Monday, December 21, 2009
Yesterday was my birthday. I have to say it was one of my best birthdays...ever. EVER! It started with Katie finding me in Phillip's room. I was just about to get him out of his crib when she came over to me trailing her favorite pink blankie made by Maureen. (You cannot separate my kiddos from the blankets Maureen makes for them, or from the nighttime afghans made by Grandma, but I digress.) So, Katie finds me and asks, "Is today your birthday, Mommy?" I told her it was indeed my birthday and she enthusiastically said, "Happy Birthday, Mommy!" while giving me a hug and kiss. Phillip, who was watching everything, jumped up and down in his crib shouting, "Happy!" with a big ear-to-ear grin.
I went through all the typical morning tasks with Phillip (diaper change, nebulizer treatment as he has a bad cough, bottle, tickles) and then went back to bed for a few minutes. Katie climbed in and said, "Get ready for a birthday hug, Mommy" and hugged me. She kept giving me birthday hugs and kisses. One hug was a "special rainbow hug with sparkles that only come when I hug you, Mommy." She also told me all the things that she thought made me "beautiful".
Later in the day, Katie made my birthday cake with Peter. I was sitting at the dining room table getting materials organized for Katie's gifts for her teachers and chuckling at the conversation occurring between the two of them. Here is one particularly charming snip it from when they were cleaning up:
Peter: So who is the better cook, better baker - Daddy or Mommy?"
Katie: Me! I am the best cooker.
Katie then decorated all her jars of homemade cookie mix for her teachers.(The night before we made the jars. It was fun, but it takes some time that we waited until the next day to add the tags, ornaments, and ribbon.) Phillip kept blowing me kisses. Meanwhile, Katie was so anxious to frost the cake that when I said she would not frost until after nap time was over, she could not take a nap. Finally, I let her go get her father to frost the cake while I stayed in the other end of the house pretending to be oblivious. Katie would come to me every so often with chocolate on her face. Her face would get wiped clean and the next visit...more chocolate. Katie then placed all the candles herself.
Another thing that occurred was that Katie knew exactly which party dress she wanted to wear with which tights and which sparkly shoes and related accessories. She then told Peter, "Go change into your handsome clothes, Daddy." Peter replied, "What are my 'handsome clothes'?" Katie: "I don't know, but you have to put them on. It's Mommy's birthday."
Peter made my birthday dinner (breaded chicken cutlets, rice pilaf, and young peas). Katie declared it the best dinner ever. Phillip spit the chicken out, but happily noshed on halved blueberries and peas. Katie wanted a table cloth on the table, but Peter said we didn't need one. When it came time to light the candles....oh, you have to picture the scene in your mind's eye. Peter was using these puny, short matches that burned down to your fingers by the time you lit one candle. Well, he would light some candles and go to blow out the match before his finger burnt off only he would not turn away from the cake, so he would end up blowing out the very candles he just lit! This pattern continued for quite a few times with Katie growing exasperated with her father. Finally they were all lit and Katie helped me blow them out.
As we were enjoying cake, Katie serenaded me with three songs she created herself. They were fabulous and even Phillip smiled and clapped with enthusiasm. After dinner, Katie had us participate in a "Royal Birthday Parade". We then piled into the car and drove around looking at Christmas lights while singing Christmas carols. It truly was the best birthday ever. Best. Ever.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Happy (belated) Thanksgiving to you all! We had a quiet one this year. I could have cooked a meal, but since no one was around, Katie and I had spaghetti and meatballs. How very untraditional of us, I know. You see, on the previous Tuesday, I had sinus surgery.
After being on antibiotics for essentially the entire year, every year, I went to an ear, nose, throat specialist. He first tried washes and sprays. No relief. Then he looked with a scope. Afterwards, I had a CT Scan. The scan showed that each sinus opening was blocked by bone. So, I scheduled surgery. I chose the Ridgefield Surgical Center because this sort of thing is all they do and to be away from viruses found in a hospital setting. The center was sparkling! The staff was running way ahead of schedule and as soon as I walked through the door, they took me back to begin prepping me.
