Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Yesterday was an example of all that is good about having a c-section. So next week when my incision is bothering me, I can refer back to this memory. It was a whirl of excitement in our house all morning and into the afternoon. I woke up at 4:30 and was ready to get up. I made some coffee - decaf of course and proceeded to do housework like a mad woman. After all, if I went into labor yesterday - big deal!

But really, it was the people that made yesterday wonderful. It was a Red Tent day for me. I love the book "The Red Tent" by Anita Diament. For me it is a book about tribe the realities of tribal living - good and bad. I think it fascinates me because my family was so small and I have felt so disconnected from my mother my whole life. In this tribe, for better or worse, the women were working together helping one another with the duties of daily living, cooking, cleaning, raising children. They were connected with each other, they were not going it alone.

Yesterday, my tribe was with me. From the onset of the day I had e-mails from well-wishers. Then a wonderful woman came to play all morning with the Afro Boy. She brought him a little bi-racial baby doll that we named Spencer. Another friend came by with a gift, her son, and an iced latte from Starbucks. My sister-in-law, the Fabulous Aunty, who lives with us, did so many things for me around the house that I couldn't begin to list them all. All of this in preparation for June Bug's arrival today. And that is what we talked about all morning, "tomorrow she'll be here", "tomorrow we'll get to see her". Amidst the chatter the phone rang off the hook, the rest of the tribe calling in to see how I was doing, lend support, and inquire as to when visiting hours would begin. It was a beautiful morning I never want to forget. Without the certainty of a c-section, the level of excitement would not have been so high. But we all knew, without a doubt that today was the day that our little girl would arrive.

As the afternoon approached, the excitement began to turn to a more quiet contentment and at times frantic preparation. I found myself saying more prayers as I began to really let go of the things I needed to let go of - particularly the emotional well being of my other child who I am leaving for 3-4 days for the first time in his life. This will prove to be more difficult for me than him in the long run and I could not do it without leaning into God more and trusting that it will be fine.

When I got married, the other sister-in-law gave me a wonderful morsel of advice, which I followed and never regretted. "Take mental snapshots of the day" - that way, details that might get lost in the fervor of the day will be remembered. Yesterday, I did that same thing. Yesterday I was present for the moment in wonderful ways. I was aware for most of the day of the things that we were doing for the last time. Things that might eventually change anyway, but for certain will be changing now. Some of those things are bittersweet. I will not have time in the early mornings to sit at the computer with coffee and record my thoughts while listening to the Afro Boy's rhythmic breathe over the monitor. I will have to find another way.

I am fairly certain I will never have hair this long or thick again, since I never did before. It is the hair I wanted in high school - thank you God, better late than never is better. I know in a few weeks it will return to its nature and begin to shed, heavily. About that time my nails will begin to break, also in response to the changing hormonal tide.

Other things I have no idea about yet because they are dependent on the behavior of one little June Bug who will begin to reveal herself in a matter of hours.

And for what may be my last lucid moment at this hour for quite some time, I just heard the first bird welcoming the day and the birth of my baby girl. It's time to go call the hospital and see when they want us to come in.

Thanks Be to God for all that has been freely given and all that is to come...

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Times They Are a Changin........

Upstairs in our room there is a new piece of furniture. It is a pink bassinet handed down from FF#3. She came on Thursday w/food, a huge bag of girly clothes for the fall/winter, and the most frilly, girly bassinet I have ever seen. I love it. As if it were not cute enough, the Monkey laid a tiny yellow crocheted sweater and hat inside after I had washed them. They're just laying inside, waiting for the June Bug to arrive. They are on loan from Lorraine and were once worn by her daughter who is now unbelievably, a tween. When June Bug grows out of them, I will pack them away until the tween is 40 and has her own children. Okay, she can start in her thirties.

Just like in a biological family, things of sentimental value and beauty are handed down to us from our family of choice. The women who are part of my tribe share their memories and in turn become part of the fabric of our lives. It makes me feel loved.

I stare at that bassinet and try to envision what the June Bug will look like laying there. Of course, she is always very peaceful and happy in my vision. Reality will ensue soon, for now I can be delusional.

Friday, June 02, 2006

003 Say Thank You

1. God I am grateful for the Benadryl that helped me to sleep for 8 hours.
2. God I am grateful for Tina who knew exactly how to play w/Afro Boy and whose name he has been saying all day.
3. God I am grateful that all things have a beginning, middle and an end.
4. and I am grateful to be near the end,
5. and I am grateful for new beginnings......

Thanks Be to God

Thursday, June 01, 2006


It's June, it's June, it's June!!!!! If I could shout this announcement without waking my entire household, I would. For now, blog shouting will have to do.

Our June Bug will be here in 5 more days. This time next week I will be in a hospital room holding my daughter. My daughter!


Sometimes I need to remind myself that in the grand scheme of things, there is nothing happening in my life today that I didn't ask God to bring into my life. Which also reminds me that frequently when we pray to God for something we have no idea what it is we're requesting.

