ezmy writes

#lawschoolwithkids

5:15am: Alarm goes off. On a good day, I get up and exercise. On a bad day, I turn off the alarm, ignore Pixie, who is kicking me in the head, and snooze.

5:45am: Actually have to get up now. Unload dishwasher, tidy kitchen, pack lunches for everybody. Write special note to Budsie. Make sure the library books/math homework/permission slip is in Budsie’s bag. Prepare breakfast. Forget to feed cat. If super organized that day, pop dinner in the slow cooker. Check calendar for any special school days. Find the required gear for that day.

6:30am: I *should* be showering here. But odds are, one or more of the following has happened: Pixie has woken up early and is freaking out about whatever breakfast I have chosen to make, Zoe has vomited at the top of the stairs and I’ve stepped in it, or Budsie is having a crisis about Something Very Serious (read: he remembered that time 3 years ago when I said I would give him jellybeans for a snack and didn’t). Spend 30 minutes dealing with this issue.

7:00am: Actually having a shower (read: toss water on body, forget to rinse conditioner from hair). Run around getting dressed/packing my school bag. Pretend to be a grown up person and put make-up on. Result is…troubling. Kiss kids, A., and sprint to the bus. Text A. at bus stop about feeding the cat.

7:15am-8:00am: Readings on the bus.

8:00am-4:00pm: Worry about children, go to class, meet with professors, miss the children, deal with club commitments, research, readings, wonder what the children are doing, job applications, special seminars.

4:00pm: Review class notes on the bus.

5:00pm-7:00pm: Deal with dinner. Throw in laundry. Clean a toilet. Check schoolbags for rotting things, dirt, sticks, newsletters. Colour with Pixie. Talk to Budsie about space/death/pokemon/starwars/zombies. Attempt to talk to A. about his job/my school. Tell one or both kids to stop interrupting. Convince Budsie to use utensils. Negotiate with Pixie over how many bites she has to have to get dessert. Have fight with children about the lack of television/Jell-O/candy in their lives. Get told I am the worst mother in the world for not stuffing their minds/bodies with junk. Bake stuff for the lunches. Forget to help with Budsie’s homework. Remember right before bedtime.

7:00pm-10:00pm: Say goodnight to the children. A. is bathing the children, tackling bedtime, and trying to keep the kids quiet while I work. Sometimes I am called up to bat if Budsie has decided to make it One of Those Nights. Most nights I cram in as much reading/summary-writing as possible.

10:00pm-12:00am: Get stuff ready for tomorrow. Watch television with A. One or both of us pass out. Sometimes we’re both awake and try to take advantage of that fact. Pixie senses this and bursts into the room, thwarting all efforts at marital relations. Watch A. pass out. Lie there and worry about the kids. Fall asleep with a four year old’s foot in my eye.

Throughout: Be prepared for stomach flus, holidays, accidents, lessons, Epic Meltdowns, last minute birthday invites, bake sales, parent teacher meetings, tough conversations, and themed school days.

Huh, maybe two steps back

Once I had the kids, I started using this blog to draw attention to real life problems. Depression, parenting, abortion, posting abroad, healthy living. I think it’s important to write about this stuff, to be candid about these issues, so that other people do not feel alone. Because it sucks to feel like you’re the only one garbage is happening to. And things like Facebook, Instagram, and the dreaded parenting blogs, they all make it seem like everyone else is doing better than you are. Which is simply not the case.

So in the spirit of being open, and drawing attention to issues that some of you may also be facing, I’m going to tell you something: I cried today.

“Is that all?” says a longtime Ezmy Writes reader. “Ezmy, you cry over coffee commercials. And don’t get me started on Disney films.”

Yeah this was different. Today I cried in a professor’s office. Over absolutely nothing. She was talking to me, and I was listening and going “uh huh” and “oh sure” in all the right places and suddenly, I just burst into tears. The tears of someone who is clearly underslept and overdone. The poor woman – she didn’t know what she had said. Probably because she hadn’t said anything. Sigh.

