Growing pains, boundaries, and those dreaded parents…

Um, it’s been a day. To say the least. My head is spinning and I need to just get it out so I can sleep well tonight. Because, whoa.

I knew it was coming, there’s been talks for MONTHS that our program was going to undergo some growing pains. We’re in the hiring process, which in higher ed takes fucking ever, and today was the first day of the quarter. So  my day was spent triaging academic emgergencies (i forgot my schedule! can you help me buy books? i want to change my major!). It’s so lovely to see all thsese students and I want to give each and every one of them this undivided in the moment attention. But it’s hard because I’m being torn in 47 other directions. Namely being charged with overhauling our current method of seeing students and going to a case management model. Thanks a lot legislature for forcing this upon us!

It’s really really going to be a good thing once we get the hang of it. 2 hours of mandatory face to face meeting with students on my caseload. I’m really excited to dig in with these students and meet their needs and see their growth. Really fucking excited. But it’s hard to explain this new program, and everyone is stressed, and students are dropping in to my office left and right like old times to simply try and get bus passes or a quick errand. With working 16-20 hours a week, being dumped with a caseload of 26 students, who I need to see for 2 hours each (resulting in 52 hours of face time, in roughly 60-80 hours of work time), it doesn’t leave much wiggle room for meeting the new state requirements.

And then, since it was the first day of class, I got to go down to the classroom (I normally only teach Tues/Thurs) to meet the students. They’re awkward and precious and totally the same as they alwayas are, despite always being a fresh batch. I love it. They don’t know when to laugh at my jokes. They appear frightened of the syllabus. They’re bored to tears with the discussion of classroom guidelines.

And then there was this mom, who stood in my doorway asking me questions, and as I began the process of clarifying what she needed me to do, she just kept saying “stop acting like I’m an idiot, I’m the customer here.” I just go so bewildered because I was asking clarifying questions so I didn’t give her the runaround. I was actively trying to access her information online so that I COULD help her, even though I don’t normally have those tech permissions, and after she said “I’m the customer!” for the third time I wanted to scream “NO YOU AREN’T, YOUR DAUGHTER IS GETTING $10,000 OF FREE EDUCATION AND BOOKS EVERY YEAR, YOU AREN’T A FUCKING CUSTOMER, YOU ARE A CHARITY CASE!” But I refrained, because yes she’s a customer, but if you go to a restaurant and start yelling at a server because they ask what you are there to order, that’s pretty shitty behavior. Also, it’s fucking college, why is this student’s mommy coming to ask a question? ANNOYING.

Overall I am super super excited about this quarter. I’m nervous, though, because I know I need to set strong boundaries with myself over what I will expect of myself in my advising days vs. teaching days, and I might end up being less experimental in my class when I know that certain assignments work, because all my office attention is focused on getting these students seen. But if I can project myself out 6 months I’m going to be in a very happy place!

New Year Resolutions?

189_509844096573_5182_n

For the past few weeks I have been struggling with my motivation for yoga. I initially attributed it to the end of the 30 day challenge, that had taken a lot out of me emotionally, but as I processed with Mari yesterday, I think I’ve come up with some interesting reasons why it’s been hard lately. I mean, really there are probably a million factors, like I’ve been doing it consistently for a year, I’m not seeing any more weightloss or health benefits, some of the initial newbie growth has slowed down, and the premature dark weather has left me wanting to just sit around eating bon bons. But in processing, there were a couple more things that trickled do the surface and seem a little more substantial. Namely, the idea of fitting in to a community, and that reasons/motivations for doing things change.

Fitting in is exhausting.

I’m not sure people think about fitting in as exhausting, but for me it is. I typically self-identify as other in a lot of ways, sorta dancing on the edge of the campfire, rather than really getting in to the fray. I figure there’s a bit of adoption trauma and some personality traits at play here, because this idea of fitting, of being ‘home,’ or comfortable with people puts me on edge. Because if I’m ‘in’ then I could be ‘out’ and it’s easier to be ‘out’ when it’s by choice rather than fucking up and getting kicked out, ya know? It’s easier to be seemingly ‘less predictable,’ because when I do things a certain way for a certain amount of time the routine starts to stick to me in a way that makes deviating from it difficult. Like being the ‘funny one,’ in a group of friends. I am funny (despite what Boof things), but I’m also a really deep thinker. I like playing the fool as an archetype, but I don’t want to live there permanently. So part of my hesitation for even starting a yoga studio was because I knew it would fit me. I knew I would like it. And then what? What do you do when you find your place? Settle in? Get into a rut? That rebel part of me wants to bail before I get too comfortable. I love my yoga studio. I love feeling a part of something. And yet, feeling a part of something is also exhausting.

