Tuesday, August 23, 2016

I have a new home.  I hope you'll follow me over there.  It's the fresh start I needed.

Self Help

Monday, May 09, 2016

This time of year is insane, isn’t it?  It’s a weird cross between “how the hell is it already the end of the school year” and “If I have to pack one more sack lunch someone is getting cut.”  Most of the time I feel like I’m riding a roller coaster backwards and blindfolded, and I’m not sure I heard the safety bar click into place.  But not today.  For some reason - I blame Mercury in retrograde - today I got cocky.  Today I felt in control.  Organized.  Like if Martha Stewart had a love child with an Ikea catalog.  #Winning #NailedIt
So when I got the email from our room mom this morning, the one that started out, “Sorry for the short notice...” I was all, HELLS YES.  Bring a flower for Teacher Appreciation Day tomorrow.  No problem. I got this.  

Don’t be fooled.  My delusions of competence only lasted until about 3PM, when the wheels officially came off.  I picked the kids up from school and my 2nd grader immediately lost his ever loving MIND about having to go to the grocery store.  That’s his thing lately.  The grocery store might as well be the center of the Zombie Apocalypse, because he is not going anywhere near that place.  Not even if I offer up doughnuts, which I did, because I am not above bribery and I really, REALLY needed to go to the grocery store.  (Because said 2nd grader is a big fan of eating food, and we didn’t have any.  Irony?)  After that my evening is kind of a blur of homework, dinner, baseball, and the second 8-year-old meltdown that was a classic mashup of “Why do I have to get my uniform on right now?  You’re so mean.” and “WHAT?  We’re late to baseball? You’re so mean.”  

So by the time we rolled into Sweet Pea’s volleyball practice, floral responsibilities were completely off my radar.  Until, of course, i was basking the glory of my silent, parked car.  That’s when I remembered the flower.  Damnit.  (45 minutes with nothing to do but stare at Facebook and Pinterest.  45 whole minutes slipped through my fingers…)

It just so happens that I was really near a Walmart.  That’s kind of out of the ordinary for me, and presents a challenge.  I would like to tell you that the challenge is a moral one, that my ethical compass prevents me from shopping at Wal Mart.  But if we’re being honest it’s more about a 42 year old woman who doesn’t want to get in trouble with her Daddy.  Because his moral and ethical compass does prevent him from shopping at Walmart.  And if anyone were to report seeing me there, the disapproving lecture would probably cut into my “no-one talk to mommy” time. But sometimes necessity means donning dark glasses and going into Wallyworld.  

It’s for the kids, I told myself.  It’s for the kids.  

Apparently I have Walmart mixed up with a 7-11 from 1992, because I sincerely thought I was going to be able to march my ass in there and find single stem roses for sale at the register. What was I thinking?  The options for single stem roses at Walmart include nothing.  Not even the wooden ones that smell like cheap perfume and ashtray, or the lacey ones made out of a rolled up g-string.  In fact, the floral section at Walmart at 7:45 p.m. on the day after Mother’s Day was completely cleaned out.  (Aww, Moms!) The kiosk that holds bouquets was literally empty, save one sad little arrangement of daisies, which I lunged for.

Mission accomplished.  Good job Supermom.  

“Mom,” Sweet Pea said with growing concern in her voice when we got home.  “What’s up with these flowers?”  

“Those are for you to take to your homeroom teacher tomorrow.”

“I think somebody spilled something on them.”

“No, I think that’s decoration.”

“It looks like spray-paint.”

“It’s decoration.  You know, to give them some color.”

“Flowers don’t need decoration.  Flowers ARE decoration.  This looks like that stuff you spray in your hair at Halloween.  It’s weird.”

“It’s springy.  Bright springy colors.”

“Who decided to spray paint flowers?  Seriously?  Who does that?”


“I’m telling Grandpa.”


