Monday, March 29, 2010

true companion

7 years ago I was snotting all over my veil. Remember? And my dear maid of honor only had two kleenex? I remember the best man watching me snot all over myself, and he looked a little grossed out.

We were both crying. I think that was a good sign. I had a Vodka shot before walking down the aisle. Before the doors opened, my dad said, "We can always escape, you know, go to McDonalds or something."

Funny thing is, I didn't want to escape. You were the first who didn't make me feel like running.

I remember after we were married and walked into the back room, I was crying because I thought about how bad it would hurt when "death parted us", like the vows said. And then I remembered that this was our wedding day, and I needed to be in the moment.

I loved you so much.

Did you know you were going to marry that crazy girl wearing the "Rachie" shirt and the old man shoes? Remember the night we met, how I plopped myself down right next to you in that restaurant and started drinking out of someone else's water glass? How I was fielding phone calls from guys on

You couldn't stop laughing.

I feel like that shocked you, surprised you, amused you. I 've been doing that to you ever since. Once you told me, when I was so excited about getting a new pair of glasses, "You make all the ordinary things fun."

Sometimes I hold onto that, what you said to me, because I feel like you've had to be strong for me so many times. Sometimes I feel like the weak one, the one with the limp, the one who has to be dragged into the sunlight over and over again because I prefer the shade.

Thank you for adoring me, for hurting with me, for loving our children like you do. For giving me the freedom to rest when the road is too long and to dance when the joy overcomes me.

I know I don't empty the dishwasher the right way and the office is messy and I also put too much salt in the food. "Quirks" that aren't so cute any more. Yet you love.

So many people lately have said, "You two have a special spark. You're flirty when you're together." I guess we are.

I'm so glad I found you.

Or that you found me, maybe.

The "Rachie" shirt had to help.

Monday, March 22, 2010

things not to say to a habitual aborter

With the help of a little wine, I'm all good and limbered up. I'd like to give you a post entitled: things not to say.

1. DON'T email me and tell me my insurance provider may not continue to provide me with health insurance because I have had multiple miscarriages, so you can prove the point that government run healthcare would somehow be better. Especially when you have six children.

Just, well, DON'T.

2. DON'T email me and ask me to pray that you are not pregnant with your fourth child. You KNOW my history, and you have to know that that was a little cruel and unusual.

So, just, well, DON'T.

3. DON'T tell me we shouldn't try again. It's none of your damn business. I know you want to help and all, but, sorry, that decision isn't really up to you.

4. DON'T tell me that, because you have only had one pregnancy loss and I have had three, that yours was probably just a 'fluke' but there is probably something really wrong with me.

4a. DON'T be shocked that I no longer want to have play dates with you.

The end.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Three years ago today you died.

Death isn't like the painting shirt or the old coat you get used to because you've had it that way for so long and it's there. You never become comfortable with the holes in the elbows. You get cold wearing it.

Too cold.

You were always strong and stoic, a Swede who showed love through service rather than words. Your grip at age 85 was stronger than a man's 60 years younger.

You were the patriarch - and when the patriarch is gone, the whole family sings sorrow.

I remember your grandson, Lee, my cousin, singing "How Great Thou Art" at your funeral. That was your favorite. When he faltered, the oak casket in front of him still and silent, his sister sitting next to me started singing too, and the rest of us joined in and finished the song with him.

The rest of us - we're still here, a battle-scarred bunch of people who find our way because you led by example, and that example was good.

Sometimes you seemed gruff to me, and I supposed you were. The summer I was 12 we drove fourteen hours, chicken crate in back of family van, to your farm. When we arrived, you expressed disbelief that we'd drive that far with a batch of chicken dinners in the rear of our car.

I explained that the birds I had experimentally hatched after reading a Laura Ingalls Wilder book had become too big for a city house, and a farm was a good place for them. You told me they'd taste good, and the only way I knew you weren't lying was because you'd never do that to me.

You were a farmer and a hunter, so killing animals for food and sport was nothing new to you. I remember going hunting with you and watching in pre-teen horror as you wrung a not-quite-dead goose's neck.

You just cackled and said, "That's how it goes, Missy."

At your funeral I was sitting there, watching a video of you and I, summer sun glinting on our backs. You had an old seed store hat on, helping me herd those ducks and that chicken around. You were saying things like, "Get on over there, you old piece of foul," and "I oughtta cook you for dinner." I was laughing so hard.

I miss that day. Remember that? The video was taken around gloaming time, a North Dakota late afternoon when the air almost sparkles with humidity, so beautiful it makes you sad.

