Sunday, September 17, 2017

The privilege of getting old

I have never prayed for someone to die before but today that is exactly what I am doing. I am praying for my grandma to die.

It will make me terribly sad when she does, but I am praying that God will take her from this life to the next. That her mind would again be sharp and in tact. That she would be reunited with those she loved and has been separated from. 

I visited her today and sobbed alone in my car after. I wish I could say I was strong enough to hold back my tears until I got to my car, but I wasnt. 

I cried right in front of her while she stared back at me. I asked her if she knew why I was crying. She didn't answer. She actually didn't talk at all during my entire two-hour visit. 

Even though she didn't say anything while I was crying, we were looking into each other's eyes and I felt like she understood. I felt like she knew I was sad to see her life come to this. And I felt like she was sad too.

As I looked around the cafeteria, in between spoon-feeding my grandma bites of watermelon, I felt so much sadness. Not just for my grandma, but for everyone there. I felt so torn about my philosophy that "getting old is a gift" and the sign of a full life. 

I do believe it to be true: My brother died at age six and my step-dad died at age 55, after fighting like hell to beat cancer. Neither one were blessed to "get old."

But as I sat there today with the last grandparent I have left, I am overwhelmed with the sadness that comes with watching others get old. It may be a privilege, but It is also really, really hard. 

My Grandma can't feed herself. She can't go to the bathroom herself. She can't get in and out of bed or chairs herself. She can't even walk. On days when she is "alert," she is confused and angry. Just a shell of the person she once was. 

The person who came to every single one of my tennis matches. The person who taught me what it means to be a card shark. The person who could dish my sarcasm right back to me. The person who showed me what it means to live a life devoted to God and doing good for others. 

That person was not there today. 

The cafeteria was filled with many people in similar situations. Many people who have had the privilege of getting old but now have a dimished quality of life. 

I do not handle the circle of life very well. With animals or with humans. I am both fascinated by and terrified of death. But one thing my Grandma has taught me is that for the person who is dying, there is nothing to fear. I do believe in eternity and in heaven and in God. 

So when I prayed today for my grandma to die, it is because I know she has so much more life to live. It is because I know that in the God that she has been worshipping her whole life, will be welcoming her with a fresh mind and a fresh body. 

My fear of death is not for the person who is dying, but for the pain I know I will experience when they are gone. 

It has been a blessing to have my grandma in my life for 34 years. She has been privileged to live a full life. But her life stopped being a privilege to her when she fell victim to dementia. And that is why I am praying today for her to die. 

Thursday, February 09, 2017

A letter to my first born child

Dear son,

I can't stop thinking about the fact that in just a few days, your little sister, my baby, will be the exact same age you were when she was born. And the more I think about the transition we all went through two years ago, the more I realize I owe you an apology.

You see, now that your sister is the same age you were when she was born, I realize I am treating her differently than I treated you at this age.

For example, I stll pick her up and carry her around like a baby. I am calm and patient with her when she doesn't listen or when she throws a tantrum, reminding myself that she is "only two" after all.

I did the same for you. Until the day she was born. And then something changed. It wasn't meditated or intentional but I instantly started treating you differently.

When I went into the hospital to have your little sister, you were still a little baby in my mind, only two years old. But when I came home from the hospital with your little sister, you didn't seem like a baby anymore.

You looked like a giant! When I changed your diaper or got you dressed, your legs were like treetrunks conpared to your baby sister's! Your size 5 diapers looked huge compared to the newborn diapers your sister was wearing.

Overnight you changed in my eyes. I started holding you to higher standards. Expecting more out of you than I did just days before when you were still my only baby. It was unfair and I am sorry.

Of course I didn't do it intentionally. I was tired, overwhelmed, determined to make breastfeeding work this time around, and was battling Post Partum Depression. I was so focused on tending to my newborn baby's needs that I lost sight of the fact that you needed me, too. That at just two years old you were still a baby yourself. You needed your mommy to show you how to be a good big brother. To be patient with you as you struggled to adapt to sharing your mommy (and daddy). To recognize that when you were acting out it wasn't to be bad but rather because you weren't getting as much attention as you did before.

You needed me to be sensitive to how much your life had changed, too, and I wasn't. And it is only now, two years later, that I am seeing things so clearly.

I need you to know that you will always be my baby. You will always be my sweetie boy. You will always be the one who changed my entire life for the better by making me a mommy. And I will always love you with every ounce of my being.

I always thought that as a parent, my most important role was to be your teacher. You have shown me that I am very much still a student with a lot to learn. I am starting to realize that you can teach me just as much as I can teach you.


