The purpose of a bad day

Not often, but occasionally, I have days that hit me with the enormity of the fear that maybe, just maybe, all my struggles and triumphs and day-to-day banalities are all for naught.  That it doesn’t really matter if I live this day well, or try a little harder to get that task done, or remember to curb my tongue of the petty criticisms that may make my daughter cry.  Why would it matter, if life is indeed pointless, whether I were a good mother to my children, faithful and loving to my spouse, or tried to be a good neighbor to my fellow man?  What would be the point, even, of getting out of bed?

I have a tendency to be over-sensitive to other people’s moods and attitudes, and today was a poster day for that.  My mother, meaning well, sent me a light-hearted text about how she just saw the State Department had issued a travel warning for Europe, citing terrorist fears.  She knows that I have been beginning to plan for a trip to Europe with friends in 2017, and she knows I am excited and have been furtively sneaking away from my kids to Google search hotels and tourist sites in anticipation of this journey.  So while I appreciate her concern (and, really, do I think the threat of terrorism anywhere will decrease in the next decade or so?) I didn’t see how this benign text added anything of a positive nature to my day.  In fact, it sort-of depressed me.  Yes, it is true.  Yes, it is scary.  But…why share it with me?  Was her goal to scare me?  Or to let me know she was worried for my safety in some way?  Whatever her intent, the text irritated and depressed me.  It seemed almost a subtle way of saying, “I know you have this fun plan for your life, but guess what? It is raining on your parade.  Right now. You can’t win, so don’t even try.

I got through the rest of my crazy day with the kids and karate, and came home, proud of myself for having prepared a crock-pot minestrone so we could eat right away after getting home at 6:30.  I grabbed the mail and saw that some travel guides I requested had arrived; we want to go to the West coast this summer for vacation.  Excited about that, I mentioned it to Hubby, who I instantly realized had arrived home under a cloud of crabbiness.  He said, “I don’t even want to talk about vacations.  The new company [who is taking over operations at Hubby’s work tomorrow] sounds like it wants to get rid of our division/make everyone move to somewhere horrible if they want to keep their jobs/fire me/make me take a huge pay cut and work 1,000 hours of unpaid overtime.”  Instantly, my mood switches to OMIGOD WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO MOVE AND THE KIDS CAN’T GO THROUGH THAT AGAIN AND I DON’T WANT TO MOVE AND MAYBE WE WILL BE BROKE AND HAVE TO FORECLOSE ON OUR HOUSE AND DECLARE BANKRUPTCY AND I AM NOT QUALIFIED TO WORK ANYWHERE BECAUSE ALTHOUGH I HAVE A DEGREE I HAVE NEVER HELD A REAL JOB AND EVERYTHING I HAVE DONE THIS LAST NINE YEARS WILL HAVE BEEN FOR NOTHING BECAUSE STAY-AT-HOME MOMS ARE NOT VALUABLE IN THE GRAND SCHEME OF THINGS AND THIS CROCKPOT MINESTRONE I MADE FOR DINNER IS ABSOLUTELY AWFUL I AM A HORRIBLE HOUSEWIFE.

It really should be said that Hubby and I got very little sleep last night because Spike, who is recovering from a horrendous sunburn, couldn’t sleep and came down into our bed last night.  And then, that adorable 3-year-old proceeded to have a horrible day of “three-nager”ness (which Hubby defined as, “Spike’s feet woke up on the wrong side of my back this morning.”) which was such fun.

Ok.  No sleep.  No sleep makes you feel like life.  Is not worth.  Living.  Seriously.

Anxiety can be caused by little to no sleep.  Anxiety makes you fear things that are…mayyyybe real possibilities…but very slim chances.  Like terrorists targeting you on vacation.  And anxieties relating to job loss and perpetual poverty.  And freaking out over the fact that you might not be a perfect wife and mother.

Hubby is nervous about the new company taking over.  That is completely understandable.  New management, new way of doing things, new corporate culture.  But perhaps we should focus on what we can control.  We can’t control if our boss decides to downsize us.  We can’t control if the company wants to headquarter elsewhere.  We have no control over what the future ultimately holds.  We really don’t.  It’s honestly terrifying.

I seek solace in the knowledge that about four years ago, we were in the same place.  Spike was on the way, Hubby was laid off, we had no permanent dwelling, and Hubby and I were both scared to death.  I prayed.  I prayed without ceasing.  I was so afraid of so many things, and God said “Trust.”

Trust.

Trust that I have your future in my hands.  Trust that I know exactly what you need, and will not give you more than you can handle.  Trust that I love you and I will not let you falter.

Be not afraid.  Be not afraid.  I am with you and will never leave you. 

