Erin Ritch

Writer, Blogger, Mom

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Category: Mommy story (page 1 of 2)

“The Unfinished” at The Manifest-Station

Today, I was honored to have my essay “The Unfinished” featured on Jen Pastiloff’s wonderful website, The Manifest-Station. This was a very personal piece for me, detailing my journey from a miscarriage I suffered several years ago and how it played a part in my return to writing.

I wrote this essay for several reasons.

One – Writing is cathartic for me. It’s how I process life and death, literally. I knew writing about my loss was the key for me to find that elusive closure, but I wasn’t ready to tackle it until the recent birth of my daughter.

Two – I aspire to be a truthful and brave writer. And sometimes (well, many times) that’s going to be mean placing myself out of my comfort zone. Look, there’s some pretty darn personal stuff in this essay. But be brave and truthful, right?

Three – Maybe my story will help someone else. Shortly after my miscarriage, I joined an online grief support group. I was floored. My weird little horrible miscarriage had happened to other people too! I wasn’t a freak. I wasn’t an anomaly. And to know someone else out there had survived and healed, well, that made all the difference.

“Why?” – 20 questions from a three year old (in one morning)

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Image credit Virtual EyeSee

  1. What is Mr. Sunshine saying? (He says “Hello!”)
  2. What is Mr. Sunshine saying now? (Um, “How are you today?”)
  3. Why is Mr. Sunshine asking me that? (Uh, I don’t know. I thought…well, never mind.)
  4. What does “never mind” mean? (It means, uh, don’t worry about it.)
  5. But why would I worry about it?
  6. Where are my shoes? (By the door.)
  7. Which door? (The one right there. The front door.)
  8. Why are they by that door? (That’s where you left them when we came home.)
  9. Why? (Um, because that’s where you decided to leave them.)
  10. But why did I do that? (It was easier?)
  11. Why was it easier? (I don’t know, maybe because we had just come in the door and you dropped them there?)
  12. But why don’t you know???
  13. (Don’t touch that, it’s dirty.) Why is it dirty?
  14. (It has germs on it.) And what would do you if I touched it?
  15. (I would be upset because you didn’t listen and your hand would be dirty.) And what would you say?
  16. (…I would say, “I told you not to touch that.”) And then what would you do?
  17. (Then we would have to clean your hand.) Why?
  18. What does “why” mean? (Because you want more information.)
  19. Why do I ask “why?” (Because you are learning.)
  20. Why do I need to learn? (So you no longer have to ask WHY.)

 

A “Rest Time” Story – Overheard on the Baby Monitor

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This is a transcript of my three year old daughter Olive’s “rest time” that we attempt every afternoon. Arthur is my 7 year old Irish Terrier, who must have thought I went temporarily deaf.

3:58 pm

Olive:

I get to sleep….I get to sleep.

It’s daytime…it’s daytime. Say, Hello! and I open the door to say, Hi!

 (Door opens, then shuts again)

Hmm lallaaa laaa lalalala dum dee da da

(Door opens, short pause, then shuts again)

Hmmmamaa maammmaaa hmmmm laa laa laa

Hi-ho the dairy-o, the farmer and the dell….looopy loopy doo doo da

(Door opens, short pause, then shuts loud. Arthur comes to warn me that Olive is opening her door.)

Lullaby…go to sleep… *LOUD, DRAMATIC SIGH* hmmm hmmm hmm hmm

Time to go to the bank. I need cake! Hee hee hee hee hee

Wah. Wah. Wah. Wah. Wah. Wah. Wah. (sung to the tune of “I’m A Little Teapot” )

(Door opens, shuts very quickly. Twice. Arthur comes to warn me again.)

*Lots of sounds of rustling around and random humming.*

(Door opens. Arthur must have greeted her at the door because I hear small whispers, then door shuts. Arthur comes into office, yawns, and walks off.)

Right now…we can get some more…Oh, Arthur, at the door…(sung to the tune “This Old Man”)

Mommy mommy mommmy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy

(I now go in to tell her she has some rest time left and I will get her when it’s over. Her response: “But I don’t wanna rest anymore!!”)

*Lots of clapping and humming, then long silence.*

Oh ah oh ah oh ah wahooo *whistle whistle* Clean up. Did you know you made the mess? You know why? Because. Then, we need to get a clean…a pair of…what you want to do? What. Do. You. Want. To. Do. I have to get a new pair of socks. Did you know why? The end. So….I’m wearing a crown. Yeah. You know why? It’s so beautiful outside! The sun is up…and…well it’s beautiful. I’m still gonna wear my crown and all. Jumping in the mud. Oooh ooh oh boy. It’s very much cold. Very much it’s cold. I’m gonna put my hands in my pocket.

Mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mama mama mama mama mummy mummy mummy mummy (Not getting a response, so she stops.)

She tripped in the rock n roll. Then she went back. Hey, don’t go forward and back!

Mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy

(Arthur comes to get me, jumping on me over and over to get my attention.)

