Me, Myself & Baby I

Out of the mouths of babes

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What Makes a Mother of 4 Sons Angry?

Today’s guest post is written anonymously by a mother of four boys:

When Lainie first asked me to write a blog about being the mom of 4, I figured it would be quick, easy, and take about 2 days – one to write, then one to review, edit and send.  It is now over a month later and I have yet to email it to her.  Sure, it would be easy to blame the delay on the craziness that comes with being the mom of four wildly rambunctious boys ages 17 months to 12 years, with all of the school projects, homework, play dates, sports teams, doctor’s appointments, bill paying, cooking, cleaning and laundry that entails.  Sure, I could blame it on working a full-time job with no “end” time (I’m a travel agent, and my clients constantly call me at all hours of the day and night, despite time zone differentials, whenever they need me) – or on the fact that I am also a religious school teacher, the “go to” mom for my friends when they need someone to watch their kids due to work or school conflicts (did I mention I work from home?  That’s its own bucket of worms….) or the coach of two different soccer teams who each meet twice a week, plus games.  Heck, if I were truly desperate, I could even try to add in the two cats and the dog who constantly demand to be let in and out and in and out and in and out all day long.

But the truth?  The truth is that no matter what I wrote, no matter how often I edited, re-edited, or plain old started over, what came out in my blog was anger.  Why anger?  And at whom?  Good questions…. in the end, ones I figured would be more important to address rather than a plain old description of the helter skelter / willy nilly chaotic schedule that is my daily life.

Quite honestly, it doesn’t take much introspection or hard thought to figure out when this whole anger thing started. By the time G, our third, turned a year old, my husband and I had the routine down pat.  J, our oldest, was a fantastic assistant – he absolutely LOVED helping with the baby, running to get me clothes, or a diaper, or a sippy cup.  A, a mere two years older than G, was a bit hesitant at first with the whole middle child idea but soon grew into a strong, independent little man.  In fact, he never did the baby babble thing; he went straight from pointing for things to speaking in complete complex sentences by the time he was 20 months, including proper noun and verb placement.  His Montessori preschool teachers were floored, and loved to bring him out to show off to prospective parents.  As the boys grew, it seemed everyone had found their own niche – J was the sports man, A loved to cook, clean, and care for everyone in the family, and G was our little Romeo, quick as whip with eyes and a smile that could melt even the Grinchiest of hearts.  We were chugging along, secure and strong, a solid family unit.

And then………..  And then.  Despite precautions to the contrary, I found myself pregnant once again.  As the shock wore off, my husband and I braced ourselves for the gentle ribbing and teasing we were sure to get from our families and friends, just like when we found ourselves pregnant with our third child.  What we WEREN’T prepared for was the veritable shit storm that we ended up dealing with instead.  Apparently, unbeknownst to us, there is a magical line in the child-bearing sand – 3 kids, and you are a cute family;  4 kids, and you are a crazy, selfish, irresponsible redneck family whose only goal is to do all you can to end up not working, living scot-free off of the government dime.  Think I’m kidding?  I only wish I were!  I can relate numerous times when I have been out with all of my boys and had people look at me and the kids, and then deliberately close doors in our faces rather than hold them open.  Instead of helping the woman with the stroller, people stepped in my way, refusing to let me through the aisles, frowning at me as I said “excuse me” and tried to wiggle through.  I have been subjected to glares, eye rolls, and whispers any time and any where I take all four of my kids at once.  And while they are indeed kids, they certainly aren’t hooligans – my boys know better than to not use their manners, or to run screaming through a store knocking things off of the shelves.  They are always clean, dressed in appropriate clothing, and know how to use their indoor voices.  In fact, these same children receive nothing but smiles and praise from strangers when out with us singularly or in pairs.  So how did I miss the memo on the “appropriate” number of kids per family?

I think the worst episode happened before I even gave birth to little J.  There I was with my 3 already born boys, walking into Motherhood Maternity as a very obvious 6 month pregnant lady.  Some random woman, a complete stranger, jumped in front of me from out of nowhere and spent about 10 minutes viciously blessing me out for being pregnant again – telling me how awful I was for being selfish, how I would be denying my existing children opportunities due to the expense of another baby, to say nothing of the one-on-one time that would be taken away from them.  I was subjected to accusation upon accusation, calling into question my fitness as a mother, my intelligence level, my financial status, my sexual habits (yes, really), my ulterior motives……. and she finished her speech with the assertion that “people like you should be sterilized for your own good.”  All I could do was stand there, mouth open, in tears.  My first gut response was to slug her in the mouth just to get her to shut up for a second – but I managed to realize in time that having the boys watch their pregnant mother get arrested for assault probably wouldn’t be the best solution or teaching moment in this whole wonderful scenario.  I ended up telling her, “Thank you for your opinion,”, as I took out my cell to call my husband (a few stores away in the mall) and continuing inside Motherhood, ensuring that all of my kids were directly in front of me and not anywhere near where the psychotic nutcase could grab them.

What makes the ‘having 4 children’ situation worse is that all of my kids are indeed boys.  For the record, it wouldn’t matter if they were all boys or all girls – the questions from friends, neighbors and complete strangers would be the same.  “Are you going to keep trying for a boy/girl?” “Wow, giving up yet?”, “Don’t you know what causes that by now?”, “Have you tried a different (sexual) position yet?” “Man, you must really like being on top / doggy style / in the shower / etc” or my personal favorite, “So, were you disappointed that this one was the same as all of the others?” – this last one usually said directly in front of my children.  That query always sends me into a blind rage, for many reasons: 1) How DARE they ask that in front of my kids, and possibly give them a guilt complex for something that could never, ever happen! 2) As if I could EVER be disappointed in ANY of my children’s existences – don’t project your own issues onto me!  3)  My last son was born extremely early in an emergency C-section, after I spent 21 days in the hospital (over the winter holidays, might I add) on lock down, flat on my back, allowed to sit up for only 5 mins at a time 3 times per day.  He was then in the NICU for 23 days himself, and had to have kidney surgery at 4 months….. and when he did, they discovered he was within about a week of losing the kidney permanently.  And no, you had no way of knowing that before you asked your inane question – WHICH IS EXACTLY WHY YOU SHOULD KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT.  All of my kids are miracles, but little J even more so, with all that he has battled and overcome.  The whole concept of “disappointed” doesn’t even exist for us. 4) “The same as all of the others”?  I am going to assume here that by “same” you mean “same sex” – but still, to equate one as interchangeable with the others completely invalidates who they are as individuals, including what they have accomplished and what or who they might yet become.  My children are NOT mass produced items – they each have their own specific likes, dislikes, fears and strengths – and to insinuate otherwise is one of the gravest insults imaginable to me……. But thanks for asking.     I realize that at this point, I am once again infusing this blog with anger and vitriol, and I apologize.

