Jun 23, 2015

She'll Always Be My Baby

I imagine it is not easy to be the middle child. One day you are the youngest, the littlest, the cutest, the sweetest, and all-of-a-sudden there is someone younger, smaller, and getting all of the "oh how cute!" comments herself. One day you get first dibs on laps and the next you are relegated to whichever lap is open, if there even is one.

And, while she will always be my baby, Paige is no longer the baby, which can be somewhat of an adjustment. An adjustment, I will add, I think she has handled amazingly well. Of course, that's not to say it's been all happy and easy, but as I look back to the past year, I see our ups and downs with the warmth of knowing Paige is still Paige. Her light is still just as bright, her emotions in just the same spot on her sleeve, her awe of her big sister and her pride at having a little sister growing each day.

Lately I have been reveling in her sweetness, the comments that cause smiles and even sometimes giggles (as long as she isn't caught by surprise and then completely embarrassed).

The other day as she and Nora were high-fiving over and over she said, Mom, it's just like running a mile...but with your hands!

As we pulled out of the driveway we had a direct view of the flowers she and Hope (with the help of their grandma) planted in a pot for their daddy for Father's Day. When I see those flowers, they give me twinkles in my eyes, she told me. And then she sighed.

The way she occasionally asks to be wrapped in a towel and cradled like a baby, googooing and gagaing in true baby form.

When she ties one of Nora's blankets around her shoulders like an Elsa cape, tosses her arms in the air, and starts singing Let it Go.

The way she stands on the couch in her third outfit of the day, most likely a dress, most likely with accessories, as she performs for her audience (real or imaginary).

And most recently, when I had a mini temper tantrum and huffed into the kitchen, I turned around to see her arms reaching out to give me a hug, her wide eyes staring into mine, and her soft words, Mommy? Are you okay?

I know that there is a lot going on right now, with only more to come as she starts full-time school this fall, but I am certainly enjoying what her five-year-old personality gives us every day. And I am incredibly thankful that she is all middle child, just the way she was born to be.

As she used to tell me every night at bedtime, I love you fru and fru, Mom.

I love you through and through too, Paige. Always.

xoxo, christine

Jun 22, 2015

I Want to Understand: Truth Telling Tuesday

I am a feeler. When I hear about something bad that has happened, I don't hear about it, I feel it. My heart is weighted down, aching in sorrow, every beat a vibration of pain in the world. I am a feeler. And that is why I am selective in what television shows I watch, frequently avoiding the news.

I don't want to be ignorant. And because of this, I struggle with my decision to skip the evening news. I want to know what is happening in the world. I want to know what injustices people are suffering. I do not want to turn a blind eye, to maintain that "ignorance is bliss" because I don't want to be afforded the luxury of ignorance. Yet, my media intake is filtered, mostly via my husband because there are days that it hurts too much to see for myself.

Over the weekend I had a conversation that left me feeling a bit rattled. As I ruminated about my contribution to the conversation I was painfully aware of my white privilege, and embarrassed about that privilege especially because a dear friend of mine does not have that luxury. I want desperately to do right by her, but I know that there are times that I won't and times that I don't. My discontented heart led to a late night text to my friend promising her that I am trying.

And I am trying.

The next day, discussing it with my husband, my body still felt agitated and shaky. I know that there are many people out there who disagree with me. I know that there are many different opinions and points of view. I get that, I really do. I can even (try very hard to) respect that. But what I want is to understand. It is important to me to understand everyone and where they are coming from. The problem is, I'm not sure how to understand points of view that I so completely disagree with, and (even more importantly) I don't know how to understand a different point of view without feeling like I am endorsing it.

My husband reminded me how much of this is related to my personality. How important it is to me to understand, how deeply it is that I feel. Which, although painful, is not necessarily a bad thing.

And all of this, the feeling and discomfort, the wanting to be able to respect other opinions, the desire to understand other people, the learning to be okay with the inability to change people's minds, it is hard. It is so incredibly hard.

My feeling heart struggles so much. It is so difficult to understand everyone, but I want to. I really want to. I just don't know how to do that without my heart hurting. But maybe I can't. Maybe the hurting is part of it too.

xoxo, christine

Jun 16, 2015

Like a Candle in the Wind: Truth Telling Tuesday

I found out today that someone I (kind of) knew died this week. Actually, I only knew her through my hair, she cut it several times, so clearly I didn't know her much at all, but there's something about the connection a girl can feel with her stylist. I'm not claiming that we had some deep and meaningful bond, just to say that when I sat in her chair and we chatted it felt good and nice and right.

She was only a few years older than I am, a sweet young woman who seemed happy and cheerful. Her smile was warm and dazzling and her eyes full with joy. She was just filled with so much life. Which seems like a ridiculous thing to say because obviously everyone is filled with life when they are alive, but I guess maybe that's what makes it hard to believe she's not anymore.

