Thursday, September 19, 2013

I am a frightening, frightened control freak

I realized about a month ago that I'm a control freak.  I'm not sure why I didn't see it this way or recognize it as this earlier, but for whatever reason, I've finally been able to give it a name.

I'm 41 years old.  I'm guessing most people who have known me over the last 37 years of those 41 years already knew this, because I'm guessing you could tell by the time I was about three. My crayons were arranged rainbow style in my 64-count crayon box. This was not the need for order, this was the need for control. The crayons should be that way. They make sense that way. It is the perfect way for them to be arranged. If I had been able to have things my way, I would have re-arranged everyone else's crayons in the same way.  I told my mom sometime earlier this year that everything in her house, regardless of age, could be described on eBay as being in the same condition as it was NIB (New in Box) -- we say we become our parents, or we are the product of their input --- my house is not NIB by far, but my desire to have things the way I want them is the same motivation. 

My husband's grandmother had dementia for nearly 10 years.  The signs were obvious to my husband and I several years earlier than his mom was willing to recognize the problem.  Over the last eight years it had become common for her to not fully recognize or know various relatives and friends.  After a bad fall in April and as she approached her 92nd birthday we knew the end was near. My husband and I had a chance to visit her without the kids which was nice and she hung about two months longer than we had anticipated.  Because of this, the school year had started for our kids and we had events several big events scheduled for well into the month of September.  Sometime in mid-July I began to obsess (there is no other word for it) over when Grandmother would pass and how we would handle having the kids miss school and how we would handle it if we had to miss one of our planned events. I knew the priority was family, but this did not stop me from losing sleep, changing plans, and desperately worrying about what we would do and how we would handle every possible scenario.  Control freak! I felt as though God was patting me on the head and saying "Um sweetie, it doesn't matter how freaked out you get over the timing of this, it is outside your control and you're going to have to live with that."

Since then at every turn I'm seeing this recurring theme -- "This too is beyond your control..."  More on this later -- other things I needed to control need my attention at the moment!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Contentment

This morning I am content, though I'm not exactly sure why. The house is a mess, but it is delightfully quiet. I have nothing major on my agenda for today, except a couple of easy errands and a trip to visit with friends whose son is recovering from serious heart conditions at Vanderbilt Children's hospital. They've been there for so long, that the trip down to the hospital doesn't even seem alarming. The floors need to be vacuumed and the kitchen needs to be cleaned, the beds need to be made and some laundry needs to be put away, yet I'm not overwhelmed or panicked about it. We all overslept this morning and I had to drive Kara to school, but that was ok. She made it in plenty of time and it was nice to be out of the house so early in the day. I still can't believe I saw 6:59 turn to 7am on my car clock and actually thought of it as sort of late in the morning! I had also been up around 3:30a.m. with Thom when his lungs were hurting him because of the ragweed. But, I'm not really tired. A cup of day-old-coffee nuked in the microwave and doctored with CoffeeHouse Caramel Macchiato creamer fixed that. I got Caleb on the bus at 8am after he collected his money from the tooth fairy. I finished my 20th book that I've read since March a few minutes ago and that was nice. And it's only 9am. I'm thinking of downloading some pictures I have on Facebook and ordering some photos and I'm checking on my earnings on a couple of writing sights I belong to. All in all, the day is quiet and lovely, despite everything, and I'm excited to see what the next 12 hours will bring.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Exactly Where I Ended Up

"The more things change, the more they stay the same. "

"Running to catch up with myself."

"Stuck on a Hamster wheel."

When I was a kid (I thought like a kid....) and somewhere in there I thought, as a girl, that my future would be some version of me marrying whoever I was dating and I would be the wife of a X (insert a profession). I dated one boy and saw myself as a lawyer's wife, another boy I was the wife of a computer engineer, another and I was an officer's wife. Then I began to realize God could have a plan for my life as an individual.

This was liberating! This was huge! This enabled me to consider all sorts of possibilities for a future of ministry, possibly even missionary work. I shared with others this wonderful "I choose me" moment of God having a plan for my life.

Then I met my husband to be.


