Mairsy Dotes

"No faith is as solid as a wounded faith."

Thanks, Mum. I love you. May 21, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 7:53 pm

So, within the last six months or so, I’ve been on a voyage of self-discovery. I didn’t really realize it. I certainly didn’t intend for it to happen. It wasn’t planned or thought out. It was just one of those very organic times of personal growth that happen–those times when all of the sudden you look back and think, “Dude. I’ve so totally changed.”

My change this time around seems to center around my mother. I adore my mother. I really do. There’s no caveat in that statement whatsoever. Her arms are one of my favorite places to be, and I lovelovelove when she plays with my hair, or lightly rubs my back the way I like.

But like most mothers, she had some pretty fixed ideas about what and who her daughter should be. And, like most daughters, I listened and dutifully swallowed her teachings. Examples of those teachings would be:

  • Your bra and panties don’t need to match. Ever. Because if they DO match they’re only matching because you’re planning on showing them to someone, and unless you’re MARRIED what in the hell are you doing showing someone your matching bra and panties?
  • Blondes must, must, must wear pastels at all times. They look best on them.
  • Men like women who are a little bit needy. Strength frightens them, and so does intelligence (now, before you get all up in my face about my mother’s beliefs, please remember that her father was a mysogenist par excellence and TOLD her all these things).
  • Women who play the cello are horrifyingly unladylike. She based this belief entirely on the way that one has to sit with a cello between one’s knees.
  • You will have to have a C-section.
  • You are just like me.

So you know: Mom’s sort of old fashioned. She’s also cool and fun–she’s got a fabulous career, makes amazing amounts of money, has established a mutual adoration society with my father that has lasted nearly 40 years (even if she IS fiercely independent, rarely needy, and smart as a whip).

At first, I used these “words of wisdom” from my mother as a joke. But as I got older, I realized how much of her words came directly from what her parents told her–and as I’ve shared some about my grandfather, you can probably guess that smart, opinionated women were a thing best crushed out of existence in his world. It didn’t work. But he tried. Damn, but he tried. And I also realized that much of her words passed down to me were true in her world.

But that doesn’t make them true in mine.

It’s been a slow evolution, realization, understanding. When I moved half-way across the country to attend seminary, one of the very first things I did was buy me some matching bra and panty sets. Flirty ones. With lace. Red ones. Purple ones. Black ones. Lime green ones. It was my grand rebellion against my mother. And, eventually, I did in fact show them to M, so ultimately: she wasn’t wrong. But she wasn’t right either. Now, I only buy nude colored bras and panties. They always match. They’re not terribly exciting. And I’d show M my bra and panties whether they matched or not.

I don’t wear pastels anymore. Most of them just wash me out and make me look tired and pale. I look better in jewel tones, tones with some richness–Mom looks fantastic in pastels. She’s inherited some of my old ones. But I don’t. I felt horribly guilty about for some reason, but I don’t anymore.

I spent a lot of time in my college years trying Mom’s Method of Landing a Man. It landed me nothing but heartache and a decade-long on-again off-again long distance relationship with a guy that wasn’t any better for me than I was for him, although I refused to see it. Somewhere along the line, I thought, “Fuck it. I am who I am. Loud, bossy, opinionated, bold, independent and daring. If I have to hide these things about me in order to get a guy I’d never be happy with him anyway.” And then, three days into seminary, I met M and the rest is history. Loud, bossy, opinionated, bold, independent and daring history. He adores the very things my mother told me to cover up about myself. And for that, I’ll love him forever.

When I was in fifth grade, the elementary strings teacher came to our classroom to try and recruit kids for strings. I fell head-over-heels in love with the cello. I loved the look of it, the sound of it, the weight of it, I loved how Ms. Chastain looked as she played it–when she started she was cradling the cello, but somehow through the course of the music, it cradled her. I hurried home after school and announced that I wanted to play the cello. The announcement was met with deafening silence, and then, “Absolutely not. It’s not ladylike to sit with your legs spread apart like that. You can play the violin or the viola.” And that’s how I came to play violin for the next five years. And I was good at it. I could have been great (according to my teachers), but I just didn’t care. I didn’t enjoy the violin. It didn’t get into my blood like the cello did. And I wonder what my life would have been like if my mother had looked into my 10-year-old eyes and said, “Absolutely. Let’s go rent you a cello.” I have a sneaking suspicion I’d still be playing it, unlike my violin that has been left untouched for about 15 years now, gathering dust in our storage unit.

