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1997 January 2, 2008

Posted by introspectreangel in The Princess.
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It was so strange, you often slept with your

eyes open, whites rolled back into your head and it

was eerie but I knew, deep down, I KNEW that

you were fighting fiercely to stay awake but I

didn’t know if that meant you were afraid of the

monsters that had a nasty habit of interrupting

your sleep or was it more benign, perhaps, flesh

of my flesh that you are, so in love with life and worried

about what you might miss?  And so I left you to

your fitful dreams, hoping that others could

mend the girl I had so thoughtlessly…broken.

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October 7, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in blogging, family, friends, marriage, tattoos, The Princess, thoughtful.
6 comments

From the age of 15 on, I have always wanted to be married and to have a family of my very own. This has led me to make some pretty questionable relationship choices, and on two occasions now, to have children because I thought it would cement the relationship. Of course the pregnancy thing didn’t feel that calculated either time, but in hindsight, in both cases, it really was…in a subconscious way, of course.

What is it about my personality that wanted to be married, as opposed to just being in a long term, even lifelong committed relationship? I would look at couples that had been together for a long time without being married, and I would wonder how they knew they could trust each other, and how they knew one person wouldn’t just walk out. It seemed very unsafe to me, very scary.

My belief in marriage as an “exalted state” came partially from my religious upbringing (I was raised Catholic, and when I was taught about vocations I was taught that marriage was a vocation, just like a call to the religious life) and partially from my perception of my parents’ marriage. They had – HAVE – a partnership like no other I have ever seen. They are aware of and respect each others strengths, weaknesses, talents and flaws, and they work through disagreements instead of manipulating and sulking their way through them until there is a clear “winner”. I looked so highly upon marriage that when I first became aware of same-sex couples inability to get married, I immediately felt that it didn’t seem right. I didn’t have to think about whether their relationships were good or evil. All I knew – KNOW – is that two individuals’ commitment to each other seems TO ME to be a reflection of God’s commitment to us. When my mom says that she can’t support same-sex marriage because, to her, marriage is supposed to be “life-giving”, and homosexuals cannot biologically create life, to me that is the same as saying that infertile heterosexual couples are somehow “faulty”, or that couples who choose not to have children are not going along with the Creator’s plan. And I think God has proven to be perfectly capable of ensuring the survival of the human race without having to insist that any of us live lonely and solitary lives because we don’t fit a particular mold…especially considering God is the One who cast the molds to begin with!

So, moving along…this led me to the belief that any time and in any way people commit to each other, God is present in that commitment. Through that relationship, whatever form it takes, we are giving back to God what God has given us (“All things come of thee, O Lord, and of thine own have we given thee.”). This includes my 7 year friendship with the woman I call my best friend, a woman I expect nothing of other than to be who she is, even though who she is would drive me CRAZY if I had to live with her! Why is it that nothing she could do could ever make me put our friendship to bed, but romantic relationships are chock full of “deal breakers”?

This post came about because this past weekend, my parents and I signed papers to return legal custody of The Princess to me, and I jokingly said to them, “This is your way of ensuring I don’t get married again anytime soon, isn’t it?” and my mom replied, “Yes, actually we were thinking that.” I told them not to worry, and that I was actually thinking of tattooing a stop sign on my left ring finger! What I DIDN’T tell them…that I can’t even conceive of a future spent without a lifelong romantic partner, but that I honestly can’t imagine getting married again. My problem is that I can’t reconcile this feeling with my long held beliefs that two people who are that committed SHOULD get married, otherwise…what are they playing at?

I’m 32 years old. I took my first stab at creating my own family when I was 16, and my second stab at 26. Why has it taken half my life to learn that automatic trust and dependability aren’t included with the price of a marriage license?

October 2, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in The Princess.
4 comments

Y’all please pray for my dear Princess. I haven’t shared the details of what is happening in her life here because, even though I gave birth to her, I haven’t raised her, and the things that are happening in her life are very personal and painful, i.e., not my story to tell.

