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Posts tagged ‘The Power of Pain’

Big Bang Theory

Summer.

You beast.

You fair-weather friend.

You bring your endless promises of lengthy goodness and shorter nights.

You smile your bounty of good food and island smells.

You remind me that I live in paradise.

But then you sneak in your underhanded jabs.

Your bugs.

Your overgrown, dead-weight, yellow-jacket drones.

Your rat-blasted mosquitoes.

And your lies that you will last forever.

Your illusions that the horrible winter chill will never return.

That we will never wear sweaters again.

Truth be told, I’d never seen a summer like you.

(At least, not in Beautiful Meterogically-Unreliable British Columbia.)

Gone were Vancouverite’s genetic adaptation we like to call Sun-Induced Panic.

Rants of rain in July were nowhere to be found.

We got so used to the good weather we started to trust it.

Expect it.

Forget that we were not Southern California – and that rain was not optional.

I confess.

It lulled me a bit.

I began to rest in the certainty of goodness.

I should know better.

For as all labour and delivery nurses will tell you, unless you have a surplus of vacation hours,

Summer’s last laugh is the ever-exploding birth rates at your local hospital.

People, please. Allow me a pause for a PSA of the birthing kind.

Not all of you must have babies in the summer.

I’m sure you all think it’s a great idea back in October and November. It’s cold out now, there’s nothing much to do, we were going to try anyways, and wouldn’t it be best for everyone’s schedule if we had a baby in July or August? Or, failing that, September?

I can give you your answer right now:

NO. IT WOULD NOT BE BEST FOR EVERYONE’S SCHEDULE.

In fact, I can tell you exactly who it would NOT be good for.

That’s right.

Your local, loyal, overly-protective, slightly-delirious mat nurse.

Those people you see laughing maniacally every day about 8 pm? Or, if they’re on nights, 8 am?

The ones wearing alien green scrubs? Or blue, or purple, or dark taupe, or the warmed over color of vomit, or whatever it is that your local hospital has provided for them to douse themselves in preparation for the bodily fluids threatening to cover them at any moment, either yours or your baby’s or, well, their own.

Because, contrary to popular belief,

Maternity is not the happiest place ever.

Don’t get me wrong: It’s beautiful. It’s the best, and hardest, and most challenging, most rewarding thing I have ever done – besides raise my own children.

When it goes well, it goes very, very well. There is no other feeling like helping a new life into the world – nestling it into its mother’s arms, take pictures for the new little grouping of three, or four, or five, or in Abbotsford, ten.

(Nope. Not judging. Just tired.)

Because when it doesn’t go well…

It goes very, very wrong.

That’s the only word that makes sense. It’s wrong to see good people struggle to have healthy babies. It’s wrong to have new life bathed in uncertainty. It’s just plain not right that we can’t expect perfection and ease in the welcoming of new little ones into this messed-up, but also incredibly beautiful world.

Confession: I’ve never been a clean person.

No, truly.

Anyone who has been to my house knows this.

I am friends with clean people.

They show me grace when they agree to come to my house, because, while I am by no means easy-going (seriously, stop laughing. I can hear you.) I am often too busy or too tired to care what my house looks like, at least to the point where I realize that I don’t actually employ a maid to read my mind and put things where I want them, and my pent up irritation at something else boils over to the point of

an explosion

of erhm…order.

I call it my personal Big Bang Theory.

This developing theory measures how messy my house – or my life – must be in order for me to explode in Big Bang Proportions,

in which I make my house look

the way it should have in the beginning.

In other words, it is a furious force of change

in which I attempt to

Impose order on chaos.

Filter out redundancies, stupidities, and irrelevancies.

And if it feels like rolling a giant sleeping bear up the side of Whistler Mountain, I know its because I’m

Fighting the Law of Entropy

In which

(as Wikipedia will tell you)

nature guides all things into a slowly descending state of disorder.

The Law of Entropy is curious, see. At least to scientists. And it both supports and challenges our history of origins in the most bizarre way. It supports the principle of death and decay; it challenges the theory that all we see around us exists because the untamed forces in the pre-existing universe’s matter combined together

to make everything

more ordered

more complex

and, well…

better.

