Open Communication

images-43.jpegSo today’s word prompt is open.  After thinking about this for quite some time, I decided on open communication as my topic.  I have to tell you that this is a subject that is near and dear to my heart.  Communication is something I happen to be very good at.  I’m a blabber mouth and you will always know how I feel about something, but that is not what I’m necessarily talking about here.  The communication I’m talking about is more the kind where people can openly discuss things without fear of admonition for their views or concerns.  It’s a way of communicating.

In our house, I find that open communication is so important.  I want my kids to be able to come to me with questions, concerns or problems without fear of condemnation or reproach and that is the home I have built.  It doesn’t mean that there is no discipline.  Believe me.  There is plenty of that when it’s necessary.  When my children have questions about those sensitive subjects, you know the ones, the ones we didn’t want to ask our parents, my children come to me.  Not only do they come to me, they bring their friends.  I’ve done more sex education in my home than you can shake a stick at.  Sometimes it can make me uncomfortable, but I know it’s necessary and I know that the information is given properly and very well.  I am, after all, a registered nurse and a mom.  I give the facts and from a Catholic viewpoint which is age appropriate.

Open communication is more than that though, Thank God!  It’s being able to speak to my husband and truly talk to him.  It’s not being judged.  It’s him not being judged, which he struggles with still.  Open communication is so important for a happy home.  At least it is in my  home.  I can’t imagine feeling like I couldn’t say what was on my mind.  I don’t always say what is there, but that is usually because I’m weighing out whether it is necessary to say or not, but knowing that we can talk about things in our home is important to me.  Knowing that my children can come to me with what is on there minds, or with any questions or concerns instead of going to friends or the internet for answers is of immense importance to me.  I am so grateful for having this gift in our home and sharing it with you.  It’s not always the easiest route, especially with a very curious 9 year old boy, but I’d rather he get his answers from me than anywhere else.

Blessings of Purpose

I wish I could tell you I was in a great place right now.  I wish I could say that I was in my usual happy place, but I just really can’t get there tonight.  I’m preparing for my surgery tomorrow morning.  Tomorrow is the day I will have part of my pancreas and all of my spleen removed thanks to my nemesis, the pancreatic cyst with atypical cells.  Bloody stupid cyst.

My husband, being the fabulous man that he is, is trying his best to put the smile back on my face.  He’s doing a good job, but in the back of my mind, I am anticipating the surgery.  How do you really get something that big out of your head? Well, the answer is, you don’t.

My husband’s purpose tonight and always, seems to be to take my mind off something or another.  Tonight, however, it is all about the surgery.  What is he doing? He and I are watching and listening to stand up comics.  The good ones!  You know the ones that actually can tell a joke without the use of foul language and crassness? Right now, it’s Ellen DeGeneres.  I adore Ellen.  She is so awesome.  Her topic for this one is procrastination.  Hilarious and not one bit of foul language.  My 9 year old could watch it.

What is the purpose of all this?  Don’t we ask ourselves that one all the time!  For me, my purpose is to keep calm and to get ready.  For Hubs, it’s to keep me calm and happy while helping me get everything ready.  For the kids?  Well, their purpose is to stay happy and carry on.   We all have a purpose in this world.  Right now, this is my purpose and my family’s purpose.


Chaos vs. Order, the House I Love

Who doesn’t like life in an orderly manner?  I would love my house to be orderly, but that never lasts very long.  I guess it is just meant to be a bit disorderly in this stage of my life.  I have my husband, my children and my zoo.  I sure wouldn’t change any of those things now that I have them.  My life wouldn’t be the same and I enjoy having all those people and pets in my life.  Just the same, when my family asks me what I would like for my birthday, Mother’s Day, Christmas, and my Anniversary, the answer is always the same.  It’s to have the house clean.  I love order.

At my old office, I had a desk.  In my desk, I had order.  Yes, lovely order.  Then, we moved offices and suddenly, we found ourselves having to share a desk with someone else.  This was a huge change because everything I once had in one desk now had to fit in 1 and 1/2 drawers and 1/2 of the top.  I never did get that half the way I liked it, but we also never spent that much time there.  You also need to understand that we were not there very often.  We had that space, but spent most of our time in the car traveling from one patient to the next.  We worked out of our cars and out of bags kept in the boot of the car.  My order there would start off great, but over time would digress into disorder.  Every few months, the task of reorganization would ensue and once complete, I always had this sense of peace and tranquility opening up my equipment bags.  I loved cleaning those out as well as my paperwork bag.  So cathartic!

