Friday, September 14, 2012


I just said a scary word: Addiction.

Even now just writing it down gives me a little panicky feeling in my stomach and more than anything I want to stop writing about this. But it's a part of our (my) lives. It's impossible to escape. And it's in each and every one of us.

Wait, I'm not talking about a distant relative that we all "know" is an "addict" (we whisper, shaking our heads in disgust and possibly sympathy)? Nope, I'm talking about this Mommy, right here, me. Maybe you, but I'm not able to judge that, as I'm not privy to your private thought processes. All I know is that there are behaviors and compulsions in my life that threaten to control me. This is a hard topic, but there it is.

I love wine, do I NEED wine? I love to shop, do I NEED to shop? Those are mine. What are yours? Do you NEED to exercise? Eat? Drink? Chew gum? I don't know, it could be virtually anything. I wouldn't say I'm a full-on alcoholic or anything (wouldn't I be in "denial" if I was...?), but when you (I) do a quick (yes quick, super casual-like. You can totally do that too) survey in my head of how many days last week I had something to drink, and I'm up to, well, all of them, I have to start evaluating.

Why did I do that? Did I feel like I needed to drink every night this week? What's my problem? How did those drinks effect me? Were they enjoyable? Or did they cause more stress?

Here's what I've come to realize over the last month or two: If I started a behavior or habit in order to relax, enjoy myself, or whatever, and it has slowly and without my permission become something that instead causes me more stress, more anxiety, and possibly has harmed one or more of my relationships, more than likely, I need to make a change. 

And then comes the work. And decision-making. And self-monitoring. Those are annoying words. I hate them. They make me feel confined. But I would rather set some simple boundaries for myself, possibly annoy myself (that actually happens a lot); I would rather that, than leave all structure behind and possibly hurt those closest to me. It can happen. It happens to a lot of people. Those "addicts" we talk about in hushed tones? They were once just normal (ha!) like you and me.

So will I have a glass of wine tonight? Maybe. Maybe not. I don't want to say drinking is wrong, period. Because it's not. It's not even about the wine (beer, vodka, insert your favorite here). It's about the heart. Is my heart focused on caring for my children, loving my husband? Enjoying the last hour of the day truly present with my family? Or do I want to escape? Unfortunately, it's often the latter.

So I know for me, that's where the work begins. It doesn't start (or stop) with how much wine I have between 8 (okay, 5...) and 10 at night. It starts with how much I want to be where I am. Instead I get angry, and frustrated, and allow myself to become overwhelmed; and I so often forget that laughter and love and hugs from my little people, and kisses from my love, are more than enough to calm and sooth and heal-over my hard days.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

For Baby Avery

I'm writing a post, and I should be going to bed.

But really, isn't the best time to write when it's just you, alone with your thoughts?

My husband and I and my 3 girls have been so sick all week. It seems to get better, and then it just shifts, just becomes something else intolerable. But of course, what is there to do but tolerate it, get through it, whisper into little ears, "Sleep, baby. Tomorrow you'll feel so much better!"

And then the morning comes and your babies just lay on the couch, on the floor, crying, asking for water. It breaks my heart to see my children suffer.

It breaks my heart to see any child suffer.

But at least our kids have us. We love them, we'd do anything for them. Not all children have this luxury.

And not all parents have the luxury of having their "baby" in their arms even long enough to kiss goodbye, let alone watch them get the flu at the age of 3 or 4.

I know that I am privileged. I know this. I think about it always. I've seen enough loss and hardship to know that even this week is something I will never ask to be erased. I cherish my childrens' flushed cheeks, cries of congestion, moans of fever; because I am with them, and they are with me. There are people in my life that trust me to take care of them. This is the most humbling place to be in as a human-- when you must set aside your own state, and take care of another. Not because you "have to," but because you must.

I love my children. I'm so thankful for them. They've taught me so much more than they will ever even know. And when I see parents in the midst of loss, and pain, and mourning for their children, I am doubly grateful for what I have.

May peace and faith and strength of spirit be with those who suffer for and long to hold their children.

Monday, January 30, 2012


My sister posted a quote by Elizabeth Taylor on her Facebook wall the other day.

"The problem with people who have no vices is that generally you can be pretty sure they're going to have some pretty annoying virtues."

I had to reread it a couple of times to get the full meaning (sleep-deprived, much?), but once I'd immersed the idea into my brain cells, I was intrigued.

I have many vices. You wouldn't think it to look at me, but who really does wear their vices on their sleeve...? Oh, wait, a lot of people. But I hide them fairly well. Or at least I did until I started this blog a few years ago. In fact, in the face of that quote, you could say my vices didn't even exist until I started this blog. Instead, I was just a very virtuous and, simultaneously, a very annoying individual.

I guess the key is admission. I admit that I have a few vices. I am addicted to coffee, I complain about stupid stuff. I yell at my kids. I tend to shop emotionally. I have to take medication so I don't become a depressed blob. I also talk a lot about exercising and buy workout DVD's, but rarely execute.

What is even the point of saying this out loud? I guess the point is that whether I say it or not, all (and more) is still true. It will either come out as something I'm not proud of and am aiming to change; or I can deny the destructiveness of it all, and allow it to weaken the structure of my marriage, friendships, and parenting.

So lets claim our vices. Let's say them out loud. The point of the quote is that EVERYONE has vices. Big or small, they need to be categorized accordingly. It's only when I admit I'm wrong to yell at my child, that I will apologize for it; or that I drink too much coffee (wine), that I will cut back; or that I shop carelessly, that I will seek to set boundaries.

Or I can just stay the (annoyingly) perfect person that I am. Either way, I have a family that accepts me and loves me. And that doesn't make me perfect, just very blessed.