Tuesday, May 29, 2012


oy vey.

i had a post typed up about being treated badly.  and in it, i was right. (just sayin...)   it sucks to be treated badly.  it's a special kind of suck when it's family that treats you badly...kids you birthed...spouses you promised the best of yourself to forever (really?  did i really do that?).  but somewhere in the post, through a lot of flat and stilted and superior sounding writing, i figured out that we all treat each other badly and i shouldn't be too superior or too much of an asshole to my little darlings...or my big darlings...or my big asshole darlings...whatever the case may be.

life is messy. 

i am not sure when my life started feeling like it was going about ten miles over the speed limit all the time.  a friend once told me that the older i got, the faster time would go.  and so far, this is true.  if it keeps speeding up like this, i don't see how i'll be able to breathe in fifteen years. 

i think i am just tired again.  and spread thin.   and it's only tuesday.  but it's also the first week of summer break, so maybe somewhere in here is a routine that i can stay afloat in...not always feel like i am madly treading water...getting sucked under and spit back out and sucked under again.  does this make me a hopeful pessimist or a cynical optimist?


Monday, May 28, 2012

taking care of needs and looking for grace

that title pretty much says it all.  that's been what things have been about for me lately.  i do this thing where i get so far behind on taking care of myself.  nursing a toddler, running around and organizing schedules for five kids (and a spouse who's a new doc...but i'm barely claiming him this week, so...), packing one house and getting ready to move to the next.  add to that an 89 year old grandma's birthday and a niece's med school graduation (both three hours away from where you live...) and you've got a rather hairy week.  add to that, a spouse and two kids gone for four days (on a freaking vacation for the most part...not that i'm bitter...well, i didn't START OUT bitter about it anyway...) and you get bedtime duty with the two year old that whole time.  while dealing with the teen.  who happens to think the parent on vacation is the better parent.  but you're stuck there.  putting the two year old to sleep, like you even give a crap about whether or not the teen thinks you're a good parent, just go to bed for the love of god.  but wait a minute.  why does the teen sound like the spouse when he's telling you what a crappy person you are...how you don't care, how you think he's all bad, how nothing he does is right, how you're ALWAYS so negative and aggressive and pissy.  now THAT'S enough to piss a woman off.  the spouse may not give lessons how to clean up after himself or be helpful around the house, but somehow he's managed to coach him in how to reduce a woman, or THIS woman at any rate, to a pile of nothing mixed with a whole bunch of tears.  and then the final crapola line?  "and dad never gets all emotional and lets a conversation fall apart like you do."  that's when the pile and tears of me went down a drain and was never to be seen again.  well, that's what i was wishing.  really, i was just an almost forty, squishy with bad posture, bags under my eyes, hair all over the place, broken out (what the HELL is that about?  seriously?  zits at 38?  anyone wonder why i'm so cranky lately?) woman, bawling and feeling pretty broken in front of this beautiful person i gave birth to 17, almost 18 years ago, who's clearly gone bad on the inside because he doesn't give a shit about anything but being right at this moment and yes, is even mocking his crying mother.  well...let me excuse myself.  and that's what i did.

i then proceeded to text his father and tell him how similar they are to each other.  how hurt i was.  how i'd obviously messed this one up and should we hire a professional to raise the other four?  he was unusually positive about the whole thing.  which i thought was weird, but decided to embrace.  it was two or three days later before he let slip that the reason he was up was because the spurs were playing and he was excited to be able to catch the whole game in the hotel room where he was ON VACATION.  while i was being deconstructed by our oldest.  i do  not know why God works this way.  it is really unfair...just sayin.  and since he's been home, my spouse has talked to my oldest about that weekend exactly once.  (no wonder the oldest thinks his dad is a better communicator, huh?)  but the husband has managed to let me know on two or three occasions since being home this last week that perhaps i am struggling with this stage of life and hearing these things from my oldest because of my ego and my pride.  and that makes me want to move to australia (with alexander...you know the book, right?).

so, BY THE GRACE OF GOD, i happen to have a friend who will listen to me when i am a puddly pile of nothing planning my relocation to australia.  and she helped me recognize that i had not met some of my needs.  that this was a particularly rare clusterfuck of events...a vacation for half of us at the same time the other half are, erm, struggling.  the end of a long renovation project and the packing and move that come at the end.  a week of the spouse at home (which for those sahm i know, is always stressful).  exhaustion break down for the mom.  so yeah.  i guess the circumstances were extra stressful.

