Damn, Damn, Damn

Lori, a blogger I have followed since shortly after my Mom died, was incredible.  I am just so sad.

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For Melody

I know I’m late over here on the West Coast, but I wanted to send some flowers to Melody too.  I’ve only been reading her blogs for a short time  but I am impressed with her willingness to be real and her tenacious hold on hope and the good–even in the midst of very real struggles for her and her family.  Both of her blogs inspire and encourage me. 

So for Melody, a bit of lavender.  I love lavender because it helps me relax and feel a little bit of peace.  I wish her lasting peace–even in the midst of the muckier parts of life.

 And thanks Jenny for collecting our virtual bouquet.

So Thankful

I have been filled with absolute dread–with a rock of dismay in my stomach.  I’ve been trying not to think about it, but finding it constantly in the background of all of my thoughts.

Husband has a detachment scheduled this week.  I’m not ready even for two weeks of doing this again.  The girls aren’t ready.  I’m overwhelmed and feel entirely unprepared to go this all alone again.  Only two weeks.  I can do two weeks, but still.

Husband has been on leave this week, and we were on vacation.  We were away from the world in a little Inn with no phones in the room and no cell phone service.  He called this evening to touch base and find out when he and the rest of the squadron would be leaving.

I heard him say, “You’re kidding me,” and at first I was scared they’d left and no one had called or left a message and he was going to be in for a world of trouble.  Then I was afraid something else had gone wrong.  But I listened to the timber of his voice, and I heard him promise the guy he was talking to that I’d be so happy that he’d delivered such news that I’d bake him a couple dozen cookies.

They’re not going.

This time around we’re lucky. 

And we get to do our family things for Halloween.  We’ll get to entertain our company next weekend together.  He’ll be laying beside me for these next two weeks.  I’ll have him here to lean on for these days when I think I’m going to come unravelled.

And I am so thankful.

I know it’s unusual.  I know it’s a blessing.  I know I can’t take this for granted. 

I needed this….

I’m going to go sink down beside the man that I love now, look at him with all the love in my heart and thank God for this extra little blessing that I so very much needed…  Two weeks that we didn’t think we’d have together.  Together.

Word Mosaic–Reconstructing Messages

About a week ago, I was thinking about this place that I seem to find myself in at the moment.  Life is calmer than it has been since before I got married, but emotionally, I’m a mess.  My mantra for the last six months or so has been, “Why can’t I get it together? ” 

I was praying about this last week and it hit me smack between the eyes–I’m broken.  The last few years…  The constant changes….  The constant adjustments…  The loss…  The difficulty….  They broke me.  Being a Mom and the terrifying gravity of it all superimposed on the exquisite beauty  has broken me.  My children…  My terrifically amazing but sometimes terrifically frustrating children…  They are part of both my brokenness and my remaking.  My perception of myself in my various roles—mother, ‘housekeeper,’ wife, Navy spouse, and so on—broken, broken, broken.  And so it hit me, at this point, *I* truly can’t ‘get it together.’  I can’t put *ME* together again.  And so my job right now is to be broken and to let He who can mend me, do whatever mending He might….  And any brokenness that he chooses for me to retain, I trust, He will use.

When the prompt this week for Wrapped Emotions ended up being all about brokenness…..  and the light-shining-through-the-cracks beauty of it all, I knew I wanted to take part.

I deliberated all week about what to do.  I felt like smashing something, but I couldn’t decide what I had that could be as powerful a symbol as I wanted that I also was willing to break into tiny pieces.  I thought about tearing apart a photo….  But that didn’t seem right either.  And then I thought about words.

I thought about how words can be broken apart and then put together in an entirely different way.  I thought about the messages I’ve been hearing between my ears lately and how they flesh out a lot of my brokenness.  So I wrote down some of the messages…  “Broke” the words apart, and reconstructed a message that started thumping through me when the idea began to dawn.

So this is my “mosaic” this week, and my very first Wrapped Emotions post. 

Deceptively Peaceful

At 8:30 last night, after a long, frustrating day with the girls, I breathed a sigh of relief that Little Miss was asleep.  She’d gone to sleep sweetly, after asking for one last kiss and snuggle from Daddy.

Then I worked on the task of getting Baboo to sleep.  We  nursed, we rocked, we patted.  Nursed, patted.  Finally she nursed to sleep.  I tried to lay her in her crib.  No go.  Nursed, patted.  Tried to lay her in her crib.  No go. 

Finally about 10:30, it worked.  I lay down next to husband and said, “I just want to not be ‘Mom’ for a few minutes…  It’s been a long day.”

No sooner were the words spoken than Baboo woke up.  I nursed her.  She fell asleep beside me.  I left her there.  A girl’s gotta get some sleep.

3:30 a.m. rolls around and I hear the pitter patter of little feet.  Our bedroom door opens and Little Miss crawls into our  bed.  She settles in between us.  And…  She plays with my hair, she kicks my back, she tries to strangle me in her toddler choke hold.  Baboo wakes up to nurse.  I  nurse her to sleep.  Little Miss continues the kicking and choking.

