Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Epiphany 2014

Writing is like laundry. (Okay fine... Bear with me). Anyway, when I write, I like to present tidy, folded articles of acceptable cleanliness. (This is not the way I do actual laundry, which regularly goes straight from the dryer to a basket from whence it is directly worn and dirtied before ever getting close to a folded state.) 

To take this (ridiculously poor) analogy further: my writing is stuck on the spin cycle at the moment. I have started several posts, only to abandon them because I just really want to see where things end up so I can dry and fold and make some presentable sense of what is going on for me right now. But I can't yet... that's the best explanation I can offer. So I guess I'm on sabbatical, living a "story" that I can write about later.

But I _always_ write a Christmas letter. Right?

Quiet moment in dressing room
Okay there, that's one thing: I was in the Christmas Carol again, with my older girls and a bunch of other neat people. Apparently Mr. Crachitt and I didn't get on too well, because I was told that this year I would be Mrs. Fezziwig, which I happily accepted because, well, she gets to dance and laugh more.  

Chaotic moment in dressing room, which I merrily instigated :)
As for the rest of the year... man this year, ha! What _do_ I want to talk about right now... Well, I did a bunch of acting and still am--got a good role in "The Philadelphia Story" for the end of January-- but my favorite and main role is always Mom. And my kids have grown and changed and I remain so proud of them all.

I had a hard time "relating" to Christmas this year. But I spent some time thinking about motherhood, which is a key aspect of the holiday after all.

I thought how, like Mary, we hold our babies, adoring them, wanting more than anything to protect them from any harm. When we think of possible dangers to our children, we see red. And then, pondering these things in our hearts, we turn too quickly because the oven timer beeped,and accidentally tap the little one's head on the arm of the chair. 

I suppose our own parents must've thought the same of us at one time, holding our tiny selves in their arms. And then life happened, with its skinned knees and false friends and unavoidable injuries. Missed chances. Unfortunate accidents. Hurt people who hurt people.

And here we are today, grown-up children, each of us with at least some scars and sad stories, each of us a broken person among a broken people. When it all started out with such wonder, joy, and innocence.

And somehow, this is all as it should be. Not the pain so much, but the growth that comes from the pain. We were meant to change. And grow, if not in strength, then in the capacity to allow God's strength to show through our very weaknesses.

This year, in the midst of the "holly jolly", I find I really have no comic stories at the moment. To be honest, I don't mourn the discarded trees on the sidewalk. At the start of December, I did dig out the advent wreath, but now that we are putting Christmas things away, I realize that I never actually lit it. I still have a lopsided tree perched atop the table, which is decorated but with not one ornament hung by me. I can see the Baby In the manger, but we have actually (literally) lost St. Joseph, and my halfhearted attempts to find a replacement have not been successful. So Mary and I look alone at the baby, born to carry all the sufferings of a sadly wounded world. And darn it... He's too small and cute for all that, isn't He?

I know salvation is the end result. But this Christmas, I look at the babe in the manger and I just don't understand. The "plan" seems really off right now. Angels sang and so did that darned Michael Buble and there were lights and gift and parties. But this year, I was the one with the myrrh. Which is still, oddly, a gift.

I hope you had the frankincense or gold this year, and I hope your Christmas was merry as well as blessed. Mine was blessed.  Even from behind this weird jar of embalming ointment I seem to be holding, I can see my Christmas was blessed. And good.

We are loved, my friends. Loved so much that our Creator, fully knowing how badly we can feel and ache and suffer with the simple miseries of being human, chose to experience it alongside us. And because He did, we can someday experience the joy we were made for in the innocent beginning, when there was no hurt and we were full of wonder.

Merry Christmas, and a wonderful 2015 to you all!  We'll be in touch, once I tend to the laundry.

``There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited,'' returned the nephew: ``Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round -- apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that -- as a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of other people as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!''                                                             --The Christmas Carol

Monday, October 13, 2014

Growing Up and Away

"Noi-noi?" She murmurs. "Noi-noi?"

It's 3 AM. I slowly turn over in bed to find little Felicity snuggled in next to me, sleepily patting my chest.

No, I never expected to have nursing or Felicity's made up name for it last this long. But as a pretty laid-back mama, it has, on and off. Of course, I never expected many things to happen to me that have happened. What human can?

"Noi-nois are tired," I sighed."They're just tired, hon. Maybe in the morning." My nearly three year old sighs too, but doesn't protest.... she knows nursing always "work" anymore, anyway. She drifts back off to sleep, her little rose bud lips relaxed, and I place a kiss on her ever-lengthening blond hair.

