Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Be careful what you wish for

Since L was big enough to sleep in a "big girl" bed I have been lying by her at night, talking about the day, saying our prayers and cuddling.

Considering that since once we were done with our chattering she was fast about falling asleep I didn't mind our nightly ritual.

However, once B graduated to a "big boy" bed, I had one more stop that was added to my nightly routine.

I would start in one room, usually L's, and then move to the others. B, always wanting to wait for me, and determined to do so, would NEVER fall asleep until I came to his room. Sometimes he would even meet me in L's room, lie by my side and then occasionally check her sleeping status, informing me of when it was safe to exit and go to his room.

It would be safe to say that B doesn't fall to sleep as easy as L. He fights it. He tosses, turns, repositions, tosses, turns, repositions...you get the idea....

....and he does all of that while keeping one foot firmly pressed against my body. You know, to make sure that I am still there.

Many times I woke up in the kids room, only to find that it was now 12, 1 or maybe even 4:00 a.m. I would then get up and groggily stumble into my bedroom and to our bed, muttering about how easy Steven had fallen asleep and how easy he had it, usually to awaken in the morning to find that B had done the same thing.


For a couple of years now I have accepted this as part of my nightly ritual.


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A couple of weeks ago, on the heels of my Post Traumatic Stress breakdown ( I kid...kind of), I decided that this must end. Our kids needed to go to sleep on their own.

Knowing that we don't watch a lot of TV, I bribed B. I asked him that if I got him a movie and let him watch it in his room at bedtime, if he would do it BY HIMSELF.

He agreed and then recanted.

I told him it was too late....the movie had been ordered.

I spent a whopping $3 and bought a VHS tape. A knockoff of Baby Einstein, called Baby Geniuses and the whole movie consisted of classical music, animals and at the end, nighttime pictures and sounds. The first time through B insisted that this was a "baby movie" and that he didn't want to watch it.

I marched him back to bed and said, "You have to try.....I will come back and check on you."

And I did.

And you know what?

HE WAS ASLEEP!!!!

And he has repeated this for the last two weeks.

(I realize that he shouldn't have to watch a movie, but for me it is about 'baby steps'.)

L, not being one to be outdone, started going to sleep on her own. Period. No movie.

Some nights she has said, "Will you lay by me.....?" and honestly, most times I have every intention of doing so, "Just as soon as I get a few things done."

Every time that I go back, almost expecting her to raise her head and smile that I have returned, I have been met with her sleeping face.

I am glad. I really am.

Aren't I?

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Steven and I have commented how it has been SO nice to have some time in the evening to talk...to each other. Don't get me wrong...we are always together. But we are together with our kids. And we enjoyed/enjoy it. However, prior to this latest bedtime change, the time we had alone..together...in the last six years, has been limited to a couple times a year.

Yes. A couple of times a year.

I haven't felt deprived, and I don't see that changing all that much even in the future, however, I like this new found conversation and time.....

yet....even amid all of my happiness, there is a little ache.

Last night I told Steven..."I miss bedtime with them. I am going to have to back track a little."

He just smiled.

We both know this....all of this..... won't last long. Laying by L in bed, holding her small body close to mine, recounting our days....these things will pass with time. She will be too big for her mama. In fact, I am prepared for the time when she doesn't even like me.

But until then.....

And B.

Well, I know that he, too, will be too "cool" for his mom. He won't want my kisses and hugs..... He won't want his "puppets" (stuffed animals).... He won't want me.

So, today...or should I say "tonight"..., I will still take time with Steven.

To laugh, to talk, to love.

But I will do it right after I spend a little more time with the kids, rubbing their backs and soaking this time up....this fleeting time up.

And then I will press "Play" for B.... I will exit their rooms.... and then I will return to my regularly scheduled life...... already in progress.

Monday, January 18, 2010

In and out of order

There is an episode of Oprah that I saw a couple of years ago that really stuck out in my mind.



The episode wasn't about cleaning. It wasn't about being organized.



No.



It was about financial security.



Although what I remember most about the show has nothing to do with finances.


In fact, it went much deeper than that. In a candid, no script moment, Oprah was standing in a very nice motor home that was owned by a couple that had purchased it for their retirement. The couple was asking financial advice about making their retirement money last as long as possible.



