Thursday, December 31, 2009

Volume Control


For a girl who sets the timer on the dishwasher so as not to hear it, and a girl who keeps the television at mice-like-decibels; a girl who goes into a different part of the house when the washer/dryer are running, and a girl who thinks that taking a bath would be perfect if only the water didn't make so much noise... it has been a noisy year.

I've turned up the volume.
And then?
Bought new speakers so as to make it even louder.
And then?
Bought a mega bass to amplify the commotion.
2009 has been deafening.

A welcome sound in my new journey.
Noise.
Racket.
Clammer.
Turmolt.
Commotion.

Anything to keep me from...
Listening.
Feeling.
Healing.
Facing.
Owning.

So, 2010, here we are.
You and me.
Deejay's not playing the same song.

2010 -- Resolve.

Mute.
Time to mute the clamor. Say no. Disappoint.
Walk away. Let go. Close doors.

Disc Select.
Select you. Select one. Select calm. Select quiet. Select games, crafts, laughing, reading, cuddling, patience, joy.

Pause.
Pause. Be patient. Wonder. Pray. Reflect. Slow down... slow it down girl.

Repeat.
Then do it again. Slower. With more kindness. Kindness for the girl you once were, the woman you are yet to become.

Shuffle.
Have fun. Shake it up. Relax. Dance. Smile. Play.

Source.
Get to know your source. YOUR source. YOUR soul. YOUR God. YOUR strength. YOUR peace.

Praying for a quiet melody in 2010.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Why I'm Sitting on the Couch on a Beautiful Day

Dear Parents of Little Surf-Rat Toddler,

Do you have any idea just how cute I find your baby girl? With her 18-24 months skinny jeans, her checkered vans, and her silky, pink hoody? Clearly, you know she's cute. Clearly, she knows you know she's cute. And clearly this little peanut is winning battles at home. Her wispy bed-headed hair all tricked out with hints of, "No, dat my hay-er mama." "No bwush my hay-er." I just loved her instantly.

Which is why I scooped her up from the eight-kicking-legs of four-swinging-children at varying speeds and intervals. Twice. Her little diaper-padded, skinny jeaned bottom was toddling in a game of swing Frogger, and how she survived without getting cartoon-jettisoned over the monkey bars is beyond me. Which is why I toted her on my hip for a moment while I searched for the parent who must have been having a major emergency elsewhere with her other darling children.

Searching for the owner of the toddler, and pushing my own two kiddos on the swing, I carefully placed Little Miss Surfer Baby in a kinder spot on the playground. Until, she came back to the spider legs of the swings.

Scooping her up, again as her hair is grazed by a giant pumping of the feet, where is your mommy?, I ask?
Dat. Bah. La-lee-fing, she says (or something like that).
Dude, where is this kids' mommy? I wonder.

I begrudgingly place her down again near the slide, fearful of looking like some kidnapper. When sure enough a school-aged boy playing a game of I'm not watching where I'm running smacks straight into my new little surfer friend.

And...cue concerned parent. Here you come. Racing (well, trying to race in your Victoria's Secret lace-up ankle boots) to her rescue.

And cue...dirty look. To me. WTH?

And cue...me wondering if it was your Blackberry or your stilettos in the sand that impeded your graceful parenting.

And cue...school aged kids' mom getting a mouthful of why weren't you watching your kid as he bulldozed over my baby?

And cue...jaw-dropping of school aged kids' mom.

And cue...me convincing the kids that watching Sponge Bob, at home is way more fun than swinging.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like...CPS


This time of year can be very stressful for parents. We're shopping, and driving, and parking, and baking. We wrap, we clean, we eat, we gather, we plan, we host, we create. We keep the myth of Santa alive. We move elves from room-to-room. We forget to move elves from room-to-room. We send cards, take photos, hang cards, forget to take photos. We stand in line, entertain, buy stamps, buy wrapping paper, buy more wrapping paper, and remind children of the true nature of the season.

And all through it, we d-r-a-g our patient little ones from place to place so that we may better spread our Christmas cheer.

