Kentucky Mom to Twins and More

Monday, November 12, 2018

Massage table musings... no filter

A friend of mine told me recently that I looked anxious, that I looked really tense. It’s true. I'm uptight. I'm uneasy. I'm 100 percent tense. What solo mother of four kids under age 11 isn't?

It doesn't help that I pulled a muscle in my neck a while back after I picked up and carried the dog across the grass. Don't ask. There was a very logical reason for my picking up an 80-pound German shepherd, but that's not the point.

I scheduled a massage in hopes that the pain in my neck and shoulder would magically disappear, that I might be able to turn my head from side to side at some point again. Although I am getting pretty good at popping Ibuprofens and having zero peripheral vision.

I've had a handful of massages over the yearsI do not take this luxury for granted y'all. But I do think getting a massage is a funny, awkward thing, isn't it? You are basically undressing for a stranger to rub all over you for an hour in the dark to the tune of soft woodwinds straight out of Mr. Miyagi's karate dojo. And since I'm a single mother now and my body has not felt human touch or any interaction in quite some time, I'm coming in here pretty uptight.  

While many people probably relax as soon as they slip under the warm sheets of this massage table, (I've heard some people actually fall asleep in a massage) I just can't. My mind hits me with everything I could possibly think of as soon as I hoist my half-naked body on the bed. I'm also the type of person who says stupid, inappropriate shit to anyone, so being in here at all is a real risk for a person like me.

Ok, relax, I tell myself. Your head is probably too far down on the table. Scoot up.
My head feels weird, cocked like this up here in this headrest thing.
Scoot the hell down.
Massage guy is here, just act normal.
My hair is wildly unkempt today and all over the place, I know. I'm growing it out and I forgot to wear a hairband.
Ok, his hands are strong and warm and I might cry because it feels so good to be touched—a real touch and not just a 6-year-old's touch pulling your arm from its socket urging you to come look at the toad she just caught.

Don't let him hear you breathe, it's obnoxious.
"Yes the pressure is fine," I say, when he asks, even though I really want to tell him, 'Please... harder. Much harder. Crack my back and make it hurt.'
But I think that that might be offensive to say and will make me sound kind of desperate and creepy maybe?
Isn't this a shit ton of oil to be using? I know it's getting in my hair too, and I'm going to look like a greaseball when I hit up the grocery after this. I feel really slimy and it sounds slurpy and wrong. But my neck and back are telling me this is so right.

Just please don't fart on him.

He feels that spot in my neck, the kinked part in the middle, on the right side. This is the part where every massage therapist seems to tell me how knotted and jacked up this area of my neck feels. Yes, I know. It's from Over-Excessive-Holding-Things Syndrome. Many moms get it—in addition to purses, grocery bags, pool totes, (and those diaper bags of yesteryear) we carry everyone else's shit on this side, too. 'Mommy, can you hold this?' is never answered with a 'no.'
Ok sir, you are pinching and rubbing my neck while pulling my hair back to the side—because I didn't wear a hairband, I know—and I could probably live here in this bed forever right here like this.
He's doing all this touching and he doesn't even want me to make him a PB&J or anything.
Half way through all this hand-to-body contact and I'm thinking we are pretty much dating at this point...

Uhhh. That feels good.
Wait, did I think that or say that out loud? Don't you dare say anything the hell out loud.
Ok he's rubbing really low now. I'm sure he can see the top of these Target panties under this drape thing and they probably aren't the fanciest I could have pulled from the drawer this morning.

Please don't fart.

Wonder if he can tell I am rocking a pretty badass muffin top. I'll go workout tomorrow, I silently promise him... and myself.
Lord, I hope he doesn't massage my buttmy gluteswhatever. It's just another muscle right?
Shit, did I shave my legs? I swear I shaved in the last 12 hours I promise, but the rubbing is making every god-forsaken hair on my entire body stand up.
You can probably tell by my goosebumps you are killing it with me right now, dude.
Wait, what if this guy gets a … Oh my god, you are such an idiot. Don't flatter yourself.
This is a professional massage therapist who has rubbed all over plenty of bodies, I'm sure that you and your ugly panties are the farthest thing from... this guy's thing... err mind.

