Sunday, July 29, 2012

Meeting Grandma

Alex took Francine to Mary S Young for a walk and to eat lunch at my mom's bench last week. My heart both sang and saddened when he texted me this adorable photo.


We spent a fabulous weekend in Manzanita with the Mennes.

Favorite memories include, but are not limited to: Logan signing "more" every time he liked something (bananas, kites, laughter, bananas, Francine's toes, bananas). Francie skeet-skeeting on Alex. Homemade marionberry pancakes. Googling Twitter (#whatthefucksahashtag). The Bean's first sunburn. Gizzy and Mac running along the beach together. "Yarn" shopping. Saltwater taffy and pizza over indulging. And my education of instagram.

As it turns out, instagram is more than just a cool app to edit photos (everyone looks better in "Nashville"). Apparently, instagram is much like Facebook in some ways. Instagram has a newsfeed-like feature. On instagram you have "friends" or "followers." instagram, like Facebook, is essentially public. In other words, should you choose to edit, say, a photograph of your ass in hospital-administered, netted, bloody, grandma underwear less than 24 hours after pushing out your first baby in order to send to your BFF via text for nothing more than a good laugh (just hers, not everyone), then you should be prepared for ANYONE else to see said picture as well.

Lesson learned: if you wouldn't post a gruesome post partum picture on Facebook, you probably shouldn't do so on instagram either. Every time you want to make your photos look hipster cool, think about it first. Just sayin.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Passing Time

I just finished reading a book called Half Baked: The story of my nerves, my newborn, and how we both learned to breathe, by Alexa Stevenson. There was a passage she recounted from her own journal around the time she brought her preemie daughter home from the hospital, when she was already 4 months old and just passing her actual due date.

The way Ms. Stevenson articulates her perception of time and of her growing child resonated with me. I could not have said it better myself. Literally. I am not that eloquent of a writer.

"I was all too aware of time passing, however, which turned out to be the most difficult usual difficulty of all. Every once in a while I would lie in bed staring at Simone in her bassinet next to me, and feel a pain the felt positively medieval, like I was being emotionally drawn and quartered. Babies, by nature, are impermanent, and the knowledge filleted me. I didn't WANT Simone to get older. I would have liked her to remain my smiling, milk-scented newborn forever. I knew this was horrible of me, and selfish - I should have delighted in the thought of watching my daughter bloom into independence, but I didn't, at least not always. Partly, it seemed like all these different, future Simones were separate people, each cruelly killing her precendent. Sure, I'd probably love the little girl Simone, and the older-still Simone she'd become, but I also resented this stranger, deeply, because she was going to steal my baby from me. I wondered if, when I was very old, I would still miss my missing baby. It seemed unfair I couldn't keep her."

And again later ...

"Sometimes, I just stare at you, unable to believe you are really here, and really mine. When I pluck you from your crib in the morning, I feel overwhelmed by my luck, and your sweetness.

Everyone says that time goes fast with children, and while I always assumed the years would skid by, I was surprised at how damnably short the hours are as well. There is never enough space in a day for all the things I want to do with you, and mostly, I just manage the basics, and tell myself that tomorrow we will do more. But I never catch up, and you are already outgrowing your first clothes.

... Every minute I spend with you is a good one, and there will never be enough of them."

Thursday, July 26, 2012



Well, fuck. Alex got laid off. It was not unexpected, of course, but I think we were both holding out a little faith that because he loved his job and was a devoted educator and employee, that maybe he'd be spared. Unfortunately, after weeks of being in the dark - about whether or not he would have a teaching position, whether it would indeed be at the same school, whether he would coach soccer and in what capacity - he got word that, indeed, Southridge High School will no longer have the space or money for his (excellent) services. He's pissed. Rightfully so. Had the teachers voted in favor of 10+ furlough days, more teachers might have been spared. I keep hoping The Oregonian will get a well-worded letter to the editor from him. But it seems he's too upset to actually sit down and write anything worth printing.