So when threats run out, and elves aren't watching, and you have to go back to the supermarket for the 15twentieth time...you might want to try a little trick involving, oh, say...shackling your children like the prisoners they are, and chaining their hineys to the cart.

Case in point:
Two Willing Participants
A little bit of (toy) chain.
One cart.
God only knows what they're doing here.
Voila: One happy mama (and a friendly neighbor in disgust admiration).
My mad parenting skillz worked tonight, yo.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Part of the Journey

A loving person
lives in
a loving world.

A hostile person
lives in
a hostile world.

Everyone you meet
is your mirror.

-Ken Keyes Jr.
Handbook to Higher Consciousness



Success is a journey
not a destination -
half the fun is getting there.

-Gita Bellin

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving 2009:

My first holiday without the kids, teetering between sadness and aloof. I decided that I would do nothing. In my plan, I needed to lie to everyone so no one actually knew that I was alone.

"I'm going to my Mom's," I told friends.
"I'm going to my friend's," I told my mom.
"I'm going to Patrick's," I told my colleagues.

I just knew that I needed to feel the rawness of this divorce on this holiday. Although Patrick and I get along extremely well, this Thanksgiving did not include plans to co-mingle. I sincerely craved the calm the comes with being alone. Eating Chinese food from a paper box would have suited me just fine.

I was choosing an UnThanksgiving, but little did I know, Thanksgiving would still come, Charlie Brown.

Some of you know of my new friendship with Little Tommy. When my favorite radio show went off the air in August, I emailed the producer. Within 40 seconds, he wrote back. Within and hour, we were on the phone. Within days, I was watching his son skateboard. We've been hanging out ever since. A surprising friend and ally in my life, I decided to hang out with Tommy on Thanksgiving, but just for a little while, I told myself. After all, I wanted to be alone.

He took me to meet his 83 year old mom. If you've ever listened to the show, you know that meeting his mom is bigger than the Oscar's. It was an honor to be invited. However, we were just going to hang out for a little while. Dinner would be served at his sister's house, and surely I would be home, wearing sweatpants, and eating Chinese food by then.

And then, I was greeted warmly by a house full of relatives situated around the most angelic woman you could imagine. Attached to a feeding tube, but sitting strongly with love beaming from within, was Rosa.

[me, Rosa (83), Auntie Ding (94), Tommy]

And that's when it happened. I was at the mercy of the beautiful moment, and I was hanging on tightly. Being a quiet observer of Tommy tenderly lifting his mom into his car, watching he and his sister 'sneak' small bites of mashed potatoes to wet the palette of a woman fed by tube, and being lovingly included in a traditional family meal just about broke my heart. Or healed it.

I wasn't looking for Thanksgiving, but Thanksgiving found me.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

When Strength is all I Have, And Time is all I Need (Or Vice Versa)

I turn inward.
It is my my tendency.
My frequency.
My channel.

I question upward.
It is my destiny.
My gravity.
My journey.

I fumble forward.
Impatiently.
Searching.
For my certainty.

I glance backward.
It is my wondering.
My anxiety.
My clarity.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Predictably Predictable

When you get so forgetful that you even forget that you have forgotten things...perhaps you start to look a little like this.

First, you forget to pay your rent. Yes. Rent. That's what happens when you've had a husband pay the mortgage forever, and you forget that, like, it costs money to live places.

Then, when you're driving to meet your landlord to pay the rent, you realize that you forgot your friend's birthday. Yesterday.

That night, on your way to visit your out-of-town friend in a neighboring county, you see your gas light go on. On the one stretch of Interstate 5 that is dedicated to the military. For 19 miles. You drive faster because you're pretty sure that even though this uses gas less efficiently, the time saved on heart attack symptoms may just save your life.

And when things get reeeeally stressful, there's really just one more thing to do: rearrange the furniture. Then, put it back in exactly the same place. Because? It turns out that "L" shaped sofas really don't work out so well in creative juxtapositions with walls and tables.