But just don't relax too much or you'll fart.

Halfway through, he lifts a corner of the sheet and tells me to turn over and I suddenly feel like Shamu the orca beached up on shore.

Oh god, did he see my boob?
Dude, I'm sorry. But let me tell you, these boobs were the shit back in the day.
These puppies have breastfed four babies and weathered two different breast pumps, so while they might be barely-B-cups they are my battle scars of 11 years worth of motherhood and I'm pretty proud I've still got anything in here.

But seriously, this blanket covering my boobs is hideously thin. Can't he turn up the bed warmer?
Don't open your eyes, you'll look so weird if you make eye contact.
Think of something happy so you have a pleasant smile on your face. Oh god, you look maniacal! Stop smiling. What are you, the Joker?
He is cradling my head now and all I can think is how heavy and big my stupid head probably feels.
Why couldn't I have a smaller head?
Natalie Portman has a good size head, I think. Not this f-ing pumpkin on a popsicle stick head like mine.

Uhh. That. Feels. So. Good.
He could seriously snap my neck right now if he wanted to, though.
I hope he isn't having a bad day. Maybe he's grown tired of rubbing all over touch-starved, 40-something-year-old women with way too much hair.
Please don't snap my neck, dude.

I wonder if there's a hidden camera in hereto catch the hilarity of grown women farting, probably? Maybe there is, right? Like when those shady tanning salons in the 90s got busted for peeping at women through cameras in the ceiling tiles. I open my eyes to look at the ceiling.
Close your eyes, dummy, he'll think something is wrong and he'll stop rubbing.
Please don't ever stop rubbing me, sweet massage therapist guy.
Soon he stops rubbing.
"Our time is done," he says. "How did that feel?"

That couldn't have possibly been an hour. I swear he changed the clock while my eyes were closed.
I'm totally checking the clock when he leaves. I don't want to get up. Please don't make me leave.

"Thanks so much," I whisper, while still laying flat (because I literally can't move my whale body back up or over at this point). "I'm so glad I didn't fart."

This post was originally published Nov. 8, 2018 here at


Sunday, November 11, 2018

What all single moms have in common

I never used to read articles or blog posts that had "single mother" in the headline or opening paragraph. I didn't have to. I was a mother of four, married to a great guy who provided us with a big house in the suburbs, food on the table and clothes on our backs. The term 'single mother' was the farthest notion from my high-on-cloud-nine mind.

Then about a year ago Cancer came and shit all over my cloud.

I'm now a single mother with four kids. I read all the posts about this topic now and the only articles and blog posts I avoid are those with 'husband' in the title. "Ways to surprise your husband in bed" or "Thanks, husband for being so awesome," even this intriguing one I saw recently, "My husband is well endowed" – nope I can't read any of them. All of these I would have clicked on once upon a time, but now only reduce me to a pile of tears. I don't need any reminders that I don't have a husband anymore and that I'm by myself now.

A couple months after my husband died, I wrote something that garnered a lot of attention from strangers. One woman angrily commented (yes, that's possible–it's pretty much the use of all CAPS, a lot of misspellings and mean face emojis) that I was a "rich, grocery bitch with insurance" trying to complain about being a single mother when I didn't know anything about what REAL single mothers go through. I dismissed her as a troll and deleted her comment. I was appalled that someone would belittle me just because of the means in which I became a single mother.

But I've thought about that lady's comments quite a bit this past year.

I've thought about how right she was. My husband was a grocer who owned a family business and left us savings. He had an insurance policy. I can pay our bills and buy the kids clothes and shoes and food. I have a house that we sleep cozy in at night and I have a car to drive them to and from school and practices. Many of these things are luxuries that countless single mothers don't have, I know. I am thankful that I don't have the hardship of wondering how I'll pay the mortgage or put dinner on the table. While I work only part time a couple days a week and occasionally volunteer at the kids' school, I don't have to stress about working full-time and dealing with child care. I am eternally grateful I don't have to wait for the bus late at night with my kids or worry about paying medical bills when they are sick.

