Friday, December 19, 2014

You Only Need One

Last week, one of my brother's old friends stopped by to visit us and to give us our holiday candle - he's been giving us a Yankee candle each year for Xmas for as long as I can remember. It's tradition. He stayed and talked until way past our bedtimes. He clearly needed to talk.

This is someone who I've known for so long, he is family. It's not uncommon for him to go visit my mom and stay a few days, with or without my brother. He's definitely my favorite of all of my brother's friends. Which is why I'm so sad they don't talk anymore. My brother's version - "he wasn't here when I needed him." His version - "Your brother has to sort some sh*t out and no one can do that but him. Plus, I have my own drama. I don't need more." I get it. Both sides, I get.

Part of J's drama is that his own little brother just had a baby. With a baby mama that J doesn't like or trust. He's angry at his brother. He's wary of the mom. He's worried sick about the baby. I asked him why and he confessed that baby mama actually IS a pretty good baby mama and from what he can see, is doing a nice job raising their son. But J is still concerned that this little one have a stable and positive influence in his life. I told J, that's his role. Be the one. Because it only takes one.

I told J that my theory is we really only need one unconditionally loving and affirming presence in our lives, and if we have that, everything else will sort itself out. For me, it was my grandfather.

My parents loved us. As much as they could. But wow, did they fight. A lot. All the time. Loudly. They loved us; they didn't much care for each other. And that was hard to come home to every day. When my grandfather came to visit, I would jump in his truck and wait for him to take me home with him. And he usually did. Sometimes for days. And we'd have adventures. Up to his cabin that he built himself. Out to the lake to go fishing, or just stare at the water. Over to his friend's house to pick walnuts. Down to the stream to catch spring water as it dripped through the rocks.

My GiGi. He was the one. And I started to tear up telling J. He's gone now, and gosh I miss him. I told J, he needs to be the one. And he nodded.

Tell me, who is your one?

Monday, November 17, 2014

#Microblog Mondays - 3 is a Magic Number

One. Two. Three. A family of three we shall be.

Official beta isn't until tomorrow, but our surrogate is an obsessive pee-on-a-sticker. When I hadn't heard anything last week, a quick email on Friday confirmed my suspicions, and ruined a good chunk of our weekend. Sigh. Last chance. No dice.

During the transfer, M and I were feeling a sense of relief. Whatever happens, we saw this through to the end. We explored every possibility. And now we can move on with our lives. With however many children the fates have fated us to have. It felt good to have closure. To be on our final transfer.

Friday, it didn't feel so good. Just...Final.

M is crushed. I'm more like numb. Denial? Perhaps I'm still waiting for that miracle beta. Perhaps I'm feeling pragmatic. I'm trying to remind myself that I wasn't really sure I wanted to go through this final round in the first place. I'm re-reading passages of Lauren's One and Only to reaffirm that there are distinct privileges and opportunities that being an only affords.

I'm sad there won't be more to love. I'm happy we can focus all we have on D. I'm sad there are mountains of baby clothes eagerly and tenderly saved that we'll now have to give away. I'm happy we can get bolder on our weekend adventures together, without a tiny baby to slow us down. Sad/happy. Happy/sad. Mostly just resigned and getting used to the new reality. A family of three we shall be.

Monday, October 27, 2014

#MicroblogMondays - Eating My Words

This morning, I am feeling like the cruddiest crud of all crud. And conflicted. So conflicted.

Last Thursday, on work trip, my boss and I were "discussing" a person who is very hard to deal with: A big bully of a man who puzzlingly also has a little man complex. A career bureaucrat who seemingly finds pleasure in creating obstacles to good policy and sharing half truths when the truth isn't what he likes. Let me be frank, I think this guy is a jerk and one of the few people I haven't moved past actively disliking on a daily basis.

That same day, he and his wife lost their baby. I just found out this morning.

I have no details other than Loss. I think it was a little girl. She was nearly full term. Due Election Day.

And my heart cries for them. I mean, how can it not?? This is nothing you wish upon even the greatest of enemies. But now here is the quandary - how to reach out? How to get beyond the "god I can't stand you" feelings to get to his wife and to his grief? What do I say? What can I share? How can I write this so he doesn't immediately rip up the card when he sees who its from? (because I am sure the feeling is mutual). I am also sure CVS does not have a card for this occasion.

And of course, I am eating my words. Wishing I never piled on to the awful that this person was in the midst of, right as I was saying, "maybe being a father will make him a nicer person....." oooof.  It's not possible to feel like more of an ass than I do right now.

So many of you are so sage, and have taken hard spiritual journeys through your grief and ended up at a place where I am hoping you have some wise words for me. Help?

Wondering what MicroBlogging is all about? Check it here.

Monday, October 20, 2014

#MicroblogMondays - Lessons Learned

...during a long (and awesome) weekend with sweet D at the beach with "beach meemaw" (aka my mom).

  • Meemaw's phone fits in a variety of nooks and crannies never intended for such use. 
  • Meemaw has way too many ceramics, sharp edges and breakables at knee-level. She just might have the least kid-friendly dwelling ever. This is not a new phenomenon.  ("Sometimes, I honestly don't know how you made it out alive," says M.) She also has no concept of quiet voices for bedtime. 
  • Apparently D's unofficial "girlfriend" at daycare (his best buddy. attached at the hip since day one) really IS referred to as his girlfriend. Because we used that term in conversation with my mom and he piped in with her name immediately. Wait, What? Who's your girlfriend, D? "A.....!!!" Ok then. 
  • D is concerningly good at sitting in Time Out. 
  • M has a theory that D and meemaw are fast friends because they are close to the same height. Meemaw is not amused. 

