Tomorrow is the kids' first day of fourth grade. It's going to be their first day at a new school, their first day taking a bus to get there, their first day wearing their new uniform, their first day at a place where prayers are a daily occurrence (hmmm), their first day having their own house key, their first day walking to the bus stop, their first day of the next part of their short lives.
It's going to be MY first day as a Mum who does not need to do "the school run", who will worry about her kids walking to and from the bus stop (and will be dorky enough to join them quite a bit for a while at least), who cannot possibly believe that the tiny wrinkled triplets she gave birth to are now 5" tall and counting (and taller), who will look at her son's new school shoes on the stairs tonight (size: Men's 10!) and cry, who will also be having the first day of the next part of her life.
I said earlier that this year was going to be all about progress... and, all other things being equal, it looks as though this is going to be true for all 5 of us living at Casa Verde. Of course, I have every intention of dragging you all along with me for the ride - because being an emotional person such as I am, you KNOW it's going to be a ride - but here's hoping it's much more about the highs than it is about the lows.
By the end of this week, I should have signed the lease on my new shop, DH should have heard when his official start day is for work, and the kids will have made more friends and experienced more things than they ever expected to. It's even quite possible that my son will have even learned that a playground is meant for playing and not for reading books. My DD2 will have worked out that she is not, in fact, the Queen of the Universe, and DD1 will be learning that she can stand on her own two feet and does not need her siblings as much as she thinks she does.
I'm generally pretty sappy when it comes to my kids, but I blame this on them being triplets more than I blame it on my inherent sappiness. After all, I'm only ever going to have ONE "first day of fourth grade" and ONE "first time on the school bus" and so on...and so I can't shower all this love and affection on the next kid that comes along because there will never BE another kid that comes along. (And even if the dog wanted to go to school, there's no way I'm paying another set of private school fees. His canine ass can just suffer at public school.)
However, at a time when I was kissing all the bad stuff goodbye (see ya, diapers, and see ya, potty training, and see ya, two year old tantrums) my friends had years and years and years of it all yet to go. So while I do have my Hallmark moments because of the triplet thing, I also have my "THANK CHRIST THAT'S OVER" moments as well.
It's just all swings and roundabouts...and progress.
Monday, January 31, 2011
Tomorrow is the kids' first day of fourth grade. It's going to be their first day at a new school, their first day taking a bus to get there, their first day wearing their new uniform, their first day at a place where prayers are a daily occurrence (hmmm), their first day having their own house key, their first day walking to the bus stop, their first day of the next part of their short lives.
Friday, January 28, 2011
This morning, I forgot how good I have it...and the Universe felt it was it's duty to remind me of that by smacking me right upside the head.
Yesterday, I had an AMAZINGLY good day. I looked good, I felt good, I spent the entire day working on the progress of the business and the progress of myself. It was in very many respects the best day I can remember having in a long, long time. In recent weeks several boulders have rolled right off my shoulders, and this was the first day where I felt I could actually act in the manner of one not weighed down by boulders.
This morning, DH irritated the living shit out of me. I was irritated because he behaved exactly as I expected him to, and exactly in the way he has done for the entire time I've known him...and yet I was stupid enough to be irritated by something which does not ever change. A complete waste of time. Then I went to the gym (side note: 4th visit this week, go me!) and on the way out checked my phone to find ELEVEN missed calls from home. In the space of an hour. So I panicked - OMG who is hurt, dead, dying, sick, maimed?! - and called home...only to find out it was DD2 who had called to tell me that DS was annoying her. Yes, really.
And then because I was so stressed out and annoyed over the phone call, I nearly ran over a poor cyclist riding past. And then I forgot to eat breakfast after the gym, so I was hungry and in my world hungry = irritated. A whole series of minor, irritating events conspired to piss me off this morning. Of course, ALL of this by not even 930am...and so on my drive to work I was feeling extremely crumply of mind and spirit.
This is the point at which the Universe smacked me.
The phone rang and it was a woman ordering some cupcakes. They had to be pink, blah blah, sparkly, blah blah, with butterflies, blah blah...and she said they needed to be "really special" and so on. No problem, that's a pretty normal order for me. She also wanted letters on each cupcake spelling out "Jessica." ...and me being me, I said, "They're so girly and sweet, I am sure she will love them!" to which the woman said,
"They're not for her, they're for her siblings. She passed away last year and this is for my other kids as a special way to remember their sister on what would have been her birthday."
