Sunday, December 19, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day 11

Day 11- Something people seem to compliment you the most on.

That was easy, wasn't it? Well, it's true. The girls get me the most compliments, not just because they are cute but because they can have very outgoing personalities. In the right mood, they are downright impossible to ignore. Case in point: pushing them around Target with Sophie yelling "Mewwy Cwistmas!" and Liv saying "Ho ho ho!" to every one we pass. I try not to be one of those crazy moms who get addicted to their kids getting attention, but I do feel a weird pang of jealousy whenever a child near us gets a compliment and the girls don't. Madness, right? But they are such an extension of me, it's hard not to take such things personally.

Besides the girls though? The thing that comes to mind is my handwriting. Which is funny because for years I had horrible handwriting. Then I took some drafting classes in college, and my writing changed to all caps forever and people seem to like it. I had to work very hard to re-train myself to write in proper D'Nealian in order to teach Kindergarten!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day 10

Day 10- Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn't know.

Well, hmm. This one is tough. I can be remarkably good at letting go. I surprise myself sometimes. And pretty much every one I associate myself with is on my own terms these days. I don't run in a social "pack" anymore, I don't have a work group of acquaintances that I am obligated to hang out with. I pretty much spend time with the small handful of people I choose to spend time with, and most of them (here I am thinking about Amy and Susan) are pretty darn awesome.

I might come back to this post and edit it if someone springs to mind, but so far... nope.

(Was that artful dodgery? Because if you would have asked me this question 5 months ago, the answer would have been much, much different.)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day 9

Yes. Hello. Where were we then? Ah, yes. Day 9.

Day 09- Someone you didn't want to let go, but just drifted

Well this is an easy one.

D and I were, in the words of our teasing co-workers, thick as thieves. That is a fact. Over the course of years she drifted from being my acquaintance, to a pretty good friend, to one of the few people on the earth before whom I could reveal myself, be honest and truthful and raw and bare, and not in my usual tongue-in-cheek fashion. With D I could be me.
Our togetherness was made convenient by the fact that we worked together, sweated and cursed and laughed side-by-side 40 hours a week through 2 shows and 6 years. When the time came for me to move on, career wise, I hoped that we would stay close, but a little part of me knew that things would never be the same. We stayed pretty tight for a while, but her move to the other side of town sealed the deal. We drifted. Me having two babies didn't exactly help.

We got together for lunch the other day, and I was reminded how much I missed her quirks, her sense of humor, and how easy it is to talk to someone who really knows you, even if it's been 6 months since you have had a conversation and you are trying to entertain 2 toddlers while attempting to string together a cohesive sentence.

Seeing D again was, in a way, comforting. I was reminded of the fact that she carries with her a bevy of friends from years past, and while she doesn't keep in touch with all of them on a regular basis, I know they still mean a lot to her. I guess I've been added to the ranks. And I'm ok with that.

Friday, November 5, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day 8

Day 08- Someone who made your life hell or treated you like shit.

I was in the "gifted" homeroom in 6th grade, which in my school system in Michigan was considered Middle School. I had been in a variety of gifted programs in a variety of school systems, since we moved so much, some of them fantastic, some of them a total waste. This program was FANTASTIC. We were taught to be self-sufficient learners, make choices that corresponded with our learning styles, and to use creativity to process and present facts. I loved the class. I learned so much. But I always had the feeling in the pit of my stomach that the teacher didn't like me. And, more than anything, I wanted to be liked.

Organization does not come naturally to me. I live a neat and tidy existence now, but I have to work very hard to maintain it, and it was really only in the past 3 or 4 years that I would say I have gotten "good" at de-cluttering. As a child, left to my own right-brained devices my backpack was a mess, my possessions were jumbled, papers got lost. At the age of 11, I really needed HELP.

What I did NOT need was my teacher upending my desk and screaming at me in front of the whole class when I couldn't find something.

I did not crumple externally. I remember standing there with a dumb half-grin on my face, too mortified to dare show it. But inside, I felt so small. And bad. And stupid. It marks, I think, the beginning of my adolescent self-loathing, of being limited by my own feelings of inadequacy and angst. I spent the remainder of my youth waiting for those I respected to upend my desk, literally or metaphorically. The experience didn't make me a more organized person. It just made me very certain that there was something "wrong" with me.

I had kind of forgotten all about the incident until a year or so ago, when one of my friends who teaches upper elementary told me about losing her cool towards one of her students. "This girl," she said, "is a sweet person, super smart and really a good kid, but her desk is such a MESS! I couldn't stand it! So today I dumped it out and made her sort through it in front of everyone."

