June 30, 2010

Even if you donated three hundred pots
Of cooked food three times a day,
It could not compare to even a fraction
Of the merit from just a moment's love.

Today, while folding a pile of laundry, I began to cry.  The kids were downstairs with Rick who stayed home from work today, not feeling well. 

It seems that always, after a week of Rick's epilepsy, I feel tired, overwhelmed, and lonely.  He is only a shadow of himself for a while.  

I was trying hard not to feel sad or sorry for myself, but a week of pent-up emotions came spilling out of me.    I wanted so badly a friend at that moment to sit beside me, to visit with.

So I prayed for help.

Moments later Rick came up the stairs and saw I had been crying-- a rarity from me.  He just sat beside me and asked me what was wrong while loving me better.  The kids followed shortly after and looked shocked to see their Mommy cry.  They followed Rick's lead though and showered me with loves and kisses and concern.

Oh how I needed the arms of my family around me at that moment.

Later, Rick took the boys to the store and left me alone with my thoughts (and the folded laundry).  I found the quote above while browsing through my bookshelf and was again moved to tears.

I ran through the day I had had so far through my mind, from waking up until that moment-- trying to remember all the details, emotions and feelings from the day.  Instead of shrugging away my emotions, I wanted to understand what had led to them.

And there, tucked away from somewhere inside me, a truth emerged that I hadn't ever considered before--all of my emotions of sadness from that day had nothing to do with the things or the people around me.  They all had emerged from unmet expectations.  I saw with clarity in that moment how hurtful putting expectations on others is to ourselves and to those around us.  It robs us and others the happiness that comes from accomplishment and learning, and denies hope and faith a place in out heart.  

Nothing mattered except that unexpected moment of love from Rick and my kids.  It filled a part of me that was in need, and the rest just evaporated.

Later I felt inspired to read Psalms 23.  It's the first time I've ever had a specific book and chapter of scripture come to my mind.  It felt like it was the first time I had ever read it-- so simple, so beautiful, so perfect.

Later I put the kids to bed.  I laid next to Vaughn's bed while the downing sun made the gold curtains in his room look like glowing honey.  Then I rocked Mason like I used to do while singing him his favorite songs.  When I laid him in his crib we blew each other kisses which made him giggle.

And here I am at my day's end, ready to spend time with Rick.  I feel happy, at peace, and so grateful to be exactly where I am.

May 22, 2010

   I woke up this morning to a quiet house.  Rick got up with the kids at 5:30 and I went back to sleep.  When I woke back up at 7:30 I didn't want to come downstairs.  I decided to sneak another thirty minutes upstairs to read by myself before greeting the day.  I'm reading a great biography about Lincoln that I can't put down.  I am fascinated by that man.
   Now I'm downstairs and Rick and the boys are gone.  I'm guessing Rick took them to the park to play before the sun gets too hot.  I'm sure they are having fun wherever they are.
   I should probably get some music cranking and clean the house while I have the chance.  It's a bit of a mess at the moment.  Yesterday all our efforts were spent taking care of a sick little Mase.  Out of nowhere on Thursday evening he got pale, could barely keep his eyes open, and couldn't keep anything down.  I let him sleep right next to me last night and the one before, to give his sick little self extra comfort.  For half the night he insisted on holding my hand.  Every time I moved it, he'd search for it and hold it close to him again, and for the other half, he wanted to sleep right on my chest.  I felt so sad for my sick little boy, but at the same time, cherished the time to be able to hold him, and be close to him.  Those moments are mostly fleeting now.
   But then yesterday afternoon, I cut open a crisp cold watermelon for dinner and he wanted some.  He ate a whole bowl full, and suddenly sprang back to life.  It was as if he had never been sick at all.  In no time he was running around with Vaughn, laughing and screaming, and pretending to be a superhero (he extends one arm right next to his ear, fist clenched and runs around singing "iroooooon maaaannnnn").  
   I told the boys they could have an incredible Hulk party.  We straightened the living room up, laid a blanked down on the floor, got the Hulk hands out of the closet, and put on a Hulk cartoon that Rick had gotten from Netflix.  I got plates full of healthy goodies for them, and sippy cups filled with not-so-healthy Hansen's kiwi-strawberry soda, and let them watch the movie together.  They sat right next to each other, snacking and completely absorbed in the drama of Hulk.  Rick and I watched from behind, and smiled at our cute little boys sitting together.  I'm so glad they have each other.
  Well I must get on to the house-cleaning.  I'm looking forward to a clean house, and a weekend with Rick and the boys.


