Thursday, December 14, 2006

Ho, Ho, Hives

Remember the hives? That was in July of this past summer when my list of stressors apparently spilled into all of my cells and caused these lovely, unpredictable eruptions. (It actually looks remarkably like my thighs, except that in that case, the lumps are NOT temporary eruptions. )

Well, we're at December 14, and so far I don't have hives.

Stressors? yup. Sometimes it feels like I need to justify why I feel mildly insane. I'm sorry that its going to be right here, which feels like "my place" but I'm aware that I'm sharing the space with many others. Perhaps you will relate? Perhaps at the end, we can simultaneously breathe deeply, and find something undenidably good to medicate on. I meant to say meditate....

December contains three significant birthdays: our youngest son, my husband-who-will-be-forty-on-saturday, and of course the big one: Jesus Christ. We've yet to fit in an outing to the bowling alley for Sammy's celebration, Brian's birthday party is well under way, three out of eight Christmas parties are behind us, and all of that without any head lice. (Dec '05)

But life is full, even without these necessary celebratory pauses. I still have a heavy heart over the whole food thing. I still struggle with my own fears that I am one Christmas party away from "mu-mu" status myself. It seems my "alert and annointed" lesson is going to be a painful one. Alertness recently, has made me aware of a relative struggling to ridiculous proportions with a mental illness which his mother has been "praying away" for about 20 years now. Apparently in her little bubble, its a choice between God and medication. I wonder what they would do if he chopped his leg off? Bandage it? Wear a prosthetic? Or shut their eyes a little tighter in prayer?

Daycare has been very full, with some eleven hour days. Couple that with short staffing at the support home that I work at "once a week", and you've got a lot of hours spent working. That is leaving limited time for: Christmas shopping, fortieth birthday party hunting and gathering, teaching the kids about s8x (yes, that one came up this week... ), replacing ice skates that the kids have outgrown, mending their favourite pants, doing Jane's skin care, (badly, BADLY neglected lately...), encouraging good homework habits, helping Arianna plan a big Christmas party with fourteen other kids that also falls on the same weekend as Brian's party, collecting the appropriately coloured pants and shirts for three kids in Christmas concerts, locating a tutor for my daughter, mowing the lawn (just checking if you're still listening...), wanting to be mindful of my sis-in-law, who will have to navigate the season without my brother, and feeling utterly useless in that regard, then remembering that mom is due for a hysterectomy in early January, dad has specialist appointments nearly every week now for his spinal stenosis and blocked arteries, and that my brother is probably having an extra shitty time now that its Christmas and his life is a roadwreck.

My arms are getting itchy.

I picked up a book on my way home from the chiropractor last night (did I mention that my back has been killing me?) Its "Travelling Mercies" by Anne Lamott. The quote on the bottom says it all: "Anne Lamott is walking proof that a person can be both reverent and irreverent in the same lifetime. Sometimes even in the same breath."

I'm going to take a deep breath, ignore the pb and jam on the counters, haul the kiddies to the basement (undeniably, a disgustingly over-toyed, under-lighted space that children love). I'm going to SIT on that ugly grey couch and see what Anne has to say. I may even leave the phone upstairs.

Its snowing beautifully outside right now. The sort of snowfall that people who don't have to travel or shovel, think is romantic and beautiful. So that's what I'll go with. I get to work at home, and celebrate the snow, and I've got a new book. Wish me God speed.


Anonymous said...

Oh Joyce! My heart is heavy for you. One step at a time and just turtle ahead.
My heart also gave a little leap when you mentioned Anne. I love her and quote her often in my head, sometimes out loud too. I have had that book at home for the past few months but I'm waiting to read it when I have a bit of surgery in the new year. It's something I'll need then. I did read Plan B this fall though. And then there's Bird by Bird, ... Oh yes, Anne will help you out.
You're a strong, wonderful woman and you'll find a way through this forest.
Peace to you.

Anonymous said...

Anne Lamott's Travelling Mercies is beside my bed and has been for about 3 years. It is one of my most favourite books and I pick it up regularly.
Just reading your post makes me itchy and I don't even get hives! I wish I could give you some hints as to how to get through the next few weeks but alas, I never figured it out. It does get better once the little ones are older. There are some good things about empty nest syndrome!

joyce said...

thanks, you two. Add to that, my dear friend who relayed some big stuff to me this morning, and my back that is still sore, and that I really need a shower... (I guess I'm not done whining yet, sorry)
I'm glad to hear your reviews on the book. She is a crazy lady, yet, her thoughts resonate in my mind for months after reading her stuff.
surgery, Heather? Is this something I should ask questions about? I hope all is well, and I wish I could offer to help you with your kids.

Linda, I haven't broken out yet, but I did have the urge to smoke yesterday... that's never a great sign! I'm too cheap to become a smoker though, so its pretty safe.
Yes, the children are intense. But its the most important thing, isn't it? And I'm sure you NEVER look back and say, gee I wish I'd had more commitments so that I'd have spent less time with the kids....
So, some days feel magical, others, somewhat more akin to black magic...

thanks for all the encouragement. It means a lot to me.

shelley said...

Hurry up and read that book so I can gleen some wisdom from it. You will make it my friend. Let the Big Guy(not Brian, well ya him too)carry you if you need to take a rest. Love you and looking forward to Saturday.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for asking and, oh, how I would love to have you in my town so that you could add my dears to your herd/parcel/leash/bevy. Don't you love collective nouns? Maybe it's just me.
Anyway, I don't have any qualms with discussing it but I don't want to add to the drama or hijack your blog so I'll refrain from the ugly details here. I'll send you an email, ugly details to come!

Anonymous said...

Prayed for you Joyce. Peace for your mind, your heart and your home (that sounds freakishly Hallmarkish, but I mean it!)

Anonymous said...

Traveling Mercies is SUCH a good read!

Hives, I know ALL about those.

I cannot think of one even remotely helpful thing to say.

Maybe this? Been there. Survived, with just a few residual tics.

Judy - Anybody Home

lettuce said...

God speed.

what speed is God speed?

Here's to irreverence.

Anonymous said...

ahhhh. i had hives a couple times b/c of stress. totally NOT fun.

but reading a new book - TOTALLY is. hope you got some r and r in. xo

joyce said...

glad to hear that I don't have the corner market on hives. yuck.

what is God speed? I don't have a clue, but I'll let you in on my thinking process: Put God in the equasion, he's powerful, he's love. And make it quick! that's the speed part.

And I wonder why I'm never hired to be one of those woman inspirational speakers...