There once was a family made up of 3 boys, one father, and one mother. Now, this mother was not like most mothers. Oh, she loved taking care of her children, and cooking their special meals, and kept the house in order just enough as needed, but she also adored the first day of April. April Fool's Day. She would wait the entire month of March, just for that month to end, so she could finally have her beloved day.
Now, the children who lived in this house with this mother, already knew to go to bed, hiding their alarm clocks so she couldn't sneak in on her hands and knees and set the time to wake up to 3 a.m. They already knew to hide their shoes so she wouldn't fill them to the brim with pennies. And they were sure to never use the soap dispenser on that first day of April, for there was no doubt that it would be filled with maple syrup. These things, the ones they knew of, they were prepared for. What kept them lying awake during the night, with one eye open, was the unsettling question, of what their mother had thought of during the day while they were gone to school. This, they could not anticipate, so the 3 boys decided to all wake up at the same time on the morning of the first day of April, and to come down the stairs together. There would surely be safety in numbers that way. And so, it was agreed upon, on the night of March 31, to meet at the top of the stairs in the morning. "Careful," the oldest cautioned, "remember last year,when she filled the cereal box with plastic ants."
The oldest boy woke up first, only to find that his entire room had been filled with balloons while he slept. He quickly jumped up, moving the balloons out of the way, and prepared himself for the day, for surely, there would be more of his mother's antics. The second oldest boy opened his eyes, only to spend the first 5 minutes in alarming confusion as to why he would be waking up in the downstairs guest room. The third son, the smallest son, the one who had taken great care to hide his toy dinosaur, lest his mother dress his toy in doll clothes as she had done the year before, alas awoke to his dinosaur being made into a princess during the night.
The boys all met their mother who was already in the kitchen, preparing breakfast. Upon seeing them, she asked "Would you like one or two snake eggs for breakfast, and how many alligator sausages?" She then poured white milk into glasses in which she had placed dots of blue coloring at the bottom, and they all watched the blue swirls work their pattern up to the top.
The mother turned and asked her children with excitement, "Were you surprised???" to which they all answered yes, and they smiled and laughed and she said, "that makes me very happy." And it did. The youngest boy laughed the hardest, with the knowing anticipation of the rubber spider that awaited his mother, at the foot of the shower.
I have always loved April Fools Day, and my children know that. I heard them earlier tonight, promising to each take turns keeping guard during the night, so I couldn't prank them this year. Too late: it's already been done. I carried my middle son downstairs while he was sleeping, and he'll wake up in the guest bedroom. I have blown up all the balloons for my oldest son's room. It pains me to tell you that Baby E's little dinosaur now has pink baby doll clothes on. Why? Because hearing them laugh and talk and remember pranks from the past years makes me so very happy. Happy April Fool's Day!!
BABY E: "Mom, I found all this "Little Mermaid" stuff up in my room. And Little Mermaid stickers are all over my juice cups. I'm going to stick SpongeBob stickers over them so no one can see them. I can't believe I used to like that stuff. And that I used to wear that T-shirt. Why'd you let me buy that? And why'd you let me put those stickers all over my cups? You should've said No. I can't believe I used to like that stuff, and wear it, too. Can you, Mom?"
Me: (to myself) "Hmmmm.....OOOH!! OH! I have a new follower!! I have a new follower!! Let's see....who is it??.......Aaaaaack!!! It's me!?!? WTF? I'm my new follower?????!!!!!!!! ALEC!! Please come downstairs and help me get my face out of my followers....thingy thing. There's only seven up there and one of them is me!! Please??!"
What in blue blazes EV-ER made me think that it was even safe for me to get anywhere near a keyboard anyway? Step away. Seriously. Just Step Away.
Welcome to Day 2 of Beautiful Blogger Award 1/2 Week! To recap, yesterday's post thanked the awesome bestower of the award, Dusty Earth Mother. The award's rules state that I am to disclose 7 interesting things about myself. That happens here, today. Tomorrow, I share 7 awesome beautious bloggers I love, inside and out. Thought I was joking with ya when I said it'd take me 3 days to cover all the ground that comes with this honor. I'm all about the rules....
