Search results for 'anxiety'

high (holiday) anxiety

7 Sep

The high holidays are upon us.

It is time to dip our apples into honey,

and to eat circular foods,

and to ring in the New Year (wassup Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider?!) with our loved ones.

So, as it is with any other right of passage,

I have a bit of anxiety.

Between now and sundown tomorrow,

I must do some serious grocery shopping,

bake 2 challahs (challot? challeem? challi?),

and, of course, pick out a high holiday dinner outfit for the baby.

She already has her outfit for services (that was taken care of back in May. This will be her first big public appearance, after all. We had to pull something off of the runways, early. It’s major.)

but, until right this very moment, I had neglected to figure out what she’d be wearing to the family dinner.

These are the parameters:

The outfit must be cute (This goes without saying, but, I’ll say it anyway, I’m long-winded, like that.)

The outfit mustn’t have been photographed, previously. Once it’s been viewed by the masses, it must be retired to the vault.

The outfit must be comfy.

And……go.

But, seriously. I shall leave this one up to a vote.

Thank you much!

Oh, and of course I’ll go with the winning look that you choose. And I’ll let you know tomorrow.

There may even be some photos snapped.

And then, alas, that outfit will be forced into the vault, as well.

Don’t hate the player, hate the game. Or, something like that.

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I am having an anxiety attack, currently

13 Aug

…because our daughter is spending her first night

alone

in her crib.

I am crying

and wish I could crawl in there with her

for one more kiss goodnight.

So tonight, instead of having the most perfect, pink little hands to hold in my sleep,

I have a cold, (also pink) baby monitor to cuddle up to.

‘Tis going to be a long night, folks.

Wish me luck!

Be there and be square.

9 Dec

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I made it no secret on here (and in my life) that I was quite nervous about expanding our family. We were a perfect triangle.

I remember taking an autumn trip to the beach house with the fairy godparents and sitting on the couch for hours, literally, listing the reasons why I was scared to have another baby. My bestie and her husband (who is also a bestie, so don’t get it twisted, babe!) do not yet have children of their own, but she is an incredible psychologist, so she was perfect for the job. She sat and talked me through it, holding my hand.  And, wouldn’t you know, as I am typing this I am remembering that she did the exact same thing 10 years before, in the exact same spot of that exact same couch. Obviously the subject matter was different, but we sat on that couch for hours and hours, as she held my hand and we shared secrets and dreams.

In any case, my list of fears about having a second child was scattered. Some of the reasons included:

The repeat C-Section. I loathed my spinal the first time around, as it made me feel paralyzed and unable to breathe (and wasn’t aware that I could opt for an epidural). Selfishly, I was terrified to go through that again.

I had been warned countless times that having two children isn’t double the work, but 100 times the work. That is scary.

And then there was the anxiety; I was nearly crippled by anxiety at times during my first pregnancy, doing “kick counts” and googling things like “Does a baby get hurt by being jumped on by a 25 lb dog?” and “Do blowdryers scare babies in utero?” I also vaguely remember a brief freak out over Tonic Water and the safety of Quinine during pregnancy.

I also had a fear that I could have a crazy, wild, messy, rambunctious, high energy child. I could have a boy.

But, most of all, I feared the change in our family’s shape. We were a perfect triangle; We had our system down, we were a  trio.

(*Note: In trying to come up with the equivalent word that means the same as “pair” but with three people, please be careful with the terms that you Google.)

My daughter was my everything.

(I should mention that as I typed that sentence, she just popped her head into my bedroom door, clad in pink, fuzzy footie PJs and said, “I just needed one more mommy kiss. And after you’re done writing about me, read this Ariel book I gave you. It is the best. And maybe later, I will check up on you, and sneak up on you, very quietly, and give you a new book.” and blew me a kiss.)

With my daughter, everything was magical. Her nursery was an enchanted garden. She had a tutu collection. She was dainty and delicate and darling.

I was scared to push my luck.

And so, that night, that Fall, my friend and I decided that it was clearly not the right time for me to have another baby, and that maybe, one day, I would feel ready.

And I waited. And I waited. And I waited for that day to come.

And then something happened.

We moved into a new house, in my dream neighborhood (where both my husband and I grew up) and all of a sudden, I just felt ready. It took years, but I got there.

He was conceived instantly, came out early, and I loved him instinctively and deeply.

And then all hell broke loose.

