My Heart Just Melted . . .

Last night I was up late wrapping little week-by-week gifts for my son and daughter-in-law as they count down their last trimester of pregnancy with their baby girl. Some things I’d made, some things we’d bought (by we I mean Michael bought her an adult coloring book with a Dr. Seuss theme. Totally not age-appropriate! I’ll rein him in at some point. Probably when he wants to buy her a pony. After all, she has a Great Dane mix, and if she needs something larger I prefer a llama. I could use it to do an outdoor reading of the Llama Llama series by Anna Dewdney and then ship that sucker down with some nearby horses headed that way. We’re in Kentucky, they’re in Texas. Grandparenting trumps all – I can get them a llama delivered.
anna-dewdney
As I lay in bed at midnight, package (freakin’ huge, heavy package! Do NOT try to pick it up, Catherine!!) sealed I remembered the cedar chest. The one my in-laws gave me and in which I’ve preserved family memorabilia. I dug through it today and found the beautiful white booties and sweater my sister-in-law had crocheted for Aaron, his favorite stroller toy, and (sob!) the adorable outfit my best friend brought in from Atlanta and that we took him home in.

Actually, I was a bit surprised at how big it was! And I have the hospital picture of it, fitting him nicely. YIKES! Aaron was 8’9″ at birth, and everyone in the room laughed when I asked if I’d had to have an episiotomy. (To my credit, I only asked for an epidural after I started planning my husband’s murder.) The doctor who was able to speak first said, “There was nothing further we could cut!” Yeah, that’s comforting to a first-time mom, nurse or not!

So I sent a picture of the outfit to my daughter-in-law, emphasizing that having a baby a couple of weeks early (if your doc suggests it) can be a good thing!
baby-dior
Of course, I have to say that my younger child’s birth (even though he was a week early and 3 oz. smaller) was more difficult and stressful. THREE ounces. That’s a shot and a half. If you are pushing a bowling ball out your va-jay-jay a shot and a half doesn’t matter unless it’s alcohol you ingest shortly beforehand.

With my youngest my amniotic fluid was like pea soup, they insisted I be on the monitor all the time (quite reasonable), and then when it came time for me to push some blonde woman hopped up, knees on the bed, and started shoving on my belly. This was not covered in nursing school when I graduated in 1988. It was like she was performing CPR about 18 inches too low on an awake, alert, annoyed person. The me of today would have yanked her hair and screamed, “What the F are you doing?!” Since I was still nice then I just kept pushing. I also found a sweet card from that nurse in the cedar chest.

Pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting your first child are hot topics. By hot I mean everyone has a story to share, some advice to give, and at least one urban myth to impart (there was a twin behind the other baby on every view – we had no idea! – Umm, your ultrasound tech needs to cut down on the breakfast drugs.)

Scream and jump if someone touches your belly unasked – word will get around. Smile and lie your a$$ off for your own entertainment. Tell them you are having a litter, and only just found out when your belly started growing. Tell them it’s an alien and ask them to back away slowly and silently. Tell them you are a surrogate and currently carrying a celebrity’s baby, but you’ve signed a confidentiality agreement. The guy with you? Your personal assistant. You might as well get a few laughs out of someone using your bladder as a trampoline, right?

My eldest’s coming-home outfit – which I’d forgotten I’d kept. What melts your heart these days? Mama Kat’s Writers’ Workshop

my newest baby-centered activity!

Family Only Languages

My absolute favorite episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation is Darmok:
darmok
Why? Because it combines my love of anthropology and communication with my whole-hearted belief that authenticity is essential for any lasting relationship among family or friends. What I want most is not to be thin, rich, popular, attractive, intelligent, or talented. I just want to be genuine – authentic. However you want to phrase it.

This post is all about the languages my family communicates with. We all love Mel Brooks movies, no matter how politically incorrect. Soups are fabulous winter meals, but we can’t get through a single evening without someone spouting, “Judas! Try the soup!” (It’s not quite right, but close enough.)
mel-brooks
The Birdcage is another family favorite, and when my eldest used to act surprised to find microwave popcorn in the pantry I’d always say, “Yeah, the popcorn fairy dropped by.” Now, when we’re down a car (most of the time) my husband will text “fairy dust, fairy dust, fairy dust” to let me know he’s playing wine fairy and picking up a box o’wine (we’re poor).
fairy-dust
Back when Michael and I were first dating (he’s from Louisville, KY) he didn’t understand that The Ballgame ONLY meant the University of Kentucky was playing someone. Or that wearing any color other than Wildcat Blue on game day was verboten!

