Sometimes My Brain Hurts

I’m tired. Not the sleepy kind of tired…or the exhausted kind of tired. My brain is tired. It hurts. So much going on right now…so much emotional crap being thrown at me from every conceivable place…well not “crap” but y’know.

Someone asked me yesterday if I was really glad that summer was here so that I could have my kids home with me. After I actually laughed out loud I replied, “Yes and no. I’m not a great stay-at-home mom.” Deep down the honest explanation would have been way too hard for her to understand and I didn’t feel like trying. Not everyone cares to know.

Colin has been off his meds for about three weeks. Due to, in part, the fact that he’s scheduled to see his Pedi for a med check and I always take him off a week ahead of time so that we can discuss the differences on/off the stimulants. Butttt….I had to cancel the appointment and am playing phone tag with the office to get a new appointment time. Meanwhile…Colin begins the “Big Spin”. The Spin that doesn’t end.

He exhausts me. Without meds, C is on a constant quest for stim. Tactile stim is his gig. While most mothers would die for the endless hugs and incessant kisses they just make me sad because I know why he’s doling them out. Him and Albert…the fearless stuffed dog who tells me more about Colin than Colin does. Albert goes absolutely freaking everywhere with us!!

“Albert wants a kiss”
“Albert is lonely, will you sleep with him?
“Albert will miss me, so can he ride in your car today while I’m away?”

Albert was at the petting zoo with us today for exactly nine minutes before I’d had enough of Albert needing to feed the ducks one pellet at a time. We decided Albert was tired and should nap in the car for awhile. Then I figured out that Albert is part of his tactile stim need. Once Albert was gone, C decided that putting the little duck food pellets in between his bare toes so that he had 8 pellets stuck in his own little webs was the new “good feeling”. I saw someone walk by and grin while he did that…like it was cute. Maybe to them…to me all I thought was “Please God. Not again.”

The most exhausting thing is the non-stop one-sided conversation. A diatribe on Mario or Sponge Bob I can handle about once a day. Right now…it’s constant. I’ve taken to telling him that he’s got three minutes to talk or he gets to tell me three facts about whatever the current obsession is. (It’s a new rule…should work right?) And then my heart breaks because I realize that we’ve talked all day long with each other and not once has he initiated a conversation that had anything to do with anyone else’s interests or feelings. He’s just researching the facts, Ma’am.

I try to find the fun and crazy things about this Asperger’s Beast most of the time. There are many of them…we giggle a lot and love this little man to death.

But tonight I’m tired. My brain hurts. I need a little bit of a vent…thank you very much.

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Feelin’ Pretty Cool tyvm

Monday evening I spent two hours at a very emotional basketball playoff—my son’s last ditch effort to win and move on. Sadly, that win didn’t happen because they got their butts handed to them. Not one man on his team was on their game and when they realized that…they started to have fun! Glad basketball is over and we can move on to baseball which will be the thing that moves Liam out of my house and in to college…bring it on!!!

Sitting on the bleachers next to me was a very lovely teenage girl (whom I know well). She told me I was “cool.” Not the first time I’ve heard that from my son’s set (or my daughter’s either), but hearing her say that gave me a warm fuzzy.

YES! I’m cool! (pump fist).

What makes someone my age “cool” to the kids? Is it the way I dress? If jeans, sweats, UGGs or flip flops make me cool…that’s easy! Is it the big car with heated seats? Once, one of the girls in my son’s friend circle told me she liked how I smelled…hmm….ok. Thanks. Does my perfume make me cool?

Is it the wild and wacky dancing in the rain with kids in their skivvies? That was fun and very cool.

Is it because my head stays attached to my shoulders and I simply sigh heavily when I hear swear words and trash talk coming from the next room or the back seat? (I don’t condone it, but it’s not the mountain to die on either).

I must be cool because my kids still tell me everything (well, nearly) and so do their friends. That will change, I’m sure, but for now I probably have Too Much Information and I will protect that.

“It’s cause you’re the warm, fuzzy, squishy cool mom…that’s why our friends tell you everything.”

See…I’m cool, man!

