Thursday, August 13, 2015

Day 800

August 13, 2015

Day 800


I am convinced that there is no job harder than that of single parenting.  I have just HAD it.  I cannot do this another moment.  I get almost incensed these days when I hear married friends whine that they are, "doing the single mother thing" while their husband is out of town/watching football/working late.  No, they're not.  I am doing the single mother thing!  I am all alone.  I have nobody to call for back-up.  I have nobody to suggest I go take a half hour and decompress.  I have nobody to tell my  kids, "Hey - you don't talk to your mom like that!"  I don't have anybody to hold my hand in the waiting room while my child is getting x-rayed or operated on.  I don't have anyone to assure me that yes, our child is acting like Satan's spawn, but really, they're going to be ok someday - bail money isn't going to be necessary.  I don't even have an ex spouse to drop my kids off with for the weekend.  Because, while being a divorced parent is, I'm sure, difficult, it's not the same as being alone.


It's all me, all the time.


And I am tired.


And they are all going to bed early tonight.


So I can do this all over again tomorrow.


And the next day.


And the next.


Things that make me crabby (besides my children):


I saw the chiropractor Wed. for my monthly adjustment.  I haven't decided if I am going to stay with this guy or not.  He's the replacement for the other dr. that just left the practice in Pville.  The other dr. was gentle and often I felt like he wasn't getting "deep" enough in his treatments.  But he kept me going and I no longer suffer the back pain I used to have trouble with.  This new guy is rougher.  I think he's helping because the complaints I go in with seem to disappear within a day or two of treatment.  But he about kills me there in the office.  I get a little nervous, too, because I have met people who suffered strokes after chiropractic adjustments.  It may be a rare occurrence, but it has happened.  So, we were talking Wed. about my ongoing sciatica and the dr said, "Well, the exercises will treat the pain pacifically where it starts."




Pacifically?  As in, I'd like to pacifically send you back to junior high English class?


A friend sent me a meme today on Facebook and said it reminded her of me.  It's a badge meant to look like one a police officer might wear and it reads, "Grammar Police - to correct and serve."


She might know me.


A little bit.



And while I'm talking about things that make me crabby...I'm getting it all out of my system right up front.  In a few moments I will stop writing, get the kids to bed, and then will suddenly find that my mindset has adjusted quite magnificently.


I went to the bank today with a deposit for myself, a check to deposit for David, and another check to cash for him.  The check he wanted cashed was his payment from the city for his work with the water system - checks he's been receiving every month for over a year now.


The teller tells me, while peering into my van, "We can't cash this unless the person the check is made out to is physically with you."  What?!  I don't know that David has EVER been with me when I take care of these   I pointed out to her that my name is on his savings account and furthermore, he is minor child and I have complete control over his money.  She conferred with someone else and came back and said, "Sorry!"  She wasn't.  I told her to give the check back to me.


I sat, fuming for a moment, while I waited for them to get done with my own deposit.  And then when they handed me my money, I gave them the check back and said, "This is absolutely ridiculous, particularly given that you have had no problem in the past cashing these checks without my child present.  If you won't do it, then what you're going to do is deposit this into his savings account, and then withdraw the money back out for me."  I wasn't mean, but I was very firm.  They took the check and in less than five minutes, I had his cash.  They never did ask me to fill out a deposit and withdrawal slip, so I'm pretty sure they just went ahead and cashed it like I had asked them to in the beginning.


Is it widowhood that is making me grumpy or is that the older I get, the less patience I have for foolishness?


If I'm this cheerful at 44, what kind of joybringer will I be at 84?


Yesterday I happened to look out the window and saw Lizzie bouncing a tennis ball off the side of the neighbor's steel building.  I went outside and asked her if that was something she ought to be doing.  She shrugged and replied, "I don't know."  Then, she added, "I assume, by the look on your face, that the answer is, 'no'!"


I had to swallow laughter right then.  I think I am creating a mini-me! 


Which, most days, is not a good thing.  She might turn out kind of scary by adulthood.


