Mommy Tightrope

October 15, 2008

I laugh at Daughter sometimes.  One of her favorite words or concepts to pitch a fit at is Choices…. “Ughhh there’s that word again…why does it have to come down to me?”, she’ll say when hubby and I discuss life stuff with her and brother.  Son, oddly enough, is cool with the word….doesn’t seem to bring him much grief at all.  Hmm, I wonder if we’re getting through…and his reaction is a simple, “Ok”…and that’s just him.  Surely he gets the gist….understands how important his choices are, even at 10.

I’ve gotta word that is ever-present with me (sometimes too present?)…Balance.  While it doesn’t make me cringe…now…I do recognize it as an interesting theme in many facets of my life.  Lately, I’ve been one tightrope-walking Mom, with a balancing pole the length and weight of a McDonald’s straw.  Man, what a suspense-filled show parents put on, as their heart’s center of gravity oscillates between children who are very similar, yet very different.

Right now, the department of concern is Education.  Report card season always makes me nervous.  It has since I was an overachieving kid, always shooting for an A (who in their right mind just wants to be ‘good’? lol) .  I guess I feel that their grades are not only their’s, but ours.  Our grades on how well we worked with them on homework, how well we kept a pulse on their class, tests, teachers….how well we assessed their needs, and provided tools necessary for success.  So, when I got the heads up from Son’s teacher about the sixth letter of the alphabet, of course my mommyness suffered a deep body blow.  It was already a tad fragile.

I seemed to have spit Daughter out academically.  With very little effort, she can pull a B in most classes.  Break somewhat of a sweat, and she’ll get an A every time.  It comes so easy for her.  Son, however, has to fight for excellence.  And it’s this fight that his 10 year old mind doesn’t seem to grasp right now.  Yeah, girls mature faster than boys.  But…

It’s been a 5th grade 1st quarter of teacher conferences, phone calls, talks, encouragement, butt whoopings (yeah, we’re old school), chats at Starbucks, walks in the park….we’ve pulled out a variety of stops.  The problem with his grades?  Teachers say, “When {Son} wants to come to class and work, he succeeds.  When he doesn’t, he doesn’t.  His behavior is starting to reflect in his grades.”

Mama was trying to give me advice about Son one day.  But by the time I finished explaining Son’s current extremes… “Ma, you don’t understand…He doesn’t get B’s or C’s….he either brings home high A’s or low F’s.”…she was cooked lol.  What do you say to something like that?  It’s not capacity…could it be…err, Choice?

I look at things in another light, too…walking my mommy tightrope.  It’s gotta be pretty darn hard for Son sometimes to have such an overachieving, everything-turns-to-gold Sister.  Sister got an A in this, Sister was in a movie, Sister’s in this or that show (though, Son has HIS first show coming up).  Does he rebel at times to get attention?  Is he just finding his way?

Don’t get me wrong…sister’s achievements have nothing to do with Son taking his hips to class, shutting his mouth, and getting his lesson.  And maybe there’s zero correlation between his grades and sister’s life.  Maybe it’s just me, trying to find balance….and/or trying to make sure we make the best Choices that satisfy them both.

That being said, should Daughter have to receive alot of her praise in private, for the sake of Son?  Hubby and I toned it down in recent years in front of Son…to safeguard his confidence…and the “why does SHE get all the _____.”   Whatever that blank holds.  Was that fair to Daughter?  I’ve even felt the gravity from others, when I tell them about something Daughter did.  They celebrate her, then end with “now don’t forget about {Son}.”  Huh?  Come again?

In our latest efforts, we now let Daughter tutor Son in Math.  He soaks up the attention from his sister, shows her how smart and attentive he is (“oh yeah, I get it now”), and she thinks it’s a big time job where she can save the day (“I can do this, Ma”).  We give Teacher and Student both $$$.

Funny.  I hang on to this hope from times past.  If Daughter could get expelled from private school in pre-K (ooooh, she used to cut up so bad…kept me prayin’ lol) to be who she is today, Son is going to be just fine.  It’s just taking a little longer.  And though it’s extremely late in the evening for him, he’ll find his way…on his path.  I believe in him.  But I’ve gotta admit…Mama can’t wait till it clicks.  Ashe.Selah

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…to face your fears.  You have to do scary things, so you won’t be afraid anymore.

