Friday, November 30, 2007

Why I Run

I was going to write about regrets today but I've decided against it. Maybe another day.

What I want to write about is how the hills in the neighborhood where I run are huge and daunting. Going down feels like I am flying. Sometimes when I run I have the same song on replay on my IPOD for the entire 45 minutes to an hour I am out there. It's a quirk of mine that I need to feel inspired and sometimes just one song does it for me.

When I am around mile 3 and I am down at the bottom of the very last hill that I will have to go back up, I always take a quick peek to the top and think I can't possibly get up there again. There's just no way. I don't have the energy or the desire. Sometimes I pray that someone I know will drive by and offer to give me a lift home and I know that if they did, I would hop in their car in a heartbeat. As I am thinking these things, I continue to pound the pavement beneath me and before I know it, I am at the top and there's a moment when I turn back around to see how far I've come and I think how proud and happy I am that I did what I thought I could not do.

When I am out there exercising, it feels a little like I am shedding something I need to get rid of while at the same time I am gaining something very important that I cannot get anywhere else. I think I shed my fears for a while and I think I find serenity. I am running towards serenity.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Taking the long way home

"My life is my message." - Mahatma Ghandi

My husband wanted to go for a ride today again, so I set up a few rules for our "little drive up the road." The rules were as follows:

1.) No turning the heat to 85 degrees inside the car when it is a delightfully beautiful day like today (mid 60's). My husband is always saying he's cold and I'll be sitting in the car with the vents blowing that hot air in my face and that's supposed to be enjoyable? I don't think so. He promised to abide by this rule since it makes perfect sense however I ended up turning the temperature down no less than 5 times during our ride. It's a habit that will be hard to break, I think.

2.) No NHL Home Ice on XM radio and no 60's music for longer than 10 minutes because he won't compromise on the music with me and will yell at me for liking music made in this decade. I told him that if he broke this rule, then I'd put my IPOD in my ears and ignore him. I didn't have to do this until we were on the way home (we started off at noon time and never got home until 7:30 PM.) I know.

3.) No talking about bills. This is one of his favorite topics. No matter how many times I tell him all the bills are paid (because we sit and pay them TOGETHER, mind you), he continues to ask me if they're all paid. He slipped up once which was pretty good for him considering on a bad day he'll ask me hourly (and surprisingly, the answer never changes!) I know!

Anyway, those were the basics because I didn't want to completely lose my sanity during an afternoon drive. We're scouting out land in the mountains to build a house in another year or so. Up until just recently I have fought going anywhere that felt too isolated and peaceful. I like being where the action and noise is. I like accessible shopping. But this place we've found feels a little like heaven and when I stand outside and look around I think that I could be happy there. It's the kind of place where I will be forced to be alone with my thoughts and deal with them head on instead of pushing them away until another day and I think that might be good for me. I hate moving with a passion but my husband loves moving especially if there is money is to be made. We are so totally opposite of one another it's not funny.

We had a great afternoon except for me getting a little car sick when we were whipping up and down roads in a neighborhood nestled deep in the mountains. I had to ask him to stop at a Rite Aid to get a package of Rolaids to settle my stomach. I hate being caught without Rolaids because you never know when you might need them.

I think I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving even though I didn't realize it's next week. I guess that means I need to get a turkey. It's just me, my husband and two of my kids because everyone else lives out of state. I cook all day then we sit down and in approximately 7 minutes everyone is finished and they up leave me with the mess.

I can hardly wait.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Think of me...

"...there will never be a day when I won't think of you..."-Andrew Lloyd Webber

I haven't seen or spoken to one of my brothers in more than 20 years. The reason why is as big a mystery to me as to anyone who might read this. I think he got furious with me that I upset our parents over something that had nothing whatsoever to do with him, and so he decided not to speak to me ever again. I have three children he has never met. When he had his first child, I decided to offer up an olive branch even though I knew I had done nothing wrong to deserve his treatment of me, and put together a package of things for his new baby daughter and mailed it off to him. I knew how much I had changed just from having my children and thought perhaps his heart might have melted, too. I never heard back from him, not a thank you, nothing.

