Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ugly Crying and Counting Crows

I have been like a ticking time bomb this week.  Does that happen to other moms or is that just me?  If it is just me then do me a big fat favor and keep it to yourself.  Nobody wants to hear how damn happy you are!

Sometimes I feel like the love and concern that I feel for my children is going to be the undoing of me.  And it will, I'm sure.   By the time they are tweens, if everything is going as planned, I will hear, "I hate you! No one understands me!" on a regular basis.  I've already heard that a couple of times this week as I'm trying to poor pink gunk down Nana's throat every three hours.  She has had a wicked case of strep since Wednesday (yes, we are the streppyist family in America) and I have had to take her to the ER, (104.5 temp that kept rising) which was about as much help as calling my husband's Macedonian grandma for help.  No, less help!  Because all they did was give her an icepack and some Tylenol after a two hour wait.   Babo's vinegar sponge bath probably would have been more effective, if stinky. Days later, she still has a 103 degree temp but seems to be in less pain and moves around too much when her fever reducer kicks in.

Admittedly, I am a nut about having a scary-sick kid.  Yes, I am that parent who asks the doctor a million questions and calls after hours.  But, honestly, I am not sorry.  It occurred to me that I have no shame about getting help when we need it because we only have ONE Savannah.  She is precious and for whatever crazy reason, God put her in my care. 

I will be doing the same thing when she is a teenager and refuses to talk to me...asking friends a million questions (their views on premarital sex) and calling her boyfriend's parents after hours.  I will attach GPS tracking devices to their backpacks and sniff them every time they walk in the door. Uncle Mark will sit on the front porch sporting his rifle if any bad apples come sniffing around. I will NOT however, ground them for listening to loud, rap music! Mom and Dad, you had SUCH bigger fish to fry than Tupac Shakur, but there is no need to rehash old drama.  No need at all.  

When I feel like this, my head clouded with worry about everything from Scarlett fever to global warming to the possibility of being smashed into smithereens by a Mack truck, leaving my children motherless, I try not to do anything impulsive.  Sometimes though, just sometimes, you need to drive to the Target parking lot with the windows rolled down and ugly cry, while listening to Counting Crows.  After all, why would God give us the ability to cry, if we weren't supposed to use it?  By the time I get home I am calmer, even though nothing has changed.  

I wrote my husband a note today about everything that was starting to boil over in my mind.  Honestly, I expected him to scoff and say, "Lady, you don't even know what stress is!" because he is a pretty stressed out dude.  What I got instead was a note back that said, "What can I say? I get it. Go do what you've gotta do."  When Counting Crows and I got home, I gave him a hug and said "Thanks. That was the right thing to say."  Like most men, he does not say a lot about feelings, but the words he chooses are usually right.  Best of all, he does not hold a grudge when I am all squinty eyed and behaving badly.

Think I'll keep him.  


Monday, January 14, 2013

Bad Road Ahead

There is a song by Ginny Owens that has carried me through some truly dark and dismal times in my life.  There is something hauntingly pure and simple about Owens' voice and message of "If You Want Me To" that speaks to my heart and comforts.

As I listen to it now, my breathing slows down and my chest relaxes.  

Ginny Owens is a young Christian singer who happens to be blind among other things, like brilliant.   I heard her tell the story of how she majored in music education in college, expecting to pursue her passion for teaching high school students upon graduation.  Unfortunately, she soon found out that administrators were less than thrilled about the idea of a blind choral director.  Of course, they never said as much in interviews.  But, they could hardly hide their surprise after meeting her for the first time.  "If You Want Me To" was born out of her frustration over when and how she would pursue her dream to teach.  

Fortunately, God had bigger plans for Ginny than she ever could have imagined.  Today she has sold over 1 million copies of her albums and is a three time Dove Award winner and a multiple ASCAP award winner.  Clearly, she's doing just fine without those administrators and their jobs. She is teaching on a different level. 

I know that God has incredible things planned for me and my family.  I really do.  And I take Him at his word when he says, " I have plans to prosper you and not harm you; plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 

But, have you ever gotten the feeling that you were looking at 12 miles of bad road ahead? You can just see the train wreck coming and there's not a thing you can do about it.  Typically, when this happens my reaction is pretty typical, not logical, but typical.  In the past, I would choose the crying/tantrum/pity party route.  Maybe if you just refuse to accept the hard road, it will magically disappear! No?? Why the hell not?! 

Uh-hem.  Sorry. 

Now that I am ever so much wiser, I prefer the pursuit of quick fixes.  This may come in the form of food, trashy books, movies, music, etc. I also like to throw in some major life changes just for fun.  At least I don't color my hair ridiculous colors or get tattoos anymore (I'll never tell where it is!) 

