31 July 2007

Nostalgia

"Don't you wish you could do that again"? Asked one of my friends as we watched Big A demonstrating her remarkable gymnastic skills.

I paused before I responded.

What I really miss, what I would love to have back again, isn't necessarily the capability to do the splits or back-hand springs--don't get me wrong, I'd love to have that option physically again.

What I genuinely long for is the innocent unawareness that accompanied me in those days.

The fearlessness, the open-hearted attitude, the try-and-try again philosophy that accompanied me always, because I didn't know any better--that is what I really wish I could have back again.

I'm not sure when that disappeared; I'm sure gradually it chipped away during the years, probably beginning with my very first lesson in exclusion, most likely the first layer of that confidence stripped away one day at recess in the third grade when suddenly, I was outside of my circle of "friends" because of some transgression.

I can't remember the reason that everyone was ignoring me, but I do vividly recall swinging as high as I could on the swing and not jumping off, which was my usual mode of operation. I remember, clear as day, thinking that if I jumped and fell, that they would have further fuel to add to their fire of reasons not to like me.

So that day I brought myself to an awkward stop by using my feet to gradually slow down, leaving marks in the sand; impressions of my new-found insecurity, fresh and bare like the dirt that I brought to the surface with each drag of my foot.

And so I suppose, that since that day, I've been leaving those impressions everywhere that I go. No matter what I'm doing or how others might claim that they see me, I'm always that nervous girl looking for affirmation that I'm like-able and worthy.

I want to be unaware that sometimes if you fall, getting back up isn't that easy. Sometimes you break things and it takes time to heal. Sometimes things heal, but leave nasty scars that ache with the deepest sensations at the oddest times. Sometimes, you pretend not to be broken because explaining to one more person how you got injured in the first place is exhausting.

I want a shield of oblivion to cover me from the pain that accompanies knowing that someone doesn't like me, or some part of me.

I remember being shocked when described as arrogant or thinking that I was "too good" to talk to anyone. Still, to this very day, the reason that I avoid small talk or eye contact or put my head down when walking by is because I can't really imagine anything useful that I can offer anyone.

I'm always seeking affirmation, even from the people that I'm the closest to. "Are you mad at me?" "Did I do something to upset you?" "What's wrong?", constantly coming from my lips. Translation: "Do you still love me?"

I suppose that nostalgia begins for me that day on the swing; the first day that I realized that you could yearn for yesterday with such longing that it altered your very course of being; the first day that instead of flying, I timidly stepped.

Tying back to the question first posed to me, it isn't the capability of being able to flip on a beam that makes me wish for yesteryear, it's the knowledge that I could get up there in the first place, and the belief that everyone in the stands was there to cheer you on.

25 July 2007

The Stuart Smalley Meme

I read the wonderful Blog Antagonist's post with this meme, and thought, "What a great idea. But name ten things about me that I like?" My mind started swirling, and characteristically, as is the characteristic of even the most amazing women I know, I thought of a couple of things, but then when I got to about number two on my list, I was quickly bombarded with, "yes, but your inner thighs, yes, but your arms are so undefined...."

Great idea, Blog Antagonist. Thank goodness it wasn't me creating the list.

Then, boom, guess what? I got tagged. And I state right here, I've not been good keeping up with my tags. I'm sort of meme'd out, it's absolutely nothing personal, except that personally, I can't think of anything new to add about me that I hadn't already written in my previous meme's.

But, it was Slouching Mom that tagged me, and she's amazing and awesome on so many levels, and she wrote these words that stopped me in my tracks at once and have seared themselves into my being: "Jack often looks stunned in photographs. This is no accident; the sensitive among us are frequently stunned." And I fell in love with her that very second. And we all know that sometimes love is giving instead of taking, so without much further ado, here is my Stuart Smalley Meme, with Blog Antagonist's wise lead intro:

I am going to name ten things about myself that I like. I'm going to focus mostly on the physical, because that's what tends to undermine my self-confidence the most. But you can name anything you want.

1.) My eyes. They are an odd color that changes like a mood ring; nearly green, somewhere in-between blue and hazel. When I'm tan or have been crying, they are actually almost emerald.

2.) My smile. It's nice and white and my teeth are great; except the one I cracked playing soccer.

3.) Seriously, why is it this hard? My legs. I'm beginning to love them again. Last night when I was running, I looked down and saw muscles, a lean line that ran clear down the length of me and I thought, "Wow. Those are mine."

4.) The birthmark on my left thigh.


The one that I used to try to hide with concealer. The one that I used to look at and think, "OK, I'm going to get super-tan and then it won't even be visible." The one that a couple of years ago my doctor recommended I have removed for "safety precautions" and, mouth agape, I found myself quickly protesting that I'd been born with this. And I realized then how awesome it was that I actually had come to love something about myself, even if it was just a mole.

5.) My hair. It's thick and long and shiny.

(OK people, done with the physical stuff. Sorry. But I did get to FIVE!)

6.) I'm compassionate, empathetic, and I try to be kinder than necessary, even when it's killing me to do so.

The person stopping traffic to let ducks cross the road? Me.

The person stopping traffic on an on-ramp to an expressway during the busy morning commute to get an injured fawn off the road while a horrified friend/co-worker sat in my car wishing she had driven herself? Me.

The person reaching out a hand to help up the obviously mentally impaired person that twenty others just walked by? Me.