He and I have our own language for days he makes a 400-mile round-trip to a lab near the Tennessee border. I worry because there are still areas he can’t get cell reception, so he’ll text me, “NARF!” when he gets to the lab. It’s a reference to a short-lived Warner Brothers cartoon called Pinky and the Brain which I dearly loved. Their Christmas special was particularly wonderful.
pinky_and_the_brain
What snippets of movies, TV shows, books, etc make up YOUR family’s language?

 

2017 Resolutions and Prayers


2016 wasn’t a great year for me. There were some fantastic moments (like finding out I was going to be a grandmother!) but there were a lot more days full of frustration, anger, pain, and depression. I ran across my list of 2016 resolutions the other day and realized I hadn’t achieved any of them. With some I’d even moved further from my goals. So my 2017 plan will be completely different.

— 1 —

I will care my myself as I would a daughter, sister, or beloved friend. Remember the Golden Rule from Sunday School? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” That’s great for little ones, but when we are adults we need to stop the negative self-talk. I won’t call myself fat, lazy, or selfish. I’ll think about what I would say to someone I loved if they felt that way. And I’ll pray for help seeing myself in a different light and making changes where I can.

— 2 —

I will accept my limitations. I can’t stand for more than fifteen minutes. I can’t sit for more than thirty. That’s on a good day. Taking a shower feels like what running a 5K used to feel like. I’ve got a new medication patch I’m cautiously optimistic about, but even with insurance it costs as much as a week of groceries. So I’m using it sparingly. My disease process is never going to get better, only worse. Hence the first word: Degenerative. I can only hope to slow it, because at the rate it’s going I won’t be able to bend my spine at all by the time I’m sixty. So I’m going to paraphrase St. Teresa and try to do small things with great love!

— 3 —

I will stay authentic. When I was having a bad day earlier this month I posted on FaceBook. Yes, I’m one of those people who shares both happy and sad moments on social media. I’ve been accused of “airing dirty laundry” on FB, but nearly all the comments I got on this post mentioned something about how “genuine” or “authentic” I was. There is no higher praise as far as I’m concerned. I refuse to be caught up in other people’s lies. Perhaps I have just worn out my filter after all these years working with doctors, but I enjoy being honest in all my interactions. Perhaps that will keep me from earning a Lexus selling Nerium with my husband, but I don’t think so. It may take me longer, but I know I’ll have earned it honestly and made no promises I can’t keep.

— 4 —

I will count my blessings. I keep a prayer journal, but in the warm months my entries are sporadic. If I feel up to it when the dogs want a potty break at 8 a.m. (my first pain med and muscle relaxer are at 6 a.m.) then I’ll stay up to check email, and perhaps have breakfast. But on a stormy or cold day I may need some time to make my way out from under the covers after seeing to the fur-babies’ needs. In the winter I always need my Happy Light, and that’s a great time to write in my prayer journal. Blessings I’m thankful for first, then prayers. I want to make this a habit every day, not just the hardest days.

— 5 —

I will continue writing. Again, it’s difficult with my physical limitations to write a blog post, let alone a novel. But I enjoy it, and it’s an outlet for my creativity. Hopefully once I’m ready to publish my books people will enjoy them. Being able to entertain others would make me incredibly happy!

— 6 —

I will become more organized. This one is going to take lots of prayers for patience on my part. Having my life, my home, and my thoughts disorganized is incredibly frustrating to me, and only worsens my depression. But spending hours sorting and dumping things, re-copying from one calendar to another, etc inevitably leads to me overextending myself and ending up writhing in pain in my bed for a day or two. Even after all these years I still need to use my timer every single day or I pay the price.

— 7 —

I will simplify my life. All the “stuff” that surrounds me is distracting and anxiety-provoking. Living simply will be easier, healthier, and much more rewarding in the long run. Yes, I’m going to finally buy the “tidying up” book that I’ve had in my Amazon inbox for forever. Or perhaps I’ll see how long the wait is at the library. That would force me to read it promptly to avoid late charges 😉

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