Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Five Scenes in Driving Over a Bridge

When we first moved to Louisiana, I knew I'd have to drive across the causeway bridge.  I've read that it is the "World's Longest Bridge."  At 23.8 miles long, the entire thing is over a body of gator lovin', fish havin', snake dwellin', shark inhabitin' water, Lake Pontchartrain.  If my mom is reading this, she has officially unfollowed.  She doesn't do bridges.


That little Lego looking bridge in the distance is the causeway.  It's not so cute up close. 


The first time I drove across the bridge, the kids were with me.  Which was good because you're less prone to pass out when you have trusting passengers willing you to remain upright.

"Just bweathe, Mommy," little Abigail offers with her lollipop mouth.
"Look at that PELICAN!" suggests Grayson as if I can see anything but the narrowing of my life before me.

But fear be damned.  Before long we are hitting the metal grid of the halfway mark and heading down toward the city.  Four more trips just like this and I am a pro.


Until I don't have my cheerleaders with me.

Last Friday, I took the trip solo.  As would be the norm with me, panic set in before hitting the toll.  Radio off, windows cracked (you know, in case I need to push them down manually - I saw that on Oprah), and heart in my throat, I remind myself to "bweathe."

Not only am I able to breathe, I am also able to have an entire Round-House theater musical on that 23.8 mile bridge.  Set to various numbers on the radio.  I am the Meryl Streep of The Causeway with nobody but pelicans to see me sweat.

Scene One:  Christian singer Matthew West's Hello, My Name is..
"Hello, my name is regret.  I'm pretty sure that we've met.  
Oh Yeah, we've met alright.  And I just kept on walkin!  Ain't nobody got time for you, regret!

"Every single day of your life, I'm the whisper inside that won't let you forget."
You might be a whisper, but I'm a ROAR!!  RAWR!  R o a r.  Meow.  Aww, I miss my kitty.


"Hello, my name is defeat.  I know you recognize me.  Just when you think you can win, I'll drag you right back down again, til you've lost all belief."
Ok, yes, I do recognize you too, defeat.  And you are one sneaky little son-of-a-gun. BUT I haven't lost all belief so YOU LOSE DEFEAT.  YOU LOSE AGAIN HAHAHAHahahahah.  Ha!  Ha.  Hmmm, this song is making me hate myself.  NEXT.

Scene Two:  Country Boy Dustin Lynch's Where It's At
"It's at 2am when she's reaching over, faded T-shirt hanging off her shoulder.  Dressed up, hair down, in a ball cap."
Hey, I do wear a faded T-shirt....although it's not a sexy shoulder hang one.  Maybe I should stretch one of my old shirts out for Andy.  "Hi Honey.  Here's my shoulder.  Am I sexy with my Flashdance shirt"  HahahAHAHAhhaha.  Ha!  Ha.  I'm hungry.


Scene Three:  Rocker Lady Pat Benetar's Heartbreaker  
"You're the right kind of sinner, to release my inner fantasy, the invincible winner and you know you were born to be....
be...a what?  Born to be a what, Pat?  A writer?  A vet tech?  A teacher?  I need to know, Patty...I'd love some direction and advice.   What was I born to be?!?

"You're a heartbreaker, dream maker, love taker, don't you mess around, no no NO!"'
I love you, PB.  You're more to me than roller skating at Wheel-a-While with Bobby.  Who, incidentally, turned out to be a real jerk.  And he wasn't that cute.  I should've had higher standards.  DON'T YOU MESS AROUND WITH ME BOBBY, NO NO NO! [throws one-handed rock and roll horns to the pelicans]

Scene Four:  Soulful Sam Smith's Stay with Me 
"Oh, won't you stay with me.  Cause you're all I need.  This is ain't love, it's clear to seee...but darlin' stay with me."
Man, this guy's voice is amazing.  Even his breathing is kind of hot.   Poor guy, he doesn't need to beg with a voice like that.

"Why am I so emotional?  No, it's not a good look gain some self control.  Deep down I know this never works.  But you can lay with me so it doesn't hurt."
Who wouldn't lay with you if you sang to them?  Sweetheart, it's ok to be emotional.  But I'd recommend finding someone else.  This one night stand has already texted someone to meet her for breakfast at Waffle House.  You can do better.

