Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The best-laid plans...

Last night, I drove home in the rain and decided to put on some mellow music and just enjoy the spring rain. Because I love the spring rain. I decided that I would go pick up Olivia and we would play downstairs in our living room with the back door open so she could see/hear/try to get out in the rain (I was planning on allowing this). I was so looking forward to it.

So I get to the daycare, and I get soaked – literally drenched – as I’m going in to pick her up. So I think, hey, she might like this, or at least I hope she does since I don’t have her raincoat with me. She did not like the rain. At least not being pelted with it on the way to the car. I still thought – you know, we can go inside and get dry, clean clothes on and have a ball. When we got home, though, she was really, really hungry, so I started her dinner. I went ahead and fixed mine, too, so that we could eat and go play together. My dinner didn’t turn out so well. I don’t recommend salmon quesadillas.

Finally, I’m downstairs with Olivia, whose diaper I had tried to change mid-poo because I was so distracted, and I’ve just spilled pink nail polish all over my fabulous new summer dress from Sandalwood Forest. I really and truly wanted to cry, but it was all just too frustrating. My hair was still wet, my mind was bewildered, my spirit was exhausted, and my daughter was running around half-naked in our disaster-area living room. The image I had driven home with of mother and daughter frolicking in the rain in flowy spring dresses had flat-lined. Just the same, we played with her Noah’s ark, and we read half of my favorite book. Then she wallered all over me while I helped the Murphy’s plan the music for Katie’s wedding. By 8:00, the Murphy’s had gone, Olivia was asleep, and I had the rest of the night to myself. I think I managed to accomplish a few things, to restore some minor order to the mess in our living room, but you couldn’t tell by looking, probably. I’m just really, really tired, and I am praying that very soon Olivia and I will have the opportunity to go somewhere and spend a couple of days just me and her.

‘But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: because of His great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.’ –Lam. 3:21-24

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Baby, You're the Lucky One...

So I'm sitting here, and I am exhausted. I was on my way to church* at 7:30 a.m. to play and sing in both services. From there, I went to Target. From there, I picked Olivia up and went home. I fed her lunch and cleaned the kitchen. I let her play for a bit, then I put her down for her nap and Waleska and Brad came over for their engagement photo shoot.

After they left, I simultaneously folded two-day-ago-dried laundry and tried to find Lost Season 5, Episodes 1-5 online. They are gone, and that makes me want to boycott ABC. Except they own Lost. And Ugly Betty. Instead, I may write a very strongly worded letter. After folding the laundry, I curled up and resignedly watched Lost S5 episodes 6 and part of 7. Halfway through episode 7, I hear the babe. She had been asleep for 2+ hours, so I knew she'd gotten her nap out, and it was time to switch back into Mommy gear. So we came upstairs. She found a pencil and some paper (Waleska's wedding invitation, no less), and went to town. About every twenty seconds, though, she would stop for a kiss. It was the sweetness that I have struggled to infuse into our lives because of our frantic pace over the last few weeks, and I felt like this was her saying...I'm good. We're good. It's good. Mwah.

We needed to take a trip to Shermee's to pick up some things, so we hopped in the truck after some serious playing and rode over there, windows down, country music on, in our new favorite ride, the Highlander (heretofore referred to as Lefty. That is another blog post altogether.).

We stayed at Shermee's for just a bit, but I knew LiviLou needed to eat dinner, so we headed home. She ate - with the help of Aunt Rachel - and I uploaded Brad and Waleska's pics to my laptop, along with the twins' bday party pics

and some great shots from Livi playing this afternoon. Then we went downstairs, so she could play, and I could clean. I folded some more laundry. I put away all of the laundry I have been folding since Monday. I showed her how to clean up a bottle full of water when you (she) spill(s) it on the bamboo flooring in our hallway. She learned, firsthand, that the drawers on her bureau have never really laid on their rollers straight, so if you pull one all the way out, it will be nearly impossible for Mommy to get the thing back in without the whole bureau looking like it fell off the back of a truck at some point in its history. I stripped my bed and showed her how we wash our sheets while she tried to make a run for it because the garage door was still open. Then I heated up her bottle - it is a battle I am not fighting right now - and we started our bedtime routine...dim lights, sound machine, diapey change, clean, fresh pjs on, cradle hug from Mommy and down we go, pink blanket and Dux (her favorite bear, whom she named herself) tucked in with her.

I walked upstairs and got settled with the laptop, TV remote control and Diet Coke, and now I am ready to talk about this. The Sabbath.

I am so guilty of cluttering up our day of rest with anything but rest, until I find myself clamoring to jam some rest into any moment I can for the rest of the week, until Friday at noon, I am one big heaping pile of fatigue. My reserves are spent, and I can't wait for the weekend to get here so I can finally relax...except that I don't do that for any longer than a few hours at a time, at best.

