Archive for April, 2009

Why

This is for me a place of freedom and safety. I get to write about whatever strikes my fancy that day, be in whatever mood grips me, be as politically incorrect as I choose, and record the details of the life that I live, not the life anyone expects me to have.

Here I can hammer out my frustrations on the keyboard while I try to analyze and make sense of the myriad of emotions that come and go in my soul. I can write reviews and share my opinions on any topic I choose, and bitch and moan one day about the trials of motherhood while the very next day I repent and crow about the blessings. It’s my choice.

But most of all, the reason I keep this blog, this honest, bare and open record of ME, is because I have a notoriously bad memory. It’s true. I can remember faces, songs, sometimes numbers come easily to me. When I worked at the bank, I had close to 100 account numbers memorized.  You need to withdraw some money from your account, Mr. Wilkins? Sure, just a minute… let’s see… can you give me your account number again? I need to check your balance… Um. No. Pretty sure Donna would have fired me for that.  Plus all the businesses. Pretty soon when you do their deposits every day you just know the numbers.

Names, though? Details of conversations? Cars people drove 10 years ago? The tires that were on so-and-so’s truck that we passed going up the hill around the corner by Duane’s house??? But I digress…

I need this blog. It helps me to keep a record of me. I grew up with this irrational fear of dying young and leaving those I love behind. And while I may not insist on saying “I love you” ten times to each person I talk to on the phone before hanging up, and I am able to leave my children with a babysitter without intense guilt, and even occassionally leave them overnight with grandparents when the situation calls for it, it still manifests itself in my life here and there.  Like having this need to keep a record of my life. I’m quite sure Auntie R. would make sure my children had a pretty accurate picture of who I was if something were to happen to me, but I also want to have some of these details of life as a mother, and old memories of childhood to use for reference, too.

Well, that turned into another kind of depressing post, didn’t it?  Hmm… it must be the rain. I do like the rain, though. The most depressing place I ever lived was in California, where every single blessed day was the same thing – sunshine and blue skies! Go figure.

College

Now and then I have this dream where I realize that I’ve never actually graduated from high school. All this time has passed without this knowledge, and now I have to go back to my old high school and finish the classes I’ve somehow missed, write the reports I neglected to write, and do the homework that never got turned in. And then I struggle my way through getting that done so I can finally receive my diploma. There are always sprinkled in among the strange young faces the faces of old friends and classmates from all eras of my life wondering if I’m there as the new teacher or something and I have to explain that I’m a student.

Why I never just go take my GED in this dream I’ll never know.  Why I can’t seem to pass the tests or get enough credits in these dreams is also a mystery. It ends up just being a lesson in humility, sometimes so vivid I have to go dig out my diploma and just look at it to make sure it’s real!

Truth is, I loved school. I miss school. I miss learning new things and being in a structured environment that has lines and charts and expectations all delineated for me, instead of having to BE the structured environment here in my own home. I always wanted to go to college and find my niche and get a degree. Even if I wasn’t planning to be the career woman rising up the ladder till she wants to start her family at 30. That was never me.

Early in my senior year I was accepted into an accelerated program through the community college where I would do classes at the high school and at the college all through the year and end up with so many college credits when I graduated. I remember going in for the testing and being so excited to be there. And I remember the day I got the acceptance letter.  The next two weeks were bittersweet. I had no money of my own for a reliable car that would get me around the horn through the winter months. My parents had no more money to pay for the expenses of tuition and books as they’d just taken out a second loan to help pay for my oldest brother’s last year at his university, and they’d just moved into a new house and gave Jake the single wide we’d grown up in so he could move out and batch it for a while before he got married.

There was no one to celebrate with or to share my disappointment. I wrote a letter to an old friend but never mailed it.

The way it all turned out, I finished my senior year in the school system I’d been with since first grade, except for a year out here and there for church school and homeschool, graduated on a sunny June day, and yes, I did receive my diploma. I still didn’t have enough money for college, so I worked at the bank for a year, saved enough money to buy a $700 used Honda and pay for one semester in a very small, unaccredited Christian college. From there, God provided enough money for 3 more semesters, a few more old beaters to get me through when the Honda burned up it’s wiring, and the best memories of my life.

It felt like a bumpy ride at times, but God had His plans in place for me. The timing certainly wasn’t mine, but it was perfect. I have no regrets there. In a few weeks I’ll come back and revisit why this has come to my mind now, and why all of that timing stuff is important to me, besides the obvious ones of how that’s when and where I met my best friend and my DH!