Monday, April 11, 2016

Once upon a time, I thought I was living a fairy tale life.  Maybe not perfect by Disney standards.  But pretty wonderful by mine.  And then suddenly I wasn’t.  I’ve been separated from my husband since September.  Which is really all I’m interested in saying about that right now.  Not because I’m embarrassed or ashamed.  But because it’s real life.  It’s messy, and evolving, and painful.  

Also, the only story that gets told here is mine, no matter how objective and honest I try to be.  And this isn’t a story about one person.  Or two people.  At minimum this is a story that has dramatically changed the lives of four people.  I don’t want my story to shout so loudly that it starts to crowd into those other three.    

It probably seems weird for a girl who writes posts about PMS and her underpants to go silent on something as big as my life being turned upside down and inside out.  Or maybe it seems strange to bring it up at all.  Well, here’s the deal...I want to keep writing about my life.  And I couldn’t do that with the elephant in the room.  So the elephant has officially been introduced and offered a cup of tea.  Now we can get on with this business of healing and living.  

I will answer the most frequently asked question:  We’re fine.  I’m Ok, the kids are Ok.  It’s all going to be Ok.  I’m getting used to my new life, and I like a lot of things about it.  I like my new house.  I like my new neighbors.  The kids are settled and happy.  They have made some new friends.  They like the time they spend at their dad’s apartment too, and they are happy that they get to see him almost every day.  

Yeah, we’re sad.  We go to grief counseling.  Sometimes our hearts hurt a lot.  But we know that we will be Ok.  I’ve learned so much about myself.  About being brave when you’re terrified.  About being strong because you don’t have any other choice.  And about having faith when you feel like all God’s promises are unraveling around you.  

Most importantly I’ve learned to trust that my story isn’t over, and I’ve never liked stories that don’t have happy endings.  

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Sweet William:  Mom, I am LITERALLY going to blow your mind.
Me: Actually, you are going to figuratively blow my mind.  Literally means that you actually did something.  Meaning you really and for real blew up my brain.  But figuratively means that you are going to do something that makes it seem like you blew my mind.  Like, you could tell me a really cool fact, or show me something amazing...
10 minutes later…
Sweet William: Mom, I am LITERALLY going to blow your mind.
Me: Literally, or figuratively?
Will:  Literally.  See, I built your brain in Minecraft on top of this block of TNT and…Boom.  Mind blown.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Springtime always makes me a little crazy.  I’m not sure why.  We live in a valley, and January/February usually means one inversion after another.  The sky turns that exact shade of gray that causes everything to lose all its color.  Between that and the icy cold, it wears on the best of us.  It's all we can talk about, think about...But for some reason it’s spring that rattles me.  After a few days of celebrating the sunshine, the changing season always causes me to go into a little bit of a tailspin.
My guess is that it’s because in winter time it’s pretty easy to be singularly focused.  The cold drives us inside, and I launch into cocoon mode.  I cook, and we snuggle.  We play games and watch movies and drink wine.  We focus on schoolwork and family.  I read more, and relax more, and pray more.  Who cares if the house gets a little cluttered, no one’s coming over anyway…
Yesterday was a glorious spring day.  My forsythia is budding and there are big pink flowers on the tulip tree. The kids played outside in short sleeves.  We opened the blinds for the first time in 3 months, but after about 5 minutes of standing in the living room basking in the sunshine I started to notice all the things that were covered in winter grit and grime. 

In the springtime, I get a little overwhelmed. 
I wish I was better at letting go.  I wish that I could sit in disarray and have it not vibrate around me like a nest of hornets.  I wish that I could find contentment in “good enough.”  I wish that I didn’t take the dirty windows and rotting leaves so personally.  I wish that I could be happy about the little green shoots peeking out of the damp earth, instead of frowning about the brown dry branches of the rosebushes that need to be pruned.
I’m trying.  God grant me serenity…


Thursday, March 05, 2015

A long time ago when a much younger Mr. G was courting a much younger Clover, we had a deep conversation or two about what kind of parents we were going to be.  Now that we actually HAVE children, I can’t remember most of what we previously aspired to.  (But I’m sure we’re nailing it.)  The one part I do remember is that we made a pact stating that when it came to questions about our teenaged years we were going with a LIE and DENY offense.