I’ve been sucked in by some of the music my kids listen to….loving Owl City and Lady Gaga (um, yes). Now it’s my job to convince them that the Grateful Dead, Elton John and The Who are cool too. But can’t wait to take Erin to her first concert in a few weeks….TRAIN!!! We’re there babes! “Hey Soul, Sister!”

At the basketball game Monday night I was texting Liam’s best friend. (This is the boy I refer to as “Son #3”. Our house is his second home and vice versa for Liam. I treat him as I do my own.) He was sitting far away from me with the opposing team’s cheering section, so I decided to text him and tell him off for being on the wrong side of the gym. And, I just like messing with him.

Me: “I can c u. Sitting with the enemy.”
#3: “LOL Mrs. G, he’s my old football coach.”
Me: “Fine! LOL, I was just kidding.”
#3: “Ok. And it’s jk fyi.”

What? He’s correcting my text lingo? Really?

A few moments later, Son #3 sheepishly makes his way to my side on the bleachers. He wasn’t really coming to see me, but to check out the two pretty teenage girls next to me. He sat down behind me…

Me: “What the heck, Dude. You feel the need to correct my texts or something?”
#3: “Yeah, Mom. You old people need to get with it.”
Me: “Wow! You just earned yourself very loud country music on the way home.”
#3: “Oh yea? Well, I’ll just turn up the iPod super loud and play the Beastie Boys to fight back!”
He knows how much I hate the Beastie Boys so he often does that to me.

Son #3 slithers off the bleachers but I got a high five on the way out…that’s cool.

I will never know what makes teenagers and tweens think a grown up deserves the label “cool.” That’s okay, I’m happy to bask in it as long as I’m able..

I can live with that.

In the meant time….

I’ll just rotflmao at all their craziness…idk, seems like fun to be a kid these days.

And wth, it’s ok to be cool.

Recently I Was Really Tired Out

Colin crawled into my lap this evening. He had a rough day at school today. During Library, he got “in trouble” and had his name moved from the Green to the Yellow light on the traffic sign. That’s a bad thing. When you get to Red, you are in deep doo-doo. It took him nearly an hour to let me in on what he had done to result in his traffic light changing. Library days are wonderful and he didn’t come home with a book…what gives?

HIM: “I was sword fighting with my book-finder.  Me and Chorea were swordfighting and got in trouble and we got our books taken from us and we had our names moved to yellow and, and…..and I DON’T WANT TO TELL YOU!!!!!”

ME: “Thank you for telling me what happened. I’m sorry you didn’t get a library book, but I’ll bet you won’t sword fight with rulers again.”

HIM: “NOOOOO!!!! I’ll NEVER EVER do it again.”

Good.

Someone asked me this morning if I was ready to get back into the swing of things. I bit my tongue and smiled rather than telling them that my swing had swung far away many weeks ago.

 I’m looking for it.

Three months ago I was working full time, swimming with my kids, admiring my husband as a stay-at-home caregiver.

 Two months ago, hubby was starting a job and I was ready to be home to care for everyone.

 Six weeks ago I was at the beach.

 One month ago, we were asking Hospice to come care for Charlie as he prepared himself to take his final journey.

Three weeks ago I was managing medicines, phone calls, dr. visits, meals, bedtime, baths for young and old.

Two weeks ago, I was beginning to sit vigil.

One week ago I was planning for a funeral and sharing my home with extended family who rallied around to get through this.

Today, I said goodbye to the last of visiting family. I made calls to Social Security and insurance companies informing them of a death. I mowed the yard. I said goodbye to my husband as he left for a week away. I wiped tears, fed bellies, made beds, washed towels and felt very very lonely.

If this is the new swing….it’ll take some getting used to.

HIM: (On my lap) “Mommy…recently, I was really tired out.”
ME: “Yeah, why?”
HIM: “Cause I ate a whole green apple for supper.”
ME: “Good! I’m tired too.”
HIM: “Why?”
ME: “Cause I’m looking for my swing and I can’t find it.”
HIM: “Well, you can borrow mine.”

Eat, Pray, Love

I just finished reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Eat, Pray, Love.  The story of her year long adventure through Italy, India and Bali.

