Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Year's End Giving

Here are the places I am giving money as the year draws to a close.

WFYI - My local public radio station, because, public media. 

Prayers4Lindsey - Funds to help offset medical costs following a tragedy (personal connection). 

International Studies Trip - Just like it sounds. 

Project Home Indy - A wonderful organization helping young women who are pregnant and/or mothering and homeless.

Breast Cancer Action - Just... Yes. 

The Sun Magazine - I am not only a subscriber, but a donor. Do yourself a favor and subscribe to this. 

Monday, December 1, 2014


The paper cartoon turkeys and cornucopias taped up in the hallways only served to highlight the bleakness of the hospital walls they were meant to hide. "So, just the pregnancy test?" she said, looking at the dark, smudged paper that had been faxed over by my midwife. For a minute I didn't know what to say. I knew that hCG levels were what they checked via blood draw to see if someone was pregnant. But I was not pregnant. And the last thing I needed was to be reminded of that fact. I felt my face grow warm. "Yes," I said. "I'm not... Yes."

The last time I miscarried there had been no embryonic development, so the event itself was physically no big deal. Like a late period. This time I was further along, there had been development, and I ended up in the E.R. (where I promptly passed out) with severe cramps, heavy bleeding, and blood clots larger than a softball. It took me several weeks to fully recover, even though the miscarriage had been a natural one (that is to say, I did not require medical intervention) to that point. I was getting my hCG levels checked to make sure they were going down to 0, basically to rule out any retained tissue and a molar pregnancy. I was not pregnant. Not anymore.

My midwife tells me that my two back-to-back miscarriages could just be "bad luck". There might not be anything physically wrong with me and my ability to sustain a pregnancy. But it sure doesn't feel that way. I feel broken.

My grief comes in waves. My sadness for my loss and my gratitude for my relative health are strangely intertwined in my head and in my heart. I don't know where to go from here, honestly. Onward, to be sure. But with what in sight? I guess for now I will go about my days with cheerfulness taped up on the hallways of my heart in an effort to hide the bleakness.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

24 Days, 28 Feet

We spent the last 24 days on the road in our 28' travel trailer, Ruby. I named her in honor of my Nana. I think Nana would have loved that.

Toddlers and travel trailer living are a good fit, surprisingly. At the end of the trip, none of us wanted to come back. Having to get up and walk into another room or, gasp, to another FLOOR of the house to talk to someone was more than we needed. Our sense of comfort and connection were all the more when we have such close living quarters and Mother Nature out our back door, ready to be explored. Our sense of space and material goods were blown to bits. We can't wait for our next trip.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Our drive home tonight took about 15 minutes longer than it should have. I drove 75% of the way at 45 mph. On the interstate. Because the street sweepers were out. Two of them, actually, one following the other. And BC loves them - finds them fascinating. "Slow down, Mama!", was the request. What could I do? I slowed down. Way down. Even put on my hazard lights at one point. We drove in the slow lane while the street sweepers drove in the fast lane (I assume, being city vehicles, they don't get honked at for doing so), and all the others drove furiously down the center lane. Amid those flurries of cars speeding past my son stared intently at the sweepers - eyes never moving - until they eventually turned off and we drove on.

Approximately 5 minutes before The Great Street Sweeper Sighting I popped in a new cd BC's Grandmama gave him. The cd is of her performing pioneer and old-time children's songs at a local school recorded several years ago. He had been listening to that cd for the past couple of weeks at her house. One night last week he asked me to sing the "Fiddly-Fee song". I had no clue. "It's a Grandmama song", he reminded me. "Fiddly-Fee". Still nothing. I ended up singing something else that night but the next day I asked my mom what song BC meant. It turned out to be The Barnyard Song (it's the Cat, by the way, who says "fiddle-aye-fee" in the lyrics). I remembered the song from my childhood but needed the cd to listen to myself to learn it by heart. Hence our having it for our drive home tonight. The Barnyard Song is the second on the album and when it came on I said, "Hey! It's The Barnyard Song." BC paused. "You know it now!" he said.

Before our drive home we had been out to dinner with my family. One of BC's uncles ordered some chips and salsa as a starter. What luck! BC's favorite thing: chips! And, yes, salsa. He started out with a few chips and a bit of salsa on a small appetizer plate but it wasn't long before he had the bowl of salsa in front of him, one end of the straw from his cup in the bowl, and the other end in his mouth. I guess sometimes you just need some salsa.

This kid is the greatest.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Daily Reminders

I'm having to remind myself, daily, that my son's life is his own. As much as I plan and schedule, he has plans and, in a way, a schedule too. When he tells me he doesn't want to do something or doesn't want to go somewhere, I need to listen to him. Now, of course, some things are not optional. Yes, we do have to go to the grocery store. Yes, you do have to brush your teeth. Yes, you do have to go to your grandparents' house so I can go to work. But he doesn't always want to. He'd much rather romp around outside, build a mucking tractor in the living room, or glue pompoms to construction paper with glitter glue.

When I allow him the time to tell me why he doesn't want to go to or do the thing that must be done I am able to engage in a conversation with him about why we must go, or do. And then we can work out a compromise. Yes, we have to go to the grocery store but we don't have to go right now; we can go in an hour. Yes, you do have to brush your teeth but you don't have to brush them at the bathroom sink; you can brush them in the rocker. Yes, you do have to stay at your grandparents' so I can go to work but you can bring a special toy.

These things may seem trivial to me but they are real to him. And, because I love and respect him, I must respect his needs, and his plans, and his schedule. If I don't, how can I expect him to do the same for me and my needs? But, man, it takes daily reminders. Daily.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Chapter After This

"Your pain is the breaking of your shell that encloses your understanding." -Khalil Gibran

I never thought I would take an early miscarriage as a loss in the way that I did. I never thought the pain would be so all-consuming. I never thought I would feel such an ache, such sorrow, and so very alone. Then again, I never really thought about myself having a miscarriage.

