Apr 21, 2014

Wave Pool Wisdom

This little blog has sort of taken a different direction than was first intended.  I sometimes, um, feel shy about how exposed I've made myself here.  I also haven't had much to say, life has settled down a bit, and I've been rather content just plodding through, not really needing to process so publicly.

This year, impulsively, I booked an Easter weekend stay for my mom, myself and the kids at The Cape Codder Resort, mostly because of the wave pool. There are life lessons everywhere...

It's important, once in a while, to thrust yourself down a dark and watery slide. Let your stomach drop, let your heart sicken for the brief moments before you are plunged into the light.  Remind yourself that terror can give way to thrill, and that both are temporary.  Repeat as necessary.

If you like what you're doing, like playing in the waves, consider cancelling all your other plans and stay in the waves.  I'm always pleased when I recognize the opportunity to do less.  You may find you have the pool and the slides all to yourselves while the crowd rushes outside hunting for eggs.  Suckers.

Take longer than your fair share in the hot tub.  Because, as my mother used to say, life's not fair.

Jan 29, 2014

There are Worse Things than Tragedies

Hi.  Does anybody still read this?  Today is B's 4th birthday.  It didn't really get celebrated like other years. Well, I bought Shane a heart-shaped donut.  And one for myself.  Noah wanted hash browns instead.  There was no gathering, no ritual, precious little external acknowledgment.  Life goes on, I guess.  I wasn't sad today until I realized that I wasn't sad and that felt sad to me.  Now I'm a little sad.  Anyway.  Get to the point, Teresa.

my mom and me

Shane and his Grampy
I've said before, that before it happened to me I USED to think that there could be nothing worse on earth than to lose your baby.  Some of you may still feel that way.  Some of you are still thinking you could never survive it.  I know how you feel.  But I've come to understand that there's lots of worse things.  There's something worse than all the tragedies really.

The kids' great grandparents making out on Christmas Eve 2013

The worst thing I can see that happens to people is that we get stuck in the mundane and forget to enjoy our lives.  We forget to enjoy the people around us.  It happens to everyone to some degree.

I appreciate that I'm not in the throes of fresh grief today.  That is the gift of tragedy.  Perspective.  Awareness.  I am in general happier now that I've had some time to recover from that tough season.  Happier than I was ever before it happened.  Because I didn't realize quite as much what I had to enjoy in my life until my tree was shaken like that.

my brother and I getting silly circa 1976

my boys sharing a moment of peace

This has been a long, dark, cold winter.  It's a bit of a struggle to call up the joy in life.  That's my charge today, to myself, in honor of my little girl.  Let's recognize the treasures in the mundane.  Let's appreciate the fact that we have all that we have in this moment.

Let's relax a little bit more.  Let's do a little bit less.  Let's listen to ourselves talk to our children.  Let's gently encourage ourselves to be more loving.  Let's count our blessings.

I think this is by Frida Kahlo - I don't "get it" but it's a powerful image for me


Oct 2, 2013

All the Single Ladies

When I was married, and other people's marriages "terminated" around us, I felt the tiniest bit smug.  Other people's divorces were a barometer for my own marriage.  We were still in it, so, we must be doing it right. Ours must be a good marriage.  Otherwise, I wasn't sure if my marriage was good or bad.  We had hard times, but he was my husband, and marriage is always hard, right?


Relationship me.  I don't know her very well.  I have such a blind spot there.

Independent me, la chica sola, is brash and in your face.  Cries freely, feels great about crying.  Trusts herself.  Is tuned in.  Independent me is a fierce leader.  She's got the moves like Jagger, she's got the mooooooooooves like Jagger.  Sorry, that song is in my head.

Relationship me is a dark spot.  It's hard to enlighten her.  She is stuck in old ways.  When I like a boy, it feels like fear.  I'm afraid to cry in front of boys.  They don't seem to like crying.  Relationship me is kind of creepy.  She has all of these uncomfortable, self-doubty kinds of feelings.  She feels lost.  Desperate.  She doesn't speak up.  She isn't good at it.

Relationship me doesn't have a great track record.  If I measure a relationship on lasting alone, it could be said that I've never had a good relationship.  That's how it feels.  That's where my fear sits.

Jimmy and I were so in love once.  We were always laughing.  He made funny faces at me during our wedding ceremony.  We danced like crazy goof-balls at our reception.  We were so happy. I felt so secure. So sure.

It's OK that we got married.  It's OK that it didn't last.  I have given way too much thought, way too much power to the terms good and bad where relationships are concerned.  It could be said that I've never had a good relationship.  It could also be said, and more accurately, that I've never had a bad relationship.

The answer is still, and again, love.  I don't regret loving Jimmy.  I won't ever regret any love that I've given or received.  We didn't know, couldn't know..  And it's OK.