I wish I could say that my experiences were isolated incidents, but every one of my friends who have more than 3 children have all encountered the same prejudices, the same nosey questions, and the same ignorance.  One day, a few of us decided to bring the gaggle out to eat for lunch – 3 moms and 11 kids.  When the maître d’ asked us if we were escorting a school group (never mind that all of the kids were obviously different ages) we just laughed and said, “No, they are all ours.” Her response –  “Seriously?  On purpose???”  We just smiled at her.  Our waitress kept looking at all of the kids and then us, and finally worked up the nerve to say, “You’re brave to take so many of your kids’ friends out on play dates all at once.”  When we assured her they were all siblings, and all ours, she smiled at us as if we were playing a joke on her.  I don’t think she ever quite believed us.  However, the lady sitting one table away from us came over after her meal, leaned in between us moms, quietly handed us each a card for Planned Parenthood and said under her breath, “There are resources available to help women like you – you shouldn’t be ashamed to ask”  and walked away.  Unfortunately, you just can’t make this kind of stuff up…….. but MAN, did we have a great time laughing over the whole thing that day!

I guess, to answer Lainie’s original question, being the mom of 4 is more than just an extra round of diapers and bottles, more than the realization that your youngest will be graduating from high school and first starting his life when your oldest will be 30 and firmly established with (hopefully!) a family of his own, or that you will still be driving the mommy van long after the rest of your friends begin their second honeymoon…….  It is more than the struggle to decide which hand-me-downs need to be retired, which passed on, and when a child has just been drowned in too many clothes from others and truly deserves his own things, financial constraints aside……  it is yet one more round of Little People, Barney, sports games, art shows, musical concerts, science fairs and parent teacher conferences; it is one more body burrowing into your bed, shoving you out onto the floor;  it is one more teenager to roll their eyes at you, or argue that “everyone else has it / is doing it / is going!”; it is one more plea to stay up juuuuuuuuuust a little bit later and by the way, can you come read and snuggle with me?  It is one more set of handprints on the heart-shaped picture frame in your office; one more “I love my Mommy” present made in kindergarten and warped looking clay pot made in 4th grade.  It is one more set of arms ready to crush you close and whisper “Thanks, Mom” as you drive him and his girlfriend to the movies – and allow them to sit by themselves for the first time.  It is also 4 little (and eventually not so little) ones who depend on you to meet rudeness with a smile; disrespect with a gentle rejoinder; ignorance with information – and all of it delivered with a swift kick in the proverbial rear when needed.  Or maybe not so proverbial…… I’ll get back to you on that one.

Checklist on How To Raise A Fantastic Family

Hello, my name is Michael and I agreed to do this guest blog for Lainie.  I’m supposed to “shed insight on how to raise well-behaved, adorable children just like [my] 2 daughters w/ sparkling personalities & great heads on their shoulders.”  Here is my advice…

Before conception

  1. Maintain good health.
  2. Choose a mate with good health that is well-behaved and adorable, with a sparkling personality and a great head!
  3. Address any outstanding issues you have (developmental,   psychological, skill deficiencies, etc.) to maximize your worthiness as a parent.
  4. Address any relationship issues you have with your chosen mate.
  5. Decide with your chosen mate whether you both want to conceive a baby.  If you do, write down why, and proceed to the next step.
  6. Make sure the father is not exposed to any environment that might affect him or his sperm adversely.
  7. Talk through the most likely worst-case pregnancy and baby scenarios with your chosen mate, and write down your agreements.  (If something unfortunate happens, you   will already have some decisions made and will be better able to handle the   situation.  If everything turns   out fine, you will be extra thankful and appreciative.)

After conception, before birth

  1. Make sure the mother is not exposed to anything that might affect her or the fetus adversely.
  2. Make sure the mother visits the OB/GYN as recommended, and follow mainstream medical advice.
  3. Talk and sing to the fetus.
  4. Find out the sex of the fetus.  (This will help get you mentally  prepared, as raising a son has some different things to think about than   raising a daughter.)
  5. Agree on a baby a name with your mate.  (This will be half as hard if you wait until step 4 is done.)
  6. Pray for good health and 20 phalanges.  (It can’t hurt!)

After birth

  1. Make sure your baby (and the nursing mother, if applicable) is not exposed to anything adverse.
  2. Nourish your baby /toddler / child with food and love.
  3. Visit the pediatrician as recommended, and follow mainstream medical advice.
  4. Have lots of fun reading with, playing with, and spending  quality time with your baby / toddler /child.
  5. Lead by example.

Good luck!

Michael is 41, lives in Texas, and stepped on his daughter’s sewing needle the other day.

*  Editor’s Note:  If only it was this easy!  But common sense and a good sense of humor help a lot!

A Win By Default: Everyone Else is Seriously Flawed

Ahhhh, another Tuesday.  It’s a good thing I am not writing this week’s Bachelorette recap because I was disgusted with last night’s episode and wondering why I continue to watch the show.  Instead I am thrilled to be offering a heterosexual man’s point-of-view.

Ben Robinson was nearly considered to be nominated for a Webby for his groundbreaking Bachelor/ette/Pad recaps for TheKingsburyFactor.com. He’s 6-foot-1, tons of fun, and only tucks in his shirt at weddings. He also really likes your shoes today.

In week 3 of this Bachelorette season, I didn’t even know who Sean was. Now, I’m 100% certain he’s going to win. Here’s why.

Let me first say that I avoid spoilers like the plague, even though thanks to the Internet, spoilers are more communicative than said zoonotic disease that killed everyone. I don’t even read US Weekly covers during the season. And trust me, being a good boy and staring intently at the chewing gum section while waiting in line at the grocery checkout is really not that fun. Although those Trident Layers are pretty cool. So rest assured this is 100% untainted analysis, and all conclusions are derived from a combination of keen observation, recurring tendencies I’ve picked up on over my years of writing about the show, and a Magic 8-Ball I bought at a yard sale last weekend.

After this season’s first episode, I consulted on a Bachelorette office pool (they have those!) for a friend of mine. The idea was basically to distribute a set amount of points among the guys you thought were going to make it the most weeks into the show. I gave her an airtight Top 5 and told her to figure out how to actually award said points, because I can’t add. Right at the top of my list were Football Ryan and Arie, along with Doug because of that note he forced his kid to write under threat of no protein bars for dessert, and Nate, because he was handsome and Emily said he smelled good when he got out of the limo. For the fifth slot I tossed in One-F Jef, on a hunch I can barely even explain.

