Sunday, April 03, 2016

Phone numbers

The other morning, I was driving in the car with the baby asleep in the back seat -- yes, we had another baby -- and I wanted to call my husband.  In that moment, I realized that I don't know his phone number off the top of my head. It made me laugh out loud that I couldn't think of his number or even our landline number, but I still remembered my mother's cell phone number.

Only, when I really thought about it, I couldn't remember her number.  I do remember my grandmother's old phone number, and the phone number for our house in Florida, and my work and cell phone numbers.  I even remember our phone number from the house in New Jersey when I was 12.  But I can't remember my mother's number anymore.  Over the last eight years, my brain left it behind.  I guess it needed to free up space for details about pediatrician's appointments, preschool teachers' names, and what time we need to leave to be on time for gymnastics.

Also, when I think of it, I really do know my husband's number - it just takes me a minute. But really, what's the point when all I have to do is push a button and the phone dials for me?

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Schrödinger's baby

For a month, we were so completely elated; everything was about the future. But the end came, so fast.  A drop of blood here and there.  An inconclusive test.  More blood, more tests, but no answers.  The baby was both alive and dead at the same time.

The thing is, I knew, even before the phone rang.  I could feel that something had shifted, ever so subtly.  I sensed the hormone levels changing, even before the test said so.  The second I heard that they couldn't find the fetal pole, I knew what it signified.  Still, I kept clinging to a sliver of hope, wanting to believe in miracles.

I guess there are just not enough miracles to go around.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Her Grandmother's Granddaughter


How I wish you could have met her. She reminds me so much of you -- she has blue eyes like yours, and her laugh is infectious.  Her favorite color is pink.  You would have seen the irony in that.

She loves to sing.  We sing good morning to each other and we make up silly songs.  Sometimes we sing the Frozen soundtrack at the top of our lungs in the car.

She loves to cuddle with me.  In the evening, before bedtime, she curls up next to me on the couch. She talks a lot now. Sometimes she tells me about her day, or about what we are watching on TV.

We like to read books together.  She likes to point at the pictures and tell me what she sees. Sometimes she asks what the word is, and then she repeats it in the cutest little tentative voice.  It feels like she is learning 100 words a day.

When she wakes up too early, I take her in the big bed with me for a cuddle.  I am instantly transported back, 30-plus years and a couple hundred miles, to the big bed in the house in New Jersey.  I can still feel how much I was loved.  If nothing else, I hope to pass that on.

We miss you every day, but especially today.  Happy birthday.

(also posted at the OliRue baby blog)

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

The Landline

In the new house, we have a landline phone. Not that we really wanted or needed it -- after all, we live in a cellular world -- but the cable company gave it to us for free as part of our package. 

And so, almost six years after I last used them, I found myself pulling phones out of a box. The one corded phone had old batteries in it, and so it had to be thrown out.  Storing something away like that -- carelessly -- is so very unlike me.  But I remembered why I didn't take the batteries out in the first place: I didn't want to lose the last caller ID from my mom. 

It's gone now. 

And I threw out the phone. My husband says that's because I'm not crazy. Sometimes I'm not so sure. 

Monday, December 02, 2013

Thankful November, 17-30

Since the last installment, we had a difficult two weeks.  It started, as usual, with work and the horrible schedule where my husband works early mornings and weekends.  Add to that the chaos of birthday/Thanksgiving/Hanukkah all at once, and on top of that, all three of us were sick at the same time.

Then I got the crazy call that a friend  and former coworker was dying.

All that has made it extraordinarily hard to find things to be thankful for, but I've been trying.  Ultimately, the hardest part was finding the time to write the words down.  So here goes:

17.  I am thankful for modern technology.  I said before that I never, ever want to live without a washer and dryer.  Add dishwasher to that list.  I am so thankful to not have to do those chores by hand.  And the computer and cell phone? I can't even think about how much easier they make my life.

18.  I am thankful for pie.

19.  I am thankful for the Trader Joe's jarred cranberry sauce.  It was a definite upgrade over the canned variety.

20.  I am thankful for my nephews and niece.  I am looking forward to seeing all of them before too long.  This year, I am extra thankful that my daughter is an age where she will get to have fun playing with her cousins.  Many of my fondest childhood holiday memories involve times spent with my cousins; I can only hope that her memories are even better.

21.  I am thankful for vacation days spent with my family.

22.  I am thankful for going back to work after vacation -- because so much time off with a toddler hardly qualifies as such.

23.  I am thankful for my daughter's school. They take such good care of her there.  She really likes going, even on those days when she really doesn't want me to drop her off.

24.  I am thankful for the many years that my mother woke me up at the crack of dawn to do Black Friday holiday shopping.  It was exhausting, and at the time, I was your typical grumpy, frustrated, teenager -- but now, I am glad to have the memories of being her trusty sidekick.

25.  I am even more thankful for the internet -- and thus, the fact that I never have to subject myself to the Black Friday hordes again.

26.  I am thankful that most of my holiday shopping is already finished.

27.  I am thankful for the birthdays that have passed, the experiences they've left behind, and the person that they've made me.

28.  I am thankful for the birthdays yet to come.

29.  I am thankful for my dad.  He is crotchety; he is peculiar; he is anti-social. He is weird and strange, and occasionally funny, too. In some ways, he is a horrible parent and grandparent -- he is non-communicative and not very present or involved.  But in the ways that are important, like being there when you need him and helping however he can, he still always manages to be a very good dad.

