Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
Some days, being extremely nauseous, having a 2 year old and a 3 year old who like to fight alot, and trying to get daily chores done is HARD. That's just all there is to it.Some days it is HARD.
Some days I want FIVE minutes to myself to send an email and not have someone poking at me asking for more milk because they just spilled it all over the carpet, or smelling a dirty diaper for the 99th time that day.
Some days I want to just tell Lucy that what she did was wrong, instead of having to go through her, "I need to take a deep breath! Carry me! I'm so sorry!" routine. (She is so much like me it is scary. This morning she asked me if the plane we ride on would break apart in the sky and we would sail through the air. What?!?)
Some days you just have to vent to someone who understands. This morning I am preparing the entire family to leave for California for a week. STRESS! (But SO exciting!) So maybe I should be packing instead of blogging. That would be a good way to alleviate it.
I also think that being a mother in the year of our Lord 2009 is tricky. It's not like being on the farm 100 years ago, when there were no cell phones, no computers, no television. Just you, the good Lord, some cows, and lots of chores. We get so distracted by things we THINK we need to do that we lose sight of what is so important. And we stress ourselves out. I am so excited to spend a week with no computer, limited cell phone. Just time with the family, eating and sitting on the beach.
Anyway, I think there is a fine line between being in that place for awhile and choosing to stay there. When you realize that so many people would LOVE to be in your shoes, it can't help but change your perspective. And my friend "gets" that she is still in early baby-loving stage. But the fact remains that our kids our gifts! That is all that I was trying to say. Maybe it's just finding the balance?
What do you think? What really stresses you out as a mother? What stresses could you alleviate in your life that would allow you more time for your kids?
What gives you the most joy?
Thursday, January 22, 2009
I had a talk with a friend today over macaroni and cheese. Actually, she was feeding her daughter and I was inhaling the food - eating it off of my children's plates, you know, the usual.
Anyway, we were talking about her realization that mothers like to complain about their children. Not even in a really constructive way, sort of in a "I want to b*itch and moan, just so I can." In this vein, I was just invited to a facebook club whose title is, "OMG I so need a drink or I will sell my kids."
Someone out there is rolling her eyes, muttering under her breath that I need to get a reality check and admit that I have those times, too. Actually, I DO have those times where I think I will pull my hair out and if Scott doesn't come home soon I will be knee deep in Vodka Cranberry.
But I guess, too, maybe I have met too many children with brain cancer and cerebral palsy, spina bifida and severe allergies. Or maybe I have met too many women who have tried and tried to have a baby, without success, or mothers who have buried their children.
So yeah, it's funny, I guess, maybe, except, well, until you realize that the people who are reading about your complaints really wish they could be in your shoes.
Today after leaving my friends', I really wanted to stop at Costco. (Remember the fiasco in Wal-mart, where I wanted to shoot my face off and at the end of the entire thing was convinced I never wanted to be pregnant again?) Anyway, Costco. Asher was falling asleep in his car seat, but somehow I still thought that would be a good idea. We ended up NOT going, however, because I correctly identified the catalyst of a shopping trip gone horribly, horribly wrong - a tired child.
When I look back on the times that I have become so frustrated and annoyed with my kids, it's times that I have chosen to:
a. not read their cues - i.e.,"Mom, I'm tired. Can't you see I'm falling asleep in my ketchup?"
b. not see them as the unique individuals that they are - "Oh, she will be in 3 day preschool, dang it, whether or not she wants it."
c. try to do 1,387 things in a single day because I want to please adults. Children don't quite hold the power to stroke your ego as adults do. For example, if you volunteer for VBS, you're going to get more praise for that than, say, staying home with your small baby. He can't really articulate to you that he is happy you are there. (And, by the way, I am not telling you not to volunteer for VBS. I am just saying that it is an art to balance it all.)
d. treat my husband as my lackey once he gets home, instead of the amazing father of my children.
This post is all kinds of all over the place, but I guess, for me, what Anonymouse has been writing about really does make me want to be more conscious of how I choose to treat my children (and my husband).
Are they commodities, or people?
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Fingers lift and fail to come down in the right places, on the right keys. Words filter, fall short of intended meaning. What words are there? How much can they comfort, anyway? Who is ever ready?
Death is unnatural and ugly and it rips babies from their mothers' arms. It takes fathers from their children. It silences ribbons of sentiment, wound through years, between sisters.
I look at photos up on display of a curly-haired toddler in her lap, and I start crying again. I think of my little blond Asher, asleep in his bed, shouting "No!" as loud as he can at whomever is taking his dreamed-up Cheez-it stash, chasing puppies in his sleep. I think of the love and devotion and time I have poured into his life.
