A Number Dictating My Self-Esteem….

Like many women, I find that there is a number currently causing me to feel either better or worse about my self-esteem….

A number that I look at daily at least to see if I’m making any progress…. 

A number that reflects my self-worth for the moment….

A number that will not change no matter how hard I will it too……

What is this number you ask?  Am I spending too much time with my bathroom scale?

No…..

It’s the number on my donation page for the Boston Lung Cancer Walk/Fun Run I’m doing here in Washington as a satellite walker. 

I’m only up to 1/3 of my goal.  I aimed high because I really, really hate Lung Cancer.

Visit the page, think about making a donation….  Then maybe even hit the button and submit it, and help me hit Lung Cancer hard…  and to feel better about that darned old number.  😉

 (All proceeds to this walk go to the LUNGevity Foundation.  LUNGevity does great stuff.   $.88 of every $1.00 given to LUNGevity goes directly to Lung Cancer research as a result of them partnering  with other research organizations.  They target Lung Cancer research solely, which is important, because many other foundations which raise money for cancer funding in general will only support smoking cessation classes to combat Lung Cancer.  Since over 50% of those diagnosed each year are former smokers or never smokers more money obviously needs to go to things like research so we can find treatments for those who are already diagnosed and better screening options for the rest of us.)

On top of all that, if you’re feeling really generous, go visit Amanda’s blog and consider donating to the amazing 5,000,000,000 Steps for a Cure that her husband Eric’s Uncle is undertaking in order to raise money for the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society.

Digging Into… Boring

Preggo-brain has left me without creativity or gumption.  I want to write, but there are no words.  I feel the fatigue.  I feel the coming and going of waves of nausea.  I feel the ambivelent passion of the first trimester (baby?  what baby?  PLEASE don’t let anything happen to my BABY!).  I feel the ever-present spectre of grief (no it hasn’t gone away yet, and I don’t expect that it will).  I feel delight in the new discoveries Little Miss makes.  I feel exhaustion over how to figure out the part of the puzzle called discipline as she tests her boundries further.  I feel the constant presence of housework that never seems to get done.

I feel all these things all the time.  And the thing is, they don’t make for great writing.

I say that this blog is about my trying to dig deep into the holy ordinary…  but do I really try to do that?  Surely God can be found in all of these mundanities…  Surely he can…  But it’s been so long since I’ve let my brain consistently hone in on the place where I’m aware of that.  When I stub my toe on His holiness these days it is purely by accident.

(But then it always is.  It is always by His grace that we ever have an ‘aha’ moment or a taste of ‘getting it a little.’  Everyting, really, is grace.)

I remember asking my father the month before our wedding, as we were getting ready for my Grandfather’s funeral, if life would always be like this–always straddling big, huge, sad, and terrible, and wonderful things–and many at once.  He told me no.  He told me that there would be stretches of boring. 

In the tumultuous first three years of our marriage–settling into the Navy, dealing with loss after loss after loss, having Carolyn, doing the first deployment–I didn’t believe Dad.  I didn’t believe the boring would ever come.  And often I prayed for it.

And now maybe it’s here…  But I am afraid to think so because it seems that would only be asking for another catastrophe.  And I am not grateful for it… because rather than enjoying the serenely quiet landscape, I often play over and over the tumult.  I focus on the now, I move forward with my daughter–but part of me is always in a room with my Mom not seeing me, her spirit hovering–her essence stuck, waiting….  and then, later, hearing a knock on my bedroom door and the words, “She’s gone.”

Part of me is there, and part of me is here learning to navigate this new way of life after grief sweeps things over.  Learning to live in this home with our family.   Learning what it feels like when life is just quiet.  Just is.  Is about Husband’s work, and Carolyn’s achievements, and my crazy hormones, and feeling feelings I didn’t have time to look at when the tumult was happening.

And it’s strange. 

I need to let it be enough.  I need to dig in here.  I need to breathe deep.  And…  I need to allow myself to feel it all without guilt, and know that it is part of this season.

I’m trying.

(And I just really do have to confess that I did want to use the word ‘tumult’ as many times as I could…  because it is a good word.)

A Tearful Homage to Christina Yang

First, a confession:  I have become seriously (that’s right I said, ‘seriously’) addicted to Grey’s Anatomy.  Even worse, my addiction took root while watching the infamous Season II Superbowl Episode–that’s right–the Code Black/Pink Mist episode–the most drama crazed, over-the-top cliff hanger of them all….

