Lovely Day, Free Night

Today has really been a beautiful Friday. Unfortunately Craig has to work a 12-hour day, so I saw him off by 10 in the morning and he won’t be home until it least 10 this evening. I feel bad for him having to work so many hours. But soon after he left Angelica and I went to Target and she got to pick out some new clothes. We grabbed some household items while we were there too.

After that we went to Red Lobster for a mommy daughter date. We talked about all sorts of things, but especially monsters and unicorns. Angelica really educated me. There are monsters that are microscopic, and there’s a unicorn on Pikes Peak.

When we were finished eating we went home and it was time to do some serious housework. Angelica decided to be a buddy helper the whole time. She helped me scoop lavender into a new container to make the kitchen smell nice. She helped put away the towels that I folded. She put the detergent in the laundry machine. She put her clothes away in her drawers. She picked stuff up. Angelica was a busy little bee. Angelica wiped down counters with Lysol wipes as well. She helped me take out the trash and the recycling. And this is just a partial list. My buddy helper has been a very good helper today.

We worked on two collages together. I bought a bunch of white poster board awhile back, and gradually I’ve been putting together a collage. Every day or two I add a couple of more materials, whether it is a sticker or a piece of cloth or something. I even have some curling ribbon on there. She helped to add to that one, and then I started a new one that’s going to be just stickers of different kinds. She gave me a hand adding the stickers where they were supposed to go. It was nice to have my little artist-in-residence help me with my projects. One day she won’t be in residence, and I will really miss her.

Part of the afternoon was spent hanging out on the porch swing in the backyard. Now we are unwinding some more and in a little while the babysitter will be here. My Friday night is free and I get to decide what to do with it.

Blizzard

Today we are locked inside by a blizzard. There has only been a couple of inches of snow fall, but the wind is really high which makes it a bigger storm. Part of our flagpole snapped off and broke. The wind is blowing so hard that the snowflakes can hardly fall to the ground because they keep being pushed sideways across the land. Angelica’s occupational therapy was canceled because the clinic was shut. She did her speech therapy in a video chat. I had an appointment up near Denver and I had to cancel it.

Craig is sleeping because he works a mid tonight. I’m trying to make the most of this day being shut-in. Truthfully I’m really grateful. I feel like I’ve been on the go so much and I’ve just gotten tired of it. There’s always an appointment or something to go to. Sometimes that’s nice, like earlier in the week I got to get the first massage I’ve had in ages. It was absolutely phenomenal. My body felt so good. I’m going to start going more regularly. Other times the speech therapy, tutoring, occupational therapy, psychiatrist, therapist, and all the other appointments really add up. I just want to recharge at home and have a clear schedule.

Earlier this afternoon I set up an art space on the dining room table for Angelica. She used acrylic ink, her watercolors, and alcohol ink to create some art. I think she had fun and it was good to get her using her creativity. Right now I have a TV show on for her. We lost power for a little bit, and now I’m afraid that the power could go out again at any time. I’m running appliances as much as I can. Laundry and dishes are running. I’ve been charging up my phone and charging up my Kindle, since if the power goes out again light will just get dimmer and dimmer and my Kindle will be the only thing I can read from. And then in between charging my phone and my Kindle I am recharging the charger that charges them. Charge. I just had to say that word one more time.

Anyways, I’m just trying to enjoy electricity as much as possible in case we don’t have it again. That probably won’t be an issue, but I want to make sure that everything chargeable is charged just in case, and that I’ve gotten as much housework as I can finished. That’s why I’m letting Angelica watch TV now. Usually I let her watch a little bit in the evening after a day of playing or making art. However, since it’s a possibility we might be sitting in a dark house later I’ve decided to put it on now.

My little artist!

Artistic Identity

No matter how busy motherhood gets, I can’t imagine giving up my creative activities. I just read an article by a woman who did exactly that. She was a blogger and photographer, and she did no work for two years while she took care of her children. She said that she needed to be more present with them. She’s not the only one I have heard of who has done that. I have friends who have done that as well.

I admire the self-sacrifice and self-control, but I can’t really imagine doing that myself. Maybe it’s good that I have to stop at one child, as much as I wanted to have more. But if I had 10 kids I have a feeling I would still be squeezing in time to write poems or to paint. That maybe I would be in a situation at that point where I shouldn’t be doing those things, but I would do them anyway.

Poetry is such a part of me that I can’t imagine giving it up. I go through spells where I primarily read poetry rather than write it. When I do that I am often soaking up inspiration and gearing up for a period of intense writing. But to simply not have poetry in my life? I can’t even imagine.

