Monday, January 19, 2009

Yes, we did!

Well, I haven't blogged in a week because I have had so much to say, but really no way to put it all into words. I am really excited for this week. Today the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday - made extra special by tomorrow's historic nomination. We had planned on doing the march downtown, but when faced with the prospect of having the baby on the road for that much time with 100,000 other people, we decided to celebrate in our own way from home. After a bit of confusion last night on what a "march" was (Sofia thought it was like a drum line and was practicing her "march" around the house with a baton in hand) we settled down twice to listen to Dr. King on the laptop and again on NPR. The kids have heard the I Have a Dream speech many times. But part of the beauty of the speech is that no matter how many times you have heard the speech it can speak to you anew each time.

The inauguration promises to be an historic, special time again. And again, I would be remiss if I did not mention my parents. I am so thankful for them on this day. First because it is my birthday. ;o) Second, because they instilled in me a deep sense of patriotism - which I didn't recognize as patriotism for a long time - possibly until this year. They are fervent life-long democrats, but it wasn't a love for the democratic party that they passed on to me necessarily. It wasn't even an explicit love of country or patriotism. It was a sense of kinship with other people, a sense of helping others in need, and a sense of knowing that by exercising your vote you were participating in the one thing that could ultimately change the course of the country and consequently your life. My parents to this day (and daddy is 92!) are constantly helping other people, exercising their right to vote, and participating enthusiastically in the change our country is seeing. Sunday daddy told me that he would be in front of the TV all day on my birthday excitedly witnessing history in the making. This made me so happy and brought tears to my eyes because I know daddy and ma have witnessed such change in our country - daddy especially having been born in 1916 and lived through and experienced prejudice and change alike.

I would also be remiss not to mention Ed. He is so happy today after working so hard during the campaign. I am proud of him for being so passionate and motivating so many people to get involved. Happy day, Ed.

Lastly, today is my birthday. I am so happy with my kids, my husband, my awesome friends, and my family right now that I would prefer to live in this time forever. But alas I am growing old, and still scared doing it. If it is inevitable, I am happy at least that it is today. I have tried to impress upon my kids the significance of today. Not that it is my birthday, but that my birthday falls on this day which has such importance. I have big plans to watch TV all day. I already caught John Miles on TV in Washington. Yay Anna! How proud they must be. No presents today. After all, I got what I wanted! ;o)

So...that's all I have. Not much. A little corny, but heartfelt. Bear with me - God bless America! :o)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Growin' up leads to growin' old then to dyin' and dyin' to me don't sound like all that much fun...

Sidenote: I felt like blogging this in the middle of the night...but someone was using my toothbrush (if you don't get it - keep up).

The first time my sister called last Sunday and left me a message to call her at work I thought it was a little alarming, and I don't even have her work number. Not entirely strange, but strange enough for me to think a little about it. But I had to unpack perishables and then was off to another errand. When she left the second message to call her, I knew something was up. So, I called. I found out that another sister's husband's sister's son had gone missing around Christmas. Naturally, the family had been worried and looking for him. His body turned up New Year's Day. Self inflicted gun shot. He was 20.

I met him only two times I think. I remember mostly him being handsome and looking faintly like his mom. I knew his mom little better having met and talked to her mostly at my sister's house. But, I couldn't stop thinking about this news. Wow. So tragic. The questions. Did they suspect it was going to happen? Was he depressed? Where did he get the gun? And the question I can't stop thinking about - Did they part lovingly? I have thought about this to no end and then being the thinker I am - thought about it some more...

Monday morning I took Malcolm to the doctor for what I suspected was some kind of eye infection. It was, namely a sty, but infected with what the doctor thought might be staff. They decided to put him on antibiotics and monitor it. They did and it grew until it looked like the Elephant Man on his eye. Thursday morning the pediatrician referred him to a specialist who took one look at it, and told me "we" would have to do a "procedure" "ASAP." So, without a cell phone, I was left to make a decision (something I have never been good at). Either - admit him to a children's hospital so that he could be put under and perform the procedure there, OR - give him a local and perform the procedure at the specialist's office. Oh, and to help me make my decision the doctor told me we didn't want it to rupture because he wasn't absolutely sure what it was and he wasn't sure how soon he could get Malcolm into the hospital. Well, possible pain or possible blindness in one eye? I opted for possible pain. And pain it was. I was dutifully traumatized for putting my child through hell. The anathesia wasn't effective because halfway through the procedure he realized he was going to have to go deeper than he thought. It was somewhat like having a baby - once the baby's coming out - ain't no going back. My sister assured me the whole experience was likely much more traumatic for me.

Tuesday I found out my uncle is near death. My mom told me. Since kids I have gotten progressively worse at keeping in touch with aunts and uncles. This causes me pause - quite a bit, but I can't seem to change it. You know we find time for what is important to us. But what if the important things take more than 24 hours? My uncle, like most of my mom's siblings and my mom had a large family. He is divorced, and he has not been close to any of his kids since I have known him. I have always thought about that fact. Being the youngest of 10 I find I often don't know a lot of family details. I just use my imagination (which I can hear my mother labeling as "wild") to fill in the blanks. So, this I know: it makes me sad that my uncle grew old and will die largely without his own family...

It is Sunday again. I am sick. Baby is sick. Malcolm's eye is less frightening. I have few conclusions none of them really new. Nevertheless here they are: Being a parent can be really, really hard. We will make good decisions for our kids and not so good decisions - both of which may have lasting effects. The depth of your relationship with someone may depend on the time you put into it. I remain unsure of growing old.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Lessons from 2008

I learned...
in the area of the economy:
1. it takes a long time to save money for retirement and not so much time to lose it.
2. powdered milk does not taste as bad as I remember as a child.
3. raising four kids on one income may require choosing between paul mitchell hair product and meat.
4. given the choice of expensive hair product and meat I will often choose expensive hair product.
5. that I can live with six channels on a non-flat screen TV.
in the area of child rearing:
1. The Law of Multiple Children - which states that for the number of children you have (i.e. 4) the previous number (3) will seem like no children at all. This appears to be true ad infinitum.
2. how my parents managed to handle 10 kids.
3. the mother often ends up with the oldest children while the father is left with the baby.
4. how my dad got so good with babies.
in the area of technology:
1. that not owning a cell phone has allowed me to actually talk to my children at the grocery store, in the van, waiting in line, etc.
2. IPODS take away the anticipation of what song will be played next on my favorite radio station.
3. Facebook is great when the kitchen is filthy, the kids are dressing from the clothes dryer, and I have 50 prints due in one week.
4. laptops are like toothbrushes. Each member of the family really needs their own.
in the area of relationships:
1. moments in the 18th year of marriage can still be as breathtaking, precious, painful, and sweet as moments in the first year of marriage.
2. good friends become more and more important to me with each passing year.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


We celebrated with close friends here in the neighborhood. We had a great time chatting it up with friends while the kiddos watched movies in surround sound - which for my kids (as you know) is the ultimate good time. ;o) Our kids lasted until about 10:00. The older three would've lasted longer, but little Lainey was ready for her crib. We said our goodbyes and went home to get in jammies. The kids settled down on a huge blanket in our room to read books and cuddle until midnight, but Malcolm was the first one out at 11:00!!! Corina held out the longest, but finally passed out before midnight. It was a great evening just the same and today is promising to be a great albeit lazy day.