Friday, June 27, 2008

Movements

Why do all hotel air conditioners sound like a 57 Chevy from your Grandpa's garage? Random thought from this tired Mama's brain.

This post will be short. It's length crushed by only 2 hours of sleep. At 4:30 a.m. I took it as a sign from God that I should stop packing when I ran out of boxes.

I, my babies, and sick husband (yes, he dared to get a serious chest cold right in the middle of moving!) are relocating to another state. It's not just another state. It's another life.

For weeks now I have kvetched over all the details of the Movement (it's capitalized because I'm tired and it's really, really hard to move with two kids!). I have wrung my hands in maternal consternation at how I would ensure my nearly 5 year old and 11 month old could make the Movement (for the other 'movements' try popcorn and/or raisins....works everytime...but I digress). I bought a Movement planner with tabs duly noted with the myriad of informational bits I simply had to capture or they would be forever lost in the Movement ethersphere!

Now, the Movement has finshed Phase I: Packing. The truck is full, as is my Tiger Woods Suv. The apartment is wrecked, appearing more like the aftermath of a MegaDeath concert than a place once resided in by a loving family. My husband, whose own Movement is slightly delayed by work for another week, will have the envious task of cleaning the place. It's his turn anyway.

Phase I largely escaped my children. The baby liked to chew on the errant strand o' packing tape sticking out of a box. The 5 year old planned where he would like to live. "In a town, Mommy, with stores and a Starbucks!" They remained placidly oblivious to the chaos of the Movement around them. So did my husband, but that's for another blog.

So here I sit in the hotel room, 1/3 of the journey complete, wrung out and feeling flattened by the steamroller of the Movement. The children remain oblivious. They are only experiencing the joy of being completely catered to by their NaNa.

I wonder where this Movement will take me in my mothering? I don't know. I...really...don't know. Surprisingly, not knowing is okay.

I know for certain where the Movement will take me in just 1 minute....to sleep.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Happy Day

At Jazzercise class this morning, sweating, tripping and making peace with my inner 'spaz', a bubbly gummy pop song was playing. Part of the lyrics dealt with a 'happy day'. The instructor, the one who growls at us and doesn't hesitate to share her penchant for K.D. Lang and country music, told us to think of our happy day because most days aren't.

Without hesitation my happy day came to mind. It took place in a dimly lit delivery room. The weird windows faced not outside but to a faux courtyard in the middle of the hospital. It was midday and I had just given birth to my second son.

It was quiet. Ron was out calling friends and family, exiting the room with a combination of, "You should see him he's so small!" or "She was so tough. She only took seven minutes to get him out!". The nurses had taken my tiny bundle to the nursery to get a bath and get checked out. I lay, legs numbed by the epidural, in a semi-conscious state. I felt the fatigue of a marathon runner, as I had labored through the night. I felt the confidence from his latching on immediately after birth, slick, small and beautiful. I felt hungry, when would that darn lunch tray be delivered? I felt peace.

To have this be my happy day snuck up on my heart and psyche. I have only recently emerged from the grip of post-partum depression. The only vestiges remaining are the bottle of Lexapro and a mental-healthier commitment. My mothering has, of late, been so intertwined with pain, guilt and regret. Only recently have I truly learned to experience the joy of my children. As if the smoke from the fires of depression only sunk in on the surface, to be aired out by my babies belly laughs and my own smiles.

I almost wept in the middle of the stinky, sweaty exercise class. I wanted to cry because without my knowing it, in the midst of the sadness I had my happy day.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

PPD Chronicles: The Next Step

It's Father's Day 2008...or nearly that. I am pondering next steps. Next steps in my life, career and faith.

It's been almost a year since my son was born. A year of opposites. I was thrilled to have an easy delivery (easy meaning I labored as long as I wanted then blessedly welcomed an epidural!). He nursed easily and quickly in the delivery room. He slept. I felt amazing, ready to go home the first day, yet staying to enjoy the quiet.

Shortly, the PPD gorilla moved in. He snuck in the back door behind my Super Mother facade. My naivete at believing "I did this once, surely I could do this again!" quickly was shattered. The demands of a 4 year old, a newborn, work and life reduced me to a weepy, screaming, unwashed mess. The gorilla spent much of his time reminding me of my failures, what could go wrong and what a terrible mother I was. (See previous PPD Chronicles Chapters)

I got help. I got to praying. I got better. Slowly, I learned to ignore the gorilla. I have learned the echoes of his recriminating shrieks are only hormones or stress or too much sugar. This hard won peace isn't going anywhere.

If it does, I know to start back to group and therapy. I know I will not stop my medicine for at least 3 more months and only if I don't need it anymore. If I need it, for awhile, for forever, so be it.

I am thinking about next steps. I am standing at the base of a very tall and winding staircase. The staircase leads to my future. On one landing is the opportunity to do a job in a very different field with shifting boundaries and huge potential. On another is the security of continuing to work in youth development. I took the stairs less stepped upon. The Gorilla took the opportunity to stand on the safe stairs howling. "Remember when your car was repo'd? You can't afford to change your career now!" I can and I did.

On the next landing is a commitment to mental, spiritual, and physical health. On the other is the continuance of ignoring self to serve everyone, except self. "Therapy is a self indulgence," the Gorilla whispers as I ponder which tread to put my foot, "Taking medication is a crutch. Can't you just pray yourself better? And let's not talk about the number of oreos you've consumed or cokes you've knocked back." I shake him off. I have a ways to go in the diet department. I know that. I get it. So Oprah, back off, I'll live my best life in a little while. As far as my mental and spiritual health is concerned, I've tasted freedom and wholeness. I have learned what it is like to laugh and feel the joy seep into your heart. I have learned the cleansing of tears as liquid prayer. I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good. With a deep breath, I step towards the commitment to me.

I see other landings above me. They are a school for my son and a neighborhood in which to raise him and his brother. I can't see much further than that and somehow, someway, it's okay.

I kick the gorilla in the face and send him tumbling back down the stairs. He claws and tries to climb back up and finds the steps have turned into a ramp. I watch as he slides further and further out of sight. "Who do you think you are?" he howls, "You need me. You know me. I am you."

Not today. Not anymore. Not again. Who do I think I am? I don't know. But I am willing to take the next step to find out.
There was an error in this gadget