#ThrowbackThursday Mama Goose on the Loose.

“Last night I remembered an incident from my childhood and the memory made me cry.”

For #ThrowbackThursday, here’s a story written by my mom. I stole it from her diary… Um, are ghosts like a real thing to worry about? I think she’ll be cool with it. Maybe.

“It was about a time when I was about 8 or 9, and I was with my (older) brother, Steven. Some kids rode by us on their bikes and called him a retard and started making fun of him. I felt embarrassed and ashamed. But, I remember Steven saying to me, “Sissy, me different.” He looked so sad! And then, I felt so sad, because he was so sweet and innocent and he couldn’t be sheltered from the cruel ignorance of the outside world that could hurt him so much. I hate that!”

My mom was in school to be a teacher when I was a kid– it kind of looked like to me that she was always in school through my entire childhood… so, you can understand my confusion when my own college days ended. She started out her career teaching fourth graders, but her true passion– which I’ll bet had a big something to do with she had love for my Uncle Steve– drove my mama to get her masters degree in special education. The number of parents who reached out during her cancer battle, plus the many more who contacted us after her death, thanking her for impacting, and literally changing, how their kids did in school was endless. At the memorial service, we watched as parent after parent stepped up to the mic to share stories about how their child was failing– grade levels behind– in school. Their kids had rosters of previous teachers who’d either given up on them or couldn’t spare the extra time on students with learning differences. But then, my mom came into the equation. Many called her “an angel” who was amazingly patient and who understood there are many different ways children can learn. Her teaching was not only effective, but also, (and the kids would even admit it) fun. She had a special gift for helping her students to regain their confidence, and eventually, to also love learning.

Here’s another one:

“I feel angry at Brent (my dad/her husband) right now because when I called him he didn’t want to talk to me– he said he’d call me back due to last seconds of a football game. This makes me feel hurt knowing a football is more important than me to him. I hate him sometimes for allowing him to control my feelings– why do I let him do that?! But, I care that a football game is more important to him than me– it’s like, I’ll always be there but the football game won’t. It makes me think and want not to always be there– so there! Hah! Feelings: resentful, worried, angry, hurt, sad, and fear. Fear is usually behind anger, and the fear is that he doesn’t care and if he doesn’t care then our relationship won’t last.”

It lasted. My parents were married for three decades, and it was about a week after their 30th anniversary that my mom first went into the ER because of bad, bad, stomach cramps. Another week passed, and she was at a follow-up appointment when her primary care doctor first discovered the tumor on an ultrasound. A week later, my was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer, which is hopelessly terminal, on her 59th birthday. It was 28-years since she’d jotted down her anger over my dad watching that football game– she had no way of knowing, back then, not only would her marriage last, it would survive through so many imperfect life things. A couple months after her diagnosis, my dad left his job, (which ironically, he ended up being an exec at a sporting goods company. Maybe, all that OT watching football paid off… Mama sure did enjoy the heated seats in her Lexus.) He knew I needed help caregiving and also my mama just plain needed him. And he was there. My parents got into a habit during the last months of my mama’s life that was so heartwarming and sweet. They’d both end up waking up around 3 or 4am every night, my dad said, like clockwork. My mama would put her head on his shoulder and let him hold her, and then they’d talk, and they’d remember all the crazy stories from their lasting marriage. (Maybe even the one where my mom almost killed my dad bc he wouldn’t stop watching football.)

I Want My Mommy.

RORY: All I could think of the minute you left was “I want my mommy.” I haven’t thought that since I was two.

LORELAI: That’s natural.

RORY: I’m eighteen. I can sign contracts, I can vote, I can fight for my country. I mean, I’m an adult. Adults don’t want their mommies.

LORELAI: Yes, they do, honey. I’m not a good example, but –

RORY: Everything’s so foreign. I have to share a bathroom. I’ve never shared a bathroom with anyone but you. So I’m gonna be running into people in the bathroom, we’re gonna have to make small talk. I don’t know any bathroom small talk.

LORELAI: Um. . .gee, your hair smells terrific?

