Waaaaaa!

November 23, 2008

My back hurts a lot today. A lot. The fear of something not working, of something being broken, of something being even worse plagues me. And I did not sleep last night.

I was at the ER with my daughter all Thursday night (from 1:30am-8:30 am) because she got the barfs. On the negative side, not one person at the Children’s Hospital ER could get a vein in her arm to give her an IV. But what a trooper she was, asking, pleading, “Is this one a good vein?” as she gritted her teeth and looked away. On the plus side, they gave her anti-nausea medicine that dissolves under the tongue and she began taking sips of Sprite, and began to get better on her own without an IV. This confirms my (and our pediatrician’s) thinking that she may be outgrowing the cyclic vomiting. Next time, we try this at home, and take her into the ER only if absolutely necessary. It does her no good to sit in the bright germ-infested ER unless she must, must, must be there. Sleeping (kind of) upright in an ER chair is not good if you have just had spinal fusion surgery. Just saying.

My husband is unemployed, at least in terms of being paid. We are by turns faithful and trusting in God and by other turns completely freaked the fuck out. He deserves better than how he has been and is being treated and I am so angry on his behalf. Unfortunately my anger sometimes turns on him, which is oh-so-super-productive-loving-and-supportive.  He needs this like he needs a gaping hole in his gut.  Yay for me.

My kids will be home for three extra days this week. And if they argue from Wednesday-Friday as they have been arguing today, I may sign away my parental rights.

Christmas is coming up. A great great time to be concerned about money.

I have a friend whose child has an enormously rare disease, and they face this with grace and dignity. I am whiny and weak and frankly, not very full of much grace or dignity.

God, I have good friends, good family, good books, and I am such an uberbitch today. Some of it is lack of sleep, some of it is concern for Tim, some of it is pain, some of it is the effect of the medicine on my mental state. And well, frankly, sometimes, I’m just a bitch.

Aren’t y’all glad I’m back to blogging regularly?

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The good:  My Abby, my sweet socially awkward girl, has been elected to student council by her classmates.  How oh how does that warm my heart?  Thank you God, for giving her the gifts of listening to your leadings.  Dan found Abby’s DS, which may not sound like much, but he went out of his way this morning (and he’s not a morning guy AT ALL) to search and find, all for his sister who sometimes really really gets on his nerves.  But he went out of his way.  For her.  And I was so proud that my heart about burst.  She was ever so grateful.  Plus he’s been the distributer of the gentlest of hugs to his dear sore mom of late.  Rob has been cooking (!) a lot and really now likes eggs.  He’s a funny one, a wise one.  Do you know what he said about visiting me in the hospital?  “Mom, I could tell that you felt awful bad, because you were so so pale, and you kept gritting your teeth.  You were faking it for us, weren’t you?”  Oh kiddo, you have one lucky wife in your future someday.

The bad:  Still no news on Tim’s job.  We’re hanging in, financially and emotionally, but it’s been tough.  He’s down.  I’m down, but trying to me strong, which is kind of a laugh, but I’m trying.  God has always provided.  Always.  But to be honest, I really don’t want to be tested in my faith right now.  I just want good news.  We could use some good news.  But wow, any of us should be so lucky to have Tim care for us when we’re sick.  He’s been…wow.  Gentle and sweet and thoughtful.  He’s a keeper.

The frustrations:  I’ve had a real pain setback this week.  For some reason, my back is hurting as much if not more than when I came home from the hospital.  Bumps in the road are to be expected, but this one has been rough for me.  Pain scares me now because I’m afraid it’s all on the road back to the excruciating and unbearable.  And my stitches came out this week (yay!), but my incision is itchy, itchy, itchy and I’m not supposed to put any lotion on it.

But overall, we hang in and continue to hang in.  The really really good?  God, my family and my kids.  Those make up for a lot of the bad and the frustrating.