All that is in my life today, all that challenges me and pushes me into new and uncomfortable places - those things were things I prayed about and anticipated. They are things I would never trade for anything in the world. How they look in my daily life has been a surprise - how they have changed me has been a journey - one that I see now is continuous.

This is what I asked for - how amazing. I asked God for these blessings and he gave them to me. I never thought I would marry, I graciously and happily accepted that I would not have one child much less two. It was okay. But when it looked like the opportunities might be available to me and I said to God, "please let it be", he said "Okay". How can I better glorify such abundance?

....I just heard that first welcoming chirp.

002 Say Thank You....

1. God I am grateful today that our friends' daughter knew what to do when a strange car pulled over and wanted to pick her up. I am grateful that she is safe.
2. God I am beyond grateful for the dinner that FF#3 brought over this morning.
3. God I am grateful that things with FF#4 are looking like they are starting to heal. I have been missing her.
4. God I am grateful that my contractions today were mild.
5. God I am grateful for the time to take a long shower and wash my hair.

Thanks Be to God

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Self Care Commitment #1

I feel silly writing about this which suggests to me that it is absolutely something that I need to put into the universe.

My self-care commitments can be broken in to two categories. The first are things that are essential to my physical health and physical well-being, and in some cases to the well-being of my spirit. The second are things that just make me feel good, they are more indulgent. I am reluctant to write about the former because, despite almost ten years of therapy, I still feel a little foolish that I don't have brushing/flossing my teeth down as well as I would like. The latter category is so indulgent to me, that it is not worthy of discussion.

Perhaps I should think about giving up self-depreciation in the near future.....

So taking care of my hands falls into that latter category. My grandmother raised me and I vividly remember watching her slather lotion on her hands and her hands were beautiful. My hands have always been one of my nicer features, so I've always worked at preserving their finer qualities.

Enter motherhood. I remember a moment after Afro Boy came home when I looked at my hands and for the first time in my life they looked weathered. It was depressing. Some time later, the Monkey told me that my hands looked "tired". Ack.

So part of my self-care involves purchasing very nice hand lotions that I love and keeping them all around the house so that I can stop at any moment during the day and put some lovely salve on my apparently hard-working hands. It is a wonderful way of remembering myself and my hands are looking pretty nice for 40 year-old hands that have never had sunscreen on them.

I also added keeping my nails trimmed and filed to my list. It's an easy thing to do while watching television or talking on the phone. It's amazing how much better a nicely groomed hand looks!

Finally, since I'm on bedrest I've actually been polishing my nails. While I regularly treat myself to a pedicure, manicures are a waste of money for me. No matter how diligent I am about applying a protective top-coat, my polish chips after 2-3 days. Chipped nail polish is the ultimate antithesis to the appearance of a well-groomed hand so I generally do not bother. But since I am banned from most house work for the next week, I decided to indulge myself in some tomato red nails. They are in my opinion, quite lovely. Each time I look at them, I feel good and I feel the same little ripple of happiness as I do when I see my orange toe-nail polish. It doesn't change my life overall, but it adds a little bit of joy to my soul....

I guess that's what self-care is all about.

001 Say Thank You.......

  • God I am grateful today for the path that you have laid out before me.
  • God I am grateful that this time next week my daughter will be here.
  • God I am grateful that last night I got 8 hours of sleep.
  • God I am grateful for community and how people show up when they are needed.
  • God I am grateful that two months ago my deoderant was on sale two for $4.00. Because of that, I had a back-up deoderant this morning when I thought I had none.

Thanks Be to God

Monday, May 29, 2006

Land of the Free....

So it's Memorial Day and I feel obligated to say something about that. Therein lies the problem for me and Memorial Day - it feels like an obligation - any sentiment I feel does not come from an authentic place, but a place of "I should". At this time of year I hear at least one story of a fallen war hero that ends in a call to feel thanks to this unknown soul for the freedom that I enjoy - in other words that I owe my freedoms to this person and all soldiers who have fallen.

Of course these stories pull at my heart, as do the stories of their families. But to thank them feels false to me. I do not feel that I owe them my "freedoms". I think to try an muster up that feeling is disprespectful to veterans and families of fallen soldiers. I realize that saying so is probably an unpopular sentiment that could land me on some Homeland Security list. I am aware that men and women who have fought in wars would say that it is because of their efforts that I am able to say something that is unpopular without repercussion.

But I am also aware that I owe all that is in my life to God and God's grace. I give thanks and praise to Him. I am grateful to live in this country and for all the freedoms I enjoy. I am grateful for the ways that God has used soldiers of all types to ensure those freedoms. Some of those soldiers have fought with arms and others with their voices, and many with their lives. Whatever their medium, I know that whatever good they accomplished came as a result of God's hand trying to repair the follies of humanity. Thanks be to God.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Say Thank You......

