Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"Mommy Moments"

I call them my "mommy moments"--those moments where you suddenly look at your harried, frustrated , exhausted life, and, instead of screaming, just think to yourself, "Yep. I'm a mom. This is what it's all about. Whether I like it or not."

If I were a more optimistic, mothering type, I would think of "mommy moments" as those sweet, tender moments of breastfeeding my daughter, watching her sleep, or listening to her infectious giggle as I pretend I can't reach something she's trying to give me. (For some reason, that cracks her up. Weird kid.)

But, no--I associate "mommy moments" with all the things that made me think, pre-motherhood, that I really shouldn't have children. (Spit up. No sleep. And, last night, the trifecta of a sick child, a sick husband (in the ER, no less), and a shirt soaked in vomit for two hours.)

Yes, last night as one of those nights. (Oh, what a night/Late November back in twenty-ten ...) Anne was sick with a cold all day; by 8:00 last night, what had begun as a mild cough had become a horrible-sounding hack that apparently hurt her sweet throat, because she would burst into tears each time she coughed. Hubster came home with stomach cramps--bad ones. Writhing-on-the-couch, doubled-over-in-pain, groaning-in-a-voice-I've-never-heard-and-hope-never-to-hear-again stomach cramps.

What's a mom/wife to do? Besides feel thankful that the cat and I aren't sick, too?

So, I left Anne with her sick daddy and flew (not literally) to Wal-Mart for gas medicine, in case that's what was causing his cramps. Then, after I got home and he took the "fast-acting" medicine and it didn't do a thing after thirty minutes, I kissed him good-bye and saw him off to the ER.

Bad wife? I wanted to go with him, of course, but I was busy with my screaming, sick little one.

After he left, Anne started to feel fever-hot again, so I went to get the children's Tylenol ... and couldn't find it.

What's sad is that we have three bottles of the stuff at home, and I don't know where a single one of them is. This is because Anne likes to chew on the rubber dispenser thing in the cap. So who knows what couches they're hidden under, what hollow plastic toys they're inhabiting.

Then, as I paced the floor, screaming child in my arms, trying to remember where Anne last chewed a Tylenol cap, I felt a wet warmth all over my shirt and waistband. Ah, vomit. Anne's screams grew louder.

Baby Tylenol ... Take Me Away ...

So, I did what any intelligent, social-media-savvy mom would do: I got on Facebook and sent out a request to my 200+ friends. "Can someone go to Walmart for me and get me some Tylenol for Anne?"

"If so," I wrote, "I will bake you cookies of eternal gratitude."

And would you believe, two friends offered to make the Walmart run for me. And the one who lived closest did. Cookies of eternal gratitude--for both of them--will be lovingly baked soon.

Meanwhile, Hubster had a CAT scan and a bunch of tests run, but they never did figure out quite what was wrong with him. We do know it's not appendicitis or kidney stones. He goes to his doctor today for more tests and general head-scratching.

In a move I don't quite understand, the hospital released my morphine-drugged husband just before midnight so he could drive home. I guess they figured that, if he's going to be miserable, he might as well be miserable in his own bed.

Oh, well. I guess it's cheaper that way.

So, he was home at midnight, and Anne finally went to sleep for a nice three-and-a-half-hour nap at 1:00.

Oh, the "mommy moment." I forgot all about that.

It came when I thought I'd put Anne down for the night, and after my husband was soundly in bed (post-ER), not in too much pain. Silly me, I thought I could jump in the shower for five minutes to wash the soaked-through vomit off me.

When I finally turned off the shower, all I could hear was my husband groaning in the next room and my baby wailing over the monitor.

And I started laughing. Couldn't stop. Felt overwhelmed with gratitude and love for both of the pitiful humans with whom my life is forever intertwined.

Yeah, I think I must have cracked or something. But I thought, "This is motherhood." And I felt strangely (very strangely) happy to be there.

Fortunately, motherhood also involves sweet moments of breastfeeding my child, tender moments of watching her sleep, and fun moments of listening to her infectious giggle (even if she does have a weird sense of humor).

And yes, it's worth it. "Mommy moments" and all.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Multitude Monday #1

I'm "joining" the gratitude community hosted by the blog Holy Experience. If you'd like to read others' thoughts, click the "Multitude Monday" banner at the bottom of this post, or visit Ann Voskamp's post for today.

