Monday, January 24, 2011

Two Months, Two Days

That's how long it's been since Tommy's last seizure (the last definite one, sometimes normal 18 month old behavior could be a seizure and it's hard, this is hard). I roll the days around in my brain constantly, like a job site posting telling how many days since the last accident. When we passed the two month mark, I breathed a little easier. Still, I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop, because I just don't trust this epilepsy monster.

Sometimes I gaze at him and wonder what's going on behind those eyes, like all parents do. Unlike all parents, I wonder how his brain is spinning, if it's going to misfire soon.

I still tiptoe in and place my hand on his chest every night. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and worry. Sometimes I don't. It confuses my head lately that I got pregnant with Tommy when Luke was at the age Tommy is now. Epilepsy has made him my forever newborn, my afraid to let out of my sights and arms baby and will I ever have room for another?

Tommy fell down on the floor in the midst of an epic temper tantrum and Luke said, Mommy! I think he's having a seizure! I reassured and swallowed around the perpetual lump in my throat and wondered at the bigness of a three year old knowing the word seizure.

If you were sitting on the couch next to me right now and we were drinking champagne, I'd raise my glass and say, Here's to two months and three days.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Circle Round

This week, I didn't really set out to take pictures of circles because well, I'm lazy. Also because I dropped my camera this summer and my lens is still falling off and I probably can't afford to replace it any time soon, which makes taking pictures annoying. But thankfully, I have a phone and also thankfully, circles are EVERYWHERE. Seriously, everywhere.

Like in my morning cup of coffee with my favorite creamer.

Or in the layout of this Veteran's memorial that I pass every single day, twice a day but have never visited. It's hard to see in a snow, but it's set up on a circular platform.

It was snowing, windy, and so cold that day. I had to walk through ankle deep snow to get out here, but what it took me to walk out there is nothing compared to the sacrifices made by the men listed on that black wall.

Unfortunately, after I took this picture, the weather started spitting ice pellets in my face. And although they are probably circular in nature, they are also not very fun to photograph, but I definitely plan to stop more and appreciate more when it's warmer.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Food And Resolve

I have no will power when it comes to food. None at all. You can set a plate of brownies on the counter in front of me and I will think to myself, "I resolve to eat none of these brownies. I'm not hungry." And then two seconds later, I'll be like, "I resolve to only eat one of these brownies. One brownie is okay." And then five seconds later, I will have eaten THE WHOLE PLATE (I eat really fast) of brownies. The worst part is that I'm not even sure what happened. I'll have brownie crumbs in my hair and I'll be shaking from the sugar and looking dumbly at the empty plate thinking, What just happened here?
Still, despite my general lack of sanity around food, I thought it'd take a little longer for me to eat my New Year's resolution of eating a Big Mac.

My lack of never eating a Big Mac has nothing to do with being a vegetarian or even having a healthy diet, because I don't. Instead, my mom followed the health food craze before it was a craze, so even though I grew up in the 80s when no one really cared about trans fat and fries were fried in lard, I never ate at McDonald's. Ever. (We also did not have sugary cereal, I WAS SO DEPRIVED.) In fact, the first time I ate at McDonald's, I was in 3rd grade and with a friend. I didn't know what to order for breakfast, so I ordered one donut (do they still have donuts at McDonald's?) and her family laughed at me while they enjoyed their Egg McMuffin's and hash browns. Jerks.
Growing up, I still didn't eat at McDonald's much, except for the occasional french fry. It just wasn't something I did. Also, I never really liked burgers of any sort until I was pregnant with Luke and CRAVED bacon cheeseburgers like they were going out of style (thankfully I still love them). I just don't want you guys to think that I avoided it because I had food standards or something. I don't. I once ate a Junior Mint off the sidewalk.

It still isn't really something we do, except maybe for breakfast or when we're traveling or when I'm in desperate need of junk food, so I just don't get much of an opportunity to eat a Big Mac. However, last week, I unexpectedly took Luke to the doctor and went to fill a prescription, only to be told that it'd be a 45 minute wait (which actually turned into a NINETY minute wait, thanks Walgreens), so to fill the interim, I decided to take Luke and let him play at the play place (please note, he had an infection of the boy parts--he was not contagious or spreading germs through the play place) and of course, how could I not go ahead and fill my Big Mac quota for the year?