Mommy mommy MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY

4:28 pm

Two more minutes. Wait. Two. More. Minutes.

Mema momma mamma mommy mamama mummy

4:30 pm

And “rest time” is over.

Questions & Demands From A Two Year Old – The Saga Continues

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*Editor’s note – this series will be changing soon, as my two year old is only weeks away from being three. Who knows what she will come up with then…*

  • “Mommy – stop talking.”
  • “Can you sing the happy rain drops song?”
  • *dramatic sobs* “But I want to close the refrigerator!”
  • (Did you have fun at the playground today?) “There were screams.”
  • (Hey look, it’s Santa!) “He has a scratchy face.”
  • (What’s the name of that little horse?) “Bloosh.” (Oh, what’s he eating?) “Bloosh.”
  • “Sometimes the shadows take me out of my crib.” (What!?) “Just kidding, it was Grandpa. Heh.”
  • *Twirls in a circle* “Eeeks, my house won’t stop moving!”
  • (Okay, time to wash our hands.) “But I want to wash my hands!” (Okay. Push your sleeves up…) “But I want to push up my sleeves!” (Okay. Now get the soap on your hands like…) “But I want to put soap on my hands!” (Okay…now scrub, scrub…) “But I want to scrub!” (No problem…now, rinse!) “Mommy, can you wash my hands?”
  • “Mommy – I love you.”

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Twas 27 nights before Christmas…

 

Twas 27 nights before Christmas

And all through the house

Lay decoration after decoration

And a very tired spouse.

Because instead of relaxing

Or shopping and eating pie

Mommy Ritch commanded Christmas stuff

Be brought down from way up high.

So all morning and afternoon

Was spent hauling and unwrapping

Lighting the three Christmas trees

And yes, maybe some snacking.

But in the end, you can see

Twas all for good and cheer

And we won’t think about the work

To pack it all up for next year.

 

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And now I say…”Good night!”

Things I love…Create 365, The Happy Planner!


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I have always been obsessed with planners.

Seriously, I love them.

There is nothing like knowing the jumble of birthdays, to-do lists, meetings, doctor appointments and other random thoughts to remember are now neatly organized on a piece of paper for my reference. I remember several insane months from back in college (Winter term, 2001 – to be exact. Yikes, I’m old.) where I took on more credits than any human should. I mean, it was like 23 credits. The only way I survived was precisely planning out every single day of that term, right down to scheduling time to re-evaluate my planner. I’m not joking. And guess what? That was an A+ term, baby!

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Now, with the introduction of smart phones and shared calendars, I’ve strayed from my tried and true method of organization on paper. And it just is not the same. The pop up reminders that I had carefully scheduled for myself at reasonable increments are now obnoxious. And because I know these alerts are coming, I tend to forget to check my schedule ahead of time. Also, I somehow manage to create 2 copies of every “event” with Google calendar, so that my 6 month cleaning at the dentist becomes a explosion of reminders and traffic delay alerts (twice, remember) on my phone. It’s already bad enough having to go to the dentist, don’t rub it in!

These all sound like extremely trivial and whiny complaints, I admit it. But I missed my old organization system and when my friend told me about this planner, I had to check it out. And I love it so much, now I have to share.

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Here’s the planner I picked up, created by Me and My Big Ideas. It took me forever to find it at Michael’s…and that is because  there is an entire aisle dedicated to this brand! I am in love. There are stickers, expansion packs, dividers, household organizers, etc etc etc etc. I’m a little afraid for my bank account. Their website even has a video tutorial demonstrating each month (do they know their audience or what?)

Amazon has the planner I purchased (after spending 20 minutes agonizing between the different designs) and quite a few of the extra goodies as well.

The cost is a bit more than I would usually consider paying for a planner, but the design is worth it. Here are some of the cute details inside:
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Also I like it that the planner itself is not too heavy…of course, if I happen to start buying expansion packs, that’s probably going to change. Who am I kidding. That’s definitely going to happen.  😉

Happy November 1st!

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BOO!

Hope everyone had a great Halloween!
These Scarecrows left the farm for a night on the town!

Questions and Demands From a Two Year Old – The Saga Continues

  • (What are you doing over there?) “I’m writing my memoirs.”
  • “Mommy, can I take my money to bed?” (Why?) *darkly* “So the bank doesn’t steal it…”
  • “This french fry tastes like yellow.”
  • “I had a dream that dinosaurs live in the walls!”
  • “I need my sparkles book.” (Uh, what is…that…) “My sparkles book!” (Editor’s note: It was a picture book about gemstones.)
  • “I got my hand stuck in the straight line!” (Editor’s note: It was the folding closet door.)
  • “Hahahahaha, the toilet paper is sinking!”
  • “I’m all done eating.” (Okay, can I have your plate – ) “Nooooo, I’m still eating!”
  • “No, I can do it myself. No, I can do it myself. NO, I CAN DO IT MYSELF. Can you help me?”

