Just the Two of Us: The Tales of a Temporarily Single Mom

On Sunday Doc left us.

Okay. So that seems a bit dramatic. It’s only temporary, but still.
For the next 8 weeks, it will just be me and Rosebud attempting to navigate this crazy, busy world of being a working single parent.
Doc will be cutting people open somewhere in Cleveland for 4 weeks, and then somewhere in Missouri for 4 weeks after that.
55 days.
(Not that I’m counting or anything.)

SO. For 55 days, I will be responsible for shuffling Rosebud to and from school, getting her school supplies for her new big girl class, attending the parent meetings at school, laundry, dance class, dinner, bath time, 40+ hour/week job, grocery shopping.
Y’all, I’m tired just writing about it.

On top of that all, I hurt somewhere deep inside. Doc and I have never spent this much time apart and I don’t have anyone to put my cold feet on. Plus I have to sleep with the light on. Okay. Two lights on.

In the near future please plan to be regaled with hilarious stories about running out of gas (because I’m used to him taking care of that), and almost losing a hand to the weedeater, because hey–he does that, too.

Also plan to be regaled with stories of emotional breakdowns because I’m experiencing the reality that real single parents face on an everyday basis with no light at the end of the tunnel.

The truth is, sometimes you don’t realize what you’ve got until it’s gone. Even if it’s only 5 hours away, has FaceTime and is eventually coming home.
This entire process has made me appreciate the man that I married so much. Whether it’s the looks that say: “Hunter. You need to chill and quit stressing,” or him making sure my coffee is made before he leaves for the hospital.

This season of life is hard and involves a lot of tears. But it’s also pretty amazing to see the way God prepared us for this weeks and months in advance. He got my brother-in-law a new job in Lexington, meaning that now I have my family right down the road if I need them, and Rosebud has plenty of cousins to take her mind off of missing dad. I have my best friend’s wedding to look forward to which makes the time go faster. I have a great job that keeps me excited and busy. Doc recently got a new car that will take him safely to and from these long trips. Steve Jobs created Apple which created FaceTime to make the separation easier…..all for the Whitakers.

Every morning, I have to look in the mirror and tell myself that I can do this.
Every night, Rosebud and I FaceTime Doc and she marks another day off on her Frozen calendar.
And though I know this is only temporary….right now it really just sucks.

If you wouldn’t mind, throw your extra thoughts, prayers, vibes and hugs our way.

Love and Other Drugs,
E. Hunter W.

 

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This Is As Good As It Gets

I don’t have a very good memory. Things that go into my head get lost a lot.
I like to think that it’s because I’ve got so much knowledge from all my years of living that there just isn’t enough room, and so I have to filter out a lot of things.

But the reality is that it’s mainly just useless Disney trivia, a lot of facts about Abraham Lincoln, and the entire script to Forest Gump.

Either way, I don’t have a lot of moments that stick out in my mind, so the ones that do usually mean something.
I have this distinct memory of a field day in the fourth grade. Mom took off work for the day to volunteer at the parent booth, and the Italian ice truck came to the school just for us. I ran in the sack race and won a medal, and momma was there cheering, and I clearly remember thinking: “This is as good as life gets.”

I have a distinct memory of a Friday night my senior year of high school. About eight of my closest friends were all crowded onto a single trampoline with a bunch of comforters. We were staring at the stars and waxing poetic about the fear of graduation and the future and how much we loved one another, and I clearly remember thinking: “This is as good as life gets.”

I have a distinct memory of sitting in the front room of the house on Chestnut Street my junior year of college. I was surrounded by the greatest women in the world and we were all singing along to ‘Forever Young’ and with one another, thinking it could be true. We really could be forever young. I clearly remember thinking: “This is as good as life gets.”

I remember walking through the Colonnade after a Saturday afternoon tailgate and football game, holding hands and laughing with a cute boy with dimples and the bluest eyes I’d ever seen. We ran through the fountains and back to the Castle, and I clearly remember thinking: “This is as good as life gets.”

I remember walking down the aisle of a church with that same blue-eyed guy waiting at the end. I remember the part of the service that he leaned down and washed my feet to promise he’d always love me and serve me. And I clearly remember thinking: “This is as good as life gets.”

I have a distinct memory of walking on a park track, 9-months pregnant, holding the dog’s leash while the sun was setting, huffing and puffing attempting to encourage Rosebud to just be born already. We got in the car to drive home, and Doc said: “This might be the last day when it’s just the two of us.” And it was. And I clearly remember thinking: “This is as good as life gets.”

