Friday, October 19, 2012

Feeling Stuff About Feelings

Lila: “When I’m 15, how old will Gage be?”
Me: “17.”
Lila: “And Jo?”
Me: “13.”  Thinking: Wow, that’ll be a crazy time.  Three teenagers.
Lila: “What about when I’m 14?”
Me: “Gage will be 16 and Jo will be 12.”
Lila: “What about when I’m 89?”
Me, getting an inexplicably large lump in my throat: “Gage will be 91 and Jo will be 87.”
Lila, cheerfully: “That’s old, old, old!”

Mentally, I crossed myself out of that scenario.  I understand that it’s unlikely that I will live to be 116.  However, I stubbornly believe – absolutely believe, and refuse to consider otherwise – that my three children will be alive and well at those ages.  And I may have actually cried a little at how desperately I hoped, for a moment, that they would still be friends then.  That they would live close to each other, or at least visit often, and that they would enjoy each other.  I also may have yearned, for longer than a moment, that they would share memories of home, of growing up, and that they’d be GOOD memories.  Helping me make tortillas for dinner – Lila is a pro, rolling them uniformly flat and nicely round, just in time for me to flip one into the pan so she can start another.  Carving pumpkins and roasting the seeds – something they look forward to from the moment the first leaf hits the ground in the fall.  The many, many times that Jo laughs so loud and hard that all of us end up laughing loud and hard until tears roll down our cheeks. 

I hope that they forget the times that I yell from the couch, spent, “Just go to BED!” or when I’m frantically trying to finish one task before starting another: “I don’t have time to play that / read that / help you.”  Usually I’m okay with being imperfect – everyone makes mistakes, and I need a little store of time and energy that my kids aren’t allowed access to (or else I’ll lose it, I’ll just lose it).  But when I see them in my mind, 85 years in the future, I just want sweetness in their memories.

I remember a time, probably after I finished college (I am the youngest of three, so the last birdy to leave the nest) and my sisters and I were kind of spread out – one in Indiana, one near Philly, me just coming home from school in the mountains.  My mom said something about how she hoped that my sisters and I would be lifelong friends, be able to count on each other always.  I nodded, but I definitely didn’t understand.  “I have friends of my own,” I thought.  “My sisters and I are all very different people, and we’re grown up now, so of course we’ll be farther apart.”  Now…I want my kids to have each other in common.  Even when they’re 87, 89 & 91.  Maybe especially then.

To be fair, I’ve been crying a lot lately.  I recently went off an SSRI that I was on for years, and after a month of SSRI Withdrawal (dizziness, nausea, wicked mood swings) I am adjusting to normalcy again.  Whether I’m still in a transitional period or whether it’s part of the New Me, I have been crying about a thousand percent more than I did two months ago.  Let me be clear: I don’t mind.  It’s not sad crying, and I’m not unhappy that it’s happening.  I’m just feeling things more deeply, and that’s all right. 

Sure I’ve cried about typical crying things, like picturing my kids as teetering elderly (old, old, old!), and the Death Cab For Cutie song “Transatlanticism,” and doing a 5k walk with a very dear friend to honor those lost to suicide and to raise money for suicide prevention.  Everyone there, hundreds of people, had this near-weepy look about them, their eyes never locking on anyone else’s for more than a second.  Never have I been in a group of people whose hearts were so firmly connected, but whose eyes had learned to refuse to acknowledge it.  Admittedly, we’d all have been a mess if they had.

But I’ve also cried at how beautiful the clouds are.  And how gorgeous the changing leaves make my neighborhood – the whole town.  I’m pretty sure that the bright, bold, ever-changing mural or reds and yellows and oranges is nature’s way of softening us toward winter coming.  It’s a distraction from the end of summer, an effective one.  And it makes me cry, and I realize that’s not completely typical.  I don’t think that this phase of being overly-emotional will last forever. 

But it’s okay.  Everything’s okay.  Some things are really, really sad.  And some things are great. And that's life, and all you can do is smile, and cry, and be happy, and be sad, and tomorrow's another day.  And on the off-chance that I do live to be 116 I don't doubt for a minute that I'd still try to gather my babies in my arms and rock them, and kiss their heads, and brush their hair away from their eyes and smile and cry.  And I wouldn't be thinking about tortillas or the sharpness in my voice at bedtimes long past.  I'd be thinking about how lucky we are, to have a new day each and every time the sun comes up.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Some Pics

Here are a bunch of pictures.  My tattoo (yay!) and some shots from when we went camping in early September.  The weather was so nice we even managed to wade in the lake. 





Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Things I don't want to talk about

Things I don't want to discuss publicly:

We're stopping at three.  Kids, that is.  This has been confirmed and, well, acted upon.  So that's it.  Sigh.  And also, Not Sigh.  It's complicated.  Feelings.  Blah.

Our faithful, awesome, wonderful dog Sam is no longer with us.  We had to have him put to sleep this summer and I really, really miss him.  I miss him every day.

Whew.  Glad that's over.

Other Stuff:

One time, a few weeks ago, I came home and there were three messages on my answering machine.  All three ended with "Love you!" and none of them were family.  I can't stop thinking about how lucky we are.

I finally got the tattoo I've wanted for so long, the kids' names.  I LOVE IT.  And I have to say, completely honestly, after the wedding ring tattoos Mike and I got, this didn't hurt a bit.  I was chatting and smiling through it, no big deal.  I was prepared for the same kind of hurt that the rings hurt, and it was nothing like that.

I made pita bread for the first time today.  They puffed up all round and beautiful.  I cut one open to check out the hollow middle was just bread, all the way through.  The pita didn't pocket.  I was more puzzled than I needed to be, maybe, and I just kept staring at it and poking it.  It was still bread, even after I poked it.  Back to the drawing board.

