Wednesday, October 31, 2012

let it be known that she at least tried

may the force be with you

I was too lazy to make her leggings match and she wouldn't wear anything on her head

Teapot is pooping in this one

...aaaaaaaaand they're gone...
note the spooky looking cobweb underneath the eave. yes, i do what i can.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

God only likes bubbly southern women who publish a lot

originally posted 10/27/12 and yes, I am posting old material. April is sucking the. life. out. of. me. More on that later.

My awesome amazing soul sister Rebecca sent that title in an email to me and I laughed so hard I cried.


She doesn't have a blog so I stole it from her.

When Steven King, my new counselor, asked me how I know when I'm depressed, I gave him a blank stare, figuring he's the one who went to school and I'm the reason he drives a BMW, so FIGURE IT OUT, DUDE!

Blank staring is what most of the people in my life receive from me when they interact with me, even on an amoebic level.

Scott asked me where the toilet paper was last night and I swear to you it plunged me into a crisis of faith. He watched me, shrugging and gulping, and decided to forego his need for anything resembling, well, Scott Toilet Paper:

He probably used a maple leaf.

As an aside, Scott is super frugal and drives my deceased grandfather's old car. It makes a humming noise resembling an atomic bomb moments before detonation and it will randomly just STOP in the middle of parking lots. He still begs, "Rachel, for the LOVE OF GOD, DON'T BUY THE CHEAP TOILET PAPER!"

I do anyway, just to meet budget.

When I am depressed I can't focus on anything for long and please don't ask me to choose which pen to use or how much milk at Aldi costs.

When I am depressed everything feels unstrung, or too tight, or hanging over. Myself doesn't fit me.

Yesterday was not a good day. I cried my guts out to 3 different friends and I'd like to tell you that it was a conference call, Three different calls, three different times of day. Two of them just wouldn't give up leaving messages on the answering machine. I love those friends. Those dumb friends who answered their phones innocently enough, on the way to the loo.

Depressed takes the shiny off of things. The things peer back at me, dull and embarrassed.

This is me, telling you what walking underwater feels like. Sliding on banana peels. Cutting open the day upon wakening because it must hold something more than nothing.

This is you, reading and nodding along, putting laundry away or tying a shoe and wondering why you feel like muddles this Saturday.

I am usually believing lies in one form or another when I am depressed. Here are the top three, each contending for door prizes:

You're a lazy, no-good mother.

Everyone sees your failures and you're sort of pathetic.

You really should try harder .

Quit letting everyone down.

This morning I faced an old demon. Last night my awesome aunt asked me if I had done it yet.

Every time I drive past that hospital my heart rate accelerates.

I have a dear friend who gave birth to tiny beautiful twin boys a few days ago in that hospital.

I had avoided her during her pregnancy for various reasons.

I didn't think she noticed.

I had forgotten to get the mail the day before yesterday, and yesterday morning the only piece of mail was this:

Crap. She noticed.

Crap. I cried.

I had two friends who had had emergency hysterectomies after childbirth both tell me I needed to go back to that hospital and visit my friend. I needed to.

I kept disagreeing to them, and in my head.

I really wanted to see my friend and those babies and I cried some more and decided that old memories at that hospital weren't going to keep me from visiting.

You know what?

I walked into that place like I owned it.

Even the vending machines were scared.

I walked and walked down those halls, and then

I hugged my friend and it felt like old jeans.

I looked at pictures of her baby boys and they are tiny and it looks like God styled their hair in utero, all spiked and 2009 and they look like their older brother with a softness to their features like their sisters.

I sat there in that room and the ceiling didn't fall in and nobody died.

I gave my friend some hats for her babies and I knew then what it was like to rejoice, fully, with her in her babies:

she'd force me to take down a picture of her two days post-c-section, which is why I didn't try

I realized in that moment that I will not let my own history rip from me the experience of sharing in my friend's joy fully and completely. Not this time. Satan doesn't get that.

I saved my tears for the car, and

it's muscle memory, you know...

remembering a fall day long ago...Patty Anderson's Sunday School class, all red carpet and second servings of Saltines.

