Sunday, February 24, 2013

Embracing Brokeness and Imperfection

My mind flits backwards and stops again on a moment in my life as a 12 year old. Probably because it illustrates who I was, in contrast to who I thought I have now become.

Once again, I am 12 years old and I stand in the kitchen holding a pan of brownies that somehow went dreadfully wrong.  I am irrationally crushed. So much of my identity is tied up in this area of my life. For this, I am praised and I gather that praise almost greedily, trying hard to fill an empty spot deep inside and to make sense of my life.

I held that pan, devastated because I had failed. I looked at the clock as it ticked quietly on the wall and I calculated.
Yes, I could do it, and I would!

I dumped the entire pan in the trash, covered it up well and started over.
No one would know, it would be 30, maybe even 45 min. before anyone arrived and my tragedy would be unknown, my face saved.

It worked that time, things went smoothly, perfect glossy brownies with a crackled surface were coming out of the oven at just the right time.  They were all that I hoped, and they didn't come from a box!
But I carried a secret, I wasn't as perfect, as I pretended. It haunted me.  My imperfection, my secret, my mascaraed.

This little insignificant incident became important. Over the next years this story would repeat itself in many different situations, until I began to joke that somehow I had spent my teen years believing that the best course of action is
"If at first you don't succeed, remove all evidence that you tried."

It bound me up tight inside.  I feared trying things where I thought I might fail. I was shattered if I failed or even felt like I failed.  I tried to stick close to the things I did well. I spent inordinate amounts of time internally mastering everything before attempting anything.

And then...
I married a man who knows how to laugh at himself and does so frequently. He is comfortable winging it on his own, and goes for help later, IF things don't work out.
He tells other people his crazy moves, his mistakes, and missteps.  He Laughs about them.
I envied that!  Slowly I started to be more daring, to take myself less seriously, to embrace failure as a good learning tool and not a catastrophic event.

I still get scared, I still get choked up with fear of failure when I am pushed out of my comfort zone before I think I am ready.
I still hate failing, looking stupid, and messing up.

But......I thought............ I really thought I had come a very, long way.
I thought I had learned something about what it means to embrace my own imperfections, my humanity and to understand at a deep heart level  that perfect isn't were things are at.  That's a God job, and I will never, never make that level in a million years.

But now I'm twelve again and I am standing by the counter, and everything in my wants to erase, cover up, runaway, forget, pretend and start over.

I don't want to feel this pain.
I don't want to feel this anger.
I don't want to think about what it means.
I don't want to ask the hard questions, and I don't even know if I want the answers.
Really, I just want a clean paper, I want to remove the evidence that I tried.  And God knows, I have tried harder at this then anything in my entire life.
It still wasn't enough, it still didn't work, not even part way.  I don't know how to make peace with that right now.

My head and my heart don't say the same thing. I know "the right answers".  I can quote the liturgy as well as the next well-churched girl. But those little cliches and nice pat answers aren't going to cut it.

This is like the brownies, I am irrationally crushed. It is an identity issue, and it's hitting me in deep, dark hidden places.

But I know deep inside that I have changed because even though it is excruciating I am and will make an effort not to hide, not to erase.
I will hold this in my hand, when I really want to bury it and run away.
I will face the hurt, the anger,the imperfection, the disappointment, the brokenness and healing will come, eventually.
Tear Soup  isn't made overnight, and that is what I am making right now.  Even though I would rather be making something else.  I hadn't planned on this, I haven't studied for this, I don't know how to do this....but I am un-clenching my hand.

“When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow.” ― Shauna NiequistBittersweet

Sunday, February 17, 2013

In which life goes on

Its been a really weird week.  It strange to have everything change so very abruptly.  Not bad, just strange.  I don't think I really realized just how much time and energy I was really expending. I was spending about five hours a week to and from and in therapy. Plus in home therapy that seemed like it never ended. Hours have opened up and our days are running so differently, the biggest difference is that peace reins and .........

what do I do with all this goodness?  Well... I just go on and get sick.  

Stresses removed and my body simply crashed.  I have been dead tired all week. I have tried to carve out at least 9-10 hours of sleep a day, and I still feel like I was running on about four hours.  Nuts!

It's not like I can just call a break and hang out in bed.  The life we created doesn't exactly lend itself to nicely to that sort of thing, especially right now.

Our four goats have all recently kidded. So there is new kids and milking.

We were also in the middle of  meat processing and that had to be finished, too. 

Plus running low on feed and the animals have to eat, regardless of how I happen to feel on any particular day.

Not to mention people food, I think we were out of everything, AGAIN!  So I made a trip to the Feed Mill one day, the Farmer's Market the next day and finished up at Aldi's on Friday night while the boys enjoyed a birthday party with one of their favorite people in life.