Julia Cameron, author of The Artist's Way, makes the thought provoking statement: " I would disagree with those who say we cannot change the past. We can build on it, transform it, utilize it, learn from it, heal it." Our lives are what make us who we are. The life I've had, has led to the following list of quote unquote interesting facts about me.
You know, I just have to say, Beautiful Blogger Award or not, after beginning this post, I think that everyone should sit down and write 7 interesting things about themselves. Examine yourself, and look at the list that makes up some of who you are with new-found wonder---it really is kind of cool to see all the things that are you.
At first, when I sat down and froze at having to come up with SEV-EN interesting facts about myself, I just didn't know which direction I wanted to go. (I've always over analyzed like this.... my expensive friend friend called it "rumination." Yeah, google it if you must: it's a real clinical term...) Anyway, I came up with this awesome idea: I'd ask people who knew me, what the interesting things were about me. Try it, it's actually a lot of fun. And pay attention, there'll be a quiz tomorrow. Here's what they suggested:
Interesting Fact#1.) I asked my friend, Carol: "Well, I'd mention that you're Colombian. That's interesting." It is. I am. So, now knowing this, you'll have to read my posts "weeth a leetle beet uff a espaneesh ahccent." Of course, Gloria from Modern Family is.my.hero.
IF#2.) Dug around with my friend, Donna: " Hmmmm... I think it's that you're funny. You don't look like you would be, but you are." I didn't ask her to go into detail about that too much, sometimes you just gotta take 'em and run.
IF#3.) Checked in with my friend, Breda: "You are a fantastic cook. It doesn't seem that you would be, but you are." Again, see the theme of me not seeming to be what I am? I'm kinda getting curious here....but not curious enough to ask. Yet.
IF#4.) According to my 3 sons: "Mom, you are so smart. We used to think you were a scientist. (yeah, I know, "used to?", what happened?) You know something about everything." As the saying goes, If you can't Dazzle them with brilliance, then baffle them with...well, you know the rest.
IF#5.) This one comes from me. I work for my best friend, who owns and runs a fabulous, over the top catering business, and though the hours are late, I love preparing food for a living. These late hours make it possible for me to be home during the day, and homeschool our children. Throw in the fact that I'm a bit of a nosey-rosey and I now get to go into people's houses? Awe-some.
IF#6.) I could make a living as a Celine Dionimpersonator. No Lie. Just strap a harness to either of our chins, and we could plow your back 40.
IF#7.) In college, I was a chichi lala cocktail waitress at the hotel, called the Pfister, for entertainment that came to town. I worked at the private bar for these guests, on the top floor. You needed a key to ride the elevator up. I have autographs from Boy George, Red Skelton, Helen Reddy, The Talking Heads, Michael Jordan, Phil Collins, blahblahblah, and was called a smart ass for addressing Adam Ant (you might have to google Mr. Ant...) as "Mr. Ant", but what would you have called him???
*BIG ULTRA-BONUS IF*: I worked with autistic children up until 1995 B.C. (before children). I quit working when our first child began developing serious food allergies and asthma. I couldn't leave him home with anyone but me. As often times has happened in my life, what seems "bad" has worked out for "good", I have since stayed home to be with our other 2 children. We decided to homeschool them, due to the serious allergies and health issues. And I have LOVED it. What gives me goosebumps, is that I never would have chosen this as my life: to be a homeschooling mom, if this way of life hadn't been "chosen" for me.
Now that was supposed to be for you, but it was really fun for me to do. And, this post made me think about how interesting every one of us is. I would sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, love to learn one interesting thing about you (said in a loving tone, not a sarcastic one as in "try and find one interesting thing about you" ...) So, please leave some info. on you below, because it would make.my.day. For reals. Oh, and one more thing, thank you, sweet Shari!
Tomorrow, the blogging lovelies I'd like you to meet.
BabyE: "That's the way I'm going to say Good Morning from now on, Mom, when I first come downstairs, OK? So, when I come down tomorrow morning, I'll say "Whaaaa Up! diggety dog", and you say, "Morning, honey", back, OK? Let's practice."
Me: "mmmmmm.....nnnooo, I mean, I think I got it. We don't need to practice..."