I stiffened, and felt a wave of disgust wash over me. I told her that a teacher did that to me once, and that it was really humiliating. My friend is not the kind of teacher who gets a charge out of embarrassing her students. Maybe the teacher who did that to me was not either. I looked her up when I started writing this post, and she's actually very highly acclaimed, leading symposiums and publishing research. Maybe she just had an off day, maybe she really thought I had potential and was frustrated with my self-limiting habits. Maybe, at the end of the day, she actually liked me. But when I think about it, even 20+ years later, I feel hated. And small. And ashamed.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day 7

Day 07- Someone who has made your life worth living.

Well, now. That's an easy one, isn't it? They drive me a little (or a lot) crazy sometimes, but their quirks, humor, personalities, and love make every day worth living.

Have I mentioned (I'm almost afraid to) that they sleep now?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day 6

Day 06- Something you hope you never have to do

It's a fact. Your parents age. Generally speaking, (if you are lucky, I guess) you outlive them. I understand that it's more than likely that I will some day bury my parents. And while I'm not exactly thrilled at the notion, it is not the thing I hope I never have to do.

What I fear, more than that, more than illness, and even more than death, is them losing themselves before their body gives out. I don't mind the notion of having to care for my parents in their old age: of being sure they are eating, and taking their medicines, and getting out and about when they want to, and keeping them company when they want it. I see it as my responsibility. I know how hard they worked to take care of me when I was dependent, and I am happy to return the favor. It's the thought of walking into their room and meeting blank eyes, the thought that I might have to re-introduce myself to those I love the most, that bothers me.

It doesn't run in the family, Alzheimer's. My grandparents died because their bodies failed. My grandfather is in his late 80's and despite a stroke that has left him wheelchair bound, he is entirely "there." I hope it's something that we as a family do not have to endure. I have seen what it does to those suffering with it, how it confuses and agitates you to not know where you are, or who you are. I have witnessed how cruel it is to those trying to support its victims- making sacrifices and being met with hostility and sadness day after day.

I hope I don't ever have to remind my parents of who I am.

Monday, October 25, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day 5

Day 05- Something you hope to do in your life.

Well this one could be really easy or really hard. What sprung to mind immediately seems totally do-able but also not at all. I just want to catch up on my scrapbooking. It's kind of my only hobby right now, besides wiping butts, and I get a lot of fulfillment out of completing a page. But it's always satisfaction coupled with guilt and feeling overwhelmed at all the pages ahead of me. I think I have done pretty well-- I just did baby books last year and allowed my self the year off from scrapping, and right now I am only a couple of months behind, but STILL. A couple of months is like 30 pages. Seems a little insurmountable sometimes. Not to mention that I have 2 other books kind of started that I want to do for ME, and a whole box of my Elementary-HS memorabilia waiting to be some how organized and displayed. I need hours and hours and hours to do it all, and time is the thing I ain't got.

But is this question supposed to be about something bigger? I guess, long term, I hope to have a fulfilling professional life. I loved being a tech, but it was not exactly a CAREER career, and I got a lot of satisfaction from teaching, but I'm not sure that was the end-all-be-all for me either. For now, I'm happy being a mom, and I hope I am lucky enough to stay at home until all of our kids are school aged, but I am not housewife material. If there are not kids at home, I want to work. I'm just not sure doing what.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day 4

Only Day 4? I thought I was almost done. Guess not.

Day 04- Something you have to forgive someone for.

Well, here's where the "truth" portion of this exercise goes out the window. The thing is, I am pretty forgiving, a peacemaker, and most unpleasantries I would honestly rather forgive and forget. But when I read this prompt something sprung to mind, something that might be unforgivable. I knew as soon as I thought it that I could never write it. It was too fresh, too close to home, and too horrific. And if you are thinking to yourself: "I'm pretty sure I know what she's referring to," you don't. I promise. That's all I have to say about that.

So. I have something else. Something that stings and probably always will.

We got to be friends as soon as I moved to town. You adopted me like a big brother, showed me the ropes, watched my back, encouraged me in my career and were a true friend. You made me laugh and gave me courage. I followed you around like a puppy and took your word as gospel. We started working in different venues, and as the years passed and I started to spread my own wings, we crossed paths less often, and drifted apart. But we ended every conversation with "Love you," and you were always on the top of my list of people to talk to when I had news.

I started to hear things about you: you were flaky. You weren't showing up for work. You were lazy. You were unreliable. This wasn't the you I knew, but it was true: I couldn't defend you from the facts. So I didn't.

Why didn't you tell me? How could I not have guessed? Why did I have to hear it from your partner? Of course you were sick. Of course you were. You had been positive for a LONG time. Since the 80's. Since that kind of thing was a death sentence. How did I not know this YEARS AGO? Why didn't you tell me? Why didn't I know? WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME?

Did you assume that I had put it together? That I didn't care enough to call and see what was going on? Because I do. I care. If I had known, I would have helped. I would have defended your name. I would have tried to take care of you like you took care of me when I was the new kid.

