heartcare

My post for The Red Dress Club is at Exploded Moments today.  It’s about a memory involving a game.

**************

My summer was slipping by.

I was stuck in the house day in and day out with a colicky infant.  People were doing things and having fun and relaxing their summers away, and I was crying all the time.

I wanted to get away from my child, but I didn’t want to.

I wanted to love him and snuggle him and have wonderful days.

But I also wanted to run out the front door because my head wouldn’t stop pounding from his screams.

He never slept by himself.  He always had to be held.

I couldn’t get anything done.

I had postpartum depression and didn’t know it.

*************

The plan was that Eddie would go to daycare full time when I went back to work in the fall, but that he would go maybe a half day or a day a week for a couple weeks before that just so he (and I) could get used to the daycare routine.

Notice I said “plan” and “was”?

Yeah.  We should have learned by now that when we make life plans?  They rarely go our way.

And my plan to love every minute of being home with my little boy?  Definitely didn’t pan out the way I thought it would.

Cort convinced me to call our daycare provider and see if she could take Eddie for a half day, one day a week.  Just to give me a break.

She said yes.

It was a relief and a terror at the same time.

I had never left my baby with anyone other than family–and at that point not even many of them had been left alone with him.

As much as I wanted to get away, I couldn’t imagine my baby being somewhere without me.

The day I left Eddie for the first time, I couldn’t even stay and chat.  I must have looked like I was in a huge hurry, but really I was racing against my tears.

They began to fall before I even got back in my car.

And I started to ugly cry as I realized I had run out so fast I hadn’t even kissed him goodbye.

That afternoon my house got cleaned from top to bottom for the first time in months.  And I took a shower.  Before 6pm.

It was wonderful.

*************

Miss Amy has been a friend of mine for years.  She and I scrapbook together which means we have gone through pregnancies (mostly hers) and breakups (mostly mine) and laughed until we cried.  Plus she lives about 4.5 minutes from my house.  And that is just because I have to leave my subdivision to get to hers.  If I walked though the woods from my front yard to her backyard?  It would probably only take about 2.5 minutes.

She is loving and caring and wonderful.

She was the only person I ever wanted as a daycare provider, and when we got pregnant with Eddie, she didn’t have any openings.

Her license only allows her to take six children at a time and she was booked solid.

I refused to worry about it.  I knew something would come up and it would work out.  And honestly?  I had no idea that it would be so hard to leave my baby.  I was a clueless first time mom who had a rosey outlook on everything.

I remember being so excited when Miss Amy emailed us to tell us that she was losing a couple kids due to moving and other things and that if we wanted a spot for Eddie full time, it was ours.

There was squee-ing involved.

And we thought our world was perfect.

Then I had PPD.

But she was there for me.

Then Cort lost his job.

But she was there for us and let Eddie continue to come once a week, keeping a spot for him in case Cort found work.

And then Cort found work.

And we thought our world was perfect again.

*************

I never knew that leaving your child with someone else is like leaving a piece of your heart behind.

That first day that I left Eddie with Amy I cried of a broken heart.

She had part of it in her arms, and I could feel that.

Even now, when I am at work, she holds that piece of my heart safe all day.  She nurtures him and loves him like her own.  He said “Ahh ee” before he said “maa maa”.

It hurts less knowing that piece is being cared for, but it’s still an ache until I see him again at the end of the day.

But I always trust that when I get that piece of my heart back?  It will be in better shape than I left it.

*************

This weekend we got the news that next fall Amy won’t be able to take Eddie anymore.

There are lots of circumstances that I won’t go into, but with Eddie, she will exceed her six children limit.

We totally understand that she has to do this.

We know she is broken up about losing her little buddy.

I wish I could say that because I logically understand and know we will find something else, I feel fine about the whole thing.

But I don’t.

I cried ugly tears again last night at the thought of letting someone new hold a piece of my heart.

I buried my face in my pillow trying not to imagine my little boy meeting new people, learning new rules, and trying to nap in an unfamiliar place.