OK, there's one more growl coming yet, I've learned that.... and, there's his third growl. Three, three, always..cuz that's how he rolls.
The tinny rasp of a dinosaur's mechanical voice box wakes me up for the second time this night. I have to smile, because there is only one way that Steggy got here, right in the path of my bulldozer butt (for more on this sad subject, see March 16) in bed.... and that is via Baby Emperor.
Which means only one wondrous thing to look forward to in the morning: Baby Emperor's fuzzy curls in my face when I wake up for the day. Baby E has found his way in between my husband and me in the big bed, sometime during the night.
I don't fight the nightime intrusions on my time anymore.
Not with this third baby.
I've learned, with this last one, that it is all gone too quickly. And I learned it the sad way, through my error. The older two are now 14, and 13...the days of their fuzzy curls in my face are over. The only way I capture that now is when I sneak and grab and hold them in my arms on their way out the door, more force is required with the one who has become taller than me. These two were once the size of Baby Emperor.
I first decided to post this last week, and began work on it then. Over the weekend, I've come across so many other bloggermoms , like Motherhood in NYC, who write of time flying and fleeting and their children growing up.
A few years back, I was in the throes of the most unconquerable sadness over how the days with my little ones were flying, that I knew I had to look outside of myself for help. I did find someone professional (ack..I just hate the way that sounds, but, so be it...) to talk with, and the gems she left me with have changed my days.
I was missing the now of it all, because of the "pre-mourning" of it all. Something felt so wrong, and we figured it out together. Now, it almost makes me laugh, my sadness over it all--almost, because it was pretty sad back then, believe me. I just didn't know how to figure out what all the sadness was about. What scared me into action, into finding someone to help me, is my memory of growing up in a household with no laughter...anyone know what a house sounds like with a mom who doesn't laugh?? Pretty scarey, huh. Exactly. Makes you shiver...none of that for my kids, thank you. So, back to how mama got her groove back.
I would sit across from my "expensive friend," as I called my therapist. I'd lament the passing of the days, complete with back of the hand on the forehead, looking off mid-distance. The whole deal. Stuff they give out Academy Awards over. I'd sigh to her,
Me: "but..but...the days of toy trains are gone.."
$he:"but they're still home with you now."
Me: "but..but..it's all over, my days of fullness are all over."
$he:"but they're still home with you now."
Over time (ha! try 2 years...) I got the picture.
BUT THEY'RE STILL HOME WITH ME NOW.
What she was "saying" (finger quotes in air) since she couldn't tell me directly since insights arrived at on one's own are much more meaningful (I'm good, aren't I?), was that my sadness was over not living in the moment. Being with them in all the glory of their being there. At that age, at that stage, with them.
Revel in it all, it's still in your hand. Put down the dirty dish, and play trains when they ask you to play trains with them. Let that last load of the almost done laundry sit, if they ask you to shoot buckets outside. If they suddenly want to see a movie with just you, get a sitter for the little one, and go with them. Suck every minute dry, so you have no regrets, so you don't look back and say "Ugh. I could've done it so very much better than I did."
My expensive friend left me with a quote when I "graduated" (expensive translation: "gained a life skill"), and I refer to it daily: " Who forces time is pushed back by time, he who yields to it finds it on his side."
Yield, give it the right of way, let it go first, and go with it.
Stepping down off soapbox now. Thank you for coming. No need to thank me for saving you all beacoup bucks in not having to find your own Special Expensive Friend.
The following memory was triggered by a post from the oh so talented Naomi over at her blog, Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip. Her post, from Jan. 8, 2010, is entitled "Pick Up Lines for Playdates."She asks the question, when do you go from being friendly, to being scarey? I answer that for her, below.
She might as well as have just come out and said, "not if you were the LAST person.on.earth would I hook up with you." But she didn't have to, the alarmed look in her eyes did it for her.
Things had been going well between us, I thought so anyway. I hadn't seen her at this park before, and it was a wonderful early Spring day--the kind where everyone is eager to be outside. We each had 3 children-- roughly the same age, they were all getting along fine on the playset, she had brought organic snacks, Hey! me, too! I heard her tell her children how important it was to clean up your area after eating, to keep mother earth green. It was all good.