I’d be embarrassed, but anyone who has travelled internationally with children has long since stopped caring about what others think. I stopped getting embarrassed by stuff around the time my daughter pooped all over me and I had to fly to Halifax covered in said poop. Or maybe it was when Ewan rolled around the floor of the liquor store screaming. Or perhaps it was when I was in labour, yelling at everyone, telling them all to fuck off, begging them to rip the baby out of my eye sockets because I was definitely going to die.

I don’t know, somewhere in there.

Anyway, it’s not embarrassment that troubles me now. It’s what the crying means. Because it’s not like this career is going to get easier. Still, maybe there are ways to control the madness. I’ve started meditating. And I’m pondering giving up *gasp*afternoon coffee, because it’s probably disrupting my sleep. All suggestions are welcome.

So there. That’s my real life post for today. Were you having a crappy day? Maybe it looks better now compared to this blubbery nonsense. Woot!

one step back

I lost my voice on Friday night. I knew it was coming. Thursday morning it disappeared briefly, as if sending out a warning signal. By late Friday, I was very hoarse but still able to speak. When I woke up on Saturday, it was gone.

I am annoyed by this voice problem, but not surprised. My body is amazing at shutting itself down when it gets overworked. And holy hellfire am I overworked. It should come as no surprise to anyone that law school with kids is hard. Even with a supportive husband, even with outside help, even with people rooting for you. It’s fucking hard. It means squeezing in the work whenever you can. It means early mornings and late nights. It means missing out on stuff – rescheduled classes which conflict with daycare drop off, or cool evening events which coincide with stomach flus. It means forgetting stuff – bake sales, birthday parties, PTA meetings. It means knowing that you’re always sort of half-assing everything.

Most significantly, it means you simply cannot compete at the level that the sans children students are competing at. You really can’t. Because no matter how hard you work, or how smart you are, if you are missing the things, if you have to cut yourself into so many more pieces, you just can’t be present in the same way. And therein lies the hardest part of law school for me. I’m a competitive person and I need to let go. I came into this with the mindset that I was doing this for me. I came into it saying I would not get swept up in the nonsense. But somewhere along the way, I forgot that focus.

So it’s time to take a step back. Today I work on my law review application, which is important to me. But then I’m having a nap, playing lego with the kids, and going for a walk. Will I do better tomorrow if I get ahead on the readings for this week? Yes. Oh well.

 

 

Out with the old

Good gods what a year, eh? I honestly can’t even. I mean heaps of awesome stuff happened (new life in Canada, new friends, new jobs, new school). But what the actual crap was going on with everybody else? Yikes.

My resolutions for last year were remarkably vague, which experts (read: interweb people) tell me is no way to ensure success. And I was generally only half-ass successful. I blame Trump. This year, it’s back to specifics! *insert drum roll* Here they are, this year’s shiny resolutions *insert more drum roll*….

1) Learn how to make ridiculously good chicken noodle soup. 

2) Sing in public.

3) No work between 5 and 7pm – only kids.

4) Reserve 1 hour each day for exercise of some kind. Any kind. 

5) Go dairy-free except for VERY special occasions/unavoidable situations in which I would otherwise starve. Honestly, it’s ridiculous that it has taken until 2017 to get to this one.

6) Create a new budget.

7) Sleep. Do I need to check Facebook/Instagram/Jezebel at 11:30pm? The answer is no.

8) Get screened for that stupid breast cancer gene that appears to be haunting my family.

9) Ride my bike to school. I’m shooting for one time here since I’ve never ridden that far.

10) Write a letter each week. 

 

Happy 2017, everybody! Live long and prosper.

A perfect ten

On June 9, 2006, my whole life changed. That night kicked off ten years of just plain awesome adventures. Ten years of waking up with a best friend, ten years of laughing our asses off, ten years of a whole-hearted love that is, at times, overwhelming in its awesomeness.