My other thought was about how much I’ve grown and changed in the past year. I think if I’m to do new year resolutions, or old year reflections, I should honor myself and the rhythm I feel in the academic calendar year. Fall feels like newness. Fall feels like the time to look back and see, who was I this same time last year? And the answer surprised me. Because last year I strongly advocated for myself to have 2-3 nights off for ME time. I went to therapy on Mondays, and Tuesday/Thursday was about yoga. Boof had worked a crazy busy season as an accountant AND THEN worked a second job all summer at the Mariners, and with long home game stretches left me alone with an 18 month old toddler and little sanity. I forcefully took back time for myself and treated my yoga as a body and spouse empowerment exercise. I got sexy in the weightloss department, finally shedding those baby pounds. I felt like an adult and like I mattered in my relationship because I wasn’t just being a doormat martyr whiny wife. It rocked.

But this year? This year feels different. Rather than wanting time away to feel empowered, I crave those connecting quiet moments with Boof and Potamus. And yet the consistent routine getting me out of the house twice a week is actually a good thing for my mental health. Otherwise I’ll want to go to sleep at 5pm when I get home. So I realized that my perspective had to shift in order to enjoy yoga again. That I was clinging too tightly to the old reasons and not allowing it to change to embrace my new reasons. Like introvert time after a long day of teaching. That rather than driven empowerment competition with myself, it was more about relaxation and fun and simply being present in the moment.

The instructor, halfway through the class, as we were lying in our first round of savasana, read a quote about happiness. That happiness needs to be allowed to come in many forms. That it needs to be allowed to grow and change like a child would grow and change. And that seemed to fit and make everything click inside me. It felt right to be in the studio even though it felt different than last year at this time.

So that’s my new academic year resolution. To simply allow happiness, or my yoga practice, to be different and change and grow to meet the present moment. It feels right that way.

On Starting Another Fall Quarter

fall-quarter-starts

I have fond memories of Indian Summer in Seattle. The air is warm, the nights are beginning to cool and get shorter, and there’s the smell of freshly sharpened pencils and new shoes all around. Fall feels like back to school, and it’s no wonder that this rhythm feels comforting to me. I love academia. I enjoyed my time in K-12 schooling, and certainly continued to enjoy my time in college and further on in graduate school. I enjoyed the school environment so much I got a job in Academia, and here I am, beginning my third year as a college instructor.

This quarter I had the privilege of teaching outside of my normal program, in a First Year Experience class with incoming freshman. It was so refreshing to teach my similar human development coursework to these bright eyed and bushy tailed incoming freshman. To create a mini community a week before classes start and see how they interact with the material. I loved it, even though I am exhausted from teaching 5 hours straight and then holding office hours. I remember that I’m an introvert.

And it makes me extremely pleased when students come up and ask me, ‘what class do you teach here? can I take it?’ Unfortunately I only teach classes in a program for students who’ve dropped out of high school, so they won’t be in one of my classes again. I guess it makes me think…is there something more for me? If these students wanted to take a class from me, what would it be? Would I like to someday teach Psychology 101, or English 101, or another course subject? And if I do want that, how do I go about getting there?

I forget how much I love teaching at this level.  I forget, when I’m in the overly frantic summer quarter off, trying to cram camping trips and house projects into my three months off, that I live for this academic school year rhythm. I am not sure that I would love it so much without the break, that it leaves room for me to come back in the Fall with an “Ah, yes, this is what I’m meant to do.”

But it leaves me thinking, pondering, reflecting, on where I am and where I want to go in the future. I know that this is right for me right now. I absolutely believe that. I think it’ll be right for me for a little bit more, at least, but then what? Where is this ship going?