Many years ago, I read a Dear Abby column written by a widow who rued the fact that she ever complained about her dearly departed husband’s snoring. If only, she lamented, she could lie next to him and listen to his snorkelish gasping breaths just one more time…she believed that she never should have despised his snoring.

Tim and I have laughed about that column over the years (no disrespect to the widow intended), because it’s been forever that I’ve poked and shoved him at night, sometimes muttering, “Stop breathing!” as his snorty sounds keep me awake. That’s why it’s funny that my first night home from the hospital, when Tim graciously offered to sleep on the couch so I could have more room to spread in my discomfort, that I implored him, “No, no, please sleep with me. I was so lonely at the hospital. I want you next to me.” And so he was. And yeah, he breathed (oh my, so loud does he breathe) and snorted and sometimes even kind of snore-roared like a lion. But wow, it felt good to be there next to him. It felt good to prod him and roll him over and to simply know that he was there.

Much about a marriage is not terribly bloggable. I don’t have any great desire to share our deepest pain and hurts, to air his side vs. my side. Anyone who has been married, heck anyone who’s ever had a relationship with another human being, knows that the closer we are to one another, the more capacity we have to wound one another. And so we do, Tim and I — we wound each other. Over nearly eighteen years of marriage, we’ve caused each other a whole lot of sadness as well as joy. That’s just being human. And sometimes, in the midst of those harder times, we look at each other and wonder if we have the mettle to move forward together, if we can rebuild what we’ve broken, if it’s all really really worth it.

I realize that it is.

A couple of nights home (and a couple of nights into his snoring!), he got up with me to help me to the bathroom, solicitously finding my slippers and helping me lumber up and down from the bed. As he placed me back down and helped tuck my pillows (so many pillows right now! around me), I looked up at him, touched his sweet face for a moment and said, “It’s only ever been you, you know. I’ve never wanted it to be anybody but you.”

And he smiled down at me. “It’s only ever been you, too. Just you.”

So there. Love is a battlefield that sometimes involves snoring.  But it’s only ever been Tim.  It only ever will be.

…Overwhelmed by your generosity and visits, your friendship and meals, your hugs and comments…thank you. Inadequate as that sounds, we all thank you so very much.

I’ll have a longer post when I’m not so tired (ugh, the tiredness caused by the silliest stuff– such as walking from the bedroom to the family room, which is not like, you know, marathon distance), but a couple of thoughts.