I was nervous about anesthia. For one thing, I did not want to be intubated. And for another thing, I am always nausous. I was afraid of the vommitting upon waking up from general anesethia. Everyone tried to calm me. I took things one moment at a time. I put my head down on the operating room table and the next thing I knew, I was waking up in recovery.
Waking up was hard. My throat was beyond dry. But the hard part was my chest. I had this really tight, wound up feeling in my chest. It felt very much like a bad asthma attack. I then began to panic which did not help matters. Eventually, I caught a small breath. Later, I needed my inhaler.
Once home, I tried to sleep, but I was overtired. Luckily, I had spent the morning making sure everything was in place for when I returned home from surgery. Fresh sheets on the bed. Pillows stacked up to make me stay in an almost 90 degree position to reduce swelling and help with drainage. Towel on the pillows in case the gauze leaked. Water and medication with medication schedule next to the bed. Premade food in the fridge to heat up for the kiddos. House cleaned and tidied up. Not perfect, but pretty good. Babysitters lined up for the next few days to help me over the long weekend.
Pain. The surgery I had was a lot of little procedures all at the same time. The doctor removed bone spurs and a bone filled with air. He then removed polyps and cysts from within one sinus. The doctor also reduced the turbinates. Finally, he corrected my severely deviated septum. The doctor used a lot of new technologies to minimize bleeding. Therefore, there was no need for packing. People always complain about packing. The doctor only had to use the splints. The splints are these long plastic things that are flat on one side and have a breathing tube on the other. They are about 3 inches long.
The discomfort was from the swelling against the splints. Also, my upper teeth ached like they were about the fall out or something. There was immense pressure behind my eyes, too. A dry throat did not help either. I suffered through the first night with fitful sleep at best. Finally, in the afternoon of the next day, I took a pain pill. It took a few doses over the course of the afternoon and evening before things were numb. I suppose the medication needs to build up in your system over time. I needed the pain meds for the first three days. Afterwards, the swelling went away and I was okay just with the antibiotic.
The bleeding stopped after three days. On Sunday night, however, Phillip did not want to come out of the bath and he flailed about wildly...hitting my nose just right. It was like a gusher! I saturated one gauze pad after another. Luckily, the doctor opened his office for me and took care of things. My nose looks the same from the outside. Inside, it is very dry and sore, but I can live with that while things heal. I pray all heals perfectly. I still do not have permission to blow my nose which is weird, but like I said, I am fine with that as long all heals perfectly. Already I can feel a difference, so the surgery was worth it!
Monday, November 16, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
So, I am back up and running. More to follow soon....
Sunday, July 12, 2009
- Tears silently crept down my cheeks as Dad, still holding the almost-transparent paper looked at me and said, "I am so very proud of you."
- Fifth grade was the year that changed my life.
- Disorganize Your Life - Okay, let's admit it, folks. Too much emphasis is placed upon organizing everything including the dust bunnies under your bed. Really, what is wrong with a bit of organized chaos?
- Why do I carry it? The memory of when the letter was ever so tentatively handed over to me, makes me smile.
- I see her face, but who is she? At once both unrecognizable and familiar...how did she come to be?
- It seems to me that childhood is not fair. Some people, like Ralph Fletcher, have what I would term a "normal childhood". Others like Naomi Shihab-Nye have a time of conflict. Perhaps the conflict is the normal piece.
- Often times when I peruse my baby album, I wonder who it is that I am looking at in those photos. Some memories float in and out of consciousness. Stories I have been told get another chance to share their perceptions. The skinny bleached blond smiles, eyes all a twinkle as if she is happy to see me. But is she? When I was born, she refused to hold me. People have said they heard her say, "She was supposed to be a boy." The funny thing about all those stories I have been told is that they can haunt you. Memories can, too.
