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  • One In A Million

    July 26, 2007

    Two years ago this month, I wrote my first blog entry.  The second I hit the publish button for the first time, I thought “I’m done, I have nothing more to say.” And yet, here I am, two years later.  I had no idea there was so much to say about poop and boogers.

    In honor of my two year Blogversary, I am rerunning my first ever post. 

    * * *

    I once saw a cross-stitched pillow in a craft booth store that read “Grandma’s Are Just Antique Mommys”. I am not a grandma. I am a 47-year-old mother of a 3-year-old. I am an antique mommy.

    Some of my friends who are also not 25 and have toddlers are bothered by my use of the word “antique”. I don’t find “older mother” to be any more flattering. How about “senior” or “mature” or “youth challenged” mother? I am what I am and I am not a young mother.

    I went through my 20s and most of my 30s not ever intending to have a child. I had never really been that fond of babies, although I did start to get an unexplainable yearning when I stepped over that 30-year threshold. Even though kids in general terrified me and I knew nothing of the care and feeding they seemed to need so much of, something happened in my heart and I found myself looking whistfully at women with children. Nonetheless, I just couldn’t see myself in that role and my husband made it clear from the begininng that he didn’t really want kids.

    Well, there is another saying that goes “Man plans and God laughs” and that is pretty much what happened to me. I had a very nice life going for myself — a husband that I adored and a nice house, friends, travel, blah blah blah — and then I found myself widowed at 34 very very suddenly.

    It was two years before I emerged from the foggy anesthesia that is grief only to discover that I was 36 and alone. The women I saw strolling their children made me feel even more alone. 36. Too young to go through the rest of my life alone and I felt too old and damaged to start dating again. Single groups? I’d rather have eaten thumbtacks. So eventually I ate a few thumbtacks and went to a singles group at my church. Unlike Stella, there was no getting my groove back. Didn’t even want my groove back. I wanted my old life back.

    So I came up with another plan that I would be single for the rest of my life and that would be that. Then a family moved in down the street. They knew a very nice man who was single and they knew I was single and they invited him to a neighborhood gathering. And I swear to you, the second I saw him I knew that I had found my tribe. I was 36 at the time and he was 39. We dated for two years and then married. You do the math.

    We started trying for children immediately with no luck — which was amazing to me because it never occured to me that I wouldn’t get pregnant immediately. After all, I had spent nearly the previous 20 years trying not to get pregnant. After six months, a good friend who is a fertility nurse advised us to consider infertility treatment. And again, we had a plan. Ha! We would only do invitro, but we would not under any circumstances consider donor eggs or surrogates or anything like that. We would just do what we could do semi-naturally and if after that, we had no luck, we would accept that. The funny thing about desperation though is that those lines you draw in the sand shift and move the more desperate you get.

    Anything that could be incompatible with conception was me. First it was the fibroids. Three tennis ball-sized fibroids. Which, again, was amazing to me because I’m not that big of a gal to be packing a can of tennis balls and not know it. Anyway, I said to the good doctor, Fine! You just go in there and takem’ out. I may have even snapped my fingers at the end of that sentence. So that is what he did — four months later after a trip down Lupron Lunacy Lane. Lupron shrinks the tumors to make the surgery less traumatic to the uterus, and apparently it shrinks your brain in the process rendering you nuttier than a fruitcake.  But I survived and recovered from the surgery and figured I’d have my baby by fall. I was certain it was all going to be worth it very soon.

    Post op, I had an HSP that revealed that I only had one open tube.  Not good news, but the doctor said with invitro we could get around that. Then we found out I had a septum in the uterus that had to be removed. Yet, another surgery.

    Finally, a year and half later I was ready to actually start the infertility program. I got lessons from the nurse on how to give myself the injections, three different kinds of needles, several times a day, I pee’d in cups, I gave vial after vial of blood, I drove back and forth to the hospital several times a week and finally the day arrived to see how many precious little follicles (future eggs) I had created!! Two. How many did they want to harvest? 15. I was a tad bit short. After all the surgery and all the waiting and praying and all the drugs I could not make an egg. I was now 40 and I had no eggs. That was just great.