The silver lining, I suppose, is that he was smart enough (and lucky enough) to have initiated a back-up plan in the Spring. He interviewed for two positions in the West Linn School District, and was offered a job teaching freshman and junior English at my alma mater. The principal was nice enough to give him multiple extensions for his response, and when Alex found out he got riffed from Beaverton, he promptly accepted the job at West Linn.

The hardest part for Alex - aside from losing his fabulous bike commute - is how much he resists change. He's not a big fan of transitions, and although he almost always ends up loving what he's doing, it takes him a while to let go of the old and warm up to the new.

The pros of the new job: he remains employed; he and Trevor will be co-workers; he will get to teach a population of students with a bit more support and more motivation to learn ... He has paid employment through the next year, and we have only one month in between the two contracts where we pay out of pocket for our health insurance.

The cons: he has to make new friends; he will commute by car; he loses his two-years of seniority in the Beaverton School District; he will miss his students; he no longer teaches electives Media as Lit and Creative Writing.

Beaverton laid off more than 200 teachers and transferred more than 300. Sure, it sucks for our family. It sucks for those teachers who might not have other job opportunities. It sucks for the teachers who remain because they lose their colleagues and the schools have poor morale. But most importantly it sucks for the students.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

18 Weeks

Four Months

Francie is as cute as ever. She's now four months old and I can hardly believe just how much she's grown. She's really not such a little bean anymore, at least no compared to her newborn self. She had her well-baby check-up Friday and got her recent stats:

Weight: 13.0 lbs (25-50th %ile)
Length: 25.5 inches (90th %ile)

Her little baby butt weighed her in at 13 pounds even.

Somehow she's tall, at least for the time being.

Appearance: Like a real, live baby. Neck rolls, chubby cheeks. A.D.O.R.A.B.L.E. Beady blue eyes. No more, no less, hair than when she was born. Very fair, reddish hues in the light. Seriously big lower pouty lip. Big feet. Long fingernails (we are too lame to cut them). Little big belly, as Alex says. Or big little belly.

Eating: During the week she takes about 3 bottles of 4-5 oz with Alex while I'm at work. Garbles them down like it's her last supper. Nurses in the morning before I leave for work, nurses a few times in the evening. May or may not wake up in the middle of the night to feed, but side-lying allows me to not even recall if I had a tittie hanging out.

Sleeping: She doesn't technically sleep with us, but recently started sleeping in her bassinet by my side of the bed. Since I've been back to work, she goes to bed with me, I nurse her, and we sleep together until Alex comes to bed sometimes after midnight. He swaddles her up and tucks her into her own bed. Somehow every morning I wake up with the Bean in my bed, but I never do know when she snuck back in. She is very very sneaky sneaky sir. She's not much of a napper during the day, but she lets us sleep well at night, so no complaints. Every so often she'll throw in a nice long nap, usually in the morning, but is more of a cat-napper if left to her own devices. She has been falling asleep in bed with me around 10 p.m., wakes up maybe once in the middle of the night to nurse, sleeps until sometime in the earlier morning, takes a bottle from Alex, and then goes back to sleep until 9ish. She always wakes up happy as a clam, and that's my favorite time of day with her (on the weekends).

Playing/Personality: She's a smiley little bean. She's started to play with toys (rings, Sophie the Giraffe, a rattle) but she doesn't quite have the motor skills to actually put things in her mouth. So she ends up trying to get her head closer to her hands, rather than vice versa, and then cries about it. She's a serious drooler. Like a Saint Bernard. She loves looking at faces, and is so curious to stare at the world around her. She is intermittently fussy, usually in the late afternoon or early evenings. She doesn't cry much, per se, but fusses when she wants to be held or just wants attention. Or when she's tired and needs help falling asleep. She LOVES when we sing to her. She coos along with us, and giggles. It's all Baby Beluga, You Are My Sunshine, and Bean-O in this household. She still farts and burps a lot. And we still think it's hilarious. She likes to look at herself in the mirror. She's getting more comfortable with tummy time. For someone who hasn't been forced to spend much time on her belly, she sure does have strong neck muscles and good head control. She can roll from her front to her back, if her arms are propped up for. If she has her arms pinned under her body, she just wails and squawks and doesn't even try to move. She seems like she's going to start sitting up on her own sooner than later. She loves the Bumbo chair, which we just started using. And the other day outside she sat up on her own for several seconds before teetering over to the side and face-planting in the grass.

