Sunday, November 30, 2008

Oh my ears!

Okay, my child is officially a loudmouth. Like, seriously.

I have just tucked her in and Mark and I both have a raging headache. She has decided she likes her own voice.


And she is going to use it.


And therefore, because she is tone deaf like me, we will suffer. Tonight we were treated to a rousing round of "Ooooaaaaaaaagaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh oooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
aaaaaaaaaaaaaagaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah" all during dinner. Not to mention quite a few "Loook out beeeeeloooooooow"'s and one mind bending"DadadadadadadadadadaDADADADADADAdadada".

Oh and let's not forget the constant litany of "All done. All done. ALL DONE. ALLLLLL DONE. ALL DOOOOONEEEEEE!!!!!!". Yes, we can't forget that.

God help me. I think my ears might actually be bleeding.

I can confirm that this does come in quite handy when we lose daddy in the mall, or rather, when he tries to hide from us and pretend he doesn't know us. I just tell Lily to call for him, and she's off, yelling "Daaaadaaaa" at the top of her lungs until passerbys start begging me to make her stop, elderly women start throwing down their hearing aids and stomping on them, and newbornsbeing carried by in a 2 mile vicinity start to cry. Then security gets alerted and I ask them to please just take her. Take her and put her to work. Take her and make her sing to the shoplifters. Trust me, they won't do it again.

You know when there's a bad guy standoff inside a house and the swat team plays muzak or barry manilow at the windows until the guy breaks down and comes out? Yeah, Mark and I are kind of in that situation. But we can't walk out and go to prison, oh no. We are in this for the long haul, my friends. The looooooong haul.

Ah the joy of toddlers.... how sweet is it.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I need to add this...

If you read this post on Bring the Rain, you will understand what I am about to say.....

Lord, I thank you for my pain. I thank you for my nightmares, my memories, and my flashbacks.

I thank you for giving me a mother that was not whole, because in doing so, you showed me what kind of mother I don't want to be.

Thank you for giving me such a selfish father.

Thank you for abandonment and hurt.

Thank you for disappoinment and unmet expecations.

Thank you for my losses.

Lord, thank you for hobbling me with the weighty yoke of a thousand haunting memories, then lifting it and bearing it with me.

Thank you, Lord, for pain. Thank you for strength.

I am thankful, even when it hurts. I am thankful, because I am your child, and I don't have to bear it alone.

I am thankful.

10 Things I am thankful for...

1. Warm robe, warm heat, warm home, and the smell of breakfast and coffee.

2. Enough money in my pocket to buy a turkey and all the fixings for a feast, but also remembering that there are some who are hungry today.

3. My baby girl, who every morning when I get her from her crib, grabs my face and says with true wonder- "Mama!!!"

4. My husband, who is my schmoopsie. And is healthy. Thank God.

5. Good friends that I can call at any time and be comforted, be laughed with, and be loved.

6. April, who calls and leaves me a message saying "I love and miss you and you are the best person I know." Likewise, my oldest and bestest ever. You are amazing.

7. Jody, Emily, Linda, Dixie, Amy, Rica, and all my other SS sisters who make me smile every day.

8. My in laws, who love Lily so much, and will spend a half hour on the phone with her listening to her babble.

9. My Aunt, who has stepped in and filled the shoes my mother never bothered to try on. I love you, and I am thankful for you. You have always been my mother. Always.

10. My health. The breath in my lungs, strong arms and legs, a vibrant mind, and a rosy disposition. Okay, maybe not rosy- but funny. Okay maybe not funny, but okay- a disposition.

And that is all. Happy Thanksgiving, my friends.

Monday, November 24, 2008

10 observations/statements/whatevers

1. I say dude too much. This is very evident because my daughter spent 10 minutes trying to get my attention in the car to take off her shoes. I was ignoring her because she needs to leave them on. She was silent for a moment, and then yelled "DUDDEEEEEEEE" at the top of her voice.

2. I hate my husband's taste in music. Actually, it's not really music. It is basically thumping with a few words. Thump,thump, word. Thump, thump, word. Techno, he calls it. Noise, I call it.

3. Now that I see "The Wizard of Oz" as a mom with a toddler, it is pretty freaking creepy.

4. Today we were at the park and another child hurt Lily. It was the first time I had seen her feelings truly hurt, and I was amazed at the level of anger I experienced. "Mama Bear" syndrome is real, folks. Real and slightly scary.