RORY: You didn’t socialize me properly. You made me a mama’s girl. Why don’t I hate you? Why don’t I want to be away from you? It’s going to be very hard to be Christiane Amanpour broadcasting live from a foxhole in Tehran with my mommy. I guess you’re just gonna have to learn how to operate a camera ’cause I’ll need you there with me.

LORELAI: I would do that.

RORY: And how did I end up at Yale? I mean, I let Grandma and Grandpa manipulate me right out of Harvard and into Yale. That’s how strong-willed I am. I know nothing about Yale.

LORELAI: Not so – you’ve memorized its entire history.

RORY: How can you be so fine with this? You left here without a care in the world.

LORELAI: That’s not true.

RORY: You couldn’t wait for me to get out of the house. What were you doing when I paged you – turning my room into a sewing room? I should hate you, not miss you. Do something to make me hate you.

LORELAI: Uh. . .go Hitler!

(One of Mama’s favorite Gilmore Girls episodes, 4.02: The Lorelais’ First Day at Yale)


I couldn’t agree more. Life just isn’t fun without Mama. It’s just not. I feel robbed. So many others, too, feel robbed. My Aunt texted me yesterday, saying how she feels robbed of spending retirement visiting, shopping and knitting (well, my Aunt knitting while Mama pretends) together, my dad is robbed not only of growing old along with someone but also of the only person who remembers all the stories they’d collected during 30-years together, my mom’s besties are robbed of decades together spent aging gracefully (and disgracefully, bc it’s them, ha) while giggling through it all, my big brother is robbed of having the mother who– despite not sharing an ounce of DNA and completely by choice– raised him and loved him and lit up outer space laughing at his jokes, my brother and I’s kids (not, like, our kids together… like, kids w/ our spouses… this isn’t GOT… also, I feel like I have to explain this abnormally often in conversations) will be robbed of a Nana who couldn’t wait to spoil them and who wanted nothing more than to be a grandma to her very lucky (and not inbreed) gran-babies, my future husband (or cat) will be robbed of meeting the woman who made me… me and will never know the person who has filled the most space in my life, and I am robbed of the many, many more words we would’ve spoken and the tons of fun adventures we would’ve found, together. Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 9.59.02 PM

POA.

My new plan of attack to ward off park peeps from talking to me: My stellar reading material.

The C.S. Lewis book is from my amazing aunt, who was the definition of blood is thicker than water by the love and care she showered my mama with during the past year. C-Dawg wrote this after losing the love of his life, his wife. Writing honestly about how sucky life felt helped him get through his “mad midnight moments” of grief. So. It looks like a perfect read for a gal like me!

The other book, “Motherless Daughters” is super famous. It’s still studied and referenced on the reg since Hope Edelman wrote its first edition 20-years-ago. They hand it to you when your mom dies and then you get sworn into the club… That no one wants to be in.

Ain’t nobody got time for that baggage.

P.S. OMG, that coffee drink is like heaven is my taste buds. We’re getting married. One look at that caramel syrup swirl, and I was drooling-over-the-drizzle in love w/ this sweet little guy! We’re thinking a winter wedding, bc as you’d guess, his blended family doesn’t do so well in the heat! Xoxoxo xoxoxo love love love love!

Why This Babe Writes.

I write this not because I think I’m totally right, at all– I write it because I read, for hours, in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep, while I watched the world around me catching fire—burning and smoking and leaving nothing but a crisp, dark memory of what my life was like before grief— I read what was written in most likely the same state I write what I write. And I hope people read. Not because I’m super vain and begging to be heard, but because I don’t know any other way out of that fire in the middle of the night without getting burned. It was the power of knowing I wasn’t alone, while in a house full of people who came to ‘be there’ for us, and that there were other people who’d lost mom or dad, brothers and sisters, and worse than I can ever imagine, there were parents who’d lost a child. These were the broken people who I made my friends—we were all shattered, but together. And if, while still in pieces and surrounded by slivers with sharp edges pricking their scars, they could continue to live again, well, then
 me too. What I read was sad and hard and made me sob, but it’s the only comfort I felt– just knowing they were still writing.

