Sunday, August 31, 2008

Say It All

SOMEONE has been on the computer because the curser was HUGE, the font size was 163 instead of 12. Who could have done that? It is like when Faith manages to touch two keys on the keyboard and I spend an hour trying to undo what changes she had made to my settings. Or when James picks up the remote and is suddenly recording some dragon show that I never knew existed and then Jeff comes home and looks at the recorded shows and wonders why he never knew his wife was a fantasy loving geek.


I am sort of sad to say that this Labor Day weekend is not very fun so far. We’ve gone to church, taken naps, I mopped the floor, did some laundry . . . oh my goodness I have to just stop right there. I am envisioning myself reading this years down the road thinking, “why on earth did you sit there typing the most boring list of stuff ever?” although to be truthful, church was really not at all boring. It never is with two small children. It almost seems laughable to think that one can expect their children to respect the quiet holiness of the sanctuary and to be reverent and understand the importance of it all. James would have fallen asleep on my lap but we forgot his pacifier and so right when the sermon began he began his loud and whiny grunting. I took him out to the lobby and saw the doors were open so I stood outside for a couple of minutes swaying back and forth and catching snippets of sound. He finally fell asleep on my shoulder and I stayed out there for a couple minutes more, both to assure he was really asleep and to just enjoy it. It seemed special all of the sudden to just stand outside the church even and breathe in the fresh air and feel the unusual brush of my long dress against my bare legs. When I walked back in we stepped by several other parents with their babies on their shoulders all looking at James and I a little enviously, I thought. “Mine is asleep,” I smiled to them. “You can come back out and take ours!” they grinned back.

We had a full house in our tiny country church this week. We had a guest speaker, well known in our church system, and I believe it was also friends and family day. I sometimes pray to be able to receive the message and I think I did.

The reason why I think I did is this: A year ago, two years ago, well, probably my whole life I never would have written this down. There are many people who don’t believe in what I do, who get turned off immediately by someone who not only has beliefs but states them openly. I didn’t want to turn off people, I didn’t want to stand out and be different.

I believe in God. I have faith. My faith gets stronger every day. I am not worried about turning people away. I worry more about not speaking up about what I believe. It’s a courage I never thought I would have. I would have just buried the fact that I went to church, I would have written about the laundry instead. I would have cared more about being well written or humorous or thought provoking instead of just being honest.

It’s more than just freeing. It’s peace.

And so I am able to write about it, yes church is part of my life. This week in the life of Jenny featuring children, housework, money woes, martial harmony and discord, the death of a garden, and God.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Lately - Complaining and Disjointed

The past couple days have been especially rainy, yesterday being a consistent downpour that lasted all day long. A river formed in our front yard, my in-laws’ driveway washed out, a nearby town flooded completely. It was sort of awesome in that dreary sort of way in the beginning of the day, but woe is me, I live in a trailer. The front porch (porch! Ha! I mean a pile of rusted tin!) (I’m bitter today) leaked, the dogs got into the trash can and tore up dirty baby diapers which got rained all over so the back porch (porch! Ha! I mean a pile of rotted wood!) (Oh, so very bitter) is covered in damp baby poo.

My hair has taken on a life of it’s own. Where my daughter’s hair lays in strawberry blonde ringlets down her back when it rains, mine grows out to extraordinary length and width and the frizz can be like a lion’s mane, or just like a crazy redneck woman who has had a bad perm. I have not had a perm, just to make myself clear. I just have big hair at times.

So it was a struggle this morning with the flat iron. It took me half an hour to straighten my super long hair until it was sufficiently glossy and sleek enough to go out to distribute resumes.

I am still looking. I have applied at places where I am qualified and then I have applied at places that I am completely OVER qualified for and I have not heard a word. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been out of work for so long, or if it’s because of the economy, or if it’s because of where we live. That’s a problem with small towns. The opportunity for work is just so scarce. Jeff had to take a huge pay cut to get on at a shop up here, but it was preferable to driving almost an hour away to go to work. So it was that I applied for a job that would pay me less than what I made when I started my first office job when I was nineteen.

It is just time for me to suck it up and deal with it. It is time for me to find a job already and make money once again so we can build a real house.

The only thing that makes me doubt that is that is just feels wrong sometimes. I feel like I’m supposed to spend my days with my kids. I’m praying for a sign, for an opportunity. In the meantime I am sending out my resume.

