Sunday, October 18, 2015

I'm sitting in the foyer at church. It's quiet except for the excited shouts of babies and a general sound of shuffling while white-shirted young men pass the sacrament. I remember when those boys were my age or just a little older. I remember looking at them and thinking they were cute and hoping that one or another would get my row. I remember getting older and thinking they were babies, surprised at how young they looked. And now, with Derek as my mind's measurement, they look so big again.

Derek is with Bobby at the state fair today--which is why I'm in the foyer. 

Most of the time, I think, I almost convince myself that I'm only coming to church for Derek...but I listen to the scriptures when I'm alone in my car. Do I do that for him? And here I am without him today. I'm just not quite brave enough to walk into the chapel alone. 

Why am I so afraid to admit, even just to myself, that I might be coming back to church for myself too?

Share your faith, not your doubts. 

I heard that once and it seemed to make sense--but I'm not sure if that leaves me with anything to share. Do I have faith? Do I have a testimony? I know I have hope. I hope the gospel is true. I hope I'm not chasing a work of fiction. I hope I'll see my dad again someday. I hope someone is listening to my prayers. But maybe that's not quite right--I hope someone is listening, it's true, but I do absolutely believe in prayer. So I guess I have two things. Prayer and hope. I just hope that's enough for now. 

I've accepted a calling as a primary teacher. What will I do on the Sundays when Derek is not with me? Will I be able to face the three-year-olds without my own little boy?

Saturday, June 20, 2015

how not why

When you have a child, you're probably prepared to hear "why" a lot. Everyone warns you; it's the stuff of jokes and cartoons--a little kid asking why and following up with "why" again and again until the parent is ready to scream. 

But Derek doesn't ask why, he asks how.

When we told him we were going to Disneyland, he wanted to know how we would get there, which car we would take and who would drive. Bobby told him we were taking daddy's car, but mommy would drive. Derek followed up by asking where Bobby was planning to sit. He wanted to know which road we were going to take to get to Disneyland--a funny question for a kid who doesn't know what a map is, but I tried to answer and describe the long-long drive down I-10 anyway. By the time we finally left, Derek already knew the seating arrangement in the car and he knew that we were going to drive past Charlie's house and past Mommy and Daddy's work and then we would keep driving and driving for longer than he could imagine....

Knowing how doesn't make everything okay all the time, but it makes him feel a little secure. It didn't stop him from asking if we were there yet or from whining halfway through Riverside county that we were driving too much and he just wanted to go home--but when I reminded him that I had already told him we were going to drive too much, that we were going to drive and drive until he couldn't stand it, he said, "oh, yeah" and stopped complaining for a few minutes. And when I told him that he if closed his eyes and slept for a little bit it might feel like we got there faster, he decided to try it.

He's a planner.

I have to go into work for a few hours this morning. Last night, just before he fell asleep, Derek asked how he would get to Daddy's house in the morning. I told him I would drive him. He smiled and said "good." Usually he wants to know more about the route, but that was enough last night.

It's his favorite question.

"How," for him, isn't about "how does it work" so much as a "have you thought of everything?" When Bobby donated Derek's old stroller to Goodwill yesterday, Derek got very upset and demanded to know what his dad was planning to do when Derek got tired. Bobby tried to assure him that I still have my jogging stroller, but he said Derek remained suspicious. I wasn't there, but I think their little conversation/argument ended with Derek reminding Bobby that he gets tired sometimes and Bobby doesn't like to carry him. How was he going to handle that?

It's funny to me. These are things I never worried about as a kid, things I should probably try to think about a little more often as an adult.

But it's time for me to go to work ... how will I get there on time now!? Hahaha

Sunday, April 12, 2015

This may make me sound like a horrible person ... but, after spending the last three or so days one-on-one with a sick kid, I'm so glad I'm not a stay-at-home mom. I sometimes wish I didn't have to work -- but, ideally, i think I'd actually like to have a part-time job. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

april 9th

My mom challenged me to blog every day this month -- so, of course, here it is, on the 9th, and I'm finally getting around to my first post of the month.

