August 4 – 6, 2014: Balancing Out The Rainbow and BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU ASK FOR

A rainbow is a mix of sun and rain, right? Put them together in the right way, and you have a rainbow. But too much sun – or too much rain – and the formula doesn’t work.

I’d like to declare that my life as a rainbow is certainly a mix of sun and rain. So everything I just wrote in the previous four posts is mostly told about how I found the sunny part of the rainbow. I just want to make sure that you’re not getting an inaccurate impression about what’s happening in present time, what it means for me to be in the “meant to be” spiritual place that I’m meant to be in – rain is part of the mix.

For example, you’ve probably noticed that my blog name is “off the grid MAMA….” not “off the grid HIPSTER” or “off the grid RETIRED SINGLE WOMAN,” or any other number of titles. Please don’t get me wrong: My two girls are the most incredibly fabulous and delightful beings that I know. I would NEVER trade anything for the honor of being their Mommy. But they bring such a mix of sun and rain into my day, and it’s pretty much non-stop unless I remove either them or myself from each others’ presence.

Most of the time now (compared to the time I spoke of when Michelle was new to this world), I have enough energy to get through the day with them, with a good mix of the sunny view on life. There might be an occasional rain shower, but usually the sun shines again pretty quickly.

There are exceptions. Last night by dinnertime, for example, the rains of my inner world stormed. Sofia and Michelle are both quite active, in very different ways, but active. They make themselves known. They get into things – often things that then need to be cleaned, wiped, dealt with, managed, negotiated, bandaged – something has to be done by an adult. I am SO grateful that Hubby – and now Rosa on some days – can be one of the adults to help out. It’s certainly not always me. But if I’m around, it usually IS me It’s just the way things are when you are in the Mom role.

So by dinnertime, I was in that kind of semi-fried state that comes as a result of chasing after and doing damage control with two girls all day. I guess I made the mistake of thinking that we were finally sitting down to a nice simple dinner together. (Hubby was busy with a project so the three of us girls were having dinner together.) I decided to keep it really simple and I made spaghetti with olive oil and shredded parmesan cheese: Simple! WTF was I thinking? We sat at our new, wonderful IKEA table that I totally love, and I noticed the new crayon colors all over it as we tried to take our first bites. Michelle wanted me to feed her…first in her own chair…then, no, she decided, “Aw by MY-Sewf, Mommy! Michelle do!” Fine with me..please take your own bite, honey…she got some spaghetti on her fork and about three strands went in her mouth, four on the floor, and two on her shirt. I’m immediately calculating how long can they stay on the floor before the ants find out?

Then she changes her mind and wants to sit in my lap, as hot and sweaty as we are at that hour. I hoist her into my lap and she wants the bite from my plate, not her cute little princess bowl that we just got for her. Basically a few rounds of the same situation – from either my chair or hers, her hand or fork or mine, a few strands went into her mouth, hair, pants, floor, cute new crayola marked IKEA table. Sofia was actually amazingly hungry and painstakingly ate her own food for which I was super grateful.

I let Mich wander around the room while I shoveled a few of my own bites in quickly. She decided she wanted to play the piano which she can’t but it’s still cute for her to pretend. So I let her pretend “C…D..tinkle tinkle witt-ull staaaah…Mommy, no talk Mommy, too loud…(I wasn’t talking, I was chewing)..tinkle tinkle wut you aaaaahhh…” somehow she moved from the piano to this shelf where, sure enough, her little hand swiped up and whoopsie, there flies the Chess Knight piece from the chess set Hubby bought, slow motion down and shattered across the floor in an unknown number of tiny, sharp, clear shards of difficult to see glass.

I’ve seen people in restaurants with their children and I’ve seen the children sitting there next to their parents, quiet and eating. I’ve seen those children not spilling, moving, climbing, dancing, jumping, spitting, throwing. We aren’t there yet. It’s totally MY FAULT, I get that. It’s my fault that I cave in those moments and let Michelle climb on me, off me, on the chair, off the chair. It’s completely MY BAD that I then feel the rain start to pour down inside of me when the glass chess piece shatters and I see the next hour unfolding in front of me in a not-so-fun way. In those moments though, when the sun gets obliterated from my inner landscape, I don’t see the rainbow, and it doesn’t help that I see that it’s my responsibility to train the girls to eat dinner properly.

I’m trying to remember what worked? Because today, right now, I’m here with the rainbow again in my heart. Oh, that’s right! Hubby came in as I was picking up the glass shards and racing against time with the ants to clean up the spaghetti. I walked up close to him and said, “Sweetie: We used to live like total slobs and somehow we got away with it. It won’t work here, we can’t do this anymore. Also, I need a huge chunk of alone time as soon as possible. Is there any way you can take the girls tomorrow and do something for several hours, like take the trash out to the city?”

I love Hubby!!! He “got it,” that I was kind of not in the best sunny, rainbow-y kind of place. So he’s taken the girls – I think to IKEA for another shelf or something, it doesn’t matter – but I’m alone! Alone for a few hours, to pick up some of the pieces of myself, the remaining glass shards, write a little bit for my blog, and get a load of laundry done before they return with their adorable, busy, inquisitive, dirty, bandage-needy hands. (Although, I’m sorry, this is too funny and I have to add: I was sitting here happily typing away about my alone time here in the gazebo, and along ambles a man of few teeth, on a horse with a machete hanging along his side. This is not the kind of neighborhood that you get a lot of knocks on the door – in fact, not one stranger has entered the farm since we’ve arrived. Fortunately, Felipe had come ambling along himself a few minutes earlier on his own mule with his own machete. I watched them talk for a few minutes, then they walked up past me here at the gazebo. Felipe said something – possibly – about “amigo” and “vaca” (friend and cow), so I believe it’s a buddy of his helping him round up his cows that are munching away on Katiuska’s hillside. But of course I’d had a thought or two about “hmmm…alone on the farm..no phone…no car…hmmm…I think this is relaxing, right?”)

