Sojourners

I just had an interesting insight.  I always blame my mother for having selective perception about my childhood and our relationship over the years.  It has dawned on me that my children will most likely do the same, and that made me wonder what they may glean from reading all this many years ahead.  Will it be very detailed accounts of the way I chose to see our journey together?  Is it indeed the way I actually see it, or like our friends on Facebook, is it a very polished version?  Will they be endeared or enraged?

Maybe a little of both and that’s the beauty of it, I suppose.  Being a family is a collective journey, yet along the way we are all sojourners of our own truth.

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A New Era

Today my kids are 15, almost 14, and soonly 12.  Who are those little creatures that used to dwell here?  They are not the children sleeping near me right now.  Looking back I realize why I probably stopped writing for a while.  Puberty hit and things got ugly.  The “crazy fun” I used to write about in all our “togetherness” when they were small – the frustrating, mind-boggling, exhausting, bliss of motherhood I once reveled in has turned a corner and what was around the bend has brought me into the light.  *I did not say it led me to the light, this light I speak of is more like a blinding flashlight shining into my eyeballs at 4 a.m…

Yet here I am, still alive to write about it.  I love them, those three.  They are still my precious loves, somewhere inside their hormonal bodies.  Past the bitter words they spit out before they’ve even tasted them, outside their phones where they’ve transported themselves for easier access to friends when they’re tethered to that annoying reality where time cannot stop and start at the push of a button.  I’m too tired to get into detail about the ways in which they’ve “grown”, I can only say for now that I understand something profoundly important about Wordsworth and his appeal for childhood innocence.  I’m making an appeal for it too, here in this house with these loves of mine.  As my littlest chicka sleeps next to me while her daddy’s out of town, I felt compelled to come here for my nighttime prayer.  Thank you God, for getting us this far.  So far so safe.  Please protect us and guide us as we navigate these tumultuous years ahead.  So far so safe and if all I ever have to endure is constant worry and occasional verbal abuse, I’ll be blessed.  I’ll age in dog years, but we will survive.  They are good souls and I realize now that that has always been my greatest hope.

Had I foreseen a D in math 4 years ago I’d have hung up my apron right then, grabbed a case of Slim Fast, and bought a one-way ticket to Morocco for my failing.  Had I foreseen the maturing of integrity, honesty, compassion, self pride, and love which I could not possibly introduce anew today should these have been deficiently sown, I’d have realized a D in math is completely surmountable compared higher mountains.  Thank you, God, for these three blessings.  For helping me make them a gift to this world, and for the many gifts they have given me.  As I watch over their expanding souls, I can think of nothing that truly grows a soul like motherhood.

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2 Beats 1

There are undeniable benefits to any number of children that complete your family, as well as drawbacks. When we had our first daughter, my boss with three children would laugh as I went on in detail about the most minute aspects of parenthood, like fussy napping or figuring out how to shower when just she and I were in the house alone. He told me having one is like “playing house.”

Then when we became pregnant with our second and learned it was going to be a boy, a friend of the family said, “The perfect family, one of each…a real millionaire’s family! I would feel proud with my swollen belly and glowing cheeks, and my beautiful blonde daughter in my arms. I felt wrapped in the warmth of a growing family and enjoyed the excitement of having “kids” instead of a baby. There was just something that felt official about this second on the way, and I liked it! Then he came, and it was BUSY! A 22-month-old who didn’t like sharing, and this little fella at the breast. Our friends without children would stop over and marvel at the carnival act we had going on. In the space of 200 square feet we had a high chair, swing, bouncy seat, carseat and playmat. But we weren’t out numbered yet. We could still manage things with a fair and equal team effort.

I just began to settle into this new life and decided to embrace motherhood like a seasoned vet. I was excited about one day adding another to the clan, and the sooner the better. When my darling boy was around a year and a half, we discovered we were expecting AGAIN! It was Christmastime, so I put the test into a long, gold jewelry box, wrapped it and gave it to my husband one evening. When I handed this unusually timed special present to him, he had a worried look on his face. I didn’t think he could possibly know…so I asked him what was wrong, and this is what he said: “Well, I’m just a little nervous to open it, it looks expensive and money is really tight for us.” Little did he know this would be the gift that would keep on giving…in diaper bills! But of course he was thrilled and reminded me we would now be out numbered. My mother-in-law couldn’t wrap her brain around the fact that trips to Cedar Point and Disneyland would be disastrous with an uneven number of kids to pair on the rides.

And of course after that, unending comments from every direction would remind me of the chaos I was about to enter. The old boss was delighted to see I was no longer playing house. The perfect family friend couldn’t understand why. WHY? She wanted to know why we would go and mess with a good thing. You’ll be outnumbered, you’ll be outnumbered, YOU’LL BE OUTNUMBERED!
When a dear best friend of mine told us she was pregnant with her fourth (in 5 years), my son had the mother-of-all-takes on the number of children in a family. He said that one’s too easy, two’s for wimps, three’s for quitters but four is just plain CRAZY!! Secretly I envy this friend, because in my experience, three has been crazy.

