What You don’t Know


This morning, my alarm went off at 6:30 and I got out of bed. What you don’t know is I had been awake for hours because one of you was sick. You kept crying out in your sleep and I got you out of your bed and put you in mine because I didn’t want you to wake up your sister. So I put you in my bed and watched you sleep and listened to you snore for hours and hours.

I cooked breakfast for four of you. What you don’t know is I didn’t fix anything for myself, thinking, “I’ll just eat something later.” I fixed lunches, and brushed hair, and gave out medicine, and sent two of you out the door, one to work and one to school. I kept the sick one and the littlest one home with me.

I took a shower after locking and bolting the door to make sure you were safe, hurriedly, so I could call the doctor in time to get an appointment for the one of you who was sick. As I was getting dressed, I was calling the office over and over again, hoping to get past the busy signal. I made your appointment and checked on both of you. The sick one was lying on the couch, listlessly. I told you you had about fifteen minutes until you needed to get ready for your doctor’s appointment and went to sort laundry. I sorted laundry and started the first load of the day (after all, it’s laundry day, and laundry must get done), before helping the little one get dressed, use the little potty one more time, and get out the door and buckled in to the car.

We made it to our appointment with one minute to spare. What you don’t know is I never ate breakfast this morning. I sat with you, the sick one and the little one, at the doctor’s office for two hours. I held the sick one in my lap and stroked your hair. I talked to the little one and answered her questions. What you don’t know, is when they stuck the cotton swab in your throat to perform the strep test and you cried, I could feel your heart pounding because you were scared, and because I had my arms wrapped around you. What you don’t know is that my eyes filled with tears, because it hurt me that you were scared and hurting. When I held you in my lap as you got the shot I knew would make you feel better, my lips trembled because I felt your pain and sadness as if it were my own.

We stopped and got milkshakes and french fries for both of you on the way home. What you don’t know is that I worried if I could afford it. I worried if the one of you who wasn’t with us, the one at school, would feel sad and left out because she didn’t get fries and a milkshake.

We came home and I passed out your fries and shakes. I put the clothes in the dryer from the morning and got another load started. I got you both settled, the sick one and the littlest one. I stood at the kitchen counter and ate the cheeseburger I had guiltily bought myself when I got your milkshakes while I prepared the slow-cooker soup I had planned for supper.

I took my load of clothes into the living room to fold. Before I could start, one of you knocked your milkshake off the table, into the blanket and on to the floor and rug. I had to clean it up. What you don’t see is my exhaustion and my tears of frustration because I have so much to do, and can never seem to get it all done and I’m so damn tired. I finish folding the load of clothes just in time to get you both in the car and drive half and hour to get the oldest one of you, the one at school today.

You both, the sick one and the little one, fell asleep in the car. You don’t see me in the front seat, as I cry while I drive. You don’t feel my fear for you. Fear for your safety in a strange and scary world, of course. But more than that, fear that you will grow up in a world with a shortage of warmth and compassion. Fear that the things I’m trying to teach you: kindness, compassion, joy and love – will become less than hate and fear.

I walk into school and retrieve one of you. The other two remain sleeping in the van. We drive home. I feed you all ice cream. You know I wouldn’t usually give two sweet treats in one day, but today is an exception. I was right. The one of you who wasn’t with us earlier feels left out and jealous because two of you got milkshakes and she didn’t.

While you all eat your ice cream I fold laundry. What you don’t know is, as I fold, I’m wracked with chills. My head hurts like hell. Most likely, I’ve contracted the same sickness I took one of you to the doctor for earlier today. I finish folding laundry, while intermittently wiping up ice cream spills and assisting potty training attempts.

After folding laundry I wash the dishes that have been piling up in the sink since this morning and start warming up leftovers for dinner – the soup I started earlier isn’t ready yet. What you don’t know is, now I’ve been parenting alone for 10.5 hours and I’m so tired and lonely, I would give just about anything for somebody to be here, for me to talk to. Before I get dinner finished, one of you, the little one who’s not quite potty-trained yet, pees in the floor, and I take a break from cooking and mop it up.

While you eat I sit at the table with you and talk to you. I’m waiting for the soup to be done and for your daddy to be home, so we can eat together. I am hungry.

What you don’t know is a lot of stuff. And it’s ok. You don’t need to know, and you can’t, not until you’re much older, and maybe have people of your own to love and take care of. I hope you do know some things, though. I hope you know you’re loved beyond measure. I hope you know you’re the reason behind some of my tears, but you’re the reason behind almost all of my smiles. I hope you know, before you all came along, my life was pointless, without meaning. It’s been a really hard day today, and there will be a lot more hard days. But I hope you know, to me, it’s worth it.


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Planning to Fail or Failing to Plan?


Shew. It’s been a hard couple of weeks, hasn’t it? From the unfortunate news about my educational prospects and being slapped in the face by my past, to spending last week wishing to be a little kid again so my mommy would come and take care of me (didn’t happen. Nobody cares if you’re sick when you’re the mommy yourself. Although Morgan Rae did keep telling me she was sorry I had to take care of all of them when I felt so bad.), I was starting to feel really funky. Thank goodness the sun came out for a bit today, otherwise somebody would have had to come pull me off the bridge.

Honestly, I’m not sure I’m quite out of the woods yet. No, I’m not headed for the ledge or anything, but sometimes it’s hard to keep the sadness at bay. In a way, being sick was kind of a blessing, because all I really focused on for several days was how bad I felt, how I wanted to feel better, and how I wanted somebody to feel sorry for me. And I got to spend as much time as possible in bed, which has pretty much always been a life goal of mine. Now I’m feeling much better, trying to catch up on my chores, and get back to normal, or as normal as I ever get.

