Tag Archives: mom

Dear Mr. Hefty……

Dear Mr. Hefty (yes, as in the trash bag man),

I know times are lean and everyone is cutting back – but, it is not helpful that you are making your black trash bags thinner. So thin, in fact, that now you can apparently see through them. Yes, right through them. No x-ray vision required.

How do I know that you ask? Well, Mr. Hefty, I am trying to covertly clean out my house of all the j.u.n.k. that we my children have sequestered over the past 10 years. I did not think that I needed the dark of night to sneak the hostages out of their secret hiding places in my children’s rooms and out to the curb for the trash men warriors. But I was w.r.o.n.g. Dead w.r.o.n.g.

Mr. Hefty, I wonder if you are aware of what exactly it is that happens when a child realizes that things s/he has not played with for well over a year are being taken out to the trash. Those things become new again and oh so sought after. And yes, I am fully aware that it is my job as a parent is to put my foot down and my trash bag out. But it is easier with dark, thick black trash bags. Really, really it is.

Mr. Hefty, black is the new black. Dark black. Thick black. Black that you cannot see through. Bring back the thick, black trash bags.

Not exactly hugs and kisses,
One very tired mom

Digging Deeper…………

When I began writing this blog, I guess hoped it would challenge me as a writer but I never imagined that it would challenge me as a thinker. I just looked at it as a way to journal our experience, share it with friends, and remember the details we might otherwise forget. But, recently I wrote a post about my c-section experiences and I got a lot of feedback. Most of it was positive but a couple responses were pretty angry.

I firmly believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I do see that many women feel traumatized by this surgery; however, I still do not understand why women are devastated by experiencing a cesarean birth. I am a “by any means necessary” kind of mom. Just get that baby safely here. And if you can do it quickly, even better. I hear that some women feel cheated because they believe doctors rush to do a c-section to avoid malpractice lawsuits. I have to say wait a minute on that one – malpractice lawsuits happen when something goes wrong – so if the doctor is trying to avoid a malpractice lawsuit, I fail to see why that is a bad thing.

But reading the responses made me want to dig deeper and uncover why I am so unscathed by my experiences. This what I came up with.

When we decided we were ready to be parents, my husband was excited – that means we get to try – a lot. I had other plans – sorry dear. I wanted a boy first – I have an older brother and he is my good luck charm. So I hoped if I ever had a girl, she would have an older brother. So, there is timing involved. My husband swore if we got pregnant the first month, I would be a single parent.

Me: Ooops. Count your blessings honey. Some people try for years.
Number One Hubby: Hmpf.

I had an easy pregnancy with Bear – but his birth – well that was a little more exciting. You can read here about how all three of my children were born in emergency situations. Yes, that surely tainted my judgment and fostered a lack of resentment. As I said, by any means necessary.

That first year went well. So, we started talking about adding to our family.

Hubby: Do we get to practice more this time?
Me:  I’d like a girl this time. There is timing involved, you know.
Hubby: I’ll take that as a no.
Me: Well, we’ll see – I’d like to just try the first month.
Hubby: Remind me again how do you feel about single parenting.

We got very lucky again. Flower was born 23 months after Bear.

Then a year later, we thought about starting to talk again.

Me: I am pregnant
Hubby: What? How did that happen?
Me:  (Looking at Flower and Bear)
Hubby: Yeah, I know that. But, does that mean we don’t even get to pretend like we are going to practice?
Doctor: Something is not right.

Baby Doe never made it completely into our family. I don’t know if Baby Doe was a boy or girl. S/he wasn’t with us long enough to get a name, just a place in our hearts. Baby Doe did not make it very far. We lost Baby Doe early. The first sonogram showed that our baby was measuring too small and there was not a heartbeat. Let’s wait about 10 days and see what happens. Maybe you aren’t as far along as you think you are.

Hmmmmmm. 10 days as in 240 hours as in 14,400 minutes as in, literally, a lifetime. Baby Doe’s lifetime.

My HCG levels were rising at encouraging levels. That got me through 10 very long days. But the second sonogram showed no growth, no heartbeat. My body, not realizing what was not happening, did absolutely nothing. So, I was scheduled for a DNC.

It is hard to capture those feelings. Not everyone knew I was pregnant – although I am glad I had told my family and close friends. Otherwise the loss would have been a silent one.

The people who were most concerned about our loss were people who had experienced the same loss themselves. I do feel it much more deeply for others now too. Miscarriages seem so unattended. So nameless and faceless and lonely. Solitary.

