Tag Archives: me

Sobering gifts

A few weeks ago I was given a gift.

It came in the form of an email. My friend Heather warned me that she was writing a post for her blog about being an alcoholic. Turns out she thought I’d understand.

And my world turned upside down and inside out when I read that email.

Because she was right. She knew. And I responded, after hesitating over the send button, with tears and empathy. I fully understood.

The next day she published her post. I hung on to every word. I felt like she was in my head, and spilled what I was thinking out on her blog.

A few days later, hanging by a thread to the coat tails of Heather’s courage, I mustered up a bit of my own. After a few drinks, I looked at my glass of tequila with a splash of juice, and said out loud it’s not you, it’s me. And that’s the truth. There’s something in me that cannot stop once I start. It’s an addiction. It might not have happened every night, but once I picked up a drink, I could not stop. The first made me edgy for my fourth. And if I wasn’t drinking, I was thinking of drinking, and trying to figure out why I hadn’t stocked my wine racks with my companions Cabernet, Shiraz, or Merlot.

On January 26th, 2010, I quit drinking.

And I think I’ve been crying on and off ever since. It’s freeing, but terrifying. I feel broken, battered by the abusive relationship I’ve had with the bottle for years. And I do mean years. It was kept at by while I was bearing children, but after Paige was born it came back with a vengeance.

Three days into my sobriety Maggie came out with her truth. And again, I cried. Another gift. These stories are what help. Our truths, showing that we are here, not alone. No matter the story, there is that one common thread. Alcoholism.

I feel the same way about AA meetings. I’ve been to several, and can feel warmth the minute I enter the chilly church basement or side room. The first meeting I attended was indescribable. I physically shook for the first half, and cried the second. But there were arms that reached out to me. Tissues were handed over, as well as phone numbers and countless hugs. Strangers, tied together by this common thread, told me I was going to be ok. To keep coming.

So that’s what I’m doing. I keep going. And it’s gotten better. There are good days, and there are terribly rotten days. But I’m still standing, and I’m still sober. And I can do this.

I woke up this morning, and for the first time I wasn’t pinned down with self loathing or self-pity. Truthfully, the thing that’s really getting me through is knowing I never have to wake up hung over again. Never have to wear the shame of missed wine stained lips to a playdate. From here on out, my kids will never see me drunk. Those are powerful things. I have a beautiful life. Imagine what it will be like to live it fully aware and conscious. Sober.

So here it is. I’m Corinne, and I’m an alcoholic. And I’m going to learn to fly again.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.

~The Beatles, Blackbird

**And Heather & Maggie – thank you for your courage. For your honesty, your compassion. I have so much love for you both!

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Sleepy Saturday

Today I slept in. Until 9:45.
I’m not kidding.
I’m married to the most wonderful man who not only keeps the kids entertained for a full morning, but also deep cleans the living room carpets at the same time. Seriously. Love him.

Then I left in the early afternoon to have lattes with one of my best friends. My husband even encouraged me to leave early so I could have some quiet time. By myself. Again… love him.

So I did. I drove a few towns over, parked the car and walked through the brisk air to the locally owned coffee shop. My gingerbread mocha was perfect, and the chocolate chip cookie delish. I sat and listened to the next table over talk about how Hans Solo and Princess Leia have several children… smiled to myself and then dove into an essay by Anne Lamott. It was Red Cords. I brought the book for my friend to borrow, and flipped it open to read the quote:

“I’m sorry I was awful.” I said “I don’t know what’s wrong with me sometimes. Everything gets to be too much and I can’t breathe”.

Oh Anne… you get me…

I can always pick up something that she’s written and feel like she’s in my head.

My friend came, and we sat and talked. About grown up things. We laughed about politics {what else can you do…} We cried a little about a few things. Then we laughed some more.

These moments, these grown up moments that sometimes make you feel like you’re the one who is three years old asking “what are you saying??” these moments that seem so life altering and scary… need to be owned and embraced. All of them. Even the ones that seem as wild and crazy as the frigid January air.

But they can be tamed with chocolate chip cookies and gingerbread mochas. They can be taken on after the first good nights sleep in months. And on a good day, those scary January moments fade into warm snuggles with a toddler who holds onto a book instead of a dolly as she drifts off to sleep…

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{sorry for the fuzziness of this photo… a mama can only do so much while being sneaky and trying not to wake the little one…}

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Blue skies

Today, there are no fevers. Just blue skies and fresh snow, calling for slippery snowpants and footprints.

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Devilish smiles when glancing down a slide that’s filled with snow…

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And proud exclamations
Look Mommy! A biiig snowball!!

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LOOK Mommy!!

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And these cheeks. And little red nose. And the watery eyes that leave single tears… Oh. My. Goodness.

