Thursday, January 27, 2011

breaking up is hard to do

My Bub, winning her third straight title as Beam State Champion. Words cannot express how proud I am of the things my daughter has accomplished in the last three years, the overwhelming majority of which don't come with a title or a medal.

We made the tough decision tonight to pull Bub from the team early. We'd planned already for this to be her last season. Competing interests have become a strain. The cost has become a strain. The schedule and transportation have become a strain. But we hadn't planned for this.

A back injury one week after winter States has not healed. And, in fact, it has gotten worse. The doctor has ordered 4-6 weeks out of the gym. Spring States are in nine. That doesn't seem feasible. And so we've done the difficult thing.

After coming back from a broken upper arm and several months of PT her first season to win the All-Around State Champion Title last spring, we were pretty psyched to see what she could do entering the season on a more even playing field. In her first five meets, she made one of the top two spots on the podium for all-around four times. To say that we are disappointed is an understatement. But.

But. We believe that this doorway closing paves the way for other doors to open. And she is fortunate that there are several other doors awaiting her. While this is not how we wanted this to end for her, we are thankful she is in agreement with our decision and, as she has learned how to do throughout these past three years, is taking it in stride. That, to me, is the attitude of a champion.

Not all victories come with trophies. Nor do they always feel victorious at the time. But they are victories, nonetheless.

Monday, January 24, 2011

ready to break free

This is the most terrifying prospect a human being can face...the Fear That We Will Succeed.

We fear discovering that we are more than we think we are. More than our parents/children/teachers think we are. We fear that we actually possess the talent that our still, small voice tells us. That we actually have the guts, the perseverance, the capacity. We fear that we truly can steer our ship, plant our flag, reach our Promised Land. We fear this because, if it's true, then we become estranged from all we know.

The War of Art
Steven Pressfield

I want to make your life a glorious adventure, but you must seek to know me in greater depth and breadth instead of striving for a safe lifestyle. I know how ambivalent your heart is in all of this: You long for the adventure that a life abandoned to me can be, and at the same time, you cling to old ways because change frightens you. Though you feel safest when your life is predictable and things seem to be under control, I want you to break free and discover the adventures I have planned for you.

Jesus Lives
Sarah Young

Read these both today for the first time. Coincidence? I don't think so.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

for my firework... she tries to sleep after we've just talked about the possibility that we might be ending gymnastics sooner than we planned...

(Katy Perry)

Do you ever feel like a plastic bag
Drifting through the wind
Wanting to start again

Do you ever feel, feel so paper thin
Like a house of cards
One blow from caving in

Do you ever feel already buried deep
Six feet under scream
But no one seems to hear a thing

Do you know that there's still a chance for you
Cause there's a spark in you

You just gotta ignite the light
And let it shine
Just own the night
Like the Fourth of July

Cause baby you're a firework
Come on show 'em what your worth
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh!"
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby you're a firework
Come on let your colors burst
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh!"
You're gunna leave 'em fallin' down-own-own

You don't have to feel like a waste of space
You're original, cannot be replaced
If you only knew what the future holds
After a hurricane comes a rainbow

Maybe your reason why all the doors are closed
So you can open one that leads you to the perfect road
Like a lightning bolt, your heart will blow
And when it's time, you'll know

You just gotta ignite the light
And let it shine
Just own the night
Like the Fourth of July

Cause baby you're a firework
Come on show 'em what your worth
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh!"
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby you're a firework
Come on let your colors burst
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh!"
You're gunna leave 'em fallin' down-own-own

Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon
It's always been inside of you, you, you
And now it's time to let it through

Cause baby you're a firework
Come on show 'em what your worth
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh!"
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby you're a firework
Come on let your colors burst
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh!"
You're gunna leave 'em goin "Oh, oh, oh!"

Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon
Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon

I love you, Bub. You're still gonna shine.

You're still gonna shine.

Friday, January 21, 2011


Cris texts me. "Rds r clr...just cold as i dont know what."

I text her back. "Keep us posted. Haven't left yet. There by dinner."

I text April. "What time r u leaving? We're l8r than we hoped."

"We are trying to get out of the house too. Our goal was 2."

"Ours, too. Will prob b 2:15-2:30. Cu u there--wanna get dinner 2gether?"

"That sounds good! As long as not too fancy. Im in comfy clothes."