Not every day has been perfect. Indeed, that we are still enjoying a successful relationship is no small achievement. Foreign service life is hard on people, hard on friendships, and hardest on even the strongest marriages. Being a million miles away from support, having to navigate strange places and challenging new jobs, as well as that all to common directionless feeling that comes with the diplomatic spouse gig, all of it can kill a partnership. Throw in some difficult kids, some regular life events (death, money, etc), and you have the makings of a serious mess.

And of course it will get harder. Posts will be more challenging, kids will continue to find new ways to make things insane, and life will insist on being a mess. But ten years in, and I still know I picked the best person to spend this life with. No one makes me laugh harder, no one believes in me more, no one understands my nonsense better than A. He is my bestie, my soul mate, my other half, and the person who makes me want to slow things down so I can soak up every last second of life with him.

Happy First Date Anniversary, A. Ten years and counting of greatness. xx

 

book club

For the women of book club,

When I arrived in Israel, I mentally prepared myself for three years of superficial friendships. You know the ones – people you hang out with because meh, you get along and you might as well have friends as not when you’re stuck in a place for three years. I thought I’d join some groups, just to get to know folks so I wouldn’t be bored senseless. When a book club was suggested, I figured sure, why not?

I did not anticipate your awesomeness.

I did not know, for example, when I agreed to join book club, that I would be agreeing to meet a group of fantastically funny, crazy smart women every single month. I did not know that I would count the days to the next monthly meeting, that I would arrange my entire schedule just to get to said meeting, and that I would come home after each meeting feeling refreshed and ready for another month. I did not anticipate the relief, the powerful feeling of release that these meetings would provide, as I vented the frustrations/joys/ridiculousness of living in this maddening country with husbands who have maddening jobs. I did not know I would be gaining incredibly dear, lifelong friends.

I did not know how much I needed this group until I had it, and then had to say goodbye.

Thank you. Thank you for the friendship, the support, the laughter, the intense conversations about nothings, and the light conversations about somethings. Thank you for helping me navigate this post. Thank you for three years of joy.

So much love.

ezmy goes back to school

About a week ago, I received my acceptance letter for the University of Ottawa. That’s right, Ezmy is going back to school. Law school. The combined JD/USA program to be exact, a program that will see me studying in Ottawa for two years, then moving to Washington, DC for the last two years. Gah!

I am excited about this development for several reasons, the most obvious of which being that I get to switch gears. After six years of being at home with kids, and loving a lot about it, I am in need of a change. I need a new occupation, or rather an expanded one. So woot! This career shift also gives me something to look forward to post-Israel, which is a good thing because I will need the distraction. I’m desperately sad to be leaving my friends here, and am having a hard time imagining my days without some of them. School will help.

But on a more personal note, I am excited about this next step because I’ve wanted this for so long. I’ve wanted to be a lawyer since I was 14 years old. For the next 20 some odd years, I would be continually discouraged from taking this path. I was told over and over again that I would make a great waitress/secretary/assistant/customer service representative, but that a legal career was more than I needed to shoot for. Why couldn’t I just settle for the assistant manager position at Starbucks? Why couldn’t I settle for the administrative position at Microsoft? Didn’t I know how much money and time I would waste going back to school? Why risk all of that when you have a perfectly good, entry-level forever job right in front of you?

And things got worse than this. A few particularly horrible, yet incredibly influential people told me that I just wasn’t smart enough. That I would never get in anyway. And I believed them, for awhile. It is shocking what low self-esteem can do to a person. So instead of staying focused on my goal, I did settle. I settled into bad jobs and bad relationships, and I made a bunch of bad choices. And the worse things got, the more it just confirmed what others were saying. They were right – I could barely manage my sad little life as it was, so how on Earth was I going to manage law school?

Somewhere in the midst of this nonsense, however, one person stands out. A client I had when I was studying hair dressing at an incredibly pathetic beauty school in a shopping mall in Toronto. He was about 40, and he asked me a bunch of questions, based in part on the book I was reading (Silent Spring by Rachel Carson). He said I sounded smart. He asked me what I really wanted to do, and I said I wanted to be an environmental lawyer. And then he said these magic words: “So do it! Go to school, get a political science degree, and then go be a lawyer. You can do this.”