I have another brother who cut ties with everyone in the family when my parents disapproved of an older woman he was involved with. This was approximately 15 years ago. I had moved away with my own family at the time and so my connection to him was always through them and when he cut them off I guess he threw me in there as well because in my world that's just the way it goes. I guess we're considered a package deal and so we were all severed together.

I spend a lot of time trying not to think about this, and about what it means to me because it's very difficult to accept, at least for me, that I could be so easily erased from the lives of my brothers. I never tell anyone about them either because how do I explain the reasons why when I don't know them myself? It's this secret sorrow of mine that the world knows nothing about, but I might feel better if I write it down, if I try to let it go. I grew up in a family of people who never discussed difficult things, so that was the norm for me. My parents must know how awful I feel knowing that both of my brothers live their lives as though I do not exist and yet they say nothing. It just never gets mentioned because it's the appearance of happiness that's most important in our world. Nobody does surface-level-living like we do.

Here's something you should know about me: I am good at learning to live without people that I love because I think of it in terms of completing a task. I set my emotions aside and do the work involved in meeting the goal. It's only in the quiet of the night or on holidays or when I know it's their birthdays that I allow myself to feel the loss I know I've learned to live with so well. I wonder how they are. I wonder if they ever think of me.

Today I was wasting time on FACEBOOK and decided to type in my brothers names to see if I could find them. I don't know why it hasn't occurred to me to do this before, but it hasn't. I could not find the brother who cut ties with everyone, but I did find a picture of my other brother. He looks nothing like I remember and yet I see my mother's face in him. I felt a mean little thought about how time has been kinder to me than it has been to him and then I stopped thinking that because I should know better by now than to be so spiteful.

It does feel better writing this all down. It doesn't change anything, but it does feel freeing to some degree.

Here's something else you should know: My brothers missed out on knowing and loving someone fabulous.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

One Thing About Me

I could watch Little Miss Sunshine a million times and I would love it every one of those million times.

Friday, November 9, 2007

A Little Rant

"Anger helps strengthen out a problem like a fan helps straighten out a pile of papers." - Susan Mancotte

I'm angry about a couple of things today.

First off, I did end up buying a new vacuum about a week ago (not a birthday present) and honestly, I HATE IT. The suction is light to non-existent and it's driving me crazy. One of the few household chores I don't mind doing is vacuuming. I like nice even lines appearing on my carpet, and to achieve this look, I vacuum every day. I hate everything else so I have no idea why vacuuming makes me happy, but it does. I like seeing footprints disappear--I know that's odd, but there you have it--feel free to call me odd.

I don't typically buy the most expensive kind because I overuse them and I can't see spending big money on a vacuum. That's just ridiculous, and we have three children who I fear will be dependent on us forever, so I scrimp on the vacuums when it comes time to get a new one. Well, I spent more money this time, and the damn thing sucks. Or rather, it doesn't suck good enough. I feel silly for getting so angry at a vacuum, but you should have seen me just a little while ago. I was trying to achieve the nice lines I discussed in the previous paragraph and I found myself mumbling about how much I wanted to throw it out the window because I hated it so much. So there's THAT.

Then, that purse I bought a couple of weeks ago? Well, it has a zipper closure and the zipper keeps getting stuck in the open position so that I have to maneuver and cajole and baby the damn thing to line up so I can close it. I've almost tossed that thing across the room a few times. At first I thought it was me but it's becoming clear that this is one thing that I can't be blamed for. I'd return it, but I bought it at a mall 2 hours away from here and just thinking about feeling forced to go back there to return it makes me even angrier.

You know--everyone gets your money up front and I don't think it's too much to expect that I get what I pay for and not some defective piece of crap. And to top it all, when I purchased that bag, there were 2 checkout lines and a zillion employees buzzing around the store asking if they could help me but when I went to check out, there was only one girl checking people out so I asked her if the other lane was opened or closed and she HUFFILY told me it was closed.

