The Extraordinary Way Hodor Is Every Mom’s Hero

Any Game of Thrones fans out there? My husband, Rick, and I are addicted. We’re still detoxing from the Season 6 finale. What keeps me watching is how quickly the sordid story line moves. What keeps me intrigued is how extraordinarily human the characters are. It’s easy to see yourself in Sansa as she grows a backbone while busting balls and taking names or relate to the loneliness of Jon… Oh, Jon. I can help you with that. Wait, what? I mean… Or Geoffry’s desire to torture and kill people who make him mad. No? Me either. I don’t ever think about that either.

Anyway, what I didn’t expect was the character that emotionally grabbed me during last season and permanently became my spirit animal with one scene. Hodor has always been in the background. His dedication and loyalty have always been admirable traits but traits easily overlooked and taken for granted. But then he was given a grand purpose bigger than himself and bigger than Bran. As I watched Hodor hold the door to give humanity a chance for survival I saw it.  I felt it.  His pain, his agony, his intentions that were so strong, willed by his unrelenting perseverance that only demons from the deepest depths of Hell could threaten to overwhelm.  As I watched Hodor “hold the door” I saw myself in him as a tear rolled from my eye, down my cheek.  A little bit of me died with him.  Feelings I had repressed for years were festering back to the surface. Let me back up.

Before I had kids I would look forward to my “me” time. Interpret that as you will. I interpret it as “a bath”. It was definitely the highlight of my day. I would get home from my second visit to the gym in a day (yes, I had enough free time to go to the gym TWO times a day. Lately I haven’t visited the gym in about 4 months. What? That’s not lately? You’re absolutely right.) I would squeeze my body into the small tub that is standard in non-luxury apartments, filled to the brim with hot water (since my water bill was included in my rent I had a personal rule that the water had to cover my boobs. Then and only then was the tub full enough. It’s a great rule of thumb.) I would dump into the water whatever Bath & Body Works shower gel was on sale during the last Semi Annual Sale and soak it all in. I’d lock the door. Not that anyone cared to come in. But it ensured that I was ALL ALONE. I’m an extrovert but I HAVE to decompress. Regroup and recharge myself. There’s something relaxing about allowing my mind to go blank. Totally blank. I didn’t have ANY thoughts in my head. I forgot what that’s like. Slight tangent alert: The other day I thought my dog, Lola, ran away. Turns out she was just hiding. I don’t even know where! Sometimes I think she’s a time traveler. Hell, she may not even be a dog.

Anyway, when I had my daughter I quickly realized that the “me” bath time was over. She wasn’t a sleeper or one of those babies that was happy being away from my body. She made that quite apparent from the beginning. It pretty much went down like this: I took her home and she sat me down on the couch and said, “Listen, ma. This sleep thing. Yeah, not fa me. I’m gonna need you to stop it with the ‘night time’ routine. It ain’t gonna help. Also, dis ‘you bein’ alone’ thing needs ta stop, too. It’s my time now. Get dat? My. Time.” Not sure why, in my mind, my newborn daughter sounds like Joe Pesci… Anyway. I would take a bath with her baby seat next to the tub or a shower with the curtain open so she could see me. If she couldn’t, well, she made it very clear that she was not happy with that situation. Things in the “alone time” department just got worse from there.

When my husband and I moved into our first house I was SO EXCITED! We had a HUGE tub. Oh the baths I could take in there! I purchased one of those things that sits across the tub with a book holder AND A WINE GLASS HOLDER! I couldn’t find one with a bottle holder so I had to settle but that’s ok. AND A BOOK?! I haven’t read a book since I was a flight attendant 13 years ago! I had visions of locking the world out again. Bath party of one? HERE! I’m right here! Please don’t give my table away!

Then I realized that there was no lock on the door to the master bathroom. And thus began a “discussion” between Rick and me that would plant the seed for my connection with Hodor, still years away from being realized. Me: We need a door on the bathroom that locks. Rick: But then I can’t get in if I need to. Me: We need a door on the bathroom that locks. Rick: Just lock the bedroom door. Me: There are times when I need to get into the bedroom but I can’t because you’ve locked the bedroom door to take a shower. We need a door on the bathroom that locks. Rick: Changes the subject.

But, where there’s a will, there’s a way. One day I had an epiphany. I pulled my ponytail holder from my hair and wrapped it around the two French door handles. Done. Now I can rest in peace. Now I can- Nope. My three-year-old son broke it. He broke the ponytail holder. Then he sauntered into the bathroom simultaneously breaking my dreams of quiet and hopes of dignity as he began to take HIS clothes off to join me. Uh- RIIIIIIIIICK!

kids breaking in

When we moved into our new new house I once again had big expectations for my bathtub. Ok, full disclosure. If I WANT to lock myself away in “A” bathroom now, I can. We have more than one bathroom. But I want MY tub. Mine. Not some spare bath tub that hasn’t been properly broken in with my bubbles and grime. It’s the equivalent of a dog pissing on its favorite tree. Locking my bedroom door doesn’t fix the problem. My kids will just sit outside the door knocking and crying and screaming my name until the dogs join in with their howling and the neighbors become concerned and the next thing you know the police are busting in the door while the hubs is asleep in the basement watching Game of Thrones on the big screen. Rick, this is a matter of saving humanity. MY humanity.

