Ups and Downs

I am tired.  I am really tired.  Not just the “I said yes too many times tired”, or “the list is too long tired”, or “the when will I ever get caught up tired”; but the my daughter kept waking me up every 15 minutes since 2:30am tired.  Combine all of those states of tiredness, and you have my mindset today.  I am trying to stay calm and happy, and just get through it, but grumpiness took over this morning.

After saying good-bye to my dad (I miss him so much!), getting Scott to work, and running to the store for the necessities for today, I started cleaning.  I admit, when I clean, I get grumpy.  I curse the family and their dirty ways.  I curse the pee all over the bathroom floor AGAIN (Am I the ONLY one who sees it?).  I silent curse everything.  Then I curse myself for being ungrateful for a house of joy and happiness.  I curse myself for being grumpy because I am busy because God is blessing me with work, passion, and opportunities.  I should have turned on music, because when I clean with music, no one gets cursed.

Anyway, as I was scrubbing, the dumbest thing happened.  My cell phone fell out of my pocket and landed on my toes.  For some reason it HURT, I mean HURT, and now, hours later, it STILL HURTS.  Seriously, a CELL PHONE.  How?  Anyway, I cried out in pain because it hurt so bad.  However, my kids didn’t come to see if I was OK.  From another room, I hear, “Mom, what happened?”  However, finding out if I was OK, was not as important as the book he was reading.

Really?  I haven’t taught my kids to drop everything when they hear a scream???  Is that something that is taught?  Are my kids becoming good people???  Feeling like a terrible mom, and so alone, I finish the housework and move on to the next item on my list.

My son, comes to me with his money.  He wants to earn more today.  “I will clean the bathroom, fold the towels, and wipe down the toilet for you,”  he offered.

“Well, I already cleaned the bathroom and toilet today, so you can’t do those things.  However, I am sure we will find some chores for you to do this weekend,” I offered.

“Oh, OK.”  He left the room.

A few minutes later, he returns with a dollar.  “Here, this is for you,” he said.

“Why?  Keep your money.”

“Well, you cleaned the bathroom, so someone should give you money.  Thank you.”

That one tiny gesture was bigger to me than pee on the floor, ignored cries, and all of the other failings I feel each day as a mom.  I am not perfect, and I am not doing this mothering thing well most of the time, however, every once in a great while I get a sign that maybe, just maybe I am doing something right.

The Real Education at a Husker Football Game

Saturday night I was given the chance of a lifetime, I got to take my son to his first Nebraska Husker game. In case you didn’t know, my son is literally obsessed with sports. He loves all sports, especially Red Sox baseball and Husker football. Needless to say, taking him to the game was A BIG DEAL. Like all big deals, I had high hopes and dreams for the night, and I am certain I was expecting some magic.

I am not saying, watching the fourth quarter of the Wisconsin game live, wasn’t full of magical moments. The whole fourth quarter, McCartney and I both were hugging, clinging to each other, hoping for a win. The last turnover of the night, with a minute on the clock, was really awesome. There is nothing like the magical moment when you know your team is going to win. I am super grateful I got share those times with my son.

However, the things that left the biggest impression on my seven-year old, had very little to do with football, in fact, they had nothing to do with the game. Today, as I heard my son tell grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles about the game, I learned the lessons that my son is carrying with him from the game. Trust me, this list does not make me proud to be a Husker fan, in fact, I am a bit appalled. Some of these lessons are out of my son’s mouth and some are parental observations.

1. “Mommy, there are a lot of bad words here,” was something my son said over and over during the first half of the game. Night games, for some, means that they have a few six packs under their belts before they even go to the game. {Keep this in mind, for future points.} Yes, the naughty words were soaring through the air as the Huskers gave up play after play in the first half of the game. I tried to cover his ears, but that was so silly to even try. Once you take a kid out of the house, you can no longer shelter him. The swear words pretty much stopped once we started coming back in the third. (I have to say, there were words or combinations that I have never heard before, and now they are ingrained into my son’s head. Great….(she says sarcastically).)

2. “Why don’t these people ever sit?” A tired and frustrated seven-year old said five minutes into the game. Yes, Husker football games have more up and down movement than any church service I have ever attended. I forgot to prepare him for that. Oops!

3. “Daddy, I got to see a police officer take down a man with a taser!” Um, yeah, of all moments to take my son to the restroom, we got to see an assault of an officer and watch him take him down. I have no more words for that one….