Obviously Nate was a weird mute who loved mispronouncing edible seeds beloved by healthy people, while dining in caves (“Is this keeen-ohhh-ahh?”), so that couldn’t have been more off-base. It was also very difficult to tell that Ryan was a sociopath with an overriding god complex as we watched him instruct children on the proper form for high-knees during sports warm-up drills. It’s really so much easier to pick which chick’s gonna win.

Notice that Sean is nowhere to be seen. My entire take on him after the first episode was “Sean: My only note, from when he got his rose, was ‘don’t remember him.'” Like I said, I didn’t even really notice him until week 3, when Emily’s oddly old, frighteningly horny “friend” Wendy forced him to strip and do push ups. But despite all that, and even though his early unremarkability probably cost me a friend because her me-guaranteed bracket has since gone bust, Sean’s winning this thing. And here’s why.

Let’s break him down:

Looks: Probably because I’m remarkably straight for someone who writes about the Bachelorette for fun, I’m not always the best at telling exactly how attractive women find men. But he seems to be at least handsome enough, and his Men’s Health, ex-college football player deltoids don’t hurt things. Let’s give him an 8, mainly for said deltoids.

Career: He sells insurance. 2.

Personality: Obviously not a “hey, look at me!!” kinda guy, which isn’t the worst thing in the world, especially since Emily wants to ensure everyone spends their time looking at her. At least somewhat intelligent. Quiet. Treats her how men from Texas who aren’t that possibly lobotomized dude from The Glass House tend to treat women. Easygoing; seems to get along with the other guys, which isn’t always the simplest thing. Very nice. Kinda boring. 6.

Father Potential: Claims he wants kids, but he also says literally everything right when he talks to Emily, so who knows. Sean is not a boat-rocker. He couldn’t rock a dinghy in the Perfect Storm. Seems even-keeled enough to be up to the challenge, especially with Lil’ Ricki, who you know Emily KNOWS she knows how to parent, and will not tolerate any alternative views on that, like, hey, “maybe we should get her a My Little Pony bedroom set instead of an elevated Persian bed with flowing drapery.” 7.

Intangibles: Played college football, yet is not Ryan. 9.

As I’m sure you notice, those numbers are ok but certainly not mind-blowing. And that doesn’t matter. Because when it comes down to it, this will be essentially a win by default. Everyone else is seriously flawed; Sean just happens to be less so. This is like Reagan v. Mondale, if Mondale was put up against a bunch of former or current fitness models and an Indy Car driver on a reality dating show. Sean, obviously, is Reagan, but less senile. The problems with everyone:

Jef: Ohhh, Jef. So yeah, Jef is probably not-straight. He compares children to vintage Chloe handbags and refuses to kiss Emily on highly romantic beaches. His hair takes four hours every morning to get so perfectly asymmetrically imperfect. He wears knee-high socks with shorts. His suits are way too nice. He’s very oddly good at puppeteering. He uses said puppets to tell Emily’s puppet that Jef’s puppet loves Emily’s puppet, because he is afraid of her, and probably not-straight. While I’m sure she already has a gay best friend, I can’t imagine Emily also wants a gay husband. God bless ya, though, Jef.

Arie: All season long, I’ve said Arie is going to go deep but won’t win. This is because Arie doesn’t want to win. He’s an insanely wealthy playboy race car driver who’s probably slept with as many women as Wilt Chamberlain slept with in August 1973, but that was like 700 women, so it’s pretty good. The whole sleeping with producers thing certainly didn’t help, but it did get him to a place even further along than he had been, with all the love talk she seemed to eat right up. But the fact is, he doesn’t want to be locked down at this point of his life; I always assumed his plan was to make it to the final two, then come up with some excuse to get out, so he can either 1) become the next Bachelor or 2) just go back to banging the daughters of the dudes on Dario Franchiti’s pit crew.

Chris: He’s younger than her and more than kinda losing his grip on the whole situation. His breakdown at the rose ceremony last night was more of a reason to cut him than to keep him, and I’m honestly not sure why she chose the latter. She seems to dig him for some odd reason but it’s just not happening; she can’t trust her kid with him and he’s not the smartest crayon in the shed. The advantage he has going into hometowns is he doesn’t really have to fight for her attention from here on out and keep freaking out like he likes to. Everyone gets an equal look, and he doesn’t even have to worry about even seeing the other dudes he hates so much the rest of the way. He kinda reminds me of Brad in certain ways, but you have to remember that Emily didn’t choose Brad, he chose her because she was the hottest, which she accepted because she saw the imminent value (i.e., ability to one day star on this very show) of the long con. There’s no point in conning this dude. Also, he’s kinda a spazzy loser

Which leaves Sean. Congrats, Sean! You’re just weeks away from being kinda-maybe-engaged to an admittedly knockout woman with possibly serious attention-craving issues and a daughter named after an I Love Lucy character. Now do some push ups.

Read Ben’s full recap of Episode 7 in Prague at http://www.thekingsburyfactor.com/2012/06/this-weeks-bachelorette-recap-because_26.html

Do you agree with Ben? 

Beat the Heat and Headaches in June’s Migraine Awareness Month

The summer is beginning to heat up and for many the change in weather can be a migraine trigger.  Approximately 30-million or more people in America suffer from migraines and spikes in heat have been found to be a prominent cause. As migraines affect seven percent of men, 18 percent of women and seven percent of children, it is important to know how to prevent and combat these sometimes, excruciating headaches to enjoy the summer to its full potential. In the spirit of National Migraine Awareness Month this June, we’d like to share some tips on how to beat the heat and those migraines as summer begins to sizzle:

  • Prevent overheating this summer by always staying hydrated. While water is always the best choice, drinks that are caffeine-free like lemonade are also helpful in off-setting a headache.
  • When spending time outside, balance time between shady and sunny areas.
  • Prevent migraines from lasting for hours by keeping a cold compress nearby to quickly treat the pain, and keeping it from lasting longer.
  • Try hats with broad brims that keep sun off your neck and upper chest and back as well as your face.
  • If you exercise outdoors or don’t have air conditioning, you may need to modify your exercise routine for the summer. Consider lower-impact exercise like swimming, walking and hiking to stay in control of your body temperature.
  • If you suffer from chronic migraines, consider keeping a migraine journal in order to learn what changes in your environment might trigger a migraine. The journal could be invaluable should you choose to seek treatment from a migraine specialist.

