Friday, April 27, 2012

Birthing My New Life

Holy Sh*t! I just opened up my blog page to write this blog, and the format is new.  It showed me how many page views I've had.  The number is over 2130!  No joke.  I think this may be the closest I have ever come to being famous.  I'll try not to let it go to my head.  I still feel like I can connect with all you little people.  Hehe.

Well, that was not how I was planning on starting this blog.  It was going to be a lot more dignified.  Something like this:
My new life has begun.
Sounds serious, no? Grave.  Um, no.  Not grave.  Hopeful? Anticipatory? Exciting? Meaningful? I don't know.  It is what it is.  It is my life.  

My husband is still in Pittsburgh, working by day, working by night.  I don't know how he does it.  He is drywalling, painting, fixing, sanding, smoothing, readying our house to sell.  In the meantime, The three kids and I have to be out of the house.  So... we can go to our farm, where there is no heat, and still unpacking left to do. Or we can go somewhere else.  I didn't feel ready to move in without my husband, so I choice option 'b'.  I packed three kids, 8 books on cd, and a ton of food into our car and drove to Ithaca.  Side note: I've never driven more than two hours by myself, let alone with three kids.  We left at 9:15 in the morning, (which is kind of amazing, because all the laundry was still all mixed up in the baskets and I had yet to pack), and we drove to Ithaca.  We arrived just before 6pm.  There were many bathroom stops.  Many.  We drove through rain, sleet, snow and a little bit of hail.  And you know what? I never got in a bad mood.  I sang songs, listened to kids books on cd, talked, drove.  You know what that makes me? The heroine in my own story.  Not the kind that gets rescued.  Heroine, as in female hero.  Yep, I am my own hero.

But now we are here in Ithaca and I'm turning more into the antagonist of this fairy tale.  I am short-tempered, under-slept, over-stretched and bitchy.  Seriously bitchy.  I hate it.  I hate the sound of my voice as I bark at the kids.  I hate not laughing with them, or even at them.  I hate the scowl imprinted on my face.  And yet, I have done nothing to change it.  My kids are driving me crazy.  I never get to feel like I'm off duty.  The weather is not great.  I don't have the energy to entertain or be creative with helping them to entertain themselves.  And my friends are not here.  No one to call and say, 'For the love of G-d, take my kids before I kill them!'

And now it's erev Shabbos.  Which means 25 hours of pure mommy entertainment.  No movies, no leapfrog, no science center, no library.  Just mommy.  I wish I could just change my name sometimes.  Then when they start asking for mommy, I can answer, 'I have no idea to whom you are referring.' And then they'll ask me what 'whom' and 'referring' means.  And I'll answer, 'Why are all you short people talking to me?'  Then I'll indignantly walk away. 

This is the adventure of my life.  This is the beginning.  We bought a farm.  We are leaving the city, moving to the country, raising our children with fresh air, sheep and stars.  And, temporarily, I have lost the excitement of the moment.  I have forgotten that this is what we are doing.  I am not on a short trip, visiting my sister, and being a single mom. I am starting a farm.  This is just step one.  The first baby step on the journey.  And when I can see it that way, that every moment is a step on my journey towards pioneering a new life, well, then this step, however arduous and bothersome it may be, is a step towards that.  And it gives this moment meaning.  Suffering with meaning is so different from suffering without.  A man passing a kidney stone is suffering without meaning.  A woman birthing a baby is suffering with meaning.  I am not passing a stone, I am birthing my life.  

People, I need you to remind me of this when I bitch.  



Okay.  I am feeling better now.  *Big deep breath taken now.

Thanks guys, I needed that.  

1. Moments of clarity
2. Being a Hero
3. Having a place to go when I can't be home
4. My niece (seriously one of the cutest things ever to grace this planet)
5. Finding 20 minutes to write this blog
6. 2130 page views!!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Going With the Flow

Lately it seems that most of what I say to my son is criticism. I tell him to stop doing this, chill out, think about what you're doing, what are you thinking! I hate the sound of it as it comes out of my mouth. Yet I can't help myself. He pushes and pushes. He finds my triggers and drills in. So I decided to find my triggers too. Hey, knowing is half the battle, right?

Agendas. When I have an agenda I get triggered when things don't stay on course. Now that my life is crazy, unscripted and unpredictable I decided to take on a new mantra, Go with the Flow. Yep, stop trying to plan everything, and feel out the moment. Be flexible.

So the pencil-written plan was to spend the night at the farm with kiddos and then drive onto sister's. But Hashem had other plans. 6-8 inches of snow. We don't have a working furnace, so I thought freezing my children's tushies isn't a good start to the trip. Okay, going with the flow. I am staying at my mother-in-law's. Just for the night.
So how did it go? Bedtime became a battle. My boy had an emotional fit and I tried to be rational. When I'm tired (which is pretty much always) I go into super rational, you can't argue with me I've got logic on my side, mode. Well let me tell you how well that works with an emotional child. Epic fail.

We end up with a ridiculous sleeping arrangement of me in a room with the two little, light sleepers. And needy older child alone. So what happens? After much struggle, get them all to bed. 9:30, middle girl gets out of bed and joins us downstairs. Still going with the flow. Only, on the TV is a show called Game of Thrones. I wasn't really watching, I was trying to list our house on the Internet, and then I realize she's about to see a near rape scene. "Cover her eyes!"

Not going well. Okay, get her to bed. With me. Ugh. I am NOT a co-sleeper. I can barely share my bed with my husband, let alone my twisting turning daughter.