Your work-in-progress mommy

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The s#*t you argue about when you have kids

I vaguely remember what life was like before kids. I think I used to be fun, though. And I think I had a lot of energy. But it's so blurry. Anyway, I am quite confident that before we became parents, my husband and I used to have a lot of thought-provoking conversations that didn't revolve around poop.

Yes, I am pretty sure that before we had kids, poop was not the #1 topic of conversation in our house. But from the moment we became parents, we talk about poop as casually as we talk about the weather. What it looks like, what it smells like, etc.

Before kids, I was definitely aware that Pat pooped quite frequently and that he spent a lot of time in the bathroom. 

I always knew that when he disappeared for long periods of time, he was "taking care of business," as he likes to call it. After he got a smartphone, I think his time spent in the bathroom probably doubled. 

Before we had kids, though, I didn't care. I definitely didn't understand it, because women are just so much more efficient at going to the bathroom, but I didn't care.

But now that we have two kids, and I am outnumbered when I am alone with them, I am painfully aware when he disappears for 20+ minutes at a time FOUR TIMES A DAY. That is not an exaggeration, by the way. He poops four times a day. Is that even healthy? It seems ridiculous to poop that much but he assures me he is just regular. 

He spends so much time in the bathroom that sometimes when he's not home and the bathroom door is closed, our kids go over to the door and call for him, assuming he's in there because he usually is.

They go to the door and call for him when he IS in there, too. If he forgets to lock the door, they open it. And if the door is locked, they pound on the door and yell for him to open it. He doesn't particularly enjoy this. And we argue about it every weekend.

What is worse than talking about poop all the time? Arguing about it. Arguing about poop is a new low, even for us. And yet, here we are. Arguing about poop quite regularly (no pun intended). 

Pat feels as though he should be able to "poop in peace" without our kids bothering him. It drives him crazy. I think he feels as though I should be keeping them away from the bathroom when he's in there. I'm not sure how I would do this since they don't listen to a dang word I say, but I guess he thinks I should try. 

And I really don't try. Sometimes I might half-heartedly say, "let's leave daddy alone while he goes to the bathroom." But that's about it. I don't really try to enforce it.

To be fair, he usually gets the first 10 minutes or so in the bathroom to "poop in peace." That is about how long it takes for our kids to realize he is gone. So if he could just "take care of his business" a little faster, we wouldn't have a problem.

I feel like there are a lot of sacrifices we have to make when we become parents. Maybe becoming a faster pooper might be one that he has to make. I have made sacrifices, too. I could NEVER disappear for 10 minutes to "poop in peace." I can't even poop with the door shut. 

Usually I am too afraid to shut it, in fear of what my son might do to his little sister. But on the rare occasion that I do close the door, they just open it anyway so what's the point? And more times than not, one or both of them are actually in the bathroom with me. Sometimes, I actually have to go with Addy sitting on my lap so that I don't have to hear her screaming and crying to be picked up. 

That is my definition of "pooping in peace." Pooping with my daughter sitting on my lap so that I don't have to hear her crying in the tiny bathroom where her screams sound 100x louder. And pooping while I watch my son fill up the sink with water, wasting all of our soap, knowing that I can't do anything about it except use my words to try to get him to stop, which we both know will have zero impact. 

So you can see why when it comes to Pat wanting to "poop in peace," I have zero sympathy for him.

I vaguely remember blogging before I had kids but I am pretty sure I never blogged about poop. But yet, here I am. Ain't that some S#@t. 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Reality check

After getting the kids to bed last night, I sat down to blog for the first time in eight months.

I fell asleep sitting up at the computer five minutes later.


Saturday, May 16, 2015

I don't own any scuba gear

With the exception of super models, I don't think there is a woman on this planet who enjoys swimsuit season. I never have liked getting in a bathing suit but after birthing my second child five months ago, I am especially dreading it this year.

And since I don't own any scuba gear, which is the only thing I would currently be comfortable wearing to the beach, it is time for me to whip this post-baby body back into shape.

This is what I want to wear swimming this summer. 
About a month ago I bought my new running shoes. I tried them on and then put them in my closet where they have been sitting ever since. 

As it turns out, you have to actually run in them to see results. Who knew?

So I got them out of the closet today and took the tags off. Then I put them away again.

Just kidding.

I did it. I ran today for the first time since becoming pregnant with Addy over a year ago. I have been nervous to start exercising because I am still nursing and it can decrease your milk supply which stinks.

But then I remember that I don't own scuba gear and again get motivated to start running.

