Monday, August 25, 2014

10,000 miles

10,000 miles...
      ...will give you such a crick in the neck.

(awww poor Robin Williams)

First of all, I need to get the guilt out of the way. I know you all know me and that you know that I will feel more comfortable if I can just say sorry. Sorry I took so long to write this AND sorry that I kept saying that I was going to do it tomorrow. Sometimes I wonder if I have just a little Bernie Madoff con-man in me. By which I mean, you always hear about people like Bernie doing what they do only because they want to please people so bad that they are willing to lie to people including themselves to please everyone. OK that is a little harsh, but I really thought for three weeks that I was going to do the blog tomorrow, every day. Let me be clear that I love the blog and it wasn't a chore I was avoiding, there was just so much going on I just didn't have time. So, the kids went back to school today, and I miss them SO much, I do, but I felt like today was the first time I have had a moment to think in about forever.

side note: I took Juniper school clothes shopping, just the two of us, which was so fun. We talked about what kind of style she liked and, this just tickles me, but she likes "French style" like what mimes wear. So we went with it and she picked out a couple of black and white outfits. I just never saw it coming. Juniper + french mime. shrug? They are so funny, kids, with they're ideas about stuff.

 So here is a a little update since I saw you all last:

We went to Yellowstone, the Black Hills of South Dakota (awww poor Rocky), the Badlands, Michigan and staying with Teri during which we went to Chicago and I had Huevos Rancheros that might have changed my life, Michigan again -this time at Lake Michigan with old Michigan friends , back to Peter and Teri's where they gave me a ukulele that might have changed my life and that I played in the car all the way back home to Pennsylvania.  We got back a week ago, and I have been sort of insane since then.

At first I was too overwhelmed to even unpack. There isn't really anything worse than leaving that too long, but I guess I just needed to process the last two months. Finally I picked up my boot straps and got to a cleaning and purging rampage that hasn't really finished yet.  I guess the only thing I can figure is that it felt like we had downsized our possesions to a minivan size for 2 months and it honestly doesn't feel like we need more than that. Really, I can hardly even keep track of that amount. So when I walked in the house the STUFF kind of overwhelmed me. The CLUTTER. holy crap.

At the same time I am at war in my head with all of that plus the idea that I want a mansion. I even love that word.  A huge beautiful house with a zillion rooms perfectly furnished in the a kind of classy chic grown up way that makes my futon want to cry. I want to redo my kitchen and add on to the second floor and get new appliances and also everything.


I sometimes just want both things.

Speaking of mileage, I am turning 40.  I will probably get over it.

I love my ukulele so much. And because you are my sisters and mother you must humor me.  I don't know how else to force you to listen to me play since I doubt that you are going to go on a 10,000 mile car ride with me anytime soon. I am doing this just for you guys. xoxo


As long as I am being totally disorganized about what I am writing, I will also say two other things.

1. We went on a walk in the woods last weekend. We were in a place we have been  a million times. At one point Alex and the kids wanted to climb up some rocks and I chose to go around them and meet them on the other side.  As I was walking I stepped on a snake and it spooked me so I fell and landed next to another snake. There were snakes everywhere I looked.  I stood there and just shook violently. I could hardly even move my legs. I checked out mentally for about 5 minutes.

So these snakes are called copperheads. Whatever, they look like rattlesnakes to me. POISONOUS.  They are so camouflaged that I really couldn't see them at first, but they were everywhere. everywhere. Like "Oh there are a lot of sticks around me, wait, THOSE AREN"T STICKS!!!AHHHHH!!!" Indiana Jones.
         I do not scare easily. I do not cry easily. I like spiders. I don't get upset about mice, or bats or anything. 
              Secondly, I was useless. Thank goodness theses snakes were conserving their energy and decided not to rip my throat out. All I could do was just stand there and shake. Later with everyone, I saw another snake and before I could even register it, I had thrown my water bottle as hard as I could at the snake and started crying, (I missed the snake by about a mile), but I threw the water bottle so hard I broke it. I do not advocate the killing of snakes,(although they are delicious). That snake didn't do anything to me, so I should be grateful, right? 
 So I guess I am sceered of snakes. oh, and sharks.

2. I had a dream that I was watching a soap opera in Japan and Aunt Julie was in it. She was pretty good, too. I was telling everyone that she was my mom's twin sister. no one believed me.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


