Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Caution: I've Been Drinking

This is about being married. I know a few people who are getting married in the next 12 months. And I've been married for 7 years (maybe 8.... it's almost midnight and I'm not prepared for counting).

If you're one of those people, think about this please.... When you're "getting married" to this person, you're signing up for SO much more than a wedding, maybe a house, probably kids. You are essentially saying to that other person....

I'm ok with washing your clothes.

I'll be awake with you at 1am wrapping Christmas presents for our kids while watching stand-up and drinking rum out of wine glasses.

It's cool that I know where your 8th grade dinner-dance was.

You like eating Spam sometimes, and I won't move out when I have to smell it.

Maybe you'll always put your toothbrush away wet and that means that MY toothbrush will be in contact with your toothbrush-water. And I'm ok with that.

We will naturally know who will hold the vomiting child and who will gather necessary materials (i.e. wash cloths, rags, buckets, thermometer). And sometimes we will switch to keep things interesting.

Occasionally we will text each other instead of talking because we are in different parts of the house and we don't want the kids to know what we are really thinking because it involves swearing.

I'll always save the last drink's worth of your alcohol in the bottle, and find something else to drink for myself. Because I love you.

I'm going to wear your clothes in emergency situations.

I'm going to look at you some days with a look that says, "I can't do this anymore" and you'll know that I need to walk into another room. And you'll take the kids to the store and when you're back you'll just hold me and let me cry and not tell me that it'll be ok because you know I might not believe you tonight. But that I might believe you tomorrow so you just let me be for right now.

Other days I'll get a text that you're going out for drinks with your friend after work and I'll actually go to sleep earlier because I know you need to eat wings and drink beer, and that you'll come home and be happy you're married to me and not anyone else's wife. Because really, other guys have it much worse.

And we'll teach Sunday School together.

And we'll cook together.

And we'll plan things. And execute those plans. And plan more things, and decide that we don't have to do EVERYTHING. And we'll help each other get dressed to go out. And I'll tell you if you have hair growing on your ears, and you'll tell me I have a zit on my back, and I'll throw away your really thin underwear and you'll laugh when I try to shove underwire back into a bra.

And we'll hold each other and cry sometimes because we know that life goes really fast and that however much time we've been given with each other will NEVER EVER EVER seem like enough. And that one day one of us will be gone and the other one will be alone. So we'll stay awake another hour tonight just knowing that for right now, we have everything we need.

That's what being married means.

Friday, December 18, 2015

It's Electric (LONG post)

I know how muscle fibers work. There's a sodium/potassium pump that exchanges electrical charges, producing a pulse that stimulates muscle fibers to contract. To build muscle, you stimulate these fibers so much that they break down. When the body goes to rebuild the fibers, it adds more this time so the body is better prepared for the work you're probably going to ask it to do next time. This process hurts some- it definitely produces soreness. And you, as the human in charge, can usually feel it when you're exerting yourself enough physically to get stronger.

So here's my question: how do we get emotionally stronger? Is it a brain-chemical thing? Like you shoot through your chemical connections enough and your body begins preparing a stronger response for the next time?

Here's why I'm asking... over the last few years I've had a bunch of moments when all I can think of is, "This is hard and I hate it." Times when it feels difficult simply to exist in the current situation. It's hard to be in my body. It's hard to breathe in and out and stand up and walk to the kitchen. It feels the same as trying to do 25 squats, or 30, or 50. Toward the end, it's hard and it hurts- physically. Sometimes, life hurts mentally/emotionally.

But then we get stronger. Right? You push yourself to do those last 5 squats- and it's easier the next time you do squats. You get to the kitchen and wash the dishes, and next time it's..... here's where the analogy breaks down. Because sometimes it's easier, but sometimes it's harder and you just never make it into the kitchen and your husband gets home and you're on your 3rd episode of Intervention and you both end up staying awake until midnight cleaning the kitchen and getting ready for the next day.

And here's the other part: parenting. Parenting is the hardest exercise I've ever done. Because there's poop. And laundry, and cooking, and crying, and banged heads/knees/toes, and whining, and more crying and laughing, and kissing, and napping, and snuggling, and loving, and powerful joy, and awe-some pride. All of these things happen in an hour. It's like emotional High Intensity Interval Training.

New Therapist recently told me that the best thing an adult can do with a kid is to witness their emotions. Acknowledge that what they feel is real, live in that feeling so they really learn about it, and help them move through it safely. That's a LOT of 'feeling' every day. As I've been doing it the last few weeks (with three to four kids a day in daycare) I'm wondering if I'm building up my 'feeling' muscles. I have no idea how to answer it. But it's interesting to think about.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Awkward Jello

The best thing about seeing a new therapist?? An entirely new set of metaphors to rest my mind on.

So we were talking about how I have this tendency to let insane things out of the mouth part of my face when trying to make small talk with people. Here's one story: Mom-of-a-First-Grader (who I've met maybe 2 times and don't know ANYTHING about), says hi. "How was your day?" And I reply with, "Oh my gosh, I was listening to the police scanner this morning and heard a grade school practicing an Active Shooter Drill. It was terrifying. So if you ever listen to a police scanner during a shooter drill, turn it off because parents with kids in school should NOT be picturing that stuff."

Honestly, that's how my day was. But the woman looked horrified and we haven't spoken since then. It's a situation I brought to Meg2.0 as an example of why I shouldn't be allowed to talk to strangers. She thought that it was very brave of me to give such a truthful answer to a question like that. But... that maybe I started having a conversation with myself earlier in the day that First-Grade-Mom accidentally stumbled into the middle of. So she just got a small cut-out of the entire conversation. And yeah, that can be fairly confusing. She didn't know why I listen to the police scanner (because of drug dealers), or that I'd only recently started listening to the scanner (that very day), or that I wasn't even listening to the scanner for the town we live in (because it isn't available online). So she didn't get the whole picture.

It's like this......

Say that talking to people is like making dessert. And most people, when they make small talk (and the quickest, easiest, most readily-acceptable dessert) make normal Jello. "Hey, it's chilly today." "Did your kids enjoy the pumpkin patch?" I think these things are boring so I usually space out and get a dazed look on my face (I've seen it in pictures). Talking about these things tells me nothing about the person I'm talking to either. So in an effort to make life more interesting, and elicit memorable conversations from people, I make Jello Jigglers!! They are much more dense, and have fun shapes, and last a lot longer sitting on the counter!! It's a denser version of small talk that's cut out of whatever is going on in my life at the moment.

Apparently, though, not everyone is a fan of the more formed, slightly rubberier, jello cutouts. And if they're looking for normal squishy jello, giving them something they're not ready for might turn a few people off.

BUT........ Meg2.0 forced me to think of all of the times that I've given someone the awkward jello ("Yeah, I'm just not sure how to explain felony aggravated robbery to my six-year old") and they LOVE IT and respond back with something memorable and honest ("No kidding! Schizophrenia is really a tough topic, but it's totally manageable if you frame it the right way.") and a friendship starts that is actually pretty fun and comfortable.

The risk can be pretty scary, but the friendship reward is actually super cool. Awkward Jello. It's what's for dinner (or dessert, whatever).