I know he will adapt.

He is braver and stronger than I am.

I just wish I could explain to him.  I wish I could make him understand and prepare him.

He is my heart.

How do I prepare my heart for this change?

*************

My dearest readers, Amy reads my blog.  And while I don’t believe any of you would say cruel things, I just thought it would be fair to tell you that she reads.  My intent is not to make her feel bad about any of this, just to share my heart.  And right now my heart hurts.

a rough start to our journey

It’s been two weeks since I announced publicly that Sluiter Nation is looking to add a new member.

I wish I could say things have been all happy and butterflies since this announcement.  But not so much.

I quit my birth control a few months ago because it was giving me horrible cycles.  And now I have acne like a 13-year old.

But that is manageable.

I got a pretty bad cold a couple weeks ago, but I recovered, and that has nothing to do with this.

Or does it?

I still have the cough.

But it’s not a reasonable cough that is all congested and then I hack it up.

No.  It is a rattle that I can hear and feel, Cort can hear, others can hear, but pretends that it doesn’t exist when I cough.  It just stays put and makes me look like a big cough-faker.

What does this have to do with making a baby?

I’m getting to that.

So I have this cough.

And zits.

And now?  I am starting a new cycle and my OB would like to see me try this pregnancy with no anti-depressants (I am currently on Celexa, for all you note-takers).

We talked about this in August at my last appointment, and I talked about it with my General Practitioner, and I talked about it with my Therapist.

Fear not, it has been discussed.

I know how to wean off the meds safely.

I also know that both my GP and my Therapist are standing at the ready because they would both like to see me on something.

“A healthy mom comes first.  Then a healthy baby can follow.”

But we all understand where the OB is coming from.  Why take meds if you can get by without?  And they all agree that pregnancy hormones could very well “even me out” to where I won’t need them until postpartum again.

And thus began The Wean.

Halved my dose until I was ready to do a half dose every other day.

I am on every other day right now.

People?  This is hard.

So hard.

At first I only had physical side effects that were annoying at best.  I had sort of a fuzzy feeling in my head, headaches, a tightness in my back, and an occasional “buzzing” sound/feeling in my brain.

I still had this cough the whole time.

I continued to taper.

My back got worse and worse.  It’s a pain in my upper back, most the left side, behind my shoulder blade that feels like someone has a knife in my muscle and is twisting.  And while they twist, the muscle rips and simultaneously wraps itself around the knife.

It sucks.

And it’s there constantly.  No medication makes it feel better.

There is also exhaustion.  Sheer exhaustion.

But I continue to taper my antidepressant.

Wednesday was my first day with NO dose.  I was surprised at how Ok my brain felt.

Today?  Everything crashed.

My pain in my back and neck is worse.

I could fall asleep on a dime, I am so damn tired.

My cough is less productive, but the rattling is still present.

And my mind?

Today I had to put my head down on my desk more than twice to control the Raging Bitch Monster that was welling in me.  The very same Monster that took over my brain when I had undiagnosed PPD.

Tears welled in my eyes as I felt an urge to lash out at everyone.

Just like before.  But this time I saw the Monster coming.

Everything today sucked because of this dumb Monster.

And just because I knew what it was, didn’t make it less terrible.  In fact, knowing it was coming and who it was and that just by NOT taking my meds as usual, I had opened a door to let this Beast in?  Pissed me off.

So I am emotional and ragey because of detoxing and I am emotional and ragey because I can see it’s NOT going to be Ok.

Today was hard.

And my back still hurts.

And my cough is still there.

And now my wrist hurts.

I have an appointment with the Nurse Practitioner on Monday.   Things need to be sorted out.

Because this is not a happy way to start our journey toward Sluiter Baby #2.

*************

Tomorrow I will post the first in my three-part series on how I built Sluiter Nation: The Blog including Tips for Blogger, Switching to WP, and all things Social Media in Between.

I Got You

This one goes out to you, Kim.

By the time you read this post, you will probably have read Lauren‘s and Miranda‘s.  And by this time, there might be others too.