And then, three minutes later (I told you I eat fast):

That picture is blurry, because I was busy shoveling french fries into my mouth. So, what did I think? It was so fabulously junky and delicious that I'm kind of sad that I didn't eat one ten years ago, back when I weighed 100 pounds and could get away with eating a Big Mac more often. My only regret is that I did not listen to those of you who told me to get extra sauce. My other regret is that in shoving the whole burger in my mouth at once, I did not get to enjoy it better. But as far as fast food burgers go? I kind of want to fill a room with Big Macs so that I'm forced to eat my way through them to get out of the room. Am I the only one that fantasizes about having to eat my way out of a room filled with food? I hope not.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I See The Moon

All day Tuesday, it looked like a snow globe outside, so when I picked up the boys at the sitter, all Luke could talk about was going sledding at "Big Hill." Big Hill is not really so big, but it's just a few houses down and to Luke, it's big. Shane had a meeting after school and didn't arrive home until it was dark, but how could we crush those dreams of sledding?

After dinner, we bundled up and ventured outside.
Tommy was captivated by the moon and said, "Muh...muh...mooooon" over and over.

So big, that moon. And so big, that baby of mine.

Luke was so fast on his sled that all I could capture with my phone was a blur.

Luke and I made a heart in the snow, and then we went outside and found our way to a hot bath and comfy pajamas. I don't really like the snow, but that night with the world quiet all around us, except for giggles and softly falling snowflakes? I could go for more nights like this.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Better From Above

Today was one of those days where I was pulling into the sitter's driveway, both boys were standing in her front window, grinning and waving enthusiastically. My heart soared, so proud to call them mine, so happy to rush inside and scoop them up in my arms. Then I got inside and heard how one got two time outs for hair pulling, while the other jumped on my back without warning me first, so that I [embarrassingly] fell over, my legs knocked out from under me both literally and figuratively, and I wanted to get back in my car and just drive far, far away. Instead I smiled and nodded and apologized and slunk to the car, wiping away hot tears.

A few months ago, I was emailing with a co-worker about parenting. He confessed that he felt like he wasn't very good at this parenting thing. I confessed back that every single night, I pray to be a better parent and I feel like it never comes true. Maybe it isn't supposed to come true, I don't know. Maybe if we were all perfect, if our kids were always dressed well and clean and never ate candy at breakfast time, we'd become complacent. I question sometimes why Tommy has seizures and why Luke's worst behavior is always in front of other people and why Tommy lately thinks hair pulling is the best, most fun thing ever, but maybe it's like this to teach me to appreciate the little boy who didn't make a peep on a three hour airplane ride this summer, who most often sits through restaurant meals like an angel. To appreciate the fragility of life and the even littler boy who looked at his ridiculous crying mama, put his head on her shoulder and patted her back with the gentlest of touches. And maybe, just maybe, I'm not as bad as I think I am. Maybe someone bigger than me, someone better than me, knows I try to do my very best and that sometimes I fail and that's okay.
My friend's confession floored me, though, because he has five daughters. The oldest has lived in Heaven since she was 7 and he speaks of her with such pride (and how she must look down on him with pride of her own). His four younger girls are some of the most beautiful, well-rounded teenagers I've ever met. If ever anyone should be confident in parenting skills, it should be him.

But he isn't. And neither am I. And probably, neither are you. I wonder sometimes why my prayers aren't answered, why I don't feel confident, why on earth I've been entrusted to be so much for these two boys, but then, don't things always look better from above?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Music of Words

Every year at open house night, I go over the curriculum with the parents of my students. I tell them that poetry is my favorite unit, but for my students, it is a love/hate relationship. They either love it or hate it, there is no in between. What I don't tell them, though, is that it's always the kids you least expect who love it. The hulking boys already growing stubble in 8th grade, the ones more at home on a football field than in English class. The ones whose papers are written sloppily in pencil, with torn spots from where they erased too hard. Often times, those are the students who love it. It makes no sense, but then, I suppose that's the beauty of poetry. It doesn't have to make sense to reach you.

Whether they love it or hate it, I always teach my students that just like songs are meant to be sung, poetry is meant to be read aloud. I also teach them that in poetry, there is no right or wrong at how a poem makes you feel. There is no right or wrong in what speaks to you in that poem. It should be no surprise, then, that when Sarah and Steph both posted a link to this poetry reading, I swooned.

After I shared it on Facebook, Sarah commented and said, "I love that we can all just keep sharing this from each other's profiles, because we all hear something different in it."

That one single sentence epitomizes everything I've always believed about poetry, and I just wanted to say YES YES YES.
This is what I heard:
"for the kid who's always late to class because he forgets the combination to his lockers, for the girl who loves somebody else. Shake the dust."
I know that kid. The kid who stumbles into class late every day because he lost his backpack again. Because he forgot his locker combination, even though school has been in session for months. I know his face.

"Do not let a moment go by that doesn't remind you that your heart beats 900 times a day and that there are enough gallons of blood to make you an ocean.
Do not settle for letting these waves settle and the dust to collect in your veins."
And this. Do not settle. Do not forget to be alive for a single moment of your life. What a glorious reminder as we go into a new year..

And you. What spoke to you?