Friday, April 28, 2017

The Reluctant Party Girl

Dear friends in direct sales -
I've been where you are. I did home party sales for several years, before FB was really even used as a marketing tool. So before I potentially offend you, let me say this first:

I am proud of you. I support you. I know how challenging it can be.

And if I find myself in need of whatever you're selling, whether it's leggings or makeup or vitamins  or cooking tools or self manicures or sex toys or oils - you will absolutely be the first person I track down.

Now that said...please stop. Please stop adding me to your "parties" without asking if I'm interested. Please stop encouraging your hostesses to blanket invite their closest 400 FB girlfriends to the parties they are hosting. Please stop pretending that being "invited" (added) to an "online party" doesn't still make me feel obligated to buy and guilty when I can't. This morning I have 13 "events" waiting for my response. I mean really...I had no idea I was so popular.

These days my FB notifications often read like an infomercial and I'm sorry, but that's not what I use FB for.

If you're reading this, it's because you're a part of my FB world. That means I consider you a friend. And as a friend, I'm aware of what you're selling. I admire your passion. I respect your determination. I cheer your victories. I check out the deals you post on your personal page and I make sure to like your business page if you keep a separate one. As my friend, you'll be who I buy from if I need your product.

And as a friend, I'm asking that you stop pushing it on me.

Social media has changed the game on direct sales. It's truly amazing. I can remember driving 2 hours to parties where I didn't make enough to cover my gas to get home. Parties where I lost money - and I was good. So I get it. But I promise you, if I need longer lashes, pretty nails, cuter clothes, new bakeware, better orgasms, whiter teeth, relaxing oils, supplements, or any of a dozen other products, I'll come to you. I promise. Because I support you and your endeavors.

But I need to do it on my terms.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

I trained for this

I Trained For This

You can’t say they don’t try to warn you. When you begin your training they tell you that not everyone is cut out for this job. That only 1% of the population has what it takes.

They give you an out.

But you shrug it off.  You tell them that you understand what you are signing up for.

It takes awhile before you realize what the job has done to you.

Before it all adds up, the heaviness on your shoulders that never quite leaves.

The anguish of a father watching the home that he has worked for burn to the ground.
Every child whose voice wavers in fear, depending on you to keep them safe.
The wife who screams in your ear as she fights off her drunk husband.
A teenager who doesn’t think he has anything to live for.
Every young woman who sobs quietly into the phone that “she said no.”
The grandmother who wakes to find that her husband of 40 years has died in his sleep.
The mom who finds herself pinned in her seat after a crash, and can’t reach her baby.

They need you to be brave.
You say it to yourself over and over.
I’ve got this.
I trained for this.
I’m okay.  

You take the call. You ask all the right questions. You send help.
You send medics who manage grotesque injuries that they’ll never forget.
You send firefighters who put themselves in danger to battle the blaze.
You send officers who risk their lives every day for strangers.
Who put on a badge and go to work knowing that they might not come home.
You do it all knowing that their safety is dependant on you.

They need you to be brave.
So you say it to yourself over and over.
I’ve got this.
I trained for this.
I’m okay. I'm a dispatcher.

1/3/16 WCCA, Oregon

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

You See Him

I never really thought of myself as the mom of a "challenging child." I've watched other moms struggle with "difficult children" and I'll admit, I've even felt a bit of pity for them at times. I wondered what that must be like, to constantly be at battle with your own child and the world around them.

And then the emails and phone calls started.

"He's having trouble focusing."
"He's being disruptive."
"He can't seem to sit still."
"He has trouble finishing his work unless I'm right with him."
"He's a good boy, but....."

And then it continued.

"This is becoming a real issue."
"The bus had to pull over today because of his behavior."
"I just can't have your son around mine for awhile. Trouble seems to follow him."

No one disputed that he was smart. That he was kind. He didn't hurt other children. He didn't maliciously cause trouble. But things changed. Little by little, he began to shut down. As his mother, I felt helpless. Things were spiraling out of my control, and suddenly it was MY child who seemed to constantly be at battle with the world around him. He began to lie to avoid getting in trouble. He started avoiding time with us at home, withdrawing instead into solitary activities. He dreaded sports practices, started having trouble sleeping, and became argumentative with us and with his teachers. 

