Meet My Monster

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I love to be the first one in the house to get up.  If you know me at all, you probably think that is, at the very least, sarcasm or just a downright lie. I love to sleep. I can’t for the life of me understand why it isn’t one of the 5 love languages. (If you haven’t read that book, do it now. If you have kids, read the one for kids too. Life changers. You’re welcome.) On the weekends when my beloved says, “hey why don’t you go take a nap?”, my love for him at that moment is so strong that I might just explode. This alone is a good enough reason to have married this man. And I don’t even care if he is offering/strongly suggesting because I am hard to deal with and he can’t take me another second. Or maybe he just wants to play Halo 5 without my incessant talking. Motives makes no difference to me, he said the word “nap”. Sometimes I think I could sleep 24 hours straight. I even amaze myself at my mad sleeping skills and have often wondered if maybe I have mono or something. No one should be as tired as I am. My husband assures me that whatever mysterious sleeping sickness I have, I have had for the 15 years he has known me. My mom says it has been all 34 years she has known me.  So it seems to defy the laws of logic that I have been choosing to get up earlier than the fam. But it’s true.

My monster has done this to me. I wake up every morning with this looming dread that has set up camp in my chest. The kind of dread the happens just after the worst case scenario (whatever that may be). This causes my insides to revolt in the most unpleasant way. Dread, panic, fear, frustration…they are all piled on top of each other in my chest competing for thoughts in my head. I absolutely hate starting my day like this. Every! Single! Day! My interactions with my family suffer because of this intruder.  It makes my startle response rival that of someone with PTSD and when my son wakes me up to come with him to the bathroom because he’s scared, I just feel down right angry.

I get it. I sound a little crazy. Crazy is a relative term. I have been a Psych nurse for 10 years and have seen crazy. Wrapping your own poop neatly in towels and keeping them inside your shirt is crazy. Sawing off  most of your fingers and your own foot with a hand held saw is crazy.  Don’t get me started on the lady that ate most of her face…. I am assuming this is not acceptable conversation so I’ll move on.  I’ll wear the crazy label if I must. Any kind of deviation from Stepford Wife tends to be frowned upon.  My dear husband seems to think there are lots of my kind of crazy but they don’t write blogs about it;)

Whatever you call it, I hate it. And even more than the monster, I hate that my family has to suffer because I can’t handle my emotions. I would do anything! Rub Cheetos on my third toe?? Sure, if you say it might work.  By trial and error, I have tried getting up early. Trying to get my hot mess of a mom self together before the boys wake up. Prayer, yoga, reading, repeat. Whatever it takes. This actually works really well. This morning I got up at 6am and had coffee by the pool. All….by….myself.  When you don’t get a moment to yourself, ever, and you’re surrounded my mass chaos, being by yourself is like winning the lottery…and not even having to pay taxes.

I am strangely drawn to and terrified by nature. They say everything is bigger in Texas but I beg to differ. Behind my house is nothing but woods, and this swamp, river, creek thing.  This makes for a breeding ground (literally) for some strange animal sightings and some of the biggest insects I have ever seen. I am sure my small dogs could be carried off by some of these spiders and my husband and oldest little have reported a “huge cat thing bigger than our dog climbing up a tree.”  I try not to make eye contact with the forest. Maybe it will take this as a sign of respect and not send its tenants into my yard to eat me. I check the pool skimmer and, when I see fur, I close my eyes and replace the lid. I have no problem taking care of the pool and I have already rescued a turtle, a duck, and 13 baby chicks. What more do you want?? There are these huge pterodactyl bird looking things that I am certain could take on a coyote…one of which I saw brazenly walking down my street. No doubt trying to make a snack out of the geese that run the neighborhood. And go ahead and google “hellbender”.  I am certain it is called this because it is a literal  demon sent from the pits of hell to take your first born.  I saw something that looked like this come out of the ground right in front of me while I was pulling weeds from my flower beds.  It looked like a giant pickle with wrinkles like a Shar-Pei and a weird tail but moves as fast as those tiny geckos. I also learned that I am a freezer. You know, your fight or flight response? I don’t know where my fight went but my flight most definitely didn’t operate properly. I froze for what seemed like an hour and tried to figure out if I was still alive and if I still had control of my bodily functions.

