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You Can’t Take That Away From Me

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 We were robbed.

I mean that in the literal sense. Not in the idiomatic “We were robbed” after one’s favorite team has lost (yes, FSU, I’m talking to you).

I mean our home, Happy Monkey Land itself, was broken into, searched, and had things removed from it. Someone we do not know smashed a window, crawled through, slinked through our safe haven, rifled through our drawers, and took our THINGS.

I know we were lucky.

We could have been home. But, we weren’t. We were at our respective schools.

We could have walked in on the offender. But, we didn’t. We came home to discover the broken carport door window, well after the event.

We could have walked in to find everything we own had been loaded into a truck and carried away. But, we didn’t. We are missing only the electronics the offender could load into the backpack he found in my room and carry out with him.

The Wii, the games, the girl child’s DS, my camera, and yes – even my laptop – can all be replaced. The THINGS can be replaced. But, yet, I mourn.

I mourn that someone, some criminal, touched my things. I am tempted to burn all the panties that had been in my top drawer, but were carelessly tossed to the floor, all because he touched them whilst looking for hidden gems. (Thank you, Mr. Burglar, for leaving my vintage silver jewelry collection)

I mourn the pictures “saved” in my laptop. Pictures of our past two and a half years. Pictures of birthdays and special events and field trips. Pictures of our vacation this summer to Washington and New York. Pictures from the vacation my former love and I took with our children. That amazing week on the beach. Not that I looked at those images from that summer. I didn’t. Why dwell? Those pictures were tucked away in their own little folder, but they were there. Visual proof of what we once were to each other. And while I no longer mourn the loss of the relationship, the fact that I no longer have that proof, that data, that EVIDENCE, has hit me harder than I ever could have imagined. It is as if it never happened. I have lost them all over again.

But, mostly, I mourn the loss of The Monkeys’ sense of security in their home.

The Girl Child didn’t want to sleep in her own room last night because the offender was in there. He took her DS from off her bed. She made sure I not only reported the DS as being gone, but also its Hello Kitty case. She counted all her American Girl dolls and has proclaimed them all present and accounted for. She wants to inventory the “buddies” on her bed, just in case some rogue stuffed-animal-thief comes and takes THEM, she’ll know what is missing. You, my dear baby girl, know what is important in life.

The Middle Monkey is quieter than usual, none of the trademark arguing with his sister. He quickly ran upstairs to count his books, and check to see if the Kindle and HIS DS were there (everything was, the boys’ rooms were unscathed). He will randomly come up to me and hug me and say, “I hate burglars.” It’s happened about 10 times since yesterday. I understand, baby. Really, I do. So do I.

Monkey #1 has taken it upon himself to be The Man of the House. He has been updating me on the value of all the missing items, especially the missing games, “so we get the right amount back.” He allowed his little sister to sleep on his futon last night, even though what he really wanted was to be left alone. When I came out of my room this morning to let the dogs out, he was standing in his doorway, holding the dowel that keeps his window shut, standing guard. “Just let anyone try to come in.” He has spent the day with his Nerf gun always by his side, threatening to “shoot in the brain anyone who tries to hurt my brother or sister.” My sweet little man. Excuse me. My sweet almost-full-grown-man-who-shouldn’t-have-to-feel-the-weight-of-the-world-on-his-very-narrow-shoulders.

We all took the day off from school today, The Monkeys and I. A day to clean-up and call insurance and make lists of missing items. But, most importantly, a day to heal and cuddle and to try feel comfortable in our own skins again. A day to reclaim Happy Monkey Land as our own.

So, Mr. Burglar, you may have broken our door. You may have taken our things. You may have pawned them for a quick buck. But, Mr. Burglar, you will NEVER take our love for one another. For, you see, we are the Mighty Monkeys of Happy Monkey Land, and no matter what happens to us, no matter what is taken, we will ALWAYS have each other.

No, no. You CAN’T take that away from us.

Not now.

Not ever.

An Unexpected Love

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Duffey was always in the middle of everything.  Every Christmas I would have picture of him buried in wrapping paper.

Duffey was always in the middle of everything. Every Christmas I would have picture of him buried in wrapping paper.

via Daily Prompt: I Want to Know What Love Is.