"God loves you."

"You are a mess but it doesn't matter. Everyone is a mess. That is what makes Him Good. He holds the mess like a hot potato, only it doesn't burn his hands." (she didn't actually say this, but this is good so I wrote it)

The past is the past, and I stepped over something huge today. I stepped over a body in the road, a memory of what could-have-been mixed with what isn't.

Your body let everyone down

You're a failure

You couldn't ever get pregnancy right

Your daughter will always have problems because your body failed her

and then:

Stepping back into my house today, putting on those "my life" clothes

and that was muscle memory too. It was little children's needs barraging me, my husband showing our son how to read and he was all Sunday paper, messy hair, diapers on the table and shiny wedding ring.

It was

"I am expecting."

Only this time,

it's not a baby. Or a perfect pregnancy. Or perfect kids. Or a perfect house or no fights or no sad.

This time, it was




I will expect,



Thursday, October 25, 2012

change of time

I visited a new counselor last week - just felt I needed to and needed to get some perspective.

For the last few months I've felt a colossal cloud forming over my head and sometimes I don't feel like I have the wherewithal to fight it.

I decided it was time to change the antidepressant. The one I was on before I was pregnant worked about 85 times better than this current one.

I guess I just feel all of a sudden like I haven't made any progress at all; like I have been bowled over and all of the forward-motion I thought I'd made in the last 15 months just lied to me and it really wasn't forward-motion at all.

A good friend who has been through something similar said of my comment that I hadn't gone anywhere, "You're on the outside of a rotini noodle. You think you're at the same place, but really, you're up a level. From your view, though, it feels like you've stood still."

This new counselor pulled out a PTSD book and asked me if I wanted to hear about the definition of PTSD. I told him I was fairly certain that I was just being dramatic about what I was feeling and that I just needed to "move on".

He read the definition while I cried my ever-loving eyes out.

I called Dr. Laura the other day over my anger about all of the trauma and she said, "That is the most insane thing, for you to be angry. You have 3 healthy kids and there are thousands of women who are hearing my voice who would just like one!"

Then I chastised myself live, on air, and she chastised me some more and then I thanked her, told her I needed to hear that, and hung up.

Problem solved.


That easy.

I told the counselor (he looks like Stephen King, which I rather like) about my call to Doctor Laura and he started laughing; said she's not a real therapist and my response was completely understandable.

The thing is, I feel guilty for even feeling that way. I just feel like the other shoe is going to drop and I'm not sure how. I feel like after the seasons changed my heart felt like it was heavy and soggy, at the edge of a cliff, ready to dive down...and the only thing stopping it is my own guilty self-loathing.

Stephen King told me it's not about having babies, or not having babies, it's about 7 years of CrAzY and trying to put them in their place while juggling a busy life. It is, that is exactly what it is.

I tried to tell my doctor about the recent recurrent nightmares where I wake up in a cold sweat, and as she was walking out the door she only said, "Well, I know you were scared, but you weren't HALF as terrified as I was! Be glad you're alive and here!" and then she walked out and I heard her in the next room listening to someone's baby's heartbeat,

and the self-flagellation began again.

I was watching "Parenthood" on a friend's recommendation the other day and a song called "Change of Time" made me cry. I have been crying alot and Scott doesn't know what to do with me. I can't really blame him, but I tell him that I just need to and that I'm OK and that crying helps to heal me.

These lyrics stuck with me:

I had a dream last night
I dream't that I was swimming
And the stars up above
Directionless and drifting
Somewhere in the dark
Were the sirens and the thunder
And around me as I swam
The drifters who'd gone under

Time, love
Time, love
Time, love
It's only a change of time

I had a dream last night
And rusting far below me
Battered hulls and broken hardships
Leviathan and Lonely
I was thirsty so I drank
And though it was salt water
There was something 'bout the way
It tasted so familiar

The black clouds I'm hanging
This anchor I'm dragging
The sails of memory rip open in silence
We cut through the lowlands
All hands through the salt lands
The white caps of memory
Confusing and violent

I had a dream last night
And when I opened my eyes
Your shoulder blade, your spine
Were shorelines in the moon light
New worlds for the weary
New lands for the living
I could make it if I tried
I closed my eyes I kept on swimming

Leviathan and Lonely? The white caps of memory/confusing and violent?