Best. Parents. Ever.
I’m certain that I envisioned my imaginary future children to be bright and precocious and free spirited and wise and, well, perfect.  I bet that I thought I would be that mom who was so spectacularly awesome at crafts and snacks and games that my house would be the place where all the kids wanted to hang out.  Of course, my children are perfect.  And we might even be that house where their friends like to hang out, but we’ll never know. Because, quite frankly, I don’t like other people’s children enough to invite them over. 
So the net/net here is that so far, we are winning parenting.  Yep.  That’s the net/net.

The problem is that Sweet Pea is turning 11 in just a few short months, and I can already feel the tide changing.  There are eyerolls, and dramatic exits with stomping feet and slamming doors.  There’s an Instagram account that I’m doing a fairly mediocre job of monitoring, and a lot of reminders about things like camis and deodorant and face wash.  Teenaged angst is coming at me like a freight train, and I am starting to question my game plan. 
Sort of. 
Despite Red Ribbon Week being the bane of my existence, I feel my kids understand our stance on cigarettes and alcohol.  Basically, cigarettes are evil and alcohol will turn your brain to jelly until you are an adult.  “Adult” is a little nebulous, but I think they know that we mean older than 16.  (Even though in their minds anyone with a driver’s license and a locker combination is an adult.)  When it comes to sex, Will is still in the dark, and Sweet Pea is so totally grossed out she’s considering joining a convent.  I’m not even kidding.  After we finished the puberty class I drug her to this winter, she told me that she was going to wait at least two years after she got married before she had sex.  When I explained to her that sex is something most married people enjoy immediately, not just when they are ready to have babies, she was ready for me to drive her to the nunnery immediately. 
And that is all well and good for now.  But someday they will require conversations about relationships, and intimacy, and our expectations about when sex is appropriate.  So when is that? 
I have zero expectation that my kids will wait until they are married to have sex.  Before anyone gets their panties in a wad about that kind of attitude being the reason this country is going to hell in a handbasket, let me be clear.  It would be fantastic if people waited until they found their partner for life to have sex, if for no other reason because sex, by design, makes babies.**  Babies are good!  But babies are complicated and expensive, and time consuming.  And if we follow the logic that you’re waiting to have sex until you’re married, then hopefully you’ve also waited to get married until you’re ready to be a grown-up with grown up responsibilities and the ability to support yourself.   
**There are a million other reasons to wait to have sex.  I mean, same sex couples don’t even have to worry about pregnancy, and I still feel like waiting is a good thing.  But for simplicity sake, let’s start there.
If I really think about it, I might know 10 couples who were virgins on their wedding night.  Seriously, good for them.  However, when I think of all the people I know who weren’t virgins before saying their vows, some really amazing people come to mind.  People who have been happily married for decades.  People who raised wonderful children.  People of faith.  People who I look up to and love.  People who really like sex.  Totally normal people who are not in any way defined by their sexual activity, pre or post marriage. 
I guess what I’m trying to say, is that premarital sex is not a dealbreaker for me. 
If I could say to my kids, “when you’re ready” and have that mean to them what it means to me, this would be easy.  But what teenager hears that and fully understands what being intimately involved with someone means?   Ready to prevent unwanted pregnancy.  Ready to protect yourself from STD’s.  Ready to deal with either of those two things if all your fail safes, well…fail.  Ready to choose wisely the person who you will be totally vulnerable with.  Ready to know yourself, your body, your comfort zone. Ready to understand consent.  Ready to give a little bit of yourself to someone else forever.   
Some people are ready at 20.  Some people aren't ready at 45.  I know I thought I was ready before I really was.  But thankfully, I knew that my mistake wasn't a dealbreaker.


