Sunday, January 23, 2011


Anyone who knows me at all, or has read previous posts from my old blog knows that my husband travels for work.  Some months, a lot; others, hardly at all.  It's not ideal for family life, but we make it work and most of the time remember to be grateful and feel lucky that we have the life we do.

There are, of course, the obvious things one might complain about given the situation:  shouldering all of the parenting and household responsibilities for a lot of the time, prioritizing his work demands over important family events, readjusting our routines as he comes and goes, but mostly just missing him when he's not here.

Don't get me wrong; it's not as if I help him pack his bags and set them outside the door with a don't-let-the-door-hit-you-on-the-way-out smile on my face.  I'm never happy to see him go, BUT I do have one indulgence that I secretly look forward to when he's gone:  sleeping alone.  Since becoming accustomed to sleeping in our bed alone for extended periods of time, I have been known to be slightly resentful about giving him back his side when he's home.  There are many comforts to be enjoyed about sleeping without a partner:  my covers are never pulled away in the middle of the night, I'm not assaulted by wandering elbows or feet as he shifts mindlessly in his sleep, but mostly I am not awakened and kept awake by SNORING... all just little things that you get used to and tolerate from a partner, which become less tolerable after you get used to sleeping undisturbed for nights on end.  (Well, except for the snoring.  The snoring isn't really a "little thing."  It more often than not sends me seething in anger to sleep fitfully on the couch for the rest of the night.)

Anyway, Scott left earlier this week for an extended out-of-town gig.  That night as I eagerly settled into bed for my first solo sleep in a while, I felt lucky that we'd had him home for such a long time, a little worried about his absence, but mostly just grateful for a solid night's rest so I could wake up feeling recharged and ready to face all of the mom and house responsibilities on my own.

Sometime during the way too wee hours of the morning, I was roused from deep slumber by snoring.  Still groggy with sleep, I felt a smile creep onto my face as I realized my husband slept beside me.  The smile quickly faded as I reached over to his side of the bed, my hand grasping only air and falling onto the cold sheets.  He wasn't there after all, yet, now wide awake, I continued to hear snoring.  I soon realized it was just the dog, asleep in his bed next to mine.  Needless to say my insomniatic ways got the best of me and any attempts to return to sleep the rest of the night were futile.  So much for being recharged and facing responsibilities with a positive attitude.

The point is this:  In spite of any amount of "oh, woe is me-ing" that I tend to do when I am on my own, or when I have to adjust to the here and gone of our life from week to week, I really just miss my husband, my kids' dad, snoring and all.  And maybe the next time I am awakened by the snoring, I will settle back into sleep with a smile as it fills me with gratitude to hear him there beside me.

(This occurrence has left me wondering about a thing or two:  I had never before and haven't since heard the dog snore.   A little weird, don't you think?  And what does the fact that I thought the dog snoring was actually my husband say about me?  A prescription for Ambien may be in order.  Also, despite my "attitude of gratitude" epiphany, I wouldn't slam the door in the face of suggestions for solving the snoring issue!)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Parenting in the Face of Tragedy

It would be an understatement to say that the events in Tucson this past Saturday shocked me, left me numb and reeling. I mean, who's not feeling at least some of that? This post isn't really about what happened last weekend. Alone with my two young children, adult conversation about this tragedy has been sparse, and, by the way, how does one speak of it with a 3 and 5 year old? (That page in my parenting manual seems to be missing.) So I haven't.

That is, I didn't until my son came home from Kindergarten on Monday. He seemed mopey and sad, didn't feel well and wanted to lay down. He fell asleep early and didn't wake until the next morning. When I asked him how he was doing, here's what he had to say:

Mommy, I don't want to go to the grocery store. Did you know that a very bad and crazy, crazy bad man went into a grocery store and had a gun and shot and killed a lot lot lot of people?

Yes, I did know about that. It was on the news this weekend, but it happened far away from where we are and the police caught the man that did it. Where did you hear about it?

At school. My teacher told us that happened.

Oh. Did some kids in your class ask some questions about it? Was someone afraid?

No. My teacher was sad and she told us that it happened.

Oh. Well you don't have to go to the grocery store. And you shouldn't worry about a bad, crazy man with a gun. The police caught him and he's in jail.

Oh indeed.

First of all, yes, shame on me for not preparing him before he went to school on Monday. I should have talked to him about it, knowing that a classmate might have overheard adult conversations or caught snippets of the news, that something would be mentioned. I should have sent him to school with reassurances that no matter what he heard, we are safe. I should have told him that, whether or not I can really promise him that he's safe, whether or not I believe it myself.

But what is the right amount to say, when something like this happens? What image does my 5 year old hold in his head of a mass murder scene that was described to him? And just how much of that picture can he handle? How do I know it won't happen at our grocery store? How do I explain that it was planned to hurt an elected official (meaning, no one would hurt ordinary people like us) because someone was unhappy with the decisions she'd made, when he knows his aunt is an elected official, and ordinary people were hurt? How do I tell him something like this will never happen to us or people we love, so that he doesn't fall into a crying heap and beg me not the leave the house the next time we need milk and bread?

Like I mentioned, I just can't find that page of my parenting manual.

Out with the old, in with the new

Well, after nearly a year, I've decided to take my blog down from the shelf, dust it off, and put it to use. Blogging for me is a creative outlet that I haven't utilized for a while, and I miss it. I used to be here, but decided a change might spark inspiration. Enjoy!