Saturday, March 26, 2011

Part 2: My Kid’s Best Friend is a Psychic

After learning more about psychic kid’s home life, all I want to do is give her a big hug. But you have to be careful nowadays so instead I listened.   

I listened as she explained how even though there are so many kids in one bedroom (and in the living room) and how the noise level can drive you crazy sometimes, she’s used to it, it’s comforting. 

Eventually, my kid and psychic kid fell asleep. I lay awake for another hour processing everything I’d just learned about psychic kid’s home life.

Then I said a prayer for her.  

The next morning, I woke up to the pounding pain of the newly formed heartbeats on the soles of my feet. We had spent seven hours at an amusement park the previous day for my daughter’s birthday party. I repeat – seven hours. That’s seven hours, eight kids and my ex.

I asked the girls what they wanted for breakfast and prefaced it with, “Keep it simple, ladies.”  I’m thinking scrambled eggs, bagels, maybe bacon. Psychic kid had something else in mind.

 “I want pancakes.”

Pancakes? I opened the freezer. Just as I thought, we’re out of pancakes. The kind you zap in the microwave.

Psychic kid’s request prompted my daughter to respond with a hearty, “Ha!” and a snort. She continued to crack up in the kitchen… in the dining room… then in the living room. I could hear her laughing upstairs. (Side note: I don’t really like to cook mostly because I’m not very good at it.)

Psychic kid clarified, “No, I’ll make the pancakes. At my house, we have to help cook, especially if we want to eat because there’s so many of us.” She said this jokingly, but I knew there was some truth there. 

All I wanted to do now was make this kid some freaking pancakes. But I didn’t have the ingredients. Had I had them I wouldn’t have known what to do with them. Ha!

So I packed the kids in the car and headed to Denny’s. Psychic kid had never been to Denny’s, but she was about to be introduced to the Grand Slam breakfast. With pancakes!

Fast forward to Spring Break and psychic kid is calling every day, several times a day, and texting. Boy, this kid can text. But my kid isn’t home. She’s spending a few days with her dad.

She wants to know if she can spend the night before they go back to school. I can hear a lot of background noise each time she calls.  

I can’t make out what the grandmother is saying in the background. She’s upset. No, it’s something else. I can’t put my finger on it just yet. I’ll find out soon enough.

I pick up Psychic Kid on a Thursday. She’d asked to stay two nights and I had no good reason to say no. After all, it was Spring Break and my kid would enjoy the company.

She had barely set foot in my house when her grandmother called with instructions.   

If the kid’s mom shows up at your house, don’t let her in.

Call the police then call me.

 She’s not allowed to see her right now.

Thanks for letting her stay there.

Grandma spoke quickly and didn’t elaborate. She hung up before I could ask any questions.

Psychic child was suddenly at my side ready to answer my unasked questions. It was as if she was reading my mind…

“That was my grandma wasn’t it.”

I confirmed it was. 

“You know what to do, right, if my mom shows up.”

I nodded, still holding my cell phone and still confused. But psychic kid answered my question before I could ask it.

“It’s because my mom’s boyfriend...”

I’m choosing not to finish that sentence. I don’t think I have to. I refuse to type the words. It’s not worthy of the space, even if that space is virtual.

I get it now. This little girl needed a place to hide out for a couple of days. And my place was the safe house.

Then it hit me.

It wasn’t anger I sensed in Grandma’s voice, it was anxiety and fear. But there was also determination. She was determined to get her granddaughter out of the house and out of reach from her mother.

At this point, I’m thinking forget the hug – I want to adopt this kid! I want to furnish and decorate the spare bedroom and make it hers. I want to buy her clothes that fit. I want her to be safe for more than two days. But adopting psychic kid isn’t really an option.

As reality sets in, I want more answers so I start asking questions. Looking back, I almost wish I hadn’t.

Where does your mom live?

She lives with her boyfriend.

Did you tell your mom what happened?

Yes, I told her.

Where is mom living now?

She’s still living with her boyfriend.

That’s right, folks, mom chose the boyfriend.  And with that decision, her already limited visitation privileges were revoked.

The pain in my chest was back with a vengeance.

It’s my mommy heart… and it’s breaking. 

To be continued...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My Kid’s Best Friend is a Psychic

When I first heard that my daughter’s new best friend was a psychic – or at least claimed to be – I wasn’t very happy.

After all, she had read my daughter’s palm on the playground and predicted that my daughter would have two children in her lifetime. Twins, she said.  

Funny, I don’t recall signing a permission slip for this.

I told my daughter that I didn’t approve of these fourth-grade palm readings and I questioned the kid’s “psychic” abilities. I chalked it up to a child looking for some attention. My daughter dismissed my theory and with all the certainty in her whiny, little voice said, “But mom, she really IS a psychic!”

My daughter then "schooled" me on what was going down in the school yard. This kid was reading palms on the playground before school and during recess. 

