Spare me, Liar. (Alternate title: I Whistle A Happy Tune.)

When one of my daughters was 9, as I was tucking her into bed she asked me, “How come you’re not afraid of anything?

I said, “What do you mean?”

She said, “Like, how come you’re not afraid of spiders?”

I told her that I’m not entirely sure, but I think it has something to do with the fact that as a child my best friend (and step-aunt – yes we have a weird family tree -) Marisa was really afraid of spiders and she was littler than me so I pretended not to be afraid, just to make her feel better when she had bad dreams. So I concluded that maybe I just tricked myself into not being afraid? Whether the fact that I’m not afraid of spiders is a result of that or just a coincidence, I guess I’ll never really be sure.

Coming full circle, this technique totally backfired when I tried not to pass along my lifelong phobia of snakes to my young daughters by going out of my way to say how “cute” and “fascinating” reptiles are when they were toddlers. This led to them shoving library books in my face and innocently exclaiming things like, “Look, Mommy! A picture of a snake! Your favorite!” Cut to me breaking out in the full meat sweats covered in hives. Just a simple picture in a children’s book would send me reeling, literally feeling the saliva drain from my mouth and the blood drain from my face as my entire back wet through my shirt and I started doing some weird panic version of heavy lamaze breathing. (Is lamaze breathing redundant? Would you still get the point if I had just said lamaze? Also remind me to someday publish my 600 page book of essays entitled, “Why I Can’t Go Back To That Library.” Spoiler alert: there’s more than one library.)

When the girls were older, we once got invited to a friend’s uncle’s farm in the country and it was like that horror scene from the National Lampoon’s Vacation movie where I looked over and saw my children playing with a F*CKING BUCKET of baby black snakes. You know…black snakes…the “harmless ones.” Harmless, that is, if you don’t have an automatic vomit trigger from fear and anxiety. I was too paralyzed to scream before I felt my knees start to waiver and my innards upheave, but I’m here to tell you ladies and gentleman, that I did not yell, puke, or faint, BECAUSE I’d been training for so long in case such a moment should arise. Poise-wise, it was my Jackie Kennedy at the funeral procession moment. Methinks I shall never summon a more courageous portrayal of “normal person doing fine” again; it was truly the performance (and bowel retention) of a lifetime.

That whole “fake it til you make it” thing is really misleading because it implies that if you fake it long enough you’ll eventually make it. In my experience this hasn’t always been the case. Marisa is still afraid of spiders, and yet I’m not, but I’m still afraid of snakes. (If you’re wondering how much appreciation she has for my sacrifices on her behalf, a couple of years ago she bought my kids souvenir cups at the Sedgwick Zoo in the shape of Boa Constrictors. She “swears” she thought they were “elephants.” OKAY, MARISA.)

Honest question: how many of you have intentionally lied to your kids about something you intensely fear/dislike to spare them the bad feelings you had to overcome?

Maybe the “making it” part of the old adage is that even if we couldn’t truly overcome our inner fears, at least we tried and hopefully didn’t pass our burdens onto our children unnecessarily. Then again, what if I’m just teaching my kids to be liars and telling myself it’s a means to an end of not having them absorb my fears? Also, how bad will I feel if one of them gets bitten by a snake?

This Dumb Barbie (*language disclaimer*)

When I started this blog almost 8 years ago, I had no idea what I was doing. If you’ve read any of my posts, you’ll not be remotely surprised by that revelation.

Two years ago I moved into a one-bedroom apartment with my daughters. Lots of life happened quickly. Writing about what I was going through was intimidating at best, subject to legal threats at worst. As the smoke billowed from my life implosion, I tried to gather up anything I had left of myself. Right about then, I got some anonymous comments from someone who went to the trouble to create various email accounts, presumably without realizing any dumb barbie could see their IP address. Seems like a lot of effort and I don’t want to be rude, so I’ve taken a year to think about it and I’d like to respond to that commenter now:

“Nothing to see here.”

-Cold, concise. Solid burn.

“Haha this dumb barbie.”

-How did you know? I still have the costume from the 2004 Tri Delta Halloween dance, but it’s really flimsy, like your comment. And it’s really tacky, like my 2004 spray tan. Here’s a picture of it with one of my besties exuding confidence and class.

“You should stop being a barbie and be useful.”

-I just told you I stopped dressing like a Barbie in college. Be useful for what? Just like, in general? The only times in my life that I’ve turned out to be useful are just as much a surprise to me as anyone else, but I’ve never thought of it as something to strive for, reputation-wise. “We should invite my friend Emily. She’s useful.” “Nah, let’s invite the dumb barbie.”

And finally,

“You’d pull that dress up a little higher for your hubby if you wanted to get me off his cock. He loves when I ride him and you wish you were there. Keep taking your little slut photos. Gives me time to ride.”

-First of all, that escalated quickly. Second of all, which dress? 

Friend, I still have a lot to say on this blog. None of it will be “useful” or directed to you again, except that you did shock me, you did make me question my validity, and you did hurt my feelings.

But I feel a little bit better now. And I honestly hope you feel better too.

Nothing to see here. 

I’ve Been Poisoned.

 

Hello you,

Thanks for being so patient with me as I upended my entire life. Quick recap: I got remarried last year and am the proud bonus mommy to two extra daughters, bringing my total to 4. My husband and I refer to them as The Blondetourage. They are so close in age that they will all someday be in high school at the same time. Please start praying for us now.