    The doctor correctly advised me to cut my losses and move on with my life. Perhaps adopt. With one tube and no eggs, he said I had a “one in a million” chance of conceiving. I sat on the edge of the paper covered table sobbing into the hospital gown until there was just sobbing and no tears.  One in a million.

    I couldn’t believe after all that, it had come to this. The coming days brought a river of tears at the least unlikely times and nothing consoling could be said. Several weeks later, we made an appointment to talk to another doctor about donor eggs. The line over which we would not cross had just moved. After that appointment, we didn’t really make a decision other than to just stop for a while and lick our wounds.

    So, I made yet another plan. I would have a wonderful life with my wonderful husband and wonderful home and we would travel to wonderful places and have wonderful things and it would all be…  (sob sob) wonderful. In the meantime I could not look at a pregnant woman let alone go to a baby shower. It seemed like everyone I knew was getting pregnant and I was beyond bitter.

    Cut to three years later. I’ve enrolled in a graduate program to prove that I’ve gotten on with my life. I’m visiting my OB/GYN for my annual check up and I tell her I’d like to have a hysterectomy. I’m now 43 and hopelessly infertile, so what good is a uterus to me? She is open to that but hands me a prescription for birth control pills to help with the irregular and heavy periods until we can get the surgery scheduled. I take the prescription and stuff into the bottomless pit that is my purse never to be seen again.

    Two weeks later, I’m realizing that I don’t feel quite right and that I haven’t had a period for some time, which was not all that unusal. Nonetheless, I go to the grocery store and pick up a pregnancy test just for the heck of it. I don’t really think I’m pregnant. I’ve probably spent a thousand dollars on those stupid tests and have never even come close to getting a positive. I take the test and it is immediately, unquestionably, and without a doubt positive. I could not believe it. Could. NOT! Believe. It. Something must be wrong with this stick. It must be broken. I just stared at it for several minutes. Then I re-read the directions about ten times. I even tried to read them in Spanish. Yes, hold the stick down, I did that. Pee on it. I did that. Put it on a flat surface. Did that. Finally I realized that I was pregnant.

    Change of plans.

    And that is how I became an antique mommy with all it’s mostly joys and sometimes challenges.  In the process, I learned so many things, like how to trim itty bitty fingernails while wearing bi-focals, but primarily that God’s arm is not too short, even for someone like me

    And not to make so many plans.

    Emily Post Never Wrote About This

    July 24, 2007

    As we were standing in line waiting for the train at the zoo this morning, I looked down to see Sean poking his index finger deeply into the fluffy behind of the grandmotherly lady who was standing in front of us, which was unfortunately, at his eye level and apparently just too much to resist.

    My eyes grew as big as saucers.

    Just then, she turned to see what was going on. Caught red handed, Sean immediately put his hands behind his back and put on his practiced expression of remorse.

    “Sean!” I admonished. “That is not nice. Keep your hands to yourself!”

    I was mortified. “I’m so sorry,” I apologized and then I pressed Sean to offer his own apology.

    “Sorry,” he said hanging his head. “It just wooked so squishy.”

    “You’re just too irresistible!” I teased her hoping to diffuse the situation with humor. Luckily she took it well and laughed.

    Then she bent over and cupped Sean’s face in her hands and said, “You my friend, are irresistible.”

    You know, I go to considerable effort to teach Sean good manners. He is quick to say please and thank you. But it never once occurred to me that I would have to TELL HIM not to poke little old ladies in the butt.

    Wherein I Talk Back To The Shampoo And Other Products

    Leave on for three minutes. Yeah, right. I’ve got a three-year-old standing outside my shower.

    Lather, rinse and repeat.  Um, 3-year-old?  I’ll be doing good to rinse once.

    Apply nightly.  So what if it’s 8am. I promise you my skin does not know the difference between day cream and night cream.

    Apply over clean dry skin. One outta two is not bad.

    Apply Top Coat over color.   Sorry. Top Coat not within reach. Base coat will do. I live on the edge.  I take chances like that.

