Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Coming up for air

Over the holiday weekend I quite literally lost myself in the Twilight series. The books were far better than I'd imagined. I was completely sucked in finished all four books in four days. Although my house is still recovering, my husband was a great sport and helped out a lot so I could disappear into the expanse of my imagination for a while.

I haven't let myself go into a book like that in quite some time - probably since before I had kids. The allure of a good story, of feeling like I'm half living in that world, is almost like a drug to me. I love the sensation of letting my imagination run free, of living in a world that isn't my own. Its why I've always loved reading fantasy novels - I love being caught up in a world where anything is possible.

It isn't just the story in the book that gets me though. Reading something that sucks me in so completely triggers so much in my own mind - ideas, characters, plotlines, possibilities. Its why I started attempting to write fiction in the first place. I can get just as lost writing my own stories as I can reading the works of others.

I haven't written much of anything fictional in a long time now. When I was pregnant with my first son I found that my creativity ground to a halt, like my creative energy was being used up and I didn't have anything left when I sat down at my keyboard. And so things have sat, untouched, for a long time. But I feel like losing myself in a story once again has reopened the door to my creativity. I remember the reason I love to write, the reason I want to write an honest to goodness novel someday. Its what I'm passionate about. I can write to make money, as I do, and it's fine. But there's no passion behind it. Creating a story, one that allows me to live in my imagination for a while, is what really gets me going. And for the first time in a long time, I'm feeling like it might be possible to get to that place again. Maybe I'll actually finish...

In the meantime, I feel like I'm coming up for air after a long submersion. I'm blinking in the sunlight of reality. Although it's a great reality, it's been a little harder than I remember to get back into the swing of my real life. But I think I can manage.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Choosing to have a good day

The other day my husband told me I've been grumpy all the time lately. Ouch. I didn't think I'd been *that* grumpy, but maybe from his perspective I have. Five days a week he comes home when I'm at my most tired, and probably most likely to be grumpy, even if I've been cheery all day. It got me thinking.

I am tired a lot. Being pregnant with my two boys isn't easy. G is such a handful, there are days when I wonder if I'm going to survive that kid. Trying to get through everything in a day is exhausting and it makes me more than a little nervous to think about going through each day not pregnant, but with an infant. If I think I'm tired now, we ain't seen nothing yet.

I realized that part of the problem is that I let my attitude go downhill, especially on days when I haven't had a good night's sleep. Goodness knows there are a million reasons a pregnant mother of two might not get enough sleep, so this seems to be happening a lot lately. But I find myself dwelling all day on the things I don't feel energetic enough to get done, or how I can't sit down for five seconds without D needing something or G getting into something he shouldn't. My life as it is right now is going to wear me out physically, there's no getting around that. Having a 31lb toddler that I can't help but lift numerous times a day will do that to you, pregnant or not. But mentally, that's another story. I have some choice in the matter of my attitude and how I approach life with two, soon to be three, young children.

I'm making a conscious effort to be happy. I firmly believe happiness is largely a choice, and how I deal with the day to day messes of life is something entirely within my control. If G once again empties the contents of the craft drawer onto the floor during the 90 seconds I'm in the bathroom or D pitches a fit because G won't stop knocking over his block tower, I am faced with a choice: let myself be exasperated, mentally remind myself how tired and annoyed I am, yell at my kids and carry the tension around with me until the next incident occurs and builds on the previous until I feel like I'm going to snap. Or.... take a deep breath and deal with each thing as it comes with an attitude that is lighter, more cheerful and rooted in the reality that I want to like my life each day and have the ability to make that happen.

Yes, my boys are going to do things that make me crazy. But over the last few days I've tried really hard to remain cheerful and happy even when those things happen, and you know what... it works. No, I'm not suddenly a Stepford Wife, walking around in a 50's era house dress, perfectly curled hair and a creepy smile plastered on my face. But taking that breath and reminding myself that I want to have a good day, even in the face of yet another roll of toilet paper mired in the toilet, or another morning of maddening indecision about the perfect show and tell item, has really made a difference in how I feel.

I'm conscious of this because I know that in a few short months, life IS actually going to get crazier. I was unhappy a lot of the time after G was born, feeling exhausted and overwhelmed and like I couldn't possibly meet the needs of these two little people simultaneously. I don't want to go through that again, at least not to that degree. I know I'm going to be tired, I know I'm going to be overwhelmed. I also hope that if I practice now, when things are just crazy times two, when things get crazy times three I might have a shot at having more good days than bad.