I think of mountains she has climbed for her son.
"You have spoken such possibility and joy into his life. There is no room for guilt," I say, crying again.
My child does not have the special needs her child had, but the guilt is always there, swimming under the surface, chumming along and trolling for life to devour.
"Thank you so much for your words. I need that truth now."
There is always something for us to bite into, to settle for, to fall gently onto. It may be a lie, a burden of secret, a failed endeavor, a long-dead dream.
Or, I suppose the ultimate lie would be that this life is all there is, that there is no room for breath beyond the edges of a mortal soul's meager existence. And going to the funeral of someone's child no longer allows me that choice.
Life will always go on, one day filtering into the next in an endless sea of morning donuts, diesel fuel carelessly collected in puddles, sounds of children sauntering and taunting their way to school.
But when it is you who is placing that loved one in the stone cold ground, the life you now know somehow becomes muted, shapeless and gray. You long for the color of a world where God is the only thing that rules.
One thin sliver of something holds your toe to this life, while your soul always longs for something more.
And you are reminded, once again, that you are mere footsteps from eternity.
We heard one metallic thud, then about 20 seconds later glass breaking, then another thud. Scott said to me, "There is someone in the house." "What?" "There is someone in the house. Get the kids out."
I have NO idea how I managed to get Asher out of his crib with one arm while Lucy was struggling against me in the other. Or, with 30 + pounds of dead sleeping-child weight under each arm, how I unlocked and opened both the front door AND the storm door, ran 60 feet to my neighbor's and deposited my children safely in her arms, before I completely and utterly lost it. I would have just loved a video recording of me dropping Lucy at one point, and her looking up at me and saying, "Mama! You're hurting my shoulder! And you shouldn't drop me!"
She was crying the whole time. At one point when we were at the neighbor's, I wondered where Asher was. He was all snuggled into a corner of their couch, bright-eyed and grinning at the antics. It's as if he were thinking, "Wow! Now this is what I call a fun night time activity!"
I think instinct kicked in and the Mama Bear in me would have been hell on wheels to reckon with had there actually been someone in my house. Usually I am a wimp.
My number one thought the entire time was, “They will be safe. Even if I come across someone in the hallway, trying to get them out, that a-hole is not touching my kids.”
Turns out the a-hole was a coffee maker, but I'm not sure I would have done anything differently. I just imagine going into the garage, seeing a man with a gun and saying, "Oh! But, you were supposed to be a coffee maker!" At 4:30 in the morning you aren't really thinking those things, right?
When I called 9-1-1, I exclaimed to the operator, "But my purse is in there! All my stuff! I need to go back and get it!"
"Ma'am, NO. Whatever you do, don't go back and get it. It doesn't matter. Ma'am. MA'AM!"
We were also laughing at how whoever was in there had definitely chosen the wrong house.
"Dude, Wyatt! You'd think these people had never heard of credit cards." Not sure how many felons there are out there named Wyatt, but, eh, it's the first name I thought of.
Do you have an evacuation plan? My realizations on the matter:
1. My neighbors are worth more than gold.
2. I will never put a child in the basement. We thought we might do that, but the thought of not being able to get to one of them makes me want to vomit.
3. We need a plan.
What is yours?
Monday, January 19, 2009
me: I hate this feeling in the pit of my stomach. No reason to feel this way. Calm down, calm down.
Anxious Thoughts: Wonder if your embryo kicked it in the night.
Yes, oh my gosh, that could have happened.
I heard D & C's aren't so much fun.
Oh, you're right, I forgot about that. They actually put you to sleep and scrape things out of your crotch. Oh crap oh crap oh crap.
Yeah, you should probably go ahead and schedule another ultrasound. Oh, and even if it survives to 13 weeks, you're not guaranteed no birth defects.
Oh you're so right. Yu are SO right. Oh crap. Oh crap, oh crap, and oh crap.
You ever heard of placenta accretia? You should google, "c-section complications" and check out what comes up. The search results are even better if 'death' is included in the search field.
Agh, you're right. you're right. Why didn't I think of that?
How is your husband sleeping so soundly?
hehe - um, I gave him a run for his money, I guess. You got any ideas?
He should be worried about this stuff, too.
Yeah, he should. Should I wake him up to talk about it?
Well, yeah, if you know what's good for you, you should deal with these imminent disasters together.
Hmmm? I'm more than willing to accompany you to your Googling chair.
No, wait. You know what? You suck.
I'm just trying to protect you.
No. this isn't how this day is going to go. Throw something at me. Worst thing in the world.