He became the most exhausting little human being I have ever loved more than life itself. 

And then I realized it. I WAS that mother. My kid was that challenging kid. 

Appointments were made. Doctors, teachers, specialists. Tentative diagnoses were tossed around. Therapy discussed. Medication contemplated. And in the midst of all of it, the issues continued. I began to feel that the world was outpacing us. That he was sliding faster than we could help him combat it. I wanted to scream at everyone to just PLEASE give us some time. Understand that we're trying. Believe me that he's a good boy. Tell me I'm not failing. Help me understand him. 

And I held him tight while he cried that he "has no friends" because "he is so bad."
I tried to reassure him when he said that his teachers hate him. 
That his coaches don't like him.
That he never gets invited to parties.
That other moms and dads don't like him. 
That he can't do anything is right.

I tried to build him up as fast as he was tearing himself down. Because I I know his heart. 

I've smoothed his hair from his face while he sleeps, still clutching a stuffed puppy.
I've seen him cup a baby chick in his hands with incredible gentleness. 
Watched him guide a younger child through an activity with a soft voice and kind words. 
Heard him affectionately call out "goodnight, sissy, I love you!" down the stairs to my girls. 
Seen his steadfast determination to learn how things work, and why.

I've cried at night where he can't see me, out of sheer frustration. 

I've reached out to friends. And they have answered in tenfold. 

I think that many of you see what I see.

You see a little boy with a freckled face and unruly hair and a funny gap in his front teeth who sometimes forgets his socks, never ties his shoes, and has a big generous spirit. You see a little boy who can't always communicate what he feels, because he's scared that anything he says will get him in trouble. A little boy who wants to be accepted, but who has a hard time controlling his impulses. 

You see a challenging child with a heart of gold.

You see my son.

And to all of you who see him, and who see us, thank you. 

Monday, January 21, 2013


First tings first.  There's an updated picture of the kiddos, taken at  the first skate night of the year in the gym at school.  Aren't they getting BIG?  I'm telling you, it's scary.

Like I said previously, it's been awhile since I visited my blog.  I'm guessing that if you used to follow my blog posts with any kind of regularity you still kept up with our comings and goings on Facebook in between games of Candy Crush or making a new Pinterest board.  To be completely honest, I'm not sure what happened.  In the time since I last blogged my family has been dealt some blows.  We've weathered some losses -- some figuratively, and some literally.  Our extended families have been working through some grief.  And honestly, I simply didn't have the words.  I wasn't hiding.  I wasn't depressed.  I was just literally without the adequate vocabulary to make sense of some of the things that I was feeling in the midst of what is otherwise a relatively routine, busy, and wonderfully exhausting life.

I guess I just didn't know what to say.  Or how to say it.  I'm not sure I even knew how to feel.  In fact I still don't.  And with each new blow to my heart or to my family, it got harder.  Each time it became more difficult to get online and just jump back in.  Because how do you choose the pain you share?  How do you invite other people into one chapter of your life, when you didn't mention the pinnacle of the last chapter and make them understand the importance of what you are trying to say?

I'm babbling.  It's a sure sign that I'm back to blogging.

But we have persevered.  Suffice it to say that things in the W household are good.  What we have gone through since I stopped blogging regularly has made us a stronger family, and every single day I realize how blessed I am.  Every single day, I am reminded of a valuable lesson - that life is a never-ending series of chapters.  It's funny how much of your life can be catalogued into a simple set of "befores" and "afters" when you really sit down and examine it.

You've got the big ones:  The graduations.  Weddings.  Life before babies arrive.  Life after babies arrive (not to mention the associated lack of sleep.)  New jobs.  Moving.  New houses.  Your life after the loss of someone important.  Birthdays.  Anniversaries.  I could go on, but you get the idea.

Now break it down even more.  Each family is full of sub-plots...stories inside of the story if you will.  The day I lost my dad was one of the hardest "milestones" I have ever hit.  But "life before cancer" differed greatly from "life after that one single crystal clear moment on a sunny day when my parents sat on my couch and my Dad told me he had cancer."  And naturally, the way that chapter of my Mom's life would read is different than mine, just as mine is different from my brother and sister's.  But they are all interwoven.  They are all a part of our family's story.