Potty Training & Pot Tea training

Potamus had five pee accidents on Friday. I was at my wits end. Because the three weeks of potty training had been going so well. At school he’s seen as a competent potty trained kid, one of their shining stars. “He doesn’t even ask us, he just goes to the bathroom and does it himself, no accidents!” At home it’s a different story. At home, like with everything else, my tiny little (perfectionist?) doesn’t hold his pee in. He screams “no potty! no potty!” when I suggest he should try. We bribe with episodes of Justin Time and chocolate chips and Daddy’s strong voice counting to 10. The poop accidents are to be expected at this stage, I feel, so while they’re quite gross (smearing on the walls while also coloring on the walls with markers?), I don’t get upset. But the pee accidents. Oh how it makes me sad and annoyed all at the same time. Not wanting to feel alone, I found comfort in Uncomfortably Honest’s Account of their No Good, Very Bad Day, which shows the shit show that is parenting sometimes (a lot).

I try to be zen about it. I try to not let it bother me, and remember that even though he’s almost 3, it is his own body. That he was a part of my body, but he is in charge of his own body now. And that he hasn’t mastered it yet. He isn’t bothered by the pee sometimes, and that’s not my fault, it’s just where he is. It’s hard to not want it all to just be better, or easy.

And in a similar vein, about wanting things to be better, or easier, or different, I have stepped outside my box and am trying a new way of managing my ailments (depression, anxiety, sometimes insomnia, sometimes nausea, chronic pain) with marijuana. It feels weird to even write that.

I grew up in a very conservative Christian household. I didn’t drink until I was 21, and I wouldn’t know pot if it was smoked under my nose (or grown in my house, by my brother, in the next room. True story). But yes, I am one of Washington’s newest medical marijuana patients. Which, was a very weird experience to get, I might add. Where I went to this doctor office that seemed to border on super-professional and like it could pack up the office and move locations in 3 hours. And then, with my newly printed (on tamper proof paper I might add), I drove my heiney to the equivalent of a weed farmer’s market. The guy at the front desk assumed I was a kindergarten teacher, despite my microdermals in my wrists, because of how I lacked any sort of knowledge about pot. As in…I had smoked 1 time, at 29, with my sister, and didn’t feel anything.

So far I’ve been surprised at the results. The better sleep. The not having to pee 5 times in one night (who knew, that’s a symptom that can be managed with cannabis?!). A general feeling of relaxation. I’m doing it all as an experiment, to see if I can control or manage my body in a way I haven’t tried before. I don’t know how it’ll go, it took me some instruction by Boof to even figure out how to smoke it (and I want to transition to a vaporizer or drops under the tongue), but thought I’d see if it even helped with my symptoms before I invested in any more paraphernalia.

I don’t know how these two things relate, except they both have the word pot in them. Which is a loose connection at best. I swear I’m not high writing this, which sounds so very high, doesn’t it?

The Passing on of Sacred Experiences

10672430_10100449285265913_1724116821304309292_n

the elders initiate the youngest on the sacred path of Mt. Rainier

Of all the fire mountains which like beacons, once blazed along the Pacific Coast, Mount Rainier is the noblest.”- John Muir

It has come time, to pass on the sacred experiences to my son. This place has been in my family for generations. My great grandma came here to ‘camp’ in the Ohanapecosh Hot Springs. There were cabins then, and now, a pristine meadow surrounding the burbling sulfur water next to the nature trail. My dad talks about trips as a kid, dipping a tin cup into the glacial river for a cool drink on a hot day. I tell stories of the giant stump we used as a tree fort every year, whether it was our campsite or not. I talk about the time in college I camped alone for 3 days, encountering a bear on my hike, and the 10 mile impromptu hike I did with a college chum on another occasion.

I am so tied to this mountain that soon I will get it’s beauty permanently marked on my body. When I die I want my ashes scattered here.

The sacred experience lives inside me. And so, this weekend, we had a meetup with my parents to pass along the wisdom to Potamus. The mountain was socked in. It’s so massive that it creates its own weather patterns. I knew it was there, majestic, behind the mystical fog. I only feel sad for the couple from Boston who was hiking for the day, that they wouldn’t get to see the glory. They seemed content with the view of the Tattoosh range, but they don’t know the glory up close. Like mistaking a statue for God.

