Saturday, August 20, 2011

The year of intensity.

My Father-in-law asked me why I haven't blogged in so long. I had to think about that for a while. First of all, this has been the most intense year of my life. It took all my precious life force just to live it; nothing was left for documenting it. Second, crazy things have happened- things I didn't want to blog about because people would judge me and take away my mom card. Third, I've had amazing support during this year, and my need to tell my story has been satisfied that way.

I've had enough distance to mention some of my fun facts:
1. During my spring break, my sons rose up as one and created havoc at school. It wasn't a time of great stress at school, and the timing still mystifies me, but every child but one either got suspended, withdrawn from school, or had to call home from the Principal's office. Thankfully, most were for general tomfoolery and rascality, but still. I had to laugh.
2. I also came thisclose to having a SWAT team search my house and having a child expelled for what ended up not being a good way to impress an elementary school girl. I didn't laugh at that one. I did some deep cleansing breaths for a long, long time. It's almost funny, but it'll take a while.
3. The same week my kiddos were in revolt, my grades came out for winter quarter. I got to experience the darker side of dyslexia when my biology professor inadvertently gave my hard-won 4.0 to the student below me and gave me his 0.0. I missed making the Dean's list and scholarship consideration because of it. I was an overwrought ghost, haunting the registrar's and professor's office for ten days to no avail. I finally got sick of it and parked myself in the Dean's office and poof! Fixed in a flash. The happily ever after to this one is that I did end up getting a different scholarship, so there.
I lived through all that, but dang. They all pretty much happened simultaneously. That was one tough month.
When my brother died last year, it reoriented the gravitational pull of my life. Every day has been a push/pull experience toward fully processing those moments that were too intense to live at the time, and adjusting to the loss. Again, I'm really grateful for the support I have. Lewis has been a rock, and is always willing to pick up the slack when the work of grieving is more intense. The cool thing is, I have the best brother in the world. He is still very involved in the family so my relationship with him, instead of shrinking into the distant past, has stayed blessedly current. I know it probably can't stay like this forever, but it's enough for now.
I have also been consumed with all the 'firsts' of our little farm. We've raised and butchered chickens, learned how to/how not to keep baby chicks alive, and fended off a multitude of predators. We've felt a baby goat kicking inside his mommy, then enfolded him in a towel still wet from birth. I've gotten over the awkwardness of squeezing my goats girly goodies to milk her, and even made goat cheese.
We watched a youtube video on goat slaughter, then did it ourselves. I helped skin and butcher the demonic creature. I canned the meat, and even made sausage. I loved it so much, I'm taking hunter's safety next month with my three oldest boys.
We were given a boat this summer (!!!) and have spent fun days tubing, skiing, and fishing.
We worked for months getting the four, eighty-by-3.5 foot garden boxes fences, filled, and planted. Now we're drowning is zucchini. It's a lovely way to go!
We road-tripped with some of our closest friends and got to bask in the sight of Bono in leather pants. Unforgettable.
I got to be in a family band and rock out to Weezer for the reunion talent show. I don't ever want to see the video, I know it would spoil my memory of Julie's and my sweet harmony- especially the part where we totally lost our place and just yelled the words.
I'll wrap up this post with the present moment. I spent the last few days hanging out with my dad, doing my best not to lose or break him while my mom's away. We've had a great time, hitting a bucket of balls, hitting our friend's frozen yogurt place, and devouring pizza, root beer, and action movies. Sorry mom, he just had cold pizza and root beer for breakfast!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I'm Happy

I realized this yesterday morning on my way into the science building. I had a giddy little swoop in my stomach, and I thought to myself, "I can't believe this is my life!" I love school. I love my kids, especially as they get older- so much more fun, so much less work. I love my little farm, and my plans for it. I love my sweet husband, who is always looking out for my comfort and cheering me on. These are the things I was thinking as I made my way to my first class of the day- geology.
I claimed a seat in the front row of the large theater-style auditorium. I sat down, swung the desk up and in front of me, and opened my backpack to get out my notebook. Only it wasn't there. It had everything in it. Everything. Every scrap of paper for taking notes, my lab manual for biology next hour, even the classroom numbers, that on the second day of class, I still need. I looked at the clock and weighed my options. The precious notebook could be in my car, way up a long, steep ramp in the nosebleed free parking section. I had 9 minutes. Should I go for it, or cut my losses? I imagined going through 2 lectures and a lab with nothing to write on, and made my choice.
I ran. Well, as fast as one can run on ice through a busy campus and not look like an idiot. I've been wanting to get more fit. Be careful what you wish for. I gasped and panted my way up that ramp, thighs in flames. I prayed as I approached my van. Please let it be in there. Please let it be in there.... It was. I was saved! I sprinted and dodged my way down the ramp through the thinning crowds. I checked the time, three minutes! I knew I wasn't going to make it, but I'd be close. I tried to control my breathing, because who wants to burst into a lecture hall late, red-faced and panting?
I made it, a minute or two late. I don't know what my face looked like, and I don't want to know. The professor looked at me with concern as I darted for my desk, saved for me by my coat, backpack and text. That was my way of telling her that I wasn't really late, just, um, late for the start of class. I tried to squeeze into the space between the desk and seat. No dice, and everyone was staring at me. There was nothing for it but to take down the desk part to sit down. I tried to, but my textbook went splatting to the floor. Flame-faced, panting and perspiring, I finally settled into my seat with my precious notebook. My professor nodded to me as if asking for permission to begin again, and I experienced about five minutes of humiliation. Then I happily began to take notes.
Then I laughed about it inside for the rest of the day.
Life is good, and I am indeed happy.