4. “85,900 people is very crowded.” Husker games, where the stadium is the third largest town in our state on game day, is completely overwhelming, especially a kid who is sensitive to noise, and space. I thought his love of the game would trump that feeling.

5. “I would rather watch football at home than at the stadium. I learned that lesson tonight,” my son informed me of this in the second quarter. He then commenced in begging me to leave. I held him off until the fourth quarter, which was so exciting, he then wanted to stay. Whew!

6. “I didn’t know we could bring our own drinks in,” my son said as he watched a man pour liquid into his soda. I could have taken that moment to explain what a flask is, instead, I changed the subject. I figured he was already learning enough for one night.

7. “People mostly sit when the Huskers play offense, we have to stand during defense.” My son is always looking for patterns. I have never noticed that before. 😉

8. “It’s more fun when your team is winning.” At Saturday night’s game, we got experience plenty of both emotions. It’s so true, when the Huskers are winning the feeling in the stadium is indescribable, however when they are losing, it is quite the opposite. I have never seen the Huskers lose live, and I am glad my son hasn’t either. I can’t imagine.

9. McCartney is so fair when making calls, he could teach some umpires a thing or two. A few times I thought a person turned around to yell at him, when he was judging the calls on the screen. Luckily, no one was drunk enough to try to tell off my seven-year old. If baseball doesn’t work out, I hope he becomes a referee or umpire. He is very honest at making calls, even when it’s against his favorite team.

10. Even when he hates the loud noises, my son follows sporting events directions like a pro. He screamed his heart out when the screen said, “Make some noise.” And boy, he can out yell any drunk man any time, any place, any day.

Keeping in mind all of these life lessons, do I regret taking my son to the Huskers vs Badgers game Saturday night? No way! Despite the loud, crazy drunk people, the taser lesson, and flasks, it was so magical to sit/stand next to my son as we cheered on our favorite football team. It was a beautiful night, with lots of fun memories. I hope he eventually forgets about the swearing, yelling, and arrest, and remembers how much fun his mom can be!

Who Owns the Moment?

While writing about our lives, I often wonder: Who owns the moment?  For some reason, I really enjoy sharing our stories.  I love reliving the good moments, and I find it therapeutic to share the bad ones.  I write honestly, and from the heart.  However, I understand that some moments are private and shouldn’t be shared with the world.  It doesn’t mean I don’t write about them, but it does mean that I don’t share them.

I have to remember that I am a mom first and my kids don’t get a choice about what I write about and I often write about them.  I share the good things they do and I also share the some of the mistakes they make.  I didn’t forget this when I wrote yesterday’s post.

Writing about why we told our son about Asperger’s was tough for many reasons.  First, this week has been a tough week.  The moon is full, our schedules are filling up, and we had to tell our son something BIG for him to digest.   Second, I didn’t want to share his moment with the world.  My son’s Asperger’s is his.  I don’t have it, and while I do my best to help him, it’s not mine.  I didn’t go into detail about our conversation because I didn’t want to steal his moments for my own therapy.

Instead, I did my best to write about the events from my perspective.  I needed to write about my son and what happened from my perspective.  I also know that God is calling me to share our journey with others.  I can’t just write about the good times, because life is full of so many hard times.  I hope that our story somehow helps another person.  I wouldn’t write about it otherwise.

Later on, when I go back to these posts, I want to remember that I know not every moment I witness belongs to me.  Yes, I am sharing our stories, however, some moments are not meant for the world.

An Hour of Connection

This morning, I took a walk, not because it is good for my health goal, but because I wanted to be out of my house.  I brought my camera, not because I had a new technique to learn or a client who wanted a photo, but because I wanted to be inspired.  I also brought my iPod shuffle so I could quiet the voiced in my head. 

I walked at my pace.  I didn’t have to walk faster to chase little feet or slower because my husband loves to mosey.  I was in charge and I walked at my speed.  I didn’t care how many calories I burned or about my heart rate.  I got lost in my walk, stopping when I wanted to stop and walking until I decided to be done.

I took photographs.  I photographed things that caught my attention.  I didn’t care if I was creating art or an image that others would love.  No one is paying me to take these photographs either, so they can be whatever I want them to be.  I don’t care if anyone loves them or everyone hates them. They are for me and me alone.

I listened to my music.  If I wanted to skip a song, I did.  I even listened to a few twice because I could.  I didn’t have to worry about naughty words or bad messages because the music was purely for my enjoyment.  I even shut it off a few times so I could enjoy the chirping of the grasshoppers and the rustling of the grass.