Sunshine

Mmmm… sunshine!  Just want to drink it all in and get a sunshine buzz! he he he!

We went shopping in the morning and bought a portable dvd player for the trip and a couple of movies the kids won’t get to watch until then. And then we came home and spent the rest of the day outside. It was so pleasant. Moved the picnic tables around and raked some more, added to the big burn pile that we won’t get to burn until sometime after it rains here. Late in the afternoon I came in to do dishes and fix supper, and brought EM in with me. She can’t be outside without me at this point because she wanders off too quickly and her big brother loses track of her when he is off in his own little world filled with dinosaurs and paleontologists. ELA tries to keep her from the road by tackling her and pinning her down, that is, when she’s aware of her at all.

This time instead of helping me wash dishes like she always does, she stood there in front of the screen door, looking out at her siblings playing in the dirt. I straightened up the kitchen, cleared the table, and wiped down the counters, and still she stood there. She wasn’t fussing or complaining, just looking and longing. I started working on the casserole we were going to have for dinner, but then this old poem came to my mind:

Babies Don�t Keep
by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo

The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo
Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullabye, rockaby lullabye loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

I had already felt guilty for spending so much time outside, even though I was getting work done because the house was NOT getting done. But as I looked at that almost 2 year old little girl, no longer a baby, I decided that was the night for a hot dog supper! I cranked open a can of superlinks and tossed them into a pan, then back outside we went. DH joined us at the picnic table when he got home, and he was more than happy to eat hot dogs and chips.

There were three happy little filthy kids tromping through the house to the bathtub that night, and as they’re all still sleeping right now, it looks like fresh air really does lend itself well to a good night’s sleep! We slept with our windows open last night, too, and they won’t be closed again unless it rains until fall comes back to the valley.

Abortion

I am sorry I watched the news this morning. There was a very sad story of a toddler who died at the hands of a caregiver. Not it’s mother or father, but most likely mom’s new boyfriend. It was a horrendous story and makes my insides tie up in knots.  I’d like to be the invisible man and walk into that jail cell and mete out to him the same punishment he somehow saw fit to give that child. Justice should be served better in this country by doing just that and we’d see a lot less of crime, I guarantee it.

Shortly after I became a parent for the first time, I read a story that changed my life. I have never repeated it to anyone, and I never will, but it will be with me until I finally sleep in peace.  A very small child died at the hands of its mother. It took me many months to get the image of how that child died out of my head. It haunted my sleep and many tears were cried, and at the end of it all I had changed my opinion and my view of abortion.

No, I don’t think it’s right. No, I will never advocate abortion as a means of birth control, or because you don’t want the responsibility. This is just my unpopular, “unChristian”, maybe outrightly wrong stance, but it will take the hand of God to change what’s in my heart. I just don’t think that abortion should be completely criminalized. Don’t get me wrong, and don’t get me started on late term or partial-birth abortions. There is ABSOLUTELY no reason for those to take place, ever. I believe if at all possible, with as much support from every avenue available, choose adoption. Choose unselfishness, choose life, choose to humble yourself and admit you aren’t prepared to be a parent! Every child should have a chance to live, to choose, to be.

But now I also know this: there are worse things than death.

This is a sick, sick world.

Get Ready!

Yesterday was a lovely Easter. Up early as usual and put together some little plastic easter eggs with jelly beans and hid them around the living room. After breakfast the kids got to run around and find them and eat a bunch of candy and the ears off of their chocolate bunnies.  Then we went outside and put up the swingset. It looked gorgeous outside, with a clear blue sky and the snow finally off the ground. Problem was it was about 42 degrees. So we had hats and mittens and coats on while putting it up, but the kids hardly seemed to notice. After a couple of hours of raking I finally worked up enough of a sweat to take my hat off.

To top off the day I bought tickets online to fly out to WA next week! Can’t beat the prices right now, that’s for sure! I don’t know if anything will pan out with the job out there, but it made sense to not wait another four months to figure it out when we’ve been planning this trip for so long. And besides that, unless I travel out there and back before EM’s 2nd birthday, I’d have to buy another ticket for her. This way she gets to sit on my lap for 8 hours and I don’t have to pay another $240.

So on to the adventure! First thing to do: go buy a portable DVD player and some new kid movies!