  • Don’t have spinal fusion surgery. I mean really, don’t. Not unless you’ve tried every other option (which I had). I have never felt pain like I have this past week. Holy stinking wow. Still wow. Over a week out and I feel almost as good as I did in the recovery room after other surgeries. This.is.not.hyperbole.
  • God has been good in the little things — I had a roommate the first night, which was frankly kind of a pain, but there was no way I was going to sleep much that night regardless. But the lady who had had surgery and her husband were so nice. Yeah, they snored — I mean snored, snored, snored and don’t ask me how on earth they both managed to sleep in that tiny half of the room on the other side of the curtain. The husband bought me 2 diet cokes — without my asking him — he apparently just realized that Riverside struggled to meet the needs of its diet coke consumers. But seriously? Riverside must have some kind of stock in Sierra Mist. Blech. A pox on Sierra Mist.
  • I am apparently one heck of lot of fun, or at least super super interesting when I’m high. A couple jewels that fell from my mouth during my hospital stay: “Depending on the budget, maybe we’ll TP the cars.” or “I wonder how many gay married couples there are in Westerville.” (and honestly, no I’ve never actually contemplated this) And my personal favorite: “They won’t have to do the cavity searches.” (this apparently from my X files high?) A little Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, my friends.
  • On that note, a special call-out to those of you who visited and/or managed me in the hospital when I was in way too much pain and on way too many drugs to be anywhere close to my right mind.  Sorry, sister-in-law, Amy, who arrived at the apex of pain and drug confusion when I was apparently shouting and sobbing.  She was lovely and non-judgmental, which probably comes from being a nurse and seeing people way worse off than me.  My dad, who HATES HATES hospitals, yet came every single day to check on me.  Kathryn who stayed ridiculously late on Thursday to help me to fall asleep.  Tracy who, God BLESS her, helped find me a comfortable side sleeping position on Friday night before I about died of lack of sleep, and her daughter, Michelle, whose presence I apparently have no memory of.  Sweetie, I hope I didn’t say anything too awfully bad to scar your young mind.  And god, for all I know, many more of you might have been there.  For all I know, every member of my life past and present, were in full costume for Les Miserables and sang opera, but if you came on Thursday I have no freaking idea, so shaky is my memory of that day.  But I bet you guys rocked it.
  • Tim is still in job hunt mode (or more accurately, not being paid mode). Mostly I’m just thankful that he’s been here this week, and I’m choosing to view it as God’s provision. But still…really, really working and praying to hold panic at bay. There are some Columbus potentials, so those of you who pray, please keep it up!
  • My daughter’s Southwestern Native American project may kill her (and me by extension of course, which seems like kind of a shame after all the crap I’ve been through to get my back better). There’s been some major communication issues from school as to what’s due when, and Abby and I have been frustrated beyond measure.
  • I continue to believe that I am getting and will keep getting better from this surgery. Any pain I’ve had (did I mention I’ve had pain? and my surgeon is just a tad stingy with the better drugs!) has been markedly different from my pre-surgical pain. I take this as a good sign. I think (going out on a limb here) that I have pain because I have this ginormous metal contraption holding up a portion of my spine. This seems a somewhat reasonable inference to me.
  • I’m a grouchy and lousy patient but I’m really trying. Inexplicably, I’ve been watching re-runs of ER in the mornings. Now there’s a real upper for you. If you didn’t think your own life completely and utterly stunk, then try watching the soul-sucking that is the life on the doctors and nurses on ER. That’ll make you feel merry as all crap, let me assure you. How you can be that good looking and feel that much angst, I don’t know.
  • Someday (maybe?) I’ll be interesting again.
  • Gosh, thanks. Really. Y’all have made me feel loved. And awful well fed to boot.

Okay. 1 day to surgery and counting.

  • In the world’s crappiest timing, Tim’s company has decided that despite the fact they committed to him for at least a year — well, you know, they changed their calendar and they don’t so much need him. So Friday is his last day with this company. Now, he’s still with his consulting company, just not with his client, which means that he will be on the bench until his consulting company finds something else. Yeah, the timing here….but we’ve been here before and both God and the consulting company have come through. So I’m trying to stand where God would have me and trust. A friend of mine asked me yesterday, “What would trusting God look like in this situation?” I’m thinking it would look like someone who was moving forward and believing that God is good, whether my feelings match that belief. So I’m trying, not always succeeding, but trying.
  • For reasons I don’t understand, Abby doesn’t have school today. See above for timing…but I’m trying to view it as a good thing and an opportunity to spend time with her. The boys view her unexpected day off as the greatest injustice in all of life.
  • I call today after 2:00 to find out my surgery time — I’ll update later when I know the time. Oh, please no postponement!
  • People have made me feel very loved over these last few days. Friends have bought me books, offered meals and prayers, have helped me with laundry and cleaning….I’m grateful.
  • Much, much to do today. More later.

Edited to add:  Surgery is scheduled for 7:30 tomorrow morning!  Yay that I got the morning slot and so far, it has not been canceled.  My gosh, I think it’s going to happen…thanks in advance for prayers.

In which I vent my back

October 29, 2008

I’ve never understood the venting the spleen thing. To my knowledge my spleen is fine and dandy, but my back hurts like total crap all the time. So if anything needs venting, I’d say it’s my back.

I always find it ironic that after I post a beatific piece about the wonder of my children that they spend the next few days acting like complete jerks. Whateves!

Today I feel like a shelled out hull of a human being. That feeling alternates with one where I feel as though I’ve gulped poison and I’m seeping some kind of low level vitriol all over everyone in my path.