In other news, James suddenly went from having two tiny teeth poking through his bottom gums to now having several coming through the top. He’s also discovered the stairs at his Mamaw and Papaw’s and this is sad and involves many frantic sprints by me to find him halfway up the long, wooden steps. He’s also in that unfortunate stage of standing and almost walking, but not quite, so there are many falls and bumps. I want to take him for portraits soon, but he always is sporting some new scratch or bruise.

Faith is just pure wonderful in all of it’s forms. She’s so funny; the things she comes up with just crack us up. She has a temper, yes, but she is so happy all of the time and it just makes me happy to absorb some of that. She’s been especially good with James lately and now that they are at an age where they can play together is something I hadn’t even been anticipating, but now that it is here it is like a fabulous and unexpected gift.

Friday, August 22, 2008


I walked into the mall with a vague sense of where I was going. I knew that there was an indoor playground area for kids to run around in, and I dimly remembered seeing it one of the times I was in there. I found it quickly enough for never having taken my kids to it. I am not that social and often avoid public play areas for kids - I’m just too shy, too awkward.

She said she’d be there. “I have red hair now,” and she was right. I couldn’t miss her hair, but was that her? The girl I met when I was fourteen years old? The girl who I’ve been through everything with? The one who I’ve had hateful arguments with and also the one with whom I declared that Thursdays were our macaroni and cheese nights? The girl who turned me onto some of my favorite books and who I could admit that I loved Laguna beach to?

Yes. It was her. We hugged and then sat back and viewed the one thing that we hadn’t yet gone through together. Being parents.

It happens frequently, I suppose. Conversations shift towards children and how our lives are altered by them. Milestones in development, genetics that make up their hair color, it all gets talked about.

At the end of the day, when we were saying goodbye, it struck me how much didn’t get talked about and I began to miss her already. It was the first time in ten months that I had spent time with someone other than a family member and it hit me like a punch in the stomach. I need this. I need my friends. I can’t let time go on too long or a distance that big come between us again. I missed her and the casual comfort that we so quickly fall into when we are together. She is one of those people that it never seems to matter if I’ve been away from her for two weeks or two years because when we meet again it’s as if no time has passed at all. There no awkward getting-to-know-you conversation that we have to endure before the real stuff pours out. There’s no making ourselves appear as if we’re better than what we are, and no poor-mouthing ourselves either for that matter. We just simply are who we are and we accept it and love it.

I feel a little bit more whole again and in a strange way I have began to wonder how many pieces I was in in the first place.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A new Mr. & Mrs.

The first time I heard about him we were at a wedding. While waiting for the ceremony to begin my sister-in-law showed me a picture on her phone. “This is the guy I’ve been seeing,” she said and right away I knew it was something serious and different from past boyfriends. For one thing, he was much better looking in a perfectly wonderful and normal way than any guy she’d dated. For another, she was telling me about him.

At another wedding, two months later, she told me that she hoped I’d have more kids than just Faith and the bun that was baking in the oven (James) (duh). Whenever she had her wedding then she’d have to have a flower girl and by that time Faith would be way too old, she said. “You never know,” I said in a sing song teasing voice. “This guy might marry you one day,” and she just smiled. Yep. Different than any relationship she’d ever had.

This past weekend they got married and Faith was indeed the flower girl. I was a last minute bridesmaid, and the whole wedding was sort of last minute at that. It all came together, as they always tend to do, and we all breathed a big sigh of relief when it was over. Despite all the panic and frantic shopping, decorating, and planning it was awful nice to have a wedding, especially for those two. I’ve seen a new side of her that I know he’s responsible for and it’s always sort of mushy to see two people pledging to love each other for eternity. It makes you want to make meaningful eye contact with your significant other and then maybe slow dance later.

Instead of that though, Jeff and I helped Faith eat several plates of cake and took turns carrying Master James around.

There was an after party where we met people who’d we had heard of, people whose reputation not only preceded them but made one think that perhaps mayhem was in the air. Alas, nothing happened, and yet we still had plenty of stories to inform each other of for the next day. We spent the weekend in that post-celebration fog, relieved to be free of duties and maybe a little disappointed to not have something big around the corner to look forward to and speculate on.

