Monday, June 29, 2009
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Fear appears to be a relatable emotion. Many of us have an intimate knowledge of fear. A frequent bedfellow in the middle of the night. The brutish lover waking you up for another go. When you've already had your fill. Of piercing thoughts that do not have a beginning and an end, but are orbital. Yet, not just the night stalker is fear. No, fear lurks in the daylight. In the shadows. Around our edges. If we let it...
Fear can cripple us, freezing us into immobility. The possibility of a new joy and wonder is crushed, because our imagination lies fallow. Is Fear a lack of Faith? Perhaps. Yet, some of the most grounded people of faith also struggle with fear. So, then... fear is part of the human condition. How do we address it? Do we sit on one side of the door, unable to open it for fear of what is on the other side? Or do we pick up that club and beat down the door of fear, because....? Because, there could be something desirable on the other side.
"Doubt is not the opposite of faith: fear is. Fear will not risk that even if I am wrong, I will trust that if I move today by the light that is given me, knowing it is only finite and partial, I will know more and different things tomorrow than I know today, and I can be open to the new possibility
I cannot even imagine today."
Verna Dozier from her book, "The Dream of God."
Friday, June 26, 2009
I've given myself something this week. The kindness of looking after my own body. It's helped. In ways that I cannot put words to. I feel stronger and more myself.
There is something about yoga that taps into my inner core as a woman. Food for my soul? I am rediscovering my body. And through the exploration of sensation, I am more... grounded.
Like someone who is parched and aching for water, I am devouring it. This time for me. The exploration of my physical being.
It is then that the words come. When I lie still and let go of ...preconceived notions of what my writing life should be. My body unraveling like a ball of yarn, undulating at its own speed. Free at last! Rolling end over end to finally rest tucked under my fingertips. A gift. As if... Here! For you! Take it. It's yours!
Yoga photo courtesy of Google Images. This is not, I repeat, NOT JCK.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
When we found out we were going to have a child, we decided that I would be a stay-at-home mom. It was something I wanted, and E wanted as well. I have been a SAHM now for 5 1/2 years. My former life in the work force feels very far away...
Some days here are tough and mind numbing. But, for those days, there are an infinite number that have brought delight and joy in seeing my children grow. In being here at home with them. I feel very confident in who I am as a mother. It is something I do well. And, I'm passionate about my job.
From the beginning we took a risk to move to one income. We've had an up and down ride. It's been very hard on our marriage. As it is on all marriages. Something has to change soon. We continue to tread water in the same pond, and it is unhealthy for all of us.
I wonder how much of our lives are ruled by fears. The fear of trying something new. A way of doing things that you haven't approached before. If crisis means... a crossroad, a turning point, a moment of truth. What happens if you can't find your truth? What happens if you don't want to see your truth? What happens if what seems to be the truth is untenable? What if you don't have the courage to step forward? Even tentatively. If you are paralyzed. Stuck. Trapped. And then another day goes by. And another. And the life you're living is not what you want. Or even one that you recognize. What then?
Saturday, June 20, 2009
On Wednesday there was a graduation ceremony/end of the year party in BOY's preschool class at school. He was SO excited! He was up at 5:30am and couldn't wait for Mommy & Daddy to come to his party later that morning.
When we arrived, all the children were wearing necklaces made out of colored noodles and paper flower cut-outs, with their name and 2008-2009 printed on them. There were the requisite adorable songs with hand movements in staggered sync, with impromptu squirming, and roving eyes making sure the parents were watching. And then... Then, there was a dance. Set to the Mexican Hat Dance, each child had been paired with a partner. They had been rehearsing for a month. BOY was partnered with a darling little girl in a purple dress named B. As soon as the first note began, they were ready. There was a mix of leg kicks, arm in arm circles (similar to a square dance), and even a circular waltz-like movement. And, my BOY was into it. Big time. And his parents turned to mush...
