Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Change of perspective

As I was feeling guilty about the obvious blog neglect and thinking of what to post--Becca's all-night fever, accompanying vomit, The Banker's simultaneous illness, the silverfish that have appeared out of nowhere wrecking clothing, my stress level over freelance that isn't coming together, family drama the likes I've never seen before--I brought myself up short. I mean, COME ON. QUIT WHINING, WOMAN. Not to mention grossing people out with bodily fluids.

So I thought about things for which I'm happy. The list may seem a wee bit weak. But heh, you gotta embrace the good stuff where you can find it. So here goes:

The ferns have gone crazy in the black metal urns that flank the front door. The hydrangeas I planted are beginning to flower. Okay, not with the blue flowers I'd worked so hard to produce with copious amounts of Aluminum Sulfate, but pink will do nicely all the same. Green thumb success! I don't take this lightly. I did not inherit my mother's talent with plants.

Dinner on the back patio, grilling out, while Boo plays on the swing set. There's this small sliver of time before it gets too hot, before the mosquitoes drive us inside. If I were to bottle it, I'd love to live in this perfect weather sphere for the better part of the year.

My sister (#2) introduced me to a wonderful new concoction: Jameson and Ginger Ale. When the day is through, having drained and then tossed me about, it offers a sweet little reward. It almost whispers, "Congrats on still standing."

I made a mean garage-sale purchase for Becca: a pink, retro-style kitchen set that now sits in our sun room. It keeps her delightfully busy while I'm in the kitchen (and prevents the worry of her trying to make her way to the playroom upstairs).

I have book club coming up this month with a delightful group of ladies. I doubt they know just how key they are in helping keep me sane. With all the upcoming events littering the calendar (weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, showers, and various other parties), this one tiny event is one of the few welcome ones. Hooray for awesome friends!

So there. Bright spots, positive thoughts. And now added to the list: Something new on the blog. Take that, Sister #2!!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

In which we struggle a bit

It seems that this period of time is marked by struggle--some I've discussed and some I'm keeping to myself. And among those various battles is the struggle to achieve some semblance of balance between family, work, myself, my dreams, and the scorching truth of reality. Tough stuff, this. But as I'm peering down the barrel of this weekend, the family struggle is one I'm feeling most acutely.

My parents have no relatives here in town, so while I was growing up it was just us three girls and Mom and Dad. My dad's parents would come into town for Christmas, but more or less, we didn't have to "share" holidays with anyone. Worked out quite nicely, truth be told. To some this would seem a terrible shame. After all, where were the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins? But to be honest, most of these people weren't necessarily missed. I've little in common with my cousins, so most interactions with them was (and is) marked by awkwardness. And my parents are drastically different than their respective siblings. Visits are more often a testament to the virtue of patience than love.

So it's been very difficult for me to adapt to the way The Banker's family functions. Both sides of my husband's family bred. A LOT. And short of three cousins (out of over 30, mind you), none have dared venture outside the state. And regardless of whether they truly like each other, family comes first. So any given baptism, graduation, birthday, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Fourth of July, St. Patrick's Day, Christmas, Easter, or general sneeze is warrant for the mass descent of family members. Folks, it's not unusual for full family parties to number over 100 (should both sides attend). It's a mass of confusion, a small roar of conversation, a muddle of hugs, too many names to remember (even for The Banker), and a bunch of sub-par food. And it's a lot to handle for a girl accustomed to intimate gatherings. (How it makes me miss our Chicago days when we were free from all the tedious hometown hoopla!)

But we also have my side of the family: my parents, Sister #2, who now lives in town, and the occasional presence of Sister #1, who remains out-of-town. So add their small numbers with The Banker's family, and it's a lot of people to keep up with.

Having never shared my holidays before, I was unaccustomed to the frantic schedule comparisons and manic driving between functions on days of import, such as this weekend's Mother's Day. It doesn't help matters that The Banker's family are last-minute planners. What was traditionally a Mother's Day brunch was changed to a possible dinner, then back again. My adaptive family made plans for a dinner gathering. Now The Banker's sister wants to move their plans, again, to a dinner.

And me? I'm just damn tired. Tired of never having a holiday my way. Tired of too many people with feelings that have a tendency to get hurt. Tired that, even now, in my second year of motherhood, there is no time for our own family traditions. Just exhausted that I don't know how to draw the line, come what may. How's that for a whiney, self-serving post?