My house is another story.  I think it stems from the fact that I am not the only one living there and therefore I am not the only keeper of the cheese, so to speak.  As such, when I clean my bedroom, which I just did Friday, I find so much stuff that belongs to the rest of the household.  I hate that everyone else seems to think it’s okay to leave everything from shoes and clothes to makeup and book bags in mom and dad’s room.  It just drives me bananas!  Seriously, the kids do this all over the house no matter what we try to implement.  It’s like tiny bombs of kid stuff exploded everywhere.  I can’t tell you that my husband and I are the tidiest people in the world, but at least we don’t leave things everywhere.  We do pick up after ourselves.  My kitchen is the other place that is a catch-all for everyone’s junk. Purses, artwork, coats, papers, mail, dishes.

My husband is a lover of flat surfaces.  We have to have flat surface interventions occasionally.  It entails me going through all the receipts, coins, papers and other stuff he’s taken out of his pockets and placed on some flat surface for going through later.  He makes piles on flat surfaces when he doesn’t know what to do with something.  He always has the intention of going through them later, but his procrastination kicks in and takes over.  His later could be sometime in the next 20 years.  Not a good plan for the man to have a flat surface.

I love to have clear flat surfaces.  I love to have order.  If I had my way, I would have the house as neat and tidy as my mother kept her home.  She always went through things everyday.  She never put things off until later.  The house was clean and orderly, the way I like it.  She had a routine and knew how long it had been since the hardwood floor had been polished.  I, unfortunately couldn’t tell you the last time my hardwood floors were polished, but I know they are due.  I procrastinate more than I should.

I can tell you that my house may not be the way I’d like it, but someday it will be.  When my kids are grown and I no longer have a zoo, I will have a clean home.  It will be orderly and I will miss the chaos.  I will suffer from the empty nest syndrome.  I will be down to 2 kids at home and let me tell you, they are not going to make it cleaner this fall.  They are not neat and tidy humans!  They leave things around, so order will have to take a place on the back burner for the time being.  That is okay with me.  It will come someday.  Someday I will also have grandchildren and life in my house but I will have to give those kiddos back to my own children.  That will be okay too.  I couldn’t do the whole baby thing over again at this stage, I don’t think.  I rather enjoy sleep and independence.

Yes, I love order in my life, but I’ve learned to make things work with the chaos that is my life.  I love my life and wouldn’t change a thing.  I do enjoy those quiet moments stolen for short periods of time, but I’m always have the chaos back.  A houseful of chaos is a houseful of love.  I have a houseful of love plus some.

A Fork of Something Special

With a forkful of salad in my mouth, I mull over this word prompt.  What a fascinating prompt to be given.  A fork can be different things but the first one that comes to mind is the one you use to shovel food into your mouth.  Perhaps that’s because it’s suppertime here and I’m starving.  Hubs is the grill master this evening and we are anticipating his famous burgers.  They are truly delightful.  Well, just about everyone loves them, with the exception of 2 of my daughters.  You see, he mixes just the right amount of dry red wine and soy sauce into the ground chuck.  I’m not even sure if he puts anything else in them, but the taste after searing them well on the the grill is, for lack of a better term, amazing.
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A fork also brings to mind thoughts of long ago and the Little Mermaid.  Do you remember the bit where she found a fork and thought we humans used them to brush our hair?  She called them dingle hoppers.  What a name.  Very clever girl with her treasures.  My ex-husband and his old college roommate used to sing songs from the Little Mermaid.  They knew every word.  What a great time it was to sit in between the two songbirds in a small pickup truck while they serenaded me with those songs.  That was a very long time ago.  I wonder if he still remembers the words?  I’ll have to tell my girls to have him sing those songs to them.  I think they’d get a great laugh out of it.

We have to be true to word “fork” and not forget the definition of “fork”.