So fast forward, as I watched the Hodor hold the door I realized that he was humanity’s rubber band, only with more loyalty and determination. My theoretical door lock that tried so hard to protect me but in the end couldn’t hold them back.  I had a flashback to Roman flinging the door open with all of his might, so proud that he found my hiding place. It started with a “Mooooooom! Where are you?” Then the door jiggled as he rattled the handle. Next were his little fingers showing me beneath the scantily locked door that it was, in fact, him. As opposed to anyone else who sounds like a little bear cub that might be trying to breach my fortress of solitude. My ponytail holder yelled to the universe, “HODOR!” with a primal cry but, alas, there was nowhere to go.  The monster had one objective. He had me cornered and he knew it.  The hands that had once been so cute and sweet were now prying their way in and neither Hodor nor I couldn’t stop the invasion.  My rubber band snapped.  Hodor was overcome.  Yes, they found me.  My kids found my quiet place.  Now, I realized, there truly was no safe place. Just a little quiet. That’s all I want.

Please tell me you have secret ways to get some quiet time!  Any suggestions left inter comments are greatly appreciated!

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Five Times the Olympics Makes Us All Feel Like Athletes

GO Team usa… Not gonna lie, I wasn’t into the Olympics this go ‘round. Not, that is, until my husband turned it on TV for the kids to watch. As they were watching basketball, I saw how excited they were and I caught the fever again!   It’s like experiencing Christmas through the eyes of children… Impossible to be Grinchy. Go Team USA! IT’S SO INFECTIOUS! {The good kind of infectious. Not like Syphilis}.

Now I’m super far behind! My mom calls to chat, I mention the Olympics like I’ve just discovered America and she already knows all the back stories and who deserves to win, who cheated, who was mean to whom, who has Zika… gosh. I gotta step up my game. Time for Olympics 24/7.

As I’m watching “Table Tennis” (AKA, “Sober Beer Pong” which is just – why would I waste my skills in precision without the promise of beer?) Anyway, as I’m watching Olympic Sober Beer Pong with the focus and intensity of a trophy wife watching her husband about to win the Master’s {SHUT THE FUQ UP Y’ALL MOMMA’S BOUTTA GET PAID!}, I realized the most valuable lesson we can all learn from the Olympics: These world-class athletes give us reason to be proud of who we are. They ARE all of us. Here’s why:

  1. Sober Drunk Olympic Sports. These Sober Beer Pong people are so fanatical about a sport that most people play drunk! That’s insane! I mean, it’s dedicated. I’m thinking of starting Olympic Corn Hole. I’m gonna start training. I feel like it’s an underserved market (that’s what she said). But I understand why you’d have to train for it. Playing sober uses a whole different skill level. It’s like relearning how to play! Like I just woke up from a coma and now I have to relearn basic life skills.
  1. Cupping. Now, I’ve known about cupping for a long time. (That’s what she said.) I know it’s a thing. But seeing those perfectly circular bruises displayed oh-so-proudly for the whole world to see gave me the confidence to bare my random leg bruises without feeling self-conscious. Free-form cupping. That’s what those bruises are from, if anyone asks. And they always do.

{Person at the Pool Whom I barely know: “Oh, no! What’s that nasty bruise from?”

Me: “This? I had a pretty intense training session at the gym the other day so my trainer cupped my upper thigh. It helps my recovery happen faster, so…”

Person I barely know: “Cool! What are you training for?”

Me: “Zoomba”}

Really, these brave athletes are doing for those of us who suffer from random bruising what Kim Kardashian did for Psoriasis sufferers and what Walter Brimley did for those who suffer from the Diabeetus AND what Jenny McCarthy’s anti-vaccination campaign did for stupidity. #raiseawareness

  1. Phelps Face. Let’s discuss this for a sec. We all make this face. Whether you’re 2 years old or 100 years old, this face tells any offender they’ve crossed the line. And shat’s boutta get real. Hubs throws away the leftovers you’ve been dreaming of all day? #Phelpsface. Kids destroy the clothes you’ve just folded oh so carefully for the past hour and placed gently on the sofa until you get the energy to put them up (and by “up” I of course mean in the “Clean Clothes” laundry basket that everyone fishes in for the week)? #Phelpsface. Doctor tells you to lose weight? #Phelpsface. Hubs asks you what you’ve done all day? #Murder while you’re wearing the #Phelpsface. See? Michael Phelps is all of us. I wonder if he flashes that face to his wife when she tells him not to sit on the sofa until he changes out of his wet clothes…
  1. Women’s Gymnastics. Are you kidding me? I can TOTALLY do that. Well, I mean, I could have if I hadn’t made the tough decision of giving up my dream for the betterment of my family. And by that I mean I was too lazy to go to practice anymore so I stopped when I was seven. But that’s the ONLY reason I’m not there. I mean, I was on track, man. Buuuut, we all make sacrifices, right? Maybe I never nailed my back handspring but I was RIGHT THERE… I could have. That’s the point. I just chose not to. Perfecting my lip synching routine to Mariah Carey’s Always Be My Baby was more important at the time. We all have our priorities.