I love you. But now when I talk to you a part of me burns with regret. You lost your job. Because you were sick. You lost your insurance. Because you lost your job. You lost your partner of 20 years. Because you were depressed. Because everything collapsed. And I wasn't there for you. Because I didn't know.

I wish you would have let me be a better friend.

Monday, October 18, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day 3

This was 30 WEEK days of truth, right? Oh. Well, Crap. Sorry. I'll try harder.

Day 03- Something you have to forgive yourself for.

Forgive me, little ones.

Forgive me for my moments of impatience, of short tempered annoyance, of frustration with you. For the moments I complained, wished for something other than exactly what I was living. For the moments I grumbled when I should have just sang you a little song. The times I was rough when I should have taken a deep breath. For the moments I cursed my post-baby body and set a terrible example of self-image. Forgive me for every moment I have ever taken you for granted.

Please forgive me for being hard on myself. For being human. I want you to know that it's ok to lose your temper sometimes. It's ok to be sad, and lonely, and flawed, and to have a pudgy belly, as long as there's a reason for it. Nobody's perfect. Mama is just a human being, at the end of the day, and she makes mistakes, just like you will, and she has emotions and struggles, just like you do. It's healthy for you to see it.

Then why does it keep me awake at night?

Forgive me, my little girls. And maybe some day I can forgive myself.

Friday, October 15, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day 2

Day 02- Something you love about yourself.

"Inviting people to laugh with you while you are laughing at yourself is a good thing to do. You may be the fool, but you're the fool in charge." ~Carl Reiner

I love being able to make people laugh.

Even if they are laughing at me.

I don't mind laughing at myself a bit. I actually enjoy it, generally speaking. Guess I'm happy being the fool in charge. Sometimes it seems that my life, with all of its absurdities, lends itself particularly well to inviting other people to laugh at it.

There was a time, not so long ago, when I had a captive audience, stuck with me on headset 5 shows a day, and exchanging witty banter was our daily stimulation as we churned out show after mindless show. Our conversations ran the gamut, from current events, to philosophy and religion, to general ribbing of each other. We knew each other so well, this crew of 12, after years and years of chit chat and teasing, and we laughed all day. I didn't care if they laughed at me, I loved the attention, and the rush I got knowing I was causing other people to crack up. I loved being the "funny girl" on the crew.

Then I changed careers, and had a whole new captive audience: a room full of 5 year olds. Not to mention 7 other Kindergarten teachers, who alternately found me hysterical and wondered if I had perhaps been beamed down from another planet. I was not LIKE them. At ALL. But I was the funny one. And I relished it. My stories and observations had a new audience, and making my kids and colleagues laugh was my favorite part of that job.

I don't have much of an audience right now. The girls are too little to "get" much humor, and Dearest has pretty much heard my whole repartee. I hope that will change. I hope I make friends, and that I can make them laugh. I hope my kids find me funny, the same way I find my mom funny.

The laughter is the thing I miss the most about working, now that I think about it.

I love making people laugh.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

30 Days of Truth:Day 1

Day 01- Something you hate about yourself.

I can't stand confrontation. It makes me physically queasy, like my stomach is aware of how weak I am, how terrible I am in an argument. I don't cry easily in most scenarios, but a face-to-face disagreement with someone leaves me immediately swallowing a lump in my throat and blinking back tears. For this reason, I rarely if ever "win" an argument, and I am very reluctant to stick up for myself if confrontation is going to be required. If I am served the wrong thing at a restaurant, I generally don't send it back. I feel panicked telling the mall kiosk people that I'm not interested in their wares. If a friend says something I disagree with, or treats me in a way I don't like, I am a thousand times more likely to distance myself from that person than to tell them what I'm bothered by. I hate that about me. I wish I could advocate for the little guy, stand up for myself, put my foot down when necessary. I recognize that it might be better for me and better for my relationships if I told people what I was thinking, even if that meant the possibility of a conflict. Unfortunately, I am simply not wired that way.

I can't stand confrontation. I hate that about myself.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

30 Days of Truth

OK, in an effort to jump start my blogging, I'm going to give this meme a shot. I will try to answer each of these briefly, and honestly. Starting... tomorrow.

Day 01 → Something you hate about yourself.
Day 02 → Something you love about yourself.
Day 03 → Something you have to forgive yourself for.
Day 04 → Something you have to forgive someone for.
Day 05 → Something you hope to do in your life.
Day 06 → Something you hope you never have to do.
Day 07 → Someone who has made your life worth living.
Day 08 → Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit.
Day 09 → Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.
Day 10 → Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.
Day 11 → Something people seem to compliment you the most on.
Day 12 → Something you never get compliments on.
Day 13 → A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough ass days. (write a letter.)
Day 14 → A hero that has let you down. (letter)
Day 15 → Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.
Day 16 → Someone or something you definitely could live without.
Day 17 → A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.
Day 18 → Your views on gay marriage.
Day 19 → What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?
Day 20 → Your views on drugs and alcohol.
Day 21 → (scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?
Day 22 → Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.
Day 23 → Something you wish you had done in your life.
Day 24 → Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists and letter)
Day 25 → The reason you believe you’re still alive today.
Day 26 → Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?
Day 27 → What’s the best thing going for you right now?
Day 28 → What if you were pregnant or got someone pregnant, what would you do?
Day 29 → Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.
Day 30 → A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


is why The Bloggess is my hero.

