All posts by T-Mommy

T-Mommy is the mother of two beautiful daughters and the eternal sidekick to T-Daddy. You can catch her at T4Treasure.com or on Twitter: @T4MrsTMS

TD1’s Truly Outrageous 6th Birthday

Yesterday, TD1 turned six and we celebrated with  a Jem and the Holograms themed birthday party. Party guests received “VIP Passes” and were encouraged to wear their best rockstar gear. It was “Truly Outrageous!” That phrase might be stuck in my head for a while now.

TD1 was very adamant about inviting her entire class and all her friends, so we had a huge party with our family and her friends from church and school. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that meant LOTS of kids. As the days fast approached, I could feel my anxiety exploding inside of me. Would I be able to handle so many kids in one place at one time? Will everyone get along okay? Is it going to be awkward having a party at the church? Did I invite everyone I was supposed to? Are we going to be able to pull this off in two hours? What am I forgetting? What can I delegate? Who can I ask for help? What am I forgetting? Am I crazy for doing this? What am I forgetting? I made checklists and sticky notes and notes inside apps and I still couldn’t stop the spiral.

Momfession: I wanted to cancel the party. Our life right now has been disrupted in quite a few ways (good, bad and just is-what-it-is), and we’re trying to adjust to a new normal. But TD1 asked for this party. It’s all she wanted for her birthday. She’s been so excited, helping me create the invitations, pick out pictures and costumes and giving her input along the way. This was her party. So as much as I wanted to throw in the towel, my mom heart wouldn’t let me. I’m glad too. Seeing the smile on her face throughout the day made it all worth it. A very special thank you to everyone that helped with the planning, implementation and cleanup and to everyone that came out to celebrate with us. YOU GUYS ROCK!!!

The night before her big day, we were getting ready for bed and I was giving my usual hugs and kisses when it hit me. Tomorrow, I will no longer have a five-year-old. She will be six.

T-Mommy: This is your last hug as a five-year-old. Tomorrow, you’ll be six. How does it feel?
TD1: Good and confusing.
T-Mommy: Why confusing?
TD1: Because it came too fast.
T-Mommy: I feel the same way. *super big hug*

Yes, six came waaaayyy too fast. In a matter of weeks, TD1 lost her first two teeth and celebrated another birthday. She’s planning sleepovers with her classmates, talking to me about babies being born, natural disasters and people dying, trying to read everything, and having an opinion about everything. I’m watching her use her reasoning and deduction skills, practice running and exercise moves so she can be better and faster, and become more self-aware. She’s really practicing listening to her body and knowing what she needs emotionally, physically and mentally. She’s stepping up to look out for her sister. She’s being an all-around awesome human. I wish I could say it was all me and T-Daddy, but it’s not. TD1 has an awesome community of adults and children that love her and are helping to encourage awesome character traits and beliefs. The same goes for TD2. And it’s never been more evident than these last few weeks leading up to her big day.

Six isn’t a milestone birthday (unless it’s a golden birthday), but somehow this birthday seemed to be a huge milestone birthday for us. It was like a unique rite of passage for TD1. One that is a tinge bittersweet, yet abundantly joyous.

From Baby Tooth to Dream Dust

A month and a half ago, I wrote about the wiggly tooth that really was wiggly. Since then, TD1 has been wiggling and wiggling till she had a permanent “my tooth is about to come out” gap. I didn’t think she would make it to the first day of school.

She did.

The tooth even managed to survive her not-so-fun fall out of her chair earlier this week. Friday, she was able to make a 90-degree angle with her tooth, but it was still holding on.

Then it wasn’t.

I came back from running errands Saturday afternoon.

TD2: Mommy, [TD1’s] tooth came out!!! You have to see this!
T-Mommy: No way! [TD1] is this true?
TD1: Yup!
T-Mommy: It just fell out?
TD1: No, I wiggled it out.
T-Mommy: How did that happen?
TD1: Well, I was wiggling it to help it fall out and it got stuck so I had to *motions with hands* and it just came out.

TD1 lost her first baby tooth!

She showed me her tooth that she put in her special Tooth Fairy can so it wouldn’t get lost. I was not ready for how cute it looked. Actually, I’m a little creeped out by all the feels I felt towards this now dead body part.

I had a few more errands to run before church, so I promised her we’d work on her Tooth Fairy letter after church. Of course, she went straight to sleep after church. Does this mean the Tooth Fairy should wait or still come tonight? While I was pondering what the Tooth Fairy would do, she woke up and I reminded her we had work to do. This letter wouldn’t write itself!

