April 25, 2010 - 9:50 PM
I was able to have a few of my friends from the cohort over at my house this weekend for a clothing exchange. I didn't know how many people to expect but because of the time in the program, we were a relatively small bunch. I divided up the different rooms in my house for clothes to go in and we all walked through looking at, trying on, and making others try on our discarded clothes.
Before long we ended up in the shirt room which happens to be my daughter's room. Some of us sat on the floor, some sprawled out on the ground, and some flopped across Shae's bed. It felt like a slumber party! We told silly stories about our lives when we were her age, reflecting back on the coolest activities in our day in age (e.g. three way calling, staying up all night to request songs and talk with radio DJ's, and painting nails). It was such a fun time and it was neat to think how familiar the feeling felt.
This was a neat symbolic sort of time where we could laugh and bond about the past. It was strange to think that moments like these will soon be something of the past and our graduation is only a few short weeks away. I am struck by this and the speed of this term is cruel. I wish I could separate out paper time and life time and make them two separate things. I'd like to speed up the work to get it done but slow down life to savor it. Since this isn't possible I will try to take a few precious moments to connect with my friends and bond with them in ways I haven't been able to before. Maybe we'll have time to squeeze in a real slumber party, complete with N Sync, burping contests, and all talking to a crush on the phone at the same time.
April 25, 2010 - 9:29 PM
I think I told you all about the crazy week I had last week with my daughter and the bullying she was experiencing at school and our friend's tragedy with his girlfriend's death. If not it will suffice to say that last week was chaotic and sad. I am pleased to say that this week has been far less intense and all of the dust is settling.
For my daughter, my husband and I decided that we would try and wait it out a week and see how things go. Shae came home from school on Monday way too excited to see us and had a completely miserable day full of pre-teen meanness. I absolutely hate the way it feel so see my child hurting. It is one of the most helpless feelings in the world. I didn't know what to do about the situation and was going back and forth in my mind about pulling her out of school this close to the end of the school year or waiting until next year. Brian and I went back and forth on this decision, watching our baby girl go to school and come home day after day feeling unloved and unappreciated by her friends.
I kept thinking back to what my life was like in fourth grade and I went through some really tough situations at that age. We moved from my hometown and away from all of my friends whom I'd gone to school since kindergarten with. . . on my birthday. I moved to a town that was foreign and I didn't feel like I fit in. My teacher was an absolute monster, the type you hear about on talk shows who yell at, embarrass, and yes, even HIT their students. My parents knew the move was hard for me but they had no idea that my situation was as bad off as it really was. I remembered how terrible it felt that my parents didn't believe me when I told them about my teacher and the overwhelming sense of relief when the light finally came on and they got me out of the school and into another one.
I had all of these thoughts and memories rolling around in the back of my head as I weighed the decision for Shae. Because of my experiences, I could feel myself wanting to jump in and save the day for her immediately but also didn't want to potentially put her in a position where she would not be well received being a new student in a small private school, Eugene Christian School, where we would be sending her. Not only that, but it is not cheap to send her to private school and we don't have enough money to sustain a commitment to a private education.
With all of these variables floating around in my mind and an equally complicating cloud of ideas in Brian's head we decided to make a trip to Eugene Christian School. We were immediately in love and knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that this was the perfect place for Shae. So one meeting turned into two, turned into a long process to try and make the switch happen fast and ta-da! Tomorrow morning our very, very, very, very excited little girl is going to have her first day at her new school.
Needless to say, all of the planning and thinking and talking about the change altered my schedule dramatically this week. I am down to the wire for getting the client contact hours I need to graduate and I had to cancel my appointments to make the meetings work. I also lost about a day and a half total typing time for my Formal Case Presentation, the equivalent of a thesis for my program. The end result of all this feeling behind lead to some strange stomach symptoms along with my normal stress related poor sleep and inability to talk correctly and remember things. But you know what, seeing the relief on my baby girl's face is totally worth it. It is worth the time and money sacrifice and has been a good way for me to recognize areas in my life where I spend frivolously. It is certainly already requiring sacrifice but it is a sacrifice I am willing to make. You know what else; I am miraculously not that behind on my homework and am still on schedule to have my big paper done by the end of the week. Thanks to God who sustains me through all of this!
April 18, 2010 - 7:12 AM
Saturday was my husband's and my cherished monthly date night. This month's date was a day gone wrong. First of all, we both had to get up early to fill out some paperwork and then my husband jumped into homework and I ran out the door to see clients and then to spend the day running around with a confused bride-to-be for wedding planning. My husband spent hour upon hour while he worked on his homework and I ran all over Eugene with a crowd of 18 year old girls. By the time we reconnected we were both exhausted and I had a mental list of all the work I needed to have done for my own classes that didn't happen.
But exhausted or not, we value date night and headed out for a quick dinner at a favorite Sushi restaurant and headed off to a student produced version of Romeo and Juliet which Brian needed to write a review on for a theater class. I love theater. I was a drama geek throughout high school and was unable to continue my involvement in college despite my interest. I was intrigued to see what a futuristic remake of Shakespeare's classic tragedy would look like.
In my mind, I had constructed all sorts of ideas about tacky tin-foil dresses and laser guns. Thank goodness I was wrong about this. The costuming and setting were all creative and fun. But I would have preferred tin-foil and laser guns to what we actually got in the play.