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We all desperately needed that hour of fresh air this morning. In the worst way.

Especially me. Because in about twenty minutes, my 6 week writing class starts, and I’m a bundle of nerves and nervous energy. It’s online, and sounds similar to classes I’ve taken previously, but it’s six weeks, twelve assignments, of writing. Creative writing. And it’s something just for me. Which I really truly need right now. So I’m excited, but very nervous. Anxious. Ready for it to start, and to see what’s in store for me and diving into the craft.

So this morning, I needed that breath of fresh air to push the nerves aside, to know I’ll be just fine – even if we lost one of Paige’s boots on our way outside and didn’t realize until after she soaked through her sock… had to come back in and relive the whole stuffing everyone into snowsuits and boots a second time…

Blue skies
Smiling at me
Nothing but blue skies
Do I see

~Irving Berlin, Blue Skies

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Sally and the gang

They were hidden for years in a blue plastic garbage bin in one closet or another. Moved with me more times than I can count over the years. Played with, cuddled with, cried on, loved.

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I brought them out today without expectations. My children aren’t really into dolls. But I was.

These dolls, they were such a huge part of my childhood, of me. Of my imagination, and story telling. I lovingly toted them everywhere with me. Most were handmade by my mother. While I had Barbies (much to my mother’s chagrin… and now mine…) the soft hand crafted, made with more love and patience and occasionally blood and tears, were my favorite.

This afternoon I gingerly took each one out of the bin marked Dolls – Corinne’s Room, written in my mother’s handwriting. Thick black sharpie on yellowed masking tape. I smoothed doll hair and dresses. As my children watched closely, the names rattled off my tongue like I was five and playing with imaginary friends. Sally, Margaret, Raggedy Ann, Star, Sleepy, Holly….

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Sally {above} was my favorite. She was beneath the tree on the Christmas of 1983. Whenever my mother made me a new dress, Sally had one as well. When I cried, or was lonely, or was the kind of mad that only a little girl can be, Sally was there. When I got my ears pierced, so did Sally. It never dawned on me until years later that Sally didn’t look like other baby dolls. She was made for me, nearly indestructible, and still soft. So full of love.

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I don’t know that I’d define myself as a normal child, or a normal adult for that matter. I know I made up worlds of my own, friends of my own, and lived happily among them. I was the child sitting on a swing set singing Somewhere Out There to my grandparents miles away. I penned stories that my mother bound for me. In my mind, my dolls had feelings, and I had to play with them all equally so no one would get upset. They were a part of me, of my childhood circle of friends. They were me. I need to pull them out every now and then, not only to share with my children, but so I never forget.

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Discovery

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Today we took the kids to The Discovery Museum. It’s a little bit of a hike for us, but we were all aching to get out of the house, and we didn’t want the crowds that we figured the big city museums would have today. So we headed west, where the world moves at a slightly slower pace, perfect for a rainy Sunday.

As soon as we walked in the door we were greeted by an expansive train table, which Fynn was magnetically drawn. Lucas stayed with him as Paige and I explored the three floors of fun. A water table, old fashioned diner set up, a safari room, and much more.

Paige and I don’t get to spend much time just the two of us. When we do, she holds on tighter than I expect. When it’s just Paige, she holds back a little. Often she stands and observes the world around her, waiting for the nudge. Waiting for a big brother to come and show her what’s okay to play on, what’s good for exploring. She waits to see what roads he’ll pave for her. When she needs to do the paving, she hesitates. She scrutinizes everyone within eyesight.  Reads people and places before she takes one step. Eventually she’ll dive in, but it takes her a while to test the waters, however warm and comfortable.

I get it.

More than I care to admit, I get it. I, too, wait for someone to pave the way, to make the road a little less bumpy, before I head down it myself. I watch instead of participate.

A lot.

I’m not one for New Years Resolutions. They always end up being a piece of paper crumpled and thrown aside within the first two weeks of the new year. A list of unreasonable goals and expectations. But this coming year, I vow to make changes. To be a participant. To nudge myself when necessary, and pave my own way. It’s possible, and reasonable. I want to show, especially my daughter, that she doesn’t need anyone to pave her way. That she can have faith in herself and that she can reach whatever stars she desires.

This year we will make things happen. With faith, dreams, and a joyful spirit, I will be an active participant in my life.

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I wasn’t going to complain…

I can’t stand it when I complain. It always fills me with regret after the fact, and then I wonder how I sound to every one else, and I don’t want to seem self-centered…

And I’ve done a lot of complaining this year. A three month migraine {which thanks to acupuncture and some coping mechanisms is now held at bay most of the time, yay!} will do that to you.

