My children recently stayed with my sister and had a great time. In fact, Drama Queen cried when they came home. About a week after their overnight visit, my daughter said something that broke my heart. "Mom, when I'm grown up, I won't have a sister to watch my kids when I'm gone."
My brother is 3 years younger than me. My sister? 14 years younger. I prayed for her to come along for years. Literally. I knew what my parents were going to tell me the split second before they announced the big news. I was so excited about her imminent birth that I skipped a ski trip on spring break so I could be there in case she was born during that time. She was. I remember looking at her through the nursery window and not being able to comprehend that she was really and truly ours.
We shared a room from the time she was a couple of months old until I got married. She is in tears in most of my wedding pictures. I had no idea it would be so hard on her. In fact, she was in the bathroom throwing up right before we left for our honeymoon.
Although we have always been friends, I felt like her second mother for a long time. That has all changed now, though. She has moved into the spot of best friend. Although I have another best friend, my sister has that special relationship that no one else could have with me. She has lived with me through so many things. We share the same parents and the same neuroses courtesy of those shared parents. She knows things about me that I haven't even shared with The Hubster.
The hardest time for me was when she went away to college. I still talked to her all the time, but I felt like we were missing out on a lot of what was going on in each other's lives. Some day she will have to go back and finish, and I am dreading that time. We talk almost every day now, never going more than one day without a phone call. And we love to watch the same TV show and call each other after it is over to discuss it. If we can wait that long. Many, many times we have called on the commercial breaks throughout the entire show, hanging up as soon as the commercial was over.
One of the things I am most grateful for is her encouragement to see my doctor about my depression. I had no idea how badly depressed I was and the difference the medication could make!
So, yes, Drama Queen's statement hit me hard. I feel such a sadness that she won't ever have that special relationship that sisters share. My life is so much better because of mine.
3:34 PM ~
Drama Queen can put into words things that I still have trouble explaining. Tonight she called me into her room after she was already in bed:
"Mom, I don't feel good. It's not the kind where I think I'm going to be sick. It's the kind where something's wrong, like I've done something wrong and I feel bad about it. The kind where I have to get it okay before I feel better."
She went on to explain that her one good friend in Girl Scouts is no longer going. She wants to switch troops so she won't lose contact with her friend. I had to explain that she will still see her at school and that we'll have her come over and play. I thought that effectively covered it and stood up to leave. She pulled me back down and told me "it isn't finished yet." How do you finish? Apparently lots of reassurances of playdates and ways to work out our schedule.
I worry about my children because I have battled depression for many, many years. The thing is, I didn't know I was battling it until just a few years ago. Now the lightbulb has come on and I can look back at my childhood and realize why I felt the way I did. It scares me to think about my children going through the same thing. Just hearing Drama Queen being able to verbalize her feelings so well makes me feel better. Maybe that will be one legacy I won't pass on to them.
10:49 PM ~
I feel like I am rushing my way through my life. Even when there isn't any reason to hurry, I still move like I'm running late. I can't count how many times I've told my children to hurry up or that we're late.
The first time it was ever brought to my attention was after I had walked into and out of a room and someone asked me if I always walked that fast. I had no idea I had been walking fast! That was normal for me. And then a former boss commented that Drama Queen walks just like me (she was marching along like she was on a mission).
I'm not sure how to slow down. No matter what's going on (or not going on), I feel like I'm running behind. I can always think of a million other things that I need to get done. I LOVE to eat, but I inhale my food in less than 5 minutes usually because it seems like a waste of time. After all, I could be getting so many other things done instead.
I think that's why I love to camp. There is nothing that has to be done when I'm camping. It seems like that's the only time I can sit and relax without feeling guilty or pressured.
I would love to slow down more and enjoy my life, not just charge my way through a to-do list. Any suggestions? I'm all ears.
9:46 AM ~
I forget that not everybody hates Valentine's Day like I do. My best friend gave me a plate of cookies, some candy and a card. A few days ago I suggested to The Hubster that we not buy cards for each other, but he had already bought one.
Most people who don't like this holiday are usually men who have no idea what they are supposed to get for their girlfriend/wife or people who are not in a relationship and have it thrown in their face on this day. Me? I'm just cranky. I don't want the card/flower/candy industry to dictate when my husband tells me he loves me. It seems like such a waste of money to give an obligatory gift. Where's the love in that? Now if The Hubster gave me a Valentine's card in July? That would be special. It would mean he thought of me without being prompted by the media or retailers.
But. BUT...I got a great present. My whole family was gone tonight for over an hour! I love each and every one of them dearly, but I sometimes crave to be by myself at home. By 7:00 I had already had a shower, had my contacts out and had my jammies on. The silence was absolutely wonderful. But I have to confess: I wasn't completely alone. I had Simon, Paula and Randy to keep me company. This time I didn't have anyone interrupting. I could hear everything that was said, every sour note hit, and every stumble over lyrics.
I think I'll go enjoy the last of my quiet now.
7:08 PM ~
I've lost my sweet, tender-hearted little girl. Drama Queen is learning to wound with her words, and boy can she hit it right on the most tender spot! She was furious with her brother this morning (because he was picking on her) and said, "I would laugh if you died." If I hadn't been dealing with something else at the time, I think I might have just sat down and cried.
Then she told me this morning: "Why do you have to be my mom?" Now if I was the type of person who starved my child, beat her, was entirely too strict and controlling with her or any number of other ways to really be a bad mom, I would understand hearing this comment. I'm a good mom, not the worst but always striving to be better. I've really learned to loosen up in the last couple of years and quit obsessing over the little things. I'm trying so hard to not control my children by guilt trips so they won't have the anxiety and guilt that I battle every day. So to hear her say that, well...