And it's brave to try again.  Married people don't have all the answers.  They don't know more than single people.  Single people have a different kind of endurance.  We open, we hope, bravely, we get our asses kicked, we lick our wounds, and we bravely open and hope again.  and again.  and again.  In spite or our track records.

Like warriors.

May 28, 2013

The Explosive Mother

Recently, and unsolicited, some books have been recommended to me that may or may not house solutions to parenting my difficult child.  Love and Logic, 123 Magic, and The Explosive Child are a few of the popular titles.  I have repeatedly borrowed these books from the library, and moved them around my house until they were due back.  I have flipped through them, but I can't bring myself to read them through.  Partly because if I get any time to read in a day, I usually spend those precious moments making food, cleaning something, watching New Girl, or staring blankly at the walls, uttering nonsense to myself..  If I get a precious moment when I'm not engulfed in the parenting front lines, I want to take the break.

I would read these books if I thought they would help.  But the truth is, I already know what would help.  And it isn't a behavior modification program for Shane.  What would help avoid tantrums consistent with the bed time hour, help our family to function more smoothly, and in all ways bring peace to our home, is some good old self-awareness.

While observing the loud and violent outbursts when tempers are flying here, an objective third party would have difficulty pointing the finger at the children.  I'm not saying my kids aren't completely insane sometimes.  I'm just saying there is truth to the old cliche, The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

I might read a book entitled The Explosive Mother.  Lord knows, I could write it.

It's interesting to observe myself.  At first, I feel in control.  Then the whining, or even loud happy noises start to annoy me.  I feel myself start to panic.  I try.  I try!  I talk myself down, I tell myself it's just noise, you don't have to get swept up in that energy, T.  You can do this..   And then, suddenly, even to me, I lose my shit.  I lose my bearings, and I feel completely panicked and out of control.  I'm grabbing arms, and not gently, my eyes fill with hatred.  I might roughly plow someone up the stairs, and shove someone into his room.  I might swat.  I might throw a toy, which is great modelling. I might just morph into a scary monster-like being, my voice becoming biting and icy.

I don't really understand what triggers this in me.  I am working on it.  Admitting it is good progress.  A counselor recommended that I wear earplugs to take the edge off of the irritating sounds that children make.  I bought the big box.  The nice weather, and the ability to get outside has helped a lot.  My counselor also recommended that I spend 15 minutes a day chasing my kids in the yard.  They freaking love it.  It has improved our relationships.

Getting a job actually helped, too.  My time feels a little more balanced, and the time away from the kids makes me appreciate the time with them more.  Admitting this is a bitter pill to swallow, though.  Because I really thought of myself as the mom who didn't need time away from her precious children in order to appreciate them.  Once again this motherhood thing, bunking all of our preconceived notions of ourselves.

I'll take this new awareness as a gift, and be grateful for my loud, irrational, crazy children who reflect back to me my own brand of crazy.

May 13, 2013

A Horrifying, Heartbreaking Moment of Pure Inspiration

We've all had weeks like this.  Shane was home sick three days last week, I got it too, pushed through the long work weekend hopped up on coffee and ibuprofen.  My work week ended at 2am Sunday morning after 10 hours of serving tapas and wine, moving restaurant furniture and otherwise preparing for a Mother's Day Brunch I couldn't afford to eat.  I could hear Noah screaming in the bedroom before I even entered the house.  He stayed awake for another hour, the kids were up at 6, blah blah.

Church, lunch with family, all things I wanted to do and was willing to push through everyone's exhaustion for...

Not surprisingly, Noah didn't sleep good again last night and woke today with  a fever.  I spent my only scheduled three hours of kid freedom this week taking Noah to the doctor, picking up prescriptions, forcing the prescriptions down, carrying him everywhere I went.

I do my best.  I tell myself the house will get clean eventually.  I tell myself this too shall pass.  I vent to friends (thank you, dearest friends)

Tonight as I put the boys to sleep, one arm rubbing Shane's back, the other holding a nursing Noah, Shane said he bet I was a little glad that Brynn died.  I knew exactly where he was going with this before he even explained, "Because then you'd have to take care of her too."



But I get it.  It looks like I don't enjoy my life. Because sometimes I don't enjoy my life.  It looks like taking care of my children is a heavy drudgery. It looks like I'm not grateful for and in love with my children.  Because sometimes, in the drudgery of caring for them, I forget to be grateful for and in love with my children.  And my baby knows it.

What a sobering gift his words were tonight.  That kid. is. my sage.

He is my window into magical places, he is my dream world, he is my reflecting pool, he is my peace and my home.  He is the man in my life, that poor kid.

I am so glad he shared his burden with me.  It was not in vain.  This was an Oprah "Aha" moment that I believe is going to alter my approach to living forever.

My cells feel different already.

