The Daily News

LFCA Latest Issue: Friday, September 25, 2009.

Latest Post on BlogHer: Parenting after Infertility.

My Status: Fed Josh's almonds to the squirrels. They needed them very badly.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Housekeeping and Talking about My Feelings

Every night around 11 p.m., right as Josh is trying to watch the Daily Show, I ask him if he wants to talk about my feelings. The answer is usually no. I thought I'd set that in the title just in case your answer is also no--either because you're also watching the Daily Show or because you simply don't feel like hearing about my feelings.

My feelings. Does anyone else talk about their feelings as if they are tangible entities separate from your body?

This first feeling contains children. Feel free to skip this one if you're not up to reading it. I was the room mother last week. As room mother, I got to go to school on Friday and read a book to the class and my child got to choose the songs we sang at circle time and sit at a special snack table. It's sort of the preschool equivalent to winning an Oscar except that every child gets to have their week.

Everyone probably has a moment in their head that they keep returning to--an image of being in this moment--when they can't conceive. A moment they are striving to reach. For some it might be a first Christmas or bringing the baby to a big family reunion or something of that ilk.

And my moment was being the room mum.

When I imagined myself as room mum, I was actually picturing my own mother as room mum for my brother's class back when he was in preschool. We have a video from that day of my brother sitting next to my mother while she read the class a book about a little fish named Otto. So when I pictured myself, it was with an early 80s haircut and a slightly exasperated look as my spirited child inserted extra words between every line of the book.

The date snuck up on me and I was wholly unable to absorb the idea that I had finally reached my moment. Isn't that bizarre? I entered the room and sat down in the circle with my Fancy Nancy book. I sang the same songs that I learned in preschool and then was led to the special snack table in the front of the room.

And then it hit me as I sat down. I was there--I was right there in the moment I had been thinking about since 2001. And it's 2009. That is a very long time to wait for a particular moment. I hate to be all dramatic, but I really felt like an internal wound had healed. There, I did it, I got all swoony and dramatic. But that's exactly how it felt.

Which leads us to feeling number two.

I got home and realized that it was time to throw out all of my teaching materials. I kept a few documents on disc and I packed up a box of writing books. But everything else went into the garbage. It took two trips to the dump to haul away a nine year teaching career. Middle school, high school, and college. I really can't say why I thought it was time or why I think I won't go back to teaching. At least not teaching the subjects I was teaching.

There was a lot of hurt in those boxes. It hurt to know they were downstairs and it hurt to open them and look at my career laid out on pieces of papers. On thousands of pieces of paper. I have no regrets about leaving teaching so I can't fully explain it. I threw them out while Josh was out of the house. I felt like I needed to do it alone. I dumped the first box angrily. And then I sat with the second box opened for a while feeling this awful wave of regret. And then I simply closed the boxes and pushed them over to the garbage pile and saved only a single picture of myself at a random graduation, my acceptance letter for my last teaching position, and a song I wrote about my students on a school trip. The hardest thing to throw out was this hand-drawn window covering that was behind my desk for six years. It was interlocking shells. Everyone would come in my room and comment on it and when I left, a fellow teacher asked if I would leave it behind. I thought I wanted it so I packed it and it felt sad to throw it out.

I have a lot more thoughts about things we threw out from the storage room as well as an impromptu trip to Ikea. I think the whole purging and redecorating are baby steps towards something. The point is not entirely clear so I think I need to still sit with it for a few days.


If you signed up for the IComLeavWe list and you haven't been moved up to the main post (and it has been over 24 hours), there is a good reason
. You don't have the current pink icon on your blog. There are about 11 people in that position right now. Why do you have to add the icon? Well, it's two-fold. One, it gives more people a chance to find the list and join along. But the more important reason is that there is a long gap between sign-up and the start date for the commenting week. The icon on your blog serves as a visual reminder since I can't send out an email to everyone as I do with the book club when the post date is approaching. Seeing it there better ensures that people who sign up also participate when the time comes to do the commenting. So make sure you put on the icon either before you leave your comment or immediately after. And if you just checked the list and realized you're not on it, add the icon and let me know it's up.

I am still working on the Creme de la Creme. I'm much slower getting blurbs up on the list that come in after the due date (this year, it was December 19th). Sorry.

Bloglines seems to not be updating or finding a feed for Lost and Found (it may also be the case for this blog too, though I've only heard about in regards to Lost and Found). I'm not sure why it's not working and I haven't gotten a clear answer on what is wrong with the RSS feed or why it suddenly stopped working. I don't have a great solution beyond the email sign-up (it's on the right sidebar). It will send you a link to the current post every afternoon. But other than that, I'm not sure how to fix it because I've tried everything they've suggested.

Thank you for listening to my housekeeping items and my feelings. Perhaps I won't need to bother Josh tonight.


Photogrl said...

As a self-proclaimed "packrat", I understand the pain of purging.

Last Novemeber, I had an aunt come visit and help be declutter and reorganize. It was the hardest four days of my life. Opening boxes of items that at one time seemed so important, yet only made me sad.

But I have to admit that I loved the "lighter" feeling I had after I recovered from all the work.

I hope you feel "lighter" now.

Ellen K. said...

Great post, Mel. I've been thinking about my realized moments -- the small shocks of self-recognition in parenting after IF.