!!

I dropped out of beauty school (cue the song!) almost immediately after my conversation with this fellow. The owners of the school laughed out loud when I said I wanted to be a lawyer. I applied to Acadia University and completed my undergrad. I went to grad school. I continued to face obstacles – toxic relationships, incredible self-doubt – but I kept going anyway. I gained confidence and met other people who informed me that I actually was capable, that my goals were entirely realistic. Most importantly, I met A. and he seemed convinced I could do anything. And that was all I needed, apparently – someone in my life to say “you can do this” whenever I thought that I couldn’t. And so here we are.

I’m not sure why the words of one client at a beauty school mattered so much, but they did. He was just so enthusiastic, so sure of my ability to do whatever I wanted. Maybe he was just an enthusiastic person, and probably he was like that with everyone. Definitely he doesn’t remember who the hell I am. But he changed everything, and I am grateful for him.

Anyway, woot! I am nervous and excited. I’m nervousited, as Budsie would say. :P

happy is hard

Being depressed is easy.

I mean, it’s not easy, of course. It’s horrible. And soul-sucking. And never-ending. It destroys lives, both directly and indirectly. No, it’s fucking awful and not the least bit easy.

But what is easy, at least for me, is falling down the hole of sadness. Falling into what Anne of Green Gables referred to as the Depths of Despair. The fall comes seemingly out of nowhere, and the ground is comfy and sad. Wrapped in my depression, I can sleep for days at a time, eat very little and stare into space. Sure, in the past I would lose jobs/boyfriends/grade points while it was happening, but only Happy Ezmy cares about that crap. Depressed Ezmy cares not for such trivial things – she cares only about being sad, cozying up to the sad, embracing the sad.

Ever since my postpartum depression lifted, I have become much better at staying Not Sad, or at least Not Visibly Sad. I am, for example, better at recognizing the signals of sad. I can see a wave of depression coming, and I know how to tackle it [head on and with gusto]. And I’ve been doing pretty well, on the whole. But it’s HARD. It is an almost constant struggle, forcing oneself to run off the pain, to eat properly, to stop bringing bottles of wine to bed, to make time for oneself, to even shower for crying out loud. Seriously, every Sad day, I struggle to just brush my teeth. I do it, because I have kids, and a husband, and a continuous mantra in my head of It Could Be Worse/Life Is Too Short/You Can Do This. But I’ve come close to not doing it. I can’t brush my teeth today, I’ve thought, as I lay in bed. I just…I can’t.

What is particularly hard is knowing that there is no end. Coping strategies are helpful, certainly, as is plenty of support from friends and family. But this struggle will always be here. I will be re-motivating myself forever. I will be a person with mental health issues forever. And like I say, I’m better at it. Better at seeing it, faster at recovering from it, more comfortable owning the issue and making it part of me. Still, this is small comfort on days like today when I wake up with that familiar weight of sad on my stomach and have to force myself to get up and live. Annoyingly, I get no immediate satisfaction from having performed well today. I’ll be satisfied on the other side, certainly, but for now I’m just tired and annoyed at myself because I’d be less tired if I hadn’t insisted on all out living this day. Baking, exercise, playing games with the kids, reading, and running in the brisk evening air. All things that bring me joy when I’m in the right frame of mind, all things that I slog through when I’m not.

Anyway. Everything is perfectly fine, of course. Kids are great, albeit riddled with viruses, husband is awesomesauce, friends both near and far are the bestest. Life is amazing and beautiful. I can do this. Just having a moment of blerg.

 

 

 

2016: The Everything is Changing (Again) Year

Happy New Year!! Before launching into this year’s resolutions, let’s see how 2015 went….

Here are the 2015 resolutions. And I’m both happy and sad about them. I succeeded with numbers 3, 7, 9, and 10 (and arguably 10 was the most important). I half succeeded with 1 and 4, which is something. But 2, 5, 6 and 8 went horribly, with 8 being the most surprising failure and 2 the least. To be fair to myself, I kept injuring myself before races, so 5 is circumstantial. Still…annoying.

