SOME of what it takes to care for Evie

I saw this link to a care map on a blog that I follow.  I’ve adapted it to illustrate the points that I am trying to make.


I know that for a blog called, “Love Explosions”, it sometimes feels more like anger explosions.

I’m sharing this,not to try to garner sympathy.  We don’t want or need sympathy.  We are very happy most of the time, contrary to what it might seem like when you read my blog.  I’m sharing this so that you will have a tiny bit of understanding about what it takes for us to be a family.

About our Family:  We live in Vermont.  My husband, Scott, travels about 80% of the time for his career.  Out of the state.  Usually just during the week.  But sometimes it eats into the weekend.  I (Beth) take care of an adult, in our home, who has developmental disabilities.  This is more of a joy than a job but it also comes with responsibilities that cannot be ignored and coordination issues of its own.  We have two daughters, Evie, who is six.  And Maxine who is three.  My mother, Alison, lives with us in an inlaw apartment in our home.

Evie goes to school Monday through Friday from 8:15-2:45.  She does adaptive swim on Wednesday mornings, before school, and Friday afternoons, after school.  She needs more outside services than she is getting.  For reasons relating to insurance, availability, scheduling, and Evie’s quality of life–not overscheduling her, we are not currently getting all that she needs.  You can see, on the map I made, all of the things she really needs.

Maxine has a life too.  I stay home with her and she goes to a few classes: dance, gymnastics, and swim twice a week with Evie.  And she is a pretty demanding little bugger.  She, like any three year old, does not just want to sit in the house and watch me perform daily living tasks.  Nor should she have to.

During the week, I ideally, work out three times.  This almost never happens because my kids’ needs come first.  Other than occasional doctor or dental appointments, I don’t schedule anything that relates to myself.  Not because I don’t want to, but because I can’t keep up with the three workouts a week that I consider most important as it is.  So yeah, I don’t really have a personal life.  I’ve let most of my friendships go because I don’t really have the time or energy to be a good friend.  I’m mostly okay with my personal situation right now and know it will get better as Maxine gets older.  I do feel a burning need to fulfill another part of my life–which is contributing something significant for the population of people to which Evie belongs.  That cannot take a back burner.

On the weekends when Scott is home, I catch up on sleep.  Evie has sleep disturbances which often keep me awake and I have periodic bouts of insomnia. I also spend a lot of time playing catchup on household chores, paperwork, laundry, email correspondence, etc.  And of course, we spend time doing fun stuff as a family.

We do have help.  We have a fabulous babysitter, Heather, the only person outside of our family that I trust to take care of Evelyn while I am not home.  We have a housekeeper who comes once a week.  We have the driveway plowed, etc.

We have appointments for Evie coming out the wazoo.  They often involve traveling to NH or Boston.  They often have to be rescheduled because of weather, illness, other life events.  Evie has a difficult time sleeping in places other than her own room.  More than her normal sleep difficulties.  Appointments are a disruption in Evie’s routine and they can throw her off for a week.

I feel like I spend half of my life on the phone talking to insurance, scheduling appointments, canceling appointments, getting support/advice and arguing with people about any number of things relating to Evie .  It is energy sapping.  I wish the entire world would convert everything to email.  Oh and until very recently, we had a huge amount of medical debt and our phone rang constantly.  Debt collectors–not happy with the amount of money I decided to pay monthly.  Both the phone ringing about 20 times a day and the debt itself was very stressful.

Just like everyone, we need to shop and run errands.  This is best done without Evie as she gets restless in the stores and I can’t stand the dirty looks we get.  And because the child is a geographical genius.  I’m not kidding.  She fuh-reaks when we pass a road that brings her to place that she wants to go.  It is especially fun in the summer when we have to pass our neighborhood pool whenever we leave the development.

There are simultaneously never enough hours in a day and always too many.

Then shit happens.  Evie kicks into a bad sleep pattern, causing her to miss school and appointments to be juggled and missed.  Childcare to be rearranged.  Inability to get errands done.  Or someone gets sick.  But it throws everything off kilter.  Or childcare falls through.

Evie needs around the clock supervision.  She will put anything and everything in her mouth which is both dangerous and accounts for her killer immune system.  She has zero concept of danger.  And she is prone to wandering.