But this doesn't mean I don't have worries that cause me a great deal of anxiety on top of the grief of losing my best friend of 20 years and the father of my children.

Being a single mother with four kids under age 11 who play several different sports means something's gotta give. I told the twins we couldn't do horseback lessons anymore. They loved horseback. I told my son I couldn't get him to piano practices anymore. Sure, he hated practicing piano, but he was damn good at it. I told my daughter the swim team she wants to join will have to wait. I didn't enroll the girls in fall soccer because I couldn't handle the logistics of practices and games by myself and I was tired of asking for favors from neighbors. Was it the right decision to cut extracurriculars from my childrens' lives because I was too exasperated to get them there? I don't know, but I stress about it.

My son sometimes pulls his hair out at his sixth grade homework, stressing to get straight As in school. I can hardly understand the assignment questions, let alone patiently help him find the correct answers, so we both are left frustrated each night. It hurts to know he wishes his dad were the one here to help him with it because he was the math genius. He was the scholar. He was more patient than me. My son is not the only one who wonders if the wrong parent got sick and died.

That flier from school about the annual father-daughter dance coming up in January is under papers on my desk. It's like a knife that sits there waiting to pierce my heart again. My youngest already told me it makes her sad to see other kids with their daddies. Her heartbreak will follow our melancholy holiday season where we watch 'normal' families celebrate happily together. Here's a big, fat truth for all internet critics – no amount of money or insurance policy can bring back an amazing ass father from the dead to kiss his kids on Christmas morning. But I know it's the only thing they all truly want that I can't give them.

I pulled something in my back a few weeks ago. I wrote on my social media page about how this exercise-induced injury brought me down. Literally – I was laying flat on the ground motionless because I couldn't move, it hurt so bad. All that evening, I winced through homework, fixed dinner hunched over the stove, threw them in a bath and sent them off to bed with little fanfare because I had nothing left to give them by 9 p.m. I lay on the living room floor with only the dog there to check if I was still alive. I was upset about having to do this all myself, fed up there is nobody here to talk with at the end of the day, depressed I don't have someone to bring me an ice pack, to rub my back or just to commiserate with. I told my Facebook friends, "I don’t have anyone to tag out with. It’s me 24-7... I get no sick days here. I’m it. I can't tap out."

Because that's the one thing all of us single mothers have in common – no matter our situations, our life stories, our means, discrepancies or bank account statuses – we have to do it alone every day. We carry the weight. We hoist the burdens on our backs, we weather the anxieties of day-to-day life as well as those of our children. We manage all the responsibilities while still balancing grief on top of it – grief for what once was or what should have been or maybe grief for what never was ours and might not ever be.

But we will get it all done today. And tomorrow, too. We will pull up our big-girl, single mommy panties (some of us put on our rich-grocery-bitch faces too) and we will get the shit done. There is no choice. There are no sick days. We can't tap out. We're it. We are the REAL single mothers.

This post was originally published Oct. 31, 2018 here at That's Inappropriate.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The monster that is DATING after becoming a widow

They say, "When one door closes, another one opens up."

I suppose that can be true... unless the old door can't close all the way because your foot is stuck in it.  Your foot—a piece of you—is still holding onto something in there.

This is how I liken the monster that is "dating after becoming a widow."

I've been alone now for about a year and I'm getting used to this being 'normal' now. There have been a lot of low days in there. Days I've felt so alone, that despite having people around, kids around, friends around, I have felt utter and complete loneliness. Scary lonely. It's the hardest at night. When the kids are in bed and it's painfully quiet. I don't sleep that well, and that's where my thoughts catch up to me. It's when I think about how this used to be my favorite part of the day, when the kids fell asleep and he and I would hop into bed and watch TV together. I'd grab the remote from him because he would watch Cops all night if I let him. I just wanted HGTV on. Other times we'd laugh at reruns of Modern Family or old episodes of The Office. He'd hold my hand. He'd reach for me the way most women long to be reached for. Even though I was always tired, I was never too tired for him. 