But as I sat there this morning, I could smell the honeysuckle that is growing with abandon on the back fence. I could hear the owls talking to each other in perfect sequence. I could hear large “beasts” (???) running through the woods (I’m assuming modern day dinosaurs but again, no eye contact). The wind from the trees and the sun and 55 degree weather was absolutely perfect. I was scared and completely in awe at the same time. It was glorious. A testament to God’s greatness. A gift. Then I realized that I would have never been outside to witness any of it without the monster. I was forced to give up my beloved sleep to fight this monster and, in return, learned that my mornings to myself hold some of my favorite parts of the day. You will be amazed at what God reveals to you when you are quiet and still. It makes me wonder what else I am missing out on because I am so concerned with my own discomfort.  It makes me want to try new things and take more chances. Who knows, maybe I’ll run a marathon! Hahahaha that’s totally a lie. If you see me running, you should probably run too. Something is most definitely chasing me. It’s probably one of those dinosaur birds…or those hellbender things they said were “very rare”. Liars…. Regardless, I will keep trying to count my blessings in the most unlikely of places. Even if that means I lose my precious sleep. RIP old friend;)

 

 

 

Nothing says, “What a great mom!” like a child with a broken bone.

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My son just turned four years old and has broken two bones already in his short, little life. Now before you clutch your pearls around your neck, gasp, and call CPS, let me explain. Ok, actually, I don’t have an explanation. Not a good one, at least. The first was when he was 18 months and he pulled a huge, flat screen TV on himself. The second, was earlier in the week. I’m not sure exactly what happened because I wasn’t in the room. He said he plopped down on the bed and his arm was straight, “and it just crumpled and collapsed.” (I already told you about his vocabulary). So off we went to the emergency room as I wallow in my mommy guilt. I listened as the Dr asked my son if he was home alone and I saw the inspection for more bruises. They were just doing their job but this just pounded the guilt even further in. Guilt is kind of my thing. That and anxiety. I am super good at generating so much anxiety that I can make a chihuahua appear calm.  My guilt fuels my anxiety which puts me in this vicious cycle of insecurity. Guilt over not knowing what to do when my oldest is out of control. Guilt over my kids eating pizza AGAIN, while I’m sure ya’ll are over there feeding your kids kale smoothies and salad with non GMO, completely organic, 100% homemade dressing. Guilt over getting frustrated, again, for something I know is beyond my oldest son’s capabilities. Guilt that I try so hard, but can’t find the joy in the mundane.  Guilt that I can’t always savor every moment even though I KNOW one day I will miss this age, this stage in life. Guilt over not being the wife that my husband deserves.

God and I have been talking about this a lot lately, more than usual. Partly because I’m in a bible study which demands actually opening my bible. If I’m honest, I find it hard to just pick it up and read it. I used to get so annoyed when someone was asked what their favorite book was, and with their (no doubt) kale smoothie in hand, would answer, “The bible, of course!” (Eye roll, they need to get out. They probably aren’t readers. I bet they haven’t read since Moby Dick in high school.) But really, I was just jealous I didn’t feel that way. That’s why I adore my organized women’s bible studies. Well actually, it’s three reason. First, I grow closer to God by prayer and reading His word (novel idea). Second, I get to hang out with other women and have adult conversation. No one is going to ask me to make them juice, or fix their shoe, or wipe their bottom (thank you, big J for that). And the chances of me having to referee an argument between two women fighting over who gets a turn with the hulk lego (the one with BOTH arms) are slim to none.  No meltdowns or kicking or screaming. And when I have to go to the bathroom?  I just get up and go…by myself. I will never again take that luxury for granted.

There is something really cool about a group of women getting together to high five Jesus. Our background, financial status, number of Facebook friends, heck number of real friends, parenting style, numbers on a scale, hangups, etc etc…don’t matter. We all come to learn, from the study and from each other. Even if you’ve never owned (or even opened) a bible, or just finished writing your sixth book (with your kale smoothie) about the life of Jesus, it’s irrelevant to the purpose of the meeting. Which brings me to my third reason. Aside from my own growth, I get to see others learn and grow and it’s a refreshing, beautiful process.