I just have to remember to choose to have a good day.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I don't understand

I have this friend who has been married to a man who abuses her for eight years. The manipulation, control and probably some verbal abuse started early, before they were even married. I don't think she fully realized what his behavior meant, but looking back she says she saw signs. About a year into their marriage, it got physical. I don't know even a fraction of what he's done to her, but I know enough. This guy is dangerous.

Several times she's talked about leaving. She usually ended up pregnant soon after thinking such things. They had three kids in just over three years, and there was a miscarriage in between the second and third. Each time she was pregnant she claims he treated her well and I think she allowed herself to believe that he would change; he would see the great mom she'd be and he'd treat her well. It never lasted.

Now things are bad again. Her youngest is 16 months, long enough that the pregnancy honeymoon period has clearly worn off. I don't know any details (although I suspect he may have started in on the kids - at least the older ones), but she took the step of telling her pastor at church. They're very involved in their church and this was a HUGE deal for her to confide in him. She's resisted the idea of telling her church for years, because she was afraid it would "make her husband look bad." For whatever reason, she's mustered the courage to reach out in this way and her pastor will be confronting her husband next Monday.

What I'm confounded over is her seeming obsession with keeping her marriage together. She emailed me today and said this may mean they have to be legally separated and that isn't what she wants - "not at all" were her words. WHY THE HELL NOT?

She told me recently that she's praying for the restoration of her marriage. I wanted to ask her "restoration to what?" When in their entire relationship has there been a time that is worth restoring to? He's always been a controlling, manipulative prick and honestly believes that there is nothing wrong with the way he treats her. Why does she want to stay married to this guy so badly?

I just don't understand. I've tried so hard to stick by her, be her friend regardless of whether I thought she was crazy, or wrong, or stupid. I've thought all those things, and now, in the face of giving him an ultamatum she's never dared before (the church will be telling him that she will have their blessing and help to leave if he won't get help and change his behavior), she's upset that they might be separated. I have no frame of reference for understanding her sentiment. Is it fear? Is it some misguided notion that she loves him? Does she simply believe all the horrible things he's said to her and doesn't think she deserves any better? Does she actually believe he'll change? Because I'm telling you, this is not the guy who feels bad about how he treats her. He believes from the core of his being that he has every right to treat her this way. He's said so on many occassions. So has his father.

I've tried hard not to be too judgmental. She's already lost friends over the years, people who couldn't understand why she'd stay and got sick of watching the horror show. I don't understand any more than they do, but I've stayed her friend - and I plan to still. But I just don't get it. I can't fathom why she is so desperate to hang on to this sham of a marriage. I wouldn't want to be a divorced, single mother any more than she does, but isn't that better than living under the thumb of someone who tries to control your every move, belittles you at every opportunity, and dosen't find anything wrong with slapping you around when there are dirty dishes left in the sink?

And how she can stand by and let this happen in front of her children downright infuriates me. She's never admitted that he's hurt them, but I suspect that he has. And even if he never turns a hand to them (which he will), he's doing these things to their mother right in front of them. He's teaching his sons how to treat women and teaching his daughter how men should treat her. I don't know how she can let that happen.

I just don't get it.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

T-ball, etc.

Today was D's very first t-ball game! Watching a bunch of 4 year olds try to play t-ball is definitely one of the cutest things ever. They all looked so adorable in their purple shirts and black baseball hats - none of which fit any of them properly. The most they try to get them to do is have someone catch the ball when the other team hits, then throw it to first base. Even that was a stretch. The ball would roll past the first player then the rest of the team would run after it and nearly tackle each other trying to get to it. Then the chorus of "throw to first!" coming from the coaches and parents as the kid with the ball would look around wondering what to do.

On David's first hit he did great, running to first like they told him. But he apparently wasn't so sure where second base was because after the next hit, he went running off away from the baseline entirely. I think he saw a spot in the grass that looked like something was there, and he thought it was second base. It was seriously cute.

I'm completely exhausted from the day and G is sitting in his crib talking instead of napping, which means this afternoon is going to be rough. It does also mean that he'll go to bed early, which I can definitely live with. Gotta look on the bright side!

DH is currently on the road to California to pick up his dream car - we're buying him a 1968 Camaro, the car he has literally wanted since before I met him. And I've known him for 17 years. To say this is a dream come true is an understatement. But in the short term, it means I'm on my own with the boys this weekend, my house is already a complete disaster, G isn't napping, and I'm exhausted. The rest of the day is going to be interesting. Ordinarily I'd be thinking about where to take them to kill some time and get out of the house, but I don't think I can handle another outing. Between helping DH get ready for his road trip, getting us ready, packed up and to the t-ball game, and running around taking pictures at the game itself, I'm beat.

Being pregnant with two kids is tiring!