Thanks, Universe. I actually am truly grateful for the reminder that I am blessed and that it could always be worse.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
If this past summer is anything to go by, the kids' new school is going to make some seriously good blog fodder. Actually it's not so much the school - which for what we're paying better be practically perfect in every way - but the other kids and parents who are there. And because NONE of them know me well enough to know that I blog, it's pretty much open season here on e&tht. You lucky folk get to come along for the ride. (And Danielle, I can hear you cackling with glee, I really can.)
So. Parent numero uno who gets my witty commentary is actually a really nice person, with a good heart, is well-meaning and has a kind disposition....and she kinda annoys the hell out of me. I'm going to call her....let's see... Arty Farty Parent (or AFP for short.) I don't know her all that well but because of some other circumstances she knows my kids pretty well. Late last year she offered to organise a summer play date with some kids from school so that my kids could get to know some people before they went to The Big School On The Hill (TBSOTH). She totally made good on that promise, and I think now she believes we need to be BFF. She kinda...calls a lot, and talks to me a lot, and really really really wants to be my friend a lot.
I can't handle "a lot."
The problem is that while I like her, I don't really like her, you know? She does annoying stuff, like rifle through all the paperwork on my kitchen table and then after a couple of minutes looks up and says, "You don't really mind me looking, do you?" Then she looks through the kids' class lists and tells me which of the kids on there I should 'cultivate' as friends for my kids. Then comments on said parents of said kids. The thing is, she really was trying to help. She really was coming at it from a nice place..but damn if I didn't want to slap her upside the head and say, "Bitch, step away from my paperwork!"
She brought her kid over for a playdate and stayed...for a couple of hours. In fact she stayed so long she then told her kid she might as well just stay until they were done playing because there was no point in going home just to turn around again. O.M.G. Seriously? Woman? You need to leave. As in NOW. Yes, I invited her in, and yes I offered the obligatory cup of tea, but did she not read the social rule which says, "And now you shall politely decline and then beat a hasty retreat out of my house?"
And then, just to really make my life a living hell, my kids really like her kid. Me? I think this kid is Luna Lovegood incarnate. Seriously - looks like her, talks like her, would probably own those funky earrings if she could. Fruitcake through and through...AND she has food issues, the main issue being she does not appear to actually eat anything AT ALL. Or if she does, it has many, many rules about what it can and cannot be. I shit you not, we entered into a five minute discussion about how I should go about making her some Vegemite on toast. And the funniest part is she spent a good couple of minutes then complimenting me on how delicious and yummy my Vegemite on toast was and thanking me profusely....without even a touch of sarcasm or irony. She really did love it. Maybe I should be grateful that she's at least polite.
Ohhhhhhh Lord. This is going to be fun, isn't it? God give me strength..or at least give me time for blogging so I can share all this madness with you lot.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Someone please tell me if keeping track of social engagements is a Jewish thing, a woman thing, an Australian thing, a 30-something thing, or a just the crazy people I hang out with thing. Let me explain, because I'm not talking about time management here.
As a family, we like to entertain. A hell of a lot. So it's not at all unusual to have one or more friends over for dinner, people over for afternoon tea on a weekend, people over for an impromptu bbq, random OPK* running around and staying for dinner, and so on. I suppose if I were to armchair psychologist this, I'd say it's because I equate food, company and comfort with love - so having people around is a way of expressing love and in turn receiving love. If I weren't an armchair psychologist, I'd just say I like doing it. It's fun and having lots or a few people doesn't bother me at all (as opposed to my Mum, who has 2 people over for lunch and spends 2 weeks freaking out about it.) Plus, given my profession and the size of my family, I don't find catering for a crowd terribly difficult. It's just what I do and I like to do it. Simple.
ANYWAY, today we had our traditional Australia Day BBQ with about 35 or so people here (less then normal, usually over 50 are here.) No less than three people invited us back to their homes for events-of-undefined-nature because, and I quote"It's our turn, you guys have had us over so many times, we really feel bad that we have not returned the hospitality."
OHHHHHHH does this type of comment irk me.
There is no score sheet in my head. I have NO idea how many times I have people over because I neither count nor do I care. I invite people over because I like their company, I think they're nice people, and I just enjoy having people over. I don't do it because (or even in hope of) having a return invitation, and it annoys me that they feel some sort of obligation. Sure, I think it's nice if they want to have us back sometime, but I don't think they should feel obligated to. Is this some sort of weird social rule I just don't get?
