Friday, September 25, 2009

If the President called me and asked me

"Monica, tell me something, now that we've made it clear that waterboarding is not an acceptable method for interrogation, what in the world will we use?"

I would tell him to take my children for 5 days of too-sick-to-go-to-school-but-not-sick-enough-to-shut-up-and-sleep, lock them in a room with an interogatee, and within minutes, they'd get all of the information they needed. And the President would say: "But we're trying to avoid torture."

This week, I've had a song stuck in my head all week. Most parents I know should know it, it's this one: I keep singing the refrain: "I love my kids. I love my kids. Gosh I love my kids." Because I do. No lie. I love my kids with a ferocity that should be terrifying to anyone who isn't a parent and all to familiar to those with children. I adore them more deeply than anything or anyone I have ever encountered (sorry Mom & Dad, Sisters & Bro, and most of all husband. You're all close seconds, I promise). Sometimes when I'm sitting in the silence of my home while both of them are at school or off with their dad or simply playing in the backyard, I weep because they are not right here breathing on me. This happens rarely, of course, because they usually are right here. Especially when they are sick.

And I share all of that so that we are very clear from the beginning that I adore my children but we are sick this week and here they are staring at me, coughing at me, breathing on me, sneezing on my dinner, and wiping their noses on my sleeves. I think this week I would love them much more if they came equipped with mute buttons or some sort of filter for idiotic information. My daughter loves me nearly as desperately as I love her, and as such she seeks connection with me in every possible way. This means that this week, in her H1N1 haze, she's found every opportunity to talk with me that could exist. A few examples:
  • I was getting off the couch and my arm went here between this cushion and that cushion.
  • Look (putting hand under armpit). Look at what I can do!
  • I was walking through the door and my arm brushed against the door.
  • I was reading this book and the book touched me on my wrist.
  • I was walking around in the basement and I stepped on a lego that was on the floor and it hurt.

And it goes on like this folks. Imagine, if you will, the most inane things in the world, encapsulate them in a 7 year old child's sentence structure, add a few years in the vocabulary, and you've got nearly every waking moment of my last five days.

I have to believe this is sickness induced, that her brain, addled with fever, lacks the ability to discriminate between "this is important" and "utter and asinine bullshit that will drive my mother insane." If it's not fever or sickness induced, Lilly's teacher has got to be a saint.

Monday, September 21, 2009

I'm going to bitch about getting and staying pregnant

and if you don't want to think about the unmentionables related to doing so, let me assure you this is probably a post you should skip.

For my whole life, I was told that getting pregnant was easy and nearly always except in very unusual cases, resulted in a baby, so be forewarned and BE CAREFUL. And I appreciate those lectures, I really do, because in my late teens and early twenties it was good to be fearful of that looming, terrifying potential PREGNANCY thing that would most likely result in a more terrifying BABY thing that would potentially ruin (or at least change drastically) my life. That fear managed to get me through to my mid-twenties when that terrifying potential PREGNANCY thing landed unannounced on my front doorstep, leaving me fully convinced that pregnancy was easy, terrifying, and always ended up in that will-drastically-change-your-life baby.

And then this year happened. While avoiding pregnancy, I got pregnant. It didn't work. While seeking pregnancy, I got pregnant. It didn't work. These two events have left me more convinced than ever of three truths: 1). I want another child. A lot. 2). I'm furious with my body. and 3). (somewhat related to 2) THIS SHIT IS NOT EASY.

Relax, it'll happen, well-meaning people say. You'll have a baby when God wants you to! they say. It'll work - you've had babies, you'll have them again. They say. And sometimes they say You have such a beautiful family. Maybe you don't need more babies. I know they are well meaning, so what I don't say to them but keep in my head is, well, a lot of things that I'll keep in my head so that the FCC doesn't fine me. I get it people, I do. But no amount of relaxing is going to change the fact that I'm more convinced now than ever that my dinner table isn't full, I'm not done having babies, my clock is ticking, and relaxing has so little effect on my cycle and conceptions that, well, I should laugh at you.