Recently, my mother started nursing school. It is an intensive program, and it requires a great deal of her time, focus and energy. She is also working 24-30 hours a week. Plus she has her own home to maintain and, honestly, she is still pretty much a newlywed. Before, I was able to make many more requests of her time, but right now, she is spread fairly thin, so I am really trying to give her the space that she needs so she can excel in this next phase of her career. Nothing is different when Olivia and I do go to spend time with her and's just that, for now, we have to be a little more intentional about scheduling. And I am totally okay with that. I want my mom to finish her RN, and to finish well. The best way of describing it is this: the changes in her availability have forced me to begin pulling the other leg of my big girl britches up. And this is a good thing. All of it is very, very good, for everyone. I suppose it is just another reason why I am pondering how I structure mine and Olivia's life together.

So I am going to start praying about the Sabbath. I am not content with 2 hours here, 1 hour there, 3 hours here (if I'm lucky and she sleeps that long). The phrase "sun-up to sun-down" is ringing in my ears, and I think the image there - of beginning and ending a day having done nothing but rest, enjoy your family, and, of course, eat - is beautiful. Of course it is beautiful. God designed it, so its destiny is beauty. My intention is to carve out a chunk of time when the house is clean, the errands are run, we are bathed, dressed and presentable, and we can rest - relax, freely enjoy leisure activity with no distracting thoughts of laundry, budgeting, rehearsing, scrubbing, organizing, winterizing, springerizing, or any other "izing" that keeps us from enjoying the simplicity of being together. My daughter is getting older. Her emotions are maturing every day, and she notices when I am distracted, disconnected and stressed. Those moments are inevitable for any family, for any mother. But I think the healing comes when you can spend solid amounts of time connecting, really looking at each other and laughing with (or at) each other, and enjoying the life God has given us together, as mother and blessed, amazing daughter...without all the riff-raff getting in the way.

So please pray for me as I seek to be intentional about this. I am just so thankful that we live where we do - with people who love us and who also value rest and relaxation, so that there is no worry that the house will always be in a constant state of activity and we will have to go somewhere else to slow down. We are always able to slow down right here.

*On the way to church this morning, I flew past a Trooper going 80 mph. I slowed down, of course, and then about a mile later, I see said Trooper in my rearview mirror. What does he do? Flies right on past me. I couldn't believe the mercy. And I drove the speed limit the rest of the way to church and was, of course, late. :)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

**Announcement: my second child, a shiny new HP laptop, arrived in the mail today. Expect much more frequent blogs.**

I had a dream last night that I went back. They took me on as a contractor/consultant. Basically I was a freelance recruiter, and they had a base structure they paid me with bonuses on top. It was very pleasant, and it was like I could make my own rules. I got to say how things would go. It had me wondering if maybe I should look into going back – kind of test the waters. But then I remember how many days I left there so stressed and so unsure of things. I would wonder how badly I had messed up this time, and what I could do to make up for it the next day, and what they were thinking about me and saying to each other about me behind my back. If they were asking each other if I was on pills, or if I was having trouble adjusting to being a single mother, or if I was going to get married and leave them high and dry, or if I was just plain stupid. I would complete a project and many times it would be sent back to me for correction – the tiniest, most insignificant correction, or the amount of time I had taken with it would be criticized, or it would simply be ignored. I would make suggestions and they would be cut off at the pass, and I always wondered if they could see my jaw clench, and if they knew how many jaw clenches I was from leaving them. I would be drilled for answers, and when I couldn’t answer them as precisely as they wanted, I would sit there, feeling like a bumbling idiot. I felt like a bumbling idiot about 50% of the time that I was there. About 25% of the time that I was there, I was happy – we were laughing, planning, looking to the future, agreeing with each other, making plans. I never felt like he was quite as excited as I was about things or as she would be. I always felt like he looked at me with varying levels of mistrust or disinterest. And I struggled to truly respect him in return. The other 25% of the time that I was there, I was trying to figure out how to motivate these people that worked for us – how to encourage them when my assignment was to crack the whip. How to manage them without insulting their intelligence. How to keep my cool when they did things that were going to make my life immensely more difficult. I felt like I had to know everything – to have my hands in, on and around the entire operation, and in the end, my hands just weren’t big enough. So I took that on as a personal fault. My tragic flaw, having such small hands. So I have taken that away with me. The Small Hand Syndrome. I am grasping at my job, my daughter, my family, my friends, my home, my church, my budget, my health, my God…and I am finding that my hands just won’t reach around all of it. So I can keep grasping and straining and reaching and ending up frustrated and worried and, once again, feeling like a bumbling idiot. Or I can realize that my hands are not meant to reach around all of my life. That there are hands bigger than mine that hold me and all of the above. And that is where I hope to find peace – in the adequacy of knowing that my hands were not built to hold the world…and that it is perfectly okay.

If I could tell the world just one thing
It would be that we're all ok
And not to worry because worry is wasteful
and useless in times like these
I will not be made useless
I won't be idled with despair
I will gather myself around my faith
for light does the darkness most fear
My hands are small, I know,
but they're not yours they are my own
and I am never broken