We had chatted, exchanged adorable toddler anecdotes, laughed at each other's stories about staying home with the little ones. I had pushed her daughter on the swing, she had helped my son down from the slide. We were dressed similarly enough, so our values were evident to each other. As the afternoon wore on, and the children began to tire, we rounded them all up--time to head to home sweet home. We both believed in naps, even at this age! Does it get any better than this? I smiled. Could she be the one?
I thought I had the green light, I tell you that's how I read it, otherwise I never would've ventured and put myself out there as I was about to do. I cleared my throat, "Say, it was so nice meeting you today, and our kids seem to get along so well...would you like to meet up next week, same time? same place?"
Her eyes locked with mine, frozen, in terror. I was so very happy I could not read minds. Because I know I would've picked up the echoey inner voice that would've sounded something like "not if you were the last person on earth would I meet up with you."
She blinked once, maybe three or four more times, then began to stammer out an excuse about already having a full calendar--haha----she threw in a few tight lipped smile, no teeth showing, some more rapid eye blinks...well, you get the picture.
"Ummm...," I, for some reason, decide to take the heat off her. "O..o..o..okay, I totally understand, really. Well, nice to meet you anyway!" I said in the fakest bright voice I could spit out, then I quickly headed to the van."Go, kids, go!", I ordered in a hushed tone. "Why, mommy, is it going to ran bad?" Uh. No...I just am embarrassed all to heck and want to get the heck out of here as fast as I can before she sees my red face. "No..just...go. That's all, go."
I wondered what the heck it was about me. It would be nice to see how others see us sometimes. But, then I kept thinking on the drive home--and I decided to decide that I would mentally deal with it as perhaps the truth? Maybe she did have enough friends and could not stand to take on another one, maybe her clique frowned upon outsiders, maybe her calendar was booked solid. If I found her appealing, I'm sure others had, too.
I go home and look at Hillel's quote that I kept taped to the inside of my kitchen cabinet, "I get up. I walk. I fall down. Meanwhile, I keep dancing." I had plenty to dance about in my life, and I would keep trying and find others who liked dancing with me, too.
If you haven't yet paid a visit to Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip, I'd like to encourage you. Her post on "Pickup Lines for Playdates" is a gem.
OK, for those of you who were here for yesterday's post, I must apologize. I don't know what I was thinking. Wait, yes, I do, I think yesterday's post can be filed away under "denial."
Who am I trying to kid (that answer would be? me, of course). Oh. Oh. and Oh. Does it bug me to have a big butt. It was funny yesterday, not so much today. I have nothing to wear. And I can't find anything to buy to wear. Obviously, there are no cute jeans for me out there...oh, there will be, but not for another 18 months, because face it...what designer wants me advertising their wares across these buns? "Hey! dying to look like this? Buy our pants!!" Don't think so. They save the cute stuff for the waifs out there (jealous much?). Please don't misunderstand me, I don't want to be that size. I was once among the ones in the straight cigarette leg jeans. Once. Don't need to go there again.
It's just that it really bugs me that it looks like I shoved a pillow down the back of my pants. Remember the BigButt family on SNL? With Dan Akroyd as the dad, and Lorraine Neumann as the mom? That's what the view is like from back there, except I'm not trying to be funny, or get laughs. It just looks like I am. And I don't want sentences about me to begin with, "she's not bad, if you like a little junk in your trunk..."
So, my lucky stars were all lined up in a row today, because when our local paper came, I picked it up and and out falls a sales insert, and OMG! but answer to prayers if Tarjay didn't have THE 30 Day Shred DVD on sale for 9 bucks! Do you know how quickly I could eat my way through 9 bucks worth of Nachos? Instead, I'll just take that Nacho kitty and spend it on Jillian.
But, it's serious. A very serious commitment. And I won't say girlfriend doesn't try to warn you. She cautions, nice and BIG and right on the cover: "Get ready for the BEST body you've EVER had!" Well, I'm ready, Jillian....bring it. This is exciting....she promises I will lose UP to 20 lbs in 30 days! Probably all up in my boobs, with the way things go for me.
All I need is hand weights, a mat, and 20 minutes and I will achieve a lean, shredded boy...ooops, I mean body.