The person frequently brought to tears, just over life in general, feeling so many things for so many others? The person that is so often told, "Then just don't think about it" "Don't watch the news". Me.

7.) I was blessed with the gift of being able to write well.

8.) My forgiveness factor. I don't hold grudges and try to forgive almost instantly when I've been hurt. I can think of only one person that I don't think I'll ever be able to forgive, and I've tried and I've prayed, but it isn't going to happen for me. And guess what? I'm OK with that, too.

9.) My laugh. It's "unique". (As in, probably louder than it should be in most cases, one of the parts of me that if a friend were trying to fix me up on a blind date might say, is "quirky" or "endearing".) And it is almost the exact laugh of my little sister, and when we laugh, people are quick to say, "You sound just like your sister". And I love that; that when I'm laughing really, really hard, I see her face and hear her smile. It's a beautiful bridge across the miles.

10.) My athleticism.

OK, that's it.

AND, the really, really great thing about this meme is that you can tag as many people as you like! Or you don't have to tag anyone at all! (Which means there is no excuse like, "Sorry, I don't know anyone to tag" if you happen to be tagged)

With that in mind, I am tagging:

Jenn, because she is the first blogger that I read faithfully and her writing inspired me to dust off of my own writing, and that kind of inspiration is very hard to come by.

Just Me, because now there is no excuse for her not to post this meme, and she's amazing me on a daily basis by how much she's changing and becoming remarkable on extremely high levels. You'd think someone you shared a bed and socks and first heartbreaks with would be someone that you know inside and out, but she's blooming in ways that make me love her more.

PDX Mama, because I miss her posts, so basically I've gone from trying to coax her out to just pretty much grabbing her arm to drag her along. Cause I'm nice like that.

And you. Yes, if you'd like to do this meme, let me know and I'll link you as well.

Now repeat after me, "And gosh darn it, I like me".


****Updates:

Tara volunteered!!





Against the Grain

"Dance"? Little A held out her hand to me as I took her from her car seat. That's typically what we do when "our" song (When you born, they looked at you and said, 'what a good girl, what a smart girl, what a pretty girl...') is on; hold one hand together, she lays her head upon my shoulder and we sway slowly to the knowledge of the Barenaked Ladies.

Her groggy eyes pierced mine before she rested her sweet cheek upon me and we rocked next to the car in my sitters driveway. (This name is the hair-shirt I wear, and this hair-shirt is woven from your brown hair....this song is the cross that I bear, bear with me, bear with me, bear with me....)

When we walked into my sitter's house and she leaned herself from my arms and into my sitter's she looked at me and said, "Mom"? A question, an answer, a statement of something that still causes such dilemma within me. After all this time, each morning when I leave her, I am unnerved by how unnatural it feels.

In the world of daycare, I consider myself beyond blessed. She goes to a home where they've created a bedroom for her, complete with toys, books, a crib and clothes that they've purchased for her. ("We just had to get this for her.") My sitter's children don't correct people when they tell them that their little sister is beautiful. They have birthday parties for her, put presents under the Christmas tree with her name on it, make Easter baskets full of goodies in her honor. Yet the truth of it sometimes stabs me abruptly, causing a quick intake of breath: My daughter has a bedroom in someone else's home.

Each day now when I pick her up, she's learned new words and phrases, mastered new physical feats, has something else to show me and tell me and can barely contain herself in her excitement to demonstrate how she's grown within those hours.

Those hours. Those hours in which I pay someone else to, let's face it here, raise my child. She goes there in pajama's. She eats breakfast, lunch, and sometimes dinner at their table. She swims in their pool, rides on their dune buggy, runs amok through the sprinkler in their lawn under the hot summer sun. She calls out each of their names before she falls asleep at night, like a prayer to the heavens that she's written on her heart.

I've tried to do the math, to make it realistic that I could stay home and watch other people's children, write, clean, whatever I'd need to do to give myself more time with her, but it isn't an option. And while we're chatting about reality, the honest truth is that I love my job. I'm not sure who I'd be if I didn't have it; if my life really were confined to our home and the Queen's lives full time, if I didn't have this place to go and challenge myself, if I were to live without the sense of accomplishment that I feel when I know that I've been a part of a job well done.

And that is where the double-edged sword lies: firmly entrenched within me, twisting ever so slightly now and again to remind me that it's there, slicing from one part of me to deliver to the other.

24 July 2007

Wherein I Remind Myself That I Saw Her Delivered From My Womb

"What is this"? Big A's right eyebrow arched to the point of looking photo-shopped; if she were going to pick a word for her on-line mood, it would be "appalled".

"That", stated I with as much authority as I could muster, "is typically called dinner. Eat up".

"The dessert is on our dinner plate". She grabbed Little A's spoon just in the knick of time to stop her from eating her (gasp!) dessert first.

"Mommy's tired. I don't care which order you eat your food in, just eat it. Please."

"Little A is going to eat.

her.
dessert.
first.

Do you think that's a good idea? Letting your kid eat cool-whip before corn"?

A stare-down ensued. Big A at the table with Little A, me at the counter, wiping crayon scribblings off the cupboard doors, not giving one iota of care as to what was consumed when, Little A, stuffing her face with pineapple and cool-whip via her hands.

"See? Do you see what she's doing now?" When I looked at Little A, her face covered in cool whip, I burst out laughing, which only added more fuel to the fire.

"Mom! How can you think this is funny? She's EATING COOL-WHIP FOR DINNER!" Her voice got as loud as it could without yelling, testing the limits of the allowable speaking decibel in our home.

