Friday, September 4, 2015

For better or for WORSE

So there you are, all decked out in a heavy, gorgeous white dress with makeup perfected and hair that
has been heated, molded, pinned and threatened so as to make it just-so.  You're excited.  The thumping in your chest is fast and full.  This is awesome.  He is awesome.  His smile is elusive and gorgeous and he looks like a freaking model in that suit.  Hot damn- that man is about to be your husband!  Won't your babies be gorgeous?  Won't forever be a breeze if it's with that guy?

At some point you agree that, yes, whether you are sleeping between bedposts made of gold or shivering cold huddled in the nook of grocery store and it's newspaper stand- yes, you will stay together.  You agree that in the peaks of fitness and the depths of addiction, you will stay true.  And finally, the traditional summary, "for better or for worse" presents itself and you agree, but of course.  A most definite hearty and enthusiastic confirmation that this union is the shit.  You feel it powerfully, you judge those who have come before you and you know that you will not be like them.  No, this is a love unlike the rest.

It takes time.  It's always a disappointing and comforting lesson to be reminded that we are not different from each other.  We are all the same.  Our experiences are vast and immeasurably varied, and the bottom line is always that we are, at the core, all the same humans.  There are plenty of ways to convince yourself that you are special and nothing like so-and-so, it's the way we behave on the outside that convinces ourselves of these dividers.  It's the inside that is always, always the same.

I traveled forward into marriage on the high of the "better".  Everything was freaking awesome!  I relish big life changes, it excites me and motivates me.  In that moment you can only imagine what "worse" represents.  I didn't spend a lot of time considering it.  In a vague way it meant to me being annoyed or disappointed.  A feeling that may last a day or two but wouldn't permeate our bond.  I could handle being annoyed and even disappointed.  So that handled that.  No biggie.

In a week, that heavy dress will have been stuffed in a box, dirt still having it's way with the hem, for nine years.  Compared to some, we are still babies in this venture, but this year I feel like I am one hundred years in and am beat up, dirty and dragging small people through a dessert mirage- yes kids, this is real!  This is wonderful!  There is beautiful, clean water in abundance!  This is the year our relationship was KO'd, this is the "worse".

I know it's going to be annoying that I don't spell out the details, but 1. it's not really fair to the man and, 2. I really just need to pour out my emotions on 'paper'.  Y'all: the "worse" is worse than you think you knew in those wistful moments.   For me it looked like days of sobbing with bits of being normal for the small ones.  It looked like every blood cell in my body vibrating with rage and threatening to come out in ways that would have gotten me arrested.  This is not me.  But it was.  I kicked the sofa.  I powered it with the heel of my foot.  I screamed with my whole into a pillow, over and over and over.  I shook all the time.  I cursed and wept in all kid-less moments.  At some point I realized that this whole experience could end.  Like really end.

That end had all kinds of ugly, complicated and heartbreaking new beginnings.  Getting a divorce was never an option for me, yet I wasn't able to see continuing on either.  I am not a patient person, I am a hypocrite in my need for others to make decisions now but insisting on time and space to make them myself.  I became a person who was waiting and surviving the days.  I knew it was time that we needed.  This grand canyon-esque fracture needed time.  Fucking time.

I can count on my family to be wise.  Loving, supportive and wise.  And so it was, this piece of advice that gave me the freedom to have all of the feelings and craziness I was going through, this piece of advice that made the valley (which feels more like a crevasse) that we are experiencing ok.

"Sometimes you just have to be committed to the commitment."

And WOOOSH, I was freed from all the guilt of hating him and despising him and the impossibleness of being near him.  I could let go of my commitment to him- the person, for now, and be committed to that commitment.  Words.  A promise.  I could hang onto that for dear life, squeeze it close and it could be the eye in the center of this overwhelming hurricane of breakdown.  And it's working.  It's only three short months later and we are not healed.  We have a rough sketch of who we want to be now.

Freaking time.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

So, you want a baby brother

Rosanna keeps telling people she is going to have a baby brother.  Those people then look at me with wide eyes.  I follow up with vigorous head shaking and silent concerns that maybe she knows something I don't.  Then, sometime later, I get the flow of relief - if you know what I mean.  So far, my kid ain't clairvoyant.

She also regularly asks if I can get pregnant.  I tell her that I can, but that's not in the game plan right now.  I told her to ask me again in a year.  You guys: I will not be shocked one bit if she asks me in exactly one year.  That's how creepy little kids are.

So all this baby talk has me wondering and thinking and considering.  Emotionally, yes.  Babies forever and ever.  Not because pushing them out is so much fun, but because that moment when the little buggar is lifted from your crotch and placed into your arms is unlike any moment ever in the history of all moments.  I want that moment again.  And again.  I also want to smell fuzzy baby hair and hold a person in the space between my elbow and my wrist.  I want a small blob of squishy goodness sleeping with head rested in my neck and frog legs perched on my chest.