However, as Oprah was admiring their home on wheels, she instinctively opened up their cabinets. Realizing what she had just done....and realizing that this wasn't a motor home sitting on a lot, this was some one's traveling home....she quickly closed them and turned to them and said, "Well, your cabinets are clean. Perfect order. It doesn't surprise me. People who truly have it together in finances...but more importantly, in life...have clean cabinets."



OK. That may not be earth moving to you, but stay with me.



She went on to draw a comparison to people and their homes.



Some people whose homes are cluttered, chaotic, and a mess....are, well, usually inhabited by people whose lives are, well, a mess.



And, then she described me. Yep. Me. She went on to say that some peoples houses look clean on the surface, but they have "junk drawers" or their closet is messy.



Yep. That is me.



And I totally get it.



On the surface of my life, the part that everyone sees, I appear to have it together. But in the darker corners of my being...most of the time I am a complete mess. Kind of like the drawer by the phone. TOTAL MESS.



If you have read this blog for long I doubt you are surprised.



This weekend, not only were the "closets and drawers" of my being a complete mess, but so was my surface.



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I thought I did pretty good when getting everything ready for the shower. I had lists. I checked them twice.



I loaded up everything early and was running, surprisingly, on time.



I made all my stops and God seemed to be listening to my prayers as I noticed the sky lighten and the rain ceased.



However, as the time grew near and I made my fifth trip from the car to the basement where the shower was being held, my steadiness and assurance was running thin.



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People started arriving, along with the guest of honor. She was glowing and looked beautiful.



She and I had became friends when I was in college. We worked together at the bank and quickly hit it off. She got me....really, got me. She was there for me at times when no one else could be. She was frank, honest, and understanding.



She had seen my junk drawer.



I needed her and she was good for me.



Years passed and we remained close and as time took us to different jobs, and life took us on different paths we stayed in touch.



However, phone calls that would last for hours, turned into phone calls that were lucky to last ten minutes once I had kids.



My time no longer belonged to me.



As life does, it kept moving along and we moved with it, our paths seemingly farther and farther apart.



When the news came that she was expecting I was thrilled. I couldn't have been happier. I wanted to throw her a shower and, as you know, I did.



Her shower was a living reminder of how life moves on. At her shower were new faces and new friends.....

This era of her life made me feel like a stranger.



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Driving home I thought about how my life had changed. Living in a different town, working at a different place and now, having kids in a different school, has allowed me to make new friends as well. I am not sure how it all happened, but it did.



We had both changed.



Many of my new friends only know the "Kim" I am now. Many of them haven't seen my "junk drawers", or my "messy closets".

For some reason they think I have it together.


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Once home, I started getting everything out of the truck and bringing it inside. Trip after trip. More and more items being deposited on my kitchen table to be put up. As I made the final trip in, I started through the house to change my clothes to put everything away. I got as far as the living room before it hit me. The house was in complete disarray.



I looked all around me and nowhere was there order.



It felt like the turmoil of the last two months finally caught up with me. Inside AND out.



Like a crazy woman...... I lost control.



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L had went to stay with a friend so B got the brunt of my wrath.



"PICK THIS UP!" I shouted as I pointed to the toys.



I turned to start clearing out everything I had brought in. Changing would have to wait. B looked at me and said, "Can I have some milk?"



Feeling as if he totally ignored my passionate plea, I once again found myself yelling.

"NO! NOT UNTIL YOU PICK THIS UP!"



Moments later, after some what we will call "directing", he went to his room, crying.



Still in my heels I frantically put everything away, swept the floor, mopped the kitchen, and grabbed clean sheets to change B's bed.

Since things were back "in order", so was the clarity of my thinking.

I needed to get his bed re-made and most importantly, I needed to apologize.



I entered his room to find him on his sheetless bed, with one of his newborn baby blankets draped perfectly over his four year old body, stuffed dog under his arm, sound asleep.



The sight took away my breath and before it could return, tears stung my eyes.



I crawled onto his bed and kissed his sleeping face. I stroked his cheek and while crying, told him how much his mommy loved him. I took his hands and stared at them. So much bigger than it seemed they were just days before.....and yet so small.



