Friday, October 30, 2015

i have seen the Wizard and he is wondrous

When I put in the order for Ro's birthday cake, and asked them to decorate it with a long view of The Emerald City, I was THIS CLOSE to having the inscription read:


Apologies to my cuss-sensitive readers, but I needed the emphasis. I went with "Happy 1st Birthday, Ro." The "we made it" sentiment will just have to roll down my face as I gaze upon her sitting in front of the cake in her grandma-made Dorothy costume with her plush Toto stuffed in a basket.

You know what we've been through, guys. This week will always be a bittersweet one. The first baby's due date was November 2, 2013. We laid her ashes to rest on October 29, 2013. And then we have our Rainbow Baby (this is an actual term for the one who lives after one who has been lost), Ro, who was born on her father's 37th birthday, a year ago tomorrow.


I took a week off of work to prep for this party, because this is MY PARTY, and I have come close to tears on multiple occasions, as is my RIGHT. Ro has no clue what's going on--she does refer to the dog as "Dodo," and will tolerate the ruby slipper slip-on shoecovers for a short time, but the cake, the balloons, the ridiculous mural painted on the side of an old refrigerator box; the pennant-style banner that I made with one-too-few letters and then had a mini freakout about? All that crap is for me. This is the pretend-Pinterest party that I had been thinking about all those months with her kicking inside of me, worrying that she may show up too early and not come home with us just like the first one.

No one else knows that terrifyingly disgusting feeling of water breaking too soon, the cerclage tied so tightly that what little walking I could do I did with a hobble, the horse-gauge needles stuck into my backside every seven days, and having to lie down and pray that the weekly ultrasound was going to say things were holding steady.

Medical people can conceptualize a pubic symphysis, but like my physical therapist, Kay, said (as she decided to treat me herself the first day she came to evaluate me and assign me to someone else) nobody can understand the agony of a separated pelvis like someone who's done it themselves (she did it running a marathon). Worse was the useless, helpless feeling you get when all you can do for your child is to sit in bed or a couch and desperately try to figure out nursing while your husband, mother-in-law and mom bring the baby to you and take her away to do all the diapering, bathing, walking around and other stuff you wish you could do. And it murders your hormonal heart when you go through all that to get the baby and she doesn't want much to do with you.

All that said, the scary pregnancy, the fiery hoops I had to somersault through, the horrible after-delivery recovery and post-partum rage (not officially diagnosed, but now that I'm far enough away from it, I'm pretty sure that's what I had)--ALL OF THAT was a cakewalk compared to how emotionally treacherous it was for me to go back to work and find I had to work twice as hard in two thirds of the time.


This is not to say that I think I had it any worse than any other parent. We all have our struggles. I have SO MUCH HELP, you guys. Seriously. My friends came to see me with food and love and support while I was on bedrest and when I was stuck at home. My mother-in-law came on the day after Ro was born and stayed to help for 12 days. My parents still come over every day. And my husband, he had to do much more than the average dad at the beginning. He does a lot more than the average guy today, too. Granted, he should be doing a lot for his own kid, but that doesn't mean it's not appreciated. I would never have dreamed to make it through nearly two years without all these people.

So we are having a party. I know I have bitten off more than I can chew. This week "off" was a lot harder than the usual working week. But I'm doing it for the 21-months-ago me, the 19-months-ago me, the 17-months-ago me, the 12-months-ago me, who didn't know if heartbreak was once again on the horizon, and especially the 3-6-months ago me, who didn't know if I could hold it together for another single minute, let alone months and years.

We made it, BITCHES.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

great hope

Many years ago, my brother (a long-suffering Cubs devotee) called me to say his lottery number was picked to purchase season tickets to the loveable losers. He didn't exactly have the extra thousands in the bank, so I gave him some money. Every single year, he tries to sell some of the seats to offset the rather pricey (in my opinion) cost, but for most games of the season, he couldn't even give the these tickets away. Until this year.

The Cubs are in the playoffs. Tonight they even ousted the hated St. Louis Cardinals. And I was there to see it. My brother could have invited any number of close friends to be his Plus 1, but he asked me, because he "wouldn't even have these tickets if it weren't for" me. Awww. 

It was exciting. I took the opportunity to get myself a Kris Bryant shirt and an Anthony Rizzo one for the baby plus a teeny skull cap that she calls her " 'at." My brother bought me a hot dog and a beer. As far as I was concerned, no matter how the game turned out, I was satisfied. 