I remember having contractions and thinking: “This is absolutely as bad as life gets.”
Pause. Shudder.

I have a distinct memory of being in the hospital the night after Rosebud was born and looking over to see Doc holding her and staring at her for hours. And I clearly remember thinking: “This is as good as life gets.”

I have a distinct memory of a summer afternoon that we all three spent together, working in the garden, swimming, and the smell of Doc’s grill. We spread out a blanket in the back yard and had a picnic, and ended the day on the patio swing. It felt like nothing in the world could touch the three of us. And I clearly remember thinking: “This is as good as life gets.”

Now. Please don’t get me wrong. These perfect days–more like snapshots–were surrounded by moments and days where I just didn’t know if I would make it through. But memory often colors those bad days.

In every season of life, I keep thinking I’ve peaked. Nothing could be better. My heart it so nostalgic, and it  aches to see chapters close and these seasons end. I forget to look ahead toward what good could come, and instead I dread the unknown.
I fear the things I can’t see.

So if today you’re sitting on the cusp of the unknown–take heart in knowing that there are good days ahead. Even if you think that today is as good as life can get.
Rest in the peace of the One who knows exactly what tomorrow holds.
Rest in the peace of the One who is preparing you for your best day. When it really will be as good as life could get.

And take heart in the fact that somewhere out there, I’m just as scared sh*tless as you are.

Love and other drugs,
E. Hunter W.

Marry the Man….

WARNING: I get what could be considered an annoying level of sappy.

Everyday I read some new article giving love and relationship advice to the millions of single millennials out there wondering: “Why doesn’t anybody love me?”

Google “marry the man who….” and hits start coming at you like crazy.

“Marry the man who loves you more than you love him.”
“Marry the man who makes you feel single.”
(wait wut. What does that even mean?)
“Marry the man who wastes your lipstick, not your mascara.”
(Now this is just getting silly.)

So I decided to add my own little relationship column out into the world wide web.
Because I really think I landed the winner, and so why not share my *love secrets with the world.
And also, because half of the articles/blogs that I read are just feel good, tell you what you want to hear bull, and the other half are boring.
*Reality: We have no love secrets.

Today, Doc worked a labor and delivery shift for 12 straight hours. He woke up at 5 am, when Rosebud and I hadn’t even turned over twice yet. He got ready, made the coffee (mine, too), and headed to the hospital. All of this after staying up past mid-night on Saturday.
Unusual as it was for a Sunday, L&D was wild. He had 6 back-to-back C-sections, and 2 vaginal deliveries. (On a side note, I never thought I’d write ‘vaginal’ in a post.)

He got home and made Rosebud supper because she loves his omelets like nothing in the world. Then we ran to Target to pick up a site-to-store order for a pair of Rosebud’s shoes. Then he got Annie Oakley (her new requested name) ready for bed, so I could work on paperwork for Grandma.

While he was applying for study away rotations, I interrupted to ask him to run to the ATM for Grandma. At 11:00 p.m. He did so. Not only willingly, but happily.
Then we tracked my textbooks for my block that starts tomorrow and found out they won’t be here until Friday. So Doc got on the internet, searching for a solution. He found the book at Willy T. So at 12:18 am, my sweet, exhausted husband drove to campus to check me out a book.

YALL.

Marry the man who will get up with the baby/toddler/kids on Saturday morning and shut the bedroom door while you hear him whisper: “Shhh. Let’s go play and make breakfast and let mommy sleep.”

Marry the man who gets you and your best friend wine and ice cream for Netflix marathons.

Marry the man who drags you out of bed for church on Sunday mornings…even the early service.

Marry the man who will drive 30 minutes one way to take your Grandma clean laundry and some potato soup and sit in the nursing home and hold her hand because you couldn’t get off work that day, and it’s finals week.

Marry the man who walks in with a smile on his face after standing through 9 hour surgeries and would much rather collapse on the couch than chase a 2-year old while growling like a bear.

Marry the man who knows nothing about stockings or hairbows, but tries really hard on a busy Sunday morning, anyways.

Marry the man who will clean up your vomit, and give you a bath to break your 104 degree temperature when you’re 6 months pregnant and get the flu.

Marry the man who puts the dishes away at 4 am before early morning rounds.

Marry the man who teaches your little girl how to pray. And when she says “Dear Lord. Please be wif my lips because they are chapp-ed and Daddy hada put medicine on them,” he doesn’t even laugh, but gives a very serious ‘amen.’

Marry the man who will fold your 88-year old grandmother’s panties on laundry day.

