Lonely

The other day I walked with Aiden partway to his bus stop. On the way he just looked so dejected as he quietly asked, “Do I really have to ride the bus? I hate the bus.” We got to the park and he went one way and I went the other to continue on my morning walk. As I got to the other side of the park, I looked back and I could see *all* these 7th and 8th graders waiting for the bus, standing in groups and pairs, and I could hear them talking, laughing, and joking. And I saw Aiden. Alone. Looking around and kind of holding/wringing his hands (like he does when he gets anxious). It broke my heart to see my wonderful, funny, friendly, smart child feel so alone.

After dinner last night Dallin declared that he is lonely, that he doesn’t fit in anywhere, and he’s just so tired of being different from all the other kids. He has one good friend, but that’s really it. Again, it broke my heart.

This morning Parker was frowning as I drove him to school and he just kind of sat in the van for a minute. He is sad because he says his best friends are saying mean things to him lately. Parker is definitely my most outgoing and friendly child, and to see him so sad that when we walked slowly into the school with his head hanging down, it took everything I had not to run out and grab him and say “We’re going to have a special day of just us!”

I know that once Aiden is at school with his friends he is totally fine and happy. I know that once Dallin is with his one good friend he is having the time of his life and feels great. I know that once Parker gets on that playground and sees all his friends and starts playing their silly games, he’ll be smiling and running along with them. But in those moments the past few days? It hurts me so much to see them hurting like that. And I don’t know what I can do to make it better. Partly because I, too, just feel so lonely and dejected so much of the time. I have my friends, but when I’m in the house and haven’t seen my husband in what feels like years (when it’s just been since this morning but he gets up and leaves something like an hour before I do and doesn’t get home until waaaay past bedtime, saying I haven’t seen my husband in a few hours just doesn’t feel correct)… when I’m stuck with just a 2 year old who doesn’t know how to talk other than his adorable 2-year-old gibberish… It’s just lonely.

I wanted to avoid a lot of the loneliness I felt as a child for my children. My family moved (a lot) growing up and while I was pretty content starting new schools and attending new churches and meeting new people and making new friends, sometimes it’s just plain lonely. I never had roots. Even today my oldest friends (from high school… I only have one friend from 8th grade and that’s as far back as my friendships go) will sometimes post the Throwback Thursday pictures that include many people from our circle of friends. They went to kindergarten together and had First Communion together or went to the same Vacation Bible School… I don’t have any of that. I don’t have a history with anyone and I don’t have roots to a place or with a particular group of people other than my immediate family. Even then, we all live so far away from each other (I’m in Arizona, I have one sister in Georgia, one sister in England, one brother in Utah, four brothers in different parts of Idaho, parents in Idaho, parents in Texas, and a brother on a mission in New Mexico). It’s not like we can have a family dinner or I can call my sister and say, “Hey, wanna bring the kids over for lunch today?”

So I really thought that by living in one place and working hard for my kids to go to one school and live on a street and in a neighborhood with lots of kids their ages would be an advantage to curb the loneliness. Right now it doesn’t seem to be the case. It’s not always going to be that way, I know that. It’s just… right now.

And my heart still breaks. I don’t like to see my kids hurt and not be able to fix it.

New Adventure

I’ve started a new blog. Don’t worry! I’m still blogging here! This will just be way more personal. My new blog is all about parenting and raising a family in Arizona. I’m still working out all the kinks and trying to get it just where I want it, but I’ve started and wouldn’t mind a few of my friends coming through and commenting while I get it going. It’s called “Hot But Happy: Adventures in Arizona” and can be found here: arizonamomof4.wordpress.com

 

A Toddler’s Life

It must be so hard to be Collin. He’s the shortest being in this house (unless you count the fish, and that really doesn’t count at all) and can’t reach all this cool stuff on the table our counters. He’s always being told “No!” as he tries to climb or grab. He gets super frustrated with building blocks because he wants a really tall tower, but the blocks keep falling over. He thinks he can swim, but nope. Not yet. Pesky ol’ Mom keeps grabbing on to his arm whenever he gets near water. He has to sit and be strapped down in a carseat when he would rather be wandering around the van while Mom or Dad is driving. He’s 16 months old and still doesn’t have any words for anything, so people just can’t understand what he wants.

He’s been spending a lot of time frustrated lately.

Collin is so adorable and a shameless flirt. As his family, we can mostly understand what he wants. He will reach for something if he wants it and make a little noise. Every now and then, at the dinner table, he will sign “more” for us.  He dances and “sings” along to music (especially The Wiggles) and the other day he even found a baton to wave as Ches listened to band music recordings. Seriously! What 16 month old does that?? He does some of the actions to his favorite songs and changes the shape of his mouth to sing along with some of the vowels.

