Thursday, January 05, 2017

There's No Place Like Home

"There's no place like home. There's no place like home."


Dorothy was flung into a world she didn't know, made a few amazing friends who helped her along her path, and eventually got to Oz. After everything she experienced, she just wanted to go home.  There is no place like home.

Home is where the heart is. Home sweet home.  Home is where I am with you.

There is no end of inspirational, feel good sayings about home.

But what if you don't know where home is? If home is where your heart is, then my home is Detroit and Baltimore. There are pieces in Syracuse and Rochester, chunks in Greeley and Fort Collins, scatterings in Denver.  There is no one place I feel at home.

Recently Hubs and I made an incredibly difficult decision to uproot our life in Baltimore and move back to the Denver area for a lot of reasons we thought were important.  People called it "coming home".  Isn't it good to be home?  It hit me like a ton of bricks that this just doesn't feel like home, it feels like a giant step backwards. I miss those friends I met along the way. I miss my soul sister in Baltimore who feels a million miles away right now. I miss day trips to DC and Philly. I miss drinking wine and watching The Bachelor with people who understand the obsession. I miss getting drinks in Detroit with someone who is so similar we both told our husband's the exact same thing after we met up for the first time, "I'm so glad she's not a psycho!"

The past seven months have been very hard and nothing has gotten easier. We pray, we plan, we try to do the right thing, yet somehow I feel like an outsider in a land that used to be home, sinking.

When people ask me where I'm from, it's all I can do to not burst into tears and scream "I don't know!"  Pretty sure that won't help me make any new friends.

Maybe I just need some sassy shoes like Dorothy, click my heels together, and see where I land.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Chicken Casserole



This girl eating her great grandma's famous chicken casserole recipe, and loving it. The same great grandma whom she is the spitting of; the same great grandma who I am the spitting image of.

The same chicken casserole that was both me and my sister's first solid food. The same chicken casserole Munchkin's great grandma made him the first time we visited her in New York when he was 7 months old.

The same chicken casserole eaten for years sitting around the table too many times to count with her and Grandpa, the Grandpa who passed away 6 years ago today and set into motion a chain of events that changed us forever.

Every bite I take, every bite Bitsy scarfs down, makes me cry a little more. Years of fond memories wash over me as I watch something I know my Grandparents are watching from heaven, my Grandmother smiling seeing another generation being raised on her special recipe.

All of this from one bowl of chicken casserole (minus grandma's secret ingredient).

Monday, November 14, 2016

Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli

It was Saturday morning and I was getting ready to leave for my opthamology appointment. I needed to bring a few things, including my current contacts box and my dad's sunglasses he had left at our house a few weeks prior; I'd meet him after and drop off the glasses.  I got everything ready the evening before so I didn't forget anything.

I noticed my purse had fallen over while I was getting ready to leave in the morning and quickly just shoved everything back in and left.

Fast forward to checking out at my eye doctor's office.  I needed to pay my copay; took out my wallet......none of my stuff was in the little pockets, but haphazardly stuffed into the center.  That's weird.  I couldn't find a few of my credit cards but had at least one to pay with. The front desk lady made a joke about how her daughter gets into her wallet and flings things around too. Haha, yup, that's my Bitty Girl.

I get in the car and start looking through my purse looking for all my missing things and noticed my dad's sunglasses were not in there. Crap, I KNOW I put them in here.  I keep rooting through my things, finding random credit cards, my Costco card in one pocket, a few insurance cards in the side. No sunglasses.

Being the detective I am, I find a clue as to who went through my stuff.


Somehow I don't think my dad will be able to use the unwrapped, half-eaten sucker Bitty Girl left in place of the sunglasses.

I found the glasses in a mixing bowl under the island when I got home.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Kinder-Garten

Kin-Der-Gar-Ten: mid 19th century: from German, literally ‘children's garden.’

I held your hand as we walked up to the school today.  A small line of nervous looking 5-year-olds and their parents milling around the brick wall, vying for a place in the shade.  I'm not sure who was holding on tighter, you or me; actually I know the answer, it was me.  You were sure of your place in the line, with your favorite Snoopy backpack and the airplane shirt you had picked out the night before.

As I held your tiny hand, it felt not as tiny anymore.  Emotions and memories started flooding over me as I began to realize the significance of this very moment.  You see, this is the exact moment I have worried about, prayed about, and planned for since before you were even born.

When they told me I would be giving birth just shy of the start of my third trimester, so many fears about your future were created.  Statistics were against you, terrifying terms were never-ending; brain bleeds, learning disabilities, autism, asthma, developmental delays, small size, deadly colds.  It was a daunting task to be given, to be your mom.  God gave us a terrifying path to cultivate this little life, but you did nothing but fight and flourish so we plowed ahead patiently (and let's be honest, sometimes not so patiently).

Your dad and I had a goal along with the developmental team at the hospital: get you ready for Kindergarten on time with your peers in 5 1/2 years.  We had no idea if that would ever be attainable but that was the goal.

There is hope in every garden. You start with a blank slate, plant the seed, and spend endless amounts of time cultivating, fertilizing, pulling weeds, keeping out pests, warding of things which can damage the plants.  It doesn't happen overnight, but slowly the garden starts to grow.  Your hard work starts to show as the garden grows roots and starts to flourish.

You fought every single second of your beginning but when you started to flourish, you took off like.....well, whatever plant grows really fast and strong (I'm a writer, not a botanist).

As we stand together waiting for your new teacher to welcome you in to Kindergarten, to the Garden of Children, I marvel at how normal we look.  No one would know you were barely two pounds at birth and spent your first six weeks of life in an isolette, another six weeks learning how to breathe and eat.  No one would know we spent your first 18 months at developmental clinics checking your progress, meeting with Early Intervention therapists to see how you learned new skills and what your learning style may be.


