Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief

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The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far…

So Frankie got an A+ on a paper he wrote. The teacher said “What an insightful self-assessment.” He is the social studies teacher so I am curious what the assignment actually was. Anyhow, I felt sad when I read it. I’m not sure why after reading it a second time, but that was the reaction I had. He had to rate himself on a scale of 1-10 for different categories. Here are some examples:

“Movement/Your need to move- I give myself a 9. I’m constantly moving because I’m sometimes stressed and angry.” I do notice that. Not all the time, but once in a while he gets stressed out and mad. He almost shakes he gets so mad. And it’s usually over something that would seem insignificant to most, like being asked to brush his teeth or try a shirt on. He grits his teeth and makes a fist. Matthew got married last weekend so we’ve all been talking a lot this week about the family traits. A temper is definitely something all the kids have inherited from their dad.

“Identity- 10. I will really try to be noticed by behaving a little bad and stuff I can get made fun of for.” That part Frankie gets from me. I like to be noticed too. Tim and I would often almost compete in social situations because we both had a pretty good sense of humor. Frankie definitely has a knack for saying off the wall comments that crack you up.

“Acceptance/The need to fit in- 3. I try to be different and be myself.” I think Frankie picked a small number because he doesn’t really care if he fits in. We have this discussion almost every morning when we talk about him combing his hair or wearing clothes that actually fit him. He just doesn’t see the point. Again, he gets some of this from me. I was told in grad school that I am a peach in an apple orchard and like it that way. But then I put myself in a catch-22 because I want all the apples to be comfortable with me too. I hope Frankie doesn’t develop the second half of that characteristic!

“Companionship- 8. I’m usually a little scared at night alone. I’d rather be with my brother.” This is me to a tee. I HATE being alone. All the time, but I feel it the strongest at night. Hate it. Poor Frankie. Should I feel bad that he wants his brother and not his mother? I do. But I also think it is perfectly normal to prefer someone his same gender. Their bedrooms are both upstairs and mine is down. So mostly I’m just glad he has his Colin.

“Communication- 9. I always get in trouble because I love talking with other people.” My report cards are peppered from kindergarten on with comments about my talking too much. I’m now 46 years old and my dad still complains that I’m on the phone too much.

“Self-improvement- 8. I feel bad about myself sometimes.” That one broke my heart. I have consistently gotten feedback my entire life about how hard I am on myself. For years and years. No one needs to get on me, because I am always on my back, wanting to be better. Trying to improve, etc.

So Frankie doesn’t fall far from the tree. Hopefully, that isn’t such a bad thing…lol. I just wish he would stop growing up!



Did I say I don’t like Mother’s Day? Not sure I’ve actually blogged that or not, but I know I’ve definitely said it. Here’s more fickle: Today, I LOVE IT!!

Frankie came home from school today with a purple flower (my favorite color) and a People magazine spoof for Mother of the Year. I won’t write it all, but here are some of the highlights that shock me, surprise me, warm my heart beyond belief.

She should be mother of the year because:
She doesn’t make me spoiled.
She gives me good advice.
She is cautious about my health.
She works three jobs to put food on my table.
She comforts me when I am sad.
She supports me when life throws problems at me.
When I’m sick she stays up all night to make sure I’m okay.
She supports the school by coming in class every once in awhile.

What do you love most about your mom?
She cares about my feelings.

What’s the smartest thing your mom has ever told you?
Don’t sing during class.

What kind of stuff is your mom really good at?

What’s one thing your mom should do more of?
Go to the bar and have a good time. (And I feel guilty when I get the chance to go out!)

What do you think your mom was like before she had kids?
She was probably happier. (That’s an ouch!)

Complete this sentence. “I know my mom loves me because she thinks I am funny.” (I think he’s hilarious, actually)

And last but not least, drum roll please….

If you could change one thing about your mom, what would it be?
Nothing, you’re amazing!

I love Mother’s Day!!!


Empty Head

Its blog day.  My mind is blank.  No particular cute inspirations.  Maybe I’ll just talk about my day.