I am, in a word, stressed.

I am not going to have everything and everyone in a state of perfect harmony before my scheduled surgery a week from today. I will not get to the kids to stop bickering and picking at one another. It remains doubtful whether Tim will ever grasp The Chip Bags for Each Kid’s Lunch Saga:  Fritos — Rob, sometimes Abby; Lays — always Abby; Red Dorritos — everyone; Blue Doritos — Rob and Dan, emphatically not Abby; Sour Cream & Onion — Dan and only Dan; BBQ — Rob, especially, but sometimes Dan too…hey I keep a lot of complicated information in this old brain of mine!  Which may be why I can never find the car keys.

I received the information packet from the surgeon, which contained (inexplicably) a bottle of cleanser to be used the night before and the morning of surgery.  Do people come to surgery…dirty?  The letter with the packet also reminded me that because Dr. F. is a neurosurgeon, he sometimes has emergent cases that make postponements necessary for the rest of us.  I sincerely hope that nobody blows an aneurysm on Tuesday night, or any other night for that matter.  I just feel like if we have to reschedule that I might blow an aneurysm.

I’m trying to plow through my to-do list:  the boys have both grown out of their winter coats and need bigger ones; I am trying to write a letter to each kid for each day I’ll be in the hospital; I am making lists for Tim (see Chip Saga, above); the kids all need their drawers changed over to winter clothes; I want to pick up some more Christmas presents for everyone this weekend.  And Halloween is Friday — goody!  Just what I need this weekend, kids ramped up on candy but still edgy about their mom’s surgery.  Wow, I bet everyone wants to hang out with me now!

I need something great to read in the next few days and something light and great to read in the hospital.  Suggestions are welcome.

So yeah, my stress goes directly back to my feelings of being out of control.  Yeah, yeah, the little things don’t matter — the big things will be taken care of.  I know.  And God will be with me in the pain.  Did I mention that there’s supposed to be hella pain, post-surgically.  I believe that I’ll have a morphine pump for a few days (this is never a bad thing, mind you), but I admit that I’ve been scared about how much it’s going to hurt.  And how I won’t be able to completely hide that from the kids.  And how very needy pain makes me feel.

Man, I’m tired, so so tired.  But I think I’ll go put post-its on the chips….

god, I’m kidding.  Kidding, okay?

Mostly about my daughter….

October 28, 2008

….who on the one hand, I wish I could trade places with, so boundless is her mind, so confident is her spirit in ways that I never could have imagined at ten and a half. This girl has no math insecurity, no sense that she ever need choose between her love for numbers and science and her passion for beauty and literature. Sometimes her future seems to be without limits — sure she can be a famous author/chemist/mother — what could possibly stop her? (Incidentally, that’s rhetorical; I don’t really want answers as to what might hinder my kids!) But on the other hand? Oh, I wouldn’t trade places with her for the world times ten.

It’s a tricky thing, these days, talking about my kids on the internet. I feel acutely aware that information here can be accessed, found, discussed by others, and that as my kids get older they may feel that my mentioning them at all is an invasion of some level of privacy. Just because her mother keeps little of her life behind closed doors, Abby may not necessarily be the same type of person. So while I’m here, I’ll try to be both honest and circumspect.

She’s changing, you see. I remember this age and remember feeling like every morning I woke up to a slightly different body and a slightly different state of being. Not that I could have articulated that at the time mind you — my articulation of such a mind-boggling place in my life probably often manifested itself in giggles and slammed doors, in long telephone conversations with friends and eye rolls at my mother. (By the way, sorry about all that, mom.) And we have some of the aforementioned going on here. But what I don’t remember, or couldn’t at the time see from my then ten year old self, was that I probably got just a tad more…well, interesting around this age.