You know we are telling you that we love you.

You know we wish we could help.

But here is the thing.

I’m not going to be we for a second.

I’m just going to be Katie.

You are my friend.

No, we have never met “in real life.”

No, I don’t know what your voice sounds like.

No, I have never watched you go from serious to a huge smile.

But….

BUT…

I have read your words.

I have seen pictures of you.

And you are my friend.

I don’t have a ton of close friends.  (Shut up, I don’t).

But those who are my close friends?  Know I can’t sleep or eat or function well when they are hurting.

They know I will do anything in my power to help.  Even if the only help I can bring is an inappropriate giggle.

Last night I tossed and turned thinking about where you were.  How you were.

I would dream of looking for you.

I checked my phone each time I woke up.

No Kim.

I cried silently when I thought of what “could” be.

I asked Cort if I was crazy since I didn’t technically know you.

He said, “of course not.  She is your friend.”

Yes.  You are.

My friend.

Why yes, you ARE on the wall-o-friends

And as my friend you have taught me to laugh at the bad in life.  Not because it’s funny, but because it’s our defense against it.  Bad hates laughter.  And we can bring the laughs.

As my friend you have shown me it’s ok to not be perfect…because that is more fun.

As my friend you have cheered my sorry ass on when I thought PPD and just life would win.  You made me realize there is too much going for me to stay in my hole.

You have showed me what a fighter is.

Right now?  You are finding it hard to fight.

You trained me.  Let me fight for you.

Or?  Let this guy fight for you.

hey pretty lady...let me take care of that for you.

and?  since I love you so much.  I had this made for you.  I will mail it soon, but here is a preview.

to be worn as a protective sheild against the evil world

Kim?  You are my friend.

I love you.

I am here for you, girl.  I got you.

And so does the rest of the bloggy world.

It’s What is Not Said

“Though he probably says about 50 to 70 words now, your child may understand as many as 200 words, many of which are nouns. Between 18 and 20 months, he’ll learn words at the rate of 10 or more a day.” (Babycenter.com)

He dances and runs and jumps.

He holds a pencil correctly and inquires about letters on everything.

He will bring us book after book after book–especially My Truck is Stuck and Where is the Green Sheep?

He has recently discovered lying on his tummy in the bathtub in order to “swim”.

He runs at me with his full speed to hug me.

He blows sweet kisses and waves to me at bedtime.

He wants me when he has an owie or is super sleepy or has a nightmare.

His first word was “octagon” while playing with a talking puzzle.

Now he says “up” and “moo” and “aw bye” and “bawl”.

Other words are just one syllable or sound of the whole: “bon” for (banana), “juuuu” (juice), and “onnn” (one)

And every single night, he asks, “da ee”?  (daddy)

He is an amazing, loving, sweet, vivacious….20 month old.

My 20 month old.

The boy who turned me into a mother, but has never uttered a word to prove that.

Yes, his actions show his love for me.  I do not doubt his love.

This isn’t about his love.

I know he will say it.  I know.  I know he will say it to the point that I am sick of it.  I have been told that over and over.

But I still long for it. I fixate on it.  I beg him to say it.

Not just because I want to hear, “mommy,” but because he is 20 months old.

I have already heard what you so many people have to say:

“He is a boy; he is naturally slower.”

“My nephew/my friend’s son/all my kids/husband/I/aunt’s cousin’s nephew’s daughter didn’t talk until they were well over two.”

“As longs as he is interactive…”

“just keep talking to him; he’ll come around…”

“DON’T WORRY.”

I know that it’s technically not that out of the ordinary, and it’s not something to be truly concerned about.  I know this.

But as he babbles and “talks” and says words, I can’t help but think about how he doesn’t have close to 50 words, like babycenter.com says he should have…and I am mostly ok with that because his babble says he is on his way.

What I hate?  Is that he says “octagon” and not “momma”.

I have struggled for everything with this little boy.

It was a challenge (and many MANY blood draws and pills taken) to keep him in my tummy.