"U got it!" We agree to connect once we settle in the hotel. I continue getting ready.

"7.65 on bars," Cris updates. "Second highest in grps so far." I tell my daughter. She whoops.

"Tell her that's awesome!"

"Keira says AWESOME!"

April texts. "On the rd."

"On our way 2 get bagels then will be 2."

Another update. "9.1 beam." I tell Bub. Another whoop.

"Keira says NICE!"

We hit the road for The Big Meet. Will will be spectating this go round, but it is what it is.

"8.3 on floor. fell on front tuck."

"She okay?"

I don't hear back. We wait for the report.

I like these people, I think to myself. This is fun. I'm going to miss this when we're done.

"Champps or Buca's?" I text April.

"Buca's," she replies. So much for my low carb diet. That' okay. The company is more important.

I love this little community we've found ourselves in by virtue of our daughters' mutual interests. I love feeling a part of something outside of myself, even if it's just gymnastics.

"We're at mile marker 101."

"No way! We just passed 106!" We're a caravan and we didn't even know it.

An update from Cris. "Vault 9.325."

Jasmyne is finished. We'll await her all-around score and placement as we continue our way into Indy. Tomorrow the updates will come from April, as Iris competes with the group Bub would have been in. As Bub will be there watching, there will be no whoops, no one for me to report it to as they come in.

But that's okay. Because I want to know.

We're in this together.

And I really, really like that.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"the magic of making a start"

When we conceive an enterprise and commit to it in the face of our fears, something wonderful happens... Angel midwives congregate around us; they assist as we give birth to ourselves, to that person we were born to be, to the one whose destiny was encoded in our soul...

The War of Art

Monday, January 17, 2011

another go-round with the big “d”

"My back hurts, Momma," my daughter moans for the umpteenth time. "It really hurts." I remind her to take some ibuprofen, to lay on her heating pad, to hang in there until we see the doctor tomorrow. She sighs a heavy sigh—not the "you are such an unbelievable idiot of a parent and I can't believe you are making me/won't let me do that" sigh I have grown accustomed to as of late, but a deeper, weightier "I'm tired and I'm in pain and it won't stop and I'm so very, very disappointed sigh" that can just about break a parent's heart.

It is certainly breaking mine.

A few too many standing front tucks appear to be the evil culprit, executed a week or two before Christmas. With state championships out of the way, her coaches were working up new skills, much to my daughter's delight. The tucks themselves felt fine, but shortly thereafter she began to notice her back was sore. Within a day or two, the muscles surrounding her spine in her lower back had contracted so tightly she looked like she had small loaves of bread under her skin.

Certain it was muscular, we took a heat/stretch/massage approach to healing, which seemed, at first, to be working. A night of playing tag with friends on New Year's Eve, however, caused them to seize right back up and we were faced with the question of what to do next. Massage therapy ensued with a local therapist who specializes in working with gymnasts. We were encouraged and hopeful.

We knew Bub would likely miss her first meet of the new year, and that proved to be true. But our hopes were that a little rest and a lot of prescribed stretching, combined with a couple visits to Jan, would have her back up and running by The Big Meet this coming weekend. Our hopes are proving to be mis-placed.

The new season had started off so well—after coming from behind last year to win the all-around title at the spring state championships, we were very excited to see what this year would hold. In her first four meets, she took one of the top two spots every time. We were thrilled—what a good experience for her, I thought. It will be great for her to see how well she can excel when given the opportunity. We went in to fall states with great expectations.

A rough vault (we could not for the life of us understand her score, though I will admit scoring for the vault appears to involve a lot of complex calculations and the correct alignment of the heavenly bodies) knocked her down to 4th place overall, but a spectacular beam routine gave her a third beam state championship in a row. She was disappointed, but she took it in stride. I was disappointed, but I did not.

We shook the dust off of states our feet and set our sights on the future. The Big Meet, an invitation-only select team event which Bub had made for the first time, was coming in January, and then the Buckeye Classic, and then States again. Plenty more opportunities to show 'em what she's got.

Or not, as it turns out.

Turns out, my daughter will display another set of skills at The Big Meet this weekend—a set of skills she has, unfortunately, had her fair share of opportunities to develop and hone.