Painting and photography have become primal urges for me. I can’t imagine putting my camera down as some of the mother photographers do. I might sometimes get lazy or too busy to take out my expensive camera, but I’ll at the very least be taking photos on my phone.

Perhaps all of this is selfish or self-absorbed, but I’m not so sure about that. Everyone needs their own identity. Everyone needs something that they love to do and an opportunity to do it. Naturally your husband and children have to take priority, but you can’t draw from an empty well. If you want to give them more, then you have to give yourself something. So many women say they’ve lost their identity in motherhood, and I just can’t relate. When I had my daughter I became even more myself. I still had all the artistic aspects of myself, all the general personality traits like introversion, I still liked the same foods and movies, only I was finally fully tapped into my maternal potential. Having a child didn’t sap my sense of identity. It completed it.

Not that I think I am really at risk of this, but I pray that I never put down the pen or the camera or the brush. These things are apart of me. Without them I think I would fall to pieces.

Getting Brave

As I work through therapy, a lot of things have come up. One of them is challenging the overwhelming messages I received as a child that I wasn’t good enough. In therapy one of the questions asked was what I would do if I felt I was good enough.

Taking my art more seriously was my first answer.

Overall I am pretty confident and strong. I learned over the years to be true to myself, to not let even the most overbearing people erase who I am. Yet still, certain messages persist – trepidation about criticism because I have received so much of it.

I want to move on completely from my childhood. Some things are just toxic, and sometimes beneath the surface of the beautiful pond is something grimy and filled with leeches. Sometimes things don’t work.

Yet to truly move on I have to get rid of the negative emotions and negative ideas I got from those years of my life. In most childhoods there is something good to be gleaned and that is true of my own childhood as well. I received an upbringing of good manners, as well as an emphasis on academic excellence that served me well as an ambitious student. There were definitely positive things about my upbringing. However, many of the messages I received were critical, unkind, and demoralizing. My basic needs were met, and I am grateful for that, but I was not liked or even particularly loved.

It’s time to take my art more seriously. And in answering the prompt in therapy about what I would do if I knew I was good enough I actually ended up coming up with a list of over 40 items. Some of them were very big and important and some of them were very small, but there were over 40 things I would do if I could get past the echoes of my younger life. It’s time to start doing those things. I am 30, and I don’t want to spend the rest of my life stuck in the same headspace I was in in middle school. Tomorrows are never guaranteed, so I want to make the most of today.

I go through my day expecting censure and ridicule. But is that really fair? It’s no way to live, and not everyone is going to be out to criticize me. And if they do criticize me it doesn’t matter. I’m not trapped in a house with someone who criticizes me all the time nor am I economically dependent on them. If some random stranger on the internet or a local mom I don’t know that well has something to negative to say about me oh, who cares?

There are so many things on my list to go through. Another major thing I need to address is my inability to trust people. That’s pretty important. Some things on the list are just small though, but they would make me really happy. For instance, I always really want to wear glitter on my cheeks or my arms. That’s not the most important thing in the world, but it would feel so nice to do it. As a kid I loved the idea of body glitter, but when I received a bottle of it from a friend in middle school I was told even then that I was too old for it and shouldn’t be wearing it and that it was silly. It’s time to get past the point in life where I really care who thinks it’s silly. It’s my body and my money and I’ll wear whatever I damn well please. To reiterate the point, whether or not I can wear glitter is not a life-or-death issue and is not earth shattering. It’s glitter. But the idea behind this is very important. I’m not doing something I really want to do, something I would have fun with and enjoy, because of the criticism of others.

I have a lot of things I want to work through and so far therapy has been helping. I was in therapy years ago and although it helped me with certain issues, it did not help me with everything I would have liked help with. This time around it has been really productive so far.

Love Letter to my Husband

A few minutes ago I went upstairs to get two excedrin and an electric heating pad for my husband. He reorganized the living room, carried the big vacuum downstairs (a struggle for me) cleaned upholstery, and then…he shoveled our ice encrusted driveway. If you have never shoveled an iced over, snow laden driveway (or more to the point, watched your scandalously sexy man shovel one) you don’t know how much work it is. My husband is a strong guy and no sissie, and he was still panting and hurting his back.

I offered him drinks, then a warm jacket. He declined both. Then I admit I spent a bit of time on the porch with the cold eating through my dress like acid in order to watch my husband work. There is something so inherently erotic and toe curling about watching a strong man do something hard, something physical.