If that song were a cherry cupcake it would already be gurgling around in my stomach. 

I got my medical records from the day it all happened yesterday. I still haven't found the courage to open them up.

I was thirsty so I drank
And though it was salt water
There was something 'bout the way
It tasted so familiar

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

and then they laughed and the air smelled like leaves

Revelation 21:5

He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."

It's always fall when my outlook on life becomes bleaker. I don't know if it's the dead leaves or what, but everything just DIES and it seems like forever until Spring comes and picks me out of my self-induced stupor.

I'd been thinking about the missing girl from Colorado and what happened to her and I've been wondering what the point in even bringing kids into this messed up world is, exactly? I mean, she could be any one of our children, and yet we still send them out to play and cook them burnt macaroni and wonder why their rooms smell like sweaty little boy even though they SWEAR upon The National American Revised Toddler Bible that they have cleaned it sufficiently.

How can I send that downy-headed little boy into a world full of such chaos, and disease, and sin? As I watch him sleep, light from the hallway illuminates the cheeks that look so much like mine, the cheeks that took 2 weeks to fill out properly because he was born early. His eyes are a beautiful amber and he sees the world in such a fresh way with questions like, "Mom, when light bulbs die will they come back to life and go to heaven, too? Cuz I think they will and God needs light in heaven."

My oldest daughter doesn't have the intense, heart-wrenching knowledge of evil that I do. Her world is safe. She comes home from school and knows that I will cuddle, care and converse. She knows that I would run in front of a freight train full of Hello Kitty Chapstick and cans upon cans of Diet Coke if it meant that she could live and I would not. She loves to hear the story of her abdomen open on that surgeon's table and my heart in God's hands during the 12 hour surgery that fixed the broken parts of her body.

Will the world know how much we prayed over that unborn baby, our littlest? How much we wanted to hug, and to hold, and to feel her heart beat against our palms as we rocked her to sleep? How watching so many little heartbeats before her slow and slow and finally stop in successive ultrasounds had taken away my belief that there could be any hope left in my disaster of a womb? 

The girl has teeth like a rabbit and she still makes a happy humming noise when she is nursing, just as she did when she was 10 minutes old and in her dad's arms. That moment I first saw her I swear God kissed my heart.

I swear it.

Evil doesn't know that, and it doesn't care.

And finally, I wonder what will become of our beloved little Teapot. She has court tomorrow morning and this means, of course, as it always does in foster care, that everything is up for grabs. I have been taking photographs today "just in case", because I want Phoebe to have proof that she rolled around on the floor like a puppy and shared countless sippy cups with her "Sister from another Mister".

This week has been fraught with emotion, on many different fronts. Things are happening that I don't understand, and I so desperately want to understand evil and badness and sadness and I know that I never will - that's the point, right? If I understood it, if it made sense to me, then I would have succumbed.

I was thinking all of these things and looking down at my feet as I took the babies in a wagon to Asher's kindergarten pickup. I was so lost in my own thoughts that I couldn't hear the screams of delight three feet behind me.

There were my babies, giggling and giggling away at the sheer delight in discovering that they were being pulled in a wagon down the street.

I started to notice that the air smelled that lovely burning leaves smell and a contentment came over my heart that is hard to describe, so I won't try.

I will never understand why sad happens or why we have to say goodbye or why evil feels like it reigns. I mean, I will understand theologically, but it will never make sense in my heart that so longs for good.

Maybe the only thing that matters, I mean, REALLY matters, are the dead leaves and the babies in the wagon.

Sometimes, you just have to really open your eyes and look for the good.

It dawned on me during that walk that that awesome burning fall smell that people try to re-create in candles comes from dead leaves. DEAD ones.