"Four months is my favorite!" I exclaimed to Alex the other day. He reminded me that I said the same thing about 3 months. And 2 months. And 1 month. You get the point. It's just so fun to watch someone grow and learn. I marvel at the fact that I grew another human being in my body. And now she's just her own little person, interfacing with the world around her. How badass is that!

And, of course, several of my favorite photos from the last few weeks ...

She loves sitting up, propped on the bed or couch, like a big girl.

Are you mom enough? That's right, breastfeeding in the back yard on the hammock.

Sleeping beauty.

Huck Finn? Tom Sawyer? Or my baby girl, dressed by her daddy.

Mama loves Bean.

Naked baby,

Like father like daughter. Not even staged.

The inaugral seat in the Bumbo chair.

As for Alex, he has has really shined as a stay-at-home daddy. Everyday he manages to do tummy time, keep the kitchen relatively clean, launder the diapers as needed, and seem happy to greet me - and even stay up inappropriately late watching Game of Thrones and drinking cheap beer (hey, we've been a one-income family these days). I've been a self-involved, weepy mess, and he's mostly kept it together. Except if it's the middle of the night.  Mr. Hyde comes out then. It's as though Alex isn't actually awake, but some mean version of him is. Fortunately, I'm so quick to respond to Francie's whimpers or squawks that Alex doesn't get much of a chance to unleash the beast. He seems to love staying home and playing with his little girl, and it's hard to think about when we are both back at work, what lucky person is going to get to spend more time with our little bean than even we are?!?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Ugh, FML

Wednesday 7/18/12

Pumping and crying in a windowless office is not how I envisioned my life at 30 years. I know, wah, wah, wah. A tiny violin is playing in my honor.

I keep saying how hard it is to work fulltime as a new, breastfeeding, mother. But I should be even more specific. It's difficult to be a new mom, breastfeed, pump, bike commute, and carry on some semblance of a normal life with regard to my husband, family, friends, and house responsibilities - all while working fulltime as a fellow. It's one thing to spend 40-50 hours at the office every week, but it's a whole different story to work 40-50 hours/week in a traineeship. It sucks to spend all-day-every-day feeling inadequate, incompetent, inept, and insignificant, and then go home to your family and feel like you missed out on the stuff that really matters.

As a SLP fellow at the Portland VA Medical Center, I am part employee and part student. Because I've earned my Master's degree in Communication Disorders and Sciences, I am technically a speech-language pathologist. But I then need a clinical fellowship year (CFY), where I am required a certain number of hours of supervision, in order to earn my Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) through ASHA, the "professional, scientific, and credentialing association" for SLPs, audiologists, and related services. At the VA, a fellow has full supervision/training, much like a medical resident. I work under the instruction/guidance/liability of my supervisors, I do 3-month rotations, and rarely make an official clinical decision without getting it approved by my supervisors. Believe it or not, it's quite a privilege to get hired on as an SLP fellow at the VA. Most of my cohort from graduate school went out and got regular jobs, with periodic check-ins from supervisors from afar. Meanwhile, I'm getting serious training. I'm learning about every aspect of medical speech pathology with the adult population.  Which means I'm expected to know things related to our scope of practice - swallowing, language, cognition, speech, voice - but also about respiratory infection, cardiac procedures, cancer treatment, brain lesions, neurological disease processes, enteral nutrition, etc, which contribute to the medical fragility of our patients. In other words, there's a lot of fucking information to learn and put into practice. So that's the student part. The employee part is that I'm paid, expected to be there for (at least) 40 hours/week, and I get a free bus pass.

