Sunday, February 28, 2010

What doesn't kill us...

...can only make us stronger.

I don't get attached to places. I do, however, get attached to people. And I hate having to tell my friends that we're going to have to move.

The problem is, we've moved so often, I've left what feels like a trail of friends across the nation. Some I'm better at keeping in contact with than others. Some I have to keep in contact with because we're family.

I've done a lot of growing these past 4 years. I've opened up to more people, and let more people in. I've created my persona as an author, and networked with some of the best people I've ever met.

And now that I've firmly entrenched myself in the community of Tooele, UT--we have to leave our house.

This isn't something people advertise. The economy isn't perfect, but truth be told if we'd planned our family finances better we'd have been able to weather the changes. I take my share of responsibility in our turn of personal events. It's only right. Last night my husband apologized to me for letting this happen. I told him to stop it. We got into this mess together and we'll get out of it together.

After all, the only thing constant about life is change.

Having said all that, I want to stay in Tooele. First and foremost the kids have a great school that they're all really responding to--you can't find that just anywhere. Secondly, I've committed to being the Tooele Writers Group Chapter president for two years. I'm not going to form the group and then bail on them. That's not right. Thirdly, this is a great little town. Sure, I'd often love to be closer to a wider variety of shopping options, but it's not like I'm rolling in dough and need to shop all the time. It helps me budget.

I'm not going to pretend there aren't pulls in all worlds of directions. I have family and friends in places like Arizona, Alaska and Oklahoma that pull hard on my heart. And even a short jump over the mountains that separate Tooele from the rest of the Wasatch Front would greatly increase my ability to network as an author. It would make all those author-related workshops, conferences and signings that much easier to budget both financially and time-wise.

What will play the biggest part in our decision, aside from those things mentioned above, are the cost and size of housing we can get and the distance to the airport, where my husband works. After all, the less we have to pay in commuting costs and wear and tear on our vehicle are of primary concern, as is just how many people you can legally cram into a rental--since we aren't exactly a petite family.

Like we told the kids last night, we have two choices. We can choose to look upon this as our next great family adventure, or as the worst thing that's ever happened to us.

I love having options.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I finally got back

Last week sort of vanished from my world. Not entirely, I mean, I remember snatches, but really most of it is a blur. That can happen when your child has surgery, even minor surgery.

We've had our share. When Jeffrey was 10 months old he had the abdominal surgery that saved his life. (for years he said it saved his "wife" lol) He doesn't have an appendix, but otherwise he made a full recovery.

In October of 2006, I had my nose surgery. In Feb of 2007, on Valentine's Day, my twins had their tonsils and adenoids taken out. The next month, it was their sister's turn. After that, the youngest had her turn. Brandon is the only one who hasn't been under the knife.

Daniel took a nasty fall out of his top bunk around Thanksgiving 2006. Aside from the concussion, the blackout and all that great stuff, he also mashed the cartilage inside his nose. They tried to fix it the same time they did his tonsils, but he freaked out post-op so they had to take all the packing out of his nose and the fix didn't take. We knew we'd have to get him in again to get it fixed, but, like everyone else, our finances kinda tanked.

Well, we finally did it. My mom pushed a little to get us to get him in while she was externing with the surgeon's office. Financially we should have put it off a little while longer, but Daniel really needed the procedure. The poor kid couldn't breathe out his nose, which leads to all other kinds of problems. And it had been going on for almost three years. Yeah, I'm a great mom aren't I?

He had the surgery Mon Feb 15th. Gah. The kids had the day off, of course, but I didn't. So last week I took care of Daniel, slept in the living room with him, and still did all the regular mom and work stuff I always do. That's the mom's job. It's what we do.

But, it's kind of exhausting. Tuesday night, he freaked out and pulled out his packing. Wednesday the doctor made a special trip into the office to help us out. By Friday, he was feeling pretty good. No more medicine. He was talking and acting as normal as possible with a bandage across his nose.

Oh, and Thursday night I hosted an author's meeting in my home. Yeah, I know. But it went really well.

Friday I pretty much crashed. Hung out in my jammies until mid-afternoon. Even taking the kids to school that way. Good thing I didn't have to get out of the car. I literally got nothing done. The kids ate leftovers from the fridge for dinner and I slept nearly all night long, but still on the couch.

Things are pretty much back to normal today. Daniel went back to school. His nose is no longer leaking ridiculously. I slept in my own bed last night, finally. And it feels pretty good. In fact, I think I'll head back there when I'm done here.