Simple Definition of fork

  • : a small tool with two or more pointed parts (called prongs or tines) used for picking up and eating food

  • : a garden tool with two or more prongs used for lifting and digging soil

  • : a place where something (such as a road or river) divides into two parts

Source: Merriam-Webster Learner’s Dictionary
Given the last meaning of “fork”, one often thinks of the forks in the road, metaphorically anyway, that their lives have gone.  I have always been one to choose the path less traveled.  I never choose the fork of least resistance.  I couldn’t tell you why I am the way I am, but I do seem to enjoy getting there the hard way.  At least I tell myself that I enjoy doing things the hard way.  I don’t really.  I suppose I try to convince myself just because I’ve learned to enjoy this route.  This fork in life has always provided some great views into the lives of people I would otherwise have never had the fortune to meet.  Each of them has made an impact on my life.  For that, my friends, I am grateful.
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Yes, there are always easy ways and hard ways to accomplish your goals and it all begins with which way you choose to go at that fork in the road.  Sometimes, the path may appear to be covered with gold and gems, but that may only be the outside.  Sometimes choosing the path with briars and thorns will result in a fairy tale ending with far more riches than meets the eye.  Be careful which fork you choose.  Your life depends on it.

Saga: The Family of Us


We all have a saga when you come to think about it.  The very word saga is an epic tale about something.  A twisted course of events detailing so many things in the lives of it’s inhabitants.

Saga | Definition of Saga by Merriam-Webster

a long and complicated story with many details. : a long and complicated series of events.

Given this definition, isn’t that what our families are all about?  Take my family for example.  First there are the characters.  There are my Hubs and I, AKA, the parents.  The kids, we will refer to them as Boo, Bear, Bug and Boy.  This is my immediate family.  We each have our own lives outside of our home as well as the life we share when we are gathered together.  Our characters each have personalizations that make them each unique to who they are, but to complicate that, when they are with different people, they have different personality quirks or traits that they may not have with others.
When you filter in more characters, such as in extended family, which there are grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, dad for Boo, Bear and Bug, as well as Stepmom, and Step family for them, the saga instantly becomes that much more confusing and entertaining as well as epically more interesting.  You see, every family has a story.  Each family’s story is unique.  I will make my family’s story as simple as I can and try to simply give you the bare facts so that you don’t get too overwhelmed with the details.  My Hubs always says he needs a flowchart for my extended family, so I’m afraid with 37 first cousins, not including their spouses, I will have to leave them out.  Just hope they all know how much each of them knows how much they mean to me and how much I love them.
Many years ago, on my mother’s side, her parents met, fell in love and had her first.  She was followed by 3 boys and another little girl.  Mom met dad when her family moved from the midlands of Ireland to the west of Ireland at age 12. Both mom and dad’s fathers, had some business together so that’s how my parents met.  Mom started going out to to dad’s for holidays when she was young.  She grew fond of dad and his family over that time.  Dad was one of 8 children.  He was always a student and so was she.  At 18, they each went off to school. Mom went to England to study nursing and dad went to University to study medicine.  They kept in touch and mom found him a job for his summer leave from school in England.  With me so far?  I told you this is the simplified version.
Mom and dad finally married at the tender age of 29 and mom got to move where dad already was. The United States.  He had become a Yank.  6 weeks after their marriage, she was able to join him in Illinois where they could finally start a life together and a week later, she turned 30.  Imagine leaving everything you had ever known to go to a whole new world.  Her initial reaction was amazement at how large everything was.  Three years later, my brother was born.  Six years after my brother, they adopted me.
My brother and I had a wonderful childhood.  My brother was the perfect son with perfect grades.  Then there was me.   I was the artsy one.  The musical one.  The one not interested in the books.  I luckily grew out of that in time.  My brother was the tennis player, the book worm, the amazing student.  He was understood by them.  I was the sunshine in the house, but I was also the one that could try the patience of a saint.
I had a long time boyfriend from the time I was 12.  That would be Hubs.  Yes, I thought the sun rose and set with him.  Lucky for both of us, I still do.  Unlucky for him, I broke up with him after many years of dating him.  I was young and thought he didn’t love me.  How dumb was I!  I also had never dated anyone else.  I wanted to see my other options, I suppose.  I was a young and naive 19 year old.  Regardless, I broke his heart and dated several others until I found the one that made my heart soar. My first husband.  The father of my girls.
Seasons change and so do we.  First Husband and I grew in completely different directions, but we still get along.  We do have 3 amazingly talented and beautiful girls together.  We dated for 19 months, engaged 9 months and married for 13 years.  Even the divorce was amicable except for the feeling of having my heart ripped and shredded from my body.  I think that’s just what divorce does though.  I vowed that would never happen again.
I married my better half, my soulmate July, 2006.  Yep, that’s Hubs.  The same one I wrote in my diary about at age 12.  The same one I broke up with at 19.  He was at my first wedding, but more importantly, he was in his proper place at wedding number 2.  He was my gorgeous groom.  He and I were always meant to be together.  We do complete each other.  We compliment each other without a doubt.  Today, for example, he calmed me like no one else can during my panic attack.  He knows if he sees tears welling in my eyes, I need him.  He puts me first and cares for me always.  I often tell him I don’t deserve him.
We create new chapters in our saga each day.  Writing them down is an amazing tool to share with your family and close friends.  You have the completely and utterly abridged version here, but I am working on a version for my family that has many more details.  They’ve asked and I’m working on it.  I challenge each of you to think about and possibly write down some of your own family saga.  Is it an epic tale of love and surprise? Perhaps your family had more pain and suffering, or a life with privilege, or mental illness, or physical disabilities  to overcome.  Whatever your story is, it is a saga and no one else has the same saga.  Keep it to share with future generations.  We get one chance to make this life, and one chance to write it out. Do it today.

