To The Mother of Twins

Or to any mother, for that matter.

I do not envy you.

I admire you, beyond a reasonable doubt, but I do not envy you. If your children are of the age to read, show them this letter so I can immediately instruct them to apologize to you, because holy mother of pearl dealing with them as infants/toddlers/teenagers/humans has to be MISERABLE. I don’t even understand. How do you do it? HOW? You are superwoman. You are a force of nature. You are the strongest humans alive, and I bow down to your superiority. Mom, I’m sorry. I don’t speak for my brothers, but personally, I’m sorry you had them too.

The reason I say this is because, I, Anna no-children Territo, have a set of twins. Lamb twins. And their mother rejected them, so we’ve been bottle feeding them, and taking care of them in the house since the day they were born. It’s only been three* weeks. They will only need us for about another month. Then, we won’t have to deal with their lamb mess in the house again. But you, mother of human twins, you get a good solid 18 years of dealing with their figurative and literal crap in your house. (Or in the case of my poor parents, a solid 25 years and still going strong.) THAT SOUNDS TERRIBLE. Because just in the past 3 days, I’ve had to bring the twins with me to work. Yes, to work. In an office. To have them sit in a dog crate. And poop in a dog crate, and on my floor, and in my car, and EVERYWHERE. All of the time. And to whine, oh God they whine. And if you don’t feed them IMMEDIATELY, the whining just gets louder. Yesterday, I was driving, and attempting to shove bottles in their mouths at a stop light, because they were literally just biting my fingers and screaming because my fingers produced exactly zero drops of milk. It was pretty comical, except no one was even there to video it and put it on YouTube, so really, what’s the point? Laughter that can’t be shared with my 10 followers and earn 3 likes? Did I even laugh? Was it even real? Does a bear sh*t in the woods? Idk, pics or it didn’t happen, but I can tell you for certain a lamb sh*ts in my car.

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MAAAAAAA! MAAAAA, MAAAAA FEED ME MAAAAAA!

And while we are on the topic of pics. You mothers of your individual children, yes, I recognize that your plight is impossible. But I also recognize that at least you can take a selfie. I know this because I see 75 a day on my news feed. But you poor, depraved, mothers of twins barely get this luxury.

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WHY IS IT SO HARD FOR BOTH OF YOU TO BE STILL AT ONCE?

I know this because DAMMIT LAMBS YOU ARE ONLY THIS CUTE FOR A FEW MONTHS JUST STAY STILL FOR FIVE SECONDS SO I CAN TAKE A PICTURE OF…WHY ARE YOU FACED THE WRONG DIRECTION?!…OH NO STOP POOPING ON ME, NOW I CAN’T EVEN HOLD THE CAMERA BECAUSE MY ONLY CLEAN HAND IS COVERED IN LAMB CRAP! Dammit. Can someone else take a photo? Oh wait, no one is around…crap. But we were so cute, you know holding one upside down with a bottle and the other in the crook of my arm attempting to force a bottle into its mouth, but I’m not left handed and it prefers to scream instead of SUCK THE OBVIOUS MILK PROVIDING NIPPLE I’M SHOVING IN YOUR FACE…IT’S REALLY NOT THAT DIFFICULT OLIVE.

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The rare instance where someone was there to capture the bottle feeding

So to you superhuman Moms (and Dads) of the world, I salute you.

Thanks Mom for taking care of not only 3 disgusting human babies, but also the countless animal babies we’ve been blessed to raise. You’re a superhero.

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I guess moments like this, where you have a passed out lamb in one arm and another one crawling all over you make it worth it. I also happen to look exactly like my mother here…

Love,
Anna “Mama Lamba” Territo

*It was three weeks when I wrote this article, but got too busy taking care of lambs to finish publishing it. It’s been five and a half weeks now.

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No Matter What Anybody Tells You

“…words and ideas can change the world.” – Robin Williams as John Keating in Dead Poets Society.