I already miss my darlings and cannot wait til they get here. But just in case you thought I was implying that I’m just floating around humming Zikr all day calling myself Rainbow Girl…every day includes all of the sun and the rain I could ever want, and not always in the perfect mix. I’m working on it. I’m a work in progress. To everyone, peace, love, happiness, health, safety, goodness..everyone. Xoxo

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU ASK FOR : PART TWO TO ABOVE

Yesterday, I wrote my post about being alone and enjoying my alone time. For some reason, the internet was down all day, so I wrote my post off-line and only at 5:30 pm did the internet come on.
I saw an email that Hubby had written at about 3:30 pm. He briefly wrote that he and the girls had some trouble with the truck and tires and had called Jose and would be late. That’s all. No follow up.
We had estimated they would be home around 3:00. By 5:30 when I read the email, I had been starting to have a few “worry thoughts,” and the growing awareness of the fact that I have no phone, don’t speak Spanish, no car, etc.
I would like to delete and never post the thoughts I wrote during my special “alone time,” as I see how spoiled and ridiculous I am to be so irritated by Michelle’s strands of spaghetti and a chess piece falling. This is in comparison to the reminder yesterday of how easily we can lose our loved ones. No matter where we are, what we do – it can happen, in an instant or in pieces. It does happen to people every day – everywhere in the world.
It’s important for me to post in spite of how embarrassing my thoughts are to me now. “Know thyself”, for one thing, as impartially as possible (so – gotta work on feeling so appalled by what I see in me). And I want to remember how insignificant these tiny irritations are, of one’s precious babies and loved ones.
Please let me remember how it felt to not know where my family was.
Let me use the experience of last night to help curb the greedy, selfish part of me that ever feels cranky because Michelle spilled her juice, or when Sofia accidentally kicks my face if we’re having a pillow fight on the bed. Please give me the patience to love them better, to love them all the way.
Sometime around 6 pm, Felipe came up to the farm. A huge downpour of rain had started a few minutes earlier and the sky was purple with angry storm clouds. I came out of the gazebo and tried to explain to Felipe that Hubby was supposed to be home by now but had trouble with his truck. I don’t have a phone – could I borrow his to call Hubby, Jose, someone?
God only knows what I actually said! Poor Felipe, he was really trying to understand. I know at one point I said, “Yo soy no telefon! Hubby no aqui sera!” (I’ve since learned this means something like, “I am not a telephone! My husband no here basket!” )
Anyway, Felipe showed me that his phone didn’t work. He waved and ran off – I wasn’t sure if it was to find another phone, or to get away from my gringo psycho babble.
So I sat and waited with The Fear present. Talk about Work – trying to get a handle on me just being here, not letting the fear become anything more than an intense energy. Trying to use the fear energy to sit and watch the trees and sky…the fear pulls me inward through thoughts, such as, “OMG, where are they, what if something happened to my whole family? Is that the road closing that I’m hearing out there? What if they had an accident on the highway?…” The fear is insatiable..it wants to eat me alive with freaking out and imploding. Feel my feet on the ground and just be. Sit. Nothing useful with entering my head. Wait. “But oh God, if they don’t come home then … “ – NO. Hear the cicadas..the river..feel my heart space…be here.
Now that hour I will remember for all my life.
Somewhere between 6:30-7:00, I heard honking – celebratory, “we’re coming!” kind of honking!!!!! My family is home!!!!! All over the truck windows and waving and shouting and a melted ice-cream thing for me and Mommy Mommy we had ice-cream, why does the car stink like poop?, Papa-Hubby weary and smiling at me with that shared relief look and the silent promise: Yes, I know you need details and I’ll tell you as soon as I can, honey. Mommy I need change my dipe-urrrr Mommy we’re hungwry We saw Jose and Katiuska Mommy Mommy where’s the kitty? We saw Felipe riding his mule now Mommy (Hubby confirmed, “He was going to his house to get another phone. He said you were freaking out that we weren’t here.” I was NOT freaking out! I was trying my best to stay calm! (Was it that obvious?!))
I’m not going to bore you with all the details, but they had a Big Adventure with the truck stopping on the highway on the way out of Santo Domingo. In a way that Hubby could NOT move the truck one inch from its busy highway lane. He called Jose. Jose answered. Bless you, Jose and Katiuska.
Jose and Katiuska spent the next few hours finding them on the highway, taking the girls in their truck, finding a strong man to help get the tire onto the truck in a way that they could move the truck, going to a car repair place to fix the problem – for once and for all – just two days after they had spent most of their afternoon helping us, just after arriving home from Europe.

I watched my own Mommy lose her baby girl when my sister crashed into a truck and died on a deserted highway in Nevada. Even though Jenny was 29 by then, she would always be my Mommy’s baby. A piece of my Mom’s heart cracked open, leaked out and froze forever. A sparkle in her eye burst into flame and faded out of sight. A whispered wrinkle of pain weighed down the center of her eyebrow. Even when my Mom died twelve years later, I saw the grimace in the expression on her face that had never been erased by time.
You can bet I squeezed and kissed and cuddled my babies extra tight last night. They squirmed and squeaked like kittens, nuzzling me back. Hubby and I touched fingers in a secret code kind of way that we do sometimes, with a shared, deep look. We didn’t need to say anything more.

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