I. am. done.

I retreated to the futon in Baboo’s room…  Hoping no one would notice and everyone would get a little sleep then.

No. Such. Luck.

20 minutes later Baboo is crying again, having been awakened by the kicking choking Little Miss.  Should have seen that one coming.

I nurse Baboo.  Daddy tries to get Little Miss settled back in HER bed again.

She. Doesn’t. Think. So.

I finish nursing Baboo and take over on Operation Make Toddler Sleep.

I get her settled.  But she is unhappy with the door being open.  She closes it.  Then she cries that it’s closed.

Door issue is settled.  Then Chester sneaks in.  She freaks out about Chester.  I lock Chester in the garage.

She settles again.  I go back to bed.  I gently lift Baboo out of bed, and take her back to her crib.  I look at Husband and say, “Spoon Me!  I WILL have an hour of non-Mom time!”

Famous. Last. Words.

At this point it is 5:15 a.m.  Little Miss has been in her room about 20 minutes.  The door opens.  I hear the pitter patter of little feet.  I tell her to go back to bed. 

5:30 a.m.  I am drifting in almost asleep land.  Door opens.  Pitter Patter of Little Feet.  This barely registers.  10 minutes later when I hear banging in the living room, I get up to investigate.  All the lights in the house are on and Little Miss is happily coloring at the dining room table with Big Baby at her side.

Go. Back. To. BED!!!!!!

She goes.  I stay up.  Predictably, Baboo fusses a few minutes later.  I look at random blogs while nursing her.  She’s smiling the toothless grin.  She’s awake and ready for the day.

And of course…..  The door opens.  I hear the pitter patter of little feet.  I try unsuccessfully to not  bear a grudge.  To be the cheerful Mommy who lets it roll off her back.  It doesn’t work.  I glare. 

I sit in the corner of the couch.  I let my voice gentle, but I don’t initiate much conversation with Little Miss.  She gets thoughtful.  She gets quiet…..

 She begins to snore…..

Deceptively Peaceful, isn’t she? 

My Mother. My Daughters. Making Me.

This is more writing about Mom.  I write it because it’s still in me to write.  It is part of my day to day, but it is not all of my day to day.  I can’t ignore it as part of my story.  And…  I still have more to say.  I’m not writing it to say, “Feel sorry for me, it still hurts.”  I’m not writing it for pity or support.  I’m writing it because it is my story.  And I believe in the power of telling our stories.

 Little Miss is two and a half years old.  She turned two and a half on Mom’s birthday.  She’s named after her, and has all of her grit and fire.  She is tenacious, high-spirited, and has a wonderful sense of humor.  She makes me climb the walls one minute and melt into a puddle of Mommy goo and love the next.

Baboo is Five months old as of three days ago.  Her smile melts my heart.  Her “Zen” nature has earned her the nickname, “Buddha Baby” (thanks to Auntie K).  She makes Mom’s faces.  She smirks like her.  She smiles like her.  She watches so often, but makes her own demands in her own ways. 

And my Mom isn’t here.  Sometimes I still can’t believe that.  It’s been over two years and it still makes me weep.  She’s still the one that my mental Rolodex scrolls to first when they hit new milestones.  She’s still the one that I want to run to on so many days when I feel whipped at the task of mothering them.

I remember trying to get my mind around her diagnosis in those first days.  I remember wondering if I would have to raise my children without her.  I remember begging God that that wouldn’t be the case.  I remember being so pissed off that at this time when my world should be so consumed with this new life that instead I was consumed with helping my Mom in the fight to not lose hers–not that I begrudged Mom of that.  It just felt like a mean trick life pulled.

I remember how Mom’s eyes lit up when she saw Little Miss for the first time.  How they danced when she was around.  How in the two months they had together Little Miss was the one who could infuse Mom with enough energy to coo and crinkle her eyes up and say the Grandma things.  I remember how her heart was broken by not being strong enough to hold her.  I remember laying on her bed not long before she died…  Me, Little Miss, and her.  She put her arms around us both and said, “Oh Val…  To have you both right here….”  And we cried.

And then Baboo came into the world.  And Mom wasn’t here.  And the grief was fresh again.  Because this time there would be no memories made with her Gramma Caro. 

I became a mother as I lost my mother.  And my world was rocked by that.  My world is still rocked by that. 

She gave me the strength and the courage to be up to the task.  She gave me the sassy comebacks to pepper my daughters with.  She gave Little Miss her attitude, and Baboo her smirky smile. 

I am who I am now because of my mother.  Because of her raising me.  Because of her life.  Because of her death.  I am who I am now because of my daughters.  They keep me going.  They cut through my tears and bring me joy.  They exasperate me.  They fluster me.  And they grow me like she did.

And this is a beautiful mystery.  Tinged with grief.  Infused with hope.  The making of me.