Blueberry Memories

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I grew up on the coast of Maine in a sleepy little fishing village half way up the coast. My parent’s property looked over St John’s Bay, tucked down through the woods at the end of a dirt driveway. Behind our house were more blackberry and raspberry bushes than we could count. On lazy summer days I would wrap myself in blankets and make my way through the tangled berry thorns to the center on the patch where I would lay my blankets out and soak in the sunshine. It was my little slice of heaven, tucked away among the bramble.

At the height of summer, I would abandon my sanctuary and venture to the very edge of the front yard where the grass met the rocky Maine coastline. It was there the sweetest of all the berries grew. Tiny berries no bigger than the round end of a thumb tack, peeked through think, low lying bushes. If you blinked, you would miss them, Maine blueberries.

Further down east (north and to the east for those from away) there were miles of fields of these tiny berries where workers with rakes that resembled hair picks would spend their days raking in these sweet treats. For 14 years, Maine blueberries were all I knew. I didn’t know until I went away to boarding school that blueberries the size of my thumbnail existed. Yes, I lived in a shelter little bubble. Heck, I didn’t even know white eggs were an actual thing until I was 21, but that’s a story for another time.

Despite this new and mind blowing discovery, I remained loyal to my tiny little Maine blueberries until I was well into my 30s…right about the time we moved to New Hampshire. Now I find myself visiting the coast of Maine less and less. Instead, I find myself staying closer to home, creating new memories separate from those cherished childhood ones I’ve held so close for so long.

It is here, in New Hampshire, that children are forming memories of gigantic blueberries where only 10 fit in your hand at once. With a local blueberry field practically in our backyard, we’ve been creating moments at sunset as we pick these sweet treats to bring home for pies, jellies, and snacks.

They say home is where you hang your hat, but in summer, I would argue that home is where you pick your blueberries.

Counting My Blessings

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Three years ago, all of this was nothing but a dream. I was in a toxic on/off again relationship and renting a 950 square foot condo for me and my two kids. Then, in August, I decided to look online at houses in the area. I figured it was a pipe dream and I would, once again, be left longing.

But there is was, an awkward 187 year old bright blue house in my price range, sitting on the market just waiting for me. Three months later, I was moving in and on with my life. Two months later I met my husband who brought with him my bonus son.

The house is in constant disarray with half the neighborhood running in and out and all the animals living in various areas on the property. Laundry piles up and dishes sit in the sink. Corners fill with dirt and dog hair magically appears in the bathtub. The kid’s rooms smell like feet and their are turkeys living in their playroom. Even with all this, I couldn’t be happier.

We live an amazingly full life where we are constantly attending activities and school functions. Some weeks we aren’t home except to sleep, which only make days like these a welcome reprieve.

Days like these I can sit in the backyard, overlooking everything I have created and feel truly blessed. None of this was because of luck or because it was given to me. It all came about because I persisted. I refused to accept that what I had was all I ever would have.

Today, and every day, I count my blessings. I list them off in my head and thank each and every one of them. Because life is what we make of it, and it will never get better unless we allow it to. Allow yourself to let go of all the negative holding you back. Allow yourself to be independent and confident, to forge your own path. Allow yourself to do all the things, but don’t forget to be thankful for every little thing because those little thing build up to be big things and I’m living proof.

Our Lives Revolve Around Our Children

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In the past week I have driven 850 miles, only 118 of them were for work. Why? Soccer. My oldest in on two different traveling soccer teams. Each week we drive hundreds of miles, spends hours in the car, hours in the cold and rain watching games, and eating various meals made either in the back of the car or bought at a drive through because French fries. For the past two years, this has been our spring.

Our fall season is even more chaotic. Three kids going in three different directions because heaven forbid anyone was on the same soccer team. Winter slows down with only one playing basketball although a second one is threatening to play next year and a ski/snowboarding program on Fridays. One would think that maybe summer would mean some sort of reprieve, but it doesn’t. Summer camps, family trips, holidays, and soon jobs.