The Tiny Dancer Comes Full Circle

Slipper Time
Recently my toddler started taking ballet classes. (Well, really they consist of thirty minutes of running around, but it’s super adorable.)
Her entering the World of Ballet was a big deal to me and I’ve been trying to figure out why. I don’t have a desire to be a crazy Dance Mom and ballet/dance involves a lot of time, expense and volunteering – even at her young age. And if I’m starting her down a road of serious dance training, it can also involve physical demands and injury. But since she’s only two, I’m not going to get too serious. Yet.
I took ballet as a child, just like her. I have brief, flickering memories of blinding recital lights, really tight hair buns, the stinging burn of hairspray, itchy costumes and getting to wear heavy makeup. But also fun and the sound of music from the stage and flowers at the end of the performance. Then we moved and I stopped dance, but started it up again as a late teen. I loved it. I loved the physicality, the music, and the intense structure. And nothing beats the *crack* of your toes as you’re warming up…
When I graduated high school, I was still dancing. I went to college part time so I could accommodate afternoon class and leave time for rehearsals on Saturday. I did this for an entire year, it made total sense to me. I was also writing and my major at the time was English Literature. It all made sense, I didn’t even question it.
Then the next Fall session was upon me and my teacher gave me a straight up shot of reality. And that “reality” was that I was:
– Too old
– Too heavy (can I interject here that I was RIPPED, I wish I had that body now!)
– Did I mention too old? Because at my age at that time, most dancers are at their peak. I was maybe halfway to my “peak.”
– I had no chance of a dance career to support myself (see reasons above)
Maybe this sounds harsh but she was right. She was totally right – in a worldly and practical sense. If I was going to progress more, I was going to need to sacrifice more time… which meant less school….and for what?
Ugh, dire huh?
As is my temperament, I quit cold turkey. And this, my friends, I am realizing was a big turning point. I quickly scrambled to figure out how to fill up this new found time, so I signed up for a full time Broadcasting program. I remember my intention being that I could “take my stories to another level.” But what happened instead was:
– College life
– College friends
– Late night movies
– Moving away
– Moving away again
– Working part time
– Working full time
– Dating/Marrying/Babying/Not sleeping
 
Now all this is fine and wonderful and all part of what has made me into me. But notice that dance or writing has no mention in there – and that’s because it had no part of those years. And that meant something was always missing, because those were also things that made me me. For a very brief few months I took an Adult drop-in ballet class. I even dove back into my book. But then life took over again and I never went back. When I pulled out my old ballet slippers to take this picture with my daughter, I found my punch card for that class, neatly tucked inside.
I had two punches left.
I’m not sure what I’m trying to say here. By no means does dance mean more to me than writing, but I can’t help but see some sort of correlation. Maybe it was that commitment nineteen-year-old-Erin took to carve time out for art. For not giving a damn and doing life part time but love and art full time. And now, here I am fifteen years later, finishing up the tasks that nineteen-year-old-Erin started. I went back and completed that English Literature degree and I finished my book. And “little Erin” has started taking ballet classes.
And me? I’ll be there to tell her not to quit unless she wants to. It only took me until now to figure it out.
Everything always comes full circle.

 

Laundry Room Renovation – done!

I <3 you.

It only took six months…but IT. IS. DONE!

As mentioned in my previous posts, having a dedicated Laundry Room has always been a house dream of mine. Not until our recent move did that dream become a real possibility. And now…it’s reality! Here’s a story in pictures. As you will remember, this is what I started with:

Yuck.

Hmm. Functional…? Kind of. When we merged households, we were left/blessed with two sets of washer and dryers. The house came with ancient 80’s linoleum (did I just say that??) and lots of Granny oak wood details.

Laundry Chute of Spiders and Splinters
The crookedy cupboards in the top left actually catch the clothes that drop from the laundry chute that starts in the master bedroom. May I mention here that the laundry chute was very splintery…it’s as though they carved the hole for the chute but left it at that. 

Now the laundry room renovation has started. 
I’ve picked the colors (bright yellow, gray and Tiffany blue accents)
No more linoleum!

Um, we still have to do laundry in here…

And now…Voila!


Fresh, painted walls. New tile floor. Cute decorations.

 Oh, and that laundry chute? 

BAM. What up now, spiders?

Huge shout out to my husband for his custom shelving and drying rack. 

(I’m jealous of myself.)

No more hanging clothes off the shower rack.

*Swoon*
Here’s some more images…yes, that is a fold out ironing board.

All in all, this laundry room has been worth the time and expense. Having the two laundry machines has transformed my weekends. I am no longer a slave for an entire Saturday to 8 loads of laundry. Now, I just spend half a day! I had a blast picking out paint colors, scouring Goodwill for trinkets and documenting the room as it transformed.
As someone that spent years in her twenties going to the laundry mat and having a shared apartment laundry room – trust me, I appreciate what I have. 

Bring on the laundry!