Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I'm on my third day back at work and I think the fact that I have forgotten to put on deodorant every single morning should say something.  Other than that I smell at the end of the day.

Good thing I keep deodorant in my car at all times.

Really, I'm not sure I'm going to make it much longer.  I sent an email to a friend after first period on my first day back and all it said was, "I no longer love my job."  That's a lot for me.  I really used to love my job- even on the worst days.  I used to look forward to teaching and being with my students.  I looked forward to coming to work.  Now?  Now I get up in the morning and I dress and drive all over God's green earth to drop kids at respective schools and then I get to my school. 

And I work.

And then I drive all over again picking kids up and I head home.  I have not gotten home before 5pm either day this week and that means that I have just enough time to feed, homework and get my older two ready for bed before they actually go to bed.  The younger two spend their time eating and snoozing while everything goes on around them.  Minimal interaction between any of us.

Is this really how it's supposed to and going to be?


I'm not sure if you know Susan or have read her blog over at Toddler Planet but she was one of the very first blogs I read, along with her very good friend Canape over at Don't Take the Repeats.  Well, Susan has been fighting and battling and beating cancer for a number of years now but has now reached the point where that bastard cancer is, very very sadly, beating her body.  Not her spirit.  You must head over and read her story because only she does it justice.  But know she is probably one of the smartest and strongest fighters I have ever encountered! 

Susan's story and her life have really had me thinking.  Susan has two wonderful little boys that she loves to the end of the earth and back and I can only imagine that they, through all of this, have been at the forefront of her mind and heart. 

We have been very lucky with regards to our health, as a family.  The things we have gone through have been treated and taken care of and monitored.  We haven't had to battle things nearly as hard as others in and out of the blogosphere have.  But reading about Susan and her fight and also finding out that a good friend of mine was recently diagnosed with cancer has really brought a lot of new thoughts to the forefront.

Is working, if I don't really have to, worth it?

Do I want to get to a point where I miss firsts and seconds and thirds because I'm in a classroom somewhere or at a faculty meeting?

God forbid something happens to my husband or I, are we happy with the amount of time we've invested in our children and their happiness and well being?

There are so many what ifs.  And I know, we cannot live our lives based on the what ifs.  But am I living our life, my life, as a have to?  I have to go to work.  I have to have those extra dollars just in case.  I have to put my kids in certain schools or certain activities.  I have to, have to, have to.

I took it to the worst the other night and I thought about Susan as she and her family made the choice to bring in Hospice care.  What if it were us?  What if we were bringing in Hospice care, would I really be ok with the fact that I spent my last time on the earth, the majority of it, not with my family- my children?

I think everyone knows the answer to that.

But I really am afraid to walk into my principal's office and quit.  I'm afraid to walk away from my work.  I'm afraid of not having that paycheck- as meager as it is- to add to our bank account every two weeks.  I'm afraid that in 3 or 4 years when I decide that I want to be back in full time work, whatever that may be, I will be considered a dinosaur in the working world. 

I don't like to live my life, or my family's life, out of fear.  Whether that's fear of cancer or fear of leaving and jeopardizing my family's well-being.  But there has to be a better way.

If I have learned nothing else from Susan and her courageous and never-ending fight- and that's just what it has been, she has not given up her faith or her hope or her fight- it's that I need to make sure I do what is best for me and my family.  I need to fight for them, in every area of life and living.  I need to work past the fear of what lies ahead and just live.

But, as with all else, that is far easier said than done.

Please head over to Toddler Planet and check out Susan.  She really is a brilliant scientist and wonderful mother and, again, one of the strongest most courageous people I've encountered.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Home is Where the Heart is and Where I Think I Should Be

I sit here, in the midst of the chaos of my house right now, and think that there are days that this couldn't possibly be more rewarding and there are days where if given the chance I might possibly be willing to run away for an undetermined amount of time to an undisclosed location.

I go back to work on Monday and the thought of this not only reduces me to tears but it sends me into a tailspin of anxiety and fear.  It's right here where I feel like this post could go in two different directions.  Both related but both different.

So, I choose the fear and early motherhood angle for now and later we'll talk about the fun I feel will be coming down the road.

We had our first child, a boy, when I was 25 and my husband was 29.  We planned and tried and waited and anticipated our son and when he came along we were like deer in the headlights.  I stayed home for 9 weeks and when it was time to head back to the workforce, I was more than ready.  I could not fathom being a stay at home mom, it was NOT something that I desired.

