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trying to keep going

March 24th, 2008

Thanks to the Wacky Nekkid Neighbors, I now have two full beds of strawberries plants rooting into the rich, crumbly dirt in my back yard.

I have been down. I get the blues, the mean reds, the woe is me tragic-tragics.

And there I am, trying to hold it together, snapping at my kids for no reason. Hating the park. Loathing, despising, fearful of the park, where my dad had a psychotic break. What do I tell my kids? "I wish I liked the park, but it reminds me of Grandpa's psychotic break. Honey-children, I hate the park. Can we play in the yard instead?"

It's all because I had to stop being a kid when I turned about eight, and it became clear with each institutionalization (seven or so total) that my dad would not get better, would never get better, would die soon. Did die soon, much too young. (When he was 31 and I was nine; my mom was 30, my sister was six. We were all four much, much too young.) I want my kids to be allowed to be kids, but I have a hard time with the boundaries -- they do need to learn some responsibilities -- how to do simple chores, how to be polite when someone fixes them food. They are not allowed to throw tantrums. They need to show respect. The quacking bunnies? I can deal with the quacking bunnies. But sometimes they need to go upstairs, with the teddy bears and Webkinz toys, and have a little break.

My kids need to be kids. They get to be kids. I'll keep trying to find some balances here.

I miss my dog. It's been a whole long year, and I miss him so much. When we were at the beach this weekend, I was longing for him (never mind how disgusting dogs are at the beach, pooping in the sand, rolling in dead porcupines, shaking water and sand all over you while you're trying to build a sand castle or read a book. Never mind all of that.) In my mind, it's just my dog chasing after a tennis ball over and over and over until he's exhausted, flopping on the sand, tongue hanging out of one side of his mouth, sleeping in front of the fire when we get back to the motel room.) My puppy.

Nothing to do here but ride it out. Pray. Light my candles. Talk with my friends. Lean on my husband. He is always a rock for me. I want to be as strong for him and the kids as they are for me.

The kids just got back from the Nekkid Neighbors -- they played for an hour. They love being on break. I love being on break, too, even with the topsy-turvy scheduling -- in town, out of town, no tap dance, no piano. Practice, practice for Wacky Girl -- she is such a talented piano player. She plays like an angel. It brings me so much joy to hear her. I planted the strawberries, I weeded, I dreamed about the summer. We can camp and swim and sleep in. I can hang laundry on the line and have the whole summer off work. (Thank you, school districts, for giving me the same schedule as my kids. This is a godsend.) My unpaid volunteer gig may turn into a paid gig, soon. We shall see.

In the meantime, I love my family, my friends, my blog community.

I love the students I work with. It is fulfilling work. It is satisfying work, keeping the lines of communication open, working on projects. I love doing things on a shoestring, I shine at that. You give me a shoestring budget, I will find fifty different things to do with it.

On my lunch hours, I've taught probably one hundred kids and staff how to knit. They're teaching each other, their siblings, their teachers. Kids who would never touch each other, never associate with each other, are talking. They're sitting together, touching hands, leaning in to each other. They're showing each other how to make scarves, how to "finger-knit" chokers and bracelets. That's pretty huge, isn't it? All these knitters and nice people who don't even know these kids have loaded us up with boxes and bags full of pretty yarns. Thank you again, Naked Sheep. Thanks for the rest of our lives. We love you guys.

I’m talking a rainbow of yarns, in cotton, mohair, angora, acrylic, everything under the sun. They’ve donated needles — straights and circular — patterns, half-finished projects, everything you could think of. Several knitters have stepped up to help.

Three other knitters want to start an afterschool club. To those of you (and you know who you are. And no, you probably aren’t even reading this blog) — to those of you who scoff and act like knitting doesn’t “count.” You’re wrong. It counts.

I’m starting to feel better already.


  1. Qanzas says

    WM, I heart you. Don’t forget, IOU. 2009!

    Wow, that’s almost as cryptic as those text-messages the kids are all sending each other these days.

    March 24th, 2008 | #

  2. Vixen says

    Working backwards: Knitting does count. It counts alot. Kids need to learn to do things with their hands and brains that uses their creative side. What you are doing is HUGE. Keep up the good work.

    I envy you having summers off with your kids. I would have loved a job like that when my kids were smaller. Hell, I would like summers off now! Hope your volunteer deal goes to paid. Money helps.

    Regarding the other. All I can say is I understand what it is like to be an adult who lost their childhood. It haunts you and affects you the rest of your life (or at least until you are 46 which is all the experience I have, so far). But you can take it, and with work and effort, probably use it as learning experience for your kids that will make them more well-balanced and rounded adults.

    Email me if you want to talk. I have time now. I am not so busy and caught up in my own crap. I can be there.

    March 24th, 2008 | #

  3. Vixen says

    OH…and strawberries (gardening) best therapy in the world.

    March 24th, 2008 | #

  4. LIB says

    WM you ARE coping–very well. It’s so good that you’re in touch with your feelings (instead of denying them) and that you know what coping strategies work AND YOU PUT THEM IN PRACTICE. Writing about what you feel is SO GOOD.

    March 24th, 2008 | #

  5. Heather says

    Vixen said it first, and better than I could. She does that, the Vixen. Anyway, I heart you and do you want to go to lunch sometime? Check yes or no. ((hug)) till I can give you the warm squishy real kind.

    March 25th, 2008 | #

  6. ash says

    I’m always amazed at your strength.

    March 25th, 2008 | #

  7. Recovering Straight Girl says

    Oh yes. This is normal as well. Please refer to the post where some incredibly smart person instructed you to start abusing prescriptions.

    Seriously. What you’re doing here is good. Typing and thinking and writing uses lots of parts of your brain (especially when simultaneously yelling at children.) Process. You are processing and that is all good stuff. Just remember we all have dark days, some darker than others and in order to fully appreciate the sun, you must sometimes sit in the dark.

    Jesus said to his disciples, “I go before you to prepare a home for you, my father’s house has many mansions.” The word mansions translated through the Greek better means, “dimensions.” Thinking of Heaven in this context gives one an understanding of it a little different than a big place in the sky. I think that Heaven is just beyond the veil of where we are now. Those who you love are still in the same house, just a different dimension and the love and connection that you had with them here in this place is still intact and still as real as it was.

    Your father is without the pain that he lived with in this dimension. His spirit does not know the pain and suffering that his physical self held. And he is still with you, and still real–just beyond the veil.

    March 25th, 2008 | #

  8. Laura Healy says

    Hey WM. If it were possible I’d come and fix you something really great to eat and give you the biggest hug, and then we’d sit and knit. My thoughts are with you.

    Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is talking about how subversive (and life changing) knitting can be on her blog today. If you haven’t already, you should check it out.

    March 25th, 2008 | #

  9. WackyMommy says

    Hey, you all — thank you for the wise words and the Internet lovin’. I’m feeling better already. Sick kid here — his fever came back — or I’d write more. What is with these random fevers? They’re as random and painful as the depressions and mood swings.

    March 25th, 2008 | #

  10. melissa lion says

    Oh WM. I’m sorry.

    March 27th, 2008 | #

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