A woman came up to me as I sat there and said, "Your grandpa brought a chicken to my farm about 15 years ago and asked me if I would keep it. He told me, 'We're moving into town and I can't keep this old chicken. And I sure can't kill it. That would break my granddaughter's little heart."

Wasn't that just like you. Doing the good things in the background, gruff exterior hiding the tender heart we all loved.

I stayed lost in thought, watching you and I, wondering why I wasn't brave enough to go out to the cemetery and watch them lower you into the ground. I used my 2 month old son as an excuse, saying that it was too cold for him out there.

It was too cold for me.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


"I will not let this bitter root grow in me."
-Sara Groves

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

cookie mom

I remember coming home from school, fall day nipping at my heel. My mom would always have cookies baking. Well, maybe not always...maybe it was one time. But we all idealize childhood, right?

I always wanted to be cookie mom.

Sometimes, in all the kerfluffle, I forget that cookie days are the best.

You two were getting all up and under my hair, and daddy wasn't due home for hours.

Lu, you had your butterfly wings on, and Asher, you were wearing a plaid shirt you'd dressed yourself in.

Both restless.

I cleaned the garage while the two of you moved rocks with a dump truck,

pretending to be a king and a queen who were moving their ducks from one pond to another.

When I said it was cookie time, when the air was getting cool and too dark to be outside, anticipatory squeals rushed out of sweet little lips. And the realization hit me: I call the shots. I am now the cookie mom.

I don't have a fancy camera or any photo editing software,

but I do have a 2 megapixel camera phone.

Enough to capture you, right now...


Thursday, March 11, 2010

thoughts thoughts thoughts

Scrambling to find a perinatologist who can inject me with some blood thinners or magic pixie dust or street cocaine so I don't miscarry again if I were, in fact, pregnant. I meet with her on Monday morning at 10:15.

Weirdest thing? I'm sort of, "meh" about the whole thing.

In other news, Scott still isn't potty trained. Wait, I meant to say, "Asher". But if by "potty trained" you mean, doesn't flatulate 56 times a day in my presence, then, by golly, Scott isn't potty trained, either.

Asher enjoys sitting in his feces. I mean, he ENJOYS IT, like LIKES IT. I've been told to spank him when he poops in his diaper, but that just reeks of something Norman Bates to me...

I like going to the fitness center. It's me, a bunch of other flabby preschooler moms, and nine 70-year-old guys who tell me stories of their trips to an off-the-beaten-path bar in Wyoming with their red-headed gal Glenda in 1980.

My house is a mess and this whole week has been chaos because we've been gone gone gone every day all day for one reason or another.

Tomorrow is re-grouping day. I will sip chardonnay while the children play with tampon samples.

What's on your agenda for the last working day of the week?

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Why does the end of "Up" make me cry like a baby? You know, the part where Russell is getting his badge and Carl shows up to be his surrogate dad. I cry like a baby.

I think we all need someone to come alongside us and say, "You can do it. You're worth it. I believe in you."

I think we all wear scars we endure at different times in our lives. We think that no one else could possibly understand what we have been through, or accept us for feeling anger and loss and jealousy.

I think that when we believe that we are the only ones feeling this way, and everyone else is perfectly manicured and coiffed and perfumed, we start to feel despair.

Life can damage us, but friendship redeems.

That is good.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

do you see

I am in my home town this weekend. It's so fun, but also tiring. So many people I want to talk to and not enough time for the talky-talk.

On Friday I was so tempted just to take all of our baby stuff and sell it on Craig's List. I thought, "How VERY liberating would that be?"

Get some cash and spend it on something I want, like a camera.

On Tuesday I have an appointment with the perinatologist. She will tell us what she thinks about the Factor V and how she would approach it in a future pregnancy. I like getting information but now is the first time in my life where I'm not freaking out about getting pregnant right away. I'm tired. I'm tired.

I'm tired.

I wonder what she'll say. In some ways I'd like her to either say, "I wouldn't try again if I were you, you crazy morons," or, "Yes, there's no problem, you could try again and all you would have to do is X, Y, or Z."

I think it's ambiguity I'm most afraid of.

I also feel like maybe we're being led in a totally new direction...a direction that involves welcoming a child into our home who does not happen to share our DNA.

I am looking forward to spring. The kids delight me on a daily basis and there is so much beauty in the world.

Do you see it?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

pass me the xanax

If I were married to me I would poke my eyes out with pencils. our conversations of late:

"But aren't you sad we don't have money with which to buy a new car?"

"No, not really. Our car is fine."

"Well why don't you think about it?"

"I just don't. I have other things to think about."

"Well that's not fair! I've been thinking about it all day."

If I'm not worrying about the paint peeling off more and leaving the bumper exposed so we look like the freaks of our county (a wealthy county) bopping around like country bumpkins, I'm worried about my hand and foot being tingly.

