Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Blurred Lines

Between my favorite jam of the moment, watching Anna Karenina, and reading an article called "Gone Girls" in from one of the many magazines I subscribe to (we had lots of expiring frequent flier miles), it's come to form what I've been thinking about in terms of what makes us, or me specifically make the kind of choices I'd rather forget. I've been thinking a lot about how people come to do the things they do, I mean sins, big sins. I'm talking about people who murder, shake babies, kidnap, leave their families, things we look down our noses and think, "I would never do that... monsters!" I've especially been sympathizing with the monsters who shake babies and lock kids in attics because I know what it's like at the moment when your child is making no sense, kicking and screaming on your last strong nerve. You begin to understand what road they took and what exit ramp led those 'monsters' to lie over the lap of the U.S. judicial system for the big spanking themselves.

Anna Karenina, if you ever read the tome by Leo Tolstoy, is not so much a love story, but about a virtuous woman married to an even more virtuous man that spirals into a destructive path, lured away from her 6 year old son and her devoted husband by a younger man, a soldier. It seems romantic, the two lovers forsake all not excluding their place in social standing, family, safety, wealth, and future, all was to throw away because the passion was so excruciatingly seductive. Anna however, was virtuous, but beautiful, charismatic and she would and could have lived a life of swirling romance, carefree adventures if she were not tied down to her dull husband and her 6 year old whom she adored. There was a pivotal moment, between light flirtations, imagination running wild in the privacy of her own mind and the actual moment when she verbalized and make physical what would have been a passing train in the night. She would have remained in good standing with her community, her social circle, with virtuous, illuminati reputation in tact, safe in her own home with a solid husband and a loving son. But she lost all of it. Family. Soldier. Herself.

The article I read strangely cited Anna Karenina too. She plunged into the book in a seminar called "Fiction of Isolation" and she felt highly intrigued and repulsed by the book feeling as though she may become like Anna Karenina. She had a grandmother who had the same spirit as Anna did, beautiful, magical, loved to fall in love, a free spirit and she left her husband and daughter to follow a blond air force pilot (eerily similar to Anna). She also had the same kind of mother who fell in love with a 24 year old African Stunt man and left her husband and daughter to follow him to Africa. I begin to have this strange sense that Anna, this author and I floated a long the same river and maybe even kept company in the same in our head about the "other" life we may have had. The author was deeply afraid she would be the third in line to do the same to her husband and son, forsaking them and herself for a young poet, but at the end of the article, she finds herself right where she began, in her head. She says to herself, "I did it! I really did it!" She never crossed the blurred lines.  

It's the blurred lines, of playing out your inner frustration and letting it die inside your head, instead of allow it to burst into form in the physical reality, where there is severe and monstrous consequence on your subject. Whether it begins with kicking helpless animals or handling your child a little too rough, it is a very dangerous beginning that leads to the point where you never really know where that edge begins and ends. It's easy to give into your emotions when you are not vigilant and wake from your rage of anger, lust or boredom to find yourself on the other side of the line, where the lines are suddenly clear. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

School of mommy-hood aka hard knocks

In about 10 days, it would be a year since Jude has been part of our family, and since then he has slowly morphed into an actual toddler. Moms generations before us have warned about "Terrible Twos" and "nothing prepares you for motherhood," but in our innocence, or our childless ignorance, the wisdom doesn't quite sink in until you actually live it out. Jude has changed and he's not the boy that I first held in a small room in Korea, feeding him spoonfuls of mashed up strawberries. I'm also not that girl that sat on the floor of the foster home gazing at him like he was my nephew and not actually my son and it amazes me to see what I've realized about myself and what I've become. Every day, I lie in the dark after a long day of spiritually, emotionally and physically wrestling with a two year old and think to myself, I am not that evolved.

While giving a bath today, I opened up a battery operated bubble "gun" that would blow out a million bubbles by rapid fire by the turning of a tiny fan. He realized by the fifth time that he could stick his little finger into the turning foam blades of the fan and it would stop. I would say "uh oh!" in my best Cookie Monster voice and he belly laughed for the next 7 times I did it. I realized that I haven't laughed like that in so long that I can't remember the last time I doubled over and cried from a funny. I let him do it again and again because as the days grow older, his occasions for breath-gasping laughter would wane too.

