Thursday, August 27, 2009

that blanket

The sheets on my bed are clean; they smell like lavender. A little boy plays with Legos on my sheets, because he just can't get to sleep.

The thing that helps him sleep, usually, is his blanket. It's the blanket that covered my 97 year old grandfather as he died. I have pictures of it accentuating his labored breathing; my brothers kissing him as he breathed his last.

There's a beautiful symmetry there, and I want to write about it sometime. I thought I'd write about it tonight.

I came up here to the office, to write. I am in a place where I don't have a lot to say. Or, maybe, too much to say, and no words to say it.



Right now, though, there's a little boy who smells all sweaty from a day playing outside. His emotions catapult from angry to amorous in 3.4 seconds, and he can't quite articulate his "t's". He's the baby of the family, and when you lift up his chin to give him a kiss, you'll see a dirt line.

That's how little boys should be.

I just peeked in on him. He's snuggled, now, underneath that blanket of memories. Almost asleep, no realization that what covers him is legend, comfort, strength.

I will whisper these stories in his ear as he drifts to places of dreams and bravado. I will caress hand, watch eyelids flutter.

I will look with awe upon two things I love so dearly:

That blanket.

My son.



Sunday, August 23, 2009

OCD

A lot has happened in the past week or so. It is all stuff that, well, if I were going to be honest with you, just makes me tired.

I've been a tad antisocial and a lot just trying to figure out where to go from here. I've been caring for the kids and caring for my husband, and sometimes in the silence and wanting to figure things out I just have to go through the motions and take it day by day.

I know I am speaking vaguely but it's my blog and I get to do that, right?

I have switched medications and it is making the OCD a thorn in my side. Every minute, no, every second, is spent fighting exhausting thoughts I don't want to have.

I am tired.

And yet, I press on. It's not so much valiance as it is desperation.

I get out of bed even when I don't want to, I see the glorious sunrise of another day, I kiss my children.

This will not beat me.

Friday, August 21, 2009

priorities

Do you watch Obsessed on A and E? if you don't, you should. Scott and I watched the other night and I cried my eyes out.

"I didn't realize you deal with thoughts that go around and around in your head all day long, all the time," he said.

"I do," I said.

I am very good at covering it up, at making the compulsions not show. It's a tedious art form and I have perfected it.

Sometimes I wish I were more obsessed with things that would be good to be obsessed about, like cleaning, living 'green', keeping a commitment to not wearing my nail polish half flaked off, or keeping my kids in clean diapers.

Ah, priorities.

We have rediscovered these. Lucy has asked for a repertoire of jewelry made entirely of mommy's shrinky-dink projects.

I am so busy these days.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

you would have arrived today

ah, the overdone "dear miscarried baby post".

Sorry, had to do it, baby.

If you had followed the pattern of birth your older brother and sister had, it's today you would have arrived.

All 3 of you had the same due date, the 5th. Both of the others were born on the 16th of the month before.

So, you were due on September 5th but you would have been born today, August 16.

I feel your absence in all things, but mostly near me, right near, where I would have hugged you close and tucked you into me, a bastion of protection.

We would be dreaming up names for you and wondering who you'd look like. Sissy's hair? Brother's eyes? We'd wonder who you would share a room with, or would you land yourself squarely in our bed for a time?

I think the hardest part about miscarriage, the unexpected part, was the loss of the dream. It's one I feel so acutely I can still sense its bitter taste on tongue.

There have been a slew of pregnancy announcements this week, eight of them, in fact, and I wonder if it would have been just a little bit easier to take with you in my arms, to smell your sweet scent and marvel at your bunched-up little baby body.

People think, "You can always try again." And that's true. It is, I suppose you always can. But the trying is what scares me, because I don't want to lose that again.

Life is always imperfect, and to find any amount of peace, we must accept it that way. We must come to it on its own terms and breathe it in, imperfect scent as it is.

So, baby, that is what I am to do tonight. I will think of you and put you in your proper place. A place for memories and untied ribbons, the place where unretouched photographs fight moths for memories.

I will relish each moment I have with these:






and seal you tightly away, forever,
in my heart.

Friday, August 14, 2009

survive

Do you ever just get totally tripped out by time? How quickly it seems to go when you're having fun, and how slowly it goes when you're not?

I think about how I have always seen my grandmother as an old lady. But not so long ago, she was 30 years old like I am now. I've seen it in pictures, and it gives me the creeps because it means I am going to be an old lady, too.

Why am I so afraid of being an old lady? It would mean I've lived a long life. I hear people who have survived cancer aren't so despondent about birthdays. They are just happy to have had the chance to have another one. They have survived.