April 30, 2010

I'm sitting here in the living room on the couch, with the back door open, listening to Rick and the boys play and swing together in the hammock, and watching the trees sway in the late afternoon breeze.

It would be a completely blissful moment if my entire body didn't ache from my horrible boot camp class (remember I told you to expect complaining from me).  What a class.  I knew I was in trouble the first time I went when I was excited every time the instructor said to do jumping jacks, because I finally had a moment to bring my heart rate down.  In the 4 times I've gone to the class I've prayed at least a dozen times.  They always go something like this: "Dear God.  Please don't let me have a heart attack or pass out.  Amen."  At least the instructor plays really loud hard rock music.  Not usually my style, but when I'm feeling like hell, it sure does the trick.

Today in class the song "Enter Sandman" from Metalica started playing and it took me right back to ninth grade.  I remember once our bus driver played that song, and turned it up really loud, and for the entire song everyone on that bus started singing along and head banging.  We all felt so cool.  It might be the only moment in my middle school experience that I remember everyone feeling united that way.  Who know heavy metal could bring people together?

We have beautiful flowers on the table that make the whole living room smell beautiful.  We got them to celebrate Grandma Fran's birthday today.  I've been thinking about her all day today.  She was such a hard worker.  I have no idea how she did everything she did, and how she did it so well.  Sometimes I just feel so grateful for people that I know or have known in life who are so amazing.  They inspire me in so many ways, and Fran was one of those people who inspired me.  I'm in awe of her.  Her strengths were so different than mine.  I'm just so glad that I married her son, and that she instilled so many of those strengths in him.  I hope to continue learning from them, and that together we can pass them on to our own children.

I wish she could be here with me in our comfortable living room enjoying this special day.  Maybe she is here in her own way, watching her grandkids faces glowing in sunlight, playing with their Dad.  I hope it makes her happy, wherever she's watching from.

April 22, 2010

I've been busy traveling, and cooking and cleaning, and playing, and reading (my goodness, the piles of books I have around here).  
Rick and the boys are busy tonight building a giant fort and looking at maps of the country-- pointing out the various landmarks.  I should be packing for my trip tomorrow, but thought I'd take a minute to write before I go upstairs.  
My entire body is sore sore sore.  I impulsively decided to go to a boot camp class when I got to the gym yesterday morning, and after several weeks of not really working out, it was just about the rudest awakening I've ever had.  I have no doubt that going to that class a few times a week would really do wonders for me, but right now when every movement I make hurts, I have a hard time wanting to do it again.  But I love a good challenge, and I think this might be my next undertaking (so expect complaining from me in the future).  
Mason has just handed me the Little Bird's ABC book, and I must go and read it to him.
Here is a poem from some of my recent reading.  I hope you enjoy it.  



 The spirit
likes to dress up like this:
ten fingers,
ten toes,

shoulders, and all the rest
at night
in the black branches,
in the morning

in the blue branches
of the world.
It could float, of course,
but would rather

plumb rough matter.
Airy and shapeless thing,
it needs
the metaphor of the body,

lime and appetite,
the oceanic fluids;
it needs the body's world,

and imagination
and the dark hug of time,
and tangibility,

to be understood,
to be more than pure light
that burns
where no one is --

so it enters us --
in the morning
shines from brute comfort
like a stitch of lightning;

and at night
lights up the deep and wondrous
drownings of the body
like a star. 

~ Mary Oliver

March 08, 2010

Today I unpacked my bag from our trip to Utah.  Lying in the bottom of my suitcase was my workout clothes, still folded, undisturbed, and smelling faintly of fabric softener.  They looked lonely.  I sighed.  

I've been wondering why I always pack work out clothes on my trips, when I never wear them or work out while I'm out of town.  Is it just good intentions, whose path I've been told leads to dark places?  Is it guilt, which I've been told is just anger directed at myself?  Or am I just filling my trip with a small piece of false hope-- as if just looking at the worn fabric and scuffed soles of my shoes will add a little buoyancy to my days.

I'm not sure if the solution to this problem is to make a goal to stop packing work out clothes on my trips, or to start working out on my trips.  Both thoughts make me cringe.  One limits my possibilities, and the other forces me into something I may not want to do.  

I remember a trip to Florida with my family years ago.  I was training for a marathon and I made my little brother run 20 miles with me on the long humid roads by our hotel.  It was dark and I think we saw an alligator run across our path.  The rain drizzled on us the whole time.  We came back drenched in sweat and rain and Florida dirt.  My brother refused to run with me again.  I spent the week running and walking up flights of stairs to our hotel room.  I felt strong, alive, and happy.