The past few months, BOY has been in what they call a blended inclusion class. It is a class with general ed students, and a few children with special needs. One of the most beautiful things I've ever seen in my life was the sight of the entire class doing the dance. Including, one little girl who in a wheelchair dressed in a pretty dress, with a little boy holding her hands and gracefully dancing with her, around her chair, and focused on her.
BOY is in a school now where he can fully be himself. Instead of the boy disrupting the class, he has become the "ray of sunshine for the class," the one who "is always so happy and fun." (Teacher's quotes.) His needs are getting met, and his gifts are being appreciated.
This last year has brought about many changes for BOY. Three schools, challenges, incredible growth... In the fall, BOY starts Kindergarten. He talks about wanting to start TODAY. I look at him and see how ready he is to begin a new chapter in his school life. Personally, as his mama, I'm not quite there. Yet. But, I will be... by September.
"Keeping Focus" - painting by Chuck Gumpert.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
I wish your hair was brown, Mommy.
Why do you like your hair like that, Mommy?
I love Miss J's hair.
Miss J, GIRL's preschool teacher, has brown hair. Like GIRL's. Like mine used to be. My daughter is in mourning for the loss of my once brown hair. She's never known me to have hair other than Silver. I don't like the word gray. It speaks of dinge and drab.
In GIRL's 4 year old world, she wants an even playing field. Where everything is similar. And comfort is measured in sameness. Moms are blonde or brunette. Not ...gray. The very thing she is wanting is what I fight against. Blending in. Being ...the same.
I really like my hair on most days. I love that it is easy. No scrambling to the hairdresser when the silver roots are showing. But, the ultimate truth is that I like it, because...it is different. It is something I've embraced for most of my adult life. Being different. Being other. Perhaps because I felt that way inside, and being visibly different on the outside is like a natural boundary. It speaks. It says...I am not one of many. Yet, of course, I am...
I could go back to the dye. I could. Yet, part of me would feel false. Because usually? The Silver feels like me. On good days, I like to think I look rather smashing and dare I say it...dramatic, with my hair. On bad days...it is pure, unadulterated, drab. And, the truth is, GIRL gets to see me on bad days. Often.
My paternal grandmother was gray/silver/white by the time she was in her early 40's. If not before. My father never remembers her without gray hair. There is nothing weighted in his words. It is just a fact. He doesn't remember.
Sometimes...in brief moments, I wonder if my decision is fair to my children. Fair in the sense that I am an older parent, anyway, and then I add silver hair into the mix. Kind of like taking out a big banner that says: OLDER MAMA LOCATED HERE.
I think I'll keep it for now. There is always time to change. GIRL will love it or hate it. Or not think about it much. Probably the latter. Or...maybe when I'm 50, I'll dye it purple...
For more about my journey to becoming Silver, you can read and see the pictorial here.
Monday, June 15, 2009
It appears that nudity is all the rage in Southern California with the 4-6 year old set. California, always a trend setter, has a new fad. Nudity in the JUMPY. What is a JUMPY? For those not in the know, JUMPYS (or bounce houses) are like a rubber proof room for kids. Heavily padded, JUMPYS provide easy entertainment for young children's developing brains, and a break for all those parents whose brains are on the decline. Kids are encouraged to JUMP, JUMP, JUMP expending all that added energy they acquire after freebasing sugar during birthday parties.
Just ask JCK, a vibrant
beleaguered mother who lives in a small foothill community just north of Pasadena, CA.
Parents, this exciting trend could be coming to a town near you! Because when the rubber hits the road...what sounds like more fun than a Bounce House Buff?
NOTE: BOY was not available for interviews. He was too busy umm...
Friday, June 12, 2009
I've been thinking about my authentic self. Both as a person and as a writer. And, whether the two can be separated. As a blogger, my posts about my life are real. But, there is always a truth that lies beneath. Something deeper, meatier. Here, I choose what I want to write and post about. Yet, I think a real writer doesn't choose. A real writer listens to the words that come, allowing them to escape through her fingers ...falling upon the page as they may. Sometimes the words have arcs and cadences, but often the words are ragged and coarse. I am a private person, oddly enough. Perhaps it is bizarre, to be a private person and to have a blog.
