A Little Conflicted

I love my kids like crazy.  I love being a stay-at-home mom.  I love being a homeschooling mom.

But sometimes, I need a break.

Summers are actually the hardest time of the year to get them.  During the school year, hubby takes them to Bible Club and Pioneer Girls twice a week.  During the summer, these programs take a hiatus.  And so does my break time.

This leaves  my walking time as my time.  But, many nights one or another kid joins me.  I love having them get exercise and the conversation time we have.

But I really miss being alone to think my own thoughts..  It leaves any vestige of myself out of the equation and leaves me feeling very boring and flat.

How do you parents balance that in the summer?  How do you keep some of the me?

P17

 

Funerals And Such

I think we are creeping closer and closer to being a pet owning family again..  Hubby and I each had dogs when we got married, but old age and illness took them from us a few years back.  And while Hubby and I loved our dogs, we have also loved the freedom of no pets to consider when planning camping trips, have loved not cleaning up dog poop in the yard, and the lack of hair in the house.

But I think those days are coming to an end.

Caitlyn, and often Sue, have been begging for a dog for months.  We have put them off during that time by telling them they have to learn to keep their room clean before we consider adding a dog.

Well, guess what…there room is not always clean, but they are doing much better..and they have stopped fighting me over cleaning their room when I mention in needs to be done.

Today they cleaned it all on their to hold a funeral…for Caitlyn’s firefly that passed away at the hand, er foot, of someone in our household.  They have cleaned their room and are making invitations to the service.

Yeah, the whole thing is weird, but I am thinking it is time for a pet with a little more staying power than a firefly.  And we are not cat people.  Or hamster people.  And fish just don’t last.  That leaves us with…a dog.

And now for more parameters.

I am not a big dog person.  I consider black labs big.  I grew up with, and had, a dachshund.  They are cute and small, but can be picky about children.  But that is the kind of dog hubby is thinking he would like for our next pet go-around.

I would like something that doesn’t really shed.  My cousin has this amazing golden labradoodle that is small, affectionate, patient with kids, and doesn’t shed.

So much to consider—like that whole cleaning up poop in the yard…yuck…but I think the day of reckoning is coming quickly…and honestly it is more fun to consider than our current presidential race, so I guess I will continue to think upon these things…

Upon Holding Your Son

Oh my friend, I have so much to say to you, so much in my heart, but I am so afraid it will come out all wrong.

Today, I held a miracle.  Your new baby.  Yes, I know all babies are miracles, I send three to bed in my own home every night, but yours, oh yours.  He is a miracle.

I believe all babies are prayed for–as you know I pray for all babies I know about—but 10 years, not all are special enough to get 10 years of prayers.  I almost cried while holding him this morning, I am crying now, at having held the answer to 10 years of prayers today.

God is so faithful.  In the darkest moments, the hardest struggle, God is so faithful.

As someone said on your Facebook today, motherhood looks good on you.  God created you for this role–the good days, the hard days, He created you for all of it.

There is very little, if any, advice you need.  And you are wise enough to ask when you have questions.  You may not have worn the formal cloak of motherhood for long, but you taught me something today and for that I thank you.  You taught me to give my moment to moment concerns to God–as we talked about checking to see if they breathing, something mothers for generations have done and anguished over, you reminded me we can give even that to God.  I needed that reminder.  Thank you.

I know there is no advice I NEED to give you, but there is something on my heart.  You will, and probably have, heard a lot to enjoy this time because it goes so fast.  I took that so much to heart that I cried when they lifted Caitlyn up on my chest for the very first time; up until this point, she had been all mine.  But now, now people would expect me to share her and expect me to groom her to grow up and leave me.  I had my first panic attack about her growing  up and leaving me when she was 8 weeks old.  I was standing in the store, my first time away from her, hyperventilating because she was already so old.

It really didn’t get better from there.  I spent the next four years growing and having babies.  And having people tell me to enjoy this time because they grow so fast.  I was comfortable in my role as a mama of young, young babies.  I felt like I could handle it.  But what about what came next.  That brought only terror.

I loved being a nursing, cloth diapering mama.

What if I didn’t love what came next?

Thing is, what came next, was coming, was here…and I still loved it.  I slowly loosened my grip on what I saw myself as good at and put my eyes on my children and who they were…and I let myself breathe.

Yes, those early days went quickly–how else do you explain that I am days from my first baby turning 10 and my youngest baby turning 6?  But the thing is–these ages are amazing too.

My girls like to take walks with me.  They seek me out to tell me about their day.  Each one has embraced homeschooling with me.

