Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Without a church home

As some of you know, I've left my church. I guess it really never was my church to begin with actually. I never did become a member, for personal reasons which are completely rational to me, but which seem to not be accepted by the church staff as valid. Anyway, if I wasn't a member? Was it even my church? I attended off and on, sometimes frequently and sometimes not, for over three years. I taught there, I organized events there, I gave money there. I prayed there and grew there and found friends there. So yeah, I think it was mine. Now it's gone.

I won't go into all the specifics of why I left here. What it boils down to is I was unhappy. I've always enjoyed the services but nearly everything outside of those 60 minutes was frustrating. Perhaps it's just that my personality doesn't fit with that of a UU congregation. Because even though I know I am UU when I read the tenants, I can't get comfortable in that space. I have a controlling nature, I am organized, I expect certain behaviors from certain people and I am disappointed when those around me are dismissive of those things. I have spent too much time ranting to my husband about things I've witness that I disagree with, too much time crying my eyes out because I was so frustrated at the lack of responsiveness, and sometimes responsibility from staff. After my last nervous breakdown, which was precipitated by many other things but initiated by extreme distress caused by communication (and lack there of) with a particular staff member at church I knew it wasn't healthy for me to continue putting myself through the stress that place causes me. Still, it took one final outrageous act to push me into making it official.

I also won't go into the responses I've received from staff, other than to say they were hurtful. But in fairness I was hurtful too so it's just a big ole ball of hurt feelings all around. The story of my life it seems.

I will say that I am really, really sad right now. I feel a bit lost. I simply cannot seem to find the right place to meet my spiritual needs. I fear it doesn't exist, at least not in this place and time. I'm at a point in my life where spirit is the most important thing I need to find and work on, but I have no path to follow or support while I walk it.

I worry about publishing this, I don't want to be seen as a troublemaker by those church members who read my blog. But it is MY blog, it's my space to work out what I am going through, and as my friend Cristina so eloquently shows me in each of her blog posts that is okay.

Friday, September 11, 2009

6 years ago today... make that 8...

Because I'm too lame to rewrite my September 11th post I'm going to republish this one from two years ago. I pretty much feel the same way now.

I was living in Frankfurt, Germany. My first baby was only 3 weeks old, and I was trying to adjust to motherhood. Honestly it wasn't that hard, as this fierce, overwhelming love, more intense than anything I had ever felt before, was carrying me through. It was afternoon in Germany when my husband called home to say that 2 airplanes had crashed into the Twin Towers. I thought he was mistaken, there was no way such a thing could happen. Maybe one small plane, but two? I rushed to turn on the TV, my baby in my arms, then sank to the couch in shock.

I spent the next several hours on that couch, switching back and forth between CNN and BBC, trying to learn, trying to understand what happened. It was only 6 am on the West Coast where my family lived, but I called and woke them up; "turn on the TV" I told my sleepy mother. We cried together on the phone.

The thoughts I remember from that day are those of a new mother who only wishes for her child to have a safe world to grow up in. I grieved for those lost, and the ones who lost them. I was angered that anyone could have such a callous disregard for life. I was also scared. Scared because Bush was in office. Scared that his reaction would lead to another World War. Scared because my home was just minutes away from one of the financial centers of Europe, and if an attack were to come to Germany we could be in danger. Scared because I was an American on foreign soil. Scared because I didn't want my baby to grow up in a world where strangers would kill strangers over ideology...

Now, 6 years later I look back to find that only some of my fears came to pass. But I think the potential for world-wide disaster is still near. For me, today is a day to remember the innocent people who lost their lives, and it is also a day to remember that it is fear, hatred, and zelotism which caused those losses. It may sound idealistic, it may sound naive, but wouldn't the best way to honor the victims of terrorism be to find world peace?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Back to school

Today was the girl's first day of school. It was exciting, and heart-rendering. Saskia started third grade, and I cannot get over that fact. THIRD GRADE! That seems so old somehow. As I waited with her in line, we scoped out her classmates. Unfortunately, NOT ONE of he friends from last year got into her class. I'm really pretty pissed about it. I know the teachers sort out the 'difficult' kids first, seperating those who can't get along, or who get along too well and spend all their time chattering, then making sure the shy, scared or whatever kids get together with one of their friends. I'm sure they also look at things like academic talent, social skills or whatever. Then the last few kids get sprinkled in wherever they'll fit. I think Saskia was one of those last few. She never made trouble in class, was her teacher's favorite. Was kind and friendly and supportive of all her classmates. In other words, she was too good to make it onto anyone's radar when assigning classrooms. The consequence is that she got forgotten. It bites.