Digging the microblog movement? More minis here

Monday, October 13, 2014

#MicroblogMondays - Hey...waitaminute....

I keep trying to stock up on Microblog Monday posts. And then realize I have a little more to say. Then a little more. Then before you know it my mini-post is a full-on post. No longer suitable for a micro Monday. Sigh. I guess I just have to hit publish.

Now there are several posts where there were none, and even some drafts that are getting dusted off and revisited. Huh, seems as if there still some life left in this space.

Prett-ty sneea-ky, Mel (as I nod knowingly over my Connect Four tray.)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Four Words for October

The other evening I came home late from work. I sent a text to M to find that him and D were already chilling at the Moo. D was chatting to himself and feeding the moo grass. M was bothered. Distracted. And it didn't seem work-related. Because that's a totally specific look. Dude, what's up? After a bit he finally pointed his eyes towards the corner. Where someone was pan handling. She's 20. Maybe. She's so, so young. Why is she there? How can we help?

Unfortunately, we've gotten pretty used to our intersection hosting a rotating cast of homeless folks asking for a few dollars. But M was right. This was someone we had never seen before. And she was a girl. I'm not even going to say a woman. This was a girl.

On the way home, I stopped and offered her sandwich. She was wary. Like, from where? Like, from my kitchen. I'm going to go make you one if you want it. Her eyes lit up and she said, oh that would be awesome! Then quickly added, if the cops come, I'll be over there with my boyfriend, who was on a bench nearby.

So I went up and packed a lunch, which was super easy to do since I've got supplies for baby D. Sandwich. Granola bars. Apples. Bananas. I figure she'd either open the bag and be like, what is this hippy shit? Or be grateful for some portable food items they could stash in their bags for whatever journey awaits.

I handed her the bag and wished her luck. And I meant it. And by the time I made it back to my door, she and her man had already dug into it.

Back at our place, at the dinner table, M was clearly still bothered. What makes someone leave? What happens in your life that you think the street is better than where you were? 

I don't know the deal with our young temporary neighbors. I can't begin to know their stories. But I know in so many instances, the answer is Abuse. Physical. Sexual. Emotional. Not always, but more times than not. You leave because you aren't safe where you are. You leave because any place is better than there.

At least that's what brings most of the women to the shelter at the YWCA. In fact, I was just talking with some of them earlier in the week.

Every year, the YWCA hosts a First Responders breakfast to honor the police officers, the EMTs, the emergency response teams that go above and beyond their call of duty to get people safe. It's a pretty powerful event. I found myself sitting at a table having a lovely conversation with a woman who ended up being the speaker for the event. I had no idea she was an actual recipient of YWCA services until she took the stage and talked about her long road to recovery after decades of self-medicating and sexual abuse at the hands of a step-father.

Her words are still sitting with me.

So, when M said, I'm not sure we do enough. I had to agree. A sandwich and some food for that young woman was the least we could do. I am home. I am safe. I am safe and loved in my home. So what I am doing to make things better for someone who isn't?

I used to think the fact that I work for a non-profit gave me a free pass from other humanitarian work. It doesn't. That's the shit that pays me. I'm not giving any more than I'm getting back. It's not the same.

October is national domestic violence awareness month.  And you know how I feel about awareness. It's not enough. So here are some activities happening in my 'hood. I bet there are ton happening around you too.  Please feel free to share in the comments.

At the first responders breakfast, we were asked to think of 4 words that would say what WE are doing to end domestic violence. Here were mine:

Listen. Support. Embrace. Empower.

What would your four be?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Potato Po-tah-to

Hash browns for breakfast, french fries for lunch and mashed potatoes for dinner is probably not a meal plan I should replicate often.

But damn. It was good.

And if weren't so lazy I would fry those pierogi in the freezer.

There you have it. Welcome to my world.


Since I moved my office to its new location (which, for the most part, I love, because well, I chose it, and I actually have an office. With a desk and windows and such) my mornings begin with a drive through the golden arches for:

2 hash browns and a large black coffee, please.....

It is shocking how easily this bad habit has become routine. I used to ride my dad constantly for his McD habit. Dad! Quit eating that junk! His mornings began with:

2 sausage biscuits and a large black coffee, with ice.....Don't forget the ice! Your coffee's too hot! 

He was such a staple at his local McDs that the cashiers cried when my mom told them why he hadn't been there for weeks. Like, sobbed. They made me cry.

Because this was his thing. And he was their cranky old man who couldn't let a day go by without getting in the car and driving 2 miles to McDonalds to do that thing that he did. Sometimes he would get it to go; other times he would chill inside. Chat. Because - and this is something M and I still marvel about all the time - for as un-charming as my dad could be with the people that, you know, loved him, he could be utterly charming to strangers. And McDonald's cashiers and customers.

So, I can say that my first drive through was nostalgia-driven. Paired with a "free coffee" promotion and the fact that a street light was red and I could actually get to my office faster via the McDonalds lot.

That doesn't mean I had to keep going.

Sigh. But it seems I do. And today was Friday, and I was feeling like I earned a "naughty" lunch, so fries it was. And then I found myself at dinner with my boys and my in laws but wasn't hungry (because. French fries.) So I got mashed potatoes and vegetables for me and D to share. Which, of course, he wanted none of because someone else at the table got sweet potato fries which he devoured. So, mommy had to eat all the mashed potatoes herself.

And they were awesome.

Happy Friday, people.