Calamity Jennye

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It's all about the hair

Esme had her first act of truly reckless behavior today. You know...the kind of behavior that's a precursor to the denial of the effect that one extra drink is going to have on you, that one extra drink you never actually ask for but it just appears and you drink it without thinking and next thing you know thinking is the last thing you're capable of, and then next thing you know you're on someones boat with vomit in your ear and...oh wait, sorry we were talking about Esme...

Anyway, while I was in the kitchen making dinner Esme opened the drawer where we keep our scissors, got them out and cut the special Rapunzel hair that came attached to a barrette with her Rapunzel Barbie. Esme is "dying" to have long hair (just ask her, she'll tell you, it's slowly killing her) and so she loves clipping this barrette in her hair and swishing it over her shoulder.  Suddenly from across the room I heard a gasp, I looked over and Esme was holding the barrett in one hand and most of the hair in the other.

"Esme" I said (perhaps a bit too sternly) "You are going to be so sorry you did that, you know that hair won't grow back right?"

"I know mom, I don't even care" she grumped, and then seconds before she broke down in sobs that lasted for the next 40 minutes, she said "My heart is just dead".

She spun away stalked out of the room and I went a few minutes later to find her collapsed on her bed racked with tears because she couldn't get her Rapunzel barrette back.

I just love witnessing these experiences that are so formative to our character for later life. I'd never thought much about it before tonight but how you learn to respond to these things as a little kid definitely forms your choices as an adult.

I mean, lets say hypothetically I woke up one morning with vomit in my own ear (I mean TOTALLY hypothetically) I would want to throw myself on my bed and sob...and sob...and sob. First I would definitely want to say it didn't matter, I mean who hasn't woken up in such a state at least once, and who wouldn't want to justify it by having a heart that is dead, or some equally life altering ailment.

But what I did for my daughter in that moment is the same thing I do for myself (I mean would do for myself, you know, if such a thing ever happened to me). I stood her in front of the mirror, with Rapunzel doll in hand and we looked at all the good hair that we still had left between the three of us. Then I sent her into the shower (mostly because she was a mess from daycare and really needed a shower, and we don't have a bathtub) and I told her to sit down, cry a little bit more if she needed to and just let the water wash over her. That would help!

And it sure did, I went in five minutes later to find her industriously cleaning the walls of the shower with my loofah. I think we'll all be okay!
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Outfit of the Day

I have a fabulous video of Esme singing one of her favorite songs but my phone keeps telling me the file is too large to attach/download/ while I figure that out you'll have to make do with a picture of my sister and I.
I know...not nearly as great as Esme...but today is all about dealing with disappointment here at Calamity Jennye.  ^   ^
              .    .


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Family Ties

I think what I've firmly established is that I'm not a travel blogger.

I just can't find the time to blog when I'm at other's homes, doing too many things, running around. So, I know you've all been waiting for an update on the family reunion that had me so nervous...

It was GREAT! For a group of people who had never all been in the same room as adults, who didn't all grow up together and have that completely shared history, and for whom there has been some tension in the past. We did a great job.

It poured rain the entire time we were at the resort, so there was an abundance of alcohol, lots of time logged on the WII and at the indoor pool. Esme loved all the attention.

There were of course a few tense or awkward moments. What would family be without those. But all in all it was a great time and we decided maybe we should try this again in 5 years rather than 25 next time.

My sister drove home with me and is visiting for the week so I'll get another update out as soon as I can...

Have a great week everyone and thanks for your prayers, thoughts and support.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The things that get you through the day...

Thor went into a bar one night, met a woman and took her home.

They woke up in the morning. He went over to the window, threw the shutters open and said:
"I - AM - THOR"

She sat up on the bed, looked at him and said:
"You think you're thor..."

and we've been laughing all day!

