Thursday, February 11, 2010

5 Years Later?...

Life has whizzed past since I started this blog in 2005. That's just crazy. 5 years. My kids were 11, 9 and 4. Wow.

Now my oldest has a shiny, white Jeep Cherokee that is nicer than my car. It's already been repaired once and has a fresh new bumper crunch from backing out of the carport last weekend and hitting a pole.

My middle child...still the gentle soul...has his first girlfriend, declared that his body is his body and "Just Said No" to Concerta-the appetite robber. It seems 14 year old boys take much delight in eating large amounts of food and he was not going to miss out.

My baby is no longer a baby. Her happiest moments are on the soccer field, on the back of a horse or climbing a rock wall. She likes earrings and lip gloss...some days...and her favorite thing about school is, ummmm, nothing. Unless soccer practice right after school with her P.E. Coach counts.

Me...I'm really not the same MariContrary either. I'm older and when you are in your 40s...older really does mean...O-L-D-E-R. Middle age becomes more of a reality than you can ignore. And you are way more tired than you were, say, 5 years ago. WAY more.

For awhile I could not come here and write about my life. I could not write about my kids. I was in a phase of life and parenthood that no one really wants to know about. No one wants to believe it exists. But it does...and it changes you...and it's really really important that you make it through. Because when you do, you catch your breath and realize everyone is still here. And everyone is still in one piece. And that's a big part of our purpose here with each other. To see each other through the good, the bad and mostly the ugly. And to realize there is life and (hopefully) lots more living on the other side of this secret, nameless phase.

I think I'm on the back side now...hoping I'm mostly sliding downhill from here for awhile at least. If that ends up being the case, I'll be here writing again I think. I'm pretty sure this secret, nameless phase of parenthood has huge value. And I think I may be ready to talk about it.

And I promise...I'll figure out my photobucket login and post a new picture.


Friday, January 30, 2009

Happy to be back

Fifteen months I am. Happy to have survived my oldest's first year of high school. Happy to be halfway through her second one.

It's been a tad bumpy. And going back to work full-time hasn't made it any smoother. But, I'm happy to say, we are figuring it out. I think. :-)

Oooohhh, how I've missed this. Yes I have.

So much has transpired and my head is so full that my fingers could never keep up with typing it all. I'll have to start out pretty simply.

So here we go...small selfish things I've discovered since October 2007 that make me all warm inside...nice and happy:

  • Curly Girl Design..."She dreams of mermaids and motorcycles and meeting a man who can dance" is my favorite. I have it in a fridge magnet. Only it's not on my fridge. It's right here in front of me and it's making me smile.
  • Philosophy's Amazing Grace...I would rifle through my kids' wallets and steal their allowances to replace an empty bottle of this amazing soapy happiness. And that's what it will take once my Christmas bottle is gone. It's dreamy but pricey.
  • Yoga Sandals...My kids forbid me to wear these just one step outside of the house. Not even to take out the garbage. They say they're absolutely freaky. I think they're absolutely walking on clouds. Maybe. They make my feet very happy.
  • Grey's Anatomy...I tried not to watch it. I sat at my desk in my previous job irritably listening to the Grey's banter. I was NOT going to watch this show. Ever. Oops. Watched it once. Loved it. Can't get enough. Total TV happiness Thursday nights at 9:00.
2009...a new year of happiness. 2009...a new year of blogging. I'm back.


Monday, October 01, 2007

Barefoot in the Parking Lot

So...have you ever left church barefoot? Not only that but have you ever left behind your favorite pair of shoes, never to see them again? Ever dream of doing just that and feeling very much okay with the whole thing?

I never would have dreamt it. And if I had, I don't think I'd have been at all "okay" with it in my dream. But dreaming and doing are two totally different things.

Of course, it's all my teenage daughter's fault. She's the one who led me to this craziness of a church. This place where they spoke of the Joy of Giving and then appealed to the heart of those listening to take off the very shoes they wore into the service, bag them up, and leave them behind. You should have heard the buzz of whispers as people looked down at their feet and chuckled uncomfortably.

Which was the whole point of course.

Here's what went through my head...
  • Of all Sundays to support my teenager's attempt to make her faith her own...
  • Of all Sundays to visit the place where my teenager desires to worship...
  • Of all Sundays to wear my absolute favorite pair of brown wedges...
  • Of all Sundays to have to put feet (couldn't resist) to my faith...
  • Of all Sundays...Wow.
It was the Pastor's prayer that provided me the time and the closeness to God to decide to leave behind the cutest shoes I own(ed). But it had nothing to do with the shoes (although I hope that today one discouraged woman looked down at her feet and felt the same fleeting sense of satisfaction I felt when I wore them.)

Anyway, it had everything to do with me snapping out of an all too familiar bout of self pity. You see, for the past two or three weeks I had become increasingly discouraged, depressed and downright (secretly) mad at the world. There were no solutions, there was no hope, there was just no time to live a life that really mattered. And all of that together was making me really really grumpy.