Monday, I was talking about wanting to watch Aladdin. Because I was sad, in a funk for no reason really at all, and I was feeding animals and decided it would be the perfect pick-me-up. Because, Genie. And then, I walked inside, and my mom looked at me and said, “Robin Williams is dead. They think he killed himself.” And she just kind of stared at me. And I didn’t know what to say. And she was tearing up. And talking about how she and Dad recently saw him at his “sit down” show, and talked to him about Detroit. And she made half allusions to her friend who had killed himself, and she just looked so upset and all I kept repeating was, “that’s awful” and “he had kids.” I didn’t know what else to say. And I knew there would be millions of people mourning the death of someone they had never met, but who had considered him a part of their lives. The voice of their childhoods. The genius behind their frequent side-splitting laughter. The man who gave so much joy that he left none for himself. And he had kids…

Here is what I know. I know that I have family and friends, who are fighting and surviving depression every day. I know that I have family and friends who have lost their lives in the battle of depression. I know that I have family and friends who have been torn in half by the loss of a loved one taken by suicide. I know that people call suicide selfish…even I have…but that depression is an illness, and it’s easy to blame someone for losing the battle in a war you’re not fighting. I know that suicide is a very permanent solution to a temporary problem…but that sometimes that temporary problem lasts years and years if left untreated. And I know that suicide can be contagious.

In The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell discusses how studies have shown an increase in suicides after a famous person takes their own life. “Suicides lead to suicides.” “…the decision by someone famous to take his or her own life…gives other people, particularly those vulnerable to suggestion because of immaturity or mental illness, permission to engage in a deviant act as well.”

I haven’t written about every terrible event in the past few months. But I’m writing about this, because it might actually save someone’s life. Because for those on the edge, a widely publicized suicide may be just the tipping point they were waiting for to tell them it’s okay to jump.

Don’t jump.

Someone needs you. Your kids need you. Your parents need you. Your siblings need you. Your aunts, your uncles, your cousins all need you. Your friends need you. The world NEEDS you. It needs your words, it needs your ideas. Leaving it early is NOT AN OPTION. Do not see this loss as permission. Use it as a warning to seek help, and to give help – whenever and wherever possible.

Every day that you wake up, you’ve won. So please, please fight today, gather your army of people who care about you and let them help you make it to tomorrow, where you’ll wake up a winner.

If you are struggling with depression, please reach out to someone, anyone, and ask for help. If you know someone fighting depression, help them seek professional help, and be there for them.

When all else fails, go to sleep, wake up, and try again. There is so much yet to live for.

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#LikeAGirl

I have two older brothers. They are bigger than me. They are stronger than me. And they generally have more facial hair. But as a little girl, I wanted nothing more than to be just like them. Growing up, when we were playing, or competing, or doing whatever it is kids do, there were plenty of insults to go around. One of the most prominent and effective insults used was, like a girl. And if you were a 6 year old tomboy who wanted to be just as good at her brothers at everything, there was nothing more upsetting than being like a girl. Because at some point, the society before my time allowed my gender to become an insult. What a failure.

The older I got, the more confusing life became. It was still bad to cry like a girl...but all of a sudden, I was supposed to act like one a lady? (Acting like a girl is definitely still meant as an insult.) It was still wrong to run like a girl, but I was expected to sit like one. It was disappointing to fathers and brothers everywhere if I was going to throw like a girl, but the mothers of the world wanted me to shave my legs like one. I couldn’t defend myself if I was going to hit like a girl…but I better dress like one (though not like a “slutty” one, because then it will be my fault again if I can’t defend myself). I was annoying if I talked like a girl, but I was expected to dance like one.

