Friday, September 23, 2011

A Letter from Lydia

Hi.

I’m sort of a head case right now. People keep asking me if I’m losing weight, which normally would make me super happy and want to wiggle my fanny for them a little bit. But today it just reminds me that I’ve forgotten to eat again. If you know me, you will understand the significance of that statement. I don’t forget to eat. That’s not me. Once my blood sugar bottoms out, it takes a day to get me right again and that day is not fun (thank you, PCOS).

Here’s the dealio: We close on a house next week. We start working on it three days later. We move one week after that. We’ve been saving for this house for ten years. It is so exciting and wonderful. But I feel like I’m climbing a mountain trying to get us there. To all the military mommies out there: HOW THE HELL DO YOU EVEN DO IT?

Not one box has been packed. Van loads of items have been purged and de-cluttered and space-bagged into bizarro plastic hoo-haws. But not one box is done yet. And today, Cap'n Coupon let me know that he will have to travel for work for ten of the next 14 days.

So I will be doing this all by myself with three kids. Which I shouldn't complain about. He'll be back in 2 weeks. He's not in Iraq.  But I'm still freaking out a little.

About the kids… They’re being wonderful about all the changes. Actually, let me amend that statement. They’re being wonderful at school. At home, they’re stressed and snappy and exhausted. And then sweet and snugly and wanting to pull up the drawbridge and have a quiet movie night with just us. Probably because I'm all those things, too. My mental state has such a profound effect on theirs. And at the moment I’m struggling to maintain composure and calmness when I want to rock in the corner and randomly screech out expletives.

But the real reason I’m a head case right now is only partially due to the move. The other reason is both the cause of some anguish and the source of whatever strength I have right now.

Two weeks ago, a little boy was killed by flash floods right near where we live in Virginia. He was 12 years old.  His mom is a blogger. She’s one of us. It could have been my family. It could have been my son. But it was hers.

[WARNING: Do not click that link unless you want to cry for hours and hours.]

I keep thinking of her. Of her unimaginable pain. Of her little girl having to go through the rest of her life without her big brother. Of her husband needing to be strong for his family, while mourning the loss of his only son. Of their grace in the face of this horrible tragedy.

I read her blog and her words are so kind. It is all so heartbreaking.

The story of her child’s life and his death has left me feeling haunted and broken.
I find myself crying in the car. I find myself telling my kids how lucky they are to have each other and please stop using hurtful words they will regret saying out loud. Why can’t they understand how lucky they are?

I find myself overwhelmed with gratitude for every day that I have them here with me. I hold them tighter. I tell them I love them no matter what. I embarrass them by smooching them in front of their friends.

I find myself paralyzed by The Fear.

I am missing those that are gone so very much. I am thinking about them more and talking about them more. And I feel their presence in my life more as a result.

I’m filled with appreciation for my friends. Womens’ friendships can be so complicated. So very complicated. And yet right now, I’m just happy to have people in my life who understand me and forgive me for being such a douchebag sometimes. And whether they’re near or far or moving to Indonesia (Ellen, I’m looking at you) – they are the family that I chose. And they chose me back.

I’m praying again. After a long break filled with doubts and questions and justifications for why I was not living and parenting the way I should be. Well… Maybe I’m not praying as much as I’m begging for the strength to do a better job.

I feel a little better now.

I cry a lot and then I let the stress and fear subside as much as I can. Because I am the luckiest, most unworthy hooker on the planet. I have healthy children. I am able to care for them and provide for them. We have food and clean water. My husband is a good man and a great father, even if I occasionally have a little trouble remembering that. He has work when so many do not. For the first time in years, no one in our family has cancer or is fighting for their life. Good things are happening. We are weeks away from actually having a family home that is ours.

And I can always find things to laugh about. Inappropriate things. And I can share them with you anytime I want and feel part of an amazing community of like-minded women for whom I am so very, very grateful.

I take to heart the words of the Bloggess in her famous Beyonce the Metal Chicken post:

Perspective. Now you have it.”

The loss of that precious boy will never, ever be right. But in thinking of him all the time, I am keeping my Beyonce perspective. I am trying to see things clearly, to wake up every day and do better. And to get through our move and the next month with my sense of humor intact and without losing my schmidt.

To that effect, I’ll be taking the month of October off. I’ll still be checking in every day and have a few posts already scheduled so you don’t forget about me. Next week will be filled with cool stuff about our trip to Chicago and our shenanigans there.  But after that, I'll be MIA for a few weeks.

But Kate is in charge while I’m gone, y’all – so watch out.

Love you guys,

Lydia

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

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