But no words. I still don’t really know if I should be doing about this or just let it ride the course for a little longer. We had a home evaluation and he scored really high in things like “fine motor skills”, but really low on “communication.” Well, duh. He doesn’t even say “Dada” or “Mama”. Nothing. So they are coming back with a therapist.

I keep thinking this will blow over and he’ll become so frustrated one day he’ll just shout, “Give me the dang block already!!” or “No! I don’t want to read Barnyard Dance again! I want to read Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs! GOSH!” (and apparently Collin speaks like Napolean Dynomite. Sweet!)

It just must be so hard to be Collin.

 

Snippets

It’s just so hard to sit down and write out my thoughts for my blog. I’m not sure why. It’s not like I don’t have the time during the day when the kids are at school and it’s just Collin and me at home. I guess I have let my priorities shift. I do find time to share a quick little status update several times a day on Facebook. I’m a lot less wordy there than I am here, but I still say the same things there I would have said here. Sooooo… I’m going to share a few of my “gems” of late (statuses and some comments). Most of my blog readers are my Facebook friends, so it’s not like this is going to be anything new for you to read. However, my blog is a lot longer lasting and I have visions of printing it all off into book (journal?) form someday. Not so with Facebook. There are so many things there that I share that I don’t want to forget. Here are a few of those things.

Sept. 1
Listening to the MoTab station on Pandora this beautiful Sunday morning when Parker runs out of his room and excitedly asks, “Is today General Conference????”  You would *think* he’s excited to hear the Prophet and other leaders speak, but no. General Conference means no church clothes and having to sit in church for 3 hours.

Aug. 31
Hand wash only clothes are dopey, stupid, and dumb.

When I was a kid and I ate Lucky Charms cereal for breakfast, I would try not to eat the marshmallows until the very end. Then it was like eating a bowl of marshmallows and milk. Yum! Now, as an adult I eat Special K Chocolatey Delight and all the chocolate pieces fall to the bottom of the bowl so I get to save that for the end and it’s like eating a bowl of chocolate and milk. Yum! Moral if the story? I’m still a kid and I save the good stuff for last.

In response to Karen:  Well, I say Lucky Charms, but it was pretty much whatever store brand. And when I say “when I was a kid”, I think I mean, “When I went to college and bought all the sugar cereal I could”.

Aug. 27
Watching a cute little girl while her mom runs to the doctor this morning means I get to watch My Little Pony on Netflix. Livin’ the dream, folks.

6:30 am orchestra for the almost-11 year old is going to kill me. If I don’t kill the almost 11-year old first. — feeling irritated.

Aug. 26
Got to have rehearsal in the middle of a dust storm tonight… until the rain drenched us and we went inside. That was fun. (Actually, it really was kind of fun!!)

Looking up sparkly/shiny headbands for my Higley guard. Who needs daughters? Between my two guards, I have 11.

Aug. 23
Oh man, kids using air quotes. Life is so “great”. 

Aug. 16
When my 10 year old is running after me to get my attention (because I’ve started driving away and he left his trumpet in the van), he looks an awful lot like Kermit the Frog. Arm flail!!! Aaaahhhhhhhh!!!!! (I’m still giggling over it.)

Aug. 14
Note to myself:
Perspective. Gain some because your happiness is riding on it. Hey Sariah… breathe, relax, and quit comparing yourself to an ideal that doesn’t exist. Also, your kids are smart, funny, and downright good kids. Ease up on them and don’t forget to tell them how great they did today and that you love them. One last thing… take your medication, Sariah. It will help. 

Aug. 6
Why yes, that was me, playing outside in the rain with my toddler. And yes, I did indeed let him sit and lay down in the gutter puddles. He had a blast and was adorable. I drew the line at him trying to drink the gutter puddle water…

Aug. 1
So yesterday I’m shaving my legs when I find this giant, hard bump on the back of my leg and I think, “What the heck is *that*??” and then I realize… It’s my calf muscle!!! Friends, my calf muscles are getting so awesome! Thank you, marching band/color guard.

June 24
The kids played with two of their cousins outside in the grass, jumping over a creek, and racing pinecones and sticks down the creek and under the bridge. Now *this* is a summer vacation!! — feeling nostalgic.

June 17
I got told over and over again today by an intermediate flute student that I am “AWESOME”. Totally made my day. (Man, I miss teaching private lessons!)

May 30
“This is not a democracy. This is a MOMocracy.”
Oh yeah, I really said that tonight. Bring it on, kids.

May 23
The kindergarteners in Parker’s class were all asked what they want to be when they grow up and where do they want to live. Parker wants to be a dad and live in Idaho. 

May 18
Baptism Day for Dallin!!! 

May 2
Isn’t it great?? Dallin is EIGHT!!! Happy birthday to my wonderful, precocious, smart, funny, active, not-so-little boy. 

May 1
Collin is ONE YEAR OLD!!! Wow!!! This first year went far too fast.

