Monday, November 30, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Obviously, I am not alone (since these books seems to sell pretty well, if their publicity is any indication), but I still feel slimy just talking about these books because they are so sensationalistic, capitalizing on tragedy. I'll admit that part of the appeal is sheer curiosity--the same suspense and intrigue that make 48 Hours, CSI, and various blockbusters so popular--but I think there is something else that appeals to me in these books. It's also curiosity, but not about the tragedy of kidnapping/hijacking/car crashes, etc. Rather, it is curiosity about these relatives who survive to tell the tales. How do they go on? How do they cope when they've lost a spouse? How do they go on living when their child is missing or presumed dead?
Some of these delve into theodicy, wondering why God would let these tragedies befall them. Some wrestle within themselves, dealing with blame, choice, and all the what-ifs the crises of life cam bring. Whether they address the overtly theological aspect or not, these books deal with hope and despair, and pretty much always come out on the side of hope. Maybe that's just because editors know that book-buyers want a happy ending, or because those who are in a stable enough place to write a book about their loss have to have learned to cope somehow, or maybe it is a testimony to the human spirit and the power of God to sustain people throughout the worst times of life.
I am a worrier--and one with an overactive imagination at that. I do think about all the what-ifs and wonder what I would do, how I would respond if it were me facing the horrible tragedies described in these books. Maybe what these books about tragedy really offer is hope--hope that I too could survive to see the grace of God and beauty of life even through immense pain and loss.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
This past week was pretty ordinary, but in little ways, we were gearing up for the fun family time we'll have next (this) week.
54) Monday 11/16: These little pilgrim candle guys make me so happy. My mom always set them out on the shelf above the toilet in the house I grew up in, and while she reminded me that their annual post was in the kitchen in our "new" house (which we moved into in 1994) I still associate them with the bathroom. So, as you can see, they have their place up with the jars of Q-tips and cotton balls in our house now. 55) Tuesday 11/17: This little gal makes me so happy too--in the bathroom or out. We love to play every evening when I get home from work.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
In honor of my friend Tearza, who will soon deliver sweet baby Emery, I want to share a few lessons I learned from my limited experience in baby-delivery and the aftermath.
First a few warnings/disclaimers:
1. If you are a man, or are at all squeamish about body stuff, stop reading now. Unless you are about to give birth, in which case, you better get over it.
2. I hate it when people universalize their experiences, so I am not implying these things will definitely happen to you, and even if I seem to be, it’s just for rhetorical effect. But if they do happen, it’s nice to know you’re not the first person they’ve ever happened to.
3. These are roughly in the order in which you might need the info. You know, in case you want to check my blog again and again throughout your labor and recovery. Just kidding :0)
Here we go:
- Pack smart for the hospital—comfy button-up jammies, something to pass the time, toiletries, and snacks (that’s the one thing I forgot, and the hospital food was gross—and I’ll eat just about anything!)
- They are not afraid to send you home if you go to the hospital too early. Better safe than sorry, of course, but it seems like they’re pretty hard core about this. My contractions were less than a minute apart and painful, and they were still about to send me home because I wasn’t dilating fast enough. (Refusing to leave and asking to speak to supervisors does help in a situation like that, though!)
- Epidurals are awesome. If you feel personal pride in enduring massive amounts of pain, by all means, go for it. I’m surprised I wasn’t one of those people, because I really do think that’s cool and “no pain, no gain” sounds like something I would say. But when it came to labor and delivery, I figured “no pain, no pain.” From the moment I got my epidural, I drifted peacefully in a super-relaxed sleep, and even dozed off between pushes. It was great.
- Interventions aren’t ideal, but they’re not the end of the world. I—like most people—said “no vacuum, no forceps, no episiotomy, unless absolutely necessary.” Well, I ended up having all three, and while the vacuum made a scary noise when it kept popping off Kate’s head (too much hair to get a good hold), and the forceps left a mark on her cheek for her first 12 hours or so, and the episiotomy recovery was no fun at all, it’s really all fine and none of it marred our “birthing experience” in the least.
- If you feel something weird down below, don’t panic and assume they sewed up your episiotomy wrong. It’s probably just a hemorrhoid. (Not that I made that assumption or anything.)
- Don’t be in a hurry to leave the hospital. In those early days at home with Kate, when she was crying a lot, wouldn’t eat, and I was still physically recovering, I never longed for the days before baby, but I definitely longed for the days in the hospital, where professionals could help me out, were easily accessible for questions, and everything just seemed simpler. I seriously get all nostalgic every time I drive by the hospital. It was a special time (minus the bad food). Next time, I won’t be so eager to go home (except for the fact that the next time, I’ll have another child waiting at home, who I’m sure I’ll miss desperately!)
- Don’t look “down there” for at least two weeks. Just don’t do it.
- Your bathroom habits will be screwy for a little while. Things will come out when you don’t want them to and won’t come out when you do want them to. That’s as graphic as I’m going to get about that. (Unless you ask me in person, in which case I’ll tell all, because I have no TMI-sensor.)
- It’s alright to cry. It’s pretty much inevitable. Most of my early tears stemmed from our nursing difficulties—frustration, sadness, fear for her health, and fear that she would associate me with those negative interactions. But whatever your reasons (or lack thereof) it’s okay.
- Enjoy it. Take pictures of little things like the clock and the contraction monitor. Take note of what’s on TV and in the news the day your baby was born. Be sappy about it. It is the beginning of a completely new life—not just for your baby, but for you too.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
And they all lived happily ever after in a magical land filled with pacis and puffs.