My daughter is suddenly an awesome conversationalist. At least some of the time. And she’s wickedly funny at times too, so long as she’s not already decided in that particular moment that I couldn’t be any dumber if I tried. She requires more privacy, both physically and emotionally. And wow can she be moody these days. Sometimes I feel like we’re in a cheesy old movie, where the heroine swings wildy from, “Alas, no one could possibly care enough to understand me!” all the way to “Oh, yes, yes, yes, do please get me some garlic bread!” I have maternal whiplash.

This past Friday, Abby had an overlong orthodontist appointment where she had the dreaded herps device placed. In short, this tortuous piece of metal connects her upper and lower teeth with a springy-thingy and has a bar that sits behind her top teeth — all for the purpose of pulling out her recessed lower jaw. And yes, so far, it’s just about as bad as it sounds. Over the weekend, she kept getting food stuck somewhere between her tongue and the bar, and her whole sweet face seemed swollen. We dosed her with motrin and fruit smoothies, but for a kid that already struggles with eating, this has not and will not be easy for her. Friday night she sat with me and wept, “Things have just been so HARD lately!”

And crap if I didn’t agree with her. It has been hard for her: new school, new feelings, ever-changing sense of her self…and now this damn thing too! I’m realizing, in short, that my job as a mother is less about changing or fixing her circumstances, but about coming alongside her in the midst of circumstances. I find it simultaneously frightening and exhilarating that Abby’s life experience is growing to the extent that I no longer manage much of it. Control freak (see previous post!) that I am, I want to fix everything for her, but the other side of this equation is that her expanding world and her ability to handle it is quite wonderfully wonderful too.

Several people have noticed how the herps device has already made a difference in the look of her face. I swear, sometimes I look at her and I’m poleaxed by the glimmers of the woman she will become. Sure her teeth will be straight, and by god her lower jaw will be aligned (!), but there’s something else there too. There’s a luminousness in her, a sense of being on the brink of becoming who God made her to be. And frankly, she’s pretty. Really, really pretty. She claims to not care about such superficial things, and on one level, she’s such a person of the mind, that I really think her looks matter little to her. And I couldn’t love her more, no matter how she appears. But it’s weird to catch sight of her out of the corner of my eye and see this lovely young…woman. Yes, this (still very) young woman.

These are going to be challenging years. The early polling for age eleven does not look as if this race will be won in a landslide. But I can’t wait to see how she turns out.

Control

October 22, 2008

I’ve been thinking an awful lot about the issue of control over the last few days, maybe because undergoing surgery is in many ways such a loss of control. And maybe because I’ve always been called by others something of a control freak. What? Moi?

Oh yeah.

But this morning as I was vacuuming (all great thoughts come to me in the car at night or when I’m cleaning my house), I figured something out about control. Now, the rest of you probably had this figured out eons ago, but I’m a little slow on the uptake sometimes, so hang in there with me.

See, there’s things in life that we really really want to control, but we can’t: our health (yes, of course we can control this to an extent, but ultimately? Not really.), our children’s futures, the happiness of those we love, our net worth, traffic, etc. I just found out that an old friend of mine has a daughter fighting off a deadly disease (and winning, I might add!). I’m absolutely positive that if my friend could have controlled the situation to spare her daughter the pain and fear, she would have done anything. Anything. But of course she couldn’t, as none of us could, if placed in the same situation.

But what I’m beginning to get a glimmer of here: there are, in fact, many things we can control in this life, even if doing so is a major challenge. We can control our responses to situations. Wow, I hate that. I would much rather wallow in self-pity than be responsible for my own attitude.  We can control whether or not we choose obedience to God, compassion, kindness.  We can control whether we keep trying in rotten situations, through depression and sometimes despair.  We can still keep trying.

But I would much rather control everything on the front end.  I would much rather drive than sit in the passenger seat and react.  Yet, it’s just not feasible, not realistic, and truly, trying to control all the variables of life makes me nuts.

