Friday, November 30, 2012

By the Numbers

Twenty-five is how many days there are until Christmas. Aside from stocking-stuffers, and a couple of co-worker gifts, and a gift card for my mom, my shopping is finished. What has arrived in my house has already been wrapped and tucked away. I consider this a pretty huge accomplishment.

Twenty-two is how many days there are until Uncle Christmas. This has been a huge source of conflict this year, and I'm starting to wonder if perhaps it's an idea who's time has come and gone. I'm leaning a little more towards the fact that we've all had a pretty stressful year, some more than others, and maybe in the planning process we just forget that one of life's most basic rules is to be nice to others. Either way, I'm a little less stressed out about the food this year, and if there is a lot of complaining, I'm going to suggest that from now on we hold it somewhere else. Easy enough. It's a function in my house, and as far as I'm concerned, my safety and well being comes first, and if they can't deal with that then that's their issue, not mine.

Eighteen is how old my boy is going to be turning at the end of December. I can't quite wrap my brain around that yet, so I'm not really dealing with it right now. He wants to go skydiving for his birthday. So in the spring, when the weather is warmer, he and I, along with one of our friends, will head out and go on an adventure. More on that later. 

Fifteen is how many days, after today, we have left of school until our Holiday Break. I cannot put into words how in dire need of that vacation I am.

Thirteen is how many days until opening night of the Holiday Festival of Music. My girl has  a solo song in the show this year and we are so proud of her. The boy will be playing with the jazz band for the last time, and as we go through this year of lasts, its been a little bitter sweet. Not as sad as I would have thought, but perhaps that is because she is still going to be there for two more years.

Eight is how many days until my sister-in-law, her husband and my beautiful little baby niece come to visit for the day. I can't tell you how much I love this little ray of sunshine and what joy she has brought into my life over the past two months. I just finished knitting her up the cutest little hat, and will be bringing it to her on Sunday, when we get together to celebrate the second birthday of one of her cousins. What fun!

Six is how many nights I slept away from The Boy™ this week. Once on the couch, and then back again in the craft room on an air mattress. This has been such a hard year, yet we continue on, trying to grow and move forward from each challenge. Hopeful that eventually we will pull through to the other side, stronger and in a better place than before.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Battle Weary

I look around and see my wonderful life
Almost perfect from the outside.... 

We fit that perfect family model. Husband, wife, 2 kids, a dog, some cats, a house, a car, and 2 jobs. Isn't that what everyone strives for these days? In a world where everyone is always trying to be more, do more, get more, some of us are struggling just to get our basic needs met. It's not always about what you have, or what is out of your reach. Sometimes it is about what is lacking at the most simple level.

In picture frames, I see my beautiful wife
Always smiling, but on the inside

There aren't very many photos of me over the years. As the child of an abuser, I developed horrible self image issues at an early age. Even now, as an adult, I have a hard time accepting compliments from others about how I'm dressed or how I look on any given day. It probably doesn't help that I very rarely receive them from The Boy™.  I know, in my heart, that you don't have to hear that you are beautiful or pretty, or that you look nice etc. in order to be those things. If you struggle with low self esteem however, not hearing them just reinforces what you already think of yourself. Stupid, huh? But there it is. As a result of all of this, I shy away from the camera. On top of that, these past few  years I have felt so sad, that I can't help but think it radiates out from me, and I don't want it caught on camera.

Oh, I can hear her saying

 I don't know what to say anymore. We go through periods when I think things are getting better, and then we fall right back to where we have been. I am tired of telling him how starved I am for some of the time that he gives so freely away to everyone else. How desperately I wish he would just sit and talk with me. How tired I am of having to explain that "How was your day?" is not a conversation starter. Especially if I want to leave my day at school (which I often do and he knows that), and he doesn't ever share anything about his day, or how he feels about anything with me anyhow.

Lead me with strong hands
Stand up when I can't
Don't leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams, but what about us?

