Carpe Diem

Like the rest of the world, I was shocked and immediately, completely, overwhelmingly saddened to hear of the death of Robin Williams by suicide yesterday. It’s not often you’ll find a celebrity death that hits so close to home to really affect everyone you know. Robin Williams was truly loved and admired by all. He brought so much joy to the world, so much laughter, and he really did good things. I have never read anything bad about him. Every single person who has met him or worked with him can only gush with glowing things. What a great human being.

I also loved just how human Robin Williams was. He fought personal demons in addiction and depression. He owned it, too. He sought help and was treated. He was a survivor for a very long time. This suicide is shocking because most people don’t completely understand what depression is or what it does. As my friends and family know, I suffer from depression. I have been on and off medication for many years now. All I’ve seen about depression all over social media today has been really great. But only up to a point. Let me tell you what I know about my disease.

I know it’s an illness. I know it’s not my fault. I know people love me. I know that there are plenty of people out there who really do care and want to help me and don’t want me to commit suicide. I know there are numbers to call, people to talk to. I know when I’m on my medication I am much better than when I’m off. I. KNOW.

I also know that most days it’s hard to get out of bed for no other reason than I just don’t feel comfortable in my own skin, in my own mind. I often feel like I’m stuck in this deep, dark, black abyss and I can’t find my way out. Or like I’m swimming in tar. Everything about me is moving slowly and is painful and takes so much effort, but I can see the rest of the bright, fast-moving world and I can’t figure out how to get there. Sometimes I feel like I’m getting swallowed up. Sometimes I don’t think I can breathe. A lot of times I just get angry. At every one. At every thing. Often I feel like I’m having an out-of-body experience: I can see myself reacting in a certain way and I say to myself, “Why are you doing that? This is ridiculous!”, while at the same time I can’t control myself in that reaction and it just happens. I look at my children and I take joy in how wonderful, beautiful, smart, talented, and awesome they are, but in the back of my mind is always that whisper: “They deserve better.” I have never been able to squelch that whisper. I look at my husband and I can feel how much he loves me and cares for me. I love him with my entire body and soul and don’t want to do a thing to hurt him, but that same whisper is there: “He deserves better. If he’d married someone else, he wouldn’t have to deal with this.”

There is no end to depression. None. Getting on medication and seeking counseling takes it down. A LOT. But it’s still there. Always there, lingering, waiting, whispering. If you’re like me, you learn to cope. You have your bad days where the house is a mess and you’re in pajamas and it’s a victory  in that the toddler got fed. And then you force yourself to take a shower and get dressed because you have to go volunteer in your kid’s classroom, or your husband needs you to drop off lunch for him. You put on a smile and ask your son how Cub Scouts was. You go to the neighbor’s house to socialize because that’s what neighbors do. But you can’t wait until everyone goes to bed so you can have some peace and quiet and not have to smile or tell jokes. I am pretty open about my depression, but I also hold a lot back because of the fear of what others will think, say, or do.

You know someone with depression. Every single person knows someone with depression. What can you do? You can check in with them. You can tell them you love them. You can make them feel wanted and needed. And even if you do all that and they still choose to end their life? You can not feel guilty about what could have or should have been. It is not anyone’s fault. Not yours, not mine, not theirs. You can mourn them and love their family and know that sometimes this really does feel like the only way to end the despair. It’s so tiring to feel like this. I continue to fight. Every day I fight my own demons. Every single day. I can’t tell you who’s going to win this fight. I know that you all fight with me, though, and that’s huge. It is! Just… be there. Continue to love me for who I am. Don’t try to change me. Don’t tell me what wonderful things I have in my life. Don’t try to blow it off as me being sad. Don’t tell me to just change my attitude or diet or medication. Don’t read to me scriptures and tell me that Heavenly Father loves me and expect it to be enough. Just love me and be present. The fight is a little easier when you know you have an army.

Playing Catch Up… A Little Bit…

As I sat down to write tonight I was suddenly hit with a crippling case of writer’s block. I have been meaning to return to my blog for quite some time now and have had several ideas of what I could write about floating around in my head. Yet, when I opened up WordPress and clicked on “My Blog” it was like I had erased my mind.

Nothing.

So I decided to read past blog entries and see if I was inspired. Well, I have to say that as insecure as I am about myself, I actually quite like my writing style. I have no idea if I’m any good, but I enjoy reading my stuff. I have forgotten a lot of what I’ve written and some of it gives me a good chuckle, some of it makes me sad, and some of it makes me think. Mission accomplished. (Hopefully it does the same for others. If not… Oh well. My blog. Not yours. I don’t have a huge audience and I’m not getting paid for any of this. Doesn’t matter if other people like it.)

