Bah Hum Bug.

Posted by on Nov 23, 2012 in From My Perspective | 0 comments

I’m not a big fan of the holiday process.  Don’t get me wrong, I love to spend time with my family.  And I’m thankful for the few times a year in which spending time as a collective whole is made a priority.  But I feel as though the pomp often outweighs the circumstance.

     I don’t look forward to decorating for the holidays.  Because my idea of simple decorating doesn’t usually coincide with the rest of my family.  For example, I’d be perfectly content with a tree, stockings and some carols during the Christmas season.  But somehow that never seems to happen.  The kids want more.  Craig wants more.  They want to “go all out.”  In theory, that’s fine.  In reality, that means wasting one full weekend pulling boxes out of storage, tearing the house apart, and then putting it back together again.  All the while dreading the day after Christmas knowing that we’ll have to repeat the process to take it all down.
     In the meantime, I get overwhelmed with the gifts.  The fun of giving is often negated by the expectation of the gift.  Then, there’s the pressure to be thankful enough.  Because too often I notice that part of the reason people give is for the praise they’ll receive after the gift has been opened.  I certainly don’t want to hurt any feelings, but how many times can I say thank you for a cell phone cover?   Are cartwheels necessary?  There’s nothing worse than when you feel like you’ve disappointed a gift giver because your reaction isn’t quite what they expected.
As I type this, I know I sound like a real downer.  And it’s not because I’m a grinch (well maybe a little.)  But my favorite gift of all is time.  Because of this, Craig no longer buys me birthday gifts.  The only thing I ask is for him to play hooky from work on my birthday.  Every year he pretends it’s not possible.  Every year he delights me when I wake up and find out for sure that he was only teasing.  And then we spend the day doing whatever we want.  No agenda.  No expectations.  Just time.  It’s always one my happiest days of the year.
Even Thanksgiving kills me.  I want to spend my time being thankful, not annoyed that my feet hurt from all the time spent in the kitchen.  The production of the meal and the clean-up required after always puzzles me.  I’m usually not thankful that I’m working my butt off on a holiday.
So there you have it.  Those are the reasons I drive my mom, the Queen of Pomp, crazy during the holidays.  Because she claims that everything I just complained about makes her happy.  I can’t wrap my brain around her way of thinking, and she certainly doesn’t understand my point of view.  I laugh when she teases me about my annoying anxiety leading up to the holidays, and she laughs as I insert one-liners wherever I can that make light of her over-the-top party-planning extravaganzas.  In the end, we find ways to merge.  She comes with cheer to help us decorate for Christmas, and I make sure she’s never standing at the sink alone.  And we always have a good time.  For this, I am the most thankful.
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My Scary Truth

Posted by on Nov 21, 2012 in Family Life, From My Perspective, Musings from the Mayhem | 5 comments

I’ve written a book.  There is a title, a beginning, a middle, and an end.  There is rise.  There is fall.  It’s comedic.  It’s dramatic.  Really…shouldn’t that be enough?
When I first started writing it years ago, I assumed the aforementioned would, indeed, be enough.  I envisioned a copy on my bookshelf, three reserved copies for my kids (especially my twin daughters),  and perhaps a few special copies to share with those who have loved me most and supported me through this process.  I never wrote it with the intention of selling it.  I wrote it to document our story of survival through the early years of parenting.
But then…
Then people started to read it.  Then people started to like it.  Then people started to make me wonder: “What if?”
And this is the space in which I am currently stuck.  Because in order to publish a successful book in this day and age, you have to be much more than a writer.  You have to be tech-savvy enough to build a website…which I am not.  You have to be artistic enough to create a book that will be judged based on its cover…which I am not.  You have to be comfortable promoting yourself…which I am not.
So the first step I am taking to get unstuck is this blog, which is necessary to establish my platform audience.  But with this step comes an unbelievable amount of self-doubt.  Who is going to care what I have to say?  Who is going to get tired of hearing my opinions?  Whose once favorable impression of me will change because I am now seeking attention?  I’m usually a pretty confident woman.  But this blog replaces my confidence with insecurities.
Yet I’m going to continue on.  I’m going to give it my best shot.  Because what if I could make a go of my writing?  What if I could make a living doing what I love to do?  What if the words I have to offer could help people?  What if my kids could see me work hard enough to make my dream come true?  What if I could show my daughters that being a working mom is cool, too?
So here I am.  This is me.  Scared to death to post this blog that exposes my truest feelings on the matter.  And yet I will take a deep breath, close my eyes tight, and ignore the pounding of my heart as I push Publish.

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‘Til Death Do Us Part?

Posted by on Nov 20, 2012 in From My Perspective | 3 comments

A recent conversation with friends proposed this topic: If your spouse died, would you remarry? 

Without hesitation, Craig and I both agreed that we would remarry as we would miss the companionship of marriage.  He easily admitted that he would want me to be happy, and I wished the same for him.  I did forewarn him, though, that I would haunt him if he picked a woman that didn’t place great value in the feelings of our children.  Because if they were to lose me, I wanted to be replaced by a woman who would love them, set a good example for them and have their best interests at heart.  He agreed that was a justifiable threat.