So my sisters are gone now. It was really fun having them here. It's such a blessing to have them in my life! Even if they don't live here, they effect me, who I am and their opinions are important to me. I value them as sisters but at this stage of my life we are just as good of friends. I love it when they are here! I hate it when they go! Its fun to pretend for a few weeks out of the year that this is my reality. My kids have tons of cousins around daily. I have people that want to see me every day and are excited to see me. They understand (mostly) me and my fears, my emotions, the things that consume me, my worries, my hurt, my sense of humor. All of it. Our relationships differ, but they are solid. I just love and miss them. We make jokes about having a "Barrett overload" and to some people I'm sure it is. It's not to me. It's trying to live a year of conversations and experiences in a few weeks, sometimes less than that. What I am so grateful for is that they have husbands that support them, in every way. I'm sure it's not easy for them but they do it and they do it happily. 
It's amazing the bond you have with a sister from the get go. I see it with my girls. Sure they battle and compete, but they also take care of each other. I just want to make an effort to record special moments, even if they are short or whatever. Macy just had her 4th birthday. The day after her bday, Macy wanted to open her frozen princess Anna from the packaging. Instantly a brawl began, who would play with it first?" Crying, scratching, hitting and yelling  the girls were furious. Their screams are so high pitch that sometimes I seriously wonder if my ear drum has been ruptured. It was a little intense to say the least. Avery had a fever all morning. Randomly through out the morning she would go climb up in bed by herself, close her eyes and rest for a bit. As I was trying to rip open the packing to this doll, Avery decided once again she was too tiered and went to lay down. Avery is not one to give in so ya know she's got to be sick for her to bail. As soon as Anna was liberated from the packaging, Macy swooped her yet to be played with doll up and ran to Avery. Leaning over and whispering "Aves, you can cuddle Anna if you want. It can help you feel better." She nestled Anna in her covers right up close to Avery's hot body. "Aves.... Do you want me to cuddle you too?" Avery nodded yes. Macy laid down beside her and began singing the flower song and softly playing with her hair (The song is one my sisters and I would sing together on road trips or to help us get to sleep) Avery closed her eyes and Macy kissed her forehead. Macy eyes started welling up. "But mama, when Avery is sad it makes my heart sad". Avery grinned at Macy and then they both jumped out of bed and ran around all crazy. Reality set back in. Fighting broke out about 2 seconds later. I would like to say "and they both fell asleep and dreamt of leaping on fluffy clouds with fists full of lollipops." I know that's kind of a specific thought but ya know what I mean! Hey, they had a moment and it was sweet and tender. It happened even if it was short lived. The whole thing was like an out of body experience. My kids are young. Sometimes I wonder how bad I'm screwing them up. Then a moment like that happens and you just feel hopeful. Your kids feel empathy or love or whatever it may be. Despite all my flaws they are good sweet girls. With tender spirits and I'm grateful.
Troy and I have got a lot of big decisions to make and it's a little overwhelming if I am honest. School, work, moving, another kid, getting out of debt, where to move to?.... To name a few. I just want to do things right. I want to be supportive and I want Troy to be happy with his career and education. I want to get to a more settled, happy place. I realize that to get there we probably need to make some significant sacrifices. 
I find my self dreaming and fantasizing about down sizing. Purging all the stupid stuff you just accumulate. Instead of counting sheep I count label makers, organizing bins, and other miscellaneous office supplies. So in hopes of making my dreams a reality, I have started making runs to D.I. and the dump. It feels so good! Now we just need to decide when and where to move. Ha!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Holding Space

Since my last blog post we have been to Lake Powell, Provo, Irvine for a weekend to see Tori, home for 3 days and then back to Irvine for Bill's wedding. Todd and Ashton are staying with us this week and I feel SO lucky that they are here, it is a fun distraction and a great motivator to stay positive as we wrestle with a host of new realities.

#1) The reality of having a new mother-in-law sleeping in Christy's bedroom, eating dinner in Christy's place at the table, living in a house filled with Christy's hand-picked decorations and furniture, using a refrigerator and pantry that still hold items that Christy purchased that haven't hit their expiration date yet. The night they got married was like an out of body experience. When I am anxious my natural instinct is to become a joker, but considering I was battling back some serious angst-ridden emotions I felt like my personality came across somewhere between hysteria and mania. I had no ability to even feel my own feelings and I felt like every person there had a different set of expectations for how I should be dealing with this situation. Dawn's friends kept saying that this marriage was "an answer to prayers," which I thought was just a fantastically insensitive thing to say. So they all thought that we should be super happy because Dawn is fabulous, assuring us that this was ok--everything would be ok. It was all very irritating and patronizing--I barely made out it out of there without snapping "that is something I should be saying to you, NOT the other way around." No guest at that wedding has to live this change in our family like we do, so they can all take their counsel and advice and rub it in their hair and shove it up their butts. Then there was a handful of people so dialed in to the strangeness of the event I felt like they expected me to be super somber and grief-stricken. And then there was Will and Audra who were furious and I felt like they needed us to share that with them too. In reality I felt a flood of emotion so intense that night, I didn't even know my own name. Everything probably will be ok, Ben and I are trying to be positive without forcing or expecting ourselves to outrun our grief. It is what it is and we will do what we can to make the best of it.

#2) The reality that I am now the mother of a special needs child, and that this effects everything we do, everywhere we go, the way we parent, the way we talk, our finances, our free time and everything in between. And that this is our life for the foreseeable future--possibly forever. I've had therapists tell me they think she will be mainstreamed by kindergarten and I've had therapists tell me I need to get my head right about this because I will have to be her advocate for the rest of her life.

#3) Get comfortable holding space. I think my need for things to be ok makes me cope with things at a fairly slow pace. I drag out each phase by adding a thick coat of denial--just gut out this part and then things will be ok/go back to normal. It's hard for me to absorb things in their totality, it's piece by piece, by dimension. I thought a lot about Bill getting married and about what holidays or trips would be like, I never thought about her living in Christy's house until the morning after. I've thought a lot about what Maddie needs now, but meeting a 13-year old autistic girl made it settle in on a whole new level. It's very much a 3-steps forward then 5 steps steps back sort of process that can leave me feeling very defeated and unmotivated sometimes. Brenee Brown uses this phrase "holding space" and I love this idea, it makes me think of someone protectively stretching their arms out around someone--not touching them just holding space for them. I would love to develop this more, provide this protection for myself and others. Find ways to allow for feelings of all kinds--allow and give permission for everyone to feel what they need to feel and be who they need to be. And I know providing this--again, for myself and others, would in turn inspire kinder, more amicable, more forgiving feelings because isn't most frustrations and angst born from feeling misunderstood, unheard or denied?

Anyway, just some thoughts. I miss you both so much it hurts.