Oh, These Times Are Hard

It’s been stressful around these parts lately. Today started out poorly and remained stuck in the suck all day long. Despite wanting to put everyone — including myself — in bed at 6:30, we headed to the store to buy a new alarm clock so maybe someone will stay in his room past 7:00. And Tic-Tacs, because I’m nothing if not addicted to Pinterest; it makes my anxiety-induced insomnia tolerable.

Piled into the car, we all sat silently, staring out our respective windows. The radio was on, something we normally can’t hear for the volume we create is usually quite loud… even on happy days. BigBrother has always been a music lover, and so when he’s quiet enough to hear a song, he’ll usually sing along if he knows the words. He hums if he doesn’t. It’s really kind of heart-melting and is one of those memories I hope to hold onto forever.

The Script’s song, “For the First Time,” came on, and he sang along. I smiled in spite of my exhaustion, my tired ears, my anger with myself. While there’s a push I’ve seen as of late to not let kids listen to songs that “they don’t understand,” I have the best memories of sitting in the truck with my dad, singing songs I didn’t understand. He kept on singing, right through the bridge.

Oh, these times are hard.
Yeah they’re makin’ us crazy;
Don’t give up on me, baby.”

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Emphasis his.

My eyes kind of welled up with guilty tears. I looked at FireDad who was sad-smiling and nodding too. Well, that’s a gut-check and a half if there ever was one.

These times have been hard lately. There’s a lot of unknown and stress and hurry up and wait and funk and sad and anxiety and sibling rivalry and keep your hands to yourselves and “NO!” floating around these parts. It’s hard to keep perspective, to take a moment to breathe, to join the hug and just let what will be… be. It’s shaming, guilting, deeply crushing and somewhat embarrassing when you’re sitting in a car listening to your oldest song sing a song about a broken relationship only to realize that you’re not being all that you could be or all that you should be or all that you want to be.

January Fun

I’m not telling you that I didn’t put the kids to bed as soon as we got home. I’m not saying I wasn’t glad when the house was quiet. But it just made me sit and take note that while these times may be hard — and they are — I’m very, very thankful for my family.

 

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Book Review: The Rules of Inheritance

I have often said — and firmly believe — that the Munchkin changed my life in many ways. Some are hard and lonely and not so happy. Others? They make me who I am; strong and determined and compassionate. The time when I got pregnant, of course, was not exactly the best time of my life. It was turbulent. But I came out changed and on a path that was different than the one I was meandering when I got pregnant.

Claire Bidwell Smith’s memoir, The Rules of Inheritance, hit me in various ways. Books about grief always do. However, the one that hit me the most was actually the story about her abortion at the age of 19. I didn’t have an abortion; it was never an option in my head or heart even though I’m pro-life. I knew, when I saw the two pink lines, that I would have a baby. I didn’t know I would relinquish her, but I knew she would come to be.

But there was a part in Claire’s recollection of her abortion that let me know we are all not so very different.

Mother dies at eighteen.

Abortion at nineteen.

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It’s as though I don’t have a choice.

But we always have choices.

It won’t be until over a decade later, when I am well into the actual world of parenthood, frazzled and overwhelmed with love and impatience for the tiny creature I have created, that I will realize that if I had actually had a baby at age nineteen it might have been the very thing that would have kept me from the years and years of misery and destruction ahead of me.

I firmly believe that the Munchkin pushed me down another fork in the road, away from the misery and self-loathing that I was knee deep in at the time. I experienced a whole different world of misery and self-loathing and grief, but I was absolutely determined to stay on the straight and narrow path because I wanted my daughter to be proud of me someday. She changed me. She changed my path in life. And I am forever grateful.

You can read more about The Rules of Inheritance at The BlogHer Book Club.

This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.