Pondering is Dangerous- Just Watch TV!

I am contemplating my spirituality toady. Well, I have been a lot lately, not just today. As a thinking person, who walks upright and has a large brain (uh-huh, go ahead and laugh), I feel I am required to think and contemplate things. It’s like I am obligated to do so; it’s my duty. And as a relative newcomer to having faith in anything, I still wrestle daily, sometimes hourly, with what I feel and believe.

It amazes me when people can profess to KNOW something regarding the nature or spirit of God. Oh, I know, I belong to an organized church, and it is a church that relies heavily on personal testimonies, and I think it’s the best organized church out there. But I don’t know anything. I hope. I want. I believe. But do I know? No.

Maybe this is why I am still wrestling. Maybe this is why spiritual quiet and peace eludes me. But isn’t the very nature of God impossible to know? Isn’t faith required, and faith, by it’s very definition, is belief in something that is unknowable or provable? One of my favorite scriptures keeps coming to mind:

“…Doubt not but be believing, and begin as in times of old to come unto the Lord with all your heart and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him”
(Italics are my own) Mormon 9:27
So is my unquiet spirit because of my doubt? It is simply not possible for me to set aside my own reasoning and agency and adopt another person’s truths as my own. I NEED to know for myself- I cannot drink from another’s’ cup (or borrow oil for my lamp) and call it my own. And it doesn’t matter how many tears are shed as someone bears their own witness of God, if I don’t feel it myself, it’s not real to me. What is required of me is to do exactly as the scripture states- go to the Lord and work it out for myself.
This is not a neat or tidy process. Discovery is messy. Books must be cracked, dust blown off things long forgotten, inventories must be made, some wrong paths will be taken, and some mistakes will inevitably be made. But here is what I DO have faith in: God is real. The atonement is far more vast and encompassing than we can even fathom while we live here on the earth. That the “warm fuzzies” that people associate with God and Christ are only one facet of how and what they communicate to us- and that heavy, mysterious, frightening and dangerous things are also of God. How could it be any other way? It would be like cooking only with sugar, because you like sweetness, while ignoring the salty, sour, bitter, sharp, complex richness that is achievable to a cook who knows her stuff.
Sigh.
This is what a mama thinks about when her two-year-old decides to take his first nap in 4 days. Sometimes I wish I liked soap operas!

Zzzzzz

Eric has decided he no longer takes naps. This is not a popular decision in our house, but there doesn’t seem to be anything I can do about it. I guess I should be happy, since he is 2 1/2, and Jeffrey stopped napping at 18 months, but I had so come to depend on that block of time in the afternoon when I would be alone.

And, oh, how lovely the evenings are now! My about 5 pm, he is a rolling mess. Everything upsets his world, and his shreiks begin to border on the dog-hearing threshold, dinner is a lovely mess and am ready to duct tape his little self in bed. The good news? He doesn’t last past 6:30, and once in bed, he is out in under two seconds. And then he sleeps for twelve hours straight.

So, like all things with motherhood, it is a finely honed double-edge- bye bye afternoon respite, hello quiet time in the evenings. At least for a few more weeks, then I can just kiss sleep goodbye again. Sigh.

Looking on the Brighter Side…

When I woke up this morning, after luxuriously sleeping late courtesy of my darling husband, all the boys were playing “restaurant”, with dad fixing the play wooden food and the boys running around the table pretending to eat the food. It was wonderfully sweet to lay in bed listening to my children laugh and play with their father.

We played hookie from Church today. Not to make excuses, but DFM has been working late hours and Saturday’s- the boys saw him all of about 3 hours this week, and we needed a day at home with just us and not pressure to do anything. So we took it- and I refuse to feel bad!

This week I see my doctor again, (not the mean, horrible RNP) and I am going to get over this nausea thing. Even hearing myself whine about it is getting old- time to do something. The baby has been kicking the daylights out of me, and I love to watch my stomach bump and bounce as she does her somersaults each evening. Twelve weeks to go…

Uncle Freddy in coming for a visit tomorrow, and we are celebrating his birthday for Family Night. His birthday isn’t really until Friday, but he won’t be here then, so tomorrow it is. Jeffrey is thrilled to make cupcakes- gee, I wonder why? How many 41 year-olds get cupcakes for their birthday? It ought to be fun- plus, he requested pot-roast and pearl onions for dinner. Is there any easier dinner to make than pot roast? Crock pot city, I won’t even have to do anything. I’m not sure about the pearl onions, since I have never made those before, but how hard can it be?