But I sometimes have a hard time with that piece,

because,

at least when it comes to human soul evolution

– at least to this human’s soul evolution –

if an outside force doesn’t act on it, it just gets more chaotic.

And just like no mess in the history of the world has ever called a convention to say, hey, maybe lets clean ourselves up. 

But rather collides with itself and says, hey, aren’t I great? I should make more of me. 

(And it does.)

So it is with personal growth.

Because, if I’ve learned anything about soul change, it’s that it doesn’t usually begin with an internal prompt.

Oh, maybe that little wise voice is there – our inner angel, perhaps, or a spiritual guide, if that’s something you believe in – gently suggesting the higher path to take or the rougher edge to smooth.

But if you’re anything like me, it takes the external force of a hurricane

– or maybe the horrific thud of a collision –

to make me actually listen.

If I can get away with not listening, I will.

If my current course of action does not seem to be directly harming anyone or anything, especially if it seems not to be harming me, then I see no need to change it.

Right?

Some people Most of us have to learn the hard way.

The sludgy, stenchy, convulsion-inducing, painful way.

Most of us need our comfortably traveling vehicle to come to a sudden stop for us to realize we are headed in a wrong direction or have a part or two missing.

Sometimes its just that we’ve relied on one thing for too long.

And so we crash, headlong into

ourselves, really.

But the initial hit is usually external.

And it’s fortunate, really, because

Anything left to itself for too long gets worse.

Parents of toddlers know this.

Long periods of silence are rarely a sign of peace.

Short periods, maybe.

But long periods of ease usually end in disaster.

So, summer, I love you.

You’ve been wonderful.

Magical, even.

You’ve changed our lives with your blissful kisses of sunshine.

You’ve left your marks of joy and bubbles of laughter around sunset campfires in the company of those we love the most.

But its good that all good things come to an end.

Because anything left to itself for too long gets worse.

It’s entropy.

It’s humanity.

And it’s time we embraced that.

So, friends,

while my inner child is screaming that summer is over

my grown up is so, so relieved

that the season of change is here.

Because while we live in the Law of Uncertainty that is the British Columbia School System,

this home school momma

is so thankful

for that external force

so many years ago

that threw me off my path toward the last thing I wanted to do.

I’m thankful my family and friends pushed me to the point of decision.

I’m thankful my life circumstances made it clear that this was the path for our family.

I’m thankful for the pain that made me listen.

And while homeschooling is in no means the best or the perfect education option for every or even any family,

the chaos I watch around me right now

reminds me in the moments I’m tempted to whine that I have to start school tomorrow,

to instead be thankful

that I can start school tomorrow,

that I get to spend this much time with my girls

while they still want me to.

So, friends –

No matter what tomorrow holds for you,

I urge you to wake up thankful for whatever apparent life-derailment led you to the chaos of this morning,

for the uncertainty that perhaps allows some of you an extended summer,

more time with your kids,

more time to figure things out,

a push to be creative with your usual modas operandi.

I say this as one

who knows exactly how frustrating

and life-changing

(and in this house, frequent)

those moments are.

(It’s all we’ve lived these last six years, really.)

And while the pain of loss and uncertainty may not be good by itself,

its smoothing results on a restless soul are priceless.

Who knows?

If we each embrace our own crises for the bends in the roads they were meant to be,

we might all come out of this week more ready

to be that external force of change

the world so desperately needs

in order to get better.

Home school moms: Don’t believe that inner devil. You can do this.

Private school moms:  Good on you for recognizing where your kids needed to be and making the sacrifices to get them there.

Public school moms: You’re doing the right thing. You are the plumbline of the new generation. You are the warriors of our children. You are champions for change. You are the ones who insist that all our kids can grow up, get better, be more, and find success.

Teachers: You know what you sacrifice for your kids. Most of us with half a brain know too. Breathe in. Breathe deep. No truly great work is ever easy.

To all of you:

You are amazing, beautiful people.

Your children – at home and at school – desperately need you in whatever capacity you feel called and able to give.