Although there’s no sure way to avoid every headache or migraine this summer, we can still take steps to minimize them and their impact. When we take care of ourselves, we can take full advantage of those long summer days with our friends and family.

Today’s Guest Blog post is written by Holly Ruma, Mother, Marathoner, Yoga instructor and President of IPC Medical Corp., the developer of the HeadCoolie. IPC Medical is a diversified personal care products and services company based out of  Massachusetts. The organization is committed to assisting with holistic healthcare by providing innovative solutions using only safe, all natural and chemical-free products.  The HeadCoolie is a unique reusable adjustable headband designed to provide non-chemical, non-prescription therapeutic relief for headaches of all kinds, including migraines.

ABC Bachelor Producers Should Have Consulted Me & Who’s In it To Win It

Today’s guest Bachelorette blog is written by my college friend Kerrie who is a huge fan of the entire Bachelor franchise and has faithfully watched every season (with the exception of one) since Season 2 of the Bachelor.  While she remains loyal to the show, her favorite Bachelor remains Andrew Firestone, and would like to send a special shout out to Bachelor Bob since he was by far the most entertaining one through the years.  Kerrie lives in Cape Cod with her husband, Alex, and their two boys, Quinn (age 5) and Nolan (almost 3).

I am a huge fan of the Bachelor. Yes, I even watch Bachelor Pad and I have stuck with the show during some pretty lackluster Bachelor choices (yes, I’m talking to you, Andy Baldwin).  I must admit none of the last three Bachelors/Bachelorettes would have been my top choice, and had the producers at ABC consulted me in advance, they could have rescued me and America from some rather tedious hours of television.  The show has suffered from featuring these relatively dull people who, quite frankly, are difficult to like and root for.  The last season really worth watching was the Jake and Vienna saga–now that was must-see TV.  They had such a volatile relationship and you never knew what would happen with those two crazy kids. Brad’s season (his second one—and why he was given a second chance is beyond me, but that’s a whole other story and a whole other blog post) held my interest, but then that led us into several seasons of boredom that have not come close to capturing the Bachelor and Bachelorette seasons of the past that I knew and loved.

That brings us to our current Bachelorette, Emily, who actually “won” Brad Wolmack’s season back in 2011.  If you can’t find love on national television the first time around, why not give it the old college try again?   We all loved Emily that season, but she’s not exactly a firecracker. Yes, Emily is sweet and pretty, and has that Southern belle charm, but, is it really necessary for a 26-year-old to wear so much make-up, not to mention implants and veneers to improve her appearance?  I have a really difficult time watching the show without thinking that she is a 38-year-old divorcee trying to reclaim her youth.  I am not sensing too many love connections, and she is really there just to find a husband. Not a soul mate, not someone she could grow old and happy with, but a husband and father for little Ricky, her young daughter whose father died before she was born.   While we are on the subject of Emily, can we talk about her obsession with sequins?  In my mind she wore no less than a dozen outfits with sequins tonight.  It’s as if she thinks she’s in a revival of “Dynasty.”

My husband has been a casual watcher of the show over the years (not necessarily by choice, but because I am such a devoted viewer), and he insists that there is no way that these 25 men would be so desperate to be married to Emily.  I agree with him that women tend to be more marriage-minded at a younger age than men, but while there are the fame seekers, some of these guys truly want to find love, and are there “for the right reasons.”   Obviously my husband is unmoved by the tears that commence when the men don’t receive a rose.

I like to wonder what would happen if we were in the “real” world and Emily were to meet these men on her own. Would she truly choose to go on dates with any of them if given the opportunity, or is she only doing so because she has a contractual obligation to ABC to see it through?   I can’t imagine a guy like Jef (yes, that’s Jef with one f) would have the courage to go up to her to ask her for a date, let alone have her consent to go out for drinks.  The only guys who she likely would go on a date with are Sean and Arie, who coincidently are the only two men who have any sort of chemistry with her.

Over many seasons of the Bachelor and Bachelorette, the group dates have somehow evolved from more “fun” excursions where the only real competition is vying for the most time with the Bachelor or Bachelorette, to a hard-core competition where the dominant alpha males prevail.  Yes, guys in real life also like to show off, but must ABC try to make the weaker men feel shamed?   Doesn’t anyone go to dinner and a movie anymore?  And I don’t mean seeing “Brave” in an absolutely blatant plug for Disney.  Shame on you, ABC!  As one of my fellow Bachelor-watchers commented, they are continually veering further and further into “Big Brother” territory with all these movie and product tie-ins.  And, was it me, or was the competition and movie more appropriate for Scotland than Croatia?  Perhaps they were supposed to film there and the plans somehow got sidetracked.

I must give Emily kudos for sticking to her guns and getting rid of two guys she was unsure of during the one-on-one-dates.  I know ABC was not too pleased since they have to figure out how they can make it to the last episode when she keeps getting rid of too many men, but I support her decision.  Both Travis and Ryan got sent packing after she realized they weren’t the ones, albeit for two very different reasons. Travis would make a wonderful husband to someone someday, and I have no doubt he will find a nice woman and have a dozen kids. Ryan, on the other hand, will continue to be an egotistical douchebag, and as time goes on and his looks wane, he will one day find himself bald, fat and alone in a saloon drinking a scotch at the end of the bar.  I am a little worried that it took Emily so long to see Ryan for what he truly was, and I still don’t think she will realize this fully until she sees the episodes air.  Did she not see his “wink?”  He is by no means an a#%hole on par with Wes or Bentley, but he’s as sketchy and skeevy as they get.  Ryan was “in it to win it” and I may have to start boycotting the show if he prevails on his desire to be the next Bachelor.

On to my favorite Bachelorette contestant of this season, Arie.  He is just absolutely adorable and truly seems to care about Emily.  Of all the men left, I think he would make a wonderful husband and father, and if Emily doesn’t realize this by the end, she doesn’t deserve him.  True, he does not have a son at home like Doug, but is that truly a way to build a relationship when the only thing you have in common is the fact that you both have children (and not with one another)?   In the beginning I was worried that the race car factor would be a negative, but they haven’t delved into that too much.  I have high hopes for Arie not only making it to the “final two,” but for him to be the next Bachelor if things don’t work out with Emily.  The last Bachelorette contestant I liked this much was Chris from Cape Cod, and two years later he is still a stand-up guy, and even though I was upset that he turned down being the next Bachelor, it showed his true character. Even though this season hasn’t brought any amazing moments, I am still looking forward to watching upcoming episodes to see who “wins” Emily’s heart. Will this finally be the season where a couple lasts beyond a year or two?   I know Trista and Ryan are quaking in their boots.