Happy birthday, sweetie!
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
I've tried to feature holiday-ish things in my 1DoH pics, but (as you've probably noticed) they more often end up just being about ordinary life--all the little moments and memories that make up this season of Kate's first year. It seems like a lot of pressure to keep this up for a year (or to orient the pics toward a holiday theme) but the central goal of all these efforts is just to document memories! In this year's iteration of Project 365, the designer (Becky Higgins) is trying to emphasize the "record-your-life" aspect more than the pressure-filled "365" number, so she's calling it Project Life.
My pics this week aren't all that exciting, or even remotely holiday-oriented, but they do chronicle the little things that make life special. This is my Project Life.
47) Monday 11/9: We returned from New Orleans are were reunited with our sweet girl. (Is there anything cuter than a baby in footie jammies?) This is Kate's toy basket in the family room. I love how she will lean in and dig around to find a toy, and all the motion-activated toys in the basket go off!48) Tuesday 11/10: Back to work after our nice long weekend, I enjoyed my bridesmaid bouquet on my desk.
49) Wednesday 11/11: This is what I get for moving my warm computer off its usual spot on the kitchen table
51) Friday, 11/13: Matt sent me this cell phone pic midday when he and Kate went on a walk (it was Daddy-Daughter Day). It made me miss her so much and want to teleport home right then to be with her!
52) Saturday 11/14: We celebrated Matt's birthday tonight, even though the actual day isn't til Thursday. Matt's parents came up and we oohed and ahhed at Kate walking (often five or more steps at a time now!) She got really excited whenever we cheered for her, and she got so wound up she didn't want to go to bed!
Saturday, November 14, 2009
1. How old are you?
2. What do you want to be when you grow up?
3. What is your favorite animal?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. What is your favorite game to play?
I remember two questions my elementary school classmates and I always asked each other:
1. Are you a Republican or a Democrat? (and since we had no idea what that really meant, the answer was basically whatever our parents were), and
2. Are you for UK or UofL? (This was suburban Louisville, of course, and my dad had to reassure me that yes, in Louisville, many people were for UofL, but in the rest of Kentucky, the noble Wildcats reigned.)
The deeper tragedy, I think, is that we stop asking "get to know you" questions and using cliche conversation starters after we've known someone for a while. I've always loved asking follow-up questions after certain experiences: "What was your favorite part of the movie/concert/vacation?" My mother's response is usually an exasperated, "Jessica, I don't knoooow." Matt usually tries to humor me and sometimes a great analysis or recap of the event will follow. We met playing a "get to know you game," so we'll never discount the significance of such silly exercises! Though it may sound like we're on a first date, I often ask Matt questions like "What is your first childhood memory?" or "What's been your favorite part about this past year/life stage?"
Yes, these questions sometimes seem forced, a way to remedy a lull in conversation, but they can really help you connect in a new way with people you've known a long time. I once heard someone say you should learn something new about your spouse every day. What question could help you learn something new today?
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Monday, November 09, 2009
Coming this week: not much, though I hope Kate gets over her ear infection soon. She's a bit cranky, and I'll assume it's the infection and not the fact that she was spoiled by her other grandparents, who kept her while we were gone to NOLA! (Thanks, Granna and Opa!)
Friday, November 06, 2009
This quote from Albert Einstein was a mantra to me during a time of immense spiritual growth my junior year of college. It has recently come to mind again because of a question that I find myself asking all the time these days:
“God, what do you think?”
Sometimes, it’s a bit tongue-in-cheek. Like on Sunday, when I saw the pretty, blond, long-eyelashed Jesus in a portrait at the Catholic school where our church is currently worshiping. “God, what do you think when we portray your son like a Norwegian fairy tale princess from 1890?”
Sometimes, it is a fairly neutral pondering: “God, what do you think of the world and people today? Are we more screwed up than ever before, or pretty much par for the course?”
Often, it’s a bit more despairing. When I hear someone baptizing hatred or violence with religious rhetoric: "God, what do you think about them abusing your name?" When I cynically feel like the institutional church is little more than a social club: “God, what do you think about people worshiping a building/book/tradition more than you?" When I fail again and again to live up to my ideals and be the person I want to be: "God, what do you think of me?"
I can’t say I’ve gotten too many answers to this question. Sure, the Bible or basic morality might provide insight on the godly perspective, but discovering "the answer" is not really the point. Rather, I ask because seeking the mind of God brings me closer to the heart of God. I ask because it feels like one small way I can try to avoid stumbling into that self-righteousness I am so often guilty of when I assume my opinion is God's. Instead of indulging the judgmental reaction that may first pop into my mind, I can try to see things from God’s perspective. I may be pretty convinced of someone's wrongness, and be able to back that conviction up with a biblical commandment, Jesus' example, or the golden rule, but I always sense that God's perspective involves love for whomever I am about to condemn. That sense softens my heart a bit and helps me give them the benefit of the doubt.
I want to know the thoughts of God. I cannot know them fully, but what I know of them is love.
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Sunday, November 01, 2009
33) Monday 10/26: I have been wanting to make spaghetti and meatballs for a while. I've made spaghetti before, of course (though not in a while) but I've never made meatballs. They turned out pretty well, I think. Matt really liked them, and they even had some diced zucchini in them, so Kate got to have some finger-food zucchini with her dinner.
34) Tuesday 10/27: We did a fun photo shoot of Kate (and Marcel) with the pumpkins on our front porch, and with some bananas for our little monkey.