It’s not that often that I think of our miscarriage – remember I try to focus on the gifts not the disappointments – although writing about our experience made me shiver a little. There is certainly an emptiness in the experience. Writing about it takes me to the softness in my heart where sadness echoes memories that were never meant to be.  I think I was lucky that I was able to grieve our loss when it happened. So many women fight the sadness and move on a little too quickly. I did not have a choice. It was overwhelming and empty. Grief came to me in the quiet moments I was alone and allowed myself to think of what was not to be.

We never knew what exactly happened – just that something must have been very, very wrong.

We were told to wait a few months before trying again. Physically and Emotionally. Not me. Thank you. We started trying soon after. Hubby didn’t even ask about practicing. It was not as fun this time.

Six months with no luck and we decided we should count our blessings. Two children – one boy, one girl. We are very lucky. We can stop here.

Hubby scheduled an appointment for a vasectomy and was on his way to it when another doctor called him. He needed to go to his parents’ house immediately. His father was not doing well.

That following week my father-in-law passed away from a long, hard-fought battle with lung cancer. We had his funeral on a Wednesday and on the following Friday was Flower’s second birthday. I felt funny. Exhausted. Not really that hungry. Pregnant. But we had a lot to do and Hubby was just overwhelmed. I decided to wait until after the party to share the news.

My mother-in-law graciously asked us to continue with Flower’s party. She thought it would be nice to have something happy to do. She was right. It was lovely and a very nice diversion. Toward the end of the party, I heard hubby declaring our intent to be a two-child family. He laughed and joked. But his bottom line – “we are done.”

After everyone left, I asked him to sit down.

Me: We aren’t exactly done.
Hubby: Huh? Again with the no practicing?
Me: Apparently.

The first sonogram did not go well. We had to wait 10 days again. Luckily this time it was not a lifetime. Although it felt like one.

The second sonogram went great. The message typed on the screen was “send pizza”. Does that mean you see a heartbeat? Yes.

Some of my tests showed abnormal results and I ended up having an amnio. Everything tested fine and we knew for sure we were being blessed with another daughter. But something about a miscarriage can leave you questioning your entire pregnancy. What will happen this time? Will she be okay? We have all heard too many stories.

So, when I was in a car accident the day Angel was born and I heard very scary words in triage, I still was very unsure I would get to meet her. Hold her. Luckily for me and her, we both came out of surgery just fine. Three weeks early. Her little gift to me. Thanks honey!

I feel so blessed that my children are with me. That we survived pregnancy together. So, when I hear someone lament their c-section story, I don’t share their loss – even if we share similar scars. My scar is a physical reminder that I am blessed – it is a badge of honor. Some scars I guess are more emotional. And I understand they might not ever heal. I have sympathy for that sense of loss but, clearly, perspectives are different. I am not sure why they are unable to simply soak in the gift they have been given. Just look at their child and see that great fortune was delivered right into their arms via their heart – by any means necessary.  As  for me, I plan to continuing appreciating what is and forgive whatever was not.

WHaT iS YouR FaVoRiTe CoLoR…………..

My kids ask me this question at least once a week – usually because they are trying to draw a picture of me in a shirt that I would never (and I mean ever) wear  – but they want it to be in my favorite color – that’s so it looks just exactly like me. The pink curly hair and the very skinny legs don’t really resemble me very much either – but they are sure the shirt in my favorite color will be a dead give away. I love these pictures – they are funny and endearing. Plus, I get to have skinny legs and curly hair. I’ll take it!

juniper images

juniper images

The problem is – I don’t have a favorite color – or at least not just one favorite color – but it’s too complicated to explain to them that if I pick just one and only one favorite color – then I miss out on all the others. That’s a  whole lot of missing out. And, is it really enough to just say red when, at that moment, I might really be thinking barn red without any trace of purple whatsoever or bright, bright cherry red with a big fat hint of purple – like the cherry juice that stains your fingers. I am not so sure it is.

I have learned that you have to be careful how specific you are – for being too specific could literally mean hours searching for exactly the right shade through a box of  a thousand broken crayons with missing labels. And, alas, this is a task even my oldest child does not feel he can do himself. My children understand that all blues are not created equal. This is a gift that I would like to think I have given them – a little touch of creativity passed down. But when you are called in for the all out search and rescue for the missing color – you can quickly find yourself on the not so much fun side of things.