And She Sings

wp-1463862322895.jpgWhat a beautiful day for a Senior Honors Voice Recital.  My daughter, AKA Bear, and 2 of her friends, had their Senior Honors Voice Recital this afternoon and it was so lovely.  The stage was set simply with baby grand and one simply stated floral arrangement to the side, better to focus on the vocalist you know.  My daughter went first and sang like the angel she is.  Well, most of the time.  N and S went after Bear then repeat the sequence.


What great joy to see them all, but to hear the angelic voice of my daughter while I sat serenely, for a change, in the second row was such a joy.  Today’s word prompt just happens to be sing.  How appropriate for our family.  I can’t tell you how much music means to our family.  It is the beating of the heart of our home.  It is what we go to when we are sad as well as happy.  Music is the glue that binds us.

I’m attempting to attach videos today for the very first time which I guarantee are terrible quality, but hopefully you can hear the voice of my daughter.  I do hope you enjoy even half as much as we did.


Flourishing Family

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Flourish. What a great word prompt!  When we have a baby, our world changes utterly and completely.  I see my family changing so much these days.  My oldest daughter is beginning her nursing studies.  I’m so proud of her.  She started off in music education which wasn’t a great fit for her.  It wasn’t that she doesn’t have the talent.  She absolutely does.  She has the most amazing voice you could ever hear.  My mom  always said she had the voice of an angel.  It’s true, she does.  Teaching just wasn’t for her.  Nursing is her calling.  She helped me so much when mom was in the hospital.  I taught her the very basics during that difficult time and she helped me care for my mom during the nights.  We called it “night duty”.  We didn’t want mom to be without one of us. My daughter has grown up from the tiny baby I brought home nearly 2o years ago. She is flourishing each day.

My second daughter is graduating from high school this weekend.  I’m blown away by all of her accomplishments.  She is so smart and outgoing.  She is sweet and so kind.  She will start her pre-med and sociology studies this fall away from home at University.  How has the time flown by so fast? Ever since she was a little girl, she was a little worker.  She made sure she did her homework first thing when she got home from school.  I’ve never, and I do me never, had to tell her to do her homework.  She loves school and always has.  What a blessing.  She has such a bright future ahead of her.  She, too, is flourishing and has changed from the 7.5 pound baby I brought home all snuggled up in a blue and pink snow suit.

My third daughter is just finishing her Freshman year in high school.  She is a fantastic artist.  Her art teacher said at the beginning of the year that she should be taking college level courses.  I can tell you she didn’t get that talent from me.  She can also sing and play the piano.  Don’t ask her to play sports though.  My girls are not into sports.  They are all talented in the arts and I’m okay with that.  Number 3 completed her first high school musical this year, following in her big sisters’ footsteps.  She did a great job.  She marches to her own drummer and always sticks up for the little guy.  I am so proud of her for that.  How could I not be happy that my little girl will listen to both sides of a story and will always be fair! She is flourishing in her arts and in becoming her own person.  I’m one happy mom.