If I could get over the anxiety of being Debbie Do-Right and worry less about what my supervisors and colleagues think of me, maybe I'd have some room in my brain to actually learn what I feel like I don't know. I suppose I just have to keep in mind that my supervisors have overseen dozens of students and fellows throughout the years. I can't be the most incompetent of the them all. Or can I? Someone has to be the worst, after all. I just don't like the idea that it's me.

And because my constant worry about fucking up has corroded my confidence, I now actually am fucking up. For example, one of my supervisors explicitly asked me to do a few simple things for a patient at the end of the day - calling the team to pass along our recommendations, writing nursing orders for feeding the patient, and signing another chart note. I even wrote these tasks down. Yet I still failed to do them. Instead, I waited until the middle of the following night to wake up in a panic, obsessing over how I'd forgotten. I've even started being paranoid that every time my supervisors talk in a hushed tone or behind closed doors, that they're talking about me. What an airhead I am. How little it seems like I know. How they are confused why I got good recommendations before they hired me. How women with babies are less productive at work. How annoyed they are at having to tell me to do everything, like, why shouldn't I just know more already? 

Let's face it, I'm miserable. There's nothing quite like feeling perpetually inadequate. I go to work each day, keeping my tail mostly between my legs because I just don't know what I'm doing. Then I go home in the evening, saddened by what I missed out on during the day (Francie rolled over! She took a three hour nap! She did tummy time without fussing!) In order to curb the daily threats of crying on the job, Alex recommended I re-instate my placenta pills. Per advice from our doula, we saved a couple dozen pills for my transition back to work. I'm not confident that eating my own organs will do much for improving life balance, but these days I'm willing to try anything.

Auntie Visit

The Aunties came for a visit last weekend and we had a nice long weekend of wedding dress shopping (Katie), admiring belt buckles (Erika),  showing off babies (Rachel and me), and gossiping (all of us). It was so fun to have an uninterrupted weekend of BFF time, which we haven't had just the four of us (and Cindy, too) for several months. I miss them already! Then again, I feel so lucky to have Rachel, Trevor and Logan only a short drive away, and we do our best every time Katie and Erika are in town to show them how fabulous our lives are here in Oregon, should they be tempted to move back. 

The four of us girls planned ages ago for a 30th birthday trip of sort. Of course, then, we thought we'd be rich adults by the time the next decade rolled around. We spoke of Italy, and Tahiti, and other grand plans. But alas, that is not so. We have partners to tend to, houses to care for, dogs to walk, kids to love, weddings to plan, races to train for, and jobs to work at - all which hinder such grand adventures. Then again, with the four of us together a simple trip to the grocery store can turn into a grand adventure. We are planning for a long weekend in Monterey in October - I'm dreaming of spas, hikes, wine, dessert, and plenty of time to talk, reminisce, and sleep in.

Here are some pictures from our weekend visit together:

The girls - and Francie too!

Auntie Rach and the Bean.

Francie and Auntie Erika.

I wouldn't dare post the photos I took of Katie as a beautiful bride-to-be in a variety of different wedding dresses, as that would ruin the surprise, but here she is hiding in the dressing room.

How stinkin' sweet! Logan seems to like Francie's hands and feet.

Breakfast club.

Dress shopping.

Auntie Katie - the fun one.

Mama and the Bean - she loves to shop, too.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Up All Night

Given the handful of responses I received about this blog post, I feel the need to clarify.

First of all, it was written in the wee hours of the morning, after being awake for several prior hours with an adorably sweet, sick and crying baby. I was laying in bed nursing the Bean, hunting-and-pecking a post from my iPhone. I was tired, and trying to stay awake. Often times, blogging is a way for me to articulate my thoughts and feelings, or to pass the time, or even an attempt to make someone laugh (mostly me). But more so, to record my day-to-day life for posterity. Because without photos, emails, or journal entries of sorts, I would hardly remember the details of my life at all. Plus, it adds an extra oomph for arguing with Alex, because I have virtual proof to prevent him from re-writing history; he's got a tad of the hindsight bias, after all.