For a "Lactating Catholic," I don't talk about it much these days. But a state of life that has defined me is slowly changing. Being a MOP--a Mother of a Preschooler--is drifting away too.

I'm losing my current "baby" to toddlerhood, and my toddlers to preschool-hood... it's what all we moms both hope for and dread.

Thank God, the kids are growing up. Strong and healthy. Thank God. But oh, if they could only stay young...

It's something you don't realize is happening till it's already happened. The last time you have to ease their little shoes in and out of the "baby" swing at the playground. The last diaper. The last night in the crib. The last night in your bed. The last time you help them pull on a shirt, wipe their bottom, brush their teeth, wash their hair, slide on their water wings, push them on training wheels. The last time they ride in the grocery cart. The last time they ask you for a bedtime story. The last time they draw on your walls, (from my lips to God's ears.)

(At least she went around the picture, right?)
Suddenly, the helpless cooing creatures become self-feeding organisms.  They grow in confidence and then, slowly, in skill.  And then they don't need us as much anymore. And they put on backpacks and look all innocent when it's so obvious that they're trying to grow up...

"I a baby!" becomes "I do, myself!" Felicity goes back and forth between those phrases all the time.

Cecilia spoke both in the pool last year, all in the space of five minutes. "Don't let go Mommy!" She clung to me in the cold water, not trusting her new "floaties." I held her, encouraged her, easing her into the water. And so much sooner than I expected or hoped, she was calm and confident.

"Mom... I can do it!  Don't hold me; let me go!" And off she swam.

It breaks our hearts. It makes us proud.

Soon, if it hasn't happened all ready, I will no longer be "The Lactating Catholic." Not for awhile anyway. Perhaps never again. You don't know, you see, until you look back, that oh... I haven't had to carry her in days; she hasn't even asked to be picked up. She hasn't used this high chair in weeks. I can take the stroller out of the car, for now. Perhaps forever.

You see, we Catholic mamas sometimes don't know we're "done" until we look back, and we're 44 and our "baby" is five.  Only then do we go to the bins of tiny clothes we saved "just in case" and think about what lucky young mom with a swelling belly could use these now, as we start another, less familiar journey: growing in age and wisdom...right?  Huh.


Felicity turns three this week... Okay, well, to be honest, I wrote most of this weeks ago and she turned three last month (!) and Cecilia turned five.

(With her artwork, on paper and wall)
I'm doing more living of than writing of stories these days, figuring out how to take life one day at a time. 

It's been such a joy to see my girls grow. I wouldn't want it any other way, of course!  And oh, I do like to sleep, and I don't actually like buying diapers, and it's such a delight to have experienced Felicity's pointing fingers and monosyllabic words turn into longer and more colorful sentences. It was so fun to hear her say "Good grief" for the first time. Currently, she is trying to talk like her favorite character, "Peppa Pig"; she regularly requests her "swimming costume," tee hee.

Oh yes, and she really likes band-aids. A lot.

It's an adorable phase.  Soon she'll be on to something equally cute, and then she'll be ready for college.  Okay, maybe not that fast.

Thank God.

How is it that something that feels like it will never end--those sleepless, drool-filled, crazy newborn nights, those hectic shopping trips with little people who intend to buy out the store--how is it that, looking back, it all seems to have gone by so quickly, to go from chaotic present to precious past?

Growth and change, I'm realizing, are earthly activities as we move closer towards our unchanging, all-loving Father.  It is blissful to think of perfection lasting forever, isn't it?  It would be hard to say what that is, here, in this world: the fuzzy warm baby heads, the toddling steps that bring us wilted dandelions, the joyful shouts when they ride their two-wheeled bike away from our careful grasp.

I wouldn't know which moment to freeze.  I'm glad I ultimately don't have to decide. I love C.S. Lewis's take on eternity in The Last Battle... gotta re-read that, now that I have more "free" time.

I admit, I have an ache inside that approaches physical pain when I wonder if I'll have another baby. I'm trying to offer that up to the Giver of all good gifts, and trusting He has a wonderful plan for me, who's now been a mom of preschoolers for almost half her life.

