Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Should haves...and plugging back in...

There's a video currently going around social media--a large black board set up in New York City asking people to write their Biggest Regrets. At the end of the video they focus on how so many regrets include "Not". The motivational conclusion being, don't let your passion/dreams not followed being your ending story. Cue moving, rising music.

But here's the thing. My regrets aren't my Nots. My regrets are my Should Haves. I should have been more Kind. I should have been more Particular. I should have thought that one through just a little more. I should have listened, and followed through when a friend needed a friend. But I remember those Should Haves. And I stand on them, grow from them. Become a Better Person because of them.

Our little family is facing Big Change. Change that is way ahead of schedule. I'm not prepared for this. I'm completely fine with change. I happen to thrive in the chaos. What I'm not fine with is the Unsettlement of the Unknown. Because I don't even know where to start with that.

I've recently started gathering with a very small, close group of amazing women. Coming together once a month to talk, to encourage, to build up, and to support. Earlier this week we were talking about the things we're Waiting for, and what do we do in the Waiting.

I have just enough British in my upbringing that has trained me to lace up my boots and Carry On. Because in the midst of the Waiting? Life continues. Children still need to get to school in the morning. I have an employer who still assumes I'll show up every day. Groceries still need to be purchased. Lunches made. Life carries on. Oddly enough.

Earlier in December, Himself was in the hospital for a week recovering from surgery. Before heading out to spend the morning with him, I found myself at the grocery store. I had to check to make sure the store was open that early--because I'd never had reason to be there at that time, and I didn't know. My mom called to check on me, asking if I was at the hospital. I told her I was wandering around the grocery store. Because we were out of milk. Because, somehow, in the midst of our chaos, life was Carrying On.

A sweet friend sat with me this weekend and just talked. We talked about her stuff. And we talked about my stuff. Most of our friendship has been based on the fact that our boys are besties. Sometimes we dig deeper. This was one of those times. She listened. Then she said that maybe this was my chance to do things I always wanted to do. Change jobs. Be More. She knows some of my past. Bits. But I explained that I was already doing exactly what I wanted to do. I was what I wanted to Be when I grew up. And she looked kind of shocked. How could I not want More?

From the outside, it may look like I'm just biding my time. Waiting until the kids are more independent. But I'm not. No, my one job isn't perfect. But I enjoy it. Sure, I have co-workers I avoid. I shut my classroom door to close off everyone else. But I love my kiddos. The thing about being a preschool teacher is, I can clock out. And I get to be home with my own children when they're home. And I have creativity and energy left for my other jobs where I get to Create and Do. I'm content. I'm right where I want to Be. And, more importantly, I'm right where I know I'm supposed to Be. This is who I am.

But it's getting all shaken up. And everything may stay the same, or nothing may stay the same. I have no idea and that is what's tying my insides up in knots.

I should have had a back up plan.

And also? I should have kept up with writing. But in the past year? Life carried on. I'm determined to do better with documenting it.

Friday, February 20, 2015

On paper...

Braved the ice, snow, and near zero temperature this morning for another MRI on the ol' cantankerous ankle. Filling out the personal information sheet before hand I checked the blocks for tattoos, body piercings, and worked around metalworks and metal shavings.

I gotta tell ya...on paper? I'm pretty badass.

And my sleep anywhere superpower kicked in and I had a nice little 20 minute cat nap.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Slogging through...

Tonight, there are multiple tabs open on the laptop. All waiting for me to click on and read through the daunting information contained.  Medical journals, blogs, research, help. Some are referrals, some I managed to find on my own.  Right now it feels like I'm gasping for air. And these are my oxygen mask.

Increasingly, it's become obvious that our daughter's anxiety is far greater than "Oh, she's just shy," or "She's such a little worrier." And it's become equally obvious that we are unequipped to deal with it on our own.

This week has been one of the more trying ones on the books so far.  Morning, afternoon, and night time meltdowns. Then, we finally figure out that there have been bathroom accidents while at school and she hasn't told anyone. Not full wetting of clothes, but enough to cause discomfort and further her anxiety throughout the day.

Classmates mocking her for the gap caused by her missing two top teeth. Something she was so joyful over. Now her 1st grade yearbook picture has her with a half smile so the gap won't show.

She was, just this week, notified she was identified for the gifted program due to her high aptitude in math.  She's crazy smart! The middle of the week, she came home in tears.

They were making fun of me because I'm smart. They said it was stupid to like math.

Oh, sweet girl. I didn't realize it was possible for the mean kids to continue breaking my heart this far out of elementary school.

A few months ago the tears were because she wore her beloved Spiderman shirt.

They kept saying girls can't like Spiderman.

That one, at least, had a happy outcome. She's made the best of friends with another girl in her class who loves Batman.

