Friday, August 29, 2008


Sometimes, I think the universe likes me.

The last two weeks have been like living in hell...aka minivan hell. Now I'm not going to lie, I love my "new" van. I'm not really thrilled about the gas mileage the thing gets (it's a 4 cylinder as opposed to a six like most vans) but I love being so far away from screaming and hitting children. And it is more comfortable for them despite the above hinted at incidents of sibling abuse. But this week I've experienced the suburban mom nightmare called transporting. All week I've been toting kids back and forth to school (charter school=no buses), and in addition, have been toting Piper to work with me. Add to this having to meet up with H at my school to do the kid exchange...well, hell. The van already looks like we live in it.

But let's not forget the "morning hell." This entails forcing tired and all too often grumpy children from their beds. I fight to get on clothes, fight to comb hair, fight to brush teeth, fight to actually move three tiny little asses out the door. And all that being so not a morning person. Of course Camille usually tops off this lovely experience with a full, on the floor, screaming tantrum right outside the door to her school's cafeteria. After five minutes of such embarrassing behavior, she skips into the room, and begins to sing like a cherub with the world's best music teacher.

Oh and have I mentioned homework hell? Trying to get homework done when you're lucky if you roll in at ten as been shall we say interesting. School is not a break for me, and if one more person asks how I"m enjoying my "free time" I may punch them in the face.

But this is more stressful because we don't have a home. We have been doing all the above things with the added pressure of looking for a place to live. At some point, we gave up trying to find the perfect home. We figured there was no way we would have the time as we were both starting teaching the same week. It was sad, and I felt a tad depressed. We've been compromising homespace ever since we moved here, and I was hoping for once to find something I loved.

Physical space is very important to me. Despite being able to pick up and move at a moment's notice, I do care a great deal about being surrounded by a space that works for me. When I view a new home, I want to be able to walk and instantly imagine that space as my home. I haven't been able to do that with any of the places we've lived in since we had Umberto. These places were more homey with our things around but there was still this disconnect for me. They had no personality...just big white boxes divided into box like rooms.

So once we had given up, we saw it. A little house, newly renovated, fenced in front and back yard, in a district we love. We parked, walked around, peered in windows, and as I stood underneath the tree in the front yard, I felt peace. This was the place. When we finally saw the inside, I wanted to sing, dance, and just stamp myself all over the place. It was cozy, old, filled with personality. Upstairs there were two attic rooms, perfect for a nice little TV room and a playroom. I could imagine us sitting up there on rainy nights watching movies while we listened to the rain pour down on the roof. I saw the kids' new little beds lined up against the wall. I imagined H and I blogging at night in front of the fireplace. I saw the yard decorated for Halloween.

And then the hell that involved getting the application started. The woman had not brought an application. For some reason, the fax machine at my office was not receiving what she was sending. I didn't fill out the application until yesterday. I was a mess, exhausted, discouraged, and so sad that I might not get to live in such a beautiful home. And then I got the call's ours! At these moments, I think maybe, just maybe there is karma.

I miss you all so much. I miss my blog but hopefully we will have wireless, fast Internet soon...or maybe that's just asking too much of the universe.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Wrong Side of Thirty

Time for the annual birthday posts! Of course I think this is only the second one[actually my third but hey who's counting?]...but I have kept a journal most of my life and I always write on my birthdays. I wrote on my 25th birthday that for me birthdays felt like the real New Year. On my birthdays, I always ponder where I have gone, and where I plan to go. I am never one to make hard plans or even resolutions but there is something about my birthday that makes me reflect on my life.

This year, I am 36. And it was a much harder number for me than any of my previous ones. Forty is looming, and I know it's not old but I feel somehow like maybe I should be more grown up by 40. You know a job, a house that I actually own, etc. But that voice is easily stilled when I think about damn content I am in my life right now. I told my mom that I used to yearn to be a published writer but blog makes me happy with the readership I have, and I love school (minus adviser issues). Plus the real achievements are my greatest loves: H, Umberto, Camille, and Piper. With them there is so little to want...just the world for them...but for me? I don't know how it could really be any better, cooler, or more wonderful. Okay a million dollars wouldn't hurt.

And I suppose that some of this sadness over the approaching 40 comes from looking back. It's hard to believe that it was almost 20 years ago I was a gothe girl who didn't imagine making it to 40. I often have a hard time reconciling that girl with the woman I am now. And there is a bit of mourning over that lost spirit. Complicating that whole mourning are the multiple wrongs not made right, the things not ended, etc. There is a whole chunk of my life that is still this gaping wound. Don't get me wrong, it's a much smaller wound but it's still a wound. I just sometimes wish it would finally heal.