To say it is a difficult thing to watch your child face disappointment is beyond understatement. As parents, we want so much for them to have the big win, the personal best, the positive experience. We want for them to know that "thrill of victory" and to spare them "the agony of defeat." If only we could. For our own sake, if nothing else.

I have wrestled for a month with my emotions over the outcome of states, over the back injury, over the probability that this may be her last season. I want so desperately for her to end on a high note, if ending is what proves to be necessary. I want for her to feel good about what she's accomplished, to have pride in her efforts, to know this time has been worth it. Sometimes, more often than I would like to admit, it is hard to remember that winning is not a necessary ingredient in the making of such an outcome.

This weekend, my daughter will show people what she's made of internally. She will attend The Big Meet and she will cheer her heart out for her friends. She will continue to rest and heat and stretch and will tell herself that every athlete has to overcome physical adversity, that every top gymnast has had to sit out for a season. She will handle her disappointment (because rest assured, she will be disappointed) with a grace and maturity that has been hard-won. And she will cultivate a deeper sense of who she is and what she's capable of in the process.

My daughter is learning what it means to persevere, to endure, to overcome.

And that, I remind myself, is worth infinitely more than winning.

a measure of trust

A lifetime of experience with scales and diets and fat wardrobes and thin wardrobes and IBS and chronic pain and healing prayer and hoping-wishing-praying for freedom has left me feeling a little anxious that there is a staircase out there somewhere, and the only way is down. I can tell myself I can trust the diet, but that has not been my experience. I can tell myself I can trust the process, but that has not been my experience. I can tell myself that I can trust my body, but that has not been my experience. I can tell myself that I can trust The God of the Universe, but that has not always been my experience, either...

Read more at more...

rockin' the new look

This summer Bub joined Mid-Day Son, a band created by a group of her friends at school. Here they are leading worship last night for a middle school lock-in.

Sorry for the onslaught of pictures. Have to keep the family happy.

I hope to post WORDS very soon!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

child swap

Traded my daughter in this weekend for a straight-haired model. What do you think?

(I think she looks like Shawn Johnson, personally!)

Friday, January 14, 2011

this one's for mom

My Bub's new haircut.

Lest there be any doubt about who's child she is...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

recipe for a snow day

1. Take two of your mother's good spoons, and hide them under your pillow. (Be sure to forget they are there, so your mother goes insane trying to figure out what happened to all of her spoons.) Take care to use REAL spoons, as plastic spoons "are only good for delays."

2. Put your pajamas on. Inside out. And backwards. Wear them to bed this way, with the collar all scruntched up under your chin so that you get drool all over it.

3. Take one ice cube per person and flush them down the toilet. (Be sure to pick small ones, as rumor has it ice cubes can clog toilets which makes fathers very agitated.)

4. Pray. "Dear God. Let's hope we have a snow day tomorrow. Amen."

5. Go to sleep (as if) and let the effects marinate for a full eight hours.

6. Wake up at 1:17, 2:30, 3:46, 4:15, 5:37, and 6:54 to see if it's snowing.

7. Awaken your mother (if she's managed to sleep through all the snow-checking) to see if there is a message from the school.

8. Enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Monday, January 10, 2011

one word

I'm not really a copy cat. Really. And, truly, I can't in good conscience be called a copy cat because it's too late to really do the thing right, anyway. So I'm not copying my friend Cindy, who did this really cool Reverb10 thing in December, because it's not December any longer, and I'm not really doing it. Really.

But here's the thing.

I've been looking for this very thing. I just didn't find it in time. I've been in my "it's the end of the year and I need to reflect and regroup" place (though, admittedly, I get in that place several times a year—"It's my birthday, so I need to reflect and regroup... It's the end of the school year, so I need to reflect and regroup…It's Wednesday, so I need…") so when I was looking at Cindy's kick-butt photography (click on her name above to be amazed) and came across her entries for Reverb10, I just about hyperventilated. This was just the springboard I needed. Short, concise prompts, no big book to read, lots to think about. I can do this. Though I won't do one a day, I won't probably even complete them all, and I won't, obviously, get them done in time for them to serve the purpose the creators intended. But I'm good with that. Because they will serve my meager little purpose just fine. And that way, I can't be called a copy cat. (Especially because worrying that y'all would THINK I'm a copy cat would be a form of resistance, and I'm making a new practice of resisting resistance. For today, at any rate…)

SO. Prompt number one: One Word. Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you're choosing that word. Now imagine it's one year from today. What would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

One Word


My word for 2010 is bittersweet. Bitter. Sharp and disagreeable, causing or showing sorrow or discomfort, characterized by strong feelings of resentment or cynicism—there are things from this past year that have left an unpleasant taste in my mouth. Like Naomi changing her name to Mara, I have cried out to God about losses it feels I cannot bear, burdens placed on me I don't wish to carry any further, dreams and plans that didn't turned out the way I dreamt and planned them. I don't wish to live in this land any longer.

