Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Heartland

Unexplainably horrible.  Indescribably heart-wrenching.  Devastatingly Awful.  Somethingness turned into nothingness.


These words are describing the sight of what is now left of Joplin, Missouri.  My husband and I -- along with his parents, brother, and future sister-in-law -- spent time in the midst of the tornado stricken town helping family members who were affected by the storm.  In my earlier post, I predicted that my heart and eyes weren't prepared for what they were going to feel and see.  I was right.  The 30 minute drive from my parent's home to Joplin was almost surreal.  At first, everything looked just as I had left it last winter during a Christmas shopping trip, as it had been a few weekends before when we were visiting family, and then - BAM - in an instant, everything was different.  Trees looked like creatures from a haunted forests, structures now resemble giant tangled balls of yarn, vehicles reduced to piles of scrap metal and glass.  The photos on the television simply cannot do justice to the destruction that was caused.   The newscasts can't show you just how much devastation is there.  It goes on for miles and miles and miles and miles.  At some points, all you can see is damage and destruction and pain.


"God wants us to be victors, not victims; to grow, not grovel; to soar, not sink; to overcome,
not be overwhelmed."  -- William Arthur Ward

It's easy for my mind to understand or fathom one home being ruined, one business being torn apart.  But it is was not quite so simple to wrap my brain around this vastness of ruin.  The descriptions of 'war-zone', 'total devastation', 'like a transformer movie' don't even begin to cover it.  All I could manage was to cover my gaping mouth, and try to decide whether to bawl or just throw up.  Traffic was incredibly slow due to the lack of drive-ability of many roads, and the amount of extra people who have showed up to help (and some just to gawk).  Because traffic was so slow, I was able to make eye contact with most of the other motorists around me.  Some were taking pictures, many were crying, all had that polite grimacing smile on their faces -- you know, the one you wear at a funeral when you don't quite have the right words to share.  The smile you wear when you wish you knew what to say to make everything right again, knowing in your heart that no words can make it better.



Joplin is thread in the fabric of who I am, many of my fondest memories were built there.  As the death toll rises higher and higher (currently it sets at 142), my heart breaks more and more.  Although the people who are volunteering would probably prefer the gawkers and amateur photographers (I didn't take pictures... it felt too much like an invasion of privacy) to stay out of their way; I feel like everyone should see exactly what happened in Joplin.  For Midwesterners, it may encourage them to take tornadoes more seriously, because, let's face it, we tend to forget their damaging potential.  For everyone, it will encourage you to be less selfish, and to give what you can.  For everyone, giving looks a little different.  It can be donating money, supplies, time, skills, prayer, creating a fundraiser, etc.  But the victims in Joplin need help of every kind.


"God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." -- 1 Timothy 1:7

While dropping off donations of diapers, formula, and baby wipes at a collection station; I saw something I didn't expect to see.  I saw people standing in lines, waiting to be given the donated items so they could feed and clothe their families.  These people weren't lazy people who made bad choices and then became homeless.  These people weren't beggars.  These were people just like you and me.  Hardworking middle-class Americans who had everything ripped away from them.  Some lost homes and vehicles, many lost their places of employment and loved ones.  I was incredibly humbled and heartbroken at this sight.  I left the donation sight with tears in my eyes, wishing I could do more.



Even though I left Joplin bruised, scratched, dirty, exhausted, and sore; I felt like I had accomplished something.  My heart swelled at being able to do something for someone else, to help someone else begin to pick up the broken pieces.  I know that we didn't do nearly as much as some volunteers who are exemplary demonstrations of citizenry and loving thy neighbor (I now know why the Midwest is referred to as "The Heartland"), many have even taken extended leaves of absence from their jobs to be able to help as much as possible.  But we did as much as the weekend allowed us, and we are committed to going back again to help more.  My short amount of time in the trenches was incredibly consuming.  My dreams are filled with tornadoes and storm cellars and images of Joplin that have permanently been burned into my brain.  My most longing prayers are dedicated to their survival, safety, and resilience.




I am astonished by the number or people helping, the amount of military support, the supplies pouring in.  But these people need more.  Be someone who helps.  Do something.  Give what you can, do what you can, pray all you can.