Now before you think it's all about group events, let me just point out that the same phenomenon is true of my kids' play dates. Mothers are forever telling me that one or more of my kids should come to their place because one or more of their kids was over here. For the love of god, people, is it really that big a deal? Is everyone else normal by keeping score and it's me who is the strange one for not doing so? In my world (admittedly possibly abnormal world), being a friend is just being a friend and there is no real rules attached to that friendship. You just do what feels comfortable, what you are capable of, and that's the end of that. Imagine if one of these people actually refused an invitation of mine because they truly felt bad about coming over here again without having us back there...that would be totally ridiculous, right? Makes no sense. So I don't understand this concept of feeling 'bad' because you've not returned the invite the same number of times as I have extended it.
Explain this to me. What IS it with the score keeping? And by the way, do you want to come over for dinner next week?
*OPK = Other People's Kids
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
A couple of months ago (in fact almost exactly two months ago to the day) I wrote a post about the fact that I was/am facing down three big bullies. In the months since then, I've written about choosing my word of the year, about being blessed with cousin-sister-friends and a whole lot of other fairly positive posts (although to be fair I also had my share of bitchy, caustic, and entirely 'go to hell' posts as well.) Overall, 2011 is shaping up to be one hell of an ass-kicking sort of year, and I'm pleased to say that two of the bullies have, shall we say, fallen on their own swords. The third is a work in progress, but I suspect that she, too will meet with an uncomfortable end, the poor dear.
In the bully post, I wrote,
Strange how that paragraph actually ended up being almost prophetical but at the same time totally and utterly wrong. NONE of my bullies ended up doing "the right thing," none have seen the error of their ways. Two out of three required someone else to point out to them in quite uncertain terms that they were being foolish in continuing to bully me. The bit which did come true was that I wasn't going to be pushed around, AND that the bitch heart inside of me beats stronger with every passing day.
The landlord of the new property? I gave up negotiating back at Christmas time, only to get a phone call a few weeks ago with a new offer that gave me MORE than any of my prior requests asked for.
The landlord of the existing property? Tried to bully me even harder (in the form of abusive emails), but then learned they had no case to speak of, and today offered me almost exactly what I've been asking for all along. In fact it's what I asked for back in November, and the idiots could have saved them (and me) a lot of heartache and legal fees if they had agreed back then. Some people clearly need to spend money for no reason and be horrible for a bit before they come to the party.
The principal of the former school? She's also trying to bully us harder (in the form of a threatening letter). It's a reasonable attempt, but what she doesn't know is that a bullet train of evidence that she did not do her job properly is about to land on the desk of every single member of the school council. I'm not bullying her back, I'm letting her know I won't stand down just because she sends a nasty letter (or gets her lackey to send a letter.) What part of you fucked up does she not understand? (I'm guessing it's the 'you' part, as she is no good at accepting responsibility.)
I'd love to end this post by talking about all the lessons I've learned, about how I stood my ground with honour and valour, about how in the end the good guy always wins, and so on and so forth. Blah blah positive lessons, blah blah you shall prevail, blah blah blah. It's all total bullshit. I've spent the last 2 months feeling like I am going to jump out of my skin, crying one hell of a lot, and getting prickly, shitty and irritated with anyone who dare cross my path and even some who don't. More than that I've been scared, have wanted to back down a lot, nearly caved in the bullies several times, yelled at my poor tolerant DH a few times, ate my emotions far too many times, and in general have been a wreck and a half.
It hasn't been pretty.
But I DID prevail and will hopefully continue to.
So the lesson here is actually quite simple.... it's just to hang in there, because eventually, things happen. Not always the things you WANTED to have happen, but things happen. And then you deal with those things. And then you cry and eat. And then you... wait...and things happen...and again you need to either celebrate or just cope or just cry. Either way, nothing stays the same for very long - it's just coming to accept that things happen (and therefore change) is a lot easier said than done, but that acceptance is the key to just about everything.
....except possibly the new car I want but can't afford. This, too, shall happen eventually. I'll just have to take my own advice and wait a bit. And maybe cry and eat a bit. Hey, I can't always be the perfect one here.
Monday, January 24, 2011
Many, many times on this blog I've talked about how I am socially awkward and kinda strange around new people and shy and a bit...just...not so comfortable in a lot of situations. My real-life friends find these claims a little odd, but they just nod and agree because it seems like the right thing to do. However, in recent weeks, two separate people have told me that they think I am scary. One in fact said he was worried that I would eat him alive.
I'm totally not kidding.
*insert maniac laughter* Me? Scary? Eat you alive? WHAT? Are you for serious?
Let's examine the facts here, shall we? Okay, so I'm tall. And for a while there, very wide and now not as wide. But I am overall a big person...and most people of normal size (height or width) find bigger people kinda intimidating. It's why bouncers at clubs are not normally 5'5" and pro wrestlers are generally not thin supermodels (even the female ones!) Because smaller people (or even more 'average' people) aren't really scary enough to do those jobs effectively. So I get that in the physical world, I could be considered scary purely by virtue of outward appearances. (Although mind you, Santa and Mrs Claus are none too small and nobody finds them scary, do they?) (And I don't understand how, when my "uniform" is generally jeans and a shlumpy t-shirt, that's scary, but whatever.)