They are on their honeymoon now and I hope that they are taking this time and making it into something that will remain stamped on their minds forever as a ridiculously romantic and deliriously happy few days. I hope that they carry a little bit of it around forever in a back pocket to be pulled out now and then. We all need those moments and those pieces of joy to hang on to.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Summer Vacation

Whenever I go to Savannah or Tybee I suddenly feel right. I feel like I can relax, I can sit back and soak in the world, I let go of worries, I get inspired, I feel alive. Whenever I come back from there the world starts slowly seeping back in in a slightly unpleasant way. Back from vacation blues times two or ten or a hundred.

My uncle very generously offered us to stay at his beach house for a family vacation so Jeff and the kids and I stayed there, my parents stayed with my uncle right behind us and my sister and her three kids stayed at a family friends home next door. It was sort of fun being able to walk back and forth between houses and also at times a little panic ridden. “Where is Faith?” we would suddenly shriek before realizing she was just next door with her cousins.

Instead of feeling like everyone around was too much of a good thing I really enjoyed it and felt sad when my sister and my nephew and nieces had to leave early. I even had a moment of craziness when I thought about keeping her kids for the remainder of the time. Don’t worry. Sanity kicked in at the last minute.

I love history and Savannah and the island are absolutely ridden with it. It’s small time life with charm and soul. It’s slower down there, even slower than here in the mountains. Jeff and I rode bikes past sprawling mansions that once faced the oceans and then past new cottages painted bright colors decorated with twinkle lights. I spent as much time as I could sitting on the front porch reading and just staring off into space breathing the ocean-tainted air and feeling peaceful. James was ever-attached to me as always, but he even seemed more laid back there. We would occasionally ask each other why we didn’t live there always.

We drove into the city of Savannah a couple of times. My grandmother, who Faith is named after, is buried in a cemetery right beside Bonaventure. Who would have thought that wandering a place of the dead could be so enchanting. In a GOOD way that is.

My aunt used to sneak in Bonaventure at night when she was a teenager. Um. No. I could not do that.

I was down there for four days before I remembered that there is such a thing as the internet. We watched very little television, and relied only on books and each other and the town itself for entertainment. It was wonderful.

It was filled with many tiny adventures: the baby squirrel’s life that I saved, the hundreds of starfish that washed up on the beach, Jeff and I going back to “our” restaurant on River Street, taking James to the beach for the first time, celebrating my mother’s birthday, the silly, yet somewhat entertaining ghost tour that ended at the Pirates House where I did get a little freaked out. Most important, and how cliché of me to say, was the time spent with my family, all of us in one spot with just days to plan or not plan and just be there together.

Of course, you can't please everyone.

Oh yeah, THIS thing

Apparently, I rather suck at this whole blog thing. I get it, posts, updates, all those thoughts that swirl around in my head at an impossible velocity get written down and recorded in actual words, but the execution is another thing all together. Time! Such a precious commodity around here.

We spent last week on vacation and I’ve been putting together a post about it, but so far only in my mind. There are pictures to upload and beach towels to wash and sand toys to re-store and oh yeah, furniture to move and then shoes to buy to go with my new (borrowed, but completely adorable oh how I love it) dress that was meant to be worn to Jeff’s sister’s wedding this weekend. Only yesterday, the day after I bought brand new shoes for the first time in, I don’t know, probably two years, I got asked to be IN the wedding as a bridesmaid. My first thought was, but I already have a dress to wear! And new shoes! Then my next thought was, oh my goodness if I had known that I would be standing up in front of EVERYONE then I would have been starving myself for the past two months. Instead I will be standing beside all of my sister-in-law’s best friends, all tiny despite having kids. Yes, I have lost weight, but no, I am not a size two. It seems there was a massive argument between my sister-in-law and one of her bridesmaids and the girl is out of the wedding, and I believe the dress fits. Sure, there could be better reasons for being asked to be in a wedding, but at the same time, we’re the sort of family who does these sort of things.

So. A little distressed, but pleased, and also harried over here.

The other thing that keeps me from updating is the fact that we recently got a tivo, which means that I have been able to watch ancient episodes of 90210 during my frenzied mornings.

Anyway, there it is, excuses. I am trying to get better at time-management so that I can have all of life’s pleasures, including 90210 AND writing AND shoe-shopping AND keeping those two kids alive and happy and loved.