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To the two ladies who sat next to us at the beach today. I owe you both a beer. Or 7…
Sorry I scared you. I’m sure the last thing you came to the beach for was to watch the lunatic woman next to you retching uncontrollably. Sorry I yelled too but I was getting frustrated that everyone was panicking and asking me questions that I physically couldn’t answer unless the only answer they were looking for was “huaaaaaaargghhhh ::pant pant::HUARRRRGGHHHHHH! I do love knowing that they worry about me though. I’m usually pretty confident that my kids wouldn’t piss on me if I was on fire.

I’m also sorry that my kids are assholes. They aren’t at the age where bickering is cute anymore and much to all our dismay, beating them isn’t socially acceptable. Amazing as it may seem, it was easier when they were toddlers. The initial set up at the beach is not unlike the melee that happens when all 10 of us are seated in a restaurant.  Depending on the degree of the magnetic pull based on the current lunar cycle, the tilt of the earth on its axle and the mood of a few key players in my house, the arranging can go as slick as Anthony Weiners well….you know. Or it can be more traumatizing than a my daughters watching Kanye dis T Swift on live tv.

Today was a Kanye/TSwift kind of day. There was a large audience, differing opinions, a few tears, some swear words…all very dramatic.

But at least we aren’t like the family sitting on the other side of me. Douche canoe  dad of the year award goes to the toolbag who tossed his screaming daughter into that water in hopes of making her see just how fun it really is. Imagine being about 5 years old, freshly spackled in 900+ sunscreen and innocently digging to China with a plastic spoon, when suddenly you’re being helplessly thrown into shockingly cold, tumultuous water that may or may not be infested with the spawn of Sharknado. The water is dark. You can’t see your feet and your father is laughing maniacally at you while splashing what you swear is salty acid in your face screaming ISINT THIS FUN???!!!!! No wonder the poor kids screaming brought the lifeguard over to inquire. In fact you ladies left over an hour ago and that kid is still sobbing and most likely scarred for life.  Should that father get stung by a jelly today, there will be a LONG line of people more than happy to pee on him…in fact I should probably drink some more water.

Where were we….oh yes..assholes….teenagers…pre-teens and tweens…you name it. I got it…kinda like Pamela Anderson and STDs.
It was easier when they were babies, I tell ya. Back in the day we had a routine. We had assigned seats. We had 5 point harnesses. Now…every day, my life is like the running of the bulls. The screaming, the chaos, the blood…

Teenagers suck. They suck the food from your fridge. The gas from your car. The money from your pocket.The joy from your life. Long gone are the days of fuzzy jammies,  tickle time, snuggles and random acts cuteness.  No longer do we hear from the other room, “your my bestest friend ever, we’re gonna live together when we grow up too! ” now it’s commonplace to hear things such as “I’m going to stab you, with a knife, right through your heart! IF YOU EVEN HAVE ONE!!!!” In fact, just moments ago, Cody told Ryan to “eat it” and shoved his face in the sand. I pretended not to notice. Ryan then went off and dumped ketchup all over Charlie’s fries so Charlie goes and stomps across all of Jordyns neatly arranged towels..the cycle repeats itself over and over. Its the circle of life, Simba.

I used to tell my kids all the time “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.” Today I told my son I was going to sew his face shut. And by God, if I had my sewing kit here in my beach bag the deed would be done.

Yep, memories….love them…I used to think my kids were so sweet and cute i could just eat them up. Now, I wish I had! What the fuck. Seriously. I don’t have teenagers, I have mean-agers.  I have a daughter who yells at me when I tell her how nice she looks, a son who won’t let me touch him and a few that I’m ready to start my own Hunger Games with.  My eldest boy, lets just say one of us is going to end up locked up…probably me…in a Rubber Ramada…
There are some days when  I want to go reminisce about their little people days. I can imagine it now…Mommy…why is that scary looking drunk woman wearing pajama bottoms and one shoe staring at us all playing in the ball pit?? SECURITY!!
So, as I sit here on the beach, the hubbies chair next to me is empty because the teenagers needed a ride to work . The OCD child is shaking out towels for the 900th time and strategically placing them in a perimeter around us. My biffle (best friend for life)  is snoozing on the big blanket at the center of the towel  moat. The two witless boys are taking french fries and placing them in a circle around them in the hopes of being attacked by a flock of rabid seagulls, causing the lady nearby to glare evilly at me, as I pretend to not notice. Again.

They aren’t always assholes though. You ladies just missed out on a good moment when one of my little crotchfruit pulled out a bottle of bubbles that I got them, for shits and giggles, yesterday. She’s sitting here lying on a towel blowing bubbles discussing her summer read book with her big sister. Then she asks her if today is a good day for sailing. So big sister sailor goes on to explain that despite being gorgeous, a day like this would be difficult because of all the luffing that would require a lot of tacking.(whatever the hell that means) And she is actually listening. No one is yelling, fighting or bleeding. The seagulls have moved on to the tourist family about 100 yards away who’s kid dumped a whole bag of pretzel sticks. No Park Rangers have come to  us with ding and dong in handcuffs. (yet) The screaming next to us has stopped. I don’t see the kid…she might be off on a walk but  I heard rumors she was completely buried in the sand by a disgruntled local. And as the bubbles float by, I look at her face. I do miss that awesome toddler she was…her chubby cheeked face and the blond ringlet hair…but the beautiful young lady she is growing into is pretty damn awesome too. Bitchy, but awesome. In fact every  one of them are growing into amazing young adults and although the teen years have thus far left us all feeling more abused than Octomoms uterus, we will make it. Better, stronger, closer.. .So yeah…sorry they were assholes .. its a phase, they will get over it…and someday when they have kids, and those kids become teenagers, they will be assholes too..I know this for a fact, Simba, because its the mother fucking circle of life!

