Friday, May 29, 2009

Recesses of the heart

Thursday was The Dolly and The Bunny's last day of first grade.

Bryan and his girlfriend Alexis usually pick the munchkins  
up from school on Thursdays and we all agreed a celebration 
was in order. Alexis had her five year old son with her - 
Zane-O-Mane and he had just finished his school year as well.

They all went off to play while I finished up some work.
When they returned we decided on the kids favorite Mexican 

Now these children were plenty wound up from ice cream 
on the last day of school, swimming AND jumping on the 
trampoline, not to mention that Zany and the Bunny throw 
down when they are together. A veritable tumbleweed of 
feet and fists and laughter and sometimes tears.

We sat down to eat and things started getting a little rowdy.
All three were sharing a window bench and the boys were 
next to each other. Lots of jockeying for position...
As soon as they finished we turned them out to play and we 
finished our meal watching them right outside the window.

The Dolly came running in obviously distraught and rushed 
right past me into Bryan's arms. It seems she and Zane-O had 
collided and Dolly had caught his head with her upper lip.

She clung to Bryan and he hugged her hard as he whispered to her.
I brought her some ice for her bleeding, swelling lip and after 
about five minutes she wanted to go back out and play.

Several things were revealed in this incident. 

My daughter is so much tougher than her twin brother - who 
knows how long that scene would have lasted if it had been him.

She didn't blame Zane - just said that they had run in to each 
other and then quickly wanted to get back out and play with 
him some more. Again, very different scenario if it had been 
my dramatic and long suffering Bunny.

I felt a rush of emotion when she ran past me to Bryan for 
comfort. My heart swelled with gratitude that these siblings 
all love each other so much and I understand now how MOB 
[Mom-of-Bryan] feels about all of us. When there is plenty of 
love and an honest to goodness wanting of the best for all 
there is no jealousy, only gratitude and tenderness for all 

When the Dolly ran out I noticed that Bryan was misty eyed.
It had really choked him up that she was hurt and he wanted 
to fix it and I think there was somewhat of an overwhelming 
feeling about the depth of his emotions for his little siblings. 
It is A Genuine Mutual Admiration Society.

I told him that he had just had a genuine taste of parenting,
wanting to take their pain for them, wanting to fix them up,
wanting them to never get hurt, wanting to protect them and 
realizing at the same time that you can't.

And I thanked the universe and the gods of fertility and medicine 
for my very unique family: a 30 year old birth son [of my high 
school sweetheart] who I have had the singular pleasure of getting 
to know for the last 10 years and been in the same city with for the 
last two; amazingly beautiful and fun girl/boy 7 year old twins as a 
result of in vitro fertilization that I birthed at the age of 42; one 
crazy, verbal rescue labrador who makes me laugh several times 
every single day; and a handsome, loving, funny husband who 
embraces the whole lot of us.

And then of course, MOB, who taught Bryan that he was extra 
special because he had two mothers who loved him so much. 
She helped pave the way for our reunion.

And in this chaos, this clamor and crying and fighting, the shrieks 
of laughter and the split lips and the scrapes, the wailing for 
'Mommy!' or 'Daddy!' - there is a peace ...

and a stillness ...

and a little place deep in the recesses of this birth mother's heart
that has finally healed.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

I Just LOVE Hidden Fees

We are making our annual pilgrimage to Minnesota this 
summer for lake and family fun. The other day I saw 
some great flight deals on the internet. Turns out there 
are some additional fees once you really get in there...

We are flying HairBrains and I see they have a new motto:

    HairBrains – We charge you for f*#king everything...

    4 round trip tickets moderately priced


    $6 per seat (I guess we could have flown standing?) each way

    God knows what each bag will cost...

    Oh you wanted oxygen and heat? You can’t handle -55F at altitude?

    You some kind of pussy because there is a surcharge for pets too 
    ya know...

So that’s my rant for the day – but hey! everybody’s gotta make a living...

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Life's a Holiday on Contaminated Lane

I wrote this post on December 14, 2008 And never published it. Since I seem to be particularly uninspired lately this will have to do...

                                         *  *  *  *  *  *

So here is the deal. We have had some form or fashion of unhealthiness in our house since late August - I am not kidding. We went to Hell-en Georgia for a little R & R with the kids and my in-laws. I don't know if you have ever heard of Helen Georgia but apparently after the interstates went through Helen was dying faster than Radiator Springs. An industrious native decided they should spruce up the little town and make it look like a Bavarian Village - and why not? (WTF) And what do you know - IT WORKED! (Marketing is a beautiful thing.) Now the place is crawling with tourists and they have all manner of nasty, terrible stores there, particularly stores with lewd t-shirts. They have a 2 -1/2 hour inner tube ride down the river (about 2-1/4 hours too long) - they have water slides - they have fudge - they've got it all. And I believe that is where this unhealthiness all started.

