We got here somehow

standard February 7, 2012 Leave a response

The last three weekends have been a blur of packing tape, cardboard boxes, and trash bags. Progress was slow the first two weekends, but this weekend the shelves are finally starting to look bare. And yet, everywhere I look there are more books, more toys, more things that need to be packed up.

It’s never ending.

This isn’t my first move. It’s not even my first move with M. And yet, it’s like I’ve never done this before.

I don’t remember vetting movers in the past. Did I really just call one company? And who were they? I mean, we didn’t have much when we moved into this house, but we sure didn’t move it ourselves. Or did we?

And what about all this stuff? Do I really have to box it all?

How do you move what’s in the fridge?

Why do we have not one, not two, but three Candy Land games? 

Why is there packing tape on the bookshelf?

How do we figure out how big the new rooms are so we can figure out what furniture goes where?

Where do I stack boxes when I run out of space in the hallway?

WHY, why are there so many books? 

If only one of us can carry anything, how am I supposed to deliver the TV I promised to a friend?

What am I going to do with the bunk beds and changing table we no longer need?

Who’s going to deliver all these unwanted books to the public library?

The questions are as endless as the stuff.

I have no doubt that we’re going to figure it all out. I have even less doubt that it will entail more than a few trips back and forth in the car, even after hiring professional movers.

What is questionable is whether I’ll make it through with the rest of my sanity intact. But that’s OK; our new home is a haven of tranquility and I’m getting to be a pro at ignoring the chaos of living among boxes.

Finding Peace in the Storm

standard August 10, 2011 9 responses

I left for BlogHer with trepidation in my heart. My usual childcare provider was on vacation and I wasn’t 100% comfortable with the back-up care I secured for Little L. She turned 4 on Monday and since that was the cut-off for camp… off to camp she went for the week.

To give both girls a break from the long camp days I arranged for our favorite sitter to come spend Thursday with them. Even so, I was sure I’d get a call pertaining to Little L on Friday.

Instead I got a call about C, on Thursday morning. Fever. Cold. Cough.

Ack.

Fever on Thursday means no camp on Friday, and I had no back-up. None.

I walked into the Women Create Media conference in a complete and utter tizzy. I texted all my close mom friends. I posted to my mother’s group secret Facebook page. I emailed anyone I could think of.

“I need a sitter. Any sitter. She needs to be free from 7:30am to 5pm tomorrow. Please. I’m begging.”

I hate asking for help, but I hate being in this limbo state even more.

I was eight hours away, my kid was sick, and there was nothing I could do about it.

To say that I had trouble concentrating is putting it lightly. I jumped at every text and facebook update. I obsessively checked my phone for emails. I racked my brain for names, people, anyone I could call.

After lunch the first and only nibble came through.

“I can’t do it, but my almost 14yo daughter can.”

Queue a whole new set of obsessive thoughts. I’d let a 13yo babysit my kids any evening. Evenings are easy. But could she handle a full day? Could she handle C with a fever? Could she handle it if Little L came down with the bug?

I waited another 30 minutes and finally called her mom. We talked. Realized that we know each other. Realized that she knows my girls. She promised she’s stop by three times during the day. That she’d come make them lunch. She told me about her daughter’s history with kids.

With some trepidation I agreed. It was 2pm. I was desperate. I needed a warm body to sit with the girls while they watched TV. That’s what I was willing to settle for.

For the rest of the day I was jumpy and out of sorts. I can leave home at ease if I know all the plans have been laid out and that there are back-up plans in place. I can walk away and forget about the kids and about M if I know, in my heart, that they’re fine.

On Thursday, I knew, in my heart, that they weren’t.

And then Friday came. And it was worse.

The sitter arrived on time, after a bad night for both M and the kids. And…. he didn’t think much of her.

“She’s quiet… and uh… really quiet.” He told me when I called to check-in. I could tell he wasn’t a fan. That he was torn because he had to go to work. That he was at a loss.That he needed to just hand me the stress and go focus on work.

I called her mom, then I called her. And yes, she was quiet. And maybe a bit 13yo sullen. But she was there. She was coherent. She was there. And so I hung up and tried to focus on my day.

Everything went well. The kids were fine. The sitter was fine. It wasn’t their best sitter experience… but it sure wasn’t their worst.

I wasn’t fine though. It did something to me, being away like that and unable to fix things to my satisfaction. It tore me up to have to go with the “at least she’s a warm body” option. When I leave, I want M and the kids to have a great time so that when I leave next it won’t be so hard on everyone.