Unfortunately, now I have feelings besides “Ugh, I’m dying of snot in my head!” and I have to deal with those feelings, which sucks. And I have to think about my plan for the future which has never been my strong suit. I know some people who have planned their lives way in the future, since they were very young, and have followed their plans with great success. For me, though, life has always just sort of happened. I never knew what I wanted to do when I “grew up”. In fact, I think it’s just all-around mean that we try and make people figure out who they are when they’re seventeen or eighteen. You don’t know crap when you’re seventeen. I remember. I’m twice that old, and I barely know who I am! But I feel myself getting older, and while I know I’m nowhere near old, I feel the need to make plans and goals for my life. It’s starting to occur to me that this thing’s not actually going to go on forever, or indefinitely, and I should perhaps take advantage of it while I can.

I think plans can be super-hard for some people, especially if you’re a person who is a little…perfection obsessed. Or if you’re a person who might have some spectacular failures in her past. The anxiety of committing to a goal or a plan can, well…let me tell you. It can make it hard to breathe. It can make your heart pound. It can make that spot right on the left side of your chest that hurts sometimes when you don’t drink enough water feel like it’s closing in around your heart. It can make you sad and worried and nervous and cranky and indecisive.

So what do you do? Do you completely avoid setting goals and making plans for the future? Do you focus your energy solely on projects that are sure things? That you feel certain you can’t fail at? Of course not, you say (Insert motivational meme phrase here: If you never try, you never succeed. If you stand still, you never move! Shit or get off the pot)! Really, though, It’s not really that easy.

Or is it?

Posted in Philosophisizing | Tagged | 2 Comments

Drain-o for my Brain-o


Writing has been really hard for me lately. Usually, I think of a subject and just sit down in front of the computer and start typing. I do very little editing, and, honestly, I’m usually pretty pleased with what I put down. But. over the last few days, I’ve been struggling. I’ve had a few ideas, but when I sit down to hammer them out, I get…stuck. I can’t think, my ideas aren’t flowing, or I just procrastinate and never get around to writing – I need to meditate, or read this one thing to prepare. The one thing I’ve written, I’m actually not that happy with.

I’ve been reading the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, and in it, she talks about creativity, genius and inspiration as though they’re all sentient beings, floating around looking for people to land upon and infuse with their essences. So, ok, this is a bit of an oversimplification, but I think that’s basically the gist. For the last week or so, I’ve been really struggling with my inspiration and my motivation. Understandably, I suppose. I had a bit of a setback last week, and was reminded pretty strongly of a time when I didn’t feel creative, or smart, or worthy, or ENOUGH, in any form or fashion. If you haven’t read about it and wish to, look here. Honestly, there’s a pretty big part of me that’s always fairly ready and willing to jump back into those old beliefs about myself. This is one of the reasons I work so hard to remember that I am all those things, and want to help others realize the same. But truly, in a way it feels easier to just say, “Fuck it. I’m obviously not talented, or creative, or good enough, for whatever I’m attempting to do just now, and I proved it a long time ago. So I quit.” It’s easier, because if you don’t try, you don’t have to worry about failing. Again. Oy. Which sounds nice, until we remember that if we never try anything, we will never accomplish anything.

Here’s something else Ms. Gilbert talks about that resonates with me, deep, deep down into my soul (I’m not quite halfway through the book, by the way). She says that these ideas, this inspiration, they will land somewhere because they want to be made real. They want to be created. But they want to know you’re serious about creating them, that you’re willing to be dedicated, and put in the work, and be devoted. And if you’re not, they will just…leave. They will go elsewhere, to someone who will help them be created. So what if my setbacks, my inability to create and feel inspired to write anything worthwhile over the past few days has been created by my own self-doubt? What if my muse, my inspiration, whatever you call it, is just hanging back, wondering, “Is she going to bail on me again? Or is she going to sack up and push through like the badass she knows she is?”

It’s so easy to fall into old habits. First, I was sad, which I expressed pretty eloquently through my writing. Then I was, thankfully, distracted by my mom’s visit. And I tried to write a little, but it just wasn’t happening. Saturday night I drank too much. Sunday I got sick. Three days later, here I sit, still sick, and feeling myself slipping down into sadness. A familiar pattern, and yes, I firmly believe our emotions are expressed by our bodies as sickness and pain.

So here I am, back in front of my computer, writing about not being able to write. But, also, I’m writing about not feeling ok. I feel sad, and filled with self-doubt, and very unsure what my next step should be. I feel a little lost right now. I always want to appear to be strong; even if I get knocked down, I want to seem to get right back up. I’m not sure that’s what always actually happens. It actually seems more like, I get knocked down, and I kind of crawl around on the floor for a while, and maybe lie down and kick and scream a few times, and maybe eventually, over a period of time directly or indirectly related to the size of the force that knocked me down, I slooooooooowly stand back up.

This is my installment of realness for the day. I’m not really back on my feet yet, I still feel like hell. I can’t breathe through my nose, and I’m exhausted and sad. But I’m sitting in front of my computer and I’m writing through the pain in my head. I’m going to try and be conscious of my patterns, so maybe, this time, I can skip a few steps.

Oh, also, I’m scared. Very scared of trying something, anything, and failing. Again.

But, maybe, just maybe, I am enough.

Posted in Philosophisizing, You are Enough | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments