Posts Tagged With: complicated relationship

time to cull the herd

Don’t you find as you get older that you just have less f**ks to give?

If we’re to believe Alice, I’m not the only one.

I want a simpler life.
I want strong relationships with the people in my life.
I grow weary of the drama.
I’m not drama, so why have it in my life?
It’s time for a cull.
Time to rid my life of unnecessary complications and weak relationships.

My life won’t look different to others. (Unless ‘others’ is among the culled.)
My life may not look that much different to me.
But I can assure you I’ll feel so much better.

The f**ks I give are mine.
And I’ll be holding on to them, thanks.
So I bid unnecessary complications and weak relationships a hearty:

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the only way out is through

I’ve not been shy about discussing my recent emotional dilemma.
I’ve not been shy about talking about it with my friend and mentor, Sundance, my sister in law, and Nora. I’ve freaked out to them about relationship stuff, but also just my stuff. Girlfriends lend a sympathetic ear when you’re frustrated. They provide a hard look at your own reflection when you’re feeling overwhelmed. I’ve gotten great advice from each of them…I’ve gotten a bit of crap advice from each of them…but mostly, they’ve just loved me through my struggle.
I have the luck to be friends with a man who is an excellent listener without giving unsolicited advice. I’ve talked to him about me. Where I am personally. In my life…in my head.

Where I’ve been emotionally has a great deal to do with perspective. Mine was skewed. It isn’t anymore. I experienced a shift in my perspective and everything became more clear.
It hit me like lightning! And I became a completely different girl…well not really, but I began to think about things in a completely different way.

Sundance fed my OCD cravings for organization by presenting me with the idea of going back to a paper planner. We discussed brands and what she was using and how, for her, it’s like “scrapbooking” with a purpose. I’m enthusiastically embracing this “old” way of keeping myself organized!
My sister in law encouraged me to write down everything as I thought or felt it, which lead to a new and rather visceral way of journaling.
Nora encouraged me to be patient…and I was…sort of…and turns out being patient lead me to this place.
My friend and mentor reminded me to place the anxiety where it belongs.
A conversation with Jack regarding my reservations about my degree plan lead me to an exciting new idea. He suggested I explore this mind mapping as a way of prioritizing all my “stuff”. The more I looked at this mind mapping, the more I realized it’s rather like an integrated curriculum web! Now this is something with which I have quite a bit of knowledge and experience! And a new, but familiar way of sorting my shit was born!

sample mind map:
mm_examrevision
sample curriculum web:
drake2004_fig1.1

The Robynbird stuff is feeling much more settled. I feel grounded. I feel like I’ve got this. “I am at home with the me. I am rooted in the me who is on this adventure. This is me breathing.” Dr Oatman ain’t got nothing on this little red haired girl.

I finally feel like I can take big deep breaths and move forward.

The relationship stuff…well I didn’t exactly place the anxiety where it belongs, I was simply able to finally put down the anxiety that isn’t mine. Understanding, patience, love, and time is what will ease that weirdness. It’s journey, right? I’m not on a lone journey…how silly of me not to take that into account.
So, we don’t have a clear vision of the journey. So, we don’t know exactly where we’re headed. So, the path gets tricky. The only way out of the woods is through the woods…if we come across lions or tigers or bears (oh my!) we’ll just figure that out then.
The journey we’re on as a couple might just need to make a pit stop. We can do that. Take a break, take a breath, take a nap. And when we’re ready, when each of us is ready to move forward, we’ll begin to move again.
My personal journey, the journey I’m on as a girl getting along and singing her song, is moving at a full tilt boogie. I’m so enthusiastic about it! I’ve been spinning my wheels in the ick for far too long.

The only way out of the ick is through it.
Alanis knows what’s up.

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doubt is being a jerk to me

faith
I came across this last night and it stuck a chord deep within me. I had to sit with it for a while before I could really process why. I dreamt about this in my sleep.

I know who Elisabeth Elliot is. I’m aware this references faith in God.
God and I had a falling out many, many years ago, and I turned my back to God. Doubt came. It was the first time in my life I doubted God, and I doubted my ass off! But God never left me. Over time, I was able to find my way back to God. Our relationship is different now than it was before, but it’s better. I have a new kind of faith. Not the faith I was taught, but the faith I earned. God and I are square.