In addition to being big, I'm also pretty loud. Not only in volume (although there too) but also in so far as I am usually willing to say my piece (or I've been forced into saying it.) Plus I'm no good at being the shrinking violet, so I tend to be noticed because I am often the student who raises their hand in class, the mother in the meeting who has something to say, the employee who asks all the annoying questions. I'm also a spectacular interrupter, so I'll rail-road right over whatever you're saying because what I have to say is generally of better quality anyway. Nobody likes an interrupter. They're loud and talking over you and ignoring what you have to say and that, my friends, is apparently also intimidating.
I'm big and I'm loud...and to complete the trifecta of scariness, I'm also smart and not shy about being smart. Which, frankly, to a lot of people can be kinda of confronting, because they see smart people as some sort of threat to their well-being. Smart people question the status quo. Smart people generally 'get' things faster than others and will quite often point out the things which could be done better or faster (they're not obnoxious, they just can't help themselves.) Smart people, in short, are scary because you think they have something you don't...and they actually do. Knowledge is power and those people have got it in spades, and this makes them a threat even when they aren't.
In both cases of people telling me they find me scary, they both know me fairly well but neither has spent any real amount of time with me physically. So they don't really have that first excuse, the second excuse *might* count just a wee bit, and the third excuse is crap because they are both as smart or smarter than I am. So I don't get how on earth I can be considered scary to either of those people. I really don't. Does it change your opinion of this situation if I tell you that both people in question here are men? Does it change your opinion of this situation if I tell you that, with both people, all sorts of 'taboo' topics like sex and relationships and whatnot have been discussed and are generally considered par for the course...and in all cases I can hold my own quite well?
Is it just because men are generally scared of women who can speak their minds and are not afraid to do so?
Me being me, I did some research and asked a bunch of friends what they thought about this whole "emzee is scary" business. Most of them had the, "You? Scary? Yeah, right!" response...but more than one also said that, sure, I probably DO give off the intimidation vibe even though I don't mean to. Plus (and this is my own interpretation), when you are physically like me but socially weird, your silence can be mistaken for stand-offishness or seeming not to give a shit about anyone else. Like that conference I went to - remember that? Where I spent the entire time hiding behind my mobile phone? I'm sure my behaviour gave the impression of, "I'm wwwaaayyyy too fucking important to talk to or mingle with the likes of you lot!" more than it did, "I'm shy and hiding behind this phone, please won't one of you come up to me and say hi?"
Still... I find it very hard to marry my knowledge of who I am with the descriptor of 'scary.' In both cases I told these men that once they know me better physically (in terms of spending more time in each other's company, not knowing them biblically. Sheesh!) they would probably realise just how fantastically UN-scary I really am. So un-scary as to be almost fluffy white lamb-like (as long as you've seen a 5'11"3/4" lamb in a pasture somewhere.) I guess what I'm saying to them is, don't judge this book by it's cover.
In the meantime, though, I think I'm going to go oil my whip.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Before I totally rip into the women wearing inappropriate swimwear who were at the pool today, let me give you the following disclaimers:
1) I'm fat. Somewhat less fat than I used to be, but always fat where it counts, which is in my head. Also still fat in the real world (outside my head.)
2) I'm judgemental even though I'm fat. So don't go thinking that because I am a bit smaller now, I am somehow more judgemental than I used to be. I'd look at people and internally comment on what they were wearing when I was VERY fat, when I was a LITTLE fat, and when I was NOT AT ALL fat (which never happened. See #1.) My own size at the time does not at all relate to my noticing and commenting on other people. I'm just bitchy no matter what the size.
3) I am fashion backwards. Okay, maybe that's being a little harsh. I'm fashion stagnant. So I don't do "statement pieces," I hate shopping (mostly), I've never bought anything just because of the label sewn into it, and I probably wouldn't know what's trendy unless you hit me over the head with it. My main concern with fashion is that it a) be comfortable, b) not require ironing and c) withstand the vigour of my life and my kids' crappy folding abilities. Ah, yes, and if it's stain and wrinkle resistant I'm also keen on it.
4) I live under the assumption that whatever mean, judgemental or bitchy comments I might make about other people and their clothing has probably been made about me at some point or another.
5) My bathers are probably not perfect, either.