Second, a statement of comraderie:  You know you are as obsessed as I am if you understand why this story makes me laugh.

If you read my previous post, you know that last night was a tearful one for me.  It’s true–I blubbered and sobbed in a most gelatinous way….  In the midst of this tearful blubbering fest, I say to Husband, “Why can’t I stop….  Why can’t I stop crying???”  And he says, “Because you’ve been holding it in and it’s finally coming out.”  (Great…..)

I sob some more, and contemplate this statement…  Then realizing that I do, in fact, share something with Christina Yang, the Ice Queen of repressed emotion, I cry out,

“Somebody Sedate Me!!!!!!”

Giggling commenced.  More tears.  And finally, sleep. 

(By the way–since we don’t have cable or network T.V, just DVD/VCR paraphenalia who wants to volunteer to offer a synopsis of each and every episode of Grey’s this season until I am able to see them all on DVD?  Don’t all raise your hands at once, now!)

Memories Aren’t Enough

Memories just aren’t enough…

So many people told me when Mom died, that memories would be my comfort.  That eventually I would look at them and smile and the pain would be less.

I still don’t believe them.  I have a lot of memories of my Mom that do make me smile…  and I like the smiling, but I don’t like the memories.

Because the memories aren’t what I want.  Memories aren’t enough.  Memories are sand slipping through my fingers when I want to hold my Mother’s hand.  Memories are my arms full of air when I want to be held by her.

I wrack my brain trying to remember exactly how she would have said a phrase, or exactly what she would have sounded like reacting to some bit of news.  I try to remember the way her eyes crinkled, or what it looked like when she walked…  but I can’t.  It’s easier when I put it in the context of a specific memory, but it’s till fuzzy around the edges, and it’s still not her.

Sobbing to my husband last night I told him that in some ways I feel like I can’t remember what she was like when she was well.  I do in some ways.  Those days were more numerous.  But the problem is, I wasn’t paying attention on the days she was well.  It took her getting really sick with a disease with a survival rate of less than 5% for me to really start looking at her and treasuring up each moment with her, or even each moment spent knowing that she was somewhere else…  but that she was…  It took that earth shattering news for me to stop taking my Mother’s presence for granted.

Parents are always there–and especially Mom’s.  I see it in Little Miss already–she just expects me to be there.  Daddy time comes in bursts, but Mommy is always there.  It changes the quality of our interactions.  Those with me are just as sweet–but different.  At 18 months she can already take it for granted that I will always be there.

As a 24 year old, you think I would have known better.  I’d moved 2000 miles away from my Mom, but she was still always there.  Always at the other end of the line of the phone.  Always willing to spend the money and get on the plane or in the car to get to me for any reason or no reason in particular.

And now she’s not here anymore.  My brain can’t get itself around that fact.  It can understand that for the last 14 months of my life she’s been gone, but it still does not understand that for however many more years I may live she will still be gone. 

And that’s what really hurts–The 14 months up to this day have been hard enough, but the hardest thing is that today isn’t the last day.  That she won’t come back in a month.  That I will wake up each and every day of the rest of my life and it will be void of her.  She won’t be here to ooo and ahhh over this next baby.  She can’t be here to tell me what it is that I did at 18 months that delighted or exasperated her when I relate stories of Little Miss.  She can’t sympathize with me in my morning sickness–these things–these incredibly precious things that a daughter and a mother are supposed to share and bond over will never be mine again. 

And remembering her–Smiling over the funny things she used to say, or unique stories that accentuate the amazing, funny, or steely-strong person that she was–It’s not enough when all I want is her.

And this is what grief is.

Who is This Person and What has she Done With My—-SELF!?

I’m going to keep this short because I have. to. lay. down…..

But…  The first trimester is kicking my butt.

I know I shouldn’t complain…  I know women who have had morning-sickness (all the freaking time sickness) so badly that they’ve had to be on anti-nausea meds of the same type as those my Mom took during chemo…  It so could be worse.

But though I’m not riding the vomit comet (technically) or tossing my cookies every ten seconds, I feel nauseated and sick and disgusting ALL THE TIME.