Of course I jumped into the van and hightailed it (fattailed it?) to Tarjay. Threw the DVD in the cart, and tonight, it'll be me and my new BFF Jillian. I will let you know how it goes.
Do you remember Donkey in Shrek? Do you remember the part where he sings, "Baby Got Back?" It's important that you answer yes to this question.
Bet you didn't know it's me he's singing about in that all out Holla! house party Shrek is having with his friends in the magic woods. The one where Fiona is rolling around like Madonna? The one where Gingey is going all crazy like he's done whippets or something. That huge party? Uh-huh. You know the one where Donkey comes out singing, "I like Big Butts and I cannot lie..." Dedicated. To. Me.
I HAVE A BIG BUTT. And I cannot lie. Not any more.
It didn't happen overnight, it's been s-l-o-w-l-y taking up residence for the last three years, but, BUTT? today? TODAY? Well, today it is all there, baby. I mean all the way live.
It slowly began with "hmmm ... what pants can I jam my bodaciousness into today?" to "where's that dang pair of yoga pants I always wear even though I've never been to a yoga class." And, this morning, that last pair just mentioned? Can no longer work 'em. That's right. Fabric can only be stretched to its limit, even yoga fabric, until, it reaches ... its limit.
But, this time, instead of freaking out while I tugged and pulled and swore and got depressed and sucked it in, I just suddenly burst out laughing at what I saw in the mirror. Oh Em Gee. And the song popped into my head, like a gift from heaven, "I like big butts and I cannot lie."
It's so there.
My butt is SO there.
And, ala Joy Behar, "so what? so what?" I'm tired of always having to worry about it. It's there, and that's how it is.
It's there, and I surrender.
I saw myself in the mirror, smashed and sausage casing-ed into those jeans, with everything just pouring and oozing out of the top, and the sides and the front ... and ... and ... I couldn't help but laugh out loud at what was reflected back. Oh, My, BabyGotBack.
BabyGotBack, and that is fine, because I know how I got here.
I got here because I didn't turn down a single invitation to Fourbucks with a friend, and I didn't say no to "let'smake cupcakes, mama" at three in the afternoon. I got here on a road paved with laughter, fat-laden mochas, a shared cupcake, moments with friends, and ... living.
I wouldn't trade any minutes of time spent with someone who wants to be with me for moments of being able to squeeze into smaller size pants.
So, when Mrs. Cutie-Pie-Next-Door (and you know who you are) leans in to whisper to Mrs. Thin-As-A-Rail from across the street, (and you, also, know who you are) upon spying my Bodaciousness and Lusciousness in All.Its.Glory in the neighborhood, "OMG, Mrs. T.A.A.R., look at her butt,It is SOOO big--I mean, Her Butt--it is just sooo big. It's just sooo round, and sooo out there, " I'll just smile smugly because in the song? when Donkey joyfully invites "so ladies if the butt is big, dial 1-900-donkey"? it'll be donkey, who'll be dialing up me, cuz MamaGotBack.
And mama has got a story called "living life" behind every single ounce of jiggly deliciousness back there. And, yes, donkey, I'm not bad at all, if you like a little junk in your trunk.
In Asia, it is commonly said that folding one thousand paper origami cranes makes a person's wish come true.
Sometimes, I have to call out his name to see where he is in the
house. He's always been like this, quiet ... and somewhere. And it wasn't like it was with his brothers,
never if there's quiet, there's trouble, but more of a, he's quiet, let's go find him.
We'd search him out, and there he'd be; alone, silent, with his drawing pad under the
dining room table. Only four-years-old but already sketching a tiger completely detailed with
green eyes and a tassled tail; or quietly rolling out anatomically perfect scorpions from
Folding and folding his paper origami.
My husband, who is a conservative white collar worker by day and secret
renaissance man at home, is the one who has introduced all three of our
boys to what has become the major hobby in their lives.
He began our
oldest son, now 17, with piano at age five.
With our youngest, he has
shared his love of basketball, football, soccer, anything athletic.
middle son, the quiet one, was four-years-old, when one day -- as he
sat drawing by himself, my husband sat down next to him, two shiny squares of paper in his hand. Cross legged on
the floor, my husband silently, slowly began folding a 6x6 inch flat
sheet into an origami crane.