With all that being said, here is what I need to know: Do most of the suburban mothers who go to my local pool only shop at swimwear stores with skinny mirrors? Or mirrors which do not show wrinkles? Or mirrors which show you are 10+ years younger than you are? Are they all delusional? Because really, some of the 'looks' I saw today just about BURNED MY RETINAS.
The first group was Women Who Should Not Wear Bikinis. These women did tend to be on the heavier side, but it wasn't all the fat chicks who were hanging it out there. Sweetheart, even if you're as thin as Rachel Zoe, if your stomach looks like a Shar Pei...don't put on a bikini and assault the rest of us. I'm all for 'big and beautiful' ...but if your rolls have got rolls, please don't put on a bikini. Same with those of us who are knocked up. I do NOT understand the pregnant and bikini look, especially when the bikini bottoms are squished so low as to be barely covering your hoo-hah and so you look basically naked under that belly. Bikinis (in my humble fat chick opinion) need to only be worn by those whose stomachs can double as a dining table. FLAT and HARD. So we're really talking about girls under the age of about 11, and women who we hate anyway because they are naturally awesome (hello, Elle McPherson) or can afford to pay a team of people to make them awesome (hello, Elle McPherson.)
The second group was Women Who Don't Believe In Boob Support. Now I will freely admit that I have fallen, and probably still fall, into this category. Simple reason - those stupid in-built bras which are in the bathers which fit me are always too small. Always. When I've gone the whole she-bang and bough bathers at a place where the cup size is your ACTUAL bra size, I look not dissimilar to someone trying to smuggle two torpedos under their top. Last I checked weapons of war are not welcome at my local pool. Scares the kiddies, apparently. So I understand this concept of lack of boob support, I really do. I don't, however, get it for those of us blessed with bra sizes in the first half of the alphabet. Those women have NO excuse. Seriously, there was enough boob flapping at the pool today that I briefly considered putting "install a wind turbine" on the "please leave your comments" cards at the front desk.
The third group was Women Who Forgot To Look In A Mirror (when they bought their bathers.). Sorry, but anything metallic does not belong on women over a certain age unless they are as smokingly hot as Helen Mirren. The rest of you...please. Just stop, okay? Metallic should also never be done as animal prints, on ANY age. Just sayin'. Also, if you're going to be all trendy and cool, and buy bathers with strategically cut-out bits - maybe try something other than just standing up in the dressing room. Because when you sit down, the strategic bits become...less than strategic. I know, because I SAW some decidedly non-strategically covered bits which I do not care to see again. Also, if the bottoms of your bathers do not cover your ass when the bathers are dry, they will not do so when they are wet. Actually, it gets worse as they get wet, because then they creep upwards towards your ass crack and then you get that lovely picking action which we all need to watch you do.
In all fairness, not everyone there was a complete bathers tragedy. There were plenty of tasteful, well fitting, flattering, entirely age-appropriate bathers there today. But where the hell is the fun in blogging about those ones?! Far more fun to hang crap on all the floppy boobs, saggy bellies, mutton dressed as lamb and WHAT THE....? looks I saw today.
Ahhh, the pool on a hot summer's day. Perfect for relaxing, sunning, playing, swimming and...sitting in judgement. My kind of place.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
...is not me. I've got a FB friend (and I use the term "friend" lightly, since she is just someone I used to work with, more of an acquaintance) whose status updates make me want to kill myself.
Here's a selection of her last few updates (copied and pasted, so any errors are hers.):
"I am totally burnt out."
"...feels like hammered crap."
"I have just had enough the past few months of the worlds crap is chucking at me. I'm just over it universe I have has enough all ready of ur shit."
"Life total blows"
"Feels like I am getting sucked in to a black hole of debit. I love the way life continuously finds fun new ways to suck every day."
I'd really *like* to be able to say that this person is just having a hard time at the moment, and that she's really struggling, and blah blah nicety-nice-nice stuff...but here's the thing, her life updates have been like that for the entire time I've known her. As in, way BEFORE facebook, when you met in real life, it was all about how everything in her world was absolutely shit. All. The. Time. It's damn exhausting, knowing someone who is as negative and glass-half-full as she is - because at some point you run out of sympathy, run out of "there there" platitudes, and simply are unsure as to how one responds to that much negative stuff. (And as an aside, she's no fun to work with, either. You cannot hide that kind of attitude, it shows in your food. Really.) Sure, I have my "life is crap" moments too, but I simply cannot fathom the amount of energy required to be that negative, that much of the time.