It was a painful battle to like him when he was my tiny miracle through all the crying–both his and mine.

I had to claw my way out of a deep, ugly hole to enjoy the little things like the way he turns into me when he is sleepy.

We are so similar in temperaments that when there is frustration between us?  It is a challenge to not kill each other.

And yet?

There is no word in his vocabulary for me.

Does he have one in his head?

Does a small voice in his brain shout it into the echoes of his heart when he sees me or scream it desperately in his soul when he is afraid?

What does that word sound like on his lips?  In my ear?

I am a mother.  HIS mother.

But no one in this world calls me that.

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this is not about the Olive Garden

This weekend Cortney and I went out for a much needed date.

In fact I am pretty sure the last date we went on was for his birthday.  At the beginning of December. So to say this was much needed?  Is really kind of an understatement.

ANYWAY…

For Christmas two alumi of mine gave Cort and I gift cards to the Olive Garden–one of our favorite chain restaurants–and we figured it’s the weekend before Valentine’s Day, we should go out.

Now considering we were going to the Olive Garden, I didn’t feel the need to put on a dress and strappy sandals and make an appointment to get my hair and nails done, but I did put in extra effort.

I took a shower AND dried my hair with a hairdryer AND curled it.

And for effect?  I stuck a cute flower in my hair.

See?

oh hey!

We both wore our nice, dark wash jeans.  Cort wore a button down that I gave him for Christmas, and I wore a cute sweater from the Gap.

Nothing super fancy, but not my yoga pants.

I figured this is what people do when they go out for dinner to any place that has a hostess and serves wine.

I would be wrong.

People?  I am not saying that you need to wear your Sunday Best to a chain restaurant, but I did think that clean clothing was sort of a given.

Again, I would be wrong.

When we arrived at The Olive Garden, there was a 40-50 minute wait.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  And we were out for the night, so regardless of if we were sitting at a table or sitting in the lobby, we were still playing on our phones enjoying being alone together.

A 40-50 minute wait will give you a lot of people watching opportunities.

For instance, did you know that apparently wearing an old valour sweat suit with worn out patches at the knees and elbows is totally proper attire for dining at The Olive Garden?

Or that it is completely acceptable to wear tights (not leggings, people.  TIGHTS) as pants with a “dress” (um, SHIRT), is so short your cheeks are not covered…to the Olive Garden?

Perhaps you were aware that wearing hats (ball hats, stocking hats, cowboy hats…) are ok to wear INSIDE the Olive Garden…while you eat.

I was clearly ignorant of the fact that I could have come to the Olive Garden in my pajamas…slippers and all…for this dining experience because a couple times Cort had to give the shush and and tell me to get my jaw off the ground and quit staring.

When our little disc light up happily announcing it was our turn to be seated, I breathed a sigh of relief.  Maybe we would be put into a nice little romantic corner.  Away from…the fashion police rejects.

Or we would be eating at that table right there that is within reach of the lobby.

No problem.  I will sit with my back to them.  Cort is more tolerant.  He can stare at that herd.

We decide to sample a Riesling.

I settle into my chair.

Only to observe the table over Cort’s shoulder.

A mom wearing the largest pair of mom-jeans I have ever seen on such a skinny body tucked into the biggest moon boots ever topped with a massively huge Bon Jovi T-shirt.  Across from her was a dad with those dude jeans that are all tight around the ankles, but all “loose fit” everywhere else and a GIANT Red Wings jersey.  And a hat.

Their two kids?  Were totally cute.

I understand just wanting to get out of the house with clothes on.  Especially when you have two itty bitty kids.

But shouldn’t your look reflect where you are?

Or am I a snob?  Is it wrong that I was visually offended at the “going out” clothing people deem acceptable these days?

I mean I GET the “come as you are” at McDonalds or Wal-Mart or even Target.  I’ve been that girl getting groceries in my yoga pants and a hoodie.

But I feel like I’ve seen enough episodes of What Not To Wear to know that you need to dress for the occasion.