The Twin Connection

In elementary school, my friend Delia and I would write what we hoped would turn into “books” during our afterschool playdates.  Facebook put us back into each other’s lives as adults raising our own children.  I think its more than fitting to run a guest post written by Delia Hollerieth, 37 years old, married to Corrina with 3 small children: Devon (age 5), twins Braden and Maya (age 3), 8th grade language arts teacher for 14 yrs, lives in NJ.

Remember that old song “Ebony and Ivory” by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder back in the 80s?  Since our twins Braden and Maya were born three years ago, lines from that song have suddenly come back into our memories.

Although all three of our children are bi-racial and full siblings that I gave birth to with the help of donor sperm, we lovingly joke about it with our twins.  Braden is blond and blue-eyed, with very light skin.  His twin sister Maya has dark hair, eyes, and skin.  “They’re twins?”  “Are you sure?”  “Did you give birth to him, and your wife gave birth to her?  Cool, how’d you plan that?”  “Who’s adopted?”

The questions are endless, and we don’t blame people.  Not only are we an interracial same-sex couple, but we have three young kids who don’t necessarily look like they would be biological siblings. Despite their physical differences in terms of appearance, Braden and Maya have an unexplainable bond and ability to communicate with one another.

From the very beginning, they loved each other.  They still share a room, and we are actually dreading the impending separation.  Their big brother Devon has the other bedroom that he knows will soon be shared with Braden as the “boys’ room.”  Surely this will be a difficult transition, as Braden and Maya love to talk to each other in the middle of the night, sneak into each other’s beds, trade toys before they drift off, and get into trouble while they should be sleeping.  They have always had the comfort and security of knowing the other was just a few feet away.

In their infancy, they would babble, coo, and smile at each other.  Once they started moving around, they would always end up together.  Our daycare provider marveled at how,  when the twins were  six months old, they would roll around the floor and end up in the same area of her huge playroom, sharing a toy, happy as can be.  Now they are three years old, and even my wife and I are in awe when they fall asleep in the car in the exact same position:  left legs up, sucking their right thumbs, facing to the left.  While we see these behaviors in them daily, we are still amazed at how they do the same thing at the same time in the same manner.

Of course everyone has heard about that “twin connection” that all twins seem to have, and once our twins were born, we quickly learned that it absolutely does exist!  As many parents of twins will say, they have their own language, and we have only recently been getting better at understanding what they are saying.  When they were very young, only they were privy to the conversations they had.  Yet, they would laugh, ask questions of one another, and scold each other.   It was quite entertaining to watch.  Even their brother Devon, not quite two years their senior, would attempt to figure out what they were saying with only a little more success than the rest of us.  Side by side in their Exersaucers, they would jump up and down in perfect unison.  Now that we are in the potty training stage, they root each other on with each successful bathroom trip.  “Yay, Bray Bray…great job!” Maya will praise, clapping enthusiastically because Braden had perfect aim.  And when Maya did her business on the potty the other day, Braden rushed to get her a Dora “potty treat” as her reward and proudly handed it over to her.

This blog entry would not be complete if I didn’t also talk about the trouble they get into together.  “Double trouble” is the common phrase, and now I know why.  As I type this at 8:43 P.M., they should be in their beds sleeping; after all, they did have a busy day playing at the playground and going to a friend’s birthday party.  Instead, they are hopping into each other’s beds, dancing, singing, and trying on clothes.  My wife and I are taking turns going into their room to settle them down, which only lasts for a couple of minutes.  They don’t understand that we are watching them on the monitor, so when we are out of their sight, they get right back up, encouraging each other to start the mischief again.

The other day, they thought it was funny to decide to tell me that they will not clean up their toys.  Their big brother Devon dutifully cleaned up while watching out of the corner of his eye, wondering how Mommy would handle this one.  After nicely but firmly telling them that they have to clean up and them outright refusing (while smiling, mind you), they were placed in time outs on opposite sides of the house.  Somehow, and I honestly don’t know how, they managed to laugh and communicate with each other.  I firmly told them, separately (since they were on opposite sides of the house, remember!), that there is no talking in time out and that Mommy is not happy. Although they did clean up their toys when they came out of time out, they seemed to have made some sort of agreement about it with each other, something about not wanting Mommy to get too upset, perhaps.   I could just tell.

Sigh… I suppose that by being the exact same age and going through the various stages together, twins can’t help but to have a pretty solid and maybe even powerful bond.  I think that must be great, most of the time…always having a partner, side kick, other half.  Braden and Maya recently began pre-school, and the teachers and other parents have commented on how cute they are holding hands while walking into the school with their backpacks that are the same size as they are.  I’m thankful that they have each other to rely on, find comfort with, and play with.

As their parents, we know that as they get older, especially being opposite genders, they will grow apart to some extent and find their own friends, hobbies, and interests. They may not always “live together in perfect harmony,” but our wish for them is that their bond remains strong and that they will always know to look to each other for support and guidance.

& The Butterflies in My Stomach Drowned Everything Else Out

Prior to tying the knot on April 28, 2012 and moving to Boston, 2012, fellow publicist/friend Megan Kessler was my weekly Monday night date to watch The Bachelor franchise with, along with enjoying Chinese food and a good bottle of wine.  So I had to get this reality junkie’s take on this season’s Bachelorette.

Me & Megan on her wedding day

“If Rikki were baggage, she’d be a Chloe handbag”…

And if you were into Emily – or women for that matter – you wouldn’t have said that, Jef.

I’m not going to kick this off with the much-anticipated one-on-one date shared by Sean and Emily.  I think that date speaks for itself. If we could fast forward to the final proposal night, I think there are two guys who we all know will be there – Sean and Arie (or maybe Ryan, by some miracle, but Sean without a doubt).

So let’s get back to what was, by far, the most cringe-worthy date of the night – Emily and Jef.

Every season there is that one guy that just keeps hanging on for whatever perplexing reason.  This season, it’s Jef.  Sure, he’s a great dresser, easygoing, rocks a crazy faux-hawk, and looks kind of like one of those teen dreamboats from the ‘80’s movies, but there is absolutely NO chemistry between him and Emily.  And now, I think we all know why.  You have got to love how Emily just keeps telling Jef episode after episode that she thinks he’s “just not that into her.” It seems to me she’s so obsessed with the fact that he’s not fawning all over her that she’s missing the point:  this guy is NOT going to be the father of your kid, and he’s NOT going to have a million babies with you.  He might hang out with you and all your mom friends to gossip in park, go clothes shopping with you, and have “dance parties” with you and Rikki.