Derek is sick.

He's been sick since Monday night, but I didn't take him to the doctor until today and I feel a little bad about that. The doctor said there's nothing we can really do--just wait it out, let him rest and give him lots of liquids in the meantime, but I still feel guilty. Maybe, if I'd taken him to the doctor on Tuesday or even Wednesday ... who knows what would have changed? Probably nothing, but a good mom, blah, blah, blah.

I'm bored.

Derek is sick. 

I went into work late on Tuesday and I left early today because Derek was sick and, now, based on the coughing sound coming from his room, I'm guessing I'll probably miss a whole day of work tomorrow. I feel guilty about that too. Parenthood is a weird guilt-ridden game sometimes. I feel guilty for not taking time off sooner, but I also feel guilty for missing work. 

Weird, weird, whatever.

I had a billion blog post ideas earlier today, but my brain feels a little fried right now.

Derek is sick and I've been up with him every night this week--because whatever untreatable sicknes this is seems to be worst at night. I've changed wet sheets and I've cuddled and whispered to a tossing and turning boy and I've fought with a feverish three-year-old, begging him to take his medicine, I've bargained and yelled and even tried to force a single chewable table into his mouth. 

And I've done all this every night this week.

I haven't slept more than ninety minutes in a single stretch since Sunday and I'm exhausted.

I should try to sleep now. Sleep when he sleeps. Isn't that what everyone likes to say? Maybe it's not just good advice for parents of newborns. Maybe it works for parents with sick toddlers too. Is he still a toddler at three? Either way, whether he's a newborn or a toddler or some other creature altogether, the advice I'm giving myself probably won't be followed.

My mom was here for a few days and she helped me take care of the sick kiddo on Tuesday and again today. She's the reason I haven't had to miss a full day of work ... but Derek's worse now than he was on Tuesday and my mom is back in Rio Rico and Bobby's in California for a convention and everyone I know has to work tomorrow ... so I imagine I'll be calling out sick ... unless Derek wakes up feeling wonderful in the morning. I don't think it will happen, but maybe it could?

Oh, well! 

I think I'll try to sleep now after all.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

monday wednesday saturday

It's Wednesday, but it's like a Monday too because Derek isn't here.

Bobby and I switched nights this month. 

It was kind of like Saturday as well--because I had the day off work. 

Today was Day 1 of the three-day suspension my boss offered me in lieu of termination. I'm sure I'll feel the punishment part of  it when I get the paycheck it affects. For now, though, it's just a gift, an extra break from a job I hate. I let Derek sleep in this morning. I hit snooze a dozen times and then, instead of rushing my sweet boy to dress and run out the door, I let him shower at his own pace (a luxuriously slow pace) and watch the end of one of Disney's Tarzan movies on Netflix. We might have spent the day like that, but I had a doctor's appointment 9.

I dropped Derek off at school almost two hours later than normal.

I went to the doctor this morning and now I'm watching "the Doctor" tonight.

Ha ha.

I'm not sick. I just thought today would be a convenient day to schedule a check-up.

After the doctor, I loaded up on groceries and cleaning supplies and rushed back home before my mom and her friend, Barbara, got here. The two of them put my living room in order faster than I could say "don't mind the mess," and then we went to lunch. I took them to the airport (big genealogy conference in Salt Lake this weekend) and came back home again.

Again and again.

Home, home, home.

It was a gorgeous day. The weather was perfect. I left the doors open and dreamed about going for a run or something exciting like that. But the HOA's been complaining so I puttered around the house and pretended to be a handyman instead. They sent Virginia a letter about my leaning fence and some loose cables on the walls outside. I tore off all the cables and, luckily, managed not to accidentally cut off my Internet service or damage anything in the process. Then I spent a huge chunk of the afternoon hammering and gluing and screwing the boards back in place on the fence. I took out the trash. I raked a little bit too and I put the tortoises out to enjoy the sun. I scrubbed my toilet and shower and I ran a load of laundry and I finally watched the last few episodes of Psych and now I've finished everything that Netflix has for Dr Who too.

