Archive for September, 2009

Then Came the Night

He held my face in his hands and kissed me gently before he left this morning, and a tingle went down my spine. It reminded me that I hadn’t come back to deliver that promised “next post”.

So here it is.

About 6 months or so had passed after J’s surgery. It had been an incredibly difficult winter where we’d gotten behind on bills, thanks in a huge part to a single customer who refused to pay the last two draws for the garage he’d hired DH’s company to build. We kept believing he’d eventually pay, paid the guys out of our own pocket, and didn’t realize how short (in reality) the time limit is for placing a lien on someone’s property. We closed the business. Our credit has some nasty dings, but for the most part, our finances have remained intact and while we are still dealing with a lot of that stuff, we’ll survive.

Our son was recuperating from major heart surgery, our 2 year old was fully embracing the “terrible twos” and the baby of the family I was struggling so hard to nurse, despite a milk supply that just WOULD NOT keep up with her demand. I finally realized it was over when she was 10 months old. I was so very disappointed.

And then, there was this day. This one day that I looked at my husband and knew that despite the pain he’d inflicted, despite our struggles, here we were. Still standing here, trying to make up for the things we couldn’t undo, trying to do the best we could for our kids and hoping to figure out what was best for us at the same time, too. I loved him. I’d always loved him. He. Was. THE ONE. And for once I saw through the wall in my own heart and realized that while he didn’t always show me love in the way that I needed it, he did love me. That even while he tries to protect himself in his messed up little ways, I still have the power, more than anyone else in the world, to hurt him. And maybe, just maybe… I might have the power to heal his wounds. With time. With lots and lots of time.

My heart softened. We put the kids all to bed that night and sank down on the couch. I wanted to cry. I wanted relief from our trials. I wanted recognition of the strength it was taking to just keep plugging along. I wanted paybacks for the homeowner that screwed us over. I wanted to not be so poor I had to eat potatoes and oatmeal AGAIN.

And then I looked over at him and he looked just as beat down, just as tired, just as discouraged as me. And in the same heartbeat I knew it wasn’t about what I wanted right then and I knew what I wanted was him. I wanted to smooth away the furrows in his brow and run my fingers through his hair. I wanted to see the skin of his back and run my hands down his arms. I wanted to feel his hands around my waist.

I couldn’t bring myself to take him into our bedroom – it had become a place where we lay coldly beside each other, hardly touching at all, a place where we propped up on our elbows and argued late into the night. Instead a I grabbed a few blankets and spread them out on the couch. I turned on some music, then sat down beside him and reached up to put my hands on his face. Our eyes met, and in a matter of moments we went through the whole rainbow of emotions together, from sadness to strength, from pain to forgiveness to desire and longing and a great need to remember the oneness we had begun our life with.

Somewhere on that couch that night we found moments of time that had escaped from our grasp many years ago. At times we were young, unmarried, kissing on Dad’s couch and trying to hold back despite wanting with every fiber to give in and become each others first and only, only to be brought back to reality and discover we could give in to every desire. His touch felt like it was burning through my skin, his lips tasted so familiar but felt like lips I’d only looked at and never felt. How could we have missed this moment in our 6 years of making love together?

It was, somewhere in an unexplained place with a key and lock only God himself must own, our first time.

There IS no way to explain it. There was no logical sense to make of how it felt that night to become my husband’s wife all over again, for the first time, for the thousandth time. There was no innocence lost, but there was wisdom gained. It was the knowledge that forgiveness intensifies intimacy, that one layer of intimacy is not the entire picture, that there will always be more circles to complete and more fullness of time for us through every trial we overcome. There is a bigger and better picture that we have yet to see or maybe simply cannot comprehend yet, that waits for us in the years ahead.

For the girl whose real “first time” (aka Wedding Night) left me wondering why God makes such steep demands of us to be pure and wait, it felt so very redemptive. I will forever be grateful for the REAL first time He gave us 6+ years later, sated as it was with love and desire borne of meaning and depth and more wisdom than it ever could have been on the day we got married, or before that for that matter, in those moments we wanted to throw caution to the wind and be damned for it if necessary.

