Ode to the last M&M

standard April 20, 2009 4 responses

First one. Mmm. Sweet, salty, crunchy, and chocolaty. This could well be the ultimate candy. Another Peanut Butter M&M follows the first one. Then another. And another. I can’t stop. The sweet/salty combination is too good.

My hand snakes, unbidden, to the open packet, coaxing the little candies out of the small opening and popping them one after another into my waiting mouth.

I have to stop. These aren’t helping me lose these damn pounds. OK. Just one more. OK. Maybe two more. Fine. Maybe just one last handful. Oh! A red one, I love those. I have to eat it. And a blue one! I remember when those didn’t exist. Down the hatch it goes.

Shit! Half the bag is gone! OK. This time, for real, I’m putting the bag away. I can do this. I can stop.

Well, maybe after just one more…

Fear makes you drive faster

standard April 17, 2009 6 responses

The phone rang and when I saw the daycare provider’s name pop up on the screen my heart skipped a beat. She never calls. I mean, she only ever calls if it’s a dire emergency, which is never. I’ve gone to pick up the kids only to find one of them with almost a black eye and any explanation is always accompanied with a dismissive wave of the hand.

So, when they call, I know it’s going to be bad.

Today it was about Little L.

“She went down fine, but then she coughed so much we went in to check on her. She was just sitting there. And now she won’t sleep.”
“Is she still coughing?”
“Yeah, she can’t seem to stop. We gave her some of her medicine around two and it didn’t help at all.”
“Is she wheezing?”
“Yeah, it sounds pretty bad.”

They never call. Little L coughs and wheezes all the time and yet they never call.

I dropped everything and told her I was on my way; that I’d call the pediatrician on the way to get an emergency appointment. And then I took what felt like the longest drive in the world.

The daycare is all of 15 minutes away, plenty of time for me to imagine the absolute worst. It’s been a sad couple of weeks online and two dead babies is two dead babies too many and causes a mother to instantly jump to terrible dark places.

What if this is it? What if this is the really bad attack that lands us in the hospital? What did she mean ‘she was just sitting there?’ Is she lethargic? Lethargic is bad, really, really bad. Oh God. My baby, my baby is having trouble breathing. Why is this guy driving so damn slow? Doesn’t he realize I’m in a hurry?

I have to get there. I have to see for myself. I bet she’s fine. That’s it. She’s fine. They’re overreacting. Ha, I bet she even fell asleep while I was getting there. No, no, she wouldn’t have, they’d have called me. OK. I bet she’s playing and having a grand old time. Yeah. That’s it. Or not. Maybe she’s not fine and she’s sitting there, waiting for me, struggling to breathe. Oh God, why can’t this guy drive any faster?

My mind raced much faster than my car, but I finally pulled into the driveway and threw the car into park. I took a deep breath to try to settle myself and I climbed out. As soon as I walked into the door I heard her voice. My baby’s chipper happy voice. And then her laugh.

I almost cried. Little girls who are struggling for breath and are suffering from low oxygen saturation levels do not laugh. They do not talk. She saw me just as I walked into the room and she called out gleefully “MAMA!” and ran to greet me.

My eyes met those of the daycare provider as I scooped her up and held her tight, tight, tight. She just shrugged and I echoed her gesture. Little L was fine, very congested and rattly sounding, but fine. Not struggling, not lethargic. Just fine.

I took her home and tucked her in for her nap, and as she drifted away I stood over her crib and watched her sleep, saying a silent thank you that our incident was ending like this, and not any other way.

Sunday Scribblings – Scary

standard April 13, 2009 11 responses

He places the cardboard box on the table and even before he opens the flap or says anything my heart drops like a stone and threatens to stop. My mouth falls open and I freeze. I can’t tear my eyes away.

There has been no warning, but there’s no doubt in my mind. There are birds in that box. He’s going to open it. I just know it.

I was right. He opens the box and at the first hint of a fluttering wing I’m unfrozen and instantly turned away from the scene, my arms protectively curled around my face.

Breathe. My mind whispers. Breathe. You’re OK. It’s just a TV show. There are no birds in this room. They’re on the other side of the screen. Breathe.

