Tag Archives: family

A great miracle happened t(here).

17 Dec

There is this thing that happens as you grow up;

your family traditions stop being the rituals you have customarily shared with your parents and elders, but they start to evolve, slowly, into things that are perhaps unique and new.

Last night was the first night of Hanukkah.

Instead of celebrating with parents or family members or friends, as we typically would, it was just the four of us. My little family.

And really, that is how I remember celebrating Hanukkah with my family of four as a chlid. Sure, I remember the big family gatherings, but my most vivid and evocative memories are of chanting the blessings with my parents, wearing matching flannel nightgowns with my little sister, (always with ruffles at the seams) and instead of singing “Az ‘egmor beshir mizmor, Khanukat hamizbeakh.” I thought that it was actually “Azegmore, and hear me snore.”

So last night, after dinner, my daughter got dressed in a flannel nightgown, with ruffles at the seams, and I held my son as I chanted the blessings (since I am really the only one in my house now who knows them all). And it was different, but it was lovely. We have a mountain of presents for my daughter, from grandparents, great-grandparents and friends, but last night we gave her our “big gift”: a blanket that has a hood that looks like a cat and glows in the dark. She saw a commercial for it on the television and had been asking for it for weeks, and so when she pulled this 19 dollar gift out of the Hanukkah bag she squealed with delight. And I could tell that she really appreciated her gift. It didn’t get lost in a sea of excitement and wrapping paper. She wore it and folded it and watched it light up. And every time I checked on her last night, she was in a different position in bed, cuddling her new blanket in some way.

It was a strange feeling, to be the grown up in all of this; the one to light the candles and say the blessings and give the gifts. And it stuck with me throughout the night. As I was tidying up the kitchen before bed, a penny fell from the sky. Now, I don’t know that it actually fell from the sky, but it fell from somewhere above and knocked me in the head before landing, face up, on the ground beside me.

A penny from heaven. A 2014 penny, at that, which seemed particularly apt in the light of yesterday’s words about this past year.

We are growing up around here. And that’s ok.

Happy Hanukkah to those who celebrate,

and to anyone and everyone else, I wish you a year of light, love,

and maybe even a miracle or two.

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Stay Tuned and Get Pumped! (is what I was going to say.)

14 Dec

Patience, my dear ones. For I am off to a happy place, where I will be celebrating my 8th Engagemaversary in that very same spot.

…is what I had written, yesterday,

prepared to publish today,

as I would now be off to St. John, via St. Thomas, with my entire family; Parents, siblings, kids…

It’s funny. Just last week, Jordan said, “The way to virtually guarantee that a child will get sick is to schedule something that you really want to do.”

And it has been no secret that we have been sickie little chickies in my house for the past month.

But weeks of sick days and doctor visits all kind of came to a head yesterday when I crashed, unexpectedly, at 3pm, woke up two hours later in excruciating ear pain. I have been suffering from TMJ on my right side, but this pain was on my left. And I couldn’t hear out of my ear. Weird.

So, I shook the sleep out of my head and rallied to give the baby his nighttime bottle, give my daughter her kiss goodnight, and I told my husband that something wasn’t right. All of the local urgent care facilities were closed and all my doctor besties were stuck without otoscopes (I just wanted to see if I was crazy), so we found a Care Stat location a little ways away and I got checked out.

I told the doctor about my TMJ. “First let me look at your right ear, or your ‘good ear’,” she said.

“Yup, this ear is infected.”

Then she moved onto my left.

And all she said was, “Whoa.”

That’s never what you want to hear from a doctor.

So I have a double ear infection, but on my left side it is pretty severe, and I am prohibited from flying for a week. Which means that we had to cancel our trip to our happy place.

It’s ok. I was most disappointed for my daughter and parents, but we have made alternate arrangements so that my kids will be taken away on a fun family trip, just the four of us, that involves driving, and no change in elevation that will perforate my eardrum.

I walked out of the urgent care office, into the Krispie Kreme two doors down, and ate a hot glazed doughnut right off of the conveyer belt. Because, really, what else was there to do?

So, I will continue where I had left off yesterday before this all went down (when I thought I would be leaving you for St. John):

Please don’t think I would leave you hanging. Oh no.

Because we have some big changes on the not so distant horizon; my home for the past 4.5 years,

http://www.mommyeverafter.wordpress.com,

just got quite the makeover. We are moving on up people.