Fiona started Kindergarten and at least that went better. The KG classrooms at their school are awesome and giant... thankfully because there are 28 kids in her class. Let me repeat that. TWENTY-EIGHT. Kindergarteners. God help that poor teacher.

All in all, I'm happy to see them having new experiences and learning new things, but I'm very, very sad to see them growing up. There is something about the first day of school that makes me feel like such a terrible mother. After they walk through the doors I start thinking of all the things I've done wrong as a mom. I become convinced I'm the most horrible mother in the world. I second guess and question every move I made that morning, "should I have stayed with her another minute?" "did I tell her I love her?" "did I tell her I love her enough?" Again, it bites.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

If the kittens were children...

they'd be in their "terrible twos" phase. Damage today:

  • one Barbie mauled to death (as Fiona put it, it looks like she was attacked by a shark!)
  • two very large puncture wounds to my inside thigh attained when one kitten decided to jump two feet into the air to try and get the pull string dangling from my sweat pants.
  • two dining room chairs tipped over during their "Wrestle-mania" episode
  • one dishwasher climbed into
  • one balloon popped
  • one older cat terrorized
and it's only 11am. God help us.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

8 years old, part 3, The Sleepover part 2

Alternatively titled: "Never host a sleepover if you own three cats" or "Allergies are Us"

So where did I leave off? Oh yes, the girls were peacefully watching a movie and I was taking a much needed break. Then suddenly it was 9:45 and we were expecting one girl to be picked up around 10:30 and we hadn't done the make-up bags/make-overs/fashion show yet, so I paused the movie and herded the girls back to the table. The decorating went well, we used stick on jewels to bling up some Dollar Store plastic make-up bags and I distributed little kits of comb/mirror/brush, headbands and hair-clips so the girls could start doing each other's hair.

The first thing that happens is that Saskia manages to hopelessly tangle her cheep-o brush in her friend's curly hair. I'm desperately trying to remove it when her mom arrives. Of course, this is the girl who needs to go home early. Several minutes later, still trying to untangle it, I hear crying and look over to see that one girl's face is completely red, like strawberry red. Since we haven't gotten into the make-up yet I make a leap to cat allergies. We do have three, and all the girls had been molesting loving on the kittens all night. I called her mom who says she has a sensitivity, but she goes to her gamma's house where there is a cat and has never shown a true allergy. Well unfortunately, there is a big difference between being in the same space as one elderly cat and repeatedly hugging and kissing and carrying two kittens. Even more unfortunately, neither her mom nor I had any allergy meds that would help her, and the girl was so miserable she decided to go home, which I fully understand but was still sad for all of us.

So here I am, one girl with a brush trapped in her hair and her mom ready to go, one with a swollen pink face, and now a third runs off and starts to cry hysterically because her best friend has to leave. Lovely! I'm feeling oh-so-very stressed out but I get girl #1's hair free and send her on her way, get a cold washcloth for girl #2's face, and start a game of Uno with all the remaining girl's to try and distract girl #3. Shortly there after, girl #2 goes home and the drama starts again...

Girl #3 wants to go home. She says she can't make it, so she calls mom. Mom says she needs to stay. So I'm doing my happy dance and trying everything goofy I can think of to cheer her up when suddenly Saskia disappears. For a loooong time. Guess what, she's sick! Yay! Luckily, she didn't puke... just the other. But she felt like puking and told girl #3 that she might puke in bed which made girl #3 not want to stay again... At this point I decide I am done and we are ALL GOING TO BED RIGHT NOW. Keep in mind it's only about 11:00 (all that drama in one hour?!)

Because of the various dramas, the girls want me to sleep in their room with them. So I got my sleeping bag and hunkered down with them. To keep girl #3, who is still crying, distracted I read them "The Princess and the Pea". I think this is probably the only sleepover in history which ended with mommy taking everyone nigh-night and reading them a fairy tale, but whatever works, right?

Thankfully, the girls fell asleep quickly as I laid there as still as a stone and chanted "Please don't let anyone wake up, please don't let anyone wake up, please don't let anyone wake up" in my head. I slept AWFUL, but the girls all made it through the night great, thank goodness. In the morning the girls finally got to do their make-overs while I made dairy-free chocolate muffins for breakfast. Then after breakfast we all sat around and chatted about school, bullies, teachers and honesty, which was the BEST part of the experience for me. It's great to know that these girls trust me (FYI- they're all in my troop, so I know them all pretty well), yet at the same time it's scary to know that I have the responsibility of both protecting their trust and advocating on their behalf when they need help.

The last girl went home at 11:00, at which time I had a shower, then went to back to bed until 2:30pm. The End.