I snottily said something to the effect that I certainly understood THAT since there were plenty of employees wandering around like zombies doing NOTHING, and I brought my purse over and waited in her line. No sooner had I moved than one of the floating employees came over and asked me if she could check me out. WTF? So once again, I moved over so I could check out and get the hell out of there. So yeah, I'm looking forward to going back there and dealing with THAT.

Lastly, my dear child who is away (out of state) at school called me on my cell phone which is always code for I NEED MONEY and guess what? He needed money for rent. Huh? The first of the month I had transferred money into his account to pay for his rent so what was I missing? Come to find out, he had written a check against that money for something else, and so he was short on his rent money. I tried not to explode as I asked him how much he had left in his account and he answered his typical, "I don't know." So I had to straighten that mess out so he could pay his rent. I called him and told him to pay it immediately so he wouldn't be tempted to spend it elsewhere.


Earlier in the week we needed to replace a piece of sporting equipment of his that broke to the tune of $500. Whenever I see his name on my cellphone, I immediately see dollar signs flying out the window because that's what happens after I pick up.

I guess that's enough for now although the day is still young.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Something beautiful

“For every beauty there is an eye somewhere to see it. For every truth there is an ear somewhere to hear it. For every love there is a heart somewhere to receive it.”-Ivan Panin

I've decided after the last two entries that I needed to lighten up. I have this terrible habit of dealing with unpleasant things by telling myself I will think about them tomorrow and so that is what I will do. I think I'm copying Scarlett O'Hara, but I swear I would do it anyway even if she hadn't said it first. It's just the way I am.

There's something about a blank page at the end of a long day that calls to me to fill it up with what is in my heart. It's nice to have a place where I can be really honest and not hurt anyone I care about. I think there are a lot of people in this world who will tell you that they want to hear the truth but what they really mean is that they want to hear the truth if it's a pretty truth and not an ugly one. I think ugly truths are hard to swallow for most people, myself included. I have trouble with my own ugly truths--admitting them, examining them, confronting them, living with them--and so it's no surprise that other people would not have room to fit mine in alongside their own. So I come here and expose them to people I do not know because that's about as courageous as I get.

Anyway, being serious is tiresome after a while and besides, I want to write about something beautiful.

I'm not a morning person at all. No matter what time I wake up, I don't think I'm ready to really face the world until around 10 AM. Every morning I get up with my youngest daughter to get her ready for school. It's still dark outside, and when I walk her to her car so that I can go through my ritual of telling her to drive safely and watching her car until the tail lights disappear, the moon and the stars are still lighting up the sky. It's morning, but there's a night sky above me. I just think that's so amazingly beautiful. Something happens to me out there each morning. My head and my heart feel a quiet peace I never feel when I am rushing through my days, and it's impossible for me not to be happy.

I forget about the little things all the time. I forget the simple joys that are right in front of me because I'm always on the lookout for something bigger. But when I'm out there in the morning looking up at the night sky I think how glad I am to be alive.

I try to commit that moment to memory so that I never, ever forget.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A Good Mother

I've been a parent since I was 23 years old--more years than I've been without kids. In a lot of ways, the time has flown by in a blur, but in other ways, it feels like forever, if that makes any sense. While my friends were out having fun, I was raising children. Having children was the most sobering thing in the world to me. Being carefree was a thing of the past. I stayed serious and determined because I did not know any other way to be. I learned to put myself last and that came easily because all mothers should strive to be selfless, right?

I can see myself from the outside looking in and this is what I see: I see someone who has been waiting patiently for a time when I no longer had to be last. It's like I was willing to be last as long as I knew that there would come a time when it would be over--knowing that made everything bearable. It was a light at the end of a dark tunnel. It was a star I was inches from touching. It was a pot of something splendidly wonderful at the end of a sun-kissed rainbow.

I'm not sure what this says about me. I'm afraid it says that my heart couldn't have been fully into parenting if I was simply waiting for the time when it would end.

