Multigenerational Mom Muses on Twin Toddlers & Twenty-Something Daughters


feeling overwhelmed

Regurgitated Topsoil or Sifted Sweets

2020 is an effing rototiller. It’s plowed me up, yanked all my roots, ruptured my reservoirs, and spat me clean out.

I feel like nothing more than regurgitated topsoil.

And just when I’m beginning to feel the warmth of the sun on my injured insides, now exposed and unaccustomed to the open air, in the beast rushes for a second run over the tender bits. And then a third. Have mercy.

I’m done. I’m churned. I’m mixed. Mangled. Mutilated. Please, sir, I want no more.

And yet the toppling, tangling turnstile rumbles on.

Stop already.

Leave me alone.

If this is growing, then give me some time to grow in between all the grinding blades of betterment. And some nutrients… nutrients would be nice, if you’re gonna run me over.

Or at least some sunshine. Sunshine would go a long way, I think. Sunshine would help these aching, exposed innards feel a little less raw. A little less bleak. A little less overturned topsoil and a little more overturned potential.

Or maybe I’ve got it wrong.

Maybe 2020 isn’t a rototiller. Maybe its a sifter, separating and refining, eradicating lumps, purifying and preparing for the sweetness soon to come.

That’s what I need to think right now. As a baker and sweet-maker, that’s where I need to be. In a mixing bowl, being refined. Blended. Whisked. A panned and agitated psyche waiting on the warmth and the melding and the promise.

Ready to rise to the beauty and sweetness of what I’m destined to become.

Yes. Let it be that.

Because I could really use a little sweetness in my life. Or I guess I should say more. I have a bit, still, in my storehouse. But the bitterness is really staring to pile up.

So let’s finish this and get on with the goodness. Please.

’tis the season, a very hard season

’tis the season — for mankind and for football. It’s Christmastime and the playoff season. The Sunday of the semifinals and the final week of school before winter break.

And I have so much I want to do. Like to do. Am struggling to do. All the baking and buying of gifts, the playoff chili cooking and cheering for my student athletes and football family. I want to do all the things I usually love so much about this most glorious of seasons.

But then, my body rejects that desire. It shudders. And shutters itself inside a husk of general malaise. And I cannot.

My joy has been ransacked. I find tinges of it — glimmers of it shining in the rubble. Like broken glass or teardrops caught by glancing blows of brightness and light. Fleeting.

This morning, I watched the sun climb stair-steps of cloud over the river, the shelves of them distinct and layered like a smog and smoke parfait. It was haunting, the way it cast shadows over a split rail fence in the distance, a long, lean checkerboard where crows, not ridged game pieces, hopped the squares.

Their tinier siblings were there too, a carpet of blackbirds, rolling in low-slung, oily black clouds from yard to yard, scavenging in swirling, lifting tornados to light in naked trees, filling them with feathered foliage.

The King of the Crows, a giant among the blackbirds, scared them away and perched himself at the top of a wobbly, half-dead fruit tree in our backyard. He teetered from his own weight, wings outstretched for balance, a pendulum in chaotic motion, a blunderbuss of blackened breastbone searching for balast. He gave up and flew away.

Death never feels like balance. I’ve learned it topples you, leaves you yearning — for joy, for love, for the person you’ve lost. Everything feels off kilter. Out of balance.

But the experts tell us Death is the ultimate balance of Life. The two bookends. lMaybe so, but it never feels right for those left behind. I swear, my father’s book wasn’t finished.

I wish Death had failed to light that November night. I wish the balance had been off. The pendulum too chaotic, the ballast not there — not quite right for the Harbinger Crow. I wish that Newton’s Law had kept my father’s heart in motion.

I’m sure, somewhere on this earth, there was an equal and opposite reaction. The moment my father’s heartbeat ceased, some new one began. Beauty birthed in pain. Darkness and sorrow begat magic and light. So the pendulum swings.

I see both. I feel both — but the light side, the bright side, it comes only in flashes right now. Flashes of comfort and joy: cuddles with my twin boys at bedtime, curled like squirrels against my side while we read our bedtime books; Friday night’s quarter-finals game, stadium pulsing with our come-from-behind win; trips to the mailbox to find cards with well-wishes and Christmas greetings.

But then I swing back to the grayness and fog and numbness, and on into darkness and pain and mourning. And back again.

’tis the season. A very, very hard season.

Still, I am here to bear witness. To feel it. To live it — in all its shifting shades and sensations. The wildly-careening spectrum of color and composition that makes and brings the beauty AND sorrow.

The wins and losses. The memories and their making. The rise and fall. All the majesty and magic and quagmires and pain of Life. Without it all, we would be so flat and empty.

So I’m taking these broken wings and learning to fly again. Into the depths and heights of the pendulum swings. Into the light of a dark black night.

”tis that season for me.

She’ll Cry, then She’ll Cuss, then She’ll Get on With It

So I’m sitting here right now, doing my best not to cry. (And failing.) I seem to have stacked a whole lot more on my plate than usual.

Of course, it’s football season… and I’m used to the stress and demands our family’s football life takes on my schedule and my sanity.

But now I’ve added little league flag football for the boys, with twice-weekly practice. (So we don’t get home until 7 PM. And the boys have to be cooked for and fed and homework completed and bathed and read to and in bed by 8.)

And then there’s the online gifted certification that I’ve committed myself to for the next four semesters. And my desire to fit in some exercise and blogging. And to get my hair done occasionally. And to have time with Mike.

And teach. And plan lessons. And grade 185 students’ assignments — times 2 or 3 on any given week. Oh, and be a club sponsor.

And be a person who listens. Who hears. Who cares. Who helps. A good mother. A good wife. A good daughter. A good teacher. A good friend. In other words, a good person.

And to fit sleep in there somewhere.

So I’m trying not to panic. And I’m failing at that too. I feel like I’m failing at all the things. All of them.

And I was sailing along doing just fine… or at least I thought I was, until I got an email this morning telling me that the group I thought I was a part of in my mandatory gifted cert Group Component had made a mistake, and I wasn’t actually in the group after all.

I feel like the last kid picked for dodge ball.

But here’s the thing about me. I’m really good at dodging. I would dodge the hell out of group work and do it all on my own, if given the chance. I hate group work. It was the bane of my existence as a student, both in high school and in college, and now here it is, the bane of my existence as an educator.

I’m a perfectionist and an introvert and group work is some sort of tenth circle of hell Dante never dreamed up because it’s simply too diabolical. That one was left to the higher education tour guides of hell.

So what’s a girl to do?

Well experts tell the simpletons like myself to cultivate an ability to say NO. To prioritize my life, cafeteria style, and learn to pass rather than heap the items onto my plate.

But the thing is… my life itself isn’t a turn at the buffet. It IS the buffet. A great, big, delectable buffet — with a small side of broccoli group work that I have on the table, whether I like it or not.

All the things on my buffet are all the things I need to live this great big life of mine. All the things. Even the broccoli. And not a one is too small to pass up. (Especially not the hair appointment… I think it’s the only thing I truly do that is selfish.)

So what is this girl to do? This girl is gonna cry. Just for a hot second. And then she’s gonna cuss the tiniest of blue streaks, to let some of the steam escape, lest she explode like the Coke Zero can in the center console of her van in the 97 degree heat this past Thursday.

Because the pressure is great. But so is her work ethic. She’s not gonna explode. And she’s not gonna implode.

She’s gonna tackle one mountainous molehill at a time. Starting with an email to find a new group for this mother-effing group work due in two hard, hellish weeks…

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