I’m going to take the Wiz’s advice on maternity clothes and get myself something new- my mom has been trying to burn my maternity dresses since I had Jeffrey. Maybe, just this once, my mom is right!

Is this what it feels like?

Depression is not something I have much experience with- other than the blues a few days after a baby is born, I can’t think of a time where I couldn’t just snap myself out of it. Don’t get me wrong, I know depression is real; I’m not one of those quacks who thinks you can take vitamins or yell at someone to pull-themselves-up-by-their-bootstraps-ya-wimp. That’s just wrong.

But I think I might actually be depressed. I say “think” because I am really not sure- it’s not like after a baby is born and you cry while you are doing the dishes or taking a shower… It’s more like a morose, lack of luster, why bother, just let me put the same tent-dress on again, feeling. Reasoning tells me that the icky January whether might be playing a part, the fact that I haven’t been to see my family since August, being stuck inside all day with a two and four year old, and the constant, unending barfing, indigestion, nausea and changing of clothes… Sheesh, that’s making me feel worse!

I can’t stand pants on my belly right now, so I have been wearing dresses lately- dresses I made. Oh, yeah. They are as pretty as you are thinking, too (They don’t leave the house). Today, I threw up three times while trying to do the dishes, and then gave up and covered the entire sink with a bath towel so I wouldn’t have to look at it or (worse) smell them. DFM came home, looked around and started laughing. He is doing the dishes as I type- what a good man. Irritable Mama is making irritable kids, too. My poor guys- I feel so bad for how much they see me sick, and wonder how this is all affecting them.

Because of my doctor’s orders, I can’t carry laundry baskets, I can’t take out the garbage, I can’t move boxes of stuff around to organize, I can’t paint the baby’s room, or set up the crib- all of these things I have to wait for the dear, tired, overworked husband to come home to. Somedays I just feel like Jabba the Hutt, unable to get up or move myself, on a platform that just slides to the bathroom and back to the couch again.

So, is this what it feels like? Because if it is, and they offered me a pill that would make me a happy, smiling, even-keeled rock, I might chew my arm off trying to get them.

New Recorded Lows

A new mothering low was recorded yesterday, when Jeffrey announced to his pre-school class that his mom pee’s her pants because of barfing with a baby in her tummy. Yes, he did.

Why does my four year old know such things? Well, I am asking myself that very question- and wondering why I can’t, just once, go to the bathroom alone. Really, these are two separate issues, because no mom gets to be in the bathroom alone, once her kids are mobile, ever. The kids have discovered the Costco-pack of Always individually wrapped pads, and they have been playing with them- of course I yell for them to leave them alone, of course I keep them in the cupboard, and of course I am sitting on the potty and they don’t listen to me at all. Jeffrey thinks they are little pillows for his Transformers, and Eric wants to play with anything Jeff has. I move them, I hide them, I put them up high- it doesn’t matter. As soon as they hear that bathroom door click, they come running.

Jeffrey has asked me repeatedly what they are, and I just keep telling him they are mamma’s and to leave them alone. Mr Inquisitor can’t just be ok with that, and continues to probe. But WHY mom? He opened one, and more questions ensued. Figuring, foolishly, that honesty might be the best policy, I told him that they were for mom’s who were pregnant and throw up a lot, because sometimes a little pee comes out because the baby takes up all the room in my tummy. WHAT WAS I THINKING??

So, now, the very last shred of dignity I had is gone. I have nothing left, really. The bottom of the motherhood dignity barrel has been achieved, folks. I hope at least someone, somewhere gets a laugh out of my humiliation… Thanks for coming, goodnite.

Rant: Polite Drivers

Warning: Not nice. I hate ‘polite” drivers. Yes, you read that right- there’s little worse to me when I am piloting my mama-mobile around town than a person who stops, dead stops, in the middle of traffic, to let some ding-a-ling through, in or across the road. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a road-rage beastie, and I believe in being courteous to others sharing the road- especially cyclists. But that isn’t what my Rant is about.

