Midwestern Mama Cooking up Life in the HeartlandNavigation
I’m a newly single mom of two young kids and toddler twins. I have all of the ingredients in life to make an awesome soup — come along as I tear up the recipe card, throw humor, honesty, and heartfelt hope into the pot, and give it a stir. I simmer with love as I write the unexpected story of my family.
The bowl lay overturned on the floor, a rough crack running down one side. There was nothing else out of place, just the bowl, but that was enough to make the hair on the back of my neck stand up, prickling my shirt collar.
I looked around the guest room, my eyes searching the corners for movement, but I saw nothing from the doorway. Swallowing my erratically thumping heart, I stepped into the room. Nothing moved.
I wrapped my arms around myself, holding my fear in my own embrace. No one is awake, just me. No one goes into the guest room, just me. But why is the decorative bowl on the floor, cracked, staring sinisterly at me, like a one-eyed cat?
Tentatively, I crept further into the room, to the foot of the bed. Like a kid in a horror movie, I gulped and knelt, certain that the boogeyman was going to yank me under the bed and devour me alive. I slowly pulled up the bed skirt to reveal cannibalistic dust bunnies.
I sighed and fell forward, my face resting on the cool comforter a minute. Nothing under the bed.
But the closet? My every instinct told me not to look in there, not to breach the bi-fold door force field, not to disturb whatever menace resided in there. Cautiously, I slid the door on its track, lifting it ever so slightly to avoid the scraping sound it makes when it is halfway open.
I could actually feel the beads of sweat bursting from my pores, dampening my forehead and palms. I knew that whatever was in the closet was going to leap out and disembowel me, my slippery guts spilling all over the pink carpet, my blood staining it in Rorschach blots.
To my surprise, the extra pillows and blankets inside the closet stayed put and the rolls of wrapping paper did not mass for an attack.
“Gah! I am such an idiot!” I muttered under my breath. “Too many damn horror mov—-”
My self-admonishment stopped short in my throat as I saw a quick shadow pass under the door of the guest bathroom.
“Crap! Crappity, crap, crap!”
I backed out of the room, trying to avoid making any noise, then bolted down the hall to my bedroom where my peacefully sleeping husband snorted in his sleep.
“Steve!” I whispered, poking his side, my eyes never turning from the door. “Steve!”
I shook him awake, losing my composure the minute he woke.
Through gasping silent sobs, I told him, “There’s someone in the guest bathroom. I heard a thump and that decorative bowl your mother gave us was lying in the middle of the floor, broken. There’s someone in the bathroom!”
He sat up, instantly awake. He looked around the room for something, anything to protect us as he shoved the phone into my hands.
“Call the police!”
I fumbled with the phone and dialed 9-1-1 as he ripped the lamp from the socket, tore off the shade and brandished it like a club. He slunk down the hallway as I stammered into the phone about an intruder. I couldn’t remember our address, but the dispatcher read it back to me. I numbly agreed to stay on the phone until the police arrived.
With a heroic yell, Steve decided to use the element of surprise to startle the intruder. He dashed into the guest room and crashed through the guest bathroom door.
“What the? What — what? What are you doing?”
His voice sounded confused, but not panicked. Then I heard him laugh.
“Jessica! Come here and check out our ‘intruder’” he teased.
I scurried in to see Amelia, our three-year-old daughter covered in pink lipstick and sparkly nail polish.
“I’m pwetty!” she said, twirling in her Tinkerbell nightgown.
I almost fainted from relief. Then I told the dispatch, “Umm, there is no intruder. Just a mischievous pre-schooler who should have been in bed. Please don’t send the police.”
“Yeah! No pweece, pweese!” Amelia said, blowing a kiss to herself in the smudged mirror. “I’m too pwetty to go to jail.”
That’s the sound of me heaving myself across the finish line of NaBloPoMo. I made it! I cannot believe it, but I made it!
Someone throw me a party or something — it is miraculous given the insanity and intensity of my schedule right now. But I did it. Thirty days of posting, woo!
Unfortunately, I didn’t get much beyond that, which makes me feel pretty dang awful. I didn’t get to read as many blogs as I have the two previous times I completed the November NaBloPoMo, and that makes me feel a bit selfish. So sorry to all those who have commented this month, I really do appreciate it and really do feel very humbled that you’ve been here to my little corner of Iowa.
This is where people pooh-pooh me and say things like, “Well, you’ve got so much on your plate right now…” or “You’re doing so well, don’t feel bad about missing something that isn’t vital to keeping you or your kids alive.”
Man, I kind of hope that isn’t the story of the rest of my life. “You know, Courtenay did a great job, considering…” I’d much rather the story concluded, “Courtenay did a great job.”
One step at a time. I’m going to get there, but, like everything I’ve learned this year, I’ve got to take it one step at a time. When I think back to mid-January when my life was tossed like a salad and look at how far I’ve come in so many ways, I know that I’m heading in the right direction. I might only be moving one step at a time, but all of that movement is and has been going forward. My pace may not have changed, but I am still moving. And I am going to cross that other, more important finish line to hear, “Courtenay did a great job.”
I’ll get there. Don’t doubt it.Read More
My Christmas tree is pre-lit. Well, it’s supposed to be pre-lit. But none of the lights are lighting up.
Why don’t I just take the lights off and make it a regular tree since I’m going to have to put lights on it anyway?
I did not think this through.
My tree is still lying in pieces on the floor. It is approximately 1/5 de-lighted. And my kids think I’m evil incarnate for taunting them with an almost-decorate-able tree. That won’t be ready to trim until I’ve got new lights strung on it.
Which won’t happen until eight hours from now when I’ve stripped the tree clean, then loaded everyone up and forged into Black Friday shopping to buy new tree lights. Then come home after denying the children all of the junk food lining the check-out lane to deny them hanging ornaments on the tree until the new lights are up.
Yep. I did not think this through.