Sunday, May 10, 2015

Being the world's most okay human...

This week, my oldest child turned 13 and my husband turned 45 and my sister turned 43 and I got the chance to see my dear friend Carrie and I got the chance to see my 3 moms on Mother's Day. And I spent time with writers I love for an excellent conference.

This week I edited a book for my day job and finished revising my YA book and filled out 7 cover art forms for my authors and read 3 books. This week I went to 2 baseball games and my kids' opera. And cooked dinners and soaked in a lot of love.

There was a LOT going on this week. At the onset, I felt like crying because I was so overwhelmed. But then I realized that the only real thing I had to do was show up for my own life. That I didn't need for it to be perfect. That I didn't need to write it all down or get it just right. I needed to show up and take in all the great things that I have.

It has been a hard winter. Most winters are hard and I forget that every year. As if I'm suddenly not going to have bad seasonal depression and go to bed every night at 8:30. As if I'm suddenly going to feel like moving or clearing the fog from my eyes to see anything beyond my own bubble.

Spring has been a welcome break. I get a lot done in spring. My body moves a lot in spring. Everyone in my house is happier because I'm happier.

The other day when I told my friend Jules that I had forgotten to bring snack for the soccer team again and that I didn't realize we were supposed to buy school opera tickets and that I was late turning in taco lunch money and that my inbox was full of notes from different people telling me I was behind, Jules said, "Christa, I love you. Keep being okay."

Which is our joke. Me being the okayest parent, friend, writer, editor, book club participant, spouse, sister, daughter, soccer/baseball mom, etc. For some reason, I can't seem to tip myself past okay. There are days when I look around and think, "Why am I the only person in the world who doesn't seem to have their shit together?" and then I look at all the things I managed to be okay at in a single week and I realize that having one's shit together is probably relative. That if I just peel back a few layers of Facebook, I could probably see that a lot of people had a hard winter and maybe forget soccer team snack and haven't turned in their taco lunch money yet.

A few days ago, Jojo crawled into my bed and said, "I know you feel like you drop balls all the time, but you're really a great mom for us." My kids. They amaze me every single day. They make my heart so full. They make me feel like I did something right along the way.

Happy Mother's Day to all of those who are caretakers in the world. And to all of those who laugh with us through our most okay times.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Wisdom from my 40th Year

So tomorrow is my birthday and as I reflect back over the year I turned 40, I thought it might be worth dropping some things I learned (because we can always still be learning!).

On Writing:

1. Publishing is difficult and unpredictable and wonderful. It is not fair. You will likely always be looking up, wishing for more. This is good if it fuels the work. It isn't good if it stops you from getting your shit done. We all have one job: keeping people reading. You do that however you do that, but if you find yourself mired in shit that has nothing to do with that one job, it is a good idea to refocus.

Here's how I have convos with myself...
Me: Oh my God, did you see...?
Me Also: Yes, now get back to work.
Me: But...
Me Also: How do you keep people reading?
Me: Writing good books.
Me Also: Right. Carry on with that.

On Time:

2. No one is on time anymore. I think we live in a world of "over-promise and under-deliver" now. I've done this myself, because I don't like saying no and I bite off more than I can chew. I would like to say no more and pretend I'm not Wonder Woman. Everyone should do this. Everyone should also be respectful of other's time. A lot of people are not. It's okay, it happens, but I'm sorry goes really far.

On Faith:

3. The loud people do not speak for the rest of us. Most of us are quite fine with how you want to live and how you want to have a relationship with God or if you want to have one. As Momastery's Glennon Boyle Melton says, "Everybody's in, baby." That's the way God works. Anyone who tells you different has their own agenda. Look closely at agendas. Look at them the same way you look to see who's funding research studies. EVERYBODY IS IN when it comes to God.

On Anger:

4. I've been fighting against sexual violence for a long time. I will always work toward making this better for other survivors. But the fight drains me. Arguing on social media or even in real life—it's exhausting to me. However, I realize that talking with rape survivors, honoring their stories, helping how I can, that is what rejuvenates me. Yesterday, my friend Courtney pointed this out and I loved it: "Anger doesn't have the fuel that love does. It can't last as long." That might not be true for other people, but it's true for me.

On Parenting:

5. Show up. Ask questions. Talk to your kids about difficult things. Play, read, yell, apologize. Acknowledge that it isn't always awesome, acknowledge that sometimes it is. Have a life that isn't completely woven into theirs. Be patient when they give you lice.