One thing I recently read, which really nails shit on the head, says grief makes you lose your filter. It’s so true. There are so, so many things I don’t care about anymore— and most of them have to do with what other people think of me. It’s scary and wrong, how little thought I give to what other people are thinking while reading my writing or scrolling through my posts on social media. But it’s the truth: I don’t care. I don’t care because I’d rather have one person, or one follower, who reads my blog or an Instagram caption, or a lonely late night Tweet, and feels a little comfort from it
 over getting thousands of views from people reading pure bullshit and liking everything I do in life. This really isn’t realistic for anyone, of course, but we hella wish it was. And there are so, so many things grief takes away from caring about… ‘what people think’ is so, so very low on my list of things worth ever caring about again.

Let’s Agree to Disagree With Me, Kind Of.

A couple days ago, I posted some writing in opposition to the Slob Rant by a writer at the New York Post. I came across it because one of my favorite writers dropped a post opposite to in opposition to the rant, erm– I mean that he agreed with it. Both writers jibe that people who dress like slobs look like, well, slobs. (They use a few harsher terms, too. RE: Subhuman, which I’m now aiming for as a goal to be labeled… It sounds like I’m a character from X-Men and I get to go to the school for gifted youngsters.) I’m still v. much in agreement with, and a fan of, my post opposing their slob theories. However, I’ll admit I am also in opposition to my opposition.

(RE: My mind should be studied by professionals, or better, read by *Prof. X.)

I posted my daily #IAmWorthIt pic on Instagram and the caption is in opposition to my previous post in opposition to the rant post. I wanted to share it:

I'm usually v. against feet pics but there's always the exception. Pictured here is my feet (again, sorry!) wearing wedges & my legs wearing new jeans. Last wk I wrote a blog after reading two writers rant about how people need to dress better… I was like: AH, HELL NO. However after laying on my floor for an hour or so earlier, I would like to revise my statement: MAYBE. Although I still think there are way more fun & important things in life than wearing proper clothes places, (ex: love, chewing gum & the pursuit of happiness, & plus there's Netflix!) I do agree I was wrong maybe… I kinda have given up on my life. I'm 24, and I have zero excitement about my future… Not okay. It's hard planning a life that doesn't include my mama. But I also don't wanna spend any more time crying on my dirty floor (it'll still happen, sometimes.) I may not know what my plan is now but I think it starts w/ today… Taking baby steps forward in my wedge heels & my big girl pants, bc HELL YAAS, #IAmWorthIt (P.S. my big girl pants literally bc my new pants are a bit too big… But see? I got room to grow in so many ways!)

A post shared by stephrosedoan (@stephrosedoan) on

*Last Halloween, my brother and I had begged and pleaded for my mama– who’d lost all of her hair as a chemo side effect– to dress up as Professor X. We even made plans to borrow a wheelchair from the cancer hospital as she didn’t have (or need) to own one yet. But alas, she decided no.

P.S. I did suffer a bit while I was nicely dressed. And, my pain was caused bc I was, for real, “lookin’ cute.” I was caught off guard when this random man approached me, IN THE DARK! HE GAVE ME A HEART ATTACK. Then it got worse: he spoke. Despite, mind you, that I was wearing headphones…for the love of God, why?! He said, “Can I ask you a question? (No.) My friends and I were just talking (Good! Go back to them. I bet they miss you!) about if it weirds people out more when someone comes over to talk to them if it’s dark out? Like, instead of, when it’s noon and the sun’s coming down and there’s more light.” I shit you not… That is what he said. I cannot, cannot, cannot make this shit up, people! If I could, I wouldn’t have a stupid blog for free, bc I’d have a bestseller, and y’all would be rubbing my feet while feeding me Oreos, yum! I replied, “Yes. It’s freaky. Especially, just now, when you gave me a heart attack. This is the time of night when homeless people come around asking for money.” He told me his life story, asked for my number, and said I look “really cute” 😩 Damn these wedges & big pants! The sun had just set, and luckily, there was still enough light out that I could see he didn’t have a weapon, or pizza, so I safely and politely said no.

P.P.S. My final word on dressing well is it may not be for parks.

Swiffer WETJET Mops Are Derailing American Lives.

My apartment still feels nothing like home, and even worse, I’m sitting here reading the directions to my Swiffer WETJET mop. Summmmmer Friddddday, woo!

