Playing in the snow, pot of soup on the stove and cookies in the oven, reading Little House Christmas stories, talking about our Lord and Savior as a precious baby, decorating a gingerbread house....
...except for the 42 times I yelled....
Somehow, all requests of mine were unheard, ignored, or inspired the antithesis. Today we were a case study in mutiny and exasperation...and codependency. A current rant in my repertoire is "You have no idea how good your life is...get. a. grip." I need to try a different tack 'cause it ain't working.
I am wrapping presents whilst the hoodlums sleep. Bring on the cafe au Bailey's...it's been a long day. Ho, ho, ho.
Can you think of a good caption for this picture? Those snowpeople are downright de-ranged....
I am consistently inconsistent...yup, that's me. Feast and famine of words...less words is usually a better policy, for me anyway.
I haven't fallen into the pits again...although I anticipate this to be an emotional week...just been busy, relaxing mostly.
We strolled through a woodland path decorated with lights with our friends the Kovachs.
We visited with our sweet friend and her new fuzzball.
(Dear Santa, we want this puppy for Christmas. I know where he lives. But of course, you know, too.)
We made and decorated some cookies for a MOPS cookie exchange. And ate many.
After said cookie exchange, a visit to our hometown museum was in store.
We did a little school, just enough to avoid the truancy authorities.
We enjoyed the pool and hot tub at our hotel.
Reuniting with sweet Indiana friends, Aunt Mandy, Claire and Mrs. Fitzpatrick (technically an Ohio friend) was a highlight. Do you have anyone in your life who opens you up with just his/her presence? That's them. I knew they'd make me cry, but it was a good kinda cry. And Claire brought us back with a laugh...such a scrumptious, almost 2yo girl.
Not to mention, we had lunch at Chik-Fil-A. Have a I extolled the virtues of that establishment? For some reason, the times I've lived in the South, I haven't ever gone. But there was one right around the corner from Sweet Man's office in Cincinnati and we tried it. Sold American....my new favorite. They usually have a nice, but not over-the-top Playland with one window wall...which means momma can sit outside with a book or knitting and keep an eye on kiddos. The food is de-li-cious and there's praise music piped in for all to enjoy. We can spend hours there on a chilly afternoon and did with Mandy and Claire. (Another highlight centered around food. Hmmmm.....)
This weekend, Grandma and Grandpa J kept the kiddos...how can I say thank you enough? Any attempt will be inadequate. But thank you, so, so, so, so, so, so much!
So, I vegged...Saturday, I. did. nothing. I watched movies on TV, took two naps, worked out, and then my sweet man came home and took me out to dinner. Yea, that's the way...no one needed anything from me. And I needed a day like that.
Sunday was pretty much a rerun of that day, except my sweet man was beside me. He's worked 20 of the last 21 days. He almost went into the office, but talked himself out of it.
Today, the kids and I took a trip to the nearest mall to pick up two gifts. Ugh! We also caught a storytime at a book store. Clifford was there. Again, Bug was not interested in the costumed character. Interesting. The jolly red guy was there, as well...and a throng of squirming kids & parents waiting to take pictures with him. Comical to me...I don't get it. But again, I mean no judgment...it's just not my bag, baby.
This afternoon, we're making snowmen out of marshmallows and swimming.
We'll be here (hotel) until tomorrow and then we'll head to our home (the one for which we still pay a mortgage) and bake and play some more. Maybe see sweet friends.
I wonder if there are any new readers from publishing the address in our Christmas card...if there are, I apologize...this is a boring post...actually, most of them are. The main purpose of the blog is to chronicle our travels and experiences. Somehow it's so mundane in black and white.
But, I assure you, I'm having a blast living it. There's no place I'd rather be.
Yesterday afternoon, we settled in our new place...and I turned on the TV. It's surreal...I recognize the weatherwoman's face and I know the towns of which she speaks. It is not a foreign land.
We are home...sorta, kinda.
Close to home would be more accurate...in another lovely hotel, close to home. A hotel I've actually stayed in with my parents about 20 years ago. It's older but still very nice.
Strange...that company for which my husband works so very hard putting us in a hotel when we could just stay in our house. I'm not asking too many questions, though. No one has ever accused me of being the squeaky wheel.
Sweet Man's office is down the road from our nephew's school. We're making plans with friends. We may even run into people we know. But technically we are "on the road."
Our own church was close enough to attend this morning...I've mentioned that people hug me and mid-squeeze say, "I thought you moved to Texas!" Seems so silly to explain it to people, so I have stopped. Who really cares anyway?