In a fabulous twist of irony, she and I once attended a party where there was a psychic giving free readings. She went in to have her fortune read and it was all about how she was destined for a career in the wedding cake industry, in specific making wedding cakes (which I believe is actually her main area of interest.) She came out of the psychic's tent all atwitter with the news of her future and how perfect it all was and how true it was all going to be. At the time I seem to recall laughing on the inside, because as far as I knew this girl had done SFA to actually advance herself in this career (where I, on the other hand, had already started the biz.) Not to mention, if I was a bride, the very last person I'd want to meet was someone who made me want to die right there during my cake consultation. Weddings = happy occasions, not weddings = meds.
In the intervening time she attempted to apply for a job with me. And by "attempted" I mean she expressed interest, but when I asked for a resume and portfolio of work she disappeared totally. Not entirely surprising.
So fast forward a couple of years and I recently ran into this girl again (in real life). Big surprise, she was as horribly negative in person as I'd remembered her to be. In our very brief meeting, I learned about how her current job was shit, her last job was shit, everyone we'd ever known was shit, and frankly life was just shit. At this point, I literally had to kick her out the door because I simply could not handle the black hole of depression I was falling into just by being in her presence. She sucks the life force right out of the room. You know what? It's just occurred to me, this girl is a REAL LIFE DEMENTOR. (Go re-read your Harry Potter if you're not sure what that is.)
I don't get it. I really, really don't. Does she not have people in her life who have the balls to tell her, "YOU NEED SOME ANTI DEPRESSANTS!"?. Have the people around her just not noticed? Are they maybe *all* like that, so another one doesn't seem to make much of an impact? Either way, I'd love to delete her from my FB friend list, but I can't. Why? Because then where would I go to lift me up when I'm having a bad day? She's living proof that no matter how shit your life is, somewhere, someone's having an even shittier time than you. Lucky for me, that "somewhere" is on facebook.
Monday, January 17, 2011
This week I chucked a massive wobbly about missing my Dad. In specific I chucked a wobbly because I'm on the verge of getting bigger premises for my shop, and this is not something I thought I would do ever without him. I've been talking about this location for months and months and negotiation has been going on for about that long, until I finally gave up on the place before Xmas. Suddenly last week the agent called to tell me that the owner put an offer on the table - a good offer, better than those I'd asked for earlier. So it became (again) a very real possibility for me and the future of my business. My Mom (who is here visiting) really wanted to see the place, so I called the agent and asked him if he wouldn't mind showing my Mom and I around the place again so she could see it.
My Mom walked in, looked around for about 3 minutes, and walked out again, and impatiently waited for us to leave the place while I spoke to the agent about a few matters. In the car on the way back, I wanted to ask her what she thought, but she was silent and so I was silent. At home, I tried asking, "Don't you think it has potential?" but again, she was lost in thought until finally she said, "Your Dad would look at it and see a gem. Me, I just see an empty box which needs cleaning up."
Now this is not at all a criticism of my Mom. She just prefers things to be neat and tidy and shiny and new, and seeing potential in things is not her forte. It's just how she is, and that's fine.
However, her reaction (or non-reaction) made me miss my Dad in such a keen way as to feel it physically. My Dad was a real visionary when it came to these sorts of things. He could look at a pile of rubble and see the mansion hiding underneath. That was just one of his skills, and in general he also had a real affection for making things reborn. He loved to tinker and fix and modify and improve - it was just his "thing". Give him a 'fixer upper' and he was happy as anything - endless trips to hardware stores, driving across country to get a certain type of window fitting, calling craftsman to make custom cabinetry, and so on. My Mom on the other hand would prefer to take care of the window dressing once the place was done. Her skill is in the finishing details.
Needless to say, missing my Dad translated into a whole lot of crying, a whole lot of whining and a whole lot of feeling sorry for myself and wallowing. That night I texted a friend of mine, and said, "I just can't do this without my Dad. I NEED my Dad at this juncture in my life, and I just CAN'T DO IT WITHOUT HIM."
A few minutes passed, and the text reply came back. "So what is Plan B?"
Plan B? WHAT Plan B? I thought about it for a second. If I really CANNOT do this without him, then that would mean I cannot move anywhere from here, and as we already know, this year is all about progress. If, as I claimed, I simply am unable to do it without my Dad...what the hell happens to my progress? What happens to all my plans, my hopes, my future success, my...everything? Does it just...end...right here and now?
My return text was simple. "I have no fucking idea."
As I'm sure is obvious, it was a reply sent out of anger and irritation. Anger that my Dad was not here, anger that my friend was not allowing me to wallow, irritation that my friend did not pat me on the head and tell me it would be okay, irritation that me - control freak that I am - did not have an immediate, witty reply as I normally would have done.
