Growing, Not Dying

Welcome to my insights, ponderings, and experiences. Hopefully they will enrich you in some small way, or at least make you laugh.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Joys of Raising Kids - Growing as a Mom

Do all the girls start out into accessories? Little Sarah, almost 19 monhs old, is already trying on her sister's play heels. She also loves her coat. We put it on or off several times a day, while at home. When we go out, however, is another story. When it comes off, it is NOT going back on! Mem loves her purse, hair stuff, shoes, and is already asking for make-up! This little princess will come in, stike a pose and ask, "How do I look? Pretty?"

For the record, they do not get this from me.

Adding to my list of the joys of having kids:
Suqeals of delight
Dancing to any music
"Goggie! *panting*"
"I'm whe-dey"
"I'm almost up to your shoulder!"
Discovering the wonder of the world.
Being able to see in their eyes as they are thinking and when they actually learn something.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Wesley versus Wil Dancing Barefoot

So far today I have accomplished almost nothing. I started cleaning the TV room, clearing off the bookshelves, setting aside the books I planned to get rid of. Jim had brought me Dancing Barefoot by Wil Wheaton quite a while ago. He knew I was a fan of Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation. (In case you don't make the connection, Wil Wheaton played the quite teen-age heart throb Wesley Crusher.) After a few pages I didn't think it was for me and threw it on the shelf.

Today I picked it up to put it in the "get rid of" pile. For some reason I flipped it open to the middlish and started scanning. I found myself reading "a bit more," then pulled in. Good thing it's short. I was able to finish before the children started stampeding for food. In fact, I read the whole book. It was good. Wil really exposes himself in his writing, (emotionally, not the other way. Naughty.) Why had I not wanted to read it before?

When I was somewhere around 4 or 6 my sister and I got lost somewhere. We ended up in the office waiting for our mother to come get us. Have you ever been so scared you wanted to cry but knew you had to be brave? The door opened but rather than Mom, in walked someone dressed in one of those giant cartoon character costumes. I don't recall the character, just the feeling of relief and comfort . . . for about half a second. Then the person in the costume took the head off. My eyes probably got as big as saucers. Someone pointed out my sister and I. The costumed character apologized and rushed through another door. Too late. My magic bubble of imagination had been popped. Now I was lost, scared, and heartbroken.

I came to realize I didn't want to read the book before, or visit his wildly acclaimed blog (which is currently on a temp site,) because I wasn't ready to have this bubble popped. Wesley, my first real tv crush. (Wesley was the only reason I started watching Star Trek in the first place! He was "so-o-o cute!") Reading Wil's book was quite the journey. I was tenative, but curious. Then I was angry at him. Then I went through the Las Vegas Experience with him. I teared up and my heart was touched. Then I respected him.

Wil has grown up a lot as a person. I am grateful he shared the story with us.

***In response to the comment by LemmingLord, yes, I liked New Kids in Jr. High. I wasn't "crushing" on them, although Joey was cute. They had good music. My discovery of Wil came in college, when I was 17.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

My City Reflects My Life - Under Consruction

It has become exremely difficult to go from my home to any place else without encountering road construction. The city has grown so fast, and is anticipated to continue to grow, that the infrastructure wasn't sufficent. Projects were delayed in starting, some bumped up. Thus, it seems the whole city is under construction at once. Us locals comfort ourselves with, "sure will be nice when it's all done."

My house seems placed at a most complicated spot. Going to the store? Construction. Church? Construction. The freeway? Heck, take the right path and you can encounter no less than 3 different projects, and it's less than 5 miles! I went to a store across town today and found that whole area was under construction too. Tried to take a back way Basically, every routine errand has now been complicated. You never know if you are going to have to add a 15 minute wait time per intersection or cruise right through.

This has gotten me thinking. I can't help but wonder how this might reflect personal developement I have been under going. The delays, frustrations, wondering if it really will be worth it....

"Proceed With Caution: Construction Ahead"

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Intense Action Adventure Dream

**Title changed due to insistant suggestion of oldest son.**

You know those dreams that are so real you feel every bit of it? You have a hard time "waking up" becuase you just know you already are awake? Everything makes perfect sense while you are there but then, "in the light of day," sounds crazy? Yet it sticks with you, clinging. That is how I experienced the following dream. I blog so I won't forget.

I was at a hotel, some kind of convention I think. I was holding my youngest daugher, now 19 months old. We got on the elevator to go downstairs. The buttons were all messed up though, out of order, and I couldn't find a "B" for the basement. Suddenly, the elevator starts moving really fast. We go up to the 20-something floor, fast! Then begin falling, fast. I am scared, holding my daughter tightly to my chest. It stopped the doors open a few inches, I yell for help to a confused group of people. They close and the wild ride continues. I pull out my cell phone and call my husband asking for help. Suddenly the elvator changes. It is see-through, spherical and has a metal framework. Not sure what is happening now, I grab on one of the bars, standing up and hold my daughter closer, wrapping her into me as much as possible. We begin spinning, like one of those "Space Ring" rides at the carnival, turning head over heels in every direction.