Hmmmmmm... fine. Birth defects, incompatible with life. You carry the kid for 4 months, he dies anyway.
What? Just 'Ok'? Come on. you're not being yourself. Get all riled up. Be the raging psycho you know you can be. I'm talking heart palpitations and palm sweats here, honey.
No, no, no. It would be ok. It would stink, but I'm not doing it any more. If it happens, it happens. Not wasting perfectly good bed-lounging on your lame-o thoughts. Try another one.
Aight, how about this? Cord wraps around neck during delivery. Deader than a door-nail.
Ok. ok. that would be terrible. Awful. I'd cry for years. But I would be ok. I'm sure of it.
Ummm... but it would be the end of the world. You wouldn't be able to go on. You know it. I know it.
No, actually, I would. You're just telling me that I wouldn't. You want me to believe in the fear. Because when the fear is the god, you win.
No, don't you see? I'm just trying to protect you - help you prepare for the contingencies.
And that has helped me before, how exactly?
Um... you may have lowered your life span significantly by worrying about things you couldn't control?
Ah - so you're a Eugenics professor now!
What? You're not going to dwell on it?
Nope - no offense, but I've better things to do. Hey, you remember those jeans we saw at the Gap? Wonder if they have them in my size. That light blue shirt was cute, too...rouched sleeves and everything. Better wear them before the belly expands. Let's drive to the mall!
How can you think of jeans at a time like this? And how are you so confident the belly will BE expanding?
I'm not, but I guess I just want the jeans. If the belly doesn't expand, I can wear them for longer. And, I can also drink Margaritas again. There's always a silver lining.
What happened to you? Why the sunny outlook? This isn't how this normally goes. You're messing everything up.
Get used to it. Your car or mine?
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
If you never read another thing in the world, read this. It is so beautiful. And leave a comment! Let him know you stopped by!
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
I daresay he was telling falsehoods.
If you love history and you also love great character development, rent this series. You will learn so much about the early days of our country, and you will also develop a slight crush on Thomas Jefferson:
You know a series is good when you are actually sad a little bit the next day because you have watched all of the episodes. I still feel a twinge of jealousy when I have met someone who has not yet watched all 6 seasons of 6 Feet Under. Oh, to get to love the Fishers again!
I am dying to go to the Adams' beloved country home, Peacefield. I want to make jam in the fields and look at the flowers in awe the way he did when he was 90. Oh! And get THIS! He said, "Oh, such a thing it is, to find wonder in the mundane!" Thanks for the shout out, Johnny.
The movie made me realize that my time is NOW, and that each day is such a precious gift. I don't want to waste my youth or the youth of my husband and children on silly, inconsequential things.
Which is why I am blogging and they are fighting over toy cars on the basement stairs.
Asher has discovered that if he yells, "No! No! No!" right into her little cochlea, he gets quite an enraged response. Ah, the secret, newly-discovered arsenal of the little brother.
Anyway, I loved the fact that this portrayal of actual events doesn't seem to have been neutered by the usual Hollywood numbskulls. Most of the players seemed to be quite keen on keeping small, limited government and strong military. Hey, they sound like Laura Ingraham! I suppose they wouldn't have liked her much, being a woman and all.
My whole body hurts and I need exercise, but that is hard to do when it is 19 degrees outside. I have a friend coming into town this weekend - I have not seen her for 10 years. I have so much to clean but I just feel - well, stuck. Sort of overcome by inertia. I have also already eaten 600 calories this morning. It is not even 10:23 in the AM.
I hate when I get this way!
So, back to history. I think Adams was a crotchety man who abandoned his family for years on end while he went to France on diplomatic missions. He sacrificed so much for his passion for freedom.
One of my favorite Jefferson quotes (it made me pee my grannies a little bit, truth be told):
"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is its natural manure."
Our government is getting way too grandiose and stuck on itself - I don't think Jefferson would have cared for it so much. And it's also funny how the issues and passions of people 220 years ago are not so different as the ones we have today.
Lucy is asking for Dora stickers and Asher is digging in his diaper. Time for macaroni and cheese. It is now 10:32.
Good miniseries recommendations?
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Lu: I like that white thing in your hair. What is it?
me: a tiara.
Lu: (silent for a moment) Mama, where was I when you and daddy were doin' your gettin' married?
me: You weren't born yet.
Lu: But where was I?
me: God hadn't made you yet.
Lu: God made me?
me: (siezing teachable moment a bit too violently) Yes! He did! He made everyone!
Lu: but then why was I in your tummy?
me: because God put you there.