Damn. Hit me square between the eyes, it did. Plan B?
There IS NO Plan B.
So in the absence of a Plan B, I returned to the Plan A - which was success planned *without* my Dad here. And sure, I'd like to believe he is watching over me, and I can talk to him when I like, and that he has some sort of cosmic hand in making things go my way. But I made those plans WITHOUT those beliefs. I made those plans based on what I can do ON MY OWN TWO FEET, not on my own two feet with my Dad being the shoes.
So I sent another text, which said, "I revise my earlier comment. It's not that I cannot do it without my Dad, it's that I don't really want to." In retrospect I think that really more accurately reflects the situation. It's not that I can't, it's that in a perfect world I wouldn't have to - but since this isn't a perfect world, I've just got to get on with it.
Because getting on with it was my plan anyway, and he'd expect nothing less.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Today, I received an abundance of gifts from the people who already give me more than I probably deserve, but exactly as much as I need. Today I got reassurance, hope, support, plans, ideas, belief, faith in me and more love than I thought it possible to give or receive. I cannot say in specific what these gifts were (but I will soon enough) - for now I can only say that regardless of what happens in future, I am grateful, and I am loved.
Today, I heard this quote and thought it spoke right to my heart (even though I'm not all that sure about the God part.):
Monday, January 10, 2011
Getting my goat at the moment is all these people who keep saying that they "wish their dreams would come true" or that "someday things will happen," or (worst of all) that they will ask the universe for something and the universe will somehow provide. I am bloody sick of the world being full of whining lazy people.
I hate to burst your bubble, people, but the only way to get what you want is to WORK DAMN HARD for it. I am willing to concede that occasionally stuff does happen by way of sheer luck - heck, think about all those teenagers who get pregnant their first time having sex - but by and large, luck doesn't factor into it at all. On my MIL's fridge there is a magnet which says, "Luck is where preparation meets opportunity," and that really resonates with me. It's only January of my Year of Cake Domination and already I am realising just how much time, effort, money and strength it's going to take to achieve only half of the plans I have. Instead of that daunting me, it's actually motivating me. Yes, I'm actually motivated by working harder than I ever have before - certainly more hours, certainly more emotional upheaval, and definitely too many bowls of ice cream....but I know its going to be worth it. All that is going to pay off in spades when I get to the next part of my life, look back and say, "Wait a second... *I* did all that." And you know, it's conceivable that I'll work this damn hard and fail spectacularly. But to not try in the first place? Not. An. Option.
Weight loss, business growth, progress in careers, moving houses, getting ahead on one's finances...all of these things happen when we make the effort to make them happen, NOT while we sit on the sidelines complaining and wishing for our illustrious ship to come in. How long are we willing to wait, exactly, for the ship? Months? Years?
Now I know you're reading this and thinking of all the million and one excuses you have for not moving forward on things in your life, and you're kinda secretly still hoping it all will just magically happen. I get that. I do. I've spent YEARS doing that (and sometimes, I still do. Come on, Tattslotto, I really want that winning ticket!). I also don't think you can live a life without hope - because human nature dictates that we all need to live with hope. Hope that the diet will work, hope that the next big job will come through, hope that our kids will succeed. I've had plenty of times in my life (and plenty documented here) where hope just flew right out the window and left me in misery. So I understand the importance of having hope in our lives - but what I'm saying is, don't rely on hope to deliver for you.
For me, hope is a great feeling to have... but it isn't the only thing which is going to turn things around. So in my case, sure, I'm hoping like hell that all my plans for the year come through, and that some massive orders come my way, but I'm also WORKING like hell to make them happen. Hard work alone does not always translate into success - but hard work combined with hope, and possible even a tiny bit of luck, will eventually pay off. It's just that the people out there who seem to believe - who are arrogant enough to believe - that just by wishing and hoping all their "dreams will come true" are seriously pissing me off. Because they're kidding themselves, they really are, and I for one am sick of listening to the whining and complaining about how shit their lives are.
Here it is, straight up: Sometimes, life is just shitty. Sometimes, you don't always have the resources you need (money, time, support, love) to make life less shitty. ALWAYS, you have the power of your own hard work and effort to at least TRY and make things less shitty. If you're not willing to at least try, or work hard enough to make things happen for you...well, allow me to wave to you from the prow of the SS Successful while you sit on the dock. Hope you brought a jumper, I hear it gets cold when hell freezes over.