I was not able to care for my son in the way that I had for my daughter; I was a wreck, had to be medicated which forced me to wean him at 10 weeks (after having nursed my girl for 18 months) and I completely lost it for awhile.

But, to be honest, it wasn’t because it was hard. It was never really hard having two. I realize that when some people have their children very close together it can be insane. But for me, having a second child was not harder than having one. The bright spot in a bleak year.

Slowly, though, things have changed. And if you read here regularly, I think you will have noticed a perceptible shift in how I write about my son;

I recently declared him to be the best thing that has ever happened to me and I named him as my true strength symbol.

Over the past year I have woken up to many people and many things. I now look at life in a completely different way and hold those dear to me closer than ever before. I tell my friends I love them every day. I try to show my husband, in some way or another, how grateful I am for him. And I adore the hell out of my kids.

Every time I pick up my son, every single time, I kiss his face. I know that despite a rough start to things, he knows that he is loved.

And just like it went with his sister, I have become obsessed with him. Even with all of his crazy antics (and, truth be told, he is literally the personification of the fear I listed above) I gush over his toothy smile and sweet kisses and how he loves to nuzzle into my neck.

And I think I kind of took this change for granted a little, as though it was a natural shift that just happens.

But it didn’t really hit me until Sunday. It was the afternoon and the whole family was in the living room, the Eagles were on the TV, my daughter, husband and I were on the couch and my son was sitting with my brother in law on a chair eating goldfish. The three of us cuddled up and my husband remarked about how cozy and nice it felt. But I didn’t feel that; I felt incomplete. It was like our family’s hole had morphed from a triangle to a square and no other piece would fit. Without my son, we just weren’t whole.

And I didn’t have to force it. Not at all.

***

Believe it or not, despite my depression, I don’t cry a whole lot.

Today, my son and I picked up my daughter from school in the carpool line, and when the door opened and they saw each other, they literally squealed with delight. And she insisted on sitting in the extra booster seat that is right next to his carseat, and my two children were lost in fits of giggles as I watched them through the rear view mirror. And tears streamed down my face.

This was love. Love of the purest kind. Love of the truest nature. My team.

And all I felt was gratitude.

Biologically speaking, we won’t be any new sides to our family’s shape.

But oh my word, how blessed am I that I get to spend my days with this dainty girl who never ever stops talking,

and this sweet boy, who will cause destruction at every chance he can get,

and that when they say, “Mama?” I get to answer.

I am so in love. This is what life is all about.

I just realized.

25 Nov

I am going to admit something difficult. Today has been a hard day.

My daughter finally got to go back to school, which is wonderful.

This is finally happening, which is also wonderful…

except that it means that they are currently jack-hammering the perimeter of an 1100 square foot basement. It’s a little loud.

So my son’s 2 hour morning nap was cut to 15 minutes.

I don’t like to bother my family and friends with my problems; I know that may seem surprising, as I am constantly talking about my incredible support system, but I desperately do not want to be self-involved or insensitive of their time or to worry them. I keep a lot in. But today, I felt like I could admit it. I spoke with my dear friend of over 13 years this morning about the crippling anxiety I was feeling. She guided me through some techniques to assuage the feelings.

And I told my mom, which is something that I have rarely done as of late. And she said that what I am feeling–this heaviness–is all because of what is coming up on Thursday. Thursday is Thanksgiving, for which I am more thankful than ever, but it is also the anniversary of a very troubled time in my life.

And then my mommom called to invite us to the mall and I wasn’t able to go because of the whole baby no-nap situation and she knew I was anxious and she said, “I am always just a phone call away. Although my fax machine broke this morning and I am so frustrated, I don’t know what to do.”

I assured her that I wouldn’t be faxing her with an SOS, so that she could take that off of her list of worries.

And then I texted with a special friend, a friend who gets me, because she sat on the floor with me all last winter, even through my darkest of times, as our babies rolled around and drooled on each other. And I told her that I felt as though I was unraveling. And she made it better.

And all of those things that I just wrote about are concrete examples of the incredible tribe that I have surrounding me.

But then I did the most important thing of all;

I picked up my son and looked into his eyes. I kissed his face and nuzzled him into my cheek and inhaled him so deeply.

“I love you, I love you, I love you.”

I asked him if he wanted a baba. “Baba!” he said.

My son, who is now learning to talk, and learning to walk, and dances when he hears music and squeals with glee over Lola and knows to pet her ever so gently and who understands everything we say; As I looked at him, I felt more love for him than I have ever felt for him before.