And the morning after? A new world. No guilt, no shame, no wondering where we might stand. I woke up to my husband loving me.

Advertisements

Another Year

Yes, another year has passed and I am sitting here getting happy, chugging a V&C instead of out getting my desired tat, but hopefully not all is lost and I can mark the occasion by some thoughtful discourse with myself.

I’m also trying to actually download some songs since my radio is crap and my computer got instantly pissy when I tried to shove a Trace Adkins cd into it’s driver. Just ’cause it’s all scratched up and I found it in the back of DH’s truck in a Jason Aldean case with some random “tv is from the devil” home made cd is no reason to get all bent out of shape!

Where was I? Oh yes, chugging the V&C.

I tried to explain why I have this need to mark occasions, to remember the passing of time, but he tries and tries and still can’t quite grasp the importance. I NEED to know I have survived another year, that I am okay with this passing of time. I need to look back and remember how we’ve grown. I need to be reminded of how strong I can be when I need to be. I need to celebrate the fact that we made it to the other side.

Because it was like we were in a tunnel. And while I could look back and see the light of the world shining behind us, I didn’t know if we would make it to the other side. I didn’t know if I’d die; if WE’D die, trapped and crushed in that dark place.

There was life before the surgery, and life after. It’s an epoch, much the same as getting married, or having a baby is a moment that you reflect on in the same manner. Life before marriage, life after marriage. Life before babies, life after babies. Nothing looks the same. It’s a different world that you live in, marked by this one specific moment. I’m pretty certain the tunnel was not only dark and VERY cramped, so that you had to crawl through with “fingertips and toes” as Jake would say, like the caves we used to explore, but it was also COLLAPSIBLE. I know this because I remember the feeling of being run over by a bus.

It doesn’t hurt so bad to look back on the pictures. I know how the story turns out. I am no longer plagued by the fear, the what-ifs of those days. I do, however, struggle still with how it felt to stand there, just outside my son’s hospital room, looking in on his tiny little body all cut up and bruised with wires and tubes coming out of him, and turning to watch my husband walk away. Just. Walk. Away.

And leave me with a recovering 3 year old and a 22 month old firecracker, and a nursing a 4 month old baby. And left his mom there to help me. I was both grateful for her help and angry with her for enabling him to go. It took me a long time to sort through that and express my gratitude appropriately.

What a time that was. It took me a YEAR before I could meet a new mom, or find a new kid on the playground that I didn’t feel this strange compunction to tell the story to. I NEEDED to tell the story, to find a thread of commonality between me and the other moms who have been through this. I couldn’t control it at times, even when I tried! I’d be all sitting there chatting with some mom about how old her kids were after 15 minutes of watching our kids play together and the next thing I knew I was grabbing J on a run-by and lifting up his shirt. I think I scared some of those poor moms and they may never have returned to the same play ground again for fear of running into me.

But I was so thankful for the moms who saw the scar and then told me the story of their own child’s walk down the path of recovery. I’m much better about it now. I haven’t even told a single other parent at his school. His teachers? Yes. Of course. But I haven’t had this compulsion to tell random strangers now for several months. It’s good. It means that I’M recovering and MY scars are fading, too.

My 6th anniversary passed without any real recognition. We were still barely speaking, barely able to handle living in the same household. Of course, that was all on my end. DH was hardly aware of how hurt I was. He was, as usual, pretty oblivious to the machinations of the mind and heart of his wife. He was, as I was, surviving. In his own way. Which was not my way. And we were, for a time, on different planets completely. Lost in our own worlds of fear and coping with our own set of stresses completely separate from each other. In many ways, I still haven’t figured out how this works, how we manage to return to some semblance of togetherness when at times our reactions and handling of stressful things is so vastly different from one another. So far we have, but if I were to be honest, I am at times very fearful for the trials to come. Because we all know we have only but tasted of the bitter possibilities in our lives.

