Sunday, July 27, 2008


We came home from church and had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with dark cherries. On our way home I asked Ethan if he had had a good day at church and he said yes.
"Did you sing songs?"
"Yes, we prized the Lord."
"You praised the Lord?"
"No, we prized the Lord."
"I think you mean you praised the Lord."
"Yes, mama, we praised the Lord." Jeese.
As we ate lunch all of a sudden I had this frantic feeling like I wasn't teaching him about God like I should. I chewed my sandwich trying to think of something to say, of something to teach him.
"Ethan, do you know who made you?"
No answer, just cherry eating.
"God made you!" I say it big and raise my eyebrows and he looks back and me and smiles and raises his eyebrows.
"And He loves you too."
"Do you know who made mama?"
No answer. He looks at me, acting like he is excited about all of this because I obviously want him to be.
"God did!"
"Do you know who made Daddy?" I'm hoping by now he will have caught on.
No answer.
"God made Daddy too!"
Ethan just smiles and kicks his feet under the table, his tiny fingernails dyed with the same cherry juice that drips off his chin.
We are also working on our phone number.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The weekend sort of.

It's quiet and it's the weekend. I feel like I can let my defenses down, like I can breath. Stress from the week makes my lower back hurt. OK, that and maybe my high heels.
I initiate a conversation with over a hundred strangers a day. No wonder I am a little tense. I come home on the weekends and want to barricade in my house, me, Ethan, the doggies, and nachos. And fruit roll ups.
I look forward to my time at home, to vacuuming and getting two loads of laundry done, and grocery shopping.
It's sad because I don't see Joey, but then God never said that life includes getting weekends off with your husband. We are blessed beyond words because on his weekend, we can go out after I am off work, and we have Nawnie and Ampa and Grandma Patty and Grandpa Shaun and even aunts and uncles and friends who will watch Ethan for us, even if it's kind of a pain, or it butts in on their free time.
This is grace beyond words.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Just three things.

*Thank you friends, for reassuring me about that whole ex girlfriend scene. I am trying to love her. It's hard.

*Joey shaved Ethan's head yesterday and now he looks like a turtle. He's adorable.

*I called 119 people today at work, and my ear is red and feels a little swollen.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

And the Rains Came, and Washed it All Away.

Before the rain:

My dad said to me this afternoon, "Danae, you all right?" There is something about my dad walking up to me, looking at me right in the face, and asking if I am all right that releases the floodgates. I will not even know I am not alright until he asks me in that very caring way of his. "It seems like you are holding the weight of the world on your shoulders."
Would he just stop please?
The thing is sometimes I feel like life is gobbling me up. Like it's overtaking me like a flood of rain and mud, and I'm struggling like a kitten in an ocean to keep from drowning. Like I am holding the world, somewhere in between the right and left shoulder blades.
Life seems to just come so dang fast, like this flash flood which took out our backyard in a matter of fifteen minutes.
I used to sing a song when I was a little girl. I got it off the Salty tapes, which were red, by the way. It was the sweetest song, and as a little girl I thought it was just beautiful:
I cast all my cares upon You
I lay all of my burdens
down at Your feet
And anytime, I don't know, what to do
I will cast all my cares upon You.
It's not just the yard. It's living in a place we don't want to. It's being tied to a mortgage so big I can't even comprehend it. It's my husband having a job that has made him serious and callused and tired, even though he fights it like a warrior. It's my new job, opening me up to the cares and concerns and stresses of hundreds of people across the United States, and I have no idea what I am doing. It's sweet little Ethan, who watches me cry in the car from place to place, his young face so full of concern and worry when I look back in the rear view mirror, my eyes red and watery.
I can't remember the last time I prayed, the last time I laid my burdens down at His feet. I don't know how.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Meeting Her.