Practically, no.  Sleep deprivation was one thing when there was no one else to take care of and that is no longer my scenario.  And can you imagine three- I mean four people in four different phases of eating?  One gets a regular plate, one gets stuff that's mostly mushable, one gets a dumbed down version of the regular plate and one gets baby food.  Also we'd have to basically never fly.  Affording 5 plane tickets might happen once, but we'd have to drive home.

Yeah, yeah, people have three (or nine) kids all the time.  Ask me again in a year.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Oh, the 'fours'

So I have to say I mostly write (blog) when I'm stirred up.  If you're looking for some picture of my day-to-day (and seriously, let's not be a weirdo, huh?) then this is not the place.  If this is the only place you get input from me, then I may seem a bit like a drama queen: see my previous "stirred up" comment.

Luciana is nearly one whole year old.  No, really.  And I may have said this 10 times before, but I LOVE this age.  It is my favorite.  I might cry when it's passed.  Scratch that- I WILL cry when it's passed.  She's sweet, her needs are simple, she's snuggly, she's silly, her laugh is joy.  I would have babies over and over if only to have this time with them.

Rosanna is four.  She's FOUR.  I love her, therefore she still sucks air.  I think the person who coined, "terrible twos" was unclever and thought alliteration was more important than accuracy.  I'm bitter.  The "twos" are a memory, and the "fours" are fawful.  Or farty.  Fickle.  Fitful.  Fussy.  Every conversation is laborious.  Her ears absorb everything.  I say to you, you do not know how sloppily you speak until there is someone to call you out on your inconsistencies and to mirror all of your lovely speaking habits back to you.  She talks.  Endlessly.  She asks a question, keeps talking and then asks why you aren't answering her.  She swings from mood to mood like a monkey in the trees.  Her feelings are hurt, she's fine, she's found a new friend, they aren't friends anymore, she's fallen from the top of the steps and is ok, she's bumped her shoulder on the chair and is yelling in pain.
My grown-up brain is not wired to spin at this frequency.  Not all the time.  It freaks me out.  I have the patience of a crotchety old dog being bombarded by a puppy.  The effort it takes to be a 'good mom' is less and less available to me.  And I don't know what to do about it.

Then there's Luci.  She wants milk or she's tired.  Those are the two biggest issues I face with her.  Haha!  "Issues".  The kid doesn't even care if she sits in her own poop for a bit (not that I would do this purposefully...she's just not one to cry about a diaper change).  Rosanna's challenges are really just the difficult side of some really great characteristics: outgoing, exuberant, inquisitive, thoughtful.  I am grateful for these attributes (she says to herself over and over and over and over).

To all this I say: OYE.

Monday, January 13, 2014

So it goes

Luci is 9 months old.  She is long enough now that her head is just under my chin if she is perched on my lap.  Lately I am finding myself mourning the loss of my first baby to toddlerdom and now, little-girlness.  She is so tall, so articulate and so sassy (note to self: stop being sassy).  She dresses herself, uses the restroom and repeats all the things you didn't intend for her to hear.

Now, with Littles on my lap, I am verging on tears.  She might be the last baby that is my own, and despite my best efforts to slow her down, she is nearly an entire year old.  I kiss her temple, my nose is in the sweet softness of her wispy baby hair and I breathe in.  She smells like my baby.  I stay here for as long as she'll let me, admiring, from my vantage point, the swoop of the bridge of her nose.  Her lashes are long, her eyes are gentle and she sighs.  I move to press my nose into her full, round cheeks.  They are less round now, power crawling is her new hobby, but still so perfectly squishy.  At this, she pushes her head toward me, mouth open and finds my cheek, blowing a perfect raspberry.  God I love this child.

Rosanna smelled this way once.  She rocked on her diapered bum in excitement and crawled clumsily after me across the house.  I am terrified that I will forget how precious this time was.  In the frustration of our daily interactions, I do.

Here's to being present.

Monday, November 25, 2013


Would you like to know a surefire way to have your ego slap the sh*t out of your enlightenment?  Just state out loud how you've got it figured out, that you've discovered a thick vein that will keep you tapped in and guess what?  Your ego will have a hay day.  EDIT: my ego will have a hay day.

Today I was THAT mom.  I put my baby down on the floor of the pet store to find the right 'jacket' for our wisp of a dog and let her chew on the hangers.  A few feet away my 3 year old didn't stop talking while finding furry balls to perch on top of her shoe a la Tinkerbell.  I actually said, too loudly, "Rosanna, stop talking" so that a complete thought could skitter through my brain.

