Mar 292012
 

 

A few months ago, I went into Tish’s kindergarten classroom for my first conference with her precious teacher. She told me lots of wonderful things about Tish’s obedience, positivity, helpful attitude  . . . so many of these things, in fact, that I asked in all seriousness if she was sure she was referring to the correct paperwork. She was. At this point I felt kind of silly that I had brought our lawyer along.

A few minutes into the conference Tish’s teacher showed me a writing sample from the start of the school year. She explained that they’d been working on the sight words“I,” “like”  and “to” that week, so to assess the kids, she’d asked them to complete the sentence:  “I like to….”

Then she pulled this paper out of her folder and placed it in front of me.

 

Ah. I said. Interesting. Hm. Wow.

Tish’s teacher smiled and said yes, you can see she really knows her sight words.

Yes, I said. That’s just what I was thinking. About how proud I am of her sight word ability. Yes. Good.Proud.

 

I called Husband as soon as I walked out the school doors:

Husband: Hey! How’d the conference go?

Me: I’ll tell you how it went: TISH LIKES TO SIN.

Husband: What? So she’s being bad? Bad report?

Me: No. Good report, but she wrote about how she likes to sin. To her teacher. She wrote: “I LIKE TO SIN” in her official kindergarten assessment. The one they keep on record. So when she gets suspended in high school they’ll look back through her file and say, Ahhhh…yes. Well, the child did always like to sin. She told us from the beginning.

 

Craig: Okay. I’m totally confused. Are we in trouble? I mean, she likes to sin? Who doesn’t? At least she’s in public school. They don’t care that much about sinning, do they? Let’s just be grateful we didn’t send her to that catholic school.

Me: I just think it’s weeeeird. I’m nervous. What five year old writes that? Isn’t she supposed to write about liking puppies and jump roping and eating cookies or something? I think it’s weird.

Husband: Ohhhh. So you think it’s weird to write down your truthful response to a question even if it’s different and makes people uncomfortable?

Me: Shut up. Good bye.

 

I promised myself I would NOT bring it up to Tish. This was her writing, her private thoughts. It’s not like she put it on a BLOG. I decided that she deserved her privacy.

So I waited two whole hours, then caught her after dinner and said, “Honey, come here for a second.”

Craig glared.

I showed Tish a copy of her assesment.

“Sweetie. Your teacher showed me your writing. This is awesome.”

“Thanks, mom.”

“So, talk to me about this. Tell me more.”

Tell me more is what I say when I don’t know what the heck else to say. It’s actually ridiculously effective. With girls.Not with boys. NOT.

“I don’t know,” Tish said, “I just like to sing. It makes me feel good.”

 

Ahhhhhhh.

 

Me: Craig! She doesn’t like to SIN she likes to SING! She’s not evil, she just can’t spell!!!!

That’s great honey. I like to sin, though.

Me: Me too. I like to sin, too.

 

My take away: One little g can make a big difference.

 

 

Love,

g

Mar 182012
 

 

 

It’s been hard for me to write this week because big things are happening behind the scenes that I’m not permitted to share with my sweet Monkees yet…and that is WEIRD. You know I’m not used to holding back. All the info is coming –  there is nothing you won’t know – but I have been instructed to hush until everyone’s ready. For once in my life, I am considering following directions, but ONLY because it is for the good of all Monkeedom.

 

The past two weeks have been strange for our family. I have gone, overnight, from being a stay-at-home mama with a blog, to being a paid, full time writer. With deadlines and appearances and THINGS.  The first thing I told my husband upon this news was that we would be hiring help with the kiddos immediately, because one thing I refuse to be is a full time working, full time caretaking mama. I know some women who handle this very situation gracefully, but I also wonder if their graceful lives will be cut a little short by the stress because WOWZA.

 

So, we’ve been searching for a nanny. We found one upon whom  I have a bit of a crush and she’s coming over this afternoon. I’m nervous, thrilled, confused, stressed and worried. In short, I’m myself again.

 

I’m excited because, WOW, a nanny, right? I mean it’s a DREAM in so many ways. Another mama. Another wife. Another hubby around.  It’s gotta make things easier. And I’m going to WORK! I am going to put on something other than yoga pants and go somewhere and WRITE and it’s going to my JOB. Actually I’ll still wear yoga pants, obviously. Best perk of working as a writer.  And all of this is really exciting for someone like me, who hasn’t really left the house in a decade. I’ve been thinking that maybe I got my wires crossed with that whole adoption thing. Maybe God wasn’t telling me to adopt a baby- but to adopt a baby SITTER. That really makes more sense when you take a good look at the state of my already existing family.

 

But it’s odd, because I didn’t DECIDE to make this huge transition. The blog went insane and New York and Hollywood and all ends of the Earth called and in a whirlwind I became employed. It was a miracle, but sort of like the miracle when Dorothy returns to her bed after the tornado and her trip to Oz and she is thrilled to be home but also quite disoriented. My life has changed completely without my express permission and now we have landed in a world of nannies and ARE YOU MOMASTERY??? at the grocery store and some stress. Beautiful stress, but still – stress that doesn’t have anything to do with my immediate family and stress that didn’t previously exist.

