Every now and then I find that I am just “there”. You know, that place that has you feeling, as my BFF says, some kinda way. I’m just there. It’s not like I intentionally try to go there. I simply find that I’m there. And as my “surrogate” Mom Judy likes to say, “You just gotta be where you are.”
It all started on August 22nd. It was the kids’ first day of school, and we had just settled into our new house-for-rent. And then “life” started to happen. The earthquake…followed by the hurricane…the collapsed bathroom ceiling…the flooded basement…the DirecTV satellite dish landing on the front lawn when the roof was being replaced…the light bulb shooting out of the socket and flying across the room…the THREE well-child visits…the THREE expedited immunization records at 50 bucks a pop…the unexplained rashes and ringworms…the massive “hiccup” at work (not the “up” I want to use, but I’ll keep it clean) …the soccer-game-football-game-back-to-back-birthday-parties-for-Thing-Two-and-Thing-Three (one at Chuck E. Cheese and one at the Playseum!) all in the same day…the untimely nail in the rear tire’s sidewall leading to $800 of new tires…the au pair princess drama…the endless sonnet of “Mommy!” “Mommy!” “Mommy!” “Mommy!” “I need” “I need” “I need”…the government shut down, or maybe not, at least not until Tuesday…and so on and so on and so on. In short, I feel like I am living the Plagues from the book of Exodus!
Today, I tried to defy my “Mom’s” advice and force myself out of “there”. A BATH!!! That’s what I need. A BATH!!! A long, hot soak complete with bath oil and candles and my favorite Sade tunes. So simple, and yet so Brilliant…but for three little challenges. How would I occupy the three little ones long enough for a soak — you know, with the satellite dish on the front lawn and all? I had the answer!
“If you all behave nicely while I take a bath, I’ll take you to McDonald’s for cookies and sundaes and milkshakes when I’m done!” I bribed.
“M-C-D-O-N-A-L-D-S!!!” they shouted in unison. THERE! Surely that would do it.
With the three little ones settled contentedly with books, I went to draw my bath. A BATH! That was what I needed. A long, hot soak.
I ran the water, and added the “tranquil mint” sea salt. I lit the candles, and Sade started to sing softly. And I lay in the bathtub, my eyes closed, feeling myself peacefully leave “there”….slowly, slowly the tension melted, and I could feel myself drifting from “there”…
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MOMMMMMYYYYYY!!! Mommy can I blow out your candles?! PSSTTTTT…”
Out went the candles as Thing 3 applauded himself proudly. “Mommy, look! Look Mommy! I did it! I blew out the candles!”
“Mommy, Mommy!!! I smell something burning!” yelled Thing 1 running into the bathroom to rescue his younger brother.
Thing 2 followed shortly, dramatic tears flowing, “Why didn’t I get to blow out the candles? I NEVER get to blow out the candles! It’s not fair! You like Aaron better! WAHHHHHHH!!!!”
C-A-L-G-O-N!!!!!!!! my mind attempted to utter. Instead, I simply yielded to defeat and acquiesced to being “there”. Alas, my best effort was in vain; I was truly “there”.
I guess “Mom” really does no best. Sometimes, you just gotta be where you are.
It’s funny how children react to new situations differently. Take the first day of daycare. J., my oldest, cried all day and refused to eat. R., my middle child and only girl, sat in a chair in the rear of the room all day, refusing to even take off her coat . And then there’s the youngest, A. On his first day , I was required to accompany him for several hours. I didn’t think this was a good idea, but I complied.
I must say, the morning was like circuit training for tots. Within 2 hours we had finger pinted, pottied (twice), played outdoors on the playgournd (down the stairs and across the campus) enjoyed free play with toys of our choice, and (GASP) attempted baby yoga. Prior to that morning, I must say that I was thrilled at the idea of my over-the-top tot finding his inner zen in baby yoga class. And then the class happened.
The mats spread on the floor, each toddler took his place on his/her mat. “Be a mouse,” the instructor chanted and curled herself up and “peeped”. The other children imitated. My toddler stared, a bewildered expression on his face that I had never experienced. “A snake,” she offered, “Be a snake” and she stretched and hissed. The other children imitated. My toddler chuckled and lay down on his tummy, head in his hands, as though enjoying a funny movie.
“Be a cat,” the instructor suggested and purred and meowed. “MEOW! MEOW! MEOW!!” my toddler A. yelped as he began to roll around the floor as though he was a feline on fire — stop, drop and roll style. “Be a dog, ” she suggested. Some of the other children imitated her moves. Others continued to watch my child, amused by his antics. This was not going well. “WOOF! WOOF! WOOF! WOOF! WOOF!!” A. shouted as he got up and started running around the room, leaping over his dog-doing classmates, faking out the teacher-tacklers with the speed and agility of the most accomplished NFL running backs. The other children chanted; some even joined in the parade. He was now running with 3 teachers trying to grab and sit him down, a trail of giggling toddlers running behind him. From across the room, I could see his frightened experession as the tears started to roll down his cheeks. This was really not going well.