Toward the end of my walk, I found a patch of grass (or weeds) that people probably ignore and I sat.  I looked, I noticed, I felt, I photographed, and most of all, I breathed.  In that moment, the world was perfect and wonderful.  Everything was in sync and I was happy to be there.  I didn’t long for the ocean, or someone to sit with.  I didn’t think about my silent phone, or the to-do lists that I was ignoring.  It was a moment for me to enjoy this place at this time.

I now have scratches on my face, arms and legs, a spot on my shirt (at least it’s black),  and possibly a rash.  I had to wipe ants off my feet, pull some weeds out of my hair.  It was all worth it, because I had a moment to breathe.

When I got home, I laid on my bed and read.  I didn’t care that it was morning, or that I should be getting something done.  I didn’t care what anyone thought, because I needed this time, who knows if I will get it tomorrow?

This was a gift to myself.  I am glad I received it.  Since my beautiful hour, I have received a phone call from the principal and it wasn’t to tell me about the good things my son has done.  I have received some assignments from my grad school teachers, and I am a tad regretful and scared about my decision.  Tonight the kids and I are doing a community service project around others, and all I want to do is hide in my bed.

 

However, I took an hour to breathe, to listen, to walk, to feel, to connect.  If I can take the time to pause in the middle of a busy day, I can do anything.

How do you breathe?  What inspires you and makes you feel in sync again?

Maine Friends, Maine Family

A few weeks ago, I thought that when I picked my major at 18, that I guessed wrong.  Then, I started processing my photos from Maine, and I as looked at some of my favorite moments from our trip, I knew that was a terrible thing to think.  I did NOT guess wrong.  I know these wonderful, caring people because I was a teacher, at the best elementary school in the country.  (Ok, that is a biased opinion, but nothing you will say will change my mind.)

When you live separately from your family, you find surrogate family members.  In some way, they are better, because you kind of choose them.  However, looking back at how I become good friends with these people, it wasn’t a choice.  We were brought together for a reason and I miss our Maine family everyday.  These are the people who visited us in the hospital when our kids were born.  When we couldn’t travel to Nebraska over Thanksgiving and Christmas, our Maine family always made sure we had a place at their table and we never felt like we were any less than family.  These are the ones that cried and hugged me when I couldn’t go to my grandpa’s funeral.  They are also the people who supported me through the diagnosis of one child and the pregnancy depression with the other child.  I can’t even begin to list EVERYTHING these special angels have done for me, and I pray I have given them something in return.  I also wish I have photos of everyone that is special to us, or that we saw on our trip, but I cherish the memories.

They are also the reason why, now back in Nebraska, we feel pulled back.  The beach also has something to do with it too.  However, we have a Nebraska family and friends who are more like family here too.  When we lived in Maine, we MISSED them everyday.  Now that we live where we do, I am meeting people who are becoming special too.  Our biggest hurdle, is finding contentment in missing a place we love, and happiness with those we live near RIGHT NOW.

I don’t know our future, except that we are open to living in Maine again, when we can do it better.  Our family agrees, we are not ready now, so we live for today.  Today is about Nebraska.

When you love two places, with wonderful people, you will always feel pulled back, so we move forward.

Saying Good-Bye. McCartney was devastated when had to say Good-bye to Ella again. He has yet to make a special friend in Nebraska. This photo makes me cry.

I LOVE this photo! It is so them. I have known each of these kiddos since they were babies.

Linking up with these lovely blogs today:

Photography Nerd

I have a confession, it’s something that I haven’t said aloud, but have thought for a long time.

If you know me, or read my blog, you won’t be surprised at what I am about to say:

While I appreciate nature, and feel at home outside,

my true passion, is watching people.

and how they interact with each other.

There is so much love between families,

and it is so beautiful to sit back and watch those moments happen, especially since they don’t know how much emotion they are sharing with the world.

I especially love capturing the love between parents and children,

it is beautiful, special and priceless. It often moves me to tears.

When I am at a pool, or park, I sit back and watch families.  I think, “If I had my camera, how would I set the exposure, aperture, ISO, white balance?”  Once it’s in place, I take the photo with my brain and then process it in my head. Playing with textures, contrasts, and tones.

So now you know, my secret, I am a photography nerd.  It is always on my mind. I am obsessed with these beautiful moments, capturing them for families, especially mine.

Life is beautiful, when you open your eyes to find the perfect moments.