    Open This End. Must. Open Other end. Cannot. Stop. Self. (wrestling one hand with the other)

    Use a dime size drop. I’m an American!  If a dime is good, four quarters is better!

    Use only as directed. Haaaaa! That would mean I had read the directions.

    Playing With Fire

    July 23, 2007

     fire

    So, lets say you are a fireman.

    Let’s also say that at around 6:45 am, you are roused out of your slumber by the smell of smoke. So you spring out of bed and you start putting out fires. Even before your first cup of coffee.

    At first, the fires are small and you can keep up. You kind of just step on them and smother them with your flip flop. But then, there are more and more little fires and you are river dancing on fires all over the place. And in between the little fires, big fires flare up here and there.

    And so all day long you are putting out fires. You are running from fire to fire, stomping on them and spitting on them and whacking them with whatever you can find. And every time you sit down or try to grab something to eat or even try to run to the restroom, another fire starts and so you just keep putting out fires, all day long.

    And then around 5:30, all the fires are subdued and the smoke has cleared and you are whipped and you realize you haven’t even brushed your teeth today.  So you sit down and wipe the soot from under your eyes. And you try not to cry.

    About that time someone walks in and says, “Wow, you look beat!” And you say, “Yes, your son has been a pill today.” And then that same someone says, “He seems fine to me.”

    Is that an okay time to whack that someone with your charred flip flop? Hypothetically speaking of course. Or should you finish your martini first?

    Faith And Desperation Look Remarkably Similar

    July 20, 2007

    Today was one of those days when I just couldn’t seem to create any forward motion. I had plans to get things done, to get dressed, to brush my teeth, to move about in a productive manner.  But alas, it was nearly time for lunch and I had accomplished nothing more than a brisk 30-minute walk on the treadmill.  And I only got that done because I parked my child in front of the television.

    And that is about the time the doorbell rang.

    So, I jumped off the treadmill and hastily pulled on a tank top over my sweaty jog bra and my 1980s paint-splattered jogging shorts, the one with the L-shaped rip on the leg.  And then I zipped down the stairs in a cloud of perspiration to greet the Publishing Clearing House team.

    But it was not Ed McMahon.  It was a gal from church.  Wearing a stylish pale blue matching shorts set. And probably deodorant.

    With no other option at my disposal, I decided to rise above it in a Kathryn Hepburn sort of way and just pretend that I did not smell like last night’s Long John Silvers or have sweaty wet hair sticking to my neck or my tank top on inside out. And with my spine straight and my neck stretched tall, I opened the door and greeted her. 

    To her credit, she came in when I invited her and didn’t even wrinkle her nose.  I had agreed to help out with Vacation Bible School and she was dropping off the lesson material, as she said she would. About that time, Sean ran past wearing nothing but a pajama top.

    Yet she handed me the lesson material anyway and is entrusting me to instruct small children in the ways of the Lord. 

    I’m not sure if that represents her degree of faith in what God can do with someone like me or her degree of desperation for VBS teachers.

    When You’re Happy And You Know It

    July 18, 2007

    Antique Daddy has been in a bit of a blue funk for a few days, which is extremely rare for him.  That is one of the many things that I love about him — he is a ship on an even keel whereas I am a kayak easily given to spazzing out and flipping over and over and looking ridiculous. 

    After dinner we stood in the kitchen and I hugged him and asked him if he was still sad.

    Sean overheard this from across the room.  He stopped foraging through his box of Leggos and asked in a worried voice, “Daddy, are you sad?”

    Antique Daddy deftly deflected and said, “No Sean, I’m not sad.  Are you sad?”

    Sean said, “No, I’m happy. I have my life here.”

    Oh that it might always be so!

    Antique Daddy and I looked at each other and sighed.  When I grow up, I want to be as wise as a three-year-old.

    Contentment.  There is no greater blessing.

     

    Good Manners

    July 17, 2007

    The other night, some friends had invited us over to their house to go swimming.  Sean was floating around on a little raft with the future Mrs. Sean while Antique Daddy and I stood nearby chatting up the grown ups.  I’m not sure what happened, but somehow he went overboard.