Some of the most amazing relationships in my life have come about when I wasn’t looking for one to happen.  The night I met the Monkey Daddy.  My former love.

Such a happy dog...

Such a happy dog..

My first baby…

No.  I didn’t have a child I haven’t talked about before.  This baby wasn’t a “human” child.  He was a furry one.  A VERY furry one.

He was a dog.  Duffey.

The day I found Duffey (or I should probably say, he found me), I wasn’t expecting to fall in love.  I was just looking at the puppies.  And then he looked up at me from out of his cage with his silly little grin and that right ear flopped over his head – and his chocolate-brown eyes locked with mine – and I was lost.

I actually walked out of the store, got into the car, and started driving away.  Then the tears came.  I knew I couldn’t leave him.  He was mine.  So, I turned around and walked back in and didn’t leave again until that 11 pound 11 week old collie/shepherd mix was with me.

He was the sweetest dog.  Always happy.  Playful.  A tiny bit mischievous.  And BIG.  85 pounds of love.

Duffey was in my life before The Monkey Daddy.  Before any of the Three Monkeys.  But, Duffey welcomed each one of them into our lives like they were meant to be there.  He was so good with the Monkeys.  They crawled on him.  Used him as a back rest.  Fed him from their high chairs.  Every night we would hear him make his rounds into each of the children’s rooms – checking on them – making sure they were safe.

The Girl Monkey with her two best friends, Duffey and Kitty Kat (the rabbit)

The Girl Monkey with her two best friends, Duffey and Kitty Kat (the rabbit)

His bond with The Girl Child was the strongest.  She loved him almost as much as me or her father or her brothers or even her beloved Kitty Kat (her lovey…yes it is a rabbit – long story).

I knew he wouldn’t be around forever.  After he turned 10, I pretty much considered every additional month with him a gift.  After he turned 13, he started aging more rapidly.  Within 6 months he lost most of his hearing, had doggy dementia, became incontinent, walking became harder.  I stopped letting him go up and down the stairs.  In this same time period, my marriage was coming to an end.  I couldn’t bear the thought of losing Duffey, too.  But it was coming – faster and faster.

Then came the day when he could not stand.  At all.  Not even with help.  He wouldn’t eat.  He barely drank.  And I knew it was time for us all to say our final good-byes and with love let Duffey go.  It was the day before Monkey #1 was to come back from his trip to France with his grandmother.  So I had to make the agonizing decision to either wait until #1 came back, or have him not be able to say good-bye to his beloved dog.  I decided to wait until he came home.

I still miss him.  And I swear, even four years later, I still find some of his long hair in corners of closets.  (Every summer he would blow that double coat – and we would be knee-deep in fur. )  I know that dogs like him don’t come along every day.

It has taken me four years, but I think I am ready to enter into a new furry romance.  Ironically, it has taken me longer to feel ready to “replace” Duffey than The Monkey Daddy… Please don’t take offense to that when you read that, Monkey Daddy!  🙂

The Monkeys and I have been searching for the perfect rescue dog, and we think we might have found it.  Her picture stirred the same feelings in me like I had with Duffey,  Something is pulling me to her.  We will meet her for the first time next weekend.  We are all nervous.  We want it to go well, but we also all know that we can’t let pure emotion rule this decision.   With any luck this furry baby will be with us for a long time, and we have to make sure she will make a good addition to our family.

Of course, the last time I was in this position, I did let my heart rule my head – and look how beautifully that turned out.

Maybe this will be just as grand.

Monkey #1 and Duffey

Monkey #1 and Duffey

The Middle Monkey with his favorite pillow

The Middle Monkey with his favorite pillow

I’ve Got a Bad Case of Mommy Guilt

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I have been a working mother the whole time I have been a mother.  My ex-husband is an actor (incredibly talented – and finally getting some long-awaited recognition), so our family needed the steady income…not to mention the health insurance.  He did (and still does) a great job of caring for them.  And now that my mother is retired, she certainly picks up a lot of the slack.  But they aren’t ME.  They aren’t the MOMMY.  So, I am used to having a small amount of Mommy Guilt  – not too bad since I have been fortunate enough to have The Monkeys attend the elementary school where I teach.

Today, though, I have really felt it.

