Monday, January 14, 2013

Still there?

Thank you!

It's been ages... I'm going to switch to this new spot. Please visit and follow me there!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

After a while I suppose I’ll get used to the idea of marriage and children. If only it doesn’t swallow up my desires to express myself in a smug, sensuous haze. -Sylvia Plath

The laundry is coming. The laundry is coming. 

That’s what is going through my head right now. It feels like every moment as a mother is leading to only one thing – laundry. Making lunch for the preschooler equals clothes covered in hummus and finger paint tonight. Breastfeeding. Spit up on everything. Great husband. More laundry.  You get how this goes. And here I would like to insert a bow to all single mothers. 

Even as I write, the laundry is coming. Time spent writing is time not spent folding. But the laundry must keep going and as the dryer whirls, the pile on our couch grows. Sometimes, we need a moratorium on new laundry just to catch up. 

I love the moments that lead to laundry. I hate the laundry deeply.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the paradox that is motherhood. How we love all of it and hate much of it at the same time. How we want to spend every moment with our children. Or sometimes, not.

One Friday recently, after a particularly tough week in mamaland, my husband and I went out. Out for the first time in I don’t know how long, without either one of our children. It was fun and a little sad, and as we were walking around Harvard Square, I told my wonderful partner that I was sure I’d never be emotionally ready for motherhood, that it was too much for me and that I had no idea what I’d gotten myself into. His reply? “It’s a little late. You probably should have had a snake.”

But a snake wouldn’t have given me this:

It was ironic that the week after that very tough one, Ben started a five-day-a-week preschool schedule. This doesn’t actually lessen the amount of time we’ll have together, but it changes it, chops it up differently, and requires that I now, with baby in tow, drop him off in the morning. So in a world of emotional transitions, we’ve scored ourselves another one.

And we went from difficult times together to difficulties letting go. 

The first drop off went great. The second started with him asking to be carried in and ended with me crying. I don’t think you are supposed to let them see you cry, but I couldn’t help it. I’m postpartum and when I said “I’m a lucky mom,” he said, “I’m lucky too.”  And then we clung to each other.  

And then, his teacher gave us this book to read

After this, we exchanged stickers and I took my Kissing Hand home, where I thought of him all day. This week I’ll start some work and soon enough baby W will have his own variety of childcare, bringing more emotional tumult for me along with more pumping of breast milk and late night typing. Ah, the fun is yet to come, isn't it?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

"The future enters into us, in order to transform itself in us, longbefore it happens." Rilke

I love the smell of my MAC lipstick. 

I couldn’t tell you what color it is because that little sticker on the bottom has worn off in the years since I purchased it. I couldn’t tell you if other MAC lipsticks smell the same. It’s the only lipstick I own and for the past three years, it’s been there for me in the moments that have called for a bit of color, as my mom would say. Those moments have been not that many, really.

I was putting this lipstick on the other day while driving my VW wagon with two carseats, a toddler, a newborn, and a first aid kit into the parking garage under the collection part of the mall in our town.Because my first trip to the mall with two boys called for a bit of color. And we’d be entering through Nordstrom’s. Color. 

That is when it struck me that I love the smell of it.

It strikes me that the smells of things remind me of times.

There was a time I wore this lipstick more often, probably almost daily.  

That was when I worked full time in the city. When my husband and I went to Red Sox games and stayed at B&Bs. When we ate lunch on outdoor patios and I wore suits and bought lipstick. It was a time before graduate school. Before we were married ten years. After we were married five years. After we bought our condo. After the start up he worked for was purchased by a bigger company. After we bought a new car with the sale of his options. Before I sunk that car in a lake.

The car that sunk. I can’t smell leather without thinking of the seats.

I wore the lipstick during the time before the birth of my first son.  

I sunk the car after I learned to breastfeed.


Before someone I love went to rehab. After someone I love went to rehab. After I went off the pill. Before I thoughtI was infertile. Or that my husband was. After I thought I should go to rehab. Before I set up auto deduction for our cable bill.  Before we bought a house. Before the bag embroidered with Morty Jr. That bag still smells like my first son’s first days. Before I began keeping things like pieces of ribbon and stray buttons organized for future use. In a tin labeled “ribbons and things.”

Before the tests. Before the birth of my second son.

Before. Before.

Before I terminated the pregnancy that was our daughter.  I don’t remember how that smelled. It was after they told us she likely wouldn’t make it to term and before my husband’s birthday. After my first son’s second birthday. After my thirty fifth birthday. It was cold in the room at the clinic.  It was raining outside.

She was my second child. Before she was born, she was dying. After knowing that, we couldn’t knowingly bring her into a life of suffering, no matter how short or long it would be. Before I knew I was pregnant, I suspected I was. I also suspected she was dying.

The smell of my MAC lipstick brought me back to that time. Before all of this. Before the boys. Before the girl.