Second of all, my commentary about Derek had less to do with my own anxieties about Francine (I'm not one of those people who thinks tragedy is contagious - that because a friend had a stillborn I'm at risk of having a stillborn; or because I also saw the Batman movie at a midnight showing, that I'm lucky I didn't get gunned down my a mentally ill 20-something; or that because my parents had a baby who seemed to get a cold and die, that my baby, too, might die from her cold), and more to do with a middle-of-the-night reflection about my mom and dad and their parenting experiences. As a new parent, I find myself re-evaluating my perception of my own mom and dad, now that I have a new lens in which to view them.

With regard to Derek, I mostly think about how awful the entirety of the experience must have been for my parent. How impressed I am that they were able to endure, seemingly unscathed. They were able to carry on, love the son they already had, grow and love another baby, all without losing an eye, a limb, or their sanity. How were they able to sustain their marriage? Did they contemplate divorce? Were they scared when they got pregnant with me? Or when I turned the age in which Derek was diagnosed? How did they feel the year he should have graduated high school? Did Brian understand that his baby brother died? What did they say to calm his fears? I wonder what it was they did to keep their head above water, keep their family together, maintain work and school and a home - when all I can imagine is wanting to drown.

Growing up, I knew that it was sad that they had a baby who died. But I actually thought in my head, at different stages of my development: "At least he was just a baby, and not a real kid or something." "Since they had a baby who died, that means I won't be kidnapped, because that would be too mean of God." "If Derek was alive, I might not be here." "Wow, my parents sure have a lot of friends from their dead baby group."

And now I think, "I am so amazed, empowered, even, by what my parents were able to survive. What strong people, and what an impressive life they've lived."

Additionally, I know I don't have all the facts - or any for that matter - about what actually went down with Derek. All I have is what remains in the recesses of my childhood mind, knowing I had a brother who came before me, he had a heart problem, and that he died when he was just a baby. As for some facts, my Aunt Sue reminded me that Derek was born September 18, 1980, was diagnosed with heart failure at about one month of age, and died February 10, 1981, during surgery.

And here is the original blog post, without any edits:

7/19/12 @ 4 a.m.
Up. All. Night. Not the show, but me. And Alex. With the Bean. It appears Francie has her first cold. During the daytime hours it didn't seem to be much of an issue. Alex said (I wouldn't know; I'm at work) she had a runny nose and an occasional cough and sneeze, but was otherwise in her usual good spirits. But then came the witching hours. She went to bed with me at 11ish and seemed to sleep well until Alex came to bed. Somewhere in there she was overcome with the most sad and pathetic whimper, a loud and honking nose, and a low grade fever. She was only periodically consolable, which is rare for her. We tried everything - stripping her down for skin-to-skin nursing, rocking in the chair, side laying, inclined lying, swaddling, unswaddling, Soothie, fan, etc. and then we turned on a hot shower to steam up the bathroom. I realize this is usually intended for helping ease a cough, but we were trying for any arsenal in our toolbox. Turns out, she LOVES the sound of the shower - I don't know if it's the water itself, or the echo of the stall, but she calmed immediately.

I'm trying not to think of Derek. Trying not to think about how he came down with a cold at about 4 months of age and was found to have a congenital heart defect. Or so the story goes some 32 years later. My parents had a baby between Brian and me. He was born In 1979 or 1980, I can't recall. Derek Robert Hartman. I recently saw a movie clip of when he came home from the hospital. My brother was so sweet and gentle with him. My parents had a look of confidence and comfort, this being their second child and all. I can't imagine what it must have been like for them - for my brother, for the extended family - when they realized something was horribly wrong. Or when their tiny baby needed pints and pints of blood transfused into his tiny body. Or how they were able to carry on parenting Brian, working, keeping house, when they likely felt as though their world were crumbling. I have very little information about the details of that time in their lives. Chalk it up to another one of the things I would have spoken extensively about with my mom today. Not that history is bound to repeat itself, but I can't exactly go into parenting without that family history in mind. And now that I'm a mother myself, I have such a different perspective on my own mom - and dad - and their apparent ability to move forward in the face of such heartbreak. I am fairly confident Francie's virus is simply a common cold, but I can't help but entertain thoughts of "what if?"