I know it’s just a TV show. My rational brain knows there are no birds in here, and, after a tense moment, I actually manage to convince myself that it’s OK to open my eyes. It’s safe. No wings will flutter near my face, no tiny boned feathered bodies will hurl themselves at me today. But it takes a while for my heart to stop hammering and for my breathing to return to normal.

I do not like birds. OK. Clearly that’s an understatement. I loathe and fear birds. I’ve always shunned any winged animal – they’re the only thing in the world that can make me completely lose my composure and my right mind.

When I lived in Paris, I was hard pressed to avoid the million pigeons that littered every street corner and rooftop in the city. My friends knew better than to question my erratic way of walking down the street – first one sidewalk then switch to the other at the first sign of a cluster of pigeons and then back again at the next sign of trouble.

Here in the Silicon Valley suburbs pigeons are few and far between and just a few loud expletives are enough to scare off the odd swallow or scrub-jay that cross my path. The crows are harder to scare so we have a tacit agreement, they don’t flap their wings near me and I pretend they aren’t loitering on my front lawn. It’s not ideal, but it works. In fact, I thought I was safe. Who could have guessed the hateful things were lying in wait inside my beloved TV?

This post was written in response to the Sunday Scribblings prompt Scary. Click through to read other fantastic entries.

Letting family in is a double edged sword

standard December 4, 2008 10 responses

I love that my family reads my blog. (Hi guys!) I know a lot of people go to great lengths to keep their families out, but I really, honestly, love that they check in on me on a somewhat regular basis.

That said, I’m not a person who finds it easy to open up to people in person, especially to my family. I like to maintain the illusion that everything is always hunky dory, peachy keen. I’m the tough one, the one you can rely on, the one who’ll put on her big girl panties and just deal so you can fall apart. I’d have to say that 90% of the time it’s not even an act, but trust me, you probably won’t ever know when I’m in the throes of the 10% when I am acting all cool and collected and melting down inside.

The only time I feel comfortable opening up is when my fingers are tippy tapping on a keyboard. Ask M! If I have something I need to vent about I do it over IM or over email. The words just flow better when they’re coming out through my fingers. They somehow always get jumbled up between my brain and my mouth. So I let lose on my blog. Venting to the Internet gets out all the stress and the angst, then I feel better and I can get on with my cool and collected life.

Are you seeing where this is going?

Right. If my blog is where I lower my guard and show my true murky angsty colors, and my family reads my blog, then they know that I’m not always doing awesome.

Now, when I started blogging, I really wanted to shut them out so they would never know about that side of me. Then I realized that having people know that I wasn’t Super Girl wasn’t a bad thing, and could even be a good thing, so I threw the gates open and let them in. And then I discovered the one drawback. These people, they love me (Oh, shush, yes you do.), and it turns out that they worry about me. So, every time I write about having a middle of the night meltdown, or about not getting any sleep, or even about depression, then they all call to see how I’m feeling, and I feel terrible for having worried them.

So then the one thing I really didn’t want starts happening, I start to censor myself before I write. I stop and wonder if what I want to unload will cause my family to fret. I agonize over how what I write is going to make them feel, I imagine how they’re going to react, and I discard great blog posts, fantastic topics, and tough emotions that I really should be sharing with the world both because it makes me feel better and because I know it helps people to know that they aren’t alone in the world.

The more I think of it I realize that the issue isn’t really that I don’t want to worry them, it’s that I’m back at that “I don’t want to admit that I can’t always deal” and that I’m hiding behind a smokescreen so I don’t have to confront my true feelings.

Well, guess what feelings, you’re busted! I’m on to you and I’m going to out you to the world. Heh.

And no, in case you were wondering, this is not a post about me being covertly depressed. Things are actually pretty good these days, if you ignore the fact that I still never get to sleep and the fact that my writing is bringing in close to $0 at a time when we need more money, not less. It’s a post about the challenges of opening up to the Internet when it’s filled with familiar faces. It’s a post about baring yourself to the world and then putting your clothes back on and looking your readers in the eye.

Originally posted on It’s my life…