~Daughter, 12

She asked me to blog these words.  Me, Son, and Daughter were walking from the food court back to our car.  I dunno.  I guess it just hit her, and I get this wide-eyed “ooh, Ma, I got a good one for you!” LOL.  You know the drill.  I can’t even remember what we were talking about.  All I know is…when little teacher asks if I completed my assignment (posting this blog), I want to get a big, red happy face on my paper (nose and teeth included lol)  :-).

Hmm….scary things.  I reeeally could go down the street with this one.  But I’ll just cover her words, and let them simmer after a high boil.  Marinating my fears in this Truth will do me some good….how ’bout you?  Got some scary things you need to do (or keep on doing)….to grow, get over it, succeed, BE?

I jotted down a few of my scary things….things I do, or want to do more often.  Looks like they ‘boil down’ to “just being Me” regardless.  Love, accept, approve…ME!

–  Letting go of the familiar/safe, to make room for the new/unknown
–  Doing things that show my weakness/vulnerability
–  Speak my Truth, no matter how others take it
–  Blogging about my fears *wink*

Your turn…if it’s not too scary :).

Make the Bailout Work Out

September 30, 2008

Well, I’ve been m.i.a. for a quick min.  From here and most things Internet after the day ends..which has been way later than usual.  Let’s see….it was a grueling week of nightly Civil War research with Son…dragging every sentence outta him for his 5th grade paper, like for real…2.5 typed double-spaced pages worth :).  He did an excellent job, though both of us were so relieved when we were done.  No grade yet, but I know he got an A.  Concurrent with the paper? Daughter had nightly rehearsals and a show.  It was probably all this ripping and running busy-ness that made me an easy target for an achy cold.  Tired, but getting better.  Hubby was the last mohican in the house to catch it.  We’ve all been lapping hot tea with cough drops, and consuming tissues. But hubby?  Let’s just say, he’s not having a great weekend (inside joke lol…”Hey there Bob!  Are you having a great weekend?!”  “You betcha Tom, I’m having a grrrreat weekend!”……ya gotta be there…anywho LOL!!!).

Last week on Ashe.Selah [in my soap opera announcer voice], I shared my quest to regain financial balance and integrity, and explained how some things are/have come back with a vengeance.  All the while, I’m watching CNN thinking, yeah, I’ve got some big debts to repay myself, but I don’t know how or where to start…feel ya on that, Wall Street.

While I’d hoped for more leniency during our conversations, my negotiations were short, sweet bitter, and to the point.  My sick, raspy voice couldn’t even help me lol.  Pay in full TODAY, or we yank 800 bucks from you every month till paid in full.  That bites!  I’d been praying all weekend,  racking my brain for a workout they’d consider.  But, I’d run out of time for negotiations.  Ever pray (and expect) for God to show up a certain way, and He doesn’t?  Yeah, that’s another post altogether, I know….

So, I’m sitting at my desk, calculator smokin’ lol…trying to figure out either how to get out of the mess, or how to handle the monthly blow.  Phone rings.  It’s Mom.  “So, how’s all that going?”  “I was just sitting here working the numbers…right now, I’m outta options and time.”  “They won’t work with you at all?”  “Yeah, they’ll work with me…with a paid in full cashier’s check.”  “Can you be here by noon?”

I didn’t see the bailout coming, but when it arrived, I felt both sick and overjoyed.  (Huh? I did)   All my speeches about this is my responsibility, I’m not taking money from you, I can’t, I’ve got it…blah blah were to no avail.  Before 3pm, the debt was wiped out….and now, not only does charity begin at home, financial integrity does too, as I pay Moms back…under wayyy more favorable terms.

Two days after that, got a call from an old friend/client I haven’t worked with since ’04,,,needing some tech work.  By week’s end, a regular client ran out of items, and placed a re-order.  Can you hear the ka-ching coming to a pocketbook near me…to help me on my financial mission?

This was all a miracle, people.  Even if I thought Mom had it, I wouldn’t ask..what in the world?  Daddy used to always tell me, “You don’t tell your business.”  (See, part of my old pride was the lying aire that I’ve got everything together, and I don’t need anybody else, bail me out?….hmph, I’ve got ME!… i.e., the sick feeling).  Then he’d say, “Tell ya business!!  Sometimes, the very people we hide from are the ones who can help us the most!”   Now, let that one simmer a second……whew :)!