I set down my Mr. Clean sponge and walked over to the table and touched Big A's shoulder, which she promptly drew away from me.

"Sweetie, I know it's hard for you to understand, but right now, if the worst that I can do is let you eat cool-whip before your corn on the cob, then I think I'm doing OK".

She looked up at me, no longer appalled, but aware that she was stuck in this existence, despite her fantasies and prayers of her real mom coming to find her someday.

"Fine. But don't expect me to clean up her puke from eating cool-whip before dinner".

Oh, Big A, I love you too.

22 July 2007

In Lieu of a Social Life or Reading Harry Potter for 31 Hours Straight

Big A's favorite part: A shelf with her seashell collection and a picture of one of the sand castles that we've built.



The spot to daydream while looking out the window section:

The sign hanging above her stereo says, "Courage".


My favorite part of the room:

The poem by ee cummings that I painted on the wall reads:
i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart)
i am never without it (anywhere i go you go, my dear and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet)
i want no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows:
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than the soul can hope of mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that is keeping the stars apart:
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

And carry it, I do my love.
Long live the queen.











20 July 2007

Foreshadowing

"Where's Na-Na"? Little A's head tipped sweetly to the side, her hands stretched out in front of her, palms up.

"She's at her Daddy's". And, as soon as I said it, I knew what was coming next. She's developing an immense vocabulary of late, primarily from mimicking every word that she hears.

"Daddy"? A question still, her head tipped, her hands out, reaching for an answer that I cannot give her.

I stopped putting my files in my briefcase and looked down at her; those blue, blue eyes taking in and questioning everything that I do nowadays, how small she looked, peering up at me, the wood floor beneath her feet, her pink toenails. All of it, a snapshot; a snapshot of things to come that I'm not prepared for.

Again, "Daddy"?

I knelt down to her.

"You don't know that word, baby". I kissed her forehead and stood back up. It was 6:02 and I didn't have time to breakdown. I had to forge ahead, applying the salve of "Things That Must Be Done" over the gaping wound inside of me.

"Daddy. Daddy. Daddy" Again and again as she looked under the couch cushion, then meandered back to her toy chest and opened it, "Daddy"?

God. Damn. It.

What could I show her? What could I tell her? This word, so new to her, now an even greater curiosity because I had nothing to give to her or point at to demonstrate what she was saying.

She walked back to the kitchen where I stood, clutching the island, staring at the vase that my mother's mother had given her, trying not to think about family and legacy and the things that we keep, but thinking about it nonetheless, and she looked up at me, a purple plastic toy in her hand, "Daddy"?

"No, baby. That's not Daddy".

Just then my husky Simba came alongside her and licked her cheek, "Oh God. Oh God. Bimba. Oh God," her laughter escaping her as she tipped her head back.

Yes, Little A. Oh God.

Oh Dear God
.

18 July 2007

Words Fail Me



"Where's the tape that took you three hours to put up", say you.

"Oh, in the *$#$)(*#)(*T$(%*)( trash bag", say I.

But I did get the priming done. Tonight, I break into the yellow. And the tequila.

Should end well.

17 July 2007

Wherein I Hear "Hot Stuff" & Keep Walking & Someone Says, "I'm Talking to You"

Huh.

Who'da thunk? Certainly, certainly not me. I didn't even curl my hair today.

But that doesn't mean that I'm not flying high from the euphoria of someone liking what I wrote so much that they nominated me for an award!

So if you'd like, check out the link which also features three other fabulous bloggers. Then you can cast your vote for your favorite post.

Wow. Thanks to whoever just made my ever-lovin' day. Hot Stuff. Thought those days were long, long gone.

16 July 2007

Return of The Queen

Big A finally made it back to the castle after enjoying a hiatus from our real lives. Instead of waking each morning at 6:00 to be shuttled to the sitter and then day camp, she's spent a lot of time this summer in the company of her relatives, eating smores, beaching it and enjoying being a child in general.

I wish that I could give that to her....lazy summer days, unfettered by exhausting work schedules and a universe in which the sun revolves around her and not the various circumstances in her parent's lives.

Completely unappreciated until I became a mother were the summer days of my youth. How could you know that there was magic in the most simple things back then--just having a mom to stay home with and deliver popsicles to whichever end of the property we chose to sojourn to that day?

I'm amazed lately at how time is flying, flying, flying by and my inability to grasp it at all. In January, I bought paint for the girls rooms.

Jan-u-ar-ee.

It is now July. The paint is still sitting in the cans, no longer gently nudging me when I open the hall door to grab the vacuum, but instead grabbing my shirt and screaming at me: "Intentions, gathering dust here".

I remember the day that we selected the colors; how Big A literally had at least forty different selection cards in her sweet hands, squinting and holding them up, comparing and contrasting the subtle differences in this brands lavender to that brands lavender, noting that one of the shades of yellow looked like butter while a different one reminded her too much of a bee, so it was the butter that we went with.

What is wrong with me that I've found time to do many other things, but not to pick up a paintbrush and give her the room that she wants? Please don't feel compelled to answer that question--in reality it is rhetorical.

I keep thinking that I need more time, more time, more time, despite the fact that I get up very early and go to bed very late each night--when in reality, what I need is to prioritize.

This catch-up way of life isn't good for any of us--this thought that tomorrow, I won't be as busy and I'll make sure that I take time then to hold Little A a few minutes longer or play hangman with Big A instead of folding the laundry--thank God that I have a chance to make this right, that my tomorrow's haven't been taken from me.

