Sunday, August 29, 2010

Water's Embrace

Preparing food. Cleaning the house. Preventing fist fights. So many responsibilities as a stay-at-home mother. Most of my time feels like a whirlwind of children demanding and needing and requiring and asking and pressuring and begging and whining. I carry them and their needs in my arms. They are young. They are fragile. They need me in so many ways.

... but sometimes I want to be carried, too. I want to relax and let the burdens slip away. Last night, after a very long day of children whining and demanding and needing, I slipped away for a couple hours to have a date with my oldest son. We went to a swim party where he went down the water slide 15 times and I floated around the lazy river.

Carry me, lift me, support me, water.

I needed that.

Friday, August 20, 2010

New School Year's Resolutions

So here's where we are right now.

I'm a writer who doesn't write.

I'm a singer who doesn't sing.

I'm a lover of the outdoors who spends all her time inside.

I'm an organization freak whose house is pure clutter.

In other words, I'm a lady with an anxiety disorder that is spinning out of control. My life is chaos. I've tried my hardest to make all these problems go away by consuming chocolate, but for some reason that isn't helping. I'm baffled. I'm going to have to try something else.

Deep breath.

I realize that I'm scared of commitment. Yesterday was a big day for three of my friends. They committed to things and it was strangely coincidental that all three of them reached huge milestones on the same day. It has forced me into some painful introspection about my own lack of ambition. 

Both of my writers' group colleagues finished their novels yesterday. It's either an amazing coincidence or proof of what a good, supportive writers' group can do. Then I woke up this morning to realize that another friend of mine reached her 365th day of blogging every day. She committed to write on her blog every single day for a year and she did it.

And I immediately felt inadequate: "What have you done in the last year, Juliana?" Luckily, the self-pity lasted about a nanosecond as I remembered what I've done:

I can't complain about my accomplishments, and yet ... yet, I know I'm not doing my best. I waste time, I lose my temper with my kids and I'm eating myself to death, literally. This isn't the person I want to be and next week is time for me to shape up.

Let's be honest, folks: January 1st isn't the time for New Year's Resolutions. The time when mothers everywhere can get their lives under control is the first day their kids go back to school. We love 'em. We adore 'em. But they take a lot of time and energy and that makes other things difficult. Things like writing. And exercising. And cleaning. And cooking. And not pulling our hair out.

So I'm making some New School Year's Resolutions and I think Moms everywhere should join in!

The pregnancy is over (holy crap, I'm glad--that was hard). I'm almost four months postpartum so the recovery from the c-section is over. The summer is almost over so I am resolved to spend every morning doing the things that are most important before doing the fun stuff. (Fun stuff like blogging.. ahem.. As I said, starting next week...)

I have a list of chores to do before the kids get off to school (empty the dishwasher, start a load of laundry, clean a bathroom, make the bed) and I am adding in some new items: I will write every day. Preferably working on both my creative writing and my blogging every day, but we'll see what happens. I will keep singing even though I'm not taking voice lessons right now. I will exercise, ermm, many days. Most days? I'd love to say every day, but see above comments about fear of commitment. It's hard to commit to things you've failed at in the past. But I'll try to figure this thing out.

I think that if I can keep up those commitments, I'll be able to deal with the other things that are really bothering me, like how hard it is for me to keep my cool with my kids. The anxiety will go down and life will be happy again.

What are your New School Year's resolutions?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cloudy, with a chance of rain ...

I love rain. And I live in a desert. So when I see storm clouds brewing, I hope for rain but don't expect it to materialize. It usually just blows over. It's happened so many times that I have started to just assume that is what would happen.


The weather, we reasoned, would be perfect for a trip to Thanksgiving Point Gardens. Last time, the thermometer hit 100 degrees and I was parched. So today, weather in the 80's and a chance of rain sounded great ... assuming those rain clouds never materialized.

I packed up the kids, grabbed a couple nephews and my Mom (who is going back to work tomorrow, so it was a sort of last-minute, last-chance fling) and headed to the gardens. This'll be great, we thought, as long as it doesn't rain.

We got out of the car, paid our admission and stepped into the splendor of ... dropping temperatures and ominous clouds. I really wanted to show off how beautiful this spot of earth is. It's a true untapped treasure in my valley and I just love this place.

Here is what we learned: outdoor gardens are best-suited for dry weather. We were about 10-15 minutes from shelter when I was faced with a choice: head farther into the gardens and hope for good luck or turn back and head for safety. I was so sad at the thought of spending money and seeing nearly none of the gardens and coming all that way for nothing, but the responsible mother in me sighed and said, "Let's turn back."

Just in time, too. The first fat raindrops were already falling and by the time we hit shelter by some restrooms, I was pretty drenched. We crowded onto a big bench and held two umbrellas open in front of us. Thank heaven for those umbrellas! 

The fat raindrops turned into a steady stream of water. Then the hail started dropping at our feet and wind blew water in sheets before our eyes. In a matter of minutes, the cobblestone pathway in front of us was flooded with an inch of rain water and my son was making comments about God promising not to flood the earth and kill everyone again, right, Mom?

Taken from my cell phone
We should have been miserable, but I couldn't help laughing. This is what we looked like: eight drenched puppies sheltered behind two huge, rainbow-colored umbrellas in the middle of a flood. We made quite a picture, I know, because a few minutes later a truck appeared out of nowhere and rescued us. 

I hopped right into a truck with a strange man and felt no qualms about it. He drove me to my van and led me back to my little group of stranded children. It was a grand time. When I returned the umbrellas, I heard the staff asking each other if those crazy people by the bathrooms had been rescued yet. Yes, yes they had.

We drove over to the deli and had lunch with a bunch of other soggy folks. We had ice cream. Then we went back to my car to find blue skies and warm weather. We decided to try the children's area at the gardens and headed back that direction. When we got there, the kids stomped in the water and got more drenched than they had been in the storm. And that seemed just about perfect to me. A wonderful farewell to summer.

Monday, August 09, 2010


Timing is everything.

We saw a car show and made an impulsive decision to stop and walk around. I got my thrills staring into the pristine interior of a Jaguar E-type, a car which makes my brain go gooey and my knees go weak. If I could have a crush on a car, it would be the Jaguar E-type. We saw a Model T. We saw a Lotus, which I'm not sure is cool but is lodged in my brain as "interesting."

We had a grand time.

And then, only then, did I notice my five-year-old walking around in only one shoe.

Classy, Juliana. Really classy.

All in all, it's probably good that I didn't notice Shoeless 'Lije until halfway through the car show because the kids had fun and I got a thrill of pleasure seeing the Jag. The cars were classy, even if I was not.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Threee Months ... and Still Crafting

I'm becoming a girlie girl. Apparently it was in me all along, just waiting to appear at the right moment. Of course, my version of girlie is still based on blue jeans and white t-shirts, but we're adding a bit more style to them now.

I blame it all on having doubled the amount of estrogen in the house. Eden is just so gosh-darn cute in her girlie stuff. She needs it because, really, all babies just look like babies. Not boys. Not girls. Just babies. Until you put them in boyish or girlish clothing and make them look the part. And I've waited so long to have another girl in the house, she will look like a girl, thank you very much.

Here she is at three months wearing last night's project, an organza flower headband. Who knew it could be so much fun to burn fabric?