Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

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5 months

January 24, 2012

Yep, it is have 5 months since I have posted anything on here. Our move to a new place for a year has sucked up all my time and when I am not trying to get things organized or take care of the young ones, I am trying to catch up on work. One of my major jobs as a professor is to publish scientific research. I have been struggling to do that since Norah died. So, since I am on sabbatical, I have been working hard to get manuscripts out…I really close on two of them and kind of close on another one. With plans to finish at least 2 more before I leave to go back to my university. I am good at being effective with my time but I am also trying to take care of myself and exercise. Coach has been going to the gym almost everyday and is getting certified for kettlebells so he can train people. Since my last post, I went to India for a month where I did not exercise as much as I should have. I went to India for research to help one of my students collect data. Now my core feels about as weak as it ever did. I find it a constant battle to be able to find time for the kids and coach, find time for work and also find time for myself. I usually get left off of the equation because I am trying to fulfill the needs of my family and my obligations to work. I am trying to be content with just little blocks of time to take mini-workouts. I guess this post is about trying and to let people know that I am still around. Still here, just working hard.

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Frustration

June 25, 2011

I am afraid to do a search on my own posts which deal with frustration. I think maybe 50% or more of my writing on this blog deal with me venting about a particular subject or aspect of my life. I love my life but sometimes I get stuck in a rut. I’m in one right now. My job requires me to produce writing — original, scientific writing. Just putting words on paper is extremely difficult. When I read my “To Do” list, I start to feel overwhelmed. I know how to deal with it — I braek it down into small manageable tasks. However, I get thrown off when my personal life starts to feel overwhelming. It is summer, and yes, as a professor I work through the summer. I taught one class and have research grants that require me to  fulfill my obligations throughout the summer. I don’t have time to write during the school year. Everyday this week, there has been some small emergency that I have had to leave work for to attend to — someone has lost something, a child is hurt, I have forgotten something at home, the day’s plan changes because of my husband’s work, and/or the day’s plan changes because of the kids nap schedule changes. I really do try to be a flexible as I can but I need to learn to take advantage of small bits of time. Maybe a better plan for me, instead of large looming projects, is to take home small projects (1 hour or less) that I can work on at night or anytime I can squeeze an hour into our hectic day. I was exercising regularly but everyday this week, my plan has been thwarted by these small plan deviations.

Where is the guidebook for how to negotiate all of these stressors? It is summer; I want to spend time with my children. How long have I had that paper to do revisions on it? When is that student supposed to graduate and why is it that his/her graduation hangs on my ability to read and provide feedback? Why did I agree to review that paper? How do I get that colleague to work on that paper (guild doesn’t work, tried it)? What is that student up to on the thesis and why haven’t I heard from him/her? All day and all night, these work questions are pumping through my head. This doesn’t include all of the family/kid unknowns. I think I need a vacation.

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Overheard

April 8, 2011

My son is 6 years old and his older sister is 8 years old. Tonight they were playing on the see-saw in our backyard. They were doing what children normally do on a see-saw–seeing who weighs more, pushing up on the see-saw to jiggle the other one, jumping off so the other one goes crashing to the ground. I was pushing the younger two in the swings.

Older Daughter to Older Son: Sometimes you are my best friend and sometimes you are an annoying brother. Right now, your my best friend.

Older son smiles brightly and they continued playing.

I was sitting in the grass pushing the younger two. Her comment made my heart swell because I saw how much she meant it and I saw how much it meant to her brother. Coach and I always hoped that they would be best friends growing up. That is why we had them 22 months apart. I hope that the younger two, who are 17 months apart, are best friends also. Rainbow learned how to sit in a regular swing this week. She is enjoying laying over the swing on her tummy also and running her feet along the ground. Sunshine is happy just to swing beside of her in a baby swing and try to grab her and her swing.