What will I watch on my next Derek-free night, I wonder.

Maybe I'll read or sleep instead.

I haven't told anyone about the suspension. If anyone asked why I wasn't working today, I just said I was off. I don't know why I wrote about it here....

Monday, February 2, 2015

sleepy monday night

It's another Netflix night en la casa de mia.

Is it casa de mia or casa mia?

I could look it up, but why? It's so much easier to guess, ponder, and move on....

I'm watching Dr Who, but I'm bored with it tonight.Season 7 doesn't have the relationships or story-strength or something that I loved/liked/or just couldn't stop watching in previous seasons. We said good-bye to Amelia and Rory and a woman named Clara just dropped through the top of the Doctor's carriage and I think I might turn off the TV for the night.

But then I what will I do?

I was so so sooo very tired today. All day.

I completed a 5K yesterday morning and then I walked Derek to and from church---over five miles total for the day and we played and danced and crawled around the house---and I felt great yesterday, but I woke up achy and edgy today. Yesterday, I was impressed by my fitness. Today, I'm reminded how far I have to go.

I should run to the store, but I think I'll take a shower and crawl into bed instead.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

...and now it's saturday night

I enjoyed the show tonight.

I saw Cirque de la Symphonie at the Mesa Arts Center.

It was more symphony than Cirque--there were never more than two performers onstage with the Phoenix Symphony--but it was lovely. I loved the music and I loved the dancing and the acrobatics and now I want to see a full-blown Cirque show more than ever. 

I also want to play orchestral music for Derek every day.

...and I want to find an acrobatics class where I can learn to twist and turn, bend over backwards, step over my head, and spin hula hoops with my arms and legs extended at odd angles in the air. Ha. That'll be the day. I want to be agile and muscular, but I'm chubby and saggy and sad instead. Well-padded and lazy too. And I've never even figured out how to spin a single hula hoop around my waist. I was the only kid in my kindergarten who couldn't. 

But I can dream, can't I? 

I'm determined to start exercising and to sign up for at least an hour or two of fun at the trapeze school I've passed a million times between Bobby's house and mine. Maybe I'll do it this summer. Maybe I'll wait another summer or two until Derek can do it too.

It's late night dreaming, but I've just started watching Netflix's last season of Dr Who--so I'll need something else to occupy my time soon...dreaming is a good start, I think.

I have a 5K in the morning and it's late and I'm really very tired.

Later my loves.

saturday morning

I love Saturday mornings.

It was still dark outside when a little voice called "Mommy!"

"What?" I yelled without opening my eyes.

"Would you please come lay down with me in my bed for a minute?"

"Okay," I sleepily agreed. I put on my glasses and rolled closer to the edge of my bed. I woke up again, still in my own bed, when my brother in NY texted a weather update at 7:18. I have no idea how much time had passed, but Derek was quietly asleep in his room down the hall and it wasn't quite dark outside anymore.

I puttered around the house a little and started a load of laundry. I was sitting in front of Facebook (Tribez is my current Facebook game addiction--it's not even a great game, but it wastes a little time and I enjoy sharing it with my Facebook game extraordinaire friend Skip) when the same little voice yelled "Mommy" again and followed up, word-for-word, with the same invitation to come lay down on his bed with him. I started to refuse and then I reminded myself and these invitations won't last forever. When I got to his room, though, he sat up and warned me that the bed was wet.


We're both in the living room now and there's a pile of sheets and blankets waiting for their turn in the wash. 

I was thinking about taking him to the zoo this morning, but it's still raining a little and it's so nice to just hang out like this.

I guess we'll see what the day brings.

He's spending the night with Bobby and I'm going to a Cirque show tonight--Cirque de la Symphonie is playing in Mesa for one night and I got a balcony seat for $18 (actually $25 after all the fees) ... I hope it's fun. I still remember watching Cirque de Soleil on the Bravo channel with my mom and dad in their bedroom in Tempe. I've wanted to see one of these shows in person ever since ... but the tickets are always too expensive or the timing is off ... and this time everything is perfect and I finally have a ticket to go. I hope it's a good one!