Speaking of my sweet man toiling away...we're a year into this new lifestyle. Before we signed on to the traveling gig, there were ongoing negotiations between Sweet Man and me. He explained his potential pay increase to be comparable to me taking on a part time job. A part time job with perks: child care provided by a trusted family member, free private education, pool maintenance, meal preparation, light housekeeping, accounting, personal shopping, etc. The spin he put on it still makes me smile.
Well, if I hadn't been earning that part time income up until now, I certainly have in the past weeks. Specifically, Saturday....whew! The man has been working his tail off...and he loves it...smiles all through it, in fact. In turn, I have been working my tail off, figuratively oh, how I wish it was literally off. I don't smile so much, and grumble some...but feel pretty purposeful.
So we're bringin' home the bacon...and letting the wonderful hotel staff fry it up and serve it with our complimentary, hot breakfast.
The following is Bug's CD playing/amateur DJ protocol:
Step 1: Open fresh CD...no, don't ask a parent...it just complicates things.
Step 2: Open player...yes, been told not to...but...see step 1.
Step 3: Sit right next to the CD player, remote in hand (even though he is close enough to have his curls caught in the spinny thingy,) and listen to it in its entirety....exactly once.
Step 4: Push buttons...randomly.
Step 5: Choose 2 or 3 favorite tracks.
Step 6: Repeat...over and over, partial song or the whole thing...and over...No,don't ask anyone if they like what is playing...just keep playing it...until bleary-eyed-and-out-of-her-gourd momma squawks and snatches remote out of hand.
Step 7: Snicker as frazzled momma walks away.
Step 8: Wait a courteous 15 minutes...return to the player and begin again.
We're back in Cincinnati and it feels a little like coming home...it's our fifth stay in this hotel.
Today was so rainy. We schooled this morning...two days in row...woot! (This is fodder for another post...as much as I am loving our curriculum...it may be a bit intense.) After meeting Sweet Daddy for lunch, we ran errands...primarily to get some Christmas crafting underway. Glue, ribbon, cheesecloth...can you see it?
Our Christmas tree (purchased last year for our first stint in Houston) is up...so much earlier than it would be in real life. Bug asked if we could sing songs while we decorated...my surprisingly, sentimental boy. Bean danced. Now we are sitting and watching Charlie Brown with my favorite dancing twins. (I'm not with dancing twins...they're in the show.)
I imagine that there are so many checking in on me...my story and life are indeed fascinating...so I won't keep the multitudes in suspense. (Journaling/blogging seems so self-absorbed....ick.)
I may sound crass...I do often...but I feel like I vomited emotionally last night. You know, that pressure that builds and when it's finally released...gross, but good. I'm feeling better...everything...my head, my heart, my body...I'm still tired, but that's my bad habit of staying up too late.
I asked for help...I asked the right people. I didn't want to ask friends or family who were suffering their own grief to bear some of my burden. So, I asked ladies not intimately involved in my family...women who wouldn't be sucked into my drama. They said what I needed to hear and asked me to feel what I needed to feel. They listened and I felt like I could say anything...they'd still love me. They held the rope, lowered me into the darkness and didn't let go. That was the kicker...I needed to know someone would be there to pull me out of it. Powerful help from powerful sisters. They embody the meaning of the Body of Christ.
It's time to honor my mom, her life, and her legacy in me...but it's time to get on with my life...not be stuck in the sadness.
They also encouraged me to do some homework...work that I have neglected, because "everything right now is so hard...I deserve a break." Yup, there's the lie I've believed for so much of my life. Entitlement..."I've been so good and worked so hard...I deserve this indulgence in (fill in the blank.)" Seeking comfort in the wrong things, for me, ends up being destructive...and ultimately uncomfortable...for me and possibly those around me. Seeking comfort and ease as a means of fulfillment, for me, is wrong. Or the lie, that I can't do this life thing...I'm too hurt, too damaged, too disillusioned.
I need to figure out what that all means. I don't understand it yet, so I'm sure I'm not explaining it articulately. Now begins the work of finding the truth that replaces the "I deserve it" lie when I think I need comfort. Or when is comfort appropriate? And from what/whom? What fulfills and what really destroys?
I need to absorb the truth that of course, I can't do this life thing. No one can alone...we can ask for help...and Help.
I am not proclaiming here and forever that I am finished with this chapter, but the unprovoked, pervasive sinking-into-my-bones-sorrow-can't-get-away-from-it is at bay. There was joy this morning. And gratitude.
(Today, the kids and I are pretty much just hanging out, making cookies, snuggling, cleaning a bit. Sweet Daddy's in Cincinnati and we thought we might be there by now, but our car is in the shop until Monday. So, don't be surprised if you see us. I'll be the one smiling.)
