Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Mean Mom

I had to get this little gem of a conversation down in black and white, so I can refer my daughter to it one day when she has her own children...

We were waiting in line to drop her off at preschool.

Lila: Mom? Can I climb out through the way back?

Me: Nope.

Lila: Awww, come on Mom. Some of the other kids' moms let them climb out the way back.

Me: Well, I guess other kids have nicer moms than you do.

Lila: (very disgruntled) Yeah. And that's what I'm going to be when I grow up!

Me: What?

Lila: A nicer mom... I'm going to say "Yes!" to everything my kids ask to do!

Me: Yeah, good luck with that.

It's always a good start to the day when your parenting is critiqued by the five year old...

Friday, November 15, 2013

I'm choosing to call it a "Heavenly Kick In The Pants"...

It's been almost 4 months since my last post.

Why did I stop? 

Honestly, I was bored of myself I think. Bored with documenting the mundane day to day life I lead.

Why start again today?

I found my two of my Mom's journals while I was cleaning at my Dad's. One starts in 1977 when she was a newly wed and stopped shortly after my brother was born. The other starts two weeks after she was diagnosed with cancer in 2005. Both have huge gaps where she'd go months between writing (maybe it's genetic?) but I sat there on the floor devouring her words, seeing her handwriting, and crying because I miss her. 

Some of it is mundane day to day things about her work and her garden. Some of it is painful, about her illness and the medical treatments. Some of it is funny, how Grandma told her she looked like a bald alien when she lost her hair. Some of it is profoundly moving, talking about her faith and her fears of being sick. 

When I finished reading I wished like anything that there was more (and I know this sounds incredibly egocentric) especially more about how she felt and thought about me. About how she thought I was turning out, what she thought of my life choices, what she worried about because of me or for me. I guess we never truly grow out of wanting our mother's attention. :)

I often wonder at how seemingly insignificant choices, like the one to dust off and straighten that particular shelf on this particular day, can have such amazingly profound effects. Did I get a gentle nudge from my mom, when all the "You need to start blogging again" from family and friends wasn't working? I don't know, but I'd like to think so.

I realize after reading her journals that when I'm gone I want my children to have my words to read. I want them to know how I felt/feel about them. I want them to see their struggles and triumphs through my eyes. I see that the mundane day to day stuff can include beautiful lessons, in all the boring bits about her work and the painful parts about the medical stuff there is a thread woven through it about how my dad was always by her side, helping her and being her strength to lean on. That they had the deep kind of love that only comes through years of growing together and serving each other. How grateful I am for their example in my life.

So... message received Mom. Time to do better. Even if I find my life boring now one day this record with be a treasure for my children. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

So.... That happened.

"That" being the reason I haven't blogged in over two months. 

Only, I'm not entirely sure what "that" was. 

Only that it happened. 

I had every intention of posting about Brian's 2nd marathon the next day, but we had a minor fender bender accident on our way out of Pocatello and I think it rattled me more that I wanted to admit at the time. I've never been comfortable being the passenger (Serious back seat driver control issues, just ask my husband, or pretty much anyone I've ever ridden in a car with...) and ever since then it's been much worse. So I didn't want to blog about the day, and somehow before I knew it I was completely out of the habit. :(

But Caitlin is sending me not so veiled "you should blog" guilt trips on Facebook... in German, no less. So I guess it's time to saddle back up and try to do better. 

We've had a busy couple of months, including, but not limited to, the end of the school year, a wedding, a funeral, and a birth, out of town family visiting, our summer schedule of swimming, movies, library, picnicking, and crafting, holiday celebrations, and just generally trying not to melt in this crazy long heat wave. And now I've got about eight days to figure out what I'm doing for Evie's birthday. I know it's in eight days, not only because I was there when she was born and remember the date very well, but also because she has been counting down since July 1st, which has been awesome. 

There you have it. The last two months in a nut shell and an update for Caitlin. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Hello from Blackfoot...

We are in Idaho for the weekend because Brian is doing another marathon tomorrow. 

After driving all afternoon we let the kids wear themselves out at a playground, while Brian attended a dinner.

What is it about human nature that makes us want to go up the down slide?

Silly girls...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A growing moment...

Lately my girls have been going through a phase where they have refused to be downstairs by themselves. It's been very frustrating. That is where all their toys and clothes and belongings are. I don't want my upstairs cluttered with all their stuff, mostly because it makes it very hard for their daddy to get around. 

Today I put my foot down and told Lila to play downstairs. I turned on a movie for her and showed her how to push play. (My children are a case study in how gender determines technological capabilities, Jake at age three could run our entire entertainment system by himself and even reprogrammed the tv into Spanish which meant we had to have my dad come over to fix it since neither of us speak Spanish. My girls, ages four and six, still can't turn on the television by themselves... Go figure.) She did really great for about a half hour, but then came upstairs crying and in a panic because she saw a spider.

