Friday, January 31, 2014

Grocery Shopping

There was a time -about 8 years ago, to be exact- that grocery shopping was a pleasurable experience.  I was young, married, loved to cook, had no budget and I was kid free.  I sometimes think about those days: Strolling through the Harris Teeter, sampling the latest tapenades and chutneys.  Standing in front of the bakery bread for a full five minutes deciding which bread to buy to go with the fabulous new cheeses and chutneys in my cart.  Taking a number at the deli and not worrying that there are 6 people in front of me because 

I thought about that today as I was struggling down the dairy aisle at the new Safeway.  I was struggling because even though I had gotten the coveted car cart, Little Man claimed the entire coupe to himself.  Not because he doesn't like sharing with his Sissy, but because he is almost 8 and much too old to be cruising the Safeway in the car cart.  So Little Man is stuffed in the clown car, Little Lady is in my arms, because God knows she won't sit in the top of the cart, where toddlers should live at the grocery.  Nope.  She wants to walk.  More like run.  Allllllllll the way down the aisle and into the wine section.  That has $30.00 bottles at eye level.  Right.  So I've got my coupons and list in one hand, a flailing toddler in the other and am trying to push all 150 pounds of cart, groceries, and boy who is begging for sunflower seeds, candy, sugar cereal...down the dairy aisle so we can just get our pepperjack cheese to make the freaking 7 layer dip for our Superbowl experience.  Pepperjack is so not worth this. 

We finally made it to the checkout line, pepperjack in hand, along with 85 other items that we absolutely needed, despite how our fridge and freezer are already so stuffed I don't know where it will all fit.  What can I say, I shop sales, we've got the Super Bowl and second birthday all in the same week.  That takes a lot of food.  Little Lady decides this is the perfect time to show off her squawk to the Safeway Ladies.  Little Man and I already got to hear it...on the way home from school, on the way to Home Depot to get the plumbing pieces, on the way to the grocery...we've had enough.  There aren't enouygh M&M's in the world to keep her new squawk away.  If you've seen Despicable Me 2, you can just picture my 2 year old Angel in her purple fleece jacket- which is most likely on backwards since she takes it off every five seconds- squawking like the purple minions.  My daughter is a Disney minion.  I think we have a Halloween costume in the making, folks...  Yes, the Safeway Ladies think she is so cute.  They also think she is a he since she still has no hair and wears Jameson's Spiderman shoes.  Yes, she is so cute.  All squawky and smiley until we get into the car and then it is screams for chocolate and nuks the whole.way.home. 

All the while, I'm remembering my Harris Teeter days.  The way I could listen to the music all nice and low or just have the windows down to hear the breeze instead of having my stereo at max capacity to drown out the squawking screams from the backseat.    We make it home and PBS kids can't get turned on fast enough.  Thank God for Wild Kratts so I can get to food put away before it spoils and start thinking about making the pizza dough that takes 2 hours to rise even though is already 530 pm.  Well it is Friday night and Daddy is working late.  Nothing a little Star Wars Movie and a snack can't fix. 

Life has changed a lot in the past 8 years.  And even though I miss enjoying grocery shopping vs the new experience of almost blowing a blood vessel in my head just trying to make it out of the store alive without screaming and or breaking down in the cereal aisle, I'd never trade what I have now for that old life ever again. 

They may make me crazy, but they are

And now I'm off to caramelize my leeks.  We are doing fancy pizzas tonight.  A Chipotle Cajun Shrimp and Guacamole Pizza, and a Leek, Bacon and Goat Cheese Pizza.  And I'm going to open a Deschutes beer while I cook and smile when that cap comes off, knowing that "Bravely Done" written on it was made just for me and my grocery shopping. 


