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.

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Giving it all a go

My back is burning and I’m eating graham crackers, the snack that always makes me feel like a kid.

The rockstar is asleep on the couch, fighting a cold or a fever or allergies or exhaustion or some combination of all of the above.

The little boy is playing Legos and the little girl is out and about.

I’m sitting here, by the fire, cat purring by my leg, trying to think of something to say.

Wondering if I want to have anything to say.

I do, of course, have things to say and like it that way. But what I’ve been trying to figure out for the past few weeks is whether I want to continue to share everything. Here or on Facebook or in any other virtual space.

I’ve been feeling like maybe not being quite so … open. Maybe not being quite so quick to write about the bad stuff that happens to good people, or the good stuff that happens to good people.

Or any of it.

I’ve been realizing maybe it’s not anyone else’s business.

But I don’t want to give this up (though I’ve considered it). I have such appreciation for those of you who support me and my family and my choices and check in every now and then at this little blog.

I love writing, the power of words and stories and the difference sharing our lives can make.

It’s incredible. Really.

I don’t want to lose the connection I have with so many of you.

But I don’t want to feel judged. I don’t want to be judged. I just wanted to do this little thing and live and laugh and learn and grow and let this just be what it was: a blog.

So the past couple weeks I’ve been up in my head, exploring my heart. Just trying to figure this all out.

(Yes, I know, universe, that will be a constant in this life.)

I’m writing now, my back to the fire, the cat purring, the rest of the house quiet. I’m giving it a go. I’m seeing where this post takes me.

I’m thinking once we move out of here, if I’m fortunate enough to get a job some place nice, I’ll keep our new locale to myself. I’ll set about making a home for my family, making sure my husband is happy, my kids are healthy, that my home feels like home.

Our home.

The thought alone makes me smile.

There, we’ll finally start the next chapter, with love.

Maybe it just will

Have you ever wanted something so bad that after you ask for it you feel like you’re holding your breath?

Like that easy art of breathing is suddenly threatened, like you realize 20 minutes later that you’re still not really inhaling, that those lungs aren’t working as they should, that you feel light-headed?

Because we’re all waiting for something that may not ever come. We all have something (right?) that we desperately want but have no control over whether we’ll ever get it.

For an overachiever like me, subjective decisions and wait-and-see and no-rhyme-or-reason outcomes are hard to take. I like being able to make my own destiny. What is that quote? Be the change you want to see in the world? Just Do It? Live today like you are dying tomorrow? Run a race to see who has the most guts? Carpe Diem?

Yeah. You get it.

I wonder if this is partly why people believe in God and Heaven and all those other things. Because the notion of some higher power being in control of everything is comforting. Does giving up your control, your idea of manifest destiny, to a deity make it easier to get through all the times when the outcome is out of your control?

I suppose it probably does. “I’m praying for you,” gives someone something to say, some small act of feeling useful in times when there isn’t much else to be done.

Despite my own beliefs, I’ve always appreciated someone caring about me enough to offer their prayers.

Anyway, I never realized when I had one how hard well-paying, career-track, professional jobs are to come by.

Now, I do.

Four hours after I applied for quasi-Dream-Job-number-two, I realized I was still holding my breath.

Because, as I told one dear friend, “This just may be the answer, you know?”

So I’m crossing my fingers and staying positive. I believe in the power of believing in something. Believe fully that something will happen and maybe it just will.

I don’t know. It’s all I got.

But maybe, just maybe, I’m right.

And I hope all those people with problems much bigger than unemployment — the unspeakable tragedies of our world (sick babies, cancer in anyone, loss of a loved one, unexplainable infertility, violence, homelessness, bullying, hate … my list could go on) — have something to hang on to, as well.

Prayer. The power of positive thinking. Meditation. Long runs. Music. Love as solid as a rock. Whatever.

Just something to keep breathing.

Buckets of joy

The rockstar boyfriend and I have been playing ping pong.

Maybe once a week, maybe less, but fairly consistently for the past couple months.

His parents have a ping pong table in their basement, and well, it’s FUN.

I’m not very good. The rockstar is quite good. He’s got this spin move he does sometimes that’s funny and awesome at the same time.

But while I’m not very good, I’m getting better.

We played tonight, and had we stopped at best two out of three (despite a 7-0 run on his part during one game), I would have won. Instead, we played a fourth game and he won.

