Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hodge Podge from the bus...

I'm on the bus and am going to once again attempt to write and post a blog via text message. The last time I tried this, I wrote a lengthy post and hit send and it disappeared into cyberspace or wireless space or however the heck that all works. I'll be smart this time though, I will save a draft, just in case.

Bryson turned 9 months on Tuesday and I'm trying not to feel guilty about the fact that I didn't get a post/letter written. And I didn't take his photo with the dog. In this last month he has started to eat a lot of finger foods, still no teeth and is cruising up a storm. Due to our vacation, his minor cold there, and having a very high fever last week it was his worst sleeping month since month 3. But he is all better now and back to sleeping through the night and up at 5am, champ that he is. He is so super sweet and cute, I can barely stand it. Several times a day, you look at him and his smile makes you want to die with love for him. He looks at you like he is seeing you for the first time in weeks and he is genuinely SO happy to see you. He is pulling up all over and getting into everything. He laughs all the time and he will wrestle you to the death if you want to change his diaper. If you don't make a game of it, he will cry, but if you kiss his belly and play peek-a-boo and make funny faces, it will take twice as long but he will be happy and squirmy rather than mad and squirmy. He has taken quite well to our new AuPair Julia, and it has been good for he and Addie to have some quality time while big sis Lily is at Kindergarten. Since I didn't get pictures with him next to the pink dog ON his 9mth bday, and there is no way I could do it 2 days later, perfectionist that I am, it's just not the same, I'll just tell you he seems to weigh about the same, with a face and tummy that is slightly thinner, maybe from all the crawling and walking. Damn I wish I got that dog pic for comparison sake.

Tuesday was also my sister-in-laws birthday and while I thought of her all day it wasn't until 7pm my time and 10pm her time that I finally got around to calling. In my head I thought about a post I could write to her, a picture of her and Bryson I could find in order to pay tribute to them both, but it just didn't happen. Addie had some weird tummy issues that turned out to be nothing -but appeared to maybe be a hernia - and I was coordinating her first day of preschool and pediatrician appointment. Sorry Laureen. I promise it is not an indication of how much we love you! Oh, and your card is still not sent either. Shootie. Damn again. And I wanted to post another REAL first day of school pic, but the ones from her first day meeting her teacher and seeing her classroom, will have to do.

My dear friend Jeanine lost her dad Jack on Monday night. He has been in hospice care at home for a few months and has hung on to his well-lived life for years longer than any medical professional could have predicted. I don't know the exact timing of all the events in his life but I think its been a year or so since he decided to decline further medical intervention. Ever since I met Jeanine, 12 or so years ago, he's been threatened with "no possibility of making it through another case of pneumonia" due to severe lung deterioration. I bet he's had pneumonia every year since, at least once, and he's always pulled through. Thirty or so years ago, he fell through the ice while driving truck in Alaska. He was seemingly rescued by an angel because no one knows how he got there but he woke up in a hospital bed, after being submerge in the subzero Alaskan waters. God had great things for his life, and he's spent all the years since then living life to the fullest, while on oxygen. Including giving my friend the daddy she so loved and deserved, a great man who showed her such unconditional love, taught her much about life, and kissed her wounds. For several years, he's also spent every day after school with her two children, getting to know them, and passing on his wisdom and love. Over these past few years, I've learned a lot from Jeanine. She is so humble and kind, and she and her husband have sacrificed unselfishly for her parents. She is a reminder of what a good daughter does, when her grown parents need her. These last weeks, when they were sure every moment was close to the last, Jeanine spend so much time with her mom and Jack. She sat and held his hand and talked to him, and she changed his diapers. And now, even though there is relief among them that he is in Heaven, breathing easy, pain free for the first time in a long time, it still hurts so bad to let go. I think she thought she should be more prepared, you know, because it's been such a long time coming. And in a way, he's seemed nearly invincible, beating the odds every time. It's not easy to lose someone you love, even if you know it's coming. You just can't prepare yourself for it, no matter how hard you try. I'm hurting for my friend, and I want to do more to help with all that has to be done. At a time when people deserve to grieve and sulk and do nothing, there is always so much to do, so many details to take care of. Only one state separates us, and I just want to go and help. Be with her and let her be weak for a minute giving her the strength to be strong again. If you live in Boise, and can help with organizing or cleaning or moving, or funeral arrangements, or printing programs, anything, please let me know - as I just want to do anything I can to help them. In the meantime, I'm left with sending text messages and having abbreviated phone calls and loving pep talks. I feel guilty that I can't find a way to be there for her.

When I hear her sobbing, it puts all the other stuff in perspective, though. All the minor worries and troubles with this or that.

Like the fact that I signed up for way too many volunteer things at Lily and Addie's schools. Lest I forget, I am a working mom. A working mom with a flexible job, but a working mom, just the same. I got caught up in the sign up sheets and the moms putting their names down for lots of slots. I was excited by the pep rally about how essential we parents are in the learning process, and partnering with the teachers, and I wanted to be in the class room, seeing, learning, helping. But it was way too much stuff. And way too much right away. Like I signed up to bring some play doh for Addie's class, the make it at home kind. At her school you are required to do 10 parent volunteer hours. I thought making play doh with Addie would be fun, and we could do it at home, on our own time. Except that it was due TODAY, and you had to like, buy ingredients for it. So I humbly sent an email to Mrs. K saying that I'd terribly underestimated my time commitments this week and could I bring later in the year. AND OF COURSE I NEED TWO MONTHS NOTICE FOR SUCH AN ACTIVITY. You can't drop a bomb like making the play doh I volunteered to make just 7 days before it's due. The nerve. Heh.

