it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to ASK EVERY HOME WHERE YOU CHILD PLAYS if there are weapons in the home and if they are properly secured.  

While the battles rages on as to whether gun laws should become tougher, you can bet your sweet ass that more people than you think are packing heat these days.  Grannies and Grandpas…….PTA moms……that lady with all those damn cats.  You get the point.  Far more often than not, people are scared or being proactive and are purchasing (or possibly stock piling) weapons.  While I’m still not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing, it is a FACT thing.  And when they get home, they gotta pack that heat away SOMEWHERE!  Ask where…..ask how…..ASK!  If you offend someone, they probably aren’t doing the right thing anyway and you should NOT allow your child there.  I’ve talked to many of our law enforcement friends and posed the same question “would you be offended if someone asked if your weapon is properly secured in a safe manner and wanted to know specifically HOW”.  The answer has, thankfully, always been a resounding “Nope….I would not be offended AT ALL”.  Responsible gun owners would appreciate the fact that you cared enough to ask.  They would probably give you a high-five!

On the other end of this battle….even though its scary…..even though it breaks your heart to have to do so……even if you are absolutely not a fan of guns and would prefer to pretend that they do not exist in your world……YOU MUST educated your children on the dangers of weapons and what to do if they or a friend find a weapon.  You MUST ensure that you fill their tiny little brains with the RESPECT for the power that weapons posses.  This is NOT the time to believe that by not talking about it, you will effectively eliminate the threat.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  There is tons of concrete information available to support the idea that NOT talking to your children about gun safety will make them far likelier to have NOT A DAMN CLUE what to do should they ever come across a weapon.  And the consequences are DEADLY.  Prepare your children by reminding them to ALWAYS assume that a found weapon is loaded.  Instruct them to NEVER touch a weapon and ALWAYS seek out the help of an adult.  If they see a friend playing with a weapon DO NOT yell at them to stop it and drop it.  Do you know how often startling a child with a loaded weapon has deadly consequences?  Back away slowly and quietly and get help.

Stage safety drills.  Even if you do not allow your child to play with pretend weapons…….go to the dollar store and BUY one.  Hide it somewhere that you child can somewhat easily find it.  Then have a conversation with your child about the importance of not touching and telling an adult.  Then wait.  See if they find it.  See what they do.  You will know immediately how much more conversation you will need to have.  This is generally not a one-time conversation.  This, like talking about sex, is an on-going process.  You will need to give age appropriate information.  You will need to tailor the conversation not to your specific beliefs, but to the realities of the world.  I’m sorry, I truly am.   I wish that were not so.  But it is and the sooner you face it, the safer your child will be.

The reality is this…..Please don’t be that gut-wrenching, heart broken family on the news who never thought it could happen to them.  My husband has seen this reality far too often in his 18 year law enforcement career.  And I promise you this…….  He still remembers every call for a child who died of an accidental gun shot.  He still remembers their faces, their names.  He can tell you their date of birth and their date of death.  He knows each age.  He remembers the address of the home it happened in.  He lives with these tiny little ghosts every day.  They haunt him.  They whisper to him in his heart…….. “let me be the last one”.