Monday, October 31, 2011

A rant.

I am annoyed. Extremely.

By this sign. Yeah, that seeimgly innocous saying.

A saying that I am supposed to look at and say- "Well good for you. You put your kids before the housework. Your house is a mess but your k ids are all smiles. Awesome."

I call BS.

My job is my kids, yes. But my job is also my house. Because that is the environment they live in.

Isn't part of being a good mom making sure their home is clean? That they lay their heads on clean sheets, bathe in a clean tub, wear clean clothes? That they eat from a clean kitchen?

They are not mutually exclusive. They can go together, and do, in this house.

Ring my bell. Come into my home. You will see that it is clean. Not perfect, but clean. There are a few crumbs and dishes and laundry in the dryer. There is dog hair on the floor and markers and cars scattered throught.

But no sticky floors. No dirty oven. No messy kitchen.

And where are my kids when I am cleaning? Playing. By themselves. *gasp* Or watching a movie. By themselves. *double gasp*

You know what else? Taking the time to clean makes me a better mom. I can THINK better in my house when it is picked up and clean. I am happier and calmer. I can give more of myself to my children.

So, I am a good mom with happy kids. And my house is really clean. Because that is my JOB, and I am good at making time for both.

And if you have sticky floors, and a messy kitchen, that's FINE. But don't assume that just because my house is immaculate I am neglecting my kiddos.

Rant over.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


The Kansas sky rolls by the window, blue shot with heavy gray clouds. I press my face against the seat, my back to the shallow murmurs in front of me. I can hear my belongings rattling in the trunk, my clothes still on hangers, my stereo braced tight against a suitcase filled with pictures.

My tears fall freely at times, and then dry up with no warning. I have no control anymore of when they come.

The car slides left, pulls to a stop. I hear my brother get out and open my door.

"Hey, sis. We are making a pit stop. Need anything?"

I shake my head. I feel weightless and burdened all at once.

He looks off into the distance, his jaw twitching. His blue eyes tell more than his words ever could.

He doesn't know what to say to me. I don't know what I want to hear.

My skin still holds the mark of her hands. My shoulder aches from blows. My skin is stretched tight over a body that doesn't know how to move without remembering. My mind has leveled out and shut down.

I want to scream. I want to never talk again.

I have nowhere to go. I am at the mercy of whatever family member draws the short straw to rescue me from my mother again.

This time it is Troy who stands where others have stood.

I cannot make words come. I cannot say anything other than "Thank you.", words that seems so small against the sacrifice of driving hundreds of miles, leaving your own children behind, to rescue your sister from foster care. Again.

I am ashamed. I am broken.

He closes the door softly, and walks away with his shoulder hunched against the wind.

I look out from the window. The words lie like sleeping dogs in my mind-

"Where are you, God?"

Just a week ago I had been to church. I had sat in sunday school with other 14 year olds. I was told God was like the wind- an unseen force. I had rolled my eyes like everyone else but in my mind I prayed it was true.


But real.

I step out of the car, watching only my battered shoes as they carry me across pavement into grass and brush. I look up into a sky as wide as any I have seen. The blue stretches end to end over me. The wind buffets me, pushing my clothing aside, pulling my hair to hide my face.

"I can't do this God. I don't know where I belong."

The wind pushes harder against me, pulling me front to back. Dust swirls.

"If you are here, if you are real, show me. Help me to know."

From the distant highway it rose up. Taller than me, clouded in swirls.


It rushed to me, covering me there on that lonely place. Coating me with grit and dirt.
It made my eyes sting, made me cough.

I got back in the car.

My tongue found lips coated in dust. My figers held it in their grooves. My hair was pearly gray with it.

Proof of wind. Proof of the unseen, seen. Seen and felt.

My eyes ran with more than dust as the wind rolled by my window.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What I know.

Here's what I know for sure about parenting:

I don't know how to be a mother, but I am a good one anyway.

My kids will not always act perfectly, and I will be "that mom" with the screaming kid in the store alot, but it is not going to define me as a mother. I am more than that moment. And you are too.

I can love them and still screw them up. But I keep trying to do better.

I am not my mother, and I NEVER WILL BE.

I set the tone for this household. When mama is happy, kids are happy. I set the tone, and I need to always remember that. It's up to me.

Laundry piles up. Never skip a day.

Wine is good, but tea is better. And sleep is best.

The cure for a meltdown is compassion. Yes, they need to console themselves, but they can do that just as easily in my arms as out.

I must ALWAYS apologize when I have wronged my children. Sincerely and with eye contact.

It's okay to cry in front of my kids.

Laughing, wrestling, and acting like fools is required.

