Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A little shut-eye

I'm hesitant to even put this in writing for fear that it will cease to be. Wyatt has been sleeping in later than usual and I have never been more happy. Both days over the weekend he slept until 8:15. I'm attributing it to the new blackout curtains and his general activity level during the days. It's difficult to put into words the difference this makes in our day but it's remarkable for both of us. We're both better rested and seem to deal with life a whole lot better when we're not exhausted.
I'm not bragging, really. I'm being thankful for what is rather than what isn't. I can easily make a list of all of the challenges too (He still eats dirt and now licks the soap off his body during every bath. Again, Pica? He opens the fridge and cracks eggs into kitchen bowls. He whines and whines and whines and doesn't understand why saying, "Please," one hundred times in a row does not get him what he wants every time. He picks the unripe summer squash off the plant, the one I've been dreaming of for at least a month. Aside from "please" his favorite word combination is, "No, no, no, no, no." Need I go on?) but am learning how to revel in life's highlights a bit more.
If I had a picture to go along with his post, it would be of me, waking up at 7:30 to no alarm or shouting child, spending a little time alone with my cup of coffee topped with frothed milk and reading a non-children's book.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Ever Seen Crazy Heart?

I watched Knight and Day in the theatre on Friday and Crazy Heart at home on Saturday. While Knight and Day was a light hearted escape in the form of action and a little romance, Crazy Heart was a spectacular film.
Let me tell you a little secret. I love watching movies in the theater by myself. I started doing this the year following college because I worked at an ad agency right near two fantastic theaters and it was easy to stop in for a movie on my way walking to the El (or the "L", it seems to be quite the debate) after a long day. I like the ease of seeing something on a whim and the quietness of being by myself in a big, dark theatre.
The first time I went by myself I was a little self conscious. I was worried that someone might think I was a loser with no friends. I now realize the absurdity of caring what strangers think of me. There are far less opportunities these days to go to the movies by myself but I found myself with a little extra time and the need to escape reality on Friday. Knight and Day hit the spot. Tom Cruise was surprisingly enjoyable in his role and Cameron Diaz's beautiful but overly animated face did not entirely ruin it.
Last night we rented Crazy Heart and I'm still thinking about it. The acting and filmmaking were spectacular and I was deeply drawn into the story of Bad Blake, the washed up, substance abusing country star with a penchant for absentee parenting and rich song writing. It felt like a combination of The Wrestler and Walk the Line, borrowing the best elements of each. Jeff Bridges gave the best performance I've seen in quite some time.
My favorite moment came when he returned to the home of his love after going through a residential treatment program for alcohol. Their last contact was when he lost her four year old son at a mall while getting a quick drink at a bar. This bottoming out experience led him to rehab and he was soon knocking on her door asking to be forgiven and back together. She immediately gave him a resounding no and the camera closed in on his face after she closed the front door with finality. In this moment, one wondered if he made all of the changes in his life for himself or for her in hopes of winning her back. The look on his face perfectly captured the despair of knowing that in spite of his new lease on life she would never be with him again. What will it be? McClure's Whiskey or continued sobriety without the love of his life?
I have this option in front of me sometimes even though I have the distinct benefit of having Garett by my side. Although whiskey is not my drug of choice, I recognize the real choice between a path that leads to life and a path that doesn't when life is not as I wish it was. I can choose to bury my head in the sand, distract myself or pretend that it's not that bad or I can choose to know God more and honestly pour out my disappointment to him, trusting that he is enough. One option leads to numbness, the other to a soft heart that feels deeply.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Beyond Embarrassing

The other night, Garett and I tuned in to the end of The Bachelorette. I was a rubbernecker and could not take my eyes off the train wreck that was Jake and Vienna's breakup. Admittedly, I did not watch any of their television season but I have seen other Bachelor seasons so I know how the show works.
I feel like a small disclaimer is required. Two things: First, I am in a pretty reflective state right now (yes, even more than usual) so I'm not entirely surprised that I had a break through moment while watching The Bachelorette. I'm partially blaming this awakening to an email I received last week from iVillage with the subject "Eye Rolling is a Predictor of Divorce". Second, it's really embarrassing to draw any comparisons from their relationship to mine, but I am getting over the embarrassment and going ahead with the post.
I can't imagine breaking up on television. When I think back to the myriad of breakups over my many years of dating, I shudder to think of a camera rolling during or after any of them. However, it's very, very interesting to be a fly on the wall of someone else's breakup.
Having read Love and Respect and Intimate Allies (both Christian marriage books), I saw some familiar themes reflected on the TV show. Jake was asking (or, demanding, frankly) to be respected and Vienna was begging for love.
The entire show pretty much went like this,"You don't respect me."
"How can I respect you when you don't love me?"
"How can I love you if you don't respect me?"
And back and forth and back and forth.
When I first read Love and Respect about five years ago, I didn't really think it was a good book. It seemed formulaic to me (My biggest pet peeve with most Christian books is an easy how-to list promoting one way of doing something and that following said list guarantees a certain outcome.) complete with a labeled how-to diagram. But I think the authors are onto something. While I think our degrees of need for these two things vary from partnership to partnership, there really is something unique about a man's need for respect and a woman's need for love. And there's definitely something to the way we spiral out of control when we are not extending love and respect to one another.
I also saw some serious anger and control issues. And, sadly, I can relate. I have been really struggling with my desire to control Garett. In theory and even in reality, on a good day, I delight in him as he is, including all of the ways that he is different than me. But often I spend an inordinate amount of time wishing he was more like me. This desire eeks out in the form of anger, impatience and disinterest and I'm ashamed to admit it. I interrupt him far more often than a good listener would. I say things like, "What's wrong with you?" when he doesn't turn the right page while we're reading with Wyatt. (This actually happened and I have no idea where it came from, but it was horrible.) I choose to read lame websites rather than talk with him at the end of the day.
Somehow seeing this broken relationship on television woke me up to my brokenness in a new way. It's embarrassing that I could see parts of myself in this needy, nagging woman. It's even more embarrassing that I could see myself in the smug, detached man as well. I suppose it's called reality television for a reason. It's easy to call these folks absurd and extreme and snicker at their inability to love well. It's more difficult to admit that the patterns reflected in their conflict are not so far fetched. On Monday night, after I got over the mockery, my heart softened and was inspired to invite God into some of these areas to shine some light.