I always hate those platitudes like, “Let go, let God,” and I think I’ve figured out why.  Yes, we do have to let go of the steering wheel.  We become more sane when we realize that trying to control circumstances is like playing with a paper steering wheel while sitting in the passenger seat of a car.  Sure, we can turn and turn and turn the wheel, but it won’t change anything.  But “letting God” is no passive deal either.  Being responsible for ourselves and to God and to those we love — that’s HARD.  It takes more work than I sometimes think I can manage, and frankly?  I don’t enjoy it all that much.

But I think — I think, mind you — that somewhere here is the key to contentment.  Letting God do God’s part and forcing myself (at least at times) to stop spinning my wheels and to have enough self-control to react how God would have me.  My friend and her daughter, really their whole family — they’ve been dealt the kind of crummy cards that would stagger any of us.  But I see them living in thankfulness, finding joy in their love for one another.  Even in a situation they can’t control for a damn.  I want to be like that when I grow up.

Um, well, yeah.

October 21, 2008

I guess this would be hello. You know, to the six, now down to twoish of you reading. Would it help to say that I didn’t mean to be away from this blog for so long. Yeah yeah, like you care, right?

But assuming that maybe someone cares, I’ll try to catch up a wee bit.

So…

We went on a cruise this summer. Cruise lines like to nickel and dime one to death, or at least this one did. But the Caribbean is gorgeous. And family is fun to travel with, and I’m not just saying that because my mother-in-law reads my blog occasionally. The kids loved the whole trip, and they ate like kings and a queen (especially Dan who bemoaned my lack of making five course dinners when we got home). Stingrays are cool. Balconies off your room are an absolute treasure. And snorkeling is holy.

Abby started her new school and overall has adapted with great aplomb. The work load is much much harder and heavier. As a direct result of this, I know more about the chemical element francium (about which Abby wrote and essay and made a poster) than anyone who isn’t a chemist should ever even consider. I’m thinking that it will make me a hit at cocktail parties. Since I get invited to so many of them.

Rob and Dan have had a challenging fall. Tragically, their dear friend’s mom passed away from cancer right before school started. She is a lovely and dear woman who loves (and I say this in the present tense because I know her to be in heaven) her family and God. But oh the sadness of it all.  You know the expression, “Little kids, little problems; Big kids, bigger problems”?  Answering or trying to answer the boys’ questions about grief…teaching them to come alongside another in his grief…Rob and Dan are learning compassion and how to express love in ways that most eight year olds don’t, and golly I love them for that.  But watching your kids learn about the agonies and injustices of this life is still pretty heart-breaking.

Tim, in his consulting job, has moved from one retailer to another.  And that’s all good.  He’s in Columbus and he’s employed in a job he likes.  We count the blessings there.

And I am having spinal fusion surgery on November 5.  Please oh please, friends, this might not be the time to tell me the story of your Aunt Carol or your cousin’s boyfriend’s brother who had completely crappy back surgery.  It’s like this:  I hurt ALL the time.  I can only sit for short periods without feeling like a rubber band has been pulled taut around my lower spine.  I wake up in the morning feeling like someone has put a hot poker in my spine (hmm…maybe Tim has hidden anger issues?).  After I drive for a bit, I get out of the car and I actually stoop when I walk for a while.  I know the risks, and I know the possible rewards, and I know that the recovery is a bitch and a half.  Heck, I’m in the hospital for 3-5 days, which I think might be longer than my father stayed when he had open heart surgery in 2001, so yeah.  Wow.  But I’ve tried everything non-surgically possible on and off for the last six years and I’m getting worse all the time.  My parents’ health situations are reasonably steady right now, and as many of you know, that could change with one phone call at 3:00 am (which seems to be when most bad phone calls take place for some reason).  So I am seizing the opportunity, so to speak.  I have a very conservative surgeon who has told me the whole ugly truth and still thinks that he can help me significantly, or he wouldn’t do the surgery.

