Oh, we’re in trouble.
Unexpectedly, a vision has been growing in my mind over the last few months. I don’t know how it even began- just a little sprout of an idea. How nice it would be to have a few chickens. Such an innocent beginning. Little did I know, I was opening Pandora’s box. Indulging and nurturing this stray thought
may have been was definitely a mistake. My husband suspects this, but after this post, he will know the truth of it. Be afraid, Honey. Be very afraid. Remember the vows you made… for better or worse.
Because now, I want goats. (they do eat poison ivy, after all.)
And rabbits. (for the meat, I’ll be honest. Not as pets.)
I didn’t pick the cute ones. I’m gonna have to concentrate on those weird pink eyes if I want to actually go through with the eating plan.
And my fully functioning garden of course, both summer and winter. Oh, and the herbs. And fruit trees, absolutely!! Blueberry bushes and dewberries. (This probably means we need a greenhouse. Just sayin’)
Don’t forget the butterfly garden. Because… um…
So, the butterfly garden is sure to attract bees, as well. And wouldn’t it be nice to have honey? (Of course, being terrified of bees presents a problem.)
See- I couldn’t even post a real picture. It has to be a cute bee for me to handle it. It has to smile at me.
And then, at this point, if I can get past the bees, then I really deserve the horses. Right after we put up the barn and fence in the pasture land.
Forget ever doing anything else, ever. This is it. I just want to do these things I want to have all these animals and plants, and I want to feed them and know them, and take pictures of them, and write about them. You can come see them if you want. And me- you can see me, too. But I don’t think I’ll be able to leave. Ever.
I want to homestead while the rest of the world goes by. I want my own farm name, I want a bell to ring when it’s supper time. I want dusty, sweaty boys who know how to herd goats, and gather eggs. I want early morning weeding in the garden with slightly complainy kids. I want sweet watermelon in the summer, right out of the patch. I want farm life, farm problems, farm rewards.
All because of a few chickens. They did it. So be careful. Don’t think about how fun that might be. Don’t think how enjoyable it is to eat fresh eggs. Don’t think of the benefit to your children’s education and character it would present. Don’t think about the entertainment of a few biddies in a small, understated coop in the backyard. Don’t. And whatever you do, do NOT look at adorable pictures of chicks in hats. There is just no turning back at that point.
One more. Oh help us all.
Spring break, y’all. There are seniors in Cancun right this very minute, tanned, blonde, free from all the worries of the adult world, drink in hand, dancing till crazy hours of the morning- who are not enjoying Spring Break the way I am. I am REVELING in it. Living. It. Up. Nobody can appreciate spring break like a homeschooling mother of five. Move over, seniors. Your week of poor judgement, gravity-defying bikinis, and ill conceived tattoos has nothing on mine! I am rocking this spring break. I’m even considering getting a t-shirt made.
So! We have been making the most of it. Namely, getting ready to move a portabuilding from our backyard. (See? Isn’t this more stimulating than Cancun? There’s really no comparison here.) It’s been a long process of sorting, cleaning, and getting rid of the stuff that has accumulated in there for the last fifteen years. But am I complaining? No sirree. I am so excited to get this thing out of our line of vision, I can hardly stand it. This brown and cream beast has been blocking a beautiful view to the pasture and swamp, and I’ve been wanting it gone since we moved here almost two years ago. Finally, the day has arrived and we will move it this afternoon. The plan is to hitch it up to a tractor (courtesy of my sweet nephew, Jackson) and pull it on it’s sled rails and wooden rollers. Keep your fingers crossed that the whole thing doesn’t just fall apart. :/ Once it is in its new position (hopefully not scattered around my yard), we will be able to till up the garden spot, and put in the chicken coop. Lots of fun outsidey things going on around my house lately! Does my soul good. I suspect this would make an awesome Spring Break t-shirt. Wheels are turning, folks.