The Polite People I am talking about are the ones who, despite heavy traffic and many cars flowing around them, STOP to let someone turn onto the street. They disregard the natural flow of traffic, the law, the 29 cars behind them that are also trying to navigate and make an appointment or get home, and create an unimpeded segue for one (ONE!) vehicle. Nevermind that the people behind them just had to slam on their brakes, almost getting rear-ended in the process, chain-reacting with the 28 other cars behind them… No, PP only care about that intimate, sharing moment that comes when the car they are letting though gives that little abashed ‘wave’ of thanks- and then the PP feel like their good deed is done for the day, completely oblivious to the smoking pile-up of twisted steel in their wake.

Today I almost got out and thrashed a woman for doing exactly this. From the center lane, on a very busy, main arterial here in my town, she slammed on her brakes with no warning, because there was a person standing on the curb. There were FOUR other lanes, plus a turn-lane, that were still briskly moving, but she STOPPED and flagged the person to cross. Oh, and there was no signal or crosswalk where she stopped, either. Should the pedestrian have jumped out, sans crosswalk or right-of-way, into the other lanes, despite the cars racing by? Evidently, because even after the ped waved for her to continue, she waved back, as if having a pissing contest of niceness. Meanwhile, I am directly behind her, and cannot move- cars are peeling out behind me, to pass. I can see people slamming their brakes and fish-tailing, to keep from hitting the unexpectedly stopped person in front on them- ME!

I must have looked like a maniac, yelling silently from behind my rolled-up windows. The girl on the curb was looking at me, and smiling. So, dear PP, next time your ego needs that little wave of gratitude to get through the day, just look in your rear-view: the sight you see, if it’s me, will shrivel up your self-congratulatory ego-bubble faster than a flame to the Hindenburg.

My Uncle Freddy

If you have ever been shopping on Main Street in Disneyland, you have probably seen my Uncle Freddy. There is a clock shop right next to the Emporium on the same side of the street as City Hall, and he sits in the front window of the shop, drawing custom wrist watches for guests. In the interest of full disclosure, his name is not really Freddy, nor is he really my uncle, but sometimes “chosen family” is closer and more beloved than your blood family. Couldn’t be truer with Uncle Freddy- as we call him.

My family first met Freddy over 20 years ago, in Disneyland, on one of countless trips. We are from northern California, over 6 hours from The Park, but before my youngest brother was 2, he had been to Disneyland more than 30 times- really. I don’t even know how many times I have been – the best way to show what a Disneyland nut-case my mom is, is to simply tell you that she has a bronze statue of Walt Disney holding Mickey Mouse’s hand- in her living room. You get the picture?

So we were staked out in one of our favorite parade-watching spots, where you get the best vantages and the least crowds- I can’t tell you where that is or I will be killed- when we met Freddy. My youngest brother was a toddler, and he’s now applying to be a high-school history teacher, so about that long ago. Freddy was working the parade route, wearing the fantastic polyester uniforms that only Disneyland can come up with. He ended up sitting with us and telling us all kinds of behind-the-scenes goodies- which made my mom worship him. We found him on repeat trips, and struck up a friendship… He must have thought we were certifiable- this large gaggle of people from far away, always hunting him down.

Over the years, he has stopped working attractions and landed the plum job of artist in the Clock shop, and has another part-time job that allows him to travel quite a bit. And, over the years, we have each developed our own friendship with Freddy. He maintains contact not only with my mom, my brothers, and myself, but also with my aunt and cousin too. He has been at all of our weddings, come up for special occasions, and shared family times and trials, and allowed us into his life as well.

Since I moved away from my family, I have had assorted visitors and houseguests, and I am always delighted when family shows up, but no one has been as frequent a face in our home as Freddy. My kids adore him, and nothing is funnier than seeing my burly husband singing show-tunes with Freddy as they work on a Lego structure for Jeffrey… Our hearts and minds have been opened by this unexpected and treasured member of our family- And I just wanted you all to know, sometimes “Family” comes in unexpected packages- open them with delight