Lu: no, no, no. You said daddy put me there.
me: well, God helped daddy put you there.
Lu (looking confused and a tad bit sickened): So, God AND daddy put me in your tummy?
me: yes, well, God TOLD daddy to put you there.
Lu: but where was God?
me: in heaven.
Lu: and he told daddy to put me in your tummy?
Lu: and you put Asher in daddy's tummy, too, since he is a boy?
me: yes. let's go play with blocks.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
I watched Asher open his gifts. Grimy hands (yes, they're always grimy no matter the occasion) delicately pulled at brightly-colored paper. He was in no hurry, though he did not appreciate any help proffered from sibling or parents. He knew these gifts were his.
The Mickey Mouse cake, balloons, party favors, food. It was all for him.
One of my favorite images of Asher as a child will be walking into the dining room and seeing his little form all dressed up, back to me, hands tightly clasped behind his tiny back. Simply delighting in all that was his. He did not question why Mickey had arrived, or if he even deserved such a wonderful, tasty cake. These things were there for him. They just were. Even thinking about it now brings tears to my eyes.
He only enjoyed. What a sweet, sweet, moment.
My friend Emily wrote a few days back about just accepting the gift of a healthy baby after giving birth to an unhealthy one. She wrote so eloquently as usual, about just accepting the gift. Not questioning it.
I am apparently gestating something. Kitten? Cupcake? The complete works of Handy Manny on DVD? Who knows.
The original thought that sped through my mind two weeks ago while seeing two blue lines was, "Oh no oh no oh no - I was not taking extra folic acid...we weren't planning this. I've ruined everything." I was at my sister in law's house and I sat on the toilet and cried. She sat and listened to me.
Morning sickness is not all day like with my other two; I only get it slightly at night. Of course I am convinced I am miscarrying, though why would I still have symptoms if that were so? I had no earthly idea that pregnancies could be so different, one from another. Don't I have the same body?
I thought I wouldn't write about this until 13 weeks, but who am I kidding. I feel no "safer" at 13 weeks or at 37 than I do at 6, truth be told. I have seen a still form on an ultrasound screen long after I was supposedly in the "safe" zone. I have been told news I never wanted to hear. Knowing these things, and knowing myself, I know that regardless of any outcome, even if I miscarried tomorrow, you all would hear about it. If you haven't figured it out by now, I am very relational. I can never be a woman who says, "You know, last year I miscarried twice. We didn't really tell anyone about it." How lonely.
So why not share this news now?
I refuse to give in to the anxiety that choked me last time, because His presence is omnipotent. Perfect love casts out fear, and if I truly believe that phrase and breathe it in, in to the core of me, I am calmed. The ultimate reality is that God can, indeed, create something out of nothing.
It brings me to my knees.
Today I accept the possibilities, unfolding before me like rolling golden hills. There are no constraints. A cloud looms above me, breaking. I wait for rain, the best kind of letting go -
My fingers splay wide and my head pounds.
I accept the gift.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Lucy woke up at 3 AM, yelling about some flowers that told her "no!". She claimed she just could not sleep in her own bed, so after kissing me on the lips about 56 times and wrapping her little arms around my shoulders, she fell asleep.
She grinds her teeth and writhes around like an exorcism in progress.
On the other side of me was Scott, snoring away like nobody's business.
Tomorrow we will have Asher's family birthday party. It stresses me out too much to have friends and family all crammed in our little house, so I decided to do family tomorrow and then have his little friends over next week.
I'm not sure you care, but it's a Mickey Mouse theme and he drools every time he tries to say "two". I think the effort of puckering his lips just about does him in, so he has no reserves left to try and hold in the saliva.
"How old are you, son?"
Genius. Budding genius.
I am going to make guacamole for chips, and Grammy is having the Mickey Mouse cake made. I'm thinking a veggie tray and various drinks.
Any good recipes for a fun punch? Maybe some sort of spiked concoction, so by the end of the party the grandparents are running around singing the Mickey Mouse theme song. Ideas?
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Why this is funny:
1. I don't normally buy greeting cards for you, unless your situation is dire. For example, if you are terminally ill or just had a miscarriage, that is worth a greeting card to me. Birthdays? Lulu makes them. I am cheap.
2. I'm not really sure I even qualify. The lady on the phone asked me how many greeting cards I bought in the last 3 months. I gave her a number, and she told me that wasn't "enough". So I played, "What number are you thinking of?" with her, until finally she was sated:
her: too low.
her: still too low.
her: too high. really really think back. can you remember a lower number?
me: 9! (what is this, the three little bears?)
