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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The post with no title because everything I tried seemed trite

This post is because of Andrea. Because she asked me why I haven't been blogging, and I realized that it's because I didn't want to talk about this. But I'm doing it anyway.

When I become aware of my spirit, I know that I'm in trouble.

When my life is moving forward, and my brain is functioning the way it ought, I am very seldom aware of my own human spirit. My life is too full, my experiences too rich for there to be that awareness. But when I start to consciously think of my spirit it is because I am feeling it, constantly, and because it doesn't feel right. It becomes dark and weighty and it no longer properly fits the confines of my body. I start to notice it in the tightness of my shoulders. In the grim set of my mouth. In the nagging headaches and the terrible exhaustion. In the squeeze of my ribcage when I try to get one, just one, deep, filling, cleansing breath into my lungs. And can't.

Then one day I wake up, and I don't want to do anything but cry.

I started on a regimen of antidepressants and therapy after my third miscarriage in 2005. Confronting my infertility was difficult beyond imagining, unless you've been there too. But the drugs helped. The therapist helped. Adopting Grasshopper helped most of all.

In January 2007, I made the decision to give up my dubious chances at a biological child and underwent a hysterectomy. It was a very freeing decision for me, the removal of that uterus I'd come to hate so fiercely, and one that allowed me to feel strong enough to go off the drugs, and (with her blessing) to stop seeing the counselor. I didn't regret it. I still don't.

I made it through my various other hells between then and now, and I handled them on my own. But lately I am discovering that my hands are too full for me to continue doing so.

The adoption of our second child is still moving forward, albeit slowly. There have been more setbacks on that topic than I care to integrate into a post that is ostensibly about my mental health, so I'll save it for another time. Suffice to say that it has been far from easy.

There have been major crises in JR's business, and in his family. One of our very best friends went into an emotional free-fall a few weeks ago and I did all that I could (it wasn't much. Not nearly as much as I'd have liked) to help and support them. The anniversary of B's suicide is approaching. I'm preparing to sue someone for the first time in my life (nothing like a lawsuit to make a girl feel like a real, red-blooded American!) and I have been deeply disappointed by people who had the power to disappoint me. Finally, someone very important to me, and even more important to my husband, has cancer.

This list is by no means comprehensive, nor is it indicative of how many wonderful and positive things I have in my life.

When you are in the grips of depression, the good things are all muffled and muted, like a TV in the apartment next door, by that heavy darkness that seems to spread from the inside out. The things that add weight to the darkness? Those you perceive in stark relief.

I have an appointment on Wednesday to see my doctor about a prescription, and hopefully a referral. I'm exercising again and taking vitamin D. I'm doing one of the things that I hate most in the world and asking for help (if you know me IRL, you know how true this is) before I reach the point of letting the dishes and the cat hair and the laundry pile up and my hair go unwashed for 6 days at a time because, "who cares, I'm worthless?"

This time I recognize the path that I'm on and although this isn't where I want to be, and I wish that I'd caught it sooner, I know that I can to find my way back to the road I actually want to travel.

Monday, February 1, 2010

More Conversations with Grasshopper (You Can't Make This Stuff Up)

JR and I were talking at the dinner table the other night while Grasshopper mowed through a cheese quesodilla and grapes. JR glanced over to find that our son had managed to join the Clean Plate Club in under 4 minutes. They had the following conversation:

"Wow! Where did your dinner go, Grasshopper?"

"It in my tummy!"

"Aww, but I wanted to have some quesodilla and grapes! Now what am I going to do?"

"I dunno, but you can't have mine! Mine is in my tummy, and my tummy is attached to me."


"And not wif tape!"

Friday, December 18, 2009

Is it even possible... have a Perfect Christmas?

I don't think that it is.

I mean it can be perfect for SOME members of the family, but I just don't see how it can be perfect for everyone. I've tried to make it such (bear with me, I realize that the Big Day isn't even here yet, really, I do) but I'm wondering if it's not a lost cause.

Because Grasshopper, well Grasshopper is having the The Advent Train has been a huge hit, and he greets me each morning with, "It time to open anover door on a Advent Twain, Mommy!" He has loved every single thing that we've done, from the small holiday crafts to the huge extravaganza of Christmas lights and most recently The Nutcracker Ballet, "There were RATS and dey was huwge! And da Rat King, him got DEAD!"

And I have loved making these memories with him each and every day.

It has put me more deeply in touch with why the Christmas season is so special to me because I see the roots of that growing in my own child. I imagine him making gingerbread waffles with his own kid 30 years from now and my heart feels like it's liable to burst.

But the exhaustion. Oh my word, the exhaustion.

I don't know how to make things perfect for my boy, easy for my over-worked husband and festive for my friends and other family members without burning myself completely out.

I haven't worked out in weeks. I haven't headed downstairs with a clear head in the morning in ages. I barely sleep. I'm waking up in the middle of the night ticking off lists of cards that still need addressing, teacher gifts that still need buying and ingredient lists for cookies that still need baking.

I haven't logged into Blogger or Google Reader in WEEKS. I have no idea what's happening in all of your lives(unless we're Facebook friends, which if we're not, why aren't we?), and it sucks. I WANT to know how you and your families are fairing. I hate feeling so out of my little bloggy loop. I haven't been on Twitter in 2 months and I wonder who will still care about what I might have to say when I find the time to log on again.

I love this season. I'm having a great time making Grasshopper's one and only Christmas as a three-and-a-half-year-old as memorable for him (and for JR and I) as possible.