Marry the man who will drive to the library at midnight, after a 12-hour day, on 4 hours of sleep to get you a textbook. >Betcha won’t find that one on a Pinterest meme.

And who while on the search for said book at the library texts you to say: “I feel like Nick Cage.” Followed up by “The eagle has landed.”

Here’s a hope on a wing and a prayer that all you ladies find men like my Doc.
Here’s a hope on a wing and a prayer that Rosebud does, too.

Don’t settle for anything less. Because I have proof sitting on the couch next to me (still a little depressed that his March got too mad) that magic exists. He makes me laugh when I really want to punch him in the face, holds my hand during tornado watches, and wakes up six times a night to make sure the doors are locked when I hear a weird noise.

Keep on keepin’ on, and ignore all the articles that tell you what love is as they try to define Mr. Right and Mr. Right Now and whatever else.
[Except for mine. Definitely read mine.]

Love and other drugs,
E. Hunter W.

Spring Break As a Mom: Heavy on the Spring, Light on the Break

Along with real housewife, mom, landscaper, maid, nurse, and official backyard pooper scooper I also wear the student hat. That’s one I just can’t seem to take off. 20 years and counting. And last week was Finals Week: where everything that can go wrong will.

We run on a full time block schedule. So we take courses for 8 weeks, have finals, then begin our next 8 week block. It took some adjusting to because my body was stuck in semester and you can’t teach an old sorority girl new tricks. It’s super fast-paced, and pretty intense and that’s the way I like life, so I get by. Also. If you have a really terrible professor, you’re only stuck with them for half the time. Heyyyyyyy.

I always have the best intentions to begin preparing for my finals far in advance. But after working 20 hours, cooking enchiladas, and trying to fit in some solid time with Doc and Rosebud, the time gets whittled away and I’m left scrambling.

Then, and here’s the kicker, I scheduled an interview, a conference call, and a dentist appointment all in one week. Guess which week. Go ahead, guess. Yup. Finals week. Because apparently I’m an unconfirmed sadist.

But I wasn’t panicked. No. I can get this all done. Where’s my cape? Hand me my cape! Watch me work(fail) mere humans!!! I was feeling cocky. And pride always goeth before the fall. And before the emotional breakdown.

Rosebud turned on me. The Benedict Arnold spiked a fever Sunday night and the days dedicated to studying started to look less hopeful. I should’ve known. It’s the curse of finals’ week. So everyday that week I spent at home with my snotty, grumpy, feverish 2-year-old, all the while making calls and doing policy reports for work and attempting to study and complete final exams and 15 page reviews over education finance laws. Gag me with a peanut butter covered spoon.

But there was a light at the end of this tunnel: Spring. Break. I knew that if I could only make it to Friday at midnight, the week from H.E.double L would end, and I would immediately slip into the cuddly comfort of sleeping late and relaxing on my very last Spring Break.

Hahahahahahahahahahaha. Yeah. Right.

The weekend leading up to Spring Break was spent in bed alright, sick as a dog. Rosebud breathed on me just one too many times. Started off with a real bang.

Monday: I spent an hour on the phone with Best Buy trying to figure out where my Grandmother’s t.v. that I ordered her was. For the record, nobody knew. And then the next six hours catching up on the mending/hemming I’d been putting off for 6-months. I hemmed 10 pairs of John’s dress pants, 2 of Rosebud’s dresses, and fixed a few loose buttons. Then I went……….grocery shopping. DUH DUH DUNnnnnnnnn. We needed to hit up the whole shebang-Sam’s Club, Kroger, even Wal-Mart (where Rosebud found a pack of clearance big girl panties for $4.50 and wouldn’t put them down because apparently every 2 year old needs panties with birds on them, and “Mommy, I not has any bird panties at home.”) Home. Dinner. Got Rosebud ready for bed. Worked on policy reports for work. Went. to. bed.

Tuesday: I went to work. Got home and saw that Grandma’s new chair had been delivered, so I put the chair together. Made some homemade salsa, so the cilantro wouldn’t wilt like Rick Pitino’s career, then started dinner. Doc and Rosebud got home, we loaded up the glider and ottoman into the car and headed to Richmond to see Grandma. Got her laundry to wash and a list of things she needed. On the way home she calls to tell me that this chair just “doesn’t suit” and I’ll have to come back and pick it up. Tonight. I said no, because I’m trying to stay out of jail and I didn’t want to be the focus of an episode of Snapped. Got home. Ate the dinner I’d cooked at 4:30 (reheated chicken is yum) gave Rosebud a bath, helped her fill out her bracket for our family tournament, and put the babe to bed. Time change is a real friend to mom’s everywhere, and so Rosebud was up every 10 minutes for the next hour and a half. “I need to pee-pee.” “I need to go poo.” “I need some water. I sirstee.” Finally, bed. Also, Marco Rubio dropped out of the primary race so I spent a good hour mourning the loss of the Republican Party to Donald Trump. RIP.