But I wanted to leave you with one thing. Thursday night, as we bedded down for the night, Daniel in the recliner (that broke Saturday--timing) and me on the couch, he said one simple sentence that made my mommy heart swell.

"Mommy, thank you for taking care of me after surgery."

Anytime, kiddo. Anytime.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Valentine's Day

This holiday and I have a long, bloody love-hate relationship. I don't see the need for it. I don't need a "special" day to tell my loved ones how I feel. And let's not even get into the pressure put on us to send cards, buy gifts or otherwise bankrupt ourselves so our main squeeze can understand how much we love them. Grr.

Did you know Saint Valentine was martyred? And we're celebrating this? I don't get it.

You can read a little about my feelings for the so-called holiday HERE on Associated Content. I don't post there much anymore, but I put this up last year. Somewhere in my teen journals I wrote about February 13th and 14th, and my observations of myself and my friends at school. This included getting elbowed in the eye when my friend tried frantically to save a dozen falling roses given to her by her boyfriend.

When so much emphasis is put on relationships and love, I feel bad for the people I love who are not in a relationship. I have a single brother, a single brother-in-law who's even currently estranged from his kids, a divorced mom and a several single friends. Imagine how they feel to have their noses rubbed in their singularity every time they turn on the TV or computer. That's got to be tough.

I won't go so far as to schedule a Valentine's Day boycott--let each person celebrate as they see fit. You just won't see me in the pink and red aisles until Feb 15th, when all the candy and paper valentines are 50% off.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Ooookay...maybe it can all be Sunshine and Puppy Dogs

I adore this beautiful child of mine. I truly do. After my previous post, admittedly written during extreme frustration and confusion, my adoring daughter has been the picture of wonderfulness. Is that even a word?

Regardless of my dubious vocabulary, she's been a gem. I admit this is mostly based on her own reports of her behavior, but she's done all her class work and all her homework, she's been cheery and pleasant. I rewarded her good behavior with a little personal time today, and even that was fun.

So, other things crept into my head. Is she bipolar? manic depressive? Multiple personalities? (No, wait, that's my son)

This is what happens when an author with a violently overactive imagination has children, by the way.

We had a dark moment, but it doesn't even bother me that much, because after reasoning her through her emotional overreaction (no I didn't call it that, she was crying her eyes out because she wasn't going to the sitter's. I consider that an emotional overreaction) she was just fine. That's improvement. Last week a similar episode would have put her in a dark funk for days.

What happened to cause this change in her, you may ask? Well, we had a talk. Her daddy and I sat her down and told her we've been trying to think of some way to help her be more even tempered, do better in school and not be so hard on herself. One of the options we've considered is sending her to her aunt and uncle's (who happen to live around the corner from Gramma and Papa)for an extended period of time to give her a different perspective of the world around her. She likes this idea. But now that she's being such a gem, I'm rethinking it. For many reasons.

Ah, the life of a parent. Just think--when I'm dead, maybe I'll stop worrying.

Monday, February 1, 2010

It can't all be Sunshine and Puppy Dogs

It does not bode well to me that my 8 yr old daughter and I already have semi-epic clashes. We are two forces of will, but when we are at odds--watch out.

I love my girl. She's dynamic, independent and brilliant. She is also stubborn, intractable and devious. She'll get an idea in her head and nothing will shake it. While that superpower can be used for good, she doesn't always apply it like that.

And the thing that worries me most, sometimes she'll say things like she's stupid, ugly or worthless. And it's difficult to shake her from these funks when they set in.

This isn't about her being obedient. She doesn't have to do everything I say the way I say it. But she is giving her school teacher fits, and both her teacher and I are at our wits' end as to what to do about her.

Kindergarten was great. She loved it. But ever since first grade, she's decided if she doesn't want to do something she shouldn't have to do it. Nothing could be further from the truth, but my stubborn little girl is winning this battle. Now more than half way through third grade, the only reason she's passing anything is a combination of adult tenacity and her superior test scoring.

Girls are a mystery to me. And I am one. This daughter of mine confounds me more than most. She has a younger sister--sweet, loving, enthusiastic about school and success. That's not to say I expect her always to be that way. But I don't want her to follow in her stubborn older sister's footsteps.

It wouldn't upset me so much if I didn't love her to the ends of the earth and back. When raising children, you don't get to give up when it gets hard. You can't let up because you're out of options. So I'm going to keep plugging along. And I never stop looking for ideas on how to get through to her and help her to find her place in this world.