Monday, July 30, 2007

Losing Myself

"My great miseries in this world have been Heathcliff's miseries, and I watched and felt each from the beginning: my great thought in living is himself. If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger: I should not seem a part of it. My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I'm well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I AM Heathcliff! He's always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being." - Wuthering Heights

So many women worry that when they marry they will "lose themselves". I was very young when I married- just 20. I was still a girl in many ways. I still had a lot of learning and growing to do. As a married woman, I had yet to become truly one with my husband. But there was that little something that I had that is needed in order to "lose myself" in my marriage. I wanted my husband to be content above all things. If circumstances prevented him from being truly content, I would do what I could to at least have him content with his home life. I didn't know how to go about that, though. A few years went by in my ignorance of how to make a good wife. In the beginning, I thought loving him would be enough. I needed to put actions to my words and show what was in my heart. For instance, making dinner was a chore and still can be when you've got screaming kids in the background. Most of the time, I do it knowing that I am nourishing my husband with not just food he needs, but also time with his family. Now, we have dinner together when possible and because I put food on the table the boys are able to have a conversation with their father. It gives me contentment to watch my husband eating the food I made for him knowing I am taking care of him at least in that way.

Another thing that I have always hated doing is cleaning the house. Growing up, Saturdays were the cleaning day in my family. I dreaded those days. I was awfully lazy and making me clean something was worse than grounding me from the TV. It took me a very long time to find joy in keeping my house clean. I noticed my husband's weariness coming home from work every day and I gradually realized I wanted him to have a place that he wanted to come home to. When he comes in the door, I want him to smell potpourri....not poopy diapers.

There are other ways in which I try to lessen my husband's stress and help him to feel content at home. Things like making sure his heirs don't grow up to be dumb as a rock, that they are cleaned and well-fed, and show good manners. I know better than to nag him especially if it's been a very hard day. I try not to manipulate him with my emotions or words. Most important of all, I pray for him constantly. Are you getting the picture? My entire life is all about him. I always think about him, wonder what he's doing, what he would think about this or that. I am not afraid of losing myself. In losing myself, I have found my sense of self. My worth comes in doing what God has commanded of me. I am my husband's helpmeet. That is who I am. Nothing could give me greater joy.

Friday, July 27, 2007

By-Gone Days

I saw this meme at Fiddledeedee's and just had to join in. I think a lot about those high school days. Some of it is funny and some of it I would rather forget. So, here goes:

1. Who was your best friend? Mary Smucker. She was five feet tall and had brown hair down to her hips. I was envious of that hair. She was a good Christian girl and loved God. She was a great influence on me. She had a steady boyfriend whom she had been dating for 5,000 years. She was homeschooled right up to her freshman year in high school. I always thought it was weird to be homeschooled and that homeschool families were a little crazy. Now I homeschool my own kids. Go figure.

2. Did you play any sports? Ha. That's a laugh. One time, I joined the cross-country team. Their warm-up was jogging one mile. I didn't get half way before I'm gasping for my life. I realized that for a teenager I was desperately out of shape. Then came the day I found out that to pass PE class we had to run the mile. Talk about a let-down. I became determined not to make a fool out of myself. Every day, I would go next door to the church and run around the sanctuary. When I worked myself up to 30 laps, I was ready. When it came time to run the mile in PE, I did it. I was very proud of myself. Soon after that, I developed shin splints. Nobody told me you are supposed to stretch after you run, too. That was the end of my running days.

3. What kind of car did you drive? When I finally got my license at 17, I drove my dad's honkin' big blue boat of a car. I didn't care. I had wheels. Soon, I bought my first car for $400 and it was white. That's the best I can tell you. I probably didn't even know what make and model it was.

4. It's Friday night. Where were you? You can bet I was home. I had no life.

5. Were you a party animal? Total opposite.

6. Were you considered a flirt? Maybe. No one said it to my face as I recall. During my graduation open house, I had a boy sitting on each side of me while I opened my presents. One time during church, I had a boy sitting on each side of me as well. Maybe I was just friendly.

7. Were you in the band, orchestra, or choir? Total band geek. Concert band, marching band, and pep band you name it. Played the flute. One year, I played the cymbals in the marching band. I had a lot of fun that year. My senior year, I joined the choir. There were two choirs. The one with the really great singers and the one with the not-so-good ones. I was in the latter. I still got to join the musical for that year. Had a blast.