True to her nature, TD2 was super excited and couldn’t stop herself from looking at TD1’s tooth, causing her to temporarily lose it while TD1 was writing her letter. Thank God that TD2 has awesome memory and eyesight better than both her parents. Level 1000 tantrum averted!

We wrote our letter and went to bed. While we were sleeping, the Tooth Fairy visited TD1 and left her a dream dust-covered letter.

TD1: I think next time we should write her a letter that says “Thank you for writing me and leaving me a special $2. I LOVE IT!”

And just like that, my baby is growing up.

T4 Goes Camping

A few months ago, a couple parents from our church’s playgroup decided to plan a weekend camping trip. Dates were picked. A location was picked. Reservations were made. Life went on.

Then it was time.

Five families. 10 adults. 10 kids. Three tents. Two cabins. One weekend.

Getting to the campsite was an adventure. Not knowing what to expect and forever the worrier, I packed for every situation my overactive brain could create. It still felt like I was forgetting something. We could barely fit the four of us in the car. It took longer than it should have to walk out the house and actually get on the road, but we made it to O’Connell’s Yogi Bear Park in Amboy, IL. It was Pirate’s Weekend and packed. There were tents everywhere. Annnnd, we had no service.

The girls TD1 played at the group campsite while T-Daddy and I unloaded the car. TD2 managed to give 10 adults several heart attacks within a 30-minute time span running back and forth between the campsite and our cabin. She had apparently memorized the route in the five seconds before her runaway streak began. This was gonna be a fun weekend.

We hung out around the fire for a couple hours before heading back to our cabin to call it a night. It seemed like forever before the TDs’ excitement came down to a level conducive to sleeping. I incorrectly assumed there would be two twin beds – TDs in one; T-Parents in the other. I packed two sets of twin sheets and two pillows. T-Daddy and I could share a pillow and the girls could share the other. We had two bunk beds with a full on the bottom and a twin on top. Each girl wanted their own twin bed and agreed to take turns with the blanket and pillow. T-Daddy and I used two twin-sized sheets to cover a full mattress and hoped for the best.

Every 30 seconds, my eyes jumped open and scanned the floor for one of the girls. Turns out, they were just wrestling with the wall and ceiling, not actually falling out the bed. At some point, they both got down and ended up in bed with T-Daddy and I. That was some great sleep. T-Daddy took TD2 to the community outhouse and they both moved to the top bunk when they got back. Somehow, I managed to get up before the rest of T4 and behave as a functioning adult.

T-Daddy tried to start a fire in our fire pit to cook bacon, but apparently we needed a bodybag’s worth of firewood to be able to do anything but inhale smoke. We ended up using the group’s fire before heading fishing.

The girls had a blast fishing. TD1 caught three fish and TD2 caught one. I have to say: 1. I never thought I’d touch a live fish. 2. Tryna yank a hook out a fish’s mouth seems like a new level of fish torture. I almost wanted to just learn how to gut and cook it rather than throw it back in the water. 3. I’m not sure how worried I should be that my daughters thoroughly enjoyed cutting worms in half and sinking a hook in them.

After fishing, we had lunch then went on the Heyride of Water Torture. We drove around the campgrounds while people pointed hoses and threw water balloons at us. Parents tried to shield and/or comfort their screaming kids. As I used my body to block TD2 from getting wet, I felt like Luke Cage…except for he’s bulletproof and I’m hardly waterproof.

The rest of the day pretty much consisted of the pool, watching the cardboard boat regatta, dinner and hanging out around the campfire. It was a fun and relaxing day, minus one unfortunate bathroom incident which may or may not involved me trying to get TD2 to rinse off in the shower. We walked in the shower and upon seeing a clump of hair over the drain, she immediately started screaming “No yucky! I don’t want to step in the yucky. Don’t put me in the yucky.” I held her up so that the water could run over her, but I’m not entirely convinced she didn’t walk away from that incident unscathed.

When it was time to retreat back to our cabin, the girls passed directly out. T-Daddy and I took the opportunity to have some quiet (after the camp-wide pool party ended), child-free time under the stars. Staring up at the sky, watching stars shoot across the vastness then disappear was mesmerizing.

The next morning, we packed up our cabin and met our group for breakfast. The kids played while the parents talked. Then everyone went their separate ways.

All in all, the camping trip was fun and I had a great time getting to know the other families better. Once I got over the initial shock of not having a signal, it was actually quite relaxing being disconnected. I don’t think I’ll ever be a public/shared bathroom person, but I enjoyed being outdoors. T4 will definitely go camping again.

