Happy Monday morning, all! As I decipher whether or not that vise grip of a headache is the effects of withdrawal, my newest post has gone live on A Canvas of the Minds. Go visit for more info! Thanks!
Posted by Jennifer Basile on September 15, 2014
We must leave the house at 3:45
No, wait, the bus arrives at 3:45
Aah, rinse the soap out of my hair and showering is done
Wait, did I wash my feet?
When there is a bullet of fog
in your brain,
it’s very easy for thoughts to get lost in translation.
The tricky part is remembering what the hell they meant in the first place.
Posted by Jennifer Basile on September 11, 2014
A new mother, five week old strapped to her abdomen, stood nearby as I spoke to another returning preschool mother as we all three watched our little ones play.
My anxious hackles were actually down, since my daughter had had a few play dates with this other mother’s daughter between the end of last school year and the beginning of this one. I knew her well enough that conversation seemed to come easily – a small miracle for me with nearly anyone other than family or close friends.
Seeing this new mother navigate a newbie preschooler with infant in tow brought me back to my own first experience with preschool – a time otherwise known as the year that shall not be named.
What a difference between the easy, breezy tenor of today and the hell on earth that nearly every morning was as I unwittingly struggled with postpartum and getting three children out of the house each morning.
Forgive me as I recite the Virginia Slims cigarette commercial catch phrase.
from a t-shirt of the same name
I try to tell myself that as I ease my muscles down from the twitchy edge.
I try to remember that time – only to make any morning issue seem that much easier now.
I try to recall just enough to vindicate my survival – not send me down the path of PTSD.
And I try to share the short version of my story, not to scare young mothers or one up them, but to provide a sympathetic show of support. Even if it’s just a knowing smile to show them they are not alone, that they are not the only one who struggles with such pedestrian endeavors.
And to remind myself that yes, I have come a long way.
Posted by Jennifer Basile on September 9, 2014
Dinner at our house can be a little trying. That is, if you’d like to eat without acquiring indigestion, without running to the kitchen after two bites to refill the glasses of milk the wee ones finished in 2.5 seconds, leaving no room in their tender bellies for the food they wouldn’t eat anyway because it has green stuff on it – but I digress. (See Dinner with Kids for further clarification)
In an attempt to keep them at the table for longer than the 0.5 seconds they usually last after finishing their milk, I bought packs of cocktail napkins (at the discount store) with conversation starters on them. We started with the jokes and riddles. Even funnier than the corny jokes was my middle daughter’s uncanny knack at figuring out the punch lines. Hmmm . . . perhaps that’s why she wanted to pass out the napkins. After a few nights of that, we graduated to life’s important questions. If you could invite any one – living or dead – to dinner, who would it be? Again, the middle stole the show – and my heart – when she replied, without missing a beat, Grandma Julie, my beloved grandmother and her namesake whom she never met.
Another night, we had to reveal which superpower we would want as a superhero. I piped up with my response first. “That’s easy, definitely flying.” Like with a cape? Flapping your wings like a bird? “No, just with my arms out as I floated above the trees.” My answer came easily because I automatically remembered my most favorite dreams – those where I soar above the tops of the trees and roofs of neighbor’s houses behind my childhood home. The psychological conclusions one can glean from this dream are fodder for perhaps a whole series of posts, but the upshot today is what my oldest daughter said with a look of impressed surprise on her face.
“You have a good imagination for a mother.”
I think that says perhaps more about my existence right now than my thwarted desires of dreams. All sorts of high-falutin’, politically feminist, empowering responses came to mind, but I simply said thank you and took it as the compliment I’m sure she meant it as.
What a strange psychological experiment parenting is – for all parties involved. I suppose mind-expanding conversation – even if they need be started with paper squares we smear across our faces – is one way to navigate the maze and see the different paths available. If not, there are always our dreams and unbridled imagination – even for moms.
Posted by Jennifer Basile on September 4, 2014
I’ve been trying to let my heart be light,
let hope buoy it
as it inflates the cavity in my chest
where I think my soul would reside
had it a physical home.
The human mind is a fickle thing.
thinking we control it,
but it controls us,
foiling every good procedure we know we need to follow.
Our minds psych our selves out -
of our minds.
There must be some outer guidance,
if our insides are not to roil about,
acidly eating away from the core, out.
A gentle hand
A supernatural help
There but for the grace of God, go I
where my heart floats lightly in the center of my soul.
Posted by Jennifer Basile on September 2, 2014
There is so much push and pull, pro and con about everything.
Wandering around my house last night, I thought how much easier it will be to keep the house free of kid schmagma now that two out of three will be at school everyday. Not bad ;-)
Yet, that was after the recovery from my heart-in-throat entry at the bus stop that afternoon. Checking out at a store twenty minutes from our house took fifteen minutes (think chicken broth carton sliced by razor leaking all over pants to be purchased at bottom of cart – and that was before the coupon fiasco). I got stuck behind another bus on the way to meeting my own children’s. Luckily those little kindergarteners boarding the bus after their first day of school took awhile getting sussed up, which bought me four extra minutes. Two of which I sorely needed. I said hello to my already waiting neighbors by way of, “I hate this. I liked when all three of them were with me all the time and I knew they were safe, I was responsible for them.”
Which is really just another way of saying: “I can’t prioritize and hate when someone else is in control.”
Ah, but there’s the rub.
Part of me rejoices in the quiet calm that comes with sending them off to school. Another part of me misses having that easy breezy schedule. Part of me (specifically the migraine-sensing one) is glad to have the on-going scream and sumo matches done for the season. Another part of me is bummed the other two aren’t around to play with their little sister. I can save on grocery delivery fees now that I can go to the market without plucking my eyes out – as I would do bringing all three along. I can’t keep up our weekly midday library dates.
I realize why it’s always been so hard for me to make a decision even when I’ve filled out the pro/con t-chart my father first sketched for me so many years ago. It’s almost always going to be a near-equal amount of items on each side. The trick is how much each item weighs in its importance to you.
Alas, I do not have the choice whether to send my kids to school or not (and, no, I will not homeschool for all you smart alecks thinking of suggesting it. Their socialization with peers is much more valuable than the sailorspeak that would bring out in me). I cannot weigh the pros and cons of a decision not mine to make. I can only shift things around, add, subtract, and try for the ever elusive balance hovering somewhere around the center line of that t-chart in the sky.
Posted by Jennifer Basile on August 28, 2014
Marathon day of school shopping -
not the least disturbing part the leather-topped dresses in the children’s department.
Felt like a refugee by the end of the day -
traipsing through stores and tiled expanses, public restrooms and dressing rooms.
Dinner on the run after an impromptu fashion show -
neon-streaked drive home punctuated by dark.
Squares of Miami Vice tiling across the TV screen upon our overdue arrival –
reluctant kids late to bed without a story.
Trolling online accounts in the unearthly glow -
waiting, searching for something to reach out and fulfill me.
Crawling into bed without connection -
my love already asleep though I am not.
Posted by Jennifer Basile on August 19, 2014
Slip of a bra strap
Chain tugging at throat
Hair crawling on neck
for one more minute to wear
these clothes, these shoes, this jewelry, this head of hair
Lack of sleep
Swirl of chemical chimera
Sensitivity to touch
It’s just too much
Whatever the cause,
whatever the combination
it’s an assault on my senses
Damn my lack of defenses
Posted by Jennifer Basile on August 14, 2014