May 29, 2007

A Daughter’s Graduation

No, I never thought it would be
like this, forty and waiting
for child support,
a stagnant pond overgrown
with muddy weeds,
whose roots tangle deeply
in this same town, so ordinary,
a wrinkled dress in late afternoon.

So please, no one yet tell her
how she will become her mother
and her mother before her,
dreams discarded,
like cards unplayed,
like flowers dying in a vase
because no one remembered
to change the rotten water.

On this almost summer evening,
after a typical midwest rain,
let her believe she will get out,
that she will be different
as night is to day, as spring is
to fall, that everything before her
beckons to a mossy forest path,
cleared and unfettered.

And I have never said I regret
her, will never say it.
I don’t.
But only five minutes earlier,
I could have cured cancer
or become a rock star,
been anyone but this woman,
drowning in this town, on this day.

**Maybe I don’t need to say this, but clearly the “I” in this poem is not me. This poem, still a work in progress, was as they say, “inspired by actual events,” but the “I” is a fictional character…

I love me some T.V. Really, I could spend 24 hours a day watching it — I mean, have you seen the number of Law & Order re-runs? And I’m going ahead and admitting it in a public forum — though I normally eschew reality television because of my white hot intelligence, I’m pretty stoked that Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance starts tonight. I know, I know — the shame of it all. But I try to limit myself to a couple of shows, because I’m a wee tad addictive when it comes to…well, everything.

But even the cool kids watch Lost. So, in no particular order, my thoughts and questions:

  • What is with the make-up people? Can we not do a better fake beard than that roadkill Jack was sporting last night? And I’ve mentioned it other places — but the eyeliner on the creepy other? I didn’t wear that much eyeliner in the 1980s.
  • I’ve despised the Charlie character for quite some time, but just as he begins to redeem himself and stop being such a sodding (do you suppose people in England really use the word that much) whiner, TBTB kill him off. But it was a good send-off, so I’ll try to keep my mouth shut.
  • Whose forgiveness does Jack seek (he said “Forgive me,” on the bridge)?
  • Can it be anyone other than my beautiful Sawyer in that pine box?
  • Boo-ya! on Hurley with the bus! You rock Hugo. And I totally agreed with Sawyer killing “friendly” Tom. He’s right not to trust him. And for once, I actually agreed with Jack when he called Ben’s bluff (?) about killing the 3 on the beach. Jack’s job was to get to the radio tower, and he promised Sayid he would do it.
  • I remember that time that I was tied up and I broke a man’s neck with my legs. Good, good times.
  • Will the flash-forward device sustain the show? It’s a very interesting concept, and I get that “lost” is a metaphor and all that — but we cannot lose the island altogether. An awful lot of unanswered questions.
  • Why the trust in Naomi (the parachuter)? I don’t know that I agree with Ben, but their trust seemed a little too easy.
  • Bernard is a crack shot? And Jin missed? I would have left Rose with the gun.
  • Props to the actor who plays Ben — the slow unraveling of that character from an in-control freak to a sociopathic pathetic freak has been awesome.
  • I loved the moments between Alex and Danielle. Is Ben the biological father?
  • Yay Locke! I don’t know why he killed Naomi, but it was great to see him up and around. And a Walt sighting! Now granted, the young actor has grown to be about 6’3″ tall in a supposed 90 days, but I’m willing to fan-wank that. Wonder where Michael is…I miss that actor.
  • Kate persists in annoying me. But girlfriend’s hair looked great in the final scene.
  • Is Jack’s dad actually alive — or was Jack just so drugged out that he thought his dad was alive? Clearly, Jack cannot handle his narcs.
  • Waiting until February will STINK. But it gives Jack time to shave his beard and Walt time to grow another 4 inches.

Dan to me: Mom, why was Jesus called King of the Juice?

_______________________________________

Rob to Dan: We’re half Dutch and half Germany.

Me: No, guys you’re not half anything, ethnically speaking. Your ancestors come from lots of different places — Holland, Scotland. You have some Slovak and some Irish.

Rob: We own a little bit of Ireland?

___________________________
Dan to me: These second grade boys keep telling Rob and me that we’re not really twins because we don’t look alike.

Me: Then they don’t know much about twins, because lots of twins don’t look alike. Rob, you look more like Mom’s side of the family, and Dan, you look more like Daddy’s side of the family.

Rob to Dan: Yeah, Mom and I look sort of alike. We both have short hair and big heads.