Each of my amazing girls have interests of their own–Caitlyn loves to craft and do.  Sue is my social butterfly.  She loves people and cuddles.  Patrice is a talker who knows her own mind like nobodys business.  Caitlyn learns like I do, Sue takes in info like  her daddy, and Patrice is still learning how to best absorb her studies.  Each of them blesses my heart in how they learn about and follow after God.  My heart bursts to hear them sing about the Lord, tell me their AWANA lessons, and pray for others.  The hardest part of their spiritual walk for me is following the Lords’ leading to pray for Him to send one of them to Asia for His kingdom.  I still want to keep them close but He is teaching me to let them grow.

My heart cry for you and I as mothers, is to take joy and comfort in watching them grow.   Yes, the early days go quickly–but they are amazing and the days that come after them are just as, if not more, amazing–and the Lord has given us a front row seat.  We are standing right in front of the canvas of their lives watching the Lord choose the colors as He paints His masterpiece in our beloved children.

That is truly amazing.

Little by Little

I have talked about Fodmap.  I am pretty sure I have talked about getting off a medication that caused weight gain.  And I have been walking.  And walking and walking.

The food issues are getting easier to navigate.  I have honed in on the biggest issues that are the biggest part of my life.  Gluten is gone from my diet.  I have started to find what brands of foods I do and don’t like.  The limitations can be annoying, but have been fantastic for weight loss.  A spectacular silver lining!!

The change in medication, just rocks.

And the walking is something I really, really enjoy.  I also love the competition of the Fitbit.

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And I am absolutely, positively in love with the weight loss.  I have gone down a size in shorts and jeans.  Did you read that?  Yup, DOWN A SIZE.  After a couple years of seeing my weight and size only go up, it is now going down.  Down, down, down.

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I still have a ways to go, but I am down

20 Pounds!!!!

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Twelve Years of Checkmate

Last night their daddy taught them to play chess.

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He is the proud daddy of three girls.

As was my daddy.

I remember him trying to teach me to play chess…

I miss you daddy.  It has been 12 long years since you left us.

My Words

Someone challenged me today to use my words, my white privilege to speak out for African American lives.  I don’t have any eloquence here, but as she pointed out, I do have my blog, so here goes.

It seems like every time I turn around a Black life is being lost where there should be due process, a legal course of action.  It seems traffic stops, too often, are ending in death.  What happened to arresting someone when they do something wrong, making sure they are safely transported to jail, and get safely to their day in court?

I fear a lot of things for my girls, I do, but I don’t have to fear their skin is the wrong color.  I don’t have to fear they will be assumed guilty before proven innocent.  I don’t have to fear those things.

Friends of mine DO fear those things.  Every day.  I see their sons as smart, funny, cute.  And that is how they should be seen. Always.  And my heart breaks for them.  They should not fear their gender, their skin.

I used to think, well, it seems these African Americans are always wearing hoodies when they are arrested, and things go wrong for them–they should just stop wearing hoodies.

Wait, back up, read that again.  Yup, my mind somehow decided it was their fault they got arrested and treated wrongly because of the style of sweatshirt they wore.  And then one day my brain stopped, and thought through that a few times.  Because of the style of sweatshirt they are wearing.

That is ridiculous.  They should be able to wear anything they damn well please, especially a sweatshirt…that of all things, should not get them in trouble.

I have white privilege.  And I’ll admit I am glad it works in my favor.  But my skin should not give me privilege.  All mothers should be able to raise their children without fear.  All women should know their husbands will come home safely.

We should all be able to walk, drive, run down the streets safely.

A Compliment

Except for this for my Sue when she learned how to read a challenging book,2014-06-02 09.22.41 2014-06-02 09.26.16 2014-06-01 14.13.35 2014-05-31 22.22.22I have never colored my hair.  I’ve always been proud of it’s color and was afraid if I dyed it, what I had when the color grew out would not be what I have now.

I was born with red hair, but after that was a blondie.  And have always considered myself a natural blonde.  There are times my hair looks pretty brown, but if I dry it with a hair dryer or let it dry naturally before I pull it back, it is primarily blonde.

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I was once at a hairdresser getting a cut and a lady walked by me, pointed at my head and said, “I want her color.”  My hairdresser told me a lot of people come looking for what I sport naturally.

That has stuck with me.  Obviously.

And it got me thinking about our words.  That whole conversation took place over 15 years ago.  And I still think of it.  That one compliment still impacts me.  15 years.

What will my girls think of my works in 15 years?  Caitlyn will be almost 25, Sue almost 24, and Patrice almost 21.  What will stick with them?  Which of my words will matter to them?

On the Look Out

There is a golf driving range and miniature golf course on my walking route.  I love walking by it.  It is a nice change of scenery.  Well, during the summer that is.  During the winter it is a pretty drab area of nothing.

Tonight is a very mild night, about 70 degrees and breezy.  There were lots of people out golfing.  And as I always do, I looked through the golfers noting the families, especially the ones with older kids.

Those make me happy, they give me hope.

