Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

my brother is wrong

Oftentimes, in the summertime, I feel guilty because I don't feel like I'm doing "enough" with my kids. I dont' even know what "enough" looks like, but I feel guilty for not doing it.

I remember my friend Rach feeling guilty for not baking "enough" cookies with her daughter, Hannah, who passed away after a drowning accident. I can so easily relate to that...Asher has been asking us to put training wheels on his bike for weeks, and finally I looked at Scott and said, "Step up to the plate and take him to Home Depot to get nuts for his training wheels, dude."

But I always wonder, in our mothers' hearts, what would be "enough". You can be a TERRIFIC parent and still feel guilt over what you didn't do. We never think about all that we DID do, you know?

I think there are so many ways to feel guilty as a parent. I got into a discussion with my brother while we were on vacation. His contention was that "housewives have never had it easier." In some ways I agree, and in some ways I don't.

Ways we have it easier:
1. modern conveniences like refrigerators, washers, dryers, cars
2. grocery stores, easily accessible and convenient food
3. smaller families, not as many kids to take care of

My brother was saying that you hear lots of women with two kids talking about how "crazy" it is at home at night or how getting together a meal for the family is hard. And in that way, I suppose you could say we're soft.

But, here's my rebuttal. Every good debater in my family loves a rebuttal.

Ways it is harder:

1. My kids can't run around the neighborhood like stray dogs the way kids could do it 50 years ago in the summertime. Mothers wouldn't see their kids until twilight, when it was bath and bed time. The next day, they'd do it all over again. If I let my kids sit on the front step unattended while I load my ever-so-convenient dishwasher, I feel like my neighbors will call the cops. I don't feel like it's safe.

2. Social expectations are different. I was talking to a friend yesterday who feels like she has to put her three-year-old in preschool because that's what you do. If you don't do that, your kid is going to somehow be this underdeveloped freak who doesn't know how to interact with anyone else socially. I feel guilty if I don't take my kids to have 3 or more "play dates" a week, because maybe then they'll have problems relating to other kids in the future. (I don't truly believe this, but my heart sometimes has other ideas than my brain really knows.)

3. Barack Obama has made everything more difficult. It's all his fault. OK, I just threw that one in there.

4. Social media makes being a mother more difficult. Not only do I feel like I have to call someone back the same day they have called or I am being rude, I have a cell phone to contend with, texting to do, emails to check, and 476 social networking sites I need to maintain. Lots of people to keep up contact with, which takes considerable time away from my children. Another reason for guilt.

5. Getting together with other mothers is not as easy as it used to be. It used to be that getting together with other moms meant meeting at the local park. Most of us don't live in small communities any more. We live in big cities where a sense of real community is all but extinct.

6. #5 makes us feel more isolated than ever.

7. There are more pressures on children than ever before. I don't think, 50 years ago, some kid was asking her mom if she could dress like Lindsey Lohan at the ripe old age of 10. "Sorry, honey, mommy's not going to let you go to school looking like a hooker," was probably not something the mom of 50 years ago had to worry about saying.

8. Everywhere I go, everywhere my husband goes, everywhere my kids go, there is a barrage of information to take in. Television, internet, tv. You can't sit in a public restroom without an advertisement on the wall. You can't escape it. It is hard to be still, to be quiet. There is always something more "pressing" to do. Tyranny of the urgent, as one guy who lived a long time ago put it (can't remember his name).

8. There is an unspoken, everywhere, that the busier you are, the more important you are. Volunteer for church functions, volunteer at your kid's school, volunteer here, volunteer there. It's an interesting phenomenon to me, and one I've been paying attention to more lately. I often wonder how much quality time at home the people who are constantly volunteering are actually getting. As I recently told a friend, "There are only 24 hours in a day for ALL of us. No one gets more. So the person who is doing 9 billion things outside of the home is letting other things slide. It's a simple fact."

While I go cry into my soup, give me some more. Agree? Disagree?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

letting go

We had friends over last night and their younger daughter is the age the baby from my first miscarriage would be. I hadn't seen this friend for 17 months...it had been way too long, and mostly because I was dealing with so much and being around pregnancy/little babies was threatening to steal my sanity.

But last night...I didn't break down, I didn't feel jealous, I didn't stare at her like I wanted to steal her. I just kept grabbing her chubby little legs and arms and whispering like a psychotic grandmother into her ear, "You are so stinkin' CUTE!" Seriously, so cute I want to eat her up but I don't think her parents would approve.