She no longer wears her favorite winter hat because there are children who knock it off of her on the playground.

I know we cannot be the only family left teaching kindness.  But there are days when it certainly feels like it.

I don't want to go to school! What if I have another bad day?

But what if you have an amazing day?

It doesn't go that way for me.

Last night when she was adamant about not going to her dance class, I felt myself slowly accepting that her anxiety levels are above the normal for a wee 7 year old girl. Even a high spirited, crazy brilliant one.

Some of her stories, once we talked them over with her teacher, end up being built up in her anxious mind to more than they are in reality. Others? Her's is the true account. The first, however, gives us a clearer picture of the power of her anxiety. And her own powerlessness to not let it control her.

So, I find myself reaching out to experts and other knowledgeable sources. Sorting through my own anxiety issues, I'm poorly equipped to help her. Even now, however, I'm hesitant to talk to anyone about my own fears for my daughter. Fearful of the lack of concern. Fearful of the eyerolls and lack of support.

She'll grow out of it. Stop hovering. Every child goes through stuff. 

But she's not every child. She's my child.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Carrying on...

A dear friend, one who has been around to see a fairly large chunk of this journey we're on unfold, stopped by yesterday. We stay in decent contact, but we actually hadn't seen each other in several months. Schedules. Lives. It is what it is.

She was ever so sweet not to mention how very tired I looked. Though I could read it in her eyes. She asked how we were.

We're all right.

All things considered?

Yeah. All things considered.

In the past this is where a well meaning acquaintance would opine that in the Grand Scheme Big Picture of Things, we were really quite well off.  Attempt to show me a little perspective.  The thing is, I have a rather healthy perspective. Yes, there are families sorting through far worse circumstances than us. There are also families sailing right along...no disease, no disabilities, no anything that robs them of their sleep.

A Wise Person once wrote that telling someone they shouldn't be discouraged because there are people in far worse circumstances is like telling someone they can't be joyful because there are people far more happy than they. This is our Hard. This is the path we are walking, living, breathing. Yes, someone else is dealing with something far worse but that their Hard, their path.

But the truth is, no matter how healthy my perspective, the bags under the eyes remain.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The highlight reel...

Celebrating this amazing boy's 9th birthday in the same home on the shores of Lake Victoria where I celebrated mine...


A journey through the Serengeti...all the many times I've made that same journey and this one time I saw the most animals ever.  
A massive herd of elephants and the babies. 
Baby elephant!


After a whole day searching, the largest lion pride I'd ever seen...
just hanging out in the sun...


A walk through the Olduvai Gorge with my children...


A hike through the rainforest on Mt. Kilimanjaro...
a glacier melt waterfall as our reward...


My first Comic Con! 
A Q&A with Adam Freakin' West (who turned out to be kind of a dirty old man) 
and Burt Ward (who was just delightful)...


A photo op with this lot! Members of the 501st Legion...proving that I am, indeed a lot short for a Stormtrooper.  Honestly? This made my whole year. 


Celebrating this amazing girl child's 7th birthday...where have these years gone?!


Rounding out my year with the thing I did just for me. A weekend spent with three amazing and wonderful friends...no children, no husbands.  Just us.  
The ocean is healing, even in the December cold. 
We determined it to be an annual Thing. Our families all agreed. 


2014. Summed up. 


Just older...

A couple of weeks ago I turned another year older. The number doesn't bother me...not really. I'm far healthier in mind and body than I was a decade ago. Happier. Content-er. But on one of the health blogs I read there was a questionnaire..."Could you be in perimenopause?" I figured, being Officially half way to the American female life expectancy, what the hell?

Turns out, I'm not. But what I am is a 43 year old woman raising two high-spirited, high-achieving children, married to a doctor's note carrying batcrap crazy husband, and working three jobs (well, one part time and two free lance, done from home but still with obligations and people paying me jobs). The symptoms kind of overlapped. Like when, a few years ago, my doctor was convinced I had mono but the tests all came back negative, and I reminded him I had two young children.  Apparently he wasn't the first doctor to mistake Mommy Fatigue for mono.

For so long now I've been functioning in Survival Mode. Making sure everyone around me is taken care of, ignoring my own needs. I'm slowly taking steps (with the support of this amazing little family and equally amazing friends) to fix that. Baby steps. But still Steps. Because I shouldn't allow myself to be exhausted to the point of mimicking chronic diseases or major hormonal changes.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Not a resolution...

But it IS a promise to myself to do right by this here blog. I'm not ready to let it die and there are Things I still need to write about...bits rattling about in my head. Little by little, I need to write them down and give them wings.

Welcome to 2015. And I still don't have my flying car. Pretty pissed about that.