Where were the teachers! Well, considering their salaries they were probably in line hoping to get next week’s lottery numbers. 

Still stewing over this, I decided to call psychic kid’s mother. I figured a mommy-to-mommy conversation was in order. Maybe she was unaware of her kid’s “gift” – real or otherwise.

I called psychic kid’s mom the following Sunday. Our conversation went something like this:

Me:  Hi, this is Miss M. Our daughters are in the same class and…

Her: Oh my God, I’m so wasted right now…  

 “Chocolate wasted?” I thought to myself. It was quickly apparent that this was much worse than a chocolate overdose.

Psychic kid’s mom went on to tell me how I woke her up with my phone call. It was 3 p.m. What was I thinking!

She said she was probably suffering from a hangover (probably?) from partying the night before and how she had crawled home in the wee hours of the morning.

I hung up.

Fast forward a couple of months and psychic kid is spending the night at my house. It’s my daughter’s birthday weekend.
I didn’t know what to expect. Would her overnight bag include tarot cards and a crystal ball?
Nope. She was just like any other 10-year-old, but there was a slight difference. This kid had an edge to her. Something my 10-year-old didn’t have. At the time, I couldn’t figure out why, but it would soon be revealed.
At bedtime, I offered up the spare bedroom to a very sleepy, allegedly psychic kid, who could barely keep her eyes open.  
As soon as I turned off the light and closed the door, she re-opened it. 

“Um, Miss M, excuse me, but I’m afraid.” 

Afraid of what, I ask.

“I’m afraid of the dark… and afraid of sleeping alone.”

For some reason, this confused me.

“I’m used to sleeping with a lot of people.”

This confused me even more.

It turns out psychic kid lives with her grandmother and her little brother… and her half-brothers…and half-sisters…and a cousin…maybe two. To be honest, I lost count.

She said most of the kids sleep in one bedroom. Some have to sleep in the living room.

As I hear more details of their living arrangements, there’s an unmistakable pain in my chest.

My mommy heart hurts…

As she rattled off the names and ages of each relative and details on how they all ended up with grandma, I realize we’ve only scratched the surface. There was more…much, much more. And it wasn’t pretty.  

To be continued...   

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Coffee, Tattoos and Stylish Bloggers

Time to share some good news… This little ol’ blog has received the Stylish Blogger Award thanks to Thoughts from Her! Thank you, mami, for the recognition and for the self-esteem boost!  

After receiving the award, I wasn’t sure what to do with it besides re-gift it to some awesome peeps. So I decided to take a moment and pat myself on the back, to feel proud about myself. Not just because of the award, but because of where I am right here, right now, at this very moment.

As I walk up to the virtual podium in my head to accept this award, I realize that I’m happy. I’m really freaking happy. Yes, despite everything, I’m happy!

Now, on to the formalities! The Stylish Blogger Award comes with responsibilities. And they’re pretty cool. 

Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award. Thanks again to Thoughts from Her!

Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers, or less, it’s up to you. See below.

Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award. Will do!

Share seven things about yourself. Here goes… 

1.  I'm having a relationship with my coffee at this very moment. I discovered this new creamer and... excuse me, I need a moment...

2.  I’m a half-breed, which in my case means I’m a cross between a tomboy and a “Hey, let’s get a pedicure!”

3.  I don’t have an entourage of friends. I have a close-knit circle of truly wonderful, diverse people in my life.

4. I dream of someday visiting Italy and Spain with my daughters. I bet they have great coffee!

5.  I’m scared to death of getting a tattoo. Not that I’m against them. I’m just chicken shit.

6.  I love Carlos Santana’s music so much that I’ve instructed key family members (meaning those most likely to out-live me) on which songs I want played at my funeral.

7.  I can be a control freak sometimes. See #6.

I’d like to pass the Stylish Blogger Award to the following folks because:
a.) They made me laugh
b.) They made me cry
c.) They made me see things from a different point of view 
d.) All of the above

The Cougel Chronicles -- Tales of a Jewish Cougar, love her style

Perils of Divorced Pauline -- Highly recommend "Mother and Child Un-Reunion" 

JR’s Journey -- Check out "Celebrity Apprentice." Hilarious!

Life as a Classroom -- Highly recommend "An Open Letter to Someone Who Won’t Let Go"

Sweet Bella Roos -- S’more Better Pie! Need I say more? 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The bookstore was our sanctuary

“Mom, it’s me. Don’t go home. It’s bad.” 

This was the message from my daughter.

“Meet me at the bookstore.” 

It was our distress signal. 

Wherever we were, we would make an immediate detour and head for the bookstore. If we were home, we'd quietly slide out the door, leaving behind the chaos.

On days like this, when Romeo’s anger consumed the house, the bookstore was our sanctuary. The designated safe zone.