I'm going to take a homeopathic sleep aid now and get a good night's sleep.  Sweet dreams, my loves.

Apr 13, 2013

Shoulding on Ourselves and Others

I am setting the intention here and now to be more connected to myself.  I am feeling burned out.  I am burnt to a crisp out.  I am repeatedly receiving the message from loving friends and family that I need to be stronger.  I need to be more consistent with disciplining Shane, I need to hold other specific people accountable, I need to control my rage, etc etc.  How boring.  These loving advice-givers were not aware that I was already full, overflowing and overwhelmed by shoulds.  Have I mentioned here yet, that I have no use for should?  Some wise guru wrote in a book that we don't even  need the word should.  Try going through life without it.  It's nicer.

Anyway, apparently I should be stronger.  I want to break stuff.  I don't like being told what I should do.  It fires up my rage.  There's good information for me there.  I feel like there is already too much, without having to somehow figure out how to be stronger, already too much I should be doing.  The phrases "sucks at life" and "unfit mother" repeat themselves like scratched vinyl in my brain.

My solution is to take like medicine a long moment to myself.  Reconnect.  Love it up in there.  Say the things out loud that I feel ashamed to admit...

 Parenting is very hard for me.  I want a long break from it.  I'm afraid that I'm hurting my relationship with my son, and therefore his relationship with the world.

I'm afraid I will continue to attract men into my life that are not the best partners for me.  I'm afraid that if I meet a man that I think would be a good partner, then all my crazy will come to the surface, and I mean CRAZY.  I'm afraid if I get a glimpse of what a good partnership would look like, I will go mad and surely, surely repel that potentially good partner. I might hurl heavy rocks at him, just to be completely sure to sabotage my own happiness.  I'm afraid that I don't believe in "True Love" anymore.  I had it, and it was a tremendous amount of work and pain.

I'm afraid that my beliefs no longer align with the religion that I've chosen and love so much.  I believe in and love  my Jesus, and the saints and angels, but I believe equally in acceptance and love of all walks of life, which I do not see in practice in Orthodox, or most other forms of Christianity.  I'm afraid this outing will cost me friendships.

I'm afraid that not paying for my house might be really really stupid.  I stand by my decision for now, but the fear exists.

I feel better now.  Thank you for listening, Teresa.  I love you.

Feb 19, 2013

Oh. The Humanity.

So, not sure if I should be embarrassed to admit this or not ... I joined an online dating website.  Because it's been 1 1/2 years since my husband moved in with his girlfriend, because I live in a mommy bubble and literally know only women.  And their husbands.  And because I need attention and distraction, and there are hardly any TV shows I like.

It is a different world, people.  I feel like a grandma saying this, but the last time I was in the dating pool, there was no texting or internet.  Nowa-modern-days it's all there seems to be.

I am getting internet attention, but to be honest half the time I don't know what the hell is going on.  I don't speak the language, and I'm often confused.  There are all these little conversations that start, and then for one reason or another, one of us just stops responding.  The pool is sooo huge, there are always shiny new people popping in, and it's too many to keep track of ... It's fickle business.

Remember when we were fully human?  And we didn't have to worry about the staff robot's analysis of our personality, posted for all potential suitors to read.  My personality chart profiles my extreme bad manners.  For real.  I mean, I can't argue but HOW DID THEY KNOW??

I would not have noticed without this little foray how much I enjoy and depend on really, the physical being of a human that I'm getting to know.  I feel lost getting to know people without seeing and hearing them.  I feel lost without witnessing a person's tone and expression in conversation, a person's scent even.  There is energy and spirit that somehow gets transmitted much more clearly when in the presence of the physical form of a person. We are intelligent beings, yet we are animals, and our knowing comes from more than written word.

So.  So.  I don't know if I like it.  And that's good information for myself.  Now I can set clearer intentions.

Jan 30, 2013

Don't Be Sorry, Really. It's Weird.

I've mentioned earlier on here how "I'm sorry for your loss" is not my favorite phrase. Now am I able to add some concrete to the reason for this.

I'm sorry for your loss separates the person saying it from whom they are saying it to.  It isolates the loser.  It made me feel like the subject of a story the person was reading.  It made me feel alone.  Out here, all by myself with my loss.  It felt to me like, "I have removed myself from your loss.  Sorry."

Sorry is something you say when you're seeking forgiveness after wronging someone.  It doesn't make sense to say you are sorry unless you caused the loss.  This sentiment never reached me, I had no use for it.

When you have the opportunity to speak to someone who has experienced loss, it might be more healing to share your love more expressly.  If you feel compelled to mention loss, it feels less isolating to be told, "What a loss."  Though, no one ever said this to me, so I can't be sure how it would make me feel.

Again, a heartfelt "How are you?" opens the lines of communication, allows the other person to share or not, and it feels like there is care and inclusion.

Try it out on someone you love!~