Monday, August 8, 2011

It's just a phase, but they say that about teenagers too

I haven't had many of these phases in my life but I'm in a phase where little things really easily drive me crazy. Lately there are tons of these little things that feel like they are slowly pecking away at the very fiber of my being.
Negativity, bad attitudes, limited perspectives, people inserting themselves into conversations where they don't belong (I've been guilty of this one lately which means I'm practically gnawing on my own arm or something), my daughter calling me stupid or saying she hates me, then becoming inconsolable when we have to discuss how that's not okay.

Every - little - thing is making me crazy. The real problem is that I know what's actually making me crazy. These things don't normally get to me so easily, I'm quite adept at dodging all these little beaks. The problem these days is that I'm not me.

My husband and his girlfriend both got to make these life changing decisions. Decisions that changed not just their lives but also dramatically changed mine in every way. Decisions that took away my two best friends, that took away my daughter 30% of the time, that fundamentally changed nearly every aspect of my life. And in no way did I get to be a part of those decisions. I didn't even know the decisions were being made. Not only did they make these decisions back when I knew nothing about them. But they are here, unapologetically rubbing their decisions in my face (or flaunting them behind my back) on a daily basis.

I've spent months working through so many things but the one thing left festering deep down, is all that disenfranchisement. I got no say. And now, I feel so debilitated by their decisions that I don't even know who I am.

This is the thing that I can't seem to get around. I feel like I've tried crawling over, sneaking under, faking left and running right. I can't escape it.

I'm really ready to have a new me, one that has so many of the traits I used to have (joy, patience, memory, stability, confidence), combined with all these new things (gardening, independence, peace, loyalty) I've cultivated in my journey around this angst. I'm ready, I just don't know what it takes to get there.

Outfit of the Day

Things that don't drive me crazy?

Pictures of little girls having fun!
Ahh...the Ferris Wheel
Always makes me feel a bit pensive too.

This weekend was Fisherman's Picnic, the big celebration here in GM
These girls had a blast on all the rides

The happy pilot!

And another one.
I don't know about you but I'm ready to fly this airline!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

I imagine it's what being the world's biggest rubber band ball would feel like

The other unavaiodable topic:
There's been so much going on in my life lately that I haven't spent a lot of time talking, or even thinking for that matter, about my childhood. I was a super lucky, super loved, kid my entire childhood. But that being said I did have a sort of odd childhood.
I'm 18 years younger than my youngest sibling, I have four of them and they are all within 5 years of each other. We were all raised by the same parents but the oldest two have a different dad. So if you do the math it's probably not astonishing to hear that my oldest brother, 21 at the time and my oldest sister, 20, were married and out of the house before I was born. My siblings were all raised in Southern California but then my parents moved to Oregon a year or so before I was born.
Being married and never having lived in the state where my family now resided contributed to the fact that I never met my oldest sister until my mom's funeral. There's the last part of the story. My mom died of cancer when I was 8. Her funeral is the only time I remember our whole family being together. And to be totally honest I have very little memory of much of that stretch of time. There are spots that stand out clearer then any other memory in my life. Meeting my siblings is just not one of those spots.
I used to see my brother and his family pretty regularly since we took a lot of trips down to California, where he still lived, but he has been estranged from the family for 15ish years so it's been a long time since I've seen him. I met my sister for a second time when my dad and I drove out to the east coast on my way to college. But that was the last time I saw her, 15 years ago.