When we stop there are people helping us out...rescue. So much confusion. My head is spinning. What is going on? My instincts tell me something is very wrong with all this. Kind sounding women offer to take the baby for me. I pull her closer as she snuggles her head on my shoulder. Not a chance.

As I am walking up some stairs and down halls with these people, listening to them talk, somehow I sense Jim, my husband, is close. I hear him and know where he is though no one else seems aware of him. He affirms something is not right here. All these people talking confusion. They want my daughter, want to take her. Jim feels anxious now. They want our baby girl. They are trying to convice me to let her go "for some tests, to make sure she is alright." Over my dead body I'm gonna let her go. Jim's voice so clear and insistant. "Remember the mosaic I showed you? Remember?"

A flash of a memory. Jim was showing me a website, a mosaic picute or himself. There was something different about the way he showed me this versus all the other websites he showed me. He was telling me about how it was safe from those who might want to track it. I had not been particularly interested at the time. I barely nod. Sometime in here I realize Jim is trained for all this somehow...and I never knew. I am okay with it.

Chaos. A moment before, while Jim was speaking to me, those around me had been engage in conversation with their backs to me for only a brief second. Now, as one turns to look at me it is discovered my daugher is gone, no longer in my arms. This is when I notice it for the first time. For half a second my whole being is filled with dread and panic. I look around frantically. Then I know. There is only one person I would trust so completely that this girl could switch arms without my realizing it, because with her father it is as if she is still with me. Jim took her and has fled. What had he said about the mosaic? Was it a clue? Did he anticipate this may happen someday? Am I to find them now? Would this be enough?

Without my daughter in my arms all pretenses are dropped. Had they got the girl I would have been released, confused but unharmed. Now they are angry. My daughter was to be used in some evil experiment to save some other evil woman. The details are sketchy as I am only half paying attention. Something about her blood and DNA encoding. My mind is busy recalling the mosaic and thanking Jim, thanking him for taking our daugher. Since I know he trusts me to escape and find him, I have no doubt I can do it. Meanwhile he will protect our daughter and figure out what is going on and how to thwart it.

As all this is going through my mind everyone around me is pushing and hearding me down and out into the street. We are packed into some kind of vehicle, open in the front, like a big rickshaw. I am in the middle to be held prisoner. At some point my hands were tied together. Although I am suppose to be guarded, and in truth am extremely wedged between their bodies, no one is really paying particular attention to me. They are all caught up in either anger or fear of those who are angry. Their eyes are darting around looking for Jim and the baby. Somehow I know this will be the easiest time to escape, by throwing myself out and making a run for it. My mind is formulating this plan, how to jump and which direction to run. There is an odd sound. Someone calling for my attention. It is interupting my concentration. I look around the crowd to see who is calling me....

"Mommy! Wake up! Can we have some breakfast now?"

For what seems like several seconds I straddle both realities trying to reconcile them. It makes no sense they won't merge. What is going on? Slowly, I am dragged back into this world. Jim has gotten up and gotten the kids breakfast. He is now in the shower. Several minutes have passed, not seconds. I begin my day, still haunted by this dream. Even as I write this, I wonder how the tale has unfolded. I know somehow Jim and I end up together having victory over the bad guys, safe with our daugher. But knowing it has a happy ending rarely keeps us from wanting to watch the movie, or live the adventure.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Cool Quote

Nothing worthwhile comes easily. Half effort does not produce half results. It produces no results.
-Hamilton Holt

It is...What it is

For many months now I have worn a very special homemade bracelet of sorts on my wrist. It has had a special meaning, special connection if you will, for me. As I was driving a few days ago I was looking at it, noting it was starting to look pretty worn. Instantly I felt anxious and heartache. What if it broke?!?

The thought seized my mind. "If it broke." Something inside took a deep breath. Ok. What if it does break? It is bound to sooner or later. What have I gained by wearing it? What would I loose by no longer having it? My heart beat faster. I thought of all the memories and feelings tied up, wrapped around my wrist. These have been my constant companions, a source of comfort. Did I still need the reminder...or could I trust I had now written these things on my heart, never to be forgotten? I have a fear of forgetting important things. There was a lesson to be learned tied up in this as well...had I learned it? The words came to mind...this isn't good or bad, it just "is." They were just words. Had I really learned the lesson? Was I ready to start applying it? I wasn't sure.

