Pain sponge

I am currently listening to “What is the What” in my car as I drive to work and school and dance and wherever else my life takes me.  I am finding myself easily lost in and completely overwhelmed by this story.  I have cried I am not sure how many times and I am not even halfway through.  But I can’t stop.  And as I think about that fact I realize that I do this all the time.  I am drawn to heartbreak and pain. Not because I enjoy it. Not because I can fix it. I don’t think it’s a sub conscience effort to punish myself.  But maybe it is. Would I be able to recognize that if it’s sub conscience?

Whatever the reason I surround myself with the stories of people.  And sometimes actual people.  And I listen to their story.  And I feel their pain.  I listen to the pain of Sudanese boys in a civil war, then listen to the pain of American middle schoolers who are sometimes struggling to meet their basic needs.  The suffering is different but it is still suffering.  And I feel it. Each time.

Maybe I do it out of privileged guilt?

Maybe it is because of my ability to isolate myself in my own suffering once upon a time and my realization that NO ONE should do that.  We must have a hand to hold. Maybe I can be that hand?

But I am not holding any hands of the now grown adults from Sudan.  I am just listening to their pain.  Maybe the purpose of that is to carry the story and make sure it is not forgotten?  Perhaps there is no purpose.
Either way I will not stop.  


Thanks—I think…

Boomer:  Who is the most awesome person you know?

Me:  Me!   I am awesome!

Boomer:  You are awesome.  Because you do the most cooking, then the dishes, then clean the house.

Me:  But I’m actually just a regular person—I’m not actually good at any of those things.

Boomer:  But that’s what makes you unique.  You are not good at them but you keep doing them anyway—you have grit!!!

Mom:  Thanks?


Tomorrow is my last day and I am feeling ALL OF THE THINGS!  I am sad and excited and terrified and heartbroken and hesitant and confident and unsure.  I am not the same person I was 6 years ago.  I have been changed by every single person, the grown up ones and the not so grown up ones.  I have been present.  That is what I have learned to do.  To just BE PRESENT.  I have been present for laughter and first whispered words at school and tears for mom and primal terror related to unbearable past traumas and sometimes current traumas.  I have been present for loss.  Loss of homes and pets and family structures and siblings and life itself.  I have been present for frustration and anger and the building up of walls to protect hearts and the slow and steady chipping away as those walls have come down.  I have been present for good days and proud moments and pure joy.

I have felt inferior.  And completely useless.  Irritated, frustrated, and just plain angry.  But I have also laughed.  Every. single. day.

I have made friends who believed in me.  Which, in turn, made me believe in me.  I was given a backbone.  And for that I am grateful.

I am starting over.  But I am starting over as someone who does not know everything but does know some things.  Someone who is not afraid to try.

I have done an amazing job of staying busy enough that the actual leaving part did not immediately sink in.  Until a student walked away this week carrying a physical piece of my heart.  Saying goodbye can be really hard.  And then an entire classroom of 5th graders sang “Don’t you forget about me.”  It’s hard not to think about saying goodbye when that happens!  Tomorrow is coming.  And I will give hugs to the grown ups and the not so grown ups.  And I will come home missing a significant portion of my heart because I can’t help but hand it out.  But it will grow back.  It always does.  And Monday I will start a new path.  And I will meet new grown ups and not so grown ups who will each change me in their own way.  I will be both afraid and not afraid.  Look out Cahokia, I’m coming!   🙂

And… It’s over.

Sweet, sweet summer.  You will never know just how much I love you.  I love the days of binge-reading and endless Animaniacs watching and swimming and 4-square and basketball and random “let’s go out for dinner” nights.  Every year you go by so fast and here we are looking school smack in the face.  But we are refreshed and ready because you made us that way.  Honestly, if summer were any longer I would end up a mess as I do like a little routine and structure.  And other grown ups.   But I have enjoyed every last second.  

I will miss you.  It will be a long day—without you my friend.  But I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again. 😉

On parenting

Some days this whole parenting thing leaves me curled up on the floor of my bedroom gasping for breath as the tears fall uncontrollably.  I feel terrified I am making unfixable mistakes—or already have—or am going to tomorrow.  I do not know the right way to respond—or to answer—or to even approach.  I wonder why everyone else I know is so much better at this.  I feel confused—and lost—and like I have no idea what I am doing.  I feel isolated—that our challenges are somehow different than everyone else so I am therefore unable to talk about them—or ask for help—or even ask for someone to listen.  I am defeated.

And yet…

Some days are beautiful.  They are filled with laughter—and hand-holding—and quiet snuggling—and inside jokes—and non-stop play.  With moments where I stare at their beautiful faces and try as hard as I can to sear them into my memory—exactly as they are at this moment.  Moments where I am asked a thousand questions and I try my best to answer them all while filled with awe of this intense hunt for knowledge and understanding.  Moments where I observe kindness when they don’t even know I am watching.  Days where I go to bed with a heart that is so painfully full of love I am not sure I will be able to sleep.

I am thankful that my beautiful days outnumber my broken ones.  While I am not perfect I think it is important that I am able to recognize that and allow it to drive me towards being better.  I am working SO hard at this and will not be stopping.  I am a mom.  A mom!!!  To this day, almost 11 years after the birth of our daughter, that still amazes me!!!  I am so in love with these kids—if I allow myself a moment to stop and just think about it for a minute I quickly become overwhelmed.

Today was a good day.


Finally!!!  I will never be able to fully express how much I love summer break.  It is the highest form of self-care.  

That being said I also have a son who thrives on structure and routine.  So it’s not just lay around all day in the sun around here (as much as I would love to).  Once again we have created our ‘summer schedule.’  Although it is a bit simpler this year.  Our daily schedule basically looks like this:

9:00—Exercise (in some way shape or form)

10:00—Bridge books (my daughter hates these but does them—my son desperately needs to feel some semblance of his school routine so this helps)

11:00-Clean (I have a daily job—this week we have been cleaning out the project room in order to convert it to a dance/jiu Jitsu room)

12:00-lunch and then downtime (reading)

1-4ish-the day’s ‘activity’

5ish to bedtime-dinner and whatever

The morning activities are interchangeable—although Boomer really likes to follow the time.

The afternoon activity can be something that just comes up or something from our handy poster.

We tried drawing out of a jar one summer—this summer we are picking off the chart.  Today they chose painting rocks—they were both excited about it and both loved it.  We had plenty of time to spare so we also made rice krispies treats and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.  Yesterday was swimming.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring…

Bring it, summer!!!!

Good Intentions

This morning I was determined to start eating healthy.  

But then I listened to venting, heard heartbreak, witnessed meltdowns, sat with the sleeping, made plans for next year, cried as I read my daughters poem, worried about the years progress, and watched my son disappear behind a parked car as he was chased by a dog his size with my heart leaving my body.  He emerged upset but only scraped up from falling, no bites.

So I ate a fish dinner with fries from Long John Silvers.

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