Very soon, this blog will be located at…

http://www.mommyeverafter.com

Mommy EA

You can visit the site to countdown to our big launch on December 22. There will be ads! There will be new categories! There will be a feathers! This is forrealz.

And I realize that my audience here is mixed; some of you have been here from the beginning, while others are newer to the land of mom. So I am leaving you with some old favorites. And the fun thing is, they lead you to other old posts. You have almost 900 of ’em to wade through as I wade through the ocean. (Editor’s note: I don’t even have to say it. Frowny face.)

Let me take this opportunity to say thank you.

This past year (and I am getting choked up) has been the hardest in my life; I am so grateful for the support I have received from YOU. You have empowered me to tell me story and motivated me to help others. Thank you. I would not be here without you.

So here you go. I’ll be popping in here and there over the next week, but to tide you over:

Something motivational

Something sweet

Something musical

Something nostalgic

Something comprehensive

Some Important Insight

The craziest call to the pediatrican ever. (Really, ever.)

The second craziest call to the pediatrican,, ever. And it’s a close second.

Something Happy.

Something Hard.

Something Hopeful.

See you on the flip side at http://www.mommyeverafter.com,

the home of everything ever after.

Kale shakes and I are getting a divorce.

11 Dec

Irreconcilable differences.

It has been a disaster from the start.

Today, I decided to try again.

And I was so proud; I took our picture sharing this smoothie that tastes like tropical fruit and salad and was planning to say something like, “Kale, Take two! Woo!”

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Oh, look at us. Drinking our superfoods in harmony.

But, being home with a one year old and all, I didn’t get a chance to publish that post.

Instead I was chasing the baby and playing trains and trying to wrap gifts and was chatting on the phone with my friend about her son’s school conference when…

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Yup.

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I told my friend and hurried off the phone to clean. She couldn’t believe that it had happened AGAIN. I texted my husband.

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I think the universe is trying to tell me something.

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From now on we give kale the cold shoulder.

Kale, it was tolerable while it lasted. But, I’m sorry. It is over.

You’ll be hearing from my lawyers.

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.

“You keep sayin’ you’ve got something for me.”

7 Dec

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I guess it’s kind of an unspoken rule that when you go to your (fairy) godmother’s house, you’ll come home with something fabulous.

So not only did my daughter get sparkly Elsa Jelly Beans and a book of Frozen stickers, but we got to come home with these bad boys.

I just hope that my kid will share.

#godparentsrule

“Trapped in the circumference of my head.”

4 Dec

This is not a happy post. But it is hopeful. And hopeful is the best we can do.

***

I love home decorating, especially covering my walls with meaningful pieces, as  511 suggests.

But in all honesty, I am not yet in a place in my life where I can collect a lot of real art;

I have my framed piece from the Festival Internacional de Musica en Barcelona in my Living Room

and a photo of Keith Richards that my dad shot as the Stones played in Hyde Park last summer, which hangs in my Entry Way.

And this and that.

I have but one piece of true art in my home, and it means a great deal to me. It is a framed and signed poem by Ray Bradbury, given to us as a wedding gift, from an incredibly person in our lives.

It is so significant for so many reasons; I am obsessed with words;

It is something so unique and rare;

It reminds me (us) of just how complex, complicated, confusing and often consuming the human mind can be.

Here is the text:

THE POET CONDIDERS HIS RESOURCES

The autumn sea, October sea
Tears darkened seams inconstantly
And stitches clouds with rain and fire
And charcoals hearths with dead desire
And turns old souls on burning spit,
Forget all Good, because of it;
Because of traveling night and clouds
Which bury moon in winding shrouds
The heart is buried , blood turned ice
And all the fruit jams, teas, and spice
Are pantry poisoned, forced to change
By weathers that incline to strange.
So what was dead now bolts upright
To knock is head on lid`s midnight,
And while all cold things jump and start,
Antarctica floes in warm heart
And tropic seas of blood are purged
By nightmare iceburgs, once submerged
Which now lift blizzard brows to seize
Sane room, sane door, sane locks ,sane keys,
And shriek the tumblers , warp the walls
With panic-colored storms and squalls.
And all of it, both live and dead ?
. . .
Trapped in circumference of my head.

Ray Bradbury 1979

Tonight I am brought back to the piece I wrote about depression, entitled, “Oh Captain, My Captain”, in which I discussed mental illness after Robin Williams’ devastating suicide.

