Friday, February 27, 2009

Money and Running

Two topics of prevalence in my life lately. Running, because I am trying. I have worked myself up to three walk/runs per week, and cross training in between (anything from Wii Fit to the gym at UMW.) It's going well. And by 'well' I mean I have not collapsed, fallen, or injured myself. And I am trying to push myself a little further each time. I have been helped along the way by patient friends who are willing to go out with me, pushing me a little further, and supporting me when I just can't (or won't...) I have a weight loss goal and I have a goal to hopefully one day be able to go out and run three miles as a part of my maintenance program. Beyond this, I am not putting any pressure on myself. So, it's going well. (Did I mention I am very sore?)

Money: they say it isn't the answer to everything, and I know that's true, but a little more can always help. So, I took steps to refinance my mortgage and got a really great deal with 'my' mortgage company. I am very happy. This allows me to pay down some debt (and I don't have a lot of debt; I usually pay everything off monthly, which is great but also the reason I'm often cash poor at the end of the month.) Anyhow, I can pay down on my car payment and a loan from my mother, plus get some much needed things done at my townhouse. This makes me happy. So no, money isn't the answer to everything, but it sure does help at times.

Things are going reasonably well with DD. She too seems to sense that things are getting better, she's gotten into a better rhythm at school and is looking forward to high school. We still need to deal with keeping her occupied this summer, but I'm confident we'll figure that out.

I feel like the sun is coming out, I'm getting my head above water, the fog is lifting. Or maybe it's just the fact that spring is coming. Yeah, that could be it, but whatever the reason, things are looking up.

May it be so.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Mask of Motherhood

I never wanted to BE a parent. Seriously. I know that sounds awful, especially for those who want/wanted children and have not been able to. And I understand that heartache, too. When the decision was made, it took two years to conceive Rebecca; when we later decided to expand on that joy, I suffered three miscarriages over four years. That heartache is awful. But the truth of the matter is, I did not want to have children. My ex and I had heartfelt conversations about it; I felt there was too much to overcome, he felt it was our duty as responsible and reasonably intelligent adults to procreate.

I remember being in my late 20s, maybe early 30s, asking my mom, "So how do you know what to do as a parent, does it just come to you?" Bless her heart, she didn't burst out laughing at my naivete'. In fact, she looked at me with a kind of blankness and said, "No, you just do the best you can with what you know." (To her credit, this was much better advice than 'the talk': "Don't do anything stupid!")

Well, I am doing the best with what I know. And I'm realizing I don't know much. And it's so interesting when you confide your concerns to others, and they give you this knowing, over-simplified advice based on THEIR experience, and you think, "Damn, am I the only one that feels like her head is full of oatmeal when it comes to this crap?!"

So, my DD and I are treading ever closer to that place where we are moving apart. She feels like all I do is nag and criticize (not true, but there IS a lot to nag about...) and I feel like she has filled her ears with cotton and is starting to do the nod and "yes mommy" without really comprehending my appeals to her better nature.

And she is a great kid, and I am a lucky mom: she tells me she loves me and/or that I am the best mom ever several times a day, and I do believe she means it. And she makes eye contact with adults, and speaks to them respectfully, and shows an interest in things most teens could really give a flip about. And her teachers have very good things to say about her. And she handles her father's inadequacies with more maturity than he displays.

And yet, as I'm sitting in the living room, watching her walk through to the kitchen, I found myself thinking, "What the hell am I doing, being a parent? What ever made me think I was 'prepared' for this, or that I could bring a child to adulthood successfully? Who the F*#! is this woman-child that I'm struggling to 'help' on her journey? I still don't know who I am!!"

And in case you're wondering, I took no license with that previous paragraph, I really did think that, and it hit me upside my head kind of like one of those noise sticks they have at ball didn't hurt, but it sure did get my attention.

Doing the best that I can, and feeling inadequate almost every step of the way. I doubt I'm alone in these feelings. But I think many of us wear the 'mask of motherhood' -- I refer to a collection of essays written by many mothers, with their unmasked, honest feelings and thoughts about being a mother, by that title. I need to read that again, if for no other reason than to feel a connectedness to my sisters who took off the mask long enough to confront their doubts and fears and share them with us. Check it out some time. And do the best that you can with what you know!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Some days are diamonds...

...some days are stones. Not sure where today falls, but it ain't no diamond. Just got a call from DD (dear daughter) that she failed her math exam and has three Cs on her report card. I don't usually get upset about Cs, especially the way Stafford County assigns letter grades, but when I know she's not doing her part, I get a tad upset. But she's upset, so first I need to deal with that; then we get to have the conversation, "Well, what do you need to do?" Ugh.

Work is slow, which always makes me feel inadequate. I'm dredging up things to do, but I'd much rather be busy with purpose. This too shall pass, especially when the position I was hired to support is filled. Remind me of this blog later when I complain about being too busy...

Haven't been exercising much, mostly due to a cold last week, and the cold outside (wind, snow, rain) but am getting back on track this week. So back to the gym tonight.

Just one of those days, nothing big; I know my daughter is a bright girl, I know how lucky I am to have a good job with good benefits close to home, and a good trip to the gym should perk my spirits up, right? Right!

(Thanks to John Denver for the opening line...)