I know that he's trying to not let work be this highest priority in his life, as this has been a huge source of conflict in our lives. I recognize that, and appreciate it. But it's funny how other things can so easily slide in and take the place of what was in the number one spot, instead of what should be there instead. After a tense day Friday, I went to bed, frustrated and alone. I go to bed every Friday night alone. He stays up and plays video games online with his brother and friends. It was a compromise I made, out of the goodness of my heart, that has turned into a contentious issue. He ends up staying up half the night, then sleeps half of Saturday away. Lately, he wakes me up when he comes to bed, and then I can't get back to sleep due to his snoring. Sometimes it turns into Saturday night as well, or any time he has a day off, or we aren't getting along.

Show me you're willing to fight
That I'm still the love of your life
I know we call this our home
But I still feel alone

And so here we are again. I tried to explain what was upsetting me, and he chose to not participate in the discussion. Now he feels like because he says "Hi", or "Good Morning" or whatever, and I'm still waiting for us to resolve our issues from over the weekend, that he's making an effort and I'm not. I guarantee when we finally have this out, he'll throw that in my face.  How he's been trying, and I'm giving him nothing. We've so been here before, and I don't even have the strength to deal with it. Yesterday he asked if I wanted to watch a movie with him, and the lonely part of my heart that is crying out for time with him wanted to scream "YES!", but we still weren't talking, and I was still waiting for him to get over himself and decide that we could maybe work this out, and so I said no. Then last night he woke me up from a nap for dinner, and he started with the words, "I screwed up..." and I thought we were going to work it out.. and after a huge pause, he followed with "..dinner." My already tattered heart shattered some more, and I had to get myself together before I could come to dinner. I'm so tired of it all... so very tired.

*Lead Me ~ Sanctus Real

Monday, November 12, 2012

Compassion Bloggers in Peru

If you are a long time reader of my blog, you know that last year around this time, we started sponsoring a little girl from Guatemala named Mariah through Compassion International. It was our family Christmas gift for 2011, and one that has brought us such great blessings. We have enjoyed receiving letters from her filled with pictures that she draws as  much as we enjoy praying for her and writing to her. She is four years old and we look forward to watching her grow into a beautiful young woman.

Compassion International offers trips to the countries that they have child development centers in, and they also send teams of bloggers out to help spread the word about what is going on in these countries to help boost sponsorship. This month, well, this week specifically, a team of bloggers is headed to Peru. They left today.

Kevin and Layla

You can click on any of those links starting tomorrow to read about their adventures in Peru. Of course, you can click on them now if you'd like, as they are truly interesting people to start with. Kevin and Layla write about home decorating and renovations. Shaun is a fabulous musician. Angie is an author. Jennifer is an all encompassing blogger, she covers it all.

If you feel at all called to do so, you can click here to sponsor a child, in Peru, or anywhere else.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

The First Snow

It's snowing out this morning. Through the window, I can barely make out the snow falling through the maple tree and the bush right outside my window, because even at 6:11am, it is still dark out. Yesterday was the last day we will have 10 hours of daylight until February, and we are headed into my difficult time of the year. The weather guys were all over the place with this storm. First it was only going to be a few inches, even though it was a Nor'Easter, then it was going to be 3 or 4, and then yesterday afternoon, they were talking about 6-8. After all the snow, we are supposed to get a period of freezing rain, and then the sun is going to come out and all will be right in the world again. Right now, we have a coating, maybe an inch if that, and I feel like we got cheated out of our first snow, which all the kids at school were looking forward to.

As much as I feel it's too early for a snow day, especially in November when we have so many days off of school already, I was secretly hoping for one. Or at least a 2 hour delay. You see, tomorrow morning at 5am sharp, the boys and I are packing back into the van to head out for another college visit. This time we are driving out to NY, to visit Rochester Institute of Technology tomorrow afternoon, then we are driving 4 hours north to spend the night so that on Saturday we can attend an open house at Clarkson University. R.I.T is Corey's #4 School, and Clarkson is actively pursuing him for their honors program, to the point that they have offered him a merit scholarship in a rather large sum of money to go there, and they are #3 on the list.