 

A Tail of Two Fishies

(Oh man, I think I’m hilarious. Come on. That’s a good title, right?? Laugh with me, folks, not at me.)

For April Fool’s Day one of my guard girls (“C”) put a bunch of paper fish cut outs around the band room, saying that’s what they do in France. She thought it would be funny (and I suspect she thought it would bug my husband a bit, which it kind of did. So… mission accomplished?). Ches said he doesn’t really care what they do in France.

A few weeks later “C” and another girl bought a live goldfish for Ches, but it was probably just one of those cheap Wal-Mart fish that aren’t taken care of at all and it quickly died. So they tried again, buying another fish and leaving it in a jar on Ches’ desk. At the beginning of the day when Ches has to teach for several hours straight. With the lid securely on the jar. So yeah, that fish died, too. They tried one more time.

This time they bought a beautiful purple beta fish and Ches opened the jar while it sat in his office. He brought the fish home and while Ches wasn’t too pleased with bringing home a pet (seriously, don’t try to give us a kitten or a puppy. Ches will kill you.), the boys were ecstatic and we got out our fishbowl (back when we had Brenden the goldfish and then Darth Fish, the beta fish) and started discussing names. Ches got the final say because it’s his fish, after all.

Doc Severinsen. That’s right. Our fish is named after Doc Severinsen. It’s Ches’ fish. Are you at all shocked?

The boys love him. I think he’s beautiful. Ches tolerates the idea of a pet (I think he enjoys it more than he’ll admit. I see how carefully he feeds the fish and makes sure the water is just right…). And Collin goes nuts for the “fishy” (I’m trying to teach him to sign or say “fish”, but all I get are smiles and giggles. I’ll take it.).

On Saturday, Dallin got a “gold” fish (it’s actually brown) from a birthday party. We all know how likely goldfish are to live long, but this is a living being and Dallin is excited. We can’t put the new fish in with the beta fish because Doc Severinsen would try to eat the gold fish or something. Kill it, seriously maim it, something. So we just kept it in the jar for the time being. (Ches got a good laugh when he saw Doc Severinsen trying to get to the new fish, who’s jar was placed right next to Doc’s fishbowl.)

Yesterday Ches discovered the “gold”fish in his jar, very still, near the top. Oh no! He quickly got out a bigger jar (the one we received Doc in, actually), put in some fresh water, and switched the fish to the new jar. After a couple of minutes, he was swimming around, just fine! Yay! Resurrection!! We almost lost the fish, but Ches saved the day. What a great dad!!

Dallin still needs a name for his fish. So I suggested Lazarus. I thought it particularly apropos, however Dallin pointed out, “But he wasn’t all the way dead!” That immediately made me suggest naming him Westley. Because “you’ve been mostly dead all day!”. Then, you know, the boys can yell “Aaaaas yoooooouuuu fiiiiiiish!!!” while feeding Westley. Hey, at least Westley got a laugh from Dallin. I think it’s a real contender.

Reflections

15 years.

I’ve been married for 15 years. WOW. On the one hand it feels like forever because we have been together long enough that we know each other and are used to each other and this is our life and there is nothing else, yet on the other hand, I still often feel like that young, naive newlywed who’s heart skips a beat when she sees her groom and who giggles a little when he smiles at her just right.

I’m extremely happy in my marriage. Is it perfect? Oh, heck no! Remember, I’m a little bit (or a whole lot) of crazy. And we’re still two different people with two different minds and two different ways of going about things. Sometimes we don’t see eye to eye and sometimes we argue (or just sit in silence and stew. Or maybe that’s just me again.). That’s just life. But I really do love my husband. I’m so glad I married Ches. There has never ever ever been a regret in marrying him. He is absolutely wonderful and perfect for me.

15 years. It does sound like a long time, doesn’t it? And yet… years from now when I’m saying “We’ve been married for 25 years… 35 years… 45 years…” 15 really won’t seem like that long, will it?

1 year.

Collin turned 1 year old yesterday. I can hardly believe it. On the one hand he is just a natural part of the family and we can hardly remember our family life without him. I can look at pictures from a couple of years ago and think, “Who are we missing? Oh, Collin wasn’t born yet!” On the other hand, this was the fastest year! Collin is my last baby and I really enjoy the little baby stage that most people seem to find annoying. I really do love to hold a tiny sleeping baby and just sit on the couch for hours. I could do that forever. I love the little sounds that only a newborn makes. I love how soft their skin is. I love the smell right after a bath. And yet…

I love how Collin smiles whenever I walk into a room. How he spent the first couple of weeks making tentative steps only to me. How he holds my hand to walk down the hallway. How he splashes me on purpose during bath time. How he has dirty legs and skinned knees from crawling outside. How he picks up the comb and stabs me in the head as he attempts to comb my hair. How he wants whatever food I’m eating. How he wants me to read “Barnyard Dance” to him 15 times in a row. How he is so ticklish and laughs and laughs and laughs. How he gives me huge hugs and bites me when he kisses. How he stands at the front window and gets excited when he sees his dad come home. How happy he gets when I say, “Want to go get your brothers?” How he babbles and screeches and sings. How he bangs on the piano or uses a drumstick to bang on the floor. How he wants me to watch Blue’s Clues with him because I sing along with Steve. How he will smile for the camera once, then try to grab it out of my hands.