Wiggle Wiggle

Backstory: Last year, the dentist said that one of TD1’s teeth was becoming loose and she’d probably lose it in the next year or so. He said it wasn’t noticeable, but just giving us a heads up. Six months later, he said the same tooth was getting even looser and he wouldn’t be surprised if it came out before her birthday.

Fast forward to yesterday.

*On the way home from her cousin’s birthday celebration*
TD1: Mommy, you know my wiggly tooth? It’s getting more wiggly. And when I get back to school, I’m going to show all my friends. They’re going to be so excited.I tho
T-Mommy: Oh really? When we get home, you’ll have to show me too. I want to see it wiggle.

Then she continued with several “what-if” scenarios about this tooth coming out – before she gets back to school, in her sleep, while she’s brushing her teeth, in her throat, etc.

We get home and she brings me some books to read while T-Daddy is making some dinner. I get a little teary-eyed at the fact that she’s actually reading most of the words, and trying to sound out the ones she doesn’t know. Who is this girl? Just yesterday, we were trying to teach her letters, now she’s reading WHOLE words?!!??! Later, as I’m putting up the food, she reminds me that I never looked at her wiggle tooth.

So she showed me.

​And. I. Was. NOT. Ready. Her tooth is noticeably, visibly, no-denying-it loose. She can wiggle it. I can wiggle it. It wiggles. It’s going to come out. And she’s going to get an adult tooth in it’s place. I thought she was being overly anxious. I thought it was all in her head and she was going to show me this wiggling tooth that’s in fact not wiggling much at all. I. WAS. WRONG.

So, let’s recap: in one hour, I realized that my firstborn had moved beyond the occasional word reading/memorization to reading a book mostly on her own AND she’s on the brink of losing her first tooth. Mommy meltdown in 5…4…3…2…1…

T-Talks: Crush

TD1 is in a Pre-K/K mixed class, so imagine my surprise when after school, the following convo took place:

TD1: Mommy, Ariel* and Belle* have a crush on Charming*.
T-Mommy: Oh really, and how do you know that?
TD1: I don’t know.
T-Mommy: Do you know what a crush is?
TD1: No.
T-Mommy: So how do you know that they have something if you don’t know what that something is?
*a minute of going back and forth*
TD1: Okay, I do know. I just didn’t want to tell you in case you would be mad.
T-Mommy: Okay, so what do you know?
TD1: I know they have a crush on Charming because Ariel and Belle always tell Charming “I love you” and Aurora* told me they have a crush on Charming.
T-Mommy: And what does that mean? Do you know what it means to have a crush on someone?
TD1: It means you love them.

😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳

Are we there yet? I thought I had at least another 100 years before we were there. Why are we there already? Also, I googled crush and Google’s definition did NOT make this convo any easier…..we’ll go with when you like someone a lot as opposed to “a brief but intense infatuation for someone, especially someone unattainable or inappropriate.” That’s way too many big girl emotions I’m not ready for. Can we just go back to the days of cooing and baby gibberish?

*names have been changed to protect the innocent because who doesn’t love Disney characters.

T-Talks: Two Moms

TD1: Mom, why can’t I have two moms like you? I want two moms.
T-Mommy: Why do you want two moms?
TD1: So I can have two moms and two houses and two brothers and two sisters, like you have.
T-Mommy: Well, you know what it means if you have two moms? It means that Mommy and Daddy won’t be together anymore.
TD1: :-O
T-Mommy: Is that what you want?
TD1: NOOOOOO.
T-Mommy: I don’t want that either. Mommy has two moms because my Mommy and Daddy aren’t together anymore. And I don’t want that for you. But you know what? You have a Godmom, and she’s kind of like a half-mom. So you have one and a half moms.
TD1: **big smile** So I have two moms. And I have a Goddad, so I have two dads and a Godsister so two sisters and a Godbrother, but only one brother. [TD2] Wake up! You have two moms and two dads and two sisters, but just one brother.

T-Talks: Pizza Cheese Whine

*a few weeks ago*
TD1: whining
Me: You want some cheese to go with that whine?
TD1: *stops whining* what? Why you ask me that?
Me: *explains the whole cheese and wine/whine thing*

*tonight*
TD1: *singing* You want some cheese with that whine? You want some cheese with that whine? You want some cheese with that whine? *stops singing* Hey Mom, since I don’t like cheese I think you should say, “Do you want some pizza with that whine?” because pizza has cheese. Get it? *starts singing* You want some pizza cheese with that whine?