Yoga pants for home?  Ok.

But at the Olive Garden?

Really?

Or is that joint not as classy as I thought?

Secret Mommyhood Friendship Confession

This week’s confession is something I have been thinking about A LOT this week, which means poor Cortney has had to listen to it a LOT this week.

I don’t understand, therefore I am not good at, female friendships.

At least not the ones that require me to be involved in them on a daily basis.

That sounds bad.

Here is my deal:  I suck at being a way involved friend in REAL life.

My best friend lives in Chicago.  Since high school, we have never lived close enough to hang out regularly.  We send each other random, funny cards.  We text each other.  We email.  We facebook.  We tweet.  But we don’t see each other a ton.

And our friendship is awesome.  It was awesome in high school too, but it’s still like that.

I really do care and love ALL my friends a TON.  But my level of involvement as far as planning things and hanging out?  Totally sucks.  I’m not good at it.

Also?  I don’t like to “mix” my friend groups.  I like my high school friends separate from my college friends separate from my work friends, etc.  Yes, that is all OCD of me, but when they mix, dynamics change and I get anxiety.

Plus?  I tend to be honest.  I assume when you ask me my thoughts on someone, you want the real answer.  I don’t try to be cruel, but if you ask me about something bothersome, I’ll tell you.

I mean, I assume no one has PERFECT friends, right?  We all have something that bugs us about each of our friends, right?  There are the friends who suck at returning emails.  There are those who seem to be “one-uppers” and always have something worse happening than you do.  There are those who seem to lack any sort of common sense.

But we still love them because they are our friends.

(by the way, I am sure one of the main irks my friends find with me is that I am never available except online, but that is a guess).

Let me give you an example.  Cort and I have a male friend who is pretty cheap.  He likes to hold onto his money.  He knows this; we can say it and he doesn’t get mad.  BUT if I had a female friend who was cheap?  And she found out I thought she was cheap?  She would get mad.  Even though SHE IS CHEAP. But the thing is?  I would love her despite her cheapness.

sigh…

Anyway, what I am trying to say is, I love my friends fiercely…really.  But sometimes, I am afraid they get all mad and drama-ish because of something I say or plans I can’t make.  And I don’t get that.

Cortney and his friend Mat have often referred to me as Elaine from Seinfeld.  There is an episode where she is crabbing about not having many female friends–that she just doesn’t “get” them.  They respond that she is a “man’s woman”–that she just does better being friends with men because there aren’t any hidden codes or drama.

Yes.  This is me.

But I do treasure the female friends I have.  They are so much more supportive–verbally–than guys are.  They can sense my hurt and they know what to say.  They feel my joys and say more than, “cool”.

But I just suck at understanding those women and what they want from me.

I like to laugh.  I like to talk about serious stuff.  I like to know I can trust someone.

I don’t like to try to figure out what “someone means by that”.  I am not good with passive aggressive statements and code.

So many women talk about others behind their backs like they don’t want the subject to know…why?  When I say something about someone, it’s something I would tell them to their face if they asked.

But who asks, “what do I do that is annoying to you?”  because we don’t want to know!

I don’t want to hear that I suck as someone who will show up to planned events.  I know this.  I would hope my friends know this about me and love me anyway.

I guess what this whole ramble is about is that I just don’t get it. I grew up with brothers.  If they thought I was being a turd?  They told me.  And I told them if they were being lame. I am this way with everyone in my life.

If you are ever mad at me?  You should probably just tell me…because I have no clue. If I sense crabby or passive-aggressive anger from you?  I will just let it be because I don’t have the time or energy to “figure out” what I did to you.  JUST TELL ME.

And I hope you love me anyway…even for my faults.  Because I love you despite your faults.

the one where i ramble about love and jesus

Cortney and I were both raised in households that went to church every single Sunday.  No exceptions. In fact, in my house, we went to church twice on Sunday and once on Wednesdays.

As a kid, aside from getting up early, I didn’t mind going to church.