I still haven’t come up with anything to write about except this:

I’m here. I’m alive. I’m fighting with myself every day, but I’m winning. My kids are growing and learning and succeeding. Ches and I are awesome. I have a wonderful life that I’m trying to be an active participant in and trying to enjoy much more than I have in the past. I don’t always succeed at happiness (as is painfully obvious in my previous posts), but I’m still trying. I have found how easy it is to fake it for the world on Facebook, and by faking it for so often, I’m starting to believe it’s all true. Maybe, just maybe, that’s a good thing.

Also, I’m really, really tired and have a headache from staring at the screen for so long. This has become a filler post. New goal: Write at least once a week. It will happen. (Timber, you can bug me about this if you want. Someone has to keep me in check!)

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.

 

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.

Phishing For Some Common Ground

I was having a conversation the other day with three people who are in their early 20’s. We were talking about Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and how they have yummy flavors and cool names. I mentioned “Phish Food”. One person said she really liked that particular flavor with the yummy “fish” in them. Another person said something about how funny the name is spelled.

“Well, yeah,” I replied. “It’s named after the band.”

The three people looked at me blankly. There was a long pause.

“You know? The band? Phish?”

Again, blank stares. Another long pause, then, “Who?”

I feel really, really old now.

I’m Cranky And I Know It

I’m 36 weeks and 2 days today. I am scheduled for a c-section when I am exactly 39 weeks. All three of my boys came early, so I fully expect this one to come early, too. Thank goodness, because I’m SO done. I’m cranky. About stupid things. Lots of them. If you don’t mind, I’m going to list the things that are truly bothering me (and reduce me to tears… well, everything makes me cry these days. By they way… pregnancy SUCKS.)

People who drive faster than the posted speed limit in a school zone. I don’t care if it looks like no one is around because it’s the middle of the day and the kids are all in class. I don’t care if it’s still half a block from the school. It’s still a school zone. Freaking pay attention to the signs. And don’t give me bad looks or speed around me just because I’m actually following the law.

People who haven’t figured out that my name is SARIAH, not Sarah, and Ches is CHESLEY, not Chelsey. Even after repeated corrections. What’s worse is that Ches has been working for the same school in the same district for 5 years and they still can’t get it right.

People who have to give me all kinds of unasked for advice on how to recover from my upcoming c-section. Yeah. Because I haven’t done this three times already. Pretty sure I know how it goes.

People who say, “At least you’re not pregnant over the summer!” I live in Arizona. Our winters are your summers. It’s the same freaking thing. I did not retain water or have swollen feet with any of my previous pregnancies (and two of the three were truly summer pregnancies), but I have had swollen feet for probably 5 months now. It’s getting worse. They kinda hurt now. It’s too freaking hot.

People who tell me what gear I do or do not need for my new baby. Again… my fourth baby. I kinda know what I’m doing now. (This does not apply to people telling me about gear that wasn’t around when I had my other kids. For example… Bumpo chairs. Yay or nay??)

8th grade girls. I learned when I was student teaching in a middle school that 8th grade girls only see what is going on inside their mirror. This was proven to me again this weekend. Gah.

Health insurance. We have been paying out the nose for the past year so we could be on the group plan offered through the school district. Ches and I decided that we just can’t afford to keep the kids and me on this plan another year (Ches is covered by the district, so it makes sense to keep him on it), so we started to look around. To get the SAME coverage by the SAME insurance company (but go through someone else), we will be paying over HALF the amount. We have been ripped off and it pisses me off. No more group plans for me!

The heated pool in my neighborhood is just too cold. You call that heated?? Pshaw! I should be able to comfortably just jump in the pool. No shock.

Stupid birds that sing too loudly every morning outside my window. We actually have a large, grassy, courtyard like area in front of our house. So there are lots of birds, and they are holding some kind of rally out there at 530 am. Sick of it. I want to sleep.

Baby is too high and I can’t breathe.

Baby is too low and I have to go to the bathroom. Again.

I hate dusting.

I hate laundry. It’s never ending. Crap… that reminds me… I gotta throw in another load because I’m down to like two pairs of shorts that fit and 3 shirts that cover my belly.

My hair color is SO BORING. I hate my hair.

People who don’t RSVP to invitations. It’s not that hard. Click yes or no. Call the number. Email the address. It’s easy to do, so DO IT.

People who drive super slow in the far left lane on the freeway. Do not go under the speed limit in that lane. Move over to the right so I can be on my way, thank you very much.