Maybe I will be ready when it's finally, really, over, this phase of motherhood. Gosh, I hope I will feel ready. If the ache does ever completely go away... In the words of fellow blogger Sarah Bessey, whose article I linked here:

"The Ache reminds me of the great and terrible beauty I have seen,
 of what love I have experienced, 
of the sorrow and brokenness of loss, 
of all the love that is still here, 
of the wonder and miracle of life, 
of the sweetness of co-creation, 
of the labour and release, of transcendence."

I suppose there is beauty in this pain, too.

Sometimes, I sure do feel "done." For instance, I'm now writing at dawn after four hours of choppy sleep spent dealing with wet beds and bad dreams. Naturally, I'm not alone; an overgrown preschooler has squeezed in to lie down in the other half of the loveseat. Legos litter the floor, birds chirp in the rising sun, and I can smell the faint but unmistakable scent of... pee.  I'm facing the new artwork,,, remember what I said about wall art?  Yeah.

"Sometimes, Mom, I'm just tired of paper,"she had explained. "I hope you like my flowers. And the dinosaur walking down the stairs."

"I love them sweetheart... just not on the wall..."  Though part of me loves them, even there.

Happy (belated) birthday, big girls: five and three.  I loved watching you grow from the babies you were to the wonderful children you are now.  I can't wait to see what you will be.

I take that back: I can wait. Today I'll change your sheets (again) and your diaper and feed you at your little table.  I'll take you on your tricycles to the playground. Then I will put you on the big girl swings, tell you to hold on tight, push you to the sky and watch you fly.

"May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you,
May the Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace."
Numbers 6:24-6

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Worth your weight

So, I was about to pump gas. I mean, after I flipped the visor mirror up for just one more look.  And okay, taking a moment or two to fish in my purse for my lip gloss. And while I was at it, some powder. And fine, whatever, maybe some mascara...

Truth be told, I personally didn't like myself much today. I'd just gotten off the phone with my total blonde of a rheumatologist who wears leopard print leggings and heels with her lab coat. (Oh, I wish I was kidding.) The one who clapped in sheer girlish glee when she discovered (squee!) that I had "evidence of [some unusual type of] arthritic activity" in my spine.  

"Oh I knew it was possible! My colleagues didn't think so, but with you... oh I knew it!" she gushed. "Wait till I file the report!"

I had smiled blandly, waiting for my doctor to realize what she had said to the person with the spine in question who was sitting in front of her.

"Oh. I'm sorry. It's just that... this is so... rare. I mean, really, wow..."

Yeah. I'm rare. Felt "rare" today, starting with the phone call from "Dr. Barbie's" secretary who explained that "an x-ray was just as good as an MRI." When I disagreed, I was offered an appointment to speak with the dear doctor in person. 


I continued feeling "rare" when I stepped on the scale this morning. The vagaries of my various meds cause fluxuations, but then again, so does increasing the amount of chocolate one consumes. Maybe drinking coffee that was too sweet.  And okay, I had, I guess.  And I've been exercising more but sleeping less and the scale wasn't fooled. But I could trick my phone into finding the right angle...I only seem to take "selfies" when I'm trying to prove something to myself. In the end, it only proves that I'm having a rather "off" day, as is probably already demonstrated by my "Tempest" cast shirt:

"It's not like your worth decreases when your weight increases, you know," I said out loud to the cold square I stood on.  But then I realized I needed to say it a couple more times to make it feel remotely true. 

So back to where I'm gonna pump gas, for real this time. But first, I take a moment to look at an exhausted mom in that visor, and half-heartedly swipe at her with makeup. 

I grinned, but primarily to look at my teeth. Coffee wasn't helping there either...

"You're beautiful!"

Startled, I snapped the visor shut, automatically looking apologetically towards the muffled voice. What the heck...

A friendly face. A bright smile that barely cleared the passenger's closed side window. A woman who was not a day younger than 80.  

"You're beautiful." And turning her head of ivory-permed hair, the sweet little lady walked slowly back to her vehicle; it took her awhile to arrive. It must have taken her awhile to come over to me, as well. A deliberate journey of kindness to the mom in the mini van mirror. And a sacrificial one as well; being "rare," I understand the price of extra steps for elderly knees, hips, and spine.

Realizing I had obviously been tarrying too long before buying petrol, I jumped out of the van and swiped my card. Quickly blinking back tears, I peered at the woman who deliberately walked to replace the gas cap, gingerly got into her car, and drove away before I could collect myself to thank her for one of the nicest compliments I'd ever received.