Editor's note: Honestly, I haven't wanted to write any of this...for lots of reasons, some petulant, and some justified. I can't get out of this funk. I know I'm not alone...and I guess this is my self-absorbed way of asking for yet even more prayer. I know some of you dear friends are struggling, too. Life is hard.
PS.: This is another rhetorical post...no need to comment on it.
And that last post has to be funny to me, or I would just lose another chunk of sanity. I willlaugh at it or I will lose my ever-loving mind.
There are changes in my body, my skin, my energy, my concentration level, my sleep, my balance, my muscles. Hence, the doctor visit and lab work. I want answers... and something I can implement without much effort. There are just no reserves.
My thought process is more convoluted than usual. Back and forth, I swing on any given decision or I just stop thinking about it.
To say I have conflicting emotions is an understatement.
I feel so alone, yet, I don't want to talk to anyone.
I want to be here in my home, but I want to join my husband in that lovely hotel. However, when I am with him, I expect (there's that word again) him to understand that I really just want to go to bed and hide. (Understand, I'm just recognizing that feeling myself...and have only begun to express it to him.) I loosen up on my emotions and let down a little...but that unleashes other emotions and I am downright mean to him. Not to mention, I don't want to do the work it takes to get to where he is.
I cling to my kids and then avoid engaging with them. Or I yell.
I want this phase of grieving to be over. (Again, no need for alarm...I don't want life to be over...I just want it to get back to normal.) I keep thinking the worst is over. I am wrong. I expected the holiday flare-up and the finality of getting rid of her things. So, when does this wave slide back to the sea?
And I fear I'm driving people away talking about how miserable I am. There's no sense that I'm still feeling this way. Just give me the next task, so I can get on with it.
I want my Savior. Where is He, anyway? I can think of a Sunday School answer...but it doesn't help me much right now.
Check another first off the list...write it in the baby book...another milestone for my babes. And get your phone handy...you're gonna want to contact that elusive group who chooses Mother of the Year.
My children fainted today. What??
Because of me....
I owe you a little backstory.
I feel like my body and my mind are both falling apart. I have strange symptoms flaring up in both. Some old and some brand new. I am so tired, but can't seem to get a good night's sleep. I ache inside and out. I am tender all over. I've gained 10 pounds since the end of August...always a tender area for me and truly I can't figure out why. Well, maybe I can figure it out, but I'm hoping my doctor can give me an answer to get me quickly to the other side of this.
So, I had an appointment yesterday and she ordered some blood work at the hospital lab. We went this morning before I had broken my night fast, actually the kids hadn't eaten much either...and so begins the adventure.
I've always been a little squeamish about the act of drawing blood. In high school, we made microscope slides to type our own blood...I almost fainted. And then there was the story I've shared before about listening to story about a girl stepping on a needle. It was Lent, I was fasting....and down I went. (Hey, that rhymes.)
Cleaning a wound (other than on the foot,) watching a surgery on TV, or supporting a birthing momma do not trigger any physical reaction in me. I'm cool there. Not even the prick of the needle bothers me.
It's the swirling of the blood cells...gulp.
Flash-forward to today: I explained to the kids what was going to happen once I sat in that chair with cool swingy arms and told them that it wasn't going to hurt me, but I wasn't going to watch. They could watch if they wanted, because it is actually a cool thing that God designed our hearts to pump and move the blood around...yada, yada. Okay, all was well....
She pricked me and I started to say something about..."See, guys, that didn't even hurt much. I don't know why I get queasy when I give blood."
Phlebotomist: "Oh, you get queasy....maybe next time we'll put you room #1 where you are reclined and your feet are up. Are you doing okay? Honey, just keep talking...." Circling the drain...tornado in my ears, narrowing vision, power down, oh no....
Someone must have helped me to the floor...I woke up and I heard, "We've got three down. Mom and 2 kids."
Yup....all three...I wish I could share the details, but I wasn't there...really. Apparently, before I got to the floor, someone took the kids out into the hall and had them sit. Bug thought he might throw up but swallowed it down. Then he thought he was "blond" (blind.) Bean said she saw colors in front of her eyes and wanted to go to sleep.
They wouldn't let me up to see the kids for a few minutes, but I could hear them talking. They knew where they were and that I was inside the room. Someone asked me if the kids were always that pale. Uhhh, yeah, I think. And the sweet phlebotomist, said, "Wow, your kids are really connected to you." Yikes, is that a good thing?
The response to the "Code" was impressive...about 8 people were hovering around with apple juice and cold compresses. And incident reports.
Yeah, so that event has been experienced...didn't have my camera with me, though...no scrapbook page.