A Sunday Ritual

It’s funny the things we find ourselves making into a ritual. Just something you do over and over and don’t realize it’s what you always do until one day you miss doing just that and you feel weird all day. Like something is missing. So you sit down and start thinking and figuring out what it is that feels so off. Then it dawns on you… and you realize you have a ritual.

Every Sunday I read Post Secret. I have been reading it for years now. I find the secrets funny, sad, revealing, obscene, honest, over-thought, under-thought… pretty much everything. They run the spectrum. They make me laugh and cry. They make me think. Mostly, I end up feeling just a little bit sadder than when I first clicked on the site.

To remedy that, I now follow Post Secret with Cake Wrecks. Sunday on Cake Wrecks isn’t their normal messed-up cake site. They have “Sunday Sweets”, which are beautiful, fun, whimsical, clever, and extremely well done cakes by professionals who actually know what they are doing. There is a different theme each week. It’s so fun to see these creations by some really talented artists. And I admit, I often love the commentary even more then the cakes. Jen and John (hubby of Jen) are just super funny and clever and probably have taken a restraining order out on my stalking self by now.

I was going to make a secret to send in to Post Secret, but since I’m telling you, I guess it won’t work. It’s not a secret anymore.

Every Sunday I log on to Post Secret and get sad. Then I log on to Cake Wrecks’ Sunday Sweets and cheer myself up.

Every single Sunday, without fail.

Irritated

Is it part of pregnancy that I find myself so overly irritated by just about every one around me and everything that is happening? I am SO annoyed. SO irritated. SO bothered.

As mentioned in the comments on my last post, I feel like I have to justify all of my thoughts or actions. WHY? I do not. Guess what? I’m 35 years old. I pretty much know what I’m doing by now. I still make tons of mistakes, but WHY should I have to explain away my actions, my thoughts, my desires? This is not my first pregnancy. This is actually my fifth. This will be my fourth child born. My fourth c-section. I think I know a little bit of what I’m doing. However, I have people around me constantly trying to give me advice and tell me how I should be feeling and what I should be expecting. Ummmm, no.

We don’t even need to get into politics. I try to keep my mouth shut because no one ever agrees on politics. Why can’t people just trust that I’m going to try to make the best decisions after carefully studying and thinking out the process? We have our Arizona primary coming up. I got my sample ballot in the mail yesterday. I’m pretty sure I know who I’m going to vote for, but I’m not positive yet because there is still more to look at. There always is. (Oh no. I just realized that by advertising I will be voting in the primary now everyone knows I’m registered Republican. Let the flaming commence…) I hate politics. I’m sick of the presidential election. I’m sick of the bickering and fighting and the stupid things that are getting in the way of the actual issues (seriously… Romney speaks French fluently. Why is this a problem again? Just one example of how the politicians are taking small things and blowing them up when they never mattered in the first place).

I’m sick of being me right now. I’m sick of feeling like I’m not allowed to have an opinion on anything because I don’t speak as firmly or loudly as someone else.

I’m constantly annoyed by being told how, when, and why to do things. I’m a big girl. I can figure it out. If I need help, I’ll ask. These aren’t big things. It’s inconsequential things, like how to clean the blinds or where to put my kids’ beds. What do I actually need help and advice on? How to deal with doctors and ADHD diagnoses and major anger issues in a 6 year old… And I’m pretty sure on those I have asked for help from certain people and I completely appreciate their advice. If your child does not have ADHD and/or is highly Gifted, you have no idea what I’m going through so stop telling me things like, “He’ll just have to learn how to focus. You can’t hold his hand.” You. Don’t. Know. (Some of you reading this really do know what I’m going through, so of course I’m not talking to you in this paragraph. I need your advice and I need to hear how you dealt with things and what your child did. cough*Karen*cough)

You know what doesn’t irritate me? Support. Kind, loving words from my real friends. The ones who say things like, “I love you. You’re doing a great job. This will come to an end. I’ll pray for you.” I’d love it if you could bring me a yummy sandwich for lunch and say, “Hey, how are you feeling today? Can I take Parker so you can take a nap?” But that’s just not going to happen. My real friends are all too far away. They are the ones reading this now.

Oh yeah. I’m irritated that all y’all live far away from me. I can’t be there physically to help you, either. It drives me batty. I want to be able to be the shoulder to cry on, the one to come do your dishes or take your kids. The one to say “hey, I found this job listing from whatever company around the corner. Maybe it could help?” But no. We’re all spread out from coast to coast, in different countries, and it’s hard to not have that physical presence sometimes. So I’m irritated by that. Don’t get me wrong. I’m loving the support that I do get from each of you, my real and true friends. You are amazing and give me just what I need, when I need it. But it gets lonely sometimes when you have to stare at a computer screen in order to feel any love.

