Saturday, September 29, 2012

a commentary on grief

...or what I know of it.

Yesterday I got the insane opportunity to meet up with my beloved college youth pastor from when I lived in Californi, 2001. We hung out at Chick-fil-A (of course) and then when Teapot was making snow angels and screaming on the middle of the restaurant floor we decided to exit stage right.

We were having one of those conversations where we were trying to condense the last 11 years into 2 hours.  We were pushing the babies in swings while Asher was killing himself trying to get across the playground on one of those sliding bars meant to maim children, and I was retelling the story surrounding having Phoebe.

I realized about 1/4 of the way through that I was yelling things like, "And then people started cussing," "and then Scott was crying," "and then my blood pressure, yeah, my blood pressure was doing weird things",

and I realized right there that:

people were starting to look over at us, looking for signs of head contusions,


I will never have a handle on this story. I could tell it 136 times (I'm sure I have already) and it will never make sense to me.

That's the thing - most of what happens to us before we shuffle off the ol' mortal coil never is going to make sense, this side of the curtain, so to speak. I mean, in our human rationale we try to ascribe meaning, make it all fit perfectly... "Well, I think this happened because you realy needed to learn how to let go." or "I think this happened so that I would lose my uterus and never have any more babies, because God knew that would have been way too dangerous." or "God was in control of it all and He just wanted to show everyone His power."

I mean, those dumb, well-meaning Christian rationalities we say when none of us really have any clue.

Who knows why God does allows what He allows? Who knows any of it? I mean, aren't we just making the whole grand scheme smaller if we conject about it? (Conject isn't really a word. I made it up.)

So, then Darrin said, "Well, it's kind of like your whole life blew up."


That's exactly what it was like. I just stood there for 17 seconds, soaking it in...


How do some people have that insane gift for speaking truth into a situation after hearing about it for 15 seconds?

Things looked the same on the outside, but from that point on, everything was different.

I walked out of that hospital a different person - of course all of our experiences make us different people, right?

It took about a year for me to come out of that crazy anger haze and now I am realizing just how much everything has changed me. The way I interact with God, the way I see my church family, the ordering of my priorities.

I've got some posts coming that everyone may not enjoy. My shiny object syndrome is doing its best to distract me from my computer and to my coffee.

So, yeah. The inherent people-pleaser in me... I'm not sure that making everyone happy is on the top of my to-do list any more.

Buckle in; it's bound to be a bumpy ride.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


I've been thinking lately about how all of us have trouble living in the moment - this is what the society of being connected at any time, to any one, has done to us.

As we were walking to the park today I was thinking about how I should have brought my iPod so I could post pictures on Facebook while we were there.

Why did I feel the need to do that?

I'm not sure. 

Prove to people that I'm a good mother?

That my kids are cute?

Yesterday we went to a fun little town near our house, about an hour away. I told everyone about it before we left. Did I really need to do that?

In many of his books, John Kabatt Zinn talks about mindfulness. I need more mindfulness in my life. When we are practicing minfulness we are BEing fully present in the moment: feeling the feelings, good or bad, hearing the sounds, seeing the sights.

When we aren't being mindful we are essentially wasting these moments that will never come back to us.

When we are focused on what we are going to tell others about what we are doing or what we did, it takes something away from the moment.

This week I'm working on mindfulness in my own life. I'm going to put down the electronics, stop telling everyone where I am every minute of the day, and focus on the breeze outside, the bubbles of Diet Coke on my tongue, and yes, even the sounds of my kids fighting.

Good and bad, it's all part of life - and I don't need to escape into technology when it gets a bit boring, or hard, or when it's so great I want to tell everyone about it.

Mindfulness is good for the soul, and we as a society do not practice enough of it.

“Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand-and melting like a snowflake...”  -Francis Bacon, Sr. (via my awesome friend Sheila)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

why yes, I DO steal from children's hospitals...