I am sooo grateful and thankful to God and Moms for my personal bailout.  I was looking high and low due West, but God sent my answer from the East lol…shocked me…overtook me.  Now, I’m up to the task of making my bailout work out.

I have more giants to face down the road, but it feels good to know and experience blind Faith fighting hard from the shadows…How’d I put it?…If God was able to bring me back, He’s able to care and provide for me where I am. Ashe.Selah

I See Old People

September 16, 2008

I couldn’t for the life of me understand how my brother could do it.  Sure, I was just a pesky little sister, ten years his junior, and lacking some understanding about the world, family, and interactions.  They never seemed to bother him. Their limited, and oftentimes awkward motions.  The heavy breathing.  The scent of memories wrapped in mothballs.  As a child, old people made me nervous.  They just did.  So, limited contact was just what the doctor in my little mind ordered.

We watched Mama take care of Grandma at the house for years. Though, Grandma would correct me to say she was an independent dweller *smile*.  She was…had her own room, bathroom, shelves in the fridge.  She eventually moved into a senior highrise by the time I entered 5th grade.  I didn’t get it.  How did brother do all those sleepovers at Grandma’s crib, just him and her.  I often wondered what they talked about.  How in the world could a one-on-one with Grandma be fun, exciting?

It wasn’t until I got older that I realized allll the golden nuggets Grandma had in her possession, just waiting to pass them on.  Worth a million times more than the peppermints she kept in her glass dish by the door.  I made Grandma a special character in the book.  A flash role with a subtle impact you won’t see unless you’re open to it…I can see it and feel it so deeply…

Fast-forward to last year, and the front lines of caregiving for a dying parent.  I saw some of the most ugly facets of growing old, sickness.  Seems like when Daddy progressed to infancy…having to be fed, bathed, diaper changes, administer meds….when it was all over, I regressed back to seasons of childhood.  And right now, I’m having some difficulties being around the elderly.

Case in point.  Attended a volunteer planning meeting for one of Daughter’s clubs at school (I promised myself I was gonna be more active & visible this year…it’s going).  When we got to the fundraisers planned for the year…. “and so, we’ll visit the seniors in the nursing home…maybe adopt a grandparent…and in December take them gifts…”  Jotting notes during the meeting, I could not set my pen to paper on this one.  I just kept nodding my head, but my insides were twisted like “I’m not going in there”.

Last weekend, me and Mama set a date to go to the movies.  I initiated the outing, wanting to show her effort and desire to re-build our bond.  The morning of our movie trip, I call, and she tells me one of her friends wants to go with us.  Now, don’t ask me why, but movies with Mama feels like movies with Mama.  Movies with Mama and her friend initially felt like hanging out with two old ladies.  I tried to wiggle out of it, “If you guys wanna go, we can do a raincheck.”  “Noooo, I want to hangout with you….you can still be your crazy self, she’s good people.”  Guess what, I had a good time with those two ladies….

This week….hubby keeps mentioning me and the kids meeting his client, Mr. Levine.  Strong and coherent for 101, he IS 101!  Mr. Levine hasn’t been feeling too well lately.  Hubby loves what he does, but it can be emotionally draining at times.  Bottomline, the thought of meeting Mr. Levine makes my chest hurt, and the tears flow.  It reminds me, man….it just reminds me.  I don’t want to say hello to anyone I’ll have to say good-bye to in a heartbeat.

I’ve said all this to say…I’m in this approach-avoidance conflict with seniors right now.  I don’t like it, it’s all assumptions and in my head, but it’s real.  It’s what I’m feeling, and I keep trying to protect myself, distance myself from the threat of pain.  Saying good-bye to Daddy ripped something outta me…maybe it’ll grow back, maybe it’ll just re-appear, or maybe I’ll never see it again.  Maybe I don’t even need it anymore.  I don’t even know how to define this ‘it’.  I just know it’s gone bye-bye.  And the place where ‘it’ resided…yeah, it’s still there, just void now.  Funny how I can still tell where void lives….when it’s…void.