I showed up to purchase a table from a fellow civilian a half an hour late, and when I opened the rear portal to my van (I'm in my thirties after all) our dog was trying to clamber over the seats, my baby was sobbing and my 3 year old was.....talking.  Yay.

Now it's 7pm.  Bedtime.  No one has eaten.  Eating out is the only option.  We arrive and I whip out a boob for the baby only to discover that half of my chest has been unsupported (see: nursing bra, unclipped) since the last time I fed her- 3 hours ago.  And guess what else?  The 3 year old has to go potty.  Again.  She JUST we walked in the door and straight to the bathroom.  So of course, now that the boob is out, she would have to go again.  Fast forward to actually having food on the table.  This lasted approximately 5 minutes before I decided that to-go boxes were the only way to deal with Fast Hands McGrabberson if I wanted to leave with the same number of children I showed up with.

Bonus: the dog didn't poop or pee in the car!

And now......they sleep.  It is oh, so blissfully quiet.  So freaking, awesomely, divinely serene.

Don't tell anyone, but I miss them just a smidge.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

TLC Hoarders: brain edition

Coming home today I felt like I needed to exhale.  A dramatic, cleansing release of breath that is paired perfectly with sweatpants and a flop upon the couch.  These last two days have been a bit crazy, a bit nutty.  Just look at the lack of naps two days in a row.  Driving us home today from a sweet little holiday shindig, I was lost in a future scenario...the one where I counted the minutes until bedtime and would then have the house to myse- wait.  We have a dog.  GAH!  The cat is pissed about the dog.  The latest addition to my resume is: let the animals work it out, but don't let the dog get too beat up.  Oye.  I've only had this job for 24 hours and I'm already over it.

Anyhow, this line of thinking meandered around for a bit until I came upon this little tidbit: why the exasperation?  Why go around acting like my current state is taxing and nigh on unmanageable?  My acknowledgement, or my statement out loud (verbal, physical, see: eye rolling, sighing, etc.) that my life today is more than I'd like to be handling is making it true for me.  The thing is, it's not true.

If I want to have a spotless house and take care of my other obligations today, then I could be stressed out.  If I want to get the grocery shopping done today and take care of my other obligations, then I could be fed up.  If I want to be crafty and make all of my Christmas decorations and have some time to be still, then I might be short tempered.  So the question is, why?

"Tension is who you think you should be.
Relaxation is who you are."
Chinese Proverb

"Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than how you think it should be." Wayne W. Dyer

The path to freedom and happiness is letting go, it's being good with what the day brought and being thankful for it.  I tend to do the opposite.  I dwell on the things I didn't get done and the way my house doesn't look like a magazine cover.  The funny thing is, nothing actually changes between those scenarios besides who I am then capable of being.

Mind: blown.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Blow it up

My friend Wendy is wise.  She said to me one day that all kids are perfect and learning how to be in the world.

I do my best to let my kid be herself.  Loud, overbearing, exuberant.  These are all words that I own, that give me anxiety.  These qualities say to me, "Be embarrassed, care about what others might think about your parenting, get that girl to stop drawing attention to herself".  They aren't what my kid is.  She is perfect.

How freaking cool is it that she can scream with excitement in a small coffee shop and care not about others' opinions.  How freaking cool is it that she will insert herself into a stranger's family to seek out their similarly sized child and then steal that child away to frolic about, as if she'd known them her whole life.  How freaking cool is my kid?

So why would I want to bring down the numbness, the separateness of my adulthood onto her?  What a lame thing to do.  By all accounts I am the one whose life is dull and lackluster, while her's is wild with vibrant colors and freedom to just "be".  Why would an unbiased observer say to me, "Yes, Mrs. O'Hagan, your child is clearly in need of a dose of your life.  The one where she dies a little.  Yes, that's my opinion."  Well, that just wouldn't happen.  Quite the opposite would be true.  That person would beg me, implore to my humanity that I see her for who she is: the most incredible person walking the earth.  And they would ask me, why- why am I so willing to snuff out that inspiring beam of unfiltered light, when I could learn so much from it?

I could only answer with the sad realization that I have crossed over.  I am that boring adult who I didn't understand as a kid.  I am fully in the embrace of rules, politeness, manners and all other form of tippy-toeing.  And it sucks.  Those qualities have added nothing to the quality of my life.  They may have inspired others to think kind thoughts about me, or perhaps to not have thought about me at all as I made no impression of myself.  At this rate, I'll go to my grave with people saying how nice I was and that may be it.  I won't have stood for anything.  I won't have lived 'out loud' as they say.  And for whom am I muting myself?

The moral of the story is that my kid is PERFECT.  I hope she never learns to fit into this social structure and instead blows it up with her amazing self.