I wish I had returned the compliment. I bet, 50 years ago, she had been beautiful in appearance; I could see past the wrinkles well enough.  And she was definitely still beautiful, possibly even more so with age: to be able to confidently approach a complete stranger with a possibly unwanted compliment, just because she wanted to lift someone's spirits... yeah.  She's beautiful.

I'd talked myself out of the urge before. To tell a teen fussing with their hair or smoothing their clothes that they were beautiful. To tell an elderly person with a laugh that made those around them smile that they were beautiful.  Sure, maybe they wouldn't appreciate it; it's possible they'd get irritated...

But maybe they can't see that truth in the mirror. Maybe you're the only person who sees it. The only person who tells them that they're beautiful that day, or that week, or that year. Or maybe you're the only person they would believe, because... well maybe they are told they're beautiful, a lot, but by the same person who also has said so many, many other things...

Sometimes it's easier to believe a stranger saying something nice to you. At any rate, it was easier for me that day.

So I'm gonna say it right now: you are beautiful, dear reader. Maybe today you can't see it yourself, but I can. Even from here. And you are well worth the time it takes to get out of a car and walk over and tell you that. 

You're beautiful, and you uniquely reflect the beauty of your Creator in a way no one else does or can. Your worth does not change with your weight. Or your age. Or your income, where you live, what you own, what you wear, or so many of the foolish things we use to weigh a person's worth, particularly our own.

You're beautiful, child of God. Just... beautiful.

And now, I suppose I should make my kitchen look beautiful too... ;)

"Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts..." 
Col. 3:12

Friday, August 15, 2014

First (Erstwhile) Birthday

Dearest Pepper,

Today, you would have turned one. I so wish you could have.

I would have done what I've done with all your sisters on their first birthday: strapped you into your high chair and given you your first piece of cake, sans fork. Chocolate, of course. You would likely also have been sans shirt, since I've learned through my dozen years of motherhood that I'd rather wash baby bellies off than a baby bib, a baby shirt, and baby pants. Diapers are the best eating costumes for one year-olds, like you.

Except you never needed a diaper, did you? Huh. Advanced in so many ways, you heavenly kid you. Instead of just toddling your way out of babyhood, you've now spent over a year (in some timeless way) beholding the Eternal Light. Lux perpetua

It is you who continually teach me, little one. There is little I can teach you.

Other than to tell you stuff like what your birthday here would have entailed (you'd be stripped and grinning, covered in cake: a very classy, delicious disaster), and to tell you how I arbitrarily decided that August 15 was, indeed, to be your birthday, given that you were never, actually, born.

You see, your big sister Felicity (how odd and delightful it is to call my littlest one here a "big" sister) was born on September 15, the feast day of Our Lady of Sorrows, as I ruefully noted while getting checked into the hospital almost three years ago that day. I was glad her name meant "happiness," making up for a dolorous-sounding day.

So you were due around September 1st. I tended to give birth a couple weeks early. Therefore, August 15, exactly a month before Felicity, and also on a feast of Mother Mary... well, that just seemed appropriate when picking a birthday out of hat. Particularly since it is the feast of the Assumption, when Our Lady arrived at where you are.

Since today is a Holy Day, it will also ensure I'm always at Mass on "your birthday," in the presence of the Lord for whom earth and heaven are no further apart than a footstool and a throne. I like being close to you, little one, older one, sweet, sassy and super-involved one. Our whole family is saturated in your prayers; thank you for them! You've been busy, I can tell.

But because you're so darn cool and invisible and stuff, I can't treat you to a messy cake decorated by your doting sisters today, can't take a million pictures of you liking your frosting-covered hands before bath, breast, and bed. Instead... well, I've got a cute teddy bear "Happy Birthday" balloon which I'll take to your grave.

I'll kneel on that precious rectangle of dirt and try to drive it as far into the ground as I can so it stays long enough to be noticed by the other grieving moms who come to decorate tiny graves with little toys and cherub statues that the lawn mower frequently breaks and smashes into dust. Every token I've brought you has been destroyed or disappeared for the sake of greener, trimmer grass. Even the windcatchers and chimes I securely tied to nearby trees have been taken away.

Frankly, it sucks. The whole thing sucks. Children don't belong in "Babyland, Section 29B." They just don't.

Now I've done it: I'm venting in your birthday letter, but I know you're somehow okay with that, patting my hand, shaking your head and smiling, telling me it's all somehow okay in the grand scheme of things. Because unlike me, you understand much better "the Grand Scheme of Things," and you know things ultimately won't "suck."