Well, I just dispatched with my Final Cookie Mom Duty — sorting the Prizes that each girl receives and bagging them individually to pass them out.

All in all, other than the 1,583 Boxes of Cookies piled in my dining room and living room which made my family feel as though we were living in a Jigsaw Puzzle, Cookie Season passed fairly smoothly, despite my many Reservations.

At least I didn’t Steal the Cookie Money as per this woman. Heaven help her and her poor Scouts that lost all that Cash.

I am a montage person by nature, but since I don’t have a video (damn, but I couldn’t get HBO interested in the documentary, “Saga of the Cookie Mom.”), I will bullet point the Highlights.

  • The many amusing and Deadly Serious e-mails I received. And the fact that said e-mails will probably forever affect my Capitalization.
  • The fact that the Cookie Handbook had a section about containment of Cookie Problems. Did you know that if you bite down on a Samoa and think that you’ve accidentally bitten into glass, it could well be just crystallized sugar? Who cares if your tongue is cut in half, right? It’s Sugar, Sugar, I tell ya. And in the case of Cookie Contamination, the Handbook told me that “arrangements would be made” to pick up the Contaminated material. I picture a Haz-Mat Girl Scout Council Crew specially appointed for such Disaster.
  • The many parents who were so thankful to me that I was doing this Job instead of them.
  • The mom from our troop (Hi Chris!) who has been Cookie Mom repeatedly (and she’s not Insane) for her various daughters, who held my hand and kept my chin up and showed me where the hell the Cookie Cupboard exists way out on Roberts Road in a Ginormous Warehouse. Cupboard. Warehouse. You say tomayto, I say tomahto.
  • The gentleman at Tim’s former workplace who kept buying boxes of Sugar Free Brownies. I wonder if he discovered (per the box instructions) that eating too many has a Laxative Effect?
  • The absolutely freezing nose-hair stiffening, can’t-feel-your-toes day we had our first Booth Sale.
  • The lovely, lovely man who bought Fifty Boxes at our second Booth Sale.
  • The alcohol I consumed after both Booth Sales.
  • The fact that I balanced to the penny, even despite 9 year old girls attempting to make change, after each Booth Sale. (Note: alcohol consumption began After balancing the money.)
  • The Jehovah’s Witness who came to the door when I had $3,000 in Cold Hard One Dollar Bills splayed across my living room floor.
  • Weirdly, the “doing of it.” It’s been so long since I’ve been in the professional workplace that maybe I doubted that I could manage a project and see it through to completion. I can do good work. And sometimes it’s hard to know that fact when one’s major task for the day is swiping up urine behind the toilet or coercing children to do a spelling page. I admit that I had a sense of accomplishment at the end of the Cookie Sale. I’m still not remotely a Girl Scout Type, and I think that the entire organization could use to bring their tracking methods at least into the 1990s, but…it’s done and while it was Every Bit as much Work as I feared, I did it. And dammit, I did it Well.

Frighteningly, I did such a Good Job, that I’m already being asked about Next Year. Whoooooops!

Pop!

May 17, 2007

That would be the champagne cork you hear at the Koruna house! Tim got a consulting job with a local company (through the company’s he’s been working with). It’s only a three month contract, BUT it’s a BIG company and even if Big Company doesn’t extend the contract, this gives his consulting firm more time to find him even more Columbus work.

The truly, truly odd thing here, folks — God actually gave me a measure of faith that He would resolve it this week. I went from despair on Tuesday to the merest hint (okay, I’m not perfect!) of hope these past two days — and I attribute that wholly to two things: 1) God, Himself who clearly gifted me with some faith, and 2) the prayers of others — especially Pak and Chien McCollum, whose faith God used to inspire my own. So thanks ALL. We can keep praying that the three month thing ends up being resolved and we can keep Tim in Columbus. But tonight? It’s time for some rejoicing and some Asti! Thank you God, that in your great mercy, you resolved this situation so quickly. And thank you, dear husband, that you plugged away and hung in there and that you always find ways to support your family.

I took Abby to the GI doctor today to talk about, and hopefully prevent or at least curtail her vomiting episodes. After she was hospitalized in October (she vomited for 2 days straight despite IV anti-nausea medicine and fluids, and ended up with a ton of air in her bowel that almost necessitated a tube through her nose into her stomach), I researched and researched and figured out what the heck she has — cyclic vomiting syndrome. As I’ve written here before, once she starts, she just can’t stop — she’ll go for 15 hours, easily — vomiting every 15 minutes. Needless to say, it’s awful.