She is creating a lot of chaos for our family, which is not entirely unheard of in a 14 year old, but she is behaving in extremely frightening ways that are wearing my poor parents out. She has some very serious emotional problems. They may be the result of the abuse she suffered as a baby, though to be clear, I need to point out that she has no conscious memories of what happened to her and she has not suffered for one minute of her life since I removed her from that situation and brought her home to my parents 13 years ago. What she is failing to grasp is that, ultimately, she is a young lady, a sophomore in high school, and she is now responsible for her actions. They have gotten her in serious deep legal trouble already, and it will only get worse if she doesn’t get a handle on her behavior. She has been told over and over how loved and cherished she is, and she has had every need and want provided for (except a cell phone, which is why she believes she is ABUSED).

My parents are rapidly running out of the financial resources necessary for her care, her therapy, and her medications. Something is going to have to change, and fast.

This evening, my mom and I have been discussing spiritual options. Retreats, regular spiritual direction (since talk therapy is NOT WORKING), possibly the sacrament of healing. Maybe understanding that she is also cherished by God will help her? Getting her to see that God will never fail her the way she believes we have? Can you MAKE someone understand these things?

horrible weekend January 17, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in Boy-o, chaos, life, marriage, The Princess, weather.
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When we heard about the impending ice storm last Friday, we decided to proceed with our plans to head south to the state I grew up for a weekend visit with my parents anyway. It was a three day weekend, and as I told my mom on the phone when she asked if we were still coming, “I REFUSE to spend the weekend trapped out here 10 miles outside of town where they don’t plow the roads. Yes, we’re still coming!” If I was going to be trapped by ice, it was better to be trapped in the middle of civilization was my thinking.

Well, the weekend did not go well. The discussion about getting The Princess on some type of regular visitation schedule with us didn’t happen, in spite of our attempts. My parents just will not commit. Evey time we ask, they say they are waiting to hear about one thing or another. This made us tense, and on Monday led to husband and I breaking one of our cardinal rules about not fighting in front of my family. We spent almost all morning and early afternoon on Monday shut up in the guest room arguing. By 2 PM, our son had not had lunch or a nap, and we were still pissed. My personality is such that I have to work out problems when they occur. I don’t have the ability to forestall fighting until meals have been prepared or people aren’t around or to wait for a more “appropriate” time to have “this discussion”. Something inside me is completely convinced the world is going to explode if the problem is not addressed immediately. In any case, by 2 PM on Monday, we knew we had to head back home. I had to be at work the next day, though husband had received a phone call that his work was shut down as that entire city was without power. We left, and my mom was sure to point out that our son had not eaten yet. I snapped something along the lines of “he’s not going to starve to death from missing one meal” and we left. I’m sure they were as relieved to see us go as we were to leave.

The drive home was fairly uneventful – there was some snapping at each other about the volume of husband’s audiobook and the temperature of the thermostat, but this was obviously not what we were really arguing about and more about neither one of us wanting to compromise or let go of our anger, though the argument had run its course. I decided to just shut up by that point and focus on the condition of the road in front of us. We got back to our town with no problems, but as we turned down our county road that doesn’t get plowed or sanded, we quickly realized we had made an error. We slid into the ditch across the road from the house, and the truck was not going to budge. We were exhausted, so we left it in the ditch and went inside to put our son to bed and get ready for work the next day.