And then it hit me;

My daughter is, and has always been, so obviously my dream come true. She is named the name we chose 3 months into dating and that I chose when I was 10 years old. She is exactly like me in looks and personality. We are so bonded. She is my heart and soul.

But my son, my dear son

just may be the very best thing that has ever happened to me.

I looked over to the framed painting I made for him that hangs in the corner of his nursery.

Take me where the music’s playing

Get me on the dance floor, hold me a little closer.

And I swayed with my son, my lips to his cheek, and the deluge of memories of the past year poured over me.

He has taught me that I could overcome things that I never imagined I would be strong enough to endure.

He may drive me crazy with his “lively antics”, but oh my goodness, my son is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

He redefined me.

He has given me purpose.

He opened up parts of me that I didn’t know existed.

His first year was not filled with the magic and enchantment like it was with his sister.

He didn’t come out looking like me or acting in a way that I understood inherently.

But I now rock him to bed every night, and I look down at his sleeping face and I marvel at how he looks exactly the same as he did when they would place him next to me to nurse in the hospital bed.

This little ball of energy and activity and constant movement and craziness has saved me.

Remind me to thank him for it.

Letting it go.

20 Nov

photo-13

This was sent to me yesterday by a dear friend. I needed it.

I then sent it to another dear friend. She needed it.

Every day, we all carry things with us; hopes, fears, ideas, identities…

Some of these things lift us up. Some of my labels I wear proudly:

Wife, mother, friend, daughter, grand-daughter, teacher, twin, writer, confidant, sister,

dance partier, loud laugher, decorator, front-woman for a rock band…

Yet there are some layers of myself that I wish to shed.

I will probably always be on the slightly anxious end of the anxiety spectrum.

But I would love to no longer be a sufferer. A worrier. A scaredy-cat.

Those things weigh me down. They are the labels that can make minutes feel like hours, make days feel dark and make my stomach feel like it has a led weight inside of it.

I want to be lighter.

So I am making a conscious effort to take off the things that I no longer wish to wear.

I have written many times over the past year about the shift in my friendships; that through the trauma of postpartum depression and it’s after effects, my friends have become my family. We talk every single day. They humor me when I send out 15 emails about our holiday cookie Pollyanna party, because they know how important it is for me to embrace this holiday season. They are just my people.

Then there are the new friends I have made. They have changed my life. The ones who spent last year sitting on the floor with me, as I opened up about my depression. The ones who have been so selfless. The one whom I’ve followed on the internet for years, and turned out to be even more beautiful and amazing and spectacular in person. The one who understands every one of my faults and loves me because of them, not in spite of them. The one who sees a pair of Fox leggings in the store and buys them for me, because…obviously. These friends have been a gift. I carry them with me, now.

And as far as everyone and everything else,

all the drama and the ghosts and the pain that try to cloud my mind and cause me anxiety, I am trying to let it go.

Like Elsa.

Just letting it go.

I don’t want to carry them with me anymore.

And so I won’t.

The time out chair.

12 Nov

This week started out a little rough.

I was out of sorts, you could say. Perhaps it’s the time of year, or something chemical, but I have found my anxiety to be at an unusually high level.

For instance, on Monday, my husband left his phone in the car when he went up to his office. I texted him to say hi. No answer. Then I sent a “hey, you there?” type of message. No reply. And in the 30 minutes that followed, I played out every bad scenario possible in my head as to why he wasn’t answering my texts or surreptitious call made during the baby’s nap time.

I would say that I overreacted.

I can’t help it. I truly can not help it. That is the hard part.

But today was better. Today the weather was beautiful.

The baby and I had some time to kill before picking up my daughter from school and we were already out so I decided to pull over and grab an outdoor seat at a quaint cafe. I took my little beau on a date.

We sat together, in the sunshine, and I sang “If you’re happy and you know it” softly and he danced along to me and we both smiled so that we were beaming. Like the sun.

photo-10

And I felt happy.

And then I saw a man at a table 20 feet away point to my son, as he said to his wife, “Look! That baby has glasses!”,

prompting her to turn around and stare at us.

The old me would not have had this.

I still consider this post about my daughter one of the most important pieces I have written.

And the thing is, my son gets pointed out wherever he goes. Up until today, we had been missing his glasses since 1pm last Thursday. (By the way, if you happen to find them, I am giving you a 10,000 cookie reward.) We were able to get new lenses put into my daughter’s old frames (they may or may not be slightly pink) and my heart sang as I saw him looking around at the world, laughing at the leaves blowing. He could see again.