8. Were you a nerd? It's hard to say what I was. I didn't really fit into any category except band geek.

9. Were you ever suspended or expelled? I think my parents would have killed me and dumped me in the nearest river. I feared them more than the principal.

10. Can you sing the fight song? I don't even remember the melody. I have a terrible memory. I remember the drum roll, though.

11. Who was your favorite teacher? My teachers had names? I only remember faces with the subjects.

12. What was your school mascot? The who?

13. Did you go to the prom? One of my dad's many rules was that if we wanted to go to prom with someone he had to be a Christian boy. Finding a Christian boy in a public school was like finding a needle in a haystack. Especially if you wanted him to even know you were alive. So, no I didn't go. I did go to After Prom with one of my friends.

14. If you could go back, would you? Never. Ever. Not in a million years. Did I say never?

15. What do you remember most about graduation? A tremendous sense of relief.

16. Where were you on Senior Skip Day? I'd heard there was such a thing, but I was too much of a coward to do it.

17. Did you have a job your Senior year? What are the odds of working at the same place your parents do? At the age of 17, for Pete's sake? I took business classes my Junior and Senior years and got a job at Tricare Hospice as a medical transcriptionist. I love Hospice programs and think they are wonderful. My dad is a chaplain for a Hospice right now even. I worked there long enough to know, though, I could never be a medical transcriptionist for the rest of my life. I would become a little.....off.

18. Where did you go most often for lunch? There was a guy who had a crush on me and what do you know? He had a car. So, a few of my friends and I would hop into his car at lunchtime. He would roll down the windows and blast We Are the Champions by Queen. We would usually go to Wendy's close to the school.

19. Have you gained weight since then? Pleeeeaaaasse. Do we have to talk about weight when I'm pregnant with my fifth baby? When I was 18, my waist was a size 22". I know because I had to have a black skirt custom-made for me for concert band. Yeah. I was that little. We won't go into how that has changed.

20. What did you do after graduation? Well, I worked and dated a couple guys during the summer. Of course, I made it clear to them I was going away forever and they had best move on. August 24, just a few months later, I met my now husband. I was just 18, ya'll. Scary, huh?

21. What year did you graduate? Um....1993. Ok. So I'm old.

22. Who was your Senior prom date? No one. Just as well, though.

23. Are you going/did you go to your 10 year reunion? Nope. I did say I would never go back. I meant figuratively and literally. Maybe I would like to see a few friends and see how they are doing, though.

Well, that was fun and now it's Tess's turn. I'll hound her into the ground until she does this meme. I want Andrea to do it, too, but she was one of those weird homeschool kids, so she might not be able to. Have a go at this meme if you want everyone.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

T-Ball Days

Rachel from Testosterhome has recently had a fifth son! I myself have just recently found out that the child in my womb is a boy. My fifth son as well. There are some who are disappointed by this news. I have been doing some soul searching since I found out. Am I saying I'm not disappointed about this but inside I'm crying for the little girl I will never have? I have been thinking about the things I will miss out on. Things like braids and bows, tea parties and baby dolls, ballet and tutus, sweet little girl kisses and hugs, etc. etc. The list goes on. I do not deny that I will miss the opportunity to dress my little girl in pink and lace or decorate her room with flowers and ribbons. Yes, I will miss all of that, but this train of thought took only seconds for me. I thought of the boys I already have. All so unique and wonderful in their own way. They all look like clones as babies, but then they hit two-years-old and they begin to have their own look and personality. Nathanael, my sweet, quiet, and shy boy. Caleb, my boisterous, loving, and dramatic child. Justin, my adorable, matter-of-fact boy, and Aidan, who so far has been a total imp, but I love his cuddable nature. As I think on their natures and how much joy they have given me, I think of the boy growing inside of me and all thoughts of a girl slip away. I already love this child with a fierce love and I can't wait to see his little face. I am looking forward to more cuddle times, soccer and t-ball, capturing toads, little eyes looking through Power Ranger masks, sword fighting, gun toting, etc. etc. Someday, I will have to look up to see my sons' faces and I will listen to their deep voices as they talk with their father about theology and politics or anything else under the sun. I look forward to that.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Cottage