In that piece, I made a plea to the people reading to help to protect their friends. I also tried to remind sufferers that they are not alone.

But today I had a conversation that explains it so perfectly.

If you have never experienced depression (which as of two years ago, I had not, in any way) it is very hard to understand.

It is insidious and it is debilitating.

But I think the most confusing part, despite the notion of “But you have so much, what could possibly be making you sad?”

is the feeling of abject loneliness.

Someone who is depressed feels so lonely. They can be surrounded by people, with friends, at a holiday dinner, not alone in any way, but still terribly lonely.

It feels like drowning.

I am welling up with tears even typing this, as it is the worst feeling imaginable.

I am lucky enough to have a network of soul friends, as I call them, who can relate to me on this deep level of understanding that only sufferers can. But my heart aches for them, my stomach gnaws at itself, every time I hear that they were unable to get out of bed that day, or are feeling at their lowest, or can’t imagine ever feeling better.

I am not a doctor. I am also not “better”. I am still dealing with a lot. But, if there is any message I can impart to you

(and hopefully, if you know someone in need, you can share this with them, I implore you),

it is that things can and will get better. Even at the worst of times, when you can’t move or breathe or open your eyes because everything looks too bleak, but you can’t close your eyes because your brain is pounding you with it’s incessant ruminations and chatter,

it will pass.

That spell will pass.

I believe in intervention. I believe in therapy. I believe in medicine. I believe in alternative medicine. I believe in support systems.

I believe in holding your best friend’s hand and saying “I am not going to let you go anywhere.”

This post may seem out of the blue, as the last thing I posted about was my son watching Bravo TV, but trust me, it needs to be said.

Much love.

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The little feather that could.

2 Dec

This morning was a morning like most others.

We watched an episode of My Little Pony, found the “Tuesday” underwear from my daughter’s drawer, hurried her off to school, as my son and I stayed in our pajamas.

My son and I snuggled up in bed for a good two hours and napped together, as I fell asleep to the rhythmic sounds of his breathing.

And then we went to the eye doctor. And we got some unexpected news. My son had to get glasses at 11 months to correct his farsightedness, just like his sister before him. He also had to have a minor surgical procedure to unblock a clogged tear duct, and I feel so fortunate to say that it went very well.

Today, we learned that my son’s eye crossing is not exactly like my daughters, and my sister’s before her, and my mother before her ; he not only is extremely farsighted, but he also has a weak eye muscle. This will require a surgery, and it is a much more extensive surgery than the little tear duct probing. And my heart stopped beating.

Let me stop right now.

I realize that my son is getting eye surgery.

In the scheme of life, this is a blip. It is a slightly large blip, but I recognize that parents, every hour, are given far worse news about far worse procedures and prognoses, so please do not think for one second that I do not have perspective. I do. I send all of the love I can muster to those parents and those children and those families.

But I also have the knowledge that my son will have to go under general anesthesia, be intubated, and face some pain afterwards. And, this surgery will not do anything to correct his vision.

The eye doctor said, “Boy, this one can’t catch a break, can he?” and I replied with, “None of us can this year!”

And I was thinking about my son’s first year;

He had a mother who went a little crazy and then was later hospitalized. He has been to the Emergency Room FIVE times now: once in utero, twice for RSV (which lead him to a most depressing Christmas week stay in the children’s ward of the local hospital), once for Carbon Monoxide poisoning and then, finally, for slicing his wrist on my mirrored coffee table, requiring seven stitches. He hasn’t had it so easy.

But just like the realization that I had a week ago, when it occurred to me that my sweet son is the best thing to have ever happened to me,

I had another epiphany today.

He is my strength symbol.

Right before we left for the Ophthalmologist, I found this tiny, stray feather stuck to the inside of the wrist of my sweater.

It gave me the feeling that I always get when I see feathers, which is that I can be strong and that there are people watching over us to guide and protect us, even through the darkest of days.

And then I got this crappy news from the eye doctor and I looked back down at my feather and tried to figure it out. What was it telling me?

And I got it:

My son is my strength symbol.

He has shown me bravery, fortitude and resilience like nothing I have ever seen.

He has had a tough year with some tough circumstances, and wakes up with a smile on his face every single day, showing seven little teeth, gapped and perfect.

So, my tiny feather, you are my inspiration. You show me what it means to be courageous. You have faced so much in such a short time and I am so, so, proud to be your mother.

You are my little hero.

And we will just keep chugging along.

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