I don't watch those shows much anymore because of the reminders of that happiness. Maybe I should get used to being alone, I tell myself. Maybe that was as good as it'll ever be. Nobody has all that much interest in a 40-something widow with four kids and a lower abdominal scar. I don't want to think like that, but I do. I don't want to envision myself alone and celibate until I die, but I do. I hate that I can't watch romantic comedies or love scenes from movies because of the bitterness and tears they cause, but I can't watch them anymore. I can't close the door some days it seems.

But I'm tired of feeling like I don't deserve happiness again. That I won't see happiness again.

A while back, when my husband was getting sicker and things started to get grim, he sat me down on the couch. It was before his second surgery to rid the cancer from his tongue and before the loss of much of his speech. He told me someday I was probably going to find love again. He said I would probably marry again. He wrote much of the same thing in an email to me several months before he died, a time when he was readying his will and the estate for what he knew was inevitable. I remember how mad I got. I told him to quit saying this shit to me. Quit giving up, quit telling me things I didn't want to believe. Things I didn't want to think could ever be a reality. Because I didn't want to be with anyone else. I didn't want to look at another man with love. I didn't want to have to start all over again with some stranger. We promised each other we'd never have to be "out there" again, remember? You can't leave me here to do this alone.

The wife who sat on the couch with him back then couldn't have fathomed the loneliness. She couldn't have dreamt of the sad nights by herself in bed, the empty bitterness at seeing other couples holding hands. She couldn't know how soul crushing it would be to think of going another 30-40 years with this hole in her heart.

I was talking to a friend of mine who told me she thinks people have many 'loves' in this life. Our hearts our beings are designed to love and BE loved, she said. We aren't really meant to be alone. And it's only recently that I am thinking she's right. Without a love or the purpose to love, I believe our soul feels sadness, worthlessness, fear and a void that can devour a person into a dark, black hole of existence. How is that a way to be living the only ONE life we get? Maybe it could be possible to find happiness in more than one heart in a lifetime?

Extroverted people like me aren't that great with being alone. I am a social being. I love being in a crowd, with people, joking with friends, telling stories and hearing them, too. I crave laughter. I feed off of it. Being alone this past year has validated these truths more than ever. I hate solitude. I fear silence. I can't be alone. I don't want to be alone.

I told my friend I'm not out to find another husband. I have one in heaven. I don't need to find another father for my kids. They have one in heaven. But the idea of hanging out with someone, going out for a drink and having a laugh together —is something I painfully long for again. I want that normalcy. I want to feel like I matter to someone —to be someone other than "mom" all day, every day.   

But for any widow, putting herself out there again is pretty terrifying—especially when you have conditioned your brain, your heart, your everything to be forever devoted to one person. How could I care for anyone else who isn't him? And if I try, how will I handle the judgments from others who will think I don't love him anymore? How will I deal with knowing someday a good, decent, caring man may feel threatened by the residual love I harbor for a dead man?

To them, I say that nothing could ever change how much I loved my husband. Or the fact I will always love him to the depths of my being. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about him or what he left behind. I hope that I will get to a point where I can look at pictures of us and not tear up. I dream my broken heart will mend. But I'm learning the heart is bigger and has more capacity than we know. It's capable of opening up again if given a chance. Why shouldn't I allow someone to show me that happiness here still exists? Why shouldn't my children get to see their mother laugh and smile again?

I know I need to take my foot out of the door. To open another door. Even if it shuts or slams in my face a million times, I need to keep opening doors—I know behind one of them might be laughter again, happiness again, maybe even love and life again.

This blog post was originally published Nov. 6, 2018 here at Living the Second Act.

