April 25, 2011

Capturing Lily

She was under a large chest of drawers in my daughter's bedroom.

Think beady black eyes and whiskers.

Think rodent.

And I was on my belly trying my darnedest to get her out. Broom stick in hand, I gently poked and prodded, sending her scurrying every which way but my direction.

I had to round her up, and she could not be injured in the process.

Because unlike the mouse that our dear cat Lovey dropped in my house several months ago -- which sent me screaming for assistance -- THIS rodent had license to be in my home.

She is the newest member of the family.

She is Lily, the guinea pig.

My daughter thinks she is pretty darn cute, and I must admit that she is. But, damn, was she hard to capture after my daughter allowed her, without my permission, to roam.

The irony was not lost on me. I could not even stay in my home last winter when my neighbor hunted for the mouse that Lovey brought on the premises. I screamed like a crazy person. But, there I was, last night, at times almost eyeball to eyeball with a rodent -- a very quick rodent -- and I was even making kissy noises to entice her into the open.

My daughter wanted so badly to help. She began to wonder if Lily would stay forever under the dresser, only to wither away and starve. (Haven't I mentioned that I sometimes worry about Olivia's anxiety?)

But there wasn't much my daughter could do. And our joint frustration started to build -- although it was, at the same time, pretty amusing.

Little Lily seems to take a poop with every third or fourth breath, and I could just picture the stuff accumulating, pellet by stinky pellet.

Lord, ain't life something?

What really cracked me up about the whole thing was my five-year-old daughter's take on it.

"Mom," she says to me, "Why don't you just call some workers?"

What the ......?


Do I look like I have workers????

My house is a mess, my hair is too long, my toenails have a teensy bit of paint on them from the last time I took out the polish two months ago, and laundry is piling up in three different places.

There may be a few parents of kids at her pre-school who have some workers, but I am not among them.

Finally, I decided the only way to get our little friend was to move the dresser. It was heavy, but I pulled the thing part-way out from the wall. I think Lily was so blinded, she didn't know what the hell to do.

And I got her.

A little TLC later and she was back in her cage.
Olivia was finally getting in the bed.

And it was time for some Q&A, Olivia-style.
Mom, how did God make people?

How long has the Earth been here?

How did He make the land and the water and the animals?

Is God in our bodies?

How can God be everywhere?

Sweet goodness, shouldn't it just be enough that I captured the pig????

Sometimes, poop-included, motherhood really is sweet.

April 14, 2011

A few weeks ago I watched the movie Catfish. I had not heard about it, and I was intrigued to watch the story unfold, documentary-style -- a story of a woman yearning so intently for something different in her life that she went to unbelievable lengths to escape, if only in her mind.

It is a movie I will not forget, to be sure.

Because I can identify.

OK, so I wouldn't have done what she did --and I don't want to spoil the movie for those who may be hitting up a Redbox soon.

But ..... I know that feeling. That feeling of wanting something more ... needing something more than what makes up your life.

And even just saying that brings on the guilt--because I have many blessings in my life.

But I have been through my share of sadness, too. And I have learned lessons that I wish I had never had reason to learn. Here was the most difficult: as much as it hurts to see your child suffer with a disability, there are things that hurt much worse. And sometimes, you so badly want your life to be different, that it can reach desperate levels, like it did for the woman in that movie.

So, I don't know what others might think of what she did. I certainly don't approve. But I understand what motivated her.

I wish I didn't.

April 3, 2011

Talk to Me

A week ago I had a moment when I messed up with my daughter.

It wasn't the first time. It won't be the last.

In my defense, I have had a difficult few years. And at the moment of this particular personal failing, I was confronted with an in-my-face reminder of how much pain I have yet to process.

The words tumbled out of my daughter's mouth. She had no way to know how they would affect me--although I think her words reflected just how many questions she, too, has about what has taken place in her life and the roles that certain people have played.

Talk about stitches ripped from wounds struggling to heal.

I said some things in that moment that were a reflection of my hurt ... and my anger--anger not at my daughter, but anger that is so very real and raw that it can consume me in the moment, if I am not careful, until I can barely focus on anything before me, even my beautiful daughter.

I told her, in no uncertain terms, that the subject of her words was so upsetting to me that I did not want her to mention it again.

Bad, bad, bad Mommy moment.

I recounted the entire situation to a friend who has become so dear to me that words cannot describe her value.

She empathized. She reminded me of the very difficult situation I have been in for a very long time. She told me, basically, to not be so hard on myself, which is something I need to hear from time to time. And she gently reminded me of something I can never forget--that no matter how difficult, no matter how gut-wrenching it might be, I ALWAYS want Olivia to feel comfortable talking to me, about ANYthing.

Pretty damn good point, wouldn't ya say?

So the next day, I did the best I could to gently reintroduce the ugly topic to my daughter. "Hey, Olivia," I said, "You remember when we were sitting in the restaurant the other day and you started telling me about ....."

I tried, even more gently, to explain, in very brief terms, why I get upset when I hear about the topic--but that did NOT mean she shouldn't talk to me about it. Because I am her mom, and I always, always want her to tell me what is on her mind, what she is thinking about, what she is worrying about.

I hoped my words registered. I hoped I had undone a big part of the damage I did the day before.

And guess what? I think I accomplished that goal--because of what she said to me later that night as I put her to bed. THIS time, I did a much better job.

Thank goodness this mothering-gig leaves you some time for improvement.

I decided to write about this because I don't ever want to forget the important lesson my friend helped remind me of. Only one of my two children can talk, after all, and so I have even more reason than most moms to never forget how important it is that my child feels comfortable talking to me.

And I wrote about this because I can think of no better way to say thank you to my friend, who will read this when she checks in with Google Reader tomorrow. I love you, gal. And I owe you so much.

April 2, 2011

Today is World Autism Awareness Day.

Perhaps there already is a face that comes to mind when you think of autism -- the face of a family member or friend.

If not, I ask you to think of this one...

And say a prayer.