So, I mean, Simone should be glad I quit cuz I would totes be showing her up. But… you know, it worked out for the best because now I can eat chocolate and drink wine while I’m watching her do all the work so….

  1. Interviews with Randoms. And here’s the best one yet. Anyone see the Ryan Seacrest interview with the sand artist? The one Ryan offered a drink to? And the poor guy didn’t know if Ryan was offering him a SIP or the whole drink. Awkwardness ensued. We’ve all been there… walking down the hall, someone comes walkin atcha from the opposite direction and BAM! You both realize you need to go around each other. You both move left (the same “left”), then you both move right (the same “right”), then you chuckle that “I’m super annoyed, can’t you just get out of my way” chuckle. Same concept. That sand castle artist is all of us. Super annoyed with Ryan Seacrest.

Not to mention Ryan is in this guy’s home country speaking to him in English. Obviously, Sand Artist Guy doesn’t speak English or things wouldn’t have been so painful to watch. Imagine you’re doing your thing, minding your business and some weirdo with a microphone and a camera man come waltzing up to you asking you questions in Swahili then try to make you look like you’re the one who doesn’t understand… Well played, Ryan. Well played.

So, in conclusion, don’t beat yourself up because you’re 41 years old, sitting on the couch stuffing your food hole with cheese dip watching the 41 year old gymnast from Uzbekistan kill it against 18 year olds from China. That sooo could have been you. It’s not, and that’s ok. At least you’re pretty.

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The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Marriage

beach pic

Isn’t it wonderful to start the day with a warm, relaxing bath? The calmness, the quiet… the realization as I reach for the soap that I left it in the separate standup shower… I wonder if anyone would notice if I use the random bottle of conditioner from five years ago as soap…

Anyway, back to why we’re here:

I’m convinced that this summer my husband and I discovered the #1, hands-down BEST thing you can do for your marriage. And it only took us five and a half years. {To be so book smart (or, in my case, pop culture trivia smart) sometimes we’re a little socially slow.}

In the past, we thought we were nurturing our relationship as long as we spent a night or two away. Away as in 20 miles away. We would go “away” maybe twice a year if we were lucky.

Get to the destination around 4 or 5 o’clock, have a nice dinner, go back to our expensive hotel, and wake up the next morning with the TV still on, realizing we fell asleep while trying to catch up on a little Grim. Then we’d laugh about how lame we are that we fell asleep before 9 pm, pack up our- wait, no need to pack what we didn’t unpack, get in the car and go home, maybe picking up breakfast on our way.

That was the extent of our “us” time.

Then it all changed… This year my husband had a conference to go to. He could choose between Sandestin, FL or San Diego (which, apparently, does NOT mean “a whale’s vagina”). He got an idea… he said, “Let’s see if someone can keep the kids and take the trip together!” {which means Florida because he doesn’t like to fly} I said “OK!” Then I said, “I can’t leave the kids for FIVE DAYS!” Then I said, “But I would love to drink at the beach all day without having to hose sand out of Roman’s butt crack or worry about Bella flinging sand in a stranger’s eyes as she Baywatch runs through everyone’s towels with no concern about anyone else around.” Then I cried a little. Then I picked them up from day care and quickly packed my bag. A month in advance.

The anticipation of the trip gave me as a mom hope and excitement. I had more patience. My perspective changed. Work was manageable, home was manageable. I had something to look forward to.

E leaving for beach

Normally, I’d dread spending 6 hours in a car. This trip was FUN! We stopped when we wanted to, where we wanted to. We had no one to worry about but ourselves. We sang at the top of our lungs. Needless to say, we’re super cool.

first beach view

Once there, we enjoyed EACH OTHER. Even the room smelling like shat didn’t keep us down! For reals, it smelled like someone took an actual shat in our room. We could have gone back to the lobby and asked for another room. But we were tired and just wanted to get dinner. Instead, we decided to open the drapes in the master bedroom to get some light and air in. That’s when we realized that being on the second floor means you’re eye-level with pool goers. Normally, I would have marched myself to the lobby and DEMANDED that if there were another room available maybe we might like to perhaps switch. Instead, we laughed about it and left to get dinner. When we came back 3 hours and several drinks later, we didn’t even notice the smell!

We were able to relax and have fun and DO NOTHING. We remembered that we actually like each other. It wasn’t life on autopilot simply going through the motions to get through the day and get the kids to bed so we could go to sleep. We laughed mockingly at other parents who had to drag their entire houses to the beach while we clinked our Yeti cups together and chugged our alcohol.

e and r beach pic

My husband and I spent just enough time away that we reconnected and at the end, we were ready to get back to our babies. And we came away with memories and inside jokes and experiences that we have together. And if you’re ever in Sandestin, go to Marlin’s and ask for Pitman. He’s an amazing photographer and an avid Dixie Chicks fan.

rick and e at dinner



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