Some time about two months after the surgery we began to really speak of it to each other. We spoke, we fought, we began to deal with what couldn’t be undone. At one point we decided to bite the bullet and make peace. We made love in the most basic way, but were grateful to remember a tiny piece of us. The holidays came and went with a very unexpected twist: a few days before Christmas I realized I was late. I bought a test and took it, it was positive. Faintly positive. I stood in the shower and let the water run down my back, thinking, “when I get out, I’m going to look at it, and it’s going to be negative. It’s all in my head. It’s all in my head.” The line was still there when I got out. On Christmas morning I was going to take the other test in the box and see for sure. I never got the chance – I started a long and painful miscarriage that morning, just before the kids got up to see their presents under the tree.

I thought about not telling DH at all, but I wanted to talk about it, to process it. I started it off by saying I’d taken a test… He interrupted by saying, “you’re not pregnant, are you?”. Of course, the answer was no. I wasn’t pregnant. At least, not any more. I showed him the test. He saw the line. Didn’t mean much to a guy, though, really. Just one of those things they can’t really grasp by the sight of one faint line extra on a stick that’s been peed on. Can’t blame him so much for that, I guess!

Anyway, my loss and heartache were overshadowed completely by the health scare my MIL was going through at the time. We went down there and I spent the majority of the time of my miscarriage at her house, keeping my mouth shut and dealing with the worries going on there. DH and I didn’t speak of that loss for several months. It was not something he could understand or grasp at that time.

Eventually, though, there did come a time when I began to come up out of the dark cocoon of protection I’d built around myself. I stopped eating all the chocolate chip cookies I was making twice a week, and stopped “embracing the fat girl within” as I liked to say to myself whenever I looked in the mirror. I’d been eaten up with fear, worry, and other things I couldn’t name if my life depended on it. I’d gained 15 lbs. and it had to stop somewhere. At the 6 month post-op appointment where J got a clean bill of health, It finally began to sink it that he was going to be all right. That I could stop worrying. And things FINALLY began to get better, to heal. It’s as if I were holding back a reserve of emotion for the “in case of” situation where he didn’t get a clean bill of health. And in that scenario, I would continue to shut my husband OUT of my soul. He WOULDN’T be forgiven, and I’d feel justified in kicking him to the curb emotionally.

Of course, all of this I can see with that wonderful 20-20 hindsight we all talk about so much.

But I do believe that relationships run on naturally occuring waves of high tides and low tides. Our lives are built on rhythms and cycles, and the highs are higher because of the lows that we survive. And that brings me to my next post. Tood’loo for now!

If you want to hear God laugh…

If you want to hear God laugh… so the quote goes… tell Him your plans.

I just had to laugh today as I thought about how very honestly and deeply I used to think that all of the “hard” decisions were behind me long ago! I thought the hardest decision I’d ever make would be who to marry. I thought deciding to leave home would be one of the most difficult transitions in my entire lifetime. I thought choosing to keep myself pure and choosing to stay away from cigarettes and alcohol were admirable because they were “hard”.

Ha ha haha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!! Ah. *sigh* youth. What can you say?

I never thought deciding when to be done having children would be so difficult. I never knew the myriad of choices when it came to how to raise your children, from whether to vaccinate, to where (or if) you send them to school, to what choices you make as a family to build bonding relationships and how to discipline would bring SO MANY sleepless nights, tears, and hours on my knees.

I never thought choosing to STAY married would be infinitely more difficult than the choice to GET married in the first place.

I never knew choosing to study and reason and think through everything you believe would be more difficult than blindly standing on the core of beliefs you were given as a child.

I have so much more to learn, so much more wisdom do I need than what I have.

Someday

Some day maybe I’ll make up my mind. Or maybe not and I won’t really have a choice.

