Things About Tomorrow

If I didn't get out of bed tomorrow...

my kids would still eat.

my bills would still be unpaid.

they'd find another sub at school.

I wouldn't make any new friends.

I wouldn't fall in love.

I wouldn't lose a job.

no one would die.

I would get texts from three people.

I would get two phone calls.

no one would buy me lunch.

my kids might get in trouble.

If I did get out of bed tomorrow...

my kids would still eat.

my bills would still be unpaid.

they'll have to find one less sub at school tomorrow.

I might make a new friend.

I still won't fall in love.

I wouldn't lose a job.

no one would die.

I would get texts from one person.

I would get no phone calls.

someone might buy me lunch.

my kids might get in trouble.

my life wouldn't be dramatically altered by the choice to avoid life tomorrow. but I can't answer whether someone else's would be. and the reality about life is that nothing is really in our control. we move. we breath. we make choices and live. our choices affect each other and all we can answer for or influence are the things that we engage. tomorrow may not have a purpose in my life, but my life might have a purpose in someone else's tomorrow.

and so whether satan says "oh crap" when I get out of bed tomorrow or the angels shudder in dread, the action I take in doing so changes the outcome of the world around me. I have a responsibility to live, and until that is taken away from me by the forces that I cannot control, every choice must be to live well, and truly, honestly and sincerely. because it's not about me.

Things About Love

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
   If this be error and upon me proved,
   I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
-       William Shakespeare, Sonnet 116

Things That I Feel (like a broken heart) Are Wrong

Feelings suck. Mostly they suck because 90% of the time, they are wrong.

For example: when I am a substitute teacher for one day, I FEEL like I should be awarded a Medal Of Honor for performance above and beyond the call of duty in just keeping my students alive and mostly contained inside my classroom. This feeling is wrong because the real teachers who survive every single day of their whole lives with the same exact students never get any medals. Or awards. Or even Christmas Presents from certain terrible single parents who shall remain forever nameless. Teacher gifts are right on the same level for me that out-of-town sports events are. Yes I should. But I haven't started now, I can't afford to do it, and really if I tried to begin at last, it would merely draw attention to the fact that I never have before. So to all of the teachers of all of my children, past and present, which at current count should be in the area of 64 total teachers, give or take a few, I am sorry. You deserve presents. And medals and trophies and heralded recognition and celebrations of your heroism. You do. And I, like my feelings, suck.

Another good example of Wrong Feelings is the phenomena of having a multitude of people in my house and feeling lonely. Clearly, I am surrounded by human beings. Some of which I am even supposed to like, i.e. my children, and even so, and quite wrongly, I feel very much alone. Maybe that has to do with the fact that under the age of 29 and a half, which is all of the other people in my house, there is little to no recognition of the fact that towels that have been used and left on the floor upstairs to mold cannot, actually, get up and wash themselves. This is really a superficial part of the problem, since the main thing they lack is a strong, warm shoulder for me to lay my head on and cry. Or just rest. Whatever that feels like. But feelings are wrong anyway.

I am also fairly certain right now that this FEELING inside my chest like my heart is torn into a million jagged pieces is inaccurate, and other than some stress-induced, high-blood pressure related headaches, my heart is probably for the most part still physically whole. But the tearing, burning, throbbing ache in my chest says otherwise. But feelings lie. They are wrong. And just because I feel absolutely compelled to weep uncontrollably when I hear Ed Sheeran Sing Thinking Out Loud, doesn't mean that it's really true that I will never be loved that way. Right? And really, feelings just equal drama. And we all know how popular drama is. Keep it to yourself. All of the passion. All of the hurt. All of the love that isn't. Don't feel. And certainly don't tell anyone that you feel. Because feelings are wrong.

I'd like to think that the good feelings are a little more right - but who's to say. I have found all too often that the good feelings spring from wrong actions, so probably feelings, in their entirety, are just terrible, and should be avoided at all cost.