"Won't you stay with me.  Cause you're all I need.  This ain't love, it's clear to see but darlin' stay with me."
Just sing, baby.  You'll find someone at the studio, at the rock climbing gym or maybe Walgreen's.  That's how it happens in the real world.  You'll be ok.  Do you like to hot yoga?   


Scene Five:  Radio Off To Enjoy Some Silence
Whoah.  End of bridge already?  That was fast.  


Where's Wendy's?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Order Room Service


Parenting small children did not come easy for me.







As a hormonal, highly sensitive to the universe, I love me some quiet, Erin person, it was almost more than I could handle.  There were times I thought I'd check myself into a little room governed by psychiatrists, nurses, and lots of hand sanitizer but that never came to pass.  Believe me, there was this one day I tried.  But I wasn't needy sounding enough.  That's the thing about moms.  We know how to sound very put together when everything in us is falling apart.  Such a gift.

Before I go on, I have good news.  No, AMAZING news.  I made it.  Yes, my children still need me and I'm barely at the finish line but I made it through the hardest stay-at-home years of my life, raising my smalls.  Again, I wasn't sure I'd still be here to see the light at the end of this tunnel, but I'm here.  And you guys, it's the prettiest light I've ever seen.  It's worth it.

If you're wondering a few things, I'll try to pre-answer them for you:
Did I have postpartum depression?  Nope.  I took the survey, all checked out fine.  Was my husband deployed?  Yes, one time for 10 months.  Didn't I have any family nearby to help?  Nearby is a misnomer when you're talking Virginia mixing bowl and DC traffic.  Even those who tried to get to me got stuck in hours (4 hrs on a Saturday one day!) of traffic going one way.  Didn't I have any friends to talk to?  Tons.  Didn't any offer to help?  Yes, many did but I couldn't articulate what I needed myself.  And when I realized I needed help raising my children, I didn't know how to word that without sounding like I was 12.  People can drop in and lend a hand for a few hours but I knew I had to figure this out for the long haul.  Couldn't I hire people?  I did.  Sometimes it went well, other times not at all.  When you are already at your lowest point, hiring a babysitter feels as hard as building a car out of spoons.  Plus, all of your spoons are dirty.

You see, when you're someone like me you're very independent, stubborn head-strong, determined, and mostly positive.  You view yourself as capable and are bewildered that raising children is suddenly so hard.  How can little kids make you this depleted when you've gone to graduate school, got a teaching job, learned to SCUBA dive, and run a marathon all in the course of one year?  How is a nap schedule and Play-Doh kicking your ass after all of this?

Because it is, that's why.  Who cares about the details, it just is.

I know the details now.  Eight years later, I'm a scientist about the details.  I know that I need ridiculous amounts of quietude and space to feel normal.  I know that I cannot stomach sitting on a floor to play dolls but love kicking a soccer ball in the backyard for days.  I know I need music, not just lullabys.  I know I have to eat well or my brain goes haywire.  I know that structure, sleep, and removing myself from the noise of social media - especially the sensationalized news channels - is not optional for my psyche.  I know that I love to sing my babies to sleep in my arms when they're sick.  I'm a virtual expert on me, eight years later.

So, for anyone who's been confused as to why the job of raising young children is such a huge one.  Stop wondering.  You'll figure it out eventually.  Right now you have to survive.  Right now you have to get through it.  Right now your job is to do the hard work, cry sometimes, and laugh so much more.

Here's a quick guide that might help.  I'm calling it The Simple Guide to Living with Smalls.