Sometimes, life just seems HARD to live. And sometimes, you find unexpected joy in the way sunlight creates shadow or a 4 year old's funny question (how loud to I have to talk for Santa to hear me?).

I have always striven to have control over everything in my little world. When I think of all of the possibilities of the bad things that could happen to someone I love, I panic. Then I think of all I've already been through and realize that humans have an innate survival capability. Good or bad, it's there. I may be a sucky house cleaner, but I'm a survivor.

Survival doesn't need a clean kitchen floor.

Monday, August 10, 2009

don't try on dresses in the bathroom

A cute pic of me breaking every child labor law in the book. Have you ever bought corn at the Famer's Market? DO IT!

********************
One of my friends has this impressive shopping ability. She's got this amazing sweeping motion she uses when going through a rack of clothing, like she's looking for an unearthed geological find. I wanted to try it.

I went shopping yesterday with Asher. It's a major department store outlet. $150 dresses for $16.

I found a whole handful of them, and tried a skirt on in the aisle. Kept my jeans on, you know, just so I wouldn't get put in the pokey for indecent exposure. We went to the dressing room, and waited and waited and waited. We waited for 20 minutes, but we were the only ones in line. Asher was starting to beg for mercy. He actually asked for a fingernail cut, if it meant he could escape this dressing room hell.

I really had to go to the restroom at this point, and Asher was considering ending it all. He was doing his Handy Manny impersonation, the one where Handy Manny goes postal with a chainsaw. I asked the saleslady where the nearest restroom was.

I ignored the sign that said, "Absolutely NO MERCHANDISE in restroom."

In the restroom, an angry-looking saleslady was washing her hands. I decided to pretend I was just going to hang the dresses up while I was going to the restroom. After she left, I was bringing the dresses into my stall. I didn't hear the door open again, because I jumped a mile:

"MA'AM. Can't you read the SIGN? Look here: NO MERCHANDISE IN RESTROOM."

"Well, yes. I could read the sign. But where am I supposed to try my clothes on? I waited for 20 minutes with Mr. Anxiety here, and decided maybe I should take matters into my own hands."

"Well, I can just go ahead and call security. SECURITY CAN JUST TAKE YOU OUT."

(Oh, my dear Mary and Joseph. I am actually being threatened by a saleslady in a department store with security. How did this happen?)

By this time, people are starting to watch, slightly amused.

"No, you definitely don't have to call security. Can you just point me to a dressing room that's not inhabited so I can try these on and get out of here?"

Her tone softened and she showed me a dressing room. A COMPLETELY EMPTY DRESSING ROOM ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORE.

I swear there was a detail watching me as I shopped.



OK, on to the photos. In this first one, I look like Hitler's girlfriend:
I hate my knees but am trying to buy dresses that expose them. Isn't that how you're supposed to get rid of those types of fears?
Give us a break. My photographer still craps his pants:
Speaking of photographers, the one I've got is completely booked today, helping me to put some tile up in the kitchen. Pictures to come.

Oh, and the trying on clothes thing in the bathroom? Don't judge. You know you've done it too.

Friday, August 7, 2009

my prayers for today, bulleted

Dear God, help me to:

  • treat my children with patience and grace, even when they are throwing toys at the newly-painted wall and leaving black marks and holes in it. Remind me that earthly possessions will burn one day. And if that doesn't work, also remind me that I just ran my dad's car into a guard rail and he didn't disown me.

  • remember that they are only little for a very very short period of time. Help me to embrace each moment instead of thinking about all of the things I need to do or worrying about the future. Tell me to run my tongue along my teeth, both sets, before reacting to the 15th milk spill of the day.

  • stop being selfish when it comes to my husband. When he gets home I am tired and want to lie on the couch and be hand-fed bon bons like a rare type of bird. Remind me that a strong family begins with a happy marriage.

  • stop eating so many chocolate chip cookies.

Love,

Rachel

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

a socialized medicine primer

You knew I couldn't stay away from the topic. I know you knew it. And then you people have to go and start emailing me articles to get me going.


I love how Specter and Sebelius are surprised that people actually have an opinion about their health care. Isn't this clip just great?


Some common misconceptions:

1. 47 million Americans are without health care.

Yes, doesn't this make you think that there are women and small children with absolutely no health care? How horrible of us as a nation not to take care of them!!!!


But then, wait a minute... any person in this country can go and get a prescription, free of charge, at the local emergency room. Yes, it is a long wait. BUT IT IS FREE. Free, as in, Molly and Moe taxpayer are footing the bill.


