Monday, May 31, 2010

Dear Lamphone,

I found a letter that I had written to myself as a prompt during a free write about six months ago. I’m thinking of printing it out and keeping it next to my computer. In it are my plans, some project ideas, and my ultimate goals and dreams. A lot of it comes down to what I want to do for myself, and not for my family or anyone else. I am a wife and mother, of course I love my husband and children. But like many other women, I always put them first, and my own wants and needs last. Way last. Way way last.

Not only do I want things, but I want to be able to look at something I’ve done that I am proud of. I want to reread something that I wrote, giggle internally, and say, “I wrote that!” And, actually, that letter to myself (from myself?) gave me that feeling. It was honest, encouraging, and dare I admit that I really like my own writing style?

That letter is a reminder of what I want. A private island? Where we can host a summer bible camp for kids? To foster and adopt kids after ours are grown?

It’s a reminder of why I want to write. Telling the world my mother’s life story? Writing fiction in a genre that is little represented? Finally putting all that goes on in my heart and head to paper, and sharing it with the world.

It reminds me who I’m writing for. For my husband, who worries that I don’t do enough for myself. For my friends, that want nothing but to see me succeed at something that I love. For my children, to teach them to follow their dreams. For myself, to learn to put my wants first once in a while.

I am a writer, but I have suppressed that part of me, in exchange for changing diapers and washing uniforms. That letter to myself demands that I take time (even just 15 minutes) to write everyday. It tells me that some (definitely not all!) of my ideas are really good. It’s a tangible item that I can look at, and remember those goals that I’m working toward. It’s a reminder of what I want to do, and who I want to be.

Dear Lamphone, you are a writer. Now make it happen. You can make it happen.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Some Assembly Required

Today, I purchased a six-foot tall kennel for my pit-mix, Daisy. She is such a pain in my heiny. I love my big baby, but (and there’s always a but) she is so much work! She was the product of a rescue. I say product, because Daisy was not a direct rescue, per say. We rescued Daisy’s pregnant mother moments before being taken to the local animal shelter. Three weeks later, we were the proud, second-hand, parents of ten puppies. Daisy was the third born, and she was my favorite from the beginning. We kept Daisy, and not her mother, because her mom was not well socialized with other dogs.

But I digress (and get easily sidetracked). Our base and community leaders have decided to ban aggressive breed dogs, and make those of us grandfathered in jump through major hoops and over huge hurdles to keep our fur-babies. The most annoying of which is this kennel that I assembled today.

In order to keep my chew-monger, I had to buy an outdoor kennel that she will almost never be in. It was a swift kick to the pocketbook. Acquiring and assembling this thing was, in a word, an adventure. I do not own a truck, so I had a friend take me to the pet supply store to buy the kennel. While waiting to order a couple Frosties on the way home, her husband called from overseas. I volunteered to drive home, because driving while talking on a cell phone is illegal in this state. I missed my off-ramp, and then in an attempt to go around to the next exit, I was stuck behind a funeral procession. On the highway. There are so many back roads they could’ve taken, but they chose the highway. On a payday and holiday weekend. Really? Someone wasn’t thinking when they planned out that route!

After finally getting out from behind the procession, I missed a second turn! Oh yeah, I was on a roll. We finally made it home, dumped the box in the backyard, and I retreated into the A/C to read the instructions. After reading all the English directions, I thought to myself, “Oh yeah, I got this.” Ha ha! The adventure continues....

I was able to lay out the bottom, and the upright poles, and then I attempted the top. After struggling for a few minutes, my older daughter fully dunked her little sister in the pool, and I was forced to quit. A short while later, my best friend and her husband showed up.....

Someone cue Tom Bergeron, because I think we have a winner for America’s Funniest Home Video. We spent the next three hours attempting that stupid thing together. It completely fell apart about five times. We managed to screw up the nuts and bolts (Did you know there were two different sizes? We didn’t.). My best friend managed to get hit in the head with one of the poles, and did I mention her husband has one of his arms in a sling? Our hands were filthy from the metal afterwards, we’re all going to have some awesome calluses, but we are dang proud of ourselves! Oh, and who likes being in the kennel more? Of course the little, fluffy white dog.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Empty Bed Syndrome

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night. I wake up when I roll over, and I don't hit anything. I expect to smash into my husband, but he isn't there. It's a sudden reminder that he still isn't home yet. Where is he? He's overseas, in a hostile environment, fighting for me to have the right to continue to fill the world wide web with my babbling. Yes, my husband is deployed. Yes, I knew that he would leave home for weeks, and months, at a time when I told him that he could sign next to the "X." Yes, I worry every day for his safety. And yes, I couldn't be more proud to tell the world that my husband is a Marine.

He's been gone a few months now, and I'd like to think that I'm doing pretty well on my own. The kids are fed, bathed, and in (relatively) clean clothes. Our dogs are fat and healthy. The bills are getting paid. And Momma has been able to add some cute touches to the house and garden. I've been able to volunteer with the unit Family Readiness Officer, and even decided to start a blog (ta-da!).

But that doesn't mean that our days aren't without hiccups. The kids and animals test their boundaries constantly, because they know that Mommy's attention is pulled in about 15 directions at once-instead of only 5 or 6. It's taught me to find my inner strength, so that I can keep all the little ones in order. I've learned not to let my weakness show when the drama queens are screaming, the dogs are barking, and the phone is ringing. I put the kids in time out, the dogs in the kennel, and let the phone go to voice mail.

I save the emotions for late at night, when the girls are all in bed and my favorite movie is playing. When, after a long day of changing diapers, I realize that at 1800 no one walked in the front door. No one took Daisy out to play, and there are no new cigarette butts in the ashtray on the patio. I spend time on the computer trying to distract my brain, playing games until my lids won't stay open. Then I finally turn out my light and fall asleep. That is, until the middle of the night when I roll over and wake up when I don't hit anyone, or smash into my husband's back.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

List Yourself

My girlfriend bought me the most wonderful book. "List YourSelf: Listmaking as the way to Self-Discovery" A long title, I know, but it's incredible the things that you can learn about yourself. In 20 lines or less, you can discover "all the songs you know by heart" or "what you couldn't stand about the way you looked as a teenager" and one of my favorites "Suddenly you can eliminate individuals you feel are a problem on the planet. You will not get in trouble. List them." Oh boy, if only! I have chosen not to make that list yet~it might be seen as incriminating evidence in the future....

On those nights when I can't sleep (much like tonight), I spend time filling out the lists, committing some of them to memory. My goal? To someday have the time to use all these little tidbits of information in novels. Maybe someday a protagonist will cross the Skunk River, or the Tittabawasee (I fully mangled that spelling, I'm sure), or the Sioux (all rivers which I have crossed, by the way). But until I get the time, which I'm sure won't happen until my husband is back stateside, I'm using it as a sleep aid. Thanks friend, for helping me get to sleep before sunrise. Now I'm off to remember my "surefire sexy moves and lines." This should be interesting.
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