Looks like I will be putting all 3 kids together on the hide-a-bed and I’ll get the den all to myself. Which means I’ll get the computer all to myself! he he he! If this trip is anything like past trips I’ll be on wordpress at all hours of the night blogging about my crazy family and the things I’ve learned.  Honestly, though, I think I scare them as much as they scare me.

I need to get my butt to the gym and hit the tanning bed a few times, but I also want to spend as much time as possible with DH before I leave. There has been so much going on and his trip to WA and then he was sick for so long, and even now spends every chance he can catching up on his sleep. We need a night out. Or a night in, with kids who go to bed on time and actually sleep.  Saturday morning DH and I were up before 4 and after having our coffee we actually went and curled up on the couch together and fell back to sleep for 2 hours.  It was sweet. And so rare.

So about Easter: why is it that we celebrate Christmas but not Easter? Isn’t that kind of hypocritical? It’s one of those things that is frowned upon by the church and most conservative Adventists do not celebrate Easter. Is it because of the Ham? ha ha. Or just because it’s always on a Sunday and we don’t want to look like we’re keeping Sunday as a Holy Day – ever! I know that Easter is a pagan holiday that was relabeled and part of the concession of the church back in the days of early Christianity, but that is the same story to be told of Christmas. Yet Christmas is acceptable and Easter is not.  Sure, it has some questionable icons attached to it – like bunnies and eggs, obvious relics of the original pagan roots in the celebration of the goddess of fertility.  Christmas has Christmas trees, Santa Claus, and the giving of gifts to one another to overshadow it’s real meaning.

When I was growing up I only asked about this once or twice. In general, I think what you don’t grow up with you don’t miss. I never felt I was missing out on anything when it came to Easter or Halloween. I think when I was younger I once made the comparison of Easter to Christmas and I think the basic reasoning for not moving into the celebration of Easter at that point was something like, “Why start now when we know it is rooted in a pagan holy day?”. That was around the time that the conservative movement in our church began to push for the removal of the Christmas tree in our church and many families decided to no longer participate in Christmas based on its origins. We were one of those families.  That was a miserable year. Especially for my mom. In a typical year, she begins playing Christmas music in, oh, September or so. Whenever the first snow on the mountains is seen. That year there was no Christmas music, no Christmas cookies, and no Christmas tree.  There was no spark in my mother’s eyes, no laughter on Christmas eve.

About 9 o’clock that night it finally dawned on me that there really was going to be no Christmas that year. I wondered if this was how it was going to be from here on out. And then, on a spur of the moment decision, since my dad already had the week off, he decided to take us all to Arizona to visit my grandparents. Hallelujah! Laughter rang out, tears flowed, and the car was packed in an hour. My mother was a woman on a mission, and we left before midnight.

We managed to sneak in a trip to Disneyland that week, too, and that was a lot of fun! It was the only Christmas present we got! That was back in the day before car seat laws were so strict. Good thing, too. According to today’s laws, I would have been in a booster seat until sometime toward the end of 6th grade, when I finally hit 60 lbs. On the ride to California, I spent a good deal of time riding in a bed on top of the suitcases in the back window of the minivan. Ah, the good old days!

So, where was I? I do have a habit of being sidetracked, don’t I?

Oh yeah, I was going to express my intense gratitude that I will NOT have to spend my 30th b-day with my mom. I’m sure the cookout with the entire extended family and the fruit punch and weird tasting birthday cake and the slide show of the “highlights” of my last 30 years would be fun and all. Or maybe just incredibly depressing. Not sure the alternative is really that much better. I can’t remember the last time I got a birthday present from DH. Or Mother’s Day gift, or Anniversary gift, for that matter. Gift giving is SO not his love language, bless his heart *said through clenched teeth, of course*.  Most likely I will spend it like every other birthday, baking myself a cheesecake and cooking my own dinner, trying to convince the kids that it really would be okay to treat Momma special for one day out of the year and waiting for Dh to come home from work.

I’m hoping that just for ONE day when I’m out west that I can leave the kids and every one else behind and spend the afternoon alone, hiking through the woods aimlessly with a little backpack and a fishing pole.

Small Updates and Short Story

Well, we haven’t heard back from the one company that flew Dh out for and who then tried to cancel the interview. The other company that he applied to has contacted us to let us know they’ve filled the position. It’s looking grim and I’m trying to wrap my mind around the door being closed and another long winter here starting in about 6 months or so.