Monday, July 16, 2012

New Friend

We call him G-Dawg or G-Money. You can see the evolution of their friendship.

1. The stare down ...

2. The approach - making contact ...

3. To the mouth he goes ...

Flat Tire, I Quit

"My bike got a flat tire, so I won't be able to make it in at 8 a.m."

"Oh no! What time should we expect you?"

"Actually, I'm not going to be able to make it in. At all. Ever."

That was my fantasy this morning. No, I didn't quit my job, but it sounded like a desirable move at 7 a.m. this morning, especially because I feel near tipping point. Between interrupted sleep, commuting by bike, being fat with no suitable clothing, working fulltime - in a new rotation, being a wife, and a new mom, it's all too much for me. This just isn't sustainable. But I am more or less trapped. I have to finish my fellowship in order to get licensed, which requires four more months of fulltime work. Plus we need the money. I was near tears every day at work last week, feeling inadequate and constantly out of the loop. I'm one step behind at home, and I'm several steps behind at work. It's like I can't win. Unfortunately, this is preventing me from even being able to enjoy the job I previously found stimulating and rewarding. More so, I'm having a difficult time enjoying my evenings at home with my family because I'm so caught up in my own misery that it's hard to be present. I've even gone so far as to see what other employment opportunities are out there, if there's a part-time position somewhere that would sponsor/supervise me to earn my licensure. No such luck. Maybe a restaurant would hire me as a hostess?!?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tahoe Time

I feel haggard. Like we just returned from Vegas. Or Cabo. Or Miami. But no. We are just getting back from a short weekend in Tahoe for a family BBQ. I was very, very stressed about the trip. I was worried about playing pass-the-baby. I was anxious about flying in general, let alone with a new baby. I was stressed about rushing from work to the airport and getting back late Sunday evening to re-join the Rat Race.

The Bean's first flight was seemless. She was a superstar flyer. We sat in the very front row of the plane - Alex in the middle seat between a fat man and a baby (granted, it was his own). I brought the Boppy, which was Alex's ingenious idea, and nursed the Bean during takeoff and landing. In between, while the flight attendant served drinks, we made googley eyes and cooed at the baby. Chris picked us up from the airport, where we had to call on geometry skills from 8th grade in order to pack our stroller, suitcase, diaper bag, etc in the trunk of the Audi. When we arrived at Close Quarters, there were nearly a dozen, people - all family, of course - waiting in the driveway and clapping. That's right, they clapped when we pulled up. I was mortified. Or terrified, I'm not sure. Fortunately - more for me than for Francie - she was hungry and a bit fussy and we were able to hide out in the guest room to feed before succumbing to the overwhelm of the extended family masses. I was convinced this greeting was a mere preview of what was to come for the weekend. Thankfully my worry outweighed the reality (it always does). The BBQ was a success and it was great to catch up with everyone - Alex's grandmother, his brother and sister-in-law, cousins, aunts and uncles and second cousins and neighbors ... and we even got a visit from Auntie Erika and Karl!

It seemed like I blinked twice and the weekend was over. Part of that was due to lack of sleep. Not that I was boozing it up like 4th of July's of old. But because the Bean slept in bed with us, she woke me up five times as often as usual, like a midnight eating machine. We didn't visit any of our usual Tahoe haunts - no Old Post Office, no Five Lakes hike, no sailing on Another SNAFU, no Tahoe City shopping, no float on the Truckee. But we had some nice quality family time, a short visit to the beach that I'm sure Francie will come to know and love, and lots of outfit changes (that's why I had a girl, right?) The flight home was a bit more harried - mostly for me - the Bean gave out a few good squawks, enough for our fellow passengers to look our way with fright (judgment?) in their eyes.