You see, since Caitlyn was just 8 weeks old, I have been dreading the day they will get older, grow up, and leave me.  I like them close, I like them with me.  I like life the way it is now.  But I know it will change.

I picture this change starting in the tween and teen stage with the girls not wanting to be around us…and only growing until we haven’t seen them in months.

But those people miniature golfing, they, give me hope.  They give me hope we can weather the years together, as a family.  Growing and learning together.

 

Annual Reminder

Have I ever mentioned that Bipolar Disorder is a jerk?  A real jerk?  Well it is, and even when you are doing well it is not far away and even when you are doing well, that doesn’t mean  it isn’t pressing in, closer and closer to taking over your mind once again.

It’s been whispering in my ear for a week.  I’m scared, but I am beginning to reach out and use both old and new coping mechanisms.  This week it got a big boost to the forefront of my mind…it handed me my annual reminder of what a terrible mother I am.

I don’t enjoy playing in water.  I don’t enjoy water slides.  I don’t enjoy swimming.  Never really have.  I can doggy paddle but even that is cumbersome and sloppy.  But, my children are more normal than I, and they love the water.  LOVE IT!  Love the slip and slide.  Love the water balloons.  Love the splash pad.  Love the water slide.  Love the wave pool.  They love it all.

And the beginning to our summer has been toasty.  And sunny.  The girls keep mentioning the water park…so, surprise, surprise when that was the first activity they wanted to do on our summer “bucket” list.

I have been taking Caitlyn and Sue for four years.  Our county rec program used to give kids free passes for reading.  They seem to have stopped doing that, but not before they got my girls hooked on going.

So we go…

The first year I was still working, well sort of.  I was on medical leave because the bipolar was giving me heck and I had just started lithium after being hospitalized once again for suicidal thoughts/plans.  Caitlyn, Sue, and I left Patrice with the sitter and off to the water park we headed.  We put sunscreen on the girls, but not on mama.  And then we played for a few hours.

The sunscreen didn’t do the big girls any good and my lack of sunscreen did me even less favors.  We all came home painfully burned.  Hubby wanted take us all to the ER for help and I just stood there blubbering about what a failure of a mom I was.

I will never forget how burned Caitlyn was.

And every year that damn water park reminds me what a failure I am.  Oh, the girls are well coated in sunscreen, but see that fair skin?  It manages to burn anyway…and I fight back my tears.

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They aren’t crying–not at the park or once we get home.  Oh no, they are planning their next trip (they hid the water park back in our “bucket” list).  They are hoping, asking, planning while mommy is screaming with terror at herself (internally) for being such a horrible, lousy mother that does not deserve to guide these beautiful girls through life.

My mind walks two lives, plastering on the smiles, waving, and taking pictures while the girls play while internally I am preparing myself for someone to say,  you really can’t do this, we can’t let you do this.  And Bipolar gets the last laugh as it reminds me of what I really am…

Sometimes It Is About Control

I wrote this post in my head while taking a walk.  It was awesome…then.  We’ll see how it goes now.

I, like many teens/young people, danced with anorexia in my teens and then again in my 20s.  I was chunky from fourth grade on.  My cousin was slim, all the popular girls were slim, and then there was me.

High school sucked.  Most of the people around me were mean or indifferent (NOT the aforementioned cousin–she was and is one of the best people in my life).  I didn’t know how to fit in at either of the schools I attended during Junior High and High School.  Nothing I did helped.  I felt like I didn’t have any control.

And then I learned to control my food.  I could skip as many meals as I wanted.  That, I could control.  So, I ate less and less.  And I lost weight.

Bonus.

I got down to 84 pounds.

But hunger came back and so did the pounds.

Right after high school I discovered exercise and a healthy diet.  I took the weight off right this time.

And it stayed off.

Then I got involved in a relationship.  A really unhealthy relationship.  Let’s call it for what it was…an abusive relationship.  And they only thing I ever did that made him happy was losing more weight.  He loved to show people how much he could overlap his fingers when he put his hands around my waist.  So, I kept losing weight.

Praise the Lord, he and I split up, but again life was spiraling for a while there and food was one thing I could control.

Until I met my now husband.  I was  happy with him.  I had someone to eat with again.  I gained weight.  Then I lost weight…in time to get pregnant with our third baby…and then I lost all control of my weight with the various psych meds I was on and the depression I was in.

Control was again missing from my life.

I have slowly regained control my mind.  I am slowly regaining control of my weight.

I have lost 17 pounds since January.

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As I have written about before, I  have had to radically change my diet.  I have had to eliminate or severely limit many foods.  It is not always fun, but it is worth it.  The FODMAP diet has eliminated much of my stomach pain.  It has made losing weight much easier, and, an added benefit, it has given me control–healthy control–over my eating again.  I know what I can and cannot eat.  I know how much I can eat.  There is no guesswork in my food.

It is good.  Very good.