Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Autumn of Discontent

It is now officially autumn.

Of all the seasons, I love spring the best. Or maybe summer. I love how the world comes alive again in the spring, I love to see green again. However, in summertime there’s something sensual about the heaviness in the air, the way skin remains damp no matter what time of day it is, the fireflies that hover in multitudes in between trees in the dusk.

Fall, though, is special. There is the sense of expectancy that I’ve written about. Sometimes it is ominous and foreboding. Sometimes it is hopeful and eager, filled with plans and the knowledge of time spent well. It is often mysterious and is the perfect time of year to ponder Great Things.

The girl who was my best friend for years absolutely loved this time of year. She enthusiastically decorated her house with fall and Halloween paraphernalia. We often went on long drives down deserted dirt roads or over ancient bridges at night just to freak ourselves out. She sent emails on the first day of fall declaring her love for it all over again. It was well known that fall was her time. I could not, and still can’t, pass a place that is filled with the rusty colors of autumn without thinking of her. I pass by salt and pepper shakers in the shapes of fallen leaves and think how perfect they would be for her. I wonder what her house looks like, I wonder if she’s breaking out all of her sweaters, I wonder if she’s planned any trips to the corn maze or pumpkin fields.

I miss her so badly. I think of her every day. I wish I could pick up the phone and call her and just listen to her talk for hours, to catch me up on the past year of her life. I wish I could send her a card saying that I am thinking of her, or just to tell her that she’s in everything I see around me this time of year.

I can’t.

The hardest thing in the world I’ve had to ever do is see the hurt and pain that the people I love most in the world experience because of me. To know that they could have not had to suffer it if I had been different, if I had made different choices, or even if I had never been in their lives. To think that I am remembered by someone who I truly love as a big waste of time or the most horrible time of their lives absolutely kills me. After a year it is not any easier. I still miss her. And I can not tell her that I do. Her life is better off without me.

I don’t know why on earth I am writing this and then putting it on the internet for goodness sake. I wanted to write here honestly and without holds on myself, and so I do. So, world, I miss my best friend from the depths of my heart and I wonder if it will ever let up.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Ever since I quit work and stayed at home to be a stay at home parent my inner mind clock sputters and stops. I often lose track of days, my sleep schedule hasn’t been normal in years and usually the only way I can stay on track is by trying to follow Jeff’s schedule. This past week he began a new one however, and it is totally screwing with me. He works three days on, then a day off, then three more days on and then a week off. The past week was his off week and it has been completely strange, but good, to have him here with us day after day. We stayed busy and much has happened and I don’t even know if I should try to bother putting it all down in words. There have been trips to the emergency room, trips to Target, arrests, home projects on OTHER people’s homes, and I made a huge amount of salsa today. I am aware that my story telling and explaining lacks quite a lot, but all is well with everyone, it’s just been another week living close to many family members.

Today was the first cool day that we’ve experienced, sort of strange in an overcast way, never quite raining but making you feel like you need to stay inside. I didn’t though, I walked outside as much as I could today and felt like I could spend hours outside. I tried to absorb as much of that expectant autumn feeling as I could, with just my thoughts and myself.

Every year at this time I have that feeling that something is right around the corner. Last year the upcoming fall meant the birth of James. The year before that we were selling our house and moving across the state, the year before that was the autumn when Faith was born. However, this year doesn’t seem to hold anything big or important just ahead and that’s what makes this year feel odd and makes me feel like I’m ill equipped for the task at hand. I’m not quite sure what I’ve been expecting but knowing that it’s not going to come feels lonely and a bit sad.

I sound a little too melancholy for my own good.

On a lighter note, Faith has informed us that zebras do NOT make the neigh sound that horses make but instead they make “ZEE ZEE” sounds. Jeff and I found that fairly awesome. James continues to be impossibly needy and poops way more than any child should.

Monday, September 8, 2008

On Staying At Home

I stay at home, all day, every day. Most days I have no car. Almost every day I have no money to spend on anything besides groceries. So, almost all of our time is spent at home.


I get to see the sun rise up slowly over the mountains every morning. I get to see the leaves on the big tree in the front yard become illuminated from behind with the gold glow of the morning. I hear the rumbles of the motorcycles that are on their way to Blood Mountain, and the crunch of tires on the rock driveway when my father in law returns from an errand. I watch the dogs run in the backyard and see the cat turn in a circle upside down before her eyes close in tight slits for a nap. I’m here waiting when Jeff comes home for lunch and when he comes home at the end of the day.