Friday, October 26, 2018

A pack rat's happy anniversary

My late husband Matthew used to tease me about how I save everything. Not like Hoarders-type saving, but sentimental stuff saving. I'm a pack-rat of life's mementos. I've got things in boxes, in plastic tubs, tucked neatly in drawers, on shelves, in cabinets. I keep too much shit, I know, I often told him.

I've got every note anyone ever gave me in grade school, yearbooks from high school, shells I collected on the beach on my honeymoon, positive pregnancy tests from each of my babies, hair from every child's first haircut and every single card from when Matthew and I started dating all the way up to each birthday and anniversary card he ever gave me.

Last October 26 was my 15th wedding anniversary. We didn't know it then, but Matthew would have just three more weeks to live. 

The last card he ever gave me on that day, our last anniversary together, was a sappy one, about love and how I was always the one. I know I saved it because I displayed at his funeral it on a collage of cards he had given me. Well, I must have put it in a really secret, super special spot because I can't find that damn card anywhere and I'm losing my mind looking for it, especially since I won't get a card this year. In my search however, I managed to find the card I gave him on our one-year anniversary. A silly, stupid 27-year-old me wrote inside:

"It's hard to believe it's already been one year since we've been married! Through our ups and downs - no matter what we go through - you and I are going to make it! I find comfort in knowing I have you to laugh and cry with and to be my best friend for the rest of our lives. I will love you always, Andrea"

Her naivety is almost sickening, isn't it? What the hell ups and downs did you have, girl!? You had a healthy, successful husband, a career as a writer and lived on 50 acres with only a dog to care for. You had it made!

Next to that card was a folded letter I had typed to him on our 10th wedding anniversary (I think I was too cheap or lazy to buy a card that year). It reads:

"...10 years after we took our vows, I feel the same love and devotion to you as that newly-married bride did all those years ago. How do you tell someone that you love them so much you can't imagine a life without them? I don't know. Trying to envision a world without you brings the feeling of a tremendous void in my heart that I never want to know."

Why did I have to jinx us? Why did I have to tempt the fates?
Our youngest hadn't quite turned one yet then. I remember we got to sneak away by ourselves on a trip to Florida that fall. We ate filet mignon and drank wine at a nice restaurant on our anniversary. We actually were enjoying life and each other for the first time in a while (I credit this to my reading the 50 Shades trilogy around then... but I'll keep this PG rated tonight).

We just got too comfortable. We were happy for just a little too long. That's when life seems to pull the rug out from under you. You are happy one minute and the next you are in a basement storage area on a concrete floor on your wedding anniversary digging through boxes for the last words your dead husband wrote to you.  

And w
hile I haven't yet found last year's anniversary card, there at the bottom of the box, I did find the card he gave me the year before he died. I could practically hear his voice as I read his scratchy, left-handed writing:

"Andrea, I can't believe 14 years passed by... I love you more today than when I met that spunky, loud girl in college. I still love your energy, your sense of humor and our life together, no matter how hard it sometimes seems. Happy Anniversary, Love you, Matthew."

So yeah, I save a lot of shit. But I'm glad I do. I got myself a pretty awesome anniversary card because of it.

The Dance – it was worth all the pain

There's an old Garth Brooks song called The Dance.
In it, he muses what he would have done if he had a chance to go back and change things knowing the heartache and pain that was yet to come. Would he go back and avoid the path of knowing and loving his person if it meant never having to experience the pain after that love was gone?

If Garth was aiming for a tearjerker, he hit the Niagara Falls jackpot with this one, as many of you may already know.

"Looking back on the memory of
The dance we shared beneath the stars above
For a moment all the world was right
How could I have known that you'd ever say goodbye..."

That thoughtthe "turn back time and change things" thoughtis something that's occasionally passed through my brain the past 11 months since my husband Matthew died. It's a hypothetical that people ask, too. Would I do it all again knowing it would end tragically heartbreaking. How could I answer that? Simple. Even if you took my children out of the equation, because I couldn't dream a world without them in it, I know my answer would still be the same every. time.