Another new development in our household lately is the refrigerator finally kicking the bucket.  A few months ago it was freezing all of my produce despite my best efforts to get it adjusted correctly. Then came a short time when it was just right. Now it won’t get cold at all. Thankfully I still have our old fridge in the back room and have been able to move most of my salvageable food stuffs into that one. Really starting to feel like a pioneer woman here, with no dishwasher, no dryer, no refrigerator, a wood stove, and snow that won’t quit!  I think I understand a little better why women pushed so hard and sacrificed so much for the right to vote, the right to equal wages, and threw off the social stigmas that went with working outside the home. Before all of these appliances that speed up the daily duties, so much time and energy was spent just surviving that there was no time or energy left to expand thoughts, learn new things, or read books.  I went on a laundry strike for two days because I’m so sick of the constant line of laundry through the living room that makes me move furniture around to accommodate it and makes me feel like the house is constantly dirty or disorganized.  And then I ran out of clean socks. I’m not even going to try to dissect why I still don’t have a new dryer or a fixed dryer.

And on to the story:

Yesterday I went to get groceries. Three kids in an extra-long-beep-beep-bus-driver shopping cart is always the highlight of the week. I was just hoping to get in there, get out, and get home in time to put them all down for normal naps since the two older kids are still having a very hard time going to sleep. That started when DH flew out to WA and hasn’t let up since.

Right after I parked I saw a lady take her extra long cart to the cart corral so I sped over there and grabbed it and loaded the kids right from the car to the bus.. I mean cart. Inside we went straight for the produce. We picked out lots of apples and oranges, then turned the corner to the next aisle. As I cautiously made my way forward, trying to steer clear of other carts and be conscious of how much room I need to maneuver, I found that an elderly gentleman was steering his cart closer and closer to mine. Before I knew it, I had been cornered. I couldn’t push past him, turn to go around him, or back up since there were people behind me. He didn’t seem the least bit perturbed by the rush around him, or the annoyance of the other people trying to get through. I watched and waited while he let go of his cart and shuffled past his basket, past my basket, and stopped next to my kids. He looked at them with a warm smile and then at me.

“Is there room for one more?”, he asked with a grin.

“Well, not so much!”, I laughed, “Got my hands pretty full!”

His eyes took on a serious tone and he looked at me for a few moments. He looked back at my kids, then to me and said, “But these are the BEST years of your life. I got three like that of my own in the cemetery, and now all I have to look at every day are just four walls.”

At that, he looked back at the kids and talked to them for a few minutes about the apples and oranges in the cart, then headed back to his cart. As he slowly pulled his cart from in front of mine and pushed past me, I reached out and squeezed his arm. He looked at me like he was grateful for the small bit of human touch, then pushed his cart on, muttering, “…best years of your life…” I fought back tears as I finished going down the rows of produce. His words had touched me, and I had to struggle to maintain some bit of composure while in public.

It was several minutes later that I realized how he had touched my life and I began to realize that I could have done more to return the favor. I left the produce section and began to drive my bus toward the entrance and checkout lines where he had seemed to be heading. I walked all along the row but didn’t see him. I was rather sad when I reached the other side of the store, but turned and headed toward the back of the store to finish the circle. And there he was by the plants and gardening supplies. This time I cornered him and began talking to him again.

And there we spent the next half an hour, clogging up traffic patterns and chatting away the time. I tried to invite him for dinner. I tried to invite ourselves to his house some Sabbath afternoon in case he couldn’t drive himself that far.  But he seemed content to just visit there in the aisles of Meijers.

I hope I made a difference, gave him something to remember fondly, or just brightened his day.

After the shopping was finally finished and I headed to check out, I soon found that he was there in line behind me. There were so few things in his cart, I thought of adding his to mine and paying for them. Except that as the last few things of mine were being rung up, I discovered my wallet was missing. Oh yes, I had my purse, with everything in it BUT my wallet. The cashier put my order on hold and I left my cart with all the groceries bagged up in it there beside her till while I dragged my very reluctant kids back out to the car to search for the missing wallet. ELA just could not understand why we were leaving all of those things there, especially since it was well past lunch time and they were all getting tired and hungry! Thankfully, the wallet was there and so back in we went, paid for our groceries, and headed back out to the car. A few apples later and all was right again with the world for the hungry kiddos. My thoughts, however, were still on the dear old man named Albert, shuffling around in the grocery store, no longer with a family of his own.  I have much to be grateful for.