We hiked to Myrtle falls with a bunch of other tourists. Potamus ran the .5 miles up the paved trail. We made friends with other ‘hikers.’ We saw a hoary marmot and the last remains of the wildflower season. Is winter coming early to the mountain this year after a glorious summer? When we were thoroughly tired, we explored the ‘new’ Jackson Visitor center. I marveled that I hadn’t been here since it opened in 2008. How could I go 6 years without visiting my spiritual center? Only getting small drinks in from a distance on clear days as I commute across the I-90 bridge.

When I was a child, almost through the end of high school, I wanted to be a park ranger in the Mt. Rainier National park. When I met my biological aunt, many years later, I learned she had. Perhaps this mountain is in my blood as well as in my experience. And now, maybe, it will live in my son’s blood and experience, as well.

10574240_10100449278274923_683375438489513278_n

batman doesn’t need no trails

10636292_10100449278200073_7967253821520904434_n

stopping to educate himself on the various wildflowers present in this alpine meadow

10641191_10100449278704063_1100500254641521677_n

Myrtle Falls

10649858_10100449277706063_1981291625627840635_n

family portrait

10659432_10100449278818833_2132321306039309957_n

 “The mountain receives our expression and becomes part of us; we imprint our memories on it, and trust it with our dearest divisions of our lives. Mt. Rainier does not exist under our feet. Mt. Rainier lives in our minds.” Bruce Barcott

I want to kiss our pediatrician

a backyard

 

This summer has been ROUGH in the sleep department. Partly the sunshine streaming in the window until well past 9pm, partly an attachment toddler who wants his mama thisclose to him all.the.time when he’s sleeping, has led to a spiral of sleep deprivation that was just not working anymore. Potamus needed a good 2.5-3 hours of me laying in his bed with him before he would fall asleep. We’d start bedtime routine around 7, and it’d be close to 10 every.damn.night before he’d fall asleep. We tried mixing it up, doing really active things before bedtime routine started (running, wrestling, playing hard). We tried quiet activities before bedtime routine (reading stories, turning off all electronics, warm showers). NOTHING worked. Not only did it take that long to fall asleep, he’d only stay asleep about 1-2 hours at most, and then want Mama. Which meant, in my exhaustion, he was coming into bed with me before I had really even gotten any sleep for the night. 

Now, I’m not opposed to co-sleeping…when it’s working. But his restlessness would continue, even after he was snuggled in bed with me. He’d kick his legs and twiddle my neck, digging his fingernails into my chin…all night long. I would wake up crabby and exhausted and frustrated that it wasn’t going well. 

So I made an appointment with our pediatrician. I thought maybe it was growing pains? Or after a quick google search I saw things like Restless Leg Syndrome, or iron deficiency, or all sorts of other ailments. But I love our pediatrician and figured he’d be able to help. 

His diagnosis: poor sleep hygiene. 

What I love about this guy, is that he has a way of saying things in the kindest, gentlest way, while also sharing about his life. He said that the only way to get Potamus to sleep differently was going to be making the behaviors go extinct, which means, not reinforcing them, which means…not laying next to him for 3 hours to get to sleep. But then he told me that it’s not something I HAVE to do, but told me how to do it, if I wanted to do it, in a way that I would feel good about. And then he divulged that his family co-sleeps, and his son is almost 10 and ‘really small and immature for his size, and he comes into our bed every night to snuggle. he just needs to sleep next to a human being for awhile to feel safe.’ 

Yeah,  my pediatrician co-sleeps his older elementary school age son. So he’s not just telling me to leave a 3 week old in a crib to cry it out. I felt hopeful. He said it’d be hard, but it’d work. 

And so that’s what were doing. We read stories, and snuggle, and I give unlimited hugs. I’m still in his bed until he falls asleep, but I’m no longer laying next to him. And until 2am (ideally around 5 would be best), if he wakes up crying, I go in there and snuggle him, and put him back in his bed, and wait until he falls asleep. The first two nights were brutal. It took him awhile to fall asleep, and then he was restless for a good hour in the middle of the night (aka midnight). He’d fall asleep, but as soon as I’d creep out he’d wake back up. He’d want 4 more hugs and then he’d go back to sleep. 