Besides that, lots of other stuff going on to keep us hopping around. The Duke and Chipmunk have speech therapy twice a week. (They shared a distaste for the letter R. We’re slowly overcoming it.) The Duke and Czarina auditioned for a play, and we’ll hear back on that in a day or two. Even if they don’t get parts, we’ll probably do stage crew stuff. There’s my little sister’s wedding, and all the accompanying showers and shopping, etc. I am also helping to plan a church youth group reunion, and there’s Easter to think of, photo shoots for different folks, chicks coming in the mail in a week (the feathered kind. We’re not importing mail order brides for the boys. Yet.), and school, of course. I have started a fitness plan and eating better, which takes up some mental energy as well. We are Biz-zay.
It’s great, all of it. I love life. I love what I’ve got, who I’ve got, and what I do. I thank God for the gift of it all, even on the days that it means getting dirty and tired.
That’s all, ladies and gents. Just wanted to pop in for a few minutes to say hi and do a quick update on things in general. Hope everyone has a wonderful spring, and many Saturdays full of enjoyable labor for your hands. :)
PS. I am now taking TShirt orders.
Let me see the world with hundred year old eyes. Let me gaze fondly upon the quirks and flaws of others. Let me count the laughs and hugs, may I gather the smiles as if they are the last harvest.
Let me hold the hands that are extended my way, and wear my best pearls and perfume on Sunday morning.
Let me pat cheeks and give away my collection of marbles. Let me smile at every baby I see, have my house in order, and write thank-you notes.
Let me be sentimental,
soft-spoken and big-hearted
and with time for a story, a memory, a joke, a glass of sweet tea.
Let me live with the heart of a hundred years, long before my time.
Before you read this post, I want you to know, I’m okay. Really, truly. I’m not in a heap on the floor as I write this. I’m up from the heap, with a certain clarity, and now I need to write this. But not because I am not coping. It’s my WAY of coping, to finally express the reality of what drugs has done to my family. It’s not an attack, it’s not a plea for help. Please don’t feel obligated to read this if you don’t want to.
There’s a small child in me that wants to say, “I hate drugs. They’re mean. I wish they never existed.”
I don’t say that, though. I know it’s an oversimplification. I know that it’s far more than just a bad thing coming into our life. I do still wish it, though. I wish drugs never happened to us.
Being the sibling of an addict is different than being married to one, or being the parent. (All are awful, and there’s not contest here, that’s not my point.) But as a sibling, you are losing the addict to his addiction, and you are losing your parents to the addict.
You live under constant, awful questions. How would it feel to go to the addict’s funeral? Will he go to prison again, or be beaten up in a parking lot, or plow his car into a tree? You wonder if he’ll live under a bridge, if his own child will one day disown him. Will you gather in a hospital room over his drug ravaged body one day, saying goodbye? All the stories you know, all those people who carry these tragedies, will you be one of those people one day?
But it doesn’t stop there. You haven’t just lost your sibling.
Your parents are never the same after drugs come along. Even if your parents aren’t enabling the addict, they are different. They carry the weight of grief in their eyes, and it drags them down, down, down. You don’t get the happy version of them. You get to know it’s always in their mind, this wish that the addict was better. It is a shadow over every other happy moment in life. You’ll never be enough to make them happy.
And if they are actively enabling the addict, then that’s a whole new mess. You have to watch helplessly, as they repeat the same things over and over. You battle the constant urge to make it personal. The rejections pile up, the times when it seems like choices are being made and the squeaky wheel gets the grease. You are left to deal with life on your own, because they know you won’t go off on a week long bender and end up in jail if you get shortchanged emotionally. You’re responsible, you’re fine, you don’t need them the way the addict does. So, the portion of their attention and involvement in your life that would be natural, that bit that would be beneficial and enjoyable to both of you, that part you always assumed would be there– it’s now redirected to the addict.
So, you get angry.
Then you feel guilty, selfish, terrible, horrible. Then you feel pathetic.
The only person who really gets this is another sibling. You band together, holding on to each other, not knowing what to do with this disaster happening. Somehow, you are on the outside. You can never fully understand their pain, you’re told.
And they can never fully understand yours.
So, that’s it. That’s what it is like on the inside of the outside. It’s not something we want to talk about. I certainly don’t. I don’t want anyone to know how bad this hurts. I don’t want my pain to make someone else’s worse. But I can’t heal from wounds I won’t acknowledge. I get that now.