     

    I saw him go in but I waited a split second to see what he would do – if he would try to swim to edge, if he would instinctively flap his way up to the surface and grab the side of the raft, if the expense and grief of swimming lessons had paid off.  Answer: no, no and L no.  He took to the water like a 30-pound bag of flour.  He was heading south.  So I jumped in and grabbed him and swam over to the edge of the pool.

     

    With his arms around my neck, he blinked the water out of his eyes a couple times and very calmly said, “Thank you mommy for saving me.”

     

    He may not be potty trained, but by cracky that boy has good manners. 

     

    He will be the best mannered boy in diapers in kindergarten.  And his mother will be proud.

    Something More About Mary

    July 16, 2007

    I’m working on a body of work right now that is taking more time than I anticipated, so today I leave you with my Ode To Mary Tyler Moore from last June, which by the way my friends Veronica Mitchell at Toddled Dredge and Mary Mom to Many at Owlhaven nominated for a Perfect Post.  Enjoy if you haven’t read it before, and if you have, then stop by Veronica’s and Mary’s instead and read their good stuff.  And don’t forget to show’em some love and leave a comment.

    Ode To Mary Tyler Moore

    I left the house feeling quite pleased with myself. I was having a Mary Tyler Moore day. I had on a pair of jeans that didn’t require me to hold my breath and a brand new blouse — sunny summer yellow with snap buttons up the front. My pedicured toes were showcased in my favorite pair of black Cole Haan sandals, my one summer splurge item. And? I was having a good hair day. It was 82 degrees and the sun was spilling in through the sunroof of the car. I put on my sunglasses and checked my look in the rearview mirror. Dang! I looked pretty good, not a day over 45. If I’d had a beret, I would have thrown it in the air.

    After I dropped Sean off at school, I continued my mission to take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile. First stop, Starbucks. As I was celebrating my splendid-ness with a refreshing Frappuccino, I noticed a man over in the corner checking me out over the screen of his laptop. I acted like I didn’t notice because I am just that cool. In what was supposed to be a sexy Sharon Stone-style move, I tipped the cup upwards to drain what was left of the sweet brown liquid. But. The ice broke loose from the bottom of the cup like a calving iceberg, smashing me in the face and gushing down my pretty yellow shirt and into my cleavage. I screamed. The man in the corner hid behind his laptop and chortled. He chortled! That is one small step above snorting. You have not been humiliated until you have been the object of a public chortling.

    I stood and gathered up my dignity. I did a little side-to-side head move and flipped my good hair over my shoulders and then I put on my sunglasses and walked out of there like a model on a runway. Except that I was dabbing at my boobs with a wad of environmentally friendly Starbucks napkins which you should know, will disintegrate at the sight of liquid and leave behind what looks like spit up or oatmeal or spit up oatmeal on your shirt. When I thought I could plumb the depths of humiliation no further, I caught sight of my reflection in the door on my way out. I not only had an icy drink in my bra, I had a whipped cream mustache.

    I was not going to let a little Frappuccino down my shirt ruin my Mary Tyler Moore day. I still had on a fabulous pair of sandals. I still had on a sexy pair of jeans. I could still make it afterall! I arrived at my next stop, my doctor’s office, for some routine blood work. As I sat in the blood drawing chair, I noticed the lab technician eyeing my sunny yellow oatmeal shirt. She didn’t ask and I didn’t offer.

    On the way out of the doctor’s office, I decided to use the restroom before I continued turning the world on with my smile at TJMaxx. As I raised my pretty little pink painted tootsie to flush, the slick sole of my chic sandal slipped and I baptized my foot in the flushing toilet. I screamed for the second time that morning. I pulled my wet foot out and stood there like a flamingo helplessly watching Cole Haan go around and around. At the last moment, I reached in and made the rescue.