5. I realize that everytime I sit down to sew, I spend the entire time smiling. Especially now that I am making blankets for the Yahweh center kids. It is joyous.

6. I have accepted that I can't knit. This is huge for me.

7. My husband is amazing. He gets on my nerves, yes, but he is amazing. He is good and postive and I love him a little too much to be healthy to tell you the truth. I can't help it. He's my schmoopsie.

8. Lily is brilliant. Today she said "lemonade". Clearly.

9. I feel like I am at a point physically where I am stronger than I have ever been. And I am okay with strong not= slim.

10. I am seriously considering becoming vegetarian. Since Mark is reading this and doesn't know that yet- Mark, I am considering becoming vegetarian. Don't worry, you don't have to do it with me. But it's something that's on my heart. We'll see. Don't panic.

And that is all.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Creating Christmas

I have had alot on my mind lately. Specifically about Christmas, and the meaning of it.

It is not even Thanksgiving, and we are bombarded by Christmas. We haven't even given thanks, and we are being told of all the must haves, the need nows, the perfect gifts.

I'm tired of it. I don't need anything. I don't want anything. And frankly, I am weary of the meaning of Christmas being more about the material and not the spiritual. It doesn't sit well with me. At all.

I read a post on the Mother Letter blog about creating Christmas. Making something, instead of buying something. Simplifying. Giving to the people who truly need, rather than those we love who need nothing. Turning outward.

So this year, I am asking that anyone who would normally give me a gift, to not. Instead I am asking for money to buy fabric, and I will make blankets for the kids at Yahweh center, a home for severely abused and neglected children here in Wilmington.

A friend of mine was telling me yesterday how she worked with these kids. How she would go to move them from a foster home and they would be carrying their things in garbage bags. I can imagine the terror, the sadness, the fatigue. These poor kids world has been ripped from them. They are alone.

I know this feeling intimately.

I was that kid.

The details aren't important. But I can still feel the heaviness of unshed tears, my heart like a closed fist in my chest as I watched my mother get smaller and smaller out the rear view. Everything I had known, even though it was nothing but blood and hurt and booze, was gone. I was scared and hurt and blinded by fear. I am sure these children feel much of the same thing.

Will a blanket solve all their problems? No. But will it give them something of their own. Something to keep them warm, something to carry with them from place to place. A material anchor in the chaos of their lives.

With every blanket I sew, I will pray for the child it is going to. I will pray for peace, for warmth, for laughter. I will pray that if they wake from a nightmare, the blanket will keep them warm and give them a bit of comfort. I will pray that God is with them.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What a beautiful idea...

So many times I think I am a bad mother. When Lily watches too much TV, when I am tired and lose patience, when all she eats for dinner is a chicken nugget and a lollipop.

At those times, encouragement would be a beautiful thing.

There is a wonderful husband who is creating just such a thing. A series of open letters from mothers to his wife. Letters about the joy of mothering. Letters about the sorrow, the pain. Letters about it all, good and bad.

The moment I saw this, I wanted to be a part of it. If you do too, check out the link and submit your own letter. It's an amazing thing this man is doing, and a beautiful testimony to not only the love between husband and wife, but of the importance of mothers.

Enjoy, my friends.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Adventures in knitting

It was one of those weekends.

You know...when you do alot of nothing.

I spend the lion's share of it trying to learn to knit. Lemme tell ya, I am seriously reconsidering my opinion of my intellectual status. You have to be a special kind of stupid to be outsmarted by yarn. When I went to look at knitting needles today (because surely, the needles I have are the problem, not my tiny pea brain) they had knitting needles for children. Yup, kids. Tiny little needles with sweet little bunny heads on the top.

After I got done stomping on them and cursing in arabic, I straightened myself back up and bought a new pair of size 6 needles. Turns out the only time in my life I will ever buy a size six is to knit. *eye roll*

I came home, and tried to use them. Yup, you guessed it. I couldn't do it.

What the hell man? I mean seriously, I can do pretty much anything. I don't say that with any sort of ego. By hook or by crook I can get stuff done. Stubborness is a highly underestimated quality, people, lemme tell ya.

But I cannot knit. At ALL.

I spent the entire weekend knitting 3 rows of yarn and unraveling them again and again. Knit, knit, cuss, unravel. Knit knit, cuss, throw needles, yell, unravel.