The Boy Monkeys are both sick.  Really sick.  It started with Monkey #1.  He missed school Monday (and Tuesday).  Bad cough and fever.  Poor thing had to miss an overnight field trip with his middle school “team.”  But, luckily his father didn’t have a job yesterday and took good care of him.  I felt some guilt at not being able to be with him – but it was manageable.  Today, it was Monkey #2 to get sick.  Another bad cough.  And whenever he gets sick, it flips into his lungs.  Again, their father was able to care for them…but it wasn’t ME.

I feel as if I chose school over my Monkeys.

Now, I am not one of those women who feels like I am the only one who can take care of my children.  I know that their father can be a very nurturing parent – and he will cater to their every while-they-are-sick whims.  But, I can’t help but feel like I chose to take care of 31 other parents’ children instead of my own.

I know the Monkeys don’t feel that way.  I know they know I am always there for them – and if not physically, definitely emotionally.  I know The Boy Monkeys are probably not sitting at their father’s saying, “I want my mommy.”

Maybe the problem is that I wish they WERE.  Maybe I wish they were saying, “Hey, Mom, please come take care of us like only you can.”

So, this Mommy Guilt I am feeling is the WORST kind… self-imposed.  No one else is making me feel guilty.  I am.  If it were coming from someone else, I would get angry.  But, from inside, it becomes all I can think about.  It becomes hard to do everything else I need to do when all I really want to do is go take care of my Sick Little Monkeys.  I worry about them, because I can’t see for myself how they are doing.

This is when reality and my own mind have an epic battle and I have to just let reality win.  But, that is really hard for me.  REALLY hard.

Poor Little Monkeys.  Poor Mommy Monkey.

Daily Prompt: Deja Vu.

 

It’s a Matter of Trust


Monkey # 1 is fascinated with the fact I am blogging.  He actually has said, “I can’t believe my mom has a blog!  How cool!”  Nice to know I am still considered cool by my almost 13-year-old.  I know the end is near for that.

The other night he came to me and told me he wanted to start one as well.  Being the ultimate cool mom, I set him up with one.

Today he is working on his first post.  He came to me for some “technical advice.”  I showed him what he needed.  Then I asked him what the theme of his blog would be.  He simply replied, “Life.  My thoughts.  You know.  Stuff.”  Before he left my room, I said to him, “When you have posted it, let me know.  I’d like to follow it.”

He just nodded his head in his little Asperger-y way and said, “Ok.”  And he turned to leave.

It made me think about why I started this blog.  I started it to get some things out of my mind.   I started it to throw private thoughts out in to the universe.  And I know there are some things that I have posted that are “personal.”  Things that I wouldn’t want to censor, just because of who might be reading.  So, I rethought my statement.

I called him back to me and said, “Scratch that.  I trust you.  You can share with me what you want to share.  And if you don’t, that’s ok.”

I realize that most parents of teenagers would question my sanity.  And believe me when I say I doubt mine every day.  But, like with most things I do, I have a pretty good reason.  In this case it is his Asperger’s.  This kid isn’t like most just about to be teens.  He is an old soul.  And because of the Asperger’s, he is incredibly rules bound.  And he tells the truth – always.  And I know that if I set parameters for him, he will follow them.  This is the kid who has been known to walk up to kids at school that he has heard using very inappropriate language for a middle schooler, and inform them thusly.   Which then creates a new rule, “Leave things like that to the grown-ups.”   But, that is another story.

Of course, I know his password, and I can log in at any time to check up on him, but I would never do that with out just cause and with out his knowing.   I don’t want to be that sneaky mom.  The stalker mom.   It is a matter of trust.

As he enters into his teen years, there will be many times when it will come down to a matter of trust.  My trust of him – and ultimately his trust of ME.   But, I like to think that as he has grown, neither of us has done anything that would prove to be UN-trustworthy.  I am trying to raise The Monkeys to have good heads on their shoulders.  I realize things might be very different the other two – especially the Girl Monkey… I envision her teenage years are going to be hell.  Somewhere in the back of her closet, she most likely already has the beginnings of a hand-made rope ladder for when she sneaks out at night to go hang out with her friends.  I can read that little girl like a book.

For now, I welcome my sweet boy to the world of blogging.  I fully trust he will find it as enjoyable an experience as mine.

Thanks.