Sweet. Agreeable and pleasant, friendly and pleasing, characterized by kindliness and gentleness—there have also been moments that have been gratifying, sentimental, even delightful at times, though that last one might be pushing it a bit. Celebratory moments. Adventurous moments. Hilarious moments. Intimate moments. Bright spots like stars against the backdrop of night. I want to live in this place more often.

Bittersweet captures, for me, the juxtaposition within which I often find myself, despite my best efforts toward contentment and peace. Pleasure mixed with overtones of sadness. You take the bitter with the sweet. Certain things come at the cost of others. This has been the theme of this last year.

I'm pretty over it.


My word for 2011 is audacity. Intrepidly daring and adventurous, recklessly bold, marked by originality and verve—contemptuous of law, religiosity, or decorum. In 2011, I want to have the audacity to finish my manuscript, to love well, to say no when I need to. I want to have the audacity to live authentically, to create courageously, to follow obediently. I want to have the audacity to pursue dreams and passions and not just talk about it, to experience life and not just read about it, to connect intimately and not just dream about it. I don't just want to be courageous. I want to be audacious.

This is what I want to project into 2011.

Audacity. Intrepid boldness. Bold or arrogant disregard of normal restraints.

Behold, I am doing a new thing. See how it rises up.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

big as a barn

One and a half weeks into this diet and I feel as big as a barn. One of those big red ones. Someone could paint "Ohio: The Heart of it All" across my backside and put me along I-71 north and someone would come and take my picture with some very nice cows and a split rail fence and put it in Midwest Living or something...

More at More...

Saturday, January 08, 2011

burnin' down the house

My hubby and the kiddos decided to implement a new post-Christmas tradition this year. Behold The Annual Torching of the Gingerbread Houses.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

cats can't write...

...and they don't want you to, either.

i'm pretty sure kittens are a form of resistance.

six months

Six months ago yesterday, Latté crawled out from under our deck and decided our house was as good as any so he could be convinced to stay and oblige us with his presence. That first week brought with it a lot of lap sitting, a lot of soft talking, and a lot of patient waiting for him to warm up to us. I was thrilled to have found (as if we found him) a lap kitty, and was eager to see how things would continue to unfold.

As is usual, things unfolded quite differently as was expected. Once Latté wasn't starving any longer, he was not as keen to be held or to sit on laps. In fact, he didn't like it AT ALL. I was a little taken aback by this sudden change of character, and set off on my quest to get this suddenly stand-offish cat back in my lap.

A fellow cat lover then let me in on a very important scoop. Apparently, it takes six months for a cat to adjust to a new owner and for their true nature to then finally come out. Sure enough, when they got a new kitty, six months on the dot that kitty relaxed and warmed up to them immensely. Well, whew! This meant there was still hope for the lap-plan.

I have been very familiar with this type of hope. I clearly recall, almost twelve years ago now, sitting in my kitchen with my midwife (who back then did house calls to help with lactation issues) and a bright red, squalling infant, saying "I can't wait until we get this feeding thing all straightened out, so we can see what her real temperament is going to be like." Bridget smiled that patient, "oh, you're so naïve" smile and reached over and patted my arm. "Oh, Sweetie," she said. "You're looking at it."

This did not, unfortunately, deter me from trying to figure it all out and turn the "strong, passionate, creative, independent" young woman that I prayed for into someone more docile and, well, quiet. If you know my daughter, you know beyond a shadow of a doubt I fortunately did not succeed. But that does not keep me from still hoping…

The next two months of Latté's residence with us were spent in the utmost patience. He began to quietly unfold. He would lay at the foot of our bed. He would lay on the hassock by our feet when we watched movies. He would allow you to hold him for a full 30 seconds if you were very still and stroked him in just the right way. And best of all, he would chase his tail in great earnest for a good five minutes or more, which was a great delight to the whole family.