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Mother Earth

October 4, 2010

A lot can happen in 20 years. Life changing events can unfold in 20 minutes. Thus, it is no surprise that I feel like I’ve lived life times in the 20 years that I have been out of high school. I have the college years — which went on for 10.5 years as I pursed my doctorate. These were awesome years for me. I developed as a person, dated and married Coach, climbed and hiked whenever I pleased, played rugby, traveled the world and worked long hours in the field and in the lab. I gained confidence, experience, and a love of nature.  After I got a job with a very large oil company, which lasted 1.5 years, we had one year before the next phase of our lives came, my birthing years. I first became pregnant in the summer of 2002–8 years of birthing and nursing. During this time, I learned to be a professor. Now, I’m beginning the next phase, raising my children and something else professionally (to be discussed at a later date).  This reminiscing was brought about because I attended my 20 year high school reunion (see previous post about visiting where I came from).

Honestly, I had few intentions of attending the reunion. As the time grew nearer though, a few of my old friends contacted me and asked me to come. I wanted to visit Norah’s grave so I decided to go with Sunshine, currently 5 months old. I drove up on a Friday and allowed all day for the drive; I was not in a rush. On Saturday, I went to a picnic. 25 of my classmates were there plus their families. I pulled out a wrap soon after I got there so that I could wear Sunshine. I had a friend tell me who everyone was and set out to speak to everyone. I was shy in high school and I’m still shy but I make myself into a social person when I go to meeting in my science discipline so I just put on my convention face. This was a pleasant time, with conversation easily flowing, and laughter emitting from us all. Toward the end, someone was saying something and called me “Mother Earth”. I asked what they meant. Apparently from the time I had got there and wrapped up Sunshine, my high school cohorts were calling me “Mother Earth”. Later that night, I met a few of my closer friends for dinner. Instead of using my name, they called me Mother Earth. A wife of one of the friends said, “You not one of those ladies who gave birth in a tub without pain medication, ARE YOU?” I said, “Why, yes, I am.”  A few minutes later, I heard her say to her friend that if all babies that were birthed that way were like Sunshine that she would go back and birth without pain medication. When I think of their births, I think of Peace, Love, Mystery and Wonder.  Yes, Sunshine is a remarkable baby. And so were the three before him that lived. I know that Norah would have been peaceful. I should have told her that I meet all of Sunshine’s demands so he has nothing to cry about. I wear him so he is comforted by me. I nurse him so he is never hungry. However, I do admit, he is a sweet, happy baby.

My friends were using the “Mother Earth” name as an insult. But, they honored me. If people can tell within a few minutes of meeting me that I love nature, I align myself with the natural world, and that I study nature, then I’m getting across to people what I want them to know about me. When I went to this reunion picnic, I told myself that I would not talk about myself so that I wouldn’t appear to be snobbish or stuck up. Yet, from my mannerisms and how I acted they could tell that I am “Mother Earth”. I accept the nickname and hope I can live up to the standards.

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Living

October 1, 2010

Life is living. All around me. Everyday, I live. Everyday I give advice, wipe butts, eat, teach, laugh. Everyday, I live. I can feel Norah within me. She lives. In me. She has been near me recently. I feel her. She is source of strength, confidence and compassion.

Recently I visited her grave. It is a 12 hour trek from where I live now to my family’s ancentral graveyard. Her body is buried amongst the bodies of my family. My Mom, My Dad, My Aunts and Uncles, My Grandma and Grandpa, they are all there. There are 7 babies, one from me, two from two different uncles, and 4, yes I said 4, from my Grandma. How do you live through the death of 4 babies? They all died before their 2nd birthday. She gave birth in the 1920’s and 30’s in a cabin in the rural mountains. She lost 4 babies. There are 5 other babies buried there from my cousins. The percentage of babies to grownups in graveyard is probably 25% babies, 75% adults. Norah’s body has plenty of company.

I cried when I saw the grave again. She died nearly 3 years ago. My Mom died 2.5 years ago. These two deaths were too close in time. I feels like forever crawling out of the place where these deaths took me. I’m still coming out but I’m changed. A close friend from 20 years ago remarked “You HAVE changed.” I said, “Yes, I’m a different person.”  I cried when I got there. I nursed Sunshine several times and stayed a couple of hours. I cried when I left. I know it is only her body there but I felt like I was again leaving her.  I know she is within me but I found it very difficult to drive away.