One of the struggles in dealing with OCD over the years has been my tendency to catastrophize absolutely EVERYTHING.

Having so many problems having babies didn't help anything.

yes, that is totally me, all dressed in white and creepily gazing...

I remember when I was newly pregnant with Lucy and her twin, asking the ultrasonographer (word?) how often a twin "vanished" in twin pregnancies. I was 8 weeks pregnant and had just found out there were twins.

 She looked at me like I had 3 heads, asking why I was worried. Of course, when everything conceivable (pun intented) happened during the next 7 fun-filled reproductive years, it DID do quite a bit to reinforce my OCD.

Just because I think things are going to go wrong doesn't mean they aren't! (or something?)

 You know, kind of like Mel Gibson in "Conspiracy Theories", back when Julia Roberts didn't look like her lips were meeting in back of her head:

Anyway, Phoebe has had a fever the past few days and I was JUST ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN this morning that she was going to die.

I hate it when my babies are sick. I can even handle it a little bit more when the kids are sick, but when they're less than 2 years of age I have figured out that I flat out panic.

Anyway, I took FeeBee in to the Emergent Care center. There were 6 women with double strollers, vying for the front position (which I had), 20 minutes before the doors opened.

The lady right behind me tried to gain a better position by telling me she'd been waiting at the door since 9:30 that morning, but she had gone off to "do other things" while she waited.

Um, isn't waiting, you know, WAITING?

So, we got in there and they checked Phoebe out, but only after the intake lady called her "Fobe", which I found colossally funny.

Weight, height, counting the boogers in her nose, all that jazz, then they took us to a room.

The doctor couldn't see through Phoebe's ear wax in order to get a normal diagnosis of her right ear, so she got THE MOST AMAZING INSTRUMENT out that allowed her to scrape all that nastiness out of Fobe's ear in the time it takes me to say, "Where'd you get that?"

The doctor started laughing and said it was a curette. I'm one of those people who can't leave a zit/scab/black head alone (my 5 year old son has been well-known to scream out, "MOMMY!!!!! NOOOOOO MORE BLACKHEAD PICKING!" in the middle of restaurants, much to my husband's delight).

I really thought she was just having fun picking with the curette (I just love how that word rolls off of the tongue) until she finally looked in Fobe's ear and announced, "I can see in there, finally! She's got a nasty ear infection!"

She wrote us a prescription, then left, but not before asking, "Is there anything else I can do for you?"

I didn't know how "OK, can I take a few of those home? Can I keep the one you just used? I know you treat them like Band-Aids, but oh my word, that would totally keep me entertained for hours, and my kids would be able to hear the McDonald's fryer start up at 4 AM from six blocks away. Can I PLEEEEEEEEEASE have a currette?'

I was way too embarrassed to ask, so I let her go, my disappointment echoing off of the steel door as it closed in her wake.





I'm just going to put this out there.

Say you're, like, Goldilocks' dad, and you've just been introduced to an amazing software program that lets you know when your delinquent kid breaks into YET ANOTHER INNOCENT FOUR-LEGGED MAMMAL'S HOME. You've been looking FOREVER for something like this, and now's your chance to try it! It sure would beat spending $19,954 a year on reform school.

I knew which drawer it was, and...Q-tips, Band-Aids, disposable ear looker thingies...



I CANNOT BE TRUSTED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Fobe is fine.

I, however, am clearly, most definitely...


oh, the choices! the beauty! the symmetry!

Friday, September 14, 2012

random here, random there.

Hallo everybody,

I notice that when I am doing better emotionally I blog less. Isn't that interesting? Writing seems to be the way I process hard-to-deal-with emotions.

Lately, though, I decided it would be a good idea to withdraw from my antidepressant. I've been on it for 16 years and started thinking that I should be able to "pray the blues away", you know, because shouldn't Jesus be our all in all?

