Monday, February 2, 2015


Last night, a poorly-thought-out ad and Facebook's annoying auto-play "feature" combined to throw me into a massive panic attack.  I was literally shaking and was so upset I couldn't even cry.

I went down and told Patrick, who hugged me and held me and tried to help.  Bless that man.  He tries so hard, and has no idea how to calm a panic attack.  Not his fault.  I don't know, either.  Sometimes, his hugs help.  Sometimes, I need to brainstorm solutions for whatever causes the panic attack.  Sometimes, I need music, or my tree talisman, or cocoa, or a bit of space.

None of that was working last night.

I left Patrick, intending to draw for awhile, since that can be calming.  I never even pulled out my drawing supplies.

Instead, I sat down, and Buddy, our dog, put his head in my lap.  I wrapped my arms around his adorable and solid shoulders and just sobbed into his fur.  I don't know how long I sat there, holding him and crying, but he never moved.  He never tried to run away.  He just stood there, letting me hold him, knowing that I needed him, and not caring why.

I broke down and didn't worry about what he would think.  I didn't worry about seeming weak.  Or needy.   Or like I needed to explain myself.  I knew he didn't care.  He just wanted to be near me.  And no matter what, I knew he'd still look at me exactly the same when it was over.

Eventually, I ran out of tears.  I held Buddy's head in my hands and thanked him.  He wagged his tail a little and looked at me with his big brown eyes.  There was no pity.  No sadness.  Just the same adoration a dog always has for the ones who love him.

And then, sensing that his work was done, he wandered off down the hall.  Last night, I had the most peaceful night of sleep that I've had in a long time.  Because my dog was just there.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Girls' Day In

Approximately every other Sunday, Miles and Patrick go spend the day with friends. Patrick plays D&D while Miles plays with his best buddy, J.  Normally, I'd join, but the campaign they're currently playing is totally not my style of play.  Instead, Sam and I get a whole afternoon and evening to ourselves.

And I love it.

When I was pregnant with Sam, I worried about having time to spend with each of my kids individually.  Family time is important, but one-on-one time is just as much so.  These Sundays give me that time that Sam and I both need.  Time to bond as a mother and daughter.

Reading that, I'm sure you're picturing me doing her hair and painting her nails.  Because that's what people imagine for "mother-daughter" whatever.

It's much simpler than that.  We just do our thing, but with only the two of us.  I clean the house, but with only one kiddo underfoot.   She draws pictures, but without getting distracted by big brother.  We have dance parties that don't involve falling over or jumping off of things.  We read books (over and over and over...).

We exist in the same space.  Occasionally, we interact.  Because that is how our family works.  We're all independent humans, who like each other enough to spend time together.

Even Sam.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Where I'm At

I could easily spend 3-4 posts just explaining why I haven't written in six months.  But that's not important.  Let's just say I've been busy, and didn't feel like writing.  At all.

And that, right now, I do.  And I'm trying to be okay with either extreme.  I hope you all understand.

Strike that.  I don't care.  I'm writing because I feel like it and if no one reads it . . . shrug.  No big.  I'll read it.  Or I won't.  There is freedom in the writing, whether it gets read or disappears entirely into the abyss of the internet.  For now, I feel like writing, and that is enough.

I'm in an okay place right now.  I'm good with me.  I'm good with Patrick, and I'm good with my kids.  Life continues to throw me curve balls, but  I'm doggedly attacking each and moving on to the next.  This is a huge improvement for me, and I'm content with it.  I used to wish that life would slow down, would stop throwing me curve balls.  I wished desperately for life to be boring.  I've accepted, for the moment, at least, that boring isn't happening for me.  It's just not.  I seek out challenge, whether I intend to or not.  And once I've found a challenge, it's hard for me to ignore it.

And that's okay.

In fact, that sentence describes much of my attitude at the moment: [Fill in the blank]. And that's okay.

I'm not a perfect mom. And that's okay.

I'm not a perfect wife.  And that's okay.

My house will never be glossy-magazine-immaculate/perfect.  And that's okay.

My favorite jeans have a hole in the knee.  And that's okay.

I need more sleep, but I'm not getting it anytime soon.  And that's okay.

In short, I've entered a phase of acceptance in my life, and it feels pretty darn good.  I know myself well enough, by now, to know that this acceptance will someday - maybe soon, maybe not - be replaced by a phase of restlessness, of a need to shake things up.  And at that point, I will accept another challenge, and pursue it doggedly.

Because that's who I am.

And that's okay.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

100 Happy Days

So, I know this is all over my Facebook, but I love the idea, so I'm sharing it everywhere.