Baby Bear: oh, that's just right! you remembered right!
**she laughs triumphantly, trying to cover it up with a cough**
2. Card content:
Where are the: "OH! Congratulations! You're pregnant! I really hope it works out this time, unlike the last three. What were your beta numbers? I really hope the kid doesn't have duplicated reproductive organs!"
You could even have a tasteful picture on the front, of two impressionistic vagi*nas and some baby blankets.
3. I have glorious dreams of going in there with a spreadsheet of all the ways they can improve their greeting card sales. My ideas:
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, STOP STOP STOP WITH THE WILTING TULIPS ON THE SYMPATHY CARDS.
Why do you card makers call it sympathy, anyway? "with sympathy" just doesn't even begin to touch it. I am "sympathetic" if John stubbed his toe or if Molly's kid is behind a tad developmentally.
If Harry's dad just died of a massive heart attack, I'm going to go with, "I'm horrified at your pain." Well, actually, that sounds sort of like I am horrified that Harry is responding so dramatically.
So maybe, "I feel your pain with you." No, no. Too cliche.
How about a wilting french fry on the front. You open the card up and, "Well, we knew he could never resist a french fry."
No. No. Too over the top.
4. I'm pawning off my kids on their Grammy to go to the doctor, then eat a lunch all by myself. And then I will show up at the card company, my creative guns ablazing. They will offer me a contract to work from home, if only I will give them more of my glorious ideas. Most likely, though, some glassy-eyed blue hair will shove a check at me after I fill out a questionnaire.
My dreams, dashed in a dully-lit conference room.
Monday, January 5, 2009
I wrote this in a note to a friend this morning:
The other night I had read some of Elisabeth Elliot's "Keep a Quiet Heart" and realized that with all of my endless Google searching and striving to keep everything in the palm of my hand, I will fail.
The doctors, with all of their endless knowledge, had all but given up on Lucy. And yet, here she is, almost 4 years later, cutting her hair with scissors. And my thoughts about her or worrying about her had NOTHING to do with that. God just decided she should be here. (Right now she is sporting a side ponytail and a backwards leotard, asking for fiber cereal. )
I am faced with a choice, every day that I open my eyes and the light streams in the window. And my stubborn heart wants to keep going back to the place of, "You'd better do it my way, dammit!"
And all the while, God just stays quiet and calls me in ways only He can. It's my choice whether or not I will listen.
I think of Job 38, my favorite passage in the entire Bible, where God basically tells Job to shut it when Job is saying, "Why do you do the things you do?"
God responds: "Were you there at the foundations of the earth? Were you there when I hung the stars? How about when I breathed life into the heart of man, what? No? You weren't there, Job? Then shut the hell up."
So today, when I woke up in the morning and feel my anxiety levels rise, I open my Bible to Job. I also read Elisabeth Elliott. I love her. If you have never read anything she has written, do! She has an incredible heart for God. I desire that.
God has so many good things in store for us. Will we face hard days? Yes. Will we always have his peace?
Google can't give me that.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
- We were in Cincinnati for testing for Lucy. She was in a pack and play, and right next to it on the night stand was a roll of toilet paper. I suddenly had this image in my head of Lucy getting up in the night while we were asleep and choking on the toilet paper. "Mom," I said, can you move that toilet paper? I'm afraid Lu might choke on it." "What?" she said, "Rachel, if your 3 year old gets up in the night and starts randomly munching on toilet paper, you've got some bigger problems than her choking on it." She laughed so hard she started crying.
- We were in Costco right after Lucy was born with my friend Lori, who had come to visit. I had had a terrible time with anxiety over SIDS. I would research for hours online, reading stories of babies who had died, actually GETTING OUT A CALCULATOR and calculating my kids' risk based on her age and gender. Over and over and over again. I will contend that that is not normal. Each time I changed her diaper I had to make sure the little Mickey Mouse picture on the front was different than the last time. If it wasn't, it meant I'd find her dead in her crib. I know, sounds crazy now. Anyway, we were there, and Scott said, "Well, it's time to get some new diapers for Lu. They're a good price." And I said, "Well, what if she dies? Then I will have diapers around to remind me that I had a baby that died." Scott: "Um, so you really think that if she died now, seeing a Mickey Mouse diaper would send you over the edge?" again, laughing very hard, all the way to the checkout lanes.
- My older brother Michael always loved to torment me. When I was in high school, it was no different. He'd take me out back and have me watch him shoot hoops. "OK, Rach, if I don't make this basket, Mom will die, right? Or...how about this? 5 out of 10 or Dad kicks the bucket."
Who said older brothers weren't good for something?