Finally, at 8 days late, AF made her appearance. I wasn’t really shocked; I didn’t feel pg. at all. Where am I going from here? I don’t know! There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t miss the babies I lost. There isn’t a day that I don’t long for a tiny little bundle of joy to hold and nurse and watch grow into part of the family. And at the very same time I also have to admit there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t feel relieved that I’m not pg, hormonal, tired, gaining weight, and feeling on the edge of losing it! How can all these statements be true? I don’t know! Sounds like a confused person, doesn’t it?

Crappy Day

Soooo crappy day. I won’t go into all the mom in law details to spare you, but it has been one of the worst days for in law relations ever. Very difficult, many tears.

Hasn’t been a peach with the hubby, either. He says about the whole thing that I am, “too aggressive” with his mom. Seriously???? Since when have I said an aggressive thing to her? I just complain to him, but not to her! Anyway, neither here nor there. I survived this day.

And I am officially either 1 day late or 6 days late, depending on how you look at it. Depends on how screwed up my system got from 5 days of BC. So who knows. Don’t feel pg, though.

Got on fb for a few minutes to have an adorable pic of a baby staring at me. Happens to be an ex’s brand spankin new baby, born today. For some reason, it just hit me once more, and I felt like a complete failure all over again for losing this last baby.

So yes, I have been eating CHUNKS of cheese and eating handfuls of Reese’s. Still need a hug, though. 😦

Munchkin in My Room

I was jolted into consciousness just after 2 am, somehow aware of the light on in the living room. It was the first thing I was aware of, the noise of the fan having drowned out the noise that inevitably accompanied….

The little girl sitting crouched on the corner of the bed closest to my head!!! I’ve never sat bolt upright in bed so fast in my life. If my stomach muscles are sore today, I’ll know exactly why. Thankfully, I recognized her immediately and didn’t go into ninja defense mode as I’m sure Drea would have. Instead I scooped her up and carried her back up to her room, fixed her ailing princess night light and then retreated back to my own bed.

But I couldn’t go back to sleep. I was disturbed. How could a child climb onto the head of my bed without my hearing it? What if she just wandered her way outside and out to the barn without my knowledge? I tossed and turned and tried to go back to sleep, but the eventual dozing was superficial at best.

When she came back downstairs at 3:30 I was more prepared. I wasn’t startled awake like I was before. She happily informed me that her brother had known where her rainbow light was and held it up for me to see.

Great!, I’m thinking, She’s trying to wake up the whole tribe now! Turns out she just randomly walked into his room and found her light without waking him up at all, so it was all good. This time before I went back to my bed, I locked her door. It was the only way I was going to get any sleep with the reassurance that she would be safely tucked in her bed while I did so!

I crawled back in bed and tried to get comfortable. Why was the bed so lumpy? What’s wrong with these darn blankets? Why on earth is that fan rattling so much??? That last one I said out loud and woke up my husband.

Next thing I knew I had someone hovered over me, trying to kiss my cheek. I nearly jumped out of bed, he startled me so much. Apparently I had eventually tossed and turned enough to get comfortable and go back to sleep. Just in time to get up.

Spewing, part 2

So as I was driving around, thinking about this fear of change and fear of redefining relationships, I started making this connection between the paralysis and fear now, and the paralysis and fear that defined my childhood.

Slightly different arenas, yet somehow it is next to impossible to separate the CHILD me from the ADULT me. Somewhere inside the two are interchangeable and they are both of one soul. So while my mind tells me that the fear I had as a kid was not reasonable, nor was the inaction on my part to change and redefine a series of relationships my fault, my heart tells me otherwise. That I could have changed my future by not allowing myself to be someones dirty little secret, that I could have stood up for myself instead of being so afraid.

Mainly what I was afraid of was redefining my relationship with my parents. To somehow let them know that they were doing an inadequate job of parenting and protecting me had indefinable consequences and I was terrified of that. I was terrified of what people would think of me if they knew what was going on behind closed doors, because I could not separate myself from the guilt of the situation. People would look at me differently, I wouldn’t be perfect anymore. I wouldn’t be innocent anymore. I’d be damaged in their eyes. ‘Cause I was damaged. But it was not a facet I wanted to own, nor that I felt strong enough to own, even now to a great degree. I still wouldn’t dream of telling my parents. Because, well, it might redefine our relationship.

