This Mothering Gig

on 30 March 2011

I was sitting at my desk working intermittently on family finances (paying bills and updating our spreadsheets) and reading news on the web (it's all pretty depressing, I actually had a nightmare about Gadhafi the other day).

There's an extra chair that sits opposite my chair at my desk, it's partly blocking the Boy from breaking in to our filing cabinet and partly a repository for jackets and purse.  Anyway, that's where the Boy was sitting and playing with 2 cars and a plastic strawberry (don't ask, it makes perfect sense in his head).

Anyway, I was making diligent progress through my To Do list when all of sudden the plastic strawberry shoots across my desk and hits me right in the middle of my chest.  I look at the Boy who looks at me with this surprised look on his face and then says, "King sat on strawberry!" (the King from the movie Cars.)  At which point I just had to laugh and shake my head and say,

"You know, these are the kinds of things that never used to happen at my old job."

the Beat Goes on

on 24 March 2011

The week has gotten a little bit better.  A very leeeeetle bit.

I'm spring cleaning.  It means massive reorganization.  See, when we moved in, everything was up in the air.  We didn't know when or where Chris was going to get a job and so I was reluctant to settle too much.  I unpacked and put things where'er I could find some space to put them.  Of course, now that means that since we know that we'll be here for a good long bit, I can reorganize and put things the way that I want them.  Also, I packed in such haste in Georgia, that I didn't clean out appropriately.  So I've been cleaning out and shifting things around.

The kitchen is the big project.  I want to do some canning this summer and I want to do it in a decent space, not abject chaos.  As of today, the project is approximately 1/3rd of the way done.  I need to get a few more canister jars, and then I need to build some shelves.

Yesterday was the laundry closet and our bedroom closet.  The laundry is done, our bedroom closet is very much NOT done.  But what's left is relatively small.

In the midst of all of this, I have been sewing like a mad woman.  My sewing machine has taken to loitering on my dining room table and I want it to clear off...but it doesn't make sense to ask it to clear off until it's done it's work.  Of course, that means that I need to buckle down.  So yesterday I sat and pieced summer skirts together.  Today I have to settle down and get the zippers and waistbands in.  Then all that's left are the hems.

I've also been knitting like a crazy fool.  I finished an adorable creamy wool sweater/hat set for my brother's new babalah due in June.  I made it bigger for the cold Maryland winter ahead.  And I started a similar set (but in rich, dark navy blue) for my sister in law on the Christopher side (baby boy, also due in June, but heading out to Utah for Christmas).

And because I have a death wish, I went back to working out this week.  We've been traveling or working or doing a bazillion other things for the past couple of weeks, so this was the week I decided to throw myself off the edge of my sanity and start working out again.  Also, my jeans were getting tight.  It turns out, you can't actually eat ice cream and sit knitting or sewing quite a bit without some sort of retribution.  Frankly, it sucks.  But I'm sure someone as crazy as myself will say that I'll be healthier in the long run for exercising.

In other news, Chris likes his job.  He likes the people he works with, he likes that he walks in, works 8 hours and leaves the work there to come home.  We both like that we have health insurance.  The Boy is adorable as ever.  I made an appointment with his pediatrician to get him caught up on his vaccinations.  As soon as I made the appointment, my heart sank.  I remembered everything I loathed about shots, the alcohol smell, the tension in my boy, then the shock on his face and the pitiful wail.  I hate that.  But you know what I would hate more?  Having to sit over his hospital bed while he's terribly sick.  So we grit our teeth and take the shots.

And since I feel like I'm out of blogging shape as well as physical shape, tell me how you are doing?


on 21 March 2011

Do you ever have those days that you're really excited about?  Your To Do list isn't that long, it's all stuff you routinely do, and for the first time in weeks your schedule isn't jam-packed?   And then you actually set to work and you fumble every pass, you drop the ball, you miss your shots and you find yourself wondering what the heck happened?

I'm having one of those days.