And you can handle my poor language, because... you're more like my teen than my toddler. And in some ways, more like my mother than my child. How wonderfully strange, how strangely wonderful.

I love you Pepper. Loving you has taught me so much about that word: "Love." And about God. And about the person called Katie that I get to be here, while you get to be Perpetua by "the river of the water of life."(Rev.22:1)  It's sad, it's glorious, and it's many things in between

Meanwhile, I have your earthly sisters to tend to. I'm typing feverishly on my laptop while no less than two of the kiddos have tried to climb onto my lap, computer and all. One is now yelling "I'm hungry!" while the other is hanging upside on the couch bellowing, "Look! I'm a fireman!" Oh, and we are watching "Bubble Guppies." I'd explain that nonsense, but you really aren't missing much.

But I am missing you today. And I'll miss you everyday until my own soul pierces the sky to finally hold you again. I long to be where you are. And yet, you're now whispering, "I'm right here, Mom." And I somehow see you wink and hear you giggle until your sister demands a drink and I'm back to wiping mouths and cleaning floors in this vale of spilled lemonade and broken toys.

Just like I have to do now: calls for "Shaun the Sheep," the need for baths and yet another snack (really kids? really!?) are becoming increasingly apparent. I've gotta keep being Mom over here.

You keep being you, beautiful girl. Say hi to Gabriel for me... I'm so proud of my two "heaven kids."

Happy Birthday from your family here, where with baked goods and candles we'll tick off the years till we hopefully join you in eternal bliss. Well that and such celebrations offer a perfectly good and reasonable excuse to eat chocolate. I'd tell you all about that, but I know there's chocolate where you are. Like, duh. ;)

A thousand kisses and a million hugs,

P.S. It's kinda neat (though the art is kinda weird) that people have calendars turned to this page this month, with my quote about you. Thanks for that, baby girl.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Way Things Are Now

I'm in an odd writerly situation over here: there's much to write about, but not terribly much I can say because of how events involve other people's business. At least, so it seems so far...

When I lost Pepper, I could write my heart out because it was "my" story and she didn't mind a bit. But it is different at the moment.  Perhaps these frustrating clarifications don't help much, but I thought I'd try them anyway: I'm doing much better than some people fear and somewhat worse than other people expect...

That help any? No? Sigh...

Let me try this: life has been about finding "the new normal": paying household bills, arranging visitations, and managing--on my own--anything that goes "bump" in the night. (It's usually my sleepwalking 10 year old; she tried to go to school last week at 3 AM. Keeps things interesting, it does.)

Alone at night, with kids asleep, I never turn on the TV now; it's much more important to try to sleep (though I find the harder you "try" to sleep, the harder it can be to achieve.) I occasionally scroll through Facebook news feed, and stop because there are so many pictures of the traditional type of family I so wanted to be, and it just hurts too much to see sometimes. I'll lie in bed and think about whether I set up auto-pay right on the electric bill.  I wonder where I put that book I'm supposed to read about "Rebuilding" your life as a single. I finally fall asleep, and wake up 20 minutes later with a preschooler who wants water. When she has to go potty an hour after that, there is no one else to "take turns" getting up with. It's just me.

I'm tired. That stinks.

Life is trying to address the very kindly-meant questions I have no answers for: Where are you going to work or earn money? When? How about here or there? Are you going back to school? Are your kids? Are you moving? When? Where? How?

Sometimes the even harder questions seem to be "Are you okay?" And "What do you need?" I don't really know sometimes. I tend to say I'm okay, because there are so, so many worse problems than my own First World issues.

As for what I need.... I mean, I know what I want. But no one can simply hand me an intact, reasonably happy family, and restore plans for my future: the at least imagined security of "knowing" when and how and where one will retire; if another baby could ever (somehow?) be in my future; when the next "vacation" will be; and the darker thoughts of who I will grow old with, or if I will grow old alone, or even if I will grow old at all.

I try not to brood or give myself over to anxiety. I'm fully enjoying the summer with my kids.

Well, enjoying it most of the time anyway. :)

And during my child-free time, I'm full-tilt pursuing a long-neglected hobby of mine: acting. I'm finishing up some short, "original works" plays this weekend at a local theater, and just got cast in "Guys and Dolls" at this coolly historic theater.  I'm now one of the "Barker Players." While I dearly love my married and mommy friends, it's been good for me to spend time with "theater people," who overall seem to be a sensitive, kind group of singles with an appreciation for silliness, fun, and good stories: performing them as well as sharing their own. It feels like where I need to be right now. As a Christian, I appear to be rather a minority in these circles; it's been a neat opportunity to here and there share what I believe, and why.