Midnight, big boy is in my room, saying he's ready to wake up, ready to eat something. No freaking way. I whisper yell at him to GET OUT! before he wakes the little ones. I'm sure that feels good to hear.

He's back in at 3am with more complaints. "I should've slept in this room with you, mama." No Shit! I tried like he'll to get him to sleep in my room but he fought back like a demon.

5am. Baby wakes to nurse. This wakes sleeping two year-old. Ever tried to get one of those back to sleep? Ha!

The flow sucks. So now, Lion King on the TV. I think The Flow always heads downstream to the TV, no?

And I'm dreading the rest of my day, week, but trying not to anticipate. That just creates anxiety. But here's what I think about the flow:
If you just go with the flow, you are pushed wherever the current takes you. That can be under water. And while some are good at holding their breath, I am not. So what I need is a boat. I can still flow with the current, but I won't go under. Perhaps I could even get an oar and steer around the rocks.

One question: how do you build a boat when you're already floating in a river? Every child, every dinner, every mortgage payment make the waters run faster, add more rapids. And I'm supposes to build a boat?!

To get beyond ridiculous building this metaphor, I think I have to grab whatever driftwood I find and start tying them together. Experience, friends, family, nuggets of wisdom, faith in G-d, these will be my building materials. But it ain't gonna be easy.

I'm so tired right now that the keys are blurring, so this is me signing off.

One announcement before I go. Yehudis has provided us with a kickass name for the farm... Matovu Farms.
And we'll be the Farm Shmarm Community.

1. The Lion King
2. Socks (My feet get really cold)
3. The Lion King (sorry I'm really tired)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Farm Shmarm

Well, I survived Pesach prep and the seders.  Whew! I’m not sure my husband made it through my stress, freak-outs and bad moods without a little scarring.  But we’re still here.  And closer than ever to making our dreams reality!

All of our stuff is currently on our farm.  That’s right people.  We’re really doing it.  We’re building a Torah centered, eco-friendly, holistic, sustainable, organic farming community.  Did I miss any adjectives? Am I frightened? Hell yes.  Of failure? Hell no.  I will never look back on my life and regret trying and failing.  I’m worried of quitting when it gets hard.  I’m afraid of isolation.  I’m afraid of losing my connection with Torah.  I’m afraid I’ll kill my kids.  (Social workers, that last bit was meant metaphorically.  I’m very poetic, you know.)

But, life was not created fear free.  I recognize my fear.  And I move forward.  And if you see me freak out, it’s because I’m freaking out with excitement and enthusiasm for my new life.  Really.  I mean it.  Seriously.

I’ve been noticing how much other people’s reactions have influenced my feelings of being on the farm.  A friend came up to visit and immediately told me she loved all the open space.  And suddenly I do too.  Suddenly I am so excited to be living somewhere with so much open space.  Another said that he imagines that at night it must be so amazing to see the stars.  And now I am imagining all my nights of laying on the grass, kids in bed, hubby beside me, gazing at the millions of stars twinkling above us.

Then someone mentions that since there are no trees around, it will get very hot in our new house.  Someone else mentions how hard it will be to heat in the winter with all the big windows that I was loving until then.  None of these are criticisms.  But now I am hesitant, nervous.  Worse, I am doubtful.  “People aren’t going to want to visit if you only have composting toilets.”  “Your kids will miss out on important socialization skills.”  “People aren’t going to join your community if you hold so strongly to your ideals.  You need to relax your guidelines and be more open.  You can’t expect people to want what you want.” “I hope it works out and you don’t starve.”

Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! I want to tell all these people to SHUT UP! But really, they’re not saying anything wrong.  It’s just that I have so much doubt that I keep locked inside.  When I hear these things, the doubt starts to seep out, and get everything soggy.  My starry nights are now rainy.  My sheep are sick.  My kids are cold and social nightmares.  We are alone.  Totally alone.  My walls of optimism are as thin as the crappy fake drywall in our new house and doubt is leaking out of every pipe.  Really.  My husband spent all day there today, trying to fix the leaky plumbing.  

I feel so fragile. 

And yet.

On I go.

I guess if I could ask people one thing, it would be to support me.  Emotionally hold me.  Trust me when I say that I am not na├»ve to any of the concerns or criticisms brought up.  I am not putting my fingers in my ears and humming when people are expressing their doubt.  I have that doubt too.  I am seeped, leaking all over with doubt.  So right now I just want to be encouraged.  Because it is okay to fail.  But it’s not okay to give up before I try. 

All that said, you are all invited to my farm! (I know that there are only 13 followers of this blog, so that’s not such a huge statement.  But someday, when our farm is awesome and famous and the coolest thing around, people will google me and find my blog, read this one, and know that they are invited.)

But what I need from you all is suggestions.  What do we name the place?  So far we call it The Farm.  But I think we’ll need something better than that.  I want to call it Farm Shmarm.  Yep, you heard me.  Farm Shmarm.  We’re Jewish, we have a sense of humor and we don’t take ourselves too seriously.  Farm Shmarm.  Most people I tell that to thinks it’s a horrible idea to name the farm that.  Whatever.  They obviously take themselves too seriously.
So I’m opening it up.  What do you think we should call it? 

The much needed GoodList is back!

1.   I made it through Pesach cleaning!!!
2.   I’m going to visit my sis soon
3.   I got all three kiddos to bed
4.   Farm Shmarm
5.   My daughter’s spiky hair in the bath
6.   Eating at my aunt’s when I just can’t fathom making dinner
7.   My hard working hubby