I felt powerless to change the situation in a way that would come out positive for me. So I kept my silence. And now, only now, can I see how that precedent has shaped my life, that the paralyzing fear I felt then would carry over to such a great degree so far into the future.

Only in great moments of desperation do I open myself into a relationship and allow them to see my scars, my open wounds, my ugly truth. It is rare for me to even have a desire to do so, let alone the guts to do it. I really believe that night, sitting on the hood of a Ford, was God’s hand calming my fears and pushing me forward. And the night DH and I sat on the couch at Dad’s and talked all night was equally sent by God. I saw his scars, and felt safe exposing my own, a little bit at a time.

It’s not fair, I kept thinking in the car, It’s NOT FAIR!! No it’s not fair. A LOT of things in this crappy world are not fair, as we are both so damn well acquainted with. But I would like, for once and for all, to let go of the fear that paralyzes me, to be unafraid of redefining a relationship, whether it is a friendship, or a romantic relationship, or a parent/child relationship. I am afraid that because I am so defined by my relationships and by how other people view me that I will lose myself somewhere in the process. That I stand on shaky ground in the limbo between secure relationship and insecure relationship.

So if *I* begin to sink into oblivion, please tell me that in your eyes I will always be defined by the incredible memories we share of a time when we were fearless.

Spewing

I don’t deal with most changes very well. In fact, for most of my life I have pretty much been dragged, kicking and screaming, into the next stage. I was a late bloomer, and then after the blooming was done, it still took me years to accept that change and really allow myself to fully bloom. When I was 12 I hadn’t even begun the process, and I was fine with that. I prayed. I prayed I’d never have to go through puberty, instead, Lord, just let me have children the immaculate conception way and leave the growing of a rack completely out of it, please?! Okay. Oh yes, how I prayed. Then they began to tell me it was inevitable. No one escapes it. Get used to it. And then there was the day in 6th grade they showed that stupid video all about what happens as a little girl becomes a woman. It was too much. I ran down the hall to the bathroom and stayed there until they called my mom because I missed the bus. I was horrified.

By the time I started 7th grade it was obvious I had succumbed to that inevitable process. Most girls would be thankful to have gone from 60 lbs and flat as a pancake to 90 lbs and a C cup over the length of a summer, but I wanted to hide under a rock. I mean really, I was upset over the whole thing. Who wanted boobs??? It didn’t make any sense at all! I didn’t need them for, oh, a good 10 years at least, so why have them now? I just wanted my old body back. The cute, little athletic one where nothing bounced when I ran and there was nothing to get in the way when I laid down on my stomach. Really, this new model was far inferior to the old one. It really did take me until I was 17 before I truly accepted and embraced the effects of “growing up”.

Of course, that acceptance was quickly eradicated by entering into company with extreme right wing adventists for whom any curves on a woman whatsoever is an indication of a lack of piousness and godliness. But that’s a different story, isn’t it?

Yes, changes are not so easy on me. I’m not exactly the jump right in with all confidence that I’ll figure out how to swim somewhere along the way kind of girl. There have really only been two that I jumped in with – Going to school (I’d been preparing my whole 5 years of life for that!) and getting married (hello – 10 week engagement! And again, been preparing my whole life for that!). Sometimes I feel like I’m still in the ugly duckling stage of parenting, that maybe I still have some adjusting to do before I’ll really let myself bloom into this role fully.

I was driving around last night, just trying to think and process. DH says I am overthinking this school thing and he’s probably right. But I can’t help it. I have to come up with explanations for why I feel and think the way I do. Why I struggle with things like this.