5:45 AM  wake up, even though I don’t need to for another two hours.  Decide to get up, go thru my piles of things I didn’t do yesterday and get organized for the day.

7:30  AM back to bed cause I have a bad head cold, even though its now time for me to get up

8:15 AM  up to make sure my son gets on the bus ok;  start those annoying phone calls;  can’t get through to the bank to set up online banking;  try for the 12th time to get thru for my son’s health insurance; on hold, on hold; now late for work; told to get a paper that doesn’t exist or he’ll lose his insurance; I remind the poor girl on the other end that my husband has died and I’m now a single mom who has to work for a living; I’m trying to be cooperative but I’ve sent the paperwork in three times now and now you want me to get another paper that doesn’t even exist yet; while I am talking I realize that BOTH my home and office calculators no longer work

9:50 AM start my counseling session that was SUPPOSED to start at 9:30

10:45 AM  start my meeting to work on the book that was SUPPOSED to start at 10:30; snap at Brigette, the most loyal and patient assistant, friend, business partner in the whole world, just because I don’t like the information we are dealing with;  I just want to write a book;  I have no idea what I am reading with regard to contracts, wholesale vs. whatever, cream vs. white paper, dozens of charts that are like Greek to me

1:00 PM  lunch with an old friend;  yea!  I try not to look like the harried, stressed widow that I am

2:15 PM stop by the cemetery;  kneel at the stone and wonder “Will I ever not wish that I could turn back time?  Will I ever say to myself that life is good, maybe even great?  Will I ever stop saying I don’t like life the way it is now and I want Tim back?”

2:25 PM drive by my old church and see my former minister walking in the parking lot; pang of sadness;  miss him and the whole place terribly as does my son;  Why couldn’t we fix things between us?

3:00 PM walk the dog and piss off a walker because I’m not holding the leash and my dog startles her.  Would that stand up in court?  Well your honor, the sign says dogs must be leashed.  It didn’t say I had to hold on to the leash!

4:00 PM greet my son off the bus and wonder how I am going to muster the motivation to look at his planner and go over his homework.  I am ready for bed instead.  I am drinking a “whisky slinger”=  whiskey and hot water.  Supposedly an old trick for curing head colds.  Tastes terrible but I suspect it will knock me out.  Can’t hurt to try I guess.

I didn’t mention a few dozen other things like stopping to get my phone fixed.  I still have two loads of laundry, dinner, and a pile of paperwork ahead of me tonite.

But no pity party.  Everyone I know is busy like this.  Everyone I know works full time, balances the kids, and has to try and eat and exercise too.  Life is not exceptionally hard for me.  Its just life.  No one is picking on me.  Yes, there is that fleeting moment of “Yea, but I am also grieving.”  Its true, I am.  And not everyone I know is going through that.  But I also am not without electricity or food.  I am not covered in water or homeless.  Its all in your perspective I guess 🙂

P.S.  Thanks Brigette- for the cough drops, inhaler, vicks, whiskey and the chocolate.  How lucky am I?


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How to Get Out of Trouble

I’m such a sap.

And my 10 year old son has completely caught on.

He brought home yet another FAILING open book test. (How does that happen?  Well, when you think you are so smart you don’t need to bother looking up the answers, you might end up failing.  Yes, even a second time.)

As I opened his take-home folder, I found a poem attached to the test.

“The results of my social studies test won’t fill you with glee,

But don’t take hockey away from me.

I am sorry I made you mad,

But no hockey would make me sad. 😦

I know that you will not like the results of the test,

But just so you know, I did my best.

I know that you’ll be mad,

But consequences will make me sad.”

He kills me.  I asked him if he really wrote it by himself.  He said “Yes.  I tried to tell the other kids that failed that they should try it too but they just weren’t buying it.”

It worked, I can’t stand it when my kid is sad.

After a parent-teacher conference though, he did come up with his own consequences.  If he forgets his homework (or whatever) he loses TV for the entire night-  shows, but more painfully his WII and Playstation games too.  I would’ve suggested two hours, but I’ll go with the whole night.

I might be a sap, but I’ve raised a clever boy 🙂