Saturday, October 31, 2009
Halloween doesn't come with complicated back stories, like Christmas does - I don't have to muddle through difficult questions about how Santa really gets to all those houses in one night, how he fits down the chimney, or whether or not Elves know how to make Nintendo DS cartridges.
It doesn't have the logistical issues of Thanksgiving - travel plans, who is going where and when, congested highways full of grumpy travelers.
It isn't even all that over-commercialized. It seems like the great Merchandisers in the Sky already have their sights set on December when Halloween rolls around.
Halloween is straightforward: get yourself a costume, go around knocking on doors, come home with a bagful of candy. End of story. Right?
This year, Greta stayed true to her original idea of wanting to be a black cat for Halloween. Finn wanted to be a ghost, then Indiana Jones, then a dog, and then a cowboy... before settling on the idea of being a dragon. I sighed in relief - we inherited a perfect hand-me-down dragon costume from my sister-in-law a couple of years ago, so he was all set. For the past two days he babbled happily to anyone who stood still long enough to listen that he was going to be a "fyah bweathing dwagon". I didn't give his costume another thought.... until this morning, that is, when we were suiting up to head out to a daytime Halloween party.
Greta was good to go - we had assembled her costume days ago. She wore it around the house almost non-stop for the past four days.
"Go and grab your dragon costume, Finn," I said moments before we had to head out the door. It is one of the fleece costumes you just step into and zipper up. No mess, no fuss.
A few moments later he wanders into the room with a puzzled expression. "It's not where it's 'posed to be," he says.
I stride confidently over to the costume drawer, certain he has missed it. Not there. I burrow through the playroom, the kids room, and every closet. No dragon costume. I'm pawing through boxes in the basement when it hits me... an image of me angrily stuffing the costume into a bag bound for Goodwill after the umpteenth time I tripped over it lying on the floor.
Finn has no costume.
By now he is looking up at me with a furrowed brow. "You have my costume, right Momma?" he pleads. His eyes are huge. "I weally, weally want to be a fyah bweathing dwagon!"
I'm frozen on the spot.
"Uh.... er.... ummmm." I stutter.
Greta looks at me uncertainly. "You do have his costume, right Mom?"
"Well, no. No, actually I don't," I begin. I'm at a complete loss for words. One big fat tear rolls down Finn's cheek.
Greta gives me a pointed look, and rummages through the costume drawer. She emerges with a Scooby Doo costume - another hand-me-down.
"LOOK, Finn!" she says. "It's Scooby Doo!"
Finn sniffs. "It's not a fyah bweathing dwagon," he says, looking at the floor. "I don't wanna be Scooby Doo."
I'm still standing there like a deer in headlights. Greta says, "Well, the Scooby Doo costume is for big boys. I don't know if you're old enough to wear it yet."
Finn perks right up. "YES I AM!" he shouts. "I wanna be Scooby Doo!!!!"
We zip him into the costume, and he struts around proudly. I pull Greta aside and give her a hug. "You are the best big sister, hon. Thank you."
She grins. "I know."
Sometimes, they fight like cats and dogs. Today? Not so much.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Thanks for all your feedback on items you like in my shop. The Vintage Style Flower Ring and Little Love Nest Ring were the two items picked the most, so this week's giveaway is a choice between either ring!
To keep things interesting, this time I will be picking TWO winners!
I apologize that the Contact Me widget isn't up and running, I'm trying to find one that will consistently work. To enter, please comment below this post, saying you would like to enter, which ring you would like, and provide an email or link where I can reach you. If you feel more comfortable emailing me directly, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are the rings:
Click on any image to view that item in my Etsy store.