I won't lie, it's been a tough week.  But I think I am pulling out of it and feeling more normal again (whatever that is).
I hate dragging myself out the door in the mornings, but what is weird is that once I am out I don't really mind.  

I  find myself breathing in the cold air and smiling, admiring the sunrise, and morning noises.

I don't hate this life at all, even though I find it frequently inconvenient. 

I like that my kids can create and explore.  I like that they really know where basic things come from and how much work it really takes to see things through from the beginning to the end.
But there are days here and there were I contemplate the joys of a suburban life style.  :-) 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A New Chapter

It’s been more than 72 hours now since we said our good-bye’s and drove away, leaving N to begin his extended residential treatment program.  It's not the one we thought he would be going to, but we feel it's right for him, for us.

All the paperwork completed,
 belongings transferred,
 the signing on dotted lines here
 and here
 and here.

It has been five long months since we started working toward this end. So many emails, endless phone calls, paperwork, doctor visits, psychologist, psychiatrists, and counselors, combined with unending prayers and countless tears.

 I woke up this morning knowing that I didn’t have to brace myself and jump back into the routine of crazy.  This isn’t just a respite break……………. this is for real.

 I can’t explain the relief, I feel a weight lifted that I would say is physical, if I didn’t know that that is impossible.  But the sense of physical weight being removed is there.

This realization of the reality of a long term break hits me again and again, I whisper a “Thank you, God” sometimes through blurry eyes.

I knew in my head that God heard our desperate prayers, but sometimes I doubted.  Oh sometimes, far more often than I would like to admit,  I felt like I had fallen into an invisible hole and had been forgotten.  Other times I felt like there was rock on my chest that was slowly squeezing the life out of me, that it was only a matter of time. I felt like nobody knew, they didn’t understand that I was literally dying with each breathe I drew.

 To go from those feelings of desperation and hopelessness back into the sunshine, unfettered and free  is almost beyond imagination.
But here I am, and I can’t begin to explain what I feel.

 I can breathe again,
 I can relax,
 I am not on high alert.
The difference is staggering.

The change in our home atmosphere has shifted dramatically, and instantly.  Several times dh and I have whispered to each other, “Do you see?”  “Did you notice?” and even we are speechless and left wondering, “Is it really possible for one child to make that much difference?”   It IS, sad but true!

I hate the well meaning questions, and I don’t feel like being with people. I suppose I am afraid to be completely honest.  Several phone calls, and church this morning.
  “Are you okay?”
 “How are you making out, you have been in my thoughts a lot?”

I am still tired, but really……………….. I am freakin awesome people!!!!!!

 For instance, last night I slept for 10 hours like a baby!  We All slept with our bedrooms doors wide open and unlocked every single night so far, just because we could!

I suppose my real feelings are mirrored in my almost 11 yr old. He came to me asking, “Am I supposed to be sad?” To which I answered, “Honey, you aren’t supposed to be anything you aren’t.  Everything has been so crazy, there isn’t one right way to feel. How do you Really feel inside?” With eyes on the floor he answers,  “Really happy, and glad. But I just keep thinking that I should feel bad because I would feel really feel bad if it was A. or L. I feel bad that I don't feel bad.”

Yeah, I know…………I know…………and sometimes those feelings of guilt wash over me, too.  Plus, of course, the next thought for me that goes something like.  “If they (house parents/workers in residential facility) can do _____ then what is wrong with me?”   Uh, huh! Yeah.  I know.

I just hug him tight, and hug myself, too.  I whisper to both of us that “God knows what He is doing and after everything that has gone down, it makes sense to feel glad, relieved, happy, and grateful. It also makes sense to feel guilty, too.  I reminded him (and me) that N was happy to go.  He was excited and he didn’t feel bad when he said goodbye either.”

Little Mr. A. isn’t quite that old yet. He is cool with just being happy and not worrying if that is okay or not.  He has hugged me repeatedly saying, “I am so happy and I don’t know why, but this day is just a good day for everyone.” or “I am so happy my door doesn’t have to be locked, it just makes me sing and I feel like hugging everyone.” Hug away my friend, we all need it!!!!

I know it isn’t over yet, that thought lurks at the back of my mind and haunts me.
I don’t know what the end results are going to be, the ride isn’t finished and how I wish I had a permanent answer.

But for now, for this very moment, the pressure has been relieved.  We have space to heal around here, to normalize, to breathe and smile and sing and dance and enjoy family life.

So this is me being happy, 
living in this here very moment 
with abandonment and joy. 

If you think this is weird, or psycho, let me guess,
You have not lived with an individual who has a diagnosis of RAD, ODD, severe CD, and ADHD.  You might not even know what those letters stand for.  : )  Lucky you! I am happy for you, I really am!