Wednesday: I went to get a hair cut. Which every busy woman knows is basically a vacation. I spent 2 1/2 hours getting pampered, and walked out feeling like a new woman. Sigh. I wish everyday was haircut day. But then reality put its foot back up my butt and I started working a thesis assignment, and doing work for my real, out of the house job. The day hit a  high note with a trip to McAlister’s for dinner with a best friend. Then we went to Best Buy, picked up Grandma’s t.v. and headed home. Rosebud went down fairly easily, and I helped Doc edit a personal statement for a rotation application and took his picture so he’d have one to attach. (Note to self: Add Professional Photographer with focus on portraiture and headshots to resume.)

Thursday: Doc insisted that I sleep in today and relax. It’s so cute when he’s oblivious. I slept in until 8:00. When my phone started ringing off the hook. It’s currently 12:15 and I’ve had 5…wait. now 6. calls from Grandma/the nursing home. In between answering the phone, I cleaned out and organized the storage building, started my billion loads of laundry for Grandma and us, and got our spring/summer clothes out of storage and put our winter things away. Took a break to blog and eat a turkey sam. I will follow that up with an exciting afternoon of preparing our tax documents because we will be going to get our taxes filed this evening at 6. After that we’ll drive to Richmond, and I’ll hang up/put up Grandma’s laundry, pick up that chair and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine return it to Target, and get home just in time to put Rosebud to bed and watch Doc chew off his fingernails during the Cats’ first game.

Friday: Tomorrow I’ll be spending what I’m sure will be a lovely day at the office of community based services where I will spend hours fills out Grandma’s long-term stay Medicaid application. Whenever that is complete, I’ll finish my spring cleaning.

Saturday: We’ll be taking Rosebud to an Easter egg hunt and to meet the great bunny himself at Grandma’s nursing home, so that Grandma will be able to argue with all of the other old women there about whose grandkid/great-grand-kid is the cutest and the smartest.

Sunday: Church. And then I will be spending my day of rest on the couch, watching House of Cards. (If this actually happens, it will be a miracle.)

So here’s to all you women out there experiencing the joys of spring “break”. Shoot. I’ve worked harder this week than the rest of the year combined. Head up–summer is just around the corner. Oh wait. No summer break? I’ll graduate and have a real job instead?

Well. Dang.
C’est la vie, my friends. C’est la vie.

Love and Other Drugs,
E. Hunter W.

 

 

 

Expect the Unexpected: Parenting a Toddler

Parenting a toddler is a funny place to be. Not funny like ha-ha, but funny like sometimes you find yourself weeping in dark places and saying things like “QUIT HIDING THINGS DOWN YOUR PANTIES.”

Parenting a toddler isn’t an easy job for anyone, but for a Type-A, planner, it’s particularly daunting. Because they never do what you want or expect them to. Even when you beg. Especially if you beg. No matter how much time/thought/effort you put into planning days/events/outfits they will step in and step up and shoot those plans to H. E. double hockey sticks.

A few examples:

Your plan: beginning your week by hitting the ground running. There’s a lot of work and studying that needs to be done and not a minute to lose.
Toddler’s plan: waking up and finger painting on the wall using the poop in their pull up.

Your plan: dress your toddler like an angel for church, and they’ll smile sweetly, fold their hands to pray, and sit silently listening to the sermon.
Toddler’s plan: play in the pile of dirt beside the car and ruin their dress, drag their feet to scuff their shoes, give every sweet old lady who calls her precious the stank eye, yell “I NEED TO GO POOP” at the top of their lungs during silent confession, and every 35 seconds say: “Look, my Barbie is naked,” while being shushed.

Your plan: an uneventful drive to drop Rosebud off at school and then head to work.
Toddler’s plan: nonchalantly drop her first curse word, momentarily stopping your heart and causing you to jerk the wheel and swerve the car off the side of the road.

Your plan: arrive everywhere 15-30 minutes early.
Toddler’s plan: arrive everywhere unfashionably late so that everyone in the room turns and looks when mom and dad stumble in with everything but the kitchen sink packed in a baby bag.