Coming Home

On Saturday, I went to a funeral for one of my mom’s older brothers who I don’t remember. As I sat through the service listening to cousins I barely remember sharing their stories and favorite memories, I tried to reconcile faces and names with my childhood memories. I listened to a cousin say how she was tired of coming home for sad occasions, and was sad that her kids don’t know her aunts and uncles. I’m “home” and my kids don’t know their aunts and uncles. Afterwards, I made my rounds giving hugs and watched as some of my cousins passed me by. One of my cousins demanded I stick around this time, so we obliged and went to the repast. A toddler I’d never seen clung to me and two girls I didn’t know kept talking to me and wanted to be around me. When it came time to eat, I sat with my mom, brother and sister. I spoke only when spoken to and had an awkward exchange with one of my older cousins who thought I didn’t remember her. The cousin that asked me to stay never even said another word to me.

On the car ride home, T-Daddy mentioned he felt out of place. Yup, that’s why I don’t come around. The next morning as we were getting ready for church, I told T-Daddy that we should make more of an effort to be around our families so that the girls can know their family (and not grow up and marry a cousin!). At the rate we’re going, they will only know our parents and siblings and their kids, but that’s it. And seeing that half my parents and siblings live 14 hours away, even that’s questionable.

At church, the pastor preached about how Conflict was handled in the early church. He talked about the misconception that church folk always get along, but in reality the church is full of sin-sick people who disagree and argue all the time. The difference is supposed to be that the church is a family, so even though we argue and get offended, we love each other, work it out, forgive and move on. We’re not supposed to run from conflict or sweep it under the rug just because we don’t want to deal with it.

A lightbulb went off.

Growing up, I was constantly teased for a myriad of reasons. I never really fit in with my family or at school. I’d get along great with my cousins one-on-one but I always seemed to be the odd girl out whenever we all came together. I also found myself on the wrong side of family drama and politics. It became too much to handle and I felt like my time was best spent around people that didn’t make me feel unwanted or uncomfortable. So I started distancing myself from my family about 13-17 years ago. It was a gradual process – some of it deliberate and some not-so-much. But every step of the way, I noticed every time someone didn’t reach out or failed to respond to my attempts to reach out. For me, it was just confirmation that I never really fit in and blood wasn’t thicker than water (no matter how much my mama said it).

After church, I reflected back on the sermon and my uncle’s homegoing services. I’ve never really considered myself as someone that runs from conflict. T-Daddy would even argue that I can be confrontational when someone offends me. Like most people, I don’t like conflict. And I don’t like being uncomfortable. So when someone continuously offends or hurts me, I don’t see the point in continuing to subject myself to that. I just cut that person from my life. That’s been the case with most of my family and ex-friends. But that’s not exactly dealing with conflict. It’s running from it. My cousins may have teased me, but I made no efforts to move on from that. Instead, I just moved away from it.

I realized that in my running, I’m just as much to blame for the awkwardness that transpired on Saturday as my family is. And in running from my conflict, I’ve made it so that, even on sad occasions, I don’t have a home to come back to. I’ve also left a trail of aunts, uncles and cousins that TD1 and TD2 don’t know.

Two Means You Choose

I love my girls….A LOT! Some days, I wish I could spend every waking moment breathing in their essence and watching them do those silly little things that make them them. I don’t want to miss a second of their big moments, whether that’s their first steps or the first time they discover caterpillars.

I admit I sometimes even get jealous of the time T-Daddy spends with them. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate when he takes them off my hands because they have said “Mom” 5 million times in 15 seconds. Even this mom needs a break. But I feel like I’m missing out on something when he gets to experience something with them that I didn’t. I even feel a little guilty and left out when he does those things with them that I don’t like or suck at (like video games…).

So imagine my excitement when I found out that TD1 was going to the Museum of Science and Industry and wanted me to chaperone. In fact, I was at her school doing Girl Scouts stuff when she ran in the office to make sure I saw and signed the permission slip. Now imagine my anxiety when the very following day, I picked up the TDs and there was a permission slip in TD2’s mailbox for a field trip to the Museum of Science and Industry on the same day. I asked both of their teachers if I could chaperone for both of them. One didn’t care. The other didn’t say no, but I could tell she didn’t want to say yes. They both directed me to the office. I was told I’d have to choose. My heart sank to my toes.

I didn’t want to have to choose. I wanted to share this experience with them both. MSI is my favorite museum. There’s always new and cool stuff and I wanted to be there to see the look of bewilderment and amazement as they discovered something new. I was going to have to choose whose experience I would miss. I knew whose. It wouldn’t be easy to tell the girls. There would be sadness, probably tears, lots of rationalizing and explaining and maybe even some bribery. There would definitely be bribery and buttering up.