So here we go. A few things I am thankful for:

#1: sweet baby toes

#2: clean water

#3: quiet evenings alone after the baby has gone to sleep

#4: a blank page for writing

#5: spiral-bound, college-ruled notebooks with pockets

#6: the Appalachian Trail

#7: sweet potato casserole (with pecan topping ... not marshmallows!)

#8: my sister, Megan, who never seems to lose faith in me

#9: a husband who is never too tired to rub my back

#10: time to read and write

#11: an adventurous baby daughter

#12: overripe bananas, and the smell of banana bread baking

So, readers, please let me know in the comments ... what is one thing that you're grateful for today?

holy experience

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Due to increased work hours, big changes in life, and general lack of inspiration regarding this blog, "A Sort of Notebook" is no longer being updated. I am now blogging at Life Downside Up.

Friday, November 26, 2010

An Introductory Post

How's that for a blog title: Life Downside Up.

Yes, upsidedownlife.blogspot.com, lifeupsidedown.blogspot.com, and downsideuplife.blogspot.com were taken, mostly by people who, apparently, posted once before moving on to other things. Which left me with lifedownsideup.blogspot.com. Which is kind of neat because, if you say the words backwards, you get "Upside-Down Life." Which is what my life feels like these days. It only makes sense that my blog title says it backwards.

Why have I moved? I basically destroyed my old blog, A Sort of Notebook. Kept a few of the most popular posts, deleted all the rest. I probably shouldn't have done that, but I did. It wasn't an impulsive thing, either; I'd been wanting to delete 90% of my 2,000+ posts for months. So I did, and it's done. I checked with Blogger, and the posts are not retrievable. I did save them in a file; you can probably find them on the internet if you google hard enough.

For a while, I've felt the need for a clean slate (or something like that). My enthusiasm for "A Sort of Notebook" started to wane back in 2006 or so. I kept posting, but the posts felt dead to me. Really, they were little more than boring "updates on my life" for the few people who were still reading along.

Some bloggers are fine with such things (and I certainly read and enjoy blogs by some of those people), but I wasn't.

One blogger I admire writes about making a mission statement for a blog. I've thought about that. And I'm thinking about it still. Because "A Sort of Notebook" kind of lost its mission after I left my cubicle job in Asheville. In many ways, its mission was to share my thoughts on composers, piano lessons, poetry, and life in general, and to do so as a way of counteracting my on-the-job boredom. (I literally had no work to do most of the time, or if I did do work, it was generally on a version of the software that the programmer, without telling me, had updated by the time my documentation was ready, rendering all my weeks of work a waste of time. These are the two main reasons I eventually resigned, despite the lucrative paycheck.)

I went on to a year of teaching, and then a year of recovering from the wreck I had become while teaching, and then into my always-busy current job, which requires many long hours, particulary in the fall. Oh, and I became a mom. So many of the things I used to blog about--music, composers, piano lessons and playing, poetry, etc.--are not even a part of my life anymore because I don't have time or energy to practice, research, read, reflect, or even listen.

Yes, in case you were wondering, depression has become an issue. I wonder why ...

I could write about motherhood, but, to be honest, I really don't want to write about motherhood.

To be able to write, I must have things to write about, and I must have the time (and energy) to process my thoughts about them, and I must have the time (and energy) to actually do the writing. For the past year, I've been missing at least two of those three things. So I haven't written.

But I need to write.

So, this is a clean slate. I'm going to start thinking about a mission, and if I want to take the route of actually writing one out. I'm going to do as my counselor recommended and try to write for a half-hour every night. And I'll try to blog once a week. If I can blog more, I will, but I'm not going to put any expectations on myself.

I have a lot to share and am praying that doors of time will open up for me, and that, when they do, I'll have the energy to put pen to paper and reflect on things I can later share with you here.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Hi, everyone.

I went to a counselor (because I am a mess), and it’s her professional opinion that I consider blogging again. Apparently, if I don’t have an outlet like this blog for letting words leak through my fingers, I become a mess. And if I close myself off and don’t interact with friends via the blog, I become an even bigger mess.

(I’ve never been one for interacting with people much in real life. Way too introverted for that. But I like the whole online thing.)

So, I knew blogging and online interaction with folks helped to keep me sane. But it’s different hearing it from a professional.

But I do need to guard against the "all about me" mentality that blogging seems to encourage. And I need to not let blogging replace creative writing and personal journaling. So there are things to watch out for.

So anyway, I might start blogging again. That’s my big news.

Any big news in your life?

Blogging Elsewhere

Hi, Strangers! I've been blogging with my friend Anh over at Then a Gentle Whisper . Check it out!