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Thursday, February 12, 2015

My 40th birthday didn’t scare me.  I was kind of looking forward to entering a new decade.  I told myself all kinds of things that are mostly true.  Stuff like, age is just a number…The older you get, the more comfortable you are in your own skin…40 is the new 30…

I’m here to tell you that was a bunch of crap.  The second I turned 40, stuff started falling apart.  I mean, MY stuff.  As in ME.

For starters, I woke up on my 40th birthday with a really horrible rash.  It was ugly, and itchy, and when I finally went to the doctor he was totally nonplussed.  The last thing you want to hear from your doctor is, “WOW.  We need to get you on some serious steroids, like Right. Now.”

I didn’t think that my eyesight could get any worse.  But as soon as I turned 40, I had to start wearing reading glasses on top of my contacts.  And when I say “reading glasses” I mean my kids’ glasses that I steal off their faces when I can’t read a label or thread a needle.  Because who buys readers when they already wear glasses? 

I realized that I was starting to look my age when I went to Sephora for a makeover, and the adorable sales associate suggested I use gel eyeliner to make it easier to work with the “texture” around my eyes.  Texture.  Great.  Not only do I have wrinkles, but I look like a woman who would be really upset to learn that she has wrinkles. 

Also, I will spare you the details.  But this.
So here I am, just a few days post 41st Birthday.  So far, it’s been uneventful.  But I’m not going to get caught off guard this time.  I have This is 40 at the ready.  I bought some fancy eye cream, and I’m ready for my NovaSure procedure.  40 might not actually be the new 30.  But thirty-eleven is about to get Clovered.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Facebook and I had our first big fight right before Christmas, and I thought we might break up.  At the very least, it was clear that I needed some time to figure a few things out.  But after a few days of being apart I realized that I missed Facebook.  I mean…I thought that maybe by taking a break I would realize how much time I wasted on my news feed.  I thought maybe life was whizzing past me while I was watching Dear Kitten videos.  But, no.  The only thing different was that I didn’t know what was going on with anyone else because, Facebook.

I did have time in the midst of our brief parting, to give thought to what I like and don’t like about sharing snippets of my life on the interwebs.  I mean, Facebook certainly serves its purpose.  I like to share pictures of the kids and funny little one liners as much as the next yoga-pants-wearing Philosopher.  But sometimes going through my day I realize that there is a narrator in my head condensing every little thing into a witty Facebook post, and it makes me crazy.  I don’t want to be like that.  Because after a while you start to believe your own bullshit, and you think that people actually want to hear your musings on traffic.  Or see pictures of your lunch.  Once I read that celebrities can develop this syndrome where if something they do isn’t reported by the tabloids, it doesn’t seem real to them.  I wonder if Facebook is doing that to the rest of us. 

That said, I’m a writer - Despite the fact that I spend 80% of my working life and a big chunk of my free time writing, it’s hard for me to say that and not doubt that it’s true -  I AM a writer.  I need to write the things in my head down to process them, to preserve them, to share them, to make them real and significant.  Or sometimes to take away their power and make them go away.  The bonus of Facebook is that people respond to that.  I realize I like the interaction.  Also, like the rest of population earth I have iphoned myself straight into full blown ADD.  So it’s pretty impossible for me to sit in the waiting room of anywhere and not look at Facebook.  Damnit.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of stuff going on in my head that I just can’t do justice in a couple of sentences.  I want to write paragraphs.  And have photos with captions.  I wanna talk about all the feels.  I want to describe details and document the little steps we take in our life so that my kids can have that history someday.  On Facebook that comes across as needy or fake.  Or…you know, boring.

I want my blog back. 

My blog is cathartic.  I don’t often feel misunderstood here.  I don’t worry if I’m being boring. (Probably because no one reads this!)  That was a lot of words to get to the point.  Which is fine!  Because this is a blog!

I’m going to really and sincerely try to write more.  Less Facebook, more blog. 

I'm back...