Go to the website, read all about it, then come back here.  I'll give you a minute.

<drums fingers>

<taps foot>

<stares at non-existent watch>

Ok, that's long enough.  I'm sure you got the idea.

So, yeah.  I've started taking a picture every day of something that makes me happy.  Just knowing I need a "happy" picture for the day means that I'm thinking about it, in the moment.  It's amazing how often I see happy moments when I'm looking for them.  And this is only day 2.  I've chosen happy pictures for each day for Facebook, but here are the others.  And remember, I only started this yesterday, and it's only 5:00pm.

I may have just stumbled upon the best medicine for depression & anxiety.

Miles giving Teddy a ride in his dump truck. (Today)

Sam reading a book at the library. (Today)

Me, catching a few moments of reading last night.

Watching both of my children figure out a new building material. (Today)

Miles nomming on Sam's head. (Yesterday)

Sunshine, blue skies, and beautiful weather. In February. (Today)

Miles playing with his "rockets" and Sam watching intently. (Yesterday)

Miles teaching Sam how to play with MagnaTiles at the Library. (Today)

Sam playing at the library. (Today)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


My anxiety is through the roof this morning.

The day is grey and cloudy, and the snow has begun.

Patrick is on his way to work, and I am already fretting about how he's going to get home.

My chest is tight, and my breathing is labored.

I feel like every hair on my body is standing on end, preparing for fight or flight, though neither is helpful in this situation.

I feel heavy, all over.

The fog is rolling into my mind, and I don't know how to fight it off.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Dear Family who now lives in my childhood home,

I've written this letter in my head a million times over the past few years.  I'll never send it, but there are things I need to say to you, even if you never hear them.

The house you live in now was my home for 18 years.  Everything I remember of my childhood happened in that house.  And every time I'm in town, I have to drive by, just to make sure the house is still okay.  Sorry if I worry you or scare you.  I'm harmless, I swear.  I just have to know you're taking care of it.  And you are.  You seem to truly love the house as we did.  So, here are some things you should know.

The toilet clogs every couple of years.  Tree roots get into the pipes.  Though, you've lived there a few years, so you probably know that.

When I lived in that house, the living room, dining room, and kitchen were all separate rooms.  In fact, when we first moved in, the kitchen was where the laundry room is now.  Over the years, my parents put their blood, sweat, and tears into making it more like the home you now own.  The way it looks now is the way they wanted it to look, but could never afford to make it a reality.  Enjoy it.

The garage you park your car in was once just a car port.  Later, my dad closed it in and for years, it housed his piano repair business.  The best picture I have of him is standing in front of the sliding door with the business name and phone number on it.  He was happy that day.  The sun was shining, and his depression wasn't bad that day.  He looked as he always did back then - collared, button-down shirt, blue jeans, crew cut.  He was tall and skinny, and the grey hadn't begun to touch his temples yet.

The front yard is lined in evergreens that we planted  Each year at Christmas, we bought a baby tree and planted it near the curb.  We always decorated those trees at Christmas time, and that tree line marked the edges of the dogs' play area.  They created this wonderful, peaceful privacy from the street.  In the winter, they blocked the wind, and in the summer, they provided glorious shade.  Enjoy that.

Those weren't my favorite trees, though.  My favorites were the purple-leaf plums in the center of the yard.  My mother hated those trees and always talked about digging them up and replacing them with bradford pears, but she never did.  And I was so glad.  Those trees are the backdrop of my first prom pictures with the boy that would later be my husband.  Those are the trees that my mother chased my sister and me around so many times, all of us giggling so hard we could hardly see.

The back yard was our refuge.  My parents built the fence, and later we would have dogs who would try to climb it.  That backyard was home to dozens of dogs over the years, as well as a few rabbits, and for a brief time, a pygmy goat.  Our favorites of those dogs are buried behind the shed.  My sister and I destroyed the bushes along the fence line, trying to create a play-space where there wasn't one.  I'm sure it has grown back in by now, but for years, there was a huge hole.  In one of those bushes, the mourning doves always built their nests.  Their calls were the soundtrack of my childhood.

I could go on and on.  I could tell you a hundred stories about each square inch of that house and the yard.  Part of me still mourns the loss of that space as my own.  I'm trying to accept that you live there now.  But occasionally, I will still wonder how my old house is doing, and I will drive by, and slow down, holding back tears as the memories rush in.

And then, I will see you, a beautiful family with two young girls, loving the house I love, and it will help, just a little.

So, I ask this of you - love this house.  It's a good house, and if you let it, it will take good care of you.

Best wishes.