Ok, I should say I didn’t mind being part of a church.  Everyone knew my family.  We were warmly greeted each Sunday morning.  My mom taught 2nd grade Sunday School and my dad was on the consistory.

(I should mention here that Cort and I were both raised in the same massively conservative Christian community, and that both of our families were members of the Reformed Church of America).

Church was full of wonder and tradition for me.  Our sanctuary was very old-school with beautiful stained-glass windows depicting different scenes in the life of Christ.  We had a choir loft and a choir that wore robes.  We had a traditional pulpit and old sconce lights on the wall.  I loved it.  I loved that our church was the first building in Zeeland; it was a part of local history.

I don’t know when either Cort or I stopped going to church or why.  I do know it was after both of us had moved out of our parents’ houses and no longer had the rule that we “had” to go.  Because of the new-found freedom?  We both choice a life of sleeping in on Sundays–despite constant comments from our mothers.

Once married, we vowed over and over to start going, but we never did.  Not regularly.

(I should mention that Eddie is baptized in the RCA church; and that we are all members of the church where Cort grew up).

But this post isn’t about going to church. It is just a segue into where my thoughts are going.

It’s more about what is in that church…or better, what is outside the church as well.

I’m talking about that guy, Jesus.

Yes, I am going there on the blog.

The season has gotten me thinking a lot about love.

Not only is Christmas supposed to be the celebration of the birth of Christ, but lately in the news there has been a lot of coverage on the Dream Act (not passed) and the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Act (passed) and all sorts of other talk in between.

And all this Christmas and talk of others different than ourselves and church stuff has gotten me thinking about teaching Eddie about love.

Not just love for his mom and dad, but love for humankind.

No, we don’t go to church that often, and really a big part of that is because I don’t see the kind of love that I want Eddie to learn about being practiced there.  I hear it being taught, but not practiced.

I want badly to find a church that is the mix of the deep traditions that I love (old hymns, big echoe-y sanctuary, etc) and my more liberal views on the world (women’s rights to serve in the church, for example).  I want Eddie to feel the love of a church family and learn about the Bible there.  But we haven’t found that yet.

And honestly?  I struggle with the idea of “blind faith”.  I don’t know if I have it.

I know my parents have it.

I know Cort’s dad had it.

I know Cort’s grandparents have it.

I watched them blindly believe and trust.

I don’t know about me.  I try very hard to trust, but I don’t know if I can believe as literally, for instance, as my dad can in the stories of the Bible. Did a man survive being thrown in a furnace?  For real?   Or is this a legend told?  Is it more literature than fact?  Meant to teach, but not be historical?

But what I do believe hands down from my religious upbringing is this: I do believe in the kind of love that Jesus taught.

So no matter what happens, I fully intend to teach Eddie to love as Jesus did.

What we know of Jesus is that he was a radical who took anyone…anyone…who would have him, and loved.  He loved those no one else would.  He taught that the greatest gift of all was love and that we should “love our neighbors as ourselves.”

Yes, he taught about sin being bad, but over that?  He taught to love.

I want Eddie to learn that sin is bad, but you need to love the snot out of the sinner.

Jesus traveled around with thieves and prostitutes.  Do people really think he would turn away illegal aliens or gay people?

Jesus went and dined with the scum of the town. Do people really think he would snub an adulterer?

Jesus taught love by loving.

I have struggled my whole life with the “reality” of the Christmas story.  With the idea of a crazy guy walking around claiming to be Christ and dying for my sins.  I have wondered if floods and talking burning bushes and parted seas were miracles or otherwise explained.

But this year?  As I watch Eddie interact with Christmas for the first time?  I realize that none of that matters to me.

Because I believe in love.

And that is the gift Jesus gave us.

And that is the gift I want to give my son. I want him to see me loving everyone…especially those society sees fit to not love.

Merry Christmas or Chanukkah or Santa-loving or whatever you choose to do or not do this week.

I wish you all much love.

And So…

you know that dream where you are chased, but your legs feel thick and won’t move?

or how about the one where you need to scream because either you or someone else is in danger, but nothing but some forced air comes out?

what about the one where you forgot something, lost something, need something and it is nowhere…impossible to grasp?