 On the flip side of the same coin, let me tell you how much he cries and what he cries about. He has cried over not wanting to wear a pair of overalls, he wants to eat goldfish crackers for breakfast, his eggs falling off of his fork, he doesn't want to wash his hands, he wants to wash his hands, he doesn't want to play with the kids at a play date, he doesn't want to leave the play date, he doesn't like what I put in front of him at dinner time, he doesn't want to take a bath, and he doesn't want to listen to Beyonce on the radio, to name a day in the life of Jude (and me). You can't make him do anything he doesn't want to and he will show his discontent without thinking or regret, he knows what he wants and he will not stand down. On one hand, I realize that he's still a baby and along with his physical development, his emotional quotient is yet to mature, but every day I'm teaching him in little ways that he should please others before yourself, that he should keep his emotions at bay, and quite frankly, mommy doesn't want to hear about it. I regret so many moments where I scolded him for showing how he feels about a moment when I ought to let him get it out, to show it, because there is a million moments in my lifetime where I have done things that I have compromised who I was because I didn't want to tell the other person "No, I don't want to do this." I would hate for Jude to swallow his standards and his convictions because someone told him to calm down.

These are only lessons from the last couple of months and the schooling will continue until I am grey and old, but Jude is a gift from God to sanctify me. I have been my own selfish being for far too long and he is shelling my exterior, exposing all the hidden insecurities, flaws, and wrongful thinking in my new name. Mom. My actions will trickle down to a whole new generation and will mar and sear the life of a human being other than myself. I am no longer just hurting myself or benefiting myself, but there is a tiny boy who has only one sole person for a brief and critical time in his life to fashion his view of God and humanity. He may not have suckled milk from my breasts, but he suckles the quality, value and worth of love, humanity, and a view of himself from us, who have been chosen to be his parents.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

End of a cloak

Warning: Especially to men who are uncomfortable with female worries and bodily functions and to women who feel equally shifty in their seats when discussing the fore-mentioned topic, stop your reading after first sentence.

This weekend, I felt a little queasy and exhausted, so I went to bed early on Sunday night and as always, my alarm clock which sounds awfully similar to a toddler calling out "Mommy!" from the other room wakes me at 6 am. I go to the bathroom and find a gush of blood flowed out. I would normally assume that it was the time of the month of the crimson waves, but I just had my period two weeks prior to that Monday. I asked a few my nurse friends who told me to take a pregnancy test, and with symptoms like nausea, extreme fatigue, cramps, and bleeding? I thought maybe this would be a good idea. I was a little worried, but because I'm...well, me, I solider on like I normally do and go on with my day. I stopped by Target to purchase what seemed like my 67th pregnancy test in the last ten years I've been married, dropped off Jude in the Lifetime daycare and took a pregnancy test in a stall of the women's locker room. Never done that before...thank the lawd o' miighty. Negative. So I went about running my 3 miles and taking a strength class, alas, my bleeding only increased in volume but I was only a little more alarmed than the first findings that morning.

I was a bit disappointed to see that I wasn't pregnant, even though I tell people I'm over that whole "gotta get pregnant to have a baby" stage and how I joke about how annoying it would be if I had lost my physique and my Gucci shoes to pregnancy (I hear some women's feet grow and never to return again to its original size?) For an hour or so before I knew I wasn't pregnant, I thought about how it would be a girl, I just had this feeling and H has had dreams about having a little girl as of late. She would cure Jude of all of this tidy and anal retentive ways, maybe not cure, but surely he would realize he can't have his way all the time. Siblings cure kids of so many things, especially the fact that life isn't a movie starting, YOU and everyone else is the supporting cast. I feared that my endometriosis had worsened and having a child would be impossible now, if I had the slightest chance before. This is all fine, and I had accepted the fact that I may never be able to have biological kids, but Jude is working on his third year of life and it would be forever before the next adoption comes through. Pregnancy was the "easiest" and the most "convenient" option for us....for now.

Well, it's Thursday night and I'm still bleeding. I finally talked to my gynecologist and after a battery of questions and ruling things out, it seems, I am just stressed. Immediately after my conversation with him, I think of the bleeding woman who touched the end of Jesus' cloak to be healed and her FAITH saved her. I realized that in my perfectionism, my high standards for my days I have lost faith in Christ who is my rock. I'm worried about Jude, I'm constantly worried that I'm ruining him one way or another, I try to keep some what of a schedule for the both of us so we're not in PJ's all week long, but it stresses me out a little bit. I stress me out a little bit. I'm worried about Hans, his new job, what it's doing to him and our financial stability. I'm worried about my parents and their never ending legal battles...but I had swallowed all of this, because I'm a stuffer. But being a stuffer doesn't make me a good girl or virtuous, it just means I'm not forthright about how I don't Trust God. I need to touch his cloak, just the end of it, and trust that he will heal everything in my life, beyond my immediate physical ailments.