Sometimes the most powerful thing I can give my kids is love, because it is hard to understand a 2 year olds desperate need for a spatula and an oven mitt RIGHT NOW RIGHT NOW.

Occasionally they will confound me (a spatula, really, this is something to have a kicking screaming meltdown over?) but I will still always know them better than anyone else.

If there is ever any question, the answer is love. And chocolate. And wine.


The Jar

In my home. In my room. Next to where I lay my head each night.

It sits. Encased in glass and filled with rounded stones.

Each stone marked with a name. A name that means loss. A name that is treasured. A name that is honored, in this small way.

The babies we lost have no grave marker. They have not been buried. Their bodies did not recieve last rites.

But they were mourned. And they are loved. And they are remembered.

I cannot say why this happens to us. I do know that God knows much more of the picture than I do, and that my loss is in His plan. But this is sometimes very cold comfort to my heart.

I don't believe you ever get over the loss of a baby. I know that in my life, I have absorbed the loss. It has become part of me. One that I speak of openly. I love my Joshua. He is still part of our family. He is a part of my story as a mother.

The face of pregnancy and infant loss cannot be pictured. It is the 60 year old nurse holding my hand and crying with me as I have an ultrasound searching for a heartbeat. It is the young mother with 2 small children that still remembers the one who came before the ones she now holds. It is a grandmother mourning for her unborn grandchild. It is the husband holding his sobbing wife.

It has no face, the loss, because it is everyone of us. We are all touched by it.

So whether the loss is openly worn, or something quiet and secret in the heart, it still exists.

In my house, in my room, is a jar. It holds the names of the babies my friends have carried and lost. It is my way of remembering not just mine, but also yours. It is a tangible reminder of the unseen little one I still hold in my soul.

(If you have lost a baby, and want me to remember your baby with you, please leave a comment with the name of your lost one, and I will add them to my jar.)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pass or fail.

I am so tired. Not physically, but mentally.

I am tired of grading myself all of the time.

House not perfectly clean- fail.

Kids eating a Happy Meal for dinner- fail.

Kids watching too much tv- fail.

Eating too many cookies- fail.

Not being thinner- fail.

Wanting to nap instead of do laundry- fail.

Not being as fun/sexy/cute as I used to be for my husband- fail.

I am exhausted. EXHAUSTED.

I have good kids. I have a good husband. I know this. And I know I put alot of myself into these relationships- but it just never feels like enough.

There's not enough of myself to have anything left for myself.

I am so weary. I love my life. I am SO blessed. But at times, I feel deeply burdened by it all.

And that is a huge failure to me.

What is wrong with me, that I cannot see anything beyond the failures?

I look at my beautiful clean house and only see the laundry waiting to be folded. I look at my sweet happy kids and only see the messy face or the stained clothing.

I need to learn to LOOK BEYOND what I see.

To see that my daughter is loved not just by me, but by everyone. Because she is sensitive and nurturing and kind. - Success

That my son is strong and fearless and loving.- success

That my relationship with my husband is close and safe and we laugh ALOT.- success

That the time I would normally take making my house spotless is much better spent wrestling with Sam or coloring with Lily. -success

I don't know how other moms see themselves. I don't know if anyone else struggles with this. But I DO know that we are always our own worst critics. And what I can say about that is maybe we need to look at ourselves as God sees us.

He sees our heart. He sees our struggle to BE all TO all. He knows that at the heart and center of our lives are the children he gave us. I also believe that the internal dialogue berating myself for the unwashed dish or the piled up laundry makes Him sad.

So today is a day for changing. For loving on my kids and letting the house come in a distant second. For not pretending to be perfect. For not acting as if I have it all together. For being myself- with all of my flawed thinking- and knowing that as long as my kids and husband feel loved, I am doing the best job I can.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A trip to the grocery store with Mark

Me- *points silently to the bananas already in cart*
Mark- Oh.

Mark- Oooooooo pancetta. Salami! Oooooo copocolla.
Me- We are getting HAM.
Mark- But...
Me- HAM!And lowfat cheese.
Mark- %$%^$#^&*(*$##%^&&*

Aisle 3:
Me- This chicken stock is less expensive. Let's get this one.
Mark- But it sucks.
Me- It doesn't suck, it just has no sodium.
Mark- Yeah, that sucks.
Me- I am trying to keep you HEALTHY!
Mark- I won't eat food that sucks. Sodium rules.

