Not Even Bird Mortality Can Ruin These Things!

Despite the chronicle of bird mortality written below, I’m feeling much better (at least in moments where I don’t feel like I’m just way freaking in over my head with the toddler and the newborn…). 

Just when I thought that I wasgoing to be totally overcome by the muddly feelings, we got really smart and got ourselves out of the house.  We went to a little town nearby and tried out a new restaurant.

Trying out restaurants in this part of the country is rather disappointing, when you grew up on good old Midwestern greasy-spoon family style restaurants with delectable delicacies like perfectly browned grilled-cheeses on Texas toast and crinkly fries.  Husband and I have long been convinced that ‘northwestern cuisine’ just means “Mediocre and overpriced.”  And for crying out loud–who puts Grilled-Cheese sandwiches on fancy schmancy bread with crunchy oats and grains in it and who wants weird cheese on such a sandwich??? (for the record I generally like crunchy oats and grains, but there is no place for them  on such a staple sandwich, ok?)?  It’s GRILLED CHEESE!!!!

So anyway, we saw this little drive in place that looked worth trying. 

And…  it was.

It had normal grilled cheese, with sourdough bread, and just the right melty kind of cheese.  And crinkly fries.  And root beer.  And reasonable prices. 

It had…  little red baskets and greasy waxed paper.

It had regular plain old burgers that weren’t so tall that you couldn’t hold them your hands or even get a decent bite out of one.

And on top of all that….  It had MALTS.

We ate there, and it was good…  We have found a new restaurant.  We experienced much giddiness over this.

The next day, some folks from the Bible Study that I attended these last nine months or so came by and surprised me with the most amazing gift:  Apparently all of my fellow-class members chipped in and bought me a one hour massage.

Can you believe that???  A one hour massage!!!!  I’ve never had a massage before.  I’m in heaven just thinking about it.  A whole hour of…  relaxation and pampering just for me!!!  I can’t wait!!!!  AND, I was so incredibly taken aback by the generosity and thoughtfulness of these wonderful people who I had the privilege to study with.   

Sometimes even little things can dig you out of the muddle, and get you off of the pity pot.

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Bird Tragedy–Is the Universe Trying to Tell me Something?

 ***Note:  Perhaps a difficult read for those sensitive to bird-injustices and animal tragedy–Sarah B-Little, this means you!!!***

Little Miss is asleep and Baboo 2 just dozed off on my lap, which means I should theoretically try to lay her down, and finally go and get my shower for the day, but I’m not.  Instead, I’m here blogging and why?  Because I need the therapy of the sound of the keys clacking down one after another.

So I’ll tell you the bird story.

A few days ago, I was having one of my muddly days.  Husband was home, everyone but me was napping, and I decided to go sit out in the sunshine and try to make sense of the swirling thoughts in my head.  I took a little snack out and found a nice lush patch of grass in the sun. 

I wasn’t in a great headspace that day.  I was feeling overwhelmed with the newness of everything right now, and especially with the coming deployment, short though it may be (It was briefing day.  How I hate the briefings.  They always lead me to feel so fragile.). 

On top of that, I was doing my very best introspective ponder life and death ridiculousness. 

So I’m sitting there, just hoping for some perspective and peace when I see this flash of  fur tear across our yard in the direction of our bird feeder.  I focus on the flash and see that it has come to a stop in a precarious position–hanging by it’s front paws from our bird feeder.  I watched in frozen horror as it wrestled it’s jaws around something feathery and yellow–one of our beautiful yellow finches which had come to feed.

Finally, the cat’s strength gave out and he landed abruptly under the feeder.  The poor finch was left still perched on the feeder…  then, it let loose, flew all the way across the yard with it’s last breath, or it’s nerves and synapses firing their last, I’m not sure which, and came to land not 3 feet away from me. 

I was all the way across the yard from the stupid feeder.  Seriously.  It was on one side of the yard, I was on the other.  There was a vast amount of space between  us.  But this poor bird, came to it’s final resting place not three feet from me of all places.  It could have gone any direction…  could have even landed in another neighbor’s yard.  But here it lay, cosmically delivered at my feet.  I peered at the bird, hoping desperately that he was still alive…  that I could be ridiculous and call the animal clinic and see if there was anything that could be done for the little guy.  I looked for an intake of breath or any little movement.  Nothing.  I so very much hoped…  but the bird was gone.

So I sit there, already feeling very fragile, and I crumple into tears prompting Husband to come out in bewilderment to find out what was wrong with his hysterical wife. 
And what was wrong with his wife?  Well…  I gotta tell you it was one of those moments where you feel as if the universe just shat upon you.  One of those moments where you wonder to yourself–was there a cosmic purpose to me being here at this exact moment in time to witness this grizzly feline act and the pitiable bird result?

