On Family and Capabilities

So, I have been thinking on this for a while. The longer that I think about it, the madder I get. It’s the family member who wants everyone to fit into their little boxes. The same one who wants to use the people in the family for attention. It makes me crazy because they are never the ones in the trenches. They like to bring out the family when it will serve their purpose.

Recently, my mom has been having some health issues. While they are serious, it’s not life or death. This sister and my mother have had a volatile relationship forever. I don’t try to get in the middle, it’s not my situation. I don’t try to mend it, don’t try to take sides, just listen passively when they think that they have something I ‘should’ know. I have long taken the stance of live and let live with family drama. It’s taken me a long time to understand what people are and aren’t capable of being, then I work really hard not to expect anything more than that from them. I equally try to understand what I am capable of being, and I don’t commit to being more. It’s actually quite freeing. Allows you to just enjoy what’s here in front of you. This being said; I feel it’s important to admit that I still make missteps in this area. No one is perfect, from this I am not exempt. 

 My sister heard of Mom’s health issues from another family member, and that’s fine. I wasn’t keeping it from her; I was respecting the last request I got from her about Mom: “Leave me out if it, I don’t want her to be a part of my life.” Ok, not my deal. As you wish. But suddenly upon this news, she takes to social media to give the world a ‘my mom never loved me and now that she is sick, I really wish she had.’ Well, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t remove her from your life and then use her to get rest of the world to love you more. I have been in this with my mom for months, never once took to social media. It’s not about them, it’s about her. It’s a private thing. Now you’re sharing a half-story about her health all over the Internet to get attention. Never mind that she probably wants to keep that private, that you don’t actually care what happens to her. Nope, just putting out there to get your attention. 

 It’s the same with our other sister, she is disabled and it’s a progressive thing. Most of the sisters don’t  make any efforts to have a relationship. No, that would be hard. Guess what, it’s hard! It’s hard to love someone who is going to leave before they should. It’s hard to see people in pain, it’s hard to understand her when she talks, it’s hard to make sure she can hear you when you talk. It’s hard to help her with her medical appointments, it’s hard to find time in your busy life to just sit with her sometimes. But you can’t go back, it’s not going to get any easier! What she has going on only gets harder then it’s over. And when it’s over, I know that I will feel like I did everything I could to soak up all the love with her I could. I will sleep easier because I didn’t use her for sympathy. I loved her, even when it’s hard. Because that is what I needed and what she needed and what we were both capable of. 

So I don’t expect these things of my other sisters. They aren’t capable. But when they bring out the cripple* for sympathy, it really makes me steam. But I am starting to see that it is how they deal. This is them ‘working it out’ that she will be gone one day. Sooner than she should be. Yes, I feel like this is something they should work through privately, without all the ‘aw…you poor thing…your sister’s sick’ sympathy they actively seek. It should be worked out WITH the actual person who IS central. But instead this is all they are capable of. Even if I don’t like it. Even if it makes me mad.

*I feel that I should explain that the term ‘cripple’ is used her with her blessing, in the correct context and is not meant as a derogatory term. So many of the people I love, admire and look up to have bodies that don’t do as they are told. That doesn’t make them ‘less’ in anyway. In fact, I believe it makes them so much more. I do hope that you are all blessed enough to know at least one ‘cripple.’ 


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Sippy Cups and Spills

Today is a rough day. It’s got me thinking about why, why do I love being a mom. You know sometimes you just have to take a minute to remind yourself of the good things. So that all these bad ones crowding your day don’t seems so bad.
Let’s start with sippy cups. I hate those damn things! Every single one of them leak. I don’t care how fancy they are, how many promises the packaging makes, or what country they are made in…they leak. So, I have decided that I am going cold turkey with the twins. We are now using small drinking glasses. Because despite knowing that those cups are going to leak, you get lax…you’re lured into a feeling a safety by that valve. You know no good will come from this, and yet you just half-heartedly ask them to go back to the table with that milk/juice/water. So later when you get a minute to relax, you can drop heavily into that comfy chair…and get mystery wet pants. I hate mystery wet pants. Almost as much as I hate laundry, and getting dressed in the morning; (because of the finding an outfit I feel comfortable/remotely attractive in) so no way am I going to change my pants. (Besides, my shirt is likely already spotted with spit up, so now I match, right?)This results in my wearing of the pants despite their mystery wet status. Meaning until they dry, I feel this cold wet spot and it’s awful…though not quite as awful as the changing…apparently. Anyway, lately there has been too many mystery wet pants occurrences. AND they are 2 ½- time to ditch the sippy cups before they start dating.
So we have graduated, to small drinking glasses. This is a nightmare, but at least I won’t end up sitting on a wet spot in my rocking chair. And it’s a good thing, as long as you don’t fill them up too much. Because, learning to use them involves a learning curve. So we have lots of spills. Like LOTS of spills. So, I have learned to just pour very small amounts of liquid. Adapt and overcome right… but now consider that small pours mean that instead of filling that glass once, you now have to be ready to fill, and fill, and fill again. I know, sounds like heaps of fun right?
So, now I want to discuss all the things I love about this process and how I am coping with the things I don’t love about it…
Let’s start with coping so we can end with love. I prefer to end with love, it puts me in a better mood. I am coping with the lots of spills by wearing a dish towel over one shoulder to counter the burp cloth over the other (for the 4-month old, not the twins). I also am no longer sitting down or walking away from the kitchen when there is anything in those cups. This is good, it makes my stay more active and keeps me from the frustration of having to stop whatever I would have started, to clean up the spill. Also, being so close means that my reaction time is down, this means I can catch the spill before it really spreads. I am keeping shoes on to prevent mystery wet socks, and sticky icky feet. Those are both completely unacceptable to me. I have enacted a once a day rule where moping is concerned; this only works for me thanks to the magic of wipes. Spot cleaning means that the sticky floors are kept to a minimum and I don’t get so upset about spills on the freshly mopped floor.
Things I love: those adorable little drinking glasses. I mean seriously is there anything cuter than tiny cups in tiny hands? As it is; I am obsessed with glassware, now I can get a whole new collection going. I am going to need at least 8 tiny drinking glasses, right? I love my new found appreciation for the dog, he loves to come in the house and spot clean the floors for me. And the kids love when he gets to come in and play. I love the boys using their precious little voices to ask for more of whatever is in the cups. I love the exclamations of ‘uh-oh’ and ‘pilled, momma pilled’. I love the looks of concern they get when that dripping is going on. The personalities around here are too much for words. I love that before I go to bed, I clean the kitchen floor. I mean I actually go to bed feeling an appreciation for my own hard work.
So, tomorrow when we have more spills, I will just smile and listen for the concerned little exclamations. Because soon enough; they will just clean it up themselves without saying ‘uh-oh’. (I know, I’m a little delusional) They won’t get all wide-eyed and worried. So I am loving these little spills because they will be gone before I realize it.