Clearly, it is Report Card time. And clearly, I have not done them at all. Not one. How can you tell? Because I'm finally blogging again. And if there's one thing I'm good at, it's procrastinating. And forgetting. If only I could forget to procrastinate.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Go Clean Your Room

...it did get awfully quiet in there...

...until the launching off Mount Headboard, that is...


(P.S. What the hell is wrong with my camera?)


Monday, September 28, 2009

What? A Girl's Got to Accessorize?

There are definitely some advantages to living without a man in the house. My own closet. My own stash of ice cream. Pink sheets. Violet sheets. Flowery sheets. Watching whateverthehellIwant on TV.

And then? There are those moments where I reeeeeaaaally could use a man.

Take for example the sweet and serene scene of a Mom gently tucking her little boy into bed. She lovingly pulls back the sheets, gathers all of his favorite stuffed creatures, plumps the pillows in just the right... HOLY SHIT WHAT IS THAT ON HIS PILLOW?


...




I'm pretty sure it looked more like this, actually:


What's a Mom to do...but scream? Duh. Then, ask children to hurrythefuckup and run and get a shoe. I figure I'm best suited to keep an eye on the thing (although I really couldn't have missed the dragon-sized-beast feverishly crawling on my son's pillow) while the youngins' run and fetch me a weapon.

"Hurry please. Go get me a shoe."

"Where?"

"In my closet. Hurry. Quick. Shoe."

....

...

"Hellooooo? Just get a shoe. Any shoe. Quickly."

"Tatum," (I think Chase spotted some legos or something far more interesting along the way) "Where are you?"

"Mommy, I'm tryyyyyying."

...
...

"Tatum, I can't take my eye off this thing. Just.Grab.A.Shoe.Right.Now."

About 40twentyhundred16 minutes later, she shows up with a lovely red ballet flat. One which I know damn well was not the most conveniently located shoe in the closet. In fact, it would have taken some perusing, reaching, tippy-toes, major yoga moves to find that shoe.

It's a shoe she has had a penchant for borrowing once before.




Apparently, a it's an innate sense that a girl must always choose exactly the right shoe for every event.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Dumbo

A certain little birthday girl and birthday boy just turned one whole hand's worth of 1-2-3-4-5! Holy Moly. Five?!

Maybe it's the nostalgia of creating family five years ago. Maybe it's spending the day at "The Happiest Place on Earth." And maybe I'm just all kinds of mixed up and wacky. Maybe.



Or maybe, maybe our divorce will save our marriage.






There's a certain comfort in being a family of four. There's a certain peace in being able to communicate better now, than in the past months...years. There's a certain insanity when an (ex) husband and wife share dating stories with one another.

Although there are no certain answers, we have found a way to continue to grow. As individuals. As a couple. For this, I am grateful. Grateful and entirely crazy. Who knows what will be ahead. But damn, I could really use a map right now...
...'cause I'm feeling kinda Dumbo.


Monday, September 14, 2009

My iPhone Broke My Heart

I dropped my phone once today in the parking lot outside of school. Thanks to the (new) case, it was just fine. Whew!

Then, I dropped it again on the hardwood floors at Patrick's while I was picking up the kids. This time, I wasn't so lucky. Dead. Nothin'.

Then, I brought it home to try and give it some love, and I dropped it again on the tile floor.
Now...it's so not responding. I tried CPR. I tried that AED thingie that you see on walls in public places. I tried putting it on my pillow and singing softly. All to no avail.

Shit.
I want my phone.
I neeeeeed my phone.
I hear it ringing.
I hear that cute little sound when I get a text.
But the damn screen won't light up.

So, until I get to the Apple store (Read: I'm going after school tomorrow to the Apple store), I think I'm out of luck.

Fortunately, I still have my laptop to keep me company. How is it that I went all the way through college without a cellphone? And now? I'm hyperventilating and making out with my computer for some techno-love.

Is there a such thing as iPhone armor?
Or should I just get some really great super glue?
Shit.

Come back to me my love...

