7/13/2017

Blogging Elephants Stories

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This. This. This! Go ahead, read it, I'll wait until you're back.

Back? It's good, right? It made me think of you.

I remember when the Blog Scene was full of badass women who would circle around you when shit went down. I remember when the Internet was somehow smaller, in 2003 and 2004 when the babies were born with our blogs and our community. I remember when I was so naive as to be honest and raw on a public forum about postpartum depression and a new daughter that Would Not Ever Fucking Sleep. I remember when you understood this and gathered around with your encouragement and your own stories of non-sleeping babies and crying on the bathroom floor.

That era of innocence is gone in a sense. There is more to this community now, it's bigger and full of marketing and click bait and blogs claiming that blogging is over. It doesn't need one more blog post about blogging (Oh, the irony). What it does need is a gentle reminder that there is now an even greater need to circle together, to rally, to hold our sisters' vulnerability with care and have their back because right now, with the whole world watching, it's very much obvious nobody else will

When we lose someone from our community, that time before The Internet Blew Up  (you know, back in 2009?) we see the impact blogging has had on our lives. We remember together. We become intertwined again, for a short time, showing up for each other and looking back at photos and times of shared vulnerability. And then, as it is and will always happen, we get pulled to the present moment and shift focus to the Now. Great! YES! We should be living in the Now. That is exactly where we are supposed to be. 

6/26/2017

On Being 40(ish) Balance

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40 is about accepting the blame

One morning when my 8year old was in a heap over the horrid inevitability that he would have to go to school again that day, he spat out, “You don’t do anything right! You promised I could skip school and you’re always lying!” It took me a minute to recover. I most certainly was not always lying but to explain this to him right now wasn’t going to get us any closer to him putting on his shoes. That I never ‘promised’ him he could skip school this particular day, wasn’t a discussion point, either. The facts of what I had said, the truth, was we discussed a time we may be traveling and, like the friends he’s so jealous of who get to miss school because they have a plane to catch, we would likely have that experience one day, too. But that was not what he wanted to hear or what he remembered that foggy, dark morning thirty minutes before the first school bell. 

In that minute I sucked my breath back in to my deflated lungs and took the punch. “One day, yes, we can skip school for a big adventure, but that is not today and here are your socks.” 

Many, and I mean many, people skip this step of 40. Blame continues to live on others’ shoulders. In their eyes, blame is a game of power and he who holds it is the loser.

In the wise words of the famous author, Christina Aguilera, “I’m sorry for blaming you for everything I just couldn’t do, and I’ve hurt myself by hurting you.”  40 is about accepting your roll, your participation, and letting others off the hook. And then? the next big lesson: letting yourself off the hook, too.

40 is about compassion

6/18/2017

On Growing Up A Little Bit Catholic Stories

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We usually sit in the pew in the back of the church. God doesn’t mind if you sit in the back as long as you show up for the part before communion. If you’re late, sit in the back on the right so as to not upset Father Tom. After communion you can take your wafer, genuflect to the God Box, and walk straight out the door because you got your weekly allocated God Nutrition Wafer.  That’s the bit God cares about the most because God is a strict foodie. No, seriously if you read the bible, a large portion of it is what you should or should not eat. (You have to thumb through the parts about the names of people who are related to other people. That was a wedding guest list. Your name isn’t on there. Mine isn’t either, I checked.)

We always leave just after communion. “It’s just the announcements,” Mom explains. Nothing important, nothing that is going to change what God said or how we’re supposed to live our lives. Plus it means we can beat the crowd out of the parking lot.

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My feet don’t touch the floor yet but I get in trouble for putting the kneeling bench down because you’re not supposed to put salt water sandals on it. Or maybe I get in trouble because I can never figure out if the kneeling bar should be down or up and I’m always trying to figure out how the hinges work. There’s an arm on both sides but it doesn’t completely collapse when it’s in the “away” position and it doesn’t completely lay flat in the “down” position. It’s much more interesting than the talk from Father Tom. 