All of this brings me to now: Now I am pissed. This TTC thing has become a war that I plan on winning, by gar, and right now it feels bleak. But 15 days ago I added something new to my arsenal (I've charted both to conceive and to avoid pregnancy for going on 6 years now, so I'm an old pro at reading my body signs), convinced that this little baby would be my secret weapon:

And now I want to tell you something: This sleek looking machination of all fertility information is of the devil.
As I'm involved in the EAGeR study, a nationwide study of the effects of aspirin on gestation and reproduction, I've gotten a free monitor and I get to use it every single day of my cycle (an average person uses it only 10 or 20 days a cycle). The monitor watches two of your girlie hormones and tells you when you will most likely be fertile. Which is awesome, don't you think?
Unless you've spent sixteen days in a row peeing on those expensive little sticks to discover that every day is a confirmation that you are, in fact, not fertile. Then it's an overpriced rock you might throw through the back window.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Two years ago today,

at about 9 pm, I got a call from my mother saying my stepfather was going into surgery and might not come out. He'd been diagnosed with prostate cancer 4 1/2 years prior, with neuroendocrine carcinoma 14 months prior, and that moment was the first time I ever considered that the cancer might one day win and we might bury him. Eleven days later he died. And seven days after that, we did bury him.

I know that sounds insane, but those who know him understand how insane the thought that he might succumb to cancer felt.

These past two years have been tough in my immediate family - and made tougher still that I'm flailing around without one of my confidants. I miss him terribly. In some ways, I have grown accustomed to his absence, talking about him in past tense and living our lives without him in it. In some ways it hurts less today than it did 713 days ago. In other ways, his absence has deepened and extended itself into all of the things he's missed, all of the things we haven't had him here for. Burying my grandfather. Losing two pregnancies. The impending birth of my nephews.

Today my heart hurts for all that has happened that I have not been able to share with him as well - his grandchildren, babies when he died, are stretching out into the most beautiful children I have ever met. Carter and Logan have started preschools and Sunday school, Lilly has the goofy pumpkin grin of a 7 year old.

Last week I sang a new hymn in church and was struck dumb with the knowledge that I could not hear you sing it in my head. I miss you DB.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Like moon sand through the hour glass. . .

So I understand that patience is a virtue. I get it. I am given opportunities to practice patience on a daily basis when my son licks the cat and my daughter finds every item of clothing ever made, tries it on, and places it in various and sundry places like the bunk bed, the hallway, and strong across the toilet lid.

And I understand that I do not want my days to fly by - they go fast enough as it is. I'll be sipping my last swig of long-gone-cold coffee and look at my watch thinking I should probably shower and it's suddenly 2:47 and Spongebob will only be on for another 13 minutes.

And nearly everyone who reads this blog knows that we're trying to have another baby. I try not to talk about it too much, but I'm sick of being somber and sad, so I'll probably talk about it more. Look, the only way for me to stop looking back is to stare at my feet or look forward, and since I haven't had a pedicure in over a month, well, trust me, you want me to look forward.

So here I am. And here. I. wait. Normal women have a 28 day cycle, a feat which I've only ever accomplished when I was on artificial hormones. I, apparently, have a cycle that ranges from 31 to 40 days in length. So at my best, I'm what, 3 days behind your average woman. At my worst, an average woman gets 3 tries for my every two and let me tell you something: I DO NOT LIKE TO BE BEHIND.

In all of my life, the only part of me that's been slow (except the jogging part or the sports part or the nuclear physicist part, but I didn't *care* about that) is my ovaries. Little bastards. They're sleeping in right now, groggily thinking about maybe, perhaps, potentially waking up soon. Maybe.

Meanwhile, I have this monitor that wants me to pee on stuff every day. And every day it says "Oh, you thought I was going to say something different? Screw that. Here's another LOW. How's that feel? How's it feel to be the slow girl, eh?"