On Saturday, Doc got a lesson in toddler plan destruction. As I mentioned in a previous post, our anniversary was this past week. To celebrate, Rosebud is going to spend this coming weekend with her grandparents and Doc and I are going to dress up in something besides scrubs and jeans and go to dinner.

Unbeknownst to me, Doc and Rosebud snuck away to the mall and purchased a beautiful Pandora bracelet and charms. He planned to surprise me with the bracelet at dinner.
In doing so, he made one vital mistake: letting Rosebud in on the plan.

Saturday afternoon, one week before the big reveal, Rosebud walked into the living room and said: “Daddy. Where’s mommy’s surprise?”
Doc panicked, and stammering and stuttering, attempted to throw Rosebud off the trail.
“You mean the candy bar we were going to get Mommy? We ended up not getting one. REMEMBER, ROSEBUD??”

“No, Daddy. We got it at the mall. We got Mommy bracelet at the mall. I think it still in the car, Mommy. Want me to get it for you?”

I’ve never seen Doc’s face turn so red so fast, and he and I both burst out laughing.
And even though she had no idea what was going on, Rosebud laughed, too.

He brought the bracelet in and I unwrapped it in a dirty kitchen with a sink full of dishes instead of in a romantic restaurant, and wearing sweats instead of a dress and heels.

Doc apologized. “I’d planned on a little more pomp and circumstance, but I hope you love it just the same.”
Planned.
But the plans fell through. And I can’t tell you how happy that makes me.

In ten years, Rosebud is going to be entering her teenage years, and she probably won’t even want to go to the mall with her kooky dad, let alone to pick out a bracelet for the mom that may or may not be ruining her life. And when I look down at my wrist, I’m going to remember the eagerness and excitement shining in her eyes when she ripped out the tissue paper to show me what Daddy got for me. And the pride that was in her smile when I told her how much I loved it. And that memory will sustain me on the lonely days when she’s gone off to college and I’m dreaming of the days when I’d wake up in the middle of the night to her jumping in bed with us, covered in marker, and screaming “LOOK AT MY TATTOOS.”

I love plans and lists and step-by-step instructions. I don’t really get much of that during this season of life.
And the funny thing is, I’m finding out how beautiful the unexpected can be. And that sometimes the best laid plans really suck compared to what God and your 2-year-old have planned for you.
So when things don’t go the way you expected, chin up–closed doors and opened windows and all that jazz.

Love and other drugs,
E. Hunter W.

The Day I Stomped Out My Daughter’s Fire

The past few weeks Doc has been on surgery rotation. That means early mornings, long days and late nights. It’s left a lot of time for Rosebud and I to be alone. Which is a little a lot exhausting and a lot of awesome. That includes Sunday mornings.

If you’re a church-attending mom, you know that Sunday mornings are the Super Bowl of motherhood. If you can get yourself, your husband, and your child(ren) out the door wearing clothing that covers all the important parts, hair free of breakfast crumbs, nose free of boogers, and walk into the sanctuary by the time the choir finishes singing their first song then yes, you deserve a ring, a trophy, two Reese’s cups, and a glass of wine. (Panty hose runs and wrinkles are acceptable under these conditions.)

With Doc gone, I’ve been taking on the sole responsibility for getting Rosebud and I to the Lord’s house with as few tears and as little swearing as possible. This past Sunday I was attempting to wrestle her into a pair of light pink stockings, and she was attempting to escape the torture. The conversation escalated.

“Honey, I need you to stand still for mommy.”
*Continued wrestling

“Rose, sweetie, let me get you dressed so we aren’t late for church.”
*She starts throwing elbows

“1….2…”
*Grins maniacally

(Angry voice) “ROSE. STAND STILL RIGHT NOW.”
She jumped, all the fight drained out of her body, tears the size of the hope diamond ran down her cheeks, and with a shaking voice she cut straight to my heart. “Mommy. That scare me to death. Mommy. You scare me to death. That too loud.”

If you could only know the guilt that swept over my at that very moment. I looked up, half-expecting “World’s Worst Mother” to appear tattooed across my forehead. I hugged her close to me and rocked us both. “I’m sorry baby. I’m sorry I did that. I love you so much. I shouldn’t have done that. I love you.”

She was deflated.
With five little words, I had stomped out my Rosebud’s fire. One of the things I love most about her.

Sure, she got over it. She’d forgotten about it before we even got to the car, singing ‘Old McDonald Had a Farm’ all the way to the church house.

But it stayed with me.

And I started to wonder at all the other ways I’d stomped out her fire.
When I brushed away the chubby hands attempting to tie her own shoes because we were in a hurry, maybe.
Or when I rushed through our bedtime routine trying to get to my chores so I could finally relax.
When I pulled her along when she tried to stop along the sidewalk to examine a leaf blowing in the wind because I had 15 minutes until I had to be at the office.