Our second child came along, a big surprise, and staying home, again, was not a desire or an option.  I was able to be with her from her birth until she was about 6 months old courtesy of Summer vacation and while it was difficult to leave her, it was the right thing for me at the time.  The right thing for our family.

When we found out we were having twins my first thought was selfish and was all about whether or not I'd be able to continue working and coaching.  The thought, back in March of 2011, of staying home with twins, in our current home, was far too much for me to grasp.  There was no way I wanted that.  I needed to work, I needed to have adult interaction, I needed to be out of the house.

The girls came along and it was practically an instantaneous change of heart.  The thought of leaving them was heart-wrenching.  The idea that I would go and spend the day helping to raise and educate other people's children for a pittance, when my children were at daycare seemed grossly wrong to me.  Horribly wrong and definitely not what I wanted.

When one of my girls was put into a Wheaton Harness for her hips a few weeks ago I couldn't help but think that no one, save a few family members, would be able to care for her and meet her needs in the harness the way I could.  Then, when her reflux and digestion issues became so prevalent that she was vomiting on a regular basis and crying when she wasn't vomiting, I thought that some daycare worker was going to get so frustrated that she or he would harm my baby.

How could I possibly allow my children to go to daycare when I was sure that it wasn't the best place for them?

Right now, it's impossible for me to stay home. Two of our children's tuition depends on me working where I work.  I have already committed to returning and I feel that I need to follow through on that commitment and fulfill my contract.  There is a good chance that if our budgeting is correct, after daycare and bills we should have a little extra leftover to put away.  Which could mean that come September, I don't have to return to work for awhile.

What's the difference, though?  I've been trying to figure out why I am so willing and wanting to stay home now but couldn't even imagine it when my son and daughter were born.  Is there something to be said for having your children a little bit later on and that impacting your thoughts on being home or at work. Because at 25, I was young and stupid and naive.  Not every 25 year old is.  I just knew that I didn't want to be home, I had things to accomplish and work to do.  Is it that at this point, having two kids in daycare- even for three days- is just so costly that it doesn't make sense for both parents to work?  Or is it that I really have some anxieties that need to be dealt with, that I'm just too nervous to let go of my preemies and entrust them to a center that is beautiful and homey and filled with responsible, caring, adults?

Or is it all of those things and more?

I really don't know.  I do know that come Monday morning I am not going to enjoy walking out my door without my two baby carriers slung on each arm.  And I'm going to hate knowing that my girls are smiling and laughing and cooing for someone else during the day because I'm stuck in my classroom.  And I'm going to worry about those days that they're in daycare and whether or not they're being ignored or cared for properly or comforted when they cry or are uncomfortable.

In the end though, a lot of it goes back to the idea that having children gives us the opportunity to know what it's like to have our heart live outside our bodies and that motherhood gives us the highest highs and the lowest lows.  And that right now, this is hard and it's a low but, as with all else, this too shall pass.

And thank God for daycare mommy-cams.

And President's Day Break. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


My friend Kate started her own blog and I do believe that her desire to write is going to inspire my own.  Hopefully that means I'll be writing more here.  As well as possibly writing for an online magazine, too. We'll see.

In the meantime, head on over and check out Kate and her New Something....

Monday, January 9, 2012

Dear Beyonce

I haven't written since November and I'd like to say that I'm getting back into it, but I make no promises. 
The events of this past weekend and these articles have given me good enough reason to take to my keyboard and write a bit.

Dear Beyonce,

Congratulations on the birth of your daughter!  I hope that you and your family are settling in nicely and have been able to spend time together getting to know your new little bundle.  Welcome to the world of Motherhood and all that it brings with it.

I have a bone to pick with you, and your husband, though.

I've read the articles and heard the reports.  You and your husband paid a lot of money to ensure that you and your newborn have had the utmost privacy.  It's funny, when my husband and I welcomed each of our 4 kids we wanted privacy, too.  It's a time in your life, as a family, when you want to hunker down and get to know your new baby and protect them as much as possible.  I appreciate your desire to exhaust all of your resources to make sure that privacy happened. 

What I do not appreciate is the way that you taking your privacy has directly and negatively impacted other families experiencing the same life changing event as your family.

Maybe if my family and I had the kinds of money and resources that yours has we may have acted in the same way and paid enormous amounts of cash to block off areas to protect ourselves and our children.  I doubt it, though.

Maybe if I were as famous as you and your husband are I would recognize that my newborn child would be more popular than Jesus Christ and feel the need to remove other patients' family members from waiting rooms to preserve our privacy.  I doubt it, though.