I spent most of today in my van, which I really don't mind.  Normally, my sciatic nerve starts to bother me after an hour or so of driving, but it was pretty minimal today, probably, thanks to my chiropractor with a very poor grasp of English.  We had to leave at 7:15 to take Ben to Pella (this was after he had already awakened me at 5 - "I can't sleep, Mom! (which means, I guess, I shouldn't, either).  And then I drove an hour from there up to Urbandale to drop the Littles off at the Merritts.  Baby Titus has changed so much in just a month.  He's now 3 months old and he's getting his "black" hair (tight curls) and his face has thinned out.  Such sweetness...


And then I ran some errands, including the bank.  I did the girls' hair early this morning and decided I could not live another single day without their hair stuff organized in a better fashion.  So that meant finding new baskets and then when I got home, forty minutes after finishing shopping,  I had to clean out a cupboard to make room for the baskets.  And then from there, I decide today needed to be the day that I figured out a solution to my Tupperware problem, which until today, was just a minor concern that I ruminated on briefly from time to time.


The concern: Tupperware has taken over my life.  Well, a couple of cupboards, anyway.  When I rearranged the girls' hair stuff (which looks really cool now) I had to remove two bins of container lids.  It was never a good set-up anyway.  There were so many lids and they were so crammed together in the bins, which were hard to get to anyway, that I almost always used foil for a lid instead.


I've actually been mulling this situation over for a little while.  I've toyed with the idea of throwing out every single container I have and starting over from scratch.  But it would only be a matter of time until I had the same problem again.  And I'd be poorer on top of it.  A few months ago I saw a tv commercial for storage containers that come with hinged lids that can never get lost - until they break off, I suppose, when some kid decides that it doesn't matter that the food is above the top of the container.  They're going to make that lid go on, no matter what!  And how well would they store? 


I had exactly one hour in which I needed to eat lunch before going to pick up Ben from Pella.  I had just pulled every single storage container out of the cupboard and had all the lids strewn across the floor.  The only nice thing is that no children were around.


Whatcha doing, Mom?


Why do you have all this stuff on the floor?


Oh, you're throwing that away?  Can I have it, please, please, please?


And so on.


I jumped on Pinterest to see if I could find any handy storage ideas.  There weren't too many.  The only one that remotely appealed to me was storing the lids in a dishdrainer that you keep in the cupboard.  But, knowing my kids, their patience for inserting the lids into the slots would last all of two days. Then, the lids would end up placed on top of the drainer.  Plus, I would need a pretty wide cupboard to put a dishdrainer into and I don't have that.


What I ultimately ended up doing was finding lids for the containers I do have and I threw away every single mateless piece.  I put the lids on, stacked the containers by categories, Large, Medium, and Small.  We'll see how long that lasts.


I discovered that all my good containers are gone, save maybe two.  The rest are the disposable stuff.  Maybe I need to buy some more, anyway.  But for now, we'll see how this goes.  For today, my currently insatiable need to organize is satisfied.


I started painting the mudroom door this afternoon, once I had retrieved the kids from the Merritts.  I really didn't have plans to paint that door.  But I ordered a new rug for the floor.  And I couldn't find a solid brown runner long enough for the room.  So I ordered a printed one.  It  looks nice.  It has these leaves in the print that are a kind of a muted aqua color, which is pretty, although definitely not one of my decorating colors.  But they're the color that jump out.  And so, for a few days, I debated.  The mud room connects the deck to the kitchen.  The deck has red furniture.  My kitchen is yellow and red.  Can I  put aqua and brown in my mudroom?  Would that look odd?


And then I decided.


I don't care.


I like the aqua color.  So, I'm repainting the door white and the long oval trim around the glass will be aqua.  And I'm slowly collecting these dark brown baskets from Target to hide the stuff on the shelves.  And I bought three hooks last week that David helped me hang.  I got these three little chalkboard signs for $1.67 each at Hobby Lobby and on each one I wrote the name of one of my Littles.  And that is where they will hang their backpack and their coat when they come home from school every day.


And my house will stay organized.


Which is what I need right now because the rest of my life feels so unorganized.


I can't shut the mudroom door like I normally do because of the painting.  So all night long I've been shooing the cat away.  She has always been fascinated by paint, for some reason.  Seriously.  Every single time I have a painting project going on she is right there in the thick of it, getting paint on her fur and paws, which is the last thing I want because then it gets all over the carpet and furniture.  She's worse than a two year old.