I've decided that most of my recreational activities are going to be halted. Soccer cleats exchanged for family bike rides, basketball with co-workers traded for helping Big A hone her own skills. Softball? I'm keeping it. It's mine. I'm not a martyr, just a mom....an imperfect, sometimes very selfish one at that.

I've been focusing too much on the small details of the painting of our lives--making sure the petals on this flower and that flower were just so, without taking time to step back and appreciate the entire mural.

And there we are, back to the paint again. The paint, which tonight will make it's debut on the walls of Big A's quarters, the servant thanking the Lord above with each stroke that she has a chance to color the world of those she loves the most.

13 July 2007

It All Adds Up

tyr·an·ny (tĭr'ə-nē) pronunciation
n., pl. -nies.
  1. A government in which a single ruler is vested with absolute power.
  2. The office, authority, or jurisdiction of an absolute ruler.
  3. Absolute power, especially when exercised unjustly or cruelly: “I have sworn . . . eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man” (Thomas Jefferson).
    1. Use of absolute power.
    2. A tyrannical act.
  4. Extreme harshness or severity; rigor.
+ (plus)

Main Entry: imbecile
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: stupid
Synonyms: asinine, backward, deranged, dim-witted, dull, fatuous, feeble-minded, foolish, half-witted, idiotic, imbecilic, inane, ludicrous, moronic, retarded, simple, simpleminded, slow, thick, witless
Antonyms: genius
Source: Roget's New Millennium™ Thesaurus, First Edition (v 1.3.1)
Copyright © 2007 by Lexico Publishing Group, LLC. All rights reserved.

= (equals):
MSNBC Obvious Bush: yes, we did something illegal. Now, let's move on. Nothing to see here. We're walking, we're walking

***********************************************************************************

lie2 () pronunciation
n.
  1. A false statement deliberately presented as being true; a falsehood.
  2. Something meant to deceive or give a wrong impression.

v., lied, ly·ing ('ĭng), lies. v.intr.
  1. To present false information with the intention of deceiving.
  2. To convey a false image or impression: Appearances often lie.
v.tr.

To cause to be in a specific condition or affect in a specific way by telling falsehoods: You have lied yourself into trouble.

idiom:

lie through one's teeth

  1. To lie outrageously or brazenly.

[Middle English, from Old English lyge.]


+ (plus)


Main Entry: unconscionable
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: immoral
Synonyms: amoral, barbarous, conscienceless, criminal, dishonest, excessive, exorbitant, extravagant, extreme, immoderate, inordinate, knavish, outrageous, preposterous, sneaky, too much*, uncivilized, undue, unethical, unfair, ungodly, unholy, unjust, unprincipled, unreasonable, unscrupulous, wanton, wicked
Antonyms: decent, moral, principled
Source: Roget's New Millennium™ Thesaurus, First Edition (v 1.3.1)
Copyright © 2007 by Lexico Publishing Group, LLC. All rights reserved.

* = informal or slang


= (equals):

SFGate Sad Zip. Zero. Nada. That's how many target goals the Iraqi government has hit so far. Tony Snow: "I'm not sure everyone's going to get an `A' on the first report."


*************************************************************************************
duh () pronunciation
interj.

Used to express disdain for something deemed stupid or obvious, especially a self-evident remark.

[Imitative of an utterance attributed to slow-witted people.]


+ (plus)

Main Entry: hypocrite
Part of Speech: noun
Definition: pretender
Synonyms: actor, attitudinizer, backslider*, bigot, bluffer, casuist, charlatan, cheat, con man, crook, deceiver, decoy, dissembler, dissimulator, fake, faker, four-flusher*, fraud, hook*, humbug, imposter, impostor, informer, lip server*, malingerer, masquerader, mountebank, pharisee, phony, playactor*, poser, pretender, quack*, sham, sharper, smoothie*, sophist, stool pigeon, swindler, trickster, two-face*, two-timer*, whited sepulcher, wolf
Source: Roget's New Millennium™ Thesaurus, First Edition (v 1.3.1)
Copyright © 2007 by Lexico Publishing Group, LLC. All rights reserved.

* = informal or slang

= (equals):

MSNBC Asinine So far, Bush's war to bring freedom, Wal-Mart, and puppies to Iraq has resulted in 1.67 million Iraqi refugees. Last year Syria accepted 449,000, Jordan accepted 250,000, while the Holy United States of Freedom accepted 202


*************************************************************************************

news (nūz, nyūz) pronunciation
pl.n. (used with a sing. verb)
    1. Information about recent events or happenings, especially as reported by newspapers, periodicals, radio, or television.
    2. A presentation of such information, as in a newspaper or on a newscast.
  1. New information of any kind: The requirement was news to him.
  2. Newsworthy material: “a public figure on a scale unimaginable in America; whatever he did was news” (James Atlas).
+ (plus)

3 results for: pissed off

1-3 of 3 results

View results from: Dictionary | Thesaurus | Encyclopedia | All Reference | the Web

Roget's New Millennium™ Thesaurus - Cite This Source
Main Entry: fit to be tied
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: extremely angry
Synonyms: angry, annoyed, bent out of shape, boiling, burned up, good and mad, hot and bothered, hot under the collar, mad as hell, outraged, pissed-off, steamed, teed off, ticked off
Source: Roget's New Millennium™ Thesaurus, First Edition (v 1.3.1)
Copyright © 2007 by Lexico Publishing Group, LLC. All rights reserved.