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I’m honored that you’re checking back in with me after all this time. I have journals filled with topics I’ve wanted to talk about with you. Whenever I’ve thought about sitting down to write to you, my brain swirls with words that evoke very deep emotions within me and I get caught in a rip tide of memories that can never fully reach the surface; words like divorce, one-bedroom apartment, going back to work, making ends meet, child support, coparenting, betrayal, lawyers, courtrooms, humility, disappointment, and abandonment by friends I thought would stand by me through anything. I pride myself on the fact that what I share with you is real, so trying to sugarcoat anything just for the sake of explaining it seems like a boring waste of time for all of us.

But today I feel inspired because I have something important to declare…

Happily, I’ve been poisoned.

With Botox.

These past few months trudging through the trenches of blending a family of 6 during the unprecedented restrictions of life in quarantine, I’ve often lamented, ‘when, oh when will this deadly virus be over so I can safely leave my home to go pay someone an exorbitant amount of money to inject poison directly into my face?’

And today was finally that day. Vain and frivolous? Obviously. A sign of return to normalcy? Also yes.

I’m telling you this because writing makes me really happy. Your feedback makes me feel seen and understood. Your comments make me laugh out loud. I’ve missed you so much. Let’s get back to sharing and laughing. And in the words of one Mr. James Buffett, “If we weren’t all crazy, we’d all go insane.” (Source: Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes)

Expressive and expressionless,

Emily

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Actual Things: Unmarried Dot Com

Dear friends,

I’ve had a cold so long I can barely remember what it’s like to not have a cold. As I was lying in bed last night still hacking after a second dose of Nyquil and some good old fashioned night soup*, I started to get really fed up. (*Night soup is that thing where you are so desperate to stop coughing you get up at 1am, make soup to eat in bed, spill some of it on yourself and then pray you don’t die of an accidental cold med overdose leaving your children to find your puffy-faced body in a bed full of used tissues in the morning.) I decided to refocus on tranquility by saying all my thank you prayers. Since I’ve been Catholic most of my life I have a habit of ending my prayers with the sign of the cross, only last night instead of the traditional “Amen” I realized I accidentally ended my prayer with, “In the name of the Father, the Son, and The Holy Spirit, Dot Com.”

So there I was, wheeze-laughing in the dark in m’soup-stained tank top…

This brings me to my second actual thing. I overslept. Which means my kids overslept. Which means we had approximately 9 minutes for a 12 minute drive. By some miracle of traffic patterns, we coasted up to the door with about 15 seconds to spare as I tossed backpacks into the backseat like they were life jackets on a sinking ship. As I watched my sweet blonde cherubs head for the front door I rolled down the window and started shouting things like, “LET’S MOVE! LOOK ALIVE! I WANNA SEE KNEES TO CHEST!” It really put a pep in their step and I’m thinking that maybe I should start wearing a coach whistle to drop off.

It’s a good thing I’m such a natural motivator because kids can be so inconsiderate, am I right? Like, I didn’t leave the house bra-less in a soup-stained tank top and accelerate through four yellow lights for you to mosey in 20 seconds after the bell and make me look like a bad mom.

Thirdly, and this is a biggie: I got unmarried a while ago. For months now I’ve mulled over when and how to share this information publicly, but the more I thought about it, the more all of your comments over the past years came flooding back and reminded me that I should just keep it real. It wasn’t in the plan for the original fairy tale ending, but I still got a lot of fairy tale moments over the years that can never be undone.

So I’m back to writing. As a single mom, I assure you I have a backlog of material to share with you. If you’re reading this, please know that I appreciate you. I hope you’ll forgive my absence and come back with all of your hilarious feedback I treasure so much.

And those are the actual things.

Love, Emily

 

Alternate Titles:

Working On My Night Soup

Accelerating Through Yellow Lights: A Philosophy For Life

Unmarried With Children

Fairy Tale Middles

I want to sneak in a HUGE thank you shout out to the many, many supportive women friends who have been true bright spots through this cloudy, unpredictable season of my life. Here are a few of them:

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My House Is For Sale!

Hi friends…

I know I’ve been away for a few minutes, but this should partly explain why. Remodeling then getting a house ready to sell is no joke. Confession: I’m one of those creepy people that likes to go through open houses when I’m not even house hunting just to see (and judge silently) what other people are doing with their decor. So today I give you a peek into my own house, which has been painted “neutral” for mass appeal which I don’t Love-love, but I’m still very proud of the home I raised my babies in for five years, creating a lot of wonderful mommy memories and putting a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into the details. The open house is this Sunday from 1pm-3pm. Please share with your friends who may be looking in the Overland Park area!

https://www.reecenichols.com/homes-for-sale/9500-W-144th-Terrace-Overland-Park-KS-66221-266936976

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Continue reading

Holding It Together: Getting Your Head Straight Without A Head Injury (Preferably)

Yesterday I had six staples removed from the back of my head. (I am going to spare you the gross “before” pictures but let me just say, getting them pried out was no picnic either.)

About a week and a half ago, I was scooting a chair out when I fell backwards onto my neighbors’ stone tile floor. Continue reading

KC Live: The COOLEST Bath Toys for Toddlers (And gerbils?)

“So there I was, alone in a Ritz Carlton, crying into my used/hotel-issued ‘luxury’ bathrobe”….is a way I could start more than one story. But for now,  I’ll stick to Monday night. It was my own fault, in that I drank a bunch of white wine and turned on Mamma Mia on Netflix. If you have a little girl and think you could watch Meryl Streep sing this song without drunk-crying, fight me. Continue reading