Hell in a Handbasket?

II’m not really into fear-mongering. I’ve lived a life of relative privilege, not having to face violence and destruction on a daily basis. And while I grew up with a fundamentalist idea that the world was going to hell in a handbasket, getting worse and worse toward eventual return of “the lord jesus christ” in a rapture, as an adult I have mostly moved away from that idea. There is violence and fear and war and destruction. And there are good people, amazing new discoveries and projects that have brought people together in amazing and love-filled ways. I don’t know if we’re about even, but I don’t know that we’re any worse off than 50 years ago.

What I do know, though, is that there is more media and technology and cameras in people’s bedrooms to get a really good look at the violence outside and inside of our hearts. I wish there was an equal amount of media around the good and loving pieces, but just like ‘sex sells,’ violence also sells. It keeps us interested.

So today I was surprised at myself thinking, “what kind of world will Potamus grow up in?” It’s sparked by this rash of gun violence here in little ol’ Seattle. I could joke about our passive aggressiveness and smiling into our lattes in drizzly overcast weather has finally gotten to us, and we’ve snapped, but it feels too fresh. Today I worked from home and learned that my office was even on lockdown, there was some threat, which puts even me on edge. As a crisis counselor I work daily with kids and teens and families on the edge, using coping skills that could hurt others more than it could help them. Even hours post 9/11 I didn’t worry so much for MY safety, just sadness for the people involved.

But it’s hit closer to home, now. Innocent bystanders have been killed. Is our city, our world, going to hell in a handbasket? And if it is…what can I do about it, as I look at my sleeping cherub and want a better world for him than what we’re experiencing today.

Spilt Milk

Whoever coined the phrase, “don’t cry over spilt milk,” was CLEARLY not a pumping mama. While Potamus doesn’t actually take a bottle (despite my being back full time), I have been pumping faithfully since he was born. I haven’t decided on an actual use for this milk yet, but I know it won’t go to waste. I’ve offered it to my brother’s 7 week old daughter (who he is trying to get custody of, but that’s another story), or I could mix it in to thin food out, or donate it to preemies. I know it won’t go to waste…it is liquid gold, afterall.  

But today I went to the freezer to add some more milk to my stash, and…

…the freezer was open.

Yes, it was just a crack, but when I panicked and asked Boof the last time HE had used the freezer (over a week) I realized it had been me…a few days ago…and that the milk in the freezer door was most likely spoiled.

So frustrated. Sad. Angry. Mad at myself for being distracted and not noticing. Mad at Boof for not having a job so that I have to work so that I feel the need to pump. Yes, I threw a little pity part, because throwing out 160 ounces of milk (we went painstakingly through each bag, smelled it for freshness), is equal to over 2 weeks of pumping. Down the drain.

While I didn’t actually cry, I felt like it. And it was over spilt milk.


Nursing in Public


I am a big fan of nursing in public. While I usually do so without a cover, in situations like sporting events, where I know I will be in close proximity to others, I cover-up…not just for me, but because Potamus is a little extrovert who loves looking around at all the lovely people and things instead of focusing on eating. After 5 months of nursing in public, I have only had 2 weird experiences…and yesterday’s Mariners game was one of them.

The lad in front of me turned around and started off with, “I wondered what nursing mother I would meet next,” which I thought might be followed by a diatribe on nursing in public OR a conversation around the Time article OR a conversation about Seattle’s re-affirmation of the law that breastfeeding in public is a civil right. But no…instead, she told me this long-winded rambling story about meeting a friend in a breastfeeding support class years ago, and something about people her mom’s age not breastfeeding at all…and it sounded like she was trying to make some point, but never quite got to it.

I wondered if she was drunk, because the whole thing was awkward, and she decided to tell me this convoluted story right when I started nursing Potamus. I left the whole situation feeling very confused.

Writer? Blogger?

So, for the longest time, writer was a part of my identity. I would describe myself as a writer, mostly a journal, I guess, but for awhile now I have felt that is…less than accurate. I am not sure how long one has to go without physically pen-paper writing for the identity as writer to change, but with the exception of a free writing nights in the past few months, its sorta been years since I even faithfully journalled.

Blogger, perhaps, fits me better (lord knows I’ve started about a dozen in the last 5 years,) but the writing in blog form is SO different for me. The typing vs. Handwriting, way of constructing a blog just feels different emotionally.

I’m not sure why this whole idea is swirling around my head, except there was this zenpen writing prompt recently about what type of fruit I would be if I had to describe myself. The prompt went on, and while it only asks for 10 minutes of exploratory writing, I have done 0 minutes AND hours of thinking.

So maybe I am not even a writer or a Blogger, but more of a thinker. I wonder why I keep mulling the prompt over in my head, as if my heart is afraid of what it might mean to put pen-paper about it.

Word Vomit

-I was in a car accident on Tuesday. The first one that has ever been my fault, and wed are crossing our fingers that it isn’t totalled. Worst part (beyond the pain and wrecked car) was that it wasn’t due to anything but a brain fart. I wasn’t txting or even pumping (though I had finished pumping recently)…it was simply a moment of distraction. And a lack of sleep, I suppose.

-Potamus is 5 months old today. He has been Teething and has a bum rash which has left him (and us) crabby, with not very much sleep. My heart breaks every time he goes to nurse and cries and cries because of the pain. I finally have given in to liberal amounts of tylenol and gum numbing liquids and he finally comfort nursed and fell asleep today. Hallelujah. But mama needs some sleep.

-my sister-in-law is filing for separation from my brother and is refusing for him to see his daughter unless he is supervised. My heart breaks for him. She is only 1 month old and already her life is in tumult. I tell him to hang in there, that the first few months of parenthood are SO hard, and she may be suffering from post-partum depression/anxiety/ocd/or psychosis. 

-Potamus is doing this sweet things when he falls asleep. He likes his back to be patted, but he also likes to hold onto my thumb…and with his other hand, he reaches out, and grabs a fistfull of my hair, or strokes my face, or jams his fingers into my mouth (or, ooops, eyeball). It’s like he is memorizing me. And while it is startling, when he wakes up sort of suddenly, and reaches out to touch me on the arm, or face, as if to say to himself “are you still there mama? Oh yes, phew, you are.”

Why yes, I am mom enough, thank you!

I could probably write 17 blog posts in response to the controversial Time magazine article that has been splashed about this week. But I’m not going to focus this one on attachment parenting, or extended breastfeeding, or babywearing. It’s not that I don’t have opinions on these things, but I think that the MOST provocative and emotion-raising part of the whole thing, was the title: “Are you Mom enough?”

I am well aware that moms across the country (world?) wonder if they are doing enough as a mom. They are comparing themselves to their own mothers, grandmothers, neighbors, friends, Carol Brady, and the like. I wonder if my lack of interest in motherhood growing up was somehow a protective buffer, so now that I am experiencing life with Potamus, I wander around intersted in exploring my own version of motherhood, without feeling too crazy in comparing myself to others. Or perhaps I am so exhausted that all I can do is what comes ‘naturally’ or ‘instinctively,’ because anything more than that will take too much work (and thought, since my brain is so full up already).

Now I’m not perfect by any means, and have a whole list of things that I would like to be doing better (like less looking at my phone or watching tv at the end of a long day, when I could be staring into my sweet babe’s eyes), but overall I am not so very concerned with my skills versus my friends/neighbor/CarolBrady’s skills in raising a youngster. What makes me sad is that a headline like that really shakes moms up. And we are too awesome to let that happen.