Monday, November 18, 2013

don't give up on us

“I think I’m done; I called her and she never returned my call. I give up. I mean, what do you think, would you keep trying?”

I knew the woman she spoke of, I haven’t seen her in years but I remember her when I was a child and I know just enough bits and pieces of her life now to guess that she is tapped out, emotionally speaking.

“I don’t know, Mom, maybe she is just stressed out, drained. Maybe it takes all of her emotional energy just to survive the day; maybe she just doesn’t have anything left to give right now. I wouldn’t give up on her yet.”

As the words came rolling off of my tongue I recognized it as a plea, don’t give up on her, I thought. But what I really meant was, don’t give up on me.

I have been a crappy mom lately; the stress of these last few years has just had me at rock bottom. I’ve always had a quick temper but I seem to lose it even faster now. I’m working on it, every day I vow to be better but the energy it takes leaves me completely spent in almost all aspects, physically, mentally, emotionally. And because of it, because of the drain, I’ve also been a crappy friend lately. I’ve never been great at returning calls/emails/texts but, as most of you know first-hand, these days I’m downright horrible. I have missed birthdays; I’m a million years behind on thank you cards. The list goes on, but please, don’t give up on me – it doesn’t mean I don’t think of you guys all the time and it surely doesn’t mean I don’t care.

Thank you all for your messages and calls last week. I haven’t had the chance to get back to most of you yet, but I will.  I promise I will. I am so grateful for your friendship and your love. Truly, I couldn’t make it through all of this without your support. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, Thank you. xoxo

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

searching, hoping, twinkling

Standing at the kitchen island chopping onions the tears spilled out of my eyes and rolled down my cheeks.  Sitting next to me in his favorite green chair he looked up with wondering eyes and questioned, Why you sad, Mommy?  Why you sad?

This wasn’t the first time this very question came from his lips.  On Wednesday I crumpled into a heaving mess on the dining room chair after answering the door to an unexpected visitor. Why you sad, Mommy? Why you sad?

Later that very night, after a time-out was issued for not joining us at the dinner table in an acceptable manner, one of them turned and squinted his eyes, you’re a bad mom, he spat. And again I crumpled, this time on Collin’s shoulder, because the words cut straight to my heart like a finely sharpened knife; they hurt because they were true.

I have been a bad mom.

I’ve been a fucking shitty mom, lately.

As I cried he looked up sheepishly from the dinner table, where he now sat eating nicely, I’m sorry Mom, he said. And again I crumbled, slithering down the kitchen cupboards until my butt was sitting squarely on the floor.  Within seconds all of my boys were there showering me with kisses and hugs while the tears spilled all over, again. And in this happy union he looked up as asked, Why you sad, Mommy? Why you sad?

The boys moved into the living room as I finished up the onions.  A quick glance at my recipe told me the next item was mushrooms; as I pulled them from the refrigerator the thought came to me loud and clear, like a message from God, except my head is still above water enough to know that this message was not from God, the very opposite in fact. 

Call Tanya. Call Tanya. Call Tanya, my mind chanted. Make a therapy appointment, do anything. Do something.

He is chopping carrots next to me when the thought on my mind escapes my lips: I can’t hurt them if I’m not here.

The past couple of months have been difficult, fuck; the past couple of years have been difficult. Raising children, working full-time, trying to keep a house and put good meals on the table; I haven’t had the chance to focus on healing, post-fire, when we’ve been thrown back into disaster mode – this time financially. We’ve finally said goodbye to a bad investment, a blessing for sure, but at the cost of any and all liquidity. That coupled with some stress at the work-place and I’ve fallen into that black hole again.  I feel like I could handle one of these things: the money stress or the work stress, but I’m not able to manage both.

It hits me, the familiarity of that feeling; I remember thinking the same after the fire: I could handle one of these, fire or new baby, but I’m unable to manage both. It makes me wonder, is depression me? Am I depression? Is there no hope but to be at the bottom of a black hole each and every time the going is tough?

My head is laying on the pillow while the events of the day are playing a soundtrack in my mind.  The disagreement between the boys, my yelling, screaming, exploding, and eventually crumpling on the closet floor, tears soaking the carpet; I get up only to repeat the scenario, but this time my fury is directed at Collin, I can’t handle all of this! I yell, and then I crumple again. The chopped vegetables turned into the most delicious pot pie but all I can remember are the thoughts that came to me in the process.  The tears fall again. He hears me, turns his Kindle to illuminate my side of the bed, it’s going to be okay, he assures me. But I just don’t know, because at the end of the day I lay my head on this pillow and shortly after I drift off the nightmares begin, usually three or four a night, of all varieties: car accidents, lost children, attacks by wild animals, my mind has no limit.  Each and every one wakes me up breathless and shaking, not even sleep is safe.