Monday, September 7, 2009

I'm Totally Going Shoe Shopping, Or Maybe On a Date

So, I had to wear these things called shoes to work last week. They like, go around your foot and have a front and a back. They pretty much suck if they're not called flip-flops.

And then this little thing called ouch these blisters really hurt happened.

But it's not all bad, because I totally have good reason to go shoe shopping. And, I might need to go to the hot foot doctor. Where might need to means, I'm so making an appointment and stealing him from the world, and asking him on a date.

Right. Well, maybe just the new shoes then...
(It totally looks worse in person.
Totally worthy of an MD's time.
Did I mention my limp?)

Monday, August 31, 2009

Ego Boost

I'm not sure which one I am, but I do know... this kid is so getting an A.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Just Write

When there is so much to say, there is only way way to begin...

Just write.

When there are feelings to consider, conflicting sentiments of readers, or perhaps no readers at all...

Just write.

When your heart is confused or happy or longing or joyful...

Just write.

There is a girl who has never been single. Never. Not for a glimpse of a moment really. It's hard to explain why. A good friend told me, just today, not to search for why. I will try to take her advice. I will search for what. What has brought me here. Right. Here. What does it feel like to be here. Right. Here.

Had I written weeks ago, the words would have tumbled out in bursts of excitement and giggles. That's how it goes with writing, with journeys; the bursts are replaced with calm and the calm replaced by memories.

I have this thing where I find a man, make him fall in love with me, make myself fall in love with him, and then... marry him. I forget to choose. I forget to choose my own. And perhaps? I have already done it again. Not the marrying, of course, but the forgetting that I can walk away at any time, fold my cards, and shuffle the deck.

So, I met a guy. A lovely, incredible guy. He swept me away. Sincerely. Like no other. The kind of swept away that makes you forget to eat/sleep/breathe... the kind that feels truly glorious. Remember that feeling? Driving to see that person; listening to just the right music, planning just the right meal, sharing just the right story, wearing just the right underwear. It has been good. It has been so, so good.

And then? I remember that I have been here before. Sort of. Only this time the stakes are higher, the rules of the game uncertain because I am not just playing my hand of cards, but the cards of my two loveliest creations. And they? May not want to play cards yet. They? May want to throw the deck up and watch the pieces scatter and then roll and play in them. And they? May want their mama to do the same.

So here I am. Holding my cards. I've got a good hand, a damn good hand to put down. But I don't know what the other players have. Maybe, just maybe, they've got my Ace. So today, I remind myself...

It's okay to wait for the Ace.
It's okay if the Ace never comes.
It's okay to shuffle the deck.
But it's not okay to pretend I am holding the Ace, when in my heart I know, I am not.

***************
(My apologies for neglecting your blogs, my friends. I miss you all, and will come around again, starting...right.now.)

Up For Air

When you travel underwater, deep under the waves and tides and light, the journey is yours. Although it is summer, I can not see the sun. Although it is summer, I can not feel the heat. Although it is summer, I feel the long days pulling. Always pulling.

And now, I am ready, to come up for air.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Another MJ Tribute?

While at Tatum and Chase's first ever school play, the King of Pop channeled right into my very own son...



I'm such a proud Mama!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

How Do You Like THEM Apples?

"Don't forget to buy pears," he tells me. As if I would forget that the kids have an insatiable appetite for pears these days. "And grapes. Get some grapes."
"Okay," I tell him, wincing a bit at the obvious reminders. Truth is, since going back to work, he did more of the grocery shopping than me. The reminders, although maddening, were likely necessary.

That was months ago.

Today I sit alone in my space watching the pears turn from yellow, to spotted and brown. The kids won't be home for two more days and by then the pears will be mush. Sure, I could eat them myself. Sure, I could make some fancy pear tart. Or, I can watch them turn and long for mouths to feed.


There is beautiful freedom in having the day to yourself. A freedom I have not felt since having children. A timely arrangement this has been with the long days of summer. And although I miss my kiddos deeply while they are with their dad, I know they are in good hands, and I am enjoying the sense of calm that I have found. Here. In my own little space.