And when I was pregnant, she went out of her way to explain to me what a C-section would be like. All three of her babies were C’s, and I’m just like her, so mine would be, too. And she had horrible long labors. So I went through my entire pregnancy, pretty well convinced that I would have a C-section, preceded by a labor from hell. In fact, I have one moment of clarity in my 45 minutes of pushing wherein I asked the doctor, “Are you SURE I don’t need to have a C-section?” and she said, “Beege, I can see your baby’s head. No, you won’t need to have a C-section.” And as far as horrible long labors go–well, it was five hours from pitocin drip to baby in my arms. It wasn’t fun, but it was far from horrible and ‘long’ is certainly not an adjective I’d use to describe it.

And mostly the thing I’m learning? I’m not just like her. I’m a lot like her. I look like her, I sound like her. I act a lot like her. But I’m also a lot like my dad. And I’m a lot like my aunt. And I’m a lot like myself–there are things I do and say and think that nobody has any claim on. It doesn’t lessen the bond any. It’s just the way we are. And I’ve lived so far away from her for so long now that I’ve had time to figure out who I am without her input or (and I mean this in the most loving way possible) interference.

All of this makes me wonder what I’ll tell Linnea as truth and she’ll learn is in fact truthful only to me. And what I’ll tell Linnea that will stand her in goodstead as she makes her way in the world.

During her last visit, she and I were doing dishes one night when she said, “You know, you’re a lot braver than I am. You don’t back down from a fight. You don’t let people tell you who you are or what you should be like. I really admire that.” And the funny thing was? I learned it from her.

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Odds ‘n ends

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 3:54 pm
  • Hey, Linnea from Texas! The link you left to your blog doesn’t work. Will you leave it for me again, pretty please? 🙂
  • Clearly, still into bullets. Except now I see a really cool little thing were Blogger will do the bullets for you. I’m going to switch to those.
  • I went to the doctor, and after waiting for about an hour got to see one. Yep. Bladder infection. They put me on a three-day run of antibiotics AND gave me a Diflucan tablet to take so the yeast infection wouldn’t come back. I love doctors who are women. They so get it.
  • The medicine? Already she is working…no more burning, no more pain. Thanks be to God for modern medicine.
  • Linnea (the one from my loins, not the one from Texas) has been sleeping for about three hours now. Yee-haw, buckaroos! Hope this doesn’t make bedtime a bitch, ‘cuz it’s sure made the afternoon nice.
  • Kara–thanks for the yogurt tip. I’ve gotten it before. But I loathe yogurt. I usually force myself to eat it when I’m on the antibiotics, but didn’t that time and well, I paid for it. It’s just so yucky…a cup of thick, creamy, sourness with chunks in it? No thanks. I’ll take a yeast infection.
  • Christy–thanks for your kind words! I really appreciate them. I’m in a pretty good place about all this, because I know that God wouldn’t have given me the gifts that he has if he wanted me working retail the rest of my life. Clearly, he wants me working retail now, but this is just a temporary gig. When something in the church opens up, it’s going to just blow the doors off ‘cuz it will be exactly right for me.

Now I’m off to cook some dinner. I haven’t forgotten the non-whiney entry (this isn’t it), but there’s just not enough hours in the day, particularly when you spend about three of them unconscious on the couch (like I did).

 

Waaah!

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 8:21 am

I’m sort of cranking out today.

Perhaps bullets would be the best way to express my tantrum.

*A few weeks’ ago, Nea brought strep throat home from daycare. I got it.
*Went to the doctor that we couldn’t afford, and they prescribed penicillin. Cleared that strep throat right up.
*Unfortunate side effect of penicillin? Also killed all the good bacteria in my noonie. Led to yeast infection.
*After days of cream, yeast infection clears. Hooray!
*Once yeast infection clears up? I get a bladder infection. Back to the doctor, whom we still can’t afford, to get more antibiotics which might cause another yeast infection.