The next morning, we tried to work together to get the truck out of the ditch, but it wasn’t moving. I tried to move my car from the driveway to the road, but the tires could not find anything to grip and started sliding almost immediately. I managed to stop it before it too wound up in the ditch, and we both went inside to call our employers. Husband’s boss was no problem – the rehab center was still without power, and the residents were eating only because of a gas generator, but there was no therapy or treatment occurring. My work was open for business, but very understanding when I said I couldn’t get out of my driveway, much less down the road to the highway. A friendly soul knocked on the door about midday and attached a chain from his truck to ours and hauled husband out of the ditch, but not 5 minutes after he drove away we slid right back in the ditch again. This morning we tried to get it unstuck again, and our landlord came over and hooked his tractor up to the truck and moved it from the road to the driveway. A few hours and some snow flurries later, husband thought he could get enough traction to get into town and pick up some snow chains for the tires, but alas, the minute he got off the driveway and on to the road, he was back in the ditch. A third friendly person happened by and hooked up yet another chain and hauled us back onto the driveway, and it was at this point we decided we weren’t going anywhere until spring. Apparently, a truck is not enough – you need a truck with 4 wheel drive to even begin to negotiate this stuff, and even that is no guarantee. The last people who hauled us out of the ditch explained the truck they were in belonged to a neighbor, because their truck was stuck at the bottom of their driveway as well. So at least we knew it wasn’t just us. Meanwhile, I’ve got clients going nuts because I’m not at work and kids who need to be moved to a new foster home, but my boss is having to do it for me, which may not bode well when it come time for my performance review.

I’m trying to console myself with the thought that I may be stuck, but at least I have power and groceries. I’m not in a shelter with many others, my Internet is still working, so I’m not totally isolated. I heard large chunks of ice sliding off the roof this afternoon as they melted, so maybe tomorrow will be better. The schools out this way have already announced that they will still be closed tomorrow, so I just don’t know.

Since we live within 3 hours of both our families… December 27, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in Boy-o, life, The Princess, worship.
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…we were able to spend a part of Christmas with both of them, as well as have some nice private family time at home. In light of recent events, I was a bit subdued and not my usual exuberant Christmas-time self, and who can blame me? None of the RevGals, obviously, who have given me many warm wishes, prayers and lots of virtual hugs, for which I am so incredibly thankful. {{{RevGals}}}

Since we passed through the town where husband’s parents live on the way back home from visiting my family, we attended the Christmas Eve Eucharist at St. P’s, where midnight Mass now gets OUT at midnight instead of STARTING at midnight (brilliant!). I saw that some changes have been taking place there – the church’s voicemail said that they had a children’s service at 5:30 on Christmas Eve, which was a pleasant surprise for a church that only has about 10 children. I wish we could have gone, but just because I can quite happily spend all day and all night in church doesn’t mean my family can! They also welcomed visitors with hot apple cider in the parish hall afterwards and passed out free copies of Those Episkopols, by Dennis R. Maynard. It made me homesick for that church. Our new parish in Even Smaller College Town is so very tiny, and in spite of that I’m having a hard time finding myself! I’ve always been more comfortable in mid-size parishes where I can participate without having people ask where I was if I miss a week. In any case, husband has joined the choir, and I’ve gone once to a Benedictine spirituality class that the rector holds twice a month, but then we had some snow and ice and it hasn’t met this month, so hopefully that will start back up in January.

I think I need to accept that even though The Princess was only with me for a few days, I have indeed experienced the loss of her all over again, very similar to the loss the first time around all those years ago when my parents stepped in, and I’m going to need to grieve it. No problems there – every time I think The Princess’ name, tears start to well up and I feel pissed off all over again. I made a valiant attempt to try to work out some kind of overnight weekends visitation schedule, but was told that needs to wait until my parents figure out what weekends my dad will be coming home. On the bright side, they sounded agreeable to it, and mentioned that the weekends he comes home would be good weekends to send her to us so they can be alone, but on the down side, they still wouldn’t COMMIT! ARRRGGGGHHHHH! THEY WILL NEVER FREAKING COMMIT!!!! If we haven’t managed to work something out by the end of January, I will in all likelihood have to take a more drastic step that I really don’t want to think about at this time.

