Monday, June 23, 2008

Pressing Pause

“I yuv you, Mommy,” she says and rubs my arm with her little and warm hand. Her hair smells like her lavender shampoo and her cheek is slightly sticky from her morning waffle.

She’s real. She’s flesh and blood and bones and thoughts and emotions and she’s mine. She’s in my lap and I hold her.

Her brother drags himself on his stomach over to where we sit, gurgling and squealing and happy that we’re on his level. He reaches my knee and starts to pull himself up, head-butting me in his own little unusual way of affection.

Sometimes it still comes as a shock to me that I am a parent, that I have children that are my own, that Jeff and I created two whole people. It still overwhelms me how powerful the love I feel for them is. I say a prayer thanking the Lord for her, for him. How precious they are. Not the precious used to describe lap dogs, but the precious that describes them. Rare. Delicate. Dear to my heart. The most amazing gift I could ever hope for.

I think, how did I get here, what did I do to deserve this? Sitting on the floor with two tiny children crawling all over me, competing with each other for my arms. Clutching on to my neck like monkeys. Or the first sight I see in the mornings, Faith running into my room, standing next to my bed, already asking questions or preferably, crawling in next to me and sharing my pillow.

I worry, what happens when they grow up? When they will inevitably want nothing to do with me? So I hold them a little tighter and try to freeze this moment and sear the image into my mind to last forever.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


My sister’s neighbor just recently found out she is pregnant. She has a baby that is just over three months old.

I am usually so YAY BABY about everything, but this was just so surprising. Mostly because James is only eight months old and I imagined being in her shoes. If I had gotten pregnant in the same timeframe that she had then I would be five months pregnant right now. I tried to think of it and . . . my mind melted. Not capable of those sort of thoughts.

Then I must have some sympathy-pregnant-type feelings because the last few days I just felt so strange. Nauseated, not outright barfing, but just always feeling unsettled. Especially tired. A floating through a fog feeling. “Pregnant,” I said to myself. However, I have an IUD. Which is 99.9% effective. Which is more effective than tubal litigation. Still, the internet says it is possible to still get pregnant, though very dangerous to the embryo, usually ending in miscarriage.

I let my thoughts run off on the crazy track like I often do and so I went to ye olde dollar store to buy a pregnancy test. How horrible it would be if I were to be pregnant. With two young kids, no money, living in a trailer for goodness sake! I would have to get my IUD removed and I have no health insurance for another couple of weeks. It is just such a bad time to even contemplate the idea. And yet, I found myself oddly hopeful as I waited for the results.

One line.

I know, I KNOW, that it is the wrong time for another baby. What is wrong with me to always want MORE babies? Why do I feel just a little disappointed?

Thursday, June 12, 2008


It was an emotional surge of frustration that caused me to quickly grind out a resume in less than five minutes and submit it online before even proofreading it. Then for the next two days I swung madly between fervently hoping that I got a call to desperately wishing that I wouldn’t.

The job has been taken down, the position has been filled and I don’t know if I’m happy about that or not.

Here’s the thing - I’m happy to be a stay at home mom. Thrilled, in fact. I love not having to be anywhere at a specific time, I love not waking up to an alarm clock (although crying babies are not all that much better), and I love being the one, even if the only one, taking care of my kids. In a perfect situation I would be ecstatic to stay home with them until they went to school. However, we’re not in a perfect situation. We are so strapped for money, our home is far from ideal and I’ve just . . . . had it. I feel like I’ve reached my limit on what I can stand. Staying at home is fine, staying at someone else’s home and having to put up with all that goes with it because you can’t speak up because it’s not your place to begin with, well, it gets to a person.

I don’t know if I’m ready to leave them everyday. There just aren’t that many options right now. On one hand I feel so lucky that I’ve gotten to spend this much time with them and on the other, I could spend more.

Where do I go from here? Should I actively pursue seeking a new job? Or should I just wait and see how far our money can stretch and for how long? I wish sometimes that the answers were obvious and available.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Lack O' Money

I would love to be all warm and fuzzy and Susie Sunshine and say that the best things in life are free, but truthfully, not having money SUCKS. Especially when you’ve lived with your parents for a year and a half and then get excited about moving into a TRAILER. Especially after you visit your sister, whose house seems large to the point of being insane. All three of her children have a bathroom to themselves. They have an entire room for toys. There is a room in her house that is home to a desk and computer only. On top of all of that they have a full basement. True, she is tying to sell her house now and perhaps downsize, although she has yet to find anything she likes in her price range. Well, of course she hasn’t. After spending my days in a trailer and then going to her house, it seems like her house is an indulgence that borders on being obscene.

