Monday, September 18, 2006

Sleeping with Bread Monday - With Indecision and Randomness

As I have pondered which form of question my Sleeping with Bread will take today I cannot decide which of the usual questions to use:

  • For what am I most grateful? Least grateful?
  • When did I give and receive the most love? The least love?
  • When did I feel most alive? Most drained of life?
  • When did I have the greatest sense of belonging? Least sense of belonging?
  • When was I most free? Least free?
  • When was I most creative? Least creative?
  • When did I feel most connected? Least connected?
  • When did I feel most fully myself? Least myself?
  • When did I feel most whole? Most fragmented?

One question or answer just isn't coming through loud and clear so it is time for a ramble. In the last week, I have felt, oh so many things.

I have felt the joy of watching Marley and Colin at Disneyland. They have gone on rides together. Colin let Marley hold his hand on Space Mountain. They have battled the evil Emperor Zurg and spun themselves silly on Roger Rabbit. Having kids eight years apart, it is nearly impossible to keep them both happily occupied at the same time. Thank you, Walt Disney, thank you.

I have been tired. So tired. My own poor choices in going to bed around midnight instead of 10 pm. Some adjustments to my new breathing mask for my CPAP contraption. Walking around Disneyland when I am out of shape.

I have been a little bit excited at the prospect of going back to school to get my Master's. If it happens, it will complicate my life and be hard work but it might be a very good thing.

I have been sad. My dear, sweet friend--the daughter I never had until I had a daughter--is having a hard time. We spent 45 minutes on the phone this week, her in Australia and me in California. Most of my time was spent saying, "I know, I know" and "I'm so sorry." She is facing grief and regrets, piled one on top of the other. In listening to her, I have a glimpse of what it might be like for parents with grown children. You can listen, be a support, possibly help in material ways but they have to face their own problems. You can't make their decisions for them and you can't kiss the boo-boo and make it better. I cried when she told me she wished she were back in California and living with me again. I cried because there is no turning back in life. You can refuse to move forward or you can move forward in whatever way you can manage. But there is no turning back. She knows all this but needed a shoulder to cry on. My sweet, sweet girl.

I have been lost in a good book. A couple in fact. There is nothing like finishing a book and the satisfaction of a story well read. Or the melancholy of a story well-written but sadly ended. Or the bittersweet ache of a story you are so lost in you aren't quite ready for it to be over.

I have been at my wit's end with my daughter. One moment I am in wonder at how she is growing. Teeth are falling out with alarming frequency. She is so proud of her hairstyle that she chose, telling people around her, "My hair is pretty today because I have two big rubber bands on the top and two little ones on the side." I am grimacing as she says this because truly, her hair looks horrible but she is so proud. What am I to do? I am amazed at my reluctant reader as she sounds out words and guesses at others before looking up at me to make sure she got it right. The other moments find me counting to ten and thankful the windows are open. I'm less likely to become a shrieking maniac if I know the neighbors are listening. She is underslept and adjusting to school, a full day and more work expectations. She is full of fits and starts and oh. . .

I could stand for my husband to come home. He has always traveled but he is gone now for longer trips. These days of traveling have their ups and downs. They bring into my life too much structure which I chafe at. Last night, Marley cried for her daddy as I put her to bed. "I want my daddy!" she wailed. Me too, I thought. Two more days, baby. Two more days.

I have felt at home in my little community of church and friends. Our small group met for the first time in about a month. We always have such lively, intelligent discussions. There is so much respect and love in this group. I know there just can't be any better group around! Also, after church on Sunday, we were able to hang out at a local pizza place with more friends, the kids playing and the adults talking. In the words of Bill McNeill of WNYX Radio, "Good times, people. Good times."

So, what "bread" can I take to sleep with me tonight? Joy, the satisfaction of a good book, pride in my daughter and son, excitement at new prospects.

And what difficult things can I reflect on? Tiredness, sadness, frustration, loneliness.

Such is life's journey, isn't it?

I would love to hear about your week. Care to join me in Sleeping with Bread?


Kristen said...

In reference to your young friend: I think one of the hardest realizations for me as a parent and step-parent has been that eventually, at some point (and that point may be different for each individual), all of us have to take responsibility for our choices. It kills me as a parent to know that one day I'll have to stand by and let my kids feel the sadness that comes with making the second or third best choice, when those choices are more serious than cheerios vs. cocoa puffs. Ouch.

Mary-LUE said...

Kristen, One thing about my friend's situation is that her regrets are not for bad decisions just for some decisions for which she wasn't able to appreciate the potential consequences. Even when they make good choices, sometimes hard things happen. Sigh.

metro mama said...

I'm thinking about doing my Masters too. I'll be interested to see what you decide!

Aliki2006 said...

I love your list! And I can relate to the fits and starts your daughter is going through (and the underslept and busy with school part, too).

Sorry your friend is going through all that--it's extra hard to be so far away--adds a dimension of real helplessness to the situation...

Sheila said...

In regards to the hair, my advice is this: put your opinions aside, look at her with all the love and wonder you can muster up, and tell her she looks GREAT. FYI: My daughter is now doing her own ponytails (the part . . . aaaah, the part is awful) and has started to put in the front pony, which her Dad loves because it is so her and so unique, and I just put my opinions aside (for they are many and most not too encouraging) and tell her she looks great.