Santa Claus brought Boy-o more toys than he will be able to play with for the next two years. His favorite was a set of toy cars that included an ambulance, 3 fire trucks, a police car, tow truck, dump truck, and snow plow. He also got an animatronic T-Rex from my sister, and he spent all morning yesterday pushing the button that makes it roar and telling it “Don’t eat my trucks! Don’t eat my toys! Don’t eat my computer!” (AKA his My First LeapPad) It was almost (but obviously not quite) too cute for words.

I should have known it was doomed from the begin… December 21, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in The Princess.
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I should have known it was doomed from the beginning.The trouble is, there are so many different angles to approach it from, and being smack in the middle of the situation means that my perspective is, shall we say, a wee bit skewed. I’ll try to count my blessings and understand how fortunate I am to have SOME insight. In other words, I understand that I don’t understand anything – that’s going to be the only thing that gets me through.

SO – where to start.

Well, the brief experiment that had The Princess finally living with me has ended, and far too abruptly to allow me any peace with the situation.

A quick recap: I was a 17 year old kid when I had her, I had given her up to the care of my parents so I could go to college, I ran around and had A LOT of fun in college, and by the time I finally graduated she was well and firmly planted with my parents and didn’t want to live with me. My parents took me to court and obtained joint custody, and I went along very grudgingly, not knowing at that time that I should have opted to have them appointed temporary guardians instead. The final order says that we are joint managing conservators, but that they will have the exclusive right to determine The Princess’s domicile. I have the right to consent to medical treatment, and they got everything else. The more time that went by, the less it hurt, but it has never stopped hurting completely, mostly because I know that things turned out the way they did because of my poor choices and I feel guilty. However, I had no choice but to accept things as they were, and so that’s what I did. I’ve accepted it on the surface, but always hoped she would decide she wanted to live with me when she was older.

SO, she turned 13, did some things that got her in some trouble, and my parents were angry and felt betrayed, and asked if she could come live with me. I said yes, absolutely, and within days I had it all arranged: I enrolled her in school, made arrangements for after school care, made an appointment for an intake with a very reputable counseling program, cleaned out the closet in the spare bedroom and bought linens and bathroom supplies for her, made out a new schedule for how everyone in the family would get everywhere they needed to be, told everyone in Will’s family that the long-awaited for day was finally here, and planned a welcome party for her. The day before Thanksgiving, The Princess and her stuff were brought to my workplace, and from there I took her home. I told my mom there was no going back, that if this was for real, she was not going to be able to decide she was tired of my house and move back with them, and Mom agreed. The four of us – husband, myself, Boy-o, and The Princess celebrated a joyful Thanksgiving with husband’s family and told everyone she was here to stay.

A few days later, the whole deal was off. Mom wanted The Princess home, and The Princess wanted to go home and finish her school semester and take part in the choir performance she had been rehearsing for. I asked if she would be coming back, and Mom said yes. And then…radio silence. After several weeks of daily conversations with Mom about The Princess’s problems, all communication ceased. I would call both the home and cell numbers, and no one would answer. It felt as though my calls were being screened. Finally, I got through, and was told of an appointment that The Princess had with a counselor she had been seeing, an appointment at which recommendations would be made about how to proceed with her. I asked point-blank, “Is she going to be coming back here or not?” Mom couldn’t – or wouldn’t – say. I called the day of the scheduled counseling appointment to find out what happened, and the next day, too. No answer. 4 days after the appointment, I receive a call from my dad. The decision has been made – The Princess will be staying with them, purportedly on the recommendation of her counselor who has already built a rapport with her and would like to see her treatment through to its completion. No argument from me there – I know how important rapport is in the counseling relationship, and I was willing to make this sacrifice for The Princess’s good. I had located a reputable counselor here, and I was willing to do whatever it took to address her issues here, but she already has a relationship with this other person, and I respect that. “But”, I asked, “Can she come live here when she is finished with her treatment?” There is much hemming and hawing, and no real answer.

