Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Anne Lamott told me to write about school lunches and this is what happened.

The lunches my mom packed always had a treat along with the sandwich and fruit. At school, I liked different things from time to time, but that one summer at YMCA daycamp, it had to be chips.

We sat in a circle. We ate outside, in the grass, under a tree.  We must have been the older kids because we sat outside the fence of the playground.

Someone would empty out a paper lunch bag and we would pass it around, everyone emptying the contents of whatever snack our parents had packed into the bag. Chips, popcorn, crackers, pretzels. Even broken pieces of chocolate chip cookies.  Then the bag would go in the middle and we'd all help ourselves to snack mix that tasted like belonging.

Except that one day, my mom skipped the chips and gave me Tastykakes instead. I don't know if she'd run out or just thought I might like a change, but there it was, cream filled chocolate cupcakes. A twin pack. Utterly snack mix able.

I was mortified. I had nothing to add to the bag. I still sat in the circle, but that day I was outside and went home and yelled at my mother. She was so confused. The bag wasn't the kind of thing you told your mother about.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Scrolling

I have a scrolling problem.

I wake up in the morning and I start scrolling. I scroll through Facebook then Instagram, sometimes a deal blog or two, then usually open Facebook again. I stare at it absent mindedly for a second, trying to figure out what's wrong before realizing I've already read it all.

I'm not writing, I'm not connecting, I'm not even really reading. I'm just scrolling.

I'm not sure what I'm looking for. Well, that's not completely true. I'm pretty sure I do know. I'm lonely. I'm bored. I'm hoping that by scrolling I can make myself feel better, can somehow fill up the parts of me that feel empty.

But it doesn't work. It never works. Scrolling is never going to be the thing that saves me. I need to do something else.

I'm not sure what to do.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Sad

I am curled up on my couch in my pajamas with both of my kids lying on top of me and a stuffed Piglet on my chest. We are watching sesame street and I am mindlessly scrolling my fb feed.

I'm not okay.

It's probably confusing to a lot of people because it's pretty much the same way I look when I am okay. Because I'm sure there are a lot of people who think it sounds divine. And really, I'm sure there's a lot about it that is. I'm grateful. I am. And I'm sad.

A lot of my friends are doing big things. Running and attending conferences. Running for city council. Writing books.

Getting together in small groups and posting pictures.

Yeah that kind of feels like a big thing today too.

I decreased my meds a few weeks ago. I was sure it was the right choice. And maybe it was. Maybe these are real feelings that needed to come through and be listened to. I kind of feel like I've didn't the past year in a daze. But now I'm sad and lonely and I don't wanna be.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Are bad guys real?

"Mommy," says BG  from the back seat of my car, "mermaids can hold their breath underwater for a long time, even when they're talking."

"Yup, they sure can." I pause for a second. "I mean, you know mermaids aren't real, right?"

"NO!"

"Oh. Yeah. Mermaids are just in stories, honey, like dragons."

"Oh. Okay. What about bad guys?"

"...You want to know if bad guys are real?"

"Yup."

There's a long silence.

What would be the easy answer here? "Nope, they just exist in fairy tales. Villains are just in stories." "Yup, there's lots of bad guys in the world."

Neither seems right.

"That's a really good question honey. People do bad things sometimes."

"So that makes them bad guys?"

And then I know it, the truth.

"No. It doesn't. It doesn't make  them bad guys. It just makes them people who do bad things. And you really can't know which people are going to do bad things just by looking at them, which is why you have to be careful with strangers. But I guess the answer is, no. There are no bad guys in the world. People just do bad things sometimes. Does that make sense?"

"Sure! I get it."

Which is funny because you're four. And I'm pretty sure I didn't get it until just now.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Courage

It's a trait I see and admire so, in other people.

Your grace, your courage, your vulnerability.

But I'm just a mess, they say. I'm just muddling through.

I have yet to figure out how to explain that that's the part that's amazing, that the willingness to be imperfect and out in the world, to play it strong and wrong if they have to (like my name director used to say), is what I admire, what I envy.

How much I wish I was the kind of person who could do anything at all, right or wrong, without thinking about it for 12 hours first and regretting it for 48 hours after.

I messed up, guys. I didn't finish NaBloPoMo, and I was so embarrassed I sure down for three months.

 I'm so embarrassed of how embarrassed I was.

Showing up here after all this time scares me, maybe more than it should. I'm afraid that no one will care, that it doesn't matter. I'm so afraid.

But the only way to get courage is by practicing it.

Which is a sucky way for that to work if you ask me.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Perfect

"First you want to color the J and the jellyfish," our beloved children's librarian had instructed. "Then you can glue it to your paper.  Then you can add the yarn and ribbons to the jellyfish body as tentacles."

As I wrestled Little Sister back into her chair, held the mouthwash size paper cup of apple juice to her lips, and pulled the yellow  marker away from her lips, I looked up to see BG gluing her completely uncolored J to her paper - backwards - and haphazardly attaching ribbons around the edges of the paper.

All around me, mothers and grandmothers meticulously supervised their charges' work.  "I think you want to color the jellyfish a little more.  What colors do you think you should use? It could use more green." "Now lay the glue down in a nice even line here.  Yes, just like that."  "Here, let me curl the ribbons for you so it looks nicer."

"Hey sweetie? You wanna take a look at that J for a second? Does it look right to you?"

"What? Oh. Ha. It's backwards." She unceremoniously ripped the letter from the page and started applying glue to the other side.

Sometimes I wonder what the other moms think of me and my children at moments like this. As their perfectly groomed children sit squarely in their seats, making true to life jellyfish, mine throw splotches of marker across sheets of construction paper, calling out for the librarian by name (yes, the baby does too now) to come look at their work. I often feel embarrassed in situations like this, embarrassed by our messiness, by my seeming inattention, by their volume and enthusiasm.

Embarrassed, to some degree, by their joy and their complete indifference to certain social norms.

And so, in some ways, also proud.

If you had asked me two years ago, one year ago, six months ago, if I would wake up this morning and decide that we were going to make and paint salt dough ornaments in my kitchen, I would have said you were crazy. I'm not crafty. I'm not a pinterest mom. I'm a big old pinterest fail.

But a few years ago, even, I knew that I wanted my daughters to be creative, to love art, to have these skills, so I started getting them art supplies. Mostly I would just put the box of materials on the table and say, have at it kid. Do what you will. Because, really? I didn't care.

The purpose was the process.

When I asked a friend if I was crazy to make ornaments today, she said no. She said "they won't come out the way you want them too, but the kids will have fun."

And I realized, as we rolled out lumpy dough, six hands on the rolling pin, that I didn't want them to look like anything. I didn't want them to look like anything but my girls' own work.

And so, they came out perfect.

And this, I think, is what motherhood is teaching me again and again, what I am fighting against and slowly succumbing to. This lesson is my children's greatest gift.

It's already perfect.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

solidarity

You know what would be great sometimes? If we could have a parenting co-op where we could take turns putting each other's kids to bed.

Because God knows our kids would never treat other moms the way they treat us.

But seriously, what would be amazing about this would be that when we said "omg, you will never believe..." And our friends said "I know," we would believe them. Really believe them. Because we would know that they truly saw us and that it wasn't really just us.

So let's just pretend that tonight your kid screamed at me and my kid sobbed on you and kicked and screamed all the way to bed.

It's not your fault. You're a good mom.