Over the years I've fallen in love with so many blogs. Every so often I'll see someone I really look forward to reading stop posting with any regularity, and I wonder if they're OK, if this is the beginning of the long decline to the end of blogging altogether or just the silence while they weather a crisis or a dry spell. When I first started blogging I was so enthralled with the form and the media I couldn't imagine ever wanting to stop. I'd see someone I really like put their blog on haitus or take it offline entirely and I'd be so perplexed...why would anyone want to go silent like that?
I also remember being a woman without children and I'd watch people who were parents say and do certain things and I'd be absolutely flummoxed why parents were so crazy. I, after all, would never say or do such things. I'd never buy my kid a happy meal just to make him stop crying for one goddam second. I'd never fill my kids rooms with plastic crappy toys or ignore them just so I could have one minute of sanity in the bathroom or let them wear clothes made in third world countries by indentured servants to the smiley face or...and so on.
I gather this is the standard process for most people. When something is new or not yet experienced, we bury ourselves under the weight of uninformed opinions and find ourselves surprised when we one day find out just how little we actually know about anything.
The good news (depending, I suppose, on your point of view) is that I'm not planning on falling off the web into that large graveyard of discontinued blogs. The bad news, if there is such a thing, is that I have no current urge to write much at the moment and no idea how to solve that problem. Or even know if that's actually a "problem." My health has been a bit difficult of late, work has been very challenging and stressful, and the things that need doing far outnumber the hours of time available. In truth, my attitude about blogging and bloggers has changed dramatically over the last year or so, and my reasons for writing, such as they were, are no longer the same. My goals for blogging have changed significantly, and my self-knowledge of my place in the world of blogging has clarified. I'm ok with where I am and who I am, and I'm less worried than ever about accidentally offending anyone or even whether or not anyone "important" is reading, because I DO get, frankly, that everyone who takes the time to come here and read my continuing attempts at writing has given me a great gift of time and attention, and I'm grateful for every single one of you.
Lately I'm in a state of wonderment at the ability life has to be simultaneously amazing and awful. Or joyous and depressing. Or stressful and flatlined. Pick your metaphors, they all fit.
My friend Debbie, who has taken the reins over organizing my barn, my pastures, my horses and trying to convince me to implement ten thousand fabulous ideas all at the same time, says constantly "Its amazing how you're just so normal!" I think she has it ass-backwards. I think we get along really well because on a certain level we have brains that work the same (wrong, not-normal) way and we don't get frustrated by the tangential nature of practically every conversation we've ever had. Over the course of the summer we've repaired stall doors and expanded so that I now have three working stalls. When there was only one stall functional and three to four horses being fed with different requirements for supplements and each with the right to be able to eat without someone else chasing them away from breakfast, things were a little crazy out there. She's also picked my dry pen clean of weeds and rocks. She's found someone to haul away the manure pile. She's found someone to put up wall racks for tack and someone to paint. She's cleared the area behind the barn where all the scrap lumber and fencing materials used to get tossed (don't look at ME, the old owners started it, I just kept the tradition alive) and put down pallets and tarps and quadrupled our ability to store hay.
She also drives my husband a little batty because he is used to being along much of the time and she is by nature a very chatty person. I can tell he likes her though.
The kids this summer...what an amazing change in both of them. My daughter is getting taller and more beautiful by the nanosecond. She's taken two sessions of swimming lessons, gotten to level three and only needs to perfect two things to get to level four. She's at that stage of transformation between little girl and startling long-legged tween and she's just stunning. That's not even subjective mother-pride. Its just God's honest truth. What I find fascinating is her ability to verbalize her understanding that she knows she's growing up but she's not in any hurry to do so. "I just want to be a kid, mom. I don't want to grow up yet," she'll say, and my heart melts with love and pride and bittersweetness all at the same time. She will grow up whether I will it or no. I know that little girls can change dramatically as they age, and I hold onto the firm hope that the person she is, the things about her that make her so awesomely her will stay intact. She gets more out of my reach every day, and as I let go with a heart that strains under the hope and fear, I simply pray that God lets life be gentle with her for as long as possible. In les than two weeks she will be a fifth grader.
My son is learning to negotiate. His anxiety and ODD issues make certain things difficult. He hates taking showers because he doesn't want to get any water in his eyes, but baths take too long and his anxiety informs him that soaking in your own dirty water is just YUCK. So showers were always a struggle, until he came home from his dad's one weekend and announced that he and his dad worked out a deal: Daddy bought him swim goggles and now he doesn't get upset in the shower. I'm not sure who thought up the idea, but hot damn if it hasn't made getting the little dude clean a much less stressful event. Hallelujah and pass the cornbread! He's gotten tons more compliant about taking his meds, and he's learned to negotiate that as well. We've also had to learn to listen when he starts to refuse things - sometimes we have a hard time remembering that his anxiety makes certain things far harder for him to tolerate than we can understand.
SG has been a stay-at-home stepdad all summer and has had both kids pretty much every day of the week since their dad and I are both working, and I really believe his even-tempered nature has had a positive impact on both of them. Their dad and I both tend to moodiness, and I sense that our unpredictability has been stressful for them. They have evened out much, both of them, they fight with one another a lot less, and its clear that they both adore their stepdad. School starts soon, so my husband will be joining the ranks of the employed unless I either get a highly unexpected and very large pay raise or I actually buy a lottery ticket and it turns out to be a winnah. He's been my rock the last month or so while I've struggled physically and mentally. That's love for you. I am not afraid to admit that my patience is thin and my attitude bad, and he has endured it with a great deal more grace than I would likely exhibit were I in his shoes.
We lost Mojo kitty this summer. He disappeared in the spring for a few weeks and when we finally found him he was so skinny and deteriorated we weren't sure he would make it. He recovered for a while with special food and supplements and monitoring, but then he went suddenly downhill and we had to make the tough choice to say goodbye. I suspect it was cancer. He's joined Hercules, Lady and our little old banty hen Cin-Cin under the tree out in the back pasture. I think I've learned pretty well the last few years that people and animals too often leave our lives far sooner than we are prepared for them to do, and it reminds me to make a point of taking time each day for each animal to have some attention, for me to be more vigilant about picking up the phone, and to treasure every opportunity to play with my children and create memories to sustain me when they have grown up and begun lives of their own. It will happen sooner than I think.
How's your summer been so far?