Monday, March 31, 2008

My Book About Me: Volume II

I remember my mom giving me this book when I was a kid and now I wish I knew what had happened to it.

Somehow along the way I turned 37. Now, I don't feel old. I don't really think I'm old. But the 6-year-old in me that filled out her "My Book about Me, by ME, Myself" really thinks that this 37 year old woman is ancient -- and really ought to know who she is, thank you very much.

I hate sounding like a whiny middle-aged woman having an identity crisis. In fact just seeing those words on the screen makes me cringe. The truth is this isn't a new identity crisis -- I've always had it. Probably always will. But that doesn't mean I have to like it, right?

I am awed by people who seem to know, or at least eventually figure out, who they are. I don't mean what they do -- cause really, come on. But I have friends who are Writers and Artists and Photographers and Speech Pathologists and Mothers and that is who they are. They have true gifts and passions. It's not work to them (or not always). They really appear to love what they do and they do it well.

I don't get it.

I have heard the talk about "spiritual gifts" and let me tell you: evidently, I came to the party late cause I seem to have left empty-handed: Administration? Don't tell my boss, but not-so-much. Exhortation? I don't think I know what it means so that would be a no as well. Teaching? Um, I'm a card-carrying member of the "Never taught despite my education degree" club. Encouragement? No. Mercy? Uh, NO. Pastoring, evangelizing, prophseying? No, no, and no again.

Look, I'm not fishing for compliments here, I just really don't see it. And it doesn't have to be limited to spiritual gifts (though this seems a noble cause worth pursuing) -- I don't feel especially gifted in anything. "Jack of all trades, master of none." And maybe that's OK. Just feels less than overwhelming. You know?

So, I either haven't figured it out or haven't stumbled across it, I'm not sure which. Or maybe it just is what it is. But it seems like I always expect something better to come down the pike, but I inevitably make a wrong turn (or wrong decision) that keeps me from ME. I'm not unhappy, just a little bit lost. Waiting to figure out whatever It is that I am.

The six-year-old is getting impatient. I'm not sure what to tell her. Maybe I should go get another book and start from scratch, or better yet, Sara and I could do ours together.

Not a bad idea, really...

Wait, I just thought of something. I know a lot of words. Not like in a freaky-deaky Scrabble champion kind of way, but you know -- in that way where I feel compelled to use exactly the right word kind of way. That way that alienates people because they think you think you're superior to them.

Now that's a helpful skill. I'm sure I'll sleep better tonight.

ADDENDUM: My husband said he felt bad for me when he read this. He thinks I sound depressed. Rest assured, I don't feel bad about this or depressed. Anticipatory maybe, or confused or I don't know what. But not depressed.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thursday night catechism

There's this CD that I put on for Sara every night. Scattered throughout are various "nature" sounds -- rain, water, birds, stuff like that. After a little section with birds chirping, I told Sara about how her Grandma really liked birds. She liked how colorful they were, and how they sang, and how they hopped around. She liked to feed them and watch them. And then Sara said "I feed birds." And I told her yes, that we could feed the birds too.

And then she asked, "Where Grandma?"

Now this is not new territory. When Dad died I told her that he had gone to heaven to live with God and Jesus and Grandma, and so we've talked lots of times about where Grandma and Grandpa live. So I asked her: "Where does Grandma live?"

And she said, "Heaben."

So I told her yes, Grandma lives in heaven with Grandpa and God and Jesus.

A couple of minutes pass and she said "Where God?"

Hmmm. What would that two-year-old mind make of this? "Well, God lives in heaven. But it's kind of tricky, because He's here, too. He's everywhere. He lives in our hearts and He's always with us. We can't see Him but if we listen we can hear Him, and we can feel Him too."

To which she said, "God in heaben."

"Yep, God's in heaven and here and everywhere."

There was this little pause, and I thought the conversation was over. But then I hear her little voice, and it's obvious she's been thinking about what I've said.


Tricky, indeed.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

LOL -- and I don't do that

So you have to go here and see this post. The video is funny and disturbing and mind-bending. The commentary is hilarious.