"And now I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end
The way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance
I could have missed the pain
But I'd have had to miss the dance."

October is my favorite month. Everything about the leaves changing color, football on tv, the excuse to put Baileys in your coffee... I love it all. It's why I chose a fall wedding. My anniversary would have been October 26. We would have been married 16 years this year. It will be my first without him. Instead of forcing him to watch "my favorite movie" (our wedding videoon the couch together (something I religiously did for 15 years), I mull over the fact it's been almost a year since my children and I buried him. I often tell the kids what a great dancer their father was. How, despite being an introvert who hated starting or holding conversation, their daddy loved to be on a dance floor. The arms up, the swag-sidesway, the silly grin. I remember how he even agreed to ballroom dancing classes the month before our wedding because I wanted us to have a memorable first dance at our wedding reception.

"Holding you I held everything
For a moment wasn't I the king
But if I'd only known how the king would fall
Hey who's to say you know I might have changed it all..."

Over the course of 15 years (20 together), we had been on countless dancefloors. Friends and family weddings, reunions, late-night bar hopping, restaurant karaoke nights if they were playing musicwe were usually out there. One of the first times I laid eyes on him, he was dancing at his college dormmates' Valentine's Day party. I was never the greatest dancer, but over the years I always joined him. He made it fun being in his arms out there no matter how badly I embarrassed myself (even if that meant being dragged off the floor in his arms because a bar bouncer kicked me out for a failed cartwheel/back handspring as the DJ played Justin Bieber).

"And now I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end
The way it all would go..."

During our wedding night dance, we box-stepped to John Michael Montgomery's country ballad, Home to You. It was a late 90s song about the love and comfort you find with someone and no matter the day you've had or what you look like at the end of it, feeling the blessing that is being able to come home to that person every night.

We loved that song.

It was on the dancefloor that he whispered over the music that those were the words he had engraved on the inside of my wedding band he slipped on my finger just hours earlier, "Home to You."

Dancing there on that floor with him, in front of all our wedding guests in a crowded reception hall on the top floor of that downtown building in my hometown South Bend, Ind., I saw every thing, every place, every person I ever wanted to be and more forever with him. There couldn't have been any more love bursting from my heart that night and I won't forget it. I can't forget it. Everything was right in the world that night.

"Our lives are better left to chance
I could have missed the pain
but I'd have had to miss the dance..."

That love, that feeling of euphoric perfectness at that moment in time 16 years ago, was worth all the pain, sadness and discontent that has or ever will befall me in this lifetime. He was worth the pain.

I choose, and will always choose the dance.

This post originally ran Oct. 26, 2018, here at Her View From Home.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

There is no tapping out, even when your back's out

Flat on my back, motionless in pain. This is where I am right now. 

Do y’all know I used to be a track star? Well, I tell the kids that anyway. I ran track in grade school and a bit in high school. I did the 100 meter-dash and the 200-meter dash. I used to be pretty fast. I loved the feeling before the race, and the sound of that fucking gunshot start.

A few weeks back, I started to up my workout game... because you know, I’m 42 and I need to stay alive for four kids. So I’m trying to eat healthy (this can mean just eating only one Oreo as opposed to an entire sleeve). I’ve even been trying to take the dog on a quick morning run (seriously if you blink you’ll actually miss the run)... and I’ve been lifting weights on my late husband's weight bench in my basement.

Now I know from years of experience that every time I start in with working out and weight training that I pull something or strain a muscle or blow some gasket up on this old body of mine but I just keep trying it anyway ... it’s like a sick game I play with myself every few months or years of inactivity then exercise.

So the past few weeks I’ve been putting weight on that bar (please don’t anyone get excited or proud, the weights are like the size of the donut munchkin holes I can pound like nothing)... and I was doing ok for a while. I was getting cocky.

But after sitting at my desk this afternoon on an hour-long phone call with the insurance people (because I realized nobody at the Cobra place was getting my payments), my back started hurting. I pressed on throughout the call because I can’t seriously be on a phone conversation to save my life once my kids get off that bus...