Doc and I constantly struggle with finding the balance between ensuring Rosebud is well-disciplined (see: not a spoiled, little brat) and trying not to break the wild spirit that we love about her. And it’s not easy (see: the hardest thing I’ve ever done). How do I mold her into a positive, contributing member of society while keeping her true (and crazy) personality in tact? How do I teach her to stand up for herself, but remind her that we’re in charge?

It’s particularly interesting for me because I see so many of my own character traits mirroring their reflection in her. How am I supposed to discipline Rosebud for losing her temper and getting frustrated when she can’t immediately grasp a new technique or task when I DO THE EXACT SAME THING. Or when she looks at us in the middle of the prayer at church and says: “I can’t be quiet, I need TO TALK.”–when well, that’s my fault, too. And I especially can’t get after the kid for sneaking out of bed in the middle of the night to read books. It’s like God said “Oh hey, Hunter, did you need further insight into all the weirdness that is you? Here ya go. Here’s you in toddler form. Good luck.”

My whole pregnancy I spent praying that my child would be as patient, laid back, and easy going as Doc. Instead, in a cruel twist of fate, she’s as wild, high maintenance, short-tempered, and as fiery and passionate (about EVERYTHING) as I am. But goodness, do we love her for it.

One thing is for sure, I will never have to worry about Rosebud standing up for her beliefs or voicing her opinions and speaking her mind. God help us all and look out world.

Here’s to all you people with a strong willed child–may you have the wisdom and the strength to temper their spirit without breaking it. And good luck on Sunday mornings. Yeesh.

Oh, and here’s to all you people with a strong will…may all your children take after their fathers.

Love and other drugs,
E. Hunter W.

 

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I mean, come on….this is the sass I live with.

As We Sat in a Hospital Cafeteria Sharing a Romantic $3.00 Quesadilla and a Cherry Coke

On January 26, 2013, I stood in a foyer holding a bouquet of ivory roses. I was shaking so hard that the petals started to fall off. I tried to peek a glance over the shoulders of the attendants, but height isn’t really a thing in our family, so even if I’d been tall enough to see over them, Doc wouldn’t have been tall enough to be seen.
I was so nervous my teeth were chattering.

The rest of that day is kind of a blur. I remember locking eyes with Doc on my way down the aisle and well…that’s about it.
Three years is a blink. Close your eyes and open them and there..there were three years right there.

Today we celebrated by fitting in a lunch date at the hospital cafeteria in between his pediatric rotation and my dentist appointment for TMD. We held hands over a $3.00 chicken quesadilla made by a man in a hairnet, that Doc assured me would “change my life”, and a Cherry Coke (my favorite). We talked about health insurance and medical billing and he reminded me to call the doctor’s office when I got home. We discussed Rosebud’s school enrollment and when we’d have time to take Grandma to the mall.

And after 20 minutes, we stood up, threw away the trash, kissed goodbye and that was that.

No grand gestures or giant stuffed animals, and not one heart shaped box of chocolates was to be found. But I walked out of that hospital cafeteria floating on the same cloud I was floating on in 2012, after our first date to Puerto’s in Bowling Green, Kentucky. (Shout out to the Is Special). Wait–what is it with us and Mexican food? When Doc found me, we were just a boy and girl, make believing grown up in a college town. Today there are a few more years, a little more responsibility, and a lot less thirsty Thursday. And a little Rosebud.

Doc likes to tease me about it, but the truth is, I knew 2 weeks after we started dating that I was going to marry him. Not in a creepy, stalker way….but yeah, totally in a creepy, stalker way. It was mainly because every time I was around him, I calmed down. That’s weird. That sounds weird. I know that’s weird.

See–I live my life at 115 mph. I run around half-wild in a high-maintenance, panicked craze. I fight to control every little detail of the world around me and when I discover (as I inevitably do) that this is an impossible task, I crash. When Doc came around I settled down. My hands stopped jittering and my mind stopped swirling and I was finally able to relax. He quieted my soul.

The world wants to tell you that the best high is the rush, the danger. But that’s just the thing. Maybe we need to stop looking for our speed and find our stability instead.

I found mine in a patient boy with an Eastern Kentucky drawl that has an affinity for bowties, and has an old soul, a gentle spirit, and sunshine in his smile.