After much wrangling with the previous pediatrician’s office over this and other issues, we started seeing a new pediatrician in March. And she, like I, thought Abby needed to see a specialist.

Which we did today.

And guess what? By God, the child has cyclic vomiting syndrome! I say this with a huge degree of sarcasm, because it’s a major Itoldyousowhydidn’tyoulistentomeinthefirstplace? kind of situation. And it has taught me that often I am the best diagnostician my child has. The best advocate, for sure. It gives me the confidence to follow my gut, to do my own research, to push for what I believe is needed for my child. So…cool.

At the risk of completely going off track with a reference that few will probably understand, I want to explain the title of this post. Anyone watch the series Firefly in its too-brief television in 2002? Think sci-fi western set 500 years in the future. But don’t let that scare you away, as it did me, despite Tim telling me that he thought I would love it. And, oh, love it I do. It is one of the richest explorations of fantastic characters I have ever seen on television. And it’s a crying shame that Fox couldn’t develop an audience for a show of such outstanding quality. So my recommendation: rent it, borrow it from the library, go out and BUY the box set. It is that good. Really.

But anyway, during one scene, the main character, Malcolm Reynolds and his second-in-command, Zoe, are rescuing some of their crew members from certain (and somewhat ridiculous) death. Mal says to her, “So what does that make us?”

“Big damn heroes, sir,” she replies.

“Ain’t we just?”

For some odd reason this scene came to my mind today as the doctor confirmed, quite kindly and graciously, what I already knew. So what does that make me?

Big damn hero.

Ain’t I just?

Here’s the deal…

May 15, 2007

God and I had this talk. About how I feel like my prayers have been bouncing off my bedroom ceiling and landing smack in my face. About how dwelling on others’ much worse suffering is doing absolutely nil for me in terms of feeling more hopeful about Tim’s job situation. And about how I’m fundamentally a loser when it comes to keeping my mouth shut and being nice and need so much forgiveness that He must be getting sick and tired of me by now. Tim and I had prayed together earlier (wow — a novel idea, huh?), and then God, or rather I, started this conversation in the car. Tim had alluded to the fact that people in our lives — the McCollum children in particular — are praying that this job situation finds good resolution, in town resolution mind you, by the end of the week. Tim prayed for that too, and said to me that it would be a cool thing for the kids to see God come through that way in answer to specific prayer.

And I thought, “Hmmmm.”

I’ve been praying, rather hopelessly, for the past few days. Columbus opportunities have been disappearing fast and furiously. And I’ve been pretty mad at God. And for His part, He’s been pretty silent. But today in the car I said to Him: “Look, I’m going to pray specifically too. And I’m going to have faith that You want to answer specific prayers. I am going to choose to believe that the small patch of grace on which I am sitting — the patch that allows me to pick up my kids from school and get them to their various activities, the patch that allows me to actually say encouraging, funny things to my dear husband — this grace is because of You and because the prayers of others are propping us up right now. And I’m going to immerse myself in Amanda Anderson’s “Grace Like Rain” from the Central Vineyard CD, because every time I do that, I remember that You are good. You are good. You want good for us. You know us inside-out, know how screwed up we are, yet you want to gift us with good. You’re a Dad like that. So, God, despite my feelings, which are not an especially good guide, I choose to believe that you will answer specifically…oh, and I’m sorry I’ve been more that a tad snarky lately. Amen.”

So I go in the school and get a call from Tim. Another local opportunity has cropped up — he is going to strategize with the consultant working at the local company, and the woman from his consulting firm has lunch with the decision maker tomorrow. So this is good. This is something I was praying for SPECIFICALLY. Hmmm.

Now I’m no magical thinker. I don’t think my one prayer compelled God; nor is the situation resolved by any stretch. I’m not purporting some “name it and claim it” philosophy. But I’m saying…yes, I will stand in faith, despite my feelings, that God is sovereign. It’s about more than whether these particular circumstances work out — I have to stand in faith, regardless. But yeah, that would be awesome

So those of you out in internet-land — please, please PRAY specifically. And thank you more than I can say for the prayers you have been praying while we have been at such a loss. I will stand by the truth that God wants to answer specific prayers.

Marriage

May 13, 2007

Sometimes I suck at this so badly it amazes me that I have been someone’s wife for over 16 years.

Unforgivable words spewing from my mouth. And wishing — so wishing that they weren’t hanging there between us doing their terrible work.

