Saturday, January 29, 2011

Yin, yang, whatever...

January 2011 is on it's way out.  Hooray!  And also, well.  Not hooray.

Sometimes I look around and am pleasantly surprised that things are moving along at a good clip.  And then I just as often have one of those lurching feelings in my gut - the kids are growing so fast.  It's hard to imagine, but they'll each be heading out in the next few years, making their very own marks on the big world. As conflicted as I feel about it - excitement for them and their coming achievements/sadness at the anticipation of them heading out and away - how about all those parents not fortunate enough to be so enmeshed with their young kids?  Or even teenagers, even with all the angst and eye rolling?

I'm pretty blessed to have been this kind of mom.  I hope the kids feel the same (grin).  Q's stuff has added a whole other layer of exhaustion, but it's good to know there too that he's making progress and that he's happy.  That is such a big deal.  And who could ask for more, for any of their kids?

I had planned an early night tonight.  Early is defined a little differently here than a lot of places, I think.  I was pretty much set to be out well before midnight, but no go.  So I'm just going to take a second for a detour, since we're here.  I've thought about this lately, based on several experiences with families dealing with developmental disabilities and other special circumstances.  I don't know if there's any way to describe how tired I am a lot of the time.  Most moms of kids with special health care needs are constantly too close to collapse, and that's even with pretty significant help from a spouse.  If I try to describe how tired I am, will everyone I know go on to spend all our (potential) face time, such as it is, watching to see if I'm just too fatigued?  If resources of a bazillion different types are stretched thin around here and I give that issue "airtime" how am I helping anything?

For example:  We could use a funding resource.  Q needs more and more things that aren't covered by insurance.  Some of the other kids need things that aren't covered by insurance.  I need to set up a trust for Q to help with this, but what about his sibs?  (At this point I allow myself a few seconds of a nice internal scream...)  And so I will set this up, somehow, and it will happen, and I won't talk too much about it because I am so aware that what we put out there changes everything - how we're thought of by ourselves and others, the opportunities that present themselves, even our body chemistry, etc.  The Butterfly Effect: change one small thing, and it's all different.  How do we determine where to draw the line with this?

Life here is so incredibly, legitimately good.  It is magnificent because we have those "small" things - K, muttering sarcastically, wishing an ancient ruler good luck in his desire to rule the world.  S making her pronouncements all the live long day and then leaving love notes after she's thoroughly worn us out.  Q cracking us up with his giggles and guffaws while he successfully pushes a light-up toy around.  G being so kind with Q that he makes more mamas than just his own cry.  Sniff.  E, creating culinary delights, organizing everyone and everything, and driving us only the teeniest bit crazy with the current obsession - ancient Greece (we're building temples next week, thanks - the girl is persuasive!).

It is so good that it compels me to make sure that the crazy-difficult and inexplicable bits don't take the day.  They can have part of it.  I may gritch about chunks of misery, and I certainly do not fault those who have rather more of that going on in their lives than anything else.  I'm choosing to lead with the awesome stuff the kids do and the blessings we experience with startling regularity.

But.  It doesn't mean that there isn't enormous inner conflict.  Or pain.  Or even exhaustion.  This week we've had all those and vomit, so I think I'm eligible for a door prize, which looks suspiciously like...  (drum roll please) more medical appointments in the coming weeks.

And the kids still read, write, do maths, make cool stuff, and amaze me always.  Sometimes friends call or drop by (thank you!), and we have that space for revelry, even though there's not much reverie lately.  While so much of this picture may not technically be what I signed up for, it is certainly as much as anyone can hope for.  Even with the not early nights.  Even with disappointment, worry, heartbreak.  I am blessed.

I think I'm going to attempt sleep.  I was so hoping to be asleep earlier.  I will cry if I think about it, so I won't.  It was past two before I was out Friday morning, with an early day Friday for Q, and now the kids have rehearsal after church and then an evening gathering for their group, too.  Better living through caffeine, people.  Come on over, I'll share.  After sunrise.  Maybe Sunday.  Who knows - we can shoot for reverie.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Another week done

Hi.  Q slept exceptionally badly Friday night.  He went down uneventfully, but was up and squawky by about 2:30.  S joined us shortly after that and we were all fried by sunrise.  I do not know how, but we did manage to get dressed and get to church.  The sermon was so good (David being a man after God's heart, though he was far from perfect), the kids had orchestra practice, I handed off boxes for a person moving due to illness, and we came home.  Q kind of gritched all day.  He'd have been ever so much happier if he'd have just had a nap, but he's stubborn (snort - resemble his familyy much?) and wanted to be awake.