So I downloaded the Couch to 5k app and hit the pavement.

I ran (and walked) for twenty minutes. It wasn't pretty. In fact, it was downright ugly. And slow. Really slow. And within 20 seconds of starting to run I threw up in my mouth a little.

It felt really good though and I actually thought I was doing great. Got a little cocky, even. Until the lady said, "you are halfway." I know she was trying to be supportive but I still wanted to punch her in the face.

My first post-baby run is in the books. I am hesistant to use the word "run" because I think it implies something much faster than I am actually capable of. It is more of a slow jog. Or even a fast walk by some standards.

I finished, though, and that was what I set out to do. I just want to fit into my old clothes again. My fat summer wardrobe came in the mail yesterday. The fact that I had to buy a second wardrobe for the summer was even more motivation to get out there and start running again.

That and the fact that I am running my work's 5k in exactly eight weeks from today.

And I don't own any scuba gear.

I did take a before picture but I am going to wait and share it when there is an after picture to go with it. Wimpy, I know, but it's my blog and I get to make up my own rules. :)

Now the question is, who wants to "run" this 5k with me?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Life's too short to clean your own home

I received this flyer in the mail. Actually, I've received a few of them and I have to admit -- they really got my attention. So much that I haven't thrown one away yet.

It certainly wasn't the design of the flyer that caught my eye. The outdated stock photo of the dad with the 90s hair leaves something to be desired. (wait -- did they have laptops in the 90s or did this bad haircut exist in the 2000s?)

But the slogan is really catchy. Life's too short to clean your own home. I love it. I have a very similar slogan. Actually, it's almost identical. Just remove the second part of the sentence.

My motto has always been "Life's too short to clean." Period.

Those of you who know me well know that cleaning and keeping a clean house is not one of my strong suits. It never has been.

But I believe we are all works-in-progress and I work hard to try and improve my weaknesses. This desire to get better at cleaning my house became more of a necessity when my son started crawling and now walking running through the house, finding every out-of-place object on our floors and tables.

For those of you who don't know me very well, I want to be clear that I am not a hoarder. I don't live in filth or collect trash. I'm not a dirty person. Just messy. As of now, I would be a terrible role model to my son as far as cleaning up after myself is concerned.

As I mentioned in my last post, as I'm growing older, I'm learning more about myself and about the importance of getting myself organized, planning ahead and making lists. I want to do the same for cleaning.

I want to change my cleaning habits by putting together a cleaning schedule for myself and I want your help. I have been scouring the web (namely, Pinterest) for examples of chore lists by day, week, month and year.

But I'm still trying to figure out what makes the most sense for me. Since I have been more of a "party cleaner" in the past, I don't even know where to begin. Do kitchen floors and bathroom floors need to be mopped (or scrubbed on your hands and knees as I've been doing lately) weekly? Or is this something you can get away with every other week or even longer if you sweep and swiffer in between?

How often do you clean your toilets, scrub your floors, vacuum your carpet, change your sheets. What about cleaning out your refrigerator and microwave? Do you have one day designated to cleaning each week, or do you try to do a little each day?

I would love your feedback and am excited to share with you my progress with this task.

Yes, life may be too short to clean your own house, but it isn't going to clean itself, either.

Thirty and growing

I say quite often that I don't like to think about getting "old." It's really sad watching other people struggle with the ailments that come with old age. That being said, I actually enjoy many aspects of getting older.

I turned the big 3-0 this year. Well, actually, last year. Oh yeah, Happy New Year! I'm just going to ignore the fact that I haven't blogged in six months or so and pick up where we left off. Sound good?

Me on my 30th birthday. I think the baby monitor
in the background accurately describes my life at 30.
I did A LOT of reflecting before turning 30. More than I thought I would. For the first 29 years of my life, 30 always seemed really old. Until I was turning 30. Then it didn't seem old at all. Maybe all of the big milestone birthdays feel that way. After all, you're only as old as you feel, right?

I did find two grey hairs in my eyebrows tonight, though. And that sure made me FEEL old. Until I tweezed them and vowed to forget I ever saw them. What grey eyebrows? I don't know what you're talking about...

I try to pray every night before going to bed and one of my reoccurring prayers is for help becoming the best version of me that I can be. I know that we are works in progress until the day we die and I want to continue striving to learn and grow with each day. Sometimes this causes me to really over-think and stress about situations which isn't good either, but I really try to learn from all of my experiences and improve upon my weaknesses.