I don’t like to look Father Tom in the eyes when he’s talking on the pulpit. He looks at me and I can feel God’s disappointment. I’m a sinner. I snuck a peanut butter Little Debbie and a scoop of ice-cream when Mom asked me to serve desert last night. I know God is angry at me for this because it was the same confession I had three weeks ago at my last confessional. God doesn’t like it when you don’t learn from your mistakes. It’s not like those Hail Marys get you out of anything. I mean they get you out of hell, but not out of doing it again. That’s what my CES teacher said. 

6/7/2017

Three Weeks Later Parenting

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I don’t know about your children, but mine seem to have a very small memory for some things and an elephant-like memory for others. I look at them and wonder where this comes from but then I remember a conversation I had a few hours ago about something I’d completely forgotten while bitching about something I can’t let go of.

Let’s call this “Human.”

My children are quintessential human. Nobody tells you this when you’re pregnant and having dreams about birthing a taco. 

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They have their own emotions and perceptions and thoughts which are always wrong, and not looking at the bigger picture and so self focused, JEEZE, SERIOUSLY, like humans can be. Like I can be. So I try to empathize.

5/20/2017

Teenage depression, hope, and resources for suicidal ideation Parenting

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Before I go in to a long winded update, here are a few things to know immediately:

For parents: Call 9-1-1 if your teen has a plan for suicide and has a willingness to follow through and will not go with you to the ER. Do not be ashamed. None of the staff will fault you for this, in fact, they will hug you. It's ok. You're not alone. They're not alone. Ok? Ok. Now, I can let you know how our experience is, so long as everyone is safe. 

-------- Update from this post and all your wonderful replies. One week later. --------

Reaching out to The Internet can be a mixed bag. Sometimes you get coal and sometimes you get Ice Cream Sundaes with whipped cream and sprinkles.

Y’all provided some amazing ice cream when we most needed it. I can’t say thank you enough.

5/13/2017

A guide to parenting a suicidal teen Parenting

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When you left the hospital with your first born, you joked about how ridiculous it is they let you take this entire human home as if you have any clue what you’re doing. She seems so fragile compared to every car on the road between the hospital and home and HOW THE HELL LONG IS THIS DRIVE because it wasn’t nearly as long from the house to the hospital before.

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You all struggle to figure each other out. It takes time. There’s a lot of crying. Sometimes it’s even the baby.

Mommy LB 6months

She grows and grows and becomes a spirited human that you marvel at. In many ways she’s stronger than you are. She teaches you about kindness and imagination. She grows and grows and becomes a young woman. In many ways she is braver than you are. She teaches you about friendships and my little pony and anime and how freeing dancing in the car is at stop lights. And then one day it changes.

5/9/2017

The Littlest Birds Sing The Prettiest Songs[1] Parenting

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He slammed against the large window and flew backwards in what I personified as frustration. “How did he get in?” I ask the table of strangers all working near me. “The front door,” a woman answers from the other end. We all laugh. Of course! He took the same way in as the rest of us.

Twenty minutes later I’m standing in the back near the bathroom. The bird flutters between windows, pecking at each and quizzically wondering how to get on the other side. I’m assuming he feels this way, at least. I recognize that feeling.

My own little bird has been feeling trapped. She’s trapped in a system. She came in the front door, like everyone else, and found herself in a box of glass windows made of expectations she didn’t know existed. Her free spirit that was such an asset before is a source of frustration and pain. She doesn’t fit in. She’s not set up for success here. She’s too young to know what options she has or that the world outside isn’t just an extension of this ridiculously cruel joke. She feels powerless to make a change so she slams against the glass window in frustration and backs away hurt and helpless. She’s lost her song and we aren’t sure what or how to help.

I watch as someone opens the back door where the bird is becoming more frantic as he searches for a way out. The lady smiles at me as I acknowledge the simple gesture. We are silent but we know this is the only solution for the increasingly manic bird. 