At last, we come to my newly nine year old.  It’s hard for me to think that he is now nine! I can’t imagine my life without this little man in it.  He is such a sweet little boy most of the time and just finishing 3rd grade.  Wow! The time really flies.  When he’s tired, he can be such a little demon child though.  We don’t like that in our house.  We all get cranky when the 9 year old is cranky.  He is my sports freak! He plays hockey, baseball, and wants to play lacrosse.  At home and school, he plays basketball and football.  He loves them all.  He recites all these football facts to me, and I have no idea what he’s talking about.  He doesn’t just recite the facts, he asks me about who is this or who did that, or who plays this position.  Like I have any idea! He’s flourishing too.  I can’t believe this is my one and only baby boy.  Wasn’t it yesterday that I brought him home?

My family is certainly flourishing.  I would say it’s more than the kids.  As my kids grow and change, so does my marriage.  I’m telling you I have the best and most understanding husband in the world.   Our marriage changes all the time which is a good thing.  Life has a way of changing no matter if what you do.  When my husband and I face things together, we are able to deal with those changes much better.  If we talk about those things together, alone, sometimes the things that may be daunting to one, can be much more manageable when faced together.  We are much stronger together.

What ways do you and your family flourish?

daily prompt/flourish

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Daily Prompt: Healthy

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Ah to be healthy!  I was once a young and healthy kid.  I strive to be healthy since I won’t be that young kid again.  I have let myself go, as they say.  I won’t beat around the bush.  It’s stress that brought me here and bad choices on my part.  I love food.  I really love carbohydrates.  Just last night I was craving store-bought birthday cake.  Luckily for me, we didn’t go to the store to get any and it’s no one’s birthday.  It was the dog’s birthday on Friday.  Good thing we didn’t get him a cake!

As Americans, we seem to be getting bigger.  We are getting lazier and fatter.  we are not as healthy as a whole.  Sure, there are those people that exercise all the time, but they are the minority.  Sometimes it seems that the more wealth people have, the healthier they are as a whole.  Is this because they can afford the personal trainers and the exercise clubs?  They have more time to workout and take care of themselves, perhaps? Who knows?  Maybe they take more time to educate themselves on the importance of being healthy.  But I know the health risks, and yet, here I am, unhealthy.

I am sure that most of my problem is caused by stress.  Cortisol levels increase causing more fat in the belly area when we are stressed.  It sucks and I have definitely gone through enough stress in the last 6 months to  last a lifetime.  I guess I’m predisposed to fatness.  I hate it.  I was such a thin child.  I could eat anything and never have to worry.  Now, not so much.  I swear I could look at a piece of fudge and it will end up on my belly.

I have decided that enough is enough.  I am getting healthy.  I have watched some of the shows of “My 600 Lb Life” on TLC.  I won’t ever be that large, but the weight scares me.  My weight scares me.  I know how I feel at this weight and it isn’t a good feeling.  I’m tired. My joints hurt.  My feet hurt.  My heel spurs bother me.  My achilles tendons ache at the end of the day.  My back hurts.  I know all that I have to do is lose some weight. I’ve done it before.  In fact, I lost 80 pounds before.  Since my mom passed away, however, I’ve gained about 20 and before that, I had gained about 15-20. I refuse to let all that hard work go to hell.  It won’t happen.

So, now that I’m 40 pounds more than I was after working so hard to lose it, I will get back on track and I will lose more.  I want to lose 65 -70 pounds.  I will do it for health reasons.  I will never have that beautiful beach, bikini body that I once had.  I have flabby skin and will always have a tummy that hangs (thank you children). I can do this.  I need to do this for my health, my family and most importantly, for me.

Daily Prompt: Vision


When I was young, very young, I was born with a cross eye.  My left eye couldn’t keep straight vision.  It loved to look to the left as my right eye looked straight. The condition itself has a name.  It’s called Strabismus.  It’s simply a problem with the eye muscles.  Nothing would help it but surgery. At 3 1/2, my sweet and wonderfully talented father performed eye surgery to correct the problem.  Yes, he just happens to be an ophthalmologist.  How he managed to perform such delicate surgeries like mine always amazed me.  To perform surgery on his own child, now that’s just incredible.

After that surgery, I got my first pair of glasses and an eye patch so my eye could heal.  When the patch came off, I had exercises to perform, which I still do from time to time.  I can’t tell you how long I had to wear those glasses, but it wasn’t terribly long and I looked so darn cute in them.