I didn’t expect this side..this angle of grief.  Boy do I miss my Dad.  Maybe this is all just prep…so one day, if I’m blessed to become a senior, I’ll be able to comfort some young thirty-something woman, and let her know it’s ok to feel what she’s feeling….{rearranging my dentures} “Chile, when I was yo age, I felt the same way ’bout old people some days….”  (-: Ashe.Selah

Companionchips

September 11, 2008

I do it almost unconsciously, so I think lol.  {Crunch}  And it’s not like I haven’t seen the scale count by fives one good time.  {Crunch}  Having lost 30 lbs. and kept it off for a good year plus…yeah, 5 does matter.  Don’t laugh.  I say I don’t want to go back, but at the rate I’m lovin on chips, stick pretzels, and other snacks late at night….I have GOT to get a grip on it!

See, this week marks the first week with hubby working the 12-hour night shift in private care.  Night shift.  As in all night till morn.  It’s kinda shook up our schedules, to say the least, and given the house a different feel.  Sure, it’s quiet, perfect for writing, but I find myself checking and double-checking locks more, hearing sounds I would otherwise ignore, and let’s just say the trees around my house create some interesting shadows when the light hits them just right.

Scared?  Nah.  It’s just different.  I miss the companionship.  Knowing he’s here, somewhere in the house.  I’m not used to sleeping alone…which is probably why it’s been hard to fall asleep.  Where’s that warmth I’m used to?  The pillows just aren’t the same.  Neither was that bag of chips I brought to bed with me while I watched some TV. I know good and well I now have to get the kids up, keep them on task, and take them to school…used to be hubby’s lane, and I slept in.  Now, when we’re leaving, he’s coming home.  Oh well, you adjust :\.

I’m grateful to God to even be in this place right now.  Of missing him.  Wanting him.  This year has almost been the death of us….wiped us off the map.  So much has happened.  It’s weird.  As someone who’s milked the heck outta being an anon blogger, been butt-naked in here more times than not…I couldn’t even blog about it.  Too angry…to hurt…too much going on, on both sides.  A lot of forgiveness to spread around.  But we’re still here.  And I believe this nighttime reprieve is probably just what we need…keeps the heart moving and growing towards fondness. Absence has a way of doing that, you know.

Still, this work outside the home stuff is monumental for hubby, who ran a home-business, and was primarily Mr. Mom since the infamous year of ’06.  For the past two years, he’s worked with the kids, cleaned, grocery shopped, cooked, did laundry, chauffeured…he pretty much did all the things a wife, in the midst of a breakdown & therapy, didn’t have the capacity to do.  With ’08 being my year to really start my life again, graduating from crawling to walking (you have no idea how major it is to stand on your own feet again…maybe you do), I’m glad he’s able to resume his life too.

Somedays, I really regret the hardship and pressure my lifejunk placed on hubby and the kids those years.  It was what it was, something we had to go through, I guess I just wish alot of things wouldn’t have happened.  I still wonder (just sometimes…I’m mending) why I had to experience what I did.  And Lord knows, I hated to ask hubby to come off his 9 to 5 that year, and work from home with me.  Actually, not with me, for me.  You see, my life at that time depended on me filling the at-home suicide watch position.  I couldn’t trust me.  Hubby didn’t learn of his hidden role or my plans till a year later, as I got better and came clean.  {Sigh}  So much has happened….that’s one reason why I write…to make sense of chaos.

Ok…enough of that for now.  I sprung a leak just remembering…throat and chest tight.  Breathe, girl.  Man, writing those tough chapters are gonna be just that, tough…to think through and express the emotions and feelings through my characters.  But for now, I get to do so under the tranquility of nightfall, and get as ugly as it takes to write about my demons and deliverance…in between text games with hubby :).

There’s a party going on. The doors are open 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. No age limit. No cover charge. No dress code.

All it takes to get in the door? Choice and action!

A party of One. A celebration of You, and all that makes you You. And the cool thing about celebrating at this party is…even if you don’t feel like celebrating…just start singing your praises, whether you’re feelin’ it or not. Fake it till you make it. You’ll be surprised how the magic in the music will get to you :-).

This is what I try to teach my kids. Love and honor yourself. Be OK with who God made you, keeping in mind you’re still learning and growing (I’m in school with my kids, you?).