As parents of school aged children, this is our job…our main objective. We juggle housework and alter work schedules to be able to get our kids to their various activities and school functions. When we can’t get them there, we beg family members and other parents to shuffle our kids around for us. There are late nights and early mornings, especially on the weekends. Long days with junk food for dinner because there wasn’t even enough time that morning to prepack anything. In short, our lives revolve around our kid’s schedules. We may be the adults, but their lives are dictating what we do.

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with an acquaintance about schedules and kids, and how they were upset about having to revolve their schedule around their children’s. At the time of the conversation I didn’t really address the comment in detail. Maybe it was because I was distracted, or maybe it was because I wasn’t expecting a comment like that. Either way, I didn’t give it much thought at the time, but the more I drive my kids around when I could be home doing “things” think about it, the more I realize it bothers me.

I am 39 years old, arguably the prime of my life. There are so many concerts I could be going to, lady’s brunches I could be attending totally not a brunch person, camping trips I could be on, bars i could be dancing on, and so much more. But you know what? I can’t do all those things I “could” be doing. Why? Because, as a parent, my world completely revolves around my children. Their sports schedules dictate my work hours. Their summer camps tell me when we can take a family vacation. Their school plays show me when I can stay late at work. Their sleepovers with friends as random as they can be make my date nights. Even my kid’s bedtimes tell me when I can watch “my” shows and go to bed. Every morning I have to get up earlier than I would of I weren’t a parent because I have to get myself and three other humans ready for the day before I leave for work.

Even with all this, I still find time to myself and quality time with my husband even if the kids are convinced our dates consist of going to the animal feed store and shopping for power tools. I’m not a stranger to having a girl’s night out, enjoying date night, or even going to get a massage. To me, as a parent, it’s just something we do. We understand that our children’s schedules dictate everything we do. From the moment they are born and demand to be fed when they are hungry even when we are sound asleep at 2am, we automatically start to mold our lives around theirs. We may be the adults but they are in charge. And you know what? We do it without even thinking about it unless we really need a nap or want them to finally stop talking about Fortnite. We do it because we know that our time with them is so limited in the long run.

Before kids, 18 years seems like such a long time. Once you’re a parent of a 10 year old, you realize that 18 years is nothing. You start thinking about 8th grade and high school graduations. First girl/boyfriends, driver’s ed and licenses, first cars, college applications, and all the fights you’re going to have with your teenagers. TEENAGERS!!! Ypu just had a baby, and now you’re going to have a teenager!

I guess what I’m trying to say is, yes, your life HAS to revolve around your children. You really don’t have a choice in that now that you’ve actually had them and started raising them. In the moment, this revelation feels like such a burden. We catch ourselves daydreaming and begging for it to stop. All we want is a few minutes to ourselves!!! But you know what, we are going to get all the minutes we have ever desired when they are older. In fact, if we’ve raised them right, we will be surprised at just how many minutes we actually have once that they have flown the nest.

We’re Day Sex People

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My husband and I love bedtime. I’m not just talking about when the kids go to bed, although that bedtime is pretty kick ass I’m talking about when WE go to bed. That time when we take off all our clothes, smile at each other from across the bed, slide between the cool sheets, press our naked bodies against each other, kiss each other tenderly, and fall asleep. It doesn’t matter what time we go to bed, that is typically the routine. We love our bed. We love to go to sleep.

Fast forward to the morning. Unless my husband has to go to work early, I am typically up before him. On the weekends, I get a good 2-3 hour headstart. He loves to sleep in on the weekends and I love to enjoy a house where no one talks to me for several hours. All in all, we have a great bedtime routine. From PM to AM, we rock the hell out of sleeping. There’s just one problem, all this sleep leaves very little time for the sex.

We will joke around after work about having a little hankie pankie after the kids go to bed. We will steal passionate kisses in the kitchen and grab each other’s butts. I will deliver my best porn star one liner and he will give a little growl and pull me close. We tease. We flirt. We even wink at each other. But when it’s time for bed, we typically go right to sleep.

