Friday, February 29, 2008

As a girl I lit fire to my room because I had to read.

Now, instead of sneak reading with a towel draped over the lamp, I sit in the glow of the computer screen, writing.

In the first hours of the day I wonder that I am too late, it is too much, I have too little.

For tonight, I am too tired.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

He ain't dead yet...

Yesterday I wrote today's post for GNMParents. It was fun to put into words what I've been feeling for the past few weeks. Energized. Thankful. Creative. Example: for months I have been thinking of buying wall stickery things that said "Scatter Kindness." Instead, I made something. And it feels good.

Yesterday was a landmark for my husband. He is now 1 day older than any Hatch male in at least 2 generations. His heart is healthy and his biggest risk factor is his history. Did I mention that he's 37 years 4 months and 11 days old?

This part is disgusting. It's hard to confess. I've known about his dad and grandfather forever, and so I regularly entertain thoughts of becoming a widow. I have for years. Where would we live? What completely inappropriate thing would I say? Who would drive his car? How many fewer load of laundry would I have to do every week? Would I still eat dinner sitting with my kids at the table? Would I have to shop for black things? Who would I call? What would I say? How would I be?

Would I ever bury the darkness?


It's not so much entertaining as contemplating. I love him. Enough that I can never actually answer any of those questions. They just float around. Like specks of dust.

I'll tell you one thing I would do: I'd use the insurance money to hire someone to clean my house. (That was a joke). I am happy that he made it to today. (That was an understatement).

Seriously, I got pretty sappy about him here. And then more recently I was bragging all about us here. I already said that I love him. I guess there's only one thing left to say:

Hey Rob, I'm glad you aren't dead. Mwah.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Vacation's Over (thank God)

Last week was February vacation. It was everything I dreamed it would be. And by dream, I mean the kind that wakes you mid scream. Dramatic? Yes. Kid #1 came down with a fever on Monday which progressed into a croupy cough with fever spikes reaching 104. Three days later Kid #2 joined in the fun, and then 1 day later Kid #3 got gooey.

Our days consisted of sleeping, bubble bathing, snuggling, and consuming copious amounts of media. Our nights consisted of sleeping on the couch with a fevered body cradled on my lap, holding a kid almost upright to reduce coughing. This was almost as good as the original plan for vacation, which involved some sledding, a fishing derby, some other local adventures, and an ultra rare visit from my brother's family. Yes, this was almost that good.

Mid-week I took Kid #1 to the doctor to rule out bronchitis. The good news was that his lungs were clear. The better news was that the ultra high fever should last another 2 days. The best news was that the cough would linger for another 2 weeks. By Friday the fever broke. By Monday the barking cough had mellowed a little. His energy and appetite were back and he no longer looked like he was asleep on his feet.

According to school rules a child has to be fever free for at least 24 hours before returning to school. And he has to feel well enough to be there. So when the bus pulled up this morning he climbed aboard and waved as he pulled away.

I stood holding a crying snot nosed #3 and the hand of the feverish coughing #2. I felt a sweet warm wave of utter relief wash over me. I rode that wave. I sent the most well one away. And then, predictably, the wave dragged me over the rocky coast of guilt.

Should I have kept him home longer? Even though he was fever free for more than 2 days. Even though his cough had mellowed. Did I rush him out because it's easier to care for 2 sickies than 3? Would he have benefited from an extra day? Should I have kept him home for 2 weeks? Until his cough was gone?

Regardless of school rules, had I done right by my boy? I have no freaking idea. But when he got home he was none the worse for wear and was celebrating some of his successes from the day. So, I am reflecting on that and, in the spirit of yesterday's post, I'm letting those questions go. I took good care of him. That's what I did.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Being better every day

It's easy to fall short of the person you're trying to be. Or it's impossible to become the person you're trying to be. Or wanting to be someone that you aren't yet is the impetus to get up and out. Without wanting to do better we are asleep. Aren't we? Reaching for Holden's brass ring is what we're here for. Be a better mother. Wife. Believer. Daughter. Sister. Friend.

Our goals shift so often that we forget the one we didn't quite finish before we've added 17 new ones. Play more. Clean more. Write more. Watch more. See more. Volunteer more. Wash more. Exercise more. Call more. Make more. Comment more. Compliment more. Buy more. Travel more. Cook more. Read more. Be more.

The perpetual efforts to be and do more and better mean that we can never succeed. We can never be the person we strive to be. There is always another thing. We can only ever fail. Is this why everyone is taking pills to relax and be happy?

We need quiet. We need to stop listing what we don't do, and start looking at what we do. What we are.

Great. I needed another goal.

Please go read Jon's Should post. It's really very connected to this and re-frames it beautifully.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


I have written a lot of words about the importance of friendship. About moms needing moms and women needing women. I've also expended a lot of calories cultivating friendships. They are important. I would be less than me without them.

Having ended my 36th year I wonder if it is a universal truth that there is a segment of a woman's psyche that simply never graduates from grade school. A particle of insecurity and self-consciousness that becomes trapped inside every interaction. I know it's possible, but is it common for women to maintain bonds that aren't cluttered with doubts?

Lack of Communication is a surly beast. It slithers into relationships and entangles itself withing the limbs of security and honesty. It compromises the stability of the bonds that are growing. It makes it difficult to develop in good health. It makes it difficult to want to. The strongest of us can not always quiet the beast. We require rest.

Friendship takes energy. On the planet of Parenthood and Marriage, energy is not found in abundance. It is expected that within a relationship that energy will ebb and flow from one partner to another. It is true and right. And the bond of friendship necessitates honesty and clarity. That is true and right. And we are hiding in the girls bathroom avoiding the cafeteria because we are unsure and lonely. And that is true and wrong.