In my Dad’s family, I have one living aunt and one living uncle. The rest are gone. They died when they were babies. They died young, one at 49 years old. Another soon after at 56. Some lived into their 90’s. My aunt is now 85 and my uncle is 93. My Dad died at 59. I visited my 85 year old aunt in my brief two days there. She asked me if I visited the cemetery and I gave her the news about the condition of the plot of land. She asked how I was doing, I said I was fine. Fine, is what I always say. She said, “Having 5 babies and 7 years takes it toll out on you.” I smiled and said, “Yes, I’m tired”. But I love her for saying that. I love her for acknowledging that I carried Norah and gave birth to her. No one is my family ever acknowledges her. It is always me that qualifies the conversation….”Not really, I have another baby.”

I don’t think I have ever mentioned this but my husband is a seer. Coach has dreams. He sees people and sometime future events in these dreams. I trust them and rely that he sees the truth. When I was pregnant with Rainbow, my first baby after Norah, he saw Rainbow living in a dream. I held onto that vision during my pregnancy. He doesn’t try to see people but when he does, he tells me. Coach recently saw my Mom in a dream. She was hiding behind a door and acting sneaky, like she was going to surprise me, Mom is a playful soul. But he said, he couldn’t hold it in and engulfed her in a bear hug and took her to the couch. Without a word spoken, she disappeared. Some of my family showed up at my house and needed help. Coach figured if we helped them that she would return. We helped, she returned. However, she still sat without a word and eventually disappeared. I loved that he dreams and sees what I can not see. I love that my Mother is near and is helping to guide our family to do the right thing.

I’ve been thinking recently about the continuity of life–the transformation from a soul with a body to a soul without a body.  I believe in the continuation of the soul into a different form, an energy source.  With this belief, I know that I will encounter Norah again.

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Whuck!

August 18, 2010

I’m stealing this abbreviated word which stand for “What the #uck” from another Mom. I’d hyperlink to it but I don’t know how, its RANTS FROM MOMMYLAND 

This word best describes my evening the other day. I’m trying to get used to a new schedule with my two older kids in school, my rainbow toddler in preschool, my husband coaching high school football, and then my actual job as a university professor starting in full swing again. 

The two older kids — a girl 7, lets call her Drama Girl and a boy 5, lets call him Karate Boy — enjoy going to a gym where they let the kids play basketball, baseball, soccer, and learn karate. On Monday afternoon, there was basketball at 4-5 pm, which Drama Girl loves, and karate from 6-7 pm, which Karate Boy loves (obviously).  I figured that I would have Coach (my husband) drop of the baby(I’ll call him Sunshine– 4 months old), Drama Girl and Karate Boy at my office at 3:15 so I could feed Sunshine and then take the kids to the gym, go pick up my rainbow toddler at daycare (21 months old) and make sure I’m back to the gym by 5 pm. Then I would go to McD. to eat with the kids and go back to the gym at 6 for karate. Feed Sunshine and Rainbow in the car and then pick up the older two at 7 pm. Rush home and get ready for bed.  Sounds like a plan right?

