Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Captivity and Gratitude

As I sat at my desk last night feeling miserable that I would be spending the night at work and away from my family, I watched on Facebook as a friend of mine and her two very small children sat in an increasingly perilous situation on the freeway with no food or gas. I prayed while my heart leaked out of my eyes for them and I knew I wouldn't sleep until I saw that they made it to safety. They did. 

Praise the Lord.

I slept on the floor for about five hours last night, and while it was slightly softer than the cave floor at DeSoto Caverns (and a whole lot warmer and dryer), it was still very hard. My usual sarcastic, snarky voice is whispering to me about sleeping on floors for too few hours and waking up only to be forced to interact with people, but I'm having trouble hearing it over the gratitude in my heart. Don't get me wrong, I am desperate to leave this place and not come back for days, but I'm also so very grateful that I'm safe and warm and fed. That my family is safe and warm and fed. We aren't together, but everyone is accounted for and well. 

Praise the Lord.

This morning, when I talked to the kids, I asked Luke if he was going to play in the snow today. I was met with a long pause, and then, "I want to go to the beach." He really has a way of making a point. 

I didn't have the heart to tell him that the beach is frozen, too. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

There's Always Poop

I'm still struggling with making sentences here, but our conversation in the car this morning at least prodded me to look at my notes of the things they've said and share them.

Over the Christmas break, prior to Luke's most recent hair cut, we were all in the master bathroom, getting ready to go somewhere and Dave was brushing Luke's hair.

Dave: You need a trim. You look like a hippie.
Ella: What's a hippie?
Me: Cool people.

You know - the kind that cut their own kid's hair and make their own laundry detergent and recycle.

Also over Christmas, it became obvious that I wasn't spending enough one-on-one time with Ella (because she told me so, and she was right). We worked out a plan that I would snuggle her at bedtime most nights so we could have a few minutes together to talk (And, it's working nicely. Her cup is getting refilled and it's showing in her attitude and willingness to follow instructions). As part of that plan, Dave has taken over putting Luke to bed. Some nights that means he stays with him until he falls asleep, and some nights that means Luke just waits for me to come check on them after I leave Ella's room. On one such night, I came into his dark room and crawled into to bed beside him. He wrapped his little boy arms around my neck and said, "Ahhh. You're so beautiful." I had never heard him use the word "beautiful" before then, and he was talking about me but it was dark, so he was obviously talking about all of me, not just my outside. It made me feel good, and it was a good reminder that even when I'm struggling, they need me and they love me.

Meeting everyone else's needs all the time takes a huge toll on me. Since cancer, I haven't shaken the feeling of being completely overwhelmed and exhausted. I just keep getting more overwhelmed. With the three members of my household expressing a need for my focused attention over the Christmas break, and my own level of exhaustion and realization that I haven't done a good job of focusing on anything in a long time, I came to the conclusion that I'm probably depressed. I decided to get help for that, and I'm also making a concerted effort to slow down the external demands on my time and enjoy my family more. That's going well, too. For the first time in a long time, I feel well connected to all of the members of my household, and I think they all agree.

That went a little deeper than I was planning, but now you know why this is only the second post of the year. Back to the cute children who say ridiculous and funny things.

For some reason, Luke became very worried about the squirrels bothering our cat, Gypsy. I'm not sure what set him off, but he was apparently afraid they would try to take over her bed because he told me: "I'm just gonna stand by her bed so I can PUNCH! the squirrels." The fat, lazy things will probably let that happen, judging by the rate of their cat food consumption.

Finally, this morning, on the way to drop Luke off at Grandmother's house, this conversation happened.
Ella: I smell poop.
---silence in the car---
Ella: Mama, do you smell poop?
Me: No, I don't.
Luke: I pooted.
Ella: smells ...richer.
Luke: Mama, my pooter is richer.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what inspired me to write today. When all other channels of thought are interrupted or stifled or guarded, one can always find something to write about poop. The richer, the better.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

There's No Good Title for this Post

I've been sitting here with my hands on the keyboard for twenty minutes, trying to put thoughts into sentences. Something appears to be broken between my brain and my fingers, and I was going to blame it on the holiday let down and the burden of life, but then I realized that I've been interrupted two hundred and sixteen times already, so why should I expect a coherent thought to come out?

Seriously, the turn of the year is always hard for me, and this one has been no different. And seriously, I can't sit on the couch with a computer in my lap without someone trying to pluck off a key or shut the thing down or needing me to get up again to get something or do something or see something. I've just told them both, multiple times, that they have to wait because I'm sitting right now and I'm not getting up. It's nice when they reach an age when you can actually do that. They've gone to the back of the house to entertain themselves for a few minutes. I can hear them playing out of one ear, and my radio in the kitchen out of the other. The sun is shining, the wind is blowing. This day is nice enough to give me that breath of fresh air that I'm always looking for this time of the year. It's really good for my sanity.

I started the day with exercise - hold please. A child is talking directly in the ear that was listening to quiet voices playing. It's pestering me to get up and come see the picture drying solution she has rigged up in her bedroom to dry the Valentines she making. Yes, VALENTINES. I finally had to tell her that it's a month away and I'm not worried about how she is going to pass them out to the family or when and we aren't having a party, I just want her to put them away somewhere so they aren't spread all over the kitchen floor. I just told her again that I'm not getting up. Sometimes, you just have to take a minute for yourself.

Now Dave just came upstairs, walked into the kitchen, and said, "What in the world?!" That's because the little one has been practicing with scissors and has not cleaned up his mess from the kitchen floor. And now, the little one has locked himself out of his bedroom and the big one is asking for lunch. The nerve. And how did I forget to set them up with lunch before I sat down? This means I'm going to have to get up, because even though it's Lunchable Saturday, she has already asked me three times, in the span of one minute, to help her open the stuff. Sweet - Dave just came back into the room; he can help her. I don't have to get up. I've learned that most times if you just wait long enough, they work it out themselves, but sometimes I just get up anyway to stop the calling of my name.

Sometimes I wonder how many times they say "Mama" in defined periods of time, and sometimes I think I might count just so I know, but then I don't. I realize we're at the peak right now, and the frequency will become less and less as they get older and more self-sufficient. That really doesn't make me sad, it really drives me nuts when they "Mama" me into a frenzy. But, I won't wish it away either because even though they are annoying, they are also wonderful. Their enthusiasm, their conversations with each other, the funny things they say, their laughter - all that stuff is big enough to outshine the frenzy.

They are both at the table now. One just told me, "Mama, I need help with my Capri Sun." I said, "Your father is standing in the kitchen." He said, "Father, pwease you help me with this?" Father. He's a funny one. A funny one who will always walk through the house to find me and ask me to do something, even though his father was standing in the same room.

That's motherhood, folks. It's the constant demand for time and attention, regardless of your supply of sanity. It's the constant calling of your name, the constant chatter of voices, occasional yelling, perpetual exhaustion, and the attention to the details of everyone else's life.

And, every once in a while, it's refusing to get off the couch because sometimes Mamas need a time out, too.

I only wish I had a sound proof booth to sit in for my time out.