- Despite the engaging discussion, my eyes wandered as I looked around the backseat of this 1986 Buick. The dusty blue -it was literally dusty- headliner bubbled over the passenger seats. I wondered if I pricked it with a pin, would it pop or just unceremoniously deflate. Below the front passenger seat lay a substantial buffet of crumbs. No wonder there was an almost moldy smell. Turned off by the crumbs, I chose to look straight ahead. The driver's copper hair, restrained in its black band, was so smooth, so full of amazing luminescence. Some strands were actually auburn while others were golden. What was her secret that made her hair behave like glass? Absentmindedly, I reached up and gingerly fingered a curl of my own. It was soft, but not smooth like hers. "So how would you do it?" and I was forced to look away from her hair and answer. I don't remember what I said in response, but I do remember the ashtray.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
Just a couple of weeks ago, I had a fun time with my father in a dream after the variator broke on his 112. For those of you who remember, it would always seize up on him. Frequently Dad would have the 112 apart and carefully making all the necessary repairs.
You all know about the dreams where I saw my children, what they looked like, and what their names would be long before they were born.
I also saw my father’s death at the exact moment it happened. That morning, I was already up and dressed. For some reason I cannot explain, I felt the sudden need to immediately put my head down. Once I did, I was in a deep, relaxed trance. Suddenly, I was in a beautiful open meadow and an elk appeared (the symbol of my paternal grandfather). He spent some time with me and then my attention was drawn to the most mesmerizing blue butterfly (the symbol of my father –long story behind that one). We, too, spent time together. Then the butterfly began to flit away from me. I gleefully chased after it until I realized that it was leaving me. The butterfly landed on the antlers of the majestic elk, and the elk looked in my direction briefly before turning away and running off into the light. I immediately woke up. Yet, I was at peace despite knowing what everything meant. Shortly thereafter, my grandmother called to tell me of my father’s passing.
It is not just dreams that help my soul advance with its life lessons. I also have spirit guides who were chosen by my soul prior to birth. They help me along my path. Their impulses are what I used to call intuition. They are the little voice, the subtle guiding hand, the sudden epiphany … my muses, if you will.
I believe that angels exist to help me along my path, too. My children were able to see them when they were infants. Often they would laugh and giggle at what seemed like thin air, but I learned that they were playing with their angels: in particular, my mother-in-law and my father. As I got older, I observed life with a scientific eye. While there is nothing wrong with the rational perspective of things, it was not until I began practicing meditation that I relearned how to see that which is inexplicable. I have a lot more work to go in this area.
Sometimes the angels send me signs that they are with me, but I just have to learn to listen to them. When thinking about a particular person who has passed away, I have seen faces in items one moment and then the faces disappear. The signs are also things like seeing the numbers on the clock in numerical order after I just thought about someone (like 1:23, for example) and seeing a specific animal I associate with the spirit. Not everything is a sign, though. The signs have to be directly connected to my thinking deeply about someone. Everyone can do it because we are all born with some form of psychic ability. It is just that not everyone takes time to hone their skills through meditation.
While many people get nervous when you begin to discuss spirituality, there are many more who secretly nod their heads in agreement. The spiritual closet is quite a crowded place because it is scary to openly admit that you believe in things like an afterlife, spirits, and reincarnated souls. It is unnerving for me to think that if I have the courage to openly state my intentions to the universe, the universe will make it happen for me. I believe that the universe operates on a completely different time table than I do and that leads to my frustration because I tend to be impatient. Hmm…perhaps one of my life lessons is to accept that things happen when they are meant to occur. At the same time, free choice can either interfere or facilitate the universe’s plan for myself. So confusing! I just have to take a deep breath and trust in God’s plan.
Yes, I believe in God –Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Unlike some church doctrines out there, I do not think accepting the spiritual plane means you don’t believe in God. The two go together beautifully and seamlessly. After all, everything is born from the Divine…and that includes all things spiritual.