Yesterday, I had this thought.  This is SO cliche, but I wondered what Jesus did when he was scared.  After all, He got more than a healthy dose of the human condition during his time on this earth, right?  We know that the night before his crucifixion, as he was waiting in the Garden of Gethsemane for his arrest, that his soul was "sorrowful, even to death." (Matthew 26: 38) He fell on his face, praying desperately for this cup (his death) to pass from him if possible.  But, even as he wished for a way out of this suffering, he accepted God's will.  I cannot even imagine that kind of fear and still, he trusted God's plan.

Whatever the road ahead may bring, I know God will be with us.  History is a great predictor of future events, and He has yet to leave me hanging in a time of need.  I, on the other hand, am like the fair weather friend who gets happy and lazy and forgets all about Him.  But, even now, as the storm approaches, I can feel Him pulling me in, calling me home.  And I am so, so grateful that He still welcomes this prodigal child with open arms.  




Saturday, January 5, 2013

Angry as a Wet Hornet

I was a little bit afraid when I signed in to my blog tonight that it would reject me, saying, "Who do you think you are, biotch? I haven't heard from you for two weeks! Someone else is writing me now, so take a hike."  

Seriously, I thought I would experience at least some form of disdain.  When you were a kid, did you ever find yourself writing, "Dear Diary, I'm really sorry I haven't written in so long..." 

That was probably just me...I am even codependent with myself.   Sad, really.

Back to the matter at hand.  I have been following the old adage, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."  I have been angry...and hungry...and mean.  

I can honestly say that I have never dieted as part of a New Years resolution until now.  Let me be clear: it was not by choice.  If you had told me in December that I would be giving up all processed foods (fast, starchy, salty goodness) I would have said, "I'm going to pretend like you did not say that."  In fact, when my cousin told me that she was starting a cleanse that would eventually lead to "clean eating," I honestly felt a little betrayed.  How could she leave our teen aged diet behind?  It was a source of secret pride that we could still eat chips, pizza, burgers, etc. and not be terribly chunky (as we should be).  

But, eventually, folks, we all have to face the music.  Pay the piper, as it were.  You see, I have a genetic predisposition to high blood pressure and anxiety, which does not help the b.p.  My parents put off taking medication until their 50's and 60's because they do not eat like idiots.  I, however, feed my kids really well but my diet usually consists whatever is handy out of the pantry and can be eaten on a paper towel, standing up.  Classy.

Just for kicks and giggles, I took my blood pressure at CVS while waiting for a prescription and almost peed myself.  My usual 120/78 did not pop up...let's just say it was an appropriate b.p. for a 50 year old Kate.  I panicked, repeatedly shoving my arm in the cuff as I watched the numbers go higher.  And then, I went home and cried.  

Yup.  My husband (and you) might think I'm a big baby.  That's okay.  You guys don't understand my relationship with food.  If I am planing a vacation, it centers around where we are going to eat.  My budget for the week revolves around what I'm going to eat.  Don't ever offer me Prada or Gucci.  Just take me out to dinner.  My husband and I don't exchange birthday or anniversary presents.  You guessed it!  We eat.  

So, my crying was an appropriate response to the realization that chips, pastries, mac n' cheese, pizza, fast food, and a whole lot of other good stuff would no longer be a part of my life.  Now, I read labels.  I do not marinade and smother with condiments.  I lightly season and steam things, dump them on top of brown rice, and pour some honey on it for "flavor." Yum. 

It makes me very, very angry. 

Here is a classic example.  I had just prepared the family's dinner: turkey meatloaf, salad, baked potatoes with sour cream, salt and pepper, and garlic bread.  Enter Hubby, home from work.  I was just settling down with my salad topped with salmon. 

Me: What are you doing?

Hubby: Getting some more sour cream.  

Me: Why?

Hubby: Because...I like it?

Me: No, you're not.  Put it down.  

Hubby: Why?

Me: It's disgusting!! There is enough sour cream for a family of four on that potato already! Do you want to have a heart attack??  Maybe you'd like some potato with your heaping plate of sour cream!!!

I proceed to rip the container out of his hands.  He looks defeated.

Hubby: You know, not all of us have high blood pressure. Just saying.  

Me: I know.  I'm sorry.  I just can't watch you do it.  I am experiencing food withdrawals and it makes me crazy.  

I am lucky to have a husband with a high tolerance for crazy.  

This too shall pass.  My brain will adjust to the lack of starchy goodness.  And, hey! What the heck is pinterest for if not for discovering new recipes?   I'll bet there is a whole pinteresting world out there of low sodium food delights just waiting for me!

I can hardly contain myself.  

And most importantly, there is comfort in knowing that millions of Americans are probably angry and hungry this January, just like me.