And remember... you're In Good Company.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Devastation

Honeysuckle. The smell of of it transports me back to another time.  Another lifetime.  Another place.  The sweet scent takes me to childhood summers in the very Southeast corner Kansas, carefree, running around in a fit of pure freedom and ecstasy (with the kind of enthusiasm that makes today's doctors prescribe medication to children).  I remember the scent of honeysuckle would tickle our noses and make us stop in our tracks to try to spy it.  We would spot it, always climbing up a fence, winding it's spidery vines through the chain links, it's flowers begging to us to drink the sweet nectar.


My son and I were on a walk (which included, of course, stopping at a nearby playground), and as we were nearing home, the scent of honeysuckle drew me out of my deep train of thought.  I saw it almost instantly, on a chain link fence, and smiled.  I might even have picked a few of the flowers to drink the sweet nectar -- if the residents hadn't been outside enjoying the nice weather.  I was instantly filled with the feelings of freedom and joy, of innocence and unguarded honesty.  I was hopeful.  Hopeful that I can give my son the kind of childhood that he will look back upon and smile.  Hopeful that there will be something all through his adulthood that will act as a time machine back to when times were simpler and life was easier for him.


An hour after our walk, I received a phone call about a tornado that made my heart sink.  I turned on the news and began to cry at the shocking images.  You see, growing up in Kansas can make one tend to not take tornadoes very seriously.  At my house, after hearing the sirens but before taking cover in the basement, we would go outside to see if we could see the storm coming.  As students, we would giggle through tornado drills, as adults, maybe we rolled our eyes through them.  Tornadoes were no big deal.  We had warnings all the time.  Nothing ever happened.  We even have a name for mini-tornadoes: Micro Bursts.


Not this time.  This was serious.  Very serious.  The phone call was a report that a piece of my childhood had been ripped to shreds by a violent F4* tornado.  Joplin, Missouri is a mere 30 minutes from the place I spent the first 20 years of my life.  Joplin was quite a large city, compared to my hometown.  Joplin was where we went back-to-school-shopping, where a boyfriend would take you if he wanted to impress you with a fancy date, where I went when I skipped school one day during my junior year of high school.  As I watched the burning hospital (that now looks like an abandoned parking garage in the worst part of Iraq), the demolished houses, the utter confusion -- I felt robbed somehow.  Robbed of a piece of my childhood.  Robbed of a place that I could go to make me feel like a teenager again.


More than those selfish feelings of being robbed, I wept for the residents of Joplin.  The poor people who have been robbed of more than their memories.  This storm took their homes, belongings, jobs, and, for some, their family members.  The death toll is quickly approaching 120*, making this the deadliest U.S. tornado since 1953.  I keep thinking that this storm was so selfish to take lives and homes and jobs and livelihoods.  How dare it literally rip apart the lives of all these hard-working Midwesterners?  But it's just a tornado, it couldn't hear my accusations, or see my finger pointing.  It's gone now, but the destruction will be long lasting.


For my family, this tornado affected us personally.  My husband and I both have many friends and family members who live in and around Joplin.  My friends have had houses destroyed, his Grandfather has a tree on his roof, was left without water or electricity (like the rest of the city) and came very close to running out of the oxygen he depends on.  My husband's cousin and his family took shelter in their basement (their youngest son in only a towel, as they took him down straight from the bath tub), in a closet under the staircase while their house was ripped off it's foundation.  The tornado tore the water line, soaking them from head to toe.  The basement began filling with water, the smell of gas was nearly suffocating for them.  They feared they would drown.  There was no way out -- the staircase no longer led anywhere.  Thankfully, neighbors were able to help them escape.  They have nothing left but the clothes on their backs (and for the little one, just the towel), but they are thankful to be alive.


There are so many tales of survival, of missing persons, of having to step over the bodies of loved ones to escape the crumbling structures that provided shelter from the storm.  The stuffed animals that children once clung to for help falling asleep - gone.  Family pets - missing.  Water to rinse away a bad day - gone.  Grocery stores - demolished.  High school - flattened.  The bed that once provided relief for an aching back - the wind took it 70 miles away.  The roof that provided shelter overhead - now toothpicks on top of a crumpled vehicle.  So many things that we take for granted each and every day have been ripped away from these suffering people.  I want to stand outside and scream "It's not fair!  They didn't do anything wrong!"