Earlier this week I sat down with my own bird and opened a door. I gave her a way out, a safe way out, an option or two. When she wanted to run away, I drove her to a new place. I let her flap her wings frantically to show her anger and frustration and then I let her know we would always open a door when she gets stuck. She doesn’t know that as big as her anger and frustration and hate is in her body, her body that can’t contain all this emotion and volatile energy, is equally met by the magnitude of love and space and acceptance that we can open on her behalf. 

5/3/2017

Inside Voice Balance Parenting

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Teachers or parents who work with, or have, pre-schoolers and Kindergartners use the term “Inside Voice.” It’s a vocabulary word you don’t normally hear at a business meeting where other terms like “Synergy" or "Tech Disruption” get tossed out as if they had actual meaning. Nobody ever says, “Let’s use our Inside Voices.” Although I think they probably should.

Parents and Teachers use this word, ironically, loudly in order to tell the child to stop yelling in the store/house/meeting/car/market/coffee shop. “USE YOUR INSIDE VOICE,” I may or may not have been caught yelling at the three year old who was singing Baby Beluga at Top Volume. 

Now that I have a near teenager and near double-digit dude, “Inside Voice” doesn’t come up as often. Sure they might be loud and rambunctious but “Inside Voices” and “Outside Voices” aren’t a thing. Now I can yell, “SHUT THE FUCK UP FOR LIKE TEN MINUTES,” and they will listen and comply immediately. (I’m kidding. I never use the F word with them.)  (I’m kidding again. I don’t know why I’m lying to make friends, y’all already know me.) They just laugh at me if I yell to shut up and continue on. 

I’m the model mother.

Lately, though, “Inside Voice” is taking on a new meaning. In the silent bliss that is the three minutes after the youngest gets on the bus for school and the house is completely silent, I heard myself whisper to nobody at all, “Use your Inside Voice.” I nearly startled myself with this idea, looking around half expecting to find a kindergarten teacher standing over me. “Use your Inside Voice,” I thought again. Interesting.

4/11/2017

Retro Planets Parenting

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Apparently if you're feeling a bit stuck and frustrated, that's to be expected this month. 

There are five planets going "retrograde" this month. To clarify, this is not the same as "Old Skool Grade" which One might think if you have no idea about astrology or even what science calls a planet appearing to go the opposite direction as the rest of the stars, but apparently this is a Big Deal.

As in, to quote a very reliable source, "Wow, I don’t know who pissed off whom, but this April is shaping up to be a real fuck-show."

So, let me right now recursively nerdly tell you I'm sorry to the entire world on everything I say between now and May 3rd because Mercury. 

chmod -R 777 /theWholeWorld/sorryForWhatISayUtilMay3

And while we're here: Other Retro Things

I figured since things are going retro, I'd participate in hopes to not piss off any more Juju / Karma / Gods Of The Sky / etc. Maybe if we keep the Universe entertained enough, shit won't hit the figurative fan. 

4/5/2017

My daughter is my hero ADHD Parenting

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I’ve been getting a lot of calls lately. I answer and hear a sniffing, shaky voice on the other side. It’s barely audible. It’s my daughter, reaching out from her adolescence, searching for some guidance. 

She is my hero.

Her world is beyond her now. Her confident and spontaneous childhood is being replaced by the expectations and uncertainty of puberty, of the public school system, of unspoken rituals. When she feels like she doesn’t know what to do, she calls me from school. Sometimes I don’t know what to do, either, so we breathe together. Sometimes we cry together. She is brave for calling, for being so vulnerable from the science room’s telephone. She is standing alone in the empty classroom, the tile cold and hard below her feet, the room dim from missing lights and the emptiness of first lunch, and she stands there holding the phone with two hands, alone, but not alone.

She is my hero.

When she is at home she is still our Lolo, the one who stormed in to our lives like a tornado, making everything fresh and new and uncertain. She’s the same girl who creates worlds and characters and imagery. She still leans in to her dad when we watch Dr. Who, still dances with me in the front of the car while I ferry us around, doing our best arm motions and head bobbing to the music.  She still plays with her brother, a small if decreasing portion of the day, where they coordinate minecraft tools and build houses across the street from each other.