I wish someone had warned me that having two kids meant one day I was going to have to choose between the two. And while it wouldn’t be a representation of my love for them, it would most certainly feel like it. And if this field trip is just the beginning, I am not looking forward to the future plays, recitals, games, competitions, etc. Two means you choose. And if I have to choose, does that mean one of them loses? Or do I?

*Of course, I know that none of us really loses out, but it’s hard to reconcile that with my desire to want to be there for everything.

Grannies, Memories and Video Calls to Heaven

TD1 has been asking to see pictures and videos of her great-grandmas. One died two months before she was born. One died seven years before she was born.

TD1: Mommy, why don’t you have a grandma?
T-Mommy: I used to have one. She’s in Heaven now.
TD1: With God? Does Daddy have a grandma?
T-Mommy: He did. She’s in Heaven, too.
TD1: But not me and [TD2’s]?
T-Mommy: No, all of your grandmas are still alive.
TD1: Why do we have grandmas, but not you and Daddy?
T-Mommy: Because God decided He was ready for our grandmas in Heaven.
TD1: Do you miss them?
T-Mommy: All the time, Sweetie.
TD1: Why why don’t you just call them like we do Granny or video them like GMa?
T-Mommy: Because you can’t video call Heaven?
TD1: Well, do you have a video of them? What did they look like?

When T-Daddy and I first started dating, his grandmother was sick. I remember taking him to visit her in the hospital and at her home (which coincidentally, was down the street from the house my family stayed in when ours caught fire). I remember talking to her during my pregnancy about the TD1. I remember thinking how awesome it would be for her to see her great-grandchild. Sadly, I also remember how sad I felt that this was something I could (from a distance – I won’t pretend like I had this sudden deep relationship with T-Daddy’s grandma because I didn’t. We were still getting to know each other) share T-Daddy’s grandma, but not my own. She passed away in July and TD1 was born in September. They never got to meet, although MIL would tell me all the time that she believed their souls met briefly in Heaven. (Ironically, my mom would say the same about both TDs and my own granny.)

My granny died when I was 17. At the time, that seemed like a lot of years to spend with someone that meant so much to me. As I approach 30 this year, I realize that in four years, I will have spent just as many years without my granny as I have with her. When you factor in that I was a baby and have no finite recollection of the early years and that the last four years of her life she was in and out of a cancer treatment center, the scales get tipped in the direction of more without her than with her.

TD1 wants me to share with her things that I never did with my granny and she doesn’t understand why I never did them. It’s hard trying to explain terminal illness and the cycle of life to a five-year-old. It’s even harder to dig up memories and deal with grief that you mistakenly thought was dealt with. It also makes me wonder, “If she could see me now…”

I miss my granny dearly, maybe even more so as the years go by. I always looked at the 17 years I had with her as a blessing. Growing up, I knew so many people whose grandparents had already passed. I was always thankful to have mine around. But as I branch out and meet more people, there seems to be even more people who still have their grandparents around. Some celebrating 80- and 90-something birthdays. I’m happy for them. Grandparents are an awesome gift from God. But, I just can’t seem to feel a little twinge of jealousy. Mine never got to see 60. And that makes me sad.

IMG_7305
A friend posted this on FB around Thanksgiving last year. I’m thinking of creating something similar for the TDs two great-grannies, but maybe just not for Christmas.

I wish she could have lived longer to see TD1 and TD2. I think she would have thoroughly enjoyed their personalities. I wish she could see me. I want to know how she thinks about how I turned out. And I don’t really care for speculation from other family members. I ***need*** to hear it from her, ya know. I wish I had more memories and traditions and passed on rituals to “keep her memory alive.”

I wish I had paid more attention, gotten more wisdom and insight from her. But at 13, I wasn’t really concerned with knowing recipes and interior decorating. I thought I had time. And even as I spent the next four years watching her fight for her life, it never really dawned on me that she wouldn’t be around. I mean I knew she could die. I knew that someday she would. Death was something I always thought I was a pro at. People die, you cry. You bury them. Then you move on, reminiscing and joking about the good times. My senior year of high school, my family had something like 10+ deaths, slightly less than the year I graduated 8th grade. But up until September 2004, I’d never lost someone I lived with, someone that played a big part in raising me. So I never factored that into my death equation.

It never dawned on me that this would be a little harder to move on from. Or that I would see her smile whenever I look at my little sister. Or that I would one day have a child that is so curious about two women she’s never met.

And perhaps, that’s the hardest part. Trying to relive a moment in time that has long since passed for someone that never got to experience it.