Every now and then we will muster the energy to compensate our marriage after the sun goes down, but it really takes a lot of energy. My husband plows in the winter. All the snow plowing leaves very little time in general to plow me. When there is time, I’m generally too lazy because…I’m not really sure why, I’m just lazy.

Either way, the chances of the night time vertical tango are slim to none. When it does happen, it’s either with the lights off or with blaring LEDs. Both are equally unappealing. That brings us to morning sex, which is even rarer.

15 to 30 minutes of stanky bodies smooshed together while trying not to breath on each other because no one likes the smell of cat shit in the morning. Then you add in trying to be active before coffee.

All in all, we fail at the whole sex thing. That is unless it’s the middle of the day. It’s the weekend and the kids are running around outside and around the neighborhood. It’s also known as the best time to sneak away for a roll in the hay. As soon as the kids run out the front door, we are naked in bed. Afternoon showers on a Saturday afternoon quickly turn into a quick vertical sport session. It’s that time of the day where the words “I did the laundry,” become seductive. Where the sounds of the dishwasher gets the juices flowing. It’s also the only time during the day where we are utterly exhausted or running around to some random sports event for the kids. Day off during the week? We are naked by the time the kids step on the bus.

It took us some time, but we finally realized we are day sex people. This means that when we are older we wont have to rearrange our sex schedule to go to BINGO or watch our programs on TV. It also means that if one of us injures a hip during our bed sheet rodeo, we will still have time to go to the doctors without having to wait until the next day. It’s all about planning, my friends. It’s also all about getting an adequate amount of sleep.

Dear Dad

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Dear Dad,

I got married. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner, but I couldn’t find the words until now. I think you would really like him. He reminds me of you in a lot of ways, but at the same time, he is completely different. His name is Chris and he has a son. His son falls right between my two in age and has blended in almost seamlessly. He is a lot like Pheobe. A wild imagination and a flair for the dramatic. He would have you in stitches.

You should have seen mom at the wedding. I had asked her to be a flower girl, a role she was not immediately thrilled with but you know me, I always have to stir the pot somehow. Instead of throwing petals or holding a traditional bouquet, I decorated a bubble gun with large silk flowers. As she walked down the aisle, she covered everyone in bubbles. You can only imagine how much fun she had doing that. Although I didn’t get to watch her do it, everyone said she was the best bubbler ever.  She wore a simple blue dress and looked beautiful. She would have taken your breath away.

Pheobe has grown so much since you last saw her, you would hardly recognize her. She is a true beauty inside and out. She was my maid of honor, a role she gladly took on.

I wish you had been there, Dad, but because you weren’t, Theo walked me down the aisle instead. He was a little confused at first as to why he would be the one walking me down the aisle, but soon got used to the idea. He stood so tall and was so proud as he waited to give me the sign that it was our turn. I had considered other people, like my brother, but ultimately I knew you would approve of Theo taking your place.

I wish you could have been there, Dad. I wish you could have been the one to give me away. I screwed it all up the first time I got married by eloping. An act I know you and mom were very unhappy with. I wish I could have found Chris sooner. Maybe then, I would have had my father there by my side. It has been hard without you here. You were on my mind every day leading up to the wedding. I don’t know if you heard me or not, but I tried to talk to you every day leading up to the big day. If only I could have heard your voice just once that day.

I know I’m not a little girl anymore, heck, I’m pushing 40 already, but being an adult always seemed easier when you were just a phone call away. I could talk to mom about things, but you know how she is, always quick to have an opinion. She means well and I value her opinion but you always knew that what I really needed when I called was to talk myself through the issue, finally coming to my own conclusion. Then you would give me some sort of advice most people wouldn’t expect from you. Somehow, you always made it better.