To say that I am not ready to leave on this trip is an understatement. I have so much to do today after school, on top of a doctors appointment at 4:15, that my head is spinning just a bit. This weekend, with these days off, was the carrot that got me through the first many weeks of school after working all summer long without a break at the end and only a few days off at the beginning. Saturday, I was supposed to be taking a ride down to WEBS to see Franklin speak with my dear friend Jan, but it's all good. This is important, and I am sure we will have a lovely time. The weather is certainly scheduled to be a lot better than our last trip!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

I'll Take a Side of That

 They tell you that you will have tingling in  your hands in feet. It's right there in the list of side effects that comes with my pills, and all over the internet if I do a search. They don't tell you that it will be like the worst pins and needles you have ever had in your entire life, and that you can get them but just sitting with your feet crossed. Or that it will happen when you wake up first thing in the morning. This side effect goes away after your body has adjusted to taking the meds however, unless you absentmindedly skip a day, and then all bets are off.

They tell you that you will lose weight. The weight loss thing has been hard. I had managed to lose weight before starting on the meds, and then I lost some more, and the meds keep me from being able to gain any of it back. For my height, I am underweight, and I catch a lot of flack about it. People, being underweight is just as bad as being overweight and people's weight is there own business and we should really all stop obsessing about weight and how we look anyhow. Be happy with yourself. Love your body. Each healthy foods, get exercise on a regular basis, and enjoy living.

They tell you that you're going to be foggy headed. This is the understatement of the year. I never felt more incompetent than the first month I was on my pills. I forgot stuff. I would start to say something and not be able to finish it. I would reach for a word, and not be able to pull it out of my brain. It was bad. That has gotten better, to a degree. I still feel a lot less intelligent than I did a year ago. My memory, which used to be so sharp, is a sad resemblance of what it once was. Mostly I'm OK with all of that. The trade off has been worth it.

What they don't tell you, in the hand outs or on the side of the bottle, is that your hair is going to fall out. It doesn't happen right away either. It sneaks up on you after about 6 or 7 months, while you are in the shower. At first I thought it was just a season of shedding, as one is prone to go through. Until it didn't end. So I got on the internet, which can be your worst enemy, and I had a chat with my friend Google, and I learned the dirty little secret. My medicine depletes your vitamin B and Biotin levels, and your hair falls out. Today, after 6 or 7 months of living with this sad and depressing fact (thankfully I have really thick hair), I have started taking a Vitamin B Complex pill that will hopefully help with this problem, although I'm not holding my breath. If nothing else, I should have more energy, and wouldn't we all like a little of that?

Friday, November 02, 2012

A Season of Learning

Whoever "they" are, talk about how in life we go through seasons. Some seasons, like the spring, are full of new life, and growth. Anticipation and change and newness. Other seasons, like the winter, are long, and dark. Full of troubles and hardships. As with the seasons of the year, the seasons of our life change and as we move out of one, we move into another. Sometimes the seasons can stretch out into years, and hopefully when that happens, you find yourself in a summer like season of happiness and enjoyment.

 Having spent the better part of the last year in a dark, winter like season, I'm finding myself in an altogether different kind of season. A season of learning. I'm learning about myself, and my spouse, and marriage in general. I'm learning things about parenting teenagers and about letting go. Because I work in education, it seems only right that it comes as we are in the throes of fall, when everyone is "back in school", but I don't think that is the case. I believe that we are only open to learning things when we are ready to be taught them. This is my season, and I'm working really hard to be a good student. Here are some of the things I am learning, in no particular order:

1. Marriage is hard. No one tells you this before you get married. They tell you that it's a lot of work, which it is, and that it's the happiest you'll ever be, which is also true, but no one tells you about how hard it can be.   Just because it's hard, doesn't mean it's bad, or that it's over. Spending your life with one person, and being committed to them is just that, a commitment. You have to be willing to put in the work to stick through the really hard times. The times when things get really awful. The times no one tells you about when you are newly in love and wrapped up in each other and how in love you are. What I learned is, that no matter how awful things seem, if you keep the love that you have for each other at the center, and remember why you got married and what it is about that other person that made you fall in love with them in the first place, you can get through it if both parties are willing to put in the hard work.