Saturday, March 28, 2009

So proud

Tonight, Kevin,Christopher, and I went to the Food Lion near our house. We bought a lottery ticket, a 12 pack of beer, and some Cadbury Creme Eggs.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Right now. Right where I am.

I'm crossing the line of another "I never" tonight. I'm going to play bunko. Although I have no idea what bunko actually is, I do know that until now, no one I have ever wanted to hang out with has played it.

Things change.

Kevin and I have decided to stay in the neighborhood where we are now. The house isn't as big as he would like. It isn't as new as he thinks I would like. It isn't as close to his work as either of us would like. However, it's ours. We remodeled it together to be just as we wanted it, and we love it. Well, I love it anyway. I love this house.

When we made the decision to stay, I made the decision to try and become part of the community that we live in. Here, wrapped safely in my words, I have no problem becoming a part of the community. I may flit from branch to branch within the community, but I do feel a part of it all.

Tonight I will have to wear something other than my written words.

My doula said to me last week after a reiki session that I needed to talk. That writing was fine, but there was a certain power given to words when they physically come out of the mouth. I'm paraphrasing, but that was the gist. She is so right.

Me don't talk so good.

But these are the women who are raising their children around mine. They are the women who play at the park. They are the women who will be at the neighborhood pool this summer. I want to know them and be a part of their community, and I want for my child to be a part as well. I think that it's important. Besides, I really like the women I have met so far, and at the very least we have motherhood in common. I find that motherhood can be a huge common ground.

I shouldn't forget to mention that having the coolest across the street neighbor to usher me into the community doesn't hurt. Maybe I'll change clothes 18 times before I leave tonight, but I'll leave with a little more confidence because I've already made a friend.

Now I must go stand and stare blankly at the content of my closet, hoping to find something that has less peanut butter on it than the jar I am wearing at the moment.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Silver linings

I'm not pregnant.

I won't have another miscarriage this month.


Friday, March 20, 2009

There will be rainbows

I finally watched The Business of Being Born. I have both been looking forward to it and avoiding it all at the same time. I was pregnant with Little Bird when it was in theaters around here, and I wasn't brave enough to go and see it. I knew the basic message was in the over medicalization of birth, and I really wanted to stay with my OB. For some reason, I thought that she was wonderful and would make rainbows appear at Bird's birth.

If she had been at Bird's birth, then maybe she would have. Since she wasn't, we'll never know.

Instead, Dr. Jackass attended Bird's birth.

There is one thing I will not do, and that is question the way Bird came into this world. He and I got him here just like he needed to arrive.

However, there are things I don't have to do again, and won't be doing again. They are as follows:

  • I will not be spread eagle in front of Dr. Jackass and have him roll his eyes at me for not pushing the way he thought I should push.
  • I will not be in a position where I have to argue in the midst of my questionable pushing on whether or not a scalpel will be taken to my ladybits.
  • I will not return to Rex Hospital where I had to fight the nurses day and night to breastfeed my child.
There are other options. I am capable of birthing my babies. I will make choices out of confidence and not fear next time. I will not second guess my ability to nurse my babies.

I will be strong, prepared, and accepting. My baby and I will make our own rainbows.

Now, I just need to stay pregnant.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Goin' to me happy place

Happy St. Patrick's Day from Little Bird, who seems to have taken up Irish Dancing.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Thirteen going on fabulous

A teenager lives in our house now. She moved in last Wednesday and kicked out the little girl who used to be here. So far, she has been just as sweet and delicious as the little girl, and honestly, I don't expect that to change. I'm not scared of these teenage years.

Lovely is now thirteen. On her birthday, she came home to a yard full of flamingos wishing her a "Happy Birthday!" She had requested shepherd's pie for her birthday dinner and also wanted a homemade chocolate cake with chocolate icing. She got both. I even whipped up some peanut butter mousse to put between the four layers of the cake to surprise her. And, to her amazement, I managed to write legibly, even nicely, if I do say so myself, on the top of the cake. She almost didn't believe I had done it.

Her daddy wanted some pictures made for her birthday. "Thirteen is special," he proclaimed. I think that can be loosely translated, "I would like to have one last shot at my baby girl," but I could be wrong.

The young woman she is becoming is quite remarkable. She has been through a lot the past few years, yet she continues to love with an open heart. She is also able to stand firm in her beliefs, and that will really suit her well as she enters high school.

