Twinkle in my eye

standard November 14, 2011 1 response

Little L is 4. Very, very 4. Which is to say that she has a hard time conceiving of a world in which she doesn’t exist. This leads to some interesting questions at times such as:

 “Mommy, where was I when you were a little girl?”

For the first time ever my standard “in my heart” answer just didn’t cut it. Neither did, “waiting in Heaven to be born” or “honey, you just didn’t exist yet.”

She dug in her heels and asked again.

“But where was I?”

So, I gave one of those flippant mommy-hasn’t-had-her-coffee-and-isn’t-thinking-things-through-well-yet answer.

“Oh, baby, you were just a twinkle in my eye.”

Safe enough you might think, right?

Yeah, well, two seconds later the girls were busy staring into each other’s eyes, counting the twinkles.

“You’re going to have four babies! I can see them!” C squealed to Little L, and from that moment on the myth was born.

Part of me loves this game. It’s so sweet and innocent. But part of me wonders if she’ll grow up with this hard and fast belief that she’s meant to have four kids, which might in turn lead to some eventual disappointment. Though, it’s possible, of course, that I’m a tad sensitive and overreacting in light of my own missing baby issues these days.

Who can tell?

Photo respectfully borrowed from Lisa Leonard.

Finding Peace in the Storm

standard August 10, 2011 9 responses

I left for BlogHer with trepidation in my heart. My usual childcare provider was on vacation and I wasn’t 100% comfortable with the back-up care I secured for Little L. She turned 4 on Monday and since that was the cut-off for camp… off to camp she went for the week.

To give both girls a break from the long camp days I arranged for our favorite sitter to come spend Thursday with them. Even so, I was sure I’d get a call pertaining to Little L on Friday.

Instead I got a call about C, on Thursday morning. Fever. Cold. Cough.

Ack.

Fever on Thursday means no camp on Friday, and I had no back-up. None.

I walked into the Women Create Media conference in a complete and utter tizzy. I texted all my close mom friends. I posted to my mother’s group secret Facebook page. I emailed anyone I could think of.

“I need a sitter. Any sitter. She needs to be free from 7:30am to 5pm tomorrow. Please. I’m begging.”

I hate asking for help, but I hate being in this limbo state even more.

I was eight hours away, my kid was sick, and there was nothing I could do about it.

To say that I had trouble concentrating is putting it lightly. I jumped at every text and facebook update. I obsessively checked my phone for emails. I racked my brain for names, people, anyone I could call.

After lunch the first and only nibble came through.

“I can’t do it, but my almost 14yo daughter can.”

Queue a whole new set of obsessive thoughts. I’d let a 13yo babysit my kids any evening. Evenings are easy. But could she handle a full day? Could she handle C with a fever? Could she handle it if Little L came down with the bug?

I waited another 30 minutes and finally called her mom. We talked. Realized that we know each other. Realized that she knows my girls. She promised she’s stop by three times during the day. That she’d come make them lunch. She told me about her daughter’s history with kids.

With some trepidation I agreed. It was 2pm. I was desperate. I needed a warm body to sit with the girls while they watched TV. That’s what I was willing to settle for.

For the rest of the day I was jumpy and out of sorts. I can leave home at ease if I know all the plans have been laid out and that there are back-up plans in place. I can walk away and forget about the kids and about M if I know, in my heart, that they’re fine.

On Thursday, I knew, in my heart, that they weren’t.

And then Friday came. And it was worse.

The sitter arrived on time, after a bad night for both M and the kids. And…. he didn’t think much of her.

“She’s quiet… and uh… really quiet.” He told me when I called to check-in. I could tell he wasn’t a fan. That he was torn because he had to go to work. That he was at a loss.That he needed to just hand me the stress and go focus on work.

I called her mom, then I called her. And yes, she was quiet. And maybe a bit 13yo sullen. But she was there. She was coherent. She was there. And so I hung up and tried to focus on my day.

Everything went well. The kids were fine. The sitter was fine. It wasn’t their best sitter experience… but it sure wasn’t their worst.

I wasn’t fine though. It did something to me, being away like that and unable to fix things to my satisfaction. It tore me up to have to go with the “at least she’s a warm body” option. When I leave, I want M and the kids to have a great time so that when I leave next it won’t be so hard on everyone.

I failed this time and all day I carried them around on my shoulders all through the San Diego Conference Center. M’s pain and stress. C’s fever and cough. Little L’s disappointment at not going to camp. They were with me in sessions. They were with me as I met brand reps and tried to sell myself and my company. They were even with me as I cracked jokes and spoke to a packed room.

I came home drained and broken, desperate to pick up the pieces and put my family back on solid ground.

And then news of Jennie’s husband brought me back to my knees.

Life has been beyond challenging this year. The blows just keep on coming. I routinely wonder how I’m going to keep doing it all. I actually thought that this past weekend would be my undoing.

And yet, miraculously, it hasn’t. I just keep getting up, brushing away the tears, and keep going.

Today I know that this is the stuff that will eventually make us stronger, individually, as a couple, and as a family. On Friday I’ll be joining a legion of friends who will also be baking Jennie’s husband, Mikey’s, favorite desert and serving it to their loved-ones as a grand, desert based celebration of a life cut short way too soon. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not going to fix anything for Jennie or her kids. But if it gives her a little peace to know so many are doing this one small thing, then I’m happy to do it.