I love the sound of trees rustling in the breeze. I love the sound of waves lapping onto the beach. I love sand, lazy days, and corn on the cob. Working in the kitchen, I love hearing the sound of the oscillating fan and the feel of the cool breeze coming in from the window. I love seeing the shadow of the trees onto the walls in the bedrooms. The ticking and chiming of the clock and sitting in the rocking chair with my sweet ones are soothing to me. I've been visiting the family cottage up in Michigan since I was engaged to my husband. I fell in love with its charm then and I'm fascinated with the history of the place. My husband's grandfather and great-grandfather actually built it. It boggles my mind. When we are there, all our stress seems to melt away. We relax for the first time in a year with no worries to think about till we get home. Every year, it seems we leave the scorching heat of Colorado and come to the coolness and greenness of heaven. I lazed my days away in the hammock looking up at the tall trees above me. I could hear the boys laughing as they swam in the lake. The nights saw my sons fishing with their dad and grandpa and I basked in their joy of such a simple pastime. This place has been our retreat from the world. Things are changing and it will be sold someday. I will miss this little bit of heaven and pray there will be a new place that we can enjoy together. A place where we can make more memories of love and laughter, food and fun, mischief and mayhem.....for years to come.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Book End Cottage

I was visiting a farm market in luscious Michigan one day and noticed they were selling cherries. I love cherries. As I stared at them wistfully thinking about how they would taste, I was brought back to a wonderful memory. I have a friend who used to live in Old Colorado City which is one of the few places in southern Colorado that has grass and trees. It is a charming place to visit. I love looking at all of the old houses and wondering what they look like inside. My friend had a little house right next to the library and during the summer that Aidan was just a baby she had an open house every weekend any and all visitors allowed. She insisted I come and visit her and not to bother calling first. I feel uncomfortable just showing up at people's houses, but since she was so insistent, I took her up on her offer. I couldn't help myself. She had an English-style garden in her front yard with a little picket fence. On her porch was a swing and she always served tea to her guests. Inside, her house was full of books and we shared a love of Jane Austen. I'm a sucker for that kind of stuff. The Saturday that I went to visit her, she served me tea and fresh fruit from the farmer's market a block away. Aidan was playing on a blanket on the floor and we talked about all kinds of things. I was in heaven. When it was time for me to go, she escorted me to the farmer's market down the street. All kinds of fresh produce was being sold, even honey and bread. I came home with the best bread in the whole world and a bag of cherries. I sat down at the kitchen table and proceeded to hog on them with the boys following suit. They were sweet and juicy and I couldn't get enough of them. Now, every time I see cherries, I think of her and her generous and sweet spirit. I will never forget her or her little house where we had tea and fruit.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Sniffling Sisters

When my sister and I were living in the cute, little white house across the street from our high school, we were hormonal teenagers. We are only 19 months apart in age, but you wouldn't find such two very different personalities. As teenage girls go though, we both loved to laugh, cry, and be scared to death. The movie, My Life, was in the theaters and my sister wanted to see it badly. I hadn't even heard of it and wanted to see something else. She gave me a summary of it and said it was supposed to be sad. During our conversation, our father overheard us and warned my sister not to drag me to a movie that I didn't want to see. After much cajoling which is typical of my sister, she ended up convincing me to see it. The girl could have been a lawyer my mother once said. We got into my car and trooped to the theater very excited about getting out of the house and seeing a good movie. After the movie was over, we held our composure till we got to the car. We looked at each other and I can't remember who broke down first. We cried all the way home. I sniffed and got out of the car and went into the house. Our bedroom was upstairs beside the family room, therefore, I had to pass my father on the way. There he was sitting in the chair and asked if I liked the movie. I burst into tears and wailed, "That was the saddest movie I've ever seen!" As I continued bawling, he immediately lit into my sister who was still sniffling for insisting that I go with her and I had to assuage him that it was still a good movie and everything was alright. I think my father still had to learn a little something about teenage girls. They cry a lot and enjoy doing so. When the movie came out on video, we both cajoled our mother to see the movie. "You'll love it, Mom! You'll cry, too!" we said as if that was the best thing in the world to do. When the movie was over, I was in the kitchen. Mother came out of the living room to make a quick exit to the bathroom before anyone saw her. Her eyes were red and her face was streaming with tears. I slowly smiled at her and said, "It was good, huh?"