(FYI, the blogger is a friend of my sister's and his posts have had me LOLing more than once. LOLing -- I'm pretty sure that's not a word. But then again neither is LOL so there you go.

Anyway, he also happens to be a nice guy. He dutifully laughed at Sara during Easter dinner and felt free to give me some digs on my not-so-hot home-made hot-cross-buns. I respect that.)

Monday, March 24, 2008

on my mind these days... this house going to be TOO big?

...why do you always end up getting the shaft at work?

...yeah, i really need to figure out how to get healthy

...oh, to have the time to craft all i wanted!

...the career: white-knuckling it til the end

...can't get enough of my girl/will someone come take her, please?

...wish i was a snappier blogger.

...sick and tired of feeling sick and tired

...i've really got to get to bed earlier...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

(It worked, FYI)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Mike Spencer said...

How many conversations have started that way? I wonder....

Anyway, Mike Spencer once said that it might be helpful for me to write things down. This suggestion happened to be in relation to thoughts about my parent's deaths and how at times I just seem to relive certain moments that, quite honestly, I'd rather not relive. His thinking was that by writing these thoughts down I could sort of put them somewhere so I didn't have to keep processing them. At least that's how I interpreted what he said.

Well, I bought a little orange notebook to use for just that purpose. I now use it to take down dimensions and stock numbers of appliances that Rob and I think we might like for our new kitchen. I had good intentions about using it for the original purpose, but really it's perilously close to "journaling," and that's just not something I do.

Except then I realized that that's pretty much exactly what I do on this stupid blog.

Anyway, all of that to say that I had an experience this weekend that I need to put somewhere so I can stop reliving it in my head.

Most people know that I am not really a dog person. I don't dislike dogs -- in fact at times I kind of want a dog -- but I am not especially drawn to them. In particular I am not a fan of large dogs. OK: at the core of it, I'm afraid of them. Not big loopy goofy happy dogs like Labs but Big Dogs That Mean Business. I don't trust them. I know that, at the end of the day, they are animals. And even with the greatest cat in the world (mine of course), at the end of the day he is still an animal and you never know for sure what an animal will do.

So, now you know my thing about dogs -- and I'm sure you can imagine where this is going.

This weekend we went out to Philly for the memorial service of one of Rob's great-uncles. We stayed with the in-laws, as usual, as well as their akita. (An akita, in case you are unfamiliar with the breed, is a Big Dog That Means Business.) I am able to function reasonably well around the dog -- we aren't friends per se, but we co-exist. Sara, on the other hand, loves anything furry with a tail and has no fear whatsoever of the Big Dog and so I am terrified for her. The Big Dog is intrigued, perplexed, puzzled, probably somewhat annoyed by Sara but for the most part doesn't get much past sniffing her. A couple of times -- and always without provocation -- he growled at her and I flashed my Mommy armor, though every time I was reassured that it was nothing, he is just jealous of the attention he was losing to Sara, he was startled, etc. He needed to get used to her, come to think of her as family and then he would protect her.

And then it happened. I knew it would, could sense it coming. The Mama instinct in me could see it and feel it and was completely powerless to stop it. The Big Dog bit her. On the face. And there was blood.

It's funny because at the time I was probably the most composed person there. Sara, of course, was scared and wailing. Rob was furious. My mother-in-law was crying. I just wanted my daughter to be OK and, after a few minutes, she was. I consoled my mother-in-law, calmed my husband, and kept feeding Sara ice cubes and bacon. The dust settled. The dog went outside and will never have contact with Sara again.

It's done.

But it's not, because all night and all morning the only thing I see in my mind's eye is the Big Dog going after her again, only this time he doesn't stop. He's vicious, and Sara is bleeding but not crying, and I'm scared to death that it's gone too far.

I keep telling myself that it didn't happen that way and that now there is no chance that it ever will. But that doesn't stop my mind from going there, and the scars on her face just remind me over & over & over what could have been.

Here's hoping that this post puts the nightmare to rest.