I’m deathly afraid of changing the status quo in relationships. Of redefining a relationship. I don’t make friends terribly easy – they might get to know too much about me. So most people get held out at a distance. Those who already do know too much, well, they’re few and far between and are here in my life for the duration, come hell or high water!

Redefining a relationship, whether it is with a sibling, or a parent, or a lover, just terrifies me. Rocking the boat is NOT my thing at all. Rather, I’ve spent my life trying to still the rocking other people do. If I can’t seem to do anything right and the boat keeps rocking despite my best efforts, I’ll walk away. I’ll avoid until whatever relationship either dies a slow natural death, or the relationship gets redefined by the other party. But instigate a showdown? Ugh.

Problem with this plan of action (or non-action, rather) is that to some, silence is acquiescence and taking no defense means I must have no defense to stand on. And avoidance? Well, avoidance must simply mean I have something to hide. Growing up, silence meant the conversation wasn’t over yet, and might not be over for several days, when the person thought of something to finish it up with. Avoidance meant you may have some hurt feelings and need to cool off before you say something you’ll regret. It’s like living on the moon compared to life here!

I have more to write here, but it will have to wait until I don’t have kids swarming around me and a DH trying to read to me. Again.

Hazing

As if this week weren’t hard enough already, my 3 year old has decided to regress. She has pooped 4 times in her panties this week. I did so good, taking it in stride as much as I could, trying not to overreact. But today. Today, she had already gone once, I left her door open in case she needed to come down during her nap, and still she came down well after the fact and seemed so pleased with herself. I raised my voice some and gave her two good swats on her yucky pull-up’d rear and then changed her.

After which she informed me very coolly that she “didn’t love” me. But she does love Twert. Thanks for pointing that out, sweetheart. I asked her a few times whether or not she loved me, and of course made sure to tell her that even when I correct her I love her very much. Nope. Don’t love ya mom. Ooo-Kaaay then.

Yep, just put me on the failure list. This one is going to be the one to tell me she hates me, runs away at 15, and gets her nose pierced. While being devastatingly beautiful. Good lord. I think my sleepless nights are bad now. I don’t even know what’s in store for me in 10 years.

Once I went out to dinner with two good friends, both of whom have left the toddler years behind and have teenagers to deal with. I actually had the audacity to complain to them of the difficulties I was having with a baby, a toddler pooping in her closet, and a little boy who thinks he knows more than me. They laughed. Yep, out loud. Laughed at me. I was horrified at the time and though they must have just simply forgotten how discouraging and exhausting that stage is. It has taken me till now to really realize why they were laughing. Watching my little boy jump out of the car and skip off into school, worrying about his little mind and the little friends he’s going to make, I’d give anything to trade these worries and these (still so small in comparison to their teenager) problems for those precious sleepless nights of holding him and nursing him and wondering when I’d sleep through the night again. Yes, it was tiring. But that’s it! Just. Simply. Tiring. I can deal with tired. (well sort of…). It’s the worry, fear, doubt… that’s what gets me.

Guilt

Guilt is a funny thing. A complicated, convoluted, inexplicable, painful thing. It haunts you and follows you and never lets you rest.

Nothing makes you question more your place, your value as a mom as the moment you realize you cannot provide everything your child needs. I know. I know it seems like I am speaking a foreign language to someone who has not come into that knowledge, who can’t fathom this drive to provide more than I can give and therefore must survive this separation. But someday, maybe sooner, maybe later, you will grasp this. You will come into a time when you realize your son needs more than you can provide. Maybe it won’t be when he’s 5, maybe it won’t be till he’s 18. I don’t know. Maybe you will do things more perfectly than me, but I don’t love my son any less because I’m not perfect, because I make mistakes. And I’m not saying this IS a mistake. ‘Cause I just can’t say whether it is or not at this point. All I can do is pray for wisdom because I don’t have enough.

I hope I don’t sound condescending or like I’m trying to attack you, rather I’m trying in a very feeble way to defend myself when the truth is I am questioning my own motherhood in a very deep and vital way.

« Previous entries