My Practice

I’m not a very patient person. About a hundred times a day, I have to take a deep breath and try to start over. Try to put aside the anger or frustration of the last moment and enter this moment with calm and right intention.

Start over.

It’s a practice; it often fails me, or I fail at it, but sometimes it works. It’s a constant effort to achieve forgiveness and regain my patience because we four bumble around each other in this smallish space, spilling food and bonking heads and fetching water and failing to share and making room and feeding bellies and cleaning messes. Without this starting over, this negotiation and mindful regrouping, we would never get through the day—any day, even the good ones.

I write here about the things I want to focus on, the good feelings, the good moments of family life because I want to remember them. Truly, our lives are so full and we enjoy so much good fortune. Conversely, I really try not to wallow in my feelings of frustration and rage, for doing so doesn’t do me any good and it harms the people around me. My children thrive when I’m present and patient. When I’m insane and shouting, we are all miserable. So I write to remember the good things someday in the future, but also to regroup and refocus right now on why I do what I do, why I am here and not elsewhere. It helps me remember my purpose, it helps me feel better about who I am and my current place in the universe. It helps me start over.

It’s easy for me to slip into complaining, and while I do think that occasionally writing about the crappy parts of this Mommy job is essential to maintaining my sanity, I try hard not to do it all the time. For if I don’t actively write about the great stuff, the sweet parts of this work, I easily drift off-course into dreary waters where dragons lurk.

For me, it’s a constant internal struggle and sometimes—usually—my riotous feelings must be subsumed in the needs of the family. Sometimes I hate it and want to break things, but doing so doesn’t change anything for anybody for the better. So I start over. Sometimes, on the other hand, I do have to cry or walk away for a while—to take care of myself and also to show my kids that I am a human being, that my feelings can be hurt when they are careless. If I’m careful about when I reveal this notion that Mommy is human, it can help us all start over. Sometimes I shout and lose it, and then crushing waves of guilt knock me off my feet. And then, once again, I start over.

The truth is, when Daddy is with us, I feel like 100 percent better and really do stay happier and in the moment. We can take turns being the strong/good one. He is my best friend and when he’s with me, it’s easy to see and feel how gorgeous all this that we have together is, how blessed we are. It’s when he is away and I’m with the kids for hours and hours without him that I start feeling lonely and stuck and jealous and hurt and a little bit like … how the hell did I get here?

And then some milk spills, or someone gets hurt, or the oven beeps, or a diaper needs changing, or a book needs reading aloud. Something happens—whatever this moment holds. I take a deep breath, and I start over.

Spring Break

It’s been a hell of a Spring Break and I, for one, am glad it’s OVER! 

It’s Friday night and I’m sitting here in the dark with my vodka and 7, while Ian suffers in the other room: On top of cold symptoms that he’s worked through all week, he appears now to have eaten some bad sushi.

Asher is still sick. He alternates between feeling reasonably chipper and totally lame. His nose is sometimes so congested it’s hard for him to breastfeed. Suck, suck, detach, breathe. Suck, suck, detach, breathe. Suck, suck, detach, breathe. It’s pathetic. He’s now whining a lot of the time, not crying, just complaining. I don’t blame him, but there is so little I can do to make him comfortable: menthol rub on his chest, hot showers to clear out the boogers, milk when he wants it, a sleeping companion, being held a lot. That’s about it.

Lucas is doing better. The antibiotics do the trick. I hate the idea that we’re wiping out all the beneficial flora in his system by giving him this medicine, but lung infections suck worse. Maybe. He’s got 6 more days of meds to take, but he’ll be back to school on Monday. (Otherwise, I may just end up in prison.) Fortunately, my son is mature enough to take his medicine without argument or fuss.

In 12 days, I have left the house only a few times and then only for a brief while. My nerves are completely frayed. Today I yelled at Asher because he wouldn’t sleep. Yeah, that’s stupid. I know. He would go to sleep, rest for 10 minutes and pop awake again. He did that three times. He only really took a proper nap when I calmed down and resolved myself to staying with him instead of working. 

I have work to do and can’t manage to do it. I have my first project to edit in a whole new software program. At the moment, I’m not sure how to do it, only that I’ve committed to doing it. 

Yesterday evening I split, engaged in some retail therapy, and (Thank God) dropped in on some friends who were kind enough to convince me that 9 p.m. was not too late. It was a dark moment when I was sitting in my car in front of Barnes & Noble thinking I had no friends and nothing to do and nowhere to go. Thanks, darlings. I really needed to sit in your kitchen and bitch for a while. 

In a (perhaps belated) effort to stay positive and be Zen about all this, here are some highlights from the last two weeks. There were some fun and/or funny moments, in between the SERENITY NOW! moments.

El Torrito Cilantro Pepita Caesar salad dressing. Lucas has been practicing pouring.

We took a walk at Negro Bar along the American River on March 26. Here are a few pics from that brief outing. It took Lucas only .5 seconds to get covered in wet mud.

It was a beautiful afternoon.

This was before we got sick. I like knowing how to take time-delayed shots! The camera is balanced on the stroller.

This is a cupboard in Lucas’s bedroom. Asher has taken to hiding his pacifiers in this cupboard. Now every time Asher enters Lucas’s room, he makes a beeline for this cupboard to check his stash.

My tulips are blooming and they’re fabulous.

I planted a multipack of pansies in the flowerbed by my front door a few weeks ago. They’re looking great now.

Some bath time fun. Asher kept sticking his tongue out.

And Lucas thought that was cool, so …

We have a book from the library called Hurry and the Monarch and another book all about the life-cycle of the monarch butterfly. Lucas spent two entire days being a monarch butterfly. I had to sneak this photo because he didn’t want one taken. He also had a monarch butterfly painted on his face—and it was damned good, if I do say so myself.

Lucas has also spent a lot of time pretending to be a mouse and a rabbit, which is more palatable to me than, say, pretending to be a Hells Angel or WWF wrestler. Even though small woodland creatures talk in unbearably high, squeaky voices and titter loudly enough to make your head explode.

To keep ourselves busy, we have also: 
* painted pictures
* painted faces
* made mobiles from tissue paper and sticks
* played board games
* played with dominoes
* drawn and colored
* cooked
* gardened and planted 2 tomatoes, 1 cucumber, 1 cantaloupe melon, 2 lavender bushes
* read dozens and dozens of books
* shopped online
* done many, many chores
* cleaned out closets
* and blogged.

  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

    © 2003–2018 Please do not use my photographs or text without my permission.

    “Love doesn’t just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.” —Ursula K. LeGuinn

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