Tania's Words

here is an empty shell- a resonant shadow- waiting


Last night I traveled with my sister and mom up to Gaylord to visit my grandmother for what is probably the last time. There are a lot of things inside me I could talk about here, but I find goodbyes of all sorts to be the most painfully intimate moments of life. I hope any family or friends who read this know that I’m not skipping over these moments, but holding them close.

On the drive up, I experienced one of those indelible life moments, the kind that you know with clarity, at that second, will never leave. Even if they are the smallest, even if there’s nothing you could point to later and say, “There, that was it. That is the reason this stayed with me.” Certainly, here, the circumstance surrounding it plays a part in why this will always persist.

But what’s funny is that years from now I know that what I’ll remember most from these days, and weeks, and the transition we’re all going through, won’t be the goodbye. It will be a clear, cold night — the moment between sundown and spilled ink dark, when the sky retains something of a purple light — on I-75, Hozier in the background and a beautiful, blinding moon through the passenger window in a car carrying three women who have loved and argued, misunderstood, maybe mistrusted, experienced very real heartbreak, but loved, and loved, and loved each other.

Perhaps when everything else from this week fades away, years from now, I’ll remember my mother’s words — that she’s the one person left who has known her mother longest — and think of the ways in which our lives tie together. It’s not all pretty woven tapestries. But maybe in the knots, in the tangles you work and work to untangle — even when you have to put them down and walk away because you know you’ll break something otherwise — the last thing we’ll have is knowing that we made these lives. These connections. And if we’re really lucky, despite it all, kept them.

I can’t juggle, much less metaphorical pens

I am capable of tripping even when I’m not moving. I once managed to upend a class of spiked cider (I wasn’t even drinking it, so I can’t use that alcohol as excuse), on my neighbors dog without actually moving a muscle. I’m clumsy, and that translates to a lot of my life.

I’m not lazy by any means. But I tend to want to do All The Things, and then Things get dropped. I might be blessed with a unique mind that zips around in an unusual manner, but it challenges me as well (sigh, and you as well, if you know me, but I’m pretty loveable so we’ll call it all okay).

I’m not being self- deprecating here, I don’t think. I am who I am, and like most people the sum of my parts can result in amazing things. A few missteps are small price to pay for the cool shit I get to give the world too.

Recently, I’ve been presented with lots of fun opportunities to write in various capacities. I’ve wanted to be a writer my whole life. At some point in my life I did discover that there is no secret “you’re really a writer now” club, complete with a membership card that would usher me in and make me the real deal. After a brief moment of mourning, in which my broken 13 year old heart wrote an appropriately funeral themed poem mourning the loss of a dream, I rallied. Calling myself a writer would require a level of confidence, chutzpah and maybe flat out fibbing, but it’s the only thing I’ve known deep inside that I’m meant to be. Yes, it’s taken a few years to get myself to a place where I can think “I’m a writer” and only feel like I’m 25% fraud. Progress!

Regardless of what they do or don’t call themselves, writers write. Hence: writing opportunities presented to me = writing opportunities I feel I must take.

Well right now I have a lot of things I’ve tossed up in the air — those pens — and am dashing around a bit when I can between trying to raise a 6yo, a 3-teen, and go to school (while navigating this back injury). Not only am I concerned I might injure myself or you with this clumsy metaphor, but that I’m due to drop a pen or two in the process.

But my brain was in no way designed to go slowly. I’ve tried slowing it down, it’s awful, and it’s not me. So, there’s this. There’s the contributions to the Detroit Moms Blog I am working on, and pulling together creative endeavors for submission as well.

I have been making some great blogging friends recently, so if you’re feeling bloggy, check out the blog roll I have going. My twitter is still kind of dead because I can’t remember that password, but maybe I’ll add another thing to this stack of things to manage. I am just sitting here anxiously refreshing my email to see if I got accepted to grad school.