The night was warm and the air felt soft. Joey and I decided to have a drink at the Chocolate Bar before dinner with Brian and Jamie. I was happy Joey suggested it, happy to be on a date, sort of, in that married way.
We drove the mini van.
We were stressed about the yard, stressed about his work, my work, when to have more kids. Before we left he put on a new, brown plaid shirt with jeans. When I saw him in his new shirt I thought I'd better freshen up just a little, but didn't bother to change out of my work clothes because I thought, what the hay, I'm just going out with my husband.
We sat outside and ordered our drinks, a white wine for me and a dark beer for him. Our waiter was a guy from Spanish class years ago, and we laughed remembering our crazy old teacher, who we called, Gooey-elmo.
I saw her out of the corner of my eye, tan, petite, tight black clothes. Cute as hell. I tried not to stare at all, but it's hard to keep your eyes off people who are working a room with looks and charm. She was. You could tell she always did.
And that was that. Cute waitress. Whatever.
And then I saw Joey catch a glimpse of her, and I thought, what the...and then I saw him smile shyly and wave to her.
I don't remember what happened immediately after that, but I knew like a mother knows her child who she was. She came over, all bubbles and smiles, and immediately all feeling dropped out of my legs. She said something absolutely amazing about noticing Joey only because she first noticed me, and how cute my haircut was, and I thought, you are gooooood. You are really good. I wanted to kick myself for not putting on some super sexy outfit.
I plastered a smile on my face as quickly as I could while at the same time trying to not look like I just plastered a smile on my face. As she talked, all I could think was, man, she's got white teeth. And perfect boobs. And her hair. How does she get that body in her hair? She's beautiful. She's a freaking snob. She must take hours to do her hair and eye make-up. But dang she's beautiful.
And of course I was thinking about them doing it.
It made it hard to follow her conversation.
Also, I felt suddenly five months pregnant. I swear.
Somehow we got through a polite little conversation, and then she said, "I'll say bye later, " before she turned around and bounced off.
"AWKWARD," I said.
Joey just shrugged and said I did fine. (What the heck is that supposed to mean?)
As we finished our drinks, I thought about all this. A growing feeling of incredible ownership was talking over my body. He's mine.
All of a sudden I realized I had just witnessed, for the first time in years, the boy I fell in love with. Ironically, I saw him when he was talking with her, his sweet quietness, his irresistible smile, but I didn't care. I was just happy to see that side of him return, like something coming back from the dead, or a very long vacation.
I was happy that he looked so good when he saw her, happy he had put that new shirt on. I was proud when he told her he was a deputy. I was proud I had the flipping ring on my hand.
Joey seemed totally cool and unscathed by the whole thing, but I noticed when I brought it up again at dinner with Brian and Jamie, that same wonderful smile return to his face. I really miss that smile.
It's not that I am worried he still likes her, or wants her back, or still thinks about her. I'm sure he does to one degree or another. What makes me somber, sad even, is how our life together doesn't include that smile anymore. Instead it includes a day to day grind that sometimes seems to have no end.
Still, the way I got out of that mini van that evening was not the way I got back into it. I got out of it a tired, working mom. I got into it Joey's girl, my love for him renewed suddenly and surprisingly in a way I had forgotten existed, my body so full of emotion for him I felt lightheaded. He didn't notice, and I didn't, and still don't know, how to tell him.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Friday, 3:30 P.M.
The first and only two day camping trip starts off like all great family trips do, with an argument. Something about the way I pack an ice chest vs. the way Joey does. We go through the usual routine: me, hurt by Joey's comment. Joey, (not really sure why, but-) mad at my response. About ten minutes of avoiding each other. Then, quiet "sorries" and we are good to go. Just like clock work.
I feel like poop. My bi-yearly cold/flu sickness has decided to invade my ear, throat, and sinus this weekend. I take as much cold medicine as it says on the bottle to take, but I want to take more, only I am afraid it will kill me or something. I count the hours since I last took some on my fingers, and slam the syrupy liquid down like a shot. The pressure in my head seems to be building by the hour, and my body is weak and weary. I try not to focus on it, try to not say anything about it, because I know how much time and planning Joey has put into this trip. And if the roles were switched, I would be furious if he were sick.
So I pack Kleenex and NyQuil and consider the Vic's Vapor Rub, but decide against it. The smell draws too much attention if worn in public, almost as it you are constantly farting or something. Except with that minty smell of course.
Friday, 5:45 P.M.
Nawnie and Ampa watch Ethan as Joey and I set up the tent. We pick a spot away from everyone, and the second time I make the trip with from our van to the designated spot, I feel like I just walked across a football field. I tell Joey I can't do it anymore; I will make the beds.
The tent goes up relatively easily (I just love whoever invented the whole all-the-poles-that-go-together-are-connected-by-a-string-thing) except for the fact that Joey has tied the dogs to a pole and in a matter of fifteen minutes Fiebe has bitten clear through her rope. That and the fact that dogs attract children who are the sweetest but also the most annoying things in the world, children who ask a bazillion trillion questions and tell you over and over how much they love your dog and want your dog and that your dog really likes them. I'm not dissing, I'm just saying. Heck, I was one of those children. Still, as I stood there trying to put the right pole in the right pocket and trying to not lose both of my precious pups as well as trying to be nice and answer at least one out of every five of the questions coming from the peanut gallery about the dogs, all I could think was, Oh Lord, have mercy.