oh, i also missed church last sunday.  and while i no longer believe that st. peter is at the golden gates of heaven with some attendance sheet tallying how many sundays you missed, i do find that i learn a lot listening to our pastor at church.  a lot about god's love for me, a lot about how to love others, and just a lot about what's good in this world and how to bring myself in line with that.  a few sundays ago he even talked about our natural lives and our supernatural lives.  i just really, really feel myself being cracked open when i go to church these days...the music, the prayers, the homily...and it lets in light and allows things to grow in places i'd left untouched because i just didn't know how to access them, or if the church wanted me to, or if God loved those parts.  ah.  it is all so confusing and compelling...so frustrating and redeeming.  anyway, yesterday fr. james talked to us about the holy spirit.  it was pentecost sunday...when the holy spirit came upon the disciples and everyone spoke a different language, but everyone was understood.  that's sort of the opposite of my house the last week, where we all speak english but don't understand a damned thing anyone says.  but maybe that's the point?  fr. james said the reason everyone understood each other on pentecost sunday was because they all spoke the language of love.  so maybe in my family, we need to get to a place where we can feel that love again?  communicate it?  maybe we all have to have those times where we can't understand each other to help us appreciate when we can?  this is a huge leap for me, because i tend to believe that hurt is being done that will never heal and eventually the only answer will be one of us moving to australia.  but i'm trusting in the holy spirit.  and maybe the holy spirit will direct me to australia.  but not today.  so i will do the best i can with today.  and if that means staying in while the men in my family do yard work, then that is my best.  if it means blogging while the littlest eats her yogurt, then i will do it.  i will trust in myself and stop looking to others as though they are more trustworthy in their appraisals of me than i am.  because they are probably working through their own bullshit.  and when our paths cross, or we have words, i will trust in the holy spirit, or the grace of God, to guide us.  but let me be honest, i will not sign up for unnecessary crossing of paths or having of words...i am not one to tempt God, just sayin.

so for now, my best is to sit and watch my two year old eat her yogurt.  it's hilarious watching her get these huge spoonfuls and lick them off until there's a reasonable bite size amount left in the spoon.  the she takes her bite and dabs at her mouth with her napkin.  i wonder when we'll move into our house?  i wonder when my spouse and i will speak again?  i wonder when we will be able to settle into life again?  a space again?  a rhythm again?  will we even have harmony again?  i probably sound over emotional...i've been getting that a lot lately.  but i do have faith these things will happen in time...when the right time comes.  the in between has never been my best thing.  but i'm working on it.  (and i'm just going to say, i don't think that work is born out of my ego OR my pride...)


Thursday, May 24, 2012

looking for light

i'm a little stressed out.  it's a stressful time...i don't think i'm overreacting or anything.  and i KNOW things will work out and i'm blessed and there's much good going on.  that's my faith.  but there's still this anxious, stressful part of now that i just can't ignore and or make go away.  house stuff, kid stuff, family stuff, marriage stuff...yep.  but i'm going to focus on the cool stuff.  some random cool things...

-my sister is going to make peach jam.  this just makes me all kinds of happy and i can't wait to hear all about it and maybe even taste some.

-my oldest son did really well on his SAT.  he even made a perfect score on the reading section.  i get the objections to standardized testing and i know a good score doesn't make him any better of a person today than he was before he knew the score.  but it does open the field right up for college acceptances and, even more important, academic scholarship money.  because now that his dad's a doctor and all, we won't qualify for financial aid (even though we will be paying that medical education off for the next nine years...just sayin).

-my second and third born boys are on a robotics team that got second place at a world robot competition over the past weekend.

-my fourth born got to sleep in my bed while sons 2 and 3 and dad were at previously mentioned competition.  he loved it.  and so did little sister.  and really?  so did i.  i miss him and was grateful for the chance to be close.

-littlest girl is hilarious.  and brilliant.  and a bit of a drama queen, but the other two traits make the drama bit a little easier to take.  i am trying to think of something funny and brilliant that she said lately, but what keeps coming to mind is her wearing her matching shirt for her brothers' robotics team, the geekos, and being so proud of it saying, "i LOve my geeko shirt."  which is not really hilarious or brilliant, but it's really cute coming out of a two and a half year old's mouth.

-we bought a trailer.  this is particularly exciting to me because there have been many times i have wanted a trailer.  i still have to ask my sister to tell me how to steer it.  (i know she's told me before, but i can't remember this stuff anymore.)

-our house we are renovating is almost finished.  it's really pretty close.  almost 100% finished.  i'm sure it will be awesome when it's 100%.  my guys knocked down the chicken coop that was blocking a pretty nice view (seriously?  who puts the chicken coop right outside their dining room windows?).  so that's the good house stuff.