I just haven't figured out how to do it and still find time for myself. Maybe THAT'S the true Miracle of Christmas.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

All Aboard the Advent Train

My name is Natasha and I am a sucker for family traditions. (Hi, Natasha!)

I didn't grow up with very many set-in-stone traditions, but the ones that we did have are still sacred to me. I am trying to fit as many of those and as many new ones into Grasshopper's childhood as possible because, to me, tradition is the foundation that family is built upon.

To that end, I bought this advent calendar. It's not heirloom quality (heirloom quality is soooo not in the budget, this year) but it's just right for sparking imagination, and that's what I really wanted. That and a way to (hopefully) explain that, "No. Today is not Christmas. No, tomorrow is not Christmas. Why? Because it's not until December 25 and today is only December 1 and if I have to answer this question anymore this morning I will take down the Christmas tree and put it back in the attic until Christmas Eve so help me!" Ahem.

Also, I wanted a way to make the holiday season more about creating memories together than about the accumulation of more stuff (I'm looking at you, Toys-R-Us catalog). So I started brainstorming ideas for seasonal fun that we could have every single day between now and Christmas and printing those on little strips of paper that I tucked inside the calendar. Some were obvious like attending The Monkey Boy's family open house on the 12th, or seeing a special children's performance of The Nutcracker Ballet on the 17th. This morning we planted paperwhites in a pretty silver pot, and tomorrow JR and I will crank up some Brian Setzer Orchestra holiday music and have a dance party with Grasshopper after dinner.

I've scheduled in viewings of The Polar Express and A Charlie Brown Christmas. I'm hoping that we can make a trip to Callaway Gardens for their Fantasy in Lights and at least one Sunday morning will be spent making gingerbread waffles. Grasshopper is going to take some of his own money with him to the Dollar Store to choose a present or two for Daddy, and we're going to wrap them together. He's going to help me choose some items for Toys for Tots donation, and he is also going to go with me to donate foodstuffs to the local food bank.

I hope that the process of opening those little calendar doors each morning will lead to the opening of some much bigger thought-processes about what Christmas really means, and why the season is so magical.

At a minimum, I'll get to rock around the Christmas tree with two of the handsomest boys I know.

What about you? What are you most looking forward to this season? I've still got a few cubbyholes left to fill and I would love to add your ideas to the mix!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Still More Conversations With Grasshopper (You Can't Make This Stuff Up)

Today, Grasshopper gave me more evidence of his ever-shrinking britches:

"Grasshopper, why don't you help me clean up these toys so that we can vacuum the den? Unci* and Granddaddy will be here tomorrow for Thanksgiving and we want everything to be nice and clean for them."

"Unci and Granddaddy are coming today!"

"No, Grasshopper. TOMORROW. The plan is for Unci and Grandaddy to be here tomorrow."

"Well, dat not my plan. I planning for dem to be here today! Humph!"

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope that your family brings you many laughs during the holidays and everyday.

*Unci means grandmother in the Lakota language

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

More Conversations With Grasshopper (You Can't Make This Stuff Up)

My child is getting too big for his britches.

And I don't mean in the "I might start making him walk around with a brick on his head if he doesn't stop this infernal GROWING" way. I mean in the "He may not make it to his fourth birthday if he keeps up with that smart mouth" way.

A week or so ago, Grasshopper and I were both sick. We'd had the same cold for about 10 days and mine was segueing nicely into a sinus infection while his infection chose to take up residence in his ears. I had a contractor on my roof and a tissue semi-permanently attached to my nose. I needed to take us to the doctor.

So I got us appointments on the same morning at my primary care doc's office and his pediatrician's office which is right around the corner(can you say miraculous, boys and girls?).

I left the contractor on the roof and hauled us out to spend money on co-pays that were frustratingly unnecessary since I had already (correctly) diagnosed us and we just needed some damn antibiotics, PLEASE! But no, we needed to be exposed to MORE germs in over-crowded waiting rooms to have a nurse practitioner spend no more than 45 seconds examining each of us and then prescribing antibiotics. Woo health care industry!

The visits took a couple of hours and by the time we got home it was lunch time and Grasshopper wanted pizza. I threw a frozen pie in the pre-heated oven, set the timer, turned on a DVD for Grasshopper and tried to focus on what my contractor was telling me about my roof and the cheap a-holes who owned it before me while my sinuses pounded out a distracting rhythm.

The timer beeped and I opened the oven door to a very odd-looking pizza: melted cheese but absolutely no "rise" or browning to the "rising-crust." In fact, the edges were flopping down in between the bars of the rack (I bake our pizzas directly on the rack to get crispier crust). It didn't take too long for me to determine that the bottom heating element on my oven was not actually heating.

My hands were getting shaky from lack of food, and I was waiting until we had something in our stomachs before giving us our first doses of antibiotic. Plus the contractor needed to go to Home Depot (which always takes 2 hours even though it's 3 miles away) because WHY should a job that he told me would take "a couple of hours" actually only take that long?

So I loaded a protesting Grasshopper in the car and headed for the nearest drive-thru, thinking that this would make his day AND get food in our tummies fastest. Mommy win!

Or not.

"But I want pizza Mommy! Why us going to McDonald's?"

"Because the oven is broken sweetheart. I tried to make us a pizza, but the oven isn't working right now."

Grasshopper kicks the back of the passenger seat huffily and catches my eye in the rearview.

"Um, I think that the oven at Mellow Mushroom is not broken." He informs me with oh so much contempt for my problem-solving skills.

Serenity now, serenity now, serenity now, seren...