  1. Go to bed by 9pm.  Stop laughing, just do it.  Don't scroll Facebook.  It'll be there tomorrow.  And the same stories will burn on your timeline for days so you're not missing anything.    
  2. Wake up before your children.  Yes, even the little effer  lovebug who gets up at 5:30 giggling in his crib just because he just can.
  3. Sit upright in a chair drinking your favorite drink.  Not rum.  Trust me. 
  4. Brush your teeth.  If you don't do this you will find a dry toothbrush next to your sink at 8pm, which incidentally, is the next time you get to think about yourself.  Floss, too.  Duh.  Always floss or else all the cute people in your life will stop wanting to kiss you.  You're welcome.
  5. Get dressed while listening to music, NOT the TV.  Pick something uplifting that you like even if it's from the 80s.  Especially if it's from the 80s.  May I recommend this one?   Rock that tune in your grannie undies all around your room until you find the outfit you can feel comfortable in yet still maybe stop at the grocery store for emergency chocolate.  We've all been there.  Aisle 5.
  6.  Make yourself a smoothie filled with all the veggies, fruit, and water you'll need for the next 6 hours.  This will be the best meal of your day.  The younger your children are, the more good sh*t you need to put in that smoothie.  P.S.  Spend the car payment and buy the Ninja Food System.  Add avocado to everything.
  7. Make eye contact with your kid(s).  It's hard because those dishes, that laundry, those dogs, your hair, The Twitter...but look at them.  They're here because you worked hard to get them here.  They're here and they love you the most.
  8. Answer their questions.  Even the one about babies.  My kids recently saw a cartoon of a woman getting ready to give birth and both of them couldn't figure out why her legs were up.  They couldn't imagine popping a baby out of her bellybutton that way.
  9. Love your partner.  He/she's freaking tired too.  Like more tired than you.  Not really but what the hell does it matter?  It's not a Tired Competition.  Nobody gets a night at the Hilton with oversized body pillows as a prize if they win.  By the way, don't worry...you're totally more tired.
  10. No seriously, love your partner.  This is worth repeating.  Text them funny texts.  Flirty ones.  Emoji ones.  Communicate throughout the day but about Date Night, not your jobs.  Your jobs both suck right now, talk about something fun.  Hug them when you see them at night.  Kiss too if you took my advice about flossing.  Thank them for running the bath, sorting the mail, making the appointment for the AC guy to come, not show up, come, and not show up again.  He/she is working two jobs at least, just like you.  But don't worry, you're still totally more tired.  Way.  If there is no partner and you're going this completely solo?  Please be extra kind to yourself and reward yourself with positive friends, exercise, and a healthy lifestyle that allows you little glimpses of what keeps you feeling like yourself.
  11. Pamper yourself like you would your best friend.  You bring your bestie Gatorade when she's got the flu, right?  Well, you're worth it, too.  Stop and get yourself Airborne pills when your little snotbuckets cherubs bring home all the germs.  Paint your toes that funky robin egg blue.  That color looks cute on you.  Take your kid(s) to a store just for you and make them suck it up for 20 minutes while you enjoy your life.  They already enjoy theirs because you're an awesome mom, remember?  Buy that uplifting card you see... for yourself.  You need Maya Angelou quotes.  You need the pretty lady made of hemp seeds and butterfly magic that says Spirit Warrior.  Get them.  For yourself.  Then, buy the cup of coffee/tea/flavored water to enjoy on your drive home.  When the kid(s) fall asleep?  Drive around to get yourself another one.  You'd do it for your sisterfriend when she's sick, right?  Do it for you because parenting smalls is very much like being sick all the time.  You feel like crap while you're making everyone else forget you exist, see?  Same thing.
  12. Play with your kid(s) as much as YOU want.  They just got here, they have no idea what's appropriate.  If that means 20 minutes a day, then rock that sistermom.  Seriously, do you remember your parents playing with you every waking second of the day?  I remember a whole lot of meandering aimlessly and happily in my neighborhood and in the woods behind our house.  Can't do that today, I realize, but my gawd, the children can still learn to entertain themselves safely within your decided parameters.  Plus, I tried playing with Abby all day long one time, not even getting up to get myself another cup of tea, and we were both in tears before 3pm.  Nobody was happy because nobody had a mom.  I became a 3 year old along with her and we both desperately needed a nap. 