But yesterday, when my son wasn’t wearing his glasses and we were eating lunch outside, we were stopped literally five times by people who were commenting on how cute he is, and, mostly, his red hair.  We have canned responses when people ask where it comes from. Just like I did when people asked me how I knew my daughter needed glasses four years ago.

So now I have the perspective that people can point out my children in a kind way that is generous of spirit.

However,

However,

This man literally pointed and stared and exclaimed.

And I thought of getting up and going over to him. I thought of telling him things that I am not proud of having thought.

But I sat there, in my time out chair, keeping calm, and continuing to enjoy my son’s toothy little smile.

When the couple got up to leave they came over to us.

“He’s so cute,” the man said.

“Thank you.” I smiled with my mouth closed.

“I have a ten month old grandson who also likes to pull of glasses,” he continued.

He doesn’t have glasses, but he likes to pull off mine.”

Thanks for that tidbit, sir.

But they went on to compliment my child’s looks and behavior. And sadly, I think that if my son had my brown hair and was not bespectacled that interaction never would have happened. They wouldn’t have stopped to notice his incredible crystal blue eyes, or the prominent cleft chin or his enormous (ly adorable) size. And just like I felt with my daughter, I don’t want my son to be singled out because of a physical attribute, or because he has eyes that require a high prescription lens.

But what today taught me is that I have grown.

I didn’t get fired up.

I did not get hurt.

What I did do was take a moment, a detour out of my day, to stop at a cafe and sit outside with my son for 10 minutes,

something that I would have never been able to do at this time last year.

And that is progress.

And for that, I think my time in the time out chair is up.

Snapshot of a Day

4 Nov

Tuesday, November 4th.

It is Election Day.

It is my Poppy Don’s 86th birthday.

It is the date when my son was supposed to have his bris, had he not come 4 days before his scheduled C-Section.

But this Tuesday is also an anniversary, and not a good one.
A year ago on the Tuesday of this week I received that first, fateful text from my husband that read, “Are you OK? I am getting a little worried about you. I see the light starting to go out in your eyes.”

And that was the beginning of the worst year of my life; It has been worse than all of my other years combined. And so I was dreading this week, as in some ways I am re-experiencing all of the fear and negative emotions of this day last year, like a victim of PTSD. I have nightmares. A lead weight sits in my chest.

But, it’s funny how life works.

Because it is Election Day, I had both kids home with me today, and because my daughter was a bit under the weather we had no plans. It was nice at times, and hard at others, and sometimes it got to the point where I felt like I was drowning in my anxiety. I thought back to this Tuesday last year. I can remember so many details of the things that were plaguing me then, and thinking about some of the events of that week made me feel physically ill. This is something I have never discussed on here before, but that week I was not only being hurt by the chemicals that began to swirl in scary ways in my mind, but I was being hurt by someone who I once considered a very dear friend. At the time, I did not know I was being manipulated by a master,

all I knew was that I was being made to suffer in agony at my most vulnerable of times. This person abandoned me during my lowest point last winter, despite a promise to “be there forever”, and while at the time it was a crushing blow, I now look at it as my greatest blessing. I don’t have to endure the pain of that poison anymore.

I remember it being 11 o’clock in the morning on this Tuesday of last year, and looking down at my phone and seeing that text from my husband and feeling loved, but also feeling scared, because he was right. My light was dimming. The initial high of having a new baby, a baby who was healthy and cute and who nursed well and whom I loved dearly from the start (and the high from my Dilauded Rx) was fading, as I began my slow descent into the abyss.

There are certain dates I remember about the past year that are very significant to me. I remember my son’s birth, of course, and our magical hospital stay. I remember his Bris, and how my girlfriends piled into bed with me as we ate Cronuts that my sister scored from the coveted NYC bakery. I remember Thanksgiving when I sat in the corner, alone and virtually catatonic. And I remember this week.

So, today started off hard. I confided in some of my friends as we messaged throughout the morning, and unsurprisingly I was met with great encouragement and support. But as the day went on, my daughter got sicker and sicker as she appeared to be coming down with some kind of nasty bug. Mommom came over and when I told her about the significance of today, she said, “But look. Look where you are now. You are great now.” And this is something Mommom does. She says that everything is great, whether it is or not. No matter what the ailment, she says “You’ll be fine.” It is her coping mechanism, learned at an early age, and it is something that is sometimes comforting and sometimes frustrating.