Apparently Jesus thinks Prozac is a great idea, because this aint workin' out so hot, people. Yesterday everyone was singing for their supper and I was standing in the middle of my kitchen talking to Scott on my gigantic cordless phone. He was supposed to be home at 6:00 with an Italian pie. It was 7:15 and he was saying, "Just where, exactly is the new pizza place?" and 5 minutes later, "Well, they're out of the Cowboy pizza. What else do you want me to get?"

I wanted to tell him he could kill a rabid squirrel with his tire pressure gauge and I'd serve it up with Heinz, but I didn't think that would be appropriate and Asher really likes animals. So, in as restrained a voice I could, I said, "I'll leave that decision up to you, Lover Bear!"

When Scott walked in I had banished the older two to their rooms, and the younger two were playing with tin foil. That's how I roll: all "Laura Ingalls, Pa gutted the pig and saved you the bladder, play with that instead of normal toys like Nellie does! No, I DON'T CARE THAT SHE HAS COOL CURLS! PLAY WITH THE DAMN PIG BLADDER!"

This week on Facebook I ticked at least two people off, and of course that makes me want to stop being on Facebook. Whenever there is conflict I like to run.

The problem is either:

a. other people.

b. me. I want everyone to approve.

I'd like to blame this on my very critical parents, but that's so passe and Freudian of me and really, I had a great childhood.

I just think I'm really sensitive.

In other news, I've been signing up for monthly box deliveries of age-appropriate toys and craft-kits for the kids.

Our foster daughter may be going home any time soon...or, she may be here until her 18th birthday. That's how orphan care goes, the meantime, I have her learning a dance to "The Roof is on Fire."

Scott depressed me, and thoroughly, when he told me that her father was but a twinkle in his own father's eye as the songwriter of that song, well, wrote it.

I keep trying to "help" Lucy lose her first top tooth by yanking really hard on it but she's not a fan.

Who allowed me to reproduce?

Phoebe, praying to the gods, begging for absolution that will never come...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Worlds of Fun!

Read all about our fabulous family day at Worlds of Fun here...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

big help

Asher is such a helper:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

100 years to live

I was listening to that Five for Fighting song the other day, and the line,

 "67 is gone
The sun is getting high
We're moving on...
 I'm 99 for a moment
Dying for just another moment
 And I'm just dreaming"

 That song is so beautiful to me. I know it's mostly cliche, but it's cliche for a reason, right?

 This last August 9 we helped usher in year 101 for my Grandma Mabel. September 9, my other grandmother, Grandma Bea, turns 100.

 When the Titanic sank, they were babies in their Mamas' bellies.

 Today, I can't imagine being 100 and wishing I was 33 and my babies were still swishing around my sweatpants. My mom was watching the kids while I got my hair cut and I thought to myself, "I should stop SOMEWHERE without kids, just to do it! Where can I stop?"

It was like some demented prison break, only I was dressed like a Mom and driving a mini van.

 I can't imagine Lucy NOT asking me to get her a pencil after school, when she could just as well get it herself. I can't imagine asking Asher NOT to sit upside down on the couch when he watches tv FOR THE TENTH TIME TODAY. I can't imagine a time when I won't be taking chokables out of babies' mouths or having little old ladies telling me to enjoy this time or trying to wait until 4 pm before cracking open a beer (aren't all retired mothers alcoholics or something?)

 I can't imagine NOT having an engorged boob or sleeping in past 6:55 or sitting through an entire meal without getting someone something.

 The thing is, the years slide by quickly and the wrinkles appear slowly and the forgetting happens seamlessly.

 Remember your first little house? How proud you were of it? How very yours it felt when you opened the door for the first time? There are so many little house moments, and I am always so afraid I'm missing them, and then I feel guilty about that and the guilt probably makes me miss some more of them.

 So, less guilt, and more existing in the moment, whatever the moment is - even if it's hard and exhausting.

 That song just always puts a catch in my throat.

(Oh, and because you were good and skimmed to the end, a video of my father's mother telling a poem in her native Norwegian tongue here)