    My Mary Tyler Moore day was literally going down the toilet. I stood dejected at the sink, on one foot, washing my sandal. The bathroom door opened and I looked in the mirror to see the lab technician. She stopped when she recognized it was me, oatmeal girl. She didn’t make eye contact with me, but rather raised her eyebrows with an expression of amusement and pity, as though she had finally seen it all. She didn’t ask and I didn’t offer. I slogged out of the doctors office, past the nurse and the non-Mary Tyler Moore patients wearing my one leg wet jeans, one shoe, a shirt covered in what looks like oatmeal and carrying a shoe wrapped in a paper towel.

    When I picked Sean up from school he was demanding to go to Old McDonald’s and since I already smelled like Frappuccino and urine, I gave in. It wasn’t long before I spied him in the corner of the play yard in the poop pose, the one that looks like he is about to lift off wearing a silver space age jet pack on his back — knees slightly bent, clenched fists out front. He was also wearing the red-faced, eyes glazed over poop expression. Great. Not exactly the finale I had in mind for my Mary Tyler Moore day, but at the same time, it seemed fitting. I called him over and gave him the news that we needed to go home. Given the day’s track record, the last thing I was up for was changing a poopy diaper in a public restroom. He was not very happy about this decision, so I had to carry him to the car, kicking and screaming and flailing.

    With a “fully loaded” boy under one arm and my purse, keys, his shoes and our drinks under my other three arms, I exited the restaurant. As I was leaving I noticed that everyone was looking at me. My spirits were buoyed. I started thinking, wow, even after the day I’ve had, I still look pretty good.

    That’s when I looked down to see that in the course of all the thrashing about, Sean had unsnapped my shirt down to my navel. And I had not one free arm to do anything about it.

    So much for my Mary Tyler Moore day. If I’d had a beret, I would have just pulled it completely over my head.

    A Perfect Post

    Over The Rainbow

    July 13, 2007

    rainbowThe afternoon sun breached the narrow space between the window and the window shade, allowing a sunbeam through. It cut through the glass coffee table and spilled its spectrum of colors into a puddle on the floor.

    And that’s where I found the little boy. Lying on the living room floor in a stream of iridescent sunshine.

    “What are you doing in here?” I asked.

    “Oh, just soaking up the rainbow,” he said matter-of-factly. Sometimes, this boy, he is too wise for his years and it makes my heart stop.

    The laundry could wait. I set my laundry basket down and laid down beside him, nose-to-nose and tried to soak him up. He was the dream that I dared to dream so long ago.

    Somewhere over the rainbow
    Skies are blue,
    And the dreams that you dare to dream
    Really do come true.

    Today, I realized I had made it over the rainbow.

    Wherein I Answer The Question: So, You’re A SAHM? What Do You Do All Day?

    July 12, 2007

    This morning I thought I would go to the grocery store and buy milk. We were out of milk. So I thought I would go to the store and get milk and that would be that. We would come home with our milk, eat cereal and then get on with our lives and find the cure for age spots or build a fort in the den out of blankets. Either one.

    So I mentioned to the little boy that we should get in the car and go buy some milk and if – IF! – he was a good boy and a cooperative boy, there could be something in it for him. It is probably an indictment of my parenting that I no longer even bother to pretend that bribery isn’t central to my parenting philosophy. It is. Don’t judge me people. Anytime I can buy some cooperation for $1, I’m in.

    If you don’t have a three-year-old, then perhaps you are imagining that we jumped in the car, drove to the store, bought milk and a matchbox car and came home.

    If you have a three-year-old, then you know that we didn’t leave for the store for another two and half hours.

    What could take two and a half hours you are wondering? I wonder this too. Here is what I remember:

    There was dawdling, dragging, dilly dallying, frittering, loitering, lolling and lollygagging,  slithering, dithering, stalling, straggling as well as horsing and monkeying around. There was a lost shoe, a boo boo, a shirt with an itchy tag and the grand finale — the announcement of a poopy diaper just as I snapped the latch on the car seat.

    So then, we went back in the house and repeated the above in reverse order.  By late afternoon, I decided we didn’t really need milk that bad.

    And there you have it. That’s what I do all day.