I’m going to take a picture of that pie and post is somewhere I can always see it so I can remember that it’s the little things that keep us going no matter how crazy the storm can get. I invite you to do the same.

Photo by Taste of Home

 

Introvert? Extrovert? Who are you?

standard May 19, 2011 8 responses

It doesn’t come as a huge shock to anyone who knows me that I am an extrovert. I’m outgoing and gregarious, I thrive on being in public and on being a part of work groups.

Until this year I always assumed that extrovert was synonymous with outgoing and since that defined me to a T, I was fine with people assuming that’s what I was.

Introvert is usually synonymous with shy, and that’s just how I assumed my more withdrawn friends were. Shy, needing to be jostled out of it with extra heaps of boisterousness and fun. 

Then, last month, we did a Meyers Briggs seminar at my mother’s group and I gained a little more insight into the differences between the two.

I could not have been more wrong. 

Did you know that extroverts recharge their energy by being around other people? It’s like we feed off the energy being put out. Most extroverts come home from parties buzzing and high on the collective energy they bathed in all night. Introverts on the other hand, are drained by being in public and recharge by being alone.

Did you also know that extroverts process information by verbalizing what they are thinking. We think best in a group setting, bantering around ideas, bouncing thoughts off other people. Introverts on the other hand, internalize the information, process it, then come back with their response.

At parties, extroverts assume that introverts are bored, which is clearly not the case. In meetings or during group discussions extroverts often take center stage and introverts get annoyed that they hog the conversation, often to say inane, stupid, un-thoughtout things. Some extroverts might perceive that the fact that introverts don’t jump into the conversation means they are dumb, when really, they’re just deeper and process the information differently.

It’s fascinating to know all these things. To be aware of the differences.

But knowing them doesn’t make anything easier.

Here are a few secrets you might not know about extroverts.

Sure, we’re loud and boisterous, but we’re still shy and insecure. We just hide behind our bravado.

Sure, we’re outgoing and first to jump in, but we’re also really, really sensitive. Introverts protect themselves at every turn, only showing their cards when they are good and ready. Extroverts have no protective shell, we jump in, feet first, and take it all in the face.

So when you tell us that we’re too loud, even at times inconsiderate of others in the room, it kills us.

You see, we just want to be loved. We just want to please. We want nothing more than to win over every person in the room, because that’s when we’ll finally feel secure. To hear that our insecurity coping mechanism causes your insecurities puts us in a painful quandary. It makes us even more insecure, which in turn makes us louder.

There’s no winning with that. Ever.

And really, it begs the following questions:

If my volume and personality cause such anxiety in others, why are the majority of my friends Introverts? And, how do I parent my introvert child when clearly, my very personality causes her nothing but angst?

Friday Flashback: Some days it’s all about perspective

standard January 30, 2010 Leave a response

Friday Flashback is all about bringing to light some of my favorite posts from my archives to breathe new life into them. I was going to repost this because I’m having more asthma med issues and I desperately need to place an order to the Canadian pharmacy. But then I saw this one and I realized that this weekend is the first anniversary of Tuesday’s death. This is for her. And for me. Because once again I needed the perspective reminder. This was originally posted in January 09

Some Days it’s All About Perspective

I woke up to an email from an editor saying that the publication for which I was writing my first print article was going on an extended hiatus. For a year or so. She said this in reply to an email sent by me the night before, letting her know that I was on track for my Monday deadline. I salvaged the situation as best as possible, but to say that I was disappointed would be the understatement of the year.

I checked the rest of my email and found out that a dear friend’s new baby is terribly colicky. She’s going insane what with the no sleep and non stop screaming. Right then my disappointment seemed petty.

I checked some more email and learned that somewhere in the blogosphere two parents brought home their 2 year old daughter so they could watch her die. Her cancer has become so aggressive treatment isn’t an option. What’s a missed writing opportunity in comparison to the death of a child?

I hugged my children close and took them to school and daycare. Then I sat down to salvage my day. I sent emails and worked on some projects. Then I answered a call from my husband. He was delirious, hardly making any sense. He sounded like he was crying and laughing at the same time. He’d thought he was better from his flu and had gone to work. He was on his way back home, freaked out by the incessant chills.

I dropped everything, rushed to pick C up from school so I could take her to daycare early. I hurried home to see what was wrong with M. I found him shaking in bed, burning up, lethargic, completely out of sorts. One frantic phone call later to his sister, our internist, and we were in the car headed to see her. Shortly after that we were headed to a nearby radiology office, script for lung x-rays in hand. We didn’t learn until later that he didn’t have pneumonia, just a terrible case of the flu.

I took him home and put him to bed, I went out to get his meds, and then I sat on the couch to try to get a tiny bit of work done before going to collect the girls. Unfortunately, I was too riled up from my pharmacy trip to get anything worthwhile done.

It was a long and very frustrating day. It was filled with disappointment, sadness, fear, and frustration. The kids sensed all this and were extra challenging tonight. In fact, it’s 11pm and for some reason Little L won’t sleep. Instead she just keeps crying and fussing.

But I just learned that that little girl passed away today. So I’m going to take my tear stained face and go cuddle gratefully in bed with my grumpy daughter and sick husband, because even though I had a truly terrible day, I know it could have been so very much worse.