I drive down to meet my mom and The Princess one afternoon shortly after, and I hang back and listen as they talk with each other about her future, and it is apparent that they have already made a very important decision without consulting me. When The Princess finishes her treatment, she is to move to a different state with my parents, where my dad’s job has been transferred. I lean over to The Princess, and I say to her, “You know, it was very, very hard for me to go into your room and pack up all the things that you had left to bring them to you today. I really thought you were with me to stay. It made me really sad.” I steeled myself for her response – I knew the tone of it would shed some light on what had really happened during those days of radio silence. She wouldn’t look at me, and she used a smart-aleck tone as she said, “Well, I’m SORRY!”

So, The Princess was supposed to live with me…am I okay with her staying with my parents? I can stare myself down in the mirror and manage to say without crying that if The Princess’s needs can best be met by her current counselor, then I am okay with that. The real question is, am I okay with her moving with my parents to this other place when her treatment is finished? I am absolutely NOT OKAY with this, nonetheless, I can bite my lip, stare at myself again and say, “Yes, as long as I have visitation.” I say this because The Princess’s tone in response to my telling her how I felt had given me a different idea. I had thought that my parents had used her as some type of pawn – they were angry with her, so they sent her to me, they got over being angry, they took her back. But perhaps it was The Princess who backed out of the idea of living with me, not my parents…and since all I’ve ever wanted was for her to be happy, I suppose I’m right back at square one, having to accept that decisions that affect me have been made without me once again.

But, oh HELL, does this hurt. I’m crying right now, and if this were paper, the letters would all be smeared and unreadable.

It’s a girl! And she’s 13! November 22, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in The Princess.
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Princess Ow has lived with my parents since she was 18 months old, when her biological father and I went our separate ways. This happened because I was a 17 year old child myself, the relationship was a very violent one, and the Princess herself was severely abused. It was very ugly – she was hurt in a way that no child ever should be. What happened to her happened when she was so little that she has no conscious memory of it, but the field of psychology tells me that it is still with her, regardless, and probably always will be. It will most likely manifest in the inability to ever make healthy adult attachments with others. Gee, should I be scared yet? In any case, our family had pretty much agreed years ago that as long as The Princess knew how everyone was related, i.e. that I am her biological mom and not really her big sister, that she should live wherever she is most comfortable, and that has always been with my parents. Enter THE ADOLESCENT YEARS…

In the last two years since she found out about her childhood abuse, her behavior has been on a steady downward slide. How much of this is due to simply being 13 and how much to her childhood trauma I don’t know. But long story short, my parents are in their 50’s and no longer able to deal with her. In spite of all of our best efforts, the love and care of a large family, and a stable, financially secure environment in which to grow up happy and healthy, she’s managed to get herself into a bit of trouble. She’s also in need of serious, specific therapy at this point. Last night, my sister, who is a Child Protective Services caseworker down in Texas, called me and said (in her I’m-totally-done-with-this-crap voice), “YOUR daughter wants to come live with you RIGHT NOW. I’ll drive her up tomorrow. What’s a good time?”

So, I’m excited and worried all at the same time. Should I be buying cigars in a pink box or fitting out a cell for her?!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

The Princess and I had an interesting chat on Friday… August 14, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in politics, The Princess, theology.
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…night after she arrived. She is homeschooled by my mother (and has been for 6 years now), so she has the most incredible vocabulary of any 13 year old I’ve ever known – myself excepted, perhaps. Anyway, she was looking through my DVD’s for something to watch when she stumbled across “Fahrenheit 9-11”. The fact that I am the “family liberal” is something of a running joke. My parents, sister and her husband, brother, and now The Princess are all conservative – so are all my in-laws, so husband is the standout in his family as well. For the record, I consider myself to be a moderate or an independent. I joke that it’s because I actually have an ounce of compassion for people who’ve made some bad choices (having made a few myself!), and they call me a bleeding heart. So it goes…