Then I got the brilliant idea he needed a playmate. We are gone quite a bit, and I didn't want Latté to get lonely. So we brought home a kitten and slowly introduced them to one another. It seemed like a good idea at the time…

I've questioned, ever since then, if the six month marker gets reset if you do something stupid like bring an insane kitten into the mix when the first cat is still adjusting to you. Or even increased. A year? Six years? How long does it take until I get my lap kitty? The questions and concerns run on a constant feedback loop. Would he be sleeping with us by now if I hadn't gotten the kitten? Would he be more inclined to be held? Would he play with his tail again if he were the only one chasing it? Is he happy here? Did I do the right thing?

I know what you're thinking. If she's this neurotic about her cats, heaven help her poor children. I will receive that prayer with gratitude. Because it's true. Only heaven can help them all now.

The obvious reality is that Latté is being fed and groomed and loved on and sleeps 23 hours of the day. He is deliriously happy. He even purrs sometimes, but you have to put your head right up to his chest to hear it. And better yet, he will actually walk through the living room calling for Zipper, which completely cracks me up. He's not at the foot of our bed as often, but truth be told, Zipper is a bit of an energetic "sleeper" (I've taken to calling him The Tambourine in the middle of the night) and so I wouldn't want to stay there with him, either. And he doesn't chase his tail, but, as previously mentioned, he now has someone to do that for him on a full time basis. He is as happy here as he can be, and adjusting just fine. I am the one with the problem.

I am the one with the preconceived notion (based on having spent the last 18 years living with The Best Cats Ever) about what things should look like. Big surprise that I would have expectations. Big surprise that I would be disappointed.

I am trying, however. I am trying to learn to let Latté be who Latté will be. I am trying to woo rather than force and influence rather than impose. I am trying to accept that he may never be a lap kitty, and I just may have to wait until the next go-round in another 18 years until I have that joy again. I am trying to loosen my claspy, sweaty grip on all ways I think things should be and just let them be how they are. I am trying.

I'll let you know in another six months how that seems to be working out. For both of us.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

kill me now

I was informed tonight, in her very delicate, demure manner, that I am apparently the ONLY parent who pays any attention to my child's grades on the WHOLE ENTIRE PLANET. This was news to me. Which is why I laughed out loud in her face when she said it. That probably wasn't the best tactical move. But it followed so quickly on the heels of being informed that it was ALL MY FAULT my daughter has NO TIME TO DO ANYTHING because I MAKE her do senseless extra work like correcting her math papers in order to regain some of the credit she lost, that I just couldn't contain myself. It just kind of bubbled out. It was also made clear, in a similar tone, that I DON'T CARE about her because I EXPECT HER TO BE PERFECT and INSIST ON CHECKING EVERY LITTLE CRAPPIN' THINK SHE DOES. I agreed with her. That is most definitely a sign of NOT CARING. In fact, I must absolutely HATE HER.

Which is why I've spent eleven years cultivating a relationship with this child that I pray will withstand all the storms that are a-brewin' in our neck of the woods. Which is why I sacrifice my time, my energy, my money, my freedom, my dreams and desires so that SHE can do what she desires. Which is why I lose sleep at night thinking about things like not being able to afford another year of gymnastics and the conflict that's going on in her little universe and how to speak to matters of the heart when all she wants is to do whatever she wants. It's all because I really, truly, don't give a rip. Really.


Somewhere along the line some ugly little hormones have reared their ugly little heads and turned my daughter, for brief periods of time, into an ugly little snot. I don't like it. The tone of voice. The lack of patience. The outbursts of anger with not even a cursory nod toward the pretense of self control. And the lack of remorse or responsibility for any of it. To her, the eye-rolling, book-throwing, pencil-breaking, yelling-screaming-crying-threatening-stomping-off is all completely justified. Which is possibly what concerns me most.

This is not a child I was permissive with. Nor is this a child I controlled and micro-managed. This was your normal, every-day girl-next-door who was obedient and cheerful and occasionally a pain in the fanny but usually felt pretty convicted about it later. I wonder if she is still that child. I want to believe she is. I want to believe this is just hormonal and nothing evil and sinister is lurking beneath the surface. But I can't know that. And it can scare the crap out of me if I let it.