My plan was working perfectly until eating food at McD. Just me and four kids cause Coach is coaching. Karate Boy and Drama Girl went to go play while Sunshine and Rainbow came with me to go order. Of course, Rainbow wasn’t happy because the other kids were playing so I was kind of dragging her. While waiting for the order, Karate Boy came out to say that some boy bit him. I couldn’t really figure out what was going on so I just asked him to stay with me. Then with a very overloaded tray, cause really, who is going to help a lady with a heavy tray, carrying a baby in a carseat with a toddler dragging on her leg and a 5 year old in tow? I sat down. At this place, the seaingt in the playarea was like picnic tables which made me to wonder where to put Sunshine. I left him strapped in the baby carseat and set him on one of the benches, he was pretty solid there and Karate Boy couldn’t knock him off. I put Rainbow in a high chair and started to put food out. Karate Boy wouldn’t eat because he was traumatized by his bite wound. The kid who bit him was 2 years old but a hellion, running around everywhere causing mayhem. Karate Boy was scared of him and he wouldn’t show me where he was bit. Honestly, I just wanted to see if the skin was broken but he made a huge scene because I’m assuming he didn’t want to be embarrassed. I let it drop. I’m giving all the kids food. And all of a sudden I hear a crash noise. I was approximately 1 foot from Sunshine in the baby carrier but it was enough….enough to let the hellion by me and FLIP HIM ALL THE WAY OVER. Yes, that kid pulled Sunshine in the carseat to the floor and on the way down he flipped upside down. I scream OMG!!! and quickly righted him and got him out. Sunshine screamed about 5 seconds, mainly because he didn’t know what just happened. Do you know what the parents of that kid did? Nothing, absolutely nothing. Glanced over, said, oh the baby is OK and kept talking. Granted I was too worried about Sunshine to chastize the hellion kid. Seriously, they didn’t do anything to the kid, not even leave. They were not even embarrassed.

Sunshine was acting fine and not sleepy or grumpy. He didn’t hit anything but was just scared. Lesson learned — I need to watch out for other kids near my kids — along with my other super mom duties. I got everyone back in the car, back to the gym, karate outfits on, and fed Sunshine again. At 6:30, Sunshine, Rainbow and I went into the gym to watch karate. Rainbow was getting tired and when that happens she is not stable on her feet and tends to fall. As she was walking down the hall, she fell on the hard  linolium floor, apparently HEAD FIRST. Immediately, a golf ball sized lump appears on her forehead and she is screaming and crying. I laid Sunshine in the floor and sat on the floor with her to rock her and comfort her. The bruise is huge and I’m sure she had a headache. Finally karate was over, I drove home and started getting ready for bed. Coach came home to help with the older ones. After everyone was asleep, I had to drink a couple of beers to calm down. I am not ever doing that again — taking two classes separated by an hour — by myself.

Then, last night, Drama Girl ran into the wall as she was walking to put her dishes up from dinner. I don’t know how this happened. As a result, her nose exploded with blood. Nice.  Four kids hurt in two days. I’m on a roll.

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Detritus

August 6, 2010

I’ve taken on the task of cleaning my kitchen counters before school starts again. This is where mail piles up, fliers, the kids artwork, and all sorts of detritus. I decided that I was going to go get some large tupperware boxes to stick all of the kids stuff in that I want to keep for the future–everything from their first ultrasounds to the card they made me for mother’s day. I went to a large box store and found the size I wanted but there were only 4 left. Not 5. Only 4. I was immediately struck with indecision. Do I purchase only 4 and know that I am not treated Norah the same or do I not get what I want and hope that someday I’ll remember to go to the store again?  Immediacy won out. If I didn’t do it then, it would never get done. I consoled myself knowing that Norah doesn’t have as much stuff so I don’t need one like theirs. 

A couple of days later, I was putting their names on the boxes. I have 4 boxes with my children’s names on them stacked up, but not one for Norah. Uuugh. I hate it, I hate that she will never need a box like theirs. I put everything I could find from various drawers and hide-e-holes that the kids should keep for the future in those boxes and then collected Norah’s stuff in what I refer to as the “dead drawer”. This is a small space in the vanity in my bathroom where I put stuff relating to dead people in there. I put old cards, pictures, letters, and other dead memorabilia. My Mom’s stuff is in there, my Grandmother’s stuff is in there, and now Norah’s stuff is finally in there.  I will probably get her a smaller box just so that when the boxes are stacked, I can see her name on there, with the other children.

Last night, as I was putting the older two to sleep, we were talking about seeing each other in the morning. You know…
“I’ll see you in the morning, love you.” then I said,

“Little sister will see you in the morning also and little brother.”

My 5 year old boy said “But not Norah, Norah always sees us.” I said “Yes, she always watches over you”. Oh, how I wish we could see her in the morning too.