And now you know. I’m irritated, annoyed, and kind of angry on a pretty regular basis. Three more months and then this baby will be here and let’s hope I don’t have to deal with PPD this time so I can move on to being a happy mother again.

Boys Vs. Girls

It shouldn’t be a contest, but apparently it is. Everyone seems to expect that because I have three boys and I’m pregnant again that I want a little girl. Everyone seems to think that they have to wish pink on me. Everyone is very vocal about hoping that I finally get the daughter I am “obviously” trying for.

Let me make myself very clear on this. I was not trying to have a girl. I was not trying to have another baby. We thought we were done. It’s been over 5 years, after all, since the last baby. I don’t get pregnant easily. I don’t like being pregnant. This is a surprise. A happy one (I *do* love newborn babies!!), but a surprise nonetheless.

Also, I love my boys. Very, very much. I love having all boys. Yes, they are messy and loud and active doesn’t even begin to describe the boys. I love having Star Wars toys and Legos and cars and trucks and dinosaurs spread throughout the house. I hate ironing, but I love getting those crisp, white shirts on them each Sunday and fighting about whether or not they should wear a tie (the answer is always yes, by the way). Yes, I feel outnumbered in the house, but I love being the only girl. It’s what I know.

Do I want this baby to be a girl? Not really. Like I said… I know boys. I am a mom of boys. I am used to boys. I know how to change boy diapers and how to comb boy hair and where to find the cute and fun boy clothes. I know what boy toys to buy and what boy books to read to them. I know BOYS.

I will admit to having a desire for a daughter. I want to put bows in her hair and dress her up in pink plaid or cordouroy dresses. I love cute little Mary Jane shoes and white tights. I want a daughter to buy a prom dress for. To take to dance lessons and have in my color guard. I want to be able to go wedding dress shopping with my daughter someday. Several months before I got pregnant Ches caught me watching “Say Yes To The Dress” on Netflix and asked me why I was crying. “Because I’ll never have the experience of watching my daughter try on wedding dresses!” He was mystified and said, “But you’ll have daughters in law. You can go with them.”

“It’s not the same,” I answered. You see, while I am amazingly blessed to have a mother-in-law who I love dearly and who seems to be pretty fond of me, I know that is not the case for everyone. What if my sons marry girls who don’t want to have anything to do with me? Or don’t respect me? Or just plain don’t like me? What if I don’t like them??? What I have with Heide seems to be rare. I love her, I respect her, I want her to be a part of our lives. From talking with my friends, that is the exception more than the rule. That makes me sad.

Having a daughter is different than having a son. Teenage girls are SO different from boys. I work with teenage girls. I love my girls. You have no idea how much I love them and I try to keep track of them after they leave me. But I come home from work and then I whisper to my belly, “Please be a boy. Please be a boy.”

Girls are just so full of drama. Believe me, I know. I am a girl! When boys have a problem with someone, they punch it out and are done. Either they are friends again or they aren’t. Doesn’t matter. They are done. When girls have a problem, they talk to their other friends. They spread gossip and play mind games. They hold grudges. For yeeeeaaaaarrrrrssss. I am still upset at the girl “friend” of mine who, in 1994, sat down next to me in AP Biology II and said out of the blue, “Even though you’re Mormon and going to Hell, I’ll still be friends with you.” Oh, and then a year later, when my boyfriend and I broke up because we were going to universities like 2000 miles away from each other, she KISSED him that very night. Not cool. So yeah, I’m still holding a grudge. You know the movie “Mean Girls”?? That’s exactly how girls are. In middle school, high school, college, the work force… it just doesn’t end. I don’t want that in my house. I don’t want a girl because I can’t handle that kind of drama.

Boys are easy to dress. Blue jeans and a t-shrt and they’re good. Girls have to have “outfits”. And yes, there are tons of cute things out there that I drool over every time I go to the store, but the thought of having to actually buy any of that scares the heck out of me! Certain shirts with certain pants. Skirts and dresses. Casual skirts, dressy dresses. And the HAIR. My boys are lucky if we even comb their hair in the morning (well, Aiden likes his hair long, so we definitely have to brush and comb it every day…), but with girls? Brush, comb, style. Every stinking day so they don’t look like paupers going to school.

And then there are just the looks. This is going to make me sound so shallow, but it’s something I have thought a lot about. I just hope I can type out properly what I am thinking.

There is a certain standard of what is considered pretty, beautiful, cute, or whatever when it comes to females. I feel like it’s a lot more strict and a lot harder to be truly attractive as a girl. Males don’t have those same standards. I mean, how many times do we watch a TV show and the husband is this awkward looking, over-weight guy, but the wife is always super thin and super hot? Men can be downright ugly as long as they are smart and funny and friendly. Women have to beautiful no matter what.