I have a lump in my throat that won't go away.  I think of how displaced and helpless everyone in the community must feel.  I feel so helpless 4 hours away.   I think of how these poor children have had their childhoods ripped away.  They have, in an instant, had to grow up into miniature adults.  Fearing for their lives, followed by seeing their parents openly weep and hear the worries of "what now?" and "how are we going to make it?".  I tear up thinking that these kids won't look back on their childhoods with fond memories of honeysuckle and being carefree, but of destruction, loss, and devastation.

 

Then I saw this picture.  The picture of a demolished church with nothing but a cross still standing.  But isn't the cross that is standing everything?  Wait a minute... this is a story of rising again, redemption, and rebuilding.  As the mayor said last night on CNN, "We aren't going to let a little F4 tornado kick our asses".  From what I've seen, they aren't.  And the immense amount of citizenry around the country won't let them.  Rescue workers and civilians from all over are traveling in troves to help by delivering supplies, cleaning up, and tending to the needs of anyone affected.  My heart aches for those who were victimized, but is, at the same time, bursting with pride and joy for the amount of support pouring in from all over the country.  There are reports of convoys of ambulances, no two from the same town.

"We are abandoned to God, He works through us all the time."
-- Oswald Chambers

The victims in Joplin still need help, donations, supplies, and prayer - especially with more terrible weather (possibly more tornadoes) headed their way.  Cleanup and rebuilding will take years, they will forever have daily reminders of the devastation that hit them the afternoon of May 22, 2011 -- a date they will certainly remember long after we forget.  Their homes will still look like war zones long after we stop sending supplies.



We are heading down later in the week to help our family and friends, and any others who may need assistance.  I don't know how to possibly prepare my eyes for what they will see, or to prepare my heart for what it will feel.  I can only imagine that the images on the news don't even begin to do justice to the devastation and destruction that is now Joplin.


I believe in Midwesterners - we are a strong, stubborn people who cook with a lot of garlic.  I know that Joplin will, by God's good grace, survive and eventually will be stronger than before.  I pray that, with time and clean up, the victims will be able to look to the future with optimism, to be able to sleep soundly when thunder is roaring, to not have nightmares of the storm that destroyed their world... and maybe even smile when they smell the sweet scent of honeysuckle.

"Do you have an impossible job to do?  Has the Lord told you to do it?  Go ahead! 
When we pray, we enter God's domain from the domain of our inability."
-- Corrie ten Boom (Holocaust survivor)

Help out however you can, use whatever resources or gifts you have, to help these individuals.  Donate, volunteer, give blood.  And most importantly, pray for the victims, rescue workers, and volunteers.  To make a donation by phone, please call the Heart of Missouri United Way at 573-443-4523.




*The tornado has now been rated as an EF5 and the death toll is up to 125 (as of 10:00 on 5/26/2011)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Garbage.

Can we, for a moment, discuss how ridiculously obsessed our culture is with looks?  I have always been anti-beauty pageants.  Not because I know I'll never be beautiful enough to compete in them, but because the principles on which they are based are absurd.  If you look pretty in a bikini, you just might win.  Garbage.  I am doubly disgusted by beauty pageants for children.  The show 'Toddlers & Tiaras' makes me want to vomit (right after I rescue those poor babies from their monster parents).
 
There is no reason for little girls to partake in these pageants.  There is no reason why little girls should be made to look like women (or prostitutes, for that matter).  And there is absolutely no sense in making little girls feel like they should be valued only because of their looks.  Confidence building?  Shmonfidence building.  I tend to believe that these activities are more for the parents benefit than for these poor little 'Stepford' girls.  I feel like these moms and dads are pushing their children to be what they felt they couldn't ever be.  These parents pour innumerable dollars into false teeth, hair extensions, glamorous gowns, makeup, and costumes, all for what?  An trophy and an eating disorder?  Give me a break.
And now, there is this new breaking news of 'Botox Mom'.  Heard of her?  Apparently a crazy woman in California has been administering Botox injections to her 8 year old daughter - yes you read correctly, 8 years old.  That poor baby.  Two questions for this mom: 1) Are you possessed by the devil? and 2) Why exactly does that poor child need Botox?