I don’t know, I guess I thought at 13 she would be more…malleable? But she’s got her opinions and they are SET as far as she’s concerned. She adores Ann Coulter, whom I find to be repulsive simply for her sheer rudeness. Guess what the kid did – she offered to lend me her latest book!! I explained I found her to be completely hateful in the way she expresses herself, and that I preferred not to read her work as she calls liberals “godless”, and I don’t think that I particularly am. Then I told her I’d read it if she’d watch “Fahrenheit”. 🙂

The Princess tried to feel me out on a few other issues…she likes that we agree that people receiving welfare should be accountable for trying to improve their earning capacity, especially after I explained to her that without Medicaid she never would have seen a doctor as a baby and without daycare assistance I might have dropped out of college. We flowed back and forth between political and religious issues, and she asked me whether I thought that people who commit suicide go to hell. I answered an emphatic “absolutely NOT”. Admittedly, I wondered why she was asking, but I’m assuming that it’s something my mom is covering with her in religion class (she’s being raised Catholic by my parents). I told her that I thought when someone commits suicide, God gathers that person in His arms and says “I’m sorry you were in such pain on earth that you felt you had no other choice but this, but you don’t have to be in pain anymore.” I’m not 100% sure she liked my answer, but husband interjected that he believes that God can see through mental illness, and people who commit suicide are depressed, which is one form of mental illness. She said she’d have to think about that. I was SO PROUD to hear that. True, her opinions have been informed by being raised in a conservative family, but she is beginning to differentiate herself from my parents. She may grow up to be a dyed-in-the-wool conservative like the rest of them, but I don’t think I have to fear that she won’t have considered the other side of the issues.

Today is Thursday, and Boy-o has finally come out … August 10, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in Boy-o, life, The Princess.
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…of his near-catatonic state of ecstasy induced by our attendance at last Saturday’s Wiggles concert. It was loads of fun. He pointed his fingers and did the twist. He rock-a-byed his bear. He made fruit salad. And yes, it was yummy, yummy. When you add in the fact that Jeff Wiggle (he’s the purple one) came this close to us, Professor Singalottasonga made an appearance to guide us all on a musical journey to Sydney, and Murray played the opening chords of “Stairway to Heaven” to test if his guitar worked – well, let’s just say a good time was had by all.

Gabe’s big sister (who shall hereafter be known as Princess Ow of Boo-Boo Land – she’s a bit dramatic at times) who lives with my parents in the state I grew up in, is coming to visit this weekend to help celebrate my father-in-law’s birthday. We’ve been working for awhile on getting our lives situated so that she can begin to spend more time with us, and I’m pretty excited that it looks like it may actually start to happen. Princess Ow is missing something that many of us take for granted – grandparents. Since she lives with my parents and calls them Mom and Dad, that is the role they play for her. The legal relationship with her biological father and his family was terminated when she was a baby due to abuse, so she’s really missed out on having grandparents altogether. My husband (who technically speaking is her stepfather, but not really, since she doesn’t live with us) offered up his parents to be her grandparents so she could have at least one set, and they really jumped on it by adding her to the family birthday and Christmas calendar, and when they tell everyone about Boy-o, they are always sure to mention The Princess as their granddaughter as well. They even tried to encourage her to come up with “grandparent names” for them, but all the new family frightened the Princess a little bit, so everyone has taken things really, really slow. Now that we’ve been married for almost four years, it’s starting to look like she may join in for some more things, and may even adopt the grandparent names that Boy-o uses for husband’s parents, which will give them something to feel bonded as siblings about. It’s a lot of change. And don’t we all know scary change can be? We’ve done everything we know how to do to ease things along gently, and this is the point we’ve arrived at. Hopefully it will all work out.