Then there is dealing with support providers.  If you’ve read my blog you know that we have had issues with many, many, many doctors.  Thankfully, right now we have a fabulous team–including the very best pediatrician, Dr. Paul Parker of Richmond Pediatrics and our new psychiatrist, Dr. Jeanne Greenblatt–she is all kinds of fabulous.  You can see all of the other providers and diagnoses that Evie has on the picture of the map.

We also work with two social worker type people whom are both lifesavers when we need help.  Very competent.  Very caring.  Very understanding.  I couldn’t ask for better.

There is dealing with school.  Which tends to be most difficult at IEP time.  Which is now.  Her entire school team is sweet.  And I know they are always trying to do what they think is best.  But we almost always disagree on the important things.  It is a constant struggle between doing what I know is best for Evie and not pissing someone off so much that it affects Evie.  The very best part of Evie’s school, in my opinion, is her morning paraeducator, Sue.  Sue has worked with Evie for almost two years and she is enthusiastic, loving, positive, and respectful.  Always.  I can tell when Sue is absent from Evie’s day by her mood when she comes home–even though there are probably equally wonderful people working with her.

The question/comment people most often ask/make:  “I have no idea how you do all that you do.”

The answer is that the alternative is not doing it.  Not an option.

So, we muddle through it.  My husband and I spend almost zero time alone together.  I don’t remember the last time we went someplace without the kids.  It has been years.  And by someplace, I mean for even an hour-not a vacation.  We are ALWAYS exhausted.  Our home always feels like a cluttered mess.  And keeping commitments that have a specific start and end time is really hard–like I can’t explain to you how hard.

But we are a happy family.  Seriously.  Like I’ve never been so happy.  And tired.






Slow is beautiful.

In the morning Evie gets up slowly.  She gradually tests her voice with a series of little contented moans that build in intensity.  Build into happy shrieks.

I listen on the monitor and go to her when I hear those little shrieks.  I open the door and say, “Good morning Evie.”  She is always sitting up on her bed with her legs extended straight out in front of her.  She squints as the light from the hallways creeps into her room and her pupils slowly adjust.

When I sit on her bed she smiles and hugs me.  I lift her body up.  Because of her low tone, she melts into my body.  Hypotonia has its perks.  For a blissful moment, I don’t know where I end and she begins.  It is one of my favorite moments of the day.

I carry her downstairs and our morning ritual ambles along.

She eats her breakfast slowly.  In courses.

Her face and hands are sticky from pears as she climbs in and out of my lap.

She gets up early.  Some would cringe at the hour that she rises.  But I have come to love our morning routine.  We don’t have to hurry because the hours until I drive her to school stretch out before us with comfortable sameness.  The predictability of knowing what comes next.  But being in no hurry to transition.

From Evie, I have learned to slow down.  To savor the moment.  The many ways in which Evie is different from typically developing children is especially apparent in the morning.

She offers me her, still open-mouthed, kisses in abundance.  Uncharacteristic of her age.  But wonderfully characteristic of my girl.

In the morning we are fluent in the same language.  For a few short hours, I can live entirely in her world.  Speaking little.  Communicating in hugs, kisses, and cuddles.  Almost every morning, I have a fleeting thought of keeping Evie out of school to feast on our synchronicity.  But while Evie doesn’t speed up much as the day progresses, I must return to my world of fast moving.

So I don’t indulge that tug I feel to linger there with Evie.  Where nothing is as important as a morning snuggle or a juicy pear.  Where deadlines and appointments don’t exist.  Where fast and competitive cease to be.  Where just being is splendid.  And where you never have to steal a kiss because open-mouthed smooches are dealt out freely and without restraint–even when you’re five going on six.



I have a lot of work to do on myself.  A LOT.

I’m not a bad person.  For the most part, my intentions are good.  But being REALLY good does not come naturally to me.

Recently, someone told a fib regarding Evie.  I knew it was a fib.  It made me FURIOUS.  No, let me rephrase that.  I made me FURIOUS.

I marinated in my anger for days.  I thought, obsessively, about how wronged I was.  How wronged Evie was.  And yes, how this person needed to own up to her dishonesty.  And suffer the consequences for her actions.


On me.