My mop, let’s call it Swiffy, isn’t spraying the secret sauce (cleaning formula) when I push the button. My bathroom tile definitely needs extra secret sauce because it’s no where near what I can only guess was the original color, white. But no spray is coming out! Nada. Nothing happens no matter how many times I repeatedly push the button, which 100 percent works on crowded elevators. Brushing around with a dry cleaning pad saddled onto Swiffy isn’t going to do anything but burn calories. Not a bad gain, but I would also like to clean my floor. I’m a modern woman who can workout her dominate arm AND make the floor shiny, too. I am showing women that you can have it all, every day. But not really, because I can’t figure out how to work my mop. My Swiffy just ain’t jiffy.

IMG_7914

I’m excited because I just got my delivery from Crate&Barrel! I bought a new laundry basket with wheels, (notice, I say with not on wheels because I can’t get the wheels onto it), a small bathroom trash basket and matching tissue box cover, two pretty sea foam color towels, and what I needed most, a rug for my bathroom floor that actually fits inside the bathroom! It’s big, guys. As in, like big news. It’s not a big rug. It’s actually much smaller than what it’s replacing.

My problem with Swiffy came about because I don’t want to put my nice, new, sea foam color bath rug on a dirty floor. Logically, this would end the world. And, it would be gross.

And then, just now, it hit me (the truth not the mop)… maybe it’s not Swiffy’s fault. Maybe, it’s the same problem for ALL the Swiffer WET JET mops, and it turns out, all along none of the mops actually spray secret sauce. It’s a mind trap. Have you ever really investigated as to whether or not your Swiffer mop is really shooting out the cleaning stuff? How often in this busy life do we not stop for moment and look up to see where we’re going, or look down to see what we’re mopping, too often! I don’t think I’ve ever paused in my day-to-day jaunt through life to examine the bottom of my, or any, mop. So, if we’re not cleaning our floors with these super handy, easy, must-have, cleaning tools, then what does this mean for us as consumers…? We’re all just brushing around dirt and burning dominate arm calories while ‘The Man’ aka, the corporation who makes Swiffer WETJET, collects our hard earned dollars!

And these gadgets are not cheap! Mine was a pricey 30 dollars at WalMart… Guys, at WalMart. That kind of money there means I had to get someone wearing a blue employee vest, who hopefully worked there, to get a key to unlock the glass case where they keep really luxe brands, like Swiffer. Yet, despite my investment– here I am– with my fancy floor mop and my still dirty floor. Does this seem right to you? I hope not.

I started wondering, how long have we blindly allowed this cruel corporate foolery to go on? When did the day arrive that Swiffer first sought to ruin what was once a nice, clean, family-friendly chore called mopping and to turn their product into not just a cleaning device, but a device to capture souls into its CEO’s tyrant grip? What would our world look like today if we’d never allowed these varmints into our homes, our private lives and our bathrooms?

I will tell you one thing, for sure: It would look like a lot more clean floors.

And while I was asking all these brave questions about the powerful history of Swiffer WETJET mops, I read the instructions on the package. Turns out, I need to insert a couple AA batteries prior to using it so that the spray comes out! Oopsie, sorry guys… No worries. It’s my bad. Swiffer, we are totally cool. Thanks again for cleaning our floors all these years.

For the Love of Slob, Stop Heckling.

When my mom was up against the toughest battle of her life after being diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer on her birthday last year, these are the pants she wore:Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 2.56.12 PM

I’d recognize them in my sleep. There was always at least one pair in every load of laundry, and every mall trip included a stop at Eddie Bauer for another pair. She lived in these sweat pants for the last 6-months of her life. They kept her tiny, shrinking, body warm and the draw string enabled enough flexibility to still fit the next week. So, it was the memory of these sweatpants that sparked my unease with an article I read yesterday.