I can believe.  I can believe God is in control.  I can believe that he will be beside me in whatever I may encounter.  I can believe there is a purpose and a reason to everything.  When I doubt, when I want to run the other way, God is there to remind me that His will pervades all.  His love conquers all.  And his purpose for our lives permeates and engulfs us all.  So it is not for nothing that we struggle with [yes, the banalities of laundry and stinky diapers] our tasks and it is not for nothing that we strive for Heaven in our lives.  It is what makes life worth living…it is what makes life so precious…and it is what we will not abandon when we are forced to abandon our dreams for anything else.  It is through trust in His plan that we can forge ahead with all we may encounter….even on a bad day:-)

 

 

 

 

 

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Musings on Memorial Day

We are a very veteran-heavy family.  In fact, in the course of three generations, every branch of the U.S.Armed Forces is represented save the Coast Guard.  Some of them volunteered, some were drafted, some had very high ideals about patriotism while some were merely doing what they were ordered.  At any rate, all of them were (and are – my little sister is still serving) ready to leave their familiar, ordered lives at the drop of a hat and – if necessary – fight, and possibly….die….in service to their country.  It infinitely humbles me, because the thought of being shipped off to

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My great-uncle trained here before shipping out to France in 1917, where he was blinded in action.

some foreign land to fight for my country scares the pants off of me.  I am a coward, I confess…I could not do it.  And that is why I am so glad, so grateful, that there are men and women out there who are willing to make that ultimate sacrifice for me and my family.

Luckily, my immediate family members who served in Iraq, Bosnia, Vietnam, and WWII all came home safe and sound with their bodies and minds intact (if not irreversibly changed by what they had seen).  They all knew fellow comrades who did not.

I’ve been doing lots of genealogy research lately, and the current quest is to locate, somewhere back in my family, a veteran of the Revolution.  I am really interested in becoming a member of Daughters of the American Revolution, and am convinced there is a member of the Colonial army back there if I can only find the right records.  Well, actually, I did find a great-great- twelve times back or something grandfather who helped the Colonial cause for one month!  Apparently he was like 76 or something and offered guiding service or let the troops stay on his property or something.  Not sure if that really counts as being a Revolutionary soldier, but it still sounds like he (and his son, an uncle not in my main line, who was a recorded soldier) was a Patriot.

It makes me think how easily those Patriots could have all been seen as Traitors if England had won the war.  Traitors are generally not treated super-kindly.  George Washington and all his buddies (including my grandpa a million times removed) could have easily been marched up to the gallows and today we would all be driving on the left.

I am grateful for the freedom I enjoy and for the soldiers who have died to protect it.  May this nation always be worthy of the sacrifices brave men and women have made for it!

 

 

{7QuickTakes} Belated weekly mishmash, Vol.5

My kids are watching The Good Dinosaur while I attempt to get something actual contributed to this blog!!  I haven’t abandoned it.  But y’all – May. Is. Crazy.  And I only have two in school.  But the programs, and the field trips, and the catching-up-on-everything-academic-because-the-school-year-is-almost-done-ing.  Plus, the kids are all antsy to be foot-loose and fancy-free and have all this pent-up “school’s out for the summer” anticipation and it is making me batty.  But…..I am sure I am not alone on this one.  Check out more moms (and dads!) who are probably going through this exact same thing at Kelly’s bloggin’ linkup.

ONE.

Hubby is back on shift work after a blessed hiatus.  The overnights are the worst.  The days (14 hours gone from home) are pretty bad also.  It is, for me, like being a single parent the days he is working.  He basically comes home, eats, and goes to bed.  Trying to focus on the positives…like, he does have a job.  This is a big plus.  And also, he does get to have 4 days off after his 4 days of work.  Which is nice, so we can do things together, like have a conversation.

TWO.

Two of my brothers came for a visit this week.  It is always nice to see family, particularly when we live so far away.  My youngest brother is moving back to the Midwest after his Active Duty stint in the military and my oldest younger (got it?) brother flew out to help him move back.  We are located conveniently half-way from California.  My kids get such a thrill seeing their uncles [aunts too]when they come visit.  Plus it helps that my brothers are really, really great with kids.  (PSA: Youngest brother is single, ladies – he will make a great dad someday!!!)

THREE.

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Current drama streaming obsession: PBS’s Poldark. (Find it on Amazon or DVD) What a great costume drama!  What a great love story!  What fabulous scenery!

mv5botq3nzm1mzq0ov5bml5banbnxkftztgwnjazntqxode-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_ Current comedy streaming obsession: Fox’s The Last Man on Earth.  (We watch it on Hulu).  I absolutely love the character of Carol (Kristen Schaal).  I think she is my favorite part of the whole show…Will Forte is good, too, but I love Carol.

FOUR.

We were at the local indoor-kids’ play gym (thanks to torrential rain and a Hubby sleeping off his night shift) yesterday and Evvie completely ‘imprinted’ on this other mom who was there with her twin boys.  It was somewhat amusing for me, because baby Evs can be pretty choosy about people she goes so far as to smile at.  But this fellow mom must have been magical to her, because she kept toddling around after her and her sons and would walk right up to her and look up at her all longingly.  The other mom, blessedly, did not find it annoying or creepy like I might have in her place, but just laughed and told Evvie, “You’re so cute!”  Then, my oldest, Junior, said (loud enough for everyone to hear), “I think Evvie wants a new mom!”  Yeah, I must be totally rocking this parenting thing…

FIVE.