Now, that said, I can’t blame really blame Emily for wanting to have a conversation that’s actually interesting with one of her many suitors.  The rest of the crew has a shared vocabulary which seems to include only “Emily looks beautiful tonight,” “Emily is gorgeous,” and “I’m ready to be a dad.”  So, yeah, I can see why she might want to keep Jef around for his gift of gab.  But please, oh please, let’s not have any more make out sessions with these two!

Next up, Daddy Doug’s blabber mouth…  I’ve thought that Doug is a weirdo from day one, so I really enjoyed all of his murderous facial expressions as he kept getting ABSOLUTELY NO CREDIT from Emily for clueing her in to Kalon’s transgression.  She just kept saying over and over again “I can’t believe none of you told me what Kalon said – none of you stuck up for me!”  Meanwhile, we all watched as goody-two-shoes Doug blabbed the entire thing to her – and confronted Kalon before he did it.  I have to give Doug credit, though.  I must have taken a lot of will not to “remind” her that she’d still be in the dark if not for him.  I was practically yelling this at the TV screen last night.  Not that I’d want to see her with Doug anyway – but seriously, this guy just keeps getting screwed over.   I guess he did get the first rose, though, so that was Emily’s not-so-subtle way of thanking him.

On the same note, Arie being last to get a rose definitely got Emily’s point across that not even the most smoldering of kisses will make up for him being a lame duck during her Kalon confrontation.  I’m on Arie’s side on this one, though.  If I’m in the middle of yelling at someone, I’d prefer that my man stay out of it and just agree with me later that I’m not crazy and I had every right to totally flip out.  I wouldn’t want – or need, for that matter – for him to jump into my argument and say threatening things.  I guess that’s what Emily wants, though, so maybe she should go for Chris, who won’t “stand down” to anyone, especially not Daddy Doug.

As for Sean, I think we can all agree that he’s just about the most adorable man on the planet.  I couldn’t get enough of his and Emily’s make-out session before the rose ceremony. I actually don’t even remember what they were talking about – the “butterflies in my heart” drowned everything else out.

And I’ve never said that before…seriously!

Author Sarah Pekkanen Gives a Behind-the-Scenes of Her Book Trailer & Highlights The Power of Women’s Friendships

When I implemented weekly Wednesday guest blog posts, never in a million years did I ever expect an internationally bestselling author who I’ve read and admire would happily contribute a personally written post for MY blog.  And I might add that we made the arrangements directly through Facebook, not through her publicist, agent or manager.  (There’s a story right there about how social media has changed all types of relationships and makes them more personal and profound)

I must say that Sarah Pekkanen is so in touch with her fans.  Not only does she have a Facebook page where she interacts with her readers, but she offered personalized book plates before the release of her most recent book These Girls.

Sarah Pekkanen is the internationally bestselling author of The Opposite of Me, Skipping a Beat, and These Girls. Her work has been published in People, The Washington Post, and USA TODAY, among other publications. She lives with her husband and three sons (Jack, Will and Dylan) in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

For my first two novels, I hired professionals to create book trailers – and I was thrilled with the results. I loved the idea of using mini-movies to help spread the word about my books, and I heard from readers that they enjoyed viewing them as well.

But as my publication date for THESE GIRLS approached, I decided against filming another trailer for a variety of reasons – mostly because I wanted to try something different to gauge its effectiveness in attracting new readers.

Right after making that decision, I stopped by a cocktail party thrown by my hometown’s magazine and began chatting with the young videographer who creates content for the magazine’s website. Book trailers were on my mind, so I brought them up, and told her about ones I’d seen that I particularly liked (I’m talking to you, Julie Klam!) Then something strange happened; a fully formed idea for a book trailer lit up my mind.

“Do you remember at the end of the movie ‘When Harry Met Sally,’ when all the married couples talked about how they met?” I asked the videographer.

“Sure,”she said.

“My new book centers around three women who end up sharing an apartment in New York City, and become best friends,” I said. “Wouldn’t it be cool to find real-life best friends and interview them about how they met? And model a book trailer after those ‘When Harry Met Sally’ outtakes?”

“Yes!”she said. “And I can help.”

A few weeks later, I’d located more than a dozen sets of best friends – pairs of women as old as 93, and girls as young as 10 – who shared incredible bonds. I drove around town in my minivan with Emma the videographer riding shotgun, and we knocked on the doors of these women, who welcomed us into their homes and opened up their hearts. Some friends wiped away tears as they talked about the tough times they’d helped each another through (divorce, death of a parent, bankruptcy); others pairs of pals couldn’t stop laughing. They interrupted one another to fill in missing details, finished each other’s stories, and filled up their wine glasses and toasted to all of the adventures they’d shared. More than once, I had to pause before asking my next question because I was wiping away tears of my own.

The experience was incredible, and left me with a new appreciation for the power of women’s friendships. We shot hours and hours of raw footage and turned it into a 3-minute trailer for THESE GIRLS.

I’ve also asked the videographer for one final thing: to create a DVD for each of the women we interviewed that includes both the finished trailer as well as their full interview. I’m also planning to give all of these best friends bottles of wine to open while they watch their personalized DVDs. I’m hoping they’ll raise their glasses and toast to all of the adventures their futures hold.

Thanks again, Sarah!  You’ve raised the bar high for future guest bloggers.

The Guys Versus Themselves Versus Bachelorette Emily, and Why Ryan Needs To Go NOW

On Monday nights, not only do I watch my guilty pleasure, The Bachelorette, but I simultaneously participate in a Facebook Bachelorette “thread” organized by a college friend’s brother.  Mary-Alice, one of the thread participants, who makes such insightful, and often snarky comments on the thread, is recapping her feelings—without holding anything back– on last night’s episode of The Bachelorette in Bermuda.

Mary-Alice Farina is a former academic who watches the Bachelor franchise nonetheless. She writes for a small Internet publishing company, and is also pursuing a fledgling acting career. She loves to tweet and you should follow her at ‏@mafalicious.

This season has already seen more male tears and near fights than any other in recent years… and we’re just getting warmed up. Chalk it up to the months (possibly even years) of anticipation these guys have endured to meet Emily Maynard, the striking beauty with an adorable personality. She is the legendary fairy tale princess of reality television: beautiful, kind, rich (the late father of her child was NASCAR royalty), and somewhat ensnared by the tragic hand of cards she was dealt.

Enter her would be Prince Charmings.  Since day one, they have understood how high the stakes are. They have understood that megababes like Emily don’t usually have sweet personalities made wise by tragic pasts. They have understood that there can only be one victor, and that the losers aren’t losing an average girl.  Emilys are not a dime a dozen.