Prayers here are appreciated of course.  Prayers for little things like, oh, how in the heck my kids will get home from school during the period I can’t drive.  Prayers for my kids, who to varying degrees and in a myriad of ways, are in a white hot panic about Mom having surgery and being gone for so long.  Prayers for Tim as he tries to keep all things afloat around here while I lie around and moan.  And yes,  yes, prayers that this damn surgery works.  I don’t anticipate ever being pain free, this side of getting my heavenly body, but I want to function at such a higher level and feel at least somewhat better.

And this time, I’ll try to go fewer than three months without posting.  Okay?  I miss my internet folks.  So, for my fragile ego, and to make sure someone has read this, please for the love of…well, please comment.  Thanks.

Little and Big

June 24, 2008

Today a very little thing made me react in a very big way.

My laptop has eaten, as of today, three power cords. My kids play with my computer ALL the time, between Webkinz and Neopets and Pokemon and Cedar Point dot com (Rob’s personal fave) to Youtube to a horse game website (Abby), etc. and so on. And when they use my laptop, they take it with them to their rooms, to the family room, or in rare and rather disgusting cases, the bathroom.

Such movement is hard on a laptop cord, so the piece that plugs in directly to the computer gets jostled and loose a lot. And then it breaks. Let me preface this with the truth that I really don’t get freaked out over the spills and breakages inherent to childhood (Lost stuff, now that’s another matter — drives me crazy, but I digress) — I don’t yell when stuff gets knocked over or smashed or spilled upon, though my new family room couch has tested my self-control mettle, when one kid dropped an entire can of pop (thankfully not red — note — never bring red soda into this house, please) along the arm and cushion. Generally, though, I roll with these particular punches.

But today — and it doesn’t matter which kid, picked up the computer, dragging the cord a bit, which made the tip become stripped, kind of like a screw — felt like too, too much. I screamed at my kids. And then I sobbed in my room. My kids were, quite frankly, a bit freaked out by this out-of-control-not-seeming-so-sane side of their mom.

But like all little things, it’s not the thing itself, but all the emotion leading up to it. Right now, with summer vacation for the kids, I’m pressed for any, any, any emotional and psychological time to myself. So I’m not at my best. And for so many reasons that in and of themselves are not the best fodder for blogging, life has been hard. Marriage is hard. Parenting is hard, and with Abby we have adolescence looming awfully closely on the horizon. So far my biggest realization about my kids getting older: I can protect them from less and less pain and sometimes the world’s really, really painful.

And I think I’m having, oh gack I don’t even want to type the words because I sound so damned self indulgent — some kind of middle life crisis. I never said at the time, but turning forty hit me hard. Fundamentally, I would change very little in my life — I love God and I love the people in my life. We can all point to myriads of decisions that could have been better, but on the whole, this is the life I chose and this is the life I want…but I’m feeling so restless lately, so just-a-mom-and-wife (and I know, I know, I really know that there’s nothing “just” about either role, but feelings don’t always make perfect sense), so intellectually and artistically stultified. I am walking the path God would have me walk in terms of working in the church’s kids ministry — me, who honestly doesn’t like kids that much (except for my own) having God place them in my heart and mind all week long!  It must be God!  Seeing the kids each Sunday is a highlight. Lately I even feel like I’ve been getting glimpses of God’s dreams for these kids. And that’s so awesome.

But maybe there’s some other aspects of life that need to be figured out. Maybe it’s a part-time job when the school year starts — but I’ve felt like that has been the wrong decision up until now, so that I can be available to my parents, as they’ve needed a great deal of support this year. And how blessed I’ve been to be here in this city at this time, and to be available to them. Maybe it’s a reorganization of time this summer. Maybe it’s embracing this part of my life, realizing that you’re only as old as you feel, blah, blah blah. Or maybe it’s joining Weight Watchers again. Or…well, whatever.

And God, I re-read this and I sound self-centered. I know of several people in some utterly horrendous and/or challenging life situations right now, and my feelings might seem so little to them. But I’m going to go with God caring about the hairs on my head and all that, so I’m guessing He cares here too.