(The little girl actually came down and told us it was time to go home during this game. I then glanced upstairs and noticed my son had his coat and boots on. It wasn’t that late, really. I swear).

Anyway, ping pong … kinda rocks.

Is this an acceptable opinion to hold? Can I still be cool? Or is liking ping pong something that just happens when you enter your thirties and sort of synonymously lose whatever cool you still had?

F it. It rocks. Either way.

***

My blog hit 10,000 visitors today.

Can I just say: “Woo-hoo!”

The site meter is at more than 10,000 actually. When I started writing this post, it read 10,080. Since Nov. 4. Five weeks ago.

Incredible.

And pretty. freaking. awesome.

I know that’s not staggering traffic for some blogs written by women with kids trying to figure this crazy world out. It’s also not staggering compared to what that website I used to work for gets (you know … that one? I forget the name).

But for me, doing this very-little-on-the-side project all on my own? Completely awesome.

Thank you. So much. I hope you’ll keep reading.

***

Finally, a song from the “just because I love you mix” CD the rockstar gave me today:

Willy Tea Taylor – “Life is Beautiful”

Enjoy!

You’ll have to forgive me for this

It’s funny how quickly doors close, how fast friends fade, how people you thought you knew … you really don’t.

What a crazy ride this life is.

I told my boyfriend last night I’m having trouble connecting all the dots. Like, I have ideas, but I can only get my mind to wrap around the first part of the idea. I can’t get it to take me to what would come next if the first part worked.

It feels a bit like I’m shooting in the dark, stabbing at zombies with a plastic fork clutched in my right hand. Hoping I gauge an eyeball. Or something.

See? See what’s happening to me here in unemployment land?

I’m going slightly crazy.

The newsroom today sent a “messenger” (a nice word we use for the college kids we pay to run errands, fill mail slots, answer the phone and otherwise check Facebook all day) to my house. Poor kid. You could tell he was trying not to crap his pants.

I was nice to him. I even offered: “So this isn’t awkward at all for you, I bet, huh?” Then I helped him carry my stuff to his car.

He told me my house was nice. I bit my tongue (I do have a filter after all) from saying, “Know anyone who’d like to buy it?” Instead, I just said, “Thanks.”

The HR director had called to tell me they needed the momaha banner back because there was an event on Saturday.

Oh? You mean the one I organized?

Apparently, today is my day to be bitter.

I know I need to stop paying attention to all the chatter going on. BUT IT IS SO HARD.

Everyone is right: No matter what anyone thinks or says or does, 1. I’m still looking for a new job and 2. that website I helped create will still go on. I’m thrilled so many women are rallying behind it now in a way I haven’t seen in a while.

And, yes, there are two sides to every story. I’ve told you mine, and I told you it as honest as it comes.

But whatever. It is what it is, as an old college friend used to say.

I know many of you are drawn to me for my positive outlook, my courage, my strength. I like that about me, too. But today … I just needed to write this. I hope you’ll forgive me.

Well, here we are

I’m so glad you found me.

Here.

Strange, huh? (Can we take our shoes off yet? Can someone get me a Diet Coke?)

Maybe this will start to feel like home. That’s the hope.

I wasn’t expecting Thursday to turn out like it did. I met with my boss, who said he wants momaha.com to take a different direction. Instead of the personal stories I’ve been sharing for the past many months, I’m now to focus on parenting topics of a more general nature.

I’m not allowed to write about my journey through divorce and single parenthood and falling in love again. I’m not allowed to write about making homemade applesauce and watching the little girl dance with apple peels draped around her neck. I’m not allowed to write about “Re-introducing Veronica Daehn” or about choosing happiness or about writing the message “Be brave” on my hand because that day it was the only way I could get through.

Nah. I’m not. And I spent much of Thursday and part of Friday feeling really sad about that. My boss was clear, though: No more “diary” entries. No more “fluff.”

I wasn’t prepared. I thought we were meeting to talk about traffic and profitability and a website redesign I’ve been trying to make happen for the past 11 months.

Instead, I was told the Mom Daily spot where I’ve been writing will now be used to highlight parenting topics and trends, stories of interest in the news … a much more general sort of thing.

I very much disagree with the decision.

But he’s the boss.

So.

I’ll keep writing the more personal stuff here.

I’m so glad you found me. I hope you check back often.

And please, take off your shoes. Let’s share a Diet Coke.