I've also been cleaning house, as you know. Out with the hurt -- especially the many baby name and parenting books purchased before IF that have been updated more than once since then. : P

Lori said...

That's amazing.

As my kids kissed me goodbye this morning and jaunted down the walk to the carpool, backpacks bouncing, I had the same feeling.

This is one of the scenes I had in mind when I so desperately wanted children. I couldn't see their faces, but I imagined their well-adjusted gait as they happily went out in the world, knowing they'd come home in a few hours.

Congratulations to you on deepening your transition of who you WERE to who you ARE.

An IKEA girl.

Kristin said...

I am also a packrat. When I clean and purge, it tends to be dramatic. I hope your endeavors make you feel better in the long run.

perhcancetodream said...

I don't think I even realized I had "A moment" until I read this. I'm so very glad that you got to realize yours. I hope we're as fortunate.

Bluebird said...

I really liked this post. It's made me want to sit and really nail down my moments - so one day down the road I'll know with certainity that I've reached them.

I think I've been doing that in some form since the babies, and its definitely been a journey in self exploration. I always thought I'd be a super-mom-career-woman who ran her kids around in heels. . . and I'm starting to wonder if my moment does not have me in a suit and heels, but rather in slacks and flats acting as room mom.

Thanks for the food for thought.

Beautiful Mess said...

I've had my moment, too! It was when my daughter rode the bus for the first time. It was bitter sweet. I cried because I was going to miss her, but I also cried because she was learning some independence. I'm glad you realized your moment at the time and were able to enjoy it.

the misfit said...

Why don't you plan to go back to teaching what you were teaching before?

Emily said...

Great post, Mel! I am so glad you enjoyed your moment. I have so many, I only hope they reside somewhere in my future.

I recently purged 5 years of teaching materials and it was with a great deal of mixed emotions. I held onto them for several years, packed them up and moved them so many times - I couldn't let them go & then I did. It was a great feeling in the end.

Thanks for sharing!~

Anonymous said...

I think it's lovely that you ask Josh regularly, even if the answer is sometimes 'not so much.' It shows a communication between the two of your that is admirable.

Also, the Daily Show rocks. As though I need to tell you that. Choir. Preaching. Etc.

As to the first feeling, I get that one so much. In the midst of my fertility struggles (and the sinking feeling that there might not ever be a #2), I lose sight of the fact that I'm ALREADY the mom I had this fuzzy imagining of. No matter what else is going on with my crazy self, I'm still a volunteer soccer coach, snack mom, and crafter-of-kids-togs. It's hard to believe, and important to honor all at the same time.

As to your second feeling... hugs. It is hard to part with things that used to define you, but no longer 'fit.'

Anonymous said...

Ummm...yeah, talking about feelings during The Daily Show is not OK :)

Interesting about the teaching stuff. Mine is in our attic and I guess one day I'll have an experience like you are describing. It will be hard to throw away the artifacts that represent so much time, work and thought.

My "moment" that I'm looking forward to is strange, perhaps. It is the first time that J comes home from work and Evie toddles to him and says "Daddy!" with delight. I've looked forward to that moment for years.

And thanks for the info about LFCA because I have been annoyed at Bloglines for months. I just signed up for e-mails...much easier.

Heather said...

My bad--I thought I had already put up the ICLW button. It's up now.

Fertilized said...

I need someone to come to my house and help me declutter. My sister was supposed to help me as my christmas present - but never came through.

I love your moment!

Carrie27 said...

What an eventful week for you. Major life changes.

I'm interested to see what change is coming your way.

Cassandra said...

Aren't there ever room dads?

I'm going to ask DH if he wants to talk about my feelings during the Daily Show tonight and see what happens. I'm pretty sure I won't get a no, if only because I never ask that question so it must be important.

I can see the teacher now. "Wow, Wolvog's mom (or was it ChickieNob?) was really into being room mum...

...I bet she is a teacher."
...I should have her back all the time."
...She could teach some of the other room mums a thing or two."
...I can see where Wolvog/ChickieNob gets it."

Paz said...

I enjoyed your post more than watching the Daily Show...

I know just what you mean about the moment. Yep, I have had that and it was joyful, as well as a bit shocking. In fact, I have them from time to time. Last week I was in a meeting and one of the women said" well, most of us have children..." and I felt like a I wasn't included for a brief moment and then it hit me – I am a mom! It was as if I went from IF to mom in a nanosecond. Not as poetic as your school mum moment, but profound for me as yours was for you.

Artblog said...

Fab post! Its good to just let it all out from time to time, shame your husband is like my husband and wont listen. But that's why I got a blog, makes sense now :)

Your num 1 feeling reminded me of the day I pushed Dan in his buggy to fetch Lala from school and I suddenly thought, hey, this is what I dreamt of doing for so long and I'm here, able to do it. Like a flash bulb when on in my heart that very minute and a really warm fuzzy feeling washed over me.

Talk about getting all soppy, look at me go now :)

And number two: Feel pangs of regret all the time but at the same time, I don't! Conflicting emotions I know, but then life is full of them, eh!


Marge said...

NOthing much to say except, "I can relate". Sigh.

JamieD said...

I love listening to you talk about your feelings. They are always so similar to mine only funnier!