With his thumbnail, he drew a sharp crease in the shiny gold foil, allowing time
in between each fold for our son to imitate the precise movements with his own piece. I saw
something in our peaceful son's eyes come alive with that very first
time of paper folding. As he watched his father, I remember him
breathlessly saying, "It's so cool that I can make my own toys."
Our son had found his thing; through my husband, he has learned the art of origami.
He has been folding origami for nine years now.
It suits his personality: he's happy in his own company, he becomes
absorbed in his activities, and he is fueled by instant results from his
labor. Some of his origami pieces can take up to one hundred folds and
an hour and a half of dedicated work. When all the steps are complete, he holds the transformed paper in
his hands and with self-affirming pride, admires what he has created from a square sheet of paper.
While he folds, he holds an instructional dialogue with me:
"Mom, did you know that the biggest mistake people make with origami is to not prefold?"
"Mom, did you know that if you think you can't do an origami any longer, you can just try again the next day?"
I have learned that when he is folding, it is the best time for me to
catch a glimpse into those thoughts he keeps to himself, to find out more about who this
pensive child of ours is.
At times, when he is so into his paper zone that he won't hear us call
him, I'll send one of his brothers to go and check on him, to see how
he's doing. They always return with the same news, "he's fine, Mom, he's just at the table, folding."
This pastime of paper folding has allowed him entry into the popularity
clubs at school that would ordinarily be closed to someone in the outer
circle like him. During class downtime, he'll begin to fold paper into
fish, or frogs, or boxes, and a crowd will soon gather and with
astonished praise, say, "That is so cool! Can you make me one?"
In his non-hurried manner, he'll smile, happy to be accepted; reach for another sheet, and
begin folding to make the paper crane, cricket, frog, to give to
whomever wanted one, while they stand around -- quiet, much like him --
I stand behind him sometimes, captured by his hands folding and refolding so
deliberately, without a sound. I know that he is nowhere else at the
moment, but in his zen of creating.
He once left me speechless with his remark of, "Mom, I know how I feel when I make something from nothing ... I can't even imagine how God felt when he made flowers and bugs."
He is my beautifully quirky son, and he has taught me to seek the quiet,
feel the peace of still, and to find a moment by stepping out of the
whizzing world for awhile.
"Mom," he asks me, between folds, "do you know the story of
One Thousand Cranes? The story goes that if a person makes One Thousand
Cranes, that their wish will come true?"
I don't have to make One Thousand Cranes, honey, I don't.
While at the park a few summers back, the following actually happened to me. No kidding. I couldn't make this up, as a matter of fact, I'm thinking of starting the "I Couldn't Make This S**t Up Club," seems like I'd get a lot of members. Just the other day my friends and I were saying that very same thing, but that'll make another post. For now, the story:
I'll try to stay on subject, but my ADD tendencies are in high gear today..easily distractible. (oops...I'll be right back, I see some dust on the piano that's driving me nuts...) So, the story: I'm at our small town park, and it's a beyoooteeful day, and I mean all the way around beautiful: blue sky, birds chirping, a balmy breeze, baby emperor is with me, and I'm pushing him as high as can be on the swing, into the summer sky. He's trying to touch the tree branches ahead with his little, royal toes...I'm singing a sweet, little song (the song is sweet, not my voice..but he doesn't know this )to him that my grandmother used to sing to me, it goes like this: "arooroo, mi nino, que tengo que hacer, laver los panales, y hacer de comer..." On and on, and we're happy, and smiling, and of one heartbeat blah blah blah......
*cue needle scratching across record* riiiiiiiiiiiip
Nasty Lady in Park: "...Ooooh, you're singing so nicely to that child, I'm wondering, are you ever free to babysit? I mean, are you able to babysit for others?"
The Empress: "Whaaaa.....?" (cuz I'm mentally quick like that...)
NLinP: "Oh, I'm sorry...I thought I heard you speaking in Spanish to the little guy. I thought you could babysit sometime for me.."
The Empress: "I was speaking in Spanish, but I am his mother and..... Wait a minute.....did you think I was his nanny because I was speaking in Spanish?"