But I did have a miscarriage. At a mere 7 weeks pregnant. I wanted nothing more than to shed my skin - to run away. I stopped washing my hair because it felt extraneous. I stopped wearing my wedding ring because it felt too heavy. I didn't know what I wanted or needed but I knew it wasn't anything that could come from anyone. The word "loss" was pulsing through my head. Over and over and over again; like the clacking of a train that seems endless. It eventually became soothing. Easier to tune out. I was physically, mentally, and emotionally aching. But did I have the right?

For the record, the term "blighted ovum" is the worst. A fetal sac in which no fetal development takes place. No fetal pole. No heartbeat. No baby.

I've never really been sure where I stand on the whole "when does life begin?" question. And some kind folks tried to ease my pain by assuring me I hadn't "actually" lost a baby. Inserted somewhere in between my sadness and my grief was this questioning I just couldn't shake of "what did I really lose?" I think miscarrying so early in my pregnancy and the way I did made it harder for me than it would have had the event happened further along or in another way. I thought maybe I didn't have the right to take it as a loss because, after all, there hadn't been an actual baby. When I expressed these feelings, as well as I could, to a friend who had gone through not one but two miscarriages, she told me that of course this was a loss. Of course I had the right to grieve. The physical reality of the loss wasn't the issue. The issue was that I had had this vision of the next chapter of my life and suddenly that vision was gone. It was lost. And so, of course, was I.

Having a toddler to care for while dealing with my carouselling emotions meant I couldn't burst into tears every time I felt myself building up to it. It's not that I was afraid to cry in front of my child. It's just that I didn't want to lie to him about the reason. And he wouldn't have understood this. We got into the car and drove a LOT those first couple of weeks. That's where I cried. While he listened to "Step In Time" on the iPod and told me about how many garbage trucks he would find.

Having a toddler to love (and to love me) while dealing with my carouselling emotions meant I knew I would come out it. Meant I got to laugh. And sing. And dream of the chapter after this.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

What Summer Is

Everything is so much more fun with a toddler. My current mantra to new and soon-to-be parents is "parenting a toddler is the reward for parenting an infant." It's true. Toddlers are great, man. Infants are tough. Of course, toddlers bring with them their own set of challenging days and times but, 95% of the time, they are just so fun. So much language and learning and curiosity. And what better time to be parenting a toddler than summer, eh?

Our days are full. We end our days smelling of wet dirt, sunblock, sweat, bubbles, paint, fresh fruit, and wind. We cannot remember the days too cold to play outside. We try, see, and do new things. Swing on swings, Go down slides. Collect - gently - roly poly bugs. Dig and dig and dig and dig in the dirt. Run through the sprinkler. Eat berries and veggies right off the plant. Have picnic dinners outside. Run. And laugh and laugh and laugh. These are the days I hope to always remember.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Whose Day Is It, Anyway?

There is a phenomenon going on around Mother's Day that I've just recently been tuned into. In the days leading up to the day on which we celebrate Mothers my newsfeed is flooded with memes, posts, articles, and status updates telling me why the day is not just a day for Mothers, but is, in fact, a day to honor "all those who 'Mother'". Every year, on the second Sunday in May, teachers, mentors, nurses, grandparents, aunts, and even fathers are to be "remembered" and "thanked" for "mothering" us. And oh yeah, mothers, too.

Three Mother's Days ago I didn't care about this opening up of the one day a year specifically held to honor Mothers to so many different groups of people. Indeed, I hardly even noticed. But now that I am a mother, I do notice. And I care. A lot. Why? Because Mothers are not an everybody job. As a Mother I fulfill a role in my child's life that nobody else can or will: not a teacher, not a mentor, not a grandmother or aunt, and not a father. And I think that deserves a day.

I know, know that there are plenty of females out there who are raising children that have no business doing so. I know that many people have been hurt by said female in their lives and have gained positive caregiving from another source. I do not presume to define who is and who isn't a genuine Mother, deserving of celebration on Mother's Day. I pretty much believe that if you consider yourself a Mother, then you are one, regardless of birth or bloodlines. But I don't think taking one day a year to honor, thank, and celebrate Mothers, and only Mothers, is asking too much.

So let it be known now that here, on my Facebook feed, in my text messages and phone calls, I will celebrate Mothers, and only Mothers. Teacher, mentors, nurses, grandparents, aunts, and fathers, you all have your own days (actually, several of you have your own week or MONTH, but I'm not here to quibble). It's not that I'm selfish, it's just that I think credit should be given where credit is due.

P.S. Happy Mother's Day, Mams.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Reason #368 to bedshare:

Having your little one, in the wee hours of the morning, roll over, see you, smile, then fall back into a peaceful sleep. This is the life.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

23 Months

What a blessed life I have. Rocking my 23 month old for the last time because in 25 hours he will be a 2 year old (although I'm strongly considering saying "24 month old"). I'm not entirely sure what I did or why I did it for those 29 years leading up to his birth. These last 2 have been the most purposeful, grounded, present, and happiest I've known. 

Before I became a mother I promised myself and anyone who inquired that I wouldn't "lose myself" to parenthood. I vowed I would remain confident in who I was and wouldn't let a child alter my existence in the drastic ways I had seen other women allow themselves to be altered. What a laugh. To think that I could stop this child from transforming my core, my being, is naive at best. The way in which I enter the world is as a mother now. This identity - this truth - informs everything I do. And what a blessed life it is. 

Happy Birthday, Sprout. Thank you for making me your mother.