In any case, I could ramble on and tell you all the things I’ve wanted to tell you over the past three years but there isn’t enough time and I would never be able to get the words out the way I would want them. Just know that your little girl grew up a little more and you are missed by all of us. Although you aren’t of this physical world anymore, I know that you are here in spirit. I know that if you were still with us, you would be proud of all I have accomplished, who I have become, and the family Chris and I have created.

I will miss you always but I know you are always here with me.

Love, Foof

dad

In memory of my dad, Jimmy Fossett.

Touch Me And You Die

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Most people wouldn’t look at me and say, “Wow, you’re fat.” Actually, most people wouldn’t look at people in general and say that. Unless, of course, the person saying it is a complete asshole with no compassion or verbal filter. I was casually dating a guy a few years ago and he creatively told me I was fat. His exact words, “You’re not exactly the most petite woman. You  know that, right?” Shortly thereafter I casually dumped him. Regardless of how big I actually am (pushing 200 pounds on a 5’6″ frame), my weight, coupled with my Northern European bloodline, make me and summer not the best of friends.

As soon as temperatures hit 80 degrees, my mom thighs stick together and rub like a Japanese Sumo Wrestler competition and my body swells as it retains all the water it can on the off chance I find myself in the middle of a desert. I look at the summer sun and sob. I will sit there and curse that yellow bastard until I realize I’m still standing outside like an idiot when all I have to do is walk five steps to go inside where the AC is waiting to greet me with open arms.

My fiancee hates driving me anywhere in his car because he doesn’t usually put the AC on. This means he has to put up with me moaning in agony as if I were on my last breath after a horrific, life-threatening accident all because I’m fucking hot. I’m sure this makes the three-minute drive to the store feel like an eternity. I’m not even sorry. This also explains why he looks at me with panic in his eyes before we go anywhere, and asks me which car we are taking. I know his internal monolog is saying, “Take her car, please God, take her car. Don’t let her say my car.” We may actually be one trip away from him making me take a separate car altogether. Which is fine, as long as I get to have the sweet cold air of the AC blowing on my overweight body like a chocolate fountain.

When you’re a bit overweight like I am, summer helps you discover all these hidden parts of your body you didn’t even know had sweat glands. Like my belly apron. I had no idea I could sweat out a shot glass of sweat from there just by looking at the sun. You want me to sit in a lawn chair…outside…at the beach? There are another 2 ounces. Walking in the sun makes the back of my knees sweat. Suddenly it feels as if my armpits have moved down to my legs and I spend the entire walk wondering why I didn’t put antiperspirant behind my knees…again. It’s not long before my shoes start to fill with sweat droplets, causing them to squeak and cause blisters. If I were to lay out in the sun, after 5 minutes you would think someone had snuck up on me and sprayed me with the garden hose. 10 minutes, I’ve basically melted into the chair, never to be seen again.

That’s all just because of heat. Add in the humidity and I basically turn into a Disney villain on crack. Don’t talk to me, don’t look at me, and sure as fuck, don’t TOUCH me. Touch me and you die. I am not afraid of going to prison because someone touched my skin or tried to hug me when it is humid out. I don’t even let my children touch me during these times. I will look right into their dark brown eyes and tell them to piss off. They can touch me again in October.

The only time I enjoy the heat is when I am in the water, preferably a lake, river, or the ocean. Even then, you won’t typically see me above the water. I am usually the one floating, doing my best impression of a Sunfish or Harbor Seal. I have actually reached a body size, mainly because of my monstrous breasts, where I am able to float upright without the use of a floatation device. I don’t even have to spend money on a fancy river tube, I could just float down the river using nothing but myself. I have basically become a buoy and I am ok with that.

So, until the air grows crisp again and I can wear clothes without feeling like I’m wrapped in plastic wrap, I’ll be sitting in the AC or shade, dreaming of the days where I can build a snow chair. One I can sit in throughout the day with my Bailey’s and hot chocolate while wrapped in a winter jacket, snow pants, and my latest crocheted scarf. If you need me, I will probably be in my room talking to my jeans and sweaters, telling them how much I miss them and how will be together again soon.