Tag Archives: mother

The Cult of Parties: Staying Focussed When Planning Children’s Birthdays

26 Mar

When I turned six we went to Showbiz Pizza and there exists only a simple Polaroid picture of me wearing a crown.  For my fifth birthday I remember getting a tricycle that was tall and red.  For my fourth birthday my mother made me a strawberry pie and I got a peacock-blue paper parasol.

There were no big party stores selling aisle after aisle of themed paper products back in the early ’80s.  There were no goodie bags handed out as guests left the celebration.  And we all know there was no Pinterest and Instagram. (If you’re like me, then you are particularly irked that you had to plan an entire wedding without a virtual pinboard and had to haul around a scrap-book.)

These days parties are color-coordinated creations full of photo-ops and party favors.  Starting with the very first birthday, they include an elaborate spread where all the food, cakes, plates, and straws match each other.  Striped straws, to be exact, preferably in little glass milk-bottles filled with the perfectly colored beverage (sans food-coloring, naturally).  We create backdrops, not only for this optimal display of edibles, but also for pictures of all the gorgeous, exceptional children attending.  For more flare, we even use photo props as well, like a little gold-glittered bow-tie on a stick to hold in front of a toddler (he will lick it). We have hand-crafted party games complete with costumes and take-home gifts.  The cakes are covered in fondant and the pictures of the darling Little eating that cake?  (It’s called a “smash cake”, by the way). They were taken two weeks ago in an antique high-chair in the middle of a pasture, bathed in golden sunlight.

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sweet pea

14 Feb

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Two years ago today my husband sat across from me on our Valentine’s date and told me he would be deploying.  I was wearing my six-week old son on my chest, eating sushi.  We were stationed in Hawaii, so every date seemed like a dream, no matter what.  Even with a child, it was an idyllic place to celebrate.  Bonsai Sushi on the North Shore.  I stared off in the distance, and felt my mind leave our Family celebration as I absorbed what this meant.  Ever since my dear HD had graduated school it was beyond a doubt that he would deploy at some point.  Once he took his assignment in Hawaii, it also became certain that deployment would last one year.  No one avoids this, in his position.  Furthermore, he had no intention of trying to avoid it.  I saw it as one of his rites of passage.

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Addressing Anxiety

10 Feb

It’s been so long since I’ve written, but I miss coming to this journal. I’m certain that in a few years from now I will wish I had chronicled more of this deployment year, too. Perhaps I’ll write more as I begin to put it all into perspective.

Young G was looking at laminated photos of his father a couple of nights ago. In his broken-sentence style at twenty-five months old he said, “It’s fun… daddy home. He is workin.” The photos were of when my HD was home for two weeks in late September, and each depicted Young G with his father. Clearly my son remembered playing together, and the fun they had. Then he repeated to himself my answer for every “where’s daddy?” I hear: “He’s workin.”

We are at a friend’s house right now, and have come to the end of our stay with family. For the duration of this deployment – ten months so far – Young G and I have lived with family (mostly my mother’s and in-law’s home). It’s been a huge relief, obviously, to have had so much help. These grandparents have eagerly taken care of my son for me. The draining side is that it has made Parenting difficult, because I’m constantly under the scrutiny of a been-there-done-that (BTDT) mom. Not only that, but there were there and did that with either me or my husband. It gets fierce when I disagree with their methods, too.

The tension between gratitude and frustration creates anxiety.

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Livin Without You

17 Aug

I was telling a story to my hairdresser today, talking about my husband.  As the facts unfolded in the form of answers to his questions, his eyes popped with intrigue hearing the tale.  It made me think about how revealing facts linearly is so different from giving pieces of picture one at a time and letting the listener put the puzzle together.  I actually think the hairdresser might have gotten a better image of who the HD really is because of the piece-by-piece story, rather than if I had started at the beginning.

Maybe that’s why I need to do with writing.  Just give a piece at a time, and let the picture come together.  It’s very organic that way.

I never know where a post is going to go when I sit down to write.  I just begin.  The ending comes naturally.