However, I will say this, with experience and conviction. Having a home of your own, no matter how big or small, that is just for you and your children and husband, and having the privacy that goes with that is absolutely wonderful beyond describing. To have our own things again in our own (admittedly tiny) space is like heaven on earth.

I joke with my husband telling him that this is all character building. It really may be. Or it might just be that we’re poor and doing what we have to do to get financially stable before beginning construction on our dream home up here on family land. For years we spent money that we didn’t have, justifying our purchases, and now we are having to go without. We are thrifty when we do buy, we don’t waste leftovers, and we save for something that we really want or need. It feels good to finally GET IT when it comes to money. Of course I wish we had reached this point years ago, but hey, what happened has happened, and in an annoying warm and fuzzy and Susie Sunshine way, it’s time to make the best of it.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Great Outdoors

The other day I was feeling very happy housewifey, so I went outside to pick some flowers to put in a vase and set on the table for my husband when he came home from lunch. So Faith and I went outside and retrieved our rose-like flowers, hers without thorns of course, and the sun was shining on us as we started walking back and then I took a look down at my charming little bouquet and saw a big brown spider crawling frantically over the petals. I screamed, threw them down and then stared in horror as black mini-slug like creatures scattered all over the asphalt. Faith asked, “Are you scared, Mommy? Don’t be afraid,” and I assured her I was not scared, merely disgusted and took her flower and looked inside, and yes, more of the nasty black whatever-they-are bugs.

Needless to say, I am still adjusting to this country life. I am enchanted by all of the flora and fauna that surrounds me, yet need to remember that I don’t live in a giant flower shop and that there are indeed little nasties that live in the plants. I’ve had to learn the hard way to look for the telltale shimmer of a spider web before walking between two trees. I know now to pay attention to any faint movement out of the corner of my eye, since it could be a fly or spider or some mysterious mountain bug lurking and waiting to jump on me.

Although I do still find myself delighted whenever we come across some animal out here. Right next to us is the long driveway that leads to my in-laws’ house and we walk up it almost every day. We nearly always see rabbits on it and last week saw several deer cross our path, then watched them as they watched us. I found a snake out there when walking with the kids. We see groundhogs bounding across the fields. Now that I’m growing a garden, however, I find that these creatures are not always welcome. Also, I’ve discovered that while it is still a novelty for me to see all these forest creatures roaming about not everyone takes the same views I do. For instance a neighbor and distant cousin of my husband (cue banjo music) set out rabbit boxes. “For what?” I asked. My father-in-law slowly informed me that it was to raise them, and then belatedly added that they were also to be used to train dogs. Part of my brain clicked. Oh. For dogs. To kill them.

Then there was the day when my husband was riding his motorcycle home and a cardinal flew into him, killing itself and scaring my husband out of his mind. If one is supposed to make a wish every time they see one of those red birds, what does it mean when you kill one?

I’m still waiting to wake up in the mornings and have the bluebirds fly in my window to set my robe on my shoulders and have the field mice make my breakfast. What? You mean fairytales can’t come true?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Old Friends

Last week I talked to my friend Mandie for the first time in over seven months. We’ve emailed briefly here and there, but haven’t spoken. It’s the longest we’ve gone since we met fourteen years ago. Mandie is very good at keeping up with people. She always sends birthday cards and thank you notes, she always brings the right gift for the occasion, and she will reach out for contact for a certain amount of time before she lets you know that it is time for it to be reciprocated. In her last email she sent to me she jokingly sent me her phone number. I knew that was my cue to call her before her courtesy of waiting for me ran out.

It was so refreshingly her. We talked about our animals more than we talked about my children, we talked about jobs and how we balanced out the world since she’s working two jobs and I don’t have one. We laughingly joked about people from our distant past, in that way we always used to, us against the world. It was, however, the first tentatively hesitant conversation between us since for the first time there were barriers, things that we would not talk about. I appreciated her discretion, and could still read between the lines. When we started catching up on people, she started telling me about a family member.

“I felt like I should give her another chance since that would be the Christian thing for me to do, especially if she’s had a change of heart. If she hasn’t had a change of heart though, that’s a different story,” she was saying. All of the sudden I wondered who we were talking about. I agreed with her and that was that. We could move on in the conversation, and without saying it, I knew that she was extending her friendship to me, no matter what, accepting the good and the bad.

She told me about how she had snuck into her now vacant childhood home, the house I had spent a day with her when the power went out at our school our freshman year. Talking about ourselves so long ago in a place I could remember so vividly gave me a somewhat distorted feeling. Here I am, no longer that awkward and foolishly silly girl, but now a wife and mother who talks on the phone while watching her toddler daughter run around outside, who is constantly snapped back into reality by distractions of kids and the outdoors, yet who still tries to connect and laugh with a best friend.

So much has changed and my life simply is so different than it used to be, but I was so thankful; she was my same old friend.