I am currently in the market for a substance of any kind that makes feelings go away. I have tried various forms of alcohol, only to discover that they are actually Wrong Feeling enhancers. I have been on some different antidepressants, and while I felt less things, there was still a lot of wrongness going on in my head and my heart. My momentary solution is business. Not like, two-piece-twill-suits-and-a-briefcase type business, but move-go-do type business. Just keep doing things. Cooking. Cleaning, Working, and when all of that just overwhelms me like a tidal wave, I try yelling (at my unfortunate children) louder than the wails of my (not) broken heart. That, as it turns out, is just obnoxious, so then I go to bed. I try to find something more confusing than my own life to watch on TV, and after trying to muddle my way through part of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, I find myself feeling like my life is that scary without acid. But that is a feeling, and feelings are wrong.

Things About (wannabe) Snowboarding

Today is day 2. Two days of Snowboarding for me this weekend, if dragging your snowboard down perpendicular to the mountain repeatedly is actually considered snowboarding. But I am here, and I am doing it. Finally.

Yesterday was day 1, and it took me no less than 45 minutes to work up the courage to get onto the ski lift alone, by myself. It would have taken me longer, but after standing near the line for 45 minutes, pretending to be getting ready to get in the line, but telling everyone who asked that I was "waiting for someone" (the second coming of Christ, perhaps?) some random girl accidentally pretended to get in line in front of me, and then realized it was her turn to get on, panicked, backed out to "wait for someone" and forced me to load up. I couldn't back out because a really tall, broad shouldered, good looking guy with a tiny, adorable child on a snowboard was already waiting to load behind me. I felt like Buddy The Elf of the escalator. I am sure that I drug my toes up the ramp in a last ditch effort to fall off early and thereby escape the inevitable embarrassment of a crash at the top, or death from the highest peak of the lift itself, which is a common occurrence among mothers, as a brief search of online news will tell you. Unfortunately, I remained on the chair, and after a panic-stricken plea to the lift-op to slow the thing down at the top, or even just stop it ENTIRELY, I launched off. And I didn't even crash. Not until the third run, when I crashed every three feet, just to make sure that I still could. Of course, halfway through scraping my way down the hill, the good looking guy stopped to ask if it was my child flopping down the hill on her belly. It was, in fact, Aspen, in too-big boots, too-small snow pants and a skateboarding helmet that sloshes around on her noggin like a popcorn bowl. Hey, at least we are here. We are doing it. I contemplated denying ownership, but decided he was asking in a not-condescending way, unlike the dude at the top of the run who informed me very knowledgably that her boots were too loose, which was excellent information considering I wasn't absolutely certain that they were even on the correct feet. And all those weird laces with buttons and pulleys and crap. The heck. I was exhausted before I even took a 45 minute break "in line" for the chair lift. But back to the good looking guy - I said yes. Yes. She was mine. But all I said was yes. Being talked to by a good looking guy and every witty thing to say escaped me entirely. He said it was cute, and again I said yes. And then he swooshed off, I am sure thinking I was the rudest girl he's ever hit on on the ski hill. And immediately I thought of all of the best things to say. Funny, endearing things. Things that would probably make him ask to buy me a beer in the lodge later and we could tell funny parenting stories. And then he could teach me how to do something other than stand on my board sideways on the ski hill. And probably we would get married. But yes. That's all I had.

I survived several "runs" yesterday. Or maybe we should call them drags, because it's really more like my poor board was dragging me down the hill. And then again today, lest anyone say I am too old, too weak, too out of shape to come up here two days in a row and "snowboard". Because even those all of those things are true, I still need a good excuse to sit in the lounge and watch the Broncos play this afternoon. While my children master the craft of not-dragging down the hill. Also I have to let my legs rest because they are currently in the exact state of vanilla pudding from all of that being dragged and somehow I have to drive home. And I think I dislocated my back. Is that possible?

I started out this season with a colossal cloud of guilt hanging over my head for the season passes that we bought back in May. How would I, alone, and terrible at snowboarding, ever get three+ kids up to the hill and complete one day of snowboarding without dying, let alone an entire season pass worth. I did the math to figure out how many visits would appease the guilt. And then, realizing that either way, the money was spent a very long time ago, I needed to look at it instead as free snowboarding whenever we want to. And now it's fun. And since gas is $1.99 a gallon, and Aspen is pretty sure that Cup'o'Noodles is the best thing ever, it's almost like a free recreational family day. With football.  I have $6 cash that will just cover a beer, one beer that I will nurse for the duration of the game, or until they kick me out of the bar for being a Broncos fan, or the kids come complaining about cold fingers and no more cup'o'noodles.