So the warring factions have formed. Young versus old, naïve versus mature, fathers versus non-fathers, muscle-heads versus “dainty boys”(as one particularly nauseating contestant, Ryan, once remarked). So far, Emily seems to prefer the dainty boy-father-mature intersection of these cadres.

This weeks’ episode of The Bachelorette opens to an exciting announcement by Chris Harrison. “Pack your bags boys, plane leaves in 2 hours for your journey around the world!”

Emily awaits the muscle-bound gaggle in Bermuda, and we’re suddenly whisked away to the Caribbean and inundated with idyllic images of her and little Ricky, twirling around on hills in the sun.

Dramatic motorcycle sound effects and hell-raising music establish the mood for the guys’ big entrance. We finally see them on a pack of… mopeds. Ok, so they’re not quite as dangerous as they sounded.

After they settle into their palatial beachfront digs, Arie reads off the first date card. It’s Doug, and Emily says “Let our senses lead the way.”

Mushroom farmer Alejandro is getting nervous. He hasn’t had a one-on-one date with Emily yet and he’s anxious to get to know her.

Arie wants “the football team to disband, get down to the real stuff, not the bromance.”

The guys start teasing Doug a bit, and in his typically hypersensitive way (remember the poolside confrontation with Kalon?) Doug gets annoyed by Arie’s teasing and says “just let it go, bro, seriously.” He seems close to getting in Arie’s face when Emily enters.

She can tell something is awry: “I walk into the room and I feel tension. It was just a weird vibe. Everyone was really serious.”

We cut to Arie’s confessional again after Emily whisks Doug out of the room. “Doug was like the Hulk. ‘Doug angry, Doug smash! Doug sad,’” he jokes.

Emily waxes effusive for Doug in her voiceover as the date begins, the couple strolling arm in arm throughout the town. “He is so nice and so good-looking. I don’t think there is anyone I’d rather spend the day with.  We have such a connection, with him being a father. We get each other. He’s so positive, the conversation’s easy.”

Doug, the 33-year-old father of son Austin, just seems to get more and more perfect. His parenting philosophy? “I wanted to show him that one person could change the world so I started a charity to show him (son Austin).” Emily shakes her head in disbelief. “Of course you did,” she marvels.

Wary Emily, unlike so many stars of this show in the past, gets right to the tough questions. As she grills Doug, seemingly hoping to drudge up some dirt, the best he can do is to say his ex-girlfriend didn’t like how much time he spent with his son and that he didn’t wash her car enough.  Emily was extremely skeptical of this, insisting he must have more obvious flaws than that. When he turns the tables and asks her the same thing, all she can say is “I don’t work out and sometimes I wear my pajamas to the store.” She realizes that being put on the spot that way is nerve-wracking. He does admit, to her satisfaction, “you actually caught me getting grouchy. I had just scolded them all!” Emily mentions being happy he felt comfortable enough to tell her that.

Twenty minutes in, the group date card arrives: Charlie, Ryan, Chris, Jeff, Sean, Arie, Travis and Kalon will be on this epically huge group date.

We cut back to the date with Emily and Doug. “I have not kissed a girl in months and months. I move pretty slow. I don’t ever make the first move. Ever.” A strange moment of inaction follows, and we have to imagine this is a foreshadowing of her eventual dissatisfaction with his hesitation.

It’s hard to get a good read on Doug. On the one hand, he is sweet, humble, devoted and altruistic. On the other hand, we’ve seen very off-putting flashes of temper brought about by what seems to be an extreme over-sensitivity.

The group date turns out to be a farce: the guys have to break into two teams and  race in sailboats to win a chance to spend the day with Emily.

Twenty minutes in, the group date card arrives: Charlie,Ryan, Chris, Jeff, Sean, Arie, Travis and Kalon will be on this epically hugegroup date.

We cut back to the date with Emily and Doug. “I have not kissed a girl in months and months. I move pretty slow. I don’t ever make the first move. Ever.” A strange moment of inaction follows, and we have to imagine this is a foreshadowing of her eventual dissatisfaction with his hesitation.

It’s hard to get a good read on Doug. On the one hand, he is sweet, humble, devoted and altruistic. On the other hand, we’ve seen very off-putting flashes of temper brought about by what seems to be an extreme over-sensitivity.

The group date turns out to be a farce: the guys have to break into two teams and race in sailboats to win a chance to spend the day with Emily.

Emily, watching, admits “To be honest, I hate watching guys compete for me…”  When the yellow team wins, Charlie and Sean are devastated.  The guys may even be shedding a tear or two. Emily notices. “It was hard for me to celebrate with the yellow team because the red team looked so sad,” she says.

As the red team drinks some victory champagne with Emily, Ryan puts his foot in his mouth, referring to Emily as a “beautiful trophy(possibly wife).” Emily is not amused, but ever graceful, plays it off.

She takes a couple of the guys onto the beach for some private time. Arie is first, establishing himself as well ahead of the pack in terms of private time spent with Emily. “I missed you,” he says softly, followed by a slightly awkward kiss. In confessional he admits (in a non-annoying way, we thought) “I’m so confident by what I have with Emily that I’m not threatened at all by anyone in he house.”

Jef is next to go to the beach with Emily. We hear him in an interview getting more nervous. “I want to matter to her, to mean something.”

Emily wants a kiss at the end of their beach time, but Jef is clearly stalling. He’s contemplating it, but resists the urge. Still, his sincerity is endearing.

Ryan gets some alone time next, and proceeds to alienate 50%of his female audience (and possibly Emily) with a narcissistic speech that rivals last season’s Bentley. He claims to have “a very mature approach to relationships. I’m not here to impress you but to make an impression on you.”  When she gets into her “tough question” mode, he interrupts her, hung up on the idea of how pretty their children would be. We’d have pretty kids,” he repeats at least 4 times, impressing upon us his utter narcissism. As if it weren’t despicable enough that he keeps repeating how good-looking, athletic and special he finds himself, he seems to be more concerned with using Emily as a tool to promulgate his superior genes than getting to know her. He is compelled to put her down, saying “at least you’re smart enough to know you’re not necessarily worthy of this attention just because you’re here. So why are you worthy?”

I was shuddering so much after that last line that I nearly lost my dinner. And unbelievably – Ryan actually gets worse.

Emily isn’t falling for it, thank God: “I feel like he’s judging me,” she says as she expresses her general wariness.