“Yes, hello it’s me again. Yes, my husband is still fucking dead but y’all keep sending correspondence to him. Yes, you told me you were sorry for my loss the last eight times I called trying to get you guys to fix this. Ok, well no you can’t talk to the subscriber or get his social from him... cause, you know, dead... yes, I know he is listed as the subscriber but it’s since been changed or at least the last eight people here told me they’d change it...and hey, while I have you, Payton is a female child, not a ‘son’ as you have listed here... oh yes, sure I guess I can go back on hold again.”

While I sat on hold, my four very tired, hot and hungry kids got off the bus. I’m giving them evil eye and shushing them and hard snapping my fingers like a madwoman at them but my kids are like a bad strain of E coli —they are immune to all my shit. I realize my back is killing me and I can’t get up. Kids are now eating chocolate chips for an after school snack.

I finally get off the phone, (pretty sure I’ll be calling them back tomorrow or the next day or next week to talk about his still-existing deceased condition which makes him unable to be the subscriber here).

I’m limping like Frankenstein toward the kitchen. I miraculously made it through dinner feeding all the kids and managing not to stab one child who asked me to make a different meal because she didn’t want spaghetti sauce but just ‘plain noodles.’ I also managed to swat another kid who asked for dessert before I even wiped the table or took a bite myself.

I’m now in full hunchover mode loading the dishwasher. Thank God almighty it’s raining and soccer practice was canceled tonight because there was no way I was going to be able to hoist myself into the car and drive anywhere at that point.

I realize the pain in my lower back is getting sharper by the minute and I’m starting to panic. I don’t have anyone to tag out with. It’s me 24-7 here, guys. It sucks being alone. But I gotta finish this fucking Monday race.

I whimper all the way to my bathtub where I run the water for the girls. “I don’t care if you wash your hair just get your damn body wet and put on pjs!”

Next, I’m lying on the living room rug moaning in pain and the dog is licking and biting my hands. She grabs my phone in her mouth and trots off with it. So even if I need to call 911 to get myself off the damn floor I wouldn’t be able to.

My youngest comes and stands on my back—normally my laying face down on a carpet is their invitation to do just this—but this time, it’s only added more excruciating sharp pain to what I’m feeling. I wince getting up telling the girls mommy can’t make it up the stairs to tuck them in, but give me a hug here at the base of the stairs (where I’m doubled over frozen in fear of breathing).

I would admit any exaggeration here —but I endured natural childbirth with my firstborn and a good five hours of it with the twins, so I’m serious when I say this is no embellishment.

I think of labor pains and remember the warm bath scenario. So, I’ll try anything because right now I’m basically walking like the Hunchback of Notre Dame throughout the house. By this time, the bath has tepid, dirty water in it but I don’t give a shit. Eventually I realize that the bath thing isn’t working (and didn’t work in labor either for that matter) so I devise a plan to get out of it.

I am also cursing myself for throwing out all of the pain meds that used to sit in the cabinet. The Vicodin. The Percocet. The muscle relaxers. They’re all gone. I only have some weak ass ibuprofen— I don’t even have any damn Midol, because (as I bragged last week to a friend), “I have never gotten any cramps, ever!”

So now let’s have all you envision what it would look like to see a grown-ass, naked woman trying to pull herself from a garden tub without the use of her back. Yep, not pretty. Nope, more towels than that, people. Yes, a lot of crawling on the tile. More wincing.

I am now laying flat atop this bed. I don’t have the energy to figure out where the heating pad is or an ice pack or the Andrea voo-doo doll someone has clearly been torturing all day. I have on whatever clothes that were closest to me on the floor. I’m guessing the kids are sleeping. I pray this goes away by morning.

I get no sick days here. I’m it. I can't tap out. I got the Tuesday race tomorrow. And the Wednesday one after that... my races never end.

I’m the fucking track star.

This blog was originally posted Sept. 24, 2018 on the author's Facebook page.