Monday, February 11, 2013


I work hard at Showing Up, but I make progress in frustrating fits and starts.  The mornings always seem to devolve into irritated chaos, but this morning I wake early and crawl out from under the heavy blankets and comforter, prying myself away from the warm five-year-old tucked between myself and my husband, and brave the chilled darkness of our pre-dawn and badly insulated house, (out of bed early - check).  I pour a cup of hot black coffee already brewed and waiting for me, having been prepared the night before, (cultivating stress-free mornings - check), and sit down to read in the drowsy quiet:  devotion, inspiration, quick thoughts scrawled into a notebook, peace and preparation (check, check, check, and check).

Lena interrupts my moment of digestion after reading so many words I needed to read - I am in the middle of writing out the last question, still wanting time to read it over again, maybe time to think about the answer.  She is awake a little earlier than I anticipated, complaining of a sore throat.  I close my books and fix her a mug of hot water with honey and lemon, letting it cool to a kid-safe temperature while I spread honey into the peanut butter on a slice of toast, hiding the honey because she is convinced she doesn't like it, though she hasn't tried it in two years.  (Branching out the girls' limited menu - check.)  She complains.  Whines about the cold house.  Demands television.  Cringes in disgust at the honey in her mug.  Jerks away from a sip from a spoon, assuming it is hot enough to burn.  Picks at her toast, although she never notices the honey in the peanut butter.  I try to be patient and cajole her into trying her drink.  I do not blame her for being cold and sleepy and I am sure her throat really is sore from the chilly house and the sniffles her sister has had for three days which were surely brought on by licking - licking! - our shopping cart at Target last week.  But by the end of it all she is still unconvinced and I am out of ideas, resorting to cutting words Fine, then.  To just treat the contents of your mug like medicine, then.  It is something she must take to soothe her throat.  She is mad, now,  and I am irritated, and I try to regroup in the kitchen, struggling to focus on the simple directions on the back of the bag of quinoa in my hands.  Saucepan, water, quinoa, stir, boil, cover, simmer, wait.  (Learn to make breakfast quinoa - a favorite item on the menu at the the florist shop/cafe on La Brea where we used to eat breakfast before they inexplicably changed to a Vietnamese menu before, surprise, closing altogether - check.)  Evie fumbles her way out of bed and into the living room carrying an armful of blankie and stuffed animals, grumps that Lena got to choose the morning cartoon, then looks blankly at her own toast and honey lemon water mug.  I bring a cup of coffee to Jimmy, whom I find a few moments later adding the dried apricots and pine nuts to the quinoa before I was ready, even though he was probably right to do it then, but I wanted to follow the directions on the bag thoroughly just once, and now I am more irritated.  And so the morning slowly devolves into the usual prodding and whining and frustrated routine of trying to get the girls ready and out the door until we are running late again, and though Lena's drop off goes smoothly somehow, Evie decides as we are hustling out the grade school gate that she needs a drink from the water fountain now, and my dismissive "Not today, honey," propels her into a full-on throw-down sobbing meltdown.  I have to carry her, kicking, to the car, buckle her in against her will, and listen to her sob and scream until we reach the preschool.  I try to remember myself, try to command a calm to take over me, to patiently talk her down, to distract her with music on the radio, but she is having none of it.  When we arrive, she somehow walks to her preschool willingly, and the instant we hit the door she is happy again.  Playful.  Like nothing ever happened.  And by the time I walk through the door of our own now quiet house, I am ready to crawl back under the thick blankets and comforter and hide until the kids are adults, in, like, eight million years.

Breathe, move on, calm, breathe, relax, breathe.  Where was I?  So many things.  So many things I am trying to change, all at once.  And the progress comes in fits and starts.  More than that, the instant I make a little bit of progress, I am greeted in return with more thoughts, revelations, inspirations, than I know how to process.  I don't even know where to begin.  Last week I wrote about being worried about our finances, and how I have been trying desperately to figure out how to earn more money for our family, wondering seriously if I should go back to work.  Then just over the weekend my little daily devotional book reminded me that worries get us nowhere, that God cares for us and makes our way ahead, and we are better off to trust Him.  Then the book I'm reading for inspiration encouraged me to acknowledge my own potential and dare myself to move forward into the life I want, not the life I think I need.  On Saturday, my mom emailed me with a great idea for expanding my Etsy shop.  Last night Jimmy turned to me with several ideas for this blog and saving money and tying the two together.  And in church yesterday I was reminded to look around for other people who need help instead of drowning in my own self-obsessed fretting, getting nowhere, helping nobody.

I could write an entire post about every one of those ideas, as well as all the other ideas I am discovering right now:  ideas about myself and creativity, myself and food, myself and success, myself and what I want.  It's as though I've been seeking answers and help for so many years, and suddenly I have found it all in a great pool, all jumbled together and each idea excited to be received and acted upon at once.  I need time to sort it all out.  But I don't feel I have the time.  Or maybe I just don't want to take the time.  I want to do everything and make all of the changes NOW.  I want to discover mistakes later, after they've been made, so long as I've moved ahead and done something.  Anything.  Because maybe I won't really make so many mistakes as I'm afraid I will.  Maybe only good things lie ahead.

This morning was rough, but Jimmy was right when he pointed out that it was not a disaster.  Improvements were made.  More improvements can be made tomorrow.  And I have good things to write about tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that.  Progress is being made in fits and starts, yes.  But it is progress all the same.

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