I am sad and upset and confused. I ache for her young daughter who is around the same age as my older girls. My mind is spinning and there is fear and anger bobbing up and down. I imagine being here for my girls one day and the next day being gone and what that would do to them and who they are and how they grow up. I can not imagine how traumatizing it would feel to be a little girl who's mother is suddenly gone, who's whole world is abruptly pulled out from under her, who will grow up with such limited memories with her mother.

When I lay down for a nap today I kept wondering what my girls would remember about me. Would they remember anything other than my frequent naps?

And yet, even with my fear about what kind of mother memories my girls would have should I die, I spent most of the day wanting to stay in bed and be away from my children. I felt frustrated and irritated and short of patience. I wanted to hug them close and reassure them that I'd never ever leave them, yet I wanted complete and total space. I wanted to be left alone to feel all the confusion without interruption from little mouths.

I don't understand. And I suppose I'm not meant to. But when something like this happens the world feels unstable. I am awkward and uncomfortable, trying to adjust to this dramatic tilt. I question how and why and tremble in fear at the thought of what (if anything) comes after this.

As a human I want to make sense of things, even the things that I am not to understand. I like my world to be clear and concise and easy to categorize. I don't like gray areas and ambiguity. Unfortunately, the world does not conform to me and my desires to be able to put everything into little boxes, but luckily I am slowly learning how to understand that I can't understand the world. I am slowly learning to open my heart to what is real. I am slowly learning that fighting against what I can not control or change hurts me more than letting go. I am slowly learning to accept the world as it is. In all of its pain and beauty. And I can only hope that we all can find a way to do the same.

But death, it is still death. It is still painful. It still hurts beyond belief.

Tonight I will close my eyes and see a bright and beautiful and whole woman. And say an extra long prayer for a hurting family.


Jun 15, 2015

Writing and Time and Where Do I Find It

I haven't been writing lately. And I know you might be thinking, No, duh, Christine. But I it's not just that I haven't been writing here. I haven't been writing at all. No blogging, no journaling, no jotting in my notebook.

For awhile I wasn't writing because I had no motivation and felt uninspired, which I was then feeling guilty about. I love writing. Why am I not writing? I should be writing. I should be wanting to write. (I am well-versed in guilt and self-doubt and more guilt.) But then I decided that sometimes one needs to take a break from things, even things that bring satisfaction and joy. And that's okay. If I don't feel like writing, why should I make myself feel guilty that I don't feel like it? (I know, the convoluted thoughts of my mind astound even me.)

Lately though, I've felt like writing again. I've been wanting to sit down and just throw my thoughts and words and feelings onto a page, but I just, I haven't had time. I know, stupidest and lamest excuse in the book. There are always going to be reasons there isn't time to do the things we like to do. We can always find an excuse not to make time for our joys.

But seriously, it is SO hard to make the time.

I have not been getting enough sleep the past several nights. Is it because I am writing, you ask? No. Of course not. However, now that I have stayed up late and not gotten enough sleep, I realize just how impossible it would be for me to stay up late and write. I need my sleep, people! I mean, this is code red emergency exploding loud noises catastrophe need for sleep. I am NOT a pleasant mother (or probably person, for that matter) without adequate sleep. And clearly, getting up early is out of the question. In fact, I shouldn't even have to speak the words, it is such a ludicrous idea.

Of course, I am writing right now, and am I using my time efficiently to put down actual important stuff inside me that is burning to get out? Psh.

But, it's a start. It is later than I was planning on getting to bed, but not my-children-are-doomed-with-a-dragon-mother-in-the-morning time....yet. I am feeling so sleep deprived though I should probably spend the next several days going to bed with my children. Preferably the littlest one because her bedtime is between 7:30 and 8:30.

I digress.

Here I am. Trying. Determined to somehow find, scratch that, make the time to collect myself and my words and my thoughts again. Just have to dust the cobwebs off of my journal and pen and mind...


Jun 2, 2015

The Truth Is: Truth Telling Tuesday

The truth is, I want to feel like writing, but lately I just haven't felt like it.

The truth is, I spend too much time on my phone.

The truth is, I've been wanting to tell more of my story with Calvin, but I don't think I'm quite ready to feel all the feelings. And I think I'm okay with holding off a little bit longer until I do feel ready.

The truth is, one day I can feel great, even energized, and the next I am exhausted and eager to climb back into bed.

The truth is, I miss taking photos with my camera, but not having a decent place to download and edit the photos keeps me from using it.

The truth is, the end of preschool was hard for Paige. And this mama.

The truth is, I am excited to have all three girls home all day all summer, but worried I'm going to rely on the television too much.

The truth is, sometimes I am too lazy to put the lid from my coffee in the recycling and just throw the whole cup into the garbage.

The truth is, I want to cut back on the amount of sugar my family consumes, but then I pack my daughter a gogurt, granola bar, and gogo squeeze in her lunch.

The truth is, when I'm reading a good book, the rest of my world gets neglected because I just want to read read read.