Now don't get me wrong - I am not trying to steer you away from Helen - in fact, it is Hog Heaven for young girls and boys like the Bunny and the Dolly. We stayed in a time share that had swimming pools and outdoor grills and paths to the river - that and the waterslide and river ride - why it's a veritable kid nirvana. 

It was there that I contracted the Mystery Cough. A hard, non-productive cough (I love that term for a cough - sounds like a louse brother-in-law) that sort of never became anything and never went away (again - like a louse brother-in-law). And when we came home with my cough a small cloud of illness parked it's happy ass right over my house and has been there ever since.

To wit: as a result of said cough, the Bunny, the Dolly and Gapetto got sick. Gapetto's turned into a nasty sinus infection, the Dolly got the croup and the Bunny's turned into walking pneumonia. Within the next three weeks both Grammy and Poppy got pneumonia as well. And Grammy had one heck of a time getting rid of it. So that shot September and part of October.

Soon I was back at the pediatrician's for strep tests. 'Are you sure you don't want to see the Doctor?' 

'Nope - just the tests please.' 

By the time children are six I am pretty sure any mom with half a brain (myself included) can recognize strep when she sees it. We had two positive strep tests. 

Meanwhile our insurance ran out from Gapetto's job that he left so we had to find individual family insurance - just don't even get me started on that. That is when we had to get the Dolly's molar removed (Baby Jay), so insurance didn't cover that one. Then, lo and behold, the Mystery Cough returned but turned into a sinus infection. Next the Bunny developed the croup (the Wednesday before Thanksgiving) and I took the Dolly with me for good measure. I was using a new pediatrician who I wasn't so sure of - mostly I was distracted by the hour and a half wait and the fact that the man did not have ONE HAIR on his body. Now alopecia areata universalisa is nothing to be mocked - it is just that it fascinates me and I can't seem to follow the conversation. (Okay, so there is no hair ANYWHERE on this man's body). So this visit to the new HMO group took a total of 2-1/2 hours (about 2-1/4 hours too long and not nearly as fun as the river ride from hell) and we left with Prednisone for both children. 

We had a quiet Thanksgiving and the kids went back to school on Monday. That afternoon I pick them up and Dolly had a fever, an unresponsive fever, for three days. I called my old pediatricians office and pleaded 'Please tell me you take this horseshit insurance!' and it turns out they did. So we loaded up the mom-van and went back to the office they have gone to since birth.

'I am sorry Ma'am we don't take this insurance'

"But I called and you said you did"

'You have an HMO and we only take Multi-Choice."

'Well f*#& - I'll just pay for them since we are here.' I couldn't face the hairless wonder and the long wait again.

The nurse comes in. 'How long has the Bunny Rabbit had this cough?'

'About 2 or 3 months.'

"How long has the Dolly Llama had this cough?'

'About 2 or 3 nights.'

'I threw up 11 times last night' the Dolly offers proudly.

So, a breathing treatment for the Dolly's pneumonia, a Z pack plus a huffer for the inflammation in her little lungs. With any luck she will return to school tomorrow. The Bunny Rabbit has a sinus infection so he gets that cotton candy colored antibiotic they take for 10 days. He returned to school on Friday. Gapetto, no doubt has a sinus infection, which is going untreated of course. Mine is clearing up.

So, I am thinking we need to cover our house like they do in California for termite treatments. They put these huge tarps over the entire house and totally fumigate the place and just let it sit for awhile till all signs of life and termites are gone. Surely there must be something like that for illnesses - right? 


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Monday, May 11, 2009

Letters dated July 22 and 23, 1999

Hi Merrily,

I was so excited to hear back from you. Well, the tentative date of our arrival in Atlanta on Sunday August 15th. We PLAN to get there in the afternoon, around 4:00. Would it be alright if we came straight to our house? We PLAN to leave Atlanta Saturday August 21st. Of course everything is flexible.

Melanie and I would love to stay at your big old house. I don't mean
to impose the whole week on you. We can easily make other arrangements. My mom insists that I warn you about my eating habits. I'm a strict vegetarian (vegan), I don't eat any meat of any kind (beef, chicken, fish) or dairy or butter or any product or ingredient that is animal derived. I'll be happy to shop for myself while I'm there.

Could you email me back with directions to our home as well as your phone number (in case we are late or get lost)? I wish I had more time to write you but I type with one finger and I have a seven and a nine year old boy waiting for me downstairs. (I'm babysitting.)

Hope to hear from you soon.

* * * * * * *

Dear Bryan,

Thanks for the warning - that will help determine my menu plans. Gapetto and I are both so excited that you are coming. Be forewarned it is HUMID here and usually in the low 90's. You'll do some sweating!

Directions to our house:


[phone numbers

I hope you and Melanie have a safe and wonderful trip. Call if you need us or to let us know that you are close. I imagine there might be some awkwardness in some of this but we can work through it together. There is an awful lot of catching up to do and I am really looking forward to it.

If your allergies will bother you let me know, it's not a problem to make this a cat-free house while you're here. Are you allergic to dogs too? We could make arrangements there too if need be.

See you soon!



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