As an example: a couple of weeks ago, I asked Lovely how her piano lesson was the night before. (I had been helping her with her music because she had a lot to accomplish in a very little amount of time, and because,well, quite frankly, she just wasn't being taught.) She opened up and talked for almost an hour about how her teacher had been telling her to lie to her father and me. She was to "forget" her assignment book so that I couldn't ask questions and was told to not let us know that the teacher had failed to register Lovely for a festival she had been preparing for.

Lovely said, and I do quote because I will never forget it, "It's not right for a teacher to ask me to lie to my parents."

Right on, dearie. That is an incredibly mature realization. If I had been able to stand up for that when I was even 17, I would have had a much easier time of things. It was so brave of her to open up and let us know what was going on and that it made her really uncomfortable.

This girl, this young woman, balances loving her brother and me with the knowledge that her mother tells her that she shouldn't. She balances loving her father and her mother with the knowledge that they don't love each other. She must know how much we all love her, or I don't see how she could do it.

She hasn't been dealt a fair lot as a child. But instead of it ruining her childhood, it is already apparent that she is using what she has learned about life to become a beautiful, remarkable, strong, loving, and courageous young woman.

I am proud to know her, and I am so grateful that my son has Lovely for a big sister.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Hello, My Name Is Anger

I'm angry. I should have known. The shortness, the depression, the feeling of being overwhelmed. The impatience with everyone, including strangers.

When the happy salesman came to my door this week, he rang the doorbell and then did an enthusiastic drum cadence with his knuckles as well. The dogs began barking, and the baby monitor hissed out the sounds of a just then napping baby rustling in his crib. I bolted to the front door and opened it just enough to stick my head out and snap, "I've got a sleeping baby in here. I don't care what you are selling." He jumped all four steps down from my stoop with his apology left hanging in a speech bubble that dripped with shame.

He didn't deserve that from me.

Someone attacked a friend of mine yesterday on a blog. Granted, I am a fiercely loyal friend, but it made me far more angry than it should have. I ached for her and wished that I could take on that other woman face to face. The things that ran through my head to say to her were cruel and hurtful. Very hurtful. I didn't say them, but I dwelled on them.

I told Girl this morning that I was feeling mean. She suggested that what I was feeling was really anger. She is so right.

I don't handle anger well. I have pushed it so far down into the places I never reach that when I do feel it, I don't recognize it. Anger doesn't wear disguises; I just don't know it. It stands quietly in front of me, waiting on me to give it the right name tag. I hand it, "Hello, my name is MEAN," or "HURT" or "SAD," and it patiently places each new tag on top of the other one, but answers to none of those names.

When I think about expressing anger, it frightens me. If I say that I'm angry that my parents and my brother's family get to celebrate everyday together, be it Valentine's Day or a talent show, I'm scared I will be misunderstood. It worries me that by feeling a jealous anger, they will think I'm angry at them. Which I'm not. Right beside the jealous anger sits gratitude that they have that time together. They make odd bedfellows, but there they are.

I just wish that I had that time with them too. And stepping back, I don't know if that emotion is anger or not. That one may be sadness. It's hard to tell.

Plus, expressing anger opens up a vulnerability. Back in September when I shut my blog down for awhile, I kept hearing, "Don't let her know you are angry. Don't let her think she got to you." I get that. I get that for some people, knowing you've made another person angry is some sort of victory. But that's not my problem. Was I angry that someone used my blog to violate my husband and try to ruin our first night out since the baby was born? Of course I was. Anger was an appropriate response, but I didn't show it because for some reason I thought that would make me weak.

I don't think anger wants anything from me. I don't think it expects me to dance with it, write songs about it, or paint with it. I think it just wants me to give it the right name tag. I start today.

I'm angry that I lost two more babies. In a row.
I'm angry at loss.

I'm angry that the best my doctor had to offer was, "It happens."
I'm angry at helplessness.

I'm angry that my parents can't come to see us and that I can't get to see them often enough.
I'm angry at disease.

I'm angry at the adults in Lovely's life who don't see her as her own person. Who make decisions for her based on their own desires and bitterness.
I'm angry at selfishness.

I don't live in the anger, but I have been living around it. Skirting it. Giving it all the wrong names. In that, I have given it stayability. I don't want that. Giving it all the wrong names lets it seep out into my everyday life and stain the relationships I have worked so hard to polish.

I name you, Anger, and I give you notice. You are only a feeling. You will not rule my life.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Oh, Gawd. Bewbs again.