I wish I had her time, patience, energy, money and scrap paper on which to write this epic journey.  I found myself jealous of her at every turn; she’s my age, dammit….why can’t I go to Bali????

But I think she has it backwards.

My book would be Pray, Love, Eat.

Prayer first. My life would be  nothing without the Divine communication I have with my God and the daily and hourly talks we have. Prayer must come first.  I cannot imagine my life or my existence without the Holy Divine, the Mysterious Spirit or the manifestation of Christ in my life. Prayer first.

Love next.  Without prayer, my love for my life, my family, my children and my husband would not exist.  Let’s get real…my love life with my husband would not exist.  Contraray to Gilbert’s experience, I make love to a man that I’ve been married to for 15 years.  I didn’t go to Bali to meet him (although Bali is an amazing place, my experiences in Penang being close to it).  My love for him and the physical we share gets deeper by the year.

Sex, (yes, people, Mennonite women have sex and like it) would not be the experience that it is.  My husband is the one ONE I have devoted my heart to and the only one to whom I’ll ever give my heart, soul and body.  The communion of two committed people has no comparison.  It might not happen as often as he’d like (I’m a sleepy chick most times) but it’s all very, very good when it does….and the prayer is part of it. God placed us together without question.

Then, the Eat part.

Come on, ladies…are you not hungry at all?  After sex I’m almost always hungry! Gilbert’s book did more for my hunger than anything. Eating Pizza, spaghetti, rotini and drinking a great bottle of Merlot at the same time is my idea of a complete evening!  Eating my way through Italy is a fantasty I’ll entertain for many years!  The first part of her book made me want to run away and just CHOW!!!

All that to say, Gilbert’s book is fantastic.  Her frank and humble admissions of vulnerability were refreshing. Not often does a woman my age admit that perfection is not in her repertoire.  I want everyone I know to read this book.  I can’t say I’d subscribe to her theology or lifestyle, but I do think that her independance and desire for truth are admirable.

I’m jealous she ate her way through Italy.

I wish I had the stamina and persistance to get up at dawn and pray through a yoga session. Her persistance in finding a higher power and spiritual grounding should be applauded.

I am not at all envious of her love though.  I have an amazingly committed man who for 15 years has put up with my crap and dealt with my foibles.  He’s watched me be pregnant, give birth and drool on my pillow. He’s watched me succeed and fail. He’s seen me sober and drunk. He’s fluctuated thirty pounds with me and moved house seven times.  I’ve had three babies and he still thinks I’m hot. He knows when my “time of the month” is approaching and he’s figured out how to make me smile.  He puts gas in my car and makes coffee at six.  He’s cut his ponytail and trimmed his beard, but he’s still the man I love. 

Eat Pray Love!  ????

No way!!!

Love, Love and Love.

The rest comes along as a side effect.

There’s A Fine Line Between Motherhood and Insanity…

…and I’m straddling it.

Working mothers vs. stay-at-home mothers has been an ongoing battle for many women. Hackles get raised, claws come up and tears pour. I don’t believe there is a mother alive who is not a “working mother.” Let’s get over the labels first.

My deepest desire is to be able to stay home with my children, raise them and spend all the time with them I can.

My other deepest desire is to own my own business, profit my family financially and have the independance that comes with being my own boss.

Right now, I am torn between those two things on a daily basis and, quite frankly, have been on this line for nearly 12 years.

There is no perfect model. The ultra-conservative religious (I did not say Christian) mother would say that I am not being the best I can be for my children by going to work outside the walls of my home.  She would say that my husband is letting us down by not being able to financially support the family on his own. She would say my children will be depressed, rebellious and needy.

The ultra-energetic liberal woman would say I should care for my own internal diva before becoming a slave to my family.  She would say that my husband and I are equal partners in this world, but because I pushed out babies, I should get some greater time off for myself. She would say that if I don’t do this, I will become depressed, rebellious, fornicatious and needy.

Neither of them are right and I’ve decided that I’m sick of the argument.

My internal diva is alive and well. My drive, passion and business acumen are steadily improving and my personal and family financial goals are in front of me. (Yes, this does include charity and giving because I do have a wide world view too). My children often don’t have me at the dinner table during a busy week at work, my son’s baseball games are not always attended by his mother and I do pay for daycare.