Also I feel exhausted ALL THE TIME–like, from the moment I open my eyes in the morning, til the moment I close them at night…  and also–I’m NOT SLEEPING WELL despite the fatigue…

And, AND…  I feel dizzy and light-headed and like I have weights on my shoulders and legs.

AND….  I am so incredibly emotional that I don’t know what side of me is ‘up.’  Therefore, trying to stay in perspective about all of the above and below maladies is very difficult.  I know they mean that bean is growing and thus I should be grateful…  I know it could be worse…  I know how incredibly blessed and lucky I am to be able to carry this child.  I do…  But it’s hard to remember when I feel like crap and my emotions don’t make any sense.

I try to do my housework…  I try to get a little exercise to combat the blahs and help with the energy…  I try to keep up with Little Miss…  And…  I…. just…. can’t….

I try to eat right like all the stupid guilt-the-mom-to be books tell me too.  I do.

But….

I HATE FOOD.

and I HATE PREGNANCY BOOKS!!!!!!

So…  So….

That is me right now.

Don’t you just love random bloggy-whines?

Worth It? Oh Yeah….

Husband, Little Miss, and I indulged my insanity this weekend and hopped in the new van for a road trip through the mountains.

Day one went well.  Little Miss didn’t get too antsy and we stopped and were out and about enough that she had plenty of time to wiggle, and even met a few goats along the way to her great delight. 

Being at the hotel that night was a different story, however….  Despite the fact that the child has just finally surpassed her record time of staying in one place (we’ve been here over six months–hurrah!), she does not do particularly well with new sleeping environments.

We laid her in her pack-and-play with dolly, teddy, and the infamous blankets and crossed our fingers.  Things were quiet for a moment….  two moments…  three…  We stopped holding our breath…  And then, “Pop!” there’s a little head sticking up over the railing.  Attempts at planned ignoring and gentle admonishment did not go over well and soon we were faced with a screaming toddler in a hotel room that did not appear to be incredibly sound proof. 

We tried everything–we put her in bed with us, we moved her pack-in-play.  I rocked her, I walked her, I sang a million verses of “Rock My Soul.”  She settled in on my chest finally for a few moments of sleep only to wake up screaming again a few more times–more walking, and rocking, and soothing–more screaming–walk, rock, sooth, sing…  Again she falls alseep on me and we get a few precious hours of sleep.

Morning comes, and Little Miss has finally fallen into that beautiful deep sleep of a child….  Husband and I, however, are awake–very awake…  We study our beautiful sleeping girl and shake our heads at one another over the night, still a little grouchy at the arduous task that is now behind us, and the day of tiredness that lies before us…. 

Finally, Little Miss begins to stir…..  She peeks open one eye and sees me, shifts, peeks open the other and sees her Daddy…  small smile.  She reaches up to rub her fingers along her Daddy’s beard, breaks out in the sweetest little girl grin you’ve ever seen in your entire life, and then begins to giggle.

I sigh, and all I can think is:

“It’s all worth it.  These little moments make it all worth it.

Update on our state of affairs

I’m not sure what to write here lately.  Tuesday we went public with the news that we’re expecting a little brother or sister for Little Miss in early May.  I’ve been excessively emotional all week (increasingly so for the last six or so), not to mention mired in fatigue and constant (if thankfully low-level) nausea.  Ahhh…  the joys of pregnancy!  But I am thankful for each and every one of these temporary maladies because I know they mean bean is doing what bean is supposed to do.

We had been hoping to discover we were expecting even while moving forward with the seminary stuff.  I got the ‘official’ acceptance letter finally and need to get more rolling there.  I just need to answer the question of when to start.  Financially January may be crunchy, and having a baby right before finals would probably be a little distracting, so we may wait until next fall.

The most attention-sucking thing in my life right now really is the question of what can I eat without wanting to crawl under a rock?  Even more than last time I am plagued with cravings that change a million times a day, and it seems the meal that was absolutely delicious last night sounds absolutely disgusting the next day.  Husband has been very patient at letting me make mealtime decisions and doing a lot of the cooking (can’t stand the smell of meat cooking…..).  Food is a terrible preoccupation to have.

In general with the delight of keeping up with my toddler (and it is truly a delight), and the way I’m feeling physically I’m back to feeling that my full job is simply to get through the days.  Hoping that things will ease off at that magical second trimester mark.