Click me. You know you want to.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Not Babies Anymore

And then one day, just like that, they aren’t babies anymore. For me, the realization came one night while bathing the girls. Everyone was scrubbed, and I was singing my usual repertoire of eclectic musical selections that I end the bath with, when Sophie put her finger in her mouth. “Tee!” she exclaimed. “Yes, baby, that’s right! Teeth. Your teeth are in your mouth.” I replied. With more urgency, she pointed to her two tiny pearl-like teeth. “Tee!” That’s when I realized it. I had forgotten to brush their teeth. And Sophie hadn’t. And she was reminding me. My baby was reminding me to brush her teeth.

It happened that fast.

My babies grew up.

I know they are far from grown, I know parents of preschoolers, grade schoolers, adolescents, and young adults will scoff at my struggle to come to terms with my girls not being babies anymore. “Just wait,” I can hear you thinking, “Just wait.” But for me the girls have taken some huge steps lately (literally and symbolically) and I am still reeling from it.

Weaning came easy, fortunately, and as much as I wanted to do it, wanted my body back and for the kids to have a little bit more independence, it was still painful the first day that I did not nurse them at all. It was over—that symbiotic relationship, the feeling that they physically needed me in order to survive—it was over. Now when I am putting Liv down for the night, she no longer curls in to me in search for milk, she reaches out, away, grabbing for the bottle that she knows is on the nightstand next to the chair. It stings. But it had to happen.

Still, when I return after a couple of hours running errands (more on my ability to run errands without the kids later…), they come running (well, Liv comes running, Soph still walks kind of like she just got off a horse) and wrap themselves around my legs and grin up at me, I am reassured. They still need me. Just in a different way.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Bitter and the Sweet

What a couple of weeks it has been. I know it’s incredibly trite to say, but I absolutely can not believe that the babies turned 1 on April 2nd. Their actual birthday was so interesting, because the party was not until the next day, I we really got to spend the day enjoying the girls. Every couple of hours we would look at the clock and recount where we were a year ago: loading the car, waiting in triage, wheeling into surgery. At 4:28, I picked up Sophie, held her close, and sang “Happy Birthday to You.” It was an absolutely precious moment. Of course, at 4:29 I did the same with Olivia. I took a few minutes to think about the past year, from the first glimpse I got of the girls over the surgical drape up until this very moment- all that our family has been through, good and bad, and how very very lucky we are to have each other. My girls are healthy, they are clever and engaging, and their very existence thrills me every day.

So there’s the sweet.

The bitter of last week was the kind of news that you have to read 3 times to even get it to begin to sink in. My blogging friend Lindsay (you may have seen her comments on this blog) experienced a tragedy beyond imagination. I’m still not sure where to put it. I was first drawn to “The Other Lindsay’s” blog because we had so much in common: same age, both teachers, both struggled with fertility issues for years, both embarking on our first round of IVF at the same time. So many parallels. Of course, we know the outcome of my first round, and even though Lindsay’s didn’t work out, she never gave up. Finally, after 5 rounds of IVF, she and her husband conceived a little girl. I was so thrilled for her, so excited for all that was to come for them. She had finally made it to the third trimester, and was really allowing herself to get excited: picking out bedding for the nursery, preparing to bring their daughter home. On April 2nd, my girls’ first birthday, Lindsay learned that there was no heartbeat. They had lost their little girl. Their Sophia.

I immediately went up to where my Sophia was sleeping, put my hand on her back, and wept. This was not FAIR. This was CRUEL. WHY, when we have so much joy, are they having to endure so much pain? The chaos of this world is so disheartening.

I hate feeling helpless. I wish there was something I could do. We made a donation to the charity “The Compassionate Friends”, in Sophia Marie’s name. They provide services to parents who have lost a child. I hope it helps someone, somewhere. For now, I will hold my little ones a little bit tighter, remember how lucky we all are, hope that Lindsay can find peace, and I will always think of Sophia Marie on April 2nd.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Generalizations are... general!

Things that Sophia has insisted were "Coda" this week:

My friend Becky's big fish

Deer heads in local bar-b-que restaurant

Her toy Chewbacca

Peaco the Ugly Doll

Howard Stern on T.V.

Please, Internet, help me to understand what all of these things have in common with poor Coda.