Maybe if I were having my first child all over again my motherly instinct or my husband's fatherly instinct would be so overwhelmingly strong that I would feel the need to place bodyguards at all entrances to the hospital, floor, ward and nursery, as well.  I doubt it, though.

Beyonce, I know that I can't begin to understand what it's like to be you or your husband.  I cannot begin to fathom what constant paparazzi presence is like. Nor can I begin to know what it's like to have your every move, decision and garment choice scrutinized day in and day out.  I cannot say that I know what it's like to be able to spend over one million dollars on a nursery or what it feels like to have my music played on the radio and, well, everywhere else.

But Beyonce there is something that you and I can both now say we know something about and that is being a mom.  The moment your daughter let out her first cry- or really long before that- you joined the ranks of individuals who can say that they gave life to a child.  You have joined a community of individuals who will experience the greatest highs and the lowest lows.  You now know what it's like to grow child in your heart, and luckily for you in your womb as well.  You should now understand that the little person you have given life to takes precedence over everyone and everything else.  I have to believe that that is why you and your husband acted the way that you did.

I hope.

I'm not sure you understand, though, what you did to other families- if the articles are accurate.  You see, Beyonce, having a child- or two or more- in the NICU is an experience that I do not wish on anyone.  My family and I, and a number of my friends' families, were quite lucky in that our NICU experiences have resulted in wonderfully healthy babies.  But there are families behind those walls that don't always leave with their babies and those moments in the NICU are all the time they have with them.  I'm not sure of the extent of conditions that kept Mr. Coulon's twins in the NICU but I can tell you that if they were in that specialized unit of the hospital, the conditions were at least somewhat serious.

Beyonce, when your child, or children, go to the NICU it is nothing like when they go to the regular nursery.  In the regular nursery you are able to take your child out of their bassinet and hold them, usually, without the confines of wires and tubes.  You are able, usually, to have your baby come back to your room with you and spend endless hours getting to know one another in the privacy of your own room, or a shared room behind a curtain.  In the regular nursery, it's rare that your baby is there for longer than the duration of your own stay.  In the NICU, Beyonce, everything changes.  And as a parent who has had two children in the NICU for an extended period of time, I can tell you that there is no way to accurately describe the events and emotions that surround one's stay in the NICU.

Beyonce, what you need to know is that motherhood is always full of uncertainties and with your celebrity I know that it brings even more uncertainty and fear.  Motherhood and fatherhood to preemies, to babies in the NICU, brings with it experiences that many new parents will never know.  And thank God for that.  Many parents will never know what it's like to walk into the nursery or NICU and see that your baby has taken huge steps backwards from their earlier progress and they are re-hooked to oxygen and feeding tubes and back in an incubator.  Many parents will never know what it's like to walk into the NICU and hear that their child has an infection that requires IV medication or greater medical intervention.  Many parents will never know the uncertainty that comes with the day to day moments in the NICU and how things can change in less than the blink of an eye. 

That being said, many parents won't know the joys of the NICU either.  They will not know the devoted, caring and skilled nurses and doctors who personally and individually care for babies day in and day out.  They will not know the camaraderie that is shared between parents of NICU babies.  They will not know unbelievable joy that comes with a tiny milestone such as an ounce of weight gain or a wet diaper.  And they may never know the way the words 'car seat challenge' can bring tears of joy and anticipation to the eyes of NICU parents.

Beyonce, I share all of this with you (virtually) because in your desire to protect your newborn baby you made it impossible for other parents to do exactly the same thing.  And while I appreciate your desire to be selfish in caring for your newborn and your family, I really wish you had risen above yourself and your money and recognized how your actions hurt and inhibited other families.  I had hoped you were better than that. 

Having a baby changes us in ways that we cannot even know until it actually happens.  And each baby or babies brings new emotions, choices, and reactions that we cannot anticipate or deal with until we are in it.  I only wish that you had, for one moment, realized that all of the men and women in the Maternity Ward at Lennox Hill Hospital were experiencing at least slightly similar emotions and reactions to your own and thought of that before you denied access and removed people from their families and their children.  I can't imagine that if the roles had been reversed and Mr. Coulon had tried to deny you or your family access to your newborn that you would have taken it lying down, so to speak.

So, Beyonce, congratulations on your new bundle of joy.  May she bring you and your family every ounce of happiness and unexpected joy that you could ever want.  And may she also bring you the understanding that while she is the center of your universe, you are not the center of the universe.



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