I failed this time and all day I carried them around on my shoulders all through the San Diego Conference Center. M’s pain and stress. C’s fever and cough. Little L’s disappointment at not going to camp. They were with me in sessions. They were with me as I met brand reps and tried to sell myself and my company. They were even with me as I cracked jokes and spoke to a packed room.

I came home drained and broken, desperate to pick up the pieces and put my family back on solid ground.

And then news of Jennie’s husband brought me back to my knees.

Life has been beyond challenging this year. The blows just keep on coming. I routinely wonder how I’m going to keep doing it all. I actually thought that this past weekend would be my undoing.

And yet, miraculously, it hasn’t. I just keep getting up, brushing away the tears, and keep going.

Today I know that this is the stuff that will eventually make us stronger, individually, as a couple, and as a family. On Friday I’ll be joining a legion of friends who will also be baking Jennie’s husband, Mikey’s, favorite desert and serving it to their loved-ones as a grand, desert based celebration of a life cut short way too soon. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not going to fix anything for Jennie or her kids. But if it gives her a little peace to know so many are doing this one small thing, then I’m happy to do it.

I’m going to take a picture of that pie and post is somewhere I can always see it so I can remember that it’s the little things that keep us going no matter how crazy the storm can get. I invite you to do the same.

Photo by Taste of Home

 

On top of the calendar, in theory

standard February 28, 2011 1 response

I really felt like I had take control. Control of the chaos, the schedule, the where-to-be’s and what-to-do’s. Between the wall calendar in the kitchen, my phone calendar app, and my planner, I have it all pretty well sussed.

Or so I thought.

Last week a friend sent me a Facebook message saying she was coming into town and could we see each other.

“Sure! Come over for crepes! Saturday at noon! It’s our tradition.”

Of course I had forgotten that this coming Saturday I had broken the sacred no-birthday party commandment and RSVPd to not one, but two on that day, and that there’s no way we’ll be home at noon. WHOOPS.

Really, one slip up? I can hear you ready to poopoo me and my calendaring snafu.

This morning I realized I’d scheduled coffee for myself and a new friend. Once again leading with “I’m always there! It’s my morning routine!” Except tomorrow is the rescheduled snow day at the preschool. Instead of sipping warm coffee, I’ll be shoveling cold snow. Whooops again!

But don’t worry. I think I’ve figured out the problem.

The planner only works if you open it.

The only question is, where am I supposed to write the reminder to open the planner?

Calendar challenges

standard January 31, 2011 5 responses

I sat down tonight to put everything from our home calendar and my phone calendar into my new life planner. Between what’s in my head, what’s on the fridge, and what’s in my phone, it’s amazing I haven’t missed more appointments in the last couple months.

C’s school has umpteen events, the preschool has a ton going on, I have work appointments and, when I can, I see my friends. I the middle of all that there are the kids themselves, the husband, and the simple fact that I work 25 hours per week.

Oh, yeah, and that coaching thing that I want to do. Four four day seminars being hosted in a town over an hour away. Seminars that I somehow have to fit into my already hectic life.

The first seminar is scheduled for the first week of May, Wednesday through Saturday. That Monday M kicks off a 4 week trial and that Friday C has grandparent’s day at school followed by a Spring concert in the evening.

The second seminar is scheduled for the first week of June, same days… that week C is off school Thursday and Friday.

We’ll figure it out. I‘ll figure it out. It might involve a bunch of driving to get back for the concert, and it might involve hiring a temporary sitter for those four days to drive the kids around and be there in the evening. But it definitely won’t be easy or guilt-free. 

When I first got everything down on the page of the planner, I blanched. The timing couldn’t be worse. The timing could never be worse. There’s always going to be a school event, a daycare thing, a work to do. There’s always going to be me facing two paths – the mom path and the personal path – and feeling torn no matter which I chose.

I looked to see if maybe there were alternate seminar dates, but for the time being these are the only two sessions offered. I hesitated, looked at the already chaotic week, then I wrote them down in the book, in pen no less, and I made a mental note to find a childcare solution for the days I’d be gone.

If I didn’t truly believe that this was the road I need to take to eventually be home more for my kids, if I didn’t truly believe that this was the right path for me, I might have shrugged my shoulders, closed the book, and moved on. But I need to remember that those two paths – the family path and the me path – they bob and weave and intersect over and over again. Even more importantly they feed off of each other.

I can’t be a great mom if I’m not at peace inside my head, and I can’t be at peace inside my head if I don’t pursue my dreams. Maybe the calendar challenge is really a big deal, or maybe I’m making a mountain out of a molehill – letting Egmos do his thing, creating the doubt, making me think I’m not worth the effort and the extra hassle.

Either way, I’ll find a way to make it work. I have to.