And that’s what this is about for me now. Just healing. And that can happen. We’ll look different, we’ll bear scars. But as long as there is life, there is hope, and that is what I will hold on to. I will hold on to it for all of us.
Good grief. I wish I could just go ahead and write it all out, already. But the thing is, I so carefully consider the fall out of my writing now, that I’m all but paralyzed. I think, how will this affect my family? What about my parents? Will my kids read this and be harmed in some way? Am I helping, hurting, what???
My solution to that was to simply quit writing. Anything. At all. And so that thing bothering me never gets exhumed, never exorcised. It just gets pushed down, squashed and compressed- and heavy. Really heavy. I don’t want to write recklessly– I’m past that. I understand the weight of the written word. I want to write with care. Responsibly. As much as I want to do that, the answer can’t be that I will just never write again. I simply can’t do it. I can’t contain Life without a release valve. I can’t be so afraid of the Reading that I can never do the Writing.
So, I will write today. I will be brave, I will be careful, but this has to happen.
I write to you from a very strange place. On one hand, my life is so beautiful and bright, I can’t even look directly at it. It shines in all the darkness of the world around me. I love, love, love my children. I am devoted to my sweetheart and he to me. What a lovely, rare thing in today’s world! No matter what trials and hardships we face (and believe me, this has been the most challenging year of our lives), I go to sleep at the end of the day, absolutely buried in blessings, and I know where they come from. I am my Beloved’s, and my Beloved is mine. It is a sweet and wonderful thing, this being alive, and belonging to Christ.
But it’s also complicated.
Because for the joy and peace that does exist in my life, there is a brokenness also. There are days when I am so despondent and furious and hopeless, that I can’t quite reconcile the two extremes! I can’t fix my brother’s addiction, I can’t fix my parent’s responses, I can’t patch up the broken holidays or missed moments or empty eyes. I can’t make my parents smile, or laugh. I can’t stop my brother from wrecking his body, his relationships, his career, his LIFE. I can’t make any of us unselfish or wise or strong. I can’t stop my parents from being swept away in it all. I can’t stop the bleeding. I can’t fix the hole in my heart. I can’t put back together the pieces of this family. I can’t even see how they fit back together anymore.
And I know what you’re going to say. Please don’t even say it.
Yes, we’re praying, Oh Lord, we’re praying. Every day. I’m praying that God will do all of the above, because I know I can’t. I realize how absolutely NON I am in this equation. I am zero. I am a pebble in a tsunami. I get it. So, I pray.
That’s where I am. That’s what hurts. That the answer is “no.” That years are passing, and the answer is “no.” And then there’s trusting in the Lord. Trusting what? That he’s going to suddenly cure my brother’s addiction? The co-dependent cycles that have been in place for fifteen years? He doesn’t work like that. I trust Him, I really do. But I trust Him to do His good will, and that can mean a lot of things. Lots of times, His good will HURTS. For whatever reason, He has chosen not to remove this hardship from us. I know He could, I trust that, if that’s what that means. He physically, literally, is all powerful and could do this. But no, I do not think, just because I love Him and trust Him and am praying to Him- that the answer will finally one day be YES. Maybe I can’t see it clearly anymore. Maybe I’m way wrong and too broken myself. But that’s what I see right now.
On one side of my life, the sun is shining so brightly. And the other is eclipsed by this darkness. It’s disorienting and confusing sometimes, to be so perfectly happy and sad at the same time. I know that’s life. It’s complicated. I know it’s not unique to me– we all have stuff, right? I don’t have the answer to this, maybe nobody does. Maybe you just hunker down, and survive it like a war. I don’t know. But for me, surviving it means writing about it. So, that’s it. I’m here, just me and my keyboard, trying to get through this. I truly don’t want to shame anymore or bring hurt unnecessarily, there’s enough pain already. But sometimes, silence can do just as much damage as saying the words aloud. This isn’t for anybody but me. It’s not a letter to my brother (done that, by the way, didn’t work). It’s not a message to my parents or my family (they have heard it all before), it’s not an SOS or even a prayer request. It’s just me, using the tool in my hand, trying to get myself through a tough patch.