It was clearly obvious to me that he was God's plan for me. It was different than other relationships. It was the kind of love that withstands years of life.

The funny thing was that only recently did I realize --- I'm exactly where I thought I'd be. I'm the wife of a --- turns out, at the moment, the answer is --- Product Developer. We have a house, a dog, and two kids. They play soccer and watch TV and make mountains of laundry and dirty dishes on a daily basis. They bring smiles and laughs and I often lay awake at night loosing sleep over this or that decision on their behalf.

When no one is home 'cept for me and the dog, and I don't have errands that desperately need to be done, I sometimes do some writing on this or that to help make ends meet financially. Sometimes I even get the inspiration to work on a novel I've been toying with for more than two decades now.

The down side --- how do I tell my daughter to follow where God leads and not see herself in relationship to this or that boy along the way, when, in the end, that's exactly where I am. Somewhere in there, there is a nuanced understanding that at the time I met my husband, I was ok with the idea of it being just me and God for life or for a while or whatever. Sort of the idea, of something happening when you least expect it.

Can't fully process these thoughts, yet.... gotta go move a load of laundry.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Me

One of Me ... one of me gets up in the morning and after a quick trip to brush my teeth and check my reflection, I head straight for the computer. This is the equivalent of checking the front page in the newspaper. I have a burning need to know if there is a crisis somewhere that needs my attention -- a friend in the hospital, trouble at my bank, something from an editor. This person is done checking the urgent within a few moments and gets on with the day. Feed the kids, help gather book bag supplies, brush whatever hair needs help this morning (their's -- mine still looks like Medusa) and ferries them off to school. I come home -- tend to the dog -- hugs, food, I open the back door he looks at me funny and I sit down to work. I write an article for this or that source. I play beat the clock against when I have to take a shower, run an errand or go get Caleb. My day continues thereafter with my attempting to get things done in between being a good Mom. The day ends with me wishing there were....

Two of Me... I wish a had a spare me to do the following : wash clothes all day every day. Until I can convince my family that "Naked Tuesday" is a good idea -- just so Mom can catch up on the laundry -- I will never be done. The trouble is that while this second me is doing laundry she keeps noticing other things that need doing, which is why I wish there were...

Three of Me... With One of Me doing my writing, feeling productive and making money and Two of Me staying on top of the laundry, this third me could just focus on household projects, like sorting and cleaning and reorganizing and painting and shopping. She'd be smiling all the time because she would be accomplishing great things and not worrying about the time it was taking away from the other stuff because One of Me would be doing the writing and Two of Me would be keeping the laundry in order. But this Third me still sort of wishes that there was ....

Four of Me... This one would just do fun things for and with my family all the time. We would play games and watch movies. We would run around outside. We would never have to go shopping (because Three of Me was taking care of that) So we could just go to the playground or the museum or on vacation (because One of Me would be making enough money not being distracted by other things that Two and Three of Me were taking care of, that there would be enough money for memberships at all the cool museums and still extra for ice cream.) The only thing Four of Me wishes is that perhaps there were...

Five of Me -- This one would be in charge of just one thing -- Scrapbooking all the fun things that Four of Me was doing with the kids!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Writing Tools

A friend sent this to me this morning. It seems to fit and I don't want to forget it.



A PENCIL MAKER TOLD THE PENCIL 5 IMPORTANT LESSONS JUST BEFORE PUTTING IT IN THE BOX :

1.) EVERYTHING YOU DO WILL ALWAYS LEAVE A MARK.
2.) YOU CAN ALWAYS CORRECT THE MISTAKES YOU MAKE.
3.) WHAT IS IMPORTANT IS WHAT IS INSIDE OF YOU.
4.) IN LIFE, YOU WILL UNDERGO PAINFUL SHARPENINGS,
WHICH WILL ONLY MAKE YOU BETTER.
5.) TO BE THE BEST PENCIL, YOU MUST ALLOW YOURSELF
TO BE HELD AND GUIDED BY THE HAND THAT HOLDS YOU.