Whew! Heavy topic for today. It came about for two reasons. One is what I said last time when asked about when I would return to journaling, about having multiple entries running in my head at once. The other reason comes from today’s lunch. I was sitting with two teachers who were commenting on the fact that we are all part of something much bigger than ourselves. While I feel I could write volumes on this topic, I have to stop and end my lunch hour. I will admit part of me is scared. Some readers will think I am nuts. Then again, I know I am perfectly sane, so there are no worries.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
So, as a great way to procrastinate from continuing with my essays and poetry, here is today’s topic: tantrums.
Yup, you heard me. Tantrums. All you parents out there know just what I am talking about when I mention that word. The majority of the time, my daughter is an angel. Really! But not mornings. No matter how organized and structured I am with routines (and you know Martha Stewart has nothing on me!), Katie has to start each the day with resistance. Then Phillip cries in empathy (a compassionate trait…compassionate, but noisy). Add in the dog barking as if to scold my parenting abilities to quell little ones, and you get a picture of my mornings. I start each and every single day in the same, loud manner. Twenty minutes later and all is calm. You can set your watch by it.
If only I could find time (and peace and quiet and privacy --you lose all privacy when you have toddlers) to have Calgon take me away...
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
Daddy: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Katie: A grandma.
A knowing smile crosses Mommy's face as she locks eyes with Daddy.
Mommy: What a wonderful dream, Katie! Why would you like to be a grandma?
Katie, without missing a beat: Because grandmas are full of love.
I love the fact that my children feel so close to my grandmother. My grandmother is more a maternal figure than a grandparent to me. She is one of the most dear people in my heart.
She has recently been diagnosed with cancer. Her lymph nodes in the groin area are full of tumors and will require chemotherapy. Luckily, the lymph nodes in other places, like her armpits, appear to be normal at this time. I so hope that doctors can stop the cancer from growing and spreading. I have read that if caught early enough, this type of cancer has about an 80% survival rate. Fingers crossed....
When I first heard of Grandma's symptoms, I had that uh-oh feeling. You know, the one that casts an ominous shadow over you, giving you sinking feelings in your gut. That night, I had a fitful sleep and was -Okay, call me strange- mourning. Like previously mentioned, Grandma is an immediate family member in my eyes. She is my last tie that binds, if you will.
We all know that people will pass over to the spiritual plane sooner or later. It is just that we hope -scratch that; pray- it is later...much, much later. Somehow, I keep thinking of Grandma as being the same age she was when I was toddler. I know that sounds ridiculous. I am cognizant enough to know that people age. But when you view the world with your heart, you see the poetry that hides from the scientific, analytical eye.
So, here we are. Katie and Phillip all smiles at the mere mention of Grandma's name; Katie insisting we call Grandma "just because"; everyone wanting to either visit Grandma or have her visit us; and Katie wanting to be a Grandma when she grows up because she is "full of so much love."
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
I was tossing and turning all night fretting over the transition. Will it be too much, too sudden? Should we start in toddlers and then do afternoons in preschool? I bumped into her preschool teacher on Friday and Paivikki said to follow Katie's lead. So, I asked Katie which she preferred: eating breakfast in toddlers or in preschool. She chose preschool. So, Katie showed me her new cubby and we packed it up with her belongings. She hung up her coat on her new hook, and even made her way over to the breakfast room like it was a daily occurrence.
My heart ached. Katie will be fine. I just can't let go easily. How I wanted to stay with her for a while in the room, but I had to get to work. I managed to eek a few stolen minutes because Peter followed us to the center today and got Phillip situated. In fact, Peter was able to stay as I was leaving, so that was good. But not the same. I wanted to be there. I suppose I have to admit that my little girl is growing up.