  13. Haha, here's the catch:  Play with your kid(s) without a technical distraction.  Yes, I know, I love my phone and my camera too.  So. Much.  But those two will still be here when they turn 18.  Our kid(s) won't.  This time of raising smalls feels like forever but it couldn't be more of a trick The days are long but the years are short.  By the time your kid(s) reaches school age, you will have more time to devote to your distractions.  And that's when you're going to need them.  Let your children be with you while they're little.  More importantly, let yourself be with them.  They're your memories too.
  14. Give yourself a mid-day dance break.  Or several.  Freestyle is great but hip hop is better.  Because how precious is your little one trying to do the running man?   It's ok to bust out the camera too.  Fine, go get your phone.
  15. Messes do not make you a horrible person.  They are a byproduct of all the fun in life.  Take out the paints!  Bring out the colored bubbles!  Be the master of a Play-Doh Universe!  If you just hived out reading this one then do it all outside.  But make the messes.  It's how your children learn to do things and how you learn to not do things for them.  
  16. Clean up is for everyone.  Good heavens, please don't do what I did.  Please do not become the only person in your house who knows where everything goes.  Ask your kid(s) to help you put things away.  Ask them to sort laundry, then put away folded laundry, then help you do the laundry.  Your shoulder blades and your spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend will thank you for it.  Anyone raising children and trying to keep a clean house is already insane.  They need help and your children won't know how to help if you don't make show them.  Pretty soon, it'll become a habit for all.  
  17. Give yourself a Time Out.  I'm not talking an hour or two at Barnes & Noble on a Saturday.  Not even three hours with your friends for Happy Hour.  I'm talking two full beautiful wonderful so very necessary days of rest at a hotel when nobody can find you will need you.  You need nobody to need you for a couple of days.  If you don't do this, none of 1-17 will help you one bit.  Trust and believe, if you're like me at all, you need time to defrag and reconstitute yourself for the hard week of doing it solo ahead.  P.S.  Order room service.  Turn off the TV.  Bring a book you've been dying to read.                                          You guys, I was so tired in this pic.  I can remember this day.  Abby was sick with a upper respiratory stuff.  I threw her a B-Day party where many family members came.  Andy was deployed and I wouldn't ask anyone for help because I wanted everyone to know I had it all together.  
  18. Stop yelling.  It's not them you're mad at.  You're mad because you're sad.  You're sad because you feel like a monster when you're this low, I get it.   So you yell because it feels like all you have left to gain control.  We all do it from time to time because you're so tired you just need everyone to do exactly as you say or you'll drop.   But do your guilty little self a favor and stop yelling at your kids.  You're a big girl, close your mouth or yell into a pillow if it has to go somewhere.  Kickboxing classes are good too, just a suggestion.  Personally, I prefer Tae Bo but that's because I'm 40.  Your kids don't understand how tired you are.  They're new on the scene of life and haven't been that tired yet.  Let them live that innocently for as long as they can.  You can handle this.  
  19. Let go of guilt.  It isn't serving you at all.  It's depleting you even more of anything good living inside your tired bones.  We all make parenting mistakes.  We all expect too much.  We all think we have to be perfect at this.  We all think they should be able to wash their little bodies by now because your head pounds with the despair of knowing you're not going to sleep tonight...again.  Forgive yourself of your mistakes after your kids forgive you.  Because guess what?  They forgive you right away.  They love you the most.  Now, you need to love you half as much. 
  20. Write down their sweet words.  Draw with them.  Wrestle on the floor.  Play the board games you like.  Who cares if all the marbles fly off the Hungry Hungry Hippo board?  We all know it's not about keeping our marbles.  It's way more fun when you let some of your marbles go.