The winner will be picked at random on November 15th (my daughter draws a name from a hat), and I will email you if you win.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
I really appreciate all your comments - thank you, thank you, thank you. I'm looking forward to settling back in to our little routine here, and moving ahead one day at a time.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
As I posted previously, my husband and I will be part of an Oprah show on Tuesday about mothers who drink in secret, with a focus on recent headlines of tragic accidents that occurred when mothers drove drunk. Steve and I were on to talk about our own experience with my alcoholism, how I kept it hidden for so long and the roles shame and denial played in our story.
We had to dig deep to figure out whether or not to do the show. I won't go in to all of it, there isn't a reason to, but ultimately I knew that if I had seen a show about this when I was struggling, it would have made me take a look at myself, just a little bit. It may have broken down just a small part of my wall of denial.
Even though I'm open about my recovery, even though I feel strongly that in order to combat alcoholism and addiction we need to talk about it, openly and honestly, this takes it to a whole new level. I'm scared, fearful of judgment and criticism, afraid of being vulnerable. I feel a lot like I did when I first got sober, with one important difference: shame.
When I was drinking the shame of my addiction, the stigma of being an alcoholic mother, was so great it kept me stuck even after I knew I had a problem. I felt like the only person in the world who did the things I did, felt the way I felt. I couldn't imagine a way to ask for help, certain that the world would abandon me because I was a terrible, weak person. When I went to treatment and learned I wasn't alone, that I had a disease, and that other women, other mothers, experienced the same things I did it loosened the grip my addiction had on me, just a little. It gave me courage to at least give sobriety a try.
Now I know the difference between guilt and shame. Guilt is feeling badly for something you did, and shame is feeling badly for who you are. Shame kept me sick. Facing guilt, working through the wreckage of what I had done, and finding a sense of self-worth helps me heal.
Addiction is a controversial and uncomfortable thing to talk about. I don't pretend I can explain it. I don't have any answers. But I believe that talking about it, getting more information out there, is progress. We can't heal from something we can't face.
Friday, October 23, 2009
On a completely different note - thank you to everyone who is entering the giveaway - I am keeping track of everyone and putting your names in the hat. The Contact Me widget isn't working (I hope to fix it soon), so please enter through the comment section on the post. I usually try to respond to everyone personally, but I haven't been able to this week. Thanks to all who are entering, and my daughter will pick the winner on the 30th!
Thursday, October 15, 2009
This week's entry is good for any TWO rings in my shop! Over 120 rings to choose from! To see the ring section of my Etsy shop, click here. Here is just a small sampling of ideas (click on any picture to go to that item in my store) :
To enter, please fill out the Contact Me form on the right hand side of the screen, and send me a message indicating you would like to enter the giveaway. To win additional entries, tell me about which rings are your favorite - you will get one entry for each ring you mention!
The winner will be chosen at random (my daughter picks a name from a hat) on October 30th.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Three years later, we moved into the house we're in now, he started a new job, and I gave birth to Finn.
The real work of keeping a marriage and a family together began.
We had to dig deep, figure out what we're made of. There were more than a few times when we both wondered if we'd make it.
Friday, October 9, 2009
I remember the moment I finally, truly understood what this meant. The second part of the equation wasn't hard to admit. Until the very end, the outside looked okay. The inside was a complete mess. When you are in the throes of addiction, your every waking (and sometimes sleeping) thought is preoccupied with drinking, or trying not to drink. It is like having a voice whispering in your ear every second: whatever you do, don't think about polar bears. Despite your best efforts, you spend the day thinking about polar bears, or thinking: here's me not thinking about polar bears.
When you are an active addict or alcoholic, you have robbed your mind of the ability to process emotions naturally. Anxious? Bored? Angry? Tired? Sick? Sad? I couldn't handle any of it, and because my addiction had taken over every aspect of my life I felt a lot of these emotions, pretty much all the time. I didn't have any other coping skills, so I'd think: I just need to get out of my head for a little while, turn down the volume on these crappy feelings. I would try to manufacture a feeling of normalcy by having a drink.