I have these dreams all the time.

But worse?  I feel like this during my days.  During my waking moments.

I didn’t know how to talk about this.  I just didn’t know what to say.

But it’s been on my heart.   So I wanted to write about it.

It has been “right behind my eyes” as my friend, Adrienne, would say.  So I HAD to write about it.

But I have been struggling.  Then I read this by my wonderful friend, Nichole.  She describes this feeling as “trying to hold tightly to water.”  YES.

And I read this, by Tiffany.  She describes the overwhelming anxiety of what “could” happen as time passes.  YES.

These posts that these women have written are the tip of the iceberg for me.

I toss and turn at night with feelings and images of me not keeping up.

During the day I grasp at time.  I try to halt it.

Where is the time going?  It’s such a cliche question, but it is one that plagues me.

Time takes things and people away.

I am told that time heals all wounds, but I don’t believe it.

I have wounds that are far from healed.

Time?  Is a thief.  Time steals people from me.

Time took my father-in-law.  It took my grandmother.  It is taking my grandpa.

Time is taking my baby and all his cuddles and giggles.

It will take my parents and my husband some day.

Time is taking my friends.  While I struggle to keep all things around me in orbit, my friends have slowly moved away.  They are still with each other, but apart from me.

I am angry at them.  But really it’s my own fault.  But I am tired of everything being “my own fault”.

My overworked self.  My fault.

Not spending enough time with Eddie.  My fault.

Not being the wife I could be in SO many areas.  My fault.

Not having time to respond to emails or comments or people I love.  My fault.

Everything is from choices I made.

I am struggling to hold water.  Water that I chose to try to grasp.

Everything is slipping away from me because you can’t hold water unless you have a vessel.  And I am not sure if I ever had a vessel.

Sounds like the ramblings of a crazy woman?  Yeah, I think so too.

But here is the catch.  I understand that everyone goes through this.  I have a logically sound mind that gets all that.  But I can’t help not FEELING the logic.

I know the logic.  I can’t feel the logic.

This is where I feel my therapy sometimes fails me.  I can nod along and understand that I need to say no to things, I need to realize everyone goes through this, and I need to not worry about things I can’t control.  I get it and feel ok about it while I am sitting there in that chair.

But the very next day?  The fear and terror and dreamlike feelings come flooding back.

The feeling that everything is on the precipice of falling apart.

The want to hold my little boy tightly in this minute–suspended forever in time.

The closeness of being young and healthy with my husband–never changing.

Because of this overwhelming anxiety, I am in a constant state of annoyed.  I isolate myself from everything.  It’s not fair to my colleagues or my students.  It’s not fair to my friends.  It’s not fair to my family.  It’s not fair to me.

I KNOW THIS.

So how do I overcome it?  What do I do?

The anxiety was there before the postpartum depression, but it has gotten worse.

I don’t just worry about deadlines and failing students anymore.

I worry about death.  I worry about the time slipping away.  I worry about something happening to someone I love.

Because as I get older?  All that stuff becomes much more plausible and real.

I have lost people.  It happens.  And as we get older it happens more.

I don’t want it to, though.  I don’t feel like I can handle it.

And so I am anxious.

And so I get depressed.

And so…

Do I hit publish on this?  If you are reading this, I guess I did.

Please don’t forget about all the discounts that are available on my Top Ten post from this week. Since I am hitting publish on this train wreck of a post, I may as well remind you that the ladies who are offering the discounts are super awesome and are a great source for holiday shopping!  And the discounts?  Won’t last forever!  They expire next week!  So go support handmade goods!

I Saw the Sign…and It Opened Up My Eyes…

A storm is rolling in.

I can see the clouds to the west growing darker and darker.  It must be a slow moving storm because it’s been growing darker and muggier for about and hour now.  Small rolls of thunder remind us that soon?  There will be rain.  And wind.  And louder thunder.  It might get scary.

