Wednesday, March 30, 2011

In Which I Ramble. A Lot.

Somedays, today included, I look in my emotional mirror and don't recognize myself. And that's a good thing.

I'm not sure where it has come from, but I'm beginning to feel balance and control in my life. Is this how the rest of you usually feel? Where once things would have spun me completely out of control, I take one look, assess what I can do, do it, and then go "Meh." It's awesome.

I think that it has a lot to do with being put through some situations that I'd rather not deal with. I may have said this a couple of posts ago, but it bears repeating as I feel that it is the theme for the first three months of this year: It is absolutely amazing what you can cope with when you have no other choice.

Do you ever look at someone else's life and think that there is no way that you could deal with (X)? Guess what? That person probably would have felt the same way before they had to deal with it.

This year so far has been chock-full of "aha" moments for me, most of them being things that most people already know but they're new to me.

Several months ago someone told me that people can't do this or that around me because I don't handle it. Something like that. That statement sent my brain spinning. I wondered what exactly does "handling it" mean? How on earth is anyone qualified to judge whether or not another person is handling something? Maybe I don't handle things the same way you do. Does that make me wrong? Not necessarily. Think of one of your worst days ever. Lost job, lost money, fight with a loved one, a horrible combination of several of these things...then throw one more awful thing on top of it. If an outside observer only witnesses the last straw and the subsequent reaction, I don't think that makes them qualified to assess the degree of handling that is done.

I think you either handle it or you don't, and the "don't" mostly equals you die, because any way you look at it, as long as you're alive, you will experience it, whatever "it" may be. Denial will only get you so far. anyway...

Today I was told that my baby, Jack, most likely has Asperger's. He may not have it and if he does, he is a very high functioning Aspie. It's still not the greatest news to find out that things that come naturally to other people are going to be extra hard for Jack. It still makes my heart break when I think of the extra obstacles that he will have to overcome. But the news didn't send me reeling. I didn't even think of how it was affecting me until someone asked me about an hour ago how I was handling it. I had to stop and think. How am I handling it? ...umm, okay, I guess. It's just news. There are therapies available and so much out there to help Jack. Am I sad that my baby will have to deal with this? Yep. Am I going to dissolve into a puddle of helpless, hopeless tears? Nope.

I don't know where this inner strength has come from. I don't really care. I do know that I am vastly different than I was six months ago, and I'm loving it. I feel like I finally know what it feels to be normal. I feel almost invincible. (but let's not test that, God, okay?) It feels so good to not feel as if everything around me is out of my control. I don't remember the last time that I felt like I was in control of my life. I know that I'm actually not in control, but I'm okay with that. What I am in control of now is how I deal with what life throws at me. I still have bad days. I still miss my husband and wonder if his being away is going to be the undoing of my family and marriage. So far things are okay, but God didn't give us the institution of marriage so that we could spend 80% of our days apart. I still worry about my children, the economy, the price of gas, but those worries don't consume me. I can take them out of their little box, examine them, decide what, if any, action I can take, and then, this is the best part, I put those worries back in their box, dust off my hands and get back to living.

This whole regulated emotions thing is pretty cool, really. I sorta feel like you all have been holding out on me.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Out of the Mouths of Babes, Toddlers and Tweens

My kids have been on a collective roll. It seems that every time I turn around, one of them is spouting off with a gem that I want to share. The following are just a handful of the things they have said lately, which mostly means that these are the ones I can remember.

In January, Adam graduated from the Nursery in our church to the big kids' class, or Primary. Alas, there are no toys in Primary, so every week that we go I hear the lament, "I don't want to go to Crymary! I want to go to the toy class!"

Additionally, we are not the most regular church attendees. I really do want to go, but so many Sunday mornings I wake up, take a look at my four pajama-clad children and think that it's not worth the effort. As a result, we usually only attend one or two Sundays per month. In Nursery, the kids take turns bringing snacks to share. I noticed that it seemed like we were being asked every other Sunday to supply the treats and I was wondering why I was being asked so frequently. Then I had the realization that I was most likely not being asked any more frequently than the other parents, it's just that when you only attend 25% of the time, it's going to feel like you get asked all of the time. Duh, self.