I am not only the primary caregiver to the children but almost to the point of being the only one. When Jeff gets home he is tired from working so hard all day and he almost always has a chore that needs to be done before bedtime. I don’t get time to exercise. I don’t get time to take long bubble baths. I don’t ever get to leave in the evenings and drive to a bookstore and spend a precious couple of hours perusing through books. I make every meal for the kids, change all of Jamie’s diapers, attend all of Faith’s urgent potty times, give the baths, wipe the hands, wrestle dangerous tiny objects from Jamie’s grasp, try to rationalize with Faith about everything, struggle with naptimes, rush to every cry, and the only time I can shower or read at my own leisure is after they have gone to sleep and usually by that time I am exhausted.


I am the one who spends my days on the floor playing dolls or building blocks or reading books. I am the one who dances in the living room with the kids or makes monster sounds and chases Faith through every room before finally grabbing her and making monching sounds on her belly. I am the one who gets to rock James to sleep every day and night. I am the one that they want when they are hurt or sad. It is my arms that they run into, my lap that they crawl on. When we’re around other people James will twist up his face when he sees me and can’t get to me. It is to me that everyone looks to when Faith comes up with one of her Faith-isms that they need to have translated. I am the one that they seek out and climb on and laugh with every single day.


I don’t make any money. I have no recognition for my work. I don’t get raises or reviews or a pat on the back when a job is well done. I don’t get to gab with girls at the office or hear any daily gossip. I don’t get to be challenged intellectually or test myself or see what my own boundaries are. I don’t get to have a drive home where I can think to myself that I did a great job that day. I don’t get to come home after a long day of work and kick off my shoes and lean back and relax for an hour. I don’t ever pick up my purse and head to the movies or out shopping just because. I don’t meet co-workers or friends after work and talk about my day. I hardly talk to anyone besides my family members.

I was there for Faith’s first steps and was the one who got to see Jamie’s last week. I heard Faith’s first words, and will be there when James says his. I’ve taken care of them through every sickness, and have been there for every doctor appointment. I’ve been there every day through every phase. I got to see all of those sweet and rare moments that get hidden throughout the day; seeing Faith playing when she thinks no one is watching, or James smiling up at me with sleepy eyes right before falling forward onto my shoulder for naptime. I get the reward of knowing that the next morning they will wake up happy, like they do every day, and that I will have hours of un-interrupted time with them.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Most vs. Some

I wonder if I will ever be able to accept how fast taking care of two very young children goes from being pleasantly busy to CALGON, TAKE ME AWAY.

Most days feel like the movie Groundhog Day. I wake up, change diapers, make meals, get them down for naps, change diapers, feed, change, rock, console, feed, change, and so on and so forth until I feel like I will just become an emotionless robot after a time, just going forward about my day mechanically. On days when things are different, a new errand thrown into the mix or being somewhere else, then I feel like OH NO, the schedule is off and then spend so much effort trying to do the same things I always do, the same things that sort of drive me crazy with the monotony.

Most days though, I am fairly happy about it all, if a little robotic, and sometimes the redundancy seems to be a comfortable sort of tedium, pleasing and harmonious to us all.

Some days however, Faith gets frustrated because something isn’t working quite right and starts howling, or she refuses to take a nap, which wakes up James, who in turn then keeps her up. I, in turn, lose my mind. It seems like an impossible task to find something that she will eat willingly and when I suggest something simple and usually agreeable like a sandwich she will suddenly scream and writhe on the ground as if I am tormenting her and adding another degree of torture to her already hideous life. Or the inescapable temper tantrum that comes with trying to get her tiny toys to line up JUST RIGHT in her toy plane. The black dog has to be in the very back with his head turned just so, the white dog has to be on the right side near the front, NO, NOT THAT NEAR THE FRONT MOMMY AAAAAGHHHHHH, and then when finally they are all in place and she tries to carry the plane across the room and they slide off their assigned spots, then I want to go run and hide from my own two year old daughter because she turns into a really scary monster. The times when they cry all day because of lack of sleep or boredom, or who knows what. I don’t ever know. Then Jeff comes home and I want to say “Here, take your children while I run far, far away and maybe I’ll be back soon,” but I can’t ever say that because once he gets home he has to help his father build a fence or he has to till the garden or fix his motorcycle or . . .

So. Yes. Some days are bad, most are pretty good, but all of them I am so thankful for. I have a feeling that one day I will look back on the days when I grabbed my hair in my hands and howled at the ceiling and smile to myself and maybe miss those chaotic and frustrating moments. Or . . . not.