But the weather assures us it will be short-lived.  There will be sun again after.  Even though more storms will come after that.  Those they are not as sure about.  Just that there will be more storms.

Sigh….

Is it a coincidence that as I have been searching ALL DAY to write about paying attention to signs, the signs of a storm have been growing and growing outside?

I read in my O magazine (and heard Oprah say it on her show) millions of times that the universe is full of signs.  That there are no such things as coincidences.  My friend, Missy loves this idea.  My faith (which in my mind is always my mom’s voice) follows this idea too only it is called a Plan.  Those signs? I think I am starting to believe.  Oprah, Missy, my mom?  They might be right.

It starts with little subtle signs–like the storm outside, there was a barely perceptible rise in the dew point (it’s been so damn muggy around here lately, how in the crap could we tell?).

Then, if you don’t act on those signs, they get bigger and a bit more pushy.  The thunder has been increasing around here.  And Cort just had to switch on the lights because it has gotten so dark.  It moved us to DO something about the signs.  Nothing huge, mind you.  We are still going about our normal Sunday, but because of the storm?  We had to move away from what we are doing to turn on the lights.

After that, if the Universe isn’t happy with the “action” that you may or may not have taken, the signs get even more aggressive and all up in your business.  This storm?  It’s coming.  We should probably close the garage door and pick up any toys that are outside since now the wind is blowing pretty hard.  We should probably bring in anything that is out drying that we don’t want to get all wet and blown into the neighbors yard.

And so on and so forth until the Universe MAKES you see the signs and take the path you are supposed to take.

The Sluiters know the signs of a storm.  We have weathered quite a few.  But this one that is rolling in and out of our life right now?  It has different signs–at least for me.

At some point during this current storm of unemployment and job scares, some sort of new wind blew at me.  First it had me question the state of education in my state.  Do I really have what it takes to deal with this broken machine?  Do I even want to?  I love teaching, but I don’t love the machine.  The political broken machine.

Then I started writing.  And you started reading.  And commenting.  It reminded me of my love of the written word.  So I wrote more.  Some of you sent freelance opportunities my way. Some of these opportunities I have pursued. Some have accepted me!  Lots of you have asked me to guest post lately.  I am all sorts of in love with writing.  The Universe seems to be telling me that someone likes my writing.

But I am too humble stupid faithless to believe that this could be true.  I read what I consider great writing.  There are some of you who fill me up with inspiration while at the same time make me feel like small potatoes with my own talent (not because you are jerks, but because you are WONDERFUL).

So I keep writing here.  And wondering.  And dreaming.

I caught myself remembering how authors/writers were rock stars to me as a kid…and really as an adult.  I don’t think I could ever write fiction.  (could I?), but maybe a memoir.  But would anyone want to read that?  What would that be?  Sluiter Nation in a binding?  Who cares about our zoo visits or my cat’s vet appointments?  But I guess there is other stuff…but I just don’t feel that it is book material.  But what is it?  What am I supposed to be doing with this new found love?  Is it just a hobby?

As a kid, writing was a dream.  You couldn’t really DO that as a profession.  That was for talented people like Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary (who’d going to see Ramona and Beezus with me, by the way?).  People with mad skills like Jen Lancaster and Anne Lamont get to write about their lives and have people coming back for more.  There are people out in the blogging world even who are way better than me who aren’t even thinking about publishing.  What do I have to offer?

And are you supposed to admit that you want to be a writer?  Or is that just opening yourself up for snarky comments about how you should “stick to your day job.”

I don’t know.

Right now, on this Sunday afternoon, I am dreaming as I watch the storm.  When the sun comes out…will I be in the same exact place, just bracing for another storm?  Hoping this one doesn’t do any more damage?  Will I ignore the signs and stick with what is “safe” (ha!  right!) and very clichely just wait for the other shoe to drop?

Or will I recognize the signs, step out of my crappy storm shelter, and face the rain with hope and desire?

I don’t know.  I really don’t.  Oh…here comes the sun.  That storm is over.  For now.

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