Things That Are

I have been teaching middle school all week. Tomorrow will be day five of 6th, 7th and 8th graders. If you don't know or possess any middle schoolers, I strongly encourage you to run out right now and acquire some because there is nothing quite like a middle schooler. Tottering on the brink of teenage horror, they have just the very first taste of grown-up on their lips. They see the shiny, sequined dazzle of high school and all of it's drama, and they are practicing hard. Too hard. It's an amazing thing. And even more amazing are the people that teach them. Every day. All day. For hours on end. If you don't know or possess middle schoolers, there is nothing I can say that will make you understand the heroism of these teachers, or the wonder that is a middle school child.

After The Holidays, it happened that we ran out of food. Like, all the way out. No milk. No cheese. No cream for coffee. Therefore, out of food. Since this last 12-29 months has been the Epic Season of Wasting All of The Food In The World, I have adopted a new policy: not buying any more. Ok. That's an exaggeration. I bought more cream. Which is foolish, since when we ran out of milk two weeks ago, my coffee cream disappeared at an alarming rate in close conjunction with the remaining holiday Corn Chex. I also bought yogurt, because my stomach has been upset for a few days and well, yogurt, right? Feeling compelled to buy something for the children to eat, but still bitter at the utter waste of food we have been enjoying lately, I bought 6 boxes of cold cereal and a case of top ramen. I am taking a break from trying to be a Good Mom Who Cooks. I came home from a trip to town tonight (after teaching middle school) to an untouched crock pot of soup I had made for them. Untouched. Cold. Not even finished cooking. I started it this morning, I checked it and reset it before I left for town. Now it will go in the garbage. Because it's been out all night. Along with dirty cereal bowls that no one is responsible for washing since I haven't finished revamping the chore chart. I am sure they ate Corn Chex with heavy cream for dinner. I wasn't here, so that's what they do.

Driving home, I realized that it isn't the lack of yogurt that was messing with my gut. It's stress. I want to throw up if I eat the food that we don't have, or the food that should be thrown out because no one ate it before it was Too Late, not neccessarily because of the translucent color of the meat, or the unidentifiable growths, but because it is all so frail. Life. Groceries. It comes, and it goes, so fast. In one night, when the entire high school shows up. And then it's gone, all of it. Never to be replaced. Or at least not until I muster up the courage to go to town and decide between cheese and gas. Luckily gas is cheap right now so I was able to get both on the last trip.

I keep thinking, if only I could just fast forward through this part, the frustrating part. The stress part, when my stomach hurts because I have NO IDEA if I can actually do all of the things I have to do, in the amount of time I am allowed, with the resources I have. Like pay the rent. Write the stories. Feed the Children. Somehow it always works out, but in the Moments, it's terrifying.

And the problem with fast forwarding is that you might miss something. In avoiding the bad, the stressful, you might  accidentally skip that One Thing that makes it all worth while: The smile from your daughter that has been pretending to hate you, the unexpected touch on your neck that lasts for days, the laugh with a friend that has been far too long in coming. The little things in the days that would be lost with the big stresses and the problems - it's not worth it. To skip so much of the emotion just to be able to get to the climax. It's like walking away from a movie to scoop up some ice cream and you come back to find the hero kissing someone you don't even know. You missed all of the getting there for a bowl of ice cream. And who's to say that the climax isn't right now anyway, this very instant. Do we ever know for sure when we are right in the middle of The Best Day Ever, or Happily Ever After? Or is is later, in the remembering, and the chilling surge of joy up our spine that memories bring that tell us when our "good parts" are. And who knows if in time, my days in Middle School might be some of the most remarkable ones I live.

So thank god that there's no fast forward button, and no mute, to miss the whispers, or the screams of the Right Now that we need to successfully transport us to the Tomorrow. And thank god that we have today to make the best one ever, in spite of the stomach aches and the middle schoolers and the yogurt and the stress.

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