And now, there is only forward. Thank you, for being there, before, and forward.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

"If eternity is understood not as endless temporal duration but as timelessness, then he lives eternally who lives in the present." Lutwig Wittgenstein

Some unformulated thoughts:

It’s been 3 weeks since baby W was born.  I’ve got a lot to write, here and otherwise,    
about  his birth, about all of the last several months, and about the wonder of his in-the-  
flesh-existence. I need to write. Much. More. Than. I. Have.

It’s hard to make that happen.

It’s hard to be sure I change my underwear and brush my teeth.

I feel very stuck in my body. I don’t mean this in a negative way. It’s just that this new     
      life is still so connected to this body of mine. And will be, for a while. 
I'm not, in any way, complaining. But I don’t want to forget about the rest of myself.

I have less patience for those around me (ahem, toddler) when I don’t make time to write. 
I’m processing a lot, emotionally.  And I’m thinking a lot about everything that makes us who we are; nature, genes, family, surrounding, experiences.

I have strange dreams. Like last night, when I was given a kitten that needed my breast milk.

 I know.  Before I woke up, the kitten went crazy, growling, showing me its nasty teeth, hissing and plain old FRIGHTENING me. It was so bizarre.

Even taking the time to write this post now, I feel a little guilty, like I should be making a sticker chart for my toddler or reading about potty training techniques or returning a phone call, or folding the laundry.      
Which brings me back to the need to just fucking do it. If I make the time to write, I’ll be more productive overall. When I bring my mind to writing, I don’t leave the foggy mama body I’m stuck in, but at least I know what day it is. And it’s who I am. Soon enough, I’ll be working again as well, and making time to write will be critical to my survival! SO, I’m going to need to be ok with saying Sorry, no laundry here. Or Sorry, I haven’t_____ but you see, I’m writing like a motherfucker.     

      While my synapses are firing slowly and sleep deprivation is sinking into my stuck-in-body, I’m occasionally floating. So off I go.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

"Hate, emotionalism, and frustration are not policies." - Madeleine Albright

Ever notice how many blog entries begin with some form of an apology? I’m sorry, but I’ve been having a root canal for the past five weeks and just haven’t written - or - I feel so badly, but I’ve been boiling water and it just seems to take FOREVER. I can’t write unless there’s water boiling – or – I’m just so sorry, but my champagne drip dried out and you know what that does to me.

OK, maybe these aren’t exactly the statements you’ve read. Truth is though; the best intentions seem hard to follow through on. And I know all of my followers haves been aching for me to post something.  

I’m here, more pregnant than I’ve ever been and likely more pregnant than I ever will be in the future. (I mean, unless I'm still pregnant tomorrow or the day after that.) I don’t think we’re doing this again. Particularly given that health insurance isn’t covering some more recent tests (nothing to worry about) due to a diagnosis that includes the word “elderly.” Hence, what? Hence, some seemingly regular stuff is not seemingly very regular. Remember, I’m 35? This is just ridiculous. As we know people have babies – and should continue to plan to have such creatures – well beyond this point. But I digress.

I’m looking forward to good old fashioned birth control. Condoms, the pill, maybe something fancier. It's a good choice to have. Which brings me to something that has been on my mind lately: the thought of Mitt Romney as President makes me sicker than pregnancy ever could.  Yup. I was taught that “hate” is really too strong of a word to use to describe any human creature. My mom taught us to say instead, “I dislike  ___ very much.”

The election is still a few months a way, so we should all stay calm. But, I dislike the idea of Mitt Romney as President so very much. Sometimes, when I’m having a peaceful moment talking to the child growing inside of me about how, even though the world is scary and mean, he should want to come out soon to meet us and his brother, I hear Mitt Romney, saying, “Planned Parenthood. We’ll get rid of that.” And it makes me want to hurl. Then there’s Ann Romney addressing I'm not sure who as “you people”. What planet are these Romneys from? Somewhere other than one that believes in access to women’s health, I gather. 

Sometimes, even I feel a little conservative. You know, just wondering where the money will come from and all. Even if you put the politics around abortion and birth control aside, where they belong, I don't get the "we'll get rid of that" bit when it comes to Planned Parenthood. I just feel like the cuts have to be made in the right places. We've already seen so many services cut. Is Mitt Romney going to make it easier for a heroin addict to get a bed at a rehab facility? Is he going to make it more possible for a homeless vet to have a hot meal? Is he going to strive to make a difference for inner city kids who crave a decent education? Doubtful. But he’s pretty clear that he’ll make it more difficult for a woman in need to have access to care. And should one of my sons want to marry a man? Mitt’s pretty certain that shouldn’t happen either, even though let’s face it, love is love. Love is peaceful. Love is not the hate that this guy spews, so of course it is scary for him.  I hope I didn't just lose my one follower, but this doesn't seem like a good use of time, money, or votes.