Monday, January 26, 2015

another monday night

It's Monday night and I'm once again alone in my house, tucked into the couch with a fuzzy blanket wrapped around my feet, watching Dr Who for hours on end. The blanket is clean this time, no lurking smell of pee if I press my face into it, and I've peeled off one of my fancy gel fingernails--but everything else is the same as it was the last time I posted.

What will I do, I wonder, when I reach the end of this series? Will I start over from the beginning or will I find a new show or will I actually start spending my alone time on something more productive and worthwhile?

What would that something be, anyway?

The bosses were away in meetings last week. Before they left, my boss told me he doesn't want to fire me. It was supposed to give me hope, I guess, and it worked until today. I was late for work a week and a half ago. It was a "tardy" that put me in serious jeopardy of losing my job -- but he called me into his office and warned me that what he was about to tell me wasn't "final" yet, but he assured me that he doesn't want to fire me, that he was looking for a way to save my job. I was grateful, I am grateful, but the "not final" part worries me.

I was mostly okay last week.

I mostly put it out of my mind last week.

I started to worry again today.

The "not final" part started to haunt me and I found myself literally shaking at my desk.

I've always been a little shaky anyway.

What if? What if? What if?

There's nothing I can do. I can argue against the tardies and the tardy policy in my head all day, but what's done is done and there's nothing I can do but wait while others decide my fate.

So ...  here I am, watching Dr Who when I could be catching up on my sleep or cleaning the house or stitching the sweater with the hole at the seam or reading a book or something, almost anything, else. I like this show and yet I'm still undecided too. Have I said that before?

I've been missing my dad lately. I never stopped, of course, but I had stopped randomly crying at quiet moments and now I've started again. I read a book that I would have loved to have shared with him and the fact that I can't just brings back the starkness of his absence.

I'm a little directionless right now.

My post has no point and most of my ramblings aren't happy--but Derek and I had a pretty wonderful weekend and I'm glad for the little bits of downtime I have on Monday and Thursday nights--I miss Derek like crazy, but I like having a chance to indulge in Dr Who binges too--and maybe life can keep being good and I won't lose my job and I'll be even happier in the future.

I'll keep holding onto that hope. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015


I've been watching hours and hours of Dr Who.

My life has no meaning, no reason, and nothing to hold it together outside of work and Derek. When I have neither, I crash on the couch and watch Dr Who until I'm afraid to stay up any later than I already have.

I exaggerate, of course.

A little.

I love melodrama after all.

I like Dr Who, but it's so incredibly weird too.

I want someone to watch it with me. It will never be Bobby. I don't think it ever could have been him--as much as I've sometimes wished it would be. Even without all the madness and hurt of the past three years, even without another woman who he wants to follow around the world, I don't think Bobby and I ever really could have been. I'm so glad for Derek, I'm so very-very glad to have him, but I wish I hadn't wasted so many years wanting the wrong thing.

I want someone who gets it, someone who gets me too, who can laugh and say "this show is so weird, let's watch some more!"

But enough about that.

Maybe I like Dr Who because it distracts me and entertains me, of course, but also because it kind of sort of helps me think of the past and the future in safe and fictional couch-y comfort.

Reality sucks sometimes. Fiction is fun, but reality is a lonely middle-aged woman with fancy fingernails, crinkling eyes and a biscuit-dough belly wrapped in fuzzy blankets that smell like pee with my feet tucked under marker-stained couch cushions, watching too many hours of Netflix and tapping away on a Bluetooth keyboard.

Reality is me and I'm not magical or fictional. 