Thanks Doc for being my calm in the middle of the storm and for setting my soul at peace.
And even when life is so crazy that we only have time for a drive-by quesadilla, I’d pick Doc out of a room full of Fijis and ask him to formal all over again.

Love and other drugs,
E. Hunter W.

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My Coffee is Always Cold: Memoirs of a Woman

Doc always makes fun of me because I have to microwave my coffee an average of 11 times before I drink it. I’m always indignant that it’s not my fault. Because here’s how my morning goes:

My coffee is nice and hot and toasty. Take a few drinks. Enjoy it. Savor it.
“Mommy. WHERE ARE YOU.”
Rosebud is awake. Take Rosebud to potty. Get Rosebud dressed. Fix Rosebud breakfast.
The coffee is neglected. The coffee is getting cold.
Microwave (#1) the coffee to warm it again.

Take Rosebud to school, sipping my lava coffee. By the time I get back out from running her in to her classroom, lava coffee is ice coffee.
Get home, microwave coffee (#2) to warm it.

While the coffee is in the microwave, I see the cilantro sitting out and remember that it will wilt if I don’t go ahead and make the homemade salsa. So I drag out the food processor, start chopping peppers and squeezing limes and forget about the poor tervis with the pink ‘W’ sitting lonely on the counter.
Finish the salsa, microwave coffee (#3) to warm it.

Open the refrigerator to put the salsa in and see the roast. Remember that we’re having roast, potato, and carrots for supper and I need to start that. So I get my pots and pans, start peeling and chopping and my poor coffee never even makes it out of the microwave this time.

Finish the supper preparations, and add two minutes to reheat my coffee (#4), but the sink is full of salsa/roast dishes. I get in the cabinet under the sink to get the dish soap and it’s in disarray thanks to my unorganized really handsome husband, so I take a minute and clean it out.

While I’m doing the dishes, I remember an email I needed to send out about a Thursday meeting. So I finish up the dishes and get my laptop and send the email. While I’m emailing, I remember a cover letter I need to type. Type the cover letter. While I’m typing the cover letter, I hear the Christmas garland around the door knocking in the wind. Finish the cover letter, get a hammer and go outside to nail it down.

Where’s my coffee?
Oh yeah. In the microwave. As cold as Shonda Rhimes’ heart.
But two minutes (#5) is a long time, and I could totally sort the laundry and get a load started during that time.
So I do.
But Doc’s white coat has a stain whose origin I really don’t want to even consider, and so it takes some special Shout and elbow grease, and by that time my coffee is cold again, and that’s okay, because I just remembered that it’s trash day and we forgot to take the trash out the night before.
So I do that.

And then I remember that my Amazon rented text books are due soon, so I get my laptop to print the return shipping labels and prepare those.
And the chances of me drinking that precious elixir are getting slimmer and slimmer.

I press start on the microwave for the sixth time (for those keeping count) and run out to the mailbox.
I come back in just as the microwave is beeping, take it to the living room, plop down on the couch and before I take the first drink, my phone rings.
It’s the nursing and rehab center calling to talk about Grandma.
By the time I get off the phone, the coffee is cold, and I’m considering trading it in for something a little stronger.
Is it really only noon?

I pop my coffee back into the microwave (#7), and the washer beeps, ready for the laundry to be switched to the dryer. I do that.

But in the time it takes me to walk from the dryer to the microwave, the doorbell rings and it’s the mailman dropping off a package. I sign for it and realize it’s lunch time, so I fix myself a pepper salad and I sit down to enjoy my long awaited, and very cold tumbler of coffee.

Here’s to the neglected tumblers and mugs on countertops around the world, and to my ladies drinking cold coffee at noon.
But ya know something, the cold never bothered me anyway.

Love and other drugs,
E. Hunter W.

When I Don’t Want to Hold My Husband’s Hand

Let me give you a breakdown of my past few days. On Wednesday afternoon, I picked Rosebud up from school after working all day on a project that I’m almost positive will eventually kill me. We got home and I began cooking dinner–when I found that Kroger forgot to bag a few of the items we paid for–one of which was essential to our meal. So I went to Kroger and took care of that. During that time, Rosebud decided that the Terrible Twos had been pent up long enough and really needed to exercise their freedom. Needless to say she got in trouble and once at home, got put in time out.

She peed in the floor.

Let me repeat myself. The kid made eye-contact with me, jutted out her hips, lifted up her dress, and peed. in. the. floor. She had this maniacal look in her eye like the Joker right before he slammed that guy’s head down on the pencil. “Hey mom: you want to see a magic trick?”