So, yeah, I have to modify my grocery list a bit. And perhaps, I'll be eating a bit more cold cereal for dinner (because, I can!).

And so what we had to put the play room in the garage? The kids love it!

They can romp and play in those things called bedrooms too.


So I might just have to have some friends over for pear margaritas. Because the kids? It turns out? They like apples too!


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Mediation Medication

So, deciding to get a divorce was a mutually painful process.  One in which I won't share here.  

But I've learned something new:  deciding to get a divorce and going to a flippin' mediator whose office is shared with a dentist while a cavity drill is screeching in between breaths of the $450 p/hour mediator who really likes to hear himself speak...

That?  Is worse.

Patrick and I were exchanging knowing glances, kicking each other to (presumably) keep the other from driving the cavity drill through the mediator's head, and even holding hands under the table.

Because That?  Was freakin' painful.

Fortunately we were given the blessing to make the next appointment a phone conference.  Where phone conference means setting down the flippin' receiver, having a couple of drinks, and coming back for the "I agree" part.

Because mediators who don't shut up?  Might actually be doing a disservice to the profession by bringing Patrick and I closer together when we are trying to divvy the shit up.

Next time a friend needs marriage counseling (yeah right, like they'd ask me), I'm referring them to mediator dude in dentist office.  They might actually walk out holding hands.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

She Really Is Choosing Her Own...

So, I guess it's time for some words...

Maybe it's been a long time coming.  Maybe it's a rash decision.  Maybe it doesn't matter how we got here, only that, we are here.

I must say, it seems to me that if ever there were an "amicable" divorce, this is such.  So far.  Patrick and I are actually getting along better than we have in a long time.  Perhaps it is because, there is nothing left for which to argue.  

While I don't pretend that the road ahead will not be uncertain and awkward, I do have great hope for our family:  all four of us.

Thank you.  Truly.  I have been so truly supported these last weeks.  Your kindness, yes YOUR kindness, has been divinely appreciated.  Thank you for helping me navigate these new waters, carefully, and boldly.  Thank you for the gentle strength you have shared with me.


(See?  Not too bad for a couple shaking out troubled times...)

Before I share a letter with you (which some of you have already seen), I need to thank a certain friend who helped craft the letter (thank you friend).  :)

I have not moved out yet.  I have, however, ordered furniture!  Patrick has been extremely helpful with all, and has even offered to help hang my pictures and curtains (which I hate to do).  I get the keys to this new journey on Friday... 


Dear Friends,

We are writing this email to share some very difficult news with you. After 9+ years together, Patrick and I have decided to separate and will be filing for divorce in the weeks ahead.  This has not been an easy decision for us to make, however, we mutually feel it is the correct one.  God has blessed us with two wonderful children and our primary concern now lies only with how we can make this transition as easy as possible for them.  

While our relationship details remain a private matter, it is important for us that you know of our feelings as we go through this challenging period in our lives.  As a result of our separation, Patrick and I will soon be living in two different residences, adjusting to separate living environments and sharing custody of our children.  This will not be easy on any of us, but we will deal with the situation as best we can.  Our goal is to handle this as we have tried to handle all of our shared experiences – with respect, compassion, honesty and best intentions for one-another.  While we continue to work through parent time-sharing options for Tatum and Chase, we are determined to come up with a plan which will be the most beneficial for them.  Patrick and I do not have anger towards each other and we still want to be a part of each other’s lives in both the short and long term future. As such, we are still planning on attending family/holiday events together, we are still planning on sharing time with Tatum and Chase together, and we will still be interacting with our shared friends at normal functions. 

This is understandably going to be awkward for our friends, but please know that Patrick and I still consider ourselves very close friends and it is not a problem for us to bump into each other in social settings. We would appreciate your efforts in maintaining as much routine and normalcy as possible with regard to invitations, communications, parties, etc..

We have recently discussed this with Tatum and Chase and will continue to lift them in these times.  Thank you for your understanding and caring during this challenging time.  

Sincerely,
Patrick and Jamie