If you've read this blog for any length of time you might already know that I also hate spiders. So my first instinct was to rush to her rescue. But then I had a brilliant parenting moment, and I fully credit that I probably had an angel whispering in my ear. I held her hands until she stopped crying, and then I explained how sometimes it's a very good thing for us to face our fears. I told her that she was so much bigger than a spider that she could kill it easily. I told her that she was a brave, strong girl, and that it was important that she learn not to let scary things stop her from doing what she wants to do. 

She took a deep breath, then said, "Okay mommy. I am going to put on my shoes and go downstairs and stomp on that spider and squish him all up! Because I am bigger and braver than him... right?"

"Right! But don't forget a tissue so that you can flush him down the toilet after you squash him."

"Okay. Actually, I'd better get two tissues. One to blow my nose, and one to get the spider."

"Good plan."

She came out of the bathroom with a tissue and as she started through the kitchen I heard her whispering to herself, "You can do this Lila. You are a big, brave, strong girl. You can do this..."

And she DID! One minute later she triumphantly carried the spider into the bathroom and gleefully watched him swirl down the bowl. 

She is a big, brave, strong girl, and I couldn't be prouder of her. I foresee easier days ahead getting her to keep the toys downstairs... now if I could only have another brilliant flash on how to get them to keep it clean!

              Lila Faith- Spider Slayer!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Crying in public...

I know this might come as a shock to many of you, but I cry... a lot. Okay, maybe that's only a shock if you don't know me (or another member of my family) at all. I cry when I am happy, or sad, or hurt, or angry, or laughing (the normal or hysterical kind), pretty much all strong emotions are expressed through tears with me. This can be a strength in that I'm usually quite attuned to my emotions which helps me be a fairly balanced individual. It can also be a weakness when dealing with strangers as most people equate crying with something being wrong.

Tonight's SCI Forum had a breakout session just for the caregivers and was led by a social worker. She started us off by asking what were some challenges we face as caregivers and how we cope with the stress of those challenges. (Stinging behind my eyes, lump building in my throat.) I shared how hard and just physically exhausting it was at times being essentially a single parent and not being able to divide the day to day care of a home and family equally. 

We talked about asking for help. How it can be so hard to ask for help, especially when we are so culturally programmed to give service rather than receive. She asked for a show of hands of who had asked for help, and only two of us out of a group of ten or so raised our hands. I choked up as I talked a little bit about our family on both sides and what amazing support we've received from our ward, our neighborhood, and our community. I feel so much gratitude I can't think about it without tears.

We talked about ways to take care of ourselves as caretakers. She shared the analogy of being on a plane and the oxygen masks drop down. You have to put your own mask on first, and then help others. I was going to tell how my knitting group is a huge part of helping me recharge and renew myself as a caregiver, but the gentleman behind me beat me to the punch by talking about how he kills zombies... (I was worries knitting might seem kind of lame in comparison.) But I want to send a big shout out to my Twisted Stitchers (assuming that's the name we vote in next week), you guys really help keep me sane and I love you!

The social worker had us take a quiz to gauge our stress levels and I was pleasantly surprised. I scored 2 out of 20, which means I am coping very well right now. But then I started thinking about how I would have answered six or twelve months ago, and I got all teary because I'm just so grateful that I can see what huge progress we've made in the last year! 

She ended by giving us a list of resources and caregiver support groups, and urging us strongly to seek out professional counseling if we felt pushed too close to our breaking point. I'm not saying she meant that solely for me, but she was making pretty direct eye contact with a worried expression in my direction.
She also expressed some very kind words on the strength of character it takes to be a caregiver, and that was it for me. Sympathy does me in every time.

I left with a handful of papers, a blister on the inside of my cheek from biting it, and a wicked headache from trying not to cry. I should have just gone ahead and cried, as I'm fairly certain everyone in the group thinks I'm a basket case on the verge of a breakdown anyways...

But I'm really not. 
I promise.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

I have had a wonderful Mother's Day weekend. I spent Thursday-Saturday at a cabin at Bear Lake with a wonderful group of women enjoying good food, funny movies, and lots of creative fun sewing and knitting! It was a perfect get away.

But not only did I get the gift of time off from my husband and kids, I came home to a clean house and all kinds of progress in the yard thanks to my sweet in-laws! They ripped out a bunch of overgrown areas and bushes and trees, and they also added rocks to the ramp retaining wall and planted flowers. I'm so happy with how it looks and excited to keep trying to get the yard in shape.

Today has been a very nice, restful day. Brian has been so great about still taking charge of the cooking and the dishes and the kids. I really feel loved and refreshed, ready to start a new week of our busy, happy life. :)