Being in the stadium on the night they clinched the quarterfinal was absolutely magical. Madelyn lives a few blocks away and she could hear the crowd. Being in it, you could feel the energy coursing through the stands like a slow, rolling hum. And after that final at-bat, it was as if an earthquake hit Wrigley Field; the place just exploded. 

We hung around for awhile to see the players on the field and met up with my brother's friends at the Draft Kings--formerly Captain Morgan (I can't believe that fantasy football is so lucrative)--Club and walked around a little before getting into a cab. Wrigleyville apparently partied until the birds woke up.

It wasn't to last. The Cubs were eliminated in a sweep by the New York Mets in the next series, but for an evening, maybe even a week, my brother was so incredibly happy and hopeful. I will treasure the experience for always.

Thursday, September 24, 2015


I hadn't had a non-maternity-related time off of work in something like two years. We went to California for a week, and MAN was that nice. I was stressed about traveling with a 10-month-old, but she was a champion.

September 18, 2015. First time with her toes in the sand! Those swimming lessons paid off, in that she wasn't scared.

We spent some quality time with Jon's entire nuclear family enjoying cottages on the the most beautiful United States beach I have seen (Del Mar Resort within Camp Pendleton) in San Diego, then drove to Ventura (Jon's hometown) and met up with relatives and friends, and visited the resting place of our baby. 

Ro had a lot of firsts:
  • First time on an airplane (a few very brief rough spots, but she did really well and took a 1.5-hour nap)
  • First time eating In N Out Burger (only fast food she is allowed saved for the rare Portillo's treat)
  • First time in a long car ride (took us FIVE hours to get from San Diego to Ventura, but we had to make a 45-min pit stop due to a meltdown. Ro glares at us at the mention of "carseat" now.)
  • First time seeing the ocean
  • First time frolicking in the ocean (assisted) with her cousin, D
  • First time (helping Mommy) roast a marshmallow over a campfire for a s'more
  • First time sitting in the sand with Aunt and tasting it (the gross flavor and texture did not deter her from trying it again)
  • First time climbing three (!) flights of steps at her Aunt A's house completely unassisted (and with great vigor)
  • First time meeting her great-grandmother
  • First time staying in the "Penguin Palace" room her Aunt Madelyn made at her grandparents' house
  • First time eating sushi (she LOVED baked salmon and the seared tuna; the teriyaki chicken and rice were just ok)
  • First time going to the church her daddy grew up attending
  • First time eating guavas from the tree in someone's yard
  • First time petting animals (a bunny and a cat), and learning to say "cat"
  • First time going down a park slide (perhaps the daycare lady has taken her--but to me it was a first)
  • First time actually waving with purpose (favorite person to wave at is her grandma).
  • First baseball game at Dodger Stadium (next will be Wrigley)
  • First hilltop sunset overlooking the ocean (and remembering her sister)

There were probably more, but she had a blast. It was a really great trip we will cherish forever.  

 The Dodgers lost, but it was still a fun time. September 21, 2015. Ro: almost 11 months

Thursday, September 17, 2015

fruit and flowers

Jon, this anniversary (lounging on a beautiful beach) is going to be really tough to top. But even if the ones to come are full of laundry and homework, it'll be nice just to be together. I love you.

Photo by SecondPrint Productions
This was the best day of nonstop crying I have ever had. 

Saturday, September 12, 2015


Long before I had any babies, long before I got married, long before I even met Jon, I told you that I will teach my children to address you with the Hindi honorific for mother's brother: Mama. It doesn't sound correct in the U.S., where a lot of kids call their mothers "Momma," but I am beholden to tradition, and you're not just some chump off the street that our people would call "Uncle." You hated that idea. Feet were virtually stomped. Voices were raised. There may have even been a threat to teach my children any number of foul words if I made good on my promise.

February 12, 2015. Ro: 3.5 months, Brother 32.5 years.

And what has happened? She is tangible now. You've been looking into her eyes for the last ten months. Today, she could call you "boogerface doodyhead" and you'd still try to get the moon for her. She tries to say your proper name, brother, even if she can only manage the first syllable right now. And while the photo she likes to kiss most is her own (as well as any mirror she encounters), she finds yours the second-most kissable. The rest of us--you know, the ones who wake up with her in the middle of the night, handle her excrement-filled diapers and sing 40-animal-verses of Old McDonald at a time in hopes she will sleep--are still waiting for our photos to be so blessed.

That she does. May 17, 2015. Ro: 6.5 months.