Anyway, that’s all for now. The hardest part is over.
After a long week of school, and many days of King Pen working extra hours… it’s easy to feel a little lost. I had a moment this afternoon, when I was struck with that panicky sensation of anonymity that sometimes accompanies motherhood. Who am I? Where am I in all this? Could a ROBOT do this job? Where have I gone and will I ever come back?
Not the first time that’s hit me. Fortunately, I know better than to waste time analyzing and moping over it. Could have saved myself an awful lot of angst in the early years if I had realized how simple the solution was! Now I know when I begin to get lost in the crowd a bit, it’s time to redefine myself. Not reinvent myself, mind you. That one took a couple years to figure out, too. No, what I’m talking about is when the lines that separate me from all the other things in my life get a little too blurry, I just need to darken them up a bit. Trace over those old familiar things that I used to enjoy. Get some definition to myself again.
So I got my camera, my boots, and headed into the Brimberry.
Okay, it wasn’t that easy.
I got my camera, and realized the battery was dead, so then I had to charge it. Couldn’t leave the Shorties, so I had to find THREE pairs of socks, three pairs of boots, and make sure everybody had gone to the bathroom. Which, at least ONE hadn’t, so off with one set of boots and socks and pants, and get the business done. Finally, camera is (half) charged, I found a snake stick, and we were off.
Anyway, I knew this was what I needed. Just to SEE something. Something green and interesting and not at all requiring anything of me. They aren’t the most fascinating photos I’ve ever taken, but they made the lines around me a little sharper, a little clearer. I am more ME because of them.
Here’s where my boots went a’walkin’ today.
So– what don’t I do?
I don’t do baseboards. Kinda regretting the choice of white trim nowadays.
I don’t put the clothes into the drawers. They sit on the dressers for ages, which means they’ll probably tumble to the floor. And then I’ll think they’re dirty. So they get washed again. And don’t even get me started on those winter clothes that need to be packed up. (Maybe if I did that, there would be room in the drawers! Yup!)
I don’t file my paperwork. Why do that, when I have a perfectly good laundry basket to hold it all?
I don’t match socks, until people are crying.
I don’t defrost my freezers, clean the oven, or RSVP to bithday parties. I should do all of those things, I know. I’m sorry. It’s awful. I could at least try, but… yeah, I’m not going to. (Because I don’t make false promises. That’s a good don’t, right?)
I don’t sew buttons back on. Because where in the world is my needle/thread? I have no idea! Just look on your dresser for another shirt! (Or the floor, in case it is in the Tumbled to the Floor Phase.)
Those are just a FEW of the things I don’t do.
Someone wondered that the other day, what doesn’t she do so that she can do all the other stuff?
That’s not easy for me, actually. I don’t like leaving things unfinished. I can’t stand walking away from the breakfast dishes so we can start school on time. I don’t like ignoring the puzzle pieces all spilled out in the bottom of the closet. But ya know? Despite my online moniker, I am NOT WonderGirl. I cannot do it all. If it EVER looks that way to you, let me disabuse you of that notion right now. WonderGirl is an oxymoron. It was supposed to be ironic, kinda funny. It was not meant to be a declaration of my competent handle on the world, I promise. Maybe I should change it to something more accurate. BarelyTogetherGirl or DustBunnyGirl or OhGoodGriefTheDogToreUpAnotherPieceofStyroFoamAllOverTheYardGirl.
If you come to my house and it’s squeaky clean, you can put money on it– I was cleaning like a crazy she-creature because I knew you were coming. If my sock basket is (nearly) empty, it’s because I needed to justify a Battlestar Galactica marathon. If my baseboards are sparkling, that’s because somebody spilled a glass of water on it. Just being honest here.
I don’t do it all. Who can? I just do what’s essential, and try to get to the rest eventually. (And I cross my fingers that you won’t need to open a closet door when you’re here. For your own safety.)
Not WonderGirl. Not WonderMom or WonderSister or WonderFriend.
Just me. Giving the best I got.
So that’s it. That’s the secret: There IS no secret. Not for any of us. We’re all just getting along the best we can, and God is merciful and good.