-my book club is reading an anne lamott book this month.  that's pretty freaking cool.  a mama who hasn't come in awhile says she might come.  that's even cooler.  if it's at my house, should we actually be living in it by then, that would probably make me explode from the coolness.  but in a good way.

so i'll stop there. 


Wednesday, May 16, 2012


i have always thought of the catholic church as the jesus police.  it always seemed to me that they knew what jesus wanted us to do, and that they were especially qualified in evaluating whether what you were doing was in line with what jesus preached, and that they pretty much had the cornerstone on judgment.  when i joined the church in 1998, i think i felt like jesus had to love me if i was willing have faith and join a church that seemed so devoted to him, yet so close minded and exclusive in the world.

now, keep in mind, my in laws belonged to the church.  they were devout catholics.  the weekend my husband (boyfriend at the time) told his parents that we were pregnant with our first son, my mother-in-law went to church four times.  and when the weekend ended, they took him out to dinner to celebrate that he was going to be a father.  my mother-in-law has never said an unkind word to me.  as a matter of fact, sometimes she annoys me because she says such positive, hopeful, trusting things to me...things that sometimes make me thing, "but how do you know i work hard?  or that i do great things?"  but that's usually because i'm having a bad day.  and i'm sure she has bad days.  but, even when we lived with them for nine months after dh finished pharmacy school, she never took a bad day out on me.  i mean, i'm pretty sure this woman loves me.  i really, really hope to treat my children's partners as well as she's treated me.  seriously.

but that wasn't exactly my point.  it was part of it, but not all of it.  my husbands parents have been so supportive and so giving to us.  and they never hold it against us, or use it to manipulate us, or try to work it so that their gifts give them power over us (which i guess are all three different flavors on the same theme).  anyway...if the biggest thing in my in laws' life was their faith and their religion, then i always wondered if it had something to do with their generosity...yes, of material things....but also of spirit and kindness and love.

see, i grew up believing i had to earn love.  i had to earn like.  i had to earn anything positive.  the world always seemed kind of inherently negative...like it was always about to slip off an edge into an angry, scary, powerless, defenseless, directionless rage.  and i acted hard to keep me and mine in the light.  that may be a bit dramatic.  it's hard at this point in my life to really evaluate the fear i lived in when i was younger.  i will say that i don't believe it was my parents fault that i learned that.  they may have contributed, but i also think i'm just wired that way.  and the way those things came together just made me the way i was...helped me to choose to be who i was.

the reason i bring that up is to say that my introduction to religion, as i understood it at the time, fit quite well into my understanding of how to gain the love and appreciation and acceptance of others.  the catholic church provides a lot of doctrine and rules, and i was good at following rules.  so when i followed the rules, i felt the love of God, and i was confident in that love because i knew i had followed the rules and earned that love.  now, when i fell short, i knew, as a catholic, that i could confess my sins and be reconciled.  (not that i often do)  and so i've gone on...attending mass regularly, doing the things i'm supposed to do, bringing my children to religious ed classes, celebrating sacraments and such. 

but i have really struggled lately.  our family has gone through some big challenges and i have had a lot of feelings through the last few months.  and somewhere along the way, i realized that while i felt like i was doing the things i was supposed to do, following the rules (and for the record, not just catholic rules...attachment parenting rules, homeschooling rules, american dream rules...i'm not perfect, but i really was trying to do all the "right stuff" as i understood it), i was really pissed that things were so not what i wanted them to be.  that people were making bad decisions, that trust was being lost, lies were being told, relationships falling apart, hearts breaking....i was just really, really pissed.  in all that anger, i would also fall into a pit of despair that said i obviously was just inherently less than, a bad seed that couldn't be redeemed by my own actions, no matter how hard i tried.  that while everyone else got to have love in their lives, something i did brought this distrust and fear and anger.  because god is good, right?  so the other stuff must be because we are not following God well enough.

well, my understanding is shifting.  and the challenges of this year have had a lot to do with that.  i was trying to explain to my therapist last night the difference between believing something and choosing to live in that belief when something big confronts you...when something hard comes your way and annihilates so much of what you thought you knew...when it hurts so much you think you might die but you keep waking up and you're not sure if you're happy about that or not.  that's when faith is truly developed.  and oddly perhaps, the catholic church has had a lot to do with the hope and love i find myself developing a strong faith in. 