That said, I’m realizing what rang true in me last night does’t have anything to do with God.

I’ve been struggling with who I am in this life. In this world. I’ve become distant and distracted. I’m questioning everything. Every choice I’ve made. Did I place my faith in something that isn’t what I thought it was?
I’m Gob Bluth saying, “I’ve made a huge mistake.”
And it has been eating me alive from the inside out.

I’ve pushed everything to the back burner to spend my time obsessing over this doubt. I’m actively digging up in doubt what I planted in faith. I’ve done almost nothing remotely healthy for a month. I haven’t slept well. I haven’t eaten properly. I don’t work. I just obsess. I have spent an entire month obsessing over doubt.

When Thing 2 was a small girl, and something didn’t work the way she expected it to, she would lose her patience. She’s quick to lose her patience, lose her temper. She’s a bit like her momma that way. She had a little phrase she would use. Here’s one example. If she couldn’t open the front door, she would grunt, stomp her foot and say, “The doorknob is being a jerk to me!”
She’s nineteen and still grunts and stomps her foot when she’s angry or frustrated.
I’m forty five and I grunt and stomp my foot when I’m angry or frustrated.
You know what they say about the apple and the tree…
We are what we are.

I share this story because I want to say, “Doubt is being a jerk to me!”
Doubt really kind of is being a jerk to me.
Actually, I think doubt is being a jerk to faith. But faith isn’t sticking up for itself. That means I have to stick up for faith. Which is much harder than it sounds. It’s hard to want to stick up for something that you think duped you.
But you see, that’s what faith actually is. Believing when there’s no ‘real’ reason to believe. I forgot that. I let doubt come to the party. Um…I let doubt throw the party. I’m kind of over this party.
My mom used to say, “This party’s getting rough. I’m going to get my undies and go home.” She was a curious woman, but she made a fair point. So, I guess me and my undies are leaving doubt’s party. (I feel the need to state for the record that I made the choice to use bad grammar.)

I don’t know how to reconcile what’s going on inside me. But I know that it’s time to send doubt packing. I’m going to pull a Jenna Marbles on doubt and tell it to “Pipe the f**k down!”
Once I get rid of doubt then I can pay attention to faith. Which might actually be trickier than kicking doubt to the curb.
I don’t really want to pay attention to faith. Faith hurt my feelings. Faith frightened me. Faith rocked me to my core. Hmm. Seems as though faith is being a jerk to me too.
Faith and I going to have to get it together. I’m not quite sure how we’re going to do that. What I do know is that I can’t dig up in doubt what I planted in faith.
That means I have to keep believing.
I must have faith no matter how difficult it is to believe. I mustn’t listen to doubt no matter how lovely it sounds.

Perhaps I’ve gone about this all wrong? Putting my faith in other things…
Perhaps I must have faith in myself. Trust that I made all the right decisions that led me to where I am in this life, this world. Believe that faith is stronger than doubt. Believe that I was built on a sturdy enough foundation that I can reconcile faith and doubt without getting lost in the weeds. (Mixed metaphors much?)
It’s easy to say that. It’s even easy to know that. It’s in the doing that it becomes tricky. But I know from tricky. I’m a mom. I’m an Auntie. I’m an early childhood educator. Tricky is in my wheelhouse.

To faith I say, “Bring it!”
To doubt I say, “Pipe the f**k down.”
To God I say, “Thanks for having my back.”
To me I say, “Get it together.”

I know I can balance doubt and faith. I simply have to try. You know what Yoda said about trying…but I haven’t even been trying. I’ve been obsessing. I’ve been swimming in doubt so long my fingers are all pruney. Time to get out and dry off.
Gotta shake it up. Get out of my head.
I’m going to remember to believe. Remember that faith falters, but that’s just doubt trying to throw a party. Faith is still there, just like God was.
Perhaps I need to do it the same way…find my way back to faith and make a better, stronger kind of faith. Not blind faith, not faith on the word of others. But a new kind of faith. One that I earned.
Hey, if it worked for God and me, making it work for my life should be a cake walk, right?
Stay tuned…

If you don’t know Arrested Development…well that makes me sad for you. It’s on Netflix. Check it out.
Will Arnett as Gob Buth:
gob