RevGalBlogPals Friday Five: Spring Break March 17, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in Boy-o, Canada, family, Friday Fives, life, road trips, The Princess.
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5 memorable Spring Breaks:

1) Well, there was the Spring Break in 1993 when I was 17, during which I had my daughter (see my profile – she’s the almost-13-year-old who lives with my parents). I was much too young to be a mom, but the experience of bringing her into the world is seared into my memory forever. I know that most moms will say the same about all their babies, but for me it’s especially poignant because I haven’t raised her, so I hold especially tight to the memories I do have. When it was announced at the crucial moment that she was a girl (I had chosen to be surprised), I was crying and laughing and I said her name and, “she’s here! She’s here!” I felt so much joy at that particular moment. I felt God around us when I looked at her and kissed her nose. I absolutely can’t imagine my family’s life without her in it. My parents probably can’t say the same – if not for her they would almost certainly be “empty nesters” by now, and there are probably days when they can imagine that peace and quiet quite well!

2) Ahhh, my erstwhile trip to Canada from December 1997-March 1998 (age 22) definitely encompassed Spring Break. I took some time off from school and drove 21 hours to Canada to meet some folks I had met chatting on IRC…you know, back in the days of dial-up Internet when that kind of thing was considered weird. 🙂 Home base for most of the trip was Winnipeg, Manitoba, but a friend and I embarked on a trip across country (and boy, is it a big country), landing in Montreal before heading back west. I made the tragic mistake of falling in love with my friend on the trip, so when he broke the news that he’d had a fun few months, but it was time for me to go home and he wasn’t coming with me, it was awful. Ugh, I will never understand why some people want to be young again

3) There was my one and only Spring Break trek to South Padre Island in 1999, when I was 23, and on my first senior year in college. It was miserable. The beach was wall to wall with tanned look-a-likes sporting tribal tattoos and belly button piercings. There were beer cans everywhere. And I…well, I was Goth during that period. To this day I’m clueless as to whatever made me think I would like South Padre, anyway. Don’t get me wrong – I love the beach, but South Padre was not my scene. My boyfriend at the time and I left and went camping on Mustang Island, instead. Much nicer – less spoiled, quieter – you get the picture. The weirdest part of that trip? I ran into my little sister in one of Padre’s many t-shirt and swimwear shops. She and I didn’t talk much then, and I had no idea she was going to be there!

4) Last year’s trip to Wisconsin took place in February, so it wasn’t quite Spring, but let’s call it “close enough”, shall we? My husband and I were founding members of the young adult group at our big church in the big city. Our group’s mentor was Mother Barb, and wow – she was just awesome. She came to all of our gatherings – the BBQ at our tiny apartment, theology talks at local pubs, etc. When I met her, my whole understanding of “vocation” changed radically. Anyway, she left the big city and moved to Wisconsin, where she was originally from, and when she was installed as vicar of St. Luke’s in tiny Sister Bay, Wisconsin, the group made a road trip and I got to go (husband stayed home with our Boy-o). We rented a Suburban and drove straight there, attended the installation and the banquet afterwards on Friday night, had Saturday to tour the town, and drove straight home right after church on Sunday, narrowly avoiding being trapped in town by a blizzard. I was gone a total of 4 days, but when I got back, my son, who was drinking from a bottle when I left, had been switched to a sippy cup by my husband! What I wanted to know was, why wasn’t he potty trained, too?! (Just kidding – he was only 10 months old)

5) This year, in June (again, not really Spring, also again, “close enough”) we will be taking our monster to an anime convention in the big city we used to live in. It’s a massive anime and gaming convention, and if you don’t know what anime is, well, this is the Internet – go look it up! 🙂 Anime is really my husband’s thing. He even prefers it in Japanese with subtitles, instead of dubbed over in English. He also plays all these weird role-playing games with dice and costumes, so he’s looking forward to it. Since we don’t actually live in the city this year, we will be staying in the convention hotel for the first time instead of just going to the events and then going home. I like some of the anime, but I like the art show and the dealer room more, and I also like hotels. I’m putting up with the convention, and in return, we get to take our little monster to Sea World in San Antonio when it’s over! Now THAT I’m excited about!