Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Heavy Cake

What do you get when you add 31 candles to a delicious, homemade birthday cake? A very heavy cake, my friends, because you have officially tipped over the hill.

Yes, I turned 31 on Monday. Birthdays don't make me sad. They do, however, make me reflective. What am I doing with my life? What have I done with my life? What can I do differently? It's as if the turning another number on my internal clock makes me realize how truly fast time flies. I feel 22. I act 24. And I look, well, old enough to never get carded. My Wii age is 48. Numbers are scary, huh?

So, to commemorate my birthday, I thought it might be nice to make a list of things I know now that I would have NEVER have known at 21.

1. Women need to stick together. Friends are what makes the journey worthwhile.

2. Why movie stars, especially those that do nude scenes, do NOT breastfeed. Sagging is not sexy, although it is the milk of life for our sweet babies.

3. Men will never come around to our way of thinking. They do not change nor should we.

4. Gym memberships are never worth it. Sweating with a bunch of other people, all running in circles, doesn't make you happy. It makes you depressed.

5. People you love do break your heart. You may break some, too. Hating people for things that are out of our control is a waste of time and energy. Move on.

6. Being a mother is the greatest and hardest job in the world. I am in charge of shaping another life and I can't even get myself put together some days.

7. You are what you eat. Big bellies don't lie.

8. I'm becoming my mother. All the things I thought I would never say or do because my mother did them and it got on my last nerve. I'm there. I'm her.

9. I need God in my life. I need the comfort and the unconditional love.

10. Age is a silly thing. If it defines your outlook, you're silly, too.

Thanks for all those birthday wishes, friends. You're the best. I hope you know it.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Woe is Me

I'm feeling sorry for myself this weekend. Tuck has been sick with a viral infection. Temperature, fussiness and, of course, breathing problems. We've been giving breathing treatments around the clock, which is exhausting, and then we canceled our birthday dinner for this evening. I just couldn't thrust my sick kid on grandparents, kind as they may be.

On top of all of that, I feel way behind at work. When does a girl catch up? I love a fast pace, but it would be nice to feel like all projects are moving forward. I hope I don't drop any of the balls I'm juggling.

Then, I start to worry. I begin to panic. Fear sets in. I let myself sink into this rut of self-loathing and, against my better judgment, I break out my best china for a pity party. No one is invited, of course. Just me. Exhausted. Mean spirited. Ugly.

It's only when I look outside of my own life that my thoughts start to gain perspective. I see others that are struggling with things I cannot imagine -- extreme poverty, death of a child, cancer, losing a job. It's eye opening. It makes me understand that we all have fears, something that scares us terribly, that makes us want to hide from under the covers.

This poem by Dannye Romine Powell says it all.

Everyone is Afraid of Something
Once I was afraid of ghosts, of the dark,
of climbing down from the highest
limb of the backyard oak. Now I'm afraid

my son will die alone in his apartment.
I'm afraid when I break down the door,
I'll find him among the empties---bloated,
discolored, his face a stranger's face.

My granddaughter is afraid of blood
and spider webs and of messing up.
Also bees. Especially bees. Everyone,
she says, is afraid of something.

Another fear of mine: that it will fall to me
to tell this child her father is dead.

Perhaps I should begin today stringing
her a necklace of bees. When they sting
and welts quilt her face, when her lips
whiten and swell, I'll take her
by the shoulders. Child, listen to me.
One day, you'll see. These stings
Are nothing. Nothing at all.

Feeling sorry for yourself is worth nothing, I've discovered. I still do it, unfortunately. Tonight is a perfect example. I'm feeling better though. I really am. Perhaps getting these feelings out is all I needed. And some sleep. Sleep would be nice, too.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Must Love Dogs

People are funny about dogs. Dogs are funny about people, too.

After almost a year of not having a dog, we decided to take the plunge again and get a puppy. I'm crazy, I know. I just love dogs, I really do, but they are work....a lot of work. Zeke is an American Bulldog. He looks exactly like the dog on the Little Rascals movie. He's got a white face with one eye patch, which always makes him look sad. At 14 weeks, he was 35 pounds.

Zeke is a lot sweeter than our last dog. The boys can do almost anything to him and he just wags his tale. He's full of love, but as stubborn as they come. For instance, he likes to poop inside. I'm not sure why, but he has a gift for holding it when we take him around the neighborhood. The minute he comes inside, he circles our table, and let's loose. Maybe he's shy about outdoor pooping.

When I picked him up from the vet after snipping off the family jewels, the vet chuckled that I was his owner. He had thrown up two matching kid socks and one, plastic snake. She bagged them up, while giggling, and out the door we went. Two days later, he stuck his head through the top of his kennel and almost choked himself to death. I continue to find plastic animals littered in doggy leftovers on our kitchen floor.

He snores. He farts. He scratches under the bed until I want to kill him.

He's kind. He's gentle. He loves almost everyone (well, except for Jeff) and the kids adore him.

As I write this, he's managed to get the sheets off the bed and is chewing loudly on the mattress tag that just won't come loose. He doesn't even respond when I yell his name. I have to wonder how this dog, of all the dogs in the universe, made it to our house to live. I do believe it's a love/hate relationship that's going to last a lifetime.**

** No animals were hurt in the writing of this blog post.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

And So It Begins

Technology hates me. Okay, not true. I'm the one that loathes technology. I guess I'm never sure if it's worth learning because, quite frankly, it will be gone tomorrow. I don't text. I don't Facebook. I don't even Twitter. I hear about all these wonderful tools from friends who have learned to stay e-connected. I still write them letters because I feel bad.

If I'm missed on the world wide web, no one has mentioned it. I have kind friends, I know. After all this time, I've decided to start a mini blog and a friend even sent me a link on how to get started. I'm not even sure what will happen when I hit "publish post." And I guess if blogs are out by the time I figure it all out, I'll just move on. It's the writing that matters most.

I asked my four-year-old what I should title my blog. I was at a loss on how to put an umbrella on all these ideas I might be generating on my 10-year-old computer. He said, "battery brains." What?!? "Well, I got no ideas right now because my brains are out of batteries."

Oh, well, that makes sense.

Moms are the same way, I think. We organize the entire world and we are often scattered. When we finally use the last minute of our day to do something for ourselves, we're often at a loss. Words fail us. Thoughts fall away. Our brains are simply out of batteries.

I can't speak for every mother, but I miss that spark. I miss it so much that I feel sadness when I think of its going. So, I'm recharging, folks. I'm re-emerging. I'm sending something out that may have no return except the satisfaction of knowing it's mine. I own it. I keep it safe. I strike the match.