Less than 24 hours later it broke. It had caught ever so slightly on my jeans and the string it was made of just kind of disentagrated in one area. The very first thought was.."so, it broke. Now, how do you respond." I sensed this was my chance to see if I "got it." I sat there for what felt like a really long time looking at it. It may have only been half a second. My response was, "It broke. I will miss it, but it is broke." I wasn't upset or heartbroken as I had feared I would be. It simply was.

My wrist felt "naked" for a couple days. You know that feeling like something should be there and it's not. The air seems cooler, the skin more sensitive. Slowly it fades. Just another reminder that it is all within me now instead of "out there." Still, I am grateful I was perpared for the event and taught the lesson.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Good Reason

I was visiting with my 3 yr old the other day.

"Mem, do you know Mommy loves you?"

"Yup," as she adjusts Barbie's wedding gown.

"Memmy, God loves you too, a whole bunch."

"Yeah, I love him. He's my fa-a-avrite Heavnly Fawder."

"He's your favorite?"

"Yeah, and he's pink 'cause pink's my favrite."

Ok. "He's pink? You mean his skin looks like yours?"

"No-o-o, silly Momma," she giggles. "I'm not pink. I'm this color," as she points to her arm. "He's PINK," she repeats louder as if I didn't hear her clearly. OK. I get it now. This isn't some deep theological discussion on the nature of God. She loves pink. She loves God. Therefore, He must be pink. Makes sense to me.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Women and Men Love Differently

Do you ever find yourself lost in thought pondering things as you drive? Tonight as I drove I was pondering what makes my marriage so great; specifically, how can I help others have better marriages too?

This lead me to an interesting insight, one of those things you know but don't know how to tell other people. Tonight I figured it out. Men and Women "love" differently. I don't mean cards and flowers versus ball game tickets. It's like this. A woman meets a man and sees "something in him." She sees the Prince Charming inside of him, the man "he is meant to be," his true potential. She falls in love. She will continue to live in this dreamy world, believeing he is the Prince as long as he is making any progress along this line. As long as he is growing and moving, we continue to believe in him and love him.

When he stops, in time, so does the magic. Even the words we use to describe him show what is going on for us. "He's a deadbeat. He's not going anywhere. He's a loser." These all show stagnation, death, the opposite of growth. Then the most grand-daddy of them all, "He's not the man I fell in love with." Because you fell in love expecting growth and now he has failed to meet your unstated, elusive, hidden expectations. Most of the time women don't even realize they are thinking this way! We only know we like this guy and not that one and usually couldn't tell you exactly what it is. "He's really got his act together. That's a guy who knows where he's going." "He's such a loser. He will never acomplish anything."

Men, on the other hand, love "as is." They are not as complex as women force things to be. What do men charish? Men love beat-up shirts, old cars, and other "pointless junk." They don't love these things because they are still so wonderful but because of what they mean to him. They don't care if it's not perfect right now because to them it is. This goes for the women in their lives too. A man can look at a woman he loves first thing in the morning with the hair and no make-up and think she is very attractive. To him, she is because he loves her "as is."

Now a woman in the same moment is thinking, "How can he say I am beautiful right now? My hair is a mess. I have no make-up on. I probably have those red marks on the side of my face. Who does he think he's kidding? He's just wanting some." Do you see what she is doing? She can not accept that he can just admire her in this natural state because she feels she is not measuring up. She is not doing her best. She isn't thin enough. Beautiful enough. Sophisticated enough. Stong enough. Sensual enough. The house isn't clean enough. The food's not good enough. And a hundred other ways she is tearing herself apart in her mind for not progressing at some arbitrary unrealistic made-up pace. Because we love growth in them and are excited for them to be their personal best, we think they expect it from every moment!

We think they are judging us, critisizing us. In fact we are doing it all to ourselves. The worst part is, while we are beating ourselves up, we are blocking out all the love, caring and kindness the man might be trying to send us. Plus, we make them feel judged. We make them feel like they are not up to par...and might never be, so why try.

I have come to realize Jim put a lot of effort into recreating our marriage after the divorce. I actually didn't put a lot of work into it when we first remarried. So...what did I do? It does take two people to have a great marriage. I learned to recieve. When Jim says he loves me, I know he really does. When he looks at me in the morning and tells me how beautiful I am, I know to him, in that moment, I am. I allow me to feel what he is sending without analyzing it, judging it, or tearing myself down.

Additionally, I encourage his growth. I celebrate his accomplishments. I let him know he IS my Prince Charming. He knows he's not perfect. I know it too. But he is striving and growing, and really, that is what being the Prince is really all about.

Update: LemmingLord was kind enough to point out these comments do lump by gender. I should point out "men" and "women" are used as generalities. There are always excetions and sliding scales when talking about personalities. Thank you, LemmingLord. :)