Monday, September 29, 2008

Sleeping with Bread: Best Things v. Worst Things

I am in an odd mood this morning as I reflect on my past week. I do not really know how to explain it, but it seems to be leaving me at a loss for a coherent post. I guess, when that happens, it is time for some bullet points:

Best Things (in random order):

The world did not open up and swallow me whole after my post last week. I was hesitant after I posted it, running to Paul and asking him to read it and let me know if I should delete it. Partially it was the vulnerability I felt and partially it was the open discussion of my church that left me nervous. However, I received some positive feedback in the comments and in personal emails. And... ultimately, it is what was on my mind and heart and it was better to express it than obsess over it internally. I definitely felt a release after posting it.

I finished a paper I had been fretting about. It was short, but I have been struggling with clarity in this class. Mercifully, the professor has already sent us her feedback and it looks like I am on track. It was a much needed boost to this semester in which I feel a little sluggish and bogged down… and I am a complete addict for positive professorial feedback.

We had a beautiful church service yesterday. With financial issues and a move to a new location on the near horizon, we took time out to be upfront about the challenges we face and to share about what the church means to us as individuals. There were tears. There was laughter. One thing I found interesting was the commonality in our responses: acceptance, finding a family of choice, learning how to love God through each other, the meeting of physical, emotional and spiritual needs. All of us feel it… that we aren't a church better than any other—but we are a place in some way unique in our formation. With each other, we find our home.

Kids. I babysat for the mom's group at church this week and the kids crack me up. May-wee. That is the closest approximation to how they say my name. They all have their own unique personalities--car-loving, kitty-petting, mama-wanting personalities. Let's not kid ourselves, I am not the Romper Room lady. I am helping out because it is needed and I can do it. But still, cute is cute. You gotta love it.

Catherine Tate. She brought me a lot of laughter this week as I spent time YouTubing her show. She is so talented and wickedly funny. Laughter was a gift to me this past week.

Worst Things (again, in random order):

No exercise. Spotty CPAP use (my sleep apnea treatment). Too many tortilla chips. This is not acceptable, and yet, somehow, I embrace it.

I'm not sure if my perspective is off, but school seems to be this monstrous hurdle this semester. I find myself unable to study at home. There's no major harm done. I'm a little behind in reading and I've got some tutoring stuff to catch up on. It is more a feeling than anything else. (It does make me grateful I am only taking two classes this semester.)

American Girl. For months (seriously--months), Marley has been anticipating going to the American Girl store with a friend for the friend's birthday. The months of waiting, along with—how shall I put it delicately—misguided expectations of what was actually going to happen while at the American Girl store led to much drama. How do I communicate to her that her friend is being a little, um, wishful in her statements that Miley Cyrus is going to pick them up in a limo and take them to the party… or that they are each going to get a doll, two outfits, a piece of furniture, etc. I spent months dialing back the expectations only to have to face it head on the day before with a flat out "You will not be given a new doll and outfits at this party." Of course, that led to hours of "I want a new American Girl doll! Wah!!!!" I couldn't take it. I did the lovely time-honored tradition of first being mean and then compromising (and I don't necessarily mean compromising in a good way). Ugh. Isn't parenting lovely sometimes? The upshot is that my daughter came home with a new American Girl doll, new outfits, etc. Half of it she paid for with her allowance (some saved and an advance through December) and the rest is part of her Christmas bounty. But still---the whole situation was frustrating and I hate that my buttons were pushed so much by it. Blech.

Well, when you put it all together like that, it definitely looks like the best things outweigh the worst things… Hey! That's another best thing!

I was given a little bit of bloggy bling (Oh, that should be a best thing, too!) last week. I'll be writing about it and passing on the love later this week.

Until then…


P.S.  For more fresh baked bread, you can go to this week's SWB host post.



Anonymous said...

Oh boy. In November, we're taking a bus trip (me, my mother & Fiona) to NYC to see the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular, followed by tea at the American Girl store. When I went to NY with my husband over the summer, one of the things on our must-do list was a visit to the store so I could prepare myself.

All Rileyed Up said...

I talk to nonfiction writers all the time about the fear of putting yourself out there for the whole world to read your writing. It is such a scary thing to do. I'm glad you put your remarks about an imperfect church out there and that the response was comforting. It kind of makes the fear of putting it out there worth it when at least one person says, "I hear ya."

I'm glad Marley came home with a doll. I would have compromised too.

Lamont said...

Dolls, compromise, laughter, tears and beauty of your church and how you love it.

Great post.

Anonymous said...

Yes! American Girl dolls. Which one did she get? Ok, I've been out of the AG loop for a FEW years, but I loved growing up with them. Being the stalwart Scandinavian Minnesotan than I am, I got Kirsten (and forever regretted the day I took her hair out of her braids).

Even though it's on the "Worst Things" list, I'm still excited for M that she got to go (I love living vicariously through this case, I'd live vicariously through HER and not YOU). Ha-ha.

Mel said...

Bravo! And if you think this wasn't a good read, think again.....

Frankly, I can't do stories of anything else BUT my's the only one I know?


Anonymous said...

Thursday night NOTHING happened in my house as the husband and I watched damn near every Catherine Tate clip on Youtube. And I. AM. BLAMING. YOU.

I thought last week's post was very brave and I'm glad you got some positive resolution.

As for the birthday party tale: hehehehe. I laugh as only a mother of boys can laugh.

Mary-LUE said...

SB -- If you are going into the store knowing what you are prepared to buy, etc., you will probably do fine. It is really amazing, a virtual wonderland. Truly. Both times Marley went it was as part of a birthday party for another girl and I think that really affects the dynamic.

Riley, I realize I neglected to mention one thing that makes me look like even more of a sniveling, caving parent... she already had one American Girl doll and I swore she would never have more than one.

Mel and Tara... Thanks!

Subspace Beacon - Blame me all you want. I'll take the heat on Catherine Tate... She's worth it... (and thanks for calling me brave)... and you just wait, Mother-of-Boys... yours is coming. I know as I am a Mother-of-one-Boy. I know.

Mary-LUE said...

Oops! Hibby, I missed you. Marley got a Just Like Me doll. She has blonde hair, blue eyes, medium length hair and bangs. Her name is Katie, named after her friend who's birthday party it was.

I hear you on the hair. I do not have one of those daughters who keeps her stuff in pristine condition. Her Elizabeth doll (Did I forget to mention she ALREADY had one????) has hair that looks like she was raised in the wild by wolves.

Muthering Heights said...

Hmmm, I think I will try and avoid the American Girl store after that cautionary tale...:)

Don't feel bad, all parents have moments like that at one time or another!

gretchen from lifenut said...

We flew to Chicago from Denver to go to the American Girl store. Talk about expectations!

We left with one outfit for her one (a Christmas gift) doll.

I wanted to tell you I really like your blog. My husband is a BBC America freak like you. I suspect he secretly thinks he was born on the wrong continent.

Aliki2006 said...

Laughter can be a powerful thing, even in the gloomiest of times...

And I never thought to look up Tate shows on YouTube--thank you for that!!

Mommy off the Record said...

This post prompted me to read your post on your church from last week. It was really eloquent. I hope that the people who do remain at your church will continue to enrich your life and that over time new people will join as well. I am sure it is very hard to see people leave instead and to hear that kind of negativity from some of them. Stay strong and stay positive. It sounds like you already are, despite how difficult that can be. Without knowing too much, it sounds like you are a rock in your community.