I rolled my eyes at her.

“Really?” I asked, as clearly I am still struggling a great deal. Physically I am still dealing with some major issues and emotionally, each day is a new hill to climb. But she assured me by saying, “Look what you’re doing. You want to get out there. You’re doing things with friends and making new friends and making plans. That is better.”

And I didn’t think much of it. But an hour later, my daughter got even worse. She complained that she was freezing cold, refused my offer of toys and cookies and said she just wanted to sleep (she has not taken a single nap in almost 2 years). So she climbed into my bed with me, as she curled up under the covers on my side, and my son curled up on the other, and the three of us slept. Before drifting off, I got an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. Being in my bed, snuggled up with my two babies felt like such a blessing. And even though it was under less than desirable circumstances, it felt like home.

When the kids woke up nearly two hours later they immediately reached over my lap for one another and held hands. I only had my iPhone to capture the moment, and the room was dark, so the photo is grainy, but my kids grasped each other, anchoring themselves to one another and to me and anchoring me to reality. Things did feel a bit better.

photo-6

And we all trekked downstairs, and my daughter needed a blanket and orange juice and the episode of Yo Gabba Gabba about the Doctor and my son needed his afternoon bottle and my dog needed to go outside and I needed to have a snack and call the pediatrician and as I juggled these things, both figuratively and actually literally (at one point I was balancing many things in one arm, including my 26 lb son) I thought, “I am doing this. I am taking care of business. I am taking care of two children and a dog and myself and  I know what I am doing.

I’ve got this.”

And then Mommom’s words echoed in my ear.

As much as I feel like I am still in the depths of this thing, this awful thing that happened last year and swallowed me up and spit me out and left me weak and vulnerable and tired,

I am doing it. I am being a mom, and I think I am being a good one. And I realized that my grandmother was right.

So while today started off with a heaviness around it, it has lightened;

even though life circumstances actually got worse throughout the day, my perspective changed.

Like the grainy photograph of my kids holding hands, all of my tools are there,

it just isn’t always easy for me to see them clearly. But life isn’t made of moments captured in perfect lighting with a high resolution camera. It is spontaneous flashes of joy, snapped hastily, but still able to be savored despite their blurriness.

This Fall may be hard for me. It may be difficult me to get through each of the dates that remind me of my roughest times of the last year.

But as long as my kids keep holding hands,

and as long as I keep taking that in,

I think I am going to be OK.

A purple shirt.

28 Oct

There is this old saying or belief that has been shared by survivors of near death experiences; it is a phenomenon that has become a part of our culture. Right before you’re about to die, your whole life will flash before your eyes.

“It is said that life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it’s called Life.”, Terry Pratchett

***

This morning, as I dressed for a casual at home playdate, I was feeling cold. I decided to layer my tank with a long sleeved shirt under my sweater, and for some reason, today, I picked a purple shirt.

This is significant for several reasons:

First, I have a thing about purple. I have written time and again about the fact that I am incredibly superstitious. For someone with the amount of anxiety that I do, superstition is not only burdensome, it’s infectious. One little seed is planted and the superstition just grows and grows and grows.

Years ago, when my husband used to have to travel often for business, one of my colleagues at work told me that when she or a loved one flies, she always wears purple underwear.

What a silly tradition. But once I heard it, I had to do it.

And then, as they often do, my superstition only grew with time, so that not only did I need to have my lucky purple underwear (which, by the way–and omg I can’t believe I am actually writing this–I wear around my wrist when my parents are taking long overnight flights) but when my own family travels, I insist that we all wear some purple articles of clothing. When I went into the hospital to have my son, I wore my lucky socks, which are a bright neon purple. They would not let me wear them into the OR, so my kind husband put them on, under his suit and with his dress shoes, so that I would be swathed in this mysterious purple protection.

And truthfully? It’s not my favorite color.

But I do it. Because I feel like I have to.

The other reason why this purple shirt, thin and soft with age, is special is because it is part of a very special memory for me.

My husband and I were visiting his grandparents in Connecticut. It was to be the first time I would be meeting his extended family, just a month after we became engaged (which was just 9 months after we started dating). I bonded with his (sadly, now deceased) Pop Pop because we were both teachers, and it was a special trip for us, as it was our first getaway as a couple. Once we bid his grandparents farewell, we took a small detour on our way home to stop in West Hartford for some shopping and scones. I really liked this little clothing boutique, with designers whom I had never heard of before, and I agonized over what to buy, deciding to be prudent and just going home with one sensible top.