A large portion of those 47 million Americans are actually young professionals who make over $50,000 a year and don't choose to buy private insurance. Again, when you hear "47 million Americans are without health care", you think of those poor people not as fortunate as you are. You don't hear the entire story. Young men and women in their early to mid twenties who feel they are healthy and don't want to spend their money on health care at this point in life are a part of that statistic.


10 million of those "without" health care are illegal immigrants. However you feel about the immigration debate, this is a separate issue. They are not American citizens, so that part of the statistic is a bold faced lie.


2. Everyone will be covered!


Yes! Everyone will be covered. But if by "covered" you mean, "Wait for 2 months to see a doctor about your rotting ear drum," then yes. The running joke about Canada is that in some provinces there is a 10 month wait to see an OB.


Those who have Medicaid as primary insurance? They have no guarantee that the "Government Option" will be any better than what they have now. They will continue to have the same, or lesser, coverage than they have now.


So who is this "option" helping?


3. Those evil insurance companies will have some healthy competition.

If you consider healthy competition to be putting a piranha in a goldfish tank so that the goldfish will have to put up more of a fight to attain the fish food, you are again correct. The government is the piranha and the goldfish are the private insurers. President Obama tells us we can still have the "option" to keep our private insurance. Oh yes! This is true! And we need to hurry to get it done!


But did you know what he didn't tell you? If you lose your job or switch jobs, game over. There is no longer an option. You can't sign up for a new policy any place but at the gargantuan, mastitis-ridden teat of the federal government. (The same place that so efficiently runs the Medicare system and the DMV.)


So, those old policies are grandfathered in, but there really isn't an option at all. And how are those private insurers going to compete with the multi-billion dollar federal government? (Those are your billions, by the way.) Answer: They are not.


So, what will happen is this: Government tells us we have "options". We believe it. Health care plan is in place. Anyone can go to the doctor, at any time. Everyone wants to go to the doctor...hell, it's free! Sign me up, kids! The federal rationing board tells you what procedures you can have done, and what procedures you need to live without. I know, I know. You've heard you can decide those things with your doctor. Did you know the doctor will have a salary cap and a nice cushy job working for the federal government? So, in essence, the doctor and the fed are one and the same.


So, let's rephrase: You can take what the governing body will give you. And I'm just rooting around for a guess, here, but if you're 75 and need some cancer treatment, they're not going to give you a go. They'll just hand you a plastic baggie filled with heavy narcotics and ask you to give the old Colt 45 a whirl. Maybe they'll send you to pick out a nice little plot at the local cemetery. They may even throw in a free cremation. Huzzah!!!!


4. Health care is so bad here! We need reform!


I've heard this sentiment more times than I care to mention. The last time I heard it I was drinking free Gin and Tonic at a bar, so the rile-up function in my brain was broken.


Today, though, it's not.


Listen - you ever watch those TLC and Discovery shows about people with rare medical conditions? Do you ever notice they DON'T go for medical trials to places like the UK and Canada? They are always heading to the United States. It's almost comical - so much so that Scott and I will say it before the tv does: "For treatment of his elephantitis of the reproductive organs, Jonny will head to..." "THE UNITED STATES!" and then we make out for the rest of the show.

OK, not really.


So. There is no incentive for researchers/drug companies/doctors in countries with socialized medicine to create new treatments. Why should they need to? There is a steady flow of money coming in (revenue from that country's citizens), regardless of whether or not the doctors come up with new breakthroughs.


5. In our specific case with Lucy, I have met many many many parents who have brought their children to the United States to get treatment instead of staying in their home country. One mother I talked to told me that her government wouldn't pay for a colostomy reversal. It wasn't necessary for survival.


There is a huge reason why I am so passionate about all of this. This is medicine. This is reality. I am not being devisive, this is pragmatism. At this point in time, we are looking at some major surgeries for Lucy in the near to distant future. I want her to be as normal as possible, and I do not want a government rationing board dictating her treatment. Should any member of my family come down with diabetes or cancer, I do not want a 2 month long wait to start treatment.


I do thank God that she had her colostomy reversed before any of this "Government Option" stuff could be implemented. If you're a beaurocrat in Washington and you've got all your parts, it's easy to tell a little 4 year old she can't get rid of that turd bag on her stomach:

But if you're the 4 year old and life expectancy in your country is 76, that's an awful lot of time to go without a butt hole.

wow

Gee, could her failure to attain a job be due to a bad economy or because of her stellar grammatical skills?

"They're supposed to say, 'I got this student, her attendance is good, her GPA is all right -- can you interview this person?' They're not doing that," she said.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

nothing

I don't have anything to say.

Me? Nothing to say?

I know. I don't quite believe it, either.