We all need to be constantly sharpened. This parable may encourage you to know that you are a special person, with unique God-given talents and abilities. Only you can fulfill the purpose which you were born to accomplish. Never allow yourself to get discouraged and think that your life is insignificant and cannot be changed and, like the pencil, always remember that the most important part of who you are, is what's inside of you.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Tripped on Something

Late (way too late really) last night I sort of stumbled onto something in the progression of finding myself. Somewhere between the years of Reviving Ophelia and What to Expect When You're Expecting I lost the confidence to see myself as I see myself and began to see myself as others saw me. Even if I disagreed, even if I denied myself, even if I succumbed to a lesser standard, I assimilated to view of myself through someone else's eyes.

Why am I not an accountant? Why am I not a marine biologist or a zoologist? Why am I not a lawyer? Why am I not working for a daily? Why am I not on the mission field?

For a short time in college I realized/acknowledged that since I had begun dating I had always thought of myself in regard to my possible future as this or that person's wife. I was the wife of a .... insert the profession of choice for the man in my life.... I was not career driven. I was driven by the relationship I was in. Elizabeth Elliot, with some help from a dear Kenyan woman named Esther, helped set me straight. I realized I needed to see myself as a unique creation of God with a purpose in his plan. Terrific. I stopped thinking of myself as an ornament in someone else's future and realized I could stand on my own two feet as a Christian woman.

Then I met the person who's ornament I actually became. I didn't mind so much because it seemed that it was God's plan for me. It didn't matter that I gave up the direction I thought I was headed to go in the direction that God was calling my future husband. I felt sure that his future was also my future, and I wasn't wrong.

But... in the midst of pursuing his future, which included his calling by God and the necessary schooling and a cross-country move that tore me away from all of my friends and a part of the country I dearly loved.... where was I? Who was I? Where had I disappeared to inside myself? Was I cherished for who I was or was I merely along for the ride? Admittedly, the early years of my marriage were not the stellar honeymoon some might assume, but did I get lost along the way?

How was I seen? Was I a success? A means to an ends? Appreciated? Worthy? Was I who I wanted to be? Was I making enough money? Was I doing all that was expected of me? Was I being all that was expected of me? Was I letting people down? Was I as good as I thought I was? Was I as smart as I thought I was? Had I mislead myself? Had I mislead my husband? Did I watch to much TV? Did I not read enough? Did I not have a hobby? Was I too critical? Too loud? Too something?

So, here I am now. Pretty house. SUV. Dog. Rechargeable weed eater. Brick mailbox. Kids play soccer. Do Girl Scouts. Go to church. Play video games. I'm on PTA. Teach Sunday School. Cook dinner. Look forward to the Fall season premieres of my favorite shows. Read whatever is popular. Walk my dog with my neighbor. Write to bring in some cash each month.

But who am I ? Am I a good writer? Am I a good mom? Am I a good cook? Do I keep a clean house? Do I have the right food in the pantry for my family to enjoy? Is the bathtub clean? Does everyone have clean underwear every day? Did I make a few bucks writing today?

Or is the kitchen floor fuzzy with dog hair, again, and the beds still need to be made? Are we out of milk and cereal?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

How Do People Do It

I'm wondering today how people can physically handle the whole full-time working mom thing. I recently had a "Mommy-Day" take over my usual day. No worries. I'm flexible. My daughter had her 10-year check-up, an eye appointment and an ortho appointment all on the same day. How does that even work for working moms?

I think that might have been the same day when I was contemplating the fact that I cook the meals for three other people every day of my life. No one ever stands at a stove and thinks, hhhmm, I wonder what L. would like for dinner? But I often think, "Now what can I make with this that the kids will actually eat?" Sometimes they even eat the sides better than the main dish. Meanwhile I never serve tilapia, salmon, catfish or shrimp, no matter how much I love all four of those dishes. And I frequently serve stir-fry, a food I would never make if it weren't a favorite for the other three people who live here. So, part of who I am is cook, though for others 10 times more than for myself. Hhhm, motherhood is weird.

In other news... the dog needs a bordetella shot. I keep thinking... gee, I should get the dog right over to the vet for that. It hasn't happened yet. I've been tired this week and I have too many things that sound more fun than wrangling the dog in and out of the car. That really sounds like a Saturday morning job.