My anger was so deep and all-consuming.  I thought of little else.  Somewhere around day three or four of my fury, it dawned on me that I was in a really bad place.  My anger wasn’t serving anyone.  It wasn’t helping to achieve a better outcome for my child.  In fact, it was making parenting more difficult because I really wasn’t present when my mind was busy plotting how I would achieve justice.

Thankfully, I don’t get angry with people much anymore.  But when I do, I can see that it is a real problem for me.

I began, reluctantly, sifting through my emotions.  And yes, I did spend a great deal of time trying to justify, in my head, why it was essential that this person deserved to pay.  I tried to tell myself I wasn’t seeking revenge but justice.  But I knew I was being a big liar liar pants on fire.

Somehow getting that pound of flesh became more important than everything else.  How does that happen?

Thankfully, I had the good sense not to go balls to the wall before I realized what I shit I was being.  Had I followed through–I would have been a total asshole.  I would have, possibly irreparably, damaged an important relationship, and I would have compromised Evelyn.

A few years ago, I learned to assume good things about people.  To stop looking for the bad.  Horrible as it sounds, that was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  But it has really changed my life in ways that I could never have imagined.  It is great to have the very highest expectations of people.

Except when people are not at their best.

Separating the less than perfect action from the person is hard for me.  And it is hard because I am not all that good at personally forgiving people unless it is on my terms.  Read:  You confess to your sins, you admit that I am right, and you say sorry.

I guess that is not really forgiveness so much as it is getting my own way.  I like getting my own way.  But it isn’t necessarily the best thing for my character.

So I am working on learning how to forgive.  Unconditionally.  It is frickin’ hard!  I guess I’m not a person who lets things go easily.  Over the next weeks, months, probably years…I will be telling myself that letting go of my anger does not mean that I am accepting a wrong.  It means that after I address it, I don’t have room to store it in my heart.  To let it fester and grow and take on a life of its own.  Not if I want my life to be filled with love and happiness.  Anger cannot coexist with love and happiness.  I’ve demonstrated this to myself countless times.   So I need to release my white knuckled grip on the anger that will surely overcome the very best in me if I let it win.


Meet the new love of my life.  A vintage metal shop chair.  She’s perty huh?

Please excuse the cabinets that are under construction–and missing the counter top which will be joining us in March.

My husband had a look of horror when it arrived.  He said he would not even sit in it.  He still thinks that I am playing a joke on him and that I am going to sand it down and paint it.  Our housekeeper, Bonnie, said, “You bought that?  It looks like something you pulled out of the trash!” when I instructed her that she was NOT to scrape all of the paint splatter off of it.

If you didn’t know, we are remodeling the kitchen–well everything.  But she will live in the kitchen.  My inspiration is farmhouse-industrial-fabulous.  And I love this stool because it embodies that feel–to me anyhow.

This store has so many stories.  Scott would say that it tells the story of a messy painter.  But I love those splatters.

The green drips remind me of a time long ago when I had finally ended an abusive relationship.  I was living in FL and was longing to do something drastic.  On a whim, I went and had a gallon of very, very green paint mixed up and painted my kitchen.  I called it “justice green” as my ex was finally being held accountable by the law.  Anyhow, the color turned out to be awful.  But it felt so good to paint those walls something completely different from what they’d been.  And they were the visual embodiment of the thirst for change I had quenched.

The red drips remind me of a bedroom that I painted red.  On another whim, of course.  I was in a red phase.  I was angry with the world.   The red was so red, and I really think it fed my anger and I ended up repainting it shortly after.  It was already a firey time of my life and I kept on seeing hot red when I really needed to be seeing a cool blue.

Back to my stool.

I don’t just love it because it is splattered with paint.

I love it because it has withstood the test of time.  You have to admire anything that does that in this world.  It managed to escape being dumped in a landfill or sold and melted down into something else.  My chair is a trooper and a survivor.

I am sure this chair has lived in many different places and served many different purposes.  Like me, ahem.  I picture it being passed down through a family–from some 1940’a workshop to a pair of newlyweds, given to a sister to help furnish her new apartment, back to the newlyweds ten years later and used by their children to anchor a blanket fort, moved to the garage as a seat at a worktable.