And still, I cried.



That is how Steven found me. Crying on B's bed while he slept.



Crying because of time lost, changed friendships, lost tempers, compulsions, growing kids, mother's guilt, inadequacies, deep love and deep hurt.



Trying to not push me any farther, he gently said, "I think that you may have taken on a little too much the last couple of months..... Please tell me that you haven't lined up anything else, or taken on anything else? You are overwhelmed....you need to relax."



I was so thankful in that moment for a husband who seemed to understand.....and who placed no blame.

He could have pointed his finger at me and you know what? I would have deserved it.



However, had I been able to stop the tears I probably would have laughed at his use of the word, "relax".


He knows me better than that.


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Now, two days later, I can feel the tension beginning to ease.

I am starting to feel as if things are more in my control....that is what it is all about, isn't it? Control?

Or is it the illusion of it?

In fact, I am beginning to doubt that Oprah knew what she was talking about. It is funny that at a time when I was falling apart, when I was mentally "out of order".....my actual closets and actual junk drawer were literally clean.

I don't think that is a coincidence.

I think that when I can accept the disorder and chaos that life hands me, then I will finally be in order...inside and out.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Lettin' the crazy out a little at a time

I have been a little busy lately.

You know, lettin' the crazy out a little at a time.

My last post was in reference to the graduation party I had for my sister and brother-in-law. I thought that I would get my mental state back to normal after it was over.

Normal? What's normal?

Yeah, I don't know either.

I went from stressing about one party, to worrying about another.

Tomorrow I am throwing a baby shower for a friend of mine.

I am happy to be doing it. Really.

However, this is the first time that I have thrown a shower for anyone...on my own.

My "To Do" list seems a mile long. I have spent so much time at Wal Mart picking up last minute items that someone mistook me for a greeter the other day. (Oh, I kid! Kind of.) I am so afraid I am not "doing it right" and that not only will I miss something, but that it will be a flop with no one to blame but .....that is right....ME!

I am hoping to fill them up with so much food that they fall into a sugar induced coma and only have vague recollections of the shower. Is that wrong?

Anyway, either way, tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. I hope to breathe a little easier.

If I am not, I don't know who to blame.....oh yeah, that is right....ME!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Counting sheep and regrets

I have waited for this moment for over two weeks.

Planning and preparation has consumed me all of this time. I knew that once over, I would finally relax.

However, I was wrong.

You see, tonight, approximately 40 people visited my house to celebrate the college graduation of my sister and brother-in-law.

I had spent almost every moment of my spare time in the last two weeks either cleaning, organizing, making arrangements, or worrying about this party.

For the past two days I have been more physically exhausted than I remember being in a long, long time.

For example, two days ago I started by cleaning my curtains. Upon replacing a curtain on the rod, I noticed a magazine rack that needed to be cleaned out. I sorted through the piles and decided to take the scrapbooking magazines to the basement (where I scrap). Once in the (unfinished) basement, I decided that it needed to be rearranged. Two hours later, when returning upstairs, I decided that the stairs needed painting and so I woke up yesterday morning and had them painted by noon.

Tonight the party has started and ended. Everyone has left and probably arrived back at their homes. My husband and kids are in bed and yet the coveted sleep (and rest) that my heart has desired for days eludes me.

Could it be that my conscience is bothering me?

As I tucked my daughter into bed, I thought about the fact that Christmas vacation ends Monday. Back to school and back to my normal work schedule. I won't have as many uninterrupted days with her, as I have the last week and a half, until summer vacation.

Instead of filling up the days with board games and playing karaoke, I have spent it doing "things". Sure we decorated Christmas cookies and spent days celebrating Christmas with family. I sang an occasional karaoke song or two with her in the comfort of her bedroom and we took buggy rides as a family. But there were several days that I spent doing "things" that didn't HAVE to be done in preparation for our guests. I was doing these "things" in order to quiet the voice in my head that is constantly ridiculing me and telling me that I am not good enough.

Where will this leave me when my daughter is grown and it isn't the voice in my head telling me of my short comings, but my daughter, a grown woman, standing before me, resenting me, her mother, for all the "things" I didn't take the time to do with her.