Until Sunday, when someone asked me to do something for someone else. Something really unexpected - spontaneous - something really uncomfortable. As easy as it may sound to you, it took a huge leap for me. But once I closed my eyes and rested my head in my hands my heart became still and peaceful like it hadn't been in weeks. My stupid shoes became so unbelievably insignificant.

And as I tiptoed up to my daughter and her friend (because otherwise my pants were like 2 inches too long) I laughed and said, "Why are you guys still wearing your shoes???" They were dumbfounded..."Mom, you know you didn't HAVE to do that..." and "Oh my gosh, my Dad did the same thing, Miss Marianne..." and "Wow, Mom, I feel really bad..."

And I just laughed again and said, "Don't...this is what it's all about," and I felt better than I have felt about God, about my daughter, about myself and about the world (you know I get carried away) than I've felt in quite a while.

And, no, it's not because now (between tomorrow and Sunday) I HAVE to go shoe shopping.


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Saturday Matinee

Aaaahhhh...I found I had a few hours to myself yesterday. It was a fabulous occurrence. So I treated myself to an afternoon with Jane Austen, sort of. I am a bit of an Anne Hathaway fan and I also love most anything Jane Austen. So Becoming Jane was the movie I chose. If you find yourself with a few free hours, go see it!

One of the best things about the movie was the previews...not your usual "Wedding Crashers/Die Hard" type. The Kite Runner preview was news to me that the movie will be out in November (yay!!!) and I am feverishly googling to find out more about Under the Same Moon, about a boy who crosses the Mexican/US border to find his mother after the death of his grandmother. I say feverishly because I couldn't remember the title. :-)

But also...I saw the preview for The Jane Austen Book Club. Brought me much happiness.

So there...enjoy the clips (wish there was one for The Kite Runner)...let me know if you see Becoming Jane...and let me know what you think about the movies coming out soon.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Coffee Table

I don't drink coffee so, technically, it's not really a coffee table that sits in front of my couch in our living room. Up until about two months ago I could have called it my Diet Coke Table. But now that's history as well (that was really hard, btw!)

Honestly, even if I were to pour a cup of coffee, there isn't one square inch of tabletop available for setting it down. No room. It'd have to go on the floor. Which I would prefer anyway because if by some miracle a space did open up on the table made for holding coffee, I doubt I'd take the chance. One clumsy nap-jerk and over it would go onto one of...ummm...eighteen books.

There's also a bowl I made like 10 years ago in ceramics class and in it sits a very dusty half burned candle surrounded by some shiny rocks, a few Barbie shoes and mismatched barrettes. Along with someone's flattened Capri Sun bag (gggrrrrrr), an old band-aid (that's gross and, tonight, I'm just makin' that up), a piece of tape (I can never figure that one out), and a purple marker that amazingly still works.

I've tried to keep it pretty. Every three years or so I try. And it lasts for maybe two weeks. Maybe. It's just no use. I'm a perpetual book stacker.

And next I'll write about one of the books from that stack. Which is what I set out to do tonight until I sidetracked myself.

So since I'm already sidetracked...what's on your coffee table?


Monday, September 10, 2007


Recently I was asked, "So Marianne, what movies have you seen lately?" All I could answer was, "Pirates, Shrek and (in a hushed tone) The Simpsons Movie."

My embarrassment led to my new lower -end membership to kid movies allowed on my Rental Queue!

So, sitting on my DVD player ready for viewing are Hotel Rwanda, The Last King of Scotland and The Constant Gardner. I'm in URGENT need of movie suggestions to add to my queue.

Thanks guys.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Adolescence - Already Arrived?

New book...same topic...teenagers. But this one is a really really good book. Get Out of My Life, but first could you drive me and Cheryl to the mall? (Anthony E. Wolf, Ph.D.), is a must read for any parent, aunt, uncle, teacher, grandparent, neighbor, or anyone else who may happen to come across a teenager in the near or distant future.

I'm almost finished reading it (for the first time...they'll be more readings to follow) and one part in particular has stuck with me. I can't decide how much of it I agree with so I thought I'd run it by you.

Mr. Wolf writes about Letting Go in ways I had never thought of - he lets parents off the hook in a way. He writes:

As parents, we have a sense that our children are in a changing state, like wet and still moldable clay...Yet by the time of adolescence there are places where the clay has already hardened, where our children have become the final product, the adult they will be forever...In some respects they have already arrived at their destination - the permanent adult form.

THAT was a very humbling moment of reading for me. He seems to go on to say that at this point in teenagerhood, when we see that this is the case - they are only who they are - it's time for Mom and/or Dad to deal with it. We've done the job of parenting as we view it to be, but what happens next (or should happen next) is equally if not more important. Dealing with the individual our "baby" has become and how we feel about it is an ultimate test of letting go. And letting go is a parent's job as kids become teenagers. It doesn't mean we drop the rules and stop parenting. But it does mean we stop trying to shape or, even worse, live through our teenage child.

What do you think? Were you pretty much the person you are today when you were a teenager - minus the impulsive, stupid mistakes? Do you think many parents would agree with this?

It's been on my mind so much since I read it that I thought I'd get some input from my wise readers.