I've been blogging for two years now. What do I write about? I write about the adventures of raising my GIRL and BOY, who are ten months apart. I write about feminist issues. I've occasionally written about politics. I write about my struggle to retain a sense of self separate from that of wife and mother. I've shared my infertility stories. I've written about adoption. I used to share my poetry, but have stopped doing that because it might preclude the possiblity of the work being published. It doesn't feel good or comfortable to hold that part of myself back, yet I am working on prudence. I've done a series of interviews with women called The Motherscribe Interviews. I've written about the demeaning and disturbing trend of sexually objectifying young girls in commercial media. And, I've written about the incredibly stupid and assinine self-inflicted things that have caused me humiliation.
It's been an interesting journey with the writing here. Initially I drew readers because of stories about my children. Then I had a need to write about other things and some readers left, while new readers arrived interested in what I was writing about at the time. There is always fluctuation. Whenever I get caught up in worrying about how many readers I have, or commenters, or whether my writing is "good enough", I have to take a step back and ask myself...but, WHY am I writing? And, the truth is that I am writing because I need to get the words out.
It has become so natural to write, that when I don't write, I feel toxic. There has never, ever been a time when writing didn't help. It always does. Once I allow the words to spill upon the page, I find that something is always there. It may not be riveting or lyrical, but it is there. The blog is an endless legal pad. The pages never run out. It is a place to practice. To work on my craft.
I want to be an authentic writer. Having courage to write my truth...whatever that means. I'm just not sure that place can be here. I love reading memoirs, but I don't want my blog to be a memoir. I believe that there is something just around the corner that I am not yet seeing. A path with my writing that has already been decided. I just have to keep moving. And perhaps my words will lead me there...
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
BOY and GIRL are obsessed. Smitten. Excited. And enthralled. With Jack and Annie and The Magic Tree House books, by Mary Pope Osborne. I had never heard of the series before, but decided to check a couple of them out from our trip to the library last week. Since then, we've been back to the library and gotten MORE of them. It is our first adventure series to read together and it is a ball! I especially love playfully teasing them by trailing off the last sentence of a chapter and pretending to close the book.
Immediately there are shouts of No, Mom, NO! One more chapter, please. Please, Mommy. Just one more...
GIRL has fallen in love with the character of Annie, the fearless one. She is the feisty little sister who just leaps into an adventure often encouraging Jack to follow her.
The books are full of adventure, humor and my personal favorite...time travel. I love that the stories go against the typical boy/girl stereotypes. Annie is the adventurous one, the risk taker, yet the little sister. Jack is the studious one, the researcher, the "by the book" more cautious older brother. I see Jack in GIRL and Annie in BOY. And like my children, they are very close in age.
Monday, June 8, 2009
Oh, I LOVE this weather. So coool....
Makes me want to just snuggle in.
Don't you just LOVE it?
Aaaah. No. I don't. In fact, I HATE it. Loathe IT in every fiber of my being, truth be told. I find it suffocating and oppressive, and frankly I feel like I'm on THE EDGE. If I ever thought I had issues with lack of sun before this, my doubts have passed. I truly DO have issues with day after day after day after day...of gray skies. Now, I know you farther up and over people, yes YOU in Washington State, Oregon and parts due NW, yes YOU are probably at this point... laughing maniacally. After all, how could someone living in Sunnyville Lalala, USA complain about gray skies. Well... I just CAN, thank you very much.
Seriously? It's a little scary. I am finding it harder to do everything these days. To get dressed, take a shower, get out of the house...all I want to do is pull the covers over my head and wake up when the sun comes out. IS THE SUN COMING OUT AGAIN? And I've been baking cookies. Lots of them. And eating cookies. Lots of them. And talking about baking more cookies, different cookies. Lots of them.
OK, typically, this time of year we have what we call in these parts... June Gloom. It is when the fog/mist whatever encroaching element of evil you'd like to name it...just rolls in and burns off in late morning or after lunch. Well? It's not burning off. At all. Tonight I got a glimpse of blue sky. It was 6:30pm. Yeah, blue sky one hour before sunset! Eureka! It's been 10 days now, and the forecast for the week? More of the same...