Was God trying to tell me something by delivering this fragile bit of yellow to rest at my feet after drawing it’s last birdy breath?  Was their some cosmic direction at work propelling him across the yard straight toward me?  And if so…  what was the message I was supposed to glean from it all?

I have no idea.  I can’t come up with any profound lesson to learn…  I can’t in good conscience spin this into a lesson of the fragility of life.  It’s possible, I guess, that I was there just to bear witness as someone who would care about the little bird but why don’t other little birds get afforded such dignity?   I would surely hope it wasn’t a forboding warning of life to come or of judgement or some other maudlin thing like that.  I really just don’t know.  

And so, the poor birdy was the first to find rest in our little birdy cemetery.  He was joined a week or so later by another finch who succumbed to a fatal ‘bird bonk’ after flying into our window.

And so you see…  I really do take myself a little too seriously sometimes.  But I still have to wonder at the timing of it all.  Don’t you ever do that?

Rest In Peace little, Gold-finch friend.  Don’t worry, we’re on the lookout for that kitty of darkness and doom and we shall avenge your feathered friendliness cut tragically short.  We are committed to striving to see that no other birdies will have to succumb to such a fate.

Especially less than three feet from me on an introspective and fragile day when I am sitting in the sunshine hoping for peace and perspective.  I just don’t handle it well.

Double Daughter Cuteness

Just to show that I’m not all gloom-glut, here are some bits of double daughter cuteness:

Baboo 2 has her own little process of deciding whether or not she wants to wake up….  First, she opens one eye just a tiny bit so you see just the slit of her pretty little eye-ball.  She looks right, looks left, and you can see her considering, “Does this look like a good time to be awake?”  If she decides it might  be, she opens the other eye just slightly, and looks with both–left, right, “Is it really worth it to wake up right now?”  Then she flutters her eyes, yawns, and wakes up.

Little Miss starts most mornings with calls of…  well first with calls of, “Nilk!  Nilk PLEASE!”  Then after she gets her milk, it’s a constant stream of “Har?!  Har?!”  In case you don’t know Little Miss speak that translates to:  “Hold her?   Hold her?”  I *told you* she *does* like her little sister (take that all you people who told me she’d be ready to get rid of her after a week)!

Along with “Har?!  Har?!” we often hear Little Miss ask for a “Psiss” and tuck her top lip under her bottom lip.  Translation this time:  I want to kiss you! (or sister, or the cat).

Baboo 2 doesn’t cry at night when she wants fed, she just grunts (yes folks…  she’s definitely got a whole new temperment wholly different from her sister’s!).

Little Miss is as enthralled with Baboo 2’s bouncy seat as Baboo is–probably more so…  We’re lucky so far, she hasn’t catapulted her baby sister across the room…. yet…. 

Little Miss thoroughly enjoys her new sandbox.  Incidentally, each time she visits it she feels the need to ingest at least a scoop-full of sand….

So far my biggest ‘worry factor’ with Baboo 2 has been the fear that she isn’t producing a good enough number of dirty-diapers.  Yes, you heard right.  So far the poop gods are smiling down upon us (don’t worry the rule of mommy fairness is bound to catch me some way soon).  And yes this means that I’m not nearly as paranoid the second time around.  But I am still a little paranoid.

Baboo 2 has at least one dimple.  Husband is sure that means that she must have two…  But I’m only convinced of one.  I’m in love with the dimple.

We’re still not used to using words like ‘girls’ and ‘kiddos’ with those beautiful ‘s’es on the end, and Husband and I find ourselves stumbling and smiling each time we utter them.  On the flip-side, we do have those moments of looking around going, “Holy cow!  We have TWO kids?!!  How did THAT happen?”

Ok, so now that you’re sick to your stomach with all of the maternal gooeyness, feel free to read the whine below and be assured that at least I strive for balance.

Mommy Muddling… A Whine, I Suppose.

I want to sit down and plunk out a really perky post.  Or, a thought-provoking one.  Or…  A poignant one about motherhood and all of the joy and ecstasy that it brings.  Maybe tomorrow I will be able to write such a post, but today…  Not today…

Today I’m muddling, and there’s just no getting around it.

I feel like I should be thriving.  Like I should be blissed out, and living on fumes of happiness.  Like the immense love that I feel for my newborn–for both of my babies–should cushion me from feeling any negative thing.

But as I learned in my year of birth and death the first time I tasted this motherhood thing, every positive has it’s negative.  The glorious of life often contains tastes of difficulty.

It’s not that things are so bad.  They aren’t.  The girls are doing well.  Little Miss really IS in love with her little sister.  Baboo 2 really is remarkably easy-going (in fact I am feeling somewhat vindicated in sometimes saying that Little Miss is a ‘high-maintenance’ kid and was a ‘high maintenance’ baby).  Husband is home, and helpful, and here.

But you see, I’m also so tired.  The lack of sleep is draining me. 

And Little Miss is also still two, and hates her bedtime, and has turned into a brick-wall when I want her to ‘listen and do.’  It’s enough to make me tremble with frustration. 