I used to tell people I had an idea what it was like to be a parent because of the way I have always loved you. And now I can confirm that I was mostly right--the only thing missing with you was the gripping terror that I might do something to screw you up (that was for mom and dad to worry about). The first time Ro looked at me, kissed my face and said "Mommy" was the most amazing thing I have ever experienced. But every time I look over and see you holding her, with so much love between the two of you, my heart threatens to burst. Sappy. So, so sappy. And sloppy. But real. 

Being a Mama looks good on you. My wish for you is to find the fulfillment that you so very much deserve in all parts of your life. Happy birthday, brother.

Friday, August 14, 2015


Good God, where does the time go? Someone told me about parenthood, "the days are long but the years are short." Holy mango lassi, Batman, is that true. Time is just blowing by SO DAMN FAST.

Some days I'm so overwhelmed by all that I should be doing better that I don't have time to enjoy beautiful little things, like my nine-month-old (!) looking at me and saying "Hey, baby." It's true, "baby" was her first word. "Hey" followed soon after. Then "ball" and "go" and today she started saying "oh boy." She is also crawling like a maniac and pulling herself up on furniture and feeding herself with only 30 percent of dinner falling on the floor. Progress.

Ro cries for us at 1 a.m. on the dot every single night. And she has since she turned four months old (she slept through the night from newborn until four months). As somebody who cherishes morning sleep more than your average night owl, saying I don't mind waking up with her earlier than 7 a.m. is truly saying something. Jon and I actually compete to be there when she opens her eyes, because morning smiles are worth whatever metal is more precious than platinum.


It's tough to work full time and feel like a good mom. GUILT. However, no matter how you slice the money, we would be homeless if one of us didn't work. GUILT. The daycare lady who watches her is amazing, and my mom picks her up at 2 p.m. every day so she has grandparents time before Jon and I come home. That makes me feel a little better, but also makes it easier for me to get stuck at work later.

Jon and I work at the same place now. He gave me a birthday card designed for a coworker. I liked it better than a treacly one designed for a wife.

I usually don't talk about work, but I can't talk about life right now without mentioning that my truly horrible, miserable moments have all revolved around fear and self-doubt surrounding work (not to say there haven't been some rough mommy moments, too; these are just worse). It's a career that does not come easily to me--I've mentioned before that it's like being in a neverending calculus class, and I purposely majored in something for which statistics was the only math requirement. That said, I like the job. I just wish I were doing something my brain was designed for (I had been, until that industry went kaput, and I had a mortgage to pay).

When I was on maternity leave, they hired someone to the team who rocks the job as if she were born to do it. Two weeks after I got back they said we were both up for the same promotion; me having been there for three years and she having been there for three months. I'm not going to lie: That stung a little. Then they said they could only promote one of us. So the pressure is tremendous to step up my game while taking breaks to pump, getting very little sleep and refusing to work 75 hours a week anymore. On top of it all, someone else quit and we're all in over our heads with workload. I do think I would be better suited for a leadership role than what I'm currently doing, but I'm not sure what they're looking for me to do to get there. Besides, it was very clear while I was gone that I am perfectly replaceable. This whole thing has been stressful, but helped me to see that you can love a job, but it won't love you back. A family, however, will love you back in spades. But you do need money to give your family all that they deserve...

I spend my time worrying about all this crap, and then I come home and watch my kid splash in the bath, try to say "ducky" after I say "ducky" and come crawling up and pull my pant leg as I am doing the dishes. And when I look into her eyes I see that I am necessary and useful. There is a good chance that even though I spent a lot of it paranoid and overwhelmed, I will look back upon this year as the best I've ever had.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

well, heck

I have never in my life so badly blown NaBloPoMo. I am so sorry.

Looking at my posts, there is a LOT of whining. Again, sorry.

Truly, this is one of the best (if not THE best) periods of my life, but you would never know it because of all the whining.

But this has also been one of the worst periods of my life because I don't know what the heck I am doing, or how to manage it and I feel like I'm always disappointing someone, if not everyone. It's hella hard not to care about that. I don't know how mommy bloggers have time to post. Because I barely have time to wash my hair. And sometimes I worry that I'll leave without rinsing.

It seems unfair that the lovely fleeting moments of early parenthood can be so thoroughly tainted by a constant hovering of a nervous breakdown.

Inevitably, I will look back on this time and hate myself for caring so much that the ironing didn't get done or that I could no longer keep up with coworkers who put in 70 hours a week.

Thank goodness we have cameras.

She makes everything I have to whine about seem not so bad.