As an educator, I am torn. I want to give her support, but I do not want to make the transition worse by hovering. Sometimes it is better to make a clean break. But I do not want her to feel alone or overwhelmed. Push, pull, push, pull. Such are the dynamics of parenting, especially at times of transition.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
I follow several blogs, but I enjoy Jill's a lot. Sure, part of the reason is that she is a friend from "way back when". Sure, part of the reason is that I love following the home renovation. But, want to know a secret? She has posted some recipes that have answered, "What should I make tonight?"
I recently tried the cranberry chicken as I love, love, love cranberries. They are my favorite fruit. While the thought of Catalina dressing and onion soup mix was not appealing to me, I gave it a shot. The chicken came out moist, tender, and delicious. More importantly, it passed the dreaded husband test. You know, the third child of mine who comments if something is too dry, too saucy, too.... Well, he liked it! So, there you have it, folks. If Peter can eat it without comment, then it is worth trying. (ha, ha)
So, check out Jill's blog at http://jillandlarry.blogspot.com/!
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Guilt takes on so many forms, especially as we get older. My cousin sent me a poem about mothers of two children and there was this one line about guilt that struck a cord with me.
I remember when I was pregnant after Katie, but before Phillip. I was so weepy for most of the first trimester. I could not imagine sharing my relationship with Katie with another being. I feared that the child would - Dare I say it out loud?- intrude on my bond with Katherine. I was worried that Katie and I would become distant, that I would not be able to love another child as much as I love Katherine. Then I felt guilty for having such selfish thoughts and anxiety. Then almost overnight, I accepted that I was going to have another child, and even got excited.
Peace was fleeting. Around twelve weeks, I lost the child and I became inconsolable. I can still hear the hushed whispers in the hallways outside the ultrasound room. The quick gasp of the technician. The sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach as I was asked to wait in the room farthest from all the other patients. The sound of the hands of the clock. The little voice scolding me for not appreciating the gift while I had it…
It was like my body knew my thoughts and it refused to release the fetus. Despite repeated counselings over the following weeks, I refused a D&C. The doctors kept telling me that intervention was necessary, that too much time had passed. I pushed their advice aside. I pushed Peter away. Guilt.
I don’t even remember driving my car there, but somehow I ended up at Father Palmer’s office. Upon crossing over the threshold, the tears I had been holding inside for weeks came flooding out. Deacon McManus was such a huge help. As the guilt that had been snaking its way through my heart unfurled at his feet, he slayed the shame and put me on my path towards acceptance.
A few months later, I was pregnant with Phillip. This time I was overjoyed and somehow all the anxiety I had before never reared its ugly head. Funny how things like that happen. When I learned that Phillip’s twin died, however, I felt guilt all over again; like a punishment for daring not appreciate the gift of motherhood way back when. When Phillip came eight weeks early due to a rupturing placenta, I felt guilty for working so hard even after I was told it was a high risk pregnancy.
Guilt can be a cross from which you never escape, if you let it. But I guess that is the lesson, isn’t it? Keep just enough to push you towards being a better person without letting it consume you. After all, we attract that which we put the most energy, so why not attract positivity and light into our lives.
Now I am at peace and enjoying every moment with BOTH my children. I make time for just Katherine, just Phillip, and time together. That is not to say there aren’t times when I feel guilty for feeling the way I once did, but I have accepted it. More importantly, I have moved on.
"We went on a bear hunt today."
"Really? Tell me more, honey."
"We went into the cave and it was dark. I saw the tiny sparkly eyes and I got so excited, Mom."
Mom?! Since when has she called me "Mom"? I have always been "Mommy" and "Mama". I do not know if I like "Mom" at this young age. I guess my little girl is growing up. I am - Sniff!- proud and -Sniff!- nostalgic at the same time. And we haven't even hit kindergarten yet! Peter better start buying stock in Kleenex (actually, I prefer the Puffs with Vicks) because I am going to be a big puddle by the time her wedding comes around, but I digress.