Speaking of scary and mean, there’s the fact that at least 71 people were shot fifteen minutes into a movie the other night in Colorado. The shooter had multiple guns, all purchased legally easily. Unfortunately, it isn’t shocking. Both sides of the aisle need to do more about gun control, in this mama’s opinion. The amount of money that goes into this is sickening and even liberals seem are afraid to stand up to it. My heart goes out to the families of all involved in this latest and horrible tragedy. 

I know this has been somewhat of a mosh of a posting, but that's it. I’m going to go and try to keep my blood pressure down…  Sending you peace, love and all of that.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

“Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money.” - Jules Renard

Wow, did I say I would write once a week? I think that is probably, weekly-ish. Nonetheless, here I am, 30ish weeks pregnant. I can't believe how fast time is flying. I can't believe how soon our house will have an actual baby in it once again. I can't wait to meet him and name him and thereissomuchtowritehere.

One of those things is, of course, introduce him to books. I'd be remiss to not mention the sadness I felt at the recent death of children's author and illustrator, Maurice Sendak. His pictures and his plots were often unsettling. Well, life is unsettling isn't it? I'm grateful that like he did, I found writing, which has been my own coping mechanism through much. And, I loved this quote of his that I saw recently. When asked about e-books, he said: "I hate them. It's like making believe there's another kind of sex. There isn't another kind of sex. There isn't another kind of book. A book is a book is a book."

In all honesty, I have been doing less electronically on purpose. I have carpal tunnel and in pregnancy it turns nasty. This time, I'm not trying to get through grad school, thankfully, but I am trying to work as much as I can, so we can save for me to take some small amount of time off with baby #2. And I've been trying to write, submit and re-work my manuscript in my free time.

I keep saying I will write after he's born, after the pins and needles subside, and I wonder how I can even lie to myself like that... I mean, I can't wait for the business of tending to the first weeks and months of a baby's life: this baby, my baby, our baby. Life. But I remember writing very little in the first months of Ben's life. Like with so many other things, I'll leave it with "we shall see."

I've been organizing baby stuff and we got Ben a "big boy bed," which he loves, but for the first nap with it here yesterday, there was no rest for the weary, large mother. He's always wanted out of nap time and it took him seconds to realize that was no problem at all with a bed. I managed to get us both in a reclining position for a bit, reading books, of course! 

And there was another ultrasound due to the whole advanced maternal age/question of placental functioning. Baby looks great and, not that it was one of those strange 4D ultrasounds, but I swear I saw his face that way. Right there, staring right at this mama, smiling. Every pin and needle in my right hand or left hand is worth it. I've said this before in a guest post elsewhere, but it bears repeating for myself - Motherhood is tough and demanding, and often leaves me yearning for more time with the muse. But, I'm grateful for every moment I don't spend writing as well as every moment that I do.

Have I mentioned The Rumpus? You should go there now and read this, this, and definitely this.

Friday, April 27, 2012

"Poetry is the journal of a sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air." - Carl Sandburg

Well now it's really been ages since I last posted. And I feel like it's time to commit to writing more often or accept that I really am not succeeding as merely a fledgling blogger. So, I’m planning to post once a week.

Since I last posted, I have done the following:

1. Celebrated Easter - convincing C to go to the Unitarian Church that morning, taking advantage of the fact that his parents were here for the weekend and don't go to church (=babysitter). Later, we all met up with my Catholic Church going family and Jewish aunt at my mom's for lovely dinner.

2. As planned for in prior post, came to let go of some anger.     

3. Lamented over the fact that I cannot spend more time writing. 

4. Answered the question about what I do for work at least twice, spelling out the details of what I do to make money.  (Completely legal, somewhat stimulating, and involving great co-workers, albeit very un-poetic.)  

5. Randomly became very angry again, realizing that 35th birthday was not celebrated. Rather, it was spent preparing for unplanned abortion ("the procedure").

6. Wrote "writer" next to "occupation?" on form at doctor's office. 

7. Questioned the amount of energy I put into some of my relationships.

8. Became angry again.

9. Counted every blessing; considered fact that every day with Ben is a poem.

10. Attended Massachusetts Poetry Festival.

11. Decided that I may need to have a serious affair with my writing if it is really going to happen; spent one night in seedy motel consummating this relationship.  

12. Wrote a guest blog on how writing makes me a better mother and saner human.

13. Visited wonderful but expensive therapist. Reveled in the fact that my deductible is almost met, hence crappy insurance company will begin covering at 70%.

14. Questioned the amount of energy put in to some family relationships, and whether my energy actually matters.

15. Marveled at the amazing being growing in my belly; imagined birthing, nursing and being with new being.

16. See number 3. 

17. Thought about names for new baby. 

18. Felt terribly sad for the number of children missing, suffering or dying. 

19. Felt terribly angry at the number of children who are mistreated. 

20. Counted my blessings.