Thing 2 and her friend Jordan introduced me to Jenna Marbles. She uses foul language profusely, but I adore this concept of ‘people that need to pipe the f**k down’.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

mother’s day

I struggle with Mother’s Day.
My birthday is always the week of Mother’s Day. Sometimes even falls on that particular Sunday. I don’t remember it bothering me until I became a mom. First one precious little girl and later, two precious little girls called me their mommy. They were SO focused and excited about Mother’s Day that my birthday often fell by the wayside.
When they got old enough to understand, I explained how much I loved their beautiful appreciation of me. I explained that I was their mommy every day. That it was the most special thing EVERY DAY. But that my birthday was only one day and it was special. It took a bit for them to get it, but they knew how important I made their birthdays and they began to come around. So while Mother’s Day remained special, “birthday birthday” became the focus that second week of May.

Mother’s Day is painful for me because I don’t have my mom anymore. However complicated our relationship was, she was my mother and I loved her.
I took Thing C and Thing G to get cards for their mom. I went with YBW to get a card for his mom. I spent the day with YBW and his mom.
It was agony.
I no longer have a mom. It hurts more than I can even communicate.
Thing 1 called to tell me Happy Mother’s Day. She thanked me for being her mom. She talked about the life she’s building. She talked about going back to school. She told me she sent a little gift, but it was going to be late. She told me how much she loved me.
My heart sang with joy!
Thing 2 did nothing. (I don’t know if she was being purposefully hurtful or not…I honestly don’t think it matters. It was hurtful enough.) People that I did not actually give birth to called and texted to wish me Happy Mother’s Day. I’m just sayin’.

When my girls were little and I was teaching preschool, I was blessed to be surrounded by some of the most truly awe inspiring women I’ve ever known.
We were a family. If something happened to one of us, joy or sorrow, it happened to all of us. These women helped me realize who I could be. They let me help them see things from my unique and sometimes brash perspective. (I may or may not have publicly accused the director of being on crack at a faculty meeting…in my defense, it opened a new way of talking about a serious topic.)

When I started this blog I promised my family and friends anonymity. That’s why I never use anyone’s real name…apart from my own. My girls and Sundance have expressed their ambivalence regarding this promise. I keep it because YBW is especially protective of his identity, and the identity of his sons. I respect that. Nobody “signed up” to be part of my public words regarding my private life. I want to keep those who need to feel safe feeling safe.
That said, I’m going to use the names of the women from that perfect moment in time when we lived and loved and worked in the safest and most creative environment.

It kind of started this way:
On Sunday, Nicole posted in our private group chat:
HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!!! I would not have survived young motherhood without you all!!

I was thinking something along those lines when I was washing my hair that morning. I was thinking about some of the women that influenced my life. What I learned from each of them and how I incorporated that into my parenting style, and into my own personal development.

I learned from my mom that always having to be in control will wear you the eff out. That it breaks you and makes you miserable. My mom taught me the value of creativity and expressing opinions because she squashed those out of us as children. She taught me that love is conditional, you must be exactly what someone wants or they can’t love you.
She taught me that you just have to keep fighting for what you believe in. She taught me what true sacrifice looks like. She taught me that a color book and box of crayons eases heartache. She taught me that birthdays are the most important celebration, because the day you came into the world is sacred. She taught me to love books. She taught me Elvis is the King. She taught me that being redhaird is the most precious gift, and that only a few of us ever have the luxury to receive it.
Some of the things she taught me made me a better mom because I did the exact opposite of what she did. Love is unconditional. Creativity and expressing yourself are the most important life stills to possess.
Some of what she taught me formed my most basic ideology. Birthdays are sacred. New crayons are priceless. Books are uniquely portable magic.

Nicole taught me that organized chaos is a great way to raise children. She taught me that love is fierce. She showed me how to see things through the eyes of a child. She taught me the value of true and long lasting friendship.

Jessica taught me that I was more capable than I ever realized. She taught me to listen differently so I could truly hear. She taught me to ask the most important question: What’s best for children? She taught me the value of my own mothering. She taught me when life hands you lemons, make lemonade. She helped me believe in myself at the lowest point in my life. She showed me the fire in my belly still had embers to nurture. She loved me when I couldn’t love myself.