Eventually, she was sold for $1 at yard sale to some person meaning to refinish her.  But she just sat there and was subjected to a leaky roof which caused her to rust a little–okay a lot.  Thankfully, someone recognized her sturdy beauty and rescued her curbside, from the waste haulers.  She sold her to me for $75.

My girl has been around the block.  Sure she is covered in patina and paint splatters.  But her imperfections make her all the more beautiful to me.  She has only just begun telling stories as I am a very messy painter…and I paint things…often.  She is strong and substantial and will be a reminder of the little things that might, otherwise, be forgotten.


It is birthday babble

“To Gillian on her 37th Birthday”  ‘memba that movie?  It keeps popping into my head because I turn 37 today.  It came out about 15 years ago, I think.  I remember thinking how positively ancient 37 sounded.  And here I am.  37.  Married, stay at home mom to two kids, a mortgage, a dog, a cat.

My early twenties self would scoff at my 37 year old self.  I had no intention of ever getting married–buying into that silly piece of paper that shackled two people together.  Bringing children into a world full of suffering, poverty, war, and unhappiness?  Selfish and irresponsible.

It is funny that I was in the twilight of selfishness at that point in my life.  I thought of little more than designer clothing, partying, and falling in and out of love with all the wrong men.  I know that I didn’t have a concept of how to really care about another human being in a meaningful way.

I used to want life to speed up, to get on to the next moment that held all the promise of being better than the last.  Now, I would give anything for life to slow down–to be able to savor these delicious moments spent loving my family.  How could any moment be sweeter the one spent cuddling my girls, watching Evie’s face light up, or seeing Maxine learn something new?  I find myself fighting my tendency to mourn the passing of time and the death of each precious moment.

My twenty something self wasn’t wrong in a lot of ways.  The world continues to be the home of so much sadness.  And yeah, it probably is selfish in some ways to bring kids into the world.  But with the passing of the years, I’ve been able to see beauty and hope in even the darkest moments.  I’ve learned to go looking for light and promise.  And I’ve learned that alongside the horror and darkness, it is always there, waiting to be discovered and worn as a protective shield around my heart.

I’m not so evolved that I don’t get angry or judgmental.  But my hard edges have softened and have given way to a more malleable me.  I’ve chilled.  A lot.  I’m sure that I owe a shout out to my good friend Paxil.  But I’ve also put in the hard work to become a person that I’m proud of on most days.

It is really hard to be good.  To swallow my pride often.  To forgive–usually myself.  To go easy on other people.  And to look for that thread of goodness that is always woven into the tapestry of life.

Good god, I’ve become a cheesy sentimentalist.  But in becoming so, I’ve opened the door to real honest to goodness love and unimaginable happiness.  I’m a work in progress capable of smiling with context.  And as I nurture my spirit, I try not to think about whether or not I will have another 37 years to marvel at the evolution of myself.  And I try to let each moment be fulfilling and enough.

Mae Mae the Great

Meet Mae Mae.

So much resting on these golden little shoulders.

First of all, sigh….I can’t even handle her cuteness.  Seriously.

It’s been a long time since I’ve allowed myself to go gaga for a dog.  For those of you who know me, you know that I used to have three dogs.  Three, yes, three.  When I was 5 months pregnant with Evie, my dog, Aristotle got sick.  He was only 4 years old.  He had an acquired shunt in his liver and they couldn’t do anything about it.

I hauled his little butt all the way down to Angel Memorial in Boston for a second opinion.  The second opinion was, unfortunately, that the guy in Vermont actually trained the people at Angel Memorial and wrote the book on the subject.  The really awful book.  Suck.

So I ended up trying to give him the very best last few days of his life–to let him go out guns blazing.  And when it was clear his guns weren’t blazing anymore, it was really clear.  I bargained, begged, and pleaded with a god I didn’t even believe in for him to be healthy.  And I took him to the vet in the middle of the night and held him as they euthanized him.

I didn’t take the moment alone with his body that they offered.  I just turned and left.  And I cried, and I cried, and I cried.  And in my head I knew I would never be able to be happy again.  My husband had the foresight to put away his pictures and his things.  And I instructed him to call anyone that might be tempted to mention his name, not to.  Not to offer sympathy.  No.  I couldn’t handle the mention of him.  He was already occupying my every thought.