So why the sudden, and brief, family history? My youngest brother, the one closest to me in age started planning a family reunion a few months ago, and he actually got all of us to agree to come. I keep saying we need to call it something other than a reunion since that implies an initial union of some sort leading to the re portion but we are.
Esme and I fly out Friday and one week from now I will have spent two full day with all of my siblings.
I feel fearful, nervous, scared, excited. I'm not at all sure how one should feel. To be headed into 3-4 days with people I don't know at all but who are the people to which I'm supposed to feel the closest in the world, it makes me, well, really worried.
I feel a bit like I would assume an adopted child feels meeting their biological parent for the first time. There is this assumption that you will feel an automatic bond with this person. This is blood, stronger than anything right? But what if we all hate each other? What if we feel nothing? What if we spend 3 super awkward days trying to figure each other out?
I know nothing about the childhood these four people shared together. What if there are sides? Old rivalries? What if I get in the middle of something I know nothing about? Worse yet, what if they all decide it's easier than old rivalries to just hate me?
Okay that last one isn't real. It's just my mind running away with itself.
I'm really close to my brother and sister nearest to me in age. My sister was like my mother for most of my life, we talk at least once a week, if not daily. And my brother and I have been quite close for my whole life. So some of those ridiculous deep seated insecurity fears are absolutely ludicrous.
But the truth is I really don't know how I feel about this.
Our family is not a family that talks about things, we're very Scandinavian in that way. There are things I would love to ask my siblings about my mom, about their childhood, but it just never feels like the right time. And we are definitely not a family that would offer up that kind of information.
But at the same time some of the memories I do have of my siblings is that no one in my family is one to back down from a fight.
So it turns out I'm the one in the family who will turn tail and sprint from a fight, or even a hint of a squabble really, and this makes me nervous too. So really I'm just a ball of nerves...a big ball of nerves for the next week, trying to figure out how to act calm, excited and not so, well, nervy. So that I'm not the first one to weird out.

Someone's bound to weird out right? Please say a prayer it's not me.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Truth and Consequences

There are a couple subjects, ones that have been slowly eating away at me, that I've been avoiding bringing up but I think I can't avoid it any longer.

My husband's girlfriend is back in town. She got here sometime this week and he told me she was coming a couple weeks before she arrived. At least he told me. I was glad, even though it meant I had a couple weeks to worry and fester a bit.

The main thing it left me worrying about was Esme. She spends two nights a week with my husband but I don't feel at all comfortable with her being there when he is sleeping with another woman. I'm well aware that this is a slippery slope. I know there will be a day when at least one of us is with another person fairly permanently. I get it, it will be fine. But we haven't gotten to that day yet. We're not there.

The last time the girlfriend was in town I let my husband know that it wasn't okay for Esme to spend the night with them. I put a lot of thought into it and decided that needed to happen this time too. So I let my husband know. And then I had to let Esme know as well.

I went into this without a plan, very unlike me, but it just sort of came out, one night at bedtime:

"This week we're going to have mommy nights instead of daddy nights, okay honey?"

"Okay, why can't I have daddy nights?"
(Somehow, I honestly didn't see this question coming. I think I expected, anger, some sort of tantrum that maybe I would have to diffuse, but I didn't at all expect calm, questioning acceptance.)

"well, uh, we're just going to do mommy nights. You'll still have daddy days, but then just come home for mommy nights."

"Okay, but why?"

"Well, Daddy has someone else sleeping over so you're going to come stay with me."
(And again I really thought it would end here. I think they call this denial.)

Actually the first night it did end here. She moved onto something else and went to sleep.
But the next night she remembered...

"Why can't I have a sleepover at daddy's?"

"Well...(and before I knew it I had to decide...lie? Or try to work my way through this?)
"Honey, you can't sleep at daddy's because of the other person sleeping there."

"Why can't I stay with the other person?"

"When you get married there is a rule that says you can only sleep with the person you're married to. Mommies can only sleep with Daddies.
Daddy broke that rule."

"Daddy broke the rule so now I can't stay at his house?"

"Yeah, what happens when you break a rule?"

(Esme in a really excited, I know the answer voice) "You get a consequence!"
"Daddy broke a rule and now he get's a consequence...."

"I want you to understand this is not about the consequence. The real thing is that this rule is so important that I can't let you stay at Daddy's house while he's breaking it. If I let you stay then I'm saying the rule doesn't matter. And this is a very important rule."

"I wish Daddy hadn't broken the rule"

Me too honey, me too.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Has anyone seen my awesome...I think I left it around here somewhere

"It's better to feel successful on your own than to spend every day feeling like a failure with someone else."

"You are a strong woman who can make it through this."

I think I've mentioned it in passing before but I guess I finally have to come clean and admit I am addicted to Grey's Anatomy (is there a twelve step group out there I should know about?). At least every other episode I cry and almost every single episode I walk away thinking, "I'm not the only one to feel this way." Not because the characters feel the way I do but because someone writes this stuff....and in order to write it you have to at least have some idea what it feels like. So I know I'm not alone.