So, Hakuna Matata bitches! Live, laugh and love!

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I am a conflicted American citizen. My husband is an expert marksman. He was a sharp shooter while in the Marines and served as the Firearms Instructor for his police department for 18 years. My brother is a responsible adult who finds enjoyment in target shooting, researching his guns and follows the rules that apply to our state when purchasing his weapons. My sister, brother-in-law and nephews all enjoy family time at the range. My nephew has received rifles as birthday presents, and my own daughter, while visiting them in Arizona, blew everyone’s minds with her natural skill at shooting. She had never before touched an actual gun, yet now holds the nickname of “Sniper Lee”.

However, I am the mom that loathes weapons. I have argued on MANY occasions with my husband about getting the kids anything gun related, from paintball guns to AirSoft guns to even water guns. I firmly believe that the casual nature of “first person shooter” games and the like, desensitize a young, easily influenced mind to the consequences of shooting an actual weapon and the repercussions that follow. You can show me all the scientific research to the contrary, but I feel how I feel. And nothing will change that.

I acknowledge our “right to bear arms” and know that our constitution dictates that we, as Americans should be able to protect ourselves and pursue the act of hunting, collecting and shooting guns as a healthy, responsible pastime. But how do we balance safety with rights? From what I have gathered, the damaged young soul who is responsible for Friday’s tragedy was psychologically challenged. He was most likely, on his own, never going to be able to legally own a gun based on his mental health. That’s great. But his mother legally purchased weapons. And he had access to them. Now what? How do we get around THAT? Should the mother, God rest her poor soul, have been denied the ability to own weapons because of the liability she posed? And that’s just the one of MANY layers of “what if’s” that mires this extraordinarily important issue in a seemingly never ending Catch 22.

I’m not arguing anyone’s side. I’m not educated as to the laws as they pertain to each and every state. Nor am I playing a shithouse lawyer. I’m simply trying to process this situation and figure out how I feel about “gun control” as a whole. I’m a mom trying to tell my kids they will be safe in a world that seems to be anything but.

As a resident of Toms River, NJ we recently dealt with the devastating SuperStorm Sandy. We had no power for two weeks. Our town was a war zone. Hell, our entire Coast.. and some places STILL are… Our property was damaged, flooded and essentially trashed. We watched, wrapped in each other’s arms, as trees fell like toothpicks on our neighbors houses leaving nothing but destruction in their wake. We were terrified for our lives as the storm hit. But nature has no laws. Gale force winds aren’t driven by a psychological “glitch”. Mother Nature isn’t a democrat or a republican that argues an issue on principal. We LITERALLY have no control over such acts of nature.

I was able to help my children process this tragedy by taking them to volunteer at shelters, donating a truckload of toys to kids who called home a high school classroom and a cot. I had the kids help friends and strangers clean up, repair or replace. I hugged them as they cried for friends’ whose homes literally disappeared. I wiped their tears and promised them we are “Jersey Strong” and we will rebuild bigger and better. And so the healing began, and continues to.

But this… THIS… is no act of nature. And we aren’t powerless to this. It may FEEL like we are. But somewhere, somehow we have to figure out how to protect our children from ourselves and our chest thumping, principal arguing, “rights” demanding selves. That young man, who I shall not refer to by name, is not to blame. WE ARE. We, as those same Americans who scream for our freedom and rights and equality, are the ones with blood on our hands. We let those children down. We abandoned those women who bravely gave their lives trying to save those precious angles. And yes.. we failed that mentally ill gunman and his mother. We need to decide that protecting our future presidents, musicians, doctors, lawyers, mothers, fathers, clergy, military, public service and every other possible thing that every one of those children COULD have and SHOULD have grown up to be, is BY FAR more valuable and worth protecting than some ink put to paper on December 15, 1791.

My ancestral home, Ireland.. Éire if you want to get technical.

The interesting things I learned this weekend researching it with Kasey for her school project..

“There are not only no snakes in Ireland, but no native turtles. There are frogs, one salamander, called a newt, and one lizard that bears its young alive.”

After she read that aloud, Kasey and I had the most interesting conversation….

Mom… ???

Yes Kasey..

There’s only one salamander in Ireland?

Yes, Kasey.

Why?

Well, after the ice age, any other species that might have been there were gone from the cold. And because Ireland is an island they really cant relocate themselves from other places…so… just the one salamander!

Where does it live?

Probably under rocks.. there are a lot of rocks in Ireland.

But what if someone kills him? His name is Newt!

If you could have seen my face. I laughed, I cried, I peed.

Charlie comes in….

Kasey re-reads it. Still looking at me like Newt just popped out of my forehead.

She wonders why I am sitting down, nearly passed out from laughing till I was breathless.

She figures it out. Smiles…

All Charlie hears is “no” and what he thought was “dogs”.

There are no dogs in Ireland? What?

Because I am a terrible mother and I like to prey on my children’s innocence, I say “ Just three…and they all live with Newt”

Kasey chimes in “Under his rock.”

And then we went to school…..

 

Gosh… I hope Charlie doesn’t tell his teacher about the one salamander in Ireland named Newt who lives under a rock with his three dogs…

 

 

I would really love to include a picture of the 2 salamanders TJ used to have when he was in 5th grade…but the only pictures that were ever taken were of them playing leap frog.

But they really weren’t playing leap frog. I just told everyone they were playing leap frog. Because the only thing two boy salamanders do like that together is leap frog.

RIIIIIGHT????

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