Just now I took Sam down to bed and there was Bella, lying on the floor right next to the paint tray.  She lazily looked at me, swished her tail, and gave me this insolent, "Just try to tell me, 'no'" look through lowered brows.   I give up.  I took Sam down, tucked him, came up, and the cat was gone.


She made her point.


So, when I was a kid, my parents had this friend who was really into eschatology.  I have a very clear memory of him at our house, telling my parents, earnestly, that while he didn't know the year, he was convinced the rapture would be happening in a September - sometime.  That caught my interest although I remember my parents just smiled and my dad reminded this guy about the New Testament verse that says that even Jesus doesn't know when He's coming back - only God does.  I've never forgotten that.


Since then I've read a couple of  articles that give reference to this same verse but also argue that God promised us "signs" of his return and that those signs are upon us in a very real way.


About a year or so ago I read an article by someone whose credentials  I have no idea about.  This person asserted that there will be no presidential election in 2016, which seems ludicrous.  I don't even remember why they were claiming this - if it was some, "dream" or if they are part of the charasmatic movement and believe they've been given some divine revelation or what.  I don't know.  It's just one of those things that I didn't give a lot of credence to, but stuck it in the back of my mind, nonetheless.  That's where a lot of stuff ends up, actually.


And now the politicians are out in full force and I live near Des Moines so all the presidential wanna-be's are hanging out at every coffee shop and high school gymnasium trying to convince me and other Iowans why we should elect them.


We live through this cycle every four years.  But this year, it just feels different and I have no idea why.


By the way, I am finding that I really, really like Donald Trump.  Ted Cruz is still my man, but if it came down to electing Trump or Hilary, I'm going for the Donald.  I am finding it so laughable the way the media is just wetting themselves and trying to twist his words into insults against women, Mexicans, and puppies.  I love his outspokenness and willingness to say what normal people are all thinking.  But anyway...


And then the hair on the back of my neck rose up last week when I heard Obama making a (joking) comment that he wouldn't be against the idea of serving a third term in office.  And I suddenly recalled that article I read.


And then I read another article this week and the author was pretty bold in saying that the rapture is probably going to occur in Sept. due to a number of factors - economic ones, something to do with blood moons, and 7 year cycles and all kinds of things I can't begin to understand.  One part of my mind was flashing back to my junior and senior years of high school when a little booklet entitled, "88 Reasons Christ will return in '88" was circling around.  And then the next year out came, "89 Reasons Christ will return in '89" (I'm guessing #89 was, "Because He didn't return in '88").  And we all laughed and graduated from high school and went to college and got married and made babies.  But I'm also remembering a man standing in my living room telling my parents that Jesus will come back in the month of September sometime.


And then there's the whole Planned Parenthood thing with the awful, horrible videos that have been released this summer.  I haven't commented on them yet because I haven't had the words to express the horror these videos have made me feel.  How can I explain how I literally feel like vomiting when I listened to the audio of one where the PP employee was guiding her undercover guests through the "refuse" room of dead babies and she found one and laughed and said, "Oh, look - it's a boy!" 


I know abortion has happened since the beginning of mankind but it's been legal in this country for 42 years.  How long will God allow a nation to continue to exist whose soil runs red with the blood of millions of murdered infants?  And while the murders continue, the media gives only scant mention of the proof the videos declare while spending their time fawning over a former Olympian who has the "courage" to dress and act like the woman he will never be and decrying the cruelty of shooting one lion to death.


And then today I'm talking to Jenn as I try to coax Lizzie out of the tree she has climbed in their backyard with her bio brother.  They're up so high that the limbs are shaking but I'm not really concerned because Jenn is telling me that her in-laws have begun stocking up on water and soup and toilet paper because they, too, are convinced, that something's coming.  But Jenn says, "But isn't Jesus supposed to come back before the Tribulation?"  I nod and she goes on to say that she can't believe He would make us suffer then with a lack of toilet paper. 


I laugh and Lizzie slides down the tree trunk and I think that Jesus's return is probably a long ways off yet and someday I will probably still get to hold this little girl's babies in my arms before I meet Him.