There's a great little excerpt in Oprah Winfrey's "The Best of Oprah's What I Know for Sure". Oprah tells the story of weeping on her toilet and calling Maya Angelou for support (it took me weeks to get over my disbelief that Oprah cried on the toilet). As Oprah tells the story, Maya chided her and said "Stop it right now and say thank you!" When Oprah inquired as to why she was saying thank you, this was the beautiful reply she received from Ms. Angelou:

"You're saying thank you because your faith is so strong that you don't doubt that whatever the problem, you'll get through it. You're saying thank you because you know that even in the eye of the storm, God has put a rainbow in the clouds. You're saying thank you because you know there's no problem created that can compare to the Creator of all things. Say thank you!"

The article is prefaced by the following quote from Oprah:

"It's not easy being grateful all the time. But it's when you feel least thankful that you are most in need of what gratitude can give you."

I'm writing about this because I'm aware that I easily lose sight of all that God provides, of how great he is, of how much greater he is than anything else that is immediately in front of me. Now more than ever I am in need of what that kind of gratitude can bring me. With that in mind, I've decided to reinstate a tool I've used before, the simple but powerful gratitude list.

1. Chocolate soy ice cream
2. A good husband
3. Potato kale soup from PCC
4. Rainy days
5. Triaminic for children

Also, I want to make sure that my joys are as well known as my grief, my trials, and my frustrations!

Be careful what you wish for......

For the last few weeks I have been pining for a break. Taking care of the Afro Boy has become exhausting to me as my third trimester mercifully is coming to an end. I love children and I especially love mine but I am not a woman who naturally loves pregnancy and frankly I think all women are ready to be done w/their pregnancies at this point.

On Wednesday night I found myself in the Labor and Delivery wing of the hospital where June Bug will be delivered. After 10 hours of painful contractions and the promise of an emergency c-section (the hope that the Lord was delivering me early from further incubating my daughter) - my doctor came in and announced that I had not dilated at all during that time and she was sending me home (this after local and long distance calls had been made alerting family and family of choice).

Words cannot express the angst that my doctor's announcement caused inside of me. The only thing that snapped me out of it was hearing that the June Bug's lungs could still be developing and that delivery at this time might result in the birth of a baby who could not come home. In my circle of the Fab Four, Fab Four #1 went into labor a month older and had a son who almost died, was in the hospital for a long time before he could come home and my dear friend went through hell waiting to hear that her son would be okay. Now flash to Fab Four #2 who has delivered two boys, went in to labor early both times and both boys were perfectly fine. When my doctor insinuated that the June Bug could end up in the NICU unit, I did not think of FF#2, I thought of FF#1 and pulled myself together. I also felt like the smallest person on the planet that in my haste to put an end to my pregnancy discomforts, I failed to consider my daughter's best interest first. Good thing she's learning early that I'm not perfect.

But I digress....

So I am now on modified bedrest and have been ordered not be the primary caretaker of the Afro Boy. Thanks to the in-laws and the Monkey, I had time to plug in more support than I actually need for 5 days that I am home alone. (A 3 day weekend didn't hurt either) I am blessed with abundance in my circle.

I seem to also be blessed with irony as a repeating instrument for enlightenment. While I thought it would be restful and relaxing to be ordered to stop caring for my son, it is not. Afro Boy is currently not at his best - he is cutting two-year molars, has a cold, and is keenly aware that something big is on the horizon. This results in a child whose new favorite pastime is to plaster himself to my burgeoning belly and melt into a tantruming puddle at any sign that he might be removed. When he cut his first teeth, he nursed, it seemed, non-stop. He had to be next to me at all times except at night when he was asleep. Little it seems, has changed.

Rather than enjoying my imposed "time-out", I am plagued with the guilt of not being able to parent my child in the way that we are both accustomed. It is pushing all my buttons, including the abandonment buttons. Somehow, even though I know it's not the TRUTH, I feel that I am abandoning him the way I was abandoned. IT IS NOT THE TRUTH!!!!! But that button got pushed so badly tonight that I was in tears over his tears.


The truth is that this is a difficult time. It is a time when I have to ask for help. It is a time when I have to let go. It is a time when I have to trust others. None of these are strengths that I possess in any way. Yet my health and the health of my unborn daughter are contingent on the success of my surrender to doing things a different way. I think ultimately, the mental health of my son will be better for experiencing all the care that come with community, with tribe. In the short-term, I struggle with projecting my own baggage on to him and seeing deeper wounds than what are really there. Yes this is a hard time for him, and yes thank God he is resilient. Tomorrow, he will have forgotten the incidents of today that were so challenging for me that I was driven to my blog. This is the TRUTH. I do not need to deposit rolls of quarters into his therapy jar. (thank you ff#1)

Thankfully, this blog often serves as a prayer because this is a time for whatever kind of prayer I can muster on my own and for all the prayers that I can receive....