And there are moments in the show with quotes like the ones above where I feel sure I've done the right things in my life. I feel sure that I'm teaching my daughter the right lessons. Struggling through the things I do for all the right reasons. And most importantly there are moments where I feel sure I will make it through.

Now, sadly, I have to admit there are moments where I think I should have moved to Seattle when I had the chance, moments where I think marrying a heart surgeon seems genius...did anyone see Preston Burke practicing his vows? There are even moments where I think I really need to have more than one close friend and way more than one bar where I live. This is  all the work of the Grey's Anatomy devil on that shoulder over there...

But here I am. Struggling through, thankful for what I do have. Teaching my daughter that being a strong woman is hugely important, and feeling pretty confident that when it comes down to living every day as a failure with someone else (the memories of which are visceral and painful) or living every day on my own as a success. I made the right decision!

I'm just not cut out for cowering and fear. I feel embarrassed that my life has turned out the way it has on so many fronts. Facing that is hard, reconciling myself to this big thing I never believed was okay, and never wanted, is a struggle that haunts me daily. And when those ghosts come I'm never sure I made the right decision.

But to hear someone else say it. To hear someone else's words and immediately have a flashback to those times when I felt sure I was such a complete failure. And to remember the reasons I felt like a failure, completely ridiculous reasons that were nearly always outside my control. Then I feel a bit more confident.
A bit more sure that I am setting the example of a strong woman for my daughter.

I saw a link to this blog on my weekly blogher update and then a number of people forwarded it to me in various ways. It makes me think about what we want for our children. Which ultimately comes back to what we want for ourselves. I read things like this and think again that I'm doing the right things; think that I would do anything to help my daughter grow up and maintain that kind of confidence and freedom.

So I'll keep on keeping on. I'll keep on hoping that I'm making the right decisions, and I'll keep on trusting that it's all gonna come out right.
I'll keep believing that just because you have to give up on some things, you don't have to give up on everything. I can give up on for better or worse but still keep my awesome!

Outfit of the Day

Has anyone seen my daughter?
Because this kid who chose to wear pants, a  t-shirt and sneakers
is clearly not the same one I've been living with for the last 3 1/2 years  :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Can't Go Back Now

I've been really loving this song that just came on my Pandora.

Every time it comes on I say what song is this?....oh yeah! still love it :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

knock, knock

Lately I'm in a place of feeling sad and overwhelmed.
I'm really tired of these two feelings.
I keep thinking I'm almost done with the things that feel overwhelming and then one more crops up.
I'm ready for normal, steady, get in the groove life.
I don't want to have to worry about court dates, buying cars, filing for divorce, thinking about child support, waiting for someone's approval to do something so that then I can move onto the next thing.
I can't remember a time when life has ever felt this tedious.

I have days where I feel like I'm handling it so well. This week I've been making two big, frustrating, 'don't want to deal with these things calls' every day during lunch. Chipping away at things. I feel great about this. Like I'm making progress. Noving in the right direction.
Then I sit at home and watch something on tv where someone dies, or loses someone, and I fall apart and sit and cry on the couch. And I think, hmm...maybe I'm not handling this all as well as I think.

In the middle of my crying tonight Esme called for me from her room. I went in to see what she needed and she said:
 "Mom, why do you have your crying voice?"
"What voice" I said?
"Your crying voice."
"When did I have that voice?"
"When you said my name, from the living room, it was your crying voice."

So...maybe I'm really not handling this as well as I think...I have a crying voice? I reassured her I was fine, there was no crying voice. Time for bed etc...
But much longer will I have to live with the surprise visits from the crying voice, and the overwhelming sadness? Anyone know how much longer that's gonna last?

Outfit of the Day

I thought I'd pull out another blast from the past.
Esme and I spent a lot of time in this wrap during her babyhood.
It was definitely one of my favorite accessories for every outfit!