Then I look up the symptoms for MS, and really wish I had a prescription for Xanax because OH DEAR PHYLLIS I HAVE ALL OF THEM EXCEPT TROUBLE SWALLOWING!

Then I try to call the woman who uneventfully pushed me out of her womb only to find that she is unavailable, and I think about leaving a psychotic message on her answering machine. Did I mention that trying to follow in this woman's footsteps is exhausting? She makes everything look easy. And then I try it and, um, it isn't.

Instead, I think about how not to have a panic attack, and how I most likely WON'T die from MS, but I REALLY SHOULD HAVE TAKEN THAT LADY'S INFORMATION DOWN.

Not to mention that, had I actually taken her name down, I would still be obsessing about our neighbor's loud music, which was ACTUALLY TRAFFIC NOISE.

I erased the pictures from my camera accidentally, but they were all of my cousin and husband AND CHILDREN (GOOD LORD, I DRAG MY CHILDREN INTO MY PSYCHOTIC EPISODES), all leaning against the wall with glass cups to their ears, trying in vain to hear the neighbor's music.

The neighbor's music which, coincidentally, gets louder at 7 AM and 3 PM. And we live behind a school.


I saw a psychologist before the dreaded car collision, and while I was in the lobby I thought, "There is that music again." and then I went to his office, which has windows facing the highway, and it all started to make sense. I am a psycho.

and then he said,

"I think that you are tired of loss."

and I said,


and he said,

"Your body is a tool to get your soul through life, and you need to take care of yours."

and I said,


and I said,

"I had a panic attack the other night and my husband and children were all crowded around me, trying to help me. It was weird that I had to have a panic attack to have that happen."

and he said,

"You need to ask them for help, tell them what you need, anticipate the need, before you need it."

and I said,

"That's a good idea."

and then some lady ran into my car and then said, "Oh, I didn't know you were going to stop."


Today is my mother in law's 58th birthday and I went to her house and dropped some cookies and an Anne Lamott book off.

She ended up trying to convince me I actually DIDN'T have MS, and also she gave me a back rub.


Yesterday my cousin and I went out to eat and Asher started choking on chips. My cousin started saying, "Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!" while I just stared at him, a scene from a blog I read about a child who developed cerebral palsy from choking on a hot dog at 11 months of age playing through my mind.

These women at the table next to us were prepared to spring into action, but he finally choked the thing up, phlegm and all, on my pant leg.

I continued eating, and my cousin reminded me there was a mucousy chip on my pant leg.

I picked it up and finished my dinner.

What else is there to do?

Monday, March 1, 2010

let it go

I've been thinking alot lately about letting things go. About how to get myself to imagine my hand letting cares and worries drop, and not reaching out to pick them up again.

Today I was minding my own business in the turning lane when a woman tapped my bumper from behind. I got out of the car, and she was getting out of hers, and I looked at the paint on my car, and it was scuffled, but that was about it. Considering I drive a 1999 Oldsmobile, I wasn't too worried about it. I told her it was fine, and we didn't need to exchange information.

I came home, and my mom looked at the car and said, "You could probably have gotten a new bumper from that lady", and it got me all anxious and thinking, "Oh, man, I really missed out on an opportunity to have that fixed for free." and then I got all anxious about it and on the way to get my cousin for lunch, I thought more and more about it.

Now, my cousin is in the car with me, and the car does this shuddering thing. And then, again. And I say, "oh, CRAAAAAAAAP!" except, crap is not the word I use. And she says, "Now, calm down, it could be anything..."

and then I think, the lady didn't run into the car that hard, surely this is a coincidence...and then I kick myself MORE for not taking down her information.

But now, I am thinking about this, and realizing that the way in which I process things is faulty...and it's where I get myself into trouble.

Here is the old way of processing information:
1. I make a decision.
2. I second guess that decision.
3. I beat myself into oblivion over having made the decision I did, and lament the fact that things can't be "undone".

I've done this with SO many things in my life, things would be too long to name.

The psychologist today encouraged me to start looking at my beliefs about things, or to look at what specific things produce anxiety in me.

A HUGE one is believing that I have made the wrong choice, and not forgiving myself for it.

Trust me when I tell you I could waste three weeks obsessing about my stupid car.

What good would obsessing do?

Am I going to find this woman again? No.

Should I have taken down her information? Yes.

Did I make the wrong choice? Yes.

Am I a fallible human being, just like everyone else? Yes.

That last one is where I continue to get into trouble...I expect myself to be perfect and beat myself up when I am not.

So, I am letting this go. When you see my car with the scratched off paint in the back, give me a horn-honk to let me know you're letting things go too,

will ya?