My goal is not to eliminate co-sleeping for good, just alter it a bit so we’re all getting sleep. Because work starts back for me in 2 weeks, and he can’t be going to bed at 10pm and getting up at 6. He’ll be a crabby zombie. 

We’re at 4 nights this week, and last night he fell asleep ‘on his own’ (with me there) relatively easily. And at midnight he woke up crying, but in the time it took me to pee, he had soothed himself back asleep. I went in there and checked on him…zonked out. He came into our bed around 3am. Already he’s getting more sleep in a row than before, AND when he does sleep next to me there is snuggling, but no twiddling, kicking, tossing and turning. He reaches out to touch me, then curls into himself and passes out. Exactly what I hoped for in our sleep relationship. I like having his little warm body next to mine, but I also like sleep. 

I’m so thankful that I have a compassionate pediatrician who listens to my life and helps create a plan for making it fit into our lifestyle. I feel like I’m able to do a modified ‘cry it out’ (without any crying?) that suits my attachment parenting needs, without going to an extreme that doesn’t feel congruent with my values as a mom. 

So here’s to a few more hours of blissful sleep…for all of us. :)

 

Moments of Engagement

Originally posted on Uncomfortably Honest and Honestly Uncomfortable:

When I find out a couple is splitting up I panic. Being married is like being in a club. Marriage can be awesome, but it is also constant work and sometimes it really sucks. When someone else’s marriage ends, even if that person is a stranger or a celebrity it is frightening. If that person can’t make it, how will Z and I? Marriage is the hardest and the best thing I’ve ever done. But there is strength in numbers. Because the knowledge that it could suddenly go south looms large.

When someone loses their battle with mental illness it feels the same way. When a talented, beloved, financially secure, success loses his battle with mental illness it is debilitating. A week and a half later and he is still in my thoughts for much of the day.The pain that his wife and children and close friends are in is…

View original 775 more words

Potty Training Bootcamp

10583878_10100435331853663_1712693146910602091_n

Last week Potamus leveled up to a new classroom, and while my head was still spinning at that transition, his teacher said “just so you know, I’m ready to potty train him whenever you are.”

Gulp.

Potty training. 

Potamus is only 2 years and 8 months old and a boy, which I naturally assumed meant he would potty train later, because that’s what everyone and their great aunt/second cousin/hairdresser said. Yeah, I figured potty training wasn’t going to be on the radar until Christmas or later. But with the teacher’s insistence that it’d be a good idea, and his friends are doing it too, I gave in to the peer pressure and rolled with it. 

Mari suggested doing the 3 day bootcamp method she used, which was 3 days off (which I happen to have built into my schedule every week regardles) filled with juice boxes and snacks and shows and running around naked or only in his new superhero underwear. It didn’t sound so bad, and so I headed off to the store to get supplies and get my head on straight about this whole business. 

Because once we decided to go for it, we weren’t going back, which was my biggest fear in the whole thing. Yikes. Commitment isn’t my strong point, really. And here I am, a baby led weaning, free range hippie dippy attachment type who still co-sleeps who let Potamus self-wean from nursing and I was…gulp…indulging in a potty training bootcamp. 

But, we forged on. 

Day 1

He loved his potty prize box. I had found some toys at Value Village, and every time he sat on his training potty he got a prize from the box. Sometimes it was a toy. Sometimes it was an orange or chocolate chips or a few coins that he’s obsessed with. Mommy Slot machine at its finest. He loved it. He dinged the kitchen timer that Mari had loaned us shouting “potty prize time!” in his cute little voice. It was adorable. And somewhat messy. There were moments where I was like ‘um, this is insane,’ but went with it. Total for the day: 2 big pees in the potty, 2 accidents, & 1 poop in the underwear episode. 

Day 2

He woke up and went on the potty like he had done the day before. He took a potty prize, but didn’t seem interested, He seemed annoyed by my potty dance in glee that he had gone. I don’t know if it was the dynamic of having Daddy Boof home, or what, but he spent the rest of the afternoon reluctant to go on the potty, refusing all things related to the potty, and just generally seemingly annoyed by my mere presence. My mind went into a panic and so of course I went out and bought 30 more pairs of underwear (which Boof said was funny that I ‘commit to something and just go with it full force’ because it would have equaled to 8 pairs of underwear a day if we only did wash weekly. haha). I figured I was a huge failure, that my kid wasn’t ready, and that I was doing everything all wrong. Wah wah wah. Total for the day: 2 pees in the potty, lost count of all the accidents, including a poop in the undies episode. 