Roget's New Millennium™ Thesaurus - Cite This Source
Main Entry: foam at the mouth
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: be uncontrollably angry
Synonyms: be beside oneself, be livid, be pissed off, froth at the mouth, go berserk, run amok, run mad, throw a fit
Source: Roget's New Millennium™ Thesaurus, First Edition (v 1.3.1)
Copyright © 2007 by Lexico Publishing Group, LLC. All rights reserved.

Roget's New Millennium™ Thesaurus - Cite This Source
Main Entry: hot under the collar
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: very angry
Synonyms: angry, boiling, burning with excitement, excited, het up, mad, pissed off, steaming, upset
Source: Roget's New Millennium™ Thesaurus, First Edition (v 1.3.1)
Copyright © 2007 by Lexico Publishing Group, LLC. All rights reserved.


= (equals):


ME

12 July 2007

Absolutely Useless Information (That I'm Packaging as a Post)

A tantalizing peek into the life of this servant:

(I'd like to think that I'd written something much more creative had I not been slaving over a "guest post**" for someone, but really, I'm feeling sort of well, blog-over today. You know, when you've had too much to think and you're trying to recall all the things you said you wouldn't forget the evening/weeks before?)

I woke up at 4:02. I cursed when I looked at the alarm, because I knew that I wasn't going back to sleep. I noted to myself that I wanted to tell Comedy Central that I hate that they keep playing "Girls Gone Wild" ads in the wee hours. I searched for the remote and clicked off the tv and wondered how much electricity is wasted because the tv was on all night .

I read a little (Dorothy Parker "If I had a shiny gun/I could have a world of fun/speeding bullets through the brains/of the folks that bring me pains..")

Meandered down the hall (carefully sidestepping the creaky board that wakes Little A) and into the bathroom. I plucked, sighed and quit pulling my eyebrows upward with my pointer finger, flossed, rinsed and brushed, showered, shampooed, deep conditioned, shaved and lotioned up.

Packed my briefcase:
  • Wallet
  • Lunch (oatmeal and Splenda, vanilla soymilk and veggies)
  • Bills I need to pay
  • Coke Zero
  • Gum
I tossed a couple of items into my internal briefcase:
  • Hope, unbridled and shiny
  • Love, deep and jagged and true
  • Wistfulness, but just a pinch
  • Gratitude, to gently remind me of all that I do have
I let the dogs free into the yard, and recalled the days that they tore blazing down the stairs and felt a pang of sadness when I noted their tentative steps.

"Ghetto" ironed (tossed in the dryer) the clothes I wore today: black slacks, butter yellow cotton mock turtleneck:



Packed Little A's diaper bag and woke her up with a kiss. She said, as she does each morning fresh with sleep in her voice, "Ruby" and looked for the lamb that is as much of a part of her as her blue eyes.

Drove her to the sitter and then into work. Listened to one of my favorite songs THREE times in a row. ("Men weren't meant to ride with clouds between their knees, I'm only a man...")

Sat here, at my desk all morning, writing reports:





Some of the little tidbits that I have hanging by my pictures read:

"Could today be the day"?

"Keep on Moving"

This:


And this:



Then at lunch, I created this pathetic piece of crap which is making me feel guilty because you've just wasted one minute of your life on it post for your reading enjoyment.

And that, my friends, is how a servant spent her morning.

Please tell me you did something much greater than I.

**Check back tomorrow for updates

11 July 2007

Utopia

In the spirit of community building and raising awareness, I'd like to offer this post.

It's a small suggestion, but that's the beauty of it--it's doable. It's achievable. It's something you can tell yourself, "I'm going to do this today" and actually do. And it doesn't involve treadmills, aerobics or only eating healthy foods and it doesn't exclude chocolate from your life in any way.

Just for one day, refrain from criticizing your fellow womankind.

Oh, you can go ahead and think whatever you want--we're human, we can't stop that part. Just don't let it slip from your lips and into the ears of someone else.

Pretend, before you make that comment about that woman that you don't know or that woman that you do know, that she is standing before you, looking into your eyes.

What do you think you'd see there?

I think you'd see humanity.

I think you'd see flaws.

I think you'd see happiness and pain and a mixture of many things.

I think you'd see clouds of a past that would take a lifetime to become clear.

I think you'd see a girl on a swing, kicking with all her might, head tipped back, hair flying in the breeze she's creating, legs propelling her forward, closer to all the possibilities that are open to her.

I think you'd see a woman crying, wishing that she were once again that girl.

I think you'd see confidence, but you are unaware of what it's taken her to finally feel that way.

I think you'd see insecurity. It's there, I know it is. You know it's there, too.

I think you'd see hesitation and doubt and warmth and compassion and a heart broken more than once.

Mostly, I think you would see yourself looking back at you.

And I wish, that in that moment, in that reflection, that you would remember that if you can see yourself in another, we are all the same.

And I wish that you would take that realization and treat her as you would like to be treated. You would say things of her that you would like said of you, or you would say nothing at all.

Then go home and get in front of your mirror and take a good long look into your eyes.

Look harder.

See, I told you.

She's there, isn't she?

Are you able to look back into her eyes, or do you have to look away?

****

It's your world, people.

Why not make it a Utopian one?

10 July 2007

FYI/TMI: Times Two

I have been tagged, twice this past week, so I'm cheating and putting both posts into one blog, cause I'm lazy like that.

