All the time, just the same

Sometimes, the hardest part is just beginning.

Just deciding to start and deal with the hurdles as you go. Because you may not even know what they are if you never start.

But being brave all the time is exhausting and sometimes I just can’t do it. Or I think I can’t so I don’t and then I hold all that anxiety inside for too long where it simmers and boils around and then spills out on my husband’s poor unexpecting soul and then.

Then we just have a mess to wipe up off the linoleum.

And then we’re just back where we were anyway, if I would have just kept on being brave all the time, every day, even when it felt like too much work.

Laziness never got anyone anywhere.

I had influenza a week and a half ago and it kicked my psyche into some corner of some room of this new house that I didn’t know existed. I was the only one there (thank God), but, man, was it intoxicating. In that dangerous, crack-heroin sort of way.

For a few hours on a few days, I thought to myself, “I’m never going to get better.”

And I was so feverish sick and my head was so full of crap and the bubble I was existing in so thick, I believed it.

And that didn’t help my mood or my temperament or the way my family felt about me at all.

Or so the crazy thoughts told me in my head.

It was a few days after the bubble burst and I climbed out of that dank corner that the mess spilled out onto the kitchen floor and across the K-Mart table where we dine and the husband reminded me he loves me all the time, just the same, whether I’m living in a corner of self pity and doubt and anxiety or not.

But he has more fun when I’m just me.

So, shit, man, what now?

Well, right now, today, yesterday, too, and even the day before that, I’m trying to chill the fuck out. What’s wrong with my life anyway?

Not one thing.

What’s so great about Omaha anyway?

I don’t know. For the first at least half of my time there, I wanted to leave. To come back here.

Oh, goddess of irony, I will name you Daffodil and Scotch-tape a picture of you in your vintage crew-cut cardigan onto the wall above my dresser. So there you can mock me.

And I can be reminded.

That maybe I don’t need that as-of-yet unopened bottle of Celexa in my medicine cabinet. That there’s no reason I should feel sad about a website for moms that, yes, played a huge role in my life. Back then. Not now.

That my friends who are my friends will always be my friends. That my friends who aren’t my friends won’t.

And I can miss them, or maybe more specifically, I can miss the way my life with them as part of it was back then. But now?

Big deal.

I’m the secular version of blessed in every sense of the word. I have an amazing man who loves not only me but also my kids who are varying degrees of nice to him, depending on the minute. I have a home that we own in a just-as-nice-as-anyplace-else town. We are not poor or sick or hungry or ugly or mean.

Our babies are beautiful as they come.

We have friends and family and cats and pasta and swimsuits and words and coffee and beer and wine and acoustic guitars and sun on our faces and hikes just waiting.

And beauty. In so many things.

We have people who love us. We have people to love.

What else, really, does anyone need?

Not Omaha. Not momaha. Not women who I still care about but who maybe never liked me that much anyway.

Not even the yellow house in Dundee.

Today and yesterday and so many days before that … and tomorrow … and next month … I need what I have.

Drink the sweet syrup of the simplicity of that.

Getting my kid off the couch

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on ColoradoMoms.com, a social networking site for women in Colorado.

Let me start with this: My son makes my world go round. He is my first born, my only boy and my fiercest protector.

He is 7 (going on 16) and sometimes he looks at me with those little-boy eyes and I truly believe anything is possible.

You’d like him.

My son is also content to be at rest, to remain at rest, to break a sweat only when forced and to otherwise play peacefully with his G.I. Joe action figures, watch a little television, play some Nintendo DS, complete the day’s required 30 minutes of reading, eat, sleep and … well, repeat.

Ask the kid if he wants to go exploring after school (parental code word for “hiking”), or to the Dinosaur Museum, the library or the rec center and get a response akin to one I’d expect if I’d just asked him to clean his room, take out the trash, do the laundry or eat Brussels sprouts.

Before we moved to Western Colorado last year, this kid was in competitive gymnastics. And he was good. Twice a week, he’d practice with this team for an hour, and in the spring, he had competitions on the weekends.

The kid knew how to do back hip circles on the high bar and routines on the rings and parallel bars. He could hold himself up on the pommel horse and whip his legs around that thing like it was nobody’s business. He knew how to sprint and jump on the vault, all while sticking the landing.

He knew how to earn medals, and how to make his mom proud. (She is still proud, of course).

So when we moved, we tried out the one gym that offers boys gymnastics, a recreational program. Neither of us liked it. We tried out the other gym (where my 3-year-old daughter takes gymnastics and loves it), but they don’t even offer a boys recreational program, only a boys “fitness” class. Huh.

Needless to say, we needed a new activity for the boy.

What about dance, I said? You would have thought I’d suggested he dress up like a girl and go to school that way.

Swimming? Basketball? Wrestling? Piano? Drums (that’s active, right?)?

Soccer?

No way, Jose, the kid said.

Why not? I asked. I pleaded. I got angry. I stayed calm. I reasoned. I threatened. I’m desperate for him to have something, anything, that gets him involved, that gets him active, that gets him off his bedroom floor.

So I signed him up for soccer.

Against his will and with many tears involved (his, not mine).

Inside, I know the reason my son is reluctant to try a new activity is because he’s scared. He’s never played soccer – or basketball or piano or drums or anything (word to the wise here, moms of boys who think gymnastics should be the activity of choice for their kindergartner, maybe consider doubling up with a more traditional sport as well) – so he doesn’t know how. And if he doesn’t know how and the other kids do, my son expects to be embarrassed.

And I hate that. I’m that mom who, if she could, would accompany her child everywhere for the rest of his life just to make sure he’s OK. To make sure he’s not cold or hungry or hurt, that he has a friend, that he remembers to turn in his homework, that he’s not left out at recess. To throw that ball back at that kid who just pommeled hers in dodge ball in P.E.

But this mom signed her son up for soccer anyway, and practices start next month. Here’s hoping for swift learning, a brave heart, a fun coach and kind teammates.

He’s already got supportive parents.