My internal mother is also alive and well. I love to cook dinner and spend time with my family. I would die without it. Over everything, I protect my family time fiercely and I don’t care who knows it. My children love me and although they miss me sometimes, they’ll be just fine. They are learning how to hang out with their dad in a way some kids never do.

So, I’m done with this argument among women.

We’re all in this together and without cooperation, support and understanding, we’ll kill each other with our judgments and that is not something I want my children to learn.

Sing Like You Mean It!

I had to run an errand this evening. Pick up milk and tea. Luckily, the Turkey Hill is close to the Wine and Spirits Shoppe…so I stopped there too. I love Red Truck shiraz.  (And the chardonnay and Stolis I bought.)

Small little outings like these make me want to keep driving and see where I end up landing. It’s a rare occurance that I’m in my car alone.

Those people closest to me know that I like to blast music in my car.

The new Cadillac commercial asks, “When you turn your car on, does it return the favor?”

YES!

With the awesome sound and Bose speakers to match…I’m a wild and crazy cruisin’ Momma!  I picked the random CD option and cranked it.

Accompanied by Alison Krauss I drove and drove. Her duets with Robert Plant are just fantastic. My husband has a secret (NOT) crush on her. 

But, it was the ride home with James Blunt UNCENSORED that made me feel better.  Former British soldier turned magical musician. He ain’t too bad to look at either, ladies. But, I will warn those of you with sensitive ears to pick his censored songs so as not to offend any of your sensibilities. The man can sing and what a poet he is! He ain’t shy and he ain’t dumb…he’s pretty real.  He sings about things people pretend not to know about. There is raw emotion and real life stuff going on in his lyrics.  We all sit around each day hoping that no one actually hears the conversations that take place in our heads and James Blunt sings about them. He does like to use “vulgar language” as some would call it.

(Personally, I think a well placed curse word now and then is cathartic. No, maybe just really really great at making you feel better. I have a favorite one that I use now and then when the time is right. You’ll have to ask my hubby what that is cause I’m never tellin’)

James Blunt, cranked to the top end of the scale, curse words and all makes me feel pretty damn good.

I sang and sang and sang and sang and sang. I’m pretty sure the lady next to me at the red light in Bridgeport thinks I’m a loon. I had the sunroof open and my window down while I belted off key. What’s the point if no one can hear you?!

The reality is that I can sing and I can dance and in my former life before this reincarnation I think I was a rock star. (Just kidding). But…I felt so great driving and singing and blasting those Bose from my big huge truck…therapy.

While I sang, I thought a lot about life, childhood, marriage, motherhood and my world. Only one thing was easily decided:  My kids are amazing.

One is absent and my heart breaks for her.

One is a ball star and amazingly sweet. I want to be like him when I grow up.

One is troubled and beautiful and fragile.

The last one is four going on 10. He’s also ready to take control of Microsoft Corp.

I thought about love.
I thought about how we take all the things we have in this life for granted and then someday someone does something to mess with it…and we’re at a loss to know what to do.
I thought about prayer and that without the privilege of talking with my God, I’d be the loneliest woman on the face of the earth!
I thought about my church and how I really probably know only a handful of people, yet they’re all there with me on Sundays and other days.
I thought about the struggles my parents are going through and how that’s only going to get worse soon.
I thought about me and how I want to be young for a long long time.
I thought, “Crap! I’m going to be forty in a few years!!!”

And I decided that Erin’s okay. She’ll struggle and so will I. We’ve cried a lot this last week together. We talked and laughed. She hugged me a lot. I hugged her back.  We also had a lot of fun. Play therapy is a great thing, ladies and gentlemen.

There is so much I want her to know.  So much I want to shield her from and keep her from doing. I want to make all her choices for her so she won’t screw up.  I want nothing but peace and joy for her and that’s not even remotely possible.
I want her to relax, breathe deep, exhale slowly and enjoy being a kid.

But, I’m going to teach her to let her hair down, crank up the tunes, open the sunroof and slide down the windows. Grab her favorite tunes, turn the key and go!!

Take it to 70 on a country road.

Drive and laugh and Sing Like You Mean It!!