Friday, 11:30 P.M.
No games, but pleasant conversation around the campfire. It's hot. My head feels ready to explode, and my nose is pink and raw and dry from blowing it six hundred times since we got here. I've been waiting for games, or at least something fun that would remind me why I love camping so much, but nothing happens. We go to bed, dirty.
I can't breath out my nose so I can't fall asleep. It's quiet and still. Then there is a buzzing sound near my left ear.
Saturday, 12:03 A.M.
There it is again. This time, I hear the darn bug smack into the side of the tent. I want to scream.
Saturday, 12:15 A.M.
Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Smack. Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Smack. Smack.
I feel it hit my neck. I grab it like it's a grenade and throw it across the tent as hard as I can, but it's like throwing an un-used Kleenex; there just isn't any force to it. I hope I at least paralyzed it from ever flying again.
Saturday, 12:18 A.M.
Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Smack. Buzzzzzzzzzzzz-"Joey! Joey! Are you awake? There's a bug Joey..."
He roles over and looks at me like he wants to kill me. "Don't you hear that bug?" I ask.
"I need a light. It's by my pillow."
He shines the light and there is no bug. He hits the flashlight off and turns over to go back to sleep. I lay still and listen. Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz-"Joey!" We go through the light routine three more times, never finding the darn bug. Joey thinks I'm nuts and is about to tell me so when we both hear it. He shines the flashlight towards the sound and sees the brown beetle. He smashes it with his index finger.
"Did you kill it?"
Praise God.
I close my eyes and Ethan whimpers.
Oh no.
It gets louder and louder. I have to get up. I walk over to his bed and whisper "Shhhhhhhh," and "It's OK," until he quiets down. I only have to do this one more time before he wakes up for the day, at six a.m.
Saturday, 7:30 A.M.
Joey has made a fantastic breakfast with eggs and sausage and bacon and french fries, and I can't taste any of it. I tell him it is fantastic. The coffee from the french press is heaven to me, and I drink at least four cups.
Joey cooks, cleans, takes care of Ethan, and is amazing. I walk around in a DayQuil daze, trying to remember to be helpful but always one step behind.
Saturday, 2:00 P.M.
We go down to the water. It's painfully rocky, quick-sandy muddy and crowded with tatted teenagers and dogs. Ethan wades in to his ankles, and I do the same. I keep just looking around, wondering how I ever thought this was fun. Even if I weren't sick, would I really be having a good time? You can't even sit down without a pointed little rock invading your rear, let alone walk around. The dogs take over the towels, and their tongues hang out.
Saturday, 5:00 P.M.
Ethan is walking around holding his side, and says, "I have a tummy ache."
Saturday, 5:20 P.M.
Ethan barfs.
Saturday, 9:30 P.M.
We play Mexico, and I laugh at my silly friends and feel a little better for the first time. I make a s'more and drink it with a glass of red wine, and the combination is perfect. Joey finishes a cigar on a table away from the group, and I join him. He looks super sexy smoking. I have never been brave enough to try any form of smoking, but would have tonite had I not been sick too. I am afraid I will have a coughing fit and draw everyones attention to the PK's daughter trying her first cigar at the church camp out. It is just too risky.
Sunday, 6:00 A.M.
Ethan is up and happy and ready to "go to the camping". Joey gets up and lets me sleep. Did I mention he is amazing?
Sunday, 9:25 A.M.
I get up. I feel groggy.
Sunday, 10:00 A.M.
Another amazing breakfast.
Sunday, 11:45 A.M.
Church. We can share what the Lord is teaching us. How we are growing in our faith in Christ. I share this:
This morning Joey told the kids the dogs need a break, to leave them alone for awhile. Two of the little girls stopped touching them, but continued to bring them sticks to play with. A very loving Grandma took the girls to time outs and then made them individually come over to Joey and I and apologize to us for continuing to play with the dogs when he had told them not to.
I could see in their downcast eyes and pouty lips how hard it was for each of them to do this, to face up to their sin, to look a person in the eye and say, "I sinned against you, and I am sorry." It would be much easier and less shameful to take a time out. My heart went out to the girls and I just wanted to hold them and tell them it was OK, that we loved them. And it hit me that I am that girl, still, not wanting to go to God and look Him in the face and say, "I'm sorry. I sinned against You." It's much easier to put myself in time-out, feel a little guilty for awhile, and then move on. To leave God out of it completely.
But by doing this I miss everything. I miss God and the relationship He wants with me. I miss His love and forgiveness, the depth of His fatherly care and protection over me. I miss the gospel, and the depth of human emotion only it can bring out. The sweet sorrow of repentance, the overflowing joy of salvation.
OK, so not in so many words, and I blubber and cry through the couple of coherent sentences I do manage to sob out, but that is what I wanted to share. That is what is in my heart, so real it burns.
Sunday, 4:15 P.M.
I pack my things, and Joey drives me home. We get stuck in traffic for forty minutes. I tell myself to take advantage of the time sitting by him, and eat a handful of the saltiest sunflower seeds I've ever tasted. They put a whole in my tongue. I have nothing to wash the dryness out of my mouth.
Sunday, 6:00 P.M.
My house looks exceptionally clean.
Sunday, 6:20 P.M. Joey leaves to go back up with Ethan while I am still in the shower, trying to wash my feet for the fifth time to get the black creases out of my toenails.
And just like that he is gone. When I get out of the shower, the silence is deafening in my ears, ringing and echoing, the only thing I hear.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Mommy Patience.