My husband does so many great, vital, necessary things. He takes care of our little family. Sometimes it is thankless work – like when he is up getting ready for work at 3 am. The times we need a few things at the grocery store and he dashes through the cold or rain to go get them. Vigilant bedside visitation when I, his wife, try to kill myself. Visiting me in hospitals for physical or mental wounds. Handling household setups after moves. Taking trash bins out to the street when the wind is trying to kick the lid back and knock his teeth in. The way he puts together the things we live with and on.

There is so much more. I need to remember gratitude. Each day I make an effort to thank Craig for what he has done, for what he is doing. Is it enough? How many millions of things does he do each day that I don’t acknowledge because they are the fabric of our married life, because he does them so quietly, because I just don’t have the breath or the words?

I need to give him more gratitude each day, whether by putting his boots up or looking him straight in the eyes and saying, “Thank you. I love you.”

Because the things he does, just as much as the things he says, show his love for me.

Good Day So Far

Today has been amazing. It started with some cuddles with Craig when he got home from his mid.

After that I jumped in the shower and enjoyed the steam and clean feel. Sometimes I don’t feel well enough to shower, so that made me happy.

Afterward I started some laundry, mopped the floors, did the dishes, took out the recycling, took out the trash, and ran the roomba.

I then did some photography experiments.

I used text and video to teach Angelica a lesson about volcanoes.

I spent time in a devotional.

Completely unrelated, I enjoyed part of a volume of erotic poetry.

Then, to top a perfect morning off, I got to spend time catching up with my friend L over the phone.

Such a successful morning! I hope to feel this good and be this productive the rest of the day.

Happy Fat Girl

Last summer I lost 50 pounds. Then the weight loss stalled. Gradually I got more and more sick of all the calorie restrictions. Sometimes I want chip and dip followed by cake for dessert. So sue me.

Gradually I loosened my rules – and the weight began pouring back over me like caramel on a sundae (now I want a sundae).

At this point I am not sure what direction to take things. If I go back to strictness and self control I can go back to the weight I was and then lower. Wearing smaller clothes is nice. The way people treat you when you are thinner is great.

At the same time, I really enjoy food and I miss eating what I want when I want. My husband likes me this way and doesn’t want me to diet. I diet to please our small society, but I like food. My husband loves me at this weight. Who am I trying to please?

At this point I am really on the fence. I might start dieting strictly again – 1000 calories a day or less. Painting can provide a distraction again to keep my hands busy. I have been painting this whole time anyway, but I could alter my focus. Set daily goals. Just drink water.

But I really want coke and pizza right now, my husband wants me, and I am happy. Not sure what to do.

Valentine’s Day

Today Craig took me to my fabric paradise! He bought me two kinds of sheer cloth to put over my camera as screens. I can’t wait to experiment with that idea! He also got me three pieces of regular cloth with spectacular designs. Rainbow birds, iridescent autumn leaves, and colorful test tubes and beakers. I will use them as backgrounds for different book photos, as painting backgrounds, as little images to add to mixed media stuff, and who knows what else!

We started our special Valentine’s date by going to Steak N’ Shake. Afterward we went to the mall, and then to Coldstone for dessert. It was a lovely day. We decided to do our special Valentine’s Day date today instead of on the actual holiday because of crowds. Occasionally we will go out on the 14th if we can go in the morning or early in the afternoon. It’s usually still crowded then but not as bad. But Valentine’s Day fell on a Thursday and our babysitter I was busy until about 3. We certainly didn’t want to deal with the crowd at that point. point. So we had a lovely day today now that the holiday is done.

However, we exchanged gifts on Valentine’s Day. Craig got me two beautiful Swarovski necklaces and a painting by a local artist. I got him an air fryer. He has been wanting one for awhile. I hope he really likes it. I was thrilled with what he gave me. All so lovely and romantic.

Dyslexia

We got Angelica’s scores and evaluation back. We don’t discuss it with the evaluator until Monday.

We were right to suspect dyslexia. I am sending a copy of the report to her tutor to keep her informed.

Now we just need to work with her. Her tutor has been using some of the Orton Gillingham methods and has had some success.

We continue to do Bible, science, history, and social studies as we go. Lots of good books and videos!

Pure Tiredness

I read Angelica an adorable story called, “Love Monster.” I saw it from across the aisle at Target and knew immediately that we had to have it. We sort of have a monster theme in our family, and this just looks like the cutest book.

Now I am so tired. The pain killer for my jaw is making me tired, and worst of all I am almost out of it. I am still laying that side of my face on a heating pad a lot to dull the pain.

Yesterday, though I was in pain and undoubtedly way too whiny about it, I got to hang out with my friend M and our kids got to play together. It was lovely.

More later. Half asleel.