And for those who don't know, I chose moon sand instead of regular sand because moon sand is of the devil. Seriously. Once, before I'd heard reviews and used it myself, I thought "Ooooh, Moon Sand. Let's give this to someone as a birthday present." So we did. They don't talk to us anymore and honestly, having now experienced the glorious mess that is Moon Sand, I think I know why.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

So here's

a list of things I never thought I'd hear myself say, but have said now, courtesy of my children:

  • The only things we put in a toilet are our poop and our pee and our toilet paper. We do not put anything else in the toilet. Ever. (Said while answering the telephone)
  • Honey, we do not rub our penises on furniture.
  • What's with the new Fred with black hair? I knew Fred. Fred was a friend of mine. That man is no Fred.
  • We do not eat (insert inedible object here. A few examples: marbles, sand, cat poop, gum wrappers, wooden benches, ponytails attached to our sister).
  • Please don't drink out of the toilet. Also, the toilet is not a water sculpture.
  • No I will not lick your face.
  • I do *not* want to find any more purple beads in your poop.

And here are some things my children have said that just slay me:

  • I farted on the cat.
  • Time? Time? There is no TIME. There is only TRUTH, LOVE, and NINCOMPOOPS.
  • (To the librarian today) I'm a big boy. I slept all night and I didn't pee in my pants and I wore big boy pants and this morning I pulled them down and I peed a lot and then I wagged my penis in a dance.

You see, before I was a parent, a funny night was a few martinis, South Park the movie, and (close your eyes, kiddies who know me as a respectable member of society) a few tokes ('s first definition is something about a tip to a dealer in a gambling situation. Let's just go with that, okay?). These days, nearly every moment of every day is a comedic extravaganza of laughter. For example: 2 children in the back of a mid-sized sedan? HILARIOUS. A boy who insists he's a dog? Really funny until he yaps, bites, and pees in the middle of the floor.

My kids are purveyors of fine entertainment and have been since birth. Heck, maybe even before. Lilly once kicked the cat's ass from in utero. I've never seen a more shocked and disturbed animal. I think he jumped 4 feet in the air - it was a moment of catlike reflexes we've never seen from him again. The crazy guy won't even snuggle up with me anymore.

I've been somber lately and I'm tired of it. We've had a couple of years of big things that hurt. But I'm tired of big things that hurt and I'm tired of hoping that next year will be better. So now, I'm going to do none of that. I'm just going to pop a big bowl of popcorn, set a cake down on the floor, and let the kiddos loose to see what happens.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Rough Draft, work in progress, a moment captured

It has been nearly two years: and grief,

not weaker but shiftier now,
sneaks a seat next to me in the pew
where I ignore her for awhile,
sing There is a balm in Gilead
without a tear,

she is tall, sun-kissed shoulders,
I've seen her often lately
and learned to ignore her, mostly.

When we start a new hymn, one I've never seen
she whispers You will never hear him sing this
and I weep for all the ways I miss him.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

My rose bush

Most of my roses have gone dormant here at the end of the summer, but one -- the beautiful rose bush by the house where we planted our last lost little one -- has suddenly bloomed. It's hard to explain, but suddenly last week, two stalks of the rose bush shot up tall - they're over 4 feet - and grew 10 buds - one for each week I was pregnant.

They are blooming now, and I cannot help but feel hopeful, peaceful, and excited for what is to come.

I remember, distinctly, in 2002

the fear in my heart when George W Bush appeared announcing preemptive strikes against Iraq. That feeling combined with the CWA's recent call for "bound conscience" in the vote to allow openly-gay ministers brings me to a place I wasn't sure I'd be in: I think I need to stop fighting about politics.

This is not to say that reasonable arguments will no longer occur -- reasonable arguments and discussions are precisely what the CWA called for in "bound conscience" -- we can respect each other's differing points of view and yet still have rational, emotionally charged discussions on matters of importance.

But my friend Matt took great pains to remind everybody during the CWA vote to consider the other side - those whose values had been voted down -- the feelings in *their* hearts as they underwent this stunning and painful change in the ELCA, and it served to remind me that this is the case especially right now in the United States. Last November in polls across the nation, there was a decided vote for change. Those who did not win are terrified of the direction of this change and that is understandable. I may not agree with their fear, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Part of extending empathy and acknowledging their humanity is to avoid fights with them.

I've learned something from the church this week that shall extend, I think, into all parts of my life. We can come together and discuss issues reasonably and rationally (and sometimes painfully) and get somewhere - or we can fight and get nowhere while hurting each other greatly. I think I need to make some changes in my day-to-day language and engagements and make this coming together and moving forward a priority.
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