"We saw a nice little bear. She was so cute! She had pink fur, darker pink. She had a pink dress and we danced. I was beside myself." Now she is sounding like me.
A little while later...
"And we can pile into the car, Mom, and you can drive us to the beach. And we will make sand castles. I will put shells on my castle, but not a crab. Crabs have pinchers." She imitates a crab's claw with her hands.
It is fun to see her imagination grow even more. For instance, last night, one set of alphabet letters got arranged into a circle and she pretended it was a pond. She fished in her pond, but only caught pink fish. Daddy got the purple one, and Mommy got a sparkly fish. Katie could hear the ribbit of her purple frog and the quaking of her pink duck that asked for bread crumbs while perched on the side of her "pond".
Phillip thought this was amusing. He smiled and laughed and made loud (very loud) squeals throughout the experience. Did I mention he was l-o-u-d? He is certainly testing his voice these days!
This morning, during our drive to day care, Katie and I were talking as usual. This morning's topic? Birds that tweet, complete with "Katie Bird" tweeting. Phillip, however, interjected himself into the conversation at several times. We have no clue what he was babbling, but it was great and Mom played along. In fact, Phillip is the one who solved this morning's riddle. Katie just looked straight ahead. Sometimes she just does not know what to make of that baby bear sitting next to her...
Thursday, March 5, 2009
- The way Peter's eyes crease at the corners when he smiles.
- Katie's nightly request, "Cover me, Mommy, with [Great] Grandma's blanket. It has her love."
- Katie calling to Peter, "Tell me a Peter Rabbit story, Daddy," and giggling at the crazy adventures and wacky characters Peter creates just for her.
- Phillip curled up in his crib, tightly hugging his little blue teddy bear that Aunt Lynn gave him on the day he was born.
- Katie sitting in her car seat with her sunglasses on (usually upside down).
- Phillip's toothless smile stretched from ear to ear with genuine enthusiasm at seeing me.
- Katie running into my arms each day, "Mommmmmmy!"
- Peter reaching to hold my hand at an unexpected moment.
- The imagination of a child.
- Katie reading Phillip a story while he gets his nebulizer treatment, and Phillip smiling at her the whole time.
What tugs at your heart strings?
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
"I want a beaver. A nice beaver, not a mean one."
"Katie, honey, I do not think you will get a beaver. They tend to cause floods."
"He will live in a lodge in our pond, Mommy. He will use him teeth to chop down trees."
"Yes, and then his lodge will make our back yard into a big, wet mess."
"Grandpa likes to chop wood. The beaver chops trees. The beaver will be Grandpa's helper."
"Nice thought, honey, but I don't think Grandpa would like a beaver. Grandpa is the only one who does wood."
"Oh. Sorry, Mommy. I want a cat."
"A nice cat, not a mean cat like Aunt Lynn's, but a nice cat. What will I name my cat, Mommy?"
"I don't know, Katie. You have to pick out the name once you see the kitty. But, I do not think Daddy will like a cat around the house."
"It will be a nice cat. Not a mean one; a nice one."
"I hear you."
"I want a dog."
"Katie, you have a dog. Tucker. Remember?"
"Yes, but I want another dog, too."
And so the conversation goes. I suppose my father is laughing from the spirit world. I used to adopt any stray animal I found (cats, a wood duck) and feed the animals -from my hands, no less!- as in raccoons, chickadees, and so on. Once when I was just a little bit older than Katie, Dad asked me what I wanted for a pet. Being an avid viewer of Wild Kingdom, I said a lion. Not just any lion, mind you. One with the fullest mane ever and a roar so loud that it rivals any sonic boom! Dad tried to explain why we could not have a lion in Redding, but after my arguing with him, he got fed up and said sternly, "Enough already! Let me know when you have decided on something other than a lion." Well, time passed. I came back and said, "Daddy, I know what I would like." "What, honey?" "A kangaroo."