I'm in an awkward phase of my life where what I'm doing doesn't necessarily present--from the outside--like the best idea. But then again, neither does walking on water.

"But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, 'Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.'" 
Matthew 14:27

Friday, July 25, 2014

The kids are just fine

I love the summer.  I have an English degree.  And I've needed a hobby right now. So performing "Shakespeare Under the Stars" with an outdoor theater company seems just about heavenly these days. We're wrapping up a production of "The Tempest" where I got to play stage manager for the first time, trying to keep track of props, running lines, and getting scolded by divas when they miss a cue they were really supposed to know by now.

As this play calls for a scene with fairies, my girls were asked to be sprites. "Absolutely!" I said. 

"Oh cute!" I thought. "This will be adorable." I thought.

In answer to everyone's questions: the kids are doing fine. And they absolutely hate their costumes. Folks, this is reverse psychology; they have promised me several times already never, ever to have a "goth" phase. I'm delighted. Delighted that they usually look like this:

And do wholesome looking things like this at Children's Museums and stuff:

Not that I have anything against Shakespeare and the need for harpies, it's just... yeah...

But oh, look look, she does cooking competitions too, not just crazy drama:

And she does pretty darn well.

That's it for now folks. Writing has been hard, recently. I'll get there, and I'll have great stories to tell when I do. But for now, as you can see, all is well. :)
"The Lord will guide you always, 
giving you water when you are dry
and restoring your strength." Isaiah 58:11

Saturday, July 12, 2014

When Life Hands You Convertibles

"No more coffee for you today honey."

Okay, so maybe I was talking a little fast. You see, about every two years, I reluctantly take one of my fave devices-my digital camera--to be "pronounced" by the nice camera-fix it guys down the street. And I'm usually in a friendly yet agitated state. 

And this guy says the same thing to me, every two years. (No more coffee, indeed!:)  And every time, the camera is just dead. 

But this time...

"Sweetie, you see this knob? Yeah, just put it on Auto. See? It works fine on Auto... you had it basically on the 'action shots at night' setting."

Oh. Of course.  I should have known that. I take pictures as one of my many mini jobs, after all. 

But I'm not quite myself these days. Mommy-brained, but even more so. Not widow-brained but... Something single-sounding like that.

Confused? Catch up here. Yeah, things have been different recently. Quite sad in spots. But not all bad, not at all. Space is good for growth and stuff. I mean, I can't get into all the reasons, but Dan being in an apartment with some good Christian friends and me being here with the kids... it's what is needed. I'm absolutely certain of it.

But yes, my mind is elsewhere these days.

Kinda like when I took all the kids to the pool and remembered to put it all in locker 10 though who locks it, right? And then came out of the pool with four dripping wet kids and nothing in locker 10! Nothing! Most immediately alarming, no dry clothes. After a tense half hour with squealing naked preschoolers, I rightly reasoned--after checking 216 other lockers in my very finest frayed bath towel--that a thief would unlikely want our clothes along with my van keys. Figured this out after YMCA staff ascertained my van was still, very much, there.

That's when I found my stuff in the family changing room.  Neatly folded on top of the paper towel dispenser.  

So I'm not exactly myself these days... or I'm like myself but even more so?  Living in separation can be a good thing but it's also stressful in new and unique ways. Like which circuit breaker is for the living room? And when do I pay for the van lease? And what animal is near the trash can at 3 AM?

And how to drive a standard 2006 Mustang convertible.  Because all four kids need the mini van to go out with daddy, regularly.  And after round the clock kids, I'm left alone sporting a loudly roaring car at a time in my life when I feel kind of... lost.  

I first, I protested firmly.  Didn't at all want to drive this recent acquisition which I had no part in choosing. Despite that (it's quite complicated), Dan and I are currently on civil terms, and may even be spotted at the grocery store occasionally--so neither panic or party if you see us, just smile and wave. Or chat. Chatting can totally happen; it's okay. You may even at some point see us driving around in a mini van or an obnoxiously loud topless vehicle.

So I'm not very fond of the thing. Not like my camera-friend or anything.  Not something I'm familiar with and know what I can expect from. Usually takes me a few tries to open up the roof.

But I'm getting used to it.  And it is really nice to have so much air and sky.  

Keep the prayers up.  I'll figure this thing out...

"Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior.
My hope is in You."
Psalm 5:25