The other night I was cleaning off the kitchen table where the kids do their homework. I’m telling you…I had to stop and chuckle to myself. Sometimes, it’s funny…always rewarding to see when your kids actually listen and follow some of your advice. Put your words into action…

Above is a pic of Daughter’s school binder, the main notebook for all of her subjects. Of course, being artsy-fartsy, she decorated it with markers, colored pencils, swirly strokes. But what got me was the WORDS she wrote…

See, Daughter hasn’t always been cool with her height. She is consistently the shortest student, not in her class, but the entire GRADE. Mistaken for 8 or 9…she’s actually 12. And sometimes, all my talk about she’s wonderfully made….God making her exactly the way she needs to be for who she is….a light and flexible dancer, the crown on any cheerleader pyramid, yada yada….sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t lol.

But just look at the celebration goin’ on on her binder *smile*:
“Go Short People!”
“Short People Rule the World!”
“Itti-Bitti Committee!”
“Being Myself!”

Ahhh! Is this the best or what! That’s right, you go baby girl! Looks like she’s doing just fine getting over rude comments by other kids, and strange, doubtful looks from insensitive grown-ups.

Her celebrations…her affirmations of who she is travels with her all day to every class. She told me other students often ask her, “why you always talking about being yourself?” What an awesome opportunity to invite other kids to join the fun!

Got me thinkin…where can I post my wonderfulness…mirror, monitor?…Where could you write a few cheers that celebrate who You are, all that You are? This is the REAL party that just won’t stop, unless we do. Ashe.Selah

Cyclops or Four-Eyes

August 9, 2008

OK..so this post is all chopped up, as I’ve been stabbing it, hit or miss, for the past three days..content aging…thoughts changing. Try to work with the randomness…….

The verdict is in…doc says I have a small tear on the cornea. So I’m home for about 4 days workin’ the bacterial drops and sportin’ the coke bottles that I love to hate. If I wanna venture outdoors (which I can do, now that I can handle sunlight)….it’s really a choice of the lesser of two evils…kick it as a cyclops in one contact lens, or sport the specs. Let’s just say, if I squint the healing eye, cyclops really isn’t that bad :).

Since I’ve been on the bum…a hard chill mode for the past couple of days, I think I’ll ramble a bit without agenda…

Hmm….hubby is feeling better after experiencing the dark side of the sun last weekend. Cutting the yard when the sun is at its peak will introduce you to dehydration, a nice ambulance ride, and an IV prick that’ll sting for days. He bounced back by the evening, thank goodness. Yeah, it’s been a trip week at our house.

The next morning after the hospital drama, I got up and made everyone strawberry pancakes. Now, I’ll admit, hubby is the ultimate cook in the house. But Mama picked up the slack while he was on his back. While me and daughter prepared the batter, we found the loveliest strawberry in the wwworld in the batch…almost a shame to eat it (but we did). Daughter knows me, and before I could make a move, she says, “ooh, get the camera” lol. Isn’t it lovely *smile*?

The ‘A’ has been having some pretty treacherous storms lately. We found this blocking half of the driveway when we got home from the hospital. Last week, the kiddos and I got a work out in the yard…breaking and bagging limbs, etc. I can see and feel why they call yard work — exercise.

Has anybody seen the summer? Last I heard it was thumbing a ride 75-S to FLA. Man, if I were a kid, I’d be hot as McDonald’s grease right about now…and not just because of the hot weather. I literally blinked and summer was gone. We were the worst-but-doing-our-best parents this year….yeah last minute school shopping was the name of the game. But it was fun watching the kids assemble all of their supplies for their bookbags. Anything “new” and “mine” excites them. I’m pleased with the teachers we met at open house…Son has his 1st male teacher for 5th grade….something we think he’s needed since 1st grade lol…he’s excited and so are we.  When I met Daughter’s teachers, the 7th grade head said, “So you’re Daughter’s mom?!”  (Remember, I was, for the most part, m.i.a. last year working and caring for Dad)  “Oh, I just want to tell you, Mom, you’re doing such a great job with Daughter…very well-mannered…she’s making you proud.”  Well, how ’bout them apples lol…Woo hoo!  That’s the best compliment any Mama can get…when teacher wants to meet or know “who is Her/His Mama?”

Ok..all for now.  Let me try to get my thoughts back on track…there’s so much more going on…inside & out….:)