Fast forward to age 7.  My big brother needed glasses.  He was 13.  I took note to how I saw the world and noticed it was sort of fuzzy.  I told my dad and Voila! I had a pair of glasses too.  In fact, dad told my mom that he was surprised I hadn’t said anything before then.  My eyes were bad.  My new spectacles were purple.  The color on the glasses was called “grape”.  I remember that.  They were plastic frames with plastic lenses.  I was in second grade.

Suddenly, the world was very clear.  The trees outside of my dad’s office were so clear.  I could actually see the leaves!  The individual leaves on the trees!  I couldn’t believe that you could see those… This was normal for people with normal vision. Wow, what I had been missing!

Each year, my eyes worsened.  Each year I received a new pair of glasses and case to hold them in.  Each year, my lenses got thicker and thicker.  They started shaving and shaping the edges of my lenses so they looked less like coke bottles.  Then, when I was about 15, they stopped changing.  I wouldn’t wish this eyesight on anyone.  Thank God for contact lenses.  The glasses were so heavy and left marks on my face no matter how thin they tried to make the lenses or how small I tried to get the frames.

Now, I need reading glasses with my contacts or bifocals.  who thought my eyes could get any worse.  The prescription has even intensified some more.  I didn’t think that was even possible after not changing for 31 years, but alas, it has.  Damn it! I’m so worried that eventually I won’t be able to see or read anymore.  It scares me, but I try to think positively and realize that that possibility is very small.

I’m just blessed that I can see what I do.  I may not be able to see everything the way I used to, but at least I can see and I see fairly well.  I thank God for that daily. I also thank God for my dad.  Because of his care as a child, I can see now. I thank God for my brother, the optometrist.  He keeps me seeing.


On Underestimating Life

Underestimate.  We often underestimate things.  We underestimate the cost of items we purchase.  We underestimate what people do, especially what we are ourselves.  We underestimate in particular what we are capable of.  Why?  I know I underestimate what I’m capable of because I frequently think I can’t do this or that.  I feel not good enough or not strong enough for whatever it is that I’d like to do.  I won’t say that I always think this way because that wouldn’t be true.  It’s not, believe me.  Once I focus on something, I am ultra focused and will ultimately achieve my goal. But the truth remains that there are bumps in the road, even in the greatest of triumphs, when I underestimate my abilities.

Sometimes I think this is our way of keeping ourselves humble to some degree.  I won’t say that we become humble because we underestimate ourselves, but when we question our own abilities, it does help us to take measure of our strengths and weaknesses and offers some insight into who we are if we are indeed honest with ourselves.  That part is the hard part.


We have to be good at being honest with ourselves though.  We have to be kind as well as honest.  It does no good to beat yourself up about not being good enough at something and not looking at the things that you are truly exceptional at.  For me, I find it difficult to see the exceptional part.  I find myself good enough, but not extraordinary at most things.  For instance, I know very well that I’m a good nurse.  I’m really good with patients.  They like me.   I know this because they’ve told me they like me.  They’ve told me they don’t want any other nurse besides me.  I suppose to some, that would make me an exceptional nurse, but to me, I see myself as a good nurse.  I say this because I know that there are so many things that I don’t know in my field that would make me a better nurse.  Those are the things that I strive to understand so that one day, I may be a great nurse.  That, hopefully, keeps me humble.

As a parent, I’m sometimes a good one and sometimes I’m lacking in the good parent category.  Who isn’t! Find me anyone who says their the perfect parent and I say they must medicate with something. Find me their drug because I want what they’re having! Seriously though, many people have their public and their private personas.  In fact most people do.  I had very high expectations before I had children about the kind of parent I would be.  I SO underestimated what parenthood truly was.  It’s grueling work.  It’s neverending.  It’s also the most rewarding job I’ve never taken a day off from and had for 20 years.  I’ve loved it and hated it.  I’ve wanted to go on strike!  Alas, here I am.  Still underestimating myself as a mom almost everyday and still getting up the next one and doing it all over again, and again, and again.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I love these 4 kids more than the air I breathe.  I wouldn’t want for a more fulfilling job as this.  I wouldn’t change a thing. Well, most days.

This was written in response to the Daily Post one word prompt at https://dailypost.wordpress/underestimate