But is my birthday. It didn't get much notice in the "real world" but I was overjoyed to see so many greetings on my facebook. It touched me that so many people all around the world took the time to wish me a good one. And a whole year has gone by again..a whole year full of drama, joy, and travel. A year of many changes...some occurring only in the last few days but a great year. New friends, closer friends, and a whole years worth of blogging under my belt. I hope that next year is as exciting although I am going to wish for a little more sleep.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Chatty, Little Update

My time on the computer is limited so I've been saving all "my deep thought" posts for when I finally have my beloved laptop, and DSL connection back. But I do have a bit of time to just update on us. I don't want anyone to think we've dropped off the face of the Earth.

Right now we are living with my mom. I had hoped that we would be moving out this weekend but due to my screwy brain, I thought classes started for me next week when they don't in fact start until the 25th. Likely we will be here until the end of the month which means a crazy week of driving much too far for everything. Have I mentioned how much I detest commuting? And of course there is just the exhaustion of living with other people. We haven't had a home of our own since the beginning of June, and the wear is starting to show. But I'm thankful that we have family to care of us when we need them to and of course I love Mexico. But now I just want my own home. We're looking at houses! With backyards! And three bedrooms!

On the school front...Umberto and Camille were accepted into the Community Charter School. I signed them up today. The assistant principal is from England and has a lovely accent. And she's nice and comfortable to be around. She assured me they have lots of ex homeschoolers in the school meaning they are quite used to working with that population. The classes are open. Students set their own paces, and move around the room using various centers. They classes are also multi graded so Umberto will be a first/second. I'm very excited and of course nervous about how Umberto will do. He is thrilled as his best friend K goes to the same school. And he's also looking forward to meeting new friends. Camille can't wait as well, and burst into tears today when we didn't stay for "school." I think we'll like the parents there as they seem pretty funky and alternative like us and of course we're good friends with K's parents!

I have to confess to feeling a bit of relief at sending them to school. I spent my uncomputer time drawing up lesson plans for Umberto. It was overwhelming and then I realized I had to do it for Camille as well. Really homeschooling is just too much for me. I am not willing to give up school or a career, and while I have no doubt many would think this selfish, I honestly believe that staying home full time would not make me happy. I think that a mother's happiness in her choices profoundly effects her children. And my kids are ready to go. If Umberto hated the thought, I may have tried to work it out but both of them are ready. Now I have only Piper and while that will be challenging as she is used to having her brother and sister always there, it will give me more time to finish this master's program.

And that's our little update. I'll keep trying to get some more stuff up. I have a whole journal with stuff for the blog.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Becoming One, Becoming Two

Our children are so much like us, we look at their faces and see bits of ourselves reflected back. They often act like us, the way that Camille holds a crayon reminds me of the way I hold a pen. And herein lies the great difficulty of parenting. They are not us but it is so hard to draw that line of where us ends and you begins. The intensity of my relationship to my children is a bond that makes it clear to me that the idea of separate bodies can be difficult to grasp. The notion of the individual is too often lost when I lay on the bed holding Piper's chubby little body. And there is great pain in this intensity, in this bonding, in this becoming one because the child does struggle against you as they seek to assert their I into your world. And there is pain because what happens to your child's body has an immediacy that is hard to put into words.

Umberto still can't read. He's having a lot of problems on the most basic level. My mom is freaking out, and her freak has sent tiny shots of panic through me. Does he have a learning disability? Is he just not smart? Is this my fault for the bad way I took care of my body while pregnant? Did I harm him by pulling him out of school? All of this stuff slams into me as I try to sort out what to do next. My mom is pushing for public school even though I know she must be aware that all too often kids with learning disabilities are not often serviced well by the public schools. She's pushing and pushing because she thinks that if he doesn't get identified by nine then it's all over. And of course the chances of him getting identified by nine are small. This process usually takes a year. Of course I feel like she thinks it is my fault for homeschooling.

The pain of letting down Umberto is doubled with my own pain. My own struggles in school haunt me...not being able to read until I was nearly eight, never being able to do Math, and taking Algebra I three times, my total lack of aptitude with foreign languages (there's a reason why I don't speak Spanish people), and my total horrible spelling and verbal skills issues. I remember clearly, likely because I feel like this often even now, feeling like a total failure. I always felt so dumb in comparison to those around me. My successes were so lopsided, and there was always that nagging feeling that being good in one area really did not make someone smart. My mother excelled at both reading and math and pointed that out all too often while I struggled through high school. I always have this sneaking suspicion that in reality I'm quite dumb but that no one wants to tell me.

And now all this blends with my concern for Umberto. I don't want my precious boy to feel this way. I want him to be confident. But I worry that putting in school will do just the opposite. On the other hand I worry that being homeschooled will ruin any chances he has for learning...that I can not give him the help he needs. As I try to make a decision I have to sort through what's my own fears from the past mixing with concern for Umberto's future.

This separating of the us from the I is difficult.