As it turns out, I could be happy again.  But I am not being dramatic when I say that something changed inside of me and I emotionally withdrew from my other two dogs, Molson and Jacob.  Slightly, but I did.  It is amazing how we instinctively protect our organs–including the emotional barriers we put around our hearts.

So back to Mae Mae.  She reminds me of Aristotle in looks.  So, so much.  There is a good five years to cushion the pain but my heart still hurts a little when I catch a glimpse of him in her.  But I also remember how much joy there is in loving a dog.  And I want that joy for my children.  And for myself, again.

I have lofty hopes for Mae Mae.  Not only that my heart will finally mend from the loss of my Aristotle.  But that she will become Evie’s service dog.

We are going about things unconventionally.  Of course, that’s how we roll here.  We are raising her and training her ourselves rather than waiting for years on a waiting list to get a service dog.  Of course, this means Mae Mae won’t necessarily have the stuff it takes to become a service dog.  And we are totally okay with that as she is already a lovely part of our family.

Maxine is borderline obsessed with Mae Mae.  As in, individually feeding her each kernel of dog food.  As in, holding her little fluffer head and bending down to kiss her.  Heart melts.  As in, laughing hysterically and pointing at just about everything Mae Mae does.  She is not so fond of the puppy nipping and scratching but we are working on that.  Maxine has been saying “don’t bite” CONSTANTLY and over and over again.  Even when Mae Mae is tucked behind the chair taking a noozer.

So little Mae Mae is settling in so nicely and nudging her little way into our hearts.  There’s just something so magical about having a puppy and watching my girls with her is more fun than I could have ever imagined.  Welcome Mae Mae!



I often find myself feeling a little blue this time of year.  The holidays are so special to me–time off, more time with family, welcoming the light back into the world, lots of reasons to be grateful, joyful and celebrate officially built into the calendar.  After January 1st, I find myself focusing on all the ways that I have failed to be the mother, wife, and person I wanted to be in the previous year.  Depressing and hardly the way to start a a new beginning.

But gosh darn it, I love a clean slate…the promise of a new beginning.  Why do the blues always creep in at this time of year?  A time where I should be celebrating the chance to let go of my failures and embrace some of the feelings that I love best–hope.

I’ve been soul searching.  Looking at my life.  Being honest with myself.  It isn’t easy for me to acknowledge the flaws in my character, my faults as a human being, and even my personal weaknesses.  I think I tend to set my goals without thought to how these imperfections because I don’t want to believe that they are there–a constant threat to waylaying me on my path to human perfection being a somewhat decent and productive person.

I am probably never going to evict them.  My dirty little defects are a part of me.  This year, or at least for the first two-three days of 2012, I’m going to try to overcome them–to achieve in spite of them.

So the hardest part for me is to admit ’em.  Best just rip the bandaid off.

1.  I am disorganized.  Terribly so.  Even if I have a place for everything–it seldom ends up taking residence there.

2.  I procrastinate.  Sinfully.  Sometimes this is okay–like procrastinating vacuuming so that I can play with my kids.  But too often my procrastination looks more like not sorting through the pile of paper so that I can burn up google looking for the perfect article on how to sort through the paper.

3.  I love starting a project.  I don’t know if I like to finish a project because I don’t have any experience in doing so.  I think I would like it though….it has to be better than having thousands of great starts.

4.  I blow off social commitments.  Yeah, sorry about that.  Does it help that I tend to convince myself of the veracity of the excuses I make up in my head about why I can’t do x,y,z with you even though we planned it three weeks ago?  Didn’t think so.  It doesn’t make me feel any better either.

5.  I’m obsessive.  I fixate on my latest worry/project/notion almost to the complete exclusion of everything else.  It is bad and does nothing but enhance flaws 1-4.

The list goes on…and on and on and on.  But these are the major ones and I think I need to set attainable goals for once.  I think I have a plan for flaws 1-4.  Pretty basic.  But 5 kind of stumps me and I have no idea how to work with this deeply ingrained demon.

So, even though my plan is flawed–in that I don’t have a plan for number 5.  I am going to embrace the fact that I am the eternal hope junkie–the fact that I always think things will turn out for the best and allow myself to feel optimistic at the prospect of making personal improvements.

Oh yeah, I’m going to blog every single day in 2012 too…if you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you….