I am the luckiest woman in the world. I have Ches for a husband. Ches gave me Aiden, Dallin, Parker, and Collin. I have everything. EVERYTHING.

Working Conditions of a SAHM

So you know that whole “No yelling” rule? Yeah. Not going so well. I keep trying not to yell, but the last few days especially I just don’t feel like I have any other course of action. I’m letting the yelling and screaming take over. It has to stop and I will start over… AGAIN. Eventually I’ll make it. It’s going to take a while.

Here’s the thing. I’m a stay at home mom. Sure, I teach color guard and winter guard, but that’s in the evenings and many weekends. It doesn’t pay much (not even enough to buy groceries). It’s more like a hobby that I get a couple of bucks. Don’t get me wrong: I love it. I do! But it’s not a career. Not for me. My job; my career is being a mom. And I have to tell you… it pretty much sucks.

I love my children and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be at home with them. Really. But this is THE loneliest job in the world. I don’t have close friends. I go for days without actually speaking to another adult (no, my husband doesn’t count because when I’m doing guard I only see him as he’s saying “goodnight”) about something other than my children.

The working conditions of a stay at home mom is the worst. This is a 24 hour job. This is a 365 days of the year job. I do not get vacations. When we have days off school or actually get to GO somewhere (which my husband and kids would call a vacation), it’s actually more work for me. I’m the one planning and organizing the majority of what’s going on. I’m making sure everyone has clothes and eats food and isn’t bored in the car and has their favorite pillow, etc. When someone else in the family gets sick, they get to stay home. They get to stay in bed and sleep or lay on the couch and watch TV. I bring them fluids and toast, medicine, a cool compress, Kleenex, or whatever they need. If they need sleep, I keep the rest of the house quiet. When I get sick, everyone else still does their thing and I get to fend for myself. On top of that, I still have to take care of the baby (the joys of being a nursing mother!). No one takes care of me except for me, but I get to always take care of everyone else.

(Side note: This makes it sound like my husband doesn’t do anything. That’s so NOT TRUE. He’s amazing. He also does laundry and cleans the house and cooks meals. He takes care of the kids constantly and is my biggest supporter and cheerleader. I just feel so alone because he and I have to run in opposite directions and work opposite schedules on a regular basis just to keep our house running. Ches is the most awesome man I know. The BEST husband. The BEST father. This is in no way meant to bash him. This post is about me.)

I do the laundry. I make the meals. I clean the house. I drive everyone to the places they need to go. I volunteer at the school. I go on field trips. I help with homework. I read books/stories. I organize play dates. I find babysitters for those times that Ches and I both have to be gone and can’t have the kids with us. I feel like a house elf who is just hoping someone will accidentally present me with a sock.

If I could, I would totally have a Girl’s Night Out. Or a weekend away with my husband or my girlfriends. But you have to have friends to go do that with. And you have to have money to pay for it. I don’t. I don’t get paid for this job, and my husband is “only” a teacher. We all know how well they are compensated.  We have made the decision for me to stay home at this time because of how important it is to us that the kids have a parent at home. Besides, if I worked, the majority of my paycheck would go to childcare and what’s the point in that? Also, I have tried working part time and I do not do well trying to have a “real” job and still take care of my family. It just doesn’t work for me.

The worst part is that I have this crippling depression to deal with. Other people can just “make the best of it” and they are okay with the hand they are dealt. They make it work. They are happy. I am not happy. I can’t be happy. There is no way to just make myself happy. I have coping strategies so I have happy moments and I’m not constantly hiding in my bed under my covers, but believe me. I’d rather be in bed, hiding. I don’t want to face the messy house and the children asking me for help finding a t-shirt or what to make for dinner tonight when all we have is some frozen chicken and nothing to go with it.

I get frustrated and sad and angry and anxious and overwhelmed. I question my very existence. Constantly. And I have to remind myself that not everyone on Facebook is as happy and perfect as they appear.

I go to bed every night, disappointed in myself again, but promising myself that I’ll do better tomorrow. And I start fresh every morning. Some days work, some days don’t.

Today, it’s not working.

So… be kind. Realize that I’m not the only one out there that feels like this. Know that we are all fighting our own inner demons and just trying to stay afloat most of the time. And let me whine sometimes when I say how much this sucks and I dream of some ME time.