I was surprised, though, by the response of the other two couples in the room that did not yet have children.  One woman was sure her husband would remarry for companionship, but vowed she would live the rest of her life alone in solitude.  He was the only man she’d ever loved, and was quite certain that her broken heart wouldn’t allow her to love in a different direction.  She was so adamant that her husband would remarry that he opted out of the conversation despite her nervous probing.  My assumption is that he cared too much about her feelings to risk hurting them by considering the possibility of the very truth she feared.

The third couple did not answer the question in regards to themselves, but instead focused on the certainty that they would not want their spouse to remarry.  The man from the second couple asked, “If you were dead, what would it matter?”  Neither one could offer a reasonable answer, and remained un-shamed by their shared possessiveness.

I couldn’t help but wonder what this conversation said about Craig and I as a couple.  Were we able to wish for each other’s happiness because our children have taught us to love outside of ourselves?  Should we care that the only limitations we place on each other are based on the collective well-being of our kids?  Is our commitment to each other less than the commitment of the second couple, who will not be parted even by death?

There are no definitive answers to these questions, and they probably don’t even apply because every relationship is different.  Whatever the case, I’m encouraged that Craig and I agree that life should be full of love after an unwanted death.  And I’m hopeful for the other couples, too, that they share in their own philosophies of ’til death do us part.  Because for a marriage to live long enough to find out what would really happen after one spouse dies, I think being on the same page in matters of the heart is fundamental.

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Body Language

Posted by on Nov 19, 2012 in From My Perspective | 3 comments

     The familiar concave line on the side of my thigh is missing.  The toned rise of my perky hamstring has fallen depressed.  It isn’t often that I reach this point, because regular exercise is a norm in my life.  But my legs tell me I’ve been on vacation too long.  So this morning it’s back to the gym I go.
     We all have different triggers that motivate us.  I used to let my stomach do the talking, but that changed for two reasons named Sydney and Taylor.  Because of them my belly is no longer a problem area, but just a problem.  So instead of counting on my twin-squishy mid-section to speak to me, I now listen to my legs.
     I’m curious: What body part do you entrust to tell you the harsh truth that you need to get back into the gym?  And when it speaks, do you listen?
     I look forward to the conversation after I’ve resumed my mission to rock my skinny jeans.

   
   
   

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Relevant Reminder

Posted by on Nov 16, 2012 in Family Life, From My Perspective | 0 comments

The house is clean.  The kids are in school.  The dogs are sleeping.  It is so quiet that I can hear the hum of the refrigerator.  I actually have time to sit and write.  I’m sure that if I thought, even for a second, that I could come up with something that needs to be done.  But instead I am opting for “me” time.  Why is it that when you become a mother, you can’t do this without feeling guilty?  Is it a good thing or a bad thing?  I can’t quite decide.

I love it that I no longer crave a mid-day nap. Yet, that used to be my favorite indulgence.  I appreciate that my house tends to be tidy.  Yet, I used to take pride in the fact that I could let myself relax even if it wasn’t.  Now I can only unwind when everything is put away and order is restored.  We used to eat out, pick up or order in all the time. Now that seems like chaos and, instead, cooking and cleaning up after seems easier.

I used to wish the evenings away so that we could put the kids to bed.  Now, I glance at the clock and wonder where the night went?  I used to pray that one day our girls would learn how to talk.  Now I find myself wondering if they’re ever going to stop.  I used to want to keep every piece of artwork that the kids ever made.  Now, I carefully select the masterpieces and sneak the rest into the trash.

     I used to think I looked my best in a pair of high-heels.  Now, I’m happiest in flats.  I used to eat an entire bag of chips, and feel as though I deserved them.  Now I eat only a few at a time, and then suffer from lingering guilt.  I used to kill every plant that ever got near me.  Now, I have a green enough thumb that even my step-dad trusts me to babysit his plants.

     I used to smother Tucker with affection and feel frustrated that he wasn’t a lap-dog.  Now he is ignored most of the time and won’t leave my side.  I used to complain that Craig didn’t talk enough.  Now I am impatient with his rambling and tell him to get to the point.  I used to take pleasure in mindless television shows, because I could turn off my brain while I watched them.  And now I prefer a quiet room and my computer, because I like to hear myself think.

     When I grew up, I couldn’t wait to leave my small town.  Now I often find myself longing for the simplicity of little old Edon.  I used to avoid eating fish at all costs because I hated it. Now, I am training myself to tolerate it because I know it’s good for me.  I used to be the loudest one at the party.  Now I prefer to sit back and let someone else wear that hat.  I used to want to stand out.  Now I like to blend in.

     I used to like to argue, because I knew I could win.  But now I often bite my tounge, because I see no point in the battle.

     It’s funny, isn’t it? How we change? How we grow? I had no idea where I was going with this blog when I started writing it. But now I get it.

     Just yesterday, I said to Craig: “You have lived with me for 12+ years. How can you not know this about me?” 

I can’t remember why I said it. It could have been for a number of reasons. Maybe he put his bowl on the top rack of the dishwasher, instead of the bottom rack like I prefer. Maybe he didn’t give Tucker and Bella fresh water when he fed them, like I prefer. Maybe he was joyfully singing at the top of his lungs in the morning, instead of being quiet and near-grumpy, like I prefer. Maybe he left only one pillow on the bed for me, instead of leaving me two, like I prefer.

     Whatever the case, I am constantly evolving and changing. So, maybe I need to be more patient with him for “not knowing me” when it’s pretty obvious that I’m still figuring myself out, too.

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