Michael is growing more mature every day, and as a result is getting to be so much more like a peer to talk to. One day we were having a conversation about cloning and what we would do if we could clone ourselves. Mike said, "If you had a clone, you guys would probably talk about boring stuff, like naps and crazy pills." Boring is definitely a matter of perspective.

Another time I asked the kids to go downstairs with me and help me clean the living room. Noel and I headed down immediately but Mike took a few minutes to get there. By the time he showed up, we were mostly done. I wasn't upset because I knew that he had been taking care of some things upstairs so I jokingly said, "Hey, thanks for your help cleaning." He retorted, "Hey, thanks for the sarcasm." Touche, son. Also, you are awesome.


Noel is still Noel, which means she pops off with some of the most random stuff ever. You honestly never know what is going to come out of her mouth. She's at that dangerous age where she understands enough and appears to outsiders to be mature enough to be trusted with normal conversation. The thing with Noel is that somewhere between her ears and her information processors there is a short. The following conversation is a good illustrator of that.

Cousin: I have heartburn.
Noel: Me too.
Grandma: You don't have heartburn, Noel.
Noel: Well, I've already had puberty, so what's next?


The next one is from Adam, and it is highly inappropriate. Let me preface this by saying that I don't swear excessively in front of my children. The occasional "H" and "D" words slip out, but that is as crude as it gets. The "F" word is not something that is ever used in our house, which is why the following caught me so completely by surprise.

Adam requested his pillow pet, which looks like some sort of primate. As I was reaching for it, I said, "You want your monkey?" He replied by screaming, "That's not a monkey, it's a gorilla, you f***!"

I also feel it necessary to point out that he had just been marching in a circle chanting gibberish words, some I'm sure that it was an unfortunate mash-up of consonants and vowels on his part. I explained that it was not a nice word and left it at that. I once read that tragedy + timing = comedy, so I got a good laugh out of that, as soon as I left the room.


My kids routinely make me laugh every day and remind me of one of life's most important lessons: don't take things too seriously!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Party Barge

My son Mike is totally awesome. He is nearly eleven and gets more mature and more fun to talk to every day. He is very intelligent and creative, and I used to think that he had just the right touch of feminism. I was wrong.

This afternoon he was showing me the party barge that he made with his Legos.

There is so much detail here; every single piece has a purpose. He was explaining each of the components of the barge but when we got to the barge kitchen my mind came to a screeching halt.

When he originally showed me the barge, there were a total of 16 minifigures (for those of you not initiated in Lego-ese that would be Lego people). Out of those 16 figures there were two females. Where did my sweet son see fit to put them? Oh yes. The kitchen. He assures me that they volunteered. I assured him that he would volunteer to cook dinner tonight.

Barring the blatant sexism shown here, the barge is still a delightful peek into the workings of my son's mind. He isn't here right now to explain everything, but I took some close-ups of my favorite parts.

I think that the frosted windows may be a bit of a liability for the pilot and co-pilot.

This is the captain. Eerily, he resembles Mike. When I asked why there were decapitated bodies near the captain, I was informed that they were his uniforms. Duh, Mom. I didn't question the skateboard. Who knows when the captain may come upon some sweet half-pipes? Ditto with the gun and hand cuffs.

When I was taking pictures, I thought that this guy had fallen down and was going to stand him back up. Then I noticed the boom box. Oh yeah. This guy is break dancing.

Also, did you notice the variety of people who are partying together? Besides the captain, the break dancer and the indentured servants women, there is an under-sea dude from Atlantis, a business man (complete with briefcase), a man in a pith helmet whom I believe to be Dr. Jones, Sr. (if you didn't get the Indiana Jones reference you probably shouldn't be here), a fire fighter and a police officer. Sounds like a party!