Day 3

I guess it clicked. All the little dribble accidents went away. Sure he peed in the house once when he was watching a show and didn’t want to go on the potty. I get it. He’s still learning. He also peed outside once, but I didn’t count that as an accident, more like a perk of being a dude with a ‘magic penis’, which is what I started calling it. Saying, ‘can you do the magic penis trick of peeing in the potty?” And away went the potty prizes. He was done with them. So noncholant about the whole thing. Like, dude, mom, chill out, I got this. Though he protests a bit in being asked to go use the toilet, he does so rather easily now. We even braved two hours over at my in-laws and he made it through that and used the travel potty! 

Day 4

School. 

He did it. All day. Same clothes when I picked him up that he went in with. Teacher said he even woke up dry from his nap and made it to the bathroom to pee. So proud of this little munchkin. While he hadn’t been showing INTEREST it didn’t mean he wasn’t READY.

 

But now, we need to get him to poop, ya’ll…ugh…it’s been 24 hours and counting…

How Boyhood the movie is changing my life

ellarmaster

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard of the incredible feat of a movie in Boyhood, which was filmed with the same actors over a period of 12 years. Having simply seen the previews, and hear a review on the radio, I decided to take myself out to see this 2 hour and 45 minute film that is being touted as an award winning movie with very little action. It, by all accounts, has broken many cinematic rules. There’s no plot, besides simply watching a boy grow up, and the actors (Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke) committed over 12 years to make this film. The main character, Mason, played by Ellar Coltrane, was only 6 when he started the project. 

So there I was, sitting in a dark movie theater for a matinee showing with five other people. A young couple, who I judged to have no children yet, and older couple who seemed like grandparents, and a guy about my age. The five of were there to see the magic. 

But it wasn’t magic. Not at first. It was cute seeing the six year old boy’s antics, and how he related to his older sister, and his mom, and the scenes from life that unfolded before my eyes. Halfway through I felt bored. There was no action. Tiny episodes of drama, but mostly interpersonal relating. Scenes from year to year were marked by Mason’s haircuts. I was sitting in this theater thinking “what? what? this is it? this is what I paid good money for? Really? This is all there is? The cinematography isn’t even that spectacular. And the soundtrack? Is there even a soundtrack?”

These thoughts were much like the thoughts I have when meditating, or halfway through yoga. Monkey mind. I sat back for the rest of the film, followed the loose plot, and then BAM. (uh, spoiler alert for those who haven’t seen the film…do not read on…)

BAM

Mason graduates from high school. His mom, played by Patricia Arquette, is sitting in her new apartment with her now-grown son, in that awkward teenage-almost-college-student-scruffy way is packing up his belongings. And she starts to cry. She says, “I just thought there’d be more.” At least that’s how I remembered it. She might have said “I just thought there’d be more time,” but nonetheless, I started to cry. Little tears rolled down my cheeks, not a full on sobbing mess, I can keep it together of course. 

The final scene is Mason hanging out with some of his new college buddies, and he has this conversation about the idea of ‘seizing the moment,’ rephrasing it by saying, “I think the moments seize you,” and suddenly the movie was spectacular. I think that was the magic in it. That I couldn’t tell how beautiful it was until it was over and I looked back, remembered earlier scenes and saw how the tied in to the ending. That life was unfolding and no matter how mindful in the here and now, there is something powerful in that moment of reflection, introspection, nostalgia. It was pure magic. 

And would it be crazy to say that a movie could influence me to want another child? No, that’d be totally daft, right? But I found myself, as I was watching the scenes unfolding, and the nostalgia I felt at the end when she said ‘I thought there’d be more time,’ that the reason I have only wanted 1 kid is not because I am afraid another will distract me from BIG life goals like curing cancer (or travelling to India) or doing a career I love…but that it will distract me from doing things like Buzzfeed quizzes. Now that might sound silly, but it’s true. When I get angry with Potamus for ‘interfering’ with my time, or not going to bed because I ‘just want a fucking minute to myself,’ It’s not because I want a minute to myself to do art or yoga or spend time with friends. Because I manage to find time to structure into my life to do those things. It’s that I want him to ‘go the fuck to sleep’ so I can scroll, scroll, scroll through Pinterest on my phone. 