The big milestones always tend to stick out in your mind a little more.  When each of my babies was put into my arms, it was the most amazing thing I have ever experienced - and now each of them is a little growing series of chapters all their own - but those weren't without their own tangents of morning sickness, ultrasounds, and even miscarriages.  The tiny slivers of clarity that carry more weight than whole months combined, like the first time I heard my B cry, after they told me she wasn't breathing on her own at birth.  The look on Skippy's face just after our K came into the world and he got to be the one to tell me, "it's a girl!"  And the almost-hilarious-but-if-you-laugh-I-swear-I'll-kill-you moment when after 22 hours of labor, I yelled out "I think my water just broke!" and we were introduced to our Chunk just minutes later.

And by itself, my marriage is it's own story of ups and downs.  Luckily after eleven years I have come to think of it as a romantic comedy, but we've had our share of "life before angry words" and "life after oh-no-you-didn't-just-say-that" moments.  Our share of "life before Amy tried to make meatloaf and emotionally scarred the family" Not to mention the thousands of details: financial decisions, grocery lists, car pools, dinners out, and nights of watching movies together that we have seen a million times before.  

Still more chapters include fender benders and lost wallets and plumbing emergencies and a baby's first belly laugh.  Those moments when you realize that someone isn't the person you thought they were.  Or that someone is exactly the person you need them to be.  Others cover vacations and airplane rides and visits with loved ones.  Your first child's first day of kindergarten....and then your baby's first day of kindergarten.  Life before Oregon.  Life after Illinois.

That's what I've learned on my break from my blog.  That my life is one big beautiful insane mess of ups and downs, of firsts and lasts, and of stories that begin with, "do you remember when?"

Hopefully I will be able to continue to share our story here as the next chapters unfold.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Anyone Home?

>Clears throat<


It's been awhile.


You know how it goes.  Been busy.  I mean that's life...right?

I've missed this.  I figured I was long overdue for a visit.

In fact, I even went as far as to make a New Year's resolution about this little safe haven of the written word that I built for myself.  Nothing too crazy, you understand.  Just to make sure I stop in once a month.

I mean, that's 12 blog entries a year.  I can do that.


Today I turned thirty five.  And I realized that I was 10 days into a new year and that I hadn't even given my resolution a second thought, aside from the fleeting post ideas that flit through my brain on my way home from the grocery store for yet another gallon of milk.  Something always seems to come up.

But enough of that. 

The basics:  Kids = good.  Dispatching = good.  Google = good.  Life = Hectic/good.

Can't complain.

More soon.  I promise.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Summer in Pictures: Day 39

July 9

Today we made strawberry freezer jam.

It was fun.

Kinda. was as fun as making strawberry freezer jam with three over eager kids can be. That's a fair statement.

Anyway, it's just another product of our tardy backyard garden this year. Back on June 2nd, I went to great lengths to make you understand the nature of the backyard we inherited when we bought the house. We have slowly been making it our own, complete with gorgeous raised garden boxes built painstakingly by Skippy. We've still got a long way to go but this year we have managed to cultivate and plant our strawberry bed, our transplanted raspberries, three kinds of tomatoes and four kinds of peppers, plus cucumbers and the cantaloupe that Banana has grown from a seed she begged off of the cutting board one sunny Saturday morning.

It's a start. And our efforts are paying off. So far this year we have already used our peppers in chili, our raspberries and strawberries in countless smoothies (not to mention the ones that go straight into the kids' mouths!) and then today we supplemented our store-bought strawberries with more from the patch in the backyard to make our jam.

The kids have so much fun growing things and then seeing how they are used.

I have so much fun watching them.

Life is good.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Summer in Pictures: Day 36

July 6

K bear this morning: "Mom can I go get a cherry?"

Me: "You can go get one, K. They are going to start picking this week."

I quite clearly said ONE cherry. I mean, we have permission to pick from the folks who own the orchard, but only after the hired field workers are done. That being said, I didn't think that letting my seven year old preview the crop with one cherry would make or break the season. And when there are literally thousands of trees within six feet of your property line, they are hard to resist.

But apparently, this is what "one" cherry looks like to K. I can't tell if that's one handful or one branch, but it's definitely what one little girl can carry in one sweater.

So coming soon to a grocery store near you...fresh Oregon least the ones that didn't go into my kid.