Monday, April 22, 2013

Leading in Love

I have this biography of the real life of Laura Ingalls Wilder that I'm reading for the 3rd time (I always like to read it when I'm reading her series to the kids, to sort out the real history v. her editing of her books.). 

There is a sense that Pa and Ma really and truly loved each other and modeled that love to their daughters so well, that it gives me hope for my own marriage. It's a timeless kind of marital love that, I imagine if you actually feel it, your marriage will last forever, summed up in this excerpt: 

"...The wagon rolled on and on, day after day, eastward. Ma's arms grew tired holding baby Freddie. Yet Laura remembered that in the mornings of this journey, Ma carefully combed out the girl's hair. Wherever Ma followed Pa, Ma's virtues followed her. Nice girls had their hair combed in the morning, she would say. Pa's eyes just followed the road, on and on. It was a curious thing about Ma and Pa. MA DID FOLLOW PA WHEREVER HE WENT, BUT PA NEVER WENT ANYWHERE THAT MA WOULDN'T FOLLOW..." 

I feel like Butch and I work like that. He respects my opinion and knows me enough to know that the path that he chooses will be one that I will always be willing to go along with him. 

We will celebrate 20 years of Marriage in July. :)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Comin' Around Again

I get to squish and hug my baby. I do it a lot. Several times a day. I am reluctant to set her down and I lie to everyone and say "She NEEDS me so much." like I'm complaining.

Fact is: I need her. I need her and am using her and putting all my physical love on her like every mother should do for her little baby but maybe just a little more than I'm supposed to. It's a very good thing for her psyche that she's the 8th child in this house because I'm quite certain I would let her sleep right on my chest every time she needed a nap, if I could. Lately it's been a lot worse (or better?) with the hugging and snuggling thing. I rip her off of me when I go to lay her down because I know she'll cry a little bit before she goes to sleep. I HAVE to force her away from me or I'll just glue her to me and carry her around all day long and kill my back because it's a disease I have called "I'mgettingolderandmaynothaveanymorebabiesitis".

For the first time, I've been truly thinking about what it would be like if I did not have any more babies.

I have to say that I do not like that thought even one little bit.

It's not that I'm some kind of baby addict or that I REALLY DESIRE another baby right now...actually, another baby right now or even in a couple of years from now and the thought of all that comes WITH that baby totally exhausts me. It's just that, in those sweet moments where she clings to me like a monkey and I wrestle with the thought of letting her go v. holding on for dear life so she won't get a nap and won't learn to sleep or do anything ever on her own, I REALLY STOP AND THINK about "what if this is my last baby" and I struggle more each time.

She is the first baby that I am having a hard time with helping her act her age (whatever that means). I am not marking time by little things that she's learning or what she "should" be doing at a certain age or even taking note of what she IS doing at her current age. I am feeling so discombobulated about what a "baby" is and when they cross that threshold from "baby" to "toddler". I'm confused about how old she she 10 months? 11? When IS her 1st birthday? She's just a BABY!!!

I am usually marking that moment with SUCH relief. I am usually RUSHING to that moment because I usually absolutely can't STAND the baby phase! I tolerate it, think it's cute, but, for the most part, I really just like the toddler phase so much better and age 4 is the pinnacle of those years! Four is the best. I maintain that four rocks and always will...but with this little girl...

I was holding her for her evening nap today, and really just wanted to bring her downstairs, kick everyone out of the living room and just rest with her on my shoulder until she woke up but that was not a very practical thing to do. She needs to sleep in her own bed, where it's peaceful and quiet and comfortable for her and where she can go when I may not be home and she won't suffer from being away from me so much. I could afford the time to give in to the oldest child's separation anxiety, but not so much with the 8th one! Katrina was much less needy (maybe because I DID give in to the anxiety in the baby/toddler phase and just hung around her because I could?) as she grew and was probably a little more independent than most children/teens.

Today, I held my baby and, thinking of the mom who won't get to hold her little boy anymore after today, I couldn't let go. Every time I leaned forward to put her in her bed, she'd whimper and cling to me a little more, even as her eyes drooped shut. After about 10 minutes, I couldn't stand it anymore and couldn't make her suffer any more so I peeled her off of me and laid her down (of course, she started crying but stopped just a minute later), said "have a good rest" and left the room, crying harder than she ever could.

I get to hold my sweet, soft, slightly stinky and flaky skinned little girl.
Somewhere, some mom is trying to hold on to her sanity as she can't hold her sweet little baby anymore.

I get to have the comfort of my husband in my home to be my rock and my helper and my children's loving father.
Somewhere, some mom is lonely and scared and trying to be tough for her kids' sake but just needs a husband near to comfort her and be her solid ground and not be the cause of her fear and instability.

I get to watch my teenagers grow and laugh and be super funny and fight and make up and learn.
Somewhere, some mom is desperately trying to hold her family together but failing because of mental illness and the strife that comes from no family support and teenagers who are too far away to reach anymore.

I get to call my sisters and have them call me and rely on them for everything and do stuff for them because I love them so much and know that they don't have to do anything in return but they do.
Somewhere, someone is missing their sister and can't call her or have a ladies' night with her anymore and just aches to be able to giggle with her ONE MORE TIME.