I….’ve lost my train of thought. It was cool, I had a plan that was going to tie this blog post up neatly. I guess all I’ve done is prove that I can’t juggle. But I still made progress. I’d rather congratulate myself on that than allow myself to feel bad about my own limitations.

It’s raining lemons!

As that hectic shiny newness of the New Year glamour begins to ease into the day-to -ay of 2015, it’s time for me to evaluate where I am, and maybe figure out how to decompress from an incredibly stressful December and an inauspicious start to the year.

Hint: Don’t injure your back the day before New Year holiday insanity starts. It’s just awful.

I’m home after a crazy weird night in the hospital, after a painful and frustrating week without answers mostly spend on the floor trying not to cry. I came home with a plan for wellness, a diagnosis (which is helpful, ya know, for treatment!), and a delayed resolution, since I was too distracted on New Years to resolve more than “don’t cry right now”.

I actually don’t do resolutions — at least not in the traditional sense. I’ve always felt like New Years is really just a day like any other. That change and promises start in our hearts, and that any moment in our lives is the best moment for them. But the New Year does signify a marker, a setting off point for so many, so I get it.

Mostly, it’s a day for me to consciously check in. Have I been the person I want to be the last year? This for me is a time to look inside, say, “hey self, you did your best, you’re doing your best.” A time to remember that I’m a constantly working, loving, flawed person trying their very hardest.

Sometimes you just need a little self love with a reminder that you are a work in progress, and that you have present and diligent in order to work for that progress. It’s so easy to slip, and to forget, and to get caught up in the day to day. It can be months before something in my life trips me long enough for me to sit down, evaluate my life and my actions and bring back into focus the ideals of who I want to be and how I want to live and love.

I feel like the last month and a bit was an exercise in dodging lemons being hurtled at me from somewhere (fruity clouds? the universe?). Well, now that I can walk around a bit more, and that I hope the weeks ahead hold some more calm, I’m ready. I’m so ready to pull myself out of this anxious, negative whirlwind and attitude and refocus.

I’ve got a large pitcher, I’ve got a fruit masher, I’ve got some sugar…time to make some lemonade!

That shouldn’t hurt

How did sitting on my butt all day make me so sore?

Mom had another surgery yesterday; despite the 2.5-3 hour estimate, the surgery took over 4. Then they said recovery would be about 2 hours, but they wouldn’t let us back to be with her for it (which they’ve never done before), and it took longer than 2.5 hours. Plus sitting in pre-op, all of this equals sitting in a hospital chair for so many hours. I got up to walk around, but I never wanted to stray far just in case they were gonna come talk to us. Apparently I didn’t walk around enough.

Today I’m going back in to hang out with Mom, and I am just sitting here dreading having to sit there. I wonder if that awesome stretchy yoga Maura and I did would be frowned upon in there. There’s not much room for it. And I don’t remember the name of it so I can’t find it online until Maura rescues me with a link. Maura always rescues me, she’s the best biffer out there.

I have got to get more active. I know I am one of millions who say this all the time. My body feels like this weird stagnant thing. I have a lot more time coming up since the semester is over. I need to find a form of exercise I like, and generally you have to pay for them — I need the whole “lost in the music in my own world doing something repetitive thing”. Like swimming. I need an indoor pool. That kind of exercise is like meditating, it’s so good for clearing my thoughts and silencing my very very very busy brain. It’s good for my self esteem too, because I always feel like when I push myself and focus on my body and health like that, it demonstrates my determination in a way I don’t acknowledge in my day-to-day life.

Right now it’s seven in the morning and I am famished. I am never hungry in the morning, so this is memorable. Maybe I’ll wander in search of sustenance. Or coffee.

Status update

Yes, another thrilling blog entry title. You’re at the edge of your seat, of course.

Or not. Whatevs, it’s cool, we can work with that.