I love winter.  Up until the last month or so.  Then my heart, mind, and body prepare for the very best season of all.  Spring.  I am a bona-fide spring junkie.  Today was the first time this year that I got the springy dingy feeling.

I’m going to get carried away in this post.  Consider yourself warned.

Today was an unexpected delight.  After last night’s terrific thunder storms, I figured it might be kind of warm. But when I stepped outside this morning–oh my gosh.  Bliss.  And there is no better bliss than the kind that catches you off guard.

I loved seeing those super white, chubby, little legs dangling out of the first shorts of the season.  Those little that have been hiding under layers of fleece for months came out to be kissed by the sun (and mama) today.  Exposed arms and faces soaking up the natural vitamin d those bodies have been craving.

A first real exploration of the outdoors for Maxine.  Crawling around.  Do I like the feeling of grass on my knees?  Do I hate it?   Oh, right-right, I’m mama’s daughter.  I love it.  I think.  Maybe.

Evie pushing the limits of her comfort zone.  And.  Wandering into the back yard by herself.  Crouching down to squish leaves and mud.

Rebecca arching her head back to feel that honest to goodness spring breeze on her beautiful face.

Me with a permagrin watching my girls fall in love with spring.  Me falling in love with my girls falling in love.

Long walks in the stroller with Wally trotting along beside.  And sometimes in front of the stroller.  That’s a mistake Wally.

Open windows.  Ceiling fans circulating the beautiful spring air into the house and the stale winter air out.  At least that is what I picture happening.

Dirty feet.  There is nothing better than dirty feet.  There is a direct correlation between how dirty you are and how much fun you had.

Little reddish buds on all the trees waiting to burst open into that young green in just a few short weeks.

A little chipmunk darted in front of us while we were lounging on the lawn.  Like 1 foot in front of us.  Okay, well that part kind of sucked because I don’t like rodents.

But mostly today promised me so many things.  Of the long daylight hours.  Of the summer nights with trips to creamy stand–Maxine can have her first soft serve this year.  Today promised me that our world would soon be exploding with green.  That the daffodils that opened today are just the first of many flowers to come.  It promised scraped knees and bee stings and all of the rights of the rights of childhood passage.  It promised us long hours at the park.  And swimming.  Lots of swimming (I considered pulling the kiddie pool out of the cellar but vetoed myself since I was the only adult here).

We were promised the endless summer–like the ones that turned me into the insane springy ding dong loving gal that I am today.

Enjoy the spring!

check myself before i wreck myself

For the most part we aren’t crass consumers anymore.  By we I mostly mean me because I am pretty sure my husband would go hog wild on electronics if given the chance.  We weren’t always this way but we’ve made some great strides towards the whole less thing.  There was a time in my life where I had almost 100 pairs of shoes and enough clothing to make your eyes bulge out of your head when you got a glimpse of my closet.  In fact, I am pretty sure I am largely responsible for the economy crashing as I pretty abruptly buttoned up my spending.

I get off track so easily.  Back to my point.  I do have one.  I swear.

So anyway, I was bragging about being such responsible consumers.  Comparatively.  And since we’ve made these changes, I have felt better.  I’m not focused on amassing a bunch of crap that was likely manufactured in China by young children under horrible conditions.  I don’t stress out about not having the latest and greatest XYZ (again, this is my blog, not Scott’s.  he may well be stressed about the unconsumed electronics).  I am pretty sure that I used to be somewhat compulsive about consumption.  Not to get all Freud or whoever, but it wouldn’t be a big leap to say that I probably bought things to assuage some subconscious want or dissatisfaction with my life.

I am currently in the process of remodeling my home.  Before having kids and moving into Vermont, I was seriously into design and spent much of my free time perfecting my home in FL.  It feels good to feel energized about making my space in Vermont my own.  I don’t feel guilty about doing some consumption or spending my free time scouring the web for diy tutorials.

But I am occasionally finding that spoiled, over consuming, brat makes a guest appearance.  My intention is to do everything on the cheap–reusing, repurposing, and refinishing whenever possible.  But that damn brat pops up in attempt to derail my best efforts to be responsible–tempting me to make the flashy trendy purchase over the practical enduring purchase.  And if that is not bad enough, she even slips back into obsessing over consumption of this or that.  And sometimes I don’t even realize she is here until I catch her whining about wanting/having to have this or that.  And I’m disgusted.  But I haven’t known how to control her.