For those of you who know me in real life, I hereby warn you that I am about to talk about my boobs. Again. You may click away now, or read at your own risk.

Catherine breastfed another woman's child this weekend. If you don't know the story and would like to, it can be found here. It's not directly related, but it's got me thinking.

I have two breasts. My momma has one. My friend has none. I still have two that I should be grateful for.

They are mine. I grew them. I have lived with them for almost 25 years now. For most of those years I hid them. I wore baggy shirts and sweaters that were too big. I was uncomfortable with the attention they garnered.

It was more attention than I ever received myself. In fact, this space is even overshadowed by them, with the most searched hits coming from "ginormous boobs" or some incarnation thereof.I suppose that is also because I continue to talk about them.

The first time my husband, then new boyfriend, saw them in just a camisole, he blurted, "My God! They're ginormous!" I quickly put the baggier shirt back on and slunk down in my seat. I wanted the focus to remain on me, not them. Betrayed by my breasts once again.

Only I wasn't. After the initial shock, he went right back to talking to me. My face, rather. He held my hand, put his arm around me, all without copping that oops-feel that even some of my friends' husbands have been guilty of copping. Later, I learned that Kevin's reaction to the girls and their girth was in fact just shock. He actually just considered it a big bonus and gave me reason to believe it too. And since my mother reads this blog, I will stop there.

After I became a mother, I expected to have an epiphany about my breasts. Learn the "real" purpose they serve. Open the heavens and sound the trumpets: breastfeeding. My boobies were created to be a food source to my babies. I would magically begin to respect them and they in turn would learn their place in this world. Which was about four inches lower than I had hoped for, but whatever.

The thing is, I don't think the heavens opened, and I don't think they were made just to feed babies.

You see, I have these hands. Two of them. They type, they play the piano, they change diapers, they bathe a child, they prepare meals, they clean this house. They do a multitude of things for every different part of my being. The writer, the musician, the mother, the wife, all use these hands.

It is the same with my breasts. They are functional; feeding my child. They are sexual; just ask my husband. They are decorative; clothes fit better with them than without them. They are all of these things to me.

The boobies belong to me. If I want to use them to feed my child, I can. If I want to use them to pump milk for another child, I can. If I want to use them to nurse another child, I can. If I want to use them to try and sell albums, I can. If I want to use them to reach orgasm, I can. If I want to use them to keep my toes warm, I can in another few years, I'm sure.

They belong to me. Yours belong to you. And no one. No one should be telling us what we should or shouldn't be doing with them.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Reconsidering the reasons

BlogHer, the conference, is something I assumed I would attend this year. I've been twice now, and it helps me give credit to what I do here, and here, and here, and here.

The first year I attended, I roomed with an amazing woman and got to hang with some super cool bloggettes. It was validating to be around so many great writers and to learn more about the craft and the business. I was inspired.

Then I got a little busy having a baby and all. There wasn't as much time to do the reviews I had been doing for Props and Pans. I got tired of always being down and dragging my blog through the muck. I kept up with it, but only half-heartedly.

By the time summer came, I was feeling a little better about things and Little Bird and I took off for BlogHer once again. We met my momma there, and she helped watch after Bird while I attended the conference.

Here's the thing. I didn't feel connected. Most of the people I knew and had hung with the year before were all attending outside events that I didn't know about and wasn't part of. It's hard to say that without sounding like sour grapes, and you certainly can't say it right after the conference or people get terribly defensive, and you get labeled a whiner.

I'm not whining, I'm just stating some facts. Facts that have been influencing how I look at blogging. Besides, what affected me was not that I wasn't invited to events, it was that I wasn't missed. As in, no one noticed that I wasn't there or included. I felt invisible. Plus, I didn't get to visit with the people I really wanted to visit with because they were busy. With these other things. Maybe invisible isn't the word, maybe it's just disconnected.

I've been doing this for a few years now, and I know that "canape" is one of those names that illicits the, "Oh yeah, I've heard of her," response. I also know that I have a small (but fantabulous) readership. I'm okay with that. I will not find my fame and fortune with blogging. I never intended to.

There are bloggers on every level who I consider friends. They are terrific women who I'm humbled to have personal relationships with. The thing is, they have their own circles of friends, so even though I have friends, I don't have a group of friends. I've had this issue my whole life. I can be friends with a jock, a geek, a freak, and a brain, but I never have fit in with the whole group of jocks, geeks, freaks, or brains.