I have 5,954,256 items on the floor in my office right now.  When I started writing this blog post, there were zero.  My children love me so much that they feel the need to be close to me at all times, particularly when my attention is not 100% devoted to them.  They take this opportunity to helpfully pull out every available book, crayon, office supply, piece of garbage, sticker, plastic baggie, craft item, and toss it, tornado-style on the floor of my workspace.  And Hubby thinks it would be a “breeze” for me to work from home!  Well, maybe, but at the end of the workweek the house would need to be condemned, pretty sure.

SIX.

Been seeing the chiropractor for my shoulder for a few weeks now.  It is helping, but slowly.  I find it is less painful (surprisingly) when I am well-hydrated.  And I am awful about drinking water.  I was a water-drinking champ when I was in college, or working, or pregnant.  But now that I am none of those things I find it difficult to get the requisite ounces in every day.  My main issue is that I fill a glass or bottle with water but through the course of the day, I am running all over the house and/or the car and I forget where I’ve left my water.  I think I just need to fill my Camelbak backpack and wear that all day so I don’t lose my water.  Where’s my Water? is one of the kiddo’s favorite games.  I should have invented it.

SEVEN.

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French fries?  They put me right to sleep.

 

That’s all folks, have a great week!

 

 

A Mom’s ABC show-and-tell

This week, Bellie’s kindergarten class has started reviewing the alphabet by doing an “ABC Show-and-tell”.  Every day, each student is to bring in an item (or person or pet) that corresponds to that day’s letter of the alphabet.  Bellie is having a great time trying to come up with what she wants to bring each day.  [“D” day is tomorrow and Bellie really wanted to bring Hubby for “Daddy”, but unfortunately it is during the work day….luckily Hubby works 4-10 hr shifts during the week so he is off on Fridays.  I told Bellie she could bring her daddy in on Friday for “E” day instead – for “engineer”.]

If I were participating in this weeks-long ABC show-and-tell, here is what I would bring:

A – Anxiety.  Lately, especially because toddlers just learning to walk are little anxiety-producing balls o’ fun.  I love musing on how mine might fall down the stairs, take a nose-dive off the porch, hit her head on some piece of furniture containing right angles, pull down a bar stool on herself, trip over a geriatric (and unassuming) pet, find a Lego to nosh (and potentially choke)on…etc….etc…..

B – Bottoms.  I spend way too much of my time concerned about the state (wet? dry? stinky?) of those of my fellow household members.

C – Candy wrappers.  Everywhere!  Under the bed, in the couch cushions, squirreled away in underwear drawers, stuffed in pockets, hidden in the piano bench, left in car cupholders. Anywhere but the garbage can!

D – Diapers.  Don’t think I need to elaborate on this one.

E – Elephants.  As in, “Why do my children sound like a herd of elephants when they come in the house after school?”

F – Fair.  My children are very very very concerned that things in life are not this.

G – Goodnight Moon512bmv1xuuqlThe classic children’s fantasy tale in which a young rabbit settles himself down quietly for bed before eight o’clock while his caregiver relaxes by the fire doing needlework.

H- Hugs.  The best.

I – Introvert.  Me!  I should have considered this fact a little more carefully before filling my house with lots of additional people.  Who love me so much they want to be around me all. the. time.  Like when I’m in the shower…or on the toilet…

J –Jelly bean.  Something that may, at some point, be stuck up your toddler’s nose that might require medical attention.

K-Ketchup. My children’s favorite food group.

L-Laundry.  The never-ending story.

M- Minivan.  Heh.  I was one of those moms. The one who swore I would never have one.  Believe it!  I am now one of the cool ones.

N- No.  Why do I feel like I am always saying this to my kids?  It would help if their requests were “Can I help you out, Mom by (insert any conceivable chore here)?” instead of “Can I jump off the roof/drink an entire 2-liter of Mountain Dew/use the chainsaw to do an art project?”

O – Oasis.  A mother’s code name for the (5 seconds of peace she gets alone in the) bathroom.

P – Prayer.  With a whole lotta this and a little coffee, I can conquer the world.

Q- Queen.  As in “My family treats me like” (well, on Mother’s Day anyway)

R – Romance.  The sexiest thing my husband does for me is empty the dishwasher.

S –Surprise! Or as Hubby likes to say, #3 and #4.

T – Tampons. Fun toys found in Mommy’s bathroom drawer, to be brought out to entertain dinner guests.

U –Umbilical hernia surgery. Something fun you get to do following pregnancy #4 after your progeny have successively stretched out your belly button.

V- Vacation.  Or, as I call it, a trip to the grocery store without the kids.

W-Wind.  Gets passed (and laughed about) much in my house.

X-Xeroderma (look it up!) the condition of my skin after washing 10,000 sink-loads of dishes.

Y-Yoda – the wise, infinitely cool alien creature my children respect who I strive to emulate but what I actually end up being is a…..

Z- Zombie. I am still waiting for all of my kids to sleep through the night, EVERY night.