There's a light, you guys and it's the prettiest light I've ever seen.  I'm here now and I've found my voice.  Please don't let yourself think it doesn't get better.  It does.  Yes, you'll miss them while teachers/administrators/their friends spend their days with them but you need this time apart.  You will find yourself again and the best news is that the old you is happy you're back.  She's so happy you didn't give up on her.  She's so happy she's singing so that others like her will hear her and know it really does get sweet again.  Do the hard work, know this season of your life does not last forever, and definitely order room service when you have no more left to give.  Having no more left to give is a sign you need to give to yourself.  Guilt-free.  You deserve it too, sisterfriend.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukyq9NWJM0c

Monday, August 18, 2014

Shrinking the Moat





When first receiving the text to join them for breakfast, my mind reeled with excuses:  I have this cough.  It's the kids' first full week of school.  I ate crawfish last night and now my pants don't fit.  But instead I wrote back:  Ok, I'm in.

The Military Spouse Group meets often for various things throughout the year.  Sometimes socials, sometimes exercise, sometimes to unwind through designing wreaths and swapping numbers of babysitters who hang up wet towels.

Throughout the years, I've joined in.  I've clinked glasses, read Book Club books, and traded stories of endless nights as new mothers while our husbands worked their way up the ranks at new duty stations.  For the most part, it was always a good time.

But lately, I've not felt like joining in.  I've (rudely) ignored invitations.  I've hit the "maybe" button just to declare it a firm "no" the day of.  I've driven to the function, joined in for an hour and made haste to leave less than an hour later.

Why?

I think because I've made assumptions.  The wives here are so put together.  One is a ballerina.  Literally, she is a walking, talking, pixie-haired precious ballerina.  Another takes pictures of babies that make you beg your ovaries for one more try.  A few others have started their own businesses and are committed to their heart's work.  The last one has a gorgeous British accent and rocks Athleta outfits like she has forgotten she's wearing clothes.  I can never forget I'm wearing clothes.  Mine are forever tugging, pulling, scooching, getting pinched somewhere too rude to re-situate in public.  I remain, at all times, acutely aware of an underarm that's showing through a bell sleeve, or of a clasp driving a new bellybutton somewhere deep into my hip.

I assumed all these women weren't like me.





Yes, those are dog pajamas.  I need an intervention.



So I said No way more than Yes.  I reveled in No.  Bragged to my non-military-spouse friends about the freedom of my No.  Danced around my kitchen while those Together Girls had gatherings because No was so much more risque than Yes.

Then, the boomerang returned.  The distance I created to empower myself with non-comparisons turned into a moat of disassociation.   An island of women who move every two to four years, miss their family, and bleed Tricare were within reach and I pushed myself away because I didn't think I had my sh*t together.  A large well of fellow moms deciding to pause their career clock, like me, and balance their family on the small of their back were nearby and here I've been, walking away from them with an empty bucket.

So dumb.

This morning that changed.  Forcing myself into clothes that would gripe and fuss, I went to meet a large group of very intimidating  easy going women.

And when I got there, the moat shrunk.  Our differences became laughable while our similarities beamed.

One spouse just moved here.  She has three young kids, is a stay-at-home parent and is also a registered nurse. She told us a story about how she found out a bully was stealing her kindergartner's lunch midway through his first year of school.  My mama blood ran hot just like hers as she retold the story.  She dealt with the situation like a champ and we all applauded her instinct to investigate.

One mama mentioned her recent abstinence of social media and right away I went in for the gold.  "Are you happier?"  She lifted her gaze to mine and breathed a very full, "Yesss, so much happier"  Hmmm, I might have to try this, New Happy Mom Lady.

I met a rescue freak mama just like me.  Yes, her biceps and svelte yoga frame daunted me at first but before long we were chatting about her elderly beagle and the most efficient way to make food for a dog in kidney failure.  She adds baked salmon.




At the end of the table was another wife, cradling her week old baby in a front carrier. Next to her sat her own mother who told stories of living with her daughter in tiny living quarters overseas while the husband was deployed.

My friend, the one who texted me last night, gave us all hope that teenagers do come back after the painful "I Hate You" years.  Hers even lets her snuggle.  At sixteen.

When it was time to go, I checked the time.  Four hours had passed although it felt like one.

And I barely noticed that new bellybutton two inches away from my hip.

Friday, August 15, 2014

It's Always the Little Things

The hygienist making small talk with your chatty 5yo while she clearly has a raspy voice and pink eyes herself.  She's not feeling well but you'd never know it unless you had the chance to be two feet from her kind face.

My Sadie, a senior girl now of almost 13, lifting her chin toward the sun until she deems herself warm enough to seek shade.

An old friend from high school leaving heartbreakingly sweet youtube videos of animals on your facebook timeline.  Him having no way of knowing how you look forward to seeing them pop up when he sees fit.