This version of Romeo and Juliet was the most sexualized play or movie I have seen. I think what I saw was as close to a strip club that I will ever get. Seeing sexual references and actions on television and movies is bad enough. I try to avoid them as much as possible and have walked out of movies and returned half-watched movies to the store before. Seeing live actors and actresses play out sex, groping, crude jokes and gestures, and inappropriate dancing only feet away is a completely different thing. Plays are very engaging; the characters feel real and are tangible unlike television. They are more impactful for this reason and I was even more taken aback by the way this play was portrayed.
Not only was I tired and stressed about all I needed to do, but now I was spending my date night being exposed to two hours of explicit sexual messages without the ability to leave since the play was a required part of my husband's class. This was not exactly what we had planned for a fun night out. To repair our disappointment, we bought some late night ice cream and ate it in bed while we watched an episode of The Office on our computer. That was silly and fun and a much more enjoyable way to spend our time together.
I have two hopes for future date nights this term. The first is that we are able to spend more undistracted time enjoying each other's company and that we have fun doing what we choose to do. I feel like these are reasonable and that we can make them happen. Dates are so important for us with such busy schedules. It is time to remember that we are more than study partners and parents; we are still one another's boyfriend and girlfriend. Without this foundation, nothing else works as well.
April 18, 2010 - 6:52 AM
I guess it is reasonable for me to be feeling a bit of extra stress this term. I've been consumed with a desperate pursuit to finish my practicum hours, write my big end of the program paper, and managing to get my weekly reading and assignments done. Because of all of my hustle and bustle, I have truly neglected the vast majority of friend and family relationships. True, this is only for a short time and that there is a certain wisdom to pushing through and focusing in.
Wise or not, there are consequences to our actions. Whenever we say yes to one thing, we are saying no to another. I had a bit of a perspective switch this weekend. My husband and my friend who wasn't one to date recently met a young lady and decided to start a relationship. They had just made the decision to start looking at the possibility of marriage a few days ago. All of their joy and their plans were cut short when this young lady tragically died yesterday of a medical emergency. I hadn't even had the chance to meet her yet because I was so busy with all of my academic obligations.
The whole situation feels so strange. There is the part of me that wants to be available for my friend to encourage him though this unfair and painful time in his life. Then there is the part of me that feels sad that I never had the chance to meet her, or make the time to meet her I should say. Then there is the part of me that is collecting all of the stress of what needs to be accomplished in a week because the demands aren't any less despite all of this. How can I possibly help one friend celebrate with joy at her soon upcoming marriage that I am helping to plan, grieve with another friend the loss of a young love that ended too soon, and plan a memorable 10th birthday party for my daughter while finishing up this overwhelming last term of school?
It is inevitable that I am going to miss things over the next two months. I didn't expect the consequences of my disconnection to be at such a big price though. I wish life could be put on hold for a couple months while I disappear from it to get done all of the ‘have to's' I am swimming in. However, since that is completely unrealistic, I am taking what is and trying to make the best decision about how to divide my time and attend to all of the important people and things in my life. This is a hard balancing act.
April 12, 2010 - 6:34 PM
I got to see my niece yesterday at my parent's house. I hadn't seen her since Christmas and I am blown away at the difference I see in her from visit to visit. She is six months old now and doing all of the cute miraculous things that babies do. I had so much fun engaging with her in her world, listening to her excited laughter at being held up so her feet touch the floor, being able to sit up, and tasting mashed avocado for the first time.
I definitely needed the break from school work and it was very refreshing to be around such pure joy and innocence but I am feeling the pressure of not getting more done. I have to keep going back and reminding myself that I do much better when I recognize my need for rest and allow my body a chance to slow down. I cannot afford to push it too hard and crash. The problem is, there is a part of me that is convinced that I won't get everything done if I allow myself breaks. Balancing this can be tricky because the anxious voice of the can't get it done part of me keeps me from getting real rest when the more self-care parts of me kick into action.
I don't have much to say on the matter other than to just put out there that the nice balance I've maintained this past academic year is feeling a little impossible and I still want to be able to stop and appreciate moments like watching Baby Bumblebee (As I've come to call her) discover life. I don't want to live this whole term the way I did when I got to see Bumblebee. I drove up to Salem with my daughter and husband, tired and preoccupied with all of the work I should be doing, when I knew it was impossible for me to type and drive at the same time. Already a bit frazzled and tired from not getting enough sleep or eating lunch as the result of some sickness I've been fighting, I was eager to play with the baby. To my dismay I learned that my brother and sister-in-law ended up being delayed at a friend's house they stopped at along the way. They wouldn't be in Salem for four hours, making their ETA 8:00 pm or later. I was so frustrated because I didn't bring any homework with me and I didn't have the time to wait around all night. I was already crashing but the second that beautiful little bundle of joy came through the front door all of my frustration was lost and I was so glad that we went and that we were able to stay and play for awhile. My day would not have been more productive if my attitude were different, but I know I would have had more fun and would probably been a more fun person to be around if I had kept myself in check better. Lesson learned and I am aware of my mistake and hope not to make the same one again. I can't ruin my rest and need to take time to enjoy my life outside of school too.