Sunday, April 18, 2021

a frustrated mother rants

 I don't even know where to start. 

This year has been SO MUCH better than last year. I don't want to complain. I am not a rock bottom. I don't need mental help. But I need to switch priorities and refocus. I need to write it all out (this IS my online journal...)

Kids grow up fast. 


Reuben has been hitting some regular kid milestones that have Brian and I on our toes. I have not been reacting well. Becky is hitting different areas than Reuben did at three and we are on our toes with her. Both my kids are wonderful, and I love them, so please don't think I am angry or upset. I know these are normal, but also WHY and can I throw a fit about it, because I NEED to throw a fit about it and have someone tell me it's going to be okay. (I need my mommy too...do we ever grow out of that??!)

Reuben is pushing boundaries, talking back and dealing with anger and fear (some of it from covid). I don't know if I ever wrote about it, but he hates to go to the store and he hates masks. Poor kid. He is THRIVING at making friends, playing together at parks, and just being really amazing and fun. He's a blast to hang out with and its been awesome to have whole conversations with about whatever happens to be on his mind. He also hasn't been sleeping well. He has a lot of fear and anxiety and it comes out at night. Becky is out cold in 10 minutes flat and he takes an hour or two to nod off, lots of extra hugs, prayers, love and audio books. He is a sensitive soul, I am thinking on the highly sensitive spectrum. He has 100 questions about everything. He has a lot of questions about fear. I am tired of answering questions. 

Becky is telling a lot of lies, something we only went through briefly with Reuben. Reuben, right now, is a terrible lier and because of his highly sensitive nature will come to me an hour later after lying and tell me he lied and beg me to forgive him. I can also always tell when he is lying. I hope he never gets good at lying.

Becky on the other hand lies like she was born for it. I can only tell because she is three and ill equipped to falsehoods. But she can lie with a smile and a hug! We are working on teaching her how important it is to tell the truth. She is also dealing with the terrible threes (neither of my kids had terrible twos...) with tantrums over every small thing. She is having a lot of trouble sharing anything. But, she is excelling at loving all the babies around her, being gentle, and keeping up with big brother. I love her, she is amazing, but she is very headstrong and is going to need someone to catch her one day when she falls. Reuben is going to need someone to catch him too but for different reasons. He doesn't look where he is going and is clumsy. Becky looks and leaps anyway, she has the heart of a lion. haha.

In the midst of all this I have a chronic illness, Brian works all the time, and covid, homeschooling, political and civil unrest and I'm taking a course on plants. What a time to be alive! I know I was made for this time, I trust God, but my plate is a little full ya'll. 

Last week someone showed my son a pornographic picture (or movie) at a park. It couldn't have been long, 10-12 seconds...I keep an eye on him but he runs around and plays by himself often. I am not sure quite what happened--the kid was between 8-12 years old (there were a lot of older kids there and they were all playing tag) and there was some kind of bad movie he described to me that was definitely porn. I didn't know this would happen, so it's been a whirlwind of many other kinds of questions from Reuben that I thought would wait until he was bit older. By the way, Reuben HATES movies. He has for years, even before this incident. This is one of the things that makes me think he is highly sensitive. Veggie tails is too scary for him. He gets all worked up and afraid something "bad" or "scary" is going to happen and he literally starts sobbing and hyperventilating and goes into a full on panic attack. I am not quite sure what to do about this but for right now we avoid all movies except for his "safe" ones.  

I'm in a time where my chronic illness is not better, but it is not as bad as it has been? It's this weird middle ground where I'm okay most days if I remember to take all my meds but sometimes I get tired and I am pretty much always dealing with kidney pain... not quite sure. Hopeful for continued improvement. 

I noticed this week that I don't make enough time to play with the kids and really connect with them. I homeschool, cook, clean, and I need a break. I feel burnt out a lot...but I also need to schedule in some play time and connect with each of them. I think this will help with the attitude and issues we are seeing crop up. Both of them are so wonderful and I really am starting to savor our time together. But also I need to get stuff done and I have not found a good balance. I think going out less and staying home more will help with this, but my poor extrovert self feels a bit sad about that. It's a season, right? My kids need me and honestly I need them too. I want to be a good mom. 

Structure is my friend and I have been enjoying a bit more structure in our week. We have a laundry day, a mowing day, a co-op day and I need to figure out a loose schedule as well. I need a new morning routine, my last one fell apart when my chronic illness returned in February. I think I am going to stop typing here and go work one out. 

How are you all? Hugs and love and prayers from me. Tips for five and three year olds welcome, and I also would love your prayers as I mother our small family. I feel like as the seasons change I never have enough time to figure it out before it all changes again. God sure knows how to keep us parents on our toes. I wonder if he, the everlasting father figure, also feels this way...