And then Lily's class. Oh my. So, they need classroom moms to come. I said I could do one Friday or Tuesday a month. Those are the days I work from home and school is out by 10:40. I'd heard that if you sign up for the Library, you go for 30 minutes during library time, and that would be my perfect lunch hour during working from home days. Except that I guess I didn't make the OR clear. Tuesdays OR Fridays ONCE a month. So now I'm on the schedule tomorrow from 8:20-10:40 AND on Tuesday from 8:20-10:40. So tonight at BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHT I have to humbly bow out and ask the teacher if it is a problem for me to do one day a month, and skip this month all together, because have I mentioned that I've already had to go to the pediatricians office TWICE since school started. And I have two more well child visits in the next month for Lily and Bryson? And I just can't ask for more flexibility with the work that there is to do at work hanging over my head. There is no end. There are a reason lots of moms don't work at the office. Being a mom is a full time job. And I have a full time job too. Two full time jobs. Both which require a lot of effort and hours and planning from me.

I know I can do this. I will work it out. It's just that sometimes I'll have to be less. And find a way to be okay with being less. And I can't feel guilty because non working moms get to sign up for once a week when I can "only" sign up for once a month. And when I don't make a call or send a card or show up to clean for a love one in need, I just have to be okay with my own limitations. I need to bring the circle back, reel it in a little closer.

Only do what you can do.

I give that advice to my friends like it is going out of style. But somehow I just can't expect less from myself. I give those words to my own ears, and I believe, with every fiber of my being that I can do more. Be more. I honestly believe that I can. But then sometimes I just get so extremely tired. And so I've been mindful to meet those needs too. To go to bed an hour earlier. Facebook less. Say no to a coffee date that I'd love to have with a friend. Say I have to go on the phone, or don't answer at all if I can't talk. Last night I got home, scarfed dinner, put Bryson to bed (Bathless AGAIN), played Pet Shop with the girls, put them to bed, did day 10 of my "shred" and I showered and I loved my husband and I went to bed. This morning I WISHED I'd gotten the coffee ready, and laid out my clothes, and laid out the girls clothes, and wrote a check for the book orders, and filled out the book order form, and made Addie's snack, and filled milk cups, and loaded my pump and bottle supplies, all last night. But instead I went to bed and rushed around this morning and it all worked out. I got to the bus, so did Lily, and Lawrence got to work, and the girls hair and teeth were brush. It worked. It always does. And then I got pediatrician appointments made - so what if Bryson's is 10 days after his 9 month bday and in the middle of his nap time because that's what's available. And Lily's is a month and 10 days after her 6 year birthday and the day before Thanksgiving (BUSY!!!) because that's what's available? So what, in the whole scheme of things, it doesn't really matter. That is no indication of the kind of person or mother I am.

So I'm giving myself a break in the way that I know how. I'm putting things in perspective as my heart bleeds for my dear friend left with a big hole in her everyday life. I'm devastated and sick for my other friend, Julie, who is losing her battle with cancer. I'm apologizing to the people in my life who don't get the attention they deserve from me on the day they deserve it. I'm continuing to work out by habit and blog by habit and read my bible by habit because those things DO truly feed my soul. And if that's the me time I can fit in, that's pretty good, because those things mean a lot to ME. But if I miss a day, that's not the end of me, I'll simply come back when I can.

It seems like mothering and living to me, is often the daily reminder that I must recommit to do the best that I can, with the best attitude I can, and not to do more than that. I must re-prioritize again and again, and worry less what people might be thinking of me. I must leave emails unanswered, sometimes for days at a time, because babies need holding and taxes need filing and financial statements need preparing. I must be smart with my time and with my money. I must complain less and rejoice more. I must remember to let God's love flow through me so that the people in my life feel that Love, without question. And with a heart like that, no matter what else happens, I really can't go wrong. I won't please everyone, but isn't it just an audience of One anyway? This isn't the first time you've heard me say these types of things, and I promise it isn't the last. The to-do lists and the guilt changes tasks and topics but it doesn't go away. It is never finished. And this here blog, is how I process it, this is where I post the goodness of my life, the greatness of our family, and this is where I say 'out loud' that I will do better today, and that even the doing I'm doing now, before doing better, is still doing pretty good.

And for the record, no, posting via text message from the #&%$#%&%&#@!@#@!# bus did not work, AGAIN, not at all. Longest waste of time and battery, do not try that at..uh..public transit. Luckily I did have it saved in drafts on my phone so I could re-type from there rather than rethinking this whole post up again. But can you believe I typed this whole post on my phone, only to retype on my computer and re-post again? ME NEITHER! Oh well, it was too crowded and wet on the bus to read it killed an hour of commuting as I organized my thoughts and prepared me for my positive and productive day...


  1. Jenny,
    You are a super mom and a super daughter and a super person. However, I'm glad to hear you remind yourself that you are only one person (no matter how many roles you fill). Darn right you are doing "pretty good" and much, much beyond pretty good. LOVE you Lots!

  2. As Mom #2, I agree with everything your Mom said, and add super daughter-in-law, too. Please "volunteer" me for anything I can do at the girls' schools when I visit in December.

  3. As a mom it seems like there are never enough hours in the day to meet all that we need to do, you have an amazing attitude and you do what you can! As your LCC, I know that some families have been known to have their au pair fill their volunteer spots at school when work/illness gets in the way!