Monday, March 30, 2009

Dream On

Every spring, I go into a frenzy to get organized. I have this urge to get rid of clutter and re-arrange everything in my world. Give it away or sell, I don't care. I just need a new perspective.

In the midst of all this purging, I came across an old notebook from college and my early married years. The pages had random notes of inspiration, journal entries and even a few poems tucked in between pages. It was a time warp back to a girl I once knew. The poems were, at best, morose, somewhat psychotic and over-the-top dramatic.

The crazy part is that I fancied myself a poet. An undiscovered, eccentric, extremely talented creator of poems. That's me. Apparently, I even saved a bunch in case my poetry gift was discovered posthumous. But tonight, when I'm reading those poems, a moment of truth flickers in my mind. I only imagined myself a poet. These poems will never take flight, I can almost guarantee you.

It's hard to let go of what you've dreamed yourself to be. When I think of myself, it's not a vision of dirty laundry, screaming kids and soccer practice. It's sitting in a coffee shop, black coffee in hand, cigarette burning and poetic words laying themselves down in perfect form on the page. I wear my beret, reciting my poems with an accent and people love them. People love me. They want to take home these words I've written and place them somewhere important. I want that for them, too.

I then start to think of all the people I've sent these poems. I was so full of myself that I put them on Christmas cards, gave them as birthday gifts and made friends read each line while I stood there waiting for their accolades. I even mailed a poem to my sister-in-law in the midst of her long, lonely semester in the Philippines. I thought it would provide comfort. I realize now it may not have been comforting, but extremely funny. She said she lost the poem before she made it back home. Coincidence? I'm wondering.

When a dream is ash, I guess you just keep moving on. It also helps to be honest when you were just too proud, too confident, too full of yourself. We've all been there. I'm sure I'll even step through that door again like when I realize I might not be a professional blogger. It takes me awhile, but I'm learning.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Mother of Meltdowns

It's tough being a mother. It feels, most days, like I'm flying completely blind. I could be doing right. I could be doing wrong. You just don't know. Every day is a toss up.

What I do know is that I feel like I never truly have it under control. My two year old is having a melt down and trying to break down the door. My four year old is adamant, over and over again, that he washed his hands with soap, but I don't see it and I don't smell it. Even the dog, the youngest of my brood, can't seem to grasp the concept that pooping is an outside activity. It's utter chaos and I'm responsible for it all.

Because of my downward spiral weekend, I'm composing a list of crazy mommy things. It's things I don't understand, things that drive me crazy, things I wish I could change if I had any power at all over the universe.

1. Why melt downs happen over the smallest things, like being unable to take a teddy bear into Target. It's loud. It's disruptive. All I can thing about is being far away from the screaming.

2. Why I ever thought spanking was a bad thing. Let's not be judgmental, folks. Just get it done.

3. Why other mommies seem really put together and I can't even manage to find matching socks in the morning. It could be because there's a mountain of laundry in my basement that I have dreams of getting to one day. Laundry is the only thing in my life I'm really patient about.

4. Why one child can be an angel, but give birth to two or more, and things just get downright wild. This is why three children will probably never happen for us. I'm maxed out.

5. Why getting a cute puppy always seems like a grand idea right before Christmas.

6. Why everyone wants to fly in and help when daddy is all by himself with the kids. No one calls me when I'm stuck for days alone in the house with them. I could be dead or tied up, but no one would really know.

7. Why those plastic toys hurt so darn much when you step on them in your bare feet. Bad words form on your lips, but you know big ears and little lips are ready to start repeating anything you say while in pain.

8. Why, when you finally make the decision to stop checking on them every 15 minutes when they've gone to bed EVEN when you hear feet on the floor, the youngest decides to put diaper creme all over himself, the diapers, the clothes, the furniture and his bed. Never will you buy another tube of Desitin without feeling sick to your stomach.

9. Why I decided two years was plenty of time between kids.

10. Why I complain about the little things when the Lord has blessed us with so much, such as two healthy, somewhat happy boys, sleeping softly tonight all snug in their beds.