I'm making bread and it's fine, but the Boy (who has been spoiled over the past few weeks with an abundance of family and no need whatsoever to entertain himself) wants to be held constantly, does NOT want to play with his toys, is whining whining whining (and he's not normally a whiney kid), and I've got laundry going as well...but it's not...well, I'm usually more efficient than this. 

I feel frazzled and unfocused.  And I know.  It's March, I spend most of every March feeling frazzled and unfocused, WEEK!  My lovely wide-open-calm week!  I have every intention of being productive!  Of getting stuff done!  Of sewing and knitting and cleaning and reorganizing things--the business of really settling in to the apartment. 

I'm looking at all the things I want to get done this week and, well, today is starting to feel like a bad omen.

My Lower Lights

on 11 March 2011

While we were down south last week, I popped down to Brunswick to spend some time with my 2 best girls and their absolutely darling children.

Let me tell you.  They are some amazing women.  And I? I am just hoping they don't notice that I'm not in their league...

When I finally got back on the road,  I put on the Lower Lights and turned the volume down, the Boy loves it and if he's tired, it's guaranteed to send him to sleep.  Sure enough, the Boy nodded off just as we pulled on to the freeway, and I sank into thought the way some women sink into bathtubs.

Our year in Brunswick was just hard.  There's no other way to describe it.  It was just hard.  I did try to make the best of it, and I did learn a lot.  But the best of it doesn't change that it was hard.  I would enumerate but it's private and personal and those wounds aren't fully healed just yet.

I thought about these 2 amazing women.  I thought about their compassion, their humor, their creativity, and courage.  And I thought about the many times they nurtured me in the course of that Very Hard Year.  I thought of their acts of service, some small and some great and some they probably didn't even realize at the time.  I thought about their tenacity in the face of my own determination to be a hermit.

And as I thought, this song wove its spell of truth around the inside of the car...

Brightly beams our Father’s mercy
From his lighthouse evermore,
But to us he gives the keeping
Of the lights along the shore.

Let the lower lights be burning;
Send a gleam across the wave.
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman
You may rescue, you may save.

When we moved to Brunswick, I was so angry.  But as I drove north, back to Chris, back to our little life together, I realized the magnitude of the mercies I had experienced without even knowing it.  I knew when I lived there that these women were special, but it took me some time and space to fully realize that these women had saved me.

I thought about how angry I had been.  I thought about the petty ways I had taken that anger out on Chris.  I thought about how hard it was to keep my head above the water of it all.  And I thought about These Women.

How does one thank someone for saving their life?  For saving them from themselves?  How does one repay such a debt of gratitude? 

The Boy slept on.  The song shifted.  My thoughts faded in and out like the focus on a telescope.  I thought of other hard places I had lived through.  Other women I have known.  Other mercies I didn't recognize at the time.  I wondered when, when I would learn to see in the moment.  When I would grow strong enough to see the mercies clearly as they happen, rather than needing so much time and space to know them for what they are.

The Boy woke up just as we pulled in to the store parking lot.  I lifted him out of his seat and he snuggled in to my neck.  I thought about the blessings of distance, the perspective it provides.  And I smelled the Boy's head and smooched is soft and smushy cheeks and thought, "There are some nice things about being too close to see clearly."

I have some time.  Time to find perspective and to learn, and for right now, time to laugh with my friends and time to hold the Boy close.

Celestial Navigation

on 09 March 2011

The Boy is generally a good traveler.  He's content to sit in his seat and read books and look out his window and narrate everything he sees.  He can handle not eating normal food, at unusual times, and will even nap in the car.  But when his bedtime is messed up, that's when he loses it.

Messing up his bedtime once is not too bad, but messing it up repeatedly is a recipe for disaster.  I know this.  Chris believes me, but didn't really KNOW this about his child until this past week in Savannah, when our child missed his bedtime every night for 3 straight nights.

That meant that by Friday the Boy was at the very end of his rope o' tolerance.