So this morning, as I clutched my side I looked at my  husband and said “something is always wrong with me!” It feels that way at times. Like my body is not my friend. Probably paybacks for all the times I didn’t exercise, that I filled it with wine instead of vegetables…

Thankfully it’s nothing major, just discomfort from an ovarian cyst. I know plenty who are worse off right now {which is why I hesitate to complain} But it sucks. Really. I’m sitting here with a heating pack, a box of dark chocolate stars from Trader Joe’s, in bed, with my laptop. I cannot concentrate. I want to read others words and comment and be thoughtful, but I can’t. It’s like I’ve never known pain. Which is a total lie. I’ve gone through childbirth – twice – with no epidural. I’ve gone through three months of a migraine that didn’t let up. I should be used to this.

But we never are. We are not made to handle pain. I curl up like a ball, hoping my kids don’t take the opportunity to try to jump all over their mommy. I bury my head and hope it goes away magically. I pray for God to give me a whole month where I feel okay. I beg for cuddles {literal and figurative} because that’s what heals me. And I might complain. And ask for my Mommy. Just a little….

Tomorrow I’ll look on the bright side. Tonight, in the darkness where pain and suffering is always worse {even if it’s just in our own minds} I’m going to throw myself a little pity party.

Here’s to chocolate covered shortbread cookies, rice packs and soft flannel sheets. To friends and family who step up to the plate. And to good morning hugs and kisses that make the day seem possible. In so many ways.

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Drive

There are days when as soon as I wake I feel it beckoning. Reaching to me with outstretched hands, welcoming my misery, telling me to indulge and give in. A migraine, though off on the distant horizon, is trying to come back. Sneaking its way into a weak moment. After a restless night, where I couldn’t string two hours of sleep together at one time, it makes its move. And it’s appealing. The thought of giving in, having an excuse for crabbiness, an excuse to lay on the couch and try to ignore the duties that come with being a stay at home mom. It whispers sweet nothings of how it’s going to try to help and get me to close my eyes for a few minutes more, that the pain will be worth the rest. Slump your shoulders. Close your eyes. Ignore the world. It’s worth it.

But it’s not. Nothing is worth that pain. And the pain that comes after realizing how many minutes, hours, days have gone by where I’ve succumbed and have let my kids watch movies all day long. Have said that I did not have the strength to be their mother. Have let my mind and body gone to waste because it was the easy way.

So this morning, after few moments of sleep and consoling a crying baby were patched together, it beckoned. And I was this close to taking it up on its offer. I put off my shower, waiting until my husband left for work to decide what today would bring. It wasn’t a shower.

We packed up and went for a drive.

I love driving. Strapping the kids into their carseats, stopping to get a hot drink and a treat, hitting the road for a few moments where the kids can’t reach each other and I’m in control of the wheel. Music, beautiful scenery, and a little bit of peace. Moments to think and pray and compose. Thankfully my children are the best passengers, occasionally drifting off for a few moments, but most of the time they watch as the world goes by. We look for train tracks, Christmas lights, and horses. We drive through the more populated areas until we reach our areas country, speckled with horses wearing blankets to keep warm, and haystacks with a slight snow covering. We drive the loop which our car could take us without anyone behind the wheel. We drive until the fear is gone, replaced by clarity and a plan for the day.

Strength doesn’t always come easily, or at all at times; but when it’s there and I have a choice, I chose to drive.

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Vulnerability and Sweetness

I’m having a rough day. Really rough. Didn’t sleep well last night, we made the decision to stay where we are another year (and that along has me feeling a roller coaster of emotions… happy to not be moving, but definitely a tad bit depressed to be staying someplace without a yard and with barely enough space for us), the kids are at each others throats and it’s not even nine, Fynn got up too early and didn’t make it to the potty in time… it’s just been a messy morning all around. Messy with emotions running ramped, messy with pee, messy with juice spills.

I’ve been reading a lot of Anne Lamott recently, because her honesty really attracts me – and she seems grounded in her faith even with confusion and chaos all around. To this confused woman surrounded with chaos, that’s a huge source of inspiration.

Anyway, in her essay Red Cords, Lamott says ” I don’t know why we have to become so vulnerable before we can connect with God, and even sometimes with ourselves.”

Isn’t that the truth.

Today I’m going to take the kids out for some fresh air (it’s in the 60’s after all!! In November!!!), say a few more prayers than normal, remind my husband to bring home a bottle of wine (cheap, since the next year or so is all about seeing how frugal we can be and if we can scrape together a down payment for someplace our own……..) and probably get a little weepy reading more of Lamott’s essays tonight. And sometimes that’s necessary. It’s not self pity, I’m thankful for all that we have – we are lucky in so many ways, but it’s becoming vulnerable.

