Wednesday, May 27, 2015

WCW - My Mother In Law

Yeah.  She's WCW worthy you guys.

Sunshine and BadAssery on two wheels right here.
My MIL.  JoAn.

Not Joan. Jo. An.

Bucky.  Grandma Bucky.  The glue that holds our family together.  The pint-sized Polly Pocket that is like concentrated sugar and fireworks and a quilt and leather and a party and love all squished into an impossibly tiny package.

With parents no bigger than a couple of Keebler Elves, it's no wonder you can stash her in a hospital waiting room chair for a long wait for labor...she can sleep anywhere.

She's been there always.  For everything.  For everyone.  The births?  I wasn't there, but I did hear grumblings that one person couldn't brush their teeth and another not allowed to poop for fear that she might be late to a grandchild's arrival.  She takes her attendance track record very seriously.

She makes sure we have traditions.  Each kid for their first Christmas now gets a rocking chair.  To mark their second birthday, their photo on her old rocking horse.

Lucky #13
#12 Rocking It

Everything is fair.  She makes things special not only for everyone and makes sure all are included, but she makes each person feel like the ONLY one.  She has a knack for celebrating the individuality in each of the points of light that makes our family, giving each the attention and nurturing they need to thrive and contribute back, that makes the tapestry so rich.

You wanna rock a pink tux? She'll support you!!

We are a giant, interesting bunch.  And we are chaotic and overwhelming.  And she seems to handle us all with ease like a champ.  I honestly don't know how she does it.

She wrangled us all into one place at one time.

ToddlerBandit was pissed about this, but she was determined to get all 13.
She's fun and funny and is always up for anything and never says no to a plan.  And by "plan" I mean she is always all in for "Do you want to go see Wicked in Spokane?" just the same as "Will you drop everything to watch my barfing kid?"

Always there.  For everyone.  For everything.  The only thing she says NO to is when you tell her not to bring food to your party.  "No."  She always shows up with something.

There's so many of us she can't be everywhere at once, so her calendar is sometimes full, and we laugh when she calls and her questions go like:

"Hey, what do you guys have going on for 4th of July?  2016?  I'm looking at camp spots and wanted to get the best one."

She's a planner, she's organized, she keeps us in line.  She gifts us calendars at Christmastime filled with everyone's pictures from throughout the year with everyone's birthdays and anniversaries marked, including those we are missing but who are still very much in our hearts.

She pre-guts the pumpkins every year.  This alone.....I mean....a pre-gutted pumpkin?

She comes with her own gear, prepared for anything, anytime, all packed in a Trader Joe's bag:

  • 1 box of wine if she thinks you don't "already have one uncorked"
  • Assorted snacks/treats she has baked at various times for holidays to deliver to children
  • Assorted candies because some other grandkid got candy and she felt guilty leaving yours out
  • 1 Quilting project for a baby or an upcoming graduate or other lucky recipient
  • 1 Assorted item that was left at either her house or someone else's house, deliverable to you
  • 1 Bag of assorted clothing hand-me-downs from another person's child to your child
  • 1 Cell phone with an unusually surprising ringtone
  • A cosmetics bag and/or complaints that she has helmet hair if arrival was via motorcycle

I've seen evidence of her skills with the scissors through the years and can confidently say I strive for that same level of excellence with my own children:

This photo will never die.

It's ok - it grew out!!
She has four children but treats us like her eight children.  Four sons and four daughters.  We are equal, we are unique, we are each special to her.  She lets us know that.  There's no distance she won't drive to sit in the rain to watch her grandkids succeed or at least try their hardest, no amount of time that she feels a waste to see that each of us that belongs to her is honored by having her spend her precious time with us.

And her love doesn't stop at the leaves of her own family tree.  Her heart is equally as dedicated to her extended family, her friends, and her community.  She is always there.  For everyone.  Always.

For all of that, I love her tremendously, and I'm so lucky to have her.  Today, my Mother In Law gets this spot this WCW.

(And my FIL. He has a hand in all that punkin' gutting too. And the clean up.
And the presents. He's the man behind the woman.)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

WCW - Cop's Wife

Today is WCW, and the woman is actually a group of women, a club, a Sisterhood.  The Cop's Wife.