No big deal right? Oh but you don't know me. Until I learn to knit, it will bug the ever loving hell outta me.

And once I DO learn to knit I will be obsessed. Pretty soon you will come to my house and I will have knitted a toilet cover. And I will show it off to you. Cause thats how my crafty self rolls.

Ah yes, I am the chubby brunette Martha Stewart.

Stop laffin. I am, damnitt.

Okay, well two outta three ain't bad.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I hate Emeril (yes, this is a rant)

Okay, so I am trying to keep my mind off of things with busy work. Ya know, cooking, cleaning, doing all things that are mindless. In the midst of moving the couch to vaccuum underneath it, I hear Emeril Live start up on the food network. I sit down to watch, hoping to come across a new recipe.

You ever watched this show? Oy. The guy is a total tool. Arrogant, totally lacking in any sort of humility, and downright obnoxious. In the course of ONE SHOW he must said "oh yeah babe" about 3000 times. And ya know what? The audience APPLAUDED him. Ummmmm, wha? So he sprinkles a little cayenne and says "oh yeah babe", and this is cause for a round of applause? Jeeeeeeesus.

So yeah, maybe I was just in a pissy mood. Maybe he is an all around good guy. Full of personality, sweet, kind. Hell, maybe he gives away his overspiced food to homeless orphans, I dunno. But I for one ain't buying what he's sellin. I'd like to give him a swift kick in the ass actually, just for having his own show and doing...ummmm...nothing. Good gosh- adding rosemary to a beef dish- revolutionary!!! Call the papers!!!! *eye roll*

Give me Mr Guy Fieri (yummy!), Rachael Ray (dinner in 30 mins- enough said!), or Paula Deen (she worships butter like I do) anyday over this waste of airtime. I seriously could not believe I wasted 30 minutes of my life on this dude and his recipes.

Emeril can take a flying leap off a panko encrusted plank in my opinion. Oh yeah babe.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It's been a helluva week

I'm trying, I really am.

Trying to keep my head above water. Trying to keep a cheerful face. Trying to be okay.

But I am slipping here. At the very least, I am not lying. If you ask if I am okay, you get the answer. No. I'm not. I'm not okay. But I am okay with not being okay, okay?

My father is in ICU again. This time he was lying on his floor for 2 days before he was found. And although he does this to himself with his poor choices, my heart breaks at the thought of my once very strong father lying on the floor because he lacks the strength to even push up on his forearms and press his lifeline button around his neck.

He has pressure sores on his face and chest. His is on a ventilator again. My heart simply hurts. I pity him, I am angry at him. I love him.

I am already grieving I guess. He's already gone. And the hardest part for me is knowing I can never have what I have always longed for. While he was alive and lucid, I had hope. But now I know he's not even the man I used to know, let alone somebody who could be what I need. Alot of this hurt is knowing the inevitable is coming.

The phone call. The open sky and smell of dirt. The songs sung, the words said. The end. Both parents, gone. All before I am 35.

Yeah, I know, lots of people have it worse. I tell myself this all the time. I do. But that is cold comfort when it's actually YOUR LIFE you are dealing with. Maybe I am not as well adjusted as I should be. Big fucking deal. I can only do what I can do. I can only deal my way.

So now its another waiting game. They will clean him up, get him detoxed, get him well, and send him home. And he'll be back again, until the end.

There are a few things I know about my father for certain- he is a good man, if a bad father. He has a sense of humor that is crude and obnoxious, something he passed directly to me. He is quiet and reserved. He could grow an amazing garden without even thinking much about it. He was rarely angry with me, and never yelled. He was always kind to my friends. He told me he loved me everyday. On cold mornings he would start my car for me, and clean off my windshield.

I miss him. I love him. I wish I could spend one day with the man he used to be when he wasn't drinking. One day of fishing, camping, standing in the hot sun. One day of the comfortable silence that would stretch between us. Just he and I and the water.

I think of him now, surrounded by strangers in a hospital bed. Lost in his own mind, swimming under sedation. Unable to speak for the vent. Not able to move without pain. Weak. Hurting.

I think of him back then, teaching me to swim. His dark hair rising above him as he dove down after me in the water. His arm around my waist, dragging me up into the light.

I wonder what he thought of while on the floor for those days. My heart just hurts. But I have my own daughter, my own life, my own family that I have to be strong for.

