Friday, December 14, 2007

A Dr. Mario Epiphany

Have you ever been watching an action movie, and you see the hero at a full sprint? He's just booking toward his objective. He's almost there- you see him in slow motion, you hear his breathing. When all of a sudden, from out of nowhere the villain grabs his ankle and trips him. He doesn't just stumble. He goes flying; head over heels, gun sailing, limbs flailing, until he finally skids to a stop flat on his face. That's me.
I've been booking along, making tons of progress in my life. I've been reading my scriptures, going to the temple, exercising regularly, keeping my house clean. I've been in serious danger of someone casting me in bronze and sticking me in an effectiveness museum. Then my husband's work schedule changed. I've been in a slow-motion wipeout ever since.
I won't divulge the details of the change, because some of you would just smirk and say to yourself "I totally handle more than that every day of my life!" It's enough to say that it's changed me from someone calmly contemplating the ocean, to a poor wretch struggling in a rip tide barely keeping their lips above the waves. The problem is, I should 'totally be able to handle it'. It's really not that bad. Tons more people really do deal with worse. That's what's making it so hard.
It'll be early evening, and my kids are all swarming me like killer bees. They all need something, and I'm desperate to get away. I don't have anything to give. I'll lock myself in my room and kneel and pray. "Send help now, now would be good!" I'll feel some peace, enough to refrain from violence or tears in front of the kids for the night, but I'll wake up with my shoulders in knots.
It's so ironic that some sort of answer would come through a twenty-year-old video game.
As most of you know, I have an on-going evening affair with Dr. Mario. We meet on my treadmill after the kids are in bed. A few nights ago, I was busting along at my usual pace. In the game, I'm up to level 15 out of 20 and on medium speed instead of slow. I'm losing. Over and over again. I don't give up though, I just keep trying. When I start to get frustrated, a little voice in my head says, "why don't you slow down? I do the unthinkable, and slow the treadmill down. I'm at a comfortable walking pace now, and what do you know? I start to win again. A little voice in my head says again, "why don't you slow down?" and I understand. My life's a lot harder now. That's not going to change. This isn't a temporary glitch; it's not going away. I need to slow down, and find a new pace. I need to not expect so much of myself. I need to show a little mercy to this poor gal who's trying so hard.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Heavenly Holiday Activities

Have you ever carefully planned and anticipated a family activity? You picture the laughs, the smiles, the glow of family togetherness....
See, I'm not a crafty mom. The very idea of sitting down to do a project with my kids raises my blood pressure, and I start to feel like a caged animal. This Christmas, I vowed to give my children more Christmas cheer than they've had in their whole lives. This was going to be the year when we bake cookies, sing carols, do (gulp) crafts, and generally make merry every day. I ripped off my sister's idea and made a paper chain and wrote a festive activity for each day. We've been working our way through holiday movies, candy-glass ornaments, gingerbread men, and finally last night, gingerbread houses.
I've bought every candy imaginable, even waffle cones for towers. I've really looked forward to this, but yesterday something happened that I couldn't have predicted: school was canceled. I had already exhausted my supply of patience by the time we began our grand project.
I was already tense when we sat down to start. The boys were so excited, they were literally bouncing on the benches. I remembered something I'd forgotten in the kitchen and turned to get up when...WHAM! I was blinded by pain. There was a huge blow to my nose, accompanied by a sound like a beetle getting stepped on. My little 6 year old had chosen that exact moment to loose himself from the bands of earth and rocket to the stars.
I'm not happy, clutching my face, sure that the blood will soon be flowing through my fingers. I let out a wail "WHY can't you guys just sit down like normal HUMANS!" At this point, the wretched child dashes from the table, runs to his room and slams the door. I'm not far behind him, flinging myself on my own bed. I chance a look at my face, and sure enough, there isn't even a mark. Maybe a slight swelling. I'm bitterly disappointed that I'm going through so much pain, and I have nothing to show for it. Alas, life's not fair. I'm feeling guilty, because it was an accident, and I should have kept my mouth shut, or at least kept my mouth nice. I hear the little disgraced one return to the table, so I join them too. We salvage the night, and manage to end up with some pretty impressive creations.

See, not even a mark. Just the red spot from where my stitch was a few weeks ago.

His ended up looking less like a house, and more like a trailer park after a tornado.

This is all that was left of the our oldest's creation. He's not much into architecture.

A sultan's palace, perhaps?

Here's the little bruiser. I'm not bitter, though.

And finally, the over-achiever of the family. And thankfully, the one with the coolest head.