Currently I am attempting to sit on a bed covered in laundry that must be folded and put away. I’ve been here for an hour contemplating said laundry. Instead of doing it, I shirk my duty to update tiny things on this blog: the blog roll, my profile, etc. I’m not sure if my priorities are straight here, but we can all wear wrinkled clothes for a bit.

Tomorrow I have another of my epic Thursday;s, the 12 hour day which includes the commute to MSU, working in the Writing Center, class, commute back to pick up kids, attempt to settle them into bed about 2 hours after bedtime, then get ready for my Friday commute to work.

But it’s my last Thursday doing so. After that, a semester of waiting to a) hear if I got into the program and b) doing nothing to earn money unless I find some sort of gainful employment. I suppose I could say I’m writing, but that doesn’t pay the bills or justify sending Lucas off to daycare — a year we committed to so I can’t back out. Sigh.

Uhh? Whathewho?

It might be time….to revive this thing. We’ll see. Dun dun duuuuun….


I had a conversation with my sister and some friends the other night while playing euchre (pardon, while slaying her at euchre). She’d decided to pull her 2 year old from gymnastics for various reasons that made sense, and was so upset with herself for not being able to make it work. When I asked why she was so upset (Olivia is 2, she’s not going to the Olympics next year), she said it was mostly because Olivia is so disappointed when Paige (older sister) gets to go and she can’t participate too.

That is something I understand — boy do I. Every time Parker goes to school, or to summer camp, Lucas stands by the door crying  that he wants to go to school too. Every day he would watch Parker get ready to go have adventures and he’d come with me to pick him up and see the classrooms filled with exciting stuff and other kids, and want to run into those classes. Listening to your child sob because he doesn’t get to do something, day after day, is agonizing.

But the thing is that life is full of disappointments.

It’s a lesson he has to learn, and although it’s hard, and he’s so young, I don’t think that he’s too young to know what it feels like. More importantly, I think it’s vital that he learns that he can withstand disappointments. To sooth himself. So that when he’s older, he can find ways to work around those feelings; find something else to do that will make him feel better or an alternate solution to getting what he wants. Re-evaluating what he wants.

I see people all the time, including myself, going miles out of the way to avoid disappointments. No one wants to feel that sting, but more,  so often we don’t trust that we can handle some of them; that they will be too much.

I talk myself out of writing so often because it seems like too much effort for something that will end in disappointment — that negative feedback my internal voice whispers insidiously, quietly. I’ll never be published, I tell myself. It doesn’t matter in the end.

The truth is, I think I talk myself down from reaching not because it might not happen, but because I’m afraid of what more and more disappointment would feel like. It’s better to dream of being a writer, and to dabble and play, than to commit to something that might just hurt when it doesn’t happen.

There are so many stock things I could say in response to my own problems here. You’ll never succeed if you don’t try. It’s the journey that counts. No one gets to tell you what you are, you get to decide. You’re still a writer, regardless. 

All of those are true, but that’s not the point, and honestly, some words are so easy — they slip out and masquerade as a solution or a panacea but don’t really do much of anything to help.

The things we dream about mostly don’t turn out quite the way we fantasized they would. Maybe they’re better or richer or not quite in realization.  Sometimes the things we dream about or want don’t turn out at all, and we have to figure out a different way.

I think that’s my key, really. It will only happen if I try. If I want it badly enough — enough to put myself on the line — then it might very well hurt if it doesn’t happen. But I think that the disappointment of knowing I didn’t try, or that I gave up before I really began — would hurt so much more.

With my children, I know I have to withstand the pain of watching them be disappointed sometimes, because I know it will help make them more capable and strong and well rounded as adults. Lucas will get to go to school one day; he’ll have the adventures and friends. For now, I hope he learns to cheer himself up or distract himself. Lately, he turns from the door and cheers up instantly with the phrase Play-Doh please Mommy?

Maybe it will happen, and maybe it won’t. But maybe for now, rather than breaking out tea leaves to read a future filled with disappointment, I should keep trying, and stock up on some Play-Doh.