All in all, I'd call it a success. I was able to let go (temporarily) of some of my baby-controlling-tendencies, enjoy the good company, and catch up on some Vitamin D. That said, I have no plans to travel again anytime soon.

Here are some photos from the weekend:

Taking in the view, atop Mt. Rose - Francie's first view of the lake.


Francie's 4th of July costume changes.

Not to be outdone by the Bean, Alex rocked his hand-me-down from Al.

Auntie Erika meets the Bean!

Papa Pablo, Lil Darlin', and Grammy.

Enjoying mama/baby time.

Beach baby. She's a Pisces after all, so I'd expect her to like the water.

Monday, July 9, 2012

16 Weeks


"You really need to get over this competitiveness thing," Alex warns.

"I'm not competitive, I just want to be the best," I say.

Okay, okay, so I think that is the very definition of competitive. But I don't want to compete to be the best, I just want to be the best. Does that make any sense? No, Alex and I are not running a foot race. Or having a dance-off. Or even entering a pie eating competition. Those things might be more appropriate arenas to bring it on, so to speak. I,however, am talking about parenthood.

I'm having some issues - okay, several issues - about not being home with the Bean. I want to be her fulltime caregiver. I want to be the expert on her wants and needs. I want her to smile and love me more than she does anyone else. Is that so much for me to ask?

Since being back at work (I know, it's been all of four-and-a-half days), I've felt like I'm on the outside looking in. It's not that any sort of explicit changing-of-the-guard took place, but there is this subtle (pervasive, if you ask me) undertone that makes a "we" out of Alex and the Bean, and an "I" (see, even the letter itself is all alone) out of me.

"We could come visit you at work today. When's a good time?" Alex asks.
"I have  a couple patients to see during lunch, so maybe in the afternoon," I text back.
Him: "We have to stop at the hardware store at some point."
Me: "Oh, I need some chai at the grocery store, too."

See what I mean?!? It's unbearable. We this, us that. I can hear them now, conspiring against me. We're just having sooo much fun without you. Wa ha ha ha.

"Isn't it understandable that I want her to love me?" I clarify.

" Of course it is. She loves you so much. You're her mama. Her only mama. There's no one she'd rather have staying home and taking care of her."

"Little Bear, your mama is kinda crazy," Alex whispers to Francie.
P.S. Alex told me he put breast milk in his coffee yesterday. That's strange and a bit crazy. So look who's throwing stones at a glass house now?!? Yeah.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

11 Years

I'm an asshole. Today's my mom's anniversary, and I very nearly forgot. I didn't think I'd ever be able to forget. But I guess it just goes to show, that's what 11 years - and a new house, new baby, neurotic dog, and weekend travel - will do to a person's awareness of dates and anniversaries. Forgetting is what scares me most.

I do remember last year, 10 years after she died, writing a blog post while in Tahoe. We were stranded longer than we had planned to visit because the Subaru broke down. I desperately wanted a dog. We were trying to get pregnant. I had just finished grad school. We were living in an apartment downtown. Flash forward one year and we are flying home from visiting Tahoe. We have a beautiful three month old daughter. We own our own home almost in the burbs. We have a dog that resembles a gremlin. We are both working in professions we trained hard for. My what a difference a year makes.

I do desperately wish my mom were alive to meet Francie. She would make the best grandmother. Loving and supportive, positive, fun. And she would tell the Bean to look out the window at the pretty scenery. And teach her to make lace cookies. And send her notes telling her how much she loved her. And sing Rosenshontz while walking hand and hand.

So maybe that's how it'd be in my fantasy family, but I sure wish I had ALL of my real family to share in this extraordinary blessing that is a new baby.

While the clarity and crispness of my memories sadly fade with each year, Mom, I think of you often and wish you were still here.

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