Here are some of the things I have learned about myself in the last decade:

I need to make lists to get things done. I get overwhelmed easily and when I feel overwhelmed, I do nothing which then makes me feel more anxious. So both personally and professionally, I need to make lists and get things out of the chaos in my mind and onto a piece of paper that I can then cross off when the task is completed.

I need to do things right away when I'm thinking about them instead of putting them off. For example, when I buy fresh produce or fruit at the grocery store, I need to clean it and cut it right away or else it will go bad before it gets eaten. I don't even like to think about how much fresh food I have wasted as a result of putting off this process.

I have learned that I need to forgive myself and accept the fact that I am not perfect. Of course I know that I am not, but yet, I strive to be and when I inevitably fall short (quite often), there is no one harder on me than I am on myself.

One of the most important things I have learned is that I have the ability to take control of my thoughts and feelings. It mind sound crazy or something that should be really simple but for most of my life, I have struggled with letting my thoughts and feelings control me - like I was a helpless victim at the mercy of whatever life threw at me.

But as I've gotten older, I have realized that I do have the ability to take control of my thoughts and I can determine my attitude. Just because I have come to this realization doesn't mean it is easy, though. It's hard to change your way of thinking, especially when it happens so involuntarily at times.

We had a long-term substitute teacher in eighth grade who said, "your attitude is everything." It took me about 15 years to fully understand how right she was. We can't always control some of the situations life throws at us, but the one thing we can control is how we respond.

In my next thirty years, I hope to continue to self-reflect, learn, grow and strive to become the best version of myself.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Overheard in the Robinson household

Vol. 4

Pat: Graham, why are you fighting this? A lot of people would pay money to have someone wipe their butt.


Pat: Remember when I woke you up last night because I thought Graham was crying?
Me: Yes, it was 6 a.m. and he wasn't crying.
Pat: Well, after I checked the monitor I heard it again and then I figured out what I was hearing.
Me: What?
Pat: My nose was stuffed up and making noises when I was breathing.


(on a road trip to Findlay, Pat was driving)
Pat: If you really love me you'll give me that cup so I can pee in it.
Me: What?
Pat: Is there anything in this car I can pee in?
Me: Are you joking?
Pat: No I'm not joking. I really have to pee. I'm about to pull down one of these country roads and go.
Me: No way. Then you'll get ticks.
(Pat pulls off onto a side road and starts getting out of the car)
Me: You can get a ticket for this. Then you will be a sex offender.
(Pat pretends to check the pressure on his tire and pees and then returns to the car)
Pat: I have a stone stuck in my knee. But that needed to happen.


Tis the season to be thankful

I saw this link of Facebook and I thought it was a great idea. The author encourages readers to take the week leading up to Thanksgiving to list reasons why you are thankful for your husband. If you list seven items a day and then one on Thanksgiving, you will end up with 50 reasons you are thankful for the man you married. I saw this on Wednesday, when you were supposed to start, and I am just getting around to in on Friday. Shocking, I know. So I have some catching up to do.

There are a lot of reasons why I think this exercise is important for any couple, but for me particularly, I feel like I've taken him for granted since having Graham. I have put everything I have into being the best mom I could be and I have neglected many other areas in my life (just ask my friends and family who probably think I've fallen off the face of the Earth) - including my marriage.

I followed the Babywise book for getting Graham on a schedule and teaching him good sleeping habits from a young age (not opening the debate about Ferber vs. Sears) and one of the components they stress in this book is "putting your marriage first for the child's sake."

So far, I have become one of those mothers that puts their baby before everything. And I'm not saying that is bad, either, because I view it as the most important job I have ever had and I want to make sure I'm doing it well. But I don't want to become one of those couples whose whole life revolved around their kids so much so that when their kids grow up and move away, there is nothing left of their marriage.

This exercise is going to be really important for me to remind myself that I have been taking Pat and our marriage for granted and I have so so much to be thankful for and my husband Patrick is at the top of the list.

Reasons why I am thankful for Pat:

 1. He's a nice guy.
 2. He's a great husband.
 3. He's an awesome dad.
 4. He views our marriage as a partnership and does a lot around our house and splits all the responsibilities with me.
 5. He's a hard worker.
 6. We have fun together.
 7. He loves me exactly the way I am.
 8. He takes care of our house and yard work.
 9. He's a good sport about my crafting "projects"
10. He makes me laugh
11. He complements my personality and helps to balance me out
12. He is laid back and goes with the flow (and hopefully it will one day rub off on me :)
13. He keeps me warm when our bedroom is freezing
14. He takes care of me when I've had too many cocktails

To be continued...