I also don’t want to confuse them by locking into just one color – if I pick a lovely shade of red today, does that forever rule out any hue of  brown. Ever? Boo and Hiss. And, yes, I can hear you now, “who has brown as a favorite color?” Well, sometimes I do – when you wear a color and get compliments, it can easily become your favorite color. And with retro being cool again – a brown shirt really sets off my pink curly hair.

Number on hubby has it all figured out – he looks over the top of his newspaper and says simply – black.

On the way to DMV…

Several years ago, not too terribly long after I quit working (translation – still worked my butt off but quit receiving a paycheck for said work) and shortly after Sept. 11th, I lost my drivers license. If there ever was a time to not lose your drivers license, I can assure you this was pretty much it.

juniper images

juniper images

I am guessing that it is likely a universal truth that at every DMV you need two forms of identification to replace your drivers license – and at least one should have your picture and the President’s signature notarized in triplicate – thank you very much. Let’s see – I lost my id with a picture (that’s why went to the DMV) – and I used to have a badge for work, but I turned in my employment badge with a picture – yep – when I quit receiving a paycheck. So, up to the line I go. I had my social security card, which I knew would not count, and my birth certificate, which even if it had a picture, it would not have been a recent one. And, apparently foot prints don’t count either. Who knew?

The clerk, as I will politely refer to him, was not impressed with the baby stroller and my tale of woe. But he was willing to help – or so he pretended. “Let’s see ma’am, maybe you have a pay statement with your social security number in addition to your birth certificate.” Yeah – not so much – remember I quit getting paid for my work. “How about a tax return?” Yeah – also not so much – my husband’s pay information is on that – remember – I don’t get paid anymore. And not for nothing – those are not documents that I normally just happen to have on me. If you need a Cheerio or a goldfish cracker – I can help you with that.

“Oh, I see.” I confused this pause with empathy. He quickly corrected my misinterpretation by saying, “well, ma’am (which made me feel old – great – this just keeps getting better) why did you quit work in the first place? You know those kids aren’t going to appreciate it anyway. You would have been better off staying at work. And, you know, we have to be very careful THESE days. You never know who is plotting what.”

Okay, I know stereotyping is bad – but look if you know me, you know I don’t exactly fit the profile of a terr*rist.  Seriously, if I was a terr*rist, I would not be in the DMV line in the mall with a baby and a stroller. I would have my underlings make me any id I wanted and I would have gladly denied myself the two hours of sheer pleasure I got that day.

I turned around and looked at the sign behind me. It still said DMV – but apparently our DMV now provided career and parental counseling. Well, isn’t this my lucky day?

My former working self would have demanded to speak to the manager. I would have explained that this is no way for me to be treated. I would have been furious – and, of course, if I had still been working, I probably would not have been insulted in the first place. But, I needed a drivers license and I could tell he was considering giving me one. Bastard. He was cracking. And I left with drivers license in hand.

Fast forward to this week at the bus. Flower had left her viola at home. She realized it at the last minute at the bus stop. She got on the bus and then she had the bus driver stop – she actually got off the bus with tears in her eyes and pleaded with me to bring her instrument to school. I did. (Usually I would say “too bad” but they were practicing on a different day that week than they normally did.)

That afternoon, she got off the bus and ran up and hugged me – really hard. And said, “Mommy, thank you so much for bringing my viola to school.” Huge smile on her face – and then mine. First of all, it melts my heart when my kids say Mommy. And, then she thanked me totally unprompted. Take that, Mr. DMV clerk – and to hell with a paycheck – there are some things money really cannot buy.

Precisely, my dear…

Bear is black and white. Very practical and logical. Enter Mr. Spock. Me – not so much. Enter everyone else all mixed together.

So, we were in the car not so long ago and he asks me what time it is. And, it goes a little something like this…

juniper images

juniper images

Bear: What time is it?

Mom: 9:30
Bear: but the clock says 9:28
Mom: Well, honey that’s the same thing
Bear: I don’t get it
Mom: Well, 9:28 and 9:30 are about the same time –
sometimes people round off the time
Bear: I still don’t get it
Mom: Wait a minute, if you can see the clock, why are you asking me what time it is? And, FYI, now it really is 9:30.

Clearly, Bear is from Mars and Mom is from Venus. And, no, I did not bother explaining that the clock probably really isn’t set to the exact time anyway – can you imagine the fallout from that one?