The truth is, I love that Hope is playing softball this summer, but two nights a week is too many.

The truth is, I can't remember when our house was last cleaned.

The truth is, I am tired and cranky, loud and silly, thoughtful and cuddly. I am at the end of my rope and ready to scream. I am full of endless amounts of love and patience. I am ready for a break. I am ready for a day of family bonding. I am happy. I am sad. I am up. I am down. The truth is, for every moment I feel DONE there are hundreds of moments that fill up my heart and refuel me.


And because I've been pretty quiet, here's a little bit that's been going on around here:

 Watching sister at softball.

 Swinging at the park.

 The wettest field trip ever.

Barbie Dream House Experience. A dream come true for Paige

May 18, 2015

Take on the World: Truth Telling Tuesday

I watch the Disney Channel.

There, I said it. I admit it.

It's not, I watch the Disney Channel with my kids. And it's not even I found myself continuing to watch the Disney Channel after my kids left the room. I actually watch the Disney Channel. On purpose. By myself.

The truth is, I don't really pay attention to most of the shows, but I've found myself really enjoying Girl Meets World. Okay, more than just enjoying it. I sat down and sought out Girl Meets World via On Demand last night. I can't help it. I realize it's cutsey and a more a little ridiculous at times, yet there's something about the show that comforts me.

Maybe it's the fact that there's so much on tv that I can't (or won't) watch. Lately, I am so sensitive about television that I have no desire to watch dramas that are serious and depressing, and crime shows scare me so much that I end up awake in bed imagining all the terrible things that might happen. Most of the comedies are on before my kids are in bed (therefore too early for me to watch) and the travel/home improvement shows leave me feeling like I should be unhappy with my life/home. I'm not left with a lot of choices for quality programing.

Of course, one might argue that for a thirty-three-year-old-woman a teeny bopper show from Disney Channel does not qualify as quality programing either...

The thing is, the story of Girl Meets World is kind of a continuation of a story that was started when I was a kid, and although I never watched the original show (Boy Meets World), I like that these characters feel somewhat familiar. I like that these kids who were kids when I was, now have kids of their own, and we get to continuing following their story.

I know. I hear myself too. It's okay to laugh.

I find it a little hard to believe myself. But I like it. I won't deny it. I like that it is light-hearted and silly and everything gets neatly wrapped up in a little bow by the end. I make enough stress and discomfort and drama in my life all on my own, I don't need to add it via television too. At least not right now. I'm too tired right now for extra drama.

I am perfectly content with my campy Disney Channel show, thankyouverymuch.

Now if you'll excuse me, I might have something I need to go watch.

xoxo, christine

****"Take on the World" is the theme song for the show. 

May 14, 2015

Mr. Sandman, Bring Her a Dream

Nora is now ten months old. She still sleeps in a pack-n-play in our bedroom, that is, if she sleeps. Because, you see, she still does not sleep through the night. She is ten months old. She is waking up multiple times at night. I am feeding her multiple times at night. Yes, it's pretty bad. I am so exhausted and so done, even though I know it's of my own doing. When there's a fussing baby twelve feet from my ear, it's really hard not to get up and go to her, and go to her right away.

Yet, even in my "doneness" I am so not done.

I still don't feel ready to put her in her own room. I desperately want to keep her with us, a symbol of her babyness I'm not ready to give up. But I want it to look like a bedtime snuggle, laying her down, all of us sleeping soundly, and then waking in the morning to a cooing and happy baby. And that is so far from what our nights look like right now.

I want to keep her in our room, but I'm so tired and at my wits end with the nighttime crying, I want to put her in her own room. And I want to help soothe her when she's have a particularly rough patch, yet it's getting so long and difficult that I just want to let her cry until she ends in exhaustion.

My heart is so wrapped up in her little twenty-one pound body, I am "that" mom, the one who doesn't want her to be too far away from me. She is my baby. I don't want to transition her away from us, even if I'm planning on sleeping on the air mattress on her floor for a few nights for comfort. My own comfort, of course. But she is two months from being a year old (What!?) and she really needs to learn how to soothe herself back to sleep, to be able to sleep through an entire night. And I need her to be able to soothe herself, and let me get an entire night's sleep.

Oh how difficult parenting can be, even the third child around. I've been through night time stressors twice before, yet it all feels as heartbreakingly difficult as if she were my first. In fact, it almost feels more difficult... perhaps because she is my youngest, my baby, my living child after a loss.

A morning snooze. Perhaps because she didn't sleep enough during the night?
I don't feel quite as worried that I'm traumatizing her like I did several months ago (although there's still some questions and guilt), but I just don't feel emotionally ready to be physically farther away from her. Yet I also don't feel emotionally functional to be physically getting so little sleep.

I feel like her being in our room is coming to an end, faster than I am ready for. I want to keep her in our room, but I really really need to be getting more sleep. Really.

It might be time to pull out the air mattress. Or maybe I'll give it one more night.

xoxo, christine