 

We mamas seem to have issues surrounding the time we do and don’t spend with our kids. I’ve got this argument figured out perfectly in my head, it all makes sense there. But my heart has a tough time catching up. Like, my oldest got in a bit of trouble at school last week, and my youngest is being extra whiny and clingy lately. Usually I would think hmm, everybody’s jacked up this week. But now I think – hmm..everybody’s jacked up this week because I’m distracted. Because I’m working now. Because they need me and I’m not all there, not all here. Not all anywhere. There’s that extra part that didn’t exist as strongly before.

 

My head doesn’t even think that extra part is real. My head knows that I am honoring my children by writing just like I was honoring them by staying home. Because both were my dreams at the time, and I want to teach my children to follow their dreams. And because both were ways of providing for my family- and that is always honorable.It just gets complicated when it starts to FEEL like my dreams and ways of providing lie in a different direction than my actual babies.

 

Still. I will tell you that today, right now, my excitement is beating out my guilt. The one I feed will win, right? I believe that right now, all is happening as it should. Like this, this helps:

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble, it’s a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy. 

 

-Max Erhmann

 

The universe IS unfolding as it should. I did not make the trees or this blog or my babies or any opportunity which presents itself. I just respond and try to keep my peace. But I’m not trying to fix my confused and contradictory feelings. I’m just noticing that they’re there. Acknowledging them. It’s clear to me that life, God, fate, whatever you want to call it, has decided that now is the time for me to work. And I will. And I will still love my children, maybe better in some ways, because a scarcity of time encourages me to pay better attention. Keeps me awake when we’re together.

 

Parenthood is hard, whether we’re home or away or single or married or rich or poor. Parenthood is hard, not because we’re doing it wrong. Just because it’s hard. Like life. Both are hard because we love them so much. We love life and we love parenthood, and so we want to do it RIGHT.

But I’m not sure there is a way to do it right. We just listen to life as it makes its demands and we respond thoughtfully and we remember that sometimes, the more out of control things feel the better, because the less easy it is to pretend we’re in control.

We’re not in control. We’re just not. And that’s really more a relief to me than a problem.

I’m a mama and a wife and a writer and a woman and a sister and friend and a neighbor and everyone is just going to have to share me.

 

Hey WORLD- You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.

 

New Monkee T-shirts, perhaps?

 

You too. You are enough. You can be shared, and all who share you can have enough. We must think abundance when it comes to ourselves. There is enough to give and enough to keep.

 

Don’t worry. Strive to be happy. The universe is unfolding as it should.

 

I love you with a deep, endless love. It’s true. Thank you for accompanying me on this definitively pre-destined journey.

 

Love,

G

*photo credit flickr

 

P.S. I know the website’s all jacked up this week, like my kids. We’re working on it, all is unfolding as it should. If you can’t comment here due to tech problems, comment here and I’ll pull them over when we get everything fixed. As if we’ll EVER get everything fixed. Ha. Life. 

 

P.P.S. Also, please pray for Anna today. Jack’s birthday. Love.

 

 


Feb 042012
 

 

I felt myself slipping this morning. Those of you who understand will understand – and to those of you who don’t understand, please  take a moment to say, “Thank You, God.”  Anyway- I thought re-posting this one might help keep me from slipping  into The Hole. Actually, I think it’s already working.  Love You, G

 

 

Since I find it impossible to understand what’s going on in my own head, I would never try to describe what goes on in yours. But lately I’ve been considering the differences between navigating the normal highs and lows of motherhood and real depression. Since, over time, I have suffered through the effects of both an extremely dramatic personality and true depression, I thought I should try to describe the difference between the two. For me.

I come from a long line of dramatic Irish personalities. We are an emotional bunch – my family. Our highs are high and our lows are low. We love easily, but we cry and yell easily, too. We are quick to hug and quick to anger. Now I know that you won’t believe me, because I am so sweet and calm on this here blog. But that is because no one in my house is awake yet. After people wake up, I tend to get dramatic. I often struggle through the day. Trudge through the day. I have to take a lot of deep breaths. I experience joy, too, everyday. But I am not the type to roll with things. I get very down – for reasons that I can never identify. I decide, thirty times a day, that no one in the history of the world has ever had a harder life than I do. When I say this to God and He brings homeless people to mind, I actually think, well – at least they don’t have to SWEEP.

I also worry. Worry, worry, worry. Obsess might actually be a better word. Not about the plight of the Sudanese…I TRY to worry about things like that, but I ACTUALLY worry about whether I chose the wrong throw pillow for my new couch. I snap at my kids for acting like kids. I resent them for getting hungry three times a day. And even though I don’t believe in mommy guilt, I feel guilty all the time. If I could choose a phrase to describe the polar opposite of my personality, it would be “easy-breezy.” As a matter of fact, I call Sister daily crying and whining and I CANT DO IT ANYMOR-ING and I always end the conversation with “Whatever. I’m easy-breezy, Sister.” And she says, “I know you are, Sister. I know you are. Me too.”