Saturday a friend of my brother’s told me I needed to write a book.  If I had a nickel…

This year might be worth writing about.  So might last year.  Or 2002.  They all added pieces.  Sometimes I feel like the only way I could tell my story would be to write it out like Steinbeck’s “East of Eden” and give the entire background of my life, and my husband’s, for three generations so that our story made sense.  Had context.

So much is out of context.  Even context itself, though, is dependent on perspective.  None of it is objective.  I guess the story only exists the way I tell it.  The way someone else would tell it is a completely different story.

Yesterday I had a fabulous day with my boy.  Young G and I went to a park, ate at Chick-fil-A, played outside, played in the bath, and had a lot of good laughs and toddler-conversation.  All day I thought, “I should get a furnished apartment for the next six months.  Forget living with family; let’s just hunker down together.” I decided we’d go to Charleston, where the HD and I lived before the Army.  There’s a wonderful church there that I missed, and it felt good to be near it.  I actually searched Craigslist.

Then night fell, and the quiet made it hard for me to rest.  I stayed up much too late waiting for sleep to overtake me.  I got up out of bed three times.  I forgot to lock one of the doors.  My father and his wife are gone for the week for work, and will be back tomorrow, so the last two nights Young G has been dependent only on me.  Not a problem, except that I just don’t do well alone.  In grad-school I lived alone and never slept well until I could hear my neighbor start his shower every morning.  I’m scared of defending myself alone in a house overnight, and terrified with a little one.

So it remains that I shall be rambling along from house to house. Never the Queen, always the subordinate.  But at least I’m at ease when I’m at rest.

In seven months my maniacal protector will return.  I never feel more safe than when I’m with my HD, because he’s psycho.  He doesn’t just swat flies, you know, he lures them in and suffocates them.  Any intruder in our home would be tortured — psychologically — by the experience.  I love this about my husband.  If you knew his story it would make sense.

 

Restless

3 Aug

When we packed up and left Hawaii, I put my entire music catalog on an external hard-drive. I have a PC Netbook with very little memory, so the external drive is where all my important stuff lives. I’m really proud of my music collection, and obsess over it a little. So, it bothers me that all my play-counts when back to “zero”. The plan lately is to listen to all my music again.

Ben Kweller is playing right now.

My whole life music has helped me feel connected to the world around me, and kept me from feeling isolated in my misery.  This is a good year to allow music to minister to me again, now that I haven’t got the HD.

::SIGH::

I’m so tired right now.  I’m exhausted with the feeling of obligation that I have.  I’m so tired of making other people happy.  I just want someone to bend over backwards for me, go out of their way, over-extend themselves, and throw me a surprise party. Continue reading

Wait till Your Father Gets Home

2 Aug

I’m not mad at *him*. I really never am. He’s just a child and wants so dearly for me to approve with smiles. When he refuses to walk away after I tell him “no”, it doesn’t make me mad at him.

I’m mad that I’m the only one who is here. The only consistent disciplinarian in Young G’s life. The only rule maker. Also the only comforter.

He’s very strong-willed, and he hates for us to not be “cool”, so when he insists on his way, usually a look of disappointment on my face will turn him around. Other times he laughs maniacally and deliberately disobeys me. When I pick him up to remove him from the situation, he slaps me. So I just put him down, walk away, and let my heart break.

I’m the tender one; the HD is the disciplinarian. I can not wait to have his support in parenting again! Young G doesnt disregard HD (or other men for that matter) like he does me. HD will have to do little more than use stern-voice to be effective. G hasn’t touched a particular drawer since my brother told him not to.

It doesn’t make me mad that I’m not taken seriously. I’m mad I don’t have anyone else to fall back on right now. I’m mad HD is deployed.

No Two Hours Alike

24 Jun

I’m wearing headphones right now, listening to Van Morrison sing “Tupelo Honey”. It’s a little after nine o’clock tonight, and I’m hoping to go to sleep soon. The song is repeating for the first time now. Tomorrow when I get up I’ll set up a yard sale for my mother and hope to successfully get strangers to haul off the crap that has clogged her garage for seven years. Since coming to live here in April I’ve been attempting to make her home a better place, by using my youthful energy and my need to expend it.

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