High School Post, tagged by Bub and Pie.

1 Who was your best friend?

L.
2 What sports did you play?
Basketball and softball. Are there other sports?

3 What kind of car did you drive?
The first vehicle I drove was a 1980 Ford pick-up. It was a stick. First gear was out. Typically, if taking it somewhere socially, I'd park about a half mile away and walk. After taking out the side of our garage with it, I was then gifted a station wagon. My parents were Catholic, so we didn't talk about sex, but I think it was their best attempt to be sure I wasn't shagging in my car.

4 It’s Friday night, where were you?
Going to basketball practice, then and play in the band at half-time of the football game.

5 Were you a party animal?
HA! No. My senior year I got a little adventurous, but no drunken stories from high school for me.

6 Were you considered a flirt?
I don't think so. I think more a snob--my insecurity was often perceived as snobbery...I think that still happens today.

7 Were you in band, orchestra, or choir?
Band--Clarinet. And Honor Society, SADD, Student Council, Yearbook, DARE....the list goes on and on. See question 8 for further details.

8 Were you a nerd?
In my heart, yes. I didn't hang out with the "popular crowd", as even back then the antics of that type of group tired me. I was a good student and perfectionist, so I suppose I had many nerd-like qualities, but I was also an athlete.

9 Did you get suspended/expelled?
No.

10 Can you sing the fight song?
Yes. It was set to the tune of the Michigan State Fight song...but really, that isn't something I ever want to think about again.

11 Who was your favorite teacher?
My high school English teacher, Mrs. I. The coolest, most amazing teacher I've ever had, even post-high school. She pushed me to be my very best and made a remarkable impact on my life.

12 School mascot?
An insect.

13 Did you go to Prom?
Yes. All four years. A horrific array of dresses and hairstyles. I'm talking blackmail horrific.

14 If you could go back and do it over, would you?
Only to relive the athletic portion of it.

15 What do you remember most about graduation?
That I forgot to thank my mom when I received an award for outstanding student scholar/athlete. I rambled on and thanked my coaches and teachers and completely forgot her. To this day, I wish I could go back and do that over again.

16 Where were you on senior skip day?
At school and then at softball practice.

17 Did you have a job your senior year?
I always worked during the summers, but not during the school year.

18 Where did you go most often for lunch?
We had a common area downstairs that we went to most often. I ate cheese pizza and drank a REAL Coke every single day and still weighed 118. God, this post is depressing.

19 Have you gained weight since then?
Don't mind that sound. It's me sobbing.

20 What did you do after graduation?
College.

21 Who was your Senior prom date?
My group of friends.

23 Are you going / did you go to your 10 year reunion?
Negative, Ghost Rider.

24 Who was your home room teacher?
Mrs. W. was my kindergarten teacher.

25 Who will repost this after you?
How about
Lawyer Mama and Flutter. Are you guys up for it?


Sarah at In The Trenches tagged me for the "Eight Things" post. I am responding only because my Tigers kicked the asses of swept the Sox and I'd hate to have her disappointed twice in one week by Michiganders. :)
Please, just promise that you'll respect me in the morning:

1. I was my grandmothers first grandchild and I was born on her birthday.

2. I love the movie "For the Love of the Game", but I hate the love story part of it. There is a scene where Kelly Preston is comparing her having a child as a single parent to him seriously injuring his pitching hand, and pretty much each time I watch it, I still want to duct tape her mouth shut.

3. The super-power I would pick if given the choice would be invisibility.

4. If it's summer and the Tigers are on, I'm watching.

5. I still cry when I sing the National Anthem.

6. I'm a vegetarian and now I'm struggling with how I can still eat cheese without feeling guilt over how dairy cows are treated. It's keeping me up at night, people. OK, maybe the insomnia is, but it's on my mind when I'm laying there at night.

7. I go to bed with two men each night: Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

8. There are a lot of things I'd do over for myself.
If I could do something over for someone else, it would be for Big A's dad. He was erroneously ejected from a basketball game in the district finals of his senior year. The ref even wrote a letter stating that he shouldn't have been thrown out, and that he mistakenly ejected everyone involved in the melee, despite the fact that Big A's dad had stepped in to stop the fight, not participate in it.
Because he was ejected from that game, he wasn't allowed to play in the regional game, and he was an all-state athlete that led his team in points. My heart still hurts for him, having to sit on the bench and watch his teammates try to fight it out without him. I'd call it a lesson of the cruelest kind, but I still don't see a lesson within it.

That's it! Whew! Now wake up and carry on.

09 July 2007

The Resurrection

I should have listened to that little voice in my head telling me it wasn't the best idea.

I should have copped to the fabrication completely when questioned.

But you know how it goes once you start to tell a lie, then suddenly you're standing on the edge of confessing or stepping over into the area where now more lies must be created to maintain the first, and you choose the latter. (Oh. You don't? You might want to quit reading now.)

I thought that I'd gotten away with it with my little amendments to the story, but, alas, the truth has hunted me down and strung me out for the fabricator that I am.

Big A loved Barney. (Yes, that Barney.) I hated Barney. Not initially, of course, for all relationships are flowery in the beginning, right?

His laughter, once just slightly grating, became the soundtrack to my dreams of running him over with a front-end loader and then dumping him in some location where his body would serve as feed for wild animals.

Barney didn't make me a better person, at all, and Big A was smart, and I figured I could teach her whatever Barney had to say, without the repeated horror of the "I love you" song.