Tim and I have a new plan: ten sucky minutes of discussion of difficult issues each day. A hard stop. And followed by wine.

…would be wrong. The boys had a little friend from kindergarten spend the last night. They were SO excited and spent from 10:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. giggling uproariously about all things little boy…I know I heard the word “butt” at least a couple two hundred times. And then? The three musketeers woke up at 6:15 this morning? What? How? Do children not know the sweet beauty of sleeping in? But…no tears, no homesickness…and their little friend loved his birthday presents and cake, so all in all, we’ll call it a victory. Though I do feel a mite guilty unleashing that poor sleep-deprived boy on his parents today.

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and I am so thankful for the many bullets that have been dodged that allow my mom to be around for this holiday.

Looks like Cedar Rapids (see The Midwest, Disney World) has a decent chance of coming through. Still some irons in the fire for Columbus jobs, and also a possibility of San Francisco for 6 ridiculous months. My reaction when Tim brought it up: “Noooooooooooo!” He’s lucky that I am both subtle and supportive. Your prayers for quick resolution of this nasty job situation are coveted.

Nothing wise and wonderful to say today (as opposed to the many golden nuggets of wisdom I disperse on a regular basis). Taking the kids to Pittsburgh tomorrow to see the Science Museum and Sports Center. Should be fun. And Tim loves him a good car ride with the kids! Nothing like it to reduce the stress…

…is that when I am SO tired, SO weary of life, SO believing that I must RIGHT NOW have a break from everything…I am still able to get my children bathed, read their books, talk through their school mishaps (And yes, I’m talking to YOU, mother of the boy who picked on my son and then started a fight with him, while you stood by and told MY son that you would put him in time out if it happened again! Let me be very clear: you will not be putting my kid in time out in this millennium, lady.) and generally just keep on going.

Before I had kids I never knew how much one could do when so exhausted. I never knew that I could be patient enough for one more back rub, one more drink of water at night. I never knew that I could sustain some level of activity from 7 in the morning until 10 at night, without physically harming someone. I never knew that I could survive with little to no break in the action. That I could rise my exhausted self one more time in the middle of the night to deal with a child’s sniffles and cough.

Still no word on the job front. And things at Che Koruna are a little dim this morning. For all I manage to do, it’s almost 10:00 a.m. and I’m still in my bathrobe. My boys are running around with rampant little boy energy all around me and I find myself unable to connect or interact or engage. I keep coming back in my mind to the final lines of a poem by Ed Hirsch, a poem about the end of an unhappy love affair, yet it seems appropriate today in these circumstances too.

I never wanted it to be like this: hopeless
and ordinary, dull as a toothache at lunchtime,
as watching t.v. in the afternoon in summer.

I never wanted it to happen inside the house
where I am still undressed at 2 p.m., at 4 p.m.,
where it seems so precisely like failure.

Please don’t misunderstand: my husband is not a failure in any way, shape or form. And his job search is not a failure — these things take time, too much time. And while I’m sure there’s some splendid lesson of trusting in the Lord’s provision I am supposed to be learning, “bah” is all I really feel like saying. And I don’t think I’m a failure — I am, after all, going to take a shower and get dressed and get my kid to speech therapy and then on to school. I will go and be the Safety Patrol Parent this afternoon (And for those of you curious, yes I get a neon yellow flag. But no one has entrusted me — dammit — with a whistle. And I think I could REALLY rock a whistle, but whatever.). And then I’ll have Abby’s Irish dance partner over after school to practice their recital piece, go to the MRI for my sore back (which will certainly NOT reveal anything structural to be fixed, but will reveal that wow, I have some sore, damn tense muscles, you think?), and then hang out with some lovely friends and eat Chinese take-out. And then come home to watch Lost later tonight to catch me up on goings-on that make my life seem pretty easy in comparison I guess.

In other words, I will muddle through an ordinary day where my husband continues to send out resumes and await phone calls. I will even probably be fairly nice to people (Except you, playground mom. YOU had better watch our step.  My dear son actually said of pushing the other boy off of him:  “I didn’t push too hard, Mom.  I mean I didn’t want to hurt him.”  If only the world were filled with more people like Rob.). I will play with the kitten and read my book and wait for God to break into this situation in whatever way He chooses. I will await even the tiniest slant of light that God provides me in this situation. And I will continue to support my husband, whose patience must be as thin as Kate Moss by this point.

I will keep going. And sometimes, today especially, that astounds me.