I feel incredibly sad sometimes. It catches me almost by surprise. I was sitting in the Subaru service center's waiting room yesterday, reading The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon while I waited for my oil change to complete, when I suddenly started to miss my dad. I wanted to call him and say hello and talk about the book and about Percy Fawcett. It hurt. It hurt so so much. And today, driving home from work, I started to think of the kids I'll never have -- I'll be 40 this year and there's no one in my life and no one on the horizon. I love Derek and I love what I have (it's true no matter how much I whine on here), but I wish I'd gotten an earlier start. I wish he had a mom and dad who loved one another and a couple of little brothers and maybe a sister too. I wish he could be a big brother. I wish a million things. I wish I could appreciate what I have without all the niggling second thoughts. I wish someone loved me back for once and I wish I wasn't worried about Bobby's complicated woman stepping in to be another mom to my only son.

So I'm sad for things I've lost and things I've never had.

My friend Virginia thinks I need to "see someone." I don't know if that's code for "you're whining too much," but I think she's right either way. I'm just afraid. I don't know how to start or how to talk, so I think I'll write for now.

Writing has always helped--and maybe I'll even get into the habit of it again and find something new to say and to share and maybe I'll find a creative streak in my late night musings and before you know it, I'll stop writing about poor-poor me and I'll jump into fiction and follow in my mom's fabulous self-publishing footsteps.

We can dream, right?

Season 5 just ended and I think that's a good stopping point for the night.

Bon nuit.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

baby dinosaurs dancing

It's been a frustrating and busy week at work and Derek's been so edgy for the past few days that coming home doesn't feel like much of a break. Almost anything can set off a full-blown meltdown right now and I'm just about ready to follow suit. Last night he said, "I love you" and I responded "I love you too." He went nuts. Apparently I had missed my cue to quote Rapunzel from Tangled by saying "I love you more." Tonight I answered his "I love you" with "I love you more" and he went nuts. "That's Rapunzel," he protested in a near scream. His teacher told me it wasn't a good day when I picked him up from school tonight. It was his first "not good day" since he moved to the threes a few weeks ago. She told me he had a hard time following directions today and then she laughed and said he wasn't the only one. She blamed the full moon. 

Whether it's the fault of the moon or not, I feel frazzled. 

But even in the middle of the craziest day, there's magic sometimes. 

I'm trying to focus on the magic: when he reached up and stroked my hair with a hot little hand and sleepily whispered, "you're pretty" ... or when we curled up next to each other in a blanket on the living room floor and took turns drawing dinosaurs, for instance. 

Drawing can be a dangerous activity when Derek is tired or edgy. His dinosaurs sometimes look too much like crocodiles and his crocodiles turn into whales and the penguins never turn out quite right and I end up with a sobbing boy and a pile of crumpled up scribbles thrown all over the house. But not tonight. Tonight everything was what he wanted it to be. Tonight we drew two dinosaurs together, a boy and his mom, and then he checked my ears and measured my face and gave the mommy dinosaur earrings. He let me draw the eyes and teeth and then he filled the space between our two dinosaurs with baby dinosaurs--tiny little scribbles with eyes and teeth and tiny legs and tiny tails--and he narrated his actions and told me about each baby, what they liked and how they cried, and it was magical and sweet and my day was suddenly a million times better. One of his baby dinosaurs even danced "like a dog in the shower" and Derek pirouetted to demonstrate and it was so perfectly ridiculous and lovely that I immediately wished I could somehow capture the moment and hold onto it forever. And then he drew a long purple line from the boy dinosaur's mouth and he growled and cried and told me his dinosaur ate all the babies and we squealed and laughed and ran around the room trying to save and capture all the little scribbles come to life. 

When I feel completely worn out and invisible, this is the kind of magic that makes getting up and doing it all again tomorrow seem possible.  

I'm always too dramatic, I know, but I love this boy so much it scares me sometimes. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

three years

On Sunday night, almost a week ago, Bobby suggested we carpool on Monday. He said he needed to talk to me. I thought it was a little strange, we were standing face-to-face in a WalMart parking lot, after all, so why not talk then? But Derek was goofing off in my arms and Bobby was eager to get to dance so I let it go.

I racked my brain that night wondering what I'd done wrong.

