The A/C is out. I am exceptionally grateful that it is overcast and rainy today. The house, however, is covered on the inside with a thin film of moisture and even the floor when I walk across it feels sticky and damp. I don't mind the temperature, but I do not like the wet, tacky feeling.
The kids have not complained. In fact, my oldest only complained about being cold this morning when all the windows in the house were open. It was 76 degrees inside. She put on a fleece jacket. The neighbor loaned us a couple of tower fans, and the moist air is at least moving around inside the house. Other than the dampness, it is very comfortable. I am thinking about turning the a/c off more often and opening the windows. I am enjoying the company of robins and goldfinches during the day.
Home repairs, however, are one of those places where I am out of my league. I feel I have mastered a good deal of the single parent role over the past two and a half years. I have learned to do a lot of things I did not have to do before, and most of them have become routine. I don't think about them any more, I just get them done. Home repairs, however, still fill me with a level of anxiety that I find uncomfortable. I know I lack the knowledge necessary to ensure that a repair person will not take advantage of me. I am hesitant about hiring people, not at all confident in my ability to sort through Angie's List entries and shake out the gold nuggets from the sand. I am certain that my irritation and trepidation do not help my cause.
Unfortunately, home repairs will continue to be needed. Maybe in another two and a half years this, too, will have become one of those routine things that gets done without a thought. For now, I will have to push my anxious feelings aside and make some calls. It's only an a/c unit. We'll be okay.
This is what I have found - Community. People who are living their lives and putting all the drama right there on the page. Sharing it with the world so people like me, people who feel - have felt - so all alone, so incompetent, so crazy can stumble upon it and see that, wait, hang on, just a minute there, YOU are not alone. We’re out here too, living our crazy lives and laughing. And sometimes crying and screaming. And we’re holding on. And more than that, we’re holding out - holding out our hands to you. Come join us. We’ll laugh and cry together. We’ll shore each other up. We’ll make it, somehow. We’re glad you found us. We’re glad you’re here. Pull up a chair and tell us how it is for you. Together, we’re all alright. Together, we can make it.
I hope you will go here:http://www.supportforspecialneeds.com and Register. I hope you, too, will find Community here.
Something amazing happened today. I am PMS and I know it. In fact, I burst into tears on the phone with a friend earlier for pretty much no reason at all. So it didn't come as a huge surprise that I had a short fuse with the kids as we fixed tacos for dinner. They were especially wound up - squealing and giggling at ear-splitting top volume and being especially goofy. I snapped at them. I scolded. I got frustrated and tongue-tied. I lost my patience and yelled.
And through it all, we made tacos, ate tacos, and they continued to laugh. I claimed my frustration. We all watched my fuse burn, explode, burn. The girls stayed in balance.
I have been working very hard at staying in balance no matter what is going on around me. Being hormonally challenged makes that a hard to reach goal, but even then, I strive for it. I think I've been doing a descent job, too, staying unruffled the majority of the time. There has been smoother sailing around here of late, and that has been awesome.
It appears that I've gotten an added bonus - for those moments when I fall off balance, the girls continue to hold it. And this allows me to get back to it more quickly and easily.
Today, I learned how my legs worked. More specifically, I learned how the muscles that move my legs are connected to my pelvis and where the attachments are that, when combined all together, make my legs move. What I learned, with the gentle guidance of my Pilates instructor, is nothing like the mental map that I had previously held of my body. Now, when I walk, I feel myself moving in a different way. Eventually, I am confident that moving will feel more balanced, more connected. But for now, I am exploring this new body map with a sense of curiosity and wonder.
I wish that there was a coloring book for the anatomy of my daughter's inner world. I long to be able to pull out the volume, slide my finger down the index until I find just the right portion. Processing New Experiences...page 54, Managing Changes in Routine...page 75, Feelings Connected with Daddy's Death...page 3. Such a reference would go a long way to helping me navigate the raising of this child who appears to be wired, in many ways, just like I am and in oh so many other ways in an incomprehensible tangle of converting the commonplace to the extraordinary.
Just when I think I've got something of a handle on what makes her tick, I wake up to a mornling like today where, turning on a dime, she becomes a screaming, flailing entity that I cannot either corral or comfort. Is it something she ate yesterday co-mingling with the remnant of a dream? Or maybe it's the mix of the start of a New Girl Scout year and the start of a new, short-term after school program. Maybe it is the shirt I put on, or the one she chose. Maybe it is the early stage firings of hormones and is only a glimmer of what is yet to come.