I just can't wait for the teenage/PMS years! God help us all.
11:21 AM ~
I am making a big mistake, and my children have it all figured out. While I am giving out/cleaning up snacks for the 6 extra kids at the house, trying to get dinner started, greeting parents who are coming to pick up their children, and finding stray shoes and diaper bags, it never fails that it is at that precise moment that it occurs to me to ask my children how much homework they have. Somewhere between the words leaving their lips and them reaching my ears, they must undergo a radical tranformation because I never hear the correct amount. Since they "only have" one paper left or just a couple of pages to read, I'm always deluded into thinking that it can wait until all of the extra kids are gone and the decibel level has returned to that of a jackhammer instead of a lear jet at takeoff.
I must have missed the day at school that talks about how "only one page" can multiply into homework in three different subjects in the space of just a few hours. Apparently the closer it gets to bedtime, the more work is actually involved.
My only consolation right now is that The Hubster is actually checking Drama Queen's homework tonight. I can hardly keep myself from laughing in glee as I hear him struggling over math questions and then trying to explain what she did wrong. Free at last, free at last. Thank God I'm free at last. For tonight anyway.
8:40 PM ~
Karate Kid's class is having the national writing test on Monday, so they've been practicing every day. A couple of weeks ago he had to write three things about me. He chose cooking (quit laughing, Sis!), working, and reading.
Today they had to write about their hero. Karate Kid said that he wrote about The Hubster. He told me, "I chose him because it was about our hero, and I couldn't write about you because you're a girl. I don't want to grow up and be a girl!" They had to come up with three traits and then expand those into paragraphs to make their story. He said that The Hubster was funny, nice, and helpful.
From the way he talked about choosing Dad over me because I was a girl, I got the feeling that he might have written about me if the gender issue hadn't been in play. I was feeling pretty sure of myself, thinking that we have a special bond and that he secretly wanted to write about me. Since I just knew that he would write about how much we both like reading and going to the show and how we are so much alike, I asked him what he would have written about. He thought for a second and then said, "I already wrote about you." I was still looking for that feel-good, bonding moment, so I pursued it even more. "But if you had chosen me for your hero, what would you have written about?" He was clearly tired of the discussion, but he went ahead and answered, "Mom, I don't know. It took me 30 minutes to think of who to write about as my hero! Then I spent another 50 minutes to write the paper!"
You would think that I would have left it at that, but no. I asked him a few minutes later if his dad was really his hero or if he had chosen him just so he could have someone to write about (like his best friend chose his older brother even thought they fight like two male beta fish put into the same tank and "even though he's not really my hero"). He said, Well, I had to choose somebody I knew so I could...Yes. Yes, Mom. He's my hero."
And I opened my mouth yet again:
"So am I your heroine?"
"*sigh* Yeeeesss, Mom. I'm going to smoke you. Now where did I leave my pipe?"
Did you hear my bubble burst? At least he doesn't know that you shoot heroine. Now I just have to work on becoming Drama Queen's hero. What with the amount of clothing wars we have, I just don't see that happening.
7:16 PM ~
My father does not kiss anybody on the lips other than my mother. We received lots of hugs and kisses from him, but the kisses were always on our cheeks or forehead. His weird trait carried over onto my brother, my sister, and myself. It looks like my children are going to have the same issues with kissing that we all do. Both of them have asked why my best friend kisses her son on the lips, acting like it's a very unnatural thing.
For all of these years, I thought my dad didn't like kissing on the lips because of germs or because it was disrespectful to my mother somehow. I found out recently that he had an aunt who used to be all lips that would kiss him right smack on the mouth. It disgusted him so much that he vowed he would never kiss anybody on the mouth again except for his wife.
Even though I now know the real reason for it, I still can't bring myself to kiss anybody but The Hubster on the lips. My reluctance stems from a germ thing, though. I at least told my kids why I don't and why Papa didn't. We'll see if it actually lasts through their generation or not.
The Bible says the sins of the father lasts to the third and fourth generation. We'll see if that also means neuroses.
3:02 PM ~
Be careful about complaining about a bad situation. It may just get worse.
The little "monkey girl" that I watched that climbed every. thing. in. the. house. left two weeks ago. A new little boy a month younger than she was started on Monday. There is no way to explain what I have been through this week. Every child I watch has gone home with war wounds. Most of them were just scratches--all up and down their arms or faces. One poor little boy looked like the Boston Strangler had gotten hold of him.
Karate Kid is not the most patient of kids, so I was shocked when I heard him saying in a very calm, quiet, sing-songy voice, "Ow. That hurts. Let go. Be gentle. Soft touch. Ow." He was trying every phrase he could think of to "call off the dogs." I walked in the room and saw the new little one had him by the throat and the back of his neck, fingers dug in as far into the skin as he could get them.
His best piece of work was the bite mark he left on the side of another little one's face. That was when I had HAD it! I had spent my whole week dogging this kid, hovering and calling out "Be nice" every time the poor kid moved. My house looked like a war zone because I couldn't turn my back long enough to put anything away. And cleaning? Ha! I was so wiped out from being so hypervigilant about him that all I could do was collapse when he left.
So now he has one week to improve or he's out. I'm rooting for the "out" part so I can actually breathe again. But then I'm back to the situation of trying to find someone to replace him. Hmm...less money or sanity? Not a hard choice.
5:58 PM ~