I was a skinny, scrawny, nerdy, awkward little thing. I felt very keenly from a young age that I didn’t measure up. I never had clothes that fit me properly. I remember hanging around after church with all the kids in the gym, running around, waiting for our parents to finish gabbing so we could go home and have lunch. The older girls would play with the younger girls. You know, swing them around or play tag or whatever. I noticed, however, that the older girls only played with certain younger girls. The younger girls that wore the pretty, frilly dresses and had their hair done in perfect curls and intricate braids. These younger girls were “cute” and “pretty” already, by the age of 5 or 6. And other people noticed it. I wasn’t one of those girls. No one EVER swung me around. I was easily overlooked. Of course, my memory (like any distant memory) is flawed and it may not at all have been how I perceived it. But it was my perception. In middle school I had bad skin and a bad perm. In high school I was “one of the guys” for so long, I honestly didn’t know how to react when I was asked out on a date for the first time. (I thought he was joking. I shot him down. Big time. In front of half the band. I’ll never know if it was real. We never went out. I couldn’t figure out why someone would WANT to go out with me!) I just never was one of the pretty girls, no matter what my mom said to me.

I don’t want that for my daughter. I don’t want her to feel awkward and ugly at age 6 or 16. I’m scared of the standards our society has set out for beauty for girls and I just plain don’t want to deal with it. I don’t have the best body image of myself, and I don’t want to be a bad example to her because I feel so fat and ugly and unsure of myself at age 35. I’m scared of eating disorders. I’m scared of outside influences. I’m scared of my influence.

And now you know. I don’t want a girl. I want another boy.

I’ll find out in probably another 2 weeks. And if it’s a girl, I WILL rejoice and look forward to all the great things a girl will bring to our family. For now, however, I will continue to hope for another boy. I don’t want to hear another word about it.

What If I Could Write A Letter To Myself?

What if I could write a letter to myself? My younger self, that is. With all that I know now that could help erase some of the pain of back then? Or what if my future, older self could write me a letter that I could get today that would tell me yes, everything really will be okay? Would it help me now to get through all our trials? And what seems so huge today… will it seem that huge in 5, 10, 25 years?

Today a couple in my ward blessed their baby. They had been trying for a long time to get pregnant. It got to the point where they were just about to give up and were looking into adoption, when she got pregnant. And stayed pregnant. It wasn’t the easiest pregnancy (really, are there actually easy pregnancies? I don’t believe there are, no matter what some women say!), and several weeks before the baby was due, the mother and her father were in a car wreck. It was bad enough that the mother was in the hospital and they were trying to prevent an early labor. It was too early to have a healthy baby. Thankfully, everything turned out just fine the worst that happened was her baby shower had to be rescheduled. The couple has a healthy baby boy a few months ago.

When the mother got up to bear her testimony during Sacrament Meeting today, she said, “If someone had told me a year ago I would be here today, blessing my baby boy, I would have laughed in their face. No, I would have cried in their face and thought it a cruel joke.”

I remember those feelings all too well. I remember how long it felt we tried (unsuccessfully) to have a baby. I remember feeling the desperation as I watched friends and family members seemingly have an easy time of it. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t get pregnant. And when I finally did get pregnant, it resulted in a miscarriage. It was such a tough time. I sometimes wonder how it was the Ches and I made it through that because there was so much strain. So many tears. And then… Aiden. I couldn’t believe we actually got this little miracle who was so perfect and so lovely. I didn’t know how I could ever be so happy again. I never forgot the pain of the years before Aiden came to us, but the pain was lessened so much by that little being we were blessed with.

And now look at us… three boys. Three wonderful, active, smart, funny boys. After a long break where we thought our family was complete, we found ourselves blessed again. In the next 15 weeks we will have our fourth child. FOURTH!

Has it been easy? Not by a long shot. Am I a good parent? I try. I don’t think I am (not what this post is about, however), but I try. Is everything perfect since we got our long-awaited for children? Not by a long shot. We still have so many trials and tribulations. Sometimes it feels like we are bogged down so far into the muck there is no way of pulling ourselves out. But I don’t know what it will be like a year from now. Will I be able to look back at this year and say, “I am so blessed. We kept working and trying, and things are better. We are happy.”

That’s all I really want. To be able to acknowledge that life isn’t always great, but we’re still happy. I have Ches. I have my kids. We’re still working and we’re still trying to pull out of this muck. Little by little, we’ll get there. Maybe I don’t need a letter after all. And maybe I need the pain to make the reward that much sweeter.