Friday, July 6, 2007

Dignified Woman

They instructed me to make sure I have a full bladder on arriving for my ultrasound. Ha. I almost laughed in their faces. Pregnant me plus a full bladder equals a disaster. On my son's birthday back in March, I had to drive all the kids home afterward. I had drunk a lot of water and couldn't believe I had forgotten what happens to me when I drink too much water with no bathroom nearby when I'm pregnant. I counted the minutes till I got home all the while breaking the law and speeding trying to keep in mind not to drive too recklessly screaming at the poky people in front of me. It brought to mind the very first time I experienced a full bladder as a pregnant woman. It was my first baby and my husband was in the Air Force. So, when we had an ultrasound we went to the Academy in Colorado Springs. They told me to drink an astronomical amount of water before I came. I did so and then we started out for the half hour drive to the hospital. By the time we were on the Academy grounds, I was a different woman. I was in such a state that I was begging my husband to pull over so I could sneak behind a tree. Now, it's not like we were in a forest-like area where the trees are so big and lush you could disappear in an instant. No. These were skinny little trees about a mile apart from each other. My husband informed me in an irate voice that we would get arrested for indecent exposure. With tears streaming down my face and driving my poor husband to the brink of insanity, we finally made it to the hospital and I was able to find some relief. My husband once told me that I am a dignified woman. I like to think so, but when it comes to this kind of thing, dignity flies out the window.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

No Entry

Things not allowed in our house anymore:

chocolate syrup
maple syrup
gogurt
popsicles
spaghetti o's
baby powder
wipies

I'm sure the list will only get bigger.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Midwives

I miss my old midwife. I miss the hour-long visits we would have. She became my friend and confidante. I could give birth in the privacy of my own home and my baby was never taken away from me. My husband didn't have to leave and we could even sleep in the same bed and not be parted. After the birth, my midwife would draw me a bubble bath. How delightful is that? With this baby, I promised my husband to have the baby in the hospital. I'm beginning to regret my promise. I've been to the ob/gyn office a total three times and each time I leave feeling a little let down. The first time they made me wait a whole hour before I saw my midwife. The second time I brought my kids with me and I got dirty looks from the receptionists. This time I had to wait half an hour and saw Mary, my midwife, for less than five minutes. I began to feel steam coming out of my ears when my name was finally called and was all smiles and laughter with the nurse and Mary not indicating my feelings on the wait time. I wanted to thumb my nose at them all and walk out, but I was itching to see my baby on the ultrasound, so I took a deep breath and plastered a smile to my face. These days it's hard to do that since I'm feeling mostly moody and tired. I found out that they don't do the ultrasounds there in the office. They have to make me an appointment. The urge to put my hands around their throats was tremendous. My husband had taken the day off to be with the kids so that I could waste my time with this appointment and now he won't be able to be there for the ultrasound. Mary didn't even think I would want an ultrasound thinking that I was very naturalistic. Me? Naturalistic? Hey, man, I'll take a couple Tylenol just like the other dude. I'm not big on pain. Do people think that women who have home births like pain? With every single labor I've had, it's been a nightmare of pain. A nightmare. I'm not kidding. I know you are wondering, "What the crap? Then why deal with it?" It's very simple. I have a phobia. I'll pop a couple pills just as you please when I'm sick with the flu. I'll happily knock myself out with Nyquil when I have a cold. But when I'm pregnant? I stare at the medication in our cabinet and start hyperventilating. I would rather deal with the flu, aches, a cold, anything before I dose myself. I just can't stand the thought that whatever I put inside me affects my baby. Just the thought of that tiny little human growing inside of me getting a dose of Nyquil sends me stuttering like an idiot. Why should it be any different with me when I'm in labor? I know that I'm in a tremendous amount of pain, but I don't lose my mind. My spirit, my soul, my mind are still intact and just because I'm going through hell doesn't mean I lose myself. Earlier today, I had an interesting conversation with my husband. He said that in England during your last trimester the local midwife comes to your home and cooks and cleans for you on occasion. I looked at him in with yearning and asked, "Could we move to England? I would reeeaaallly like to live there."