Monday, April 12, 2021

The Wandering (part 7)

Scrape.

Dirt bumped over my exposed back.

Scrape.

I opened my eyes to see my legs hefted above me, my back pressing into the ground. Ignose's shape blurred into focus as I groggily attempted to push myself up. She was wearing my stone vest, and had one of my legs in each arm. Her face beaded with sweat as she drug me down the dirt path.

When she saw my eyes were open, she stopped, lowering my ankles to the ground.

“Those fool idiots,” She cursed, squatting besides me and easing off the vest. “They almost killed you. And you! You are supposed to spit it out, you blighted thing. Not drink half the ocean in wine.” I groaned. My arms hurt. My back hurt. My legs ached. I smelled of pee.

Ignose's gaze softened, and she leaned down to help support me. I sat, and immediately regretted it. While the trees were no longer bending or a-swaying with a will of their own, my head pounded as if someone had been playing the drum on it. My body felt all wrung out like just-washed clothes. I turned my head away from Ignose and began heaving up my insides. Bile and water rose out of me like a wave as I vomited.

Ignose handed me a rag soaked with river water after I was done, and I suckled greedily on it.

“Thank you.” I rasped, grateful for anything to easy my thirst.

“Cinna pinched my nose” I mange to hack out a little while later, between a spasm of coughing. My voice is gone. A little old woman has climbed down my throat and it is her voice that speaks to Ignose now. I take a shaky breath but go on.

“It was hard to spit it out,” I say. Ignose hurrmps.

“She would,” Ignose said. “That one holds no love for you. Avoid her, Solamae.”

I nod, sucking my damp rag. It wasn't enough. Now that I have my bearings, thirst roars through my body, unquenchable as fire. I could drink an ocean. Just no more wine. Never anymore wine.

“Is there water?” I croak. Ignose shakes her head.

“I couldn't carry a water-bowl and you,” She says. “And now it's almost dawn. You have to make it to the village”

I nod. We are close, as close as Ignose had dared to drag me. Just around the bend and through the clearing, are the first huts our of tribe. I can make it. I will make it. The luck of our tribe, our harvest and our future depend upon it.

I push myself up and Ignose swings the vest back into place over my chest. The weight pushes me back to the ground

 I can't make it. I can't even move. The stone-filled sack is heavy, and it digs into my back with significant force. I am pinned like a bug to the path, barely able to breath.

I struggle, but cannot rise.


“This is the worst part.” Ignose says. She sounds far away. “You'll have to drag yourself. Hurry.”

Her footsteps fade away, the sound of the forest rushing in to fill my ears. I push up to a crawl, only able to hold myself inches from the ground. The grass becomes my measure. Soft, dew sprinkled, salt-drenched, lighted by the moon. Inches from my face. I see a beetle, roaming with me, his shell effortlessly borne along on spindly legs. I see the wind and how it ruffles the blades like the caress of a mother.

I am a beetle. I tell myself. But the only whisper that returns to me, born on the wind or whispered by the sea is: Ryia.

Ryia. It becomes the chant of earth as I pull myself forward. Ryia. Stop, gasp. Ryia. Ry as I rise and ia as I complete the movement. The sound of my knees on the sand. The sound of the stones dancing in my vest to the tune of my crawl. Ryia. Ryia. Ryia.

The path is gone. Only sand, pressed with many feet, reminds. Thatched grass-huts. Silent black feet. Ryia, Ryia, Ryia.

The fire-pit. I have made it.

Ryia.

The sun rises. I am tied to the stone, our stone, the stone of the village that glows with the light of the moon every night. They dance. They sing. I am painted red, a moon-blood offering. Ogna May feeds me raw game and lets me suck the yokes from eggs gathered that morning.

By half-light, it is over. I am cut free. The Ogna removes my vest and all but carries me to the sauna, where I fall limp, spent. Once again I am washed. The sisters around me bless each other, whispering of good harvests and game luck, trading promises of sunny days and warm nights. My womb is cleansed and blessed, since I cannot be. Daughter of the moon I am, but daughter of the sea I am not.

Ignose waits for me in the treeline, Roan tied to her back.

“Good job.” She says. She offers me her arm, but I shake my head. I will walk. I have done it, and I will walk.

Ryia, Ryia, Ryia.

-----

[Transcription Note: Several hides in this section were beyond recovery]

-----

[Transcription Note: only legible part of several hides]

One moon-night, Cinna had beaten me just for speaking to her own daughter, a maiden of six. Both of us has been gathering mushrooms in the forest for stew. At the time I was not fully aware of my own place, and I had spoken with her, even dared to play with her. Ignose had been livid. I still felt the shame to this day, the sin I had caused against the moon and the sea.

The scars on my back remain.

-------

PART 8 HERE

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

The Wandering (Part 6)

Suddenly a villager was there.