I find myself a bit behind this year, which I hope is not a bad sign. I usually get super stoked about January, the new year, and all of the possibilities. This year, however, I am facing a mountain of change and uncertainty, the thought of which makes me want to cling to my 2015 organizer, my 2015 holiday sleep schedule, and the last of the 2015 Christmas chocolate. Heck, I was still watching holiday movies up until a couple of days ago, as if pretending the new year hadn’t happened yet would somehow freeze time.

It didn’t. And so here we are. 2016 is the year I move back to Canada, which is insane/terribly sad/super exciting/terrifying/comforting. 2016 is the year I may or may not end up changing career paths from steady SAHM to, well I don’t know what yet. 2016 is the year my husband changes jobs, only we don’t know what job yet. 2016 is the year my kids start school in Canada, only we don’t know what school yet. 2016 is the year I was so desperately looking forward to back in 2013, but now that it’s here, I have no idea what to do with it, how to feel about it, how to manage it.

Eep.

In light of the madness, it’s going to be a keep it simple year with respect to resolutions. Here they are:

1) Stay organized. Make weekly and monthly plans to keep this whole move thing from being overwhelming, complete small tasks immediately, and get rid of any leftover clutter from last year (I’m looking at you, baby furniture).

2) Stay healthy. Keep running, cut back on the booze, talk to friends and family, ask for help, and for gods’ sake, get more sleep!

3) Stay unplugged. I’m going to turn off the computer and phone at night (starting tomorrow…). And I’ve deleted all social media apps off of my phone. Fingers crossed this also helps with the sleep…

4) Stay positive. This will be a hard year. But it’s still going to be awesomesauce!

 

 

five years of funny

If I could give just one piece of advice to a couple thinking about getting married, it would be this: Do not, DO NOT marry someone who doesn’t make you laugh.

Yes, they should have goals and yes, they should be caring. Yes, they should have similar ideas about kids and things that you do, and yes, the sex should be good. Yes, they should be honest and yes, you should be ok with the fact that one of you is going to end up looking after the other one during some very difficult times. But if the partner in question isn’t able to make you laugh, if you guys don’t share a sense of humour about the ridiculousness that is the world we live in, the marriage is going to be tough going indeed.

Kids. Take kids, for example. Listening to your five year old tell you that you are the worst mother EVER because you made him pick up his books sucks. But it’s totally tolerable if your spouse is making over-dramatized faces at you behind said five year old’s head. Watching a two year old turn into a puddle of screaming monster goo is stupid. But it quickly becomes hilarious if your spouse turns to you, and with a deadpan face says “But Ezmy, she wanted to eat the tin of tomato paste.”

Humour is the key to a successful marriage because it’s a sign you married your best friend. With this in mind, I draw your attention to how A. and I have been spending our evenings as of late. We’ve created this parent cave on the lower level of the house, you see, and it’s just the best. I’m knitting, and he’s playing video games. And video game playing always leads to certain small exchanges, which are hilarious to me. They may not be funny to you, but that doesn’t matter because you haven’t been married to the awesomest man for five years as of tomorrow. I have.

Scene: A. and I are living the high life in our parent cave. A. is playing ‘Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag’. Ezmy has been making fun of the fact that this game includes the collection, nay, the chasing down of sea shanties. Little scraps of paper with shanties, SHANTIES, float around and A. chases them. Anyway…

A.: *picking up from previous evening conversations about sea shanties* “See, the thing about the shanty song is that it substitutes a soundtrack.”

Ezmy: “Huh.”

A.: “Otherwise it’s just boat sounds.”

Ezmy: “…”

A.: “Is that what you want? Boat sounds? Eh? Ooooh listen, it’s the sound of jibs…and ropes.”

Ezmy: “Those are all the boat words you know aren’t they.”

A.: “A keel. I think that’s a thing.”

Ezmy: *snicker*

Happy five years, A. I love you the mostest.

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