Until today.

I remembered that no matter how much I bought, I never felt fulfilled.  So I would keep looking and buying more.  Vicious cycle.  I wasn’t happy.  And gosh darn it, before I started thinking about amassing more crap, I was totally happy.

Holy shit.  I’m so obtuse.

What I really want, I have.

And when I stop focusing on the love– on my little sprites,  on our good fortune,  on our health.  The happiness–it fades.  And really when I am spending so much time wanting a couch instead of enjoying my beautiful life, I am unworthy of happiness.

It is so simple.  I feel like a fool for losing sight of it.

busting up misconceptions

I’ve been trying to write about Evelyn’s recent gasping for air-turning blue-ambulance-hospital experience for a couple of weeks.  I’ve come to the conclusion that it is not meant to be written–at least not now.  So I am putting it away and writing about something else.

People often ask me how I do so much.  Because I am asked it so often, I have given it some serious thought.  I’ve come to some conclusions.  People ask the question with some incorrect preconceived notions.

The bottom line is that we all make choices about what we do.  And I am here today to destroy any respect you may have previously had for me 🙂  No seriously.  You probably think that I do everything that you do plus the things that you see me doing–like schlepping Evie to umpteen appointments, that you don’t do.  No.

I don’t clean.  Nope, I’m not kidding.  I have a housekeeper.  She comes once a week and digs us out of our filth and clutter.  Were it not for her, we’d be in some serious trouble as proven by weeks that she hasn’t been able to come.  Sometimes I will run the vacuum quickly across the floor but that is pretty much the extent of my domestic efforts.

I don’t really put laundry away.  We mostly live out of laundry baskets.  I’m not exaggerating in the least when I say that we own 10 baskets for clean clothing and 4 baskets for dirty clothing.  I do a pretty decent job of getting dirty laundry clean.  I actually empty the clean baskets—once a month?  Maybe?  On a good month.

I don’t iron.  Nope.  Not at all.  It doesn’t make sense to me.  So we wear clothing that we don’t need to iron.  I haven’t ironed in years and I’m not ashamed that I choose to spend my time in other ways.  In fact, I am proud of it.

I neglect my appearance in other ways too.  I don’t style my hair-it is almost always up.  I don’t wear makeup.  I don’t get my haircut but a couple of times a year.  I don’t color my hair.  I don’t shave–maybe a couple of times in the summer.  I mostly bathe with my children.  I steal a couple of adult showers a week but that’s it.

I sleep perfectly well when there are dishes in the sink–amazingly, they are always there in the morning for me to wash.  I don’t have much to shovel in the winter because we have our driveway plowed.  In the summer, we have our lawn mowed and raked and I just take care of the fun stuff like planting things that make me happy.  Truth be told, if it were up to me, I would turn our lawn into a field of wild flowers, tall grass, and vegetable gardens that someone else takes care of.  But I have been vetoed on all of these whimsies.  Well, I am slowly achieving the wild flowers but shhhhhh.

So now that you’ve lost all respect for me, let me try to build it back up to a normal level.  I am pretty much a single parent during the week with Scott being down in Boston.  He is home for about 48 hours a week.  We don’t want to spend our weekends cleaning or doing yard work.  We want to spend time as a family.  And quite frankly, I need to spend time alone rejuvenating and energizing for the long week ahead…so I do.

We have a lot of therapies and appointments during the week.  My calendar would probably boggle your mind.  When we aren’t doing those things, we chill.  That doesn’t necessarily mean sitting on our bottoms and doing nothing; although, sometimes it does.  It means we don’t do anything that we don’t feel like doing that doesn’t have to be done.

I had to let a lot of things go in order to be happy.  I’ve spent too much of my life worrying about things that don’t matter.  When I am old and look back on my life, I want to see days that were filled with laughter and love.  I don’t want to wait until I am 80 to realize that there is no prize for having pressed clothing or the most organized home.  I want my children to remember long hot summers filled with swimming until their hands look like prunes, bare feet, and a mother that encouraged them to seize the day and get dirty.  And eat big fat ripe strawberries right off the vine.

So yeah, back to my point.  I don’t do nearly as much as you think I do.