Monday, November 30, 2015


Today as I was driving Phoebe home from Target she asked about how long her hair was when she was born.

I told her the whole story of her birth, and how happy I was to hear her cry. It was the first time I've talked about that day with only happiness, no sadness. It was just kind of awesome. It made me feel like I've come so far. In order to get to the place where I'm at peace with what happened, I had to have those years of "not OK". And that's OK.

I'm watching "The Affair" on Showtime. I'm pretty convinced that there are other things I could/should be doing with my time, but being alone by myself is the only time I get to watch my "Mommy Shows", as Phoebe's friend calls them.

In this show a woman is having a baby in a hurricane. She doesn't want the baby, because her last baby drowned at a family function when he was four. Isn't my blog a special, happy palce? Stay with me. HE drowned and so she thought all of her babies would be cursed, and she was actively trying NOT to birth this child.

In another scene, her ex-husband is telling his girlfriend how he wants to have another child and his girlfriend starts sobbing. She says that she can't, that she had a surgery when she was 22 to remove fibroids and it left a ton of scars on the inside of her uterus, making her infertile.

I used to have the dream where I would have this amazing natural VBAC birth, and I haven't had it for about a year. It's so weird to be in this desert place for so long and for my OCD working hard in my brain chemistry to not let me move on - or every time I try, for me to feel "stuck" in the old thought patterns of "My life is over, I can't have any more children biologically."

I'm not sure if I will publish this or what purpose it is serving, but it's really neat to see this healing taking place in my own life. We took care of a baby this weekend and he was adorable and lovely, but I was ready to hand him back over.

I'm excited to be an aunt more than one time over as Scott's and my siblings have more children. Buying baby gifts is fun. I love it. Maybe a little too much.

I guess I'm just saying that I'm enjoying where I am right now. This doesn't mean there aren't hiccups along the road, but I'm happy. Maybe that's why I haven't blogged much. I blog more when I'm sad.

I'm happy.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Why does Daddy hate Puppies and Babies?

I've been quiet for so long because sometimes the words form in my heart and get stuck in my fingers.

That's just the way it's been, and I've just been OK in rolling with it.

I think after you've gone through so much loss, whether it be hard child births, birth defects, children gone back to their parents after being your foster children for over a year, you just start expecting the other shoe to drop.

You just wait for it.

You are afraid to get supplies on clearance for the next school year or birthday party because "What if that time comes and the little one is not here?" That thought haunts me less than it used to, but it still does.

After fostering over 50 children I told my husband we would now foster dogs. DAMMIT, WE ARE GOING TO FOSTER ADOPT SOMETHING!

We had a dog named Kami who was ten. She was adopted within two weeks, and the kids sobbed after she left. Then came two tiny baby puppies, whom my husband nixed because, well, 5 day old puppies need more care than a newborn.

My ten year old, sobbing in her room: "MoooOOOoooM! Why does Daddy hate puppies and babies so much?"

hahahaha. why, indeed.

After I drove the puppies to a lady north of the river we came home with an 11 month old blender on legs we named Rosie.

We adopted her five days later, and do you think my kid was excited much?

About a week ago I took my four year old in because she keeps doing this sharp inhale where it doesn't sound like she is getting enough breath into her little body. I thought allergies, the doctor thought heart condition.


I got cold sores and headaches and slept a lot.

"This is that stupid other shoe dropping," I kept thinking to myself.

After a false alarm and lots of Klonopin, here I sit. Things are back to normal. Kind of.

Normal for me is obsessing about things that don't really matter and worrying about world problems I can't solve, while having the complete inability to care about anything after 8 pm. My conversations with my husabnd usually go like this:

"Are the kids in bed?"
"What do you mean by "in bed"?"
"I mean, in the general vicinity of their rooms with the main light off."
"Welll, yeah, but they're fighting over hamsters."
"That's OK. What's on Netflix?"

(The four year old with her sister's hamster right before it died of (probably) unnatural causes)

This raising of little ones is hard, hard work.

Nobody ever told me that when I was pregnant with my first. Nobody ever says, "when you hear that first cry you'll be prepared to run into a burning building for that kid, even if he annoys you."

It's just parenthood, man. The good, bad, ugly, and sweet.

Just embrace it, OK? Stop feeling guilty. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

an unfinished house

Do you ever feel like if people really SEE you, they won't like what they see? If you are fully known, you won't be liked?

I feel that about myself, and I know it's not a unique feeling to me. 

I loved being away from home at my brother and sister in law's wedding. I love our home, I love the memories we have made here, but I love being away from it, too. A respite from all of the things glaring back at me, unmade beds and unfinished scrapbooks and kitchen utensils I keep forgetting to buy.

I have always had trouble having people over to my house. Having people STAY at my house? Huge deal to me. When I write, when I come to your house, I can choose what you see and what you don't see. Magic tricks, slight of hand, close this door on the messy room, open that one because the bed is made. Tweeze the hair on my face because I am going to church and there are lots of windows there and I don't want anyone to SEE.

Really SEE.

We stayed at my brother's girlfriend's house for four nights. I asked her if she really wanted six children and four adults extra to stay with her. I pondered getting a hotel room at the last minute. I told her she was crazy. 