To the outside world, you are just a tall, smart, charismatic 5-year-old with a thirst for learning and all things outer-space. But we know the difference.  We see our miracle, our flourishing garden walking in the doors of a new school with sparkles in your eyes, ready to take on a new season.

Anyone who knows me knows I have a brown thumb.  But you, my son, are the most beautiful and important garden in the world.


Friday, July 08, 2016

People are People

"People are people
So why should it be
You and I should get along so awfully?

So we're different colors
And we're different creeds
And different people have different needs
It's obvious you hate me
Thought I've done nothing wrong
I've never even met you so what could I have done?"
      People are People, Depeche Mode


Cops are people behind their badge.  Are there bad cops? Absolutely. Are the vast majority good, decent people who serve and protect? Absolutely.  There are a few bad apples in every occupation, in every race, religion, gender, creed; it doesn't mean we should assume the entirety of that group acts or believes the same way.

Not all black men are criminals.  Not all cops are assholes with a gun on a power trip.  People are people and we need to stop categorizing and judging based on which category they currently fall under. White/Black, Republican/Democrat, Gay/Straight, Male/Female, Rich/Poor, Christian/Jewish/Muslim/Agnostic.  These categories aren't mutually exclusive and people who fall under one category are not exactly like others in the same category.

Everyone is unique and different; our differences are supposed to be what makes our nation great and instead we are letting it pull us apart.

I'm not give the "World Peace" speech and I don't think we're all going to hold hands and sing about our differences.  People can disagree, people can dislike each other, people can be confused by why people live, rejoice, or love a certain way; what we have forgotten how to do is respect each other, respect life.

There is so much hate in this world that I fear for my children and their future. Bad people do bad things, no category is immune to a few bad people within their ranks; but how am I supposed to explain to my kids that because one or two cops did a bad thing, some unstable person killed 5 other cops? How am I supposed to explain to them that a man was killed by people who are supposed to protect us, and that man may still be alive if he was a different race?

Stop fucking killing each other.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

The Joys of Parenting

There are those times in my journey as a parent that make me so proud and make my heart so happy it feels like my heart may burst right open from all the love.  The first time Munchkin said "mama", the first time he said "I love you", the first time he learned to blow kisses, and when he still likes to snuggle and tell me he loves me even though he's 4 1/2 (seriously, when did that happen?).

This is not one of those times.

Our nightly routine consists of Hubs putting Munchkin to bed, then I go in to snuggle, sing a few songs and get him some water before he drifts off to sleep.  His room is dark when I enter with just a small light emanating from his airplane night light.  I lay down on his bed and peel the covers back from where he's made himself an igloo and I can see the outline of his sweet face.  He extends his hand out into the darkness and I go to hold his hand.  Except for there's something in his hand. I ask with trepidation "Bubba, what is that?"

It's shit.  My child is not extending his hand so we can snuggle close, he's handing me a palm full of shit.  He had pooped in his diaper (yes, my 4-year-old still wears a diaper over night), didn't want it touching his skin so he got a tissue, pulled the poop out of his diaper, and was waiting for me to come in so I could change him.

This is what parental dreams are made of, people.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Blinded Me With Science

I knew what I was getting myself into when The Hubs and I decided to have another baby.  My pregnancy would be full of extra appointments, extra ultrasounds, extra blood work, and constant monitoring.  I was aware it could end with bed rest, hospital bed rest or having another lengthy NICU stay.

However, just because I was privy to the logistics, I was caught off guard by how much I would feel like a science experiment.

I was diagnosed by something called Low PAPP-A, low pregnancy-associated plasma A, early in my pregnancy.  Low PAPP-A is often associated with down syndrome or, in my case, associated with placenta and pre-eclampsia problems.  At 14 weeks, this wasn't the best news I could hear but it didn't automatically mean I would run into problems.  There is not a lot known about why this occurs but it's not an automatic "you're doomed".  "We'll just wait and watch," the O.B. team said.

The radiologist looks for notching on my uterine arteries which can indicate the baby isn't getting proper nutrition and oxygen. Part of my monthly ultrasound is testing the flow of those arteries.  At this point I can read the ultrasound waves as the tech is performing the scan and know whether or not the notching is still mild or if it has gotten worse.

I can pull up my blood labs online and figure out what my protein levels are, my platelet levels, my hematocrit levels, uric acid, creatinine, and liver enzymes.  I know what the levels should be and which direction is good or bad.

I'm constantly on the lookout for swelling, headaches, ringing ears, and seeing spots.  I know the proper way to take my own blood pressure and what good and acceptable readings are.

I'm a fucking science experiment.

Sometimes I feel like I'm not looked at as a pregnant woman but as an experiment as to how long I can stay pregnant with all these variables before pre-eclampsia rears its ugly head.  The hospital is keeping my placenta after birth to study the affects of Low PAPP-A (it's a research hospital who just happens to specialize is Low PAPP-A research), and I've signed a waiver for them to anonymously use my medical records while they study HELLP Syndrome and Pre-Eclampsia and what happens in subsequent pregnancies.

While I'm happy I can do my part with their research, it's sometimes hard and I fall apart.  I'm just a mom trying to complete my family not Case Study 472.  I put on a hard front but underneath I'm afraid of all these conditions and feel like I'm constantly waiting for the other foot to fall.

I'm on bed rest so the other foot has been raised, there's no telling how fast it'll come down.  Maybe I have until 36 weeks, maybe I don't.

Guess they can put that in their notes.