I sat at the door and held my head, waiting for the inevitable. In an instant, my toddler charged past, crying, chased by a teacher and several classmates. He ran out the room, down the stairs and out the building. I ran after the parade and caught up with A. running toward Wisconsin Avenue. When I finally calmed the confused yogi, I sat him on my lap and asked where he was going. “I’m going catch the bus,” he replied, “I scared of the animals.” I must say I understood. The mouse, the snake, the cat and the dog living in harmony in one baby yoga class was too much even for me, a veteran practitioner.
Nearly two years ago, I blogged about The Fallacy of Space and Stuff. The premise was that we’ve bought into the idea that “bigger is better”, that we measure ourselves and our worth by the size and value of what we’ve accumulated. My idea was that we should right-size, that we should move to homes that are just the right size to accommodate our families but not big enough to accommodate all of our stuff. At the time, I had just made the choice to confront an existence that was failing me and those closest to me. I had no idea that the blog would prove to be prophetic.
Being a work-outside-the-home mom is a bit like having dissociative identity disorder (i.e., split personalities). You have these two lives that don’t mesh together very well, and each life requires its own persona. Hence, having returned to the workplace fulltime, I have become Sybil. Read more…..
I am typically the Christmas Nazi. The tree must be Real and Perfect (well, Perfect in a ghetto baby kind of way). The stockings are hung by the chimney with care. The nativity scene is centered on the buffet in the dining room…. Well, this year, the Christmas Nazi couldn’t bring it. I had no capacity to put the “Merry” in “Christmas”. And I had no intention of trying. So I did the only thing any self-respecting mother of three high-Christmas-expectation-having children could do: I bought four plane tickets, and I headed to New Orleans to visit the Ya Ya Sistahs. And the Ya Ya Sistahs saved Christmas. Read more at http://www.modernagemom.com
So I’ve been out of the blog game for about a year, perhaps longer. And in that year, well, some things have changed for me. I’ve returned to work full-time, continuing a career doing work that’s meaningful and engaging, work that I truly love. I’ve also become a divorcing mom. (And that’s all I have to say about that.) I’ve embraced a depth of friendship with some and released a dearth of friendship with others. I’ve added meditation between my daily practices of yoga and prayer. And I’ve worked quite hard at keeping my feet on solid ground in the midst of a chilling personal and professional life storm. And on the other side of the challenge is a concept that took a minute to get used to. It’s called Normalcy. And I like it! Read more…..
Guest Blogger: Tracey Amos a Modern Age Mom in Transition
I appreciate this opportunity to once again share Leslie’s space and my voice.
The seeds of this update message have been germinating for a couple of months now. What I wanted to say all came together in my head on the heels of the sermon preached by my pastor, Reverend David Allan Watts, on the first Sunday of the New Year. Here are some of the key points he made:
- Appreciate God for what He’s already done
- Because you were made for a reason, your life has to be lived “on purpose”
- Because God is your Father, there is nothing that you can’t do
- We were created to glorify and worship God
- Tomorrow is not promised
I shared with you last May that I had been displaced from my executive level job at the outset of 2009. I also shared my intent to embrace my transition as a precious gift of time, bills and financial obligations notwithstanding. I committed to myself that the next chapter of my life was going to be about me living “on purpose”, in pursuit of things that I felt passionate about.
As I reflected on my Pastor’s sermon, I was filled with the overwhelming sense of awe at the wonder of God and how He has blessed me so richly. I marinated on the words, “Appreciate God for what He’s already done!” Truth be told, it was because of what He had already done in my life that I entered 2010 still unemployed but grateful for the learning, lessons, opportunities and growth of 2009. I also entered even stronger in my faith and belief that He has ordained and is ordering the steps of my life.
Keeping it real, it has been a difficult year financially. My family has had to make tough choices about almost every aspect of our lives. Through stringent budgeting and monitoring, I have become acutely aware of the many things we took for granted with respect to our spending habits. We’ve had to engage our kids in discussions of our employment and financial situation in a manner that they could comprehend yet not panic or get overly anxious about. They have been real troopers and more aware and appreciative of the sacrifices made to ensure that they could continue to participate in some (not all) of their extracurricular activities.
I have also experienced disappointments and setbacks in my search efforts. While I have been fortunate to interview and make it to the finalist rounds for several opportunities, I hadn’t yet received a new job offer when I penned this blog in mid-January. I continue to be amazed at my resiliency in the face of disappointment. I can only attribute it to my continued spiritual growth.
I shared in May my fundamental belief that each facet of life is part of a larger journey and that I am where the Lord would have me to be at this moment. But I am only human, and in my moments of self doubt and despair, I have to dig deep to draw on my faith to remind myself “who” I am and most importantly, “whose” I am.
One final note, how true the words that “tomorrow is not promised” ring today. I may be unemployed, but I am alive! I have an obligation to make each day matter more than the day before it.
I just received and accepted a job offer with a company that I began exploring in October 2009. The next phase of my career life journey will begin in early March. To those still in the midst of their journey, know that you are not alone. Continue to walk by faith. As Dr. Myles Monroe wrote in his Kingdom Quotes on February 1,
“Crisis places demands on your hidden potential and reveals your true beliefs and convictions. As a matter of fact, crisis tests your faith. God desires that we hold steady during seasons of difficulty.”
Be blessed and keep the faith!