Sometimes I get so upset that I become debilitated…I’m talking crumble to the ground, tears, head in hands… the whole she-bang. My break downs appear to be brought on by one little thing… like a grocery bag breaking in the driveway - and so Craig will say, “It’s okay honey, it’s just a grocery bag,” and I’ll say: “IT”S NOT A GROCERY BAG! IT’S EVERYTHING! WHY CAN’T YOU SEE IT’S EVERYTHING???” And I don’t want anyone to try to fix it or fix me - I just want to be upset. I just need to be upset for awhile. Because life is upsetting, obviously.

I’m just A LOT to deal with on a daily basis. And I know this. I do not cruise through life. I sort of crash through life. But I also “WOW” through life, too. And so it’s okay. I’ll take the lows with the highs. Basically, I really like myself. And I think I’m an awesome mom. God chose ME for these kiddos and He knows me better than anyone, so I’m gonna be myself. My kids don’t need some fake idea of a perfect mom, they need me -Glennon, the real person. I get that.

But every once in awhile – something scary happens to me. A black, heavy, murky fog sets in over my heart and my head. When this happens, I do not alternate between super high and super low. During these awful times I alternate between super low and super numb. The fog is so thick that even when I get still and try to find my way home to myself – I can’t. During these times, none of my usual tricks….quiet time, sunshine, exercise, friends, prayer . . .none of them help me find my way through the fog. I can go through the motions of the day . . . I remember what to do – pack the lunches, smile at the kids, sweep the floor, hug my husband….repeat. I just can’t remember why any of these things matter. The love, the life that usually infuses each of these tasks with meaning is gone. I become like a robot. I have completely lost myself. All I want is to disappear into a dark room. Gone is the joy, the drama, even the suffering that makes me, me. This state of mind has nothing to do with my dramatic personality. It is more like a complete loss of my personality. I’ve suffered this loss three times in my life. Once when I was much younger and suffering from bulimia and alcoholism. Once after my second child was born, and again about a month ago. I have come to believe that this loss of myself is what is commonly accepted as depression.

 

This past month, when I realized that I had lost myself again, I called my doctor who told me it was time for some help. She prescribed a pill for me and I brought the bottle home and told Craig that I was going to start taking the pills immediately. His face lit up like a Christmas tree. I said, “Be patient though, husband. They take two weeks to kick in.” Craig’s face fell and he said frantically, “What? Well then maybe you could just take a whole bunch at once. Or snort it. Maybe that would work faster.” Clearly, the preceding months had been as hard on him as they were on me. He loves me. He loves his high and low wife. He wanted her back. He didn’t want to medicate me away. He wanted to medicate me back.

Last year I was having a hard time dealing with my usual anxiety about life and love. I emailed my friend Josie and said, “I can’t take the intensity in my head anymore. I need to relax. I’m gonna medicate myself. What do you think?” I hadn’t talked to Josie for years, so I don’t know why I emailed her. I guess if you listen hard enough, God will always point you towards the right person. Josie wrote back and said, “A friend once told me that if medicine allows you to be more yourself, take it. If it doesn’t, don’t.” I really liked that. And that advice helped me decide NOT to take medicine back then. Because the truth is that myself is dramatic and anxious and obsessive and ridiculously intense and you know, a little WOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

But myself is not numb. When I get numb, I take my own hand and help myself find my way of the fog, back home. And medicine helped me this time around. I’m grateful.

I’m also hesitant about taking medicine. Not for the reasons that many others are. I’m not embarrassed. Ever, really. It’s a gift, my shamelessness. I know that I’m only gonna get one go ‘round on this beautiful Earth and I want it to be a good ride. I figured out a while back that there is no award for she who suffers most. No way, Jose. Not my bag. I think it’s a strong and brave and inspiring thing to find out who you are and then find a way to be it.

No, I’m hesitant to medicate away my depression because I worry that my depression fuels my writing. What medicine does for me is help me to relax into life a bit. Craig’s perspective is that when I’m on it, I am the same Glennon, I just “struggle a little less.” I agree. I struggle a little less. And I also lose the feeling that if I don’t write I will die. This is how I feel when I’m depressed. Since I lose my joy and meaning, I come to the blank page to create meaning and joy, to get it back. Because I become desperate to make sense of things. And that desperation, I’m afraid, is what makes my writing good. So it scares me, I guess, not to be depressed. A lot of really good writers are depressed. But, as Craig says – “Honey, don’t a lot of good writers also kill themselves?”

True, dat.

Anyway, even if my medicine dulls my creativity a little, I think that at this point in my life, I’m willing to risk it. I think I’d rather be a good friend to myself and Craig than a good writer. Yep, I would. How nice of me. I really do like myself.

 

Love You,

GDo