Aisle 5:
Me, consulting list and flyer-Okay, let's pick 4 cereals.
Mark looks up from his armful of Corn Pops, Apple Jacks, and Frosted Flakes.
Me- Oooookay. Now let's pick one for you and me.
Mark- *holds up a box of Apple Jacks* Duh!
Me- No way. Those are loaded with sugar.
Mark- They are healthy,see? APPLE jacks. APPLES.
Me- *sighs and takes down a box of bran buds*

Aisle 7:
Me- Lean Cuisines are on sale.
Mark- Let's get some.
Me- Dude, I will. But you have to promise me you won't eat them with Doritos.
Mark- Sorry, that's how I roll. I'm a foodie.
Me- Forget it.
Mark- Look, Hungry Man dinners. A GOOD sized portion.
Me- And an assload of sodium and fat.
Mark- And your point?

Aisle 9:
Me: Okay, help me pick out some frozen waf- Ummm honey?
Mark: Wha?
Me: Can you please stop licking the glass in front of the pizza rolls and help me?
Mark: No. I need a moment.

This has been grocery time with Bella. Tune in next week when hopefully I will be smart enough NOT to take my husband. Ahem.

Freaking Out!

I hate being sick. With a passion.

Well, not true actually. I hate the kinda sick where you can do NADA. Like just lay on the couch kinda sick.

And it's not because I feel bad, or because I am not well taken care of.

It's because I AM NOT IN CONTROL.

I am a serious control freak. About everything house and children related. I need to be in charge of it all.

And when I can't be it makes me nutso.

I love my husband. He is VERY good at jumping in and taking care of things on the few times I go down. He cooks, takes care of the kids, cleans up, etc.

But he doesn't do it my way. He does it HIS WAY.

And yesterday we had an arguement about it. I was annoyed with the way he did something. I told him. He very politely told me to stuff it.

He was right. (ouch) So I did. (double ouch)

And I thought about it alot. Why am I like this? Why the constant need to have everyone and everything under my thumb? MY way or the highway.

It's NOT an endearing quality, I assure you.

If the floor is dirty, I obsess over it. If the laundry is not caught up on, I cannot sleep. If the sinks have not been sanitized, I WILL scrub them at 3 in the morning. And I have NO CLUE why I am like this. It can't be much fun to live with.

So, friends, is anybody else rowing this same boat? Cause I kinda feel like a freak. A control freak, that is. Ahem.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


We have had an emotional couple of days around here.

Little miss has been alternatively sad, tearful, upset, withdrawn, and quiet.

Too quiet.

Yesterday we went to the park. She rode her bike. Halfway through she turned to me with tears in her eyes and said "I'm sorry mommy, but my legs hurt." She then began crying.

I was torn. Do I encourage her to keep going so she can experience success? Or do I stop her, sit down on the cold pavement, and hold her?

I wanted to hold her. But I told her to keep going.

She did. She made it. But she cried the whole way.

The way home was way worse. She made it, again, with tears the whole way.

And in my heart I just kept praying..."Lord, be near to her. Be in her heart. Encourage her not to give up when things are hard. Help her to know it is so so worth it when you finish."

When we came home, I went to hug her and she stepped away.

"Mommy, I just want to go to my room and be alone."

I was floored. She has never ever not allowed me to comfort her.

I let her go, watching her through my own tears.

I sat just outside the doorway of her room, listening to my baby girl cry.

And my insides felt as if they would burst. My heart was in my throat. My own tears fell.

Soon the sounds of crying subsided.

I went to prepare dinner as I waited for her to come out.

And when she did, she was still tearful, but strong.

"I'm okay now mommy."

And she was.

This morning she was fragile. Quiet again.

I drove her to school, looking back at her a few times. She was staring out the window.

And my heart just wrenched...wondering- is this the point then? Is this where biology takes over and she becomes unstable and depressive? Is this when the bad cells I have passed to her make themselves known?

And if so, I will trample the world and anyone in it to make her better again. To make her soul and body a place she can live in with comfort. I will stand between her and whatever this is. I will take it on for her, and never stop until she is well.

I armed myself for battle in those minutes. I strengthened myself against feelings of self hatred for passing this monster into the sweetness of my girl's soul.

And then she spoke.

"Yes love?"
"I was having a bad day yesterday."
"But today the sun is shining in my heart."

She got out of the car at school. I watched as she ran onto the playground. She stood for a few long seconds, pressed against the blue sky and the bright sun. Her back was to me.

Was she uncertain? Was she sad? Was she worried?

I prepared to get out of the car to check.

And she turned toward me, eyes lighting up as she saw a friend. They latched hands and ran toward the bright sun, laughter like music from their lips.

And God whispered into the dark recesses of my thoughts:

"Go. I am with her."

And I did.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The diff

Here's the dif between men and women in a nutshell.

This is what I need to hang a new bulletin board in the hallway:

hammer (or a shoe if the hammer is too far away)
Diet Coke
10 minutes

This is what my husband needs to hang a new bulletin board:

15 diff size nails
tape measure
a wide variety of new and interesting curse words
45 minutes

The result: exactly the same.