In less than two weeks I will be at the craft blogging conference of the year: SNAP! It is the place to be! Or so I’ve been told. Last year at this time I wasn’t exactly thinking about SNAP! I was bringing a new baby home from the hospital and sobbing for no reason because I was so hormonal and exhausted. Oh yeah, and I wasn’t a blogger. Courtney (of Sweet C’s Designs, who started this blog) couldn’t convince me to join this blog as an even partial contributor until late summer. And then my obsession began and before she knew it I had commandeered this blog as my own. Whoops.
But here I am, all obsessed with blogging and going away to a three day conference like a real, working adult! I am really, really excited, but also a bit nervous. I am going to be meeting so many new people! Important potential sponsors and connections, and, even more importantly, so many other BLOGGERS! There will be tons of people there, from the little guys like myself to blogging superstars! These women are my online colleagues and I admire so many of them so much and want to make a good impression on them! I think of them as my friends, but really I’m just their weirdo blog stalker, so I have to prove that I’m fun and not a creeper! 🙂
Thinking about being charming and lively for three days straight sort of makes me want to crawl into a closet to hide, I’m not gonna lie. Especially since I’m rooming with three awesome girls at the hotel, one of whom is Courtney. And, well, let’s just say Courtney and I like to talk. To say the least. No sleep combined with constant charm? Ay ay ay am I going to be exhausted!! Who knows, maybe this April I will end up sobbing for no reason because I am so hormonal and exhausted once again! For real.
In preparation for SNAP! I have been making jewelry, buying myself a few new outfits (*COUGH—and pairs of Spanx—COUGH*), browsing lots of blogs to familiarize myself with the amazing bloggers that I will have the privilege of interacting with, and, oh yeah, weaning my baby.
It is time to do it. She is officially a year old now, and Mama HATES pumping. HATES it. (And yes, I do have a nice, electric double breast pump.) I just can’t excuse myself several times a day to pump during the conference. That thought makes me want to vomit. (My dramatic streak is really revealing itself in this post, isn’t it?!) However, breastfeeding my son was awful (mastitis and countless other complications), but this has been so much easier and so much more pleasant, not to mention the only quiet time I ever get with just her, so it’s a little bit hard to let go. As I have mentioned before, I suffer from crippling postpartum depression after I have my babies. To be completely open and honest with you, clinical depression is an illness with which I have struggled for most of my life, and I have been on anti-depressants for the last ten years. And the PPD is just so, so much worse than the everyday struggle. I feel like I’m coming to a better place with it at last. Time is passing and I have a good doctor that I see every week who has helped me change up my meds a bit. But the emotions of struggling with PPD and weaning and the anxiety of wanting so badly for this conference to be a positive experience is starting to gang up on me.
Oh yeah, and there is one more thing: my kids and I are having to move out of my dad’s house for a month or more. My little family lives with my widower father because my husband is a medical resident and we are trying to work on paying down his scary student debt, but my dad’s big, beautiful house is still covered in my late mother’s early 1990s peach and blue decor. It HAS to go. The peach sponge painting on the walls and the huge fake tree in the living room? Yeah, it’s appalling. And so it is going. All of it. It all started when Dad got tired of the old tile grout in the kitchen that never looked clean. He mentioned wanting new countertops and before we knew it we were looking at remodeling the entire kitchen—counters, cabinets, light fixtures, appliances—and redecorating the entire main floor, from furniture to paint colors to the chandelier above the curving staircase. It spiraled out of our control just a wee bit. I can not tell you how exhausted I am from all of the preparations!! But he could not have done this without my intense help, and I will be able to cook everyday in an AMAZING kitchen when it is done, so at this point I am done being annoyed by the hassle of it all and I am allowing myself to get excited about the project.
Except that the kids and I have to go. No kitchen and MAJOR construction for at LEAST a month?! (Many before and after shots and blog posts about the design process to come!) A stay-at-home mom with a 1 year old and a 4 year old simply can’t live in the middle of that. So off we will go to my grandparents’ for a week, then we will drive to Utah to spend my husband’s week off with his folks. During that week I will leave for SNAP! and my in-laws and my husband will fly back to Colorado to work. My kids will be with my in-laws, so I will return there after the conference and stay with them until the remodel is mostly done.
My in-laws are lovely, kind, and amazingly helpful people, but it’s just not. my. home. My friends aren’t there. My son’s preschool isn’t there. MY HUSBAND ISN’T THERE. And I hate packing. I mean, I really hate packing!! No matter how excited I am for a trip I fall into the depths of despair and throw myself on the bed and declare that we aren’t taking the trip at least once on the day before every vacation. And this…..well, this is packing for a month….or so. UGH.
Wow. I guess I’m a little bit more stressed out than I thought.
Today my dad and I cleared out my mom’s furniture and outdated knicknacks, along with the rest of the main floor that was going to get in the way. I look around and see…..emptiness. My mother passed away 9 1/2 years ago after a 13 year battle with breast cancer. She was truly the most amazing woman I have ever known, and anyone who knew her will tell you the same thing. Her death left a hole in my heart that can never be filled. For the most part, I rarely think about it anymore. It has just been so long that I almost can’t remember what it was like with her here. I have trouble remembering her voice, and even though I can see her laughing…..well, I can no longer hear it. And that breaks my heart to admit. How can that be? How can we all be living our lives so successfully without her? It makes me sad.
But most days I am fine. I find joy in my sweet husband and how much fun we have together laughing and eating great food and watching fun movies and playing games. I find joy in my imaginative little boy who wants to pretend that we are a different animal family every day so that he can be my animal baby so that I will fuss over him and smother him with snuggles and kisses. I find joy in my sweet baby girl with her big, goofy grin and the way she idolizes her brother and is wholly devoted to her mother. I find joy in seeing the light and life that has come back into my father’s eyes since we have moved in with him and he is no longer coming home to a big, empty house. I find joy in spending time with friends and laughing and talking. I find joy in talking to my sisters and my besties on the phone. I find joy in reading great books, even though I don’t do it often enough. I find joy in watching the same funny tv shows over and over again. I find joy each time I am given the opportunity to sing at an event. I find joy in creating beautiful things and developing my talents. I find joy in sharing my creations with all of you. There is much joy in my life.
However, days like today are hard. I wasn’t sad to see that huge fake tree go, but when I took an outdated cross-stitch off of the wall that someone had lovingly spent hours making for my mother as a gift, my heart clinched up and I was sad. Very, very sad. I am not a big crier when it comes to sad events, but today I shed a few tears. Just a few. And then I moved on; cleaning and packing, caring for my children, and going about my day. But hours later my heart is still aching. Fiercely.
I sat down to write a post showing you a frame that I made as part of The Thrifty Stashy SNAP! Swap using supplies sent to me by another blogger, but this post is what came pouring out of my heart instead. It is really something that should be shared on my personal family blog, not on a venue like this, but something is whispering to me that maybe one or two of you need to read this. Maybe you have PPD, or maybe you have lost someone that you love. Or maybe you just want to know that sometimes my kids are covered in snot and I haven’t showered in five days. (I wish I was lying about that part….) Whatever the reason, I am going to be brave and hit “publish.” And I hope that you come back again tomorrow to see that frame.