I was asked once if I would get to be that 80 year old woman if I would regret not trying to have another kid. And I know the answer would be ‘no,’ if it meant I could be the best parent to 1 kid while pursuing my amazing life goals. I will regret not trying for another kid if it’s because I wanted to pin recipes to pinterest that I know I’ll never use. You know? 

Parenting is my mindful meditation. I get to drop into something deeper beyond buzzfeed quizzes and the monkey chatter of my thoughts. This isn’t a pregnancy announcement, or even an announcement that we will be trying any time in the near future (soonest will be next summer), but something settled in my body and heart when I watched this film. I realized that it is hard, and amnesia sets in at some point and I will say to myself, “I just thought there’d be more time.” 

I am Jennifer Huston

128487

“Did you hear? They found her body today,” I said as I was laying in bed with Boof last night. While I don’t normally like to talk about, or even watch, the news (especially when I am in the throes of crisis counseling), I felt particularly drawn to this case, to this smiling blonde woman in the pictures plastered on the news. I had just spent time in Newberg, Oregon, and her face just looked back at me from the TV and the internet news media.

I am Jennifer Huston. I could feel myself empathizing, putting myself in her shoes. And while the police haven’t yet confirmed the cause of death, and she wasn’t found in the San Juan islands like some people thought, I resonated with the mythology around her disappearance and subsequent death. I don’t know what actually happened, as the articles said she complained of headaches in the days before her disappearance, but what I do know is that there is a mythology surrounding her disappearance and death. Suicide. Maybe they will come out with this confirmation today, maybe not at all, and my heart hurts for her family and her two kids who will grow up without her.

Regadless of what happened, the story in my mind is one that mixes with my own story. My own emotions. That feeling I get inside when it all seems to much and I just want to run away from it all. As if taking off on a full tank of gas and $40 in my pocket will solve the big life problems of being a wife, a mother, a worker, an American, a person with mental illness, an adoptee. As if running away will solve any of it. Will give me a break, at all.

Lying in bed, Boof said, “I’d hope that if you needed to leave for awhile, to clear your head or get rest or whatever that you’d tell me.” And I said, “in a good  moment I would. In a sane moment I would, you know? I’d schedule it and go and get some rest, but in my crazy panicky moments, you know, the ones where I’ve found myself driving 45 minutes north only to end up at the doorstep of my childhood home? In those moments I would want to escape, leave it all behind, reinvent myself in a world without responsibilities. It crosses my mind, and I hope it’s not something I ever do.”

I’m not talking about suicide. Just leaving. Escape. That blessed freedom on the road of nostalgia to a time when I didn’t feel so tied down to it all. That feeling of the woman in Kate Chopin’s Awakening, who simply walks into the ocean and drowns in order to escape. Because sometimes it feels like it’s all too much. Though, not right now, I just know that feeling. Of wanting to leave and take my green SUV and trail mix and sleeping pills to the San Juan islands for a retreat. And I could see not wanting to come back, not wanting to face the embarrassment of a country-wide manhunt, having to explain that “I was just tired y’all, I just needed a break.”

I had hoped the story would end differently. That after a week of missing mom reports we’d learn she had checked herself into a remote spa for some downtime, or a hospital for an evaluation, or that she was camping by herself and emerged stronger and healthier. Instead we hear a story of a life lost, without a cause given (yet), and two boys and a husband who are left to pick up the pieces. I think that bit inside me, that wants to leave, is outweighed by the thought of Boof and Potamus left to pick up the pieces. My heart goes out to the family, her boys, her husband, her friends. And maybe, just maybe, a story like this can help mom’s get the rest and relaxation they need, without resorting to disappearances, or suicides, or leaving families to pick up the pieces.

 

Blog at WordPress.com.
The Esquire Theme.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 341 other followers

%d bloggers like this: