Bedtime went fairly well tonight. R. was completely into the reward chart I made for him. There are three categories: naps, bedtime, and brushing teeth. If he stays in his bed (except for needing to go to the bathroom) at naptime and bedtime, he gets a smiley face. Same for brushing his teeth. If he gets mostly smiley faces this week, we promised to get him a Diesel 10 Takealong Thomas train next weekend. The tricky part is that R. has figured out that having to go to the bathroom is the get-out-of-bed-free card. At naptime, he was perfect. Went down no problems. Bedtime was a different story. He came downstairs four times - he peed the first time, but the next three times, he insisted he had to poop and then admitted later he was "just playing games." Finally, I had to resort to telling him calmly, rationally that if he got up again, I was going to turn out the light in his room. He wasn't thrilled about that. A. was waiting outside his room, and when R. got up again, R. insisted that "Mommy turn off my light!" So, A. took his new car away that he had been holding, and that worked perfectly. He gave it back to him when he got back into bed, and that's the last we heard from him. Mark the time: 9:03 p.m. Discipline is exhausting! :-)
So, as of about 9:25, I've had time to myself! A. went out with our friend A. because his wife and daughter are away visiting grandparents. I've been waiting for weeks for some time to myself in the house to do all kinds of things - read, sort our digital pictures and figure out which ones to have printed/which to e-mail/etc., pray, clean the bathroom, pamper myself with a facial mask, etc. But I don't feel like doing any of that! So I put together R.'s Easter basket, hid a few plastic eggs around the living room for the morning (R. is going to be so hopped up on sugar tomorrow - ugh), downed a piece of chocolate cake, flipped through an L.L Bean catalog, and then fired up my computer. Oh well. I'm still enjoying the time to myself.
I wish my new Anne Lamott book was here already. I've read the first two of her books on faith over and over again. And, one Sunday, my pastor talked about her and how he had read in an interview with her that when she calls on God, she thinks that he responds by saying, "Hello, darling!" as if she is the most important person in the world. Isn't that amazing? I just love that. I have to keep reminding myself of that because a lot of times when I pray, I'm thinking that God is thinking to himself, "Oh, great, it's K. again. What does she want now?" I feel really weird about asking God for help for myself. I have no problem asking him to help my loved ones ("Please send A. and A. a baby!") or complete strangers ("Please be with children everywhere - that they feel loved and wanted and are warm and safe and fed"). But when it comes to me, I just ask him to guide me and help me to make good decisions and to show me what he wants me to do every day. That's it. If he knows what's best for me, I feel strange about asking him for specific things - like a new job or something. But I keep hearing lately about lots of people doing just that. It still seems kind of wrong to me - or selfish, I guess. (I mean for ME - I honestly support other people doing it. My brother-in-law told me this week that when he was in prison years ago, he prayed for a guitar because he was down and felt bad about being away from his kids, especially one Father's Day, and he knew being able to play music would lift his spirits. And, a few days later, the chaplain showed up with a guitar for him - without S. telling him anything about wanting one. S. said that that's when he knew that God cared about his daily life. I think that's wonderful!)
But one thing that did cross my mind recently to ask for was a grandmother. By that I mostly mean an older person of faith who can be like a grandmother to me - encourage me in my faith, give advice, share recipes, that kind of thing. My sweet grandmother passed away 4.5 years ago on my 30th birthday. I should have had that relationship with her because she could have been all those things to me, but we lived too far apart, and I probably wasn't ready to hear it when she was alive. Now, I go to a church I love, but because I don't want to miss out on time with R., I don't participate in anything beyond the 8 a.m. service each week, plus I'm just terrible at meeting and getting to know people. I'm missing that support system of faith. My mom is so busy with all the things she's involved in plus watching my nephews full-time, and I don't see eye-to-eye with her Christianity. And, I have very few friends that I feel comfortable talking about this with.
I guess this has always been a problem for me - I want to find someone so badly who's in the same place/stage as me - in life, faith, everything. But I never do, and it just makes me feel very alone and freakish. I think I just have very unrealistic expectations. There's nothing wrong with friends being different from me, but I just can't help wishing there was someone I could really connect with about everything.
I'm jealous of other people who have groups of friends that share their faith and convictions. My favorite blogs to read just happen to be from a few moms in Michigan who are all friends, go to the same church, their kids play together, etc. And their husbands are Christians, too! Thoughtful, liberal, left-leaning Christians who actually sit around and discuss this stuff. That just blows my mind. In my life and family and friends, it's always the women who go to church while the atheist or just agnostic husbands stay home. It was that way with my mom and dad. It's that way with me and A. now. I will give A. credit, though - he's been very supportive of my going to church, taking over the kitchen every other week to bake communion bread, instituting grace before meals, and teaching R. about God. And he comes with me to church on the big holidays so that he can tend to R. so I can get something out of the service.
But it's just this feeling that I'm different and alone. I know God is always with me and understands me. That's a huge comfort. But sometimes I have to wonder why the heck he made me this way. That's why the "Hello, darling!" comment is so precious to me. I just have to learn to believe it for myself.