I adore being a girl.

PS: I’m working on a non-whiney entry. I’ll be back to post it when my bladder stops hurting and I’m no longer racing to the bathroom every 15 minutes, sure I’m going to wet myself, only to have 3 or 4 drops come out.

PSS: I had a dream last night that I was so pregnant the pee stick came back PLAID. For some reason, this is the only thing that makes me giggle this morning. That, and when Nea tooted in bed this morning and I said, “Nice toot.” and she politely said, “Thank you very much, Mama.”

PSSS: The church didn’t want me. On the flip side: I met the head of the company I currently work for. He’s freaking THRILLED I’m working for them. I guess if God doesn’t want me, J does. And I get better clothes working for J.

 

“Too damn young.” May 14, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 3:49 am

I was up at the ungodly hour of 3:30 AM. I had to be at the Mall of America by 5AM in order help with this year’s Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. I say “had to” simply because for me: 3:30 is still technically night time. No one should have to be awake that early. But in reality, it was a get to. I volunteered for this particular event, and I was happy and proud to go.

I find women to be so amazing! Particularly breast cancer survivors. They are so strong! So resilient! So able to see past the bullshit the rest of us wrap ourselves in and call a spade a spade. Many survivors come into the store, and they’re very open in sharing “I’m a six year survivor” or “I’m a ten year survivor” or “I’m a one year survivor”. Husbands come in and purchase gifts for their wives and still get tears in their eyes when they tell me, “My wife is a 20-year survivor. I don’t know what I would have done if I’d lost her.”

At the race, there were women proudly showing of heads made bald by chemo; there were women who made no effort to disguise their chests made flat from mastectomies; there were women who pinned pictures of their mothers, sisters, aunts, and friends to their race number or carried signs like “Lisa’s Bosom Buddies”. Entire families came out and chose to celebrate Mother’s Day by participating in Race for a Cure. A small boy told me that he wanted to walk because his grandma had cancer, and he wanted her to get better. A woman shared the story of her sister-in-law who went in for her annual mammogram in March and was given a clean bill of health, and has just now been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. Two months. Only two months between perfect health and stage 4. Another told me that she walks every year because her sister died from breast cancer when she was 34. She’s still angry about it, her voice shaking a bit when she said, “She was too damn young. Too damn young. I walk so that someday nobody else has to lose a sister too damn young.”

I spent most of the morning veering wildly between having a fun time and fighting back tears. Just like everyone else. After today, the pink ribbon means just a little bit more than it did. I won’t ever look at one again without hearing the pain in a sister’s voice, “Too damn young.”

 

Ahhh…feel the mental health returning… May 10, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 12:48 pm

So, today I’m taking a mental health day.

Actually, that’s not entirely true. I’m taking an “it’s-important-right-now-for-me-to-fulfill-my-vocation-as-a-wife” day. M is absolutely slammed by his semester ending, and I’ve been working crazy hours which leaves him functioning as the sole parent and housekeeper all while trying to wrap up his semester. I’ve been more like a roommate than a wife (our celebration of Cinco de Mayo notwithstanding). I just felt like he needed a present wife more than a winner of bread and bringer of bacon today.

So I called work, told them I needed to be home with M today (and I may have sort of kind of made it sound like M was ill) and I’ve gone grocery shopping; cleaned out the fridge; did days worth of dishes he hadn’t gotten to; and when I’m done here I’ll start cleaning the rest of the house in earnest. He’ll come home to a clean house, a dinner in the oven, and a wife who can cheerfully take over all aspects of childrearing for the evening so he can either rest or continue to work on his papers. Hopefully, given the way he slept last night, both.

I’ve been contemplating washing the sheets on our beds…but we don’t have enough quarters to wash AND dry, and the weather is looking a little iffy for line dried sheets. Maybe tomorrow will be better. And really: if one CAN dry their bedsheets on the line, drying them in the dryer is so unsatisfactory. Mmmm…love to fall asleep in crisp, fresh, line-dried sheets.