“I stole game from the spear-sisters,” A voice said. “I cooked it in the sauna fires and ate it all by myself, even through it was the week of fasting.” 

I jerked my head from left to right, trying to follow the voice.

“You must now carry this shame, Blighted one. May your bad luck never touch us.” 

“I will carry this shame,” I said, tensing myself. Something crashed into me, making me topple onto my side. A foot? A branch? I curled inward, waiting for more, but no more blows came. Sharp breaths. Twisting. Turning. I inched upright as best I could.

Remembering Ignose, I began to weave my legs through my arms and around to my front. A trick. The blindfold had not looked so dark from the trees last year.

I had watched her, every time. Did she know? Was she watching me, now?

Another Villager. 

“I crave a man, moon-daughter, even through the time of ice is not upon us. I crave a man and I feel shame. You must now carry this shame. May your blighted luck never touch us.”

“I will carry this shame,” I said.

A slap. My head rang.

And so it went. One by one the villagers came to me and told me of their deeds. One by one they bruised or cut or hit me. 

The air felt cooler now. Was it nearing halfnight? I was very thirsty, and my head thrummed to the beat of the ocean.

A light tap on my shoulder made me start with fright. Laughter bubbled up from my left. Ignose. I wilted, relived. 

“You look ridiculous naked,” Ignose said. I felt her hands at my bindings, and as she released my arms, I yanked off my blindfold. The sea was now in front of me, the tide swelling with foam, and the sight of it calmed me. 

“Ignose,” I said, “You didn't tell me it would be so dark.”

Ignose shrugged. Halfnight had come, moons twining the sky, one low on the horizon, one high. The beach spread out behind me white and glimmering. But I was shaking, dizzy and out of breath and could not admire it as I ought. Ignose knelt and helped me drink some water.

“After halfnight, they will come with the stone,” She said. “And the fermentation.” 

I nodded. 

She smoothed my hair, and dipped the water-bowl into the sea, rinsing me off several times. The cold water made me gasp, but afterwords I felt much better.

“I should not have let you do this,” Ignose said, but I shook my head.

“I'm okay,” I tried to croak through wet lips from my dry throat. Ignose did not look like she belived me. “And it's almost over.” 

“The last past is the hardest,” Ignose said. With a glance at the sky, she re-tied my bindings, leaving the blindfold for last. 

“I will see you after,” She whispered, and then she was gone. 

And thus I sat while halfnight deepened.

I could not tell what changed, but suddenly they were there. My villagers. Ogna May untied my arms and legs and I choked back tears as tingling flooded my limbs for a second time. The sky was black, the darkest time of night. Tide had come. 

She took the vest, filled with pebbles from the sea, and placed it over my chest. I bent under its weight like a weed in the rain. 

“We wash our transgressions in the ocean,” she intoned, as she tied the vest in place. “These stones represent the burden of our wrongs.”

“I will carry the shame,” I managed to rasp out, trying to sit up straight under the weight. Both sides of the vest pressed into my chest, making it hard to breathe. I slid one of my hands under the front and pushed it away from me to relieve the pressure. This made the bulk of it pull tightly on my neck and shoulders, and I strained under the burden. 

Ogna May hefted the fermentation, and Cinna stepped forward. She gripped my jaw, thrusting my head back, pinching my nose shut with her other hand. Ogna May frowned at her, but said nothing. She eased the end of the bag into my mouth and suddenly I was choking as sour wine spilled over my cheeks and burned down my throat. I spluttered and swallowed and tried to turn my head, but the bag followed me where ever I jerked, until at last it was empty and I gasped for breath.

“It is done,” The villagers intoned, but I was already having trouble concentrating. Were the trees moving? A face floated over me, and my body felt hot and heavy. Sounds came in a rush, and colors wove together and danced in front of my eyes. My belly burned and I swayed, watching the trees climb towards the sky with dark, twisting fingers. My nipples hardened, pressing into my stone vest, and my vision swam with light.

“You have given her too much,” A voice said. I tried stand up, concentrating on keeping my breathing even. I could not rise. As I sat, my gasps for air increasing as I tried to climb out of the fog. Lightheaded. Was I swimming? I could feel each grain of sand pressing into my thighs and legs. Yet, a wetness? Pressure. Voices. And every night sound—a bird cooing, the steps of the villagers receding—loomed over me like the roar of a raging, relentless storm.

I tried to swallow, to wet my tongue, but found it swollen and thick. I pushed the vest away, gasping for breath, but the touch of my own hands against my skin made panic flood my senses. It was too much. I felt too much. 

With incredible concentration I rose to my knees, pushing myself up. 

I took two steps into the fog before everything went black. Wetness. Fog. Breath. Heavy.

Where was I?

-----

Part 7 here