I mention this because I have days when I'm not sure I will ever get the chance to have a life outside of being a parent. I was fortunate to be able to stay home with all of my children all of their lives and this is what I know better than anything. While other women were establishing careers which paid them for their hard work, I was home playing Chutes and Ladders with my kids. I was repeating nursery rhymes a million times. I was pushing them on swings and building sand castles. Their lives became my life.

Whenever I start to get excited about gaining part of the old me back again, something happens and the date gets pushed back even further to the future. I get sick of the fact that it appears my life is about living with the decisions other people get to make for me. My oldest child is moving back home again and I think a good mother would be happy about that, but all I can think about is how much more work that will be for me. I think of the extra laundry, the extra meal preparation, the extra person I will have to always consider before thinking about myself because that is how I am wired now. I feel resentful and hateful. I'm convinced that a good mother would not feel this way.

And the hardest part of all, the most confusing thing to me. is that mostly I am happy with my life and I don't know how to reconcile that with the fact that I long to be free of taking care of other people. My children only know me as a mother and I'm sure they never stop to think that maybe there is a part of me I've sacrificed for them that I'd like to reclaim at some point. I don't think they want anything for me except this and I can't say that I blame them since I've made it perfectly clear that it's ok to think of me last.

I wonder, sometimes, how long I will have to wait.

I've always been good at waiting.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The hard work of staying positive

I have to work really, really hard to remain positive. I have these tapes in my head that play over and over again when life threatens to bring me down. I tell myself I can do anything. I tell myself I am good enough. I tell myself that I am willing to do most anything to avoid failure. I talk and talk and talk to myself inside my own head and amazingly, it keeps me grounded and keeps me on the path of positivity. But I will not say that it is ever easy because it's not. It takes constant vigilance on my part because it seems like there's always something or someone wanting to rain on my parade. I get sick of those people and those things that want to bring me down. I want to tell them to fuck off and leave me alone.

One of my biggest secrets is that I sometimes dream of packing a bag, getting in my car and driving away forever from everyone. My family does not know this about me--that I could leave and never look back. I can imagine cutting the strings that tether me to a life that is at times so tediously mundane and unsatisfying...and drifting far away. I never know if it's braver to stay or to leave because I always choose to stay. I think staying is safer. I think leaving requires a courage I'm not sure I possess.

I don't like when I am feeling a certain way, and I express those feelings, how I inevitably get told that I'm over reacting or over analyzing or over dramatizing things. It's like I can't tell the people I live with what is in my heart and trust them to hear what I am saying. They want to hold up a stop sign when what is reflected back to them isn't something they want to see. I feel forced to own my feelings and keep them locked inside or else risk being told that what I am feeling can't possibly be what I am feeling. I don't know what more to say except that it sucks. I'm not asking for the world or even for other people to agree with me. I just want someone to tell me that they hear me without also needing to negate those feelings in such a way that I'm left wondering why I even bothered to speak at all.

So the work to stay positive is never ending here. I can physically feel the pull downward and have to find somewhere or something to hold onto so that I am not tempted to drop down into a pit of despair. So I keep telling myself to hang in there. I put on my tennis shoes and blast music in my ears and I run as if I am going somewhere other than in circles.

I never give up.

I go on.

Sunday, November 4, 2007


I have moments when I think that I will never be more than what I am right now and that thought makes me sad because I feel as though I have the potential to be so much more. I tend to look at my life and count the things I have not done. I tend to feel disappointed about all the things I'll never be. But every once in a while I will know with unfailing certainty that my children are the biggest and best representation of how I have succeeded in my journey here on earth. I think if I don't do anything else, that they will be enough.

The very best parts of me live inside them and I look for those things when I am struggling to feel at peace inside my own head. I've been told a time or two that happiness is not something that can be found outside ourselves but I know this to be false because I find happiness in them all the time. I did not get every part of their growing up right because it's impossible to know everything when you are learning as you go.

I just wanted to say that my life's happiness is tied up in loving them.

I got that part right and knowing that makes all the difference during those times when I'm thinking that I should be so much more.