So I told her Barney was seriously injured in a tragic break-dancing accident.

I told her that he was injured (seriously injured) and in order to help him, we needed to not watch the tapes anymore, because if we did, it was zapping his energy and making it harder for him to get better. (She was four, it was plausible, and additionally, I think, a great component of the "fiction writing" portion of my schooling.)

Guess whose miraculous recovery is now getting tossed in my face on a daily basis?

And Big A, God, I love that child.

For when she walked in the door and sat down and saw who was on the TV, she looked at me, straight face and said in her snarkiest voice, "I guess he got better". Then she gave me The Stare of Death as she crossed her arms and sat back with Little A to watch Barney and Friends sing the anthem that they will play as I'm carted off in a straight-jacket.

And Mommy went off to the kitchen to pour a margarita them some chocolate milk and peer wistfully out the window, noting how horrifyingly dangerous the slide in the backyard could be....dangerous enough, perhaps, to maim a dinosaur.






06 July 2007

Two Years: The Dime Story


Two years it's been now.

I've mentioned here and there, in little hints, at her early birth and the difficulties thereafter. I don't think I've ever written, barring a personal email to a fellow blogger, of what happened those days and weeks in the hospital, and how the memory of those moments still haunt me, how they still make my heart race and stomach pitch and my feet start tapping.

It was bad, her birth; the unexpectedness, the rush, the bright lights and nurses and doctors, and then ultimately, the silence. She didn't cry when she was taken from my womb and whisked out the door.

"She'll be fine, she'll be fine", my Mom kept whispering as she stroked my hair, but they didn't sound like words of truth, they were more words of a prayer. Not the type of prayer that is murmured softly as comfort, but a prayer of begging.

They are very different, those two prayers.

Within the confines of a secure and sterile neo-natal unit (NICU) there were private sealed-off rooms for the babies most in need. When I was finally wheeled in to see her nearly eight hours after her birth in one of those rooms, I reached to touch her toe and the doctor stopped me. Too much stimulation, I believe is what she said.

The ventilator clicked. The monitors beeped. The prayers were said. ("Do you have a minister or priest you could call? Do you have a minister or priest you could call? Do you have a minister or priest you could call?") Those words, they haunt me still.

My grandfather had died about a year prior to this. After his death, we began finding dimes in the oddest places. See, he was a dime man. Couldn't give grand kids pennies, they weren't worth enough. Quarters? Too much. Always a dime from him, each time we parted.

And suddenly, dimes were everywhere. The sole item left on the driver's side of a smashed car that my cousin had just stepped out of moments before it was hit. Falling from my sister's hair one morning while she was crying in the shower. Sitting inside my grandmother's bible.

You could say the dimes were always there; I'd believe you. We often don't take note of the smallest things around us until we need to. I know this. But there are other things I know, as well.

I know that at 3:12 a.m. two days after she was born, the neonatologist came into my room.

"It's morning already"? I thought at first. I looked out the dark window and then back at her, walking in slow motion across my room, her eyes never leaving mine.

"No", I said, struggling to sit up, "No".

I felt like I was drowning then, seeing the wave that was about to pull me under, but too caught up in the currents to do anything about it.

"Jenny-fer", she was foreign and had an accent, "Jenny-fer, we must talk". Her hand reached out for mine, but I pulled mine back. I wasn't tying myself to that anchor that was about to bind me forever at the bottom of the sea.

"Tell me". The words were mine, they were in my voice, but I'm not sure how I spoke them. I remember thinking as soon as I said them that I wanted to take them back because life would never be the same again, and if only I hadn't asked to be told, it would be alright.

"Jenny-fer, Little A was resuscitated again tonight. She is needing a blood transfusion and must have more tests right away. I need you to sign here".

"Is she going to live? Is she"? I finally asked the question that I hadn't had the strength to for the past two days.

"There are things I cannot tell you, things you want to hear that I cannot say. But you must sign these papers". She held out the paper and pen in front of me.

I took them from her. "I want to see her. Now". I demanded in a voice not my own; I had to. My time with her had been so limited and rationed, and I believed, as most mothers do, if I could just see her, touch her, hold her, she would be well. "I won't sign this until you let me see her".

She begged that instead I let her sedate me, "You're always awake, crying".

We negotiated an agreement: I would be allowed to see her before the transfusion and MRI's, and after that, I would take some medication to sleep, and call someone to come and sit with me.

"You must wash up, change clothes, then we will go".

I went through the ritual that you needed to undergo before being allowed to enter into the unit. You couldn't take anything in with you, you had to scrub right outside of the door and be pushed in. You had to remain in your wheelchair. You couldn't rip open the doors and grasp your child to your chest.

The nurse slowly wheeled me into her solitary room and placed my chair against her incubator.

Whirl, click, beep, beep, beep.
Whirl, click, beep, beep, beep.
Whirl, click, beep, beep, beep.

I finally found it within myself to look up from my clenched hands and at her tiny little body.

While doing so, something caught my eye.

There, on her incubator stand, was one small, silver dime.

I gasped and reached for it. The nurse also gasped, but not for the same reasons as I.

"How did that get in here? That can't be in here". She held out her hand, expecting me to hand it over to her.

"No. It's mine. I need this". I grasped it firmly in my hands and clutched it to my chest.

"You can't have that in here, and now you can't touch her. You'll need to go scrub again". Her hand, still outstretched, began to soften when she looked at me. "You can't have that in here", she repeated again, softer, slower.