We had planned to have dinner with Chris' Dad...but one thing led to another and we were delayed and delayed and delayed and at 6, the Boy was just losing it.  He was hungry and tired and had lost all sense of patience he may have had.

We were running to the bank and post office for Dad and Chris had parked at the post office and gotten out to pick up the mail for the store.  The sun was setting and it was setting right in our front windshield.  I had some sunglasses, but my child refuses to wear anything on his head or face so he had a face full of sunshine.

He was already mad.  The sunshine wasn't helping.  He was already having a big fit o' temper.  And the sun was so bright that he held his hands over his eyes in the midst of his fit.

After taking a deep breath, he looked at me and howled, "MAMA!  TURN OFF SUNSHINE!  TURN OFF!"

I have to admit, I laughed.  I felt awful for him, I understand that feeling of being so tired you just can't cope any more, but it was so funny.

We moved on.  I made the executive decision to skip dinner with Dad in favor of putting the Boy to bed at a decent hour.  When we were on our way back to the house, the sun had set and the Boy looked out his window and said, "Sunshine OFF!  Thank you, Mama."

I'm not sure what it says about me as a mother, that my child thinks I have the power to turn the sunshine on and off.

Throw the Stars

on 07 March 2011

We spent last week in Savannah with the Family.

When we're there, we sleep in Chris' old bedroom, the room he slept in as a kid.  At some point in his odd little journey through adolescence he hung up glow-in-the-dark stars on his wall and ceiling.  For us, it's just part of the eccentricities of Savannah, but for the Boy, it's something entirely magical.

There's no rocking chair and the room isn't as dark as the Boy's room at home is, so when we tried to get him to sleep, I lay down on the bed with him.  We cuddle and I rub his back and he tells me all about his day thus far.  Part of his narration includes his observation of the stars.

"Mama!  Stars!  Stars on ceiling!  Stars on wall!"
"Yep, baby.  Daddy hung up the stars when he was little.  Try to be quiet and go to sleep."
"Mama, Daddy hung up stars?"
"Yep, sweets.  Try to sleep."

And he quiets down for a little bit.  He tells me that now he has CHICK!  And he thanks me for buying it.  He fiddles with his woobie until he finds the tag, which he proceeds to rub across his nose.  He tries to be still.   He tries to be quiet.  He tries to go to sleep.

And then.

"Mama!  (he calls himself by name) catch stars!"
"Are you catching the stars?  Good job.  Try to go to sleep, sweetie."

And he really does try.  He rolls to his tummy and asks me to rub his back some more.  He rubs his eyes and pulls on his face, for he is very tired.  He piles his woobie up on top of his head.

From under the woobie, I hear:
"Mama (he calls himself by name) THROW stars..."

And as he fades to sleep, I think, yes, throw all the stars.

Please to be patient...

on 01 March 2011

I intentionally took the month of February off from the blogosphere.

February is our Annual Funk in Burnstopia.  I think Chris gets the seasonal depression and I found myself suffering from some winter fatigue this year. 

So we took the month off.  We read a lot, I did some editing, we had Hogan (the best dog EVER) at our house quite a bit, and I did a lot of knitting.  Sadly, I don't have a lot to show for it since I got annoyed and ripped back oh...almost everything I did.  I also did quite a bit of sewing for 2 of the many pregnant women in my life.

Oh, and we're looking to get a dog.  So we're contacting breeders and trying to weed out the crazy ones.  This is harder than one might think as dog breeders only seem to come in 2 types:  Totally Pants on Head CRAZY who are essentially the Pageant Parents of the canine ring and the Fascist Puppymill Overseers.  It's all making me a little crazy.

Well, crazier than I was to begin with.

So I beg for your patience for a little while longer.  We're off to Savannah this week.  Chris got a job.  It's not related to his educational background but it DOES have a salary and health insurance, so we are celebrating.  Theoretically we're celebrating by getting a dog, but who knows if that will work out.

So I guess the whole point of this long, rambling post is to say that I am back to blogging, but not just yet.  I'll be back-back to blogging once we get back from Savannah.