In the morning he holds our middle one in his arms and asks: Do you love, Mommy?  Yes! He nods his head enthusiastically. I lean against the door jam of his room, they know I am here but I pretend they don’t.  What would he think, I ask myself? In my tormented mind, it would be because I loved them too much to stay, but for a three-year old I know that would translate to she didn’t love me enough to stay. And so I know I must continue this fight. I must take the challenges of the work-day and face them head on, without fear and with hope that someday things will be different.

We’re sitting in the chair, all four of us, although the youngest can’t sit still for the life of him, up, down, up, down he goes throughout the entire story, and when it is time to turn out the lights he asks, Mama, can you sing Twinkle, Twinkle?

It’s his favorite so of course I do but as I belt out those words I realize they are filled with a lot of passion for a lullaby; a passion that is a call to Him – Him who I believe sent me here with the purpose of raising these children - and a hope for a brighter tomorrow, and as I sing I realize I’m not quite sure who I’m singing for, him or me?

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
****
When the blazing sun is gone,
When he nothing shines upon,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
****
Then the traveller in the dark,
Thanks you for your tiny spark,
He could not see which way to go,
If you did not twinkle so.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
****
In the dark blue sky you keep,
And often through my curtains peep,
For you never shut your eye,
Till the sun is in the sky.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
****
As your bright and tiny spark,
Lights the traveller in the dark,—
Though I know not what you are,
 Twinkle, twinkle, little star.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,

How I wonder what you are!

*****
Please don't worry, I write this only because I am in a better place now and because I'm a talker and a (over)sharer and verbalizing my thoughts/fears help me to process them.  A call from a good friend this morning reminded me again that I have a strong support system. I am okay. I will be okay.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Trick-or-Treat


When I transferred my pictures off of my camera and onto my computer last night I was SO THRILLED to see I got that shot above.  It was the first one I snapped in our pre-trick-or-treat photo session and I had no memory of taking it.  It was before Keaton was in full garb - a deer cape and antique trap transformed him from last year's lumberjack to this years Mountain Man or Trapper, depending on the day you asked. His costume was inspired by one of his favorite shows: Mountain Men on the History Channel.  No, I'm not kidding, he asks for this. The other morning we were on our way to Busha's when he said: Mom? Tonight can I watch one of my favorite shows? Duck Dynasty, Pickers, or Mountain Men? The little boys were not fans of the deer capes and chose to be lumberjacks again this year. But Keaton?  He was all about being a Mountain Man.


The only other picture I got of all three boys in the same frame from our Trick-or-Treating was this:


Which is really a much better representation of how our pre-trick-or-treat photo session went. ::Sigh::

To be honest, I was a tad bit nervous about how the evening would play out, given our getting ready show of attitudes, but I shouldn't have fretted, as soon as the boys were out and about and ringing doorbells the smiles appeared.



Nolan didn't do a whole lot of Trick-or-Treating but he did partake in some candy along the way.


And he did get down from Collin's arms to walk for approximately 30 seconds...


...before asking to be picked back up and promptly passing out.  


The poor guy was just not feeling well.  In hindsight, we shouldn't have taken him with, hours later he'd end up in the ER was another bad case of Croup, but at the time he still didn't seem that bad.


The boys' spent the evening running up to houses, ringing doorbells, and collecting candy with their cousins - a tradition they look forward to. In the future Kira and I are thinking of making it a Halloween weekend, full with a slumber party and holiday festivities and I have to admit, I think I'm probably looking forward to that as much as the kids will be.



About three quarters of the way through Hutt got tired, he still wasn't feeling well either, and asked if we could just go home.  Mimi carried him most of the rest of the way.


Keaton would have liked to go all night long, but by the time we made it back to the car it was starting to get chilly and darker and we told him "Two more, that's it!" He obliged and as we were rounding everyone up the adults were standing in the road talking when we noticed that the kids had set up camp, right there, smack dab in the street, to look through their goodies.


I suppose that's a good sign of a successful Trick-or-Treat.