NLinP: "Come on, Courtney and Aeden, you never who is in the park these days."
I need a hero, to swoop down on those days, and right what's wrong, and give all those that need it a "what for" and to never forget it.
A little background info. here: I grew up with no music lessons, piano, dance, art, etc., or any enrichment otherwise. Not looking for pity here, just a detached statement of fact. So, this next posting is, to me, just evidence of the surprising beauty that one gets gifted with in life. Just as there are the downs, there are also the ups. Given the environment I grew up in, it is amazing to me--beyond my imagination amazing--that I am able to post something such as this. Please do not consider it bragging as much as it is a statement of awe coupled with sheer disbelief, though it is staring me right in the eyes.
I hear it from upstairs, but I still can't believe it. I am hearing it through my own ears, in my own home. My brain processes it as reality, but my soul tells me it can't be so.
From the upstairs bedroom, I hear our 14 year old son playing the piano that is in our front room. I know it is him, and that it has to be him, since he is the only one able to play the piano in our family. I've seen him sit at that piano daily. A piano that just 5 years ago a friend gifted to us. And he plays, and plays. All his favorites: Journey, ColdPlay, movie themes. I've seen his fingers play on the keys, so know it to be true.
But my soul tells me it can't be. How does a woman like me, get blessed with a child like this? A musical child, how does it happen? I've never dreamed it possible, even in my wildest dreams. Yet, it's so. So, though I'd like to have our greeting on our answering machine just be him playing, I know I can't. And though I'd love to tell everyone, from the bagger at the store, to the town librarian, "My son can play, I mean, he can really play!" I know I can't. I know society doesn't find that acceptable.
So, I find myself having to sit down on the bed upstairs, with tears of pride and disbelief springing to my eyes too quickly for me stop them. I let him keep on playing. I don't want to walk downstairs just yet.
Brief history of myself, don't want to make too much of it, but it'll be evident and crop up time to time, reflective of my writing. I have had depression since I can remember, literally, since I can remember. I have memories of not even being in school yet, and wanting to burst out crying, just like that. I have always been searching for a way/ways to enjoy my life. It is a struggle. Prescriptions have never worked, nor exercise, nor material things, attempts at talk therapy. Now, the good news, I have had much much luck with what I've learned at the website TheHappinessProject. Immense luck. I'm hopeful...
I have been led to the most amazing blogsite. I've been following it for a month now, and I have made more cognitive progress here than I've made in years of appointments with talk therapists. The Happines Project is a book/website that I had heard about. I finally decided to find out more about it, rather than just skimming magazine articles on it. This book was on the NYT's bestseller list, www.happiness-project.com.
Yes, The Happiness Project. That one. And it's not what you'd expect it to be. Not cheesey, or hokey. There is so much information on there, you'll be able to find at least one thing that speaks to you. Gretchen, the author, has been blogging in her search for happiness, what it is, ways to find it. She has one minute videos that are astounding in their content. Her side-bars contain "tips of the day", actions that are easy enough to instantly implement into your day, that make a world of difference. She has motivating quotes. What I enjoy the most are her daily blog entries, and her book reviews, where she reports back on all things happiness.
The inspiring thing for me is that I have come to believe what she says, that it takes conscious effort to be happy. One can't merely wish for it, or blame others for not having it: it is something we work for, and dig around, to help us find. Just searching for it will lighten our load, since it will change our thinking and mindset. Gretchen has columns of quotes, columns of action tips, all different ways to change your life. My plan of attack against the depression that has taken too many years away from my life, is to select a daily quote from Gretchen's site that motivates me, along with an action tip, that I will implement that day.
The pearl I walked away with today, after visiting her blog, the one that speaks volumes of truth to me is a quote from Saint Therese of Lisieux, "...for the love of my God, and the love of my brothers and sisters, I take care to appear happy and especially to be so." Amen. Even though my depression is beginning again to feel insurmountable, I'll work hard to "come through" for my family. Just because I'm down, doesn't mean the whole house has to feel down. Like I told you, it's hard work.