What does it mean to be like a girl? What does that even mean? It generally means being a walking wall of contradictions. It means being told that you’re “not like other girls” is supposed to be a compliment. It means that going places, like the restroom, in groups is a cliche that people make fun of, and you practice giggling about it, while continuing to do it anyways because you know your safety may actually depend on it. It means knowing exactly what amount of anger, paranoia, feigned confidence, pretend gratitude, or fake smile you are going to give in acknowledgement of the random stranger yelling at you on the street…or are you going to risk acting like you didn’t even hear him? Try sifting through that split second decision like a girl who may happen to be fearing for her safety, or simply her privacy, or her value as a human being.

At some point, maybe even more recently than I’d like to admit, I think I realized that I do everything like a girl. And that’s not a bad thing. I do everything like a girl, mainly because I am…a girl. So doesn’t it make sense that everything I do is therefore done like a girl? Yeah. I thought so. Always is trying to get us to take back the phrase “like a girl,” and I’m seriously encouraging you to do this with me. How bout we stop allowing like a girl to be an insult. So ladies and gents, here goes:

  • I run like a girl
  • I talk like a girl
  • I laugh like a girl
  • I play golf like a girl
  • I ride horses like a girl
  • I eat like a girl
  • I watch sports like a girl
  • I study like a girl
  • I work hard like a girl
  • I dress like a girl
  • I practice engineering like a girl

You may identify as a girl, and do exactly none of the same things I do. Have nothing in common at all with me, and darling, you still do it like a girl. So you just keep doing you, like a girl.

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Is My Foot Asleep?

 

When I was in the 1st or 2nd grade, we had someone’s dad come in and talk to the class about his career. He worked at a funeral home, or a morgue. Or something. He worked with dead people. Which due to the past decade of TV trends has become increasingly more appealing than when I was a kid, but that’s beside the point. He was a doctor, I think, right? Yeah, yeah, a doctor. Anyhow, we were allowed to ask him questions, anything we wanted. And people were probably asking him stupid unimportant questions that I don’t remember, and I wanted to ask something really meaningful. So I asked him why your feet fall asleep. Which he thought was a brilliant question, naturally, because it was. And he said, “why did you think of that, your foot must be asleep right now?” And I replied yes. Which was a total and complete lie. My foot wasn’t even close to asleep. But I spent the rest of the class trying to make it so, so that I wasn’t a liar. I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone that story. And I’m pretty sure I eventually succeeded in getting my foot asleep…I think. That’s been weighing on me, thanks for listening.

 

Coming Soon: Even more seemingly innocuous things that have been weighing on me! 

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I Made My Bed This Morning

So I’m not the best at being an adult, and doing domestic things…let me just say this: I’ve never been one to make my bed. When I was a kid, there were probably years when I was required to make my bed, so I did. But it never became my own good habit. Rather, it became something I always have felt was a total waste of time. And no matter how many “studies” my mom told me about that proved that you slept better in a made bed, I didn’t care. It just seemed like the extra 30 seconds of sleep, or of literally anything else, were worth far more than the pointlessness of making a bed that would only get unmade at the end of the day. After 23 years of never willingly making my bed simply for myself, I woke up this morning, and I made my bed. I did it the day before, and the day before that too. In fact, I started making it about a week ago. You see, I’ve been in a slump of sorts. The kind where my brain won’t stop being scattered long enough to focus even on a simple task. Completing anything has become exhausting. Instead, I long for structured learning, and graduate school. I long for a clean slate so that I have time to develop my focused path to changing the world. I’ve been in this scatterbrained paranoia of inadequacy for a few weeks, and I finally read something that seemed so simple, so true, and so applicable to my life. It was the commencement speech for the University of Texas at Austin by Naval Admiral William H. McRaven. He spoke about 10 life lessons he learned in basic SEAL training. In case you don’t plan on clicking that link to read the whole thing, humor me, and read this:

If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day.  It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right. And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made—that you made—and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better. If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.

So, here I am. Having a scatterbrained moment. A moment where I cannot focus on work. I cannot focus on anything. But, I have a moment of calm when I consider this: I made my bed this morning.

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