I just wish, in one way or another, for it to be over. For his sake, if not for my own.

I Love you, Daddy.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My sweet girl.

My Lily girl. So sweet, so kind. Full of empathy and compassion and love. So giving, so wise. She is my greatest teacher in this life. She is my greatest love.

I am honored, HONORED, to be her mother.

I cannot express how much I love her. How just the scent of her head sends me into a fit of memory. She is suddenly 2 days old after her first bath at home. She is three months old falling asleep on my chest. She is a year old with a raging fever. All of this from just the scent of her head.

I look at her and I see the world. I see everything through her eyes. Her sadness becomes mine, her fear mine to comfort. If anyone dared to hurt her I would obliterate them. I look at her and I see her not just as she is now, but how she was when she was so tiny and helpless. I see the whole picture.

When I was pregnant, I never understood this whole secret society I would be hazed into. Woemn would look at me with my tiny newborn, and their eyes would fill, their gazes turning inward. I know now they were feeling the deep primal pull a newborn can touch you with. The feeling that you would do anything- ANYTHING to feel your child in your arms like that again.

The need is beautiful and painful and terrifying. And it is also intense and overwhelming. To be the sole source of another persons existence is such a deep responsibility in every way.

I long for her as she was.
This picture is special to me. Lily was around 3 weeks old here, still so small, and so fragile. She was nursing every 2 hours. I was exhausted. But in the days before this picture was taken, we had fallen into a routine of sorts. Nursing, sitting, dozing together. It was at this point, on this day, that I looked at her and utterly LOVED her. Now, I loved her before this time, yes, but it was different on this day. The fear of being a new mother left me, and I simply loved her. Realized I would die for her. Realized that she was MINE, and I was HERS. Realized, above all, that I could do this. I could be a mother. It was powerful and life changing.
There are things you cant see here. My hair was unwashed, my face free of makeup. My nipples were raw and bleeding. I was still healing from birth. I was still in my pajamas at 8 o'clock at night. My life was in chaos. But I was happy. I was totally in love with this little being I had fought so hard to conceive and carry. And God, when I looked down at her, at her perfect little mouth drawing milk from my breast, at her little hands clasped over my heart, I knew she loved me too. Needed me. Loved me.
It keeps changing, this love. Some days are hard. She is stubborn and strong willed. But she is a joy. She is full of life. And she is mine. What a gift.

Trust and faith

I am strong. I am strong emotionally. I know this. I can deal with anything as long as I know what it is. I can face anything head on if it has a face.

But Jesus, I can't stand uncertainty. The unknown is an absolute terror to me.

The past few days Mark has been going doctor to doctor. We still don't have any answers. His GP says it was a freak occurence and not to worry. We may never know what happened.

I cannot STAND the idea of that. I need to know. I need answers. I need a plan. I need to take action.

And I can't. I may never know.

I can feel myself slipping into depression. It is not unknown to me, this dipping below the surface into the ocean. It is as familiar to me as my hands. I know this territory, and I know I will surface again. And it is no wonder that it is happening. When confronted with something I cannot control I shut down. I am not scared of this, and I am not fighting to push it away or pull myself out of it. It simply is. Fighting against it is futile.

All I can do is process all we have been through in this past week, and find away to make peace with it. I know what I should do, hand it over to God and let him take care of it. I always plan to do that, but I snatch it back from Him to worry over it again and again. Do I love God? Yes. Do I trust Him as much as I should. No.

So here it is. I know that this will teach me something. I know I will emerge a different and hopefully better person. I know God is trying, again and again, to teach me this lesson- TRUST ME. Give it over, bring it to me, trust me. All the troubles and burdens and fear and hopelessness. He wants it. He wants to bear it with me.

But I just don't know how. How?

And more importantly- who would I be without my perpetual worry? Who would I be without my bitterness, without my baggage? THAT is the scariest part. Who would I be if the negative was cleaved away? If I was hollowed out, and gave over my pain and fear?

Scary right? Can you imagine? Can you imagine laying all of your anger and bitterness and mistrust in front of somebody and asking them to carry it? Even if they were inviting it- how would you burden them with a clean heart?

But that is just what He is asking me to do. Give it over. Wow.

I read a beautiful post on Angie's blog the other day:

If you have time to read it, it is an amazing testament to faith, and puts beautifully into words the struggle I am feeling right now.