A few days later I got home from a late evening grad school class and walked into the big, walk-in closet of our old townhouse and there, hanging straight on the back wall, displayed proudly, were the items that I had loved from that boutique but had decided against buying. Unbeknownst to me, my husband had called the store and had them send the clothing to me as a surprise. There was a cool sweater with a skier on it, a velvet blazer and

a purple shirt.

Today, as I dressed in my purple shirt, both my superstition and my memory crossed my mind and I thought, “I need to write a blog post about this. What a cute story that was.”

And then the day went on.

***

We had a lovely playdate. My son got to play with his sole baby boy friend and his mom, a dear, very special friend of mine, said how she could not believe that our babies were now a year old. We talked about when we first found out we were pregnant, confiding in each other before it was public knowledge. We remembered bumping bellies and fantasizing about our future sons becoming friends.

And we talked about how life goes by so fast.

It flashes.

Then, we had to go on with our days

and then a bunch of weird things happened.

First, I had to go to my parents’ house to take care of their dogs. And, of course, Mommy’s Law, I was stuck there with a soiled baby, no diaper to change him into and an older child to pick up from school. I took off the baby’s dirty diaper and drove him commando the .3 miles from my parents’ house to ours. I contemplated letting him stay that way for the short ride to my daughter’s school, but I couldn’t do it. “Let’s say he pees in his carseat.” I thought. And so I ran into my house, grabbed a diaper, took him out of his carseat, put him on the floor of the backseat of my car, put on the new diaper and re-fastened him into his seat.

And then I had this fleeting, anxious moment that I had not seen Lola in the house. So I raced back to the door, unlocked it feverishly, called for Lola and she came running. And I felt a rush of love towards our “first child” and I thought,

“You know what? I am going to do something different today; I am going to bring Lola with us on our drive to pick up my daughter from school. It will make everyone happy.”

It was an odd thing for me to do, but I did it. And as I was re-locking the front door, Lola at my feet, I thought “Is there some reason why I feel compelled to bring Lola with me? Is there some sort of natural disaster looming, and it will be beneficial to have all of my children, furry and otherwise, in my care?”

I chalked this up to my typical anxiety and we drove off to the preschool.

And everything was normal.

My daughter asked for ice cream from McDonald’s

(don’t judge)

and I told her that of course we could get the hot fudge sundae, no hot fudge,

our routine order, and see either Tyrell, Omar or Henri, depending on who was at the drive-through window this afternoon

(I said don’t judge!)

It was good timing for me. The baby had fallen asleep in the backseat and I figured we would kill time by getting ice cream and then I would go and make a deposit at the drive-through window of the bank.

Except, I missed my turn for McDonald’s. I never miss my turn. And I thought about turning around, or taking a different route, but then decided that I would reverse my errands and go to the bank first.

And so I made my deposit and as I put my car into drive, I had an unusual thought:

“Maybe I should go out a different exit. Why go through the whole loop around the block when I could just turn around? It would be faster.”

But I had the time to kill, so I went on my normal way.

I made a right hand turn out of the bank’s lot into the right lane of a main street

and then

crash.

All I remember was a crash.

I looked over to see that an enormous truck (for a beer distributer) had hit the side of my car.

My kids, my dog and I were all in the car when this giant beast of a truck mangled the side of my small SUV.

Now, let me say that I knew immediately that we were all unharmed. But I was shaken. And I was also aggravated that I would have to go through the whole accident protocol, so I pulled over and waited for the truck to follow me. I never saw the truck again. I did, however, see the driver, who walked down the side street where I had parked.

“OK, so there’s no damage to my car,” he said. “It looks like your car is hit pretty bad so why don’t you just let insurance take care of this and let’s just leave it at that?”

“What exactly was your impression of what just happened?” I asked

“Well, I was driving straight down the road and you were the one who turned out of a driveway. But I’m fine and my car is fine, no damage to me, so how about this? Why don’t you write me a note and sign it that says that I am not responsible for this accident and I did not cause this damage to your car?”

And so I called the police.

At first I was angry at my purple shirt.

It didn’t protect me. It let me get into a car accident with my kids, one thing I pray daily to not happen.