Sunday, January 9, 2011
I am lucky enough to be part of a small group of friends who spend a lot of time together. The four of us just seem to work well together. There is no judgement, no pretence, no needing to be anything other than what we are - which is (mostly) normal, suburban parents trying to make the most of our lives and give our kids the best lives we can afford at any one time. Luckily for us, we all have children around the same age - the eldest is only 18 months older than the next one in line, and the youngest is only 2 months from her nearest in line. The group of children (of which there are 11) also just seem to get along famously - the older ones look after the younger ones, the younger ones hero-worship the older ones, and those in the middle just sort of run around together like some sort of pre-teen posse.
It's not at all unusual for us all to start out the day at one person's house, and by the afternoon or evening several kids have swapped houses, or organised their own sleep overs. We'll all go somewhere together and when we leave to go home, we find that nobody has their biological children in the car with them because they have all swapped around. The hippy in me absolutely loves this lifestyle we've all fallen into. I love that I don't feel guilty if one of my kids sleeps over two nights in a row at someone else's house, AND I don't feel some obligation to return the favour (but would be happy to). I love that we can swap clothes between the kids, that the kids who come to my house behave towards me in the same way my own kids do, because they're just that comfortable with us and our home. I love that my kids can approach one of the other adults to help them, feed them, love them as if they were their own. I trust all of the parents in this group with my children's lives, as I would hope they do me....and given my Mama Bear tendencies, I think you all realise just how big that is for me.
I commented about this phenomenon - and how much I liked it - to one of the women in group. Her response was to look at me a bit strangely and say, "But that's just the cousin experience. It's not at all unusual. Didn't you have that growing up? There's nothing special really about it." You know, I pretty sure I didn't have that experience growing up at all. I do vaguely recall spending time with my cousins, but I don't remember this kind of child/parent "it takes a village" sort of experience. I can remember the odd play date, but that's pretty much it in the way of cousin interaction.
Interestingly, of the four families in question, only ONE actually has much in the way of cousins that their kids spend time with. (And not surprisingly, it's the family of the woman in the conversation above.) My kids have cousins, but they live far away. The second family has no cousins to speak of, the third family has a few but none they are in regular contact with. So for this group of kids, their 'cousins' are each other - which makes perfect sense, especially as I consider each of those three women to be my sisters (and in some ways, more "sisterly" than my biological sister, even though I have a good relationship with her.) I love the fact that my own definition of family is now extending to the next generation - that my children will know the love, comfort, affection and safety of having families which are not your blood relation but still very much a part of who you are and how you grow. Hippy or not, this is one part of my life which brings me and my children an absurd amount of joy.
Cousins. They're not just the people you're forced to hang out with on Christmas Day.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
For someone who didn't really figure kids into the life plan, I am one MEAN, TOTALL BAD ASS Mama Bear. By this I mean that the rest of the world should feel free to hurt me, steal from me, annoy me, berate me, cheat me, and in general be horrible to me... but if anyone or anything in the rest of the world should attempt that on my kids? Well, let me show you what the inside of a coffin looks like.
This extreme Mama Bear protective behaviour is kind of new to me. Not that I haven't always felt this way (I have), but just the sheer ferocity with which I seem to be displaying it these days is surprising me. Generally I have a "suck it up" sort of attitude, and that attitude extends to my kids as well. In recent months, though...well, I seem to be veering away from "suck it up" and into "touch a hair on their heads and I shall Avadra Kedavra you." I actually am not entirely sure what has prompted this shift of attitude, and rather than like or dislike it I'm just surprised by it.
I'm also surprised by how MUCH I seem to be living for my kids these days. Again, not something I would have said of myself previously. It just seems like so much of what I do is motivated by them - by wanting to provide a good example for them, wanting to provide financially for them, wanting to give them more than they expect, wanting to just make their worlds as utterly wonderful as I possibly can. I don't want to protect them from the baddies of the world, because there's no way I can do that - I'm nothing if not realistic. It's more that I've suddenly come into my own as a parent, and I've realised just how important my role in their life really is. Strange feeling, that. Usually people ask me how I cope with triplets and my stock standard answer is, "You just feed them, love them, and maintain a good sense of humour," and while that's still true at the very core of it... I'm coming to realise just how much more there is to it than that.
On a related note, another mother I know recently commented that since her kids were born, she just doesn't have the stomach for some movies, books, etc. It's interesting since I thought it was just me who has experienced this phenomenon. Prior to having kids, I devoured loads and loads of crime fiction books - Cornwell, either of the Kellermans, etc etc. These days I can hardly look at a cover of one of those books without coming over all weird and creepy inside.
So it would seem as though the old adage of, "Children change your lives in ways you would never expect," is certainly true for me. Is it true for you? Have you discovered ways in which your children have changed your life..apart from the obvious of money and houses and day-to-day living?