I'm up now because I have a heavy heart for some friends who are suffering.  Life has delivered extraordinary levels of stress to several individual families in the last several weeks.  Some are filing for divorce, some trying to prevent it, others facing terminal diagnoses plus wretched pain.  I wish that we could all take a break from the pressures of the everyday.  Perhaps if we each had a small shift, we could see the awfulness for what it is:  fear and exhaustion.  Those things shouldn't be allowed to take the day.  We should have good pain meds to go along with hospice, ordinary kindnesses to help us ease through otherwise difficult relationship issues, and restorative tenderness to keep us from ever approaching the brink to begin with.

I've been chatting with the kids lately about what it means to "suffer well" - that is, to do the best we can, or better than we suspected we could have, with that inevitable rain which comes our way.  It isn't that we should deny suffering or ignore it when it's making us miserable.  It's that we get more say than we think we do in how we survive or thrive in tragedy.  After leaving church today, I was thinking about what comprises happiness.  My conclusion is this:  one must possess metaphorical tools with which to handle difficult, painful, and even joyous events; one must make good choices; and one must possess good brain chemistry.  Beyond those things, a healthy balance between internal and external locuses of control allows us to take responsibility for our share (taking more than our share is better) of the blame when or if something goes wrong.  Hopefully then, people can take their tools, their good choices, a balanced locus of control, and do something magnifique with it.  Like hold their family together.  Like manage to suffer well through end-stage illness, grace and dignity intact.

We're not so special that we get to avoid the pain life so often offers.  But we are special enough to marshal our resources and manage what we must, grace and dignity intact.

I should send a shout out to all those who aren't hearing from me or anyone else at this house.  I'm not calling anyone these days.  Unless it's a matter of scheduling I'm not picking up the phone.  I don't go anywhere but church, therapies, medical appointments, groceries, etc.  I'm missing some peeps!  Wah!  So:  Hey!  Hope y'all are well!  I would love to be catching up and hanging out, at all.  But some of this has to ease, right?  I have a round of dentist and medical stuff to attend to and then it's just regulation craziness.  Maybe we can manage something by the time the daffodils are coming up?  Call me, people!  We've already established that I'm not managing to reach out, so call and we'll plan something.  Okay?  'S okay.  A'right?  S'a'right.  Okay good.

Love you all, and thanks for the sweet comments of late.  I'm finally winding down, so fingers crossed and eyes heavenward, and I'll come chat some more when I can be awake.  Smooch!

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Long time no write.

Q is a busy boy in this new year - riding the bus to preschool three mornings a week, using his big boy bed, sleeping a little earlier at night.  The bigger kids spent two and a half weeks with their dad and are back now.  We're almost moved in.  Does this process ever really end?  I have three or four large boxes full of stuff waiting for a cul-de-sac sale, probably in June.  I expect that number to rise significantly. 

It's been pretty weird, getting into the kitchen stuff.  I've been scrubbing a lot as I unpack.  I'd forgotten just how sick I was when pregnant with Q, and just how incapacitated.  So it's been strange, getting into stuff from a former life.  Very Twilight Zone - I'm not nearly as much that person now as I would have imagined myself to be.  And yet, I'm more "her" than I thought I'd ever be.  I don't know how to say it better than that, but there it is.

So I'm sitting here at the bar/counter, with papers to the side of this, E's ancient Dell laptop.  My little stack contains paperwork to sign, some 20% off coupons (wishful thinking - we shan't be shopping anytime soon), Q's triangle (for Christmas, part of his new percussion set) a glue stick, iTunes card (Q's), pencil, HOA info, and a little yellow pad, on which is scribbled:  Tenderness is greater proof of love than the most passionate of vows. - Marlene Dietrich (shamelessly lifted from a friend).

On the fridge there are photos of smiling babies, the dishwasher is full of clean dishes, airdrying, there are scones from Grandma and fruit on the counter for breakfast.  There's medicine and handwashed dishes, now dry, awaiting a return to their respective places.  A small fox wearing My Generation doll workout shoes is perched against a package of Q's wipes.  I see that S left the pickles out, silly goose.  There's fresh basil growing next to the sink (thanks, mom), and towels to take to the laundry.

The living room floor has a blanket for Q and Lincoln Logs - which all the kids played with all week long.  There are stacks of Q's equipment and toys along the walls - still working out what to do with all of this.  Some things are tough to organize so they're quickly accessible and yet stored attractively, you know?  More work to do there.  The violins are perched next to the piano and the music stand holds court mid-room.  Q's strollerchair waits for him for breakfast time, and his little adjustable table sits patiently, ready for the next onslaught of paint or marker.

It's quiet now, save for the last kid trailing slowly to bed, having spent quality time with a screwdriver, trying to figure out batteries for the solar desk lamp.

It's a good house.  They're good kids, and much-loved.  I am blessed.

I'd best be off - pickles to put away and dishes to manage, you know.  Hoping good things for you and yours, especially amidst the chaos we've all had this week.  Here's to healing, and to Life:  L'chaim.