Friday, November 13, 2009

I did this today

Be the only girl in the group who makes it to the top of the Praying Monk? Check.

Happy weekend. May you summit a few things.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Why you should always put on a little lipgloss before getting on a plane

This photo has nearly nothing to do with the post.
I'm just fascinated by its origins.
Who bought him that shirt? Creepy Uncle Orlan?

There I was, minding my own business with the latest Us Weekly (Angelina is such a bitch!) when someone two seats away from me perks up and says, "Samantha?" And who should be seated with me in row 17 on US Airways flight 14 from SFO to Phoenix, but Heath H., the boy I thought I would surely die of love for at age of 14. He was the first boy my age to get a hairy chest.

Poor Heath. There was a time in 9th grade when I called his house every evening. Every evening. I could practically hear his sister rolling her eyes as she shouted, "Heeath." Not that I cared what she thought; my love trumped all other impulses, like dignity and self-restraint, for example.

Once he got on the phone I would open with "Hi." Then I would sit there silently all tied up with desire and self-consciousness, totally unable to think of anything else to say.

But he was so nice to me. He never asked me to stop calling. He never said one mean thing to me. Instead he sat on the other end of the phone trying his best to make conversation and get the hell on with his life without hurting my feelings.

Once, he invited me over to dinner and made me frozen pizza and a salad with large hunks of carrot that crunched excruciatingly as I chewed. I was almost too nervous to breathe. It was our first and last date.

When I saw him today he was still so nice. And I was still so awkward and twitchy. I think I have residual embarrassment about my extreme lack of cool back in the day. It's been 24 years since I masticated those excruciating carrot hunks in the presence of Heath H. and yet it doesn't take more than a second to transform me back into that horribly self-conscious girl neurotically wiping her nose of phantom boogers and robotically repeating "that's cool" like it were some sort of mantra.

Hello, 1984. It's been a while.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Business of Being Born

My kids have already asked me what God is (not an easy question for a Jewish/Buddhist/Super-secular girl like me to answer), what it means when you die, and how babies get into their mommy's tummies in the first place (well, it happens when they are very, very, very tiny).

Yesterday, they finally thought to ask how babies get out of their mommy's tummies. Aha! An easy one.

Except that when you explain the birth process to a three year old they totally think you are lying. Oliver just looked at me with smiling apprehension and said, "Nahh." Maggie said, "Oh, yeah, they turn into pee pee and come out your vagina," in a voice meant to convey that while I was indeed hilarious, she could not be so easily fooled.
After a second attempt to convince them I wasn't kidding, I figured out that it was pointless and let them draw their own conclusions. Someday they will know the ugly truth about so many things.

Besides, that's not how they were born.

They were born under blinding lights, attended by masked men bearing scalpels. They were tugged from my body by gloved hands. The first people to hold them were nurses we will never know. They were whisked away to beeping incubators while I lay strapped down and prone and unconscious and the Mister stood pacing furiously outside an OR he had no access to. I didn't get to see them for ten hours. It left us all feeling powerless and incapable and totally blindsided.

"holding my kids" after their birth

Their birth was one of the most awful experiences I've ever had, and to this day I feel like weeping every time I think about it. When you tell people this, that you had a bad birth, they try to make you feel better by saying, "But you got two healthy, beautiful children." This is true. We did get two healthy and beautiful children. And for this I am more grateful than I can possibly ever express. It is a blessing and good grace that boggles the minds, and that, frankly, makes me a little nervous.

This is no way to first see the world

But the fact remains that their birth and all its attending medical intervention and bullying has left me with a bit of sadness and shame I am not quite sure how to shake.

It's been three-and-a-half years and the pure envy I feel for women who have those empowering, I-am-woman-hear-me-roar births is nearly unbearable.

And here's the thing: I know I would have been good at it. Under other circumstances, with a less complicated pregnancy, I would have gotten my wool-clad midwife to light some candles, sunk down in the birthing tub, and pushed those babies out like Ina May Gaskin herself. I would have worn braids. And planted the placentas under magnolia and olive trees.

Ok, maybe not the placenta part. But afterbirth fertilizer or not, it would have been, I think, a better beginning for all of us if it could have been a little closer to how God intended. Alas.

If you are a pro-vagina, groovy mom like me, you will probably have the same love/hate relationship with this movie that I do. I can't even watch the trailer without crying.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

"I have to think these things up, you know"

The kids and I spent the weekend with my mom, helping her do things like open jars and wash dishes because she had surgery on her thumb and her arm is wrapped up like a burrito, a giant, gauzy, arm-y burrito.

The weekend has been an opportunity to take over and secretly throw away some of the papers my mother passively collects. So far a bunch of coupons for carpet cleaning, a stack of 30 or so catalogues for cheap crap (singing Christmas bath mat anyone?), and a pile of brightly colored pamphlets about Honduras she picked up at some political rally have met their fate in the recycling bin.

I dutifully kept the newsletters from every non-profit she's ever given money to, and made a neat pile of the remaining 143 mail order catalogues (self-warming toilet seat anyone?)

My fever to sort through her junk mail started last night, after we watched Grey Gardens and I started to get a creepy feeling. My mother is about a 100 cats and as many marbles away from being even close to Big Edie. But still, a stack of expired coupons and a collection of old real estate listings is a slippery slope. Pretty soon we could be wearing old sweaters on our heads, sharing a tub of melted ice cream and throwing our cat food cans in the fireplace. I'm just saying.

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