I stand alone, in the end. Always alone at some point or another, but yet never forever. I'm working on learning how to be a part of a group. There are some women who have been schooling me in that for about 18 months now. It's a good lesson to learn.

In the meantime though, there is the question of BlogHer. It has come down to this for me:

  • I am not ever going to do reviews for a living or on this blog.
  • I will never have enough traffic to sell adspace here, nor will I be changing my writing style and content to make it so.
  • While I love reading several different blogs, I have lost the urge to connect with every single blogger that I love in real life. I don't need to meet the musicians whose albums I love. It's become the same sort of thing.
  • I have a bigger desire for the real life connections I make via the internet to happen locally. There are some amazing bloggers right here where I live, and I would like to cultivate relationships with them.
  • For what it would cost me to go to BlogHer, my family could spend a week in the mountains.
That is the bottom line. Do I value networking and the possiblity of making a few more connections over giving my family some much needed time off together? Do I really think that I can accomplish enough at BlogHer to justify choosing it over a week off with my boys?

I just don't think so.

Having said that, I am not against going with a sponsorship. If some company wants to pay my way and have me wear their name plastered on my behind, that would be alright with me. I think the conference is a wonderful thing, and if I end up there this year, I would do some things differently.

I would be a little more outgoing. I would find out ahead of time what was going on and when, and I would get myself included. Because in the end, most of the events surrounding the conference weren't exclusive - getting left out is way different than being excluded.

We'll see. For now though, I'm going to book that cabin in the Appalachians and look forward to some quiet summer days with my family.

And I'm going to keep writing and reading. Because that's what this is all about in the end.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The big scary Bible

Little Bird and I like to go to the library. We read in the morning, in the afternoon, and at night before bed. We love books. I quickly learned that books are expensive, and that even though Mama gets bored of the same board books morning, noon, and night, it just isn't in the budget to keep buying books. And why should we when we can just go to the library?

Our trips to the library are short, as Little Bird mainly likes to pull books off of the shelves and place them in the bins around that are for reshelving. He also likes to stand at the little short shelves of board books and pull them out one at a time, examine the front and back of each book, and then hand it to me. I put some back and pull some to check out and take home.

The very first book Little Bird "selected" yesterday was a big sparkly book about Noah's Ark. We haven't started learning Bible stories yet - unless you count him chucking the baby Jesus from his Fisher Price nativity set with me crying out, "Noooooo! Don't throw the Son of God!" so I thought it would be good to start. I'll bet the Reverend Nana agrees.

When we got home, we sat down on the couch to read. I opened up the Noah's Ark book, and began,

"Noah was a good man.
He lived a holy life.
He had three grown-up sons,
And a kind and loving wife."

Okay. That's a nice story. Next page.

"God will send a frightening flood
To cover all the land.
And as the water rises,
There'll be no place left to stand.

I have to wipe the world clean
Because my people are so bad.
But I'll save you and your family,
So Noah, don't be sad."

Holy crap. I know the story. I went to a Presbyterian day school. I know all the stories. It hadn't occurred to me how freaking scary they are until now.

Evil snake in the garden. Cain and Abel. Job and the series of unfortunate events. Daniel getting thrown to the lions. Jonah and the whale. Then of course, the torture and crucifixion of Jesus. They are all freaking nightmare stories.

I believe in a God of grace and mercy. I want for my son to know of the goodness and kindness. He should know of the grace.

I guess that you have to tell the stories like these to get to the grace. I mean, the story of grace in my life involves death, divorces, and miscarriages. It's not a pretty story, it's just a happy ending. But without the first part of the story, there can be no grace.

Tell that to a 13 month old. No thanks. For now, I'm skipping over the story of the flood and just talking about the animals on the big boat. I think I'll leave out drunken Noah too, just for good measure.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Snowed in. Figuratively.

The posts lie unfinished in draft form. That is so not like me. I just can't seem to finish anything I start online lately. I owe someone a review, but it's going to be a bad review, so I can't get motivated to write it. I have posts about new mamas, posts about nursing, posts about reading, all in the hopper - unfinished.

Since I never got around to posting pictures of our snow day in January (at least, not that I can remember), I'm going to brighten this page with a few shots from today. Little Bird is a Snow Bird. He loves it. Poor old Gibson - it just made him nervous. He kept trying to nose Bird up out of the snow and clean off his little hands for him. That dog worries way too much about the baby.