When I got home tonight, her face lit up and she hugged me and followed me around as I got my dinner, babbling like a brook about her day. When I kissed her goodnight, she wouldn't even speak to me, because I am apparently the MEANEST PARENT IN THE WORLD. I know not to take it personally, and so I don't. I know not to freak out and lecture her, and so I don't. I know not to worry about it because it's normal, but I do anyway. Because I feel icy, cold fingers wrapping themselves around the part of my heart engraved with her name, and I'm chilled to the bone to consider the possibilities of what could await me as we move full force into this new stage of life.

May heaven either help me, or kill me now.

Monday, January 03, 2011

all’s fair in love and war

Having received duplicates of a book I asked for this Christmas, I returned one and grabbed another book that has been on my list since my writing retreat last May, The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield. An easy (though convicting) read, I am already half-way through it and I began it yesterday. As I've not really had any time to read, I'm not sure how that happened.

It is one of those books that one should read several times, digesting bits and pieces in bite-size morsels, letting them swish around in your mouth a bit as you linger over the sensation. It is that good. As I am a compulsive eater, however, I tend to read in the same compulsive manner. I am gulping this book down in one fail swoop, and will consider it further much later as it digests.

A question arose, however, as I was reading, that I could just not leave alone, especially given my post from New Year's Morning. As Mr. Pressfield discussed the perils of resistance, with which I have been very familiar this past year, he lighted on a topic that jabbed a stick right into the very place I've been trying to reach. Unfortunately, he does not adequately scratch my itch.Mr. Pressfield is discussing the role of rationalization in resistance, and does, I might add, a very convincing job of it. Because resistance can't show itself in its true form (because we would recognize fear as resistance and thereby feel shamed into action), it must be crafty. Rationalization is one of its tools of the trade. "Resistance presents us with a series of plausible, rational justifications for why we shouldn't do our work." I buy this. Completely. I have even been caught by it, hook, line, and sinker. BUT.

Here is where I get a little conflicty.

What's particularly insidious about the rationalizations that Resistance presents to us is that a lot of them are true. They're legitimate… What resistance leaves out, of course, is that all this means diddly. Tolstoy had thirteen kids and wrote War and Peace. Lance Armstrong had cancer and won the Tour de France three years and counting.

Great. Swell. Despite having children, they accomplished great feats. That's all well and good. BUT WHAT KIND OF FATHERS WERE THEY? (And, for that matter, didn't their children have MOTHERS to look after them? Not to mention probably nursemaids?!?!?)

THAT is the question penned below that last line on page 56 of The War of Art. THAT begs the question I cannot seem to answer for myself. THAT is what causes my spirit to churn and gurgle like an upset stomach when I'm faced with another afternoon of doing everything that must be done for everyone else. I can do what it takes to be a writer of the variety I would like to become. Certainly I know without a doubt I am capable. But at what cost? And to whom?

This is my issue. Competing desires. I want to be a good mother. I want to invest significantly and meaningfully into my children's lives. I want to be fully present and accounted for. AND.

I want to write. I want to go on another retreat and do nothing but write for six days on end. I want to write daily. I want to create and, in turn, be recreated. I want to live in this passion and be true to that which is within me. When I get up in the morning, when I go about my day, when I retire in the evening, THIS is what is on my mind: I want to write-sing-paint-draw-sew-bead-sculpt-meld-CREATE.

And I am having a bit of trouble trying to figure out a way to do BOTH without feeling I am failing woefully at it ALL.

if you're up for more...

...just wanted to let you know I've begun blogging again on my other blog, more. For those of you just dying to read more about my endless struggle with food, weight, and the perils of carbohydrates (all three of you), you're in luck. You can visit it here.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

a brief but important memo

To: Zipper

RE: Please note that despite its pronunciation, toilet paper is NOT a toy.

We ask that you would please refrain, therefore, from shredding the roll every time the door to the bathroom gets left open.

And in case there be any doubt, attacking smaller wads of toilet paper in the midst of being prepared for use is strictly verboten.

Thank you.