In the meantime, here’s some total sweetness from yesterday. We had another great outside day… just gorgeous.

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Together, whether we always like it or not

My brother and I met up for lunch yesterday afternoon. Rare, not because we hardly see each other, but because we were by ourselves. We see him often, but the kids adore their Uncle Toby so very much that I rarely see him when we’re visiting. He’s mostly off with the kids jumping on their beds, reading them books, playing dinosaurs or swinging them upside down.

So I was really looking forward to our lunch date. And it was wonderful. We talked, had a few margarita’s and hashed out details of a little project we’re working on. It was fabulous!

Then I came home.

I was enthusiastically greeted by the children, and when I asked my husband how he was, he just replied “I’m tired”. So I asked if he wanted to go take a nap, and off he went.

Then the children went crazy as I peeled a gazillion potatoes for soup, got dinner together for Paige (who apparently is now a bottomless pit and must be fed constantly), and tried to get Fynn to poop on the potty and not the floor. The husband came out at one point to help, only to get Paige worked up as he went back in to the bedroom and closed the door.

I wasn’t all that pleasant to anyone at that point. Here I was, just coming in from a fantastic afternoon, only to be overwhelmed with the reality of home. Where it seems every time I do something by myself, I come home only to realize that it might have been easier to stay home. I was mad at Lucas for not being able to handle the kids without being tired and cranky, because I do that all day during the week. I even packed the diaper bag for them before I left since he was taking them to the park. All he had to do was tell me if he wanted to take cereal or goldfish for a snack. He had it so easy.

So I banged pots and pans around the kitchen while cooking, might have spoken a little harshly to the children, and vowed to not make the delicious pear cobbler I had planned on whipping up that night.

Then the kids were eating, I finished peeling potatoes, and I calmed down. It wasn’t as bad as I thought. Really. He actually took both kids to the park, by himself, on gorgeous Sunday afternoon. The kids had fun, they were all in one piece, and I had a great afternoon out as an adult.

And really, how many times a week do I call my husband at work begging him to let me send the kids to military school? Probably a dozen. How many times do I tell him I’m exhausted? Probably a hundred. And he still comes home, most nights to chaos. With barely any time for himself. Scarfs down dinner, plays with the kids, and then tucks one into bed and walks the other to sleep. So I can have some quiet time.

After the kids went to bed I sat down and started wishing I had made that pear cobbler. I wasn’t punishing Lucas by not making the pear cobbler, he probably could have cared less (although… who are we kidding… you all know my husbands love of dessert!). I was only punishing myself. I was so mad at myself. For feeling like he couldn’t do anything right, for thinking I was the only one who could make this house run the way it should, for thinking everything should be perfect. It’s not. We’re not. We’re far from it.

We both face challenges in our days, challenges in parenting, challenges as a couple and as individuals. But the real challenge is staying connected, being a unit, and appreciating each other. Sometimes I don’t feel appreciated, I’m sure the same goes for him. But we’re in this together. Banging pots and pans and slamming doors aside, we’re a pretty good team. We just need a little help keeping that in mind.

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Fruitloops in unlikely places

Yesterday I walked around with open eyes and an open heart, waiting for my unwrapped moment. I looked, and looked, and started to get frustrated.

Then, it hit me. Well, it was more like it stared up at me from the pavement. We went for a walk on one of our favorite paths, and there it was. A fruitloop in the middle of the forest.

Seriously. There was a red fruitloop. In the middle of the forest.

How could that not be my unwrapped moment?

I’ve been a little out there the past few weeks. I’ve been enjoying my time, smiling, playing with the kids more than normal. I’ve been… happy. But I feel insane. For months I had a heavy weight on my head, but it’s gone. I haven’t wanted to write about it for fear of a jinx, but my three month migraine has departed – thanks to weekly acupuncture. It’s been a miracle. While I can feel them at bay, they’re manageable. Several times my husband will look at me and say “you’re back”. And that brings tears to my eyes. I was down, depressed, not myself. It took over me for so long that I have a hard time remembering what I was like prior to the onset of the lovely daily migraines. But I’m back. And it feels weird…

I feel like a fruity Arbor Mist in a wine rack of fine French wines. I’m giddy almost all the time. Energized, renewed, down right happy. The pain is gone and I can rejoice – though often times I forget why I have the energy I have, and why I’m as giddy as a two year old with a box of chocolates. I feel like a fruitloop in the middle of the forest.

And it took just that to get me to realize how good I feel, how thankful I am, how desperate I was to get back to me, and how prayers have been answered.

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Please visit Emily at Chatting at the Sky for more Tuesday’s Unwrapped. You’ll find simple moments and simple mysteries unwrapped in everyday life. Enjoy!

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