Monday, January 13, 2014

Sore Loser

Saturday we spent most of our day in a gymnasium with about 600 other people.  Little Man is in a youth wrestling program and he loves it.  I love the practices.  The coaches work the kids out really hard, teach them how to safely wrestle with each other and work on a lot more.  He's learning disciple, self confidence, respect, is a really great sport for kids.  The meets, however, are not so fun for me.  As I stated, we were in a gym with about 600 other people, probably more.  Little Lady is hell-bent on touching every possible surface and then sticking her fingers in her mouth, I'm doing a non-stop prayer that we don't all get the flu and die, and we spend three house waiting for Little Man to wrestle for three minutes.  And then we wait another hour and he's on the mats for about a minute.  And then we wait again for what seems an eternity and he again is on the mats for about three minutes.  Its painful, all the waiting.  Life is so like that.

He only made it to two meets this year due to previous commitments and then colds.  I see now the grace bestowed upon me there.  His first meet was unexpectedly amazing for my Little Man.  He dominated.  Like the other kids cried while he barely broke a sweat.  It was so one-sided I almost felt bad cheering for my kid.  That was the first meet.  This second one that had us all in the hot, over-populated gym was a little different.  His first competitor actually fared much like the previous ones.  Poor kiddo cried his way through the domination.  I think Little Man was starting to think he was all that.  But then he wrestled a kid who has obviously been doing this for more than a few months.  This kids was freaking good.  And it was our turn to wipe away the tears after the domination.  But losing is a part of life and a part of sports and its a good thing to experience, too.  He did alright and approached his final match with a little more trepidation, I think.  It was was better than the second match, but still not great.  And afterwards Little Man just couldn't pull it together.  He was so upset about losing he cried.  For a long time.  And he got snappier than a crab and we had to threaten to take away technology and have multiple talks on what it means to be a good sport and why that is important and how losing can teach you a lot, too.  It was a bit of a rough time and the car ride home was slightly tense.  But then it was fine and better and life went on. 

Sunday morning rolled around and I was all excited to make a new recipe for breakfast.  I was really pushing the limits on this one: homemade eclairs filled with lemon curd.  And I had high expectations.  But then Little Lady woke up before I could even make coffee let alone start baking.  This child is going to remember her childhood on my hip in front of the stove, because that is where she lives.  She always wants only me, all of the time.  And I'm cooking a lot, so here we are.  Me trying to manually press my espresso with one hand, getting so frustrated that she woke up early and ruined my time to bake alone.  Yes, ma'am, that is what I was thinking.  And it didn't go well and the eclairs didn't rise and I found myself getting snappier than a crab and really not being so nice to the people I love most in this world.  And the eclairs came out of the oven and sunk down so low, they looked like Swedish freaking pancakes.  Ah.  And the big kid said something about how crummy they looked and I kinda lost it.  I was not nice.  And I went away to sulk while they all ate and yelled to me how good they still tasted.  And I stood in the living room, watching the rain through the big window with tears running down my face thinking about how I'm not a good loser either.  And why am I so damn angry all of the time? 

Hubs came up to see if I was alright.  So much grace and mercy all of the time.  He is a good man.  He asked if it was about Jameson.  And I asked, isn't everything?  He's the context of my life.  And part of it is about Jameson.  Losing him has made life a little like walking around without skin a lot of the time.  I'm so much more sensitive about everything.  I can see better, but I can feel everything deeper too.  And everything: joy, anger, sadness, compassion, love, they all seem stronger and I can't temper things well.  The world can just be too much sometimes. 

After breakfast I took the kids out to run some errands and let Hubs get some studying done since he takes the Boards this week.  We got to the store before it opened and went into the pet store to kill some time.  I almost lost it again in the car there, because I was so freaking mad that google had the hours listed wrong online.  I wanted to punch the steering wheel.  But I already behaved badly today and I already had the pep talk in front of the rainy window about how my self worth doesn't come from my cooking or my family or my wins or losses.  My self worth comes from God and that never changes and He always loves me and I can do hard things.  So instead of punching the steering wheel I took a deep breath and took my kids to look at lizards and birds and fish.  Which was interesting.  They were fascinated.  Especially when we got to see the lizards eating grasshoppers and pet the turtles.  Little Lady was super excited about it all.  But it was just all so surreal for me.  All of these normal, domestic sights all seemed so garish and disturbing to me.  I couldn't even handle watching fish in the fish tanks.  I just couldn't catch my breath; it felt like it was my first time seeing "society" after being alone for years.  It was a "skinless" day all day long. 