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Thoughts on the village it takes…

I love Instagram, I love seeing how other people create things and the sense of community that builds as you get to know other people. I have some favorites; people with a gift for creating beauty, people who are honest about life, people who have amazing hair or style. It’s all inspiration for the way I want to live my life, create beauty and accept the way I look. Today I came across a post by one of my favorites. She falls into all of those categories I listed above. She creates some amazing things, has beautiful hair ( It difficult to tame curly hair, but some people have done just that. She’s for sure one of them), and she is honest. Life isn’t always sunshine and happiness. It’s often hard, messy and sad. She doesn’t hide that. She embraces it and shares her story, she lets you in. It’s a magical thing, it makes seeing the happy in her life lift your spirits even more. It makes you love her. The photo I encountered today wasn’t one of the artsy, beautiful, perfect ones. It was just a photo of some ladies around an overflowing table. They were happy and you could see they were enjoying their ‘job’. But it’s what she says under this photo that really hit me.

“I’ve lost track of the last time I showered. I have makeup from two days ago crusted under my eyes & I ate caramel chocolate squares for breakfast. I’m greasy, smelly & downright scattered. I showed up to coffee this morning & my gals immediately began packaging my product just in the nick of time for #thelittlecraftshow ! I’m a hot mess & these people still love me. BLESS” http://instagram.com/p/wMjhAfRnu5/

I have always had a hard time with asking for help, but my problem doesn’t end there. I have hard time even letting people help when I haven’t asked for it. Yesterday was a doozy! And that is a mild word for how it felt, in the moment. I wanted to run away. I wanted to scream, cry and whine. I was too far past my bs limit. I felt like I needed a lifeline. But, being me I couldn’t reach out for one. Seeing this post reminded me that sometimes help is not just about the actual thing that needs doing. It’s about healing your soul. It’s about recognizing that you aren’t alone. That people care about you.

That old saying about a village, it’s true! We aren’t meant to all be in our homes, alone doing the suck work. I don’t mean raising the kids, I mean the mental work, the problem solving, the heart work. We are meant to share the burden, but in these times we are made to feel like we have to do it all. Like we have to not only do it all, but look good doing. It’s exhausting, it’s defeating and it will kill your spirit.

In her words I could see that she hadn’t had to ask for this help, she didn’t have to admit defeat and call in the cavalry. These ladies helping her, they are feeding their souls. They are there because they want to be, because they need her in this ‘job’ as much as she was needing them. To build up our stores for times when we are alone at home in the trenches, we must help each other. We must see the needs of others and fill them. When you do this, you’ll not only be building up a friend, you’ll be building yourself up. It’s even more than that. When you are there and doing what needs done, your ensuring that the same will be there for you. You are creating your village. I am so lucky to have an amazing village. The ladies around me are nothing short of perfect. I don’t mean in the sense that they always have it all together, look photo shoot ready or never make a misstep. I mean in their flaws, in their acceptance of my flaws, in their willingness to hold hands and march into battle with each other. We are working towards filling up the gaps. We complete each other. It’s a magical thing to see, but an even more wondrous thing to be a part of.

Now that I have I explained myself a little I feel that I can admit that seeing Natalie’s photo and reading her words, it made me cry. It made me feel so thankful that it hurt. It made me realize that when I am feeling like I can’t reach out, it maybe means that someone else needs what I can offer in that moment. So next time I feel overwhelmed, I’m going to reach out. It helped me to see that reaching out can be something as simple as inviting a friend for a coffee date, or bringing some cookies to the neighbor.

If you’re like me, and asking for help isn’t easy….try offering some instead. It will help you in ways you aren’t even sure you need. But trust me, you do.

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