She has this knowing little smile she gives everyone, like she's been on this earth before. You ever met a baby like that? One who seems to *know* more than a 10 month old should?

Like an old soul looking out of new eyes?

Anyway, her mom and I talked about how we as women blame ourselves for our perceived past "failings" in the realm of pregnancy, birth, delivery. How we blame ourselves for things that went wrong even though we really don't have much control over how things turned out.

The only thing we have much control over is our responses to those things. The universe hands you something and you have to figure out what to do with it. You have to trust God, yourself, your body, to take whatever this new universal handout is and make the best of it.

I've been thinking about it alot, thinking about what she said while we were standing in the kitchen and I was cleaning the top of the range with a razor blade. (She didn't seem to think that was weird.)

I watched the candle on the stove flicker as she told me she had to forgive herself, to tell herself, "Self, it wasn't your fault," and that that was a very, very powerful thing. She cried the first time she said it.

I'm getting there. Through all of this, I'm getting there.

I have to make Lu scream sometimes because of the procedures we have to do to her. "Mama, stop!" she cries. Each time it's like a stab in my heart...like it was my fault I couldn't make her perfect.

Like it was my fault my babies have died.

My fault I'm lighter a fallopian tube.

As women, we're taught to believe that our power lies in our reproductive capabilities. At least, in our society, I think it's true. Think about it: adoption is always seen as second choice and when we're wanting to get pregnant we call it "trying"...as though we have much to do with it at all.

I don't think the power lies in our reproductive capabilities at all. I mean, I think it can. But I also think a tangly web can be weaved where if you're in the situation where something went wrong and you truly didn't have control, you still believe that you did and it's your fault.

So, I don't think the power lies in the fact that we as women can or cannot reproduce efficiently.

I think the power lies in the letting go.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

He is good.

I am bursting with news, but the kids want to go swimming and I must oblige.

How far you have taken me, Lord. You are so good... I see it every day, I have seen it, even through the pain, but sometimes I just didn't want to admit it.

I got two separate pregnancy announcements yesterday from dear, dear friends. And I genuinely feel excited and so thrilled for my friends. And you know what's weird? There wasn't the "sad for me" that usually accompanies such announcements.

I have been down a bitter and sad road...and there are bitter and sad days to come, I'm sure. But I can see the clouds parting.

I remember my friend telling me that there came a point when pregnancy announcements didn't bother her anymore...when she didn't even have a desire to be pregnant. She told me this over a churro and Coke at Costco and I didn't believe her.

I do now.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

a million watts

We live in a big city.

There's a store I frequent often, and in that store, behind the dirty counter, is an individual who is always grumpy.

In fact, it's kind of become a joke between Scott and I.

"Hope you don't get the mean one today."

I always do...barking orders like a Nazi guard, you'd better know what you want, like, yesterday, or your head will be bitten off and thrown to the invisible rats behind the counter.

The other day I was absentmindedly flipping through the church directory and I literally did that eye rubbing thing that Daphne from Scooby Doo does when she's taken her glasses off.

"Get over here!" I ordered Scott. "It's the angry employee!"

There, from the shiny paper, staring up at me, is the person in question, million-watt smile and all.

As I inaverdently cut off an innocent pickup in the church parking lot this morning, I was reminded of the store Nazi, who I pray to God (really, I do) never tells anyone what church he or she attends.

I kind of want to go back to the store, slap some toothpaste on the counter and say, "The jig is up."

And then there might be a mirror behind the counter (unwashed, of course), and I'd see my own reflection staring back at me.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Branson for me

If Branson now is people from obscure 80s shows, Conway Twitty lookalikes, Patty Labelle wanna-be singers, hits of the '60s shows and this guy, what will it be like when I am 70?

Will there be "the greatest hits of Green Day" and "a return to Creed?"

There'll I'll be, boobs even saggier than they are now (a feat), sipping a Cola and thinking, "This is the life."

Thursday, July 8, 2010

good

If you hadn't noticed, I'm feeling good. Better than I've felt in about 18 months, I suppose.

I think it feels good to know that we have a plan...that child #3 is going to arrive, I just don't know how, or when, or from whose womb. But for the first time, I don't have a desperate need, or aching, to know.

Life right now is good. Being on that pontoon today with my little family and my brothers and parents and sister in law and nieces and newphew, things felt *right*. I stared out at the water as I snuggled Lucy close to me and I wondered if that little person is already growing in someone else's womb, or is a blastocyst in my own.

Or has that child already been born?