How must it feel to just...let go? To open your arms and your heart and let the pain go? To let all of it fall away? My God, what an amazing thing. How much lighter would I be- how much more joyful?

I have felt a deep calling toward joy for a long time now. I have always believed that this is the great mark of a follower of Christ- joy. Unfettered joy. Knowing that you are loved and held no matter what. Wow. I want that.

So here we go, on another journey. I don't have all of the answers, and this scares me. But what I DO have is faith that I will be held, no matter what may come. Held, loved, and carried.

For now, that is enough.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Friday morning I had the scariest experience of my life.

Mark was emptying the dishwasher and his leg started to go numb. I didn't think much of it, and figured he had been sitting on his foot while on the computer. Then it started traveling up his leg, into his chest, and to his head. He went upstairs to call his doctors office, and while there his arm started to go numb.

He came downstairs and got in the shower because we were just going to go straight to his doctors office. While in the shower, however, he lost all use of his arm. All use.

I will never, ever forget the look of terror on his face. He was absolutely gray, and he was terrified. He asked me to call 911.

This is the man that is never afraid of anything. Who is calm, who is centered, who is always my safe port in the storm. And he was absolutely terrified.

He got dressed with help from me as I was on the phone with the 911 operator. He then went to go kiss Lily as sirens wailed down our street. I knew he thought he was kissing her goodbye. It was all over his face.

I have never been more scared in my life. I did not panic, but fear had a hold on my heart and would not let go.

The paramedics came in, took his vitals, and loaded him on the stretcher. As he was being wheeled out I was holding Lily and watching. I cannot tell you the feeling of not knowing if he would come back to us.

I didn't know if I would ever see him again. I thought he was having a stroke, a heart attack. My heart was broken. My mind was reeling as I stood and watched the ambulance drive away. How many times had I yelled at him over something insignificant? How many times had I taken my anger out on him? How many times had I treated him unkindly? How many times had I refused forgiveness and not treated him with the love he deserved?

I am not a good wife. I am bossy and spiteful. I am flawed. I do not treat him as I should.

On the ride to the hospital I cried out to God. "You have my attention! You have my attention! I am listening! Please, please do not take him away from me. I promise I will treat him as I should from this point onward. I will never take the gift you have given me for granted again." I have never cried so hard. I have never been so scared of what would greet my eyes.

Instead of seeing a very sick man, I walked in to my husband sitting up in bed, rosy cheeked, joking with the nurses.

His vitals were normal and stable. His ekg was good. His cat scan was clear, as was his bloodwork. His symptoms were all attributed to the onset of severe migraine, something he had been dealing with since a fall a month ago.

To say I was relieved would be an understatement.

To say that I would not keep my promise to God anyway is fallacy. I am no fool. I know what I was given. I know how easily this could have slipped the other direction. I know that if I don't take away from this what I should, then the lesson next time may be harsher.

That night he woke again with the same symptoms. This time, he couldn't speak. I was scared, so was he, but we both knew that this was classic migraine onset. Sure enough, the pain hit a few minutes later. As I sat up with him and worried over him I felt a shift in my thinking that I had not expected. This felt good. Caring and giving myself 100% felt good. It felt right.

See I have spent my whole realtionship with Mark waiting for the other shoe to drop. Waiting for him to leave me, or to be taken from me. Now that the worst had happened, and I had felt that fear and pain, I was free of it. It had no power over me anymore.

I can love him and care for him and know I can survive the pain of thinking I may lose him. Because the pain is nothing compared to the joy he brings me. It is a drop in the bucket compared to the kindness and the happiness we have. It is nothing compared to the love we have for each other. The laughter, the fun, the hours of giggling.

I can love him openly, give everything without reserve. Without worrying. Without fear.

I know God was using that moment to teach me. I also know that I am getting better and better at looking at things with new eyes, and saying- okay, this situtation is hard, but what can I learn from it? That is taking power from the negative and using it for the positive. That is God's hand at work, breaking down the barriers in my mind.

So here it is, a new day. Mark has had no episodes for over 24 hours. We will spend the next week at specialists, neurologists, doctors offices, etc...trying to find an answer.

But even if we don't, I have been given an incredible gift- the ability to look at my relationship and at Mark with new eyes.

Thank you, God. I will not forget.