Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Relationships: 20,000 Ways to Die

When I became a mom, I realized there were about 5,000 ways to die. Now that Gracie is pushing 7 months and is all over the place, putting everything in her mouth and grabbing anything in 10-foot radius, I realized there are 10,000 ways to die.

Then my mother came to visit.

And now I realize, through Mom's advice and observations, that there are 20,000 ways to die.

I'm always a little on the morbid side since I have lost so many I love way too early. And now I'm following a really sad blog from a mom who lost her baby at 9 months to SIDS, and she writes every day and brings us along on her grief. Which is maybe why I hold this baby a little tighter than I might otherwise, and try to make sure she's happy every moment of her life.

Stay safe, Baby Gracie. Here's part of a prayer I say with her: May the angels protect you every second of every day, and all the space in between the seconds. May you always know luck, love, peace and happiness. I will always be your mama, forever. We will be together no matter where we are in this world or out of it. I love you.

Happy New Year

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Spirit: Holiday Apologies

I am sorry, friend, that I can't make your holiday thing this year. I can't add one more thing to the calendar for fear of imploding. I love you so much though.

I am sorry, dogs, that I can't take you out at 4 in the morning. Go ahead and pee in the kitchen, see if I care. OK, I do care. But I'm still not taking you out at 4 a.m.

I am sorry, Christmas presents, but if you could please wrap yourselves this year that would go a long way.

I am sorry, housekeeper, that I can't make the place a little easier to work with when you come every two weeks. I would really, really, like to. I might not have the technical knowledge though. I hope you don't leave us because we're too messy.

I am sorry, sweet baby girl, that your clothes, while, clean, are stuffed in your drawer with no apparent organization. I do keep shoes, socks and hats in the bottom, though, if that helps.

I am sorry, husband, that I walk around with mascara smudged under my eyes and my black sweatpants that I originally got for my mom but kept for myself. And that I go to bed much later than you. That is because I am trying to stave off an avalanche of our stuff until every other Wednesday when the housekeeper comes, usually.

I am sorry, shrink, that I stopped going to you after the baby came. I would actually like to speak with you sometimes but I think I should use that money to pay the housekeeper for an extra week.

Here is what I am not sorry about, though. I am not sorry I have an amazing family, a warm cute home albeit small and cluttered, food in the fridge, a smart & talented & beautiful baby, and a husband who brings in a Christmas tree every year without being asked.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Spirit: One Perfect Christmas Thing

The week had been nothing short of hellacious. We were slammed at work with an epic crisis. I somehow ended up taking a 36-hour shift with only a four-hour sleep break. I am not a doctor or firefighter or a coal miner or an air-traffic controller by day, mind you. I work in a grey cubicle. In my extreme exhaustion, I felt unappreciated and undervalued and like the littlest thing could shatter me. Which it did.

Our daycare was closed and I was expected to return to work after said 36-hour shift. I needed something in the office, so I packed up my baby and took her in while I collected my computer so I could work from home and watch Grace. Gracie is a very good baby. She smiles at strangers and hangs out on the floor and plays with her toes and gurgles. Everybody falls madly in love with her, even the guys who work in the TMobile store.

Without going into details, my baby and I were unceremoniously dismissed. A liability, they called it.

I went to the parking lot and cried, feeling like a child scolded for an innocent transgression. Grace wailed all the way home.

That night I had tickets to the Joffrey Nutcracker, where my 10-year-old neighbor/BFF was dancing the part of a Snow Angel. My husband was stuck working, so Gracie and I put on our Christmas best and headed to the ballet.

We sat in the nosebleed section, getting the stink eye from the usher, who made sure I knew that if she cried we'd need to exit. Gracie settled in. The overture began, the lights dimmed, and guests began to arrive at Clara's party. The Snow Queen floated amid sparkly drifts to her King.

Ballet is perfect for a 6-month-old, by the way, as it's all action and music, never a still moment, always changing light and something different to see. Grace was silently entranced on my lap for about 20 minutes, then settled into a deep sleep.

I thought about how my dad used to take me to the ballet and to musical theater -- it was our "thing" together -- and I so wanted to share with him these perfect moments of peace and art and beauty strung together, the twinkling lights of the soul. Wherever he is.

Joffrey Ballet Nutcracker 2008 from Sasha Fornari on Vimeo.