She wheeled me over to scrub again, and let me put the dime in the locker outside the NICU.

When I went back in to say goodbye to Little A before her transfusions and test, the doctor was there.

"Ahhh, Jenny-fer, you must say your goodbyes to her for now and then we talk later, after you sleep. Then maybe we will know more".

"She's going to be alright", I said, not a question, but rather a statement.

She looked at me sadly and said, "I cannot tell you these things that I don't know".

I looked back at her and said, "You don't have to tell me. I do know".

And it turns out, I did know.

Happy Birthday Little A. May your life be filled with dimes.












04 July 2007

You Know Her

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There's a woman, and I suppose, in most terms of when you say you know someone, I don't know her. And I suppose, that, then, in those terms, neither do you.


Except I do know her. And so do you.


If you have children, you know her.


If you pray for those children and love those children and rock those children and those children are your life, you know her.


If, beyond the fear of harm coming to your children, your next greatest fear is harm coming to you and you not being there for your children, you know her.


If you are a woman, you know her.


If you are a man that has loved a woman, you know her.


If you are a woman that runs through your monthly self check and never feels anything, but wonders, "God, what if I did feel something", you know her.


If you have ever sat in a doctor's office awaiting test results, stomach in knots, prayers on lips, hands clenched, you know her.


If you are a person that has known someone who has had cancer, you know her.


If you're one of the people that read my blog everyday, but don't leave a comment, please click the above link and leave a comment for her.


If you're one of the people that read and comment on my blog, please also click on the link above and leave a comment for her.


Come back, everyday, and click the link on my sidebar and leave a comment for her.


If you are a person that wants the code to add the button to your blog, email me.


Because we all know her.


And she needs to know us.








03 July 2007

Her Birthday. My Gift.


This week, Little A will be two years old. It's her birthday, but I'm the one that gets the gift in the form of bright blue eyes and white blond hair and unabashed adoration. I'm not sure what I'll actually purchase her this year, but I want to give her these words to have for future birthdays.

Dear Little A,

God. Just saying your name causes so much raw emotion within me that I can barely breathe.

There are so many things I want to tell you, sweet love, so many things about you and about me and about life. The words swirl in my head, the thoughts cross my mind and heart constantly, they whisper to me as I'm dozing off at night. "You need to tell her this, she needs to know this".

These words mean nothing to you now, little girl. I know this. Someday, though, they will. Someday, when you look at me not through the adoring eyes with which you now gaze upon me, but instead with the eyes of someone who sees flaws and cracks and imperfections, I need you to know these words. I need you to know that they've been there, for so long, writing themselves over and over and over in my heart.

I need you to know that when I kiss your sweet head and murmur, "I'm sorry, baby" to you in the smallest voice that I can find the things that I'm sorry for. There are so many things, really. See, momma really isn't what or who you think I am. I'm not deserving of what I've been given. I've made mistakes, big ones, and I'm afraid of what they will bring you. I'm afraid on a daily basis that I'm making mistakes, one after another, over and over, a waterfall of errors that will end in an ocean of pain for you to navigate.

I'm sorry, sweetie, that I didn't love you from the moment I knew you existed. I'm sorry that the thought of you did what it did to me. I'm sorry that I didn't just focus on the miracle that you even existed, rather than spending my time being angry and calculating the odds of you existing repeatedly, until the edges of my mind were worn down with those numbers.

I'm sorry that for so very long, I felt the need to explain your existence to so many people. That I felt like I owed some detailed reason about why you were here. That I felt like I needed to answer the unspoken question in their eyes with anything more than how much I love you. The guilt I feel over that now is overwhelming. The reality is that you are here because, for reasons that I cannot comprehend, I was blessed enough to have you.

Let me tell you what you do for me, Little A.

You light up my world. You reaffirm my faith in a greater power. You make me drop to my knees and sob when I'm holding you because I love you that much. That much, Little A, I love you so much that I cannot articulate what I feel in anything other than tears of gratitude. I'm reduced to that.

You humble me. You amaze me. You make me want to be the best person that I can so that I'll remain your hero. Your laughter decorates my soul. That look on your face when you know that you're doing something you shouldn't, and you can't help but laugh anyway, oh God, please, let that be one of the last things that I recall when I leave this earth.

Your open heart is a wonder to me. How you so easily accept people and places and changes and smile at all of them. I want you to always have that heart. I want you always to see each day and each person as an opportunity, a gift, a chance to deliver light where it's needed.

The moments that we have where I can hold you, where you lay your head on my shoulder, where you say, "I really, really love you".....I know that those moments are delivered to me straight from the wings of angels. I know that they have been given to me as proof that second chances exist.

Your sweetness and devotion and even how you "take it to the floor" when you're upset--those are all gifts to me, undeserving as I am. The moments when you wake and find me there, staring in at you in your crib, when I'm nearly breathless when I pick you up--it's because what I feel for you nearly removes my ability to breathe. It's crushing, my love for you.

I want to give you the world, Little A. I want to shelter you from hurt and pain and anything that might cause a tear in your eyes or an ache in your heart. I want to remain this perfect creature that you love so desperately. I know, of course, that this is not possible.

Instead, I give you these words. They are wrapped within my heart and my soul and my entire being. They are the constant prayer that I say for you.

Your birth, Little A, was one of the greatest gifts of my life.

Happy, Happy Birthday Baby.

Momma loves you.