It's true that moms need moms and women need women. And Oscar Wilde said, "The truth is rarely pure and never simple."

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Sickness is here for a visit. My boy burns. His body shakes as his teeth grind and the heat releases from his hands. 101,101,101, 104, 101, 99, 103. The cough starts, barking until it hurts in his everywhere. So tired of the cough, he shrinks it to a whisper, but still it overpowers and barks, in defense or on attack.

And I watch. And I question. And I hold. And I stroke. And I rub. And I serve. And I call. And I cradle his too long limbs on my lap through the too long night. My arm deeply sleeping as it holds him upright.

I look and I try to see the fever burning the sickness, boiling the invading germs, doing its job.

And I am overwhelmed by this visitor, who overstays its welcome. My eyes run and my mind invents reasons to feel sad and angry and so very hurt. Reasons outside this home. And with the palm of my hand monitoring the heat, I am less lonely.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Scatter Kindness

We lost power last night in the great ice storm of 2008. We struggled without television, computer, light or heat from 10 pm until 2 in the morning. We survived with nary a scratch.

I have complained about winter this week as though the complaints will melt the snow. Clearly they won't. By means of description rather than complaint I will tell you that when I walked to the middle of the yard today to rescue my stuck daughter, I sunk to mid thigh. And I think I was standing on about a foot of hard packed icy snow. The snow banks are so high on my street that you can not see the houses from the road. From the house you can not see a car traveling on the road. At every intersection you must slowly inch out to the middle of the road to determine if you are about to be pummeled by a Ford F-150.

Today was lovely. Sunny and a balmy 35 degrees. The icicles melted. We spent several hours outdoors today. The Punks stripped snow from the swing-set and mounted mountains of previously plowed snow. I thought I'd conquer the driveway, needing to glimpse the black of the pavement to secure my sanity. After 2 hours I had managed to clear 3 squares of snow and ice approximately 3 feet in diameter. My back was seizing and my wrists aching. I had stripped down to a thin fleece and tossed my hat to the side. I was sweating and breathing harder than I had any right to breath. Cue loader. Big Yellow Machine grinding it's plow over the hard packed ice in effort to expedite some melting and in the process rebuild the barrier between my driveway and the road. It was tall. It was wet. It was heavy. I was defeated.

And pissed. I cursed and cursed and cursed with every scoop. Each one was too heavy to remove. Back. Wrists. Pain. When the steam cleared the loader was on it's way back and I paused. I flashed to the start of this season. This season of first snowfalls when neighbors laughed and talked in the street as they cleared every speck of snow and ice from every conceivable surface. You know, 83 inches of snow ago. It took a lot of effort, but finally I conceded that this man in this machine might not have been put on this street to intentionally break my back. He did a job. An imaginably lonely job. A necessary job that kept my family safe when we turned out of the driveway. And so I straightened when the machine came. I offered a slight wave and slighter smile.

He slowed and tipped his hat (no, really). The horn beeped and suddenly the machine changed direction and the man changed the direction of his plow and he piled all of the snow from the foot of my driveway on top of the mountain. Not one sweep. Not 2 sweeps. Lots of sweeps and I felt the saddest euphoria.

I forgot that people are kind.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


So today I wrote a post for GNMP for tomorrow. That totally counts for this daily writing thing.. It's a series of Haikus. About how the snow is freezing my normally chipper attitude. So, today's post tomorrow and tomorrow's post tomorrow. And yesterdays post yesterday.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Late Nights

The thing about this daily writing, is that sometimes it's 9:15 pm and I am tired and full of crank, so writing is uh, crappy.

My boys wrestle. In a wrestling club. They started last summer and really seemed to enjoy it. As a sport. Not as late night entertainment or a way to dominate their brother. They wrestle on the mat, with a coach and very small wrestling shoes.

All summer they wrestled twice a week. Then school started and we laid off it because the timing wasn't great and they were adjusting to being a kindergartener and a second grader. We started up again the 1st of the year.

I just got back from my 1st ever practice. It's been Rob's job. Tonight I went. It wasn't the best experience. There were a lot of new kids there, and at 6 and 8 my boys are two of the younger wrestlers. Rob is usually out on the mat with the kids helping them to stay focused and implement the moves. Not I. Oh no, not I.

Participating in this sport is a lifestyle change for us. It's from 7-8.30 at night twice a week. My kids are always in bed and usually snoring by 8:30. I worry for their teachers tomorrow. I wonder if this is the best thing for them. I wonder if the benefits of learning and participating in this sport will outweigh the sacrifices.

It's not just wrestling. Kids activities consume more family time than ever before. Hours on the weekend, multiple nights a week. Birthday parties. We're steadfast in allowing only 1 activity per season, and we madly hope that the boys will always choose the same activity. And Lucy when she's older. (Yes, wrestling is co-ed, although there aren't any girls currently participating).

There are things that are non-negotiable in our schedule. Family time. Sunday school. Holidays spent with extended family. Eating together nearly every night.

I worry for the challenges that face us to maintain the commitment we've made to each other.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Shut Up and Listen

I am never quiet. I awaken in the morning with exactly the amount of time needed to usher the kids to school. My computer is switched on before breakfast and off again at the very end of the day. During the day I play and read and cook and occasionally clean. I break frequently to check mail, read a blog, write a post. Never quietly. When It is time to settle down in the evening I watch tv and read until my lids are heavy.

It is one week into the Lenten season and I have been seeking silence. Stillness. It's about my faith and it's about all of my relationships. It's about embracing the quiet. It's about listening to what people are and are not saying. It's about giving people the silence to speak. It's about hearing.

Another of my Lenten pursuits is writing. Daily. Consciously. Carefully. I've abandoned Maine-ly Megin, focusing online calories on building up the parenting community at GNMParents. But now, I'll post here and see where it takes me.