You are not alone,

Which is a good thing.

Because we know

that

All things left alone for too long only get worse.

 

 

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Tension

The world is all gates, all opportunities, strings of tension waiting to be struck. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have a problem – with word art.

Last week I went to IGA and almost walked out with five – count em, five, pieces of word art. I slapped my own hand before I got to the register and restrained myself to one. It said:

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

For heaven’s sake.

The worst part is, I. Loved. It.

If I get the opportunity to grow old, I will be the crazy cat lady with no cats and one thousand pieces of ridiculous word art. (It could be a Saturday Night Live sketch, if I was clever enough to write it.) At the very least, my kids will tell stories about their barmy mother who never saw a cheesy inspirational quote-on-stretched-canvas she didn’t like.

At least they’ll always know what to get me for Mother’s Day.

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Increment

Contemporary middle-class women seem prone to feelings of inadequacy. We worry that we do not measure up to some undefined level, some mythical idealized female standard. When we see some women juggling with apparent ease, we suspect that we are grossly inadequate for our own obvious struggles.” – Faye J. Crosby

Increment: something added or gained; addition; increase; profit; gain; the act or process of increasing; one of a series of regular additions; growth.” – Dictionary.com

If any of you have been looking for me, I’ve moved to Home Depot.

Such lovely people at Home Depot.  Such kind souls in their orange aprons. This is what you need, right here, and Make sure you don’t forget to do this.

My house – nay, my marriage – is forever indebted to you, Home Depot.

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Over, Overcome

Art begins with resistance – at the point where the resistance is overcome. No human masterpiece has ever been created without great labor. – Andre Gide

Confession: It is 3 pm and I’ve opened a bottle of wine.

I’m not a big drinker, for obvious reasons. I’m a nurse, I like my liver, and that liver is already working overtime to deal with Sprycel.

You know, the drug that’s saving my life.

But, occasionally, I have a glass of wine. Red, white, I’ll even have a – decent – glass of rose. Just one. With friends. On a Friday. To beef about an erhm, interesting week.

Like today.

My feet are wet. My eyes are propped open with toothpicks. My fingers are freezing.

I am trying to bring said fingers back to life by typing.

(So far, I’ve had to rewrite these 150 words three times, so I’m not sure it’s working.)

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One

I am tired.

No. Tired is inadequate; exhausted is overused.

Perhaps spent is more appropriate.

Those who know us know our lives are rather… erhm, full. Some seasons, full is oppressive; others, it’s beautiful – satisfying, even.

Last year we lived the first; this year we’ve seen glimpses of the second.

The difference? What we’ve chosen as our… fillers.

Seven years ago this month, I was counting down the weeks till Noelle’s birth, anxious to be delivered of the extra weight, anxious to get my body back.

I was tired of sharing my heart, my blood, my kidneys, my uterus. I was tired of being host to an ever-growing parasite. I wanted my parts back. I wanted to support my own life functions, and not anyone else’s.

I know. The naivete is crushingly hilarious.

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Keep Calm and Carry On

Have you ever really, realllllly wanted – even needed – something to happen… and it didn’t?

Of course you have. We wouldn’t be human if we got everything we ever wanted.

But sometimes, it seems kind of cruel, doesn’t it?

I’ve been reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to the girls. I loved this book – and its sequel – as a child. I thought it rather silly as a twenty-year-old ‘grown-up’. Now, as an almost thirty-two-year-old mother, I think it borders on profound.

In my eyes, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a treatise on the evils of greed, gluttony, and selfishness. The hero is none of those things; the other children are all of those things. The hero survives; the others are destroyed by their impulsiveness, obnoxiousness, and covetousness.

They see something, they need to have it, they go out and get it.

They’re not much different than you and I.

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Be Not Yourself

He who conquers others is strong; He who conquers himself is mighty. – Lao Tzu

You all know I love Glee.

Well, I don’t love everything on that show. I don’t love the occasional schizophrenic character changes or the wheel of revolving relationships. I also don’t love the defense of every minority except one (those of you in that one know exactly what I’m talking about).

But I love the music.

They also know how to deal with bullies.

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