But then I got home and looked at the damage. I saw a gaping gash about 8 inches from where my son was sleeping in his carseat.

And I realized, we were very lucky. It could have been so, so much worse.

***

Just yesterday I had a visit from a dear family friend, and during that time my grandmother stopped by. In our year of craziness, the past week in my family has been utter chaos. We joked that our bar is now set very low; that our barometer for success in a week is if we can avoid going to the hospital for seven days straight.

We laughed. But there was a lot of fear, and sadness, and pain behind our laughter.

What would be next? Locusts?

By the time I got home from the accident site and situated, my dad had calmed me down over the phone and my grandparents pulled up in my driveway with treats for my kids. A half hour later, my Aunt pulled into the drive behind her, dropping off a gift for my son. Then, my husband arrived, racing home early from work. An hour later a Physiatrist friend (also double board certified in Sports Medicine–see? I pay attention!) came to examine the aching left side of my back.

And I thought, “Wow. I am so lucky.”

My village of sorts really is super.

***

Today, my cold weather outfit got me thinking about fond memories of the past

and today my car accident got me thinking about the fragility of life.

But, most of all, everything that happened today, every single thing, reaffirmed something that I am trying to embrace:

Life is precious and it’s happenings are unexpected. Time goes by really quickly. Things change in an instant.

When people say that you have to live every moment,

it’s kind of true.

If I hadn’t stopped home to get my baby a diaper, or ran back inside to grab Lola, or missed my turn for McDonald’s or decided to drive out the certain exit of the bank parking lot

I would be, right now, sitting in my next door neighbor’s living room and sharing a glass of wine with her and catching up.

Instead, I am resting with an ice pack on my back and a heaviness in my heart. Not a sad heaviness; it’s something more profound.

Today, in a way, my life did flash before my eyes. I reminisced with a best friend about our pregnancies and tiny babies; I remembered to take care of my first child, my fur baby;

I remembered a sweet story from my past that I had forgotten.

And that,

that,

was all because of a purple shirt.

That dang ol’ Y Chromosome.

10 Oct

I kid.

A little.

(*Note, if you know me, you will know that I am the last person to make gender stereotypes or, frankly, to make any judgements about a person’s behavior or character based on things such as sex, gender or any other personal feature. So I am not actually being sexist here I promise.)

But, alas, when I had my daughter I never childproofed my house. Why?

Was a negligent parent?

No, I was an anxiety-ridden freak who Purelled the straps on wooden restaurant high chairs.

But she was just so good. And dainty. And she didn’t get near the stairs, or touch any of my things like all of the decorative balls in bowls or mirrored coffee tables or fragile picture frames. She just knew to “look with her eyes and not with her hands”, almost inherently.

And then I went for round two. And round two had (has) a penis.

And I have been told, and again, this is just something that I am reiterating, that people with these organs,

whom we often refer to as little boys,

are a bit more…active.

Lively.

Destructive.

So gone are the days of my beautiful mirrored coffee table from Lambertville and crystal bowls with balls.

In fact, last month, right before my time away, I heard my little boy crying around that coffee table on a Sunday afternoon as I was reading and cooking dinner and lazing around. When I finally got around to checking on him to see what was the cause of his upset, I saw what can only be described as a murder scene. The mirrored coffee table was covered in a POOL of blood. Seven stitches later and that table is now in my basement. My crystal bowl is now out of reach. We now have soft, fabric, chevron ottomans. They are ok.

But I have been adjusting. Adjusting to the fact that my son’s favorite toys are the ipad, the remote, the computer and the toilet. The water in the toilet, to be specific.

Oh? What’s that? How many times has he fallen (dove) off of the bed or couch? Are you talking about just today?

It is a whole new world, m’friends. A whole new world.

So just now, as I was pacing the first floor, making lunch, talking on the phone with my best friend, tidying up, I was stopped dead in my tracks by what I can only refer to as yet another murder scene. Thank god this time there was no blood shed.

Only tears.

Only my own.

If you have followed me over on 511, you might recall my love affair/battle with a certain dried hydrangea arrangement in my entrance hallway.

And finally, finally, I had

Gotten it right.

So then, imagine my surprise, as I was gabbing on to my bestie about this and that when I saw THIS:

photo 2-1photo 1-1

The punk. Didn’t even try to hide.

So, that is the tale of me, my beloved hydrangeas, my sweet bruiser of a son

(I still love you with all of my heart, kid.)

and a Y chromosome.

