And now a break from dealing with the demons of my past, to bring you my two year old's favorite subject.....the contents of his nose.
With winter weather, his nose is starting to stuff up. And he wants everyone to know. He walks up to people and informs them, "I gotta boogie". As if he had a need to dance, but no, he has nasal mucus to rid himself of. He did thid in the church nursery yesterday...walked up to a dad who sometimes volunteers for us.
Turbo "Hey, D., did you know.....(pauses for dramatic effect) I gotta boogie in my nose?".
Ah, aren't toddlers wondeful?
Going Home, Part Two
In the coziness of my aunt's kitchen, my Gram says, with a catch in her voice, "The only thing missing is your mother".
My aunt and I look at each other, but don't say anything.
How could we? If my mother were alive, this trip would not have happened.
Reason one: My nother was a compulsive spender, and my gram always bailed her out. It was not until my mother died that my gram had the money to fly us out.
Reason two: I could not have brought my kids to meet her. Yes, we were in touch until her death, but to have her near my kids in the flesh....no. She was a toxic, unbalanced person and while the kids will eventually be told about her mental illness, I simply don't want that image in their minds. I'm sure a meeting would have been dissapointing all around, because kids were always scared of my mother, and she never understood why. So she has been spared my kids refusing to go near her.
How to describe her toxicity? I have known of few people to control and manipulate a whole family the way she did. It seems my gram always blamed herself for my mother's mental illness and all that went with it: joblessness, dependency, physical illness. And I think my mother exploited that. During most of my life, my mother used that guilt to prevent my grandmother from having relationships with anyone else in the family. Her other daughter, her grandchildren, friends...if my gram made plans with anyone else, my mother suddenly became ill.
When I hopped a Greyhound to move to the other coast at the age of 17, to my horror, my mother bought a ticket too. She only stayed two months when she discovered that I was not going to be "there" for her the way she wanted. But I knew I had to escape.
When shye returned to her hometown, the pull on my gram became worse. At one point social services were called in- "suspected Maunchausen by proxy". But my gram denied all so nothing could be done. For the last few years my granmother was a vitual prisoner.
Some may think it is cruel to say, but my mother's death brought healing and reconciliation. And hopefully, she is at peace.
Going Home again, Pt.1
Early in the morning, one week before Thanksgiving, we left the Seattle airport to do something I had long given up the hope of doing: taking the family I had built to meet my family of origin. I was a bit nervous about flying cross country with three young children; not nervous about the things so many worry about, like plane crash or terrorist attack, but the realsitic fears that one of my darlings would scream the whole way or throw up on another passenger. We were fortunate that, after a layover in Cincinnati and roughly nine hours of travel, the kids kept it together and were in good spirits when we touched down in a tiny Central Pennsylvanis airport. As we entereed the terminal, I saw my aunt, my cousin, and my 88 year old grandmother through the glass window. Herding little ones before me, I brought my familt together.
(to be continued...)
My new maternity pants
A few days ago, when I realised I only had two pairs of everyday maternity pants, I figured I should probably buy myself another pair. So after dance class, Fairy Princess and I headed to the secondhand kids resale store. I found a cute pair for only 7 dollars, in size medium. But when I tried them on, they were too tight. And I am only 4 1/2 months along. And I am thinking, "What the bleep, I am NOT a large". But it was a pair of large that fit, and luckily they were also 7 dollars, not to mention cute and funky. So while we were there, Fairy Princess finds a pair of thights she wants, for $2.
The crazy thing is, I had a much harder time justifying the pants for myself than the tights for her. Why is that? Is it the "self sacrifying mother" syndrome that our society instills in us from our girl hood?
And what about shrinking maternity clothes? Is it not very wrong that women who are growing little humans should worry about fitting into their pants before their baby is half cooked? All I can do is wear vmy size L jeans and my big belly proudly, and fight the message.
Today was "Watch Day" in HRH Princess Olivia's ballet class- the day, once a month, when we parents get to stay and watch our children's lesson. Olivia wanted her daddy to go, but I made the case that as I pay for all the classes, I should occasionally get to see what I'm paying for.
Her class is a rainbow, little gilr of every color united in a sisterhood of pink dance dresses and organze shrunchies, Danskin tights and Capezio shoes. They are all beautiful, all graceful.
Dance is not just a hobby for her, it is a passion. She plans to dance professionally someday. I try to be supportive with a dash of realism thrown in..."maybe you'll be a dance teacher
". In my own biased opinion, she is good. In my friend's somewhat less biased opinion, "With proper training, she could be the next Anna Pavlova".
All I know is that for now, dance brings her joy. Dance is something she can give her whole attention too. And she is a beauty to behold.
Last week, I stopped in the dance store to get her a pink velour dance sweater for Christmas. A young lady was there with her mom, maybe 11 or 12, getting fitted for her first pair of pointe shoes. I found myself getting teary, thinking, hoping that maybe someday she will sit there.
A Real Job
There's a somewhat irreverant j0ke, where we are told that Jesus must have really been a woman, because even after he was dead he still had to get up and keep working. Sounds, in fact,like a mother.
I am a stay at home, homeschooling mother with a part time paid job. On any given day- today, for example- I may wash, dry and fold three loads of laundry, teach my 7 year old on a variety of subjects, including the fall of the Spartans, subtracting three digit numbers with borrowing, mapping endangered species, teaching the 5 year old beginning addition and simple reading- while keeping the 2 year old out of the oven , off the counters, and off the table while fielding a call from work about the best time to clean the church nursery.
Later I will make lunch, direct the 7 year old on doing the dishes, the 5 year old on sweeping, while keeping the 2 year old from...see above. I will take out and turn the compost, make sure the kids fold and put away their laundry and clean their rooms, vaccuum and sweep the entire house, make a quiche ( from scratch) and banana bread (also...), collect the last of the apples from my neighbors tree, take the kids for a walk, lesson plan, make a grocery list, break up fights, praise art projects......
All while building a little human from my own body.
And then I am told I don't have a real job.