when i became a part of my husband's family and listened to his family talk about jesus, it was the first time i'd ever heard jesus referred to an a liberal...a rebel challenging the social norms of his time.  and i could never understand how jesus could do that and still say he wasn't coming to abolish the law, but to fulfill it (mt 5:17).  i had such a cultural understanding of jesus and the catholic church.  even fourteen years into being a catholic, my knowledge of my church comes more from general media sources and the mouths of others than real, sound sources.  but i'm working on that.  and it liberates me.  instead of confining or condemning me, it frees me of my own self-condemnation and allows me to believe in a love greater than i could imagine (and therefore restrict myself to only feeling those small amounts of what i thought i'd earned).

i know there are a lot of questions and doubts and hurts surrounding religion.  and i don't have the knowledge to answer those questions or release people from those doubts or heal those hurts.  i do have faith that if i keep following the question of my own heart and the doubts of my own mind, that i will be healed by grace.  and i believe that matters.  i have a lot of faith in that very thing.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

let's try again

i found a big orange button with a pencil on it.  apparently, that's the symbol for publish in this new format.  only i'm typing and publishing has NOTHING to do with a pencil.  so that's stupid.

i have a hellacious headache today.  (i was going to type "this morning," but it is after 1:30 in the afternoon, so...yeah...)  an old friend of ours came to visit last night.  he and my spouse went to pharmacy school together.  yeah, that was my husband's first degree, if you're counting.  which makes him really kind of an old friend.  i remember when he came to our house after our oldest son was born...just a little peanut we were all staring at, not really sure what to do with him...we'd poke him every now and then.  anyway, the friend came in once and picked up this breast pump i'd been using.  he held it up and said, "what's this?  a graduated cylinder?"  it was pretty funny.  i remember him setting it down and wiping his hands on his jeans when i told him what it was.  good times.

this friend would come over often and we'd barbecue and make margaritas.  (you know, once we were legal...which wasn't until our oldest was almost a year old, but that's not really relevant to the story)  this friend was the one i handed my oldest to when he was 14 months old and cut his toe open on barbecue tongs...cut it to the bone...and when i looked at his toe and almost fainted, i handed him to this friend.  (i was fine after i splashed some water on my face...made it to the sink before the whole world went dark)

anyway, it was this awesome gift that this guy emailed me to let me know he'd be in town and did we want to get together.  we didn't barbecue.  (five kids to run around and an ob/gyn spouse...who has time anymore?...and that's what barbecue restaurants are for, right?)  but we did buy the stuff to make margaritas.  it was funny....it had been so long since any of us had made margaritas...we couldn't remember how much tequila vs. how much triple sec...that made us all feel old.  but we put a decent batch together.  and talked and talked.  until midnight!  (i KNOW...party animals, right?!?!)  and i am dying today.  well...just the headache.  (and the eye aches and i'm so tired...)  but i feel a little younger.  and happier.  and healthier.  my husband said it was "interesting" how easily we all slipped into our old friendship.  (my husband...some parts of him have gotten so much wise and some parts have so much more clinical...)  he said we were like a comfortable pair of shoes.  it was cool.  next time i'll have a smaller margarita.  for now, i'm going to go take some tylenol.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

what the hell?

i finally make it over here to blog and the format of it all has been changed.  now i can't even remember what the hell i was going to say.  it took me five minutes just to get to where i could type something and even then, i'm not sure where the publish button is.  oh, i see it.  i am too old for these changes.  or maybe just too tired to try to figure them out.  which is the same thing, now that i see it written out.

i need to relax.  drop my shoulders.  stop tensing my extremities and using my core more.  letting it be my core again?  that's kind of a weird concept to visualize.  when your core is no longer what you move yourself with.  no wonder we're all out of whack.

i sent my sister a dooce blog about farting.  well, it was really about the pacific northwest, but it had one damned funny fart story in it.  i almost fell out of my chair and snorted an air embolism into my brain trying not to scare the kids and pee my pants while i read it.  my sister did the same.  god i love my sister...same crazy mother who cried if we mentioned farts...close enough to my age to have similar bladder control issues.  that's the basis for love right there.  my husband and oldest son, on the other hand...they read the story and barely smiled.  and i would've thought they were clearly broken, except i think it was some act of rebellion...some show of solidarity.  and it pissed me off.  but i let them have their bonding.  they wash their own clothes...i can let them be asses sometimes.  plus i started my period today, so that may have had something to do with why i took their refusal to laugh so personally.  ("yeah honey, it's a cute story..."...can you hear my eyes rolling?)  but i reread it this morning just to be sure.  it didn't make me have to pee this time around.  but it was still pretty fucking funny.