When I talked to Joey on my break at work and he told me he was having a bad day with Ethan, I listened patiently, thinking all the while, Poor Ethan. He just needs his mama. He's not feeling good, he just needs the patience of his mama. And then I told Joey that he just wasn't feeling well, and that he needed to be patient with him.
I got home and the house was quiet. I had some time to talk to Joey about my day at work, which went better then I would have ever expected, and then I heard Ethan wail from his bed.
Joey warned me not to go in, but my motherly instincts could not help it.
His head was drenched and so was his pillow. His diaper was saggy and worn looking, like he'd had it on for days. He looked homeless. He was crying.
"Ohhh, come to mama, " I said. "Come see mama."
"Oh, you're feeling puny?" I said, soft and sweet as I could.
"No!" He shoved his palms my direction, indicating for me to leave.
I would not give up. I picked him up and and he became a board in my arms.
I took him into the kitchen and he wailed. I couldn't even get the pink syrupy Tylonol down him.
That's when I started to get frustrated.
Three hours later, I'm yelling at him to KNOCK IT OFF at the table when he throws the tantrum of the century because I put his grapes too close to his tomatoes on his dinner plate.
Hard day with Ethan? Please. Seriously, did my parents hate (I say that with all the love I have in me) me too? Was I this much of a pain? So much for my mommy patience.
I put him to bed at a quarter to seven, a good two hours early. Sometimes I don't know what to do now, in times like these. He is wailing.
I took him some milk and he wanted to sing. We sang his favortie song these days, about having love like an ocean, joy like a fountain, and peace like a river. Then he wanted to sing "that hot cross buns song", another lifelong favorite of his. I did the "This little piggy" thing on his toes three times, and said goodnight. He is quiet.