The action tip that I'm going to implement in my life today is, based on her daily tip today, is "hug more, kiss more, touch more." I feel my teenage son needs more physical evidence of my caring for him, so I will plan on snatching a quick hug in before he leaves for school, while we're still in the house. He's grown too tall and too embarrassed to allow me to hug him when I drop him off in the mornings. I'll plan for it at home.
As Gretchen sums it up, "It is easy to be heavy, hard to be light", this change in automatic thinking will take work, but anything worth your while does. I'll let you know how I'm doing.
Commiseration. Yes, sometimes commiseration can be the best solution.
I have been thinking about the blogs I frequent often, the ones I jump up to check on each day. What keeps me returning there? Why do I like them, and look forward to their posting? It's what I find there: moods that match my own on some days, other days it's a place where "they get it." I don't want answers to my problems, I just want to be somewhere where it's OK to be who I am. With no feelings of needing to impress, or pretend to be something I'm really not.
I've read that "water seeks it's own level" and "water seeks the path of least resistance." And that is what a "blogfriend" does. They're easy, they get you, they know what you live. When we find ourselves complaining, or feeling short ended on this life gig sometimes (we're only human, right?) it's strangely and curiously uplifting to find someone muddling through, too. There is something about the "safety" you feel at a favorite blog. You can be comfortable in your reaction and your response, and what you say in the little square box, because you know that there can be a difference in opinion, and you're still good.
Sometimes, we just want to be understood. Sometimes, we don't want a solution. We just want to nod "yes, yes, yes" and let that be all there is to it. And laughing along in recognition of it all, lightens the load. So does tearing up at a post they may write that cuts right to your heart.
You can't really describe chemistry, or put a formula to why you feel drawn to a specific blogger and their site. If we could, we could all buy the book and begin blogs and sell them later for mega grande dollars, or at least a few thousand.
You can't really figure out how you find your "tribe," your group of women that make up your daily life as much as your family and co workers, and physical friends do.
You begin blogging one day, and then little by little, and one by one, you meet people that bring joy to your life, people who make you smile excitedly when you see it's them on comments, or in an email, or a tweet, or the sweetest of all: " a direct message to you from..." on twitter.
I think we all just want to belong to a part of something larger than what we have just physically around us, we want to be accepted, and be the larger collective of what we are like, what is important to us. Finding our values and sharing what is dear to us, tethers and binds us to others. We no longer feel alone, and misunderstood, a stranger in a strange land.
There are times, yes, when we truly want a fix, a solution, resources, help, ideas...but there are, more often than not, just times when we only want to hear, "me, too!" Times when we want to know that someone misses our presence in their life that day. We want to know that we matter, and that someone likes us being part of their world. It's nice to know that someone is thinking of us when they wrote a post. It's nice to know that we, also, have somewhere to go with feelings we have inside, or news we want to share, or when we need someone to listen at 1:00 a.m.
Commiseration, sometimes just the sweet balm we need, and no more.
Baby Emperor: "Mom, will you come with me cuz I have to go to China for kung fu school. I need to go live there for a year to study with what's called a master kung fu teacher. I already can do awesome kicks and swirls...watch...zhoomboompow. I have to be gone a year, though, cuz it takes that long to get really good, but if you come with me, you won't have to miss me."
My short husband and I were on a homeschooler field trip yesterday (short husband aka my 7 yr old son, as in, with me 24/7 and always up in my bidness). Throughout the field trip, a certain "concerned" mom kept asking us, "how are you enjoying the field trip?" "Fine, " I would keep responding, although I'm sure my eyebrows became more and more knitted together into a unibrow, as I tried to determine why such interest in our enjoyment of this field trip??? At the end of the field trip, she again asked, "how did you enjoy it?" I wanted to just shout, "What the F already...enough about the field trip, ask what you want to ask..." What magic answer was she waiting for? What information was I supposed to be reading into her question? Why her obsession with the enjoyability factor of this fieldtrip??? But, instead, I took a deep breath, smiled tightly and answered, "fine."
On the quiet ride returning home, my young son abruptly thinks out loud from his car seat behind me, "I wonder why people don't just say what they mean, like, instead of keeping on asking us how we liked the field trip, why didn't that lady just say whatever it is she really wanted to say.."