On Friendship:

6. Ask for help. Offer help. Tell your people you love them. Laugh and cry and find the people who won't judge you for either. Don't put anyone on a pedestal. Don't think they're more amazing than they are. We're all flawed. It's okay. Everybody is still in.

On Courage:

7. Do something you didn't think you could do. Something very specific that is maybe a little crazy. You don't have to do something risky every day—because honestly, we're not extreme sports junkies—but this year, pick a thing. For me it was roller derby. For Julio, it was quitting his job. For Mandie, it was running a half-marathon. For Carrie, it was starting a podcast. One. Thing. That's it.

That's it. Love you, friends!


Monday, April 6, 2015

Confessions of the World's Most Crap Baseball Mom...

I'm a crap baseball mom. You'll try to make me feel better, I know, because you're nice and don't want me to feel bad. But it's okay. I've reconciled myself with it. I find the problems with baseball season nearly insurmountable. And there appears to be a divided camp on this issue: those moms who think it is NOT a big deal at all and those moms who look at me like I'm nuts trying to pull this off for yet another year because they were clearly smart enough to talk their kids out of this nonsense after the first season.

The difficulty for me is fourfold:

1. I am not a sports person. I have never been a sports person. I did not do anything really sporty until I was nearly 20, and even then it was teaching archery at summer camp, and I'm not totally sure that's considered sporty. (Note: I did play soccer, a little. But as I was neither any good at it nor actually liked it, I don't think that counts.)

2. I married a very sporty person. When I explain why it is a TERRIBLE IDEA for our children to be involved in baseball or any sport really, Julio gives me long speeches about team sports and the value of competition and a bunch of other stuff that sounds like that teacher in the Peanuts (wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah). Then, I try to point out how ABSOLUTELY fine I am as an adult and I never did any real team sports as a kid. But this apparently is not that compelling of an argument for Julio.

3. I am a kind of churchy, Montessori person who wants everyone to win so I cheer for everyone, and occasionally shout out things like, "Be careful, buddy. It's okay. I still love you." OR conversely, I don't bother watching at all because it makes me kind of sad to see anyone feeling down about SPORTS, when they are frankly better than I will ever be at any of it, so I spend most of the game reading books.

4. I get overwhelmed with how sports seem to TAKE OVER YOUR WHOLE LIFE. Therefore, I shut down and don't listen to basic instructions. I find the barrage of emails involved in having 2 children on baseball teams very cumbersome so I mostly delete them. Consequently, I always forget snack when it is my turn to bring snack and then I look innocently at all the other moms and join them in their, "whose turn was it for snack?" conversation as if I'm not 99.9% certain it was probably mine and I deleted that email.

Most of the conversations around baseball or sports in my house go like this (I will put in parentheses what I'm really thinking but don't actually say):

J: I think all our kids should do baseball this spring.
Me: They'd be on 3 different teams. (Are you kidding me that you think I'm going to carpool this mess?)
J: We could make it work.
Me: I don't think Butter likes it enough. Maybe he could do dance.
J: Dance isn't a sport.
Me: *sputters* It is SO.
J: Honey, come on.
Me: Well, what about soccer? (Soccer only meets one day a week and it's on Saturday and Julio could take him)
J: Hmm. Maybe. 
Me: Also, I think I can just drop Jojo off and not have to stay for the whole practice because she's 12.
J: Yeah, but she's still learning and we need to hear what the coach says.
Me: (I don't understand coaches. They sound like the Peanuts' teachers.) Umm...well.
J: We have to know what to work with her on.
J: It's because you're on your phone.
Me: (YES, MAKING FB STATUS UPDATES ABOUT HOW MUCH I SUCK AT BASEBALL MOM-ING). I don't think I'm good at being a baseball mom.
J: *sighs* Yes, I know. I married that, though.
Me: Do you think there's anything that I am good at?
J: You're a really good dog walker.

It's possible Julio told me I was good at other things, but I kind of only remembered the dog walker thing because BEING A GOOD DOG WALKER IS APPARENTLY AN ATTRIBUTE I HAVE THAT NEEDS TO BE MENTIONED. I think Julio had to dig kind of deep for that dog walker thing, too.

We haven't had our first baseball game of the season yet and I'm already at the point of wanting to quit. Today, I told my son that something is going to have to give with all this baseball stuff, and he said, "What about showering?"