Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Illustration Friday: Imagine

Imagine all the people living life in peace...

Wishing everyone a blessed Christmas and Hannukah, and a joyous New Year filled with abundant peace. (Hey, you may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Sophie Presents the Letter V: a short film

This is why you have to always have the camera ready... you can't script stuff like this! Of course, if I had PLANNED to make a movie, the dishwasher would have been closed and the living room wouldn't have looked like the toy box threw up. But what can I say, this is real life! Sophie, by the way, will be 3 at the end of February.

Click here to see the movie. UPDATE: Link's fixed! Watch it right on the screen.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Illustration Friday: Surprise!

I got the biggest surprise of my life on a morning in September about two years ago.

I was songleading again at church for the first time since Sophie was born. One minute, I was standing in front of the congregation, singing; the next, I passed out cold and took the podium down with me. After several tiny cups of orange juice and "I'm not diabetic, I think I'm pregnant"s later, the EMTs decided to take me to the emergency room since my blood pressure was amazingly low. The only way out is up the aisle during the next mass. "We're NOT." I beg. "Close your eyes." I'm told. The hush that comes over the church as I'm carried out on a stretcher, oxygen mask on face, makes me squinch my eyes shut even tighter.

Paul and Sophie follow us the hospital and my parents are phoned. Nobody will let me eat on the off chance the pregnancy is ectopic and they have to operate, which makes me want to throw up just thinking about it. Starvation and nausea duke it out. Starvation wins. While they're getting someone to do an ultrasound, we urge Paul to go eat something at the cafeteria; they'll page him, maybe he can smuggle me back a burger or something. Anyway, I just went through a year of ultrasounds, so this is old hat. So when they tell me 15 minutes later to go in, I figure we'll start without him.

I say hello to the technician in the darkened room and get ready to be told the worst. Or at least, the usual. "Is everything okay?" I ask as she starts poking around.

"Fine. Everything's fine."

"Oh, good." I breathe, finally. "As long as it's not twins," I joke.

She doesn't say anything.

She has the screen turned slightly away from me but I know enough to know that what I can see definitely does not look like Sophie's sonograms did. There are two sacs. Two little dots.

"It's not twins, RIGHT?"

"Let's just wait until your husband gets here, and we'll go over things, okay?"

"It's TWINS, ISN'T IT?! Oh, my God!"

I continue along in this vein for about 60 more seconds when blessedly, Paul walks in the room, eyes adjusting to the darkness, 7-month-old Sophie on one arm, her backpack on the other. The poor man immediately gets hit with, "Look at that screen! LOOK AT IT! DO YOU SEE WHAT'S ON THAT SCREEN? TWO! TWO! TWINS! WE! ARE! HAVING! TWINS!" And I can see the look of absolute terrified shock that comes over his face that I know must be on my own. The poor technician takes this opportunity to point out the nicer points of the ultrasound; they're probably fraternal, they don't share a sac or a placenta, and all I can think is THERE ARE TWO OF THEM IN THERE OH DEAR LORD.

It took me a looooooong time to get used to the thought. Peter and Angela were a surprise, as defined on Roseanne back in the 90's. Her son asks if he was a mistake. "No! You're a surprise. A surprise," she tells him, "is something you didn't even know you wanted until you got it."

Surprise. Their sticky kisses, the way they yell "Mama!" when I walk into the room like I am the greatest thing EVER, their belly laughs, the way they shake their little butts and dance when we play "Linus and Lucy" for them and Angela yells out "Chaba-Shoopy! Chaba-Shoopy!" (Charlie Brown and Snoopy), the way they worship the ground their big sister walks on - nobody is more surprised than I am at the way my heart is so amazingly wide open to overflowing with enormous amounts of love. They've multiplied my capacity for loving and caring and feeling, exponentially. It's been a long, hard, exhausting road to get here, filled with surgeries (mine and the kids'), months in the NICU, monitors, medications, and therapy, but I can actually say it's all been worth it.


Monday, December 05, 2005

You are a good mother already.

My mom photocopied this article and gave it to me. Reading this along with my new find (How She Really Does It: The Secrets of Success from Stay-at-work Moms) convinces me that things in society need to change, and soon.

Did anyone see Desperate Housewives last night? Lynette said "I'm a good mother" and the other mom said, "But that's not good enough for me, I want to be a GREAT mother" (so she won't put her child in daycare or let anyone else touch her.)

Why do we buy into this crap? Why do I have to APOLOGIZE for needing to work so we have health insurance? Why is it that a man can have three kids, work, and travel, and be considered a good father because he's such a good provider, but if a woman does it, she's an awful mother for neglecting her children, even if her husband stays home to be with the children full time?

Why is there such a divide between mothers? Mothers who work, mothers who quit their jobs and stay home. Mothers who make everything from scratch, mothers who order a pizza so they can spend another hour having one on one time with their kids. Mothers who nurse, mothers who can't or won't. (There's nothing that makes you feel worse than having another mother say to you, "Well, as long as you know that formula isn't the best thing for your baby." I was so tempted to say, "Formula is better for them than a mother in a mental institution right now." but I held my tongue.)

Listen up:

Mothers need to stop letting others dictate what being a good mother means. Not Martha Stewart, not that horrible nazi-esque What To Expect series of books, not the super-mom at the park or playgroup, not anyone you see on TV. This is seriously one of the most important things I've learned about being a mom. What works for me may very well not work at all for you. We've been blessed to have hours where one of us can be with the kids all the time, in our house. Not everyone is so lucky. I work, not only because I need to, but because I want to, and the fact that I have my family's and employer's support is wonderful. I try to cook as much from scratch and organically as possible. If you open a can of Beefaroni in front of me, I will say absolutely nothing about it, because obviously this works for you. That doesn't mean I won't try new things, or ever stop learning, because Lord knows these kids are growing and changing and hopefully, so am I. But can we please stop being so critical of each other, and maybe join forces to make this world a better place for our kids?

Friday, December 02, 2005

Illustration Friday: Blue