And then there is the biggie: Guilt. As a mother, there are ample opportunities in my day-to-day life to feel guilty, and society puts a lot of pressure on mothers to be perfect. Let's be honest, mothers put a lot of pressure on themselves to be perfect, too. At least I do.
Mothers get in trouble with alcohol the same way any other addict does: oftentimes slowly, over time. What starts as a way to unwind after a hard day starts to gain momentum and importance. For me, it became the only way I could turn off anxious, guilty or bored thoughts. Mothers don't own the copyright to those emotions, but when I became a mother I experienced them with a lot more frequency than I had before. I felt like good mothers didn't struggle with parenting like I did. Everywhere I looked there seemed to be examples of women wallowing in the joy of motherhood: the television, magazines, playgroups. Society doesn't leave a lot of room for mothers to be a their wits' end. I felt like I was supposed to love the job all the time, and the guilt amped up when I was overwhelmed, stressed, tired and just. plain. bored.
Drinking became, over time, the only way I could put aside those feelings of guilt and I was loathe to give it up.
So back to Step One. I could admit, at the end, that my life was unmanageable. But the first part took more time. I didn't want to admit that I was powerless over alcohol, that I no longer controlled what happened if I had one drink. That I was drinking without my own permission. To admit this, in my mind, was to admit that I was a bad mother. If I'm honest with myself, the fear of being branded a bad mother was stronger than the fear of admitting I had a problem with alcohol.
The language in Step One was freeing for me. The day I finally said it out loud: "I am powerless over alcohol," was the turning point for me. I didn't have to say: I am an alcoholic. That word was just too loaded with negative meaning for me back then.
My daughter was five when I got sober. Old enough to know something was wrong, for sure. I am determined not to hide my addiction from her; I want to explain to her that it is a disease and like any other disease it needs to be treated. When she asks me questions about it, I answer them. Overcoming the guilt and shame is a work in progress. It never completely goes away, but I want her to know a strong woman in recovery, not someone who was crushed by addiction. I described it to her like an allergy:
"You know how there are some kids at school who can't eat peanuts or they will get really sick?"
She nodded. "If they have even one peanut they can get really sick and go to the hospital."
"Well, it is that way for me with alcohol. If I have one drink I can get really sick. It is called being an alcoholic."
She thought for a moment. "So if you just don't drink alcohol, you'll be okay?"
"Yes," I smiled. "But sometimes it is hard to stay away from something you like, even if you know it will make you sick. That is why I go to meetings, to talk with other people who understand how I feel."
"Me too, honey. Me too."
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
I feel a flash of irritation. He wanted my attention, he whined, and he got it. I just want to crawl under a rock and stay there.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Of course, any good restaurant needs a menu:
Turns out we were out of waffles, pancakes, ice cream sandwiches and didn't have the supplies for the Make Your Own Sundae idea. And the salad was too complicated. So it became a sandwiches, soup and apple type of establishment.
Thirsty? No problem. The Drinks Menu:
Upon further inquiry, the figure at the bottom is winking, not drunk on lemonade.
I made them a plate of sandwiches and a few bowls of soup, and they set it all up on the back porch:
They felt it was too self-serving to keep all the profits for themselves, so they decided all the proceeds from the Hungry Cap would go to the poor, and set up a bucket for donations:
Now for advertising. They made a sign for the front yard, and on Mary's suggestion, made it is as "dramatic" as they could, so people would feel compelled to come:
It reads: "Hungry Cap! Restaurant out back that way! And we're not kidding it's true! Help save money for the poor and we mean it! Now! Please help, please, we're just seven please we're begging you!"
They taped the sign to a tee-ball post, put it out by the end of the driveway, and waited for the masses. I had the pleasure of being their first customer. I was treated to a salami and cheese sandwich, fresh water, an apple, and live entertainment in the form of a skit, stand up comedy ("why did the cookie go to the doctor? because he was feeling crumby!") and Irish dancing.
A restaurant with a social conscience - what could be better?