But back to my God talks. I am struggling with the fact that my anxiety and guilt are so prevalent and real, but goes against everything that the Bible stands for. Insert my anxiety/guilt cycle for knowing this but not being able to apply it to my life.  I know that my identity should not be rooted in my circumstance, I get it. I know that my son’s cast or my neighbor’s eye rolls or my pizza dinners or my utter exasperation with my life as a mom, don’t define me.  James says to “consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds.” Slow your roll, James. I’m not there yet. I can’t imagine I will be saying, “bring on the chaos and turmoil” anytime soon.  But I know God can take the ugly, wretched, broken, steaming hot pile of mess that is sometimes my life and make it beautiful. He can turn the guilt and anxiety into mercy and grace and hope. But for now, for today, I will start little. I accept the fact that I am who the bible says I am. I will hold my head high in the grocery store as my child with his splint (cast next week) and my oldest are too loud and act like caged animals that finally broke free. I see your stares.  But I’ll try to smile from confidence knowing I don’t have kale in my teeth. That goes for my children, as well.

P.S. I actually love kale, but you get my point;)

 

What Now???

I have always wanted to blog…start a blog…be a blogger (is ‘blog’ a noun or a verb)?  All I ever hear is how incredibly cathartic it is.  Catharsis just reminds me of all my college psychology classes, shout out to Mr Freud.  But here I am.  A dear diary for grownups. While I don’t have anything life altering to write about, I do need all the therapeutic catharsis I can get.  I just moved 1400 miles across the country for better opportunities. Leaving behind family, a career that I loved and was passionate about, friends, a church, a support system, and perhaps my identity. I am grateful for the new adventure, really I am. I am grateful for the beautifully quirky farmhouse with the huge yard and the short distance to the beach. For the opportunity to stay at home with my kids and homeschool and run around in our pajamas and play cops and robbers with the perfect jail underneath the cute nook under the stairs.  For the church that we found on the first try, because finding a new church is much like dating. Sometimes half way through the service, you think,”what kind of tom foolery did I just get myself into” and try to figure out an exit strategy.  For a husband that is brilliant and works hard and has been making me proud for 15 years (give or take, marriage is hard ya’ll). For two kids that I so desperately prayed for. I can not imagine two kids that were more wanted than those two curly headed, blue eyed boys. The years I couldn’t sleep for the visceral pain that was caused by the thought that I might not be a mom.  I see all of these things and realize that for ALL of this I prayed. So why is this so hard?  What I did not take into consideration is life.  When I dreamed of my children, my free time was filled with us making precious memories by crafting at the huge kitchen table while my homemade lasagna was baking in the oven. I didn’t know that my son would have autism and any kind of organized crafts would be laughable and a guarantee that someone would have copious amounts of glue in their hair and glitter would be shot up a nostril.  And that lasagna? It is glorious! Seriously, my lasagna is amazing. But I also didn’t know that my son wouldn’t eat most things because of his sensory issues or that dear husband would have ulcerative colitis which is a crap shoot (pun intended) on what his poor tummy can handle, and usually results in him eating a sandwich instead.  I never dreamed that my son would go through a period where he had to see me or his dad at all times. At all times… No bathroom breaks, changing clothes, or even getting something to drink from the kitchen without a major meltdown.  No playing with friends, going to school, sleeping in his own bed. My constant shadow. Without work or friends or date nights or adult conversation,  I have no break. No time to breathe. No time to hear myself think.  Added to depression and anxiety that have reared their ugliness at the most inopportune times (another shout out to my mom’s side of the gene pool). Some days it’s literally hard to breathe. The panic that is waiting in my chest before I even get out of bed is overwhelming at best. So here I am. Trying to figure it all out, with God of course. Documenting the victories so that I can remember and be grateful. Sorting out the noise in my head.  I know that this too shall pass. And when it does, I want to look back at it fondly.  I want to see all that God has done and what He has brought me through.  This is my journey and my prayer is that I journey well.