How To Find What You Came Here For

Welcome to the worlds that populate my brain!
The short stories you find here are the product
of a vastly overactive imagination
powered by coffee and M&Ms.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sugar & Spice

I am not nice.

I am short and fat, and as a rule I have a vaguely pleasant look on my face.  This can lead the people I meet to think I’m nice…or sweet…or biddable.  A classic case of mistaken identity.
I used to be, though.

I was raised to speak politely and use my manners.  By example, I learned that women who were quiet and accommodating were “good,” and women who were loud and demanding were “bad.”

I was a good girl…for the first half of my life.

Then I had kids.

It’s not really fair to blame it on the kids, though.  The evil lurked deep in me long before hormones worked their mental magic.  Rather, I’d say the kids simply provided situational conduits that guided my more natural inclinations to the surface.

When my youngest son was gravely ill, being nice got us nowhere with the doctors.  They ignored our concerns while we watched him get skinnier and weaker.

Sleep deprivation and desperation created the first conduit for my inner bitch to surface.  I blew like Mount Vesuvius…and they admitted our son to the hospital and finally tracked down the infection that nearly killed him.

Years later, I found myself at the emergency room with our oldest son.  He’d had a catheter inserted through his abdomen to drain his bladder while we waited on surgery, and it had stopped draining.

The surgeon told us to go to the local ER.  “Don’t worry,” he said, “it’s probably blocked.  Any ER can handle this.”

Except ours.  Two nurses discussed the problem, and decided they were going to reverse the flow of the catheter and let an entire bag of saline empty into his bladder.

“How are you getting it out if the catheter still doesn’t work?” I asked.

“Oh, well then he can just pee…”

“If he could PEE,” I said, in the eerily calm tone of voice I’ve developed for these situations, “then he wouldn’t NEED the catheter.”

I paused before I spoke again, “I have a rule.  You don’t get to put anything in my kid unless you have a plan for getting it out.  A WORKABLE plan.  And by workable, I mean, that I, personally, think it will work.”

They found a new plan.  A workable plan.

Nice doesn’t work sometimes.  Cast-iron bitch?  That works.

Lesson learned.

Welcome!  This post was a response to a prompt from The Red Dress Club - we were supposed to write a memoir piece that either started or ended with "Lesson learned."  Most of my lessons have been learned through or because of my kids.  As always, thanks for stopping by and please leave a comment or critique!


  1. Momma Tiger...a universally relatable character to all mothers. I was cheering for you as you became vocal advocate for your children.

    Two images I really found colorful and fun came right together...
    The evil lurked deep in me long before hormones worked their mental magic. ( again I totally relate to the hormone thing!) Rather, I’d say the kids simply provided situational conduits that guided my more natural inclinations to the surface. (I just found the the image of the situational conduits to be clever.)

  2. Fantastic. This post totally rocked! Well done, I love reading and meeting your inner bitch! She is awesome. :>

  3. May - Thanks! I picture my not-so-nice impulses as being something like lava chimneys on a volcano. Under pressure, something unpleasant is guaranteed to come out!

    Andrea - Happily, hubby loves my inner bitch - at least when she's pointed somewhere else!

  4. I love the strength in this piece. Your voice, your Mama bear, your inner bitch- perfection.

    Your kids? Are so very lucky to have you!

  5. Nicely written! It's nice that--as I get older and a bit more confidence--we don't have to always been that sweet girl

  6. How'd you end up with the very first link-up spot this week? I knew you when, and yes, those "natural inclinations" were there lol!

    You put into words what many women all over the world feel: I'll be "nice" and let you walk all over me, but if you dare threaten my children's well being, you will see a completely different me!

  7. Galit - Thank you!

    Kelly - Hubby laughs because I don't yell, don't (generally) cuss, and I don't get ugly...but I DO get my point across!

    AmyBeth - HA! Actually I was up because I had to pick up Dan and Michael at the airport last night - lucky!

  8. Good for you! And thanks for this! I'll remember you next time I'm tempted to let someone gloss over my better judgement!

  9. awesome, awesome!! though i'm so sorry your kids (and you) have been through so much!

  10. I'm with you on this one. Mess with me and you might get by with it or maybe not...

    But mess with my kids, especially when their health is concerned you better put on a bullet proof vest. My kids are grown but I will still fight for them any time I need to.

    I love your "voice" in this piece and the fact that you did not have to yell but got the job done anyway.

  11. Emily - seriously the hardest and most important lesson I've ever learned is to follow my instincts and what I know...even when someone (like a Dr.) is trying to tell me everything is fine.

    FinallyMom - the munchkins are tough! The oldest is heading into his second year in college, and the youngest is in his second year of high school. I might just survive the teenage years!

    Julie - Thanks! I have a wicked temper, but I don't yell. I just get more reasonable and my voice gets lower and lower the more ticked off I am. Hubby says it's actually worse than yelling because it's kind of creepy. LOL

  12. Oh yes, if anything can bring it out, it is to defend our kids. But my guess...there are a few more places you have pulled this out. And..good for you. Great post.

  13. Lovely. I like that you mentioned that the cast-iron bitch has an "eerily calm tone of voice". My mom had that when she was mad, and it was much, much more nerve-wracking than anything yelled.

  14. "Rather, I’d say the kids simply provided situational conduits that guided my more natural inclinations to the surface." I may have to borrow this line in everyday use!
    If you don't advocate for your kids, who will? Nice job!

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