I’m grateful for… my daughters

standard November 23, 2011 2 responses

Seven years ago today my husband and I started the long drive to Lake Tahoe sometime mid morning, him driving, me sitting next to him clutching my phone in both hands.

I was waiting for the lab to call with my baby’s test results, the ones that would clear up the murky scary results we’d gotten the week before at the screening. I was almost 4 month’s pregnant and anxious to know if this child, this first baby of ours, would be perfectly average or if we’d need to make some serious decisions over the festive weekend.

I’d been told that there was just a slim chance that the results would be ready by the end of the day, but I clung to that hope like a lifeline.

I wanted to revel in the family’s joy over my growing belly. I wanted to relax and just appreciate being pregnant.

The road twisted and turned, and, as we started the climb into the mountain, the sun started to set, and the clock ticked past 5pm I had to accept the fact that I wouldn’t know that day. Wouldn’t in fact know until four days later.

I tucked my worry into a corner of my brain and resolutely focused on enjoying a weekend in the snow.

The next morning I woke up and the belly that I’d relatively easily been able to hide up until that moment had popped out. Overnight I’d gone from being able to keep my potentially “different” child a secret from the world to being very visibly pregnant.

Come what may, I would no longer be able to keep my condition a secret from my coworkers.

At 7am on the Monday after Thanksgiving, the genetic counselor called with the long awaited results. The baby was fine. She was more than fine, in fact, she was genetically perfect. Today she’s a smart, serious, loving 6 year-old. And every Wednesday before Thanksgiving I remember that drive and the intense love and hope I felt for the little blob bobbing around inside me as we traveled.

Two years later, same weekend, same destination, this time as we prepared for the trip home, I was struck by an intense craving for a banana slathered in peanut butter, something I hadn’t desired since I’d been pregnant with C. In that instant I knew, without a shred of doubt, that there was another little one setting up residence in what had once been the womb that kept her sister safe for 9 months.

As we head into Thanksgiving weekend, no travels planned this year, I can’t help but think about how, in my heart, this holiday is intrinsically linked to my daughters. I’m grateful for these two girls, their smiles, their jokes, even their tantrums and bickering.

They are both vibrantly alive and well and color my days with laughter and love.

As we head into our more chaos and uncertainty, I’m once again filled with warmth when I think that, no matter what, the four of us will face it together. The love we have for each other gives me the strength to face it all. This is the third post in my Week of Thanksgiving hosted by LilKidThings. Join me all week as I feature the things that fills me with gratitude. Click the image below to see what everyone else is grateful for!


I’m grateful for… laughter

standard November 22, 2011 4 responses

This year I’ve laughed…

through tears.
through kisses.
through sadness.
through solemn moments.

at doctor’s appointments.
at the ER.
at the hospital.
at school.
at Starbucks.

in Zumba class.
in the car.
in bed.
in the kitchen.
in the kids’ room.

I’m the family clown. I can see a reason for humor in pretty much any situation. I know when to deliver the perfect one-liner to lighten up a grim situation. I’m not just doing it for the kicks. I’m not doing it just for the attention. I do it because when I hear laughter, I know that all hope isn’t lost.

As long as we’re still laughing, we can get through anything.

I’m grateful for the laughter.

It’s day 2 in the Week of Thanksgiving. Pop back tomorrow to see what else I’m thankful for during this rather challenging year. Click the image below to see posts by other bloggers and to join in on the wave of gratitude.


I’m grateful for… books

standard November 21, 2011 5 responses

I’ve always been a reader. It’s just a part of who I am. There are cases of books piled high in the garage, piles of books falling over each other in the house, and in our room, I’m creating imaginary bookshelves because I’ve run out of real shelf space.

I’ve always loved books for the escape they offered. The chance to sit in a comfy chair, crack open a cover, and travel anywhere in time or in space. Sometimes real life is just too overwhelming and it’s soothing to be able to run away.

Then again, sometimes life is so overwhelming that even books aren’t comforting. Who needs another person’s problems — even a fictional person — when you’ve got way too much on your own plate.

When life is like that I usually dive into comic anthologies. Stone Soup, Fox Trot, Baby Blues, Rose is Rose, For Better or Worse, Zits. I own a lot. I’m heartbroken that they’re publishing fewer and fewer. When my head is spinning in a million directions and I can barely form a coherent thought, jumping into a book where story bits are introduced and resolved in three or four frames? It’s just about what I can handle.

Sadly, I’ve been in that state so often this year that all my anthologies are starting to fall apart and I know them all so well that they’ve ceased to work their magic. Luckily, I’ve discovered something that works just as well.

It’s so corny, I’m almost ashamed to admit how addicted I’ve become. Heck, I’m almost ashamed to say that this is actually what I’m grateful for this week.

My new literary crack? Cozies.

I know. You don’t even know what that is. Its the newish genre that contains easy armchair mysteries. The protagonist is usually a girl who owns her own business — cupcake store, flower store, donut shop, catering business — somewhere in the first chapter she happens upon a murder, and then, with the help of her BFF or the hot guy next door, much to the chagrin of the local police force, she solves the murder after almost getting killed herself about 20 pages from the end.

I. Am. Obsessed.

I think the utter predictability of the plot line, the lack of surprise about when she’s going to run into trouble, the absolute certainty that at the perfect moment the hero is going to rush in and save the day, it’s all so incredibly soothing after a year of non-stop bad surprises being lobbed at our heads.

I am utterly grateful to the hardworking authors of these books who are pressured to put out at least a book a year. I’m grateful to Amazon for feeding my obsession through my Kindle app. And I’m grateful to my husband for pretending to not notice how often the name of the current book I’m reading changes.

Sometimes, you just need to escape. Sometimes it’s wonderful when you can escape to somewhere incredibly predictable and comforting.

In two weeks this family is diving into more chaos and uncertainty. In the face of it all I felt an overwhelming need to focus on the things that fill me with joy and gratitude, so it was with glee that I discovered that a friend is sponsoring A Week of Thanksgiving. Join me all week as I feature something (probably obscure) that fills me with gratitude.


(Yes, those are affiliate links above. Yes, if you click on them and then later buy something from Amazon I’ll get a penny or two. Thank you. It’ll help fund my obsession.)

From the Mouths of Babes: A little thankfulness

standard December 3, 2009 4 responses

On the way up to Tahoe to celebrate Thanksgiving I pondered how I could start getting the girls to understand the gist of the holiday. It’s hard to explain gratitude of that amplitude to young children. I can get them to say thank you and please, but gratitude for the great things in life… that’s much harder.

I finally boiled it down to the bare essence of the notion and asked “What makes you really happy in your life?”

I have a feeling C was coached a bit at school, or she’s just too cute, because she instantly replied that she loved her sister and her family. Little L took longer to answer. In fact she took so long that I thought she wasn’t going to say anything.

Then she mumbled something around her pacifier.

I turned down the radio and asked her to repeat what she had said.

I heard the plop of the pacifier being pulled out of her mouth followed by her clear reply.

Princess Baby. Princess Baby make me happy.” Then she nodded once definitively.

It’s her favorite book. We read it pretty much every night. She recites it along, points out her favorite pictures, and often requests that we call her Buttercup, Cupcake, or, obviously, Princess Baby.

I thought it was too sweet not to share, so I emailed Karen Katz, the author, to tell her about what makes my baby happy. I hope she’s as moved by the story as I am.