But I don't know, really. 


I'm watching.  And I'm waiting.


I have a widowed aquaintence on Facebook.  She is a fellow Christian that I met in one of my FB widows group.  Her husband drowned 4 summers ago when they were tubing while on a out-of-state family vacation.  All five of their children were quite young when it happened - the youngest still just a little baby.


This widow has made the tremendously scary decision to uproot  her kids from the only home they've ever known, take them from their Christian school, quit her nursing job, and move across the country to be closer to family.  She hashtags all her status updates lately with, "#choosingtothrive" *


* I don't quite "get" hashtagging, although David has attempted to explain it to me.  I thought it was just a Twitter thing, which I'm not on, but he said a lot of people add it to Facebook statuses, too, just for emphasis of the point they've already made. I guess if I were to hashtag I'd probably say, #tryingto survivebutnotsuceedingverywell


That's really striking a chord with me.

Choosing to thrive


I remember a year and a half ago a local widow friend took me for my first pedicure and lunch and she made the comment that in time, I would figure out, "what you want the rest of your life to look like."  I have never, ever forgotten those words, even though I haven't figured out what I want the rest of my life to look like yet.


They go right along with choosing to thrive.


It's a choice, which I know I've blogged about before.  But I suppose I have to remind myself again and again on this journey.


It's choosing on Day 800 to get up and do Day 801 tomorrow.  It's choosing to believe that God will enable me to parent these kids well, even when I'm all alone.  Which, I know I'm not really, even though it sure feels like it a lot. It's taking family trips even though backing out of my driveway scares me.  It's taking a chunk of the insurance money to finish my house because having a nice home makes me feel better and quells worry.  It's spritzing on perfume even though I'm the only person who appreciates it anymore.  It's sitting down to supper as a family even though it's a lot quicker and easier to feed them from the stove.  It's smiling for family pictures and hanging them on the wall even though every time I look at them I get a lump in my throat because of who is no longer in the picture.  It's making sure my kids have everything they need, except for a father, whom they need desperately, but I can't give them that.  It's making difficult decisions to remove some people from our lives because their influence is no longer benefial or healthy to our family. It's bearing the outrage this decision causes.  It's taking these kids to church three times a week when I don't always want to, when I think there is nothing that can be said that make me feel better.  And a lot of times I'm right.  But it's knowing the kids need to be there  anyway and I probably do, too.


Choosing to thrive means I am not going to sit in this black hole forever.  I'm going to stand up and do what needs to be done.


Because, I am the mom.


And because, this is my job.  Now, it is also my calling.


And I'm going to keep choosing to thrive for the rest of my life - or until Jesus comes back for us.


Even if it doesn't happen this September.






















What I have learned in two years of widowhood:

• God is good - so, so good
• I am loved far more than I ever knew
• I have amazing, resilient children (I am reaping what Paul sowed into their lives)
• Darkness eventually gives way to light
• Strength and wisdom are mine for the asking
• I don't have to have all the answers
• God delights in carefully and tenderly mending torn-apart hearts

Psalm 73:26: My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

ow with a certain amount of anticipation, although there are still moments when I am sick at heart to think that that future will never again include him, other than the quick glimpses I sometimes see in my sons. As much as hope is beginning to seep back into our lives, I am also accepting that, for the rest of our lives, we will be among the walking wounded, forever hurt and altered by Paul's early death. As sad as that sounds, it really isn't, though. Even scarred, life is still pretty beautiful.

What I have learned in two years of widowhood:

• God is good - so, so good
• I am loved far more than I ever knew
• I have amazing, resilient children (I am reaping what Paul sowed into their lives)
• Darkness eventually gives way to light
• Strength and wisdom are mine for the asking
• I don't have to have all the answers
• God delights in carefully and tenderly mending torn-apart hearts

Psalm 73:26: My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

































1 comment:

  1. You amaze me, dear friend. I'm struggling with anxiety and stress and I have a husband who supports me in raising my kiddos. ONLY God can carry you through this. Your life is a testimony. You are, of course, amazing. But being a single mom to 6 kids is probably more than any one person can do well, without Jesus Christ carrying them and you. Love you and admire you, Sarah!