We are outnumbered. We can only go to Cedar Point with another family so no one get’s stuck on rides without a buddy. My daughters are complete rivals (read: three bedroom house, three kids). There is constant ganging up on someone. Three has been a charm in terms of my ideal number of children to fulfill a need for a “fuller” family without going bonkers, but it’n not without challenges.

There is, however, one way in which my number of three comes in handy to be the absolute perfect number when taking votes, which we do everyday, all day long, about everything. Because with three, there is no chance of a tie, it’s either unanymous or TWO BEATS ONE!
Settles everything without holding me accountable!

And when I think about those early years when my husband and I had to field comments from this person or that one, I remember how proud we were of our family and how we would look at each other and not give a fiddler’s fart what they were saying. We were on the same team and had plenty of confidence on the matter. Two beats one!

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I’m just your ordinary…

Average everyday sane psycho super-goddess.

Thanks, Liz, for reminding me.

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My Girls

To all my heart sisters who have given so much of yourselves and your time in supporting me and helping me on my journey, my sincerest thanks.

You know who you are, and you know what you do. I love you all from the core of my being, and never for a moment forget how much you have given. It is my deepest desire that my daughters can know the love and strength I’ve recieved from women who will be with them for the long haul.

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Private Facebook Page? Huh?

Now I’ve seen it all.

A private Facebook page. I do believe this is my most recent example of an oxymoran. A public internet webpage – for members only. So you get there, you find the person you’re looking for or whatever, and there they are. A picture and a note that says, “This is Jenny. This is Jenny’s Facebook page. She’s joined the biggest social networking site on the internet, but if you want to get the scoop on Jenny, you won’t be able to.” Only friends in her inner circle get to know what’s up in her world.

I thought close friends already knew what was up in Jenny’s world.

I don’t get it. I guess I never will. Facebook is a mystery I’ll never understand.

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This mom is BITCHIN’! (literally)

I need to get out of this house. I know what I said earlier about the nesting, enoying the gift of time, relishing my home and family…

Yadda, yadda, yadda.

Get. Me. Outta here.

My due has come, and enough is enough. I cannot lose one more day of my life walking around inisde these walls looking at the endless amount of cleaning and organizing that needs to be done. It never gets done, and when it does it never lasts. I have created a family of lazy butts who think they can eat and leave dishes on the coffee table and undress and drop clothes on the kitchen floor.

THEY HAVE NO ACCOUNTABILITY because I never made them accountable. I know, my bad. My very, very bad. But what’s done is done and I’m not about to take it to City Hall. No way. I’d rather just get out of dodge before I call Nanny 911. Frankly I don’t have it in me to fight the good fight.

Natural consequences, that’s what I say. Let them wade through their rooms to find their coveted crap. Let them hand wash a spoon for their yogurt because none made it into the dishwasher. Let them eat cake for dinner for all I care, but leave me out of it. I can’t sacrifice another minute cleaning up after, serving, hosting and chauffering. Not because I don’t love my darlings, and not because I’m mean and selfish.

BECAUSE I’M A PERSON TOO. I have a life of my own, or at least I want one. One with a little spot carved out just for me. Not one night out every two months for wine with the girls. Not school at the university, though God knows that has saved my ass over the years. I’m talking about a place where I can build something, grow and flourish outside of my role in motherhood. I’ve cherished my time home with my kids and did a really great job caring for them when they were helpless dependents, but they are no longer helpless, just way too needy.

I want them to feel loved and I want them to feel secure. I want them to feel protected and sheltered, yes. I don’t mind them counting on me to take necessary care of the needs they cannot meet for themselves like driving and grocery shopping, but I’m leaving their personal needs up to them now, increasing in order of their ages. My 8-year-old can still ask for a PB&J when she’s hungry. My 12-year-old better be in two casts and a wheelchair if she does. I prepare breakfast, pack school lunches and provide dinner, anything beyond that is not my problem to remedy. Saturdays I will not sit at a perch in the kitchen and continually prepare whatever it is each of them happens to fancy for lunch. Because they don’t respect me for it. Sure, they like it. They may even appreciate not having to get off their butts when they want a glass of water. But they do not realize that there is NO REASON they cannot do it for themselves.

I’m not granny with the cookies here. I’m no longer mommy with the sippy cups either. I’ve become the Bitchin’ Mama so you better check yourself before you wreck yourself because the gig is up. She’s on to greener pastures now.

Her heart will always be wrapped around her babes like a big, beautiful velvet ribbon, but there is still some length left on the spool to reach a little further, to a place where only she gets to go. In that place, no one is ever messy, hungry or bored.

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