She is all the cops' wives I know and those I've never met.  The ones I'm friends with and the ones I'll meet one day.  Especially today, she is Lindy Moore, wife of Coeur D'Alene Police Sergeant Greg Moore.

Photo: Amanda Talbott, Cop Wife and Compassionate Jailer, a craft project she'd rather not.

 We hold our collective breath waiting for a glimmer of good news, and when we hear hope is gone, the wind is knocked out of us.  Now we are heartbroken for another member of this Sisterhood, this club that reaches far and wide, its chapters and charters nameless and without meetings or minutes or a guide for newcomers, its dues draining your emotions instead of your wallet.

I purposely stayed away from media as long as I could.  I thought I could will him to pull through by ignoring news updates.  Hubs, out of town this week, asked whether I'd heard any official outlets confirming what he'd heard from someone - the worst - but in our family we've learned to respect the process of official press releases.  It affords officials closest to tragedy the opportunity to inform us of the facts and it's there that we refer when games of telephone get out of hand.

I checked.  Damn.  It was true.  The official end of watch status had been reported.  I forwarded the notice in a screenshot back to him.


The kids were hammering me with questions about dinner or whether I'd seen a slap shot or a rock they found that looked like Abraham Lincoln as we sat in the parking lot at the hockey rink.

"Mom?  Moooom...Mom...Mom...Mom?  Hello?  Mom?"

I knew if I opened my mouth to answer them I'd cry.  If I cried I'd have to tell them why.  That some asshole shot a policeman just like their dad out on a stop at the same time of night their dad works and even though I was really really hoping that the doctors would fix him, they couldn't and he died.  He died and he didn't have to.  And now kids like them didn't have a dad and a wife like me didn't have a husband.  And that asshole was sitting in jail and I wished he would just do everyone a favor and hang himself in his cell with his underwear, but that even if he tried to do that, the jailers would save his worthless fucking life, because they're also compassionate humans with their own job to do.  I had to get my shit together.

That's the other thing about cop wives.  They bend over backward to see that cop kids have fairly normal lives and aren't riddled with anxiety about their dad's work life.  Nothing to see here.  Move along.

As much as what one does to earn a living does not define them as a person, cops are different, and so are their mates.  They're held to a higher standard both on and off the job, their personal lives under a microscope and subject to judgement.  We chose this.  Maybe it chose us.  We know that it requires a balance of work and play.  We know that we can't make it without humor, flexibility, and empathy.  We have a different sort of pride, one that we know we can't always show off.  Advertising our status can make us a target and can be counterproductive to keeping the peace.  We are happy to support from the sidelines without ceremony.

We know that sometimes our dinner takes a back seat to criminals.  Sometimes it's a grieving family.  We learn to share our husband with others.  We want him back when they're done, though.  That's the deal.

We are shocked because these are the supermen of our society, the invincible heroes that run toward danger while others run away.  The bravest of the brave fighting forces of evil to protect us.

Nerdy Apple (Sarah) used to write as Cop's Wife before she updated her blog.  Her hubs, The Detective, is never named nor can she show us his undoubtedly handsome face because he deals with the dirtiest dirt bags in his work and can't risk blowing his cover.  She continues to share herself and her shorties with us, including those parts that make her part of the Sisterhood, stretching the web from the Northwest to the Bible Belt.  I am thankful for her, otherwise a stranger, now a sister to me.  Someone who understands what others cannot.

I'm also thankful for Amanda, Ashley, Darcy, Cindie, Stephanie, CodyAnn, Ingrid, Lacie, Dana, Cass, Victoria, Deena, Kit, Andrea, Teresa, Jaclyn, Sara, Erin, and the others who may have griped about the sound of velcro coming off a vest in the middle of the night, but who all actually prefer waking to that than a knock at the door.

She's never really rested from sleeping with one eye open until he's home, but feels guilty for saying so because she knows that he gets less time in bed than she does.  She knows that his fatigue can be a safety issue and it just makes her worry more and sleep even less.  She loves him for the man he is and for the selfless choice he makes to give himself to others every day.

Cop's Wife.  She is us.  We are her.  We grieve with her for her loss.  For our loss.