I almost burned dinner while I clean-scrubbed the carpet and I fumed that this is what my life had boiled down to. After an uneventful dinner, Rosebud took a bath and got into bed. She’d had a bit of a stuffy nose, but no fever, so we did supportive care. I slathered her in Vicks, plugged up the humidifier, suctioned out her nose and assumed all was well.

She does that sometimes. She lulls me into a false sense of security.

Doc and I were finally getting in bed after a long first half of the week and over the monitor I hear a sniffle, and then a cry, and then a wail, and then “MOMMMMYYYY.” The poor child couldn’t sleep or relax because she kept coughing and everybody knows that when you wake up sick or miserable, you wake up your mom to be miserable with you. It’s in the book. Except for, oh wait, I’m the mom now.

Since Doc had to be up for morning rounds/report/whatever it is they do at the hospital early in the morning, she and I went into the guest room to sleep. I say sleep, but what I really mean is that Rosebud tossed and turned while coughing nonstop and kicking me in the eye/chin/forehead repeatedly; and I kept putting my hand on her chest to check if she was wheezing and staring at the ceiling praying for for deliverance.

Typically Rosebud is a late sleeper, but the fates like to play cruel jokes on people and on Thursday morning she woke up at 7:30 raring to go. Raring, i.e. jumping on me, laughing, poking me in the eye, opening my mouth to “finds mommy’s tongue” and causing general disruption. Up we got. And the first thought on my mind was “thank God for nap time.” God probably had a good laugh right then. He knew what was coming. Rosebud fought nap time like it was the Revolutionary War of Independence from sleep. And she won–by God did she win.

It just so happens that the Great Nap Battle of 2015 coincided with a day that Doc was admitting patients and again, whatever it is they do over there–so guess what time he got home? 9:30. PM. At night. After dark. So dinner time/forcing vegetables down my kid’s throat while she cries for pizza picnics, and bath time/washing my kid’s hair while she screams like she’s being waterboarded for my own amusement—all that was on me.

I finally got Rosebud washed, lotioned, and hogtied so I could brush her teeth and into bed. I made the coffee for the next morning, packed Doc’s lunch for the next day, laid out his clothes so he wouldn’t look like he got dressed out of Barney’s Bag, and started a load of laundry. I sat down on the couch to watch the last 15 minutes of 13 Going on 30 and realized I hadn’t eaten supper so I ate a cup of yogurt, a handful of peanuts, and some of the M&M’s we keep for Rosebud’s potty prizes.

And I stared mindlessly at the ceiling.
And it was good. It was so good.

After holding and rocking and tickling and laughing and worrying and rushing–all I wanted to do was sit and stare at the ceiling while half-watching some mind-numbing chick flick that wouldn’t make me think or wipe its butt.

But oh wait a minute–I have a husband. And he’s sitting on the couch looking at me like he’s afraid I might bite his head off if he touches me. I don’t even mean figuratively, I mean literally, physically lean over and bite him. And to be perfectly honest, I didn’t want to take the effort to hold his hand or ask him about his day or how he felt. I didn’t want to be needed by anything else for at least the next eight hours.

Except I vowed to love him in the busy times and in the quiet times; in the tired times and in the well-rested times. And even in the times when he forgets to take the trash can to the end of the road and I have to do it at 7:00 in the morning.

I would never submit to you that motherhood is an easy job, but being a wife is by far more difficult. It is easy to love the bouncing toddler with the bright blue eyes and the chubby cheeks. It is easy to forgive their antics and tantrums. But loving and forgiving your spouse doesn’t always come so naturally. On some days, you have to make the decision to be present. On some days, you have to make the decision to be a wife.

This is what love is. This is what should be glorified in story books, not a silly story of a glass slipper. Our minds and hearts have been fooled into thinking that love is this and relationships are that; but when it comes right down to it, sometimes, you just have to get through. It’s not always going to be perfect or easy or fun. There are always some ways you have to bend, to compromise–to give something up in order to gain something greater.

Maybe that doesn’t sound like story-book romance to you. But I can tell you that when my husband chooses to love me despite my bad mood, it gives me goosebumps. And when my husband chooses to love me after working at a hospital for 19 hours straight with no sleep, my heart flip flops.

And that’s the way I’d rather have it. I don’t want my love to look like a heart shaped box of chocolates next to a bouquet of roses. I want my love to be weathered, and worn, with dirt under the fingernails and sweat dripping down, ready to fight.

I’m forever grateful that I married a man that makes the decision an easy one, and that he holds my hand, even when I don’t want him to.

Love and other drugs,
E. Hunter W.

DSCN0193 Thanks for always twirling me.