It was written by one of my favorite writers, John Jannuzzi, who wrote his post after reading a rant post in the NY Post, by Elisabeth Vincentelli (who’s maybe one of his favorite writers?! Thus, completing the circle of life!) This chain may sound confusing. Basically, both writers post pros of dressing for success in order to be taken seriously, (because this is such a new thing!) I respect these two writers immensely, and they make lots of valid points… But… I have a big BUT and I cannot lie: their words read like those belonging to v. fabulous New York City people, who’ve never set foot in a small-town suburb and walked among its native people. Most definitely, the writers have never once braved the glorious lands of the netherworld, aka WalMart. (The prices there amaze me!) It’s not a bad thing.

I’m not here to tell anyone right from wrong, shame the fashion elite, or try a dramatic appeal to their emotions. I’m smart enough not to give myself authority where I haven’t earned it. But. Really, y’all?  Your standards for dress are a galaxy far, far away from what is most important on the list of priorities many people carry with them every day.

My mom, while wearing saggy sweatpants, was facing a 5 percent chance she would be alive beyond a year. And, despite these impossible odds, as well as her oncologist’s too honest prognosis of 6-months, she 100 percent had not “given up” on herself.

In fact, she was overly positive, and I still sob every time I go back and read her last Tweet.

Never give up. You don’t know what’s right around the corner.”

Her Eddie Bauer sweatpants were worn to as many places possible: dark movie theaters, the mall, neighborhood parties, the cancer hospital, visits with family, Christmas dinner, and even church. It was a blessing when a day arrived where she physically could leave the house, sweatpants or *not. (*It was v. much encouraged by my family that she wear pants.)

Plus, do you know how not fun it is shopping for a cute chemo outfit? It’s not fun. My mom and I tried before her first treatment to find a great new “power outfit” that really set the tone (for a miracle) because, as Jannuzzi writes, “Those who look their parts and places project authority, confidence, and an undeniable sense of self-awareness.”

The truth is, though, there are some heartbreaks in life that squash us no matter what we wear or will buy, how much money we have, if we’re attractive or not, or whether we are super successful and always look our part in the world.

I’m sure both writers would argue they, of course, weren’t suggesting sick people need to dress better– but they don’t know that. One quick and dirty glance isn’t enough to know what someone’s got going on beneath sweatpants, pjs and cargo shorts– even, if you’re wearing Google glasses, you still can’t tell. It could be a really, super bad day. It could be a big deal someone got out of bed. It could be the nicest clothing that person owns… Something you can learn by shopping at WalMart: the majority of people in our country are just trying to pay bills, stay healthy (enough), love their kids (enough), make a living, and be happy (again, enough.)

The crowd of unsuspecting people who’re standing outside a theater in the creepy picture used by the NY Post, well, maybe they’re just really happy and thankful to be seeing exciting, live theater in NYC. And, maybe despite, Vincentelli’s disgust, the men running around with their jiggly man boobs flapping in the wind are just plain happy as can be. Maybe these “slobs” are happier than the people who judge them. There are days since my mom’s death where I fight every demon to feel happy. So, if “happy” is setting the bar too low, well, sorry.

After reading the articles I did think, well, maybe I do need to dress nicer because I don’t have cancer. I want to honor my mom’s memory, not look like I’ve given up on life. Before her cancer, my mom dressed extremely well– stylish and age-appropriate — and sweats never, ever, left the house. Her visits to my college attracted tons of gushing sorority sisters, all saying how gorgeous she was and they’ll dress ‘just like her’ later in life, (when they’re old.) But despite my genetics for shopping, I’ll be damned if the way I honor my mom is with how I dress… this woman went a month without food and over 15-days without water before she had finally “given up.” That’s some rad shit.

I understand I do need to be realistic about how the world works because there are different types of people. Some types can be super snobby and judge you harshly. I usually don’t notice it while I’m bopping in my stretchy yoga pants listening to Weezer and daydreaming about WalMart, but it happens. Maybe my opinion on dressing will evolve with maturity, like my music taste, or maybe I’ll forever dress and act like a child, as Vincentelli says. I gotta say, though, after being her caregiver, kissing her when she died, planning her funeral and then burying my mom, I don’t feel very childish in anything I wear.

I’d be careful what you label people, esp. if using Grandpa Jannuzzi’s term, “subhuman.” Think about what defines people. And, if there truly is a need for better dress… then there’s a need for better understanding, too.