The greatest call to the pediatrician ever. In history. I promise.

18 Jul

It was not so long ago that I wrote all about my experience and evolution as a mother, and how I have learned so much in just four and a half years.

I wrote, with confidence, about my expertise, and how I no longer have crazy frantic calls to the pediatrician or rushed emergency visits because I am now cool, calm, collected

and wise. Oh so wise.

But today, something strange happened;

My mom watched the baby all day while I was at work. When I got home midday she alerted me to a bright red splotch on his mid-section.

I’m way too seasoned now to worry about every little bump and rash, but this was unusual. It was big and it was bright red and had not faded all day.

It gave me a bit of anxiety,which is shocking, I know.

I waited a few hours to let it fade but when our babysitter came over to hang, she who is a nurse, mind you, and said it looked funky, we decided that a call to the Pediatrician was in order.

The nurse on cal was worried about a systemic reaction. She advised topical cortisone and a small dose of Benadryl. She would call back in an hour to check on him, as it was definitely a strange sounding rash.

Because medicine had become involved, I decided to finally call my husband to alert him of the situation.

I told him what was going on, our plan of action, and just as I was about to spoon some anti-histamine into my son’s mouth, he stopped me.

“It’s water ice,” he said.

“What?”

“Yes. I meant to tell you. It’s from the cherry water ice last night. It wouldn’t come off of his skin.”

And low and behold, I went upstairs into his hamper and took out the onesie that he had worn during dessert when my best friend came by to drop my kids a special treat of water ice for dessert and there was a huge red splotch, in the exact same spot on his abdomen where we found his “rash”.

So I had to call back and speak to the nurse once more.

She could not stop laughing. She was literally laughing so hard that she was unable to speak.

I guess it’s a good day when you can make a kind nurse laugh,

when a scary rash turns into a water ice stain

and, most of all, you can go back to being a cool parent after all,

one who lets her eight month old eat things that are bright red and filled with dye and sugar. Because that’s what really counts after all.

Aprils.

25 Apr

It seems that time is going by at warp speed. My baby had his half birthday. Things are flying.

And so I decided to take a look back.

On this date in April 2010 I had just become a mother six days prior. It was my third day home from the hospital. I was learning to nurse in the side lying position. My daughter was sleeping in her carseat, buckled up and with straps tightened, next to us in our bedroom (we had no idea what we were doing). I still looked pregnant, I was not yet adjusted to the change and yet I had found tremendous love in that little pink thing they called my daughter.

This is April 2011

This is April 2012

April 2013 was a rough time for me. I was suffering from debilitating morning sickness. I was on prescription medicine so that I would only get sick 10 times a day. I announced my pregnancy, as I was already showing. I swear, I started to show from the moment that the stick turned pink. Everyone told me I was having a boy. Every. Single. Person. Ever. Perhaps it was because I looked like, as someone said, a bowling ball with sticks coming out.

I was starting to deal with some anxiety and depression, but was very focused on teaching my class and loving on my daughter.

I remember a few specific things about April 2013. I remember having coconut cake for dessert  on my birthday (we invited our next door neighbors in to join us, who, at the time, were new friends, and have since become dear, close friends). I remember that my husband had the County declare the day in my name as a tribute. I remember sitting outside on the picnic benches with my class, eating mini cupcakes. I remember that one kid stole 3 of them. I remember that we had a small mosaics party for my daughter. I remember seeing Pippin on Broadway and finding it to be life changing. I also found myself completely out of control of my emotions during the opening song, “Magic to Do” and was laugh-crying as the actors on stage engaged me. It was out of body.

April 2014 has been a ride. My first baby turned four. And she has become such a person. My babysitter just texted me with all of the funny and irreverent things that my daughter said today while I was out. Among them was that she told her brother he as being boring like an old grandpa.

April has tightened my circle. It has given me special times with my dearest friends. Home cooked Shabbat dinners, crazy photobooth pictures, pitchers of sangria and dance parties.

April has brought great emotional changes. It has brought my husband and I closer. Closer than ever.

April has given me some insight, some perspective and some maturity.

April has given me some healing.

I look forward to what the next month brings (I bought a white dress to wear on our May anniversary),

but for now, I’m enjoying this month,

my favorite month,

and I am now realizing how far I’ve come;

not just from April 2010, but from the past few months. As I said, it’s still hard. But April has been brighter.

Thank you, April. Thank you with all of my heart.