September 29, 2013

random thoughts: the scents of motherhood

I think the two most wonderful smells in the world are my son's head and crayons.

date night and the mom over 40

Date night started early yesterday at 3:00. My mom took on the gracious task of caring for our active, slightly-sick-with-a-cold toddler while we delivered a meal to friends with a newborn and went out to an early dinner.

How early? 5:00. Yeah, we're that couple now. The one who does everything ridiculously early because we loathe the idea of staying up late because the kiddo will never ever sleep in.

I got a table at a hot new restaurant (in a local rag's top 25 list) in a hot neighborhood that focuses on pork and does all of its production in-house. I'm talking sausage, brisket, belly - the works - with a dedication to local and sustainable food. In other words, trendy but a trend I love because it usually results in beautiful food.

We managed to take two hours over dinner - a rare treat on many levels. Near the end, I couldn't help noticing the swarm of yuppies surrounding us (partly loathing the Coach bag at one table, partly admiring the glossy hair and obviously expensive shoes at another). I thought it was pretty funny, all of the showmanship, but I caught myself being judgmental and stopped. Who am I to judge someone because they are young and have more disposable income than me? Why should I care if a guy looks like he spent three times as much on his casual outfit than he'll spend on an expensive dinner for two? I remembered that money doesn't equal happiness. So there's that.

Then there was the young man's hair two tables from us. I'm talking Brillo wig for a beard paired with a hairdo somewhere between Flock of Seagulls and that famous boxing announcer. It was ready to take off! I couldn't help giggling myself silly.

Having left the restaurant around 7:00, we wondered what to do with ourselves. Ice cream down the street? WAY too crowded (who wants to stand in line for an hour for a scoop?). Movie? Eh, too late to start that. We decided to have a beer at a local brewery, and drove over there to find they were about to close. We headed home just before 8:00 and called the evening a success (mostly a night is a success if we get home after our son has gone to bed). I mean, I just can't justify staying out just to prove that I can when I could be on my couch watching my nice TV in my favorite comfy clothes.

September 23, 2013

random thoughts: stayin alive

At times like this, when my son is taking a long nap, I feel the need to be "productive." But really, being productive on days when I take care of him by myself from dawn to bedtime means keeping him alive (even if it requires propping myself up with caffeine and cookies - a sacrifice I'm willing to make, or so my jeans would tell me).

rise and shine

My son didn't sleep so well last night. In fact, we took turns coaxing him back to sleep 3 times, and even then we'd hear him blabbing to himself. Did he sleep in this morning? Hell no. 7:00 found me bewildered at the sound of him chattering in his crib. Apparently he was hungry, as he drank his milk faster than I've ever seen him, and he's been harassing me for the past half hour as I prepare some oatmeal. My work is cut out for me today.

All I could think as I poured my second cup of coffee was "This is a test of the emergency mommy system."

In divine irony, today's devotional topic in my inbox is A Word for the Weary. "The Sovereign LORD has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed." Isaiah 50:4 (NIV)

I'm ready for whatever you want to teach me, Lord.

September 18, 2013

random thoughts: saving on groceries

Want to save 1/3 or more on your groceries? Do what I finally started doing -- don't buy it until you actually run out of it at home. Revolutionary, I know. You're welcome.

will you have any more kids?

I hate getting asked this. It makes me uncomfortable. And yet, whenever I'm in the company of another mother we compare how many kids each of us has and one of us is bound to ask this. Heck, I've asked it myself when it seemed appropriate (then again, how would I gauge that?).

With a bit of hesitation, I said no. We're one and done.

She seemed slightly disappointed for my sake and gently asked why. I told her - I'm 44 and am already tired and overwhelmed, blah blah... her eyes got as big as saucers and she told me she never would have guessed. I smiled and said thank you (and seriously meant it).

Every time I say no, I feel a little sad.

We both feel like we should have two kids, but I couldn't tell you where this is really coming from. Maybe it's the fact that we both have siblings (never mind the fact that we all live separate lives two states away, making real relationships all but impossible). Maybe it's because that's more common than having one (and gee, we do want to be normal don't we?).

Last night we talked about this briefly, discussing how to build relationships with lots of friends and wanting to create the best possible childhood for the boy. Off the cuff, I realized the irony and said "I think the worst thing we can do as parents is somehow make our son feel like he isn't enough."

Ouch. Even as the words came out, it stabbed my own heart.

Occasionally I play the math game: If I conceived by Christmas, oh I'd be 45 when she's born (why do I think it'd be a girl?) and ohmygoodness that sounds so old. Then again, others have done it and lived to tell the tale. Then again, I feel incapable of being a full-time SAHM as it is to one child. I'd lose my mind, not to mention what's left of my figure, forever and I'd have two teenagers when I'm in the throes of menopause. Then again...

Ugh. We'd better be committed to whatever we decide, even if we decide that deciding is too hard.

September 11, 2013

is the journey still worth talking about?

Since I was laid off from what I saw as the Most Perfect Gig Ever, I have endured the range of emotions that come with it, looked at myself from different and new angles, pondered various employment options, thrown in the towel and pouted, and searched endlessly for the Next Most Perfect Gig Ever.

I think maybe it's not out there.

Instead, my daily life has become a series of small actions and decisions that happen in such rapid succession that I have little time to ponder the bigger ones. Who has time to think about a career when you're soothing away toddler tantrums, wiping yogurt off the floor, and trying to decide what might make a good dinner today and tomorrow and next week?

I haven't blogged much since the layoff, mostly because I don't have the opportunity to gather my thoughts long enough to type them out. I think about things that would make great blog subjects, though. Like the lesson we learned recently of how, even on vacation, we absolutely cannot share a bedroom with our son anymore (we wake each other up and the boy gets up too early for the day). Or the time I asked for prayer in church, and the young woman who prayed for me told me she had a picture of Jesus beaming with joy at me - letting me know that He is very happy with me (which made me cry with relief immediately, knowing that even though I feel like I'm constantly failing and falling apart, the Lord is happy with me -- and if He is happy with me, I feel far less pressured and far more successful). Or how thrilled I am to start going to MOPS meetings today, a grassroots support/sharing group (I seriously am).

But so often, I feel like my potential posts are just rants. Complaining about how tired I am. Wondering if I'll ever work full time again or if I can actually succeed as an independent writer. Musing about the book I'd like to write if I ever decide to implement the discipline. Whining about how overweight and unattractive I feel. Lamenting the fact that I can't keep up with my fave blogs because I can't remember the name of the Web-based feed reader I was using before I lost my job.

What's so interesting about that?

I'm considering hanging it up. Maybe I've said all I need to say about how hard this journey is and how wonderfully blessed I am to be on it. I dunno.