I get to worry if this will be my last baby and get to hold her and snuggle her for as long as I want.
Somewhere, some want-to-be mom is in despair because she is physically able, but it's not possible to have her own baby without violating her morals.

Somewhere, someone is worried about their 13 and a half year old child and how to handle the teen years. They have memories of the time that child was born and grew and started to walk, talk, play with siblings and friends, develop talents and show love and humor.
I get to go to my grandma's grave and think about the babies that we lost and never got to really know. I have to wonder and question God and try to fit all of this into my small little brain and try to figure out what it all means and finally, in utter exhaustion and grief, just give it up to Him for a while because I'm too tired to even deal with it anymore.

I am coming out of my hidey hole a lot faster this time because of something someone very wise told me about.

When, in a weak moment, I confessed that I didn't even know if I believed in God, she paused and then asked me: "Was there ever a time in your life that you REALLY FELT GOD. That you KNEW He was there and was REAL?"

Yes. There were about three times in my life that I really and truly FELT God. Bizarre moments that sustained me for a while at the time, but were easily forgotten when the bad times come (because the bad times are so very very bad).

So, she told me that maybe I had to actually exercise my faith (my explanation of what she was asking me to do) by reaching back in my memory and holding on to those moments and actively believing in can see where this is going. :) She said that someone told her about "Fake it until you Make it." method of getting through depression and sad times.

That's what I've been doing these days. In between some of my zombie modes and my not-too-proud-of-myself modes, I've been reaching back there in my memory and trying to hold on to the few moments where I may have seen His face and trying to find Hope again.

I don't know if I'm going to be successful because it sure seems like there are a lot of very devastating things to face in the year 2013. I see portents of terrible things to come, everywhere I look. It's very easy to let the waves crash over me and just eventually drown but something keeps me swimming for the surface (I'm not proud to say that the "something" is usually ANGER) and I'm going to have to just go with it until some other, more virtuous motivation helps me up onto the beach.

Meanwhile, here's my happy thought picture for today. They were not dressed or fixed up for a pretty picture but it was a moment that was real. Veronika came up to Cecilia and kept letting Celia steal her pacifier to chew on it. Celia doesn't know that nuks are for sucking and that chewing on it might wreck the thing. She only knows that it feels good on her gums and emerging teeth so they played a game with it. Veronika laughed her head off, like she usually does, because she's feisty but not so uptight that she doesn't enjoy a good game with her baby cousin.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Off Kilter and Off the Grid

I wish, some days, that I could just fly to Galt's Gulch (which, according to that link, sort of actually exists? Weird) and just live free and easy with nobody wanting anything from me and me not wanting for anything except what I can earn by the work of my hands and trade. Some days, I wish I didn't even have the responsibility of faith (Like Ayn) and could just be a godless person who didn't have to apologize for who I am and what my thoughts are, no matter how messed up.

It's like I like the IDEA of faith but I'm not particularly feeling it right now and don't really want to. I'm looking in from the outside and I think that's a bad thing but I find myself not really wanting to care. I need a time out...and probably prayers for protection, or maybe not, since I probably deserve everything I could get from That Guy.. I'm going to go rogue for a while and pretend I'm talking to myself (I probably am, to tell the truth. Who reads blogs anymore? I don't.).

I'm going off that social networking site for a while, just to see if it helps me like people better. I don't particularly like the way I've been acting towards my fellow man lately...well, for the past few years, actually. Since I am coming off of a crap winter and not able to do much at all except hold and feed a baby and keep the other kids from killing each other, I suppose all of these feelings are explainable.

Nobody (especially me) likes a whiner.

To help myself feel human, I'm going to insert a picture in all of these blog posts. How about this?
She currently has blowout diapers and egg burps louder and stinkier than an old man's.  It's a super good thing she's so  goofy/cute.

So, here I am, wishing I could be a godless person with no conscience so I didn't have to put up with my first world problems of the day. That's so sick and pitiful. I would slap me if I were one of my friends. No, I would punch me in the face and then wrestle me to the ground and then smack me across the face a couple more times and then bash in all of my teeth and then maybe give me some hard drugs while I am getting all my teeth fixed or something.  

The good things and gifts I am well aware of are not enough to overcome the bad things. I'm talking about all of the bad and sick things in the world that kill a part of my soul every time I hear or see or click on a news article about it. I just can't pull out of the reality of that stuff. There is just such deprivation and sickness out there. It's not like I'm talking about North Korea or something, it's everywhere, in our own neighborhoods and everything. 

I'm going to the gulch.

I'm gonna go and pan for gold and make it into a pretty set of earrings to give to my stinky baby. I'm going to teach my kids how to grow things to sell so they can get other things and help build our cabin on the side of the mountain, near the stream where the fresh water flows so clear you can drink from it and the fish practically jump onto your hook. 

I'm checking out because I don't have energy or spirit for the fight anymore. I'm a coward and a meanie and a bum. 

I like blogging. I remember what it was like to write and accept people's glowing agreement and adulation in the comments but I'm just going to shut down comments and write for my own damned self for a while. Fair warning.