I may never completely figure out her internal workings, but this morning I learned something new about my emotional put-togethers, my emotional body map, if you will. It is not that somehow I am faulty, that my least stray negative thought or feeling sends an arrow arching straight for her heart to set her off. Rather, when she does whatever it is she does, what I choose to do next - or choose not to do - is the vibrational barometer for how the interaction plays out. For me, this clears up a whole body's worth of guilt and brow beating. I don't have to be perfect in every moment. Instead, I have a choice. I can hold my head and vibration high and re-direct the barbs flung my way, or I can jump off my perch and get down in the muck with her. What I find, though, is that standing on the dock and reaching a hand out helps her to pull herself up out of the muck of her own making. That is what I hope is positive parenting.
Creeaaak. I peek behind me. My Spirit Guide, Grey Wolf, smiles and nods towards the door. "It's pretty dark in there," I whisper.
"Go on," he says, "I'm right behind you."
Behind him, I can hear the shuffling of feet and then Meg hands me a feather duster. "Use this to clear the cobwebs, keeps them out of your hair," she says and smiles. I swing the blue and green iridescent peacock feathers in a wide arch in front of me and push the door open a bit farther. A cold draft drifts past and I shiver. Wolf lays his hand on my shoulder and nudges me forward.
I feel a hand on my other shoulder and Trish hands me a heavy woolen sweater. "Bundle up, you can do this," she says. The weight feels like a hug as I shrug on the sweater and take a few tentative steps. The feather duster leads my way into the neglected space.
"Here's a broom," MJ says. "It won't take long to clear that floor." With the broom I am able to find the desk and lamp that have been left here. I flick the switch and dust off the table, then the chair. The light leaves the space looking less daunting, and I turn my attention to sweeping the floor, clearing away all the remnants of time that have settled here and there. As promised, Wolf walks behind me, matching my every step.
A sound at the doorway draws my attention. Rubye and Barbara are holding a beautiful gilt tray. "Inspiration tea," Rubye says. "And Chocolate Creation cookies," Barbara adds. "Just a little sustenance for the journey."
Now, the aroma of Inspiration fills the room. I dance the broom into the dim corners, finish off the eaves with the duster. I am warmed by the wool and feel as though a bit of sunlight has been stashed here just for me. The sturdy desk chair is ready and waiting and I sit. A bite of cookie, a sip of tea, and I am ready.
I am not yet sure where this journey will take me, but I am looking forward to the discovery. I hope you will join me.
I voted today. Early. It was an experience that I was not at all prepared for. I figure, go in, fill out the absentee ballot, head on home. Voting. No big deal.
What I found when I arrived at Vet's Memorial was a parking lot filled with cars, tv news cameras dotting the sidewalk, and people...people everywhere. The line wound down the stairs and then snaked back and forth before straightening out into the Bhrem room where in person absentee voting was taking place. In all, I stood on line for an hour and 45 minutes before I had my ballot in hand and headed to the privacy booths to make my choices the old fashioned way -- pen on paper.
As I waited, I struck up a conversation with the woman standing behind me. She was friendly and excited. And the excitement built as we made our way through the maze of people, following the ones before us. She kept track of our time and provided little updates every half hour or so. We talked about the election and the significance. We were grateful that we could feel safe to gather in this public way to cast our votes and not fear for our lives.
I would be hard pressed to estimate the number of people there. The crowd was huge. The lobby area was warm and got warmer as we waited. Watching the people, I was filled with a sense of something bigger than myself, something akin to community happening right before my eyes. Throughout the line, people chatted in groups of two or three. Some people had come together and others were strangers. There were tall people, short people, fat people skinny people, men in suits, women in jean jackets, mothers with tiny babies or two or three toddlers. The news media was there and they periodically stopped with cameras and microphones to speak with someone in the line. Even as we waited and the temperature in the room rose, the line remained orderly. No one complained when the man behind me stepped out of line to use the restroom and then returned. There was no whining or moaning. In fact, nearly everyone there was smiling.
I have voted in numerous elections and probably the past six presidential elections but it has never felt this way before. It was as though the air was charged with anticipation of change, positive change. As Carol and I chatted, we noted how different things had been when her 91 year old grandmother was a young woman. I commented on just how different things would be when the little baby beside us, who looked to be no more than a month or two old, had grown to reach our ages. It felt as though all those who had fought for voting rights, fairness in voting, and fairness in general were gathered there with us in that lobby and that they were cheering us on. It felt like we were making history.