Jo says 'anything' instead of 'nothing.'  So you hear a crash and a bang, and you go: "Jo, what are you doing?"  "Anything!"

We were walking from the library to the car this evening, and it was dark.  Gage was running ahead, but then all of a sudden he was back at my side.  "This is really silly," he began, kind of out of breath.  "It's silly, but sometimes. When I'm outside and I get far away from my family, and it's dark, I feel a little scared."  Me: "That's not silly!  There are bushes all over the place.  If we lived in another state there could be coyotes in there.  You never know.  Sometimes it's smart to be scared."  Gage: Smiles at me gratefully, ducks his head. 

Lila is taking ballet, and loves it.  Her teacher told me that she has very strong toes.  I smiled modestly like I had anything to do with it.

We have these real kind of things in the horizon, in a long-term way.  It's because I spend a disproportionate amount of time planning ahead while simultaneously ignoring what needs to be done now ("You're out of clean socks?  Maybe mine will fit you.")  So we're going to Colorado in August of next year.  I have never been west and I'm very excited.  We will be visiting with some of Mike's family.  It will be my kids' first time in a plane, and my...second.

I burned my wrist making veggie lasagna today.  It was worth it.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Bermuda Pics!

A rare picture of all five of us!

'Tobacco Bay' in Bermuda
We got to swim in there!
Gage and me enjoying some downtime
Lila was very pleased with her shell souvenir.
Mike and Lila on a boat
Josie, oblivious to the stains on her shirt
Oh, no!  She's so sad!
Ha, ha!  No, she's not!  She fooled you.

Sometimes Mike takes pictures without my realizing it.  He's slick.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Tiny Dolphins

We just got back from a week-long cruise to Bermuda. There were 20 of us, all together, all close family. We took a bus to Manhattan and left from there. We had a fantastic time, but it was kind of overwhelming. I mean, how can it not be? But we survived, and the cruise happened to include the very day of Mike's and my tenth wedding anniversary, so, you know. Bonus.

Some highlights:

Josie gets frustrated pretty easily these days, and being the youngest she gets teased a little - her brother and sister like to rile her up. She started threatening people this way: "Me gonna hit you! Very gently!" And then she slow-motion swings at whomever is irritating her, and ends up barely touching them with her fingertips. This always ends in hugging. Always.

Gage was running me ragged on our second day at sea, wanting me to do everything with and for him all day long. I finally said, "BUDDY. This is not 'Entertain Gage Day.'" He waited a beat, smiled sweetly, and asked, "Can tomorrow be 'Entertain Gage Day'?"

To celebrate our anniversary Mike ordered surprise room service: a bottle of champagne, a red rose, and a BLT. I picked the right man, for sure. I was all, "Oh, honey! You thought of everything!" And then we ate bacon.

There are feral chickens in Bermuda and the kids kept getting distracted by them, and half-heartedly running after them. Josie ordered, at one point, "You chicken! Stop! COME HERE."

And my personal favorite: We were walking along one of the decks of the cruise ship and we heard someone say "Oh! You can see fish down there!" So, naturally, Mike and I took the kids over to a window and we peeked out. I'm looking down at the water, and I can see movement. I focus on the individual shapes and I see the fish. I'm looking, and they are becoming more clear, and this is my brain: "Those fish look kind of like dolphins. That's wild. Wow, they jump out of the water like dolphins, too. But they're so small. And they have fins like dolphins. It's like some new species of fish, like a mini-dolphin fish.  We're going to be famous for discovering a new species of miniature dolphins.  Who do we call?  Get someone on the phone."

My mouth: "They're like...tiny dolphins."

There's a woman standing nearby, I feel her look at me and I hear her sigh.

"They're not tiny dolphins," she said, loudly. "You're on the twelfth floor!"

Oooooh.  Riiiight.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

I'm Way Advanced at Embarrassing My Kids

So yesterday I went to pick up Gage from school and he runs over to me, smiling, and then looks at my shirt.  "Captain Crunch shirt, Mom?  Seriously?"  And he rolled his eyes and shook his head, and ran off to find some friends.

See, there's a long story about the Cap'n Crunch shirt.  A few months ago I ordered it from the back of a cereal box. 


I guess that story wasn't so long after all.

Another time Gage and I ran to the store to pick up a couple of quick things and it wasn't until I was in the parking lot, getting out of the car, that I realized I was wearing pajama pants and slippers.  And they weren't pajama pants that you could mistake for, like, yoga pants or something.  They were bright blue and pink with cartoonish owls all over them. 

"Oops, heh, heh--" I said, plucking at the pants self-consciously.  Gage glanced at me, closed his eyes, and muttered "Please no one look at my mom."

So I am mightily embarrassing sometimes. 

But I'm good at some things, like, sadly, laundry.  So I may embarrass them, but at least they have clean socks.

You know how last time I wrote, many moons ago, about my then-Current Philosophical Crisis?  Ever since that post I can't tell you how little that particular crisis has bothered me.  I mean, it's like, less than zero.  I think I either released somehow by writing about it, or I have passed it on to somebody else.  If it's the last one, sorry.

I don't have a Current Philosophical Crisis.

I've been busy!  I've been making things.  I've been making...

...vanilla extract



...soft pretzels of my kid on facebook

...large marble runs

...Thai coconut chicken soup.


Yesterday Josie told me: "Ghosts follow me."

I said: "Ghosts are pretend."

Josie: "Ghosts make me nervous."

Me: 'Tell them to go away."

Josie, smiling: "I tell them to go to Lila."