It seems weird that at 35 I'm just now learning that I'm a sensitive person.  How does that happen?  I'm sensitive.  And I get defensive and angry when I feel inadequate.  Especially with my beloved family.  And I need to work on it all.  I need to be okay with being sensitive.  I need to extend myself some grace to just be on skinless days.  And I need to stop being so defensive and let it go when I lose. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Losing It

It was such a great day.  The baby slept in til nine.  The big boy was all cute and helpful and remembered to say Happy Birthday Mama.  We went out for pastries and brought home fancy desserts for later.  I vowed to happily overlook the laundry piles and crumbs and dishes until tomorrow in order to just enjoy my day, knowing that it only makes tomorrow that much longer.  We even managed to make it through a large trip to Costco without any tears, whining or begging.

And even though Hubs was working an extra long shift, I was determined to make the best of it and enjoy the blessings.  I savored the well wished from friends and family.  Played with the kids.  Read the paper.  Watched some football.  Everything was fabulous.

But then...there's always a but then, isn't there?  But then I walked into the kitchen to see what my sneaky little trouble maker was up to only to find her bent over a bowl of water with beef thawing in it, drinking out of a measuring cup.  And all I can think is that I just fed my baby raw meat and she's going to die of ecoli. (Side note: The meat was sealed and Dr. Daddy is confident she will not get ecoli and we are watching her just in case).

And just like that the magic is lost.  And the illusion of any sense of safety and control over life fades away, revealing the cold hard truth that we have no control.  And the memories of the losses still fresh  flood my mind and I can't handle it, thinking about how fast it can all unravel. How truly fragile it all really is.  

All of a sudden the confetti all over the living floor from celebrating touchdowns that was so cute is unacceptable.  And the crumbs on the floors make me insane.  And the dishes in the sink and the laundry littering the bathroom floor and the scrabble tiles on the table and the toys and books that are EVERYWHERE overwhelm me and I lose it.

And when I finish the angry tirade about how I am so sick of messes and cleaning up after everyone and how no one ever helps out mom and I'm so sick of living like this and all I want to do is run away, I hear my oldest tell my youngest to leave me alone when I'm so stressed out and the guilt kicks in so fast it is a swift slap across the face.  And I flush with shame and guilt over being this person who not only gives her baby ecoli but then ruins her last days with yelling and vacuuming when there are so much more important things to be done.  Who am I?

You know who I am?  I am human.  I am a vulnerable woman and wife and mother trying so so hard to do it all right.  Which is usually the first way to make a mess out of everything.  I'm a woman who's so so afraid of more loss.  Loss of husband, loss of kids, loss of friends and family, loss of money, loss of control.  I am afraid to lose anything more.

And remembering that I am not the one in control is uncomfortable and comforting at the same time.  Because I would have done thing so differently before.  And I would take away any and all concern and fear and pain and sickness now if I could.  But my perspective is so limited.  And my desires so selfish.  And  Hard to not only acknowledge that I am not in control, but then even harder to submit to the one who is.  But I've seen the way he carries me through the deepest and darkest pits.  He has held me up through times I did not think I could survive. 

Today I remember that His mercies are new each morning.  New for this mama who sometimes yells and loses it.  I'm so grateful for the grace ever extended to me, who always falls so short. 

I'm working through this scripture today.  Because it is so easy to lose heart.  And so easy to lose sight of the big picture. 

2 Corinthians 4:16-18  So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,  as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.