June Gloom has been reported by some Californians to bring on symptoms consistent with seasonal affective disorder. It is often cited as a time of depression.
It's bad. Really bad. And the worst thing? The very worst thing? Is that it is SO bad. So very bad. That I am writing about it...
Saturday, June 6, 2009
It is the physical risks that I encourage my children to take. I am their spotter, their audience. If they fall, I tell them they can do it again. If they are frightened I lend a hand, and let them gauge their own readiness. Sometimes they need to step back and think about it, before taking that great leap. Sometimes the jump is saved for another day.
It is their emotional risks that cause me to bleed inside. It pains me to see them wounded by another child, especially a close friend. My heart free falls and I feel almost a visceral ache. Perhaps its power is in the echo of my own past wounds and humiliations, yet I cannot help but think it is merely because I am their mother. And my children's pain is my own...
Just as I have been there for their exhilarating firsts...the wonder of rolling over, taking a step unassisted, sailing across the playground monkey bars, so I am here for the tough ones. When your best friend has another friend she'd rather play with today, and you are left on the sidelines. When you don't have the skills yet to join in with the other girls. And you just want your mommy to make it better...
Yes, I talk with them. And, I listen. And, I love them. Fiercely. But, I cannot protect them from life. Or keep them from feeling pain. For to feel that wound, they must have loved, first.
It is love that makes us whole and keeps us going. Love that comforts us and clothes us in our human skin. Of that, I am sure. And that is something I can encourage them to risk...
Friday, June 5, 2009
SAHM seeks employment either inside or outside the home. Outside the home would be preferable, but she is willing to barricade herself in home office with ear plugs if necessary.
Current Skill Set Includes, but Not Limited To:
shrieking NOOOO!!!!!!! at the top of her lungs
Eye for detail: picking up: toys, dishes, old band-aids, balled up pieces of paper, men's underwear, wet towels, cat's vomit, day old pee filled pull-ups, really anything... she isn't picky
Film editor: rerunning a cartoon over and over in her head that says: FUCK ME!
damn good cookie maker
damn good cookie eater
ability to use her clothes as a human food shield
Ability to answer: Why? What? Why? What? Why? What? more times than thought humanly possible
Creative chef/nutritionist: making dinner out of a loaf of bread, eggs and sugar followed up with a milk shooter to achieve Vitamin D nutrients
Flexible: ability to stuff body into what have become small pants
Hair stylist: why a haircut when pulling out hair by the handfuls will suffice?
social calendar keeper
Ability to live in denial: if one wears clothes smeared with peanut butter (because one is too tired to care) out into the world and pretends it isn't there, is it there?
Pay desired: anything will do, since current pay is in gold pirate coins and playdoh.
Contact Information: SAHM can be found at home curled up into a fetal position chewing on fishnets due to overindulgence of caffeine when whiskey and chocolate have been depleted. Perhaps best to leave a message. Ability to talk coherently may be compromised...
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Give me time travel, a fiery, passionate man in a kilt and a strong, funny, intelligent heroine. It doesn't get better than that.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Today was the usual intrigue around Casa de Motherscribe. BOY managed to climb up and grab a mouse trap in the garage, bring it inside and engage it. It snapped across his fingers leaving a raised white line. Once the tears were gone and the cold pack had been applied, BOY acknowledged that playing with a mousetrap was perhaps not the best idea...
And then this week, there's been an obsession with milk producing mammaries...
Questions from BOY to my friend, M.
May I try some of your Mommy's milk? Does it get messy?
Questions from BOY to another friend, Mrs J.
May I try some of your Mommy's milk? What does it taste like?
And to me....
Do you still have Mommy's milk?
No, BOY, I don't.
Because you just have it after you give birth to a baby and then when the baby stops drinking it, it dries up.
Does it get all moldy in there?
No. It just naturally dries up and goes away.