I think this is what I'm holding onto when I pack for my trips-- the wish of seeing the world on equal footing.  To explore it's ground and beauty with wind and dirt whirling past me.  

Perhaps this is where that sigh was born.

So for now I think I will continue to pack my old running shoes and workout clothes.  And who knows?  Maybe sometime soon, I'll bring them back home and throw them on top of the laundry pile, worn and happy and filled with new memories.

March 01, 2010

Today was a long day.  Mason hobbled around on his injured foot and was not a happy boy.  Vaughn declared to me after attempting to get him to nap for over an hour that he was "just too grumpy to take a nap," and then commenced in waking his little brother up, bugging him, poking him, and knocking him over for the rest of the day.  Then he dug the garden up with his shovel while I was on the phone.  My newly sprouted beautiful little garden-- ripped away and tossed around on the grass before I could say boo.

In the morning I had called Rick to tell him that he needed to call the car repair shop and fax them a form to allow them to work on the truck, since I didn't have access to a fax machine.  We had it towed there over the weekend, but no one was there because it was NASCAR weekend and apparently most automobile repair shops in Vegas aren't open during the event.

When I called Rick at the end of the afternoon to find out if he had heard back from the repair shop, he told me that he had been going nonstop all day.  He hadn't had time to take care of it, and probably wouldn't for the rest of the day.

It's been my fifth week without a car.  I've been good about it.  I've adjusted my schedule, mooched off my friends, and walked wherever we needed to.  I've looked on the bright side of it, and have even enjoyed some aspects of not having a car, but I must admit that in that long moment of silence after Rick told me he hadn't taken five minutes out of his day to call the repair shop, I wanted to march into his office and dump the kids on his lap, tell him to have fun, and then go home and take a nap.  I might have done just that, except for the fact that the only working car we currently have was in the parking garage at Rick's work at that moment.

So I did what I almost always do when I'm really mad or sad about something:  I called my Mom and vented.  At some point I said "I guess I should just stop complaining and be happy for what I have."  She said "you probably should, but when you're having a day like today and feeling sorry for yourself, you might as well just revel in it for a little while," which made me laugh, and was the perfect thing for her to say in that moment, which is just one of the many reasons I love that woman.

So now the kids are tucked away in sleep.  Rick is home now, and I've decided I'm not mad at him anymore. In reflection, I think I'm just tired, dear friend.  We've spent the past few days dealing with Rick's nocturnal epilepsy.  They are sleepless nights when he's having them.  Those moments from the seizure to breathing again seem like an eternity.  I stand by his side of the bed frozen in time and praying to please let him breath again.  After he has stabilized I busy myself cleaning blood stained linen and towels from his tongue being bitten, and making sure Rick is comfortable.  I lay awake listening to him breath and the sound of sheets whirling around in pink water.

I'm hoping that we can all find some rest tonight.  That Rick will feel better.  That I won't feel like killing my kids tomorrow.

I've had my moment of reveling and hope you don't mind that I've included you in this indulgence, but now it's time to put this day away-- to fold it up like a secret note on a slip of paper, open my window and let it fly away over my sad little broken garden and into the beautifully dark sky.

February 28, 2010

The kids are watching Bolt early this morning as I write to you.  Mason is in his plaid pj's, and Vaughn in nothing but Iron Man underwear which are inside out for some reason.  They are playing with balloons Rick and I got from Red Robin on our date last night.

It was a nice date.  All we did was go out to dinner and stop at Walgreens for some shaving supplies, some shampoo, and a treat of coconut m&m's.  They were divine.  We laughed at how boring we must be to enjoy such a simple night out, but maybe the truth is that our life is just so intoxicating with our two little monkeys and each other that we have to dim it down a bit to restore balance to our lives.

After our date I headed to a late night gym trip.  The gym, which is usually so busy was almost empty.  I enjoyed working out while jamming out to The Grateful Dead, the Kinks and Bjork.  I always wonder what other people are listening to on their ipods around me.  I think that the music that really gets you moving and motivated must say something about who you are as a person and tell so much about your history.  Sometimes when I'm in the middle of a song that really gets me flying, I have a strong desire to find the artists who created the music, give them a big fat kiss on their cheek, and say "thank-you!"  Maybe in the next life my dreams will come true.

The morning is gathering light, and my kids are becoming disinterested in Bolt.  Rick is awake now and reading The Bernstein Bears and the Spooky Old Tree to Vaughn.  Mason is eating leftover pancakes that he threw on the floor at breakfast.  I think we will all go outside for a while and enjoy the plum and apricot tree blossoms beginning to pop open.

All love,