Becca encouraged me to trust my gut, because she never seemed to be able to do that for herself. She taught me to appreciate every contribution. She brought out even more nurturing in me, she needed and still occasionally needs to be taught self-love. She taught me how innocent kindness can change lives. She taught me that my tough as nails hide could benefit from softening up a bit.

Terri taught me to see my firstborn in a new and different light. She provided much comfort and support when I was struggling with learning how to mom a three year old and a new and extremely sick baby. She was an example of love and tenacity through her own terrible illness. She taught me how to approach the enigma that is the three year old with the perfect mix of fear and appreciation.

Nancy taught me that I must embrace and celebrate my gifts. She is the first person who said out loud that I am a writer. That moment caused a change in my life that I will be forever grateful for. She supported me with love and hope when I didn’t know who or what I really was. She taught me that life is so much more than simply putting one foot in front of the other.

Marianne taught me that letting go is so much better than holding on too tightly. She taught me the importance of repetition. She helped me realize that a classroom was one of the most loving environments in the world.

Cory taught me that I matter. She helped me understand how to be a mom and a real person too. She accepted me for who I am. She guided my learning of that most important skill. I’m not great at it, but I am working at it every single day…even all these years later.

Julia encouraged me to take risks. She helped me realize that fear is a part of life, but if I didn’t try new things I might miss out on something extraordinary. She taught me a new kind of patience.

Sara gave me the courage to breathe when I needed to take a step back. She showed me the importance of kindness when Thing 2 and I experienced serious separation anxiety.

Like Nicole, I would never have gotten through young motherhood without these women. The gifts they gave me have gotten me through the last twenty two years.
It takes a village to raise children.
It takes a village to raise parents too.

I’m so blessed to know and love these women. I would not be the woman I am without experiencing their love and support.
I saw Becca this weekend, we talked about how those years were a sacred moment in time. We will never be able to recreate that, but we’re lucky enough to forever be better mothers and better women because of it.

Categories: education, love, me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

the gift of memories

Saturday marks the fourth anniversary of my mom’s death and it’s got me thinking about a lifetime of memories. I’ve written about my complicated relationship with my mother in missing Mommie, but today I’m not thinking about the unanswered questions.
Today I am simply remembering her. Remembering specific moments with her. Sometimes I feel like I’ve done her a disservice by talking about my conflicts with her, with my feelings about her, and not talking about the memories. Because even though the conflicts were many, the memories are too.

Fox in Socks is my all time favorite Dr Seuss book because of her. I was either in kindergarten or first grade, my brother was three or four. She sat with us to read this book, got tongue twisted beyond our imaginations and we laughed until we were collapsed in a heap in the floor.
She never read it again, but laughed about that moment for the rest of her life.

I learned to love Elvis because of her. She would play records and we would dance and sing until we were worn slap out. These moments were rare, seeing her be joyful simply for the fun of it. She never let herself go, always kept a tight reign on her emotions. Even then these little moments were sacred to me, I understood without really knowing how precious they were.

She never read us bedtime stories, she didn’t like to read aloud. Instead she would often use dolls or action figures to tell us stories at bedtime. My brother would scoot into my bed ready for the story. Sometimes she used my brother’s Weebles, or our Fischer Price people to tell the stories. But my favorite stories always starred I our bendy Evel Knievel and Derry Daring figures.
evel knievelderry daring
(Is it just me or were toys cooler in the 1970s than they are today?)

I would become distraught (I am in no way exaggerating.) when Grandaddy would get on an airplane to go on a trip. I would stand at the gate waving at him through the window until the plane took off and then I would completely loose my mind. I was all tears and hyperventilation and the way she had decided to console me was to take me to Toys R Us for a color book and new box of crayons. And even as an adult, I would receive a new box of crayons and a color book any time there was something serious going on. When I went to have my hysterectomy I got the big box of 64 and five brand new color books. She wanted to make sure I enough to keep me occupied.

After I was already married but before Thing 1 came along, she and I went on a road trip and documented it with video. I laughed more with her in the car those four days than I can even believe! We were positively punchy but it all made sense. I don’t know what ever happened to that old vhs tape, I wish I had it though. It would be fun to laugh with her again.

My memories of my mom are a gift. All the memories, the good ones and the complicated ones. I’m lucky to have them. I was lucky to have her. I’m not sure if I told her that. I know she knew because moms just know those things, but it might have been nice to say it out loud.

Categories: love, me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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