Emily gives Jef the group date rose, which Ryan sees as directly relating to their conversation. He actually thinks that Emily made this decision based on him, and calls it a “safe move,” because she knew giving it to Arie would upset him.

We move next to a double date with John and Nate in a cool cave. But Emily can’t help but admitting that it’s “just really awkward all around.”

The music shuts off, you can hear a pin drop. Jake talks about his family and gets choked up. She ultimately lets Jake go in favor of John, citing John’s seeming maturity and confidence as a reason to favor their chances.

With 45 minutes remaining, the dates are over and it’s cocktail hour. We catch a glimpse of Emily and Ricki going over Ricki’s lessons, as it seems the little one has a tutor for her studies on the road.

Alejandro still hasn’t had a date this week and feels he hasn’t had any opportunity to show Emily who he is.

It’s cocktail hour and Ryan has stolen Emily again. Foreboding thunder claps (the producers clearly want us to hate this guy, as they should) as Ryan and Emily talk. Arie takes the chance and interrupts Ryan’s private time, urged on by the other guys.

When Arie steps in, Ryan takes it in stride but in his narcissistic way, assumes it’s out of insecurity and jealousy rather than to keep Emily away from a douchebag (Arie’s admitted motivation).

Ryan then, in private fireside conversation, makes the ultimate reality dating show misstep: he reveals to one of the other guys that is “involved in media back home” and that he’d like this to be a career-making fame-booster. In his testimonials he fancies himself on a journey of which Emily is just a small stepping stone. “I like Emily,” he says, “but to be perfectly honest, I feel called to something bigger.”

Doug and Ryan bond in a transparently insecure way about their “security” in their age and their “maturity.”

Chris, the 25-year old kettle that is ready to boil over, takes Emily outside to make it clear to her that he is ready to be a father and he is mature… He inexplicably seems to feel that Doug is his threat.

He then cites a commitment to “being real” when he takes Doug outside to spout utter nonsense at him. Chris, stammering to Doug: “You’re just… over the top humble! I just don’t believe you. The way you act the way you … ARE! Just pisses me off!” Chris is not making a great case for his maturity.

Emily sits down to speak with the other Chris, host Chris.  She rightfully points out that Doug and Ryan seem to start the drama. She’s as giddy as a schoolgirl when Chris brings up Arie… and she admits it. Emily’s spidey sense is tingling in regards to Ryan (thank God!). She says “he seems to think he’s got me wrapped around his finger, but I’m onto him.”

Head injury Charlie does not receive a rose, which comes as something of a surprise. Pony tail Michael also goes home. Both cry, sending the tally of criers who went home this week up to 4. And proving once again that beauty makes people cry, and that beautiful Emily does not seem terribly attracted to more emotive men.

We get a preview of next week when someone allegedly makes a comment about little Ricki being “baggage.” Emily loses her temper, becoming so angry that she swears and elaborates gory violent fantasies. We can only hope the idiot in question is loose-lipped Ryan revealing his true colors, and that he goes home as a result.

The Silent Ranks

It’s Fleet Week here in New York City.  Since I don’t know anyone in the Navy, I did the next most logical choice for this week’s guest post.  I enlisted fellow college alumni Tracey Koast to provide a glimpse into the life of a military family.

Tracey describes herself as “a Jersey girl who has been happily married to an Army Soldier for the past six years. HOOAH! She is blessed with a daughter and son who she loves to pieces even though they drive her nuts. Tracey currently resides in West Point, NY.”  She is also a die-hard Bon Jovi fan.  Tracey blogs at My Life Needs An Easy Button about her “observations, successes, and failures about parenting, military life and anything else I encounter.”

Being a military family is like being a part of a secret society — a special language, an unusually strong common bond, and very few members. Less than 1 percent of Americans are in our military with a little over half being married. 1 That’s a mere 880,000 of the over 323 million Americans living in our country today.2 Among that small community there is pride, sacrifice and strength that few outsiders will every know.

As a military wife and mother to two small children with a deployed spouse, I frequently hear the phrase “I don’t know how you do it.” The funny thing is, I hear that not just from civilians, but also from fellow military spouses who have been there themselves or soon will be. To be honest, most days I don’t know how I do it. It’s not an easy life. Relocating over and over again doesn’t just mean packing up your things and fitting them into a new house. It’s making that house a home, again. Saying goodbye to your friends who have become family and finding new ones, not just for yourself, but for your kids. Possibly leaving a job and/or a volunteer position that you loved. Learning the ins and outs of the new post. Heck, possibly some new acronyms just in case the rest wasn’t enough to keep you on your toes! Having a deployed spouse adds even more to the mix of emotions. I’m overwhelmingly proud of my husband, what he stands for, and all that he does. I’m sad more often than not that he’s missing our son’s milestones – walking for the first time, learning to throw a ball, even his first ear infection. It hurts my heart to know he’s missing every moment, big or small. I’m driven crazy with no husband to relieve me at dinnertime or even to run out for a hair cut. “Mom, I need this. Mom, I need that.” Dirty diapers. Homework. Dance class. Soccer practice. PTO meetings. Spouses’ club events. Laundry. Food shopping. Life.
But here’s where being a military family pays itself tenfold. People who I barely know, neighbors who have known me less than a month, will do just about anything for me. They offer fresh cookies straight from the oven to me and the movers as I arrive to yet another post. They baby sit on a moments notice. They go running down the street, 7 months pregnant to see if anyone has Pedialyte because my little girl is sick. They sleep at your house, leaving their own husband and family at home, and take you to the hospital in the middle of the night to deliver another military brat because your husband isn’t home. And every single one of them knows I would do the same. As proud of I am of my man in uniform, I am equally as proud of the women, men, and children who stand by their husbands, wives, partners, fathers, and mothers. We are a group like no other. We stand tall. We stand strong. We are the silent ranks.

The Silent Ranks

Author: Unknown

I wear no uniforms, no blues or army greens

But I am in the Army in the ranks rarely seen

I have no rank upon my shoulders – salutes I do not give

But the military world is the place where I live

I’m not in the chain of command, orders I do not get

But my husband is the one who does, this I can not forget

I’m not the one who fires the weapon, who puts my life on the line

But my job is just as tough. I’m the one that’s left behind

My husband is a patriot, a brave and prideful man

And the call to serve his country not all can understand

Behind the lines I see the things needed to keep this country free

My husband makes the sacrifice, but so do our kids and me

I love the man I married, Soldiering is his life

But I stand among the silent ranks known as the Army Wife

1 http://www.defense.gov/home/features/2011/0111_initiative/strengthening_our_military_january_2011.pdf 2 http://www.census.gov/main/www/popclock.html

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