Pledging only $10 for a rescue to bring a bull terrier mix to safety and seeing his freedom picture two days later.

A grown man giving a 7yo his favorite shirt to wear because the 7yo's mother forgot to pack an extra shirt for her now shivering son.

Your friend's silence as she listens, really listens, to you tell her how you are.  Her asking about *you* again and not your family.

Sitting down in a quiet place with a ceiling fan on.

A teacher's new tangerine top with the tag showing.   Her warm smile as she describes how much kindergartners can do.

A lady, maybe a fellow mom, smiling a big one after realizing you are waiting for her to go first at the four-way stoplight.

How Sparrow finds her Food Lady and digs "a hole to the middle of the earth" after eating dinner as a thank you.  Every time.

Telling a new mom you like her shirt as an excuse to meet her.  She was nervous too and now you have each other.

Sharpening pencils, signing your name in cursive, and packing lunches with autographed love note napkins tucked inside.

Playing footsie with him while he flips the channels.  And flips the channels.  And falls asleep flipping the millions of channels.

Listening to a stranger tell you about their shy little boy without telling her everything about yours.

Birds.

Just a few leaves falling in August.

Avocados.

Saying yes to a balloon fight, ice cream for dinner, and TV for at least an extra hour.

Tuning out media when it's fighting for justice, happiness, and wellness for all.  It has good intentions but to your mind it's still a fight.

The Beatles.

Watering plants back to life.

The first bite of pizza.

Interruptions from people who won't always want or need you right this very important I-made-you- a -cookie-with-black-frosting-and-an-orange-slice-on-top second.

Green tea.

Invitation to a secret club.

Recycling.

Sketched drawings of children.

Date Night.

"Reece-Out" instead of "recess"

Friday night Pizza/Movie Night waiting for you patiently.


What are the little things that accumulate for you?



Tuesday, August 12, 2014

When Sad is a Rabbit Hole



Sad is a rabbit hole.

For some people who experience feelings of sadness, it casts a pall over a canvas of normal, to hover for a day or so, and then it leaves.

For others, others that seem untouchable, sadness is the canvas and there are things to be done that cast a pall of normal over it.

Things like drinking cappuccinos.  Taking a walk with a friend.  Making people laugh.  Prescription drugs.  Volunteering. Things like going to work, having conversations, and coming home to go to bed.  Normal things.  Normal things that take more energy, strength, and willpower to accomplish than they should.  Because, for them, sadness is busy, so very busy, gnawing away at every molecule of goodness and light it can consume. It feasts on their energy while draining them of theirs.  Sadness is a greedy bastard.  It's obsessed.  It can never have one.  It keeps gnawing and biting and chewing until its had more than its fair share to slog around your insides like a sticky cloud.

Some people figure out a magic formula that protects them.  Their magic formula works!  It changes their chemistry for hours, days, and if they're extremely devoted to the task of meteorology, years.  They find their recipe to stave off sadness and they are euphoric.  They win their mind back before the sticky cloud makes its way to the tippy tippy top.




But then the formula changes. The cloud is back and working its way up, inch by healthy inch.  Your normal becomes warped.  So unrecognizable.  Off kilter and scary.  Unbelievably so, it is back to square one.  Back to search for things that will cast a pall of normal over their inner landscape of that dastardly cloud.

It's a never-ending cycle for those people who fight to feel "well."  They don't choose their canvas but they sure as hell try to color it pretty every single day.  To distract themselves, to fit in, to counter-attack the storm that is always brewing.  To hide it from others who might think less of them despite their heart not to do so.  Some worry if the cloud is catching.

This type of sadness doesn't have to eat you whole.  It will die trying but one day it will die.

May all of you who find yourselves in the rabbit hole give yourself more time.  More time to create another formula that wards off your storms.  More time to understand your struggles will pay off, are paying off today, are such a gift to others fighting with their heads down.  More time to feel how much you are cherished and needed on this earth.  More time to show others that it can be done.

Your rabbit hole won't spit you out.  You have to keep climbing.