And I still miss my Mom.  Fiercely.  We’re back into those May days when I start to see her home with her still in it for those last two months…  When I look back without meaning to and remember those last days with her…  I need those memories, but they hurt.  And between the time of year and the motions of having an infant again the flashbacks are coming without warning, and without bidding and I’m trying not to let them knock me down when they come.

And my husband still leaves in a month.  And even though that is ‘normal’ for us, it is hard, and scary, and daunting, and I just don’t feel at all up to it right now.

I want to be delighted and feel empowered by the new wonderment in my life.  I want to be blissed out in the greatness of us all being together for a little bit before husband goes.  I want to feel like I excel at being a Mom….  like I’m not faking it all the time…  like I’m not sucking up the stage of the Mommy Theatre Troupe’s performances these days.  I want to feel on top of my game, and able to tackle this thing called my life with grace and poise and happiness and steadiness.  I want to not worry that I fixate on the negative and gloss over the positive.  I really am so grateful for all of the wonderful, but I still feel myself simply stumbling.  I don’t want to feel like such a drag.

But I’m not there right now.  I’m tired.  I’m frustrated.  I’m trying so hard, and coming up so short.

I’m worrying about next month and the feeling of a ‘normal deployment’ and I feel sheer terror at doing all of this parenting stuff by myself.  Even if it is a ‘short one.’  Those months still look so daunting, and the word ‘alone’ so isolating.

So you see, I’m trying.  And I know I will come out on the other side of all of this somehow.  I know that the mind-numbing fatigue will ease up gradually until I wake up one morning in a few months or a year without the bags under my eyes and without having to drag my feet for the first mile’s worth of steps.  I will get through this month of ‘lasts’ and get down to the months of ‘countdown.’  And he will come home, and life will go on and we’ll be on to the next set of challenges.  We’ll get through it.

And until then, well…  I guess I’ll just fake it, and continue just plugging on, doing my best, and hoping that I’m not screwing my girls up too badly in the meantime.

I just hope that’s enough.

Childhood Cancers

Here’s another of the underfunded and underrepresented cancer-groups that so often gets left behind or looked over.  This group is one that it’s probably easier not to look at because it’s just so scary, and let’s face it.  It just sucks that we live in a world where kids get cancer.

They need us to be aware.  They need us to know their stories and to take up their cause.  They need a voice too.  Lizard Eater has helped me to see that when we talk about ‘cancer’ with the trumpets and bright yellow of Lance Armstrong (and kudos for him for getting us talking about it!)  but forget about the young people who also deal with the disease, we do them a great disservice.  Especially because childhood cancers are a whole new ballgame compared to those that afflict adults. 

She has helped me to see that there is more to the story than bald headed, big-eyed St. Jude’s commercials. 

See what Lizard Eater, a UU Minister and the mother of Little Warrior who battled a Wilm’s tumor as an infant, has to say about childhood cancers.

 More here.

The Hole Remains…

I don’t notice it most of the time.  I choose not to.  There is living to be done.  She would want that.

Most of the time now, it’s business as usual.  Even mentally, despite my introspective tendencies to hash and rehash everything.

But there is still this hole. 

Where she should be.

Since Baboo 2 made her appearance I haven’t been able to ignore the hole.  There is the absence of her arms to place her grandchild in.  The absence of her voice to reassure me.   The absence of her hand to squeeze mine.  The absence of her giddiness at not just any baby to hold and ooo and ahh at, but her grand-daughter.

I had her sweater with me in the delivery room and after.  In quiet moments when no one was around, I would lean into it and cry wishing for her to share in those beautiful first moments of my daughters life.

She should be here to see that Baboo 2 has dark hair, and beautiful alert eyes during her awake time.  She should be here to muse at her easy-going nature.  She should be here to hear that she is named after her mother (my Grandma)–the other most extraordinary woman to bless my life.

And today…  my first day on my own, for some reason the awareness of the hole is especially strong.  I want to talk to her.  I want to share my children with her.  I want to hear her laugh, and smile, and remember what she looks like when she’s sitting across the room from me, or what it feels like to hear her voice on the other side of the phone-line.  I want her.  This is no time to not have a mother. 

I don’t see it most of the time, but the hole is still there.  Truthfully, I still just can’t help but feel like she should be here. 

I’m so setting myself up for failure….

The house is tidy (well ok…  tidyish), I’ve folded and put away three loads of laundry (started two more), and done two loads of dishes.  I finished baking the cookies that had to be abandoned to the refrigerator last night when Little Miss refused to sleep for 3.5 hours (for the…  um…  90th day in a row or something?).  Both kids are dressed, I’m dressed.  The bed is made, and a sweep for trash has been done and redone. 

Forget about napping when they nap.  There are things to be done!

It’s husband’s first day back to work.

I’m so setting myself up here, aren’t I??