It's kind of cool to think about, and I refuse to let the magic that comes with thinking about it be squelched by my desire to know the exacts.

We have a specific amount of time we are going to "try" until we pursue adoption, for a number of reasons. It feels right to us. I had talked to alot of different people, including about 5 different adoption agencies, and expressed to my cousin that I just wanted someone to tell us WHAT to do.

She said, "I think you already know what you want to do. So just do it."

I am also excited about having Lucy in kindergarten this fall and having every morning alone with Asher. I have never been alone with Asher for very long, and Lucy has taken alot of my energy. If I had a new baby right now, Asher would once again be second fiddle. And I am not newly hatched. I know that a pregnancy, or adoption, will take alot of emotional and physical energy. So while I can, I am eating up all the time I can with the two munchkins I have...and Scottie likes extra attention too, you know.

I'm just feeling peaceful, and good.

It is good.

gotta love the innernet

I am a member of an online group of women who all have Factor V Leiden. Most of them are completely freaked out about having Factor V, and it sort of annoys me.

I try to explain that 20% or more of the reproducing population has Factor V, and there is a small percentage of women who actually have a problem with it as regards pregnancy. Of course, no one likes reason when they're freaked out, so my advice sort of falls on deaf ears.

I've researched the heck out of it and have visited two separate perinatologists who have worked extensively with women with FVL.

but...

What do I know?

Yesterday I mentioned going to a chiropractor for hip pain, and one woman told me I could develop a clot because if the chiropractor adjusts me in a certain way a clot could form and I could have a stroke and be in a coma

FOR-E-VER. (Think of that kid in that Sandlot movie saying this.)

I would like to point out that I've never had a clot in my life, and that I'd better not move, either, or have s*ex or lift up my kids or do anything normal people do, because ohmygoshicouldgetaclotanddie.

I also wanted to point out that no one in the group is worried about getting in their car and driving across town...which, statistically, if you do it every day for days and months and years, you're more likely to die from.

IT'S ALL ABOUT FEAR.

It's calculated risks, people.

I love the innernet, especially its ability to be able to create mass hysteria over nothing.

p.s. this same woman was trying to get me to buy an electrical stimulation unit, so I wouldn't have to risk the chiropractor.

p.p.s. I already have an electrical stimulation unit, lady.

It's called a vibrator.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

kids are forgiving

I am going to be Esther next week for VBS at church.

I miss acting. Sometimes I feel like I'm so busy being mommy that I forget to do the things that I used to do.

It will be funny, and fun. I'm always terrified of forgetting lines, even though I know them by heart.

Kids are forgiving.

My nieces and daughter need me to make an oatmeal face mask for them.

Must go. I think I will just slop some oatmeal and water together. It probably won't even work out.

Oh well, kids are forgiving.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

probably won't be this month...

so we've decided to "try" a bit longer because it just feels right. i don't know why, except that i don't feel the "go ahead" to fill out the paperwork and start the adoption process. we're both on the same page, I can't explain it more than that. we've been praying and it's where God's leading us. *cheezy Christian line*

prime ovulation time started as we were on vacation, sharing a bedroom with our two small children.

"That," my dear husband said, "Is where I draw the line."

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Do you ever wish you weren't a Christian?

First question to be answered.

Wishing I weren't a Christian is kind of like wishing I weren't a girl, or human, or wishing that I didn't think.

I guess what I'm saying is that I can't imagine any other thing...I can't imagine not trusting my soul to a Deity I believe cares about me.

Some would view this as naive and bland conjecture. But really, what does believing in a Deity bigger than myself cost me?

If Jesus Christ was not God, I suppose I'll know it soime day, or I won't. Say there is not a God. There is nothing after this life. I will die, and I will not know it.

What did I lose? What did garnering strength in the hope that a creator brings me cost me? Nothing.

I suppose you could say that if I weren't a Christian I could live how I please, but I know atheists who live very morally. There is something in the human psyche that 'knows' that stealing and lying and cheating is wrong. And I would say that that very innateness, on its own, points to the existence of some sort of deity, some intelligent designer.

Why are we all born with that? Chance?

I've heard people say of Christians, "They just use God as a crutch." OK, well, I suppose that's true. We use God as a crutch. I use God as a crutch. Some reasons that's not all bad:

1. If God doesn't exist, but my belief in Him makes me feel better, what have I lost?
2. If God does exist, and He was powerful enough to make every living thing out of nothing, and I use Him as a crutch, what have I lost?

Discuss, while I go to eat a cookie.