It's all about perspective, I guess. When it boils down to it, I never expected being a mother to be so hard. It takes everything I got, and then wants more. Deep breaths, deep breaths.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Empty Tanks

When I hit 13 years old, I turned into this hormonal, awkward wreck that walked around thinking I knew it all. I had big hair, bright lips and a bad attitude. In a very heated moment, I remember sitting across from my mom at our kitchen table and yelling with all my might about how much I hated her. Her face was broken. I took a little something from her that day that I can never give back.

Ironically, I wasn't even mad at her. My anger seethed at my father, but since he'd been gone most of my natural born life, it was hard to heap that on him. She was closer and she loved me unconditionally. I needed desperately to get that hurt out, to settle it elsewhere, and even at a young age, I needed someone to blame for my circumstance. Looking inward was just too tough.

On our most frazzled, most hurt, most challenging, most "I'm so dried up there is nothing left for anyone else" day, where do you heap those worries? Where do you send the hurt? Instead of inward or outward, I think I'm going to start trying upward. There's some good love up there, I hear.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Growing on Trees

When I was a kid, my mom used to always say the phrase, "Hey, what do you think money grows on trees?" This was her cute way of letting me know that she was tired of me asking for money.

Stop being a pest. Get out of my hair. Go play. Hopefully, somewhere free.

What my mom never did was teach me about money. I can't even say we lived paycheck to paycheck. We were always less a few dollars and our ends never seemed to meet. While she worked hard, it was a small income and just us. No credit card debt, but we borrowed often from family or friends. We even dipped in a few times to my kid savings account.

Zero was good in our house. It was better than negative, you see.

That's why, at the ripe old age of 31, I'm taking Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. It's time to learn about money. I know a few things. I can balance the check book. I sort of grasp the idea of savings. And, a few years ago, I plowed through our credit card debt and cut up all sorts of bad plastic. Still, we've struggled despite our best efforts.

Finally, last week, a light went on when Dave was talking about getting rid of debt. Why are people so afraid of getting out of debt? Because they don't think they can do it. They've lost hope. The debt snowball consumes us. I felt like he was whispering right in my ear. This was me. This was us. We were afraid.

I'm still a little afraid, I think. But each week, I get a little stronger and a little more sure of myself. I don't want any more debt, including car payments or school loans or vet bills or more stuff I don't need. Won't use. Don't really care about it.

I can do this. The amazing thing is, if I can, I know you can, too.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Patsy Cline, Patsy Cline

When I was a kid, I used to love to listen to Patsy Cline albums. There was something about her voice that would draw me in, keep me waiting there for the next sad story she was about to tell. Crazy was my favorite. I'm sure I drove my own mama crazy singing that song over and over again in the shower. But I had to get the angst and sadness just right and that takes practice, I tell you. Real practice.

It's funny. I've had a lot of practice over the years letting worry soak right in. And she's not a bad person, this worry wort I carry around with me. She's just kind of heavy on the soul. Kind of bitter, kind of crazy. Every time I let her keep me awake, or let her voice get louder, or let her guide me in decision making just because I'm scared.....she becomes a little stronger, while a little piece of me flakes away. It's so gradual that sometimes I don't even notice it's gone.

My biggest worry, if the truth be known, is becoming a single parent. I'm scared Jeff is going to die is some freaky accident or by some weird illness and it will be totally up to me to carry on. The thought of raising two kids alone freaks me out in a big, bad way. I can barely handle it some days with two adults in the house. Imagining only me running the show squeezes by chest something fierce.

I know a psychologist would take this angst and point it right back to my childhood. Growing up with a single mother makes you fear being a single mom. Growing up without a father makes you worry about men leaving, by choice or by fate. It's natural. Still, I'm sure they give drugs if your fear wells up too big. No prescriptions for me....just yet.

What do you worry about most? More importantly, how do you personally put a lid on worry so it's manageable, livable, breathable? Do you even try? I'm listening. I really am.

Worry. Why do I let myself worry? Wondering, what in the world did I do? Ooh, ooh, ooh. Oh, crazy...