In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Urgent Care





I've been pining for a "quieter time" when I'm in charge of my thoughts again.  Where the pushy conveyor belt of life slows itself long enough for your fingers to loosen, temples to cease fire, and toes to pop up before the lip of your shoes get eaten by the hungry metal seam.

Chomp, chomp.  Just once I'd like to see where it goes.  

Did I do this?  Did I make it all so critical?  Because for a long time everything has been on fire.  Everything matters so much all the time-  engineering lives that depend on me.  Raising a family is strange that way.  You are split in half:  wholly relevant and constantly disappearing.

Chomp, chomp.  

For years, it feels like I've been working in Urgent Care.  As in uh oh, your forehead is warm.  Crap, you need lunch!  PLEASE don't roll in the dog hair!   EEK, why are you wearing booty shorts?

For years, triaging.  All forethought, planning, and scheduling ahead, trying to predict who would be walking through the door in the morning.  Cranky girl?  Lethargic boy?  PMS Mom?   OCD Marine?  But sometimes we are all well and the kids are steamrolling on the couch, breaking legs off dolls just to "cast" them back on, and making "phshew, pshew noises with LEGO people that never run out of things over which to wage a seven minute war.

But I cannot take myself from this Urgent Care mentality- the incessant nag of more.  GAH, can you still read?   No board games, we need Vitamin D!   Man, I never took you to one museum, did I?  And so on.

For self-induced reasons, my insides are in flames that lick their way up and down my thoughts to create worries that feed on fire.


*************************************************************


Grayson starts 2nd grade today  Abby begins all day kindergarten next week.  For the first time in 8 years, I will not be working in Urgent Care.  That decade-long fire is about to go out.





And I'm going to sleep hard like a smiling dog in the afternoon sun.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Manifest

Sometimes I don't know where to turn.

The usuals aren't working:  the silence, knockoff Oreos, sideburns of sun on the too-tall grass in our backyard, or the third glass of wine.  Nothing, none of it's working right now.

So I turn inward and starve myself from connection, figuring nobody can touch what they can't see.  Then, in a mean twist of chemistry and human condition, I turn it outward and clean the crumbs from underneath the plate of a child who is still eating.  Nothing, none of it's working right now.

I don't go for the spiral, the deep dive down in to the well where things are just plain pitiful.  Mostly because that is selfish crap.  We all have this sometimes.  Nobody is saved from their lives.

But it's there.  The desire to be saved.  To be taken by the wrist, shown the way down the dark hall, sat down in a place I don't recognize, and held strong by someone - anyone- who means it.

I'm no more tired than you.  Not in the physical, more something else to do with your worn out soul-ical.  Your fatigue from life and mine are the same.  And utterly different, all the time.  Because it's work.  We all have it.  We wake up, nobody but us steers the day.  We look at the clock to see how much longer we have, as if a certain whistle gets blown at a certain hour.  We fix dinner we won't ourselves eat, we make more dishes like an evil boomerang.  I swear I just washed this knife.  We hide in our bathroom from more innocent chatter about impossible treehouses and Spongebob.  We are found by all sets of eyes, human, canine, and now feline.  We can't hide from life.  Life finds you and has you clock the hell back in.

Because there is no clocking out.

I never knew that.  I should've, but I didn't.  I figured there were diapers, formula, bouncy seats, playdates, wine, and then YAY school!  Oh, dear HayZeus, how naive of me to think there was a space between.  The only spaces I've found in between is laundry.  The beautiful puzzle of laundry that allows me to pine for sister wives, churning butter, and sharing a man who will only annoy the sh*t out of me once a month.

It's going to be fine because fine is what I'm after.  No epic knowledge of home making.  No epiphanies about child rearing or "finding myself in the mundane."  If I haven't found myself by now, there may not be real reason to keep looking.  I've been here all along, cursing, singing, writing, saving dogs.  It takes more than gray hair and eyebags to suffocate that girl who refuses to go out without a fight.

Manifest.  I keep saying this word to myself:  manifest.  Manifest the will to keep pushing through the muck and the sludge in the miracle likelihood there is someone at the end of this to hug me tightly.  To show me that love and willpower are, in fact, always met with the reward of a brighter day.

And by brighter, I totally mean overcast with over a 60% chance of rain.