RePost on Mary, Mother of Christ

The following post was originally written in April. I am reposting it here again as a result of our Sunday School class discussion regarding the birth of Christ and how people were told he was coming. This morning we talked about Simeon with Mary and Joseph at the temple during Mary’s purification sacrifice.

When I originally posted these thoughts I got a few comments. I’d like to hear more of what people have to say. I think Mary is an understudied and underappreciated woman in the scriptures in my own church experience. Traditionally, our children are taught very little about her. It’s fun to delve a little further into what must have been an amazing life.

 Mary, Mother of Christ Resurrected.

 I am amazingly drawn to the life of Mary, mother of Christ. Popular culture paints her as a young woman to whom nothing extraordinary happened. She was young, naive and simple…until the day the angel Gabriel appeared to her.  Until then, we imagine, she had lived a quiet life in Nazareth, doing the things all other girls did. No mention of her immediate family, parents or siblings. But, when this angel showed up, she doesn’t seem afraid of him. Luke describes her as “troubled” and although Gabriel asked her not to “be afraid”, Luke seems to imply that she simply wondered what was up with this?! Luke 1:29 “Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.”

According to the Nativity Gospel of Mary, extraordinary circumstances surrounded this young woman’s life long before this angelic visit and long before she herself was conceived.  Her father, Joachim, was greatly troubled at his barrenness. The high priest at that time belittled him saying he was unworthy of presenting his gifts before God because God had not seen fit to bless him with offspring. Joachim wandered into the pastures of the shepherds to hide himself in his sorrow. While he was there, an angel of the Lord appeared to him and assured him that he would indeed have a child. God had seen fit to “open the womb” of his wife, not to just give them children, but to bring glory to Himself. Sound familiar? This angel then appeared to Anna, his wife, and told her that she would bear a child, name her Mary and that this child would find favor with God. She would be a special child in the temple of the Lord.

According to this writing, Joseph was also called divinely to be the “root of Jesse” through which our Lord Jesus Christ would be born.  It seems that both Mary and Joseph were somewhat accustomed to divine intervention.

When Gabriel appeared to Mary, he filled her “chamber” with “great light.”  [Chap 9, vs. 3] “And the virgin, who was already well acquainted with angelic faces, and was not unused to the light from heaven, was neither terrified by the vision of the angel, nor astonished at the greatness of the light, but only perplexed by his words; and she began to consider of what nature a salutation so unusual could be, or what it could portend, or what end it could have. “

It seems to me that God would be mighty picky about the vessel in which his son would be nurtured. If God was to take the form of man and be born of a woman, a virgin, He would likely have groomed her from the moment she was conceived. I imagine Mary must have become quite used to angels checking in on her now and then, and, dare I say…she may have conversed on a more intimate level with YHWH who would ultimately become her son? It seems so fantastic and supernatural…yet she accepts it with such grace as though she always knew it would happen this way.

Christ loved his mother like no other person on earth…as I hope my children love me. As he hung crucified, he beseeched John to love her and asked her to take John as her son. Watching out for both of them as he left them behind. Unbearable heartache enjoined with unending love as the skies opened and God himself took on the pain and sin of the world in complete and utter surrender to love…while this woman who loved Him in all imaginable ways looked on. Her heart must have been bursting and breaking and flying high to be entwined with the unimaginable healing power of grace.

The Nativity Gospel of Mary as a historical account of events was likely handed down orally from generation to generation…much like our own family histories today. It does nothing to diminish the deity of Christ, rather delves into the history of his mother and I read it as a love note on her behalf.  Frederica Matthewes-Green has this wonderful essay on Mary that discusses writings pertaining to the Virgin Mary.  Many of us are afraid of her…we don’t want to fall too deeply into what some fear would be a worship of Mary on par with a worship of Christ…but I think it’s worth looking at this woman as a integral part of the life of Jesus Christ on a deeper level than just that of the birth mother.  Did she live her life waiting for her son to give of his? How much did she know or understand? I wonder, too, how much time Jesus spent with his mother after his resurrection…how could he stay away; how could she?

An amazing woman, to be sure…and one that I am desperately anxious to meet some day.

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