Here, the girls could escape to another world, a peaceful world. 

In this bookstore, I found out my oldest loved French poetry.  (She can speak some French and a little Finnish but zero Spanish. Fantastic!)

In this bookstore, my youngest discovered the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. (This later helped her ace two book reports. Right on!)

In this bookstore, I discovered Gabriel García Márquez.  (And Seattle’s Best coffee!)

In this bookstore, despite the circumstances, my girls and I shared our love for reading. 

In this bookstore, because of the circumstances, my girls and I escaped our reality, if only for a few hours.  

Since then, we’ve started a new life. We left Romeo and the angry house.

And since then, we’ve returned to the bookstore but on new terms: Because we want to!

So now that the bookstore is closing, I thought about closing this chapter in our lives. But we can’t. We’re still healing, still coping, still remembering.   

But we’ll get there…someday. And when we’re ready, we’ll close that chapter for good.

Until then, we’ll find another bookstore.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

When tragedy hits my ex's family: What's my place?

It started with a Facebook status.

Not mine, but a family member’s.

Well, not my family, but my ex’s family. They used to be my family.

Well, technically, they’re still my family (divorce in progress).

But I hadn’t received the phone call. I wasn’t in the loop. And it hurt.  


I was in a movie theater with the lil one and her psychic friend (that’s another blog for another time) when I started to doze off. So I decided to quickly check Facebook from my Blackberry.

The Facebook status said my father-in-law had suffered a stroke and they were asking for prayers.

I feared the worst.

I made my way from the middle of our row, stepped on a few feet and banged a few folks with my big purse (they were pissed!).

Finally outside the theater doors, I started dialing. No one answered. Panic started to set in.

Why wasn’t anyone answering?

Was he in critical condition?

Should I pull the lil one and the psychic child out of the theater and head for the hospital?

Which hospital?

I finally reached my mother-in-law.

“He’s OK,” she assured me. “They’re keeping him overnight and running tests, but he’s OK. I’ll keep you posted.”

And she did.

Two hours later she updated me via text.

Still feels a little numbness… Neurologist is coming… MRI is next.

She ended her text with this: We luv u and the girls so much.


I’ve known my father-in-law since I was 15. That’s when I met my ex. High school sweethearts.

My father-in-law is not a perfect man, but I can tell you that he’s been more of a father to me than my real father.

He helped pay for our wedding. He helped us install ceramic tile in our first house. He fixed our car.

OK, he tried to fix our car then we took it a shop.

The point is, this man has been in my life for over 20 years. He’s the only grandfather my girls have ever known.

Reading that Facebook status suddenly made him mortal. And it hurt.

I wanted to rush to the hospital to be by his side and be with the family. But I’m divorcing his son. So where does that leave me? I love him, too.

After talking to my mother-in-law, I paced the lobby and thought, “This is just great, another part of divorce that really sucks. Bonus pain.”

It also left me wondering…

“What is my place now?”

“What should I do?”

“What is the protocol for the soon-to-be-ex-daughter-in-law?”

Hours later, I’m still wondering… and it still hurts.

Friday, March 4, 2011

What Would Snooki Do?

Well, it’s been a rough week, folks.  Don’t get me wrong. I’m a tough cookie.

I’m not one to run away from adversity. Hell, I usually run towards it. I love a challenge! Tell me I can’t do something then watch me prove you wrong.

But there’s only one person in this world that can tear me down. Only this man can shatter my world again, again and again. He can intimidate me one second then make me feel sorry for him the next.   

Earlier this week, he shattered my world… again.

I’ll spare you the dirty details of this divorce in progress. The wounds are still fresh.  

As this Hell Week winds down, I’m self-evaluating, self-reflecting and self-medicating.  Mmm, Moscato…

But as I sit here typing with one hand (wine glass in the other), I can’t help but wonder…

What would Snooki do?

C’mon, we all know who she is. With the exception of my mom, who’s probably asking herself, “What the hell is a Snooki?”
This is a "Snooki."

I know, there are no rocket scientists on this show – not even a “sandwich artist” – and yet we watch. Fist pump!

So what brings me to wonder about this self-proclaimed “Guidette” and how she would handle my problems?

For starters, she’s a train wreck and right now my life feels as if it’s careening off the tracks with no brakes. 

This week, my divorce in progress has me in the middle of another dilemma. That’s right… We got a “situation.”

With the exception of getting piss-ass drunk on a beach, getting arrested and “smushing” everything with a pulse, me and Snooks do have one thing in common…drama!  

This is also a "Snooki."
But like the Energizer Bunny (with boobs and big hair), the Snook just keeps on going… and going… and going…

I, too, fall down from time to time, just not literally. OK, there was that one time in South Beach…

So how does she do it? How does she keep picking her sloshy ass up off the pavement time after time after time?

Which brings me to my original question…If faced with my “situation,” what would Snooki do?