30.  I am thankful for my husband.  Each and every day, even when it takes all we have just to get through the chaos that is work and baby, I am always thankful that he's the person I chose to take this journey with.  Everything is so much easier when the partner by your side is also your friend.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Thankful November, 6-16

6.  I am thankful that my daughter has become a pretty good sleeper.  Life is much better when your kid goes to sleep most nights without much of a fuss and then generally sleeps through the night.  I do occasionally wish she woke up a bit later, but it seems like she's like her grandmother and great-grandfather (her namesake), and is a morning person.

7.  I am thankful for my job.  I am always busy and never seem to have enough time to get everything finished, but I really do like it most days.

8. I am thankful that, every night, when I come home from work, my daughter smiles, stops what she is doing, and runs up to me to give me the biggest, best hug in the world.  I don't even mind that most of the time, she inadvertently rubs boogers or food all over my work clothes.  The hug is that good.

9.  I am thankful for books.  They are, and always have been, my favorite things.  I do wish I had more time to read grownup books, though.  Around here lately, we're pretty much only reading children's books.  As a corollary, I am thankful that my daughter seems to have inherited my love for books.  Every night, we read a handful of books, but always end with the same two.  My husband and I know them by heart, and I think the baby does too.  She always laughs at one part where I yawn, pretending to be a very sleepy cow.

10.  I am thankful for the washer and dryer in my condo.  I hope to never live in a place with community machines again.

11.  I am thankful to be as old as I am and to still have a grandparent around.

12.  I am thankful for being able to have a cleaning service come every other week. I am also thankful that, for all those years that I didn't really need it, I kept it up.  Because, boy do we need it now.

13.  I am thankful that my daughter makes me laugh every day.

14.  I am thankful for Ikea.  This morning, I took a quick trip down there to buy my daughter's big holiday present -- an easel.  All of a sudden, out of nowhere, she really likes to color.  She sits on the floor, with her markers or crayons, and sings to herself while hard at work on her masterpieces. Obviously an easel is the next step.

15.  I am thankful that I get to take occasional weekend afternoon naps.

16.  Right now, this minute, I am thankful for the little bit of quiet time to myself.  Ordinarily, I'd be asleep, but I took a nap this afternoon, and as a result, am wide awake.  But a little quiet time after my husband and daughter are asleep is the only reason I can catch up on this list.  And read a little bit of a grown-up book.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Thankful November, number 5

Today, I am thankful for living in a country where I have the ability to vote, even if I dislike the current state of the two-party system and most of their candidates.

I am equally thankful for the fact that, as of tomorrow, there will be no more election ads on television, at least for a little while.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Thankful November, numbers 1-4

At this point, I've come to terms with the fact that I'll probably never finish writing a novel -- particularly over the span of a NaNoWriMo.  I am very keenly aware that, at the rate that I've been writing, I'm not even likely to complete a NaNoBloPoMo (or whatever it's called).  But I can find many, many things to be grateful about this month, and so I will make an effort to post them.  One for each day this month, just maybe not every day.  And, of course, I'm starting late.

It's November 4th, so here are four:

1.  This face.

The real Cookie Monster.

2. The fact that my husband didn't make fun of me when I told him that I generally prefer Van Halen with Sammy Hagar and not David Lee Roth.

3.  The caramel brulee latte at Starbucks.

4.  Trader Joe's milk chocolate salted caramel butter cookies.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Baseball shoes

Yesterday, we took a family trip to the ballpark. The husband, the kid, and I dressed up in our team colors and went to our first game together this season -- our first game together since last year's playoffs.

Mommy-Baby bonding.
I have a cut on my foot -- a blister from a pair of ballet flats that I wore to work last week -- so I tried to find a comfortable, supportive pair of shoes to walk around in, particularly since I was going to be carrying the baby in the Ergo all day. I settled on a pair of grey Pumas, old, but not too old. What that means is that I've owned them as long as I've lived in this condo, but I did not own them when I moved to DC from Florida. I'm certain that I have not had them for over 10 years, but I am also certain that they're more than 5 years old.

While we were on our way to the ballpark, I felt that there was something sticky on the bottom of my shoe. "Great," I thought. "Old gum."

We started walking, and the feeling went away. We walked around the stadium, fed the baby some gelato, and then, I went into the bathroom to wash my hands. For some reason, I looked down at my feet, and was astonished. My shoes were literally falling apart -- the sole had split into pieces and the padding was falling out in chunks. I was leaving a trail of sneaker bits behind me as I walked. It was worse than when I was living in London and the only pair of casual shoes I had with me were Chuck Taylors with the hole in the heel.

So, I did what any rational woman would do: I sent my husband to the gift shop to see if he could find me a solution. He came back with a pair of blue flip flops with red sequins. Team colors. Also: ostentatious and hideous. He also told me that they had black ballet flats, but that they cost $80.

I have the best, smartest husband. And now, I no longer have a pair of cute, grey Pumas, but I do have a pair of hideous, blue flip-flops with red sequins.
Nice shoes, right?

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Five Years

I can't believe five years have passed since that day, that horrible, wretched day. But I'm having a hard time getting the words out this time. It feels like I've already said it, over and over again.

I still miss my mom, every single day. I look at my beautiful, amazing little daughter -- who has her grandmother's eyes -- and I am just so sorry that the two of them never got to meet each other. I hug the baby just a little bit tighter when I think about it. On the one hand, I want to shield her from such loss; on the other, I know that's not healthy for her or for me. I want her to be brave and strong, and you don't get that way if you're raised in a bubble.

And then I finally see that there's a silver lining, a small consolation prize from all of this crazy grief over the past five years: my mother's death made ME stronger. Maybe that's the last gift she gave me.