Whenever I talk on the phone, whenever someone stays with me, I get really uncomfortable. I don't want to do anything or have them see anything that makes them think, "Hey, she's weird. Hey. She doesn't make her kids wash their hands. Hey. She leaves the laundry on the basement floor. OMG. What is that stain in the refrigerator? Please. Taxi. No more staying here."

I know everyone feels this way to some extent, but the OCD exacerbates it to the point where you question absolutely everything. It sucks. 

I dislike cooking for people for the same reason. Insecurity. What if they don't like it? What if there's a hair in it? What if they wish I had used more Rosemary? What is Rosemary? Where is her baby? 

So, my brother's girlfriend. I saw her utility closet, I saw her bathroom, I saw her cry and then I cried and then my sister in law cried and then we stopped and then we all cried again. I saw her in her imperfectness and she is raw and accepting and loving and beautiful.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't want to shut things down just because I am afraid of being hurt. I don't want to hold people at arm's length because sometimes people may treat me badly. 

I don't want to NOT open up my heart and my home because someone may have an adverse reaction that makes me think, "See? I was wrong to do that! I was wrong to let them in!" 

I see another woman in my life, my sister in law, as so much good - I've known her for 22 years, since I was 14, and I wonder how she still puts up with me. When we are out somewhere she is often feeding my kids, lending me gum, taking pictures of the wedding invitation because I didn't think of BRINGING IT ALONG BEFORE WE DROVE 9 HOURS TO COME TO THE WEDDING. She never says, "Um, Rachel? Get a clue. Figure it out yourself." She just gives, and she loves.

I don't know what I'm saying, or if I'm saying anything at all. I'm just writing it here because I don't want to become closed off or hard or afraid of doing or saying the wrong thing. I don't want to be afraid of being known. 

It's not a good way to live.


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

the big letdown of life

My first love broke up with me. His parting words were, "You just want too much, and I don't know how to give it to you."

I still think about those words, all these years later. They burnt then and I'm kind of embarrassed to say that they still do. I think I have always wanted too much out of life, and this last week thinking I may possibly have breast cancer made me think it again.

You know that feeling you get when you leave something that was supposed to be awesome but it was only so-so, and you think, that was just mildly "ok", but it wasn't what I wanted it to be?

Life with a husband and kids is like that. Life in my mid-thirties is like that. Right now I'm writing this in between defrosting the chicken and trying to console my three year old who WANTS TAPE RIGHT NOW and honestly, I'm kind of done with today.

me cleaning at the first sign of pubes in the bathroom

My dad took me out to lunch yesterday and asked me what I was "really" thinking in between the concern from my doctor and the visit with the breast specialist.

Honestly, the thing that I was thinking was this:

I don't want my family to watch me die. I don't want my kids to grow up without a mother. I don't want people to find out and to know and suddenly give me that sad clown smile. I don't want people to start wondering how much time I have. I don't want to wonder that, either. I don't want people to say, "Oh, a young mother. That's just so sad." I'm really not afraid of death; in some ways it would be a reprieve from my constant fight with anxiety and depression. I know i'm not supposed to say that out loud, but it is what it is. 

No, I'm not suicidal. Things are really, really good in life, actually. I know where I will go when I die and the only thing that scares me about death is the thing everybody wonders: "Will it hurt?"

People tell me they like to read this stuff because I have the guts to say what few people do. Maybe that's true. I hope it's not. I hope you find the courage to be honest with those you trust.

I'm rethinking things in my life. I'm rethinking all of the things that felt so important to me, like my house being completely clean before a friend can come over. Me being the mom I am supposed to be in my head and falling short of it EVERY. SINGLE. FREAKING. DAY. Me wondering who my children will be in the future and missing my babies from the past. Me struggling to take space to write and just to calm down and think and to enjoy today. My head gets so full of dumb stuff.

The past 10 years have taught me that I do better in a crisis, EVERY TIME. It's the in-between that is hard for me. The dirty dishes, the waking up to the same broken relationships and the same broken world after having hoped that somehow, during my dreaming, everything had righted itself into paradise.

Monday, May 4, 2015


Inflamed/wonky milk duct. Hallelujah!!!

Sunday, May 3, 2015


My appointment and breast biopsy (from what I understand they will be doing) is tomorrow at 8:20.

I was just thinking about how uncertain life is. We think we are going to do all of these things, buy Easter candy on clearance for next year, get the kids a size bigger for next fall, plan a vacation where we will drive next to miles of flax and freesia with the windows down, hoping we can make it to the next rest stop before a child gets car sick and vomits up the Remains of one too many Happy Meals.

I'm scared, if I will be honest with you. I'm scared that the doctor will find cancer in my breast and it's already spread. being scared wouldn't change anything anyway, but it's real and it's what I'm feeling tonight.

I get a panic rising in my chest when I think of all cancer has stolen from so many I love, including my aunt Mary, who will have a lung scan tomorrow - and my sister in law's stepmom, who is fighting the ravages of it in her body as well.

Maybe we look forward to future events, behaving as though we have 100% certainty that they will come to fruition, because living any other way is, in itself, too much of a risk. It's risky to fear everything in a world that already carries so much of the thing we fear, so we hold tightly to love and to hope.

I'm not sure that's such a bad way to live.