The Management

Saturday, January 01, 2011

our holidays

Click on the image above to see it enlarged. Happy New Year!

snuggling and sacrifice

It is nearly 11:00 AM on this temperate but grayish and wet New Year's Day, and, oddly enough, I am the only one up. The hubby who stayed up reading after we returned home from our holiday revelry is cozied up in bed next to the seven-year-old, who desperately but unsuccessfully tried to keep up with the almost-twelve-year-olds who intended to stay up ALL night but were found, true to my prediction, sacked out on the couch this morning, unknowingly succumbing to sleep somewhere after movie three. It was a valiant effort, nonetheless.

To say it is unusual that I am the only one up would be a gross understatement. When left to my own devices and not bound by the constrictions of four different calendars, it is quite the norm to find me still in bed while all the rest of my household starves for lack of an ability to get their own bowl out of the cabinet and pour their own milk and cereal. Occasionally the almost-twelve-year-old gives me a run for my money as her body shifts to its adolescent time table, but I can still easily beat her in a sleep-in-off hand's down just about any morning I am given the opportunity.

That is, until Buddy comes and crawls in bed.

Both of my children, I should clarify, are avid snugglers. They love to come into our bedroom after they've awakened and basically make sure that I am awake, too, which is very kind of them, if not entirely misguided. They pull back the covers and burrow through them until they've found my warm body, and then adhere themselves to me in whatever fashion they are able as warranted by my position in the bed. This has been our morning ritual since they were old enough to get out of bed--indeed, Bub even has gone as far as to set her alarm to be sure she gets snuggle time before she has to get ready for school. It is as much of our family's genetic code as ice cream and game nights and hiking adventures and leaving the new toilet paper roll on top of the toilet paper roll holder.

Sometimes, when they've shuffled in with a groggy step and fallen into the bed half-aware, I am blessed with another bit of sleep as their breathing falls mercifully into a deep, deliberate pattern and their bodies are gloriously still. I may not be able to breath or move myself, wedged as I am into the double bed I grew up sleeping in alone and now am forced to share with not one but two to three people and as many cats, but at least they are not moving and if I breathe deeply myself and try to visualize pleasant, spacious places, I can get very close to falling back asleep, myself. Almost.

But I am not always so fortunate. Buddy, who is the true cling-on of the pair, is also a bit, um, shall we say, squirrely, and I know as soon as I hear distinct, rapid footsteps scampering from the bathroom that my evening's repose has expired. No longer drowsy, all hope is gone of his body again becoming static, and I am up for a morning of elbows and knees and whispers and wiggles and sighs and desperate, futile pleas for him to please be still.

They tell me I will miss this.

Truth be told, I tell myself this, as well. It is the only reason I do not lock and bar my bedroom door on a nightly basis. I know I will miss this. Desperately. And so I endure it. And I only groan inwardly as soon as I hear Buster Brown descend from his top bunk across the hall, so that he will not ever know I am not as thrilled as he that he is awake and ready to snuggle. But it is a bittersweet snuggle, as I once again, for the first time of many that day, sacrifice that which I desire for the ever more important desires of my children.

We are nearing 11:30 and there is still no sound from upstairs. Apparently starting a movie at 2:00 AM was enough to keep Buddy quiet for his father this morning, and they are still warm and cozy in MY bed that I could no longer lay still in for lack of space and breathing room. (Literally.) Rather than fight for cramped, sweaty, broken sleep this morning, I have done a new thing in this new year. I have arisen before my entire family and come down to the kitchen and sat my butt in front of the computer and I've done something I WANTED TO DO. For once. Perhaps this bodes well for the new year. Perhaps this is an omen. Or perhaps this is just a fluke. After all, it is much easier to rise before everyone else when I am rising at 10:00 in the morning. Which is just about right for me...

Parenting and writing do not flow easily for me out of the same space. Somewhere between all the work of taking care of people, which is done both professionally and personally, I fear I have lost my creative self. The writer. The musician. The artist. I know intellectually they are truly not lost--just hibernating, perhaps, not enjoying the cold, gray winters of Ohio any more than I do. But I miss them. Desperately. And I feel incomplete without them. And I've still, after almost twelve years, not yet determined how to balance that which I need with the needs of my children. And I've yet to comprehend, in my own life and beyond, where the mystery of death to self and the reality of taking care of one's self intersect.

For a fleeting moment I hear a bird singing outside my window, and just as quickly as it came, it is gone. Thank God for temperate, unseasonable days that bring us out of hibernation and restore to us that which we were created to do. Even if only for one, quiet, up-before-everyone-else morning.