 

She comes a-knocking May 9, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 2:18 pm

There’s a church that might be interested in me.

For the first time in almost a year, I think I might be interested back. I’m not entirely sure. I’m still processing a lot of emotional baggage from my previous 5 years in ministry…but when the Bish called and said, “Can I tell them about you?” my first response was not, “Oh, please don’t. Really. Don’t.” but rather a slight thrill in my belly and I asked to hear more about the congregation.

It could be a long shot. There will be a lot of people talking with this congregation. I mention this more to mark progress for me–I’ve been carrying so much anger and pain around with me in connection to the church. It’s still there, but it’s been tempered a bit. Honed. Perhaps, now, I’d be able to use the anger to address things, rather than just lashing out. Turn it into a force of good, rather than a force of evil.

We were at a church convention, and my beloved professor was there. J is an amazing man. Grace just oozes out of him–he can’t help it. I hadn’t seen him in a couple of years, and he was greeting people and shook my hand rather absently, listening to someone else talking and then he looked at my face. And with a fantastic, Norwegian roar he scooped me into his arms and kissed my cheek and told me he loved me. Beamed at me. Told me he wanted nothing more than to be in a room with M and I so that the three of us could talk like we used to. And his actions reminded me of my favorite passage of scripture, from the book of Isaiah, “Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you.” It’s God speaking to the Israelites. But last Monday? It was God speaking to me.

Back in February, I wrote about God being wildcrazy in love with us, and coming after us. Well. That day in a crowded church hallway: He got me. Again. Or still, probably is more like it. And as I sat up in the balcony and listened to J address the crowded sanctuary, I wept as he spoke passionately about the love God has for his people. Even me. And all the little chips and cracks and dings and “owies” that I’ve been living with for so long were washed clean. Not away. They’re still there. But they don’t hurt as much. I’ve been crying a lot–good tears, the kind of tears that just fall and fall and fall so gently and soak your face. Like a good spring rain–those are the tears I’ve been crying. Each tear a prayer, each prayer giving breath to a hope that hasn’t been alive much lately.

 

Me, M, Jose, and Cinco de Mayo.

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 2:04 pm

Friday, I was in the shower, getting ready for work. I hear:

“Maaaaaaama!” in a very coy tone.
I peek out the side of the shower curtain, “What is it, Baby?”
Suddenly, my tiny girl jumps into the doorway, falls into horse stance and with a laugh of triumph announces, “I NAKED!”

She certainly was. Almost as naked as the day she was born. I say “almost” because she was wearing the most cunning headgear. Her diaper. The velcro tab had been carefully fastened under her chin. She came closer to the shower and leaned against the side, conversationally adding, “I got on a bikehelmet. I got to be safe.” and with that, she turned her little fanny around and marched out.

I was left alone in the bathroom, blinking, wondering what in the hell just happened, and what sort of day Nea had planned that her nekkid activity would require a diaper/bike helmet for safety. It was also one of those moments where I wish my eyes were actually a video camera, so I could just record everything to play back to her during her wedding rehearsal dinner.

Later that night, M and I decided to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. I’ve not been a life-long celebrator of Cinco de Mayo…it was more of a novelty sort of thing that we learned about in junior high Spanish class–not unlike “Dia de los Muertos”. But M? As a full-blooded Texan, Cinco de Mayo was a day to be marked and celebrated. I’m still not entirely sure of why a 100% German Texan feels the need to celebrate a Mexican holiday, but: he asks for so little, I won’t take this away from him.

So how did we celebrate? Tequila shots. Sweet fancy Moses, I love me up some tequila shots. I don’t do them often, simply because when I do them, I don’t want to stop doing them. And when I do them, I get inappropriately affectionate. So we usually do tequila shots at home, where they’re cheap and where any affection that happens is completely appropriate because it takes place between two married consenting adults.

And damn if there wasn’t some affection going on that night. The tequila made us think we were a lot more athletic, adventurous, and flexible than we actually are. We were both sore for days. Perhaps we should have crept into Linnea’s room and tried to find her bike helmet.