Friday, February 12, 2016

brain dump 2.12.16

Things are hard right now. Not like world-ending, irreparable-damage hard. But life-changing hard. Everything about my family is changing right now, and it's hard.

I didn't realize how deep my head was in the sand. I wouldn't have said I was resistant to change until change reared up and my body is resisting. My heart is resisting. Even though everything is for the best, even though this is good change, even though the outcomes all make our family stronger and healthier and happier. It's hard. And I'm out of practice dealing with hard things.

The boys will start preschool in September, but for now, they are home with Ben. This is an amazing gift, something my soul had been begging for. Already, just a a few weeks into our new life, they are happier. I notice changes in behavior. I know we made the right choice. Amazing Ben spends the day playing with them, cleaning up the house, and then heads to work the second I am home for some night hours. The boys feel like they are on permanent vacation, celebrating having so much time with their favorite person, and the awkward stress that existed every day at daycare pick up is gone. I've been praying for this for months.

And yet. This means no breaks for either of us. Ben's little kid-free time in the morning, my little kid-free time in the evenings...gone. Being the sole provider for my kids' entertainment and education is a little daunting; the necessity of playdates is suddenly looming, huge. I feel more pressure to Do Something in the afternoon hours I have with them. I'm afraid they'll miss their friends, get weird about sharing, never potty train. These are first world, upper middle class problems, and I feel guilty even letting them worry me. "My KIDS might not get the same level of GERM EXPOSURE at home." I think I'm a little scared that all the cool things they know how to do were taught to them by someone else. I have taught them to enjoy books and jump when a text message notification goes off.  ("Mama! Your phone!") And that might be it.

I'm afraid I'll never write again, or feel healthy again, or stop whining. I had a routine and it was rad. Wake up early, write and tinker and read book reviews online. Go to work, scoop up the kids, have a little outing. Put them to bed, kiss Ben hello, and to the gym for a session of reading on a machine. Home by 9 to fall asleep on the couch. Start it all over again. The tiniest glitch in this plan is unraveling me. I am talking epic levels of drama over the fact that I now need to gym it in the morning and write at night. I've only managed it a few days, and by 7:30-8, when the kids are finally asleep the kitchen is passably clean and I've found something warm to sip (because I always write with a huge pot of coffee at my side) I don't FEEL like writing. Cheryl Strayed reminds us that no one cares if you FEEL like writing. If you have to do it, do it. Still, it took me a few years to fall solidly into the groove I had going, and I'm scared it will take me that long to get back into it.

Plus we're moving. We have a beautiful new kitchen with new appliances and a dishwasher for the first time in seven years and I can't stop getting weepy because I miss our old smudgy cabinets and shitty countertop. This new kitchen is very clean and very lovely and very sterile and it's not ours. It's not for us. It's the first step of distancing ourselves from this place where we've thrown BBQs and painted ceilings and brought home our babies and I cannot even believe that I am still struggling SO much with the concept of a new space.

This porch/office/bonus room, where I am sitting right now, is my favorite thing. I love this place as much as if it were a little church sewn onto the back of my house. We never talked about it this way, but I always felt like Ben built this for me. It was for us, ostensibly, but really, it was for me. I used to write balancing my laptop on a side table and pray no kid spilt formula on it, and my books were in the basement. Ben hired the people and got the loan and ordered the carpet and painted the walls and took me to Ikea to pick out a desk and built me the bookshelves and gave me my first office. Ever. And sitting here watching the sun come up in a quiet sleeping house while I drink coffee and make up worlds is my idea of heaven. It is most fantastic gift Ben has ever quietly given me.  And we have to leave.

I know why we have to leave. The kids don't have enough space. It's not fair to them. I can't spread my books and Funko pops and subversive postcards all over a huge chunk of the house but ask my children to sleep on crib mattresses for the rest of their childhood. I can't keep skipping buying big toys because there is no space for them. The boys deserve more room, and that's why we have to go. We will make another home charming and funky and wonderful. We will paint the cabinets smudgy green, if that's what it takes. Give the boys more space for their art supplies and rocket ships and make a reading nook for Milo and Elliott that is as wonderful as the little haven I have now.

I don't know how much of this emotion is because it's also finally winter, or because the tension of the last few months was compressing me and now I can finally feel things. I don't know if I'm hormonal because my birth control ran out or if I'm just dramatic (that goes without saying) and I'm giving into it right now. It's probably just that change is hard and I haven't had to change in awhile. I'm going to be fine. Writing everything out helped a ton.

Thanks for listening xo

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At February 12, 2016 at 1:27 PM , Blogger Molly said...

I'm so sorry you're going through a rough patch, Ashlie. This was so beautifully written and I read it with tears in my eyes. (I totally get it.) I wish I could take you out for coffee and give you a big hug. You're doing amazing things, truly. And you're right--you're going to be just fine because you're awesome. Thank you for continuing to write.

"No one achieves anything alone. So let’s embark on a new journey together. Let’s break out a map. Not the old out-of-date one that shows where we’ve been, but a crisp new one that shows where we might go. Let’s embark on a new journey together, and see where it takes us."

At February 12, 2016 at 8:21 PM , Blogger ashlie said...

xo Don't you dare quote Leslie Knope at me, you beautiful friend. <3 This made my day.

At April 12, 2018 at 3:54 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks very nice


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