I am honestly outraged.  If you are insecure with your looks... fine, so be it.  You should learn to love yourself, we all should, but I can understand being insecure (aren't we all insecure about something?).  However, it is NOT appropriate to push your insecurities onto your child.  I can imagine that this little girl is going to be another plastic surgery addict, will have disturbingly low self esteem, and will probably be on an episode of 'Intervention' due to self-destructive behaviour such as bulimia.
Maybe that seems a little extreme (we all know I have a tendency to be slightly dramatic), but wouldn't it make sense that this little girl would continue down a path of feeling inadequate?  And not just this child, but so many children are being spoon fed directions of how to hate the way they look.  So many times in public, I'll hear a kid ask for an ice cream treat or something of that nature, only to have the mom respond "We can't have that, it will make us fat."  What?!?!?!  Children shouldn't even have to worry about being fat.  An appropriate response would be "Maybe next time, sweets are great indulgences on occasion, but lets choose a healthier snack today, like fruit."  It's okay to teach your child to be health-conscious, not self-conscious.
This behavior isn't just occurring in the pageant world, it happens all the time.  Parents try living vicariously through their children in sports, music, dance, academics, etc.  And what winds up happening is these children feel like they will never measure up.  Children watch everything we do and listen to the things we say - good and bad.  They inherit our self esteem, our language skills (or lack thereof), our habits, our faith, etc.  Not everything we teach them is intentional.  You can mark my words that my son will never be a wrestler (where cutting weight and weigh-ins are regular part of the 'sport'), and, if I ever have a daughter, she will not be allowed to participate in demeaning activities such as pageants.  It's important to let your children find an activity they enjoy, and let them excel to the level they feel comfortable.
Be healthy, in mind and body, for your own sake and for the little eyes watching you.  And remember... you're In Good Company.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What's Eating You?

A common expression used in society today is 'you are what you eat'.  If that's the case, then I should have legs made of Diet Dr. Pepper, a core made of ribeyes, Special K (vanilla almond) arms, a banana neck and a Cliff's Twisted Fruit noggin.  Maybe the expression is meant to be more figurative than literal.

While I am not a dietitian or a doctor - but you can trust me, I'm a Yoga Instructor - I have some great resources that teach wise eating habits.  I want you to understand the makings of a wholesome diet, and how to read the labels on the food you eat.  The information that I am presenting is some of my own opinion but also comes largely from Beth Shaw's YOGAFIT - Second Edition and also the ADA.  Also, http://www.mypyramid.gov/ is a great resource for meal planning.

Simple Tips for a Pure and Wholesome Diet
1. Emphasize fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
2. Choose proteins such as peanut butter, fish, beans, free-range eggs, free range poultry and nuts.
3. Chose foods low in saturated fat, trans fats, sodium, and sugar.
4. Eat more orange and dark green veggies.  Don't forget to include beans, peas and lentils.
5. Include calcium-rich foods in your diet, such as: broccoli, salmon, yogurt and cheese.
6. Go lean with protein.  Bake, broil or grill.  Don't fry it.
7. Focus on fresh, frozen or dried fruits.
8. Try to avoid canned and packaged foods.
9. If the back of the packaging looks like the science test you failed in high school, don't eat it.
10. Drink plenty of water (remember that when you add flavor packets to your water, it's no longer water) and consume fluid-rich foods such as: berries, milk, watermelon, lettuce, cabbage, celery, spinach, broccoli, yogurt, apples, grapes and oranges.
11. Choose meat that is produced from reputable local farmers that don't use growth hormones or unnecessary antibiotics.
12. Avoid excessive amounts of sugar and sodium.
13. Indulge occasionally.

Reading Labels
Obviously, the most important factors in getting healthy are exercising and making smart food choices.  But how do you know you are actually making smart choices?  It's important to know what is actually in the 'diet foods' on the shelves, and to know what all of the jargon really means.
 
Light - one-third fewer calories or half the amount of fat than the usual food (be careful of the spelling 'lite'... it means nothing).
Low Calorie - fewer than 40 calories per serving.
Calorie Free - fewer than 5 calories per serving.
Fat Free - less than one-fourth gram of fat per serving (I recommend avoiding fat free foods at all costs due to the added sugar and sodium added to make these products tastier -- Low fat diets do not provide adequate amounts of essential fatty acids your body needs).
Sugar Free - less than one-fourth gram of sugar per serving (these products will most likely be full of artificial sweeteners).
Reduced - 25 percent less of the specified nutrient than the usual product.
Good Source Of - provides at least 10 percent of the daily value of a particular vitamin or nutrient per serving.
High In - provides more than 20 percent of the daily value of a specified nutrient per serving.
Low Sodium - less than 140 milligrams of sodium per serving.
Low Cholesterol - less than 20 milligrams of cholesterol and 2 grams or less of saturated fat per serving.
Organic - grown free from antibiotics or pesticides (please note that if you aren't buying 'certified organic' you are probably wasting your money).
It's important to be your own advocate when it comes to your health, that means arming yourself with information.  Don't buy into fancy packaging and brightly colored labels promising weight loss.  Turn it over, read the label, know what you are putting in your bodyAfter all if 'you are what you eat', shouldn't you know what you are eating?
Be Healthy.  Love yourself.  And Remember... you're In Good Company.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Daisy Louise