The next morning he texted that he wasn't feeling well and he didn't think he'd work a full day so the carpool was off. I responded with the standard "feel better" platitudes and reminded him that he said he wanted to talk. He asked if we could do lunch. I agreed. Thirty minutes into my workday, he pinged me and asked what time I go on break. I let him choose a time. He was standing at my desk before 10 o'clock. 

We walked outside and he started talking.

He first told me that he's okay, he's in good health, and just has a cold.

Then he rounded into a string of nicieties--you will always be important to me ... we have a smart and wonderful son and, no matter what, we will always be connected--that sounded like a break-up speech and totally fit with Bobby's standard method of delivering bad news. He likes to start with something nice (but what nice things does he have to say to me? Thank you for giving me a son, I'll love him forever, and for that you're kind of important to me?), to try to make the listener feel good before he delivers life-altering bad news. I tried to interrupt him, to skip past the nonsense and jump to the point, but he asked me to listen. So I listened to the impersonal compliments and then he hemmed and hawed and finally told me that he's in a "very very very complicated relationship."

I asked if he's getting married. 

"It's leading that way," he admitted.

She's in the Air Force. She's been accepted to a prestigious school in Washington. She'll be there for three years and then she'll be stationed somewhere else--it could be anywhere in the world. And he reminded me that he's in "very poor health" (he often gets dry eyes, after all, and his knees at 45 aren't what they were twenty years ago). He could be a stay-at-home dad. I asked if he's moving to Washington. He said he'll follow in three years. He invited me to come too. I told him I won't follow him and his wife. He asked what was holding me in Arizona.

I got mad at that last question.

I'd been walking next to him, tight-faced, feeling my life slip away and then he asked what was holding me here. "You!" I barked. I reminded him that I could have taken a job in Georgia two years ago, that I'd talked to him about it, that there'd been an opportunity for him to move too, and he'd told me he would never leave Arizona, he would die here, and I had decided not to go--because I didn't want to take my son away from his father. Bobby didn't remember any of that. He agreed that it sounded like something he would say, but he didn't remember it. 

My life and the sacrifices I've made, don't register to him at all.

He tried a different tactic. He said it could be somewhere cool, like England or Germany. 

I said no again.

He said a lot can change in three years. I agreed. I remembered three years ago, thinking he and I could have a family together, that Derek might even have siblings, never imagining the life I live now. But I didn't say anything. He answered a call on his work phone and said he had to go inside. He reiterated that a lot could change, that I could change my mind, he just wanted to give me a heads up, but he wasn't going anywhere yet--not for another three years, anyway.

I asked if Derek's met her. He said yes. It was the only question I asked about her. 

I cried at my desk, tossed and turned that night, and wrote and deleted a handful of angry texts and emails accusing him of taking me for granted. I reopened all my old wounds and wrote out all my grievances, reminding him that I'm not a nanny or a puppy dog who will follow him and another woman around the world, that Derek is my son and that I am Derek's only mom. I didn't hit send. I deleted everything. I texted and asked how Derek was on Monday night. I sent updates and pictures of Derek on Tuesday. I fell asleep in Derek's bed before 9 o'clock on New Years Eve on Wednesday night. It was the best sleep I got all week. And I finally started to eat again on Thursday. I had tried before then, but even the thought of food made me sick.

I make it so easy to take me for granted.

I'm better than I was. It took a few days, but I realized that Derek and I will be okay. The world isn't falling apart. It still feels a little surreal when I think about that conversation--the unchangeable Bobby, the man who didn't spend a single night with his newborn because he needed to rest and who preferred to be separated from his only son rather than risk letting horrible old me into his pristine life, is going to uproot everything and follow a woman to England or Germany? How long has he known her? Would he follow her to North Dakota or Alaska, I wonder, or is he only along for the ride if she's going somewhere cool? He won't go to Washington, after all, and he'll be 48 in three more years....

Having a baby with Bobby was a terrible mistake that resulted in the greatest joy of my life. I love Derek more than anything. It sounds like a cliche, but he makes everything else worthwhile. Even Bobby. And now I have three years to prepare for whatever is coming.