I come from a long line of dog lovers.  Not just dog lovers, but dog adorers.  Growing up, my dogs were not my pets, they were my brothers and sisters.  After my husband and I were married, the only thing I wanted was a dog (darn rental contracts).  We finally purchased a home of our very own 2 years later and I decided for us that it was time to expand our family.  We adopted a baby girl, whom we named Daisy (also known as Roo, Rooskie, Daisy Roo, Dooskie Doo, Rooman, Rooskie Girl, Daisy Girl, Looskie Loo, and most often Stop Barking).  She was our baby for several years before we had a non-furry child of our own.  She's still a baby (a princess if you ask her), and really this house is hers... she just lets us live here.  She is very much an 'inside-dog'... more specifically a 'couch-dog'.
Daisy Louise is a full blooded, 100% pure bred mutt.  Even the vet doesn't really know what she is (every puppy in her litter looked different... I think her biological mom got around).  We've been told that blood tests could be sent to some far away lab (laboratory, not Labrador... just in case you needed clarification) to let us know exactly what breed she is.  I find that quite unnecessary, we love her no matter what she is.  Before this sweet little face came into our lives, I was a little bit of a dog-snob.  Only wanting an AKC registered this or that (I grew up with beautiful full-bred Cocker Spaniels).  But, I am truly converted to the Heinz 57 breed fur baby.  Anyway... we adopted her from a Humane Society when she was just 6 weeks old and weighed a mere 2 pounds.  We fell in love with her at first sight.  She was the only dog in the place that wasn't barking, and she wore a sad look on her face that said "please let me go home with you".  We were wrapped around her tiny little paw from that point on.
We weren't able to take her home with us from the Humane Society that day because she was a major part of a criminal investigation.  Seriously.  You see, Daisy had already had quite the exciting life for such a young lady.  She had been adopted once, left in a hot car in a parking lot on a scalding Kansas summer day.  A stranger took her out of the vehicle and let her free to roam the lot.  Another kind stranger took her back to the Humane Society where her adopted family came back to look for her.  They told their side of the sad story and were not allowed to re-adopt her.  They came back again the next day to see her and to make a plea to be allowed another chance to take her home only to find that she had been stolen.  Stolen!  The family returned home and saw their next door neighbors with a new puppy.  Low and behold it was Daisy (who was then named Darla)!  The police were called.  Poor Daisy was confiscated, returned to the Humane Society, and was being held until officers could come and do a photo shoot with her (I told you she was a princess).  We had to beg and plead to have her 'held' for us so that we could adopt her when the paparazzi were done with her.  A few phone calls were made to the board of directors and she was ours.
When we were finally able to bring her home, she was barely half the size of my husband's size 11.5 shoe and was instantly S.P.O.I.L.E.D.  She went everywhere with us and rode on my lap during most car trips.  She knows us by Mommy and Daddy, and is thrilled when Grandma and Grandpa come to visit.  We put great effort into teaching her to sit, shake, give high-fives, dance (when someone says 'Dance Pretty' or 'KU Scores'), speak, whisper and fetch.  She also learned to get super excited when someone sings her song (which is Daisy Roo - to the tune of Peggy Sue).  Unfortunately we didn't put as much time and energy into teaching her manners on a leash, but we're working on it.  When we finally found out we were expecting a baby of the human breed (after what seemed like an eternity of fertility treatments, doctors visits and lab work), we were really quite concerned about how Daisy would handle it.  I laid awake many nights worrying that I wouldn't have enough love in my heart for a real baby because I already loved Daisy so much.
Needless to say, I had plenty of room in my heart to love my son (pregnancy can make a lady crazy), but I was still concerned how my Rooskie Girl would accept the newest human to take up residence in our small ranch-style home.  We read all the right articles and did all the right things to make sure that we properly introduced said dog to said baby, even gifting a blanket to her that had his scent on it.  When we finally brought him home after 9 long days in the hospital, she was thrilled with him.  She even dropped her beloved tennis ball into his bassinet as a gift to her new baby brother.  Everywhere he was, she was right there by him, waiting for me to turn around so she could sneak a kiss.  If she had opposable thumbs, we would never have to hire a babysitter.
Now our little guy is not so little anymore, he's nearly 17 months and constantly on the run.  Daisy still is in love with him (except when he is trying to poke her in the eye), and he is in love with her.  His first word spoken (besides Mama and Dada) was 'Daisy'.  Her name is the first word out of his mouth each morning as he peers out of his crib waiting for her to greet him.  She is generally waiting patiently outside of his room for him to wake up so that they can play.  More likely, she is ready for his snack time so she can follow him around and eat the crumbs or clean the floor under his chair during meal time.  But, nevertheless, she waits.
Daisy will turn 5 on the 27th of this month and is starting to look more and more like an old lady.  I think the stress of being an older sister and barking at the mailman is really getting to her.  She doesn't like when anyone walks on her sidewalk, she is starting to crack and pop when she walks (though the vet said her joints are in great condition), her bottom is getting quite round (that's more from our son's handouts than from anything else) and the midnight black fur directly around her eyes is turning quite gray.  I think it makes her seem distinguished.
I think much can be learned from my Daisy though.  Such as, always always always protect your family (even if it is just from the villainous UPS delivery guy).  Never trust anyone who doesn't offer you a treat.  Love with vigor and kisses.  Show your excitement when your family arrives (even if they have only been gone a few minutes).  Don't worry about your weight, just eat until you are full.  Prance around when you feel pretty in your new scarf or shirt.  Pay attention when people speak.  Actively listen.  Don't bat an eye when your haircut, which is priced per pound, gets more expensive each time (can we all just quickly thank the Good Lord that human haircuts aren't priced this way?).  Always be ready and willing to go on a walk.  If someone throws a ball, by all means, chase it!  And, if someone you love is sad or sick, don't leave their side.
I tend to not understand, or trust, people who don't love dogs.  I also tend to like my dog more than I like most people.  I think there is a definite reason why people who are dog-owners tend to live longer than those who aren't.  If you have a dog, you know what it feels like to be fully and completely and unconditionally loved by another being.  That alone makes it worth while to stay on this earth longer.  If only the lives of our beloved dogs weren't so quick and fleeting.

Love your dog.  Love yourself.  And remember... you're In Good Company.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

In Honor of Mother's Day

YOU KNOW YOU ARE A MOMMY......
...when the finger up your nose mostly likely isn't your own.
...when you have more toy cars in your purse than you do money.
...when you aren't aware that you have someone else's booger in your hair.
...when, without thinking anything of it, you hold out your hand to catch vomit.
...when you make sure everyone else is fed before you sit down to eat.
...when you aren't afraid to stand up to anyone or anything just to protect your child.
...when your boobies are stretched to a ridiculous size and your body is covered in stretch marks from pregnancy, but you'd do it all over again in an instant, without question.
...when a night in with the family almost always sounds better than a night out with friends.
...when, for outings, your own appearance isn't as important as making sure your child is clean and combed.
...when getting headbutted in the crotch is a daily occurrence.
...when you're not certain of the names of the Kardashian sisters, but you know who Lenny, Tuck, and Ming Ming are.
...when the theme songs from all of the Nick JR shows are simultaneously running through your head.
...when, at all costs, you avoid wearing white.
...when multitasking is a way of life.
...when you aren't certain if your teeth have been brushed today, but everyone has been fed, bathed, and medicine has been given.
...when you love with every ounce of your being and would do just about anything to protect a little bald guy who drools, pees on himself (and sometimes you) and can't feed himself.
...when you finally learn to respect and understand your own mother.
...when frazzled is normal.
...when you can't sneeze without peeing a little.
...when you spell naughty words and words like 'snack' even in adult conversations.
...when a solo trip to the dentist is like a vacation.
...when talking about poop is a daily occurrence.
...when you know what it's like to have your heart walk outside of your body.