Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I Hope You Dance

An entire week has gone by since my last entry. This isn't the first time this has happened so the novelty certainly doesn't lie within the temporal aspect of that statement. Rather, I can't believe that a whole week has gone by so quickly AND with so much important stuff packed in.

To start with, last Tuesday morning Ada had her first day of school. She was so excited that she ran for her shoes when I told her it was time to go. That never happens. So we drove off with her chattering in her car seat and me confident that she was about to take pre-school by storm. I pulled into the parking lot, fiddling with the satellite radio tuner so conveniently placed on the steering wheel of our new car. I cut in exactly here:

May you never take one single breath for granted.
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed. 
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean. 
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens. 
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance. 
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

I hope you dance....I hope you dance.

Never having really listened to this song, it hit me in a whole new, very big way. The universe isn't exactly subtle - sometimes even I get it. I pulled into the parking space through eyes welling up. I did NOT want to cry on her first day of school but I did pause long enough to look at her in the rearview mirror. She was smiling and humming to herself, so sweet and so oblivious. I took her in then, drinking up every visual detail from how the sunlight brought out her red highlights just like mine to how she looked up and smiled at me with all the trust and love in the world. Then I put on a bigger than necessary smile and went through the motions of getting the kids out of the car.


Once we were inside she looked around, wide-eyed and mouth all hanging open. It was my first clue that my girl was getting overwhelmed. So I reached for the most comforting-for-her thing I could think of: a book. We read three books while waiting for her classroom to open up. Then the big moment came and the door opened. Ada jumped off the couch and ran toward the door. Then she stopped, dead in her tracks. She did a 180 on her heel and hid behind my left leg.

"She's feeling shy now", she said softly.

I stood like a deer in the headlights wondering how in the heck to handle this one. And, by the way, there is no guidance. I mean, there are volumes written but when the time really comes? Oh, mama. You. Are. On Your. Own. These are the moments I just hope I don't screw up.
First of all, since when is my daughter shy?
Second, when did she start referring to herself in the third person?

My usually confident girl held my hand as I coaxed her into the room with the promise of more stories. Maybe I should have left altogether. Maybe I should have forced her into the classroom and left. Instead, I stayed. As of this writing, I am the only parent who can't even get out of the room. I'm not disappointed or angry. I mostly feel just sad for her. I think this is the proverbial straw breaking the camels back.

I think my girl finally cried "Uncle!"

So we're taking it slow with pre-school. And luckily her teacher is very patient, kind and reassuring. I hope she is feeling more confident soon. In fact, on day three she is already settling in, blending in and closer to the girl I know. Mostly, I want to see my daughter feeling back to herself. I don't like it that she feels afraid and insecure.


It's not like that's all that's been going on. We are settling in to our new community and I'm finding that there are potential friends everywhere. It's a small place here and I see the same people over and over again. It's cool and exactly what I had hoped for. My daughters community could never be too big and I like that we had our first local playdates. Ingram nursed in the same room as a boy born almost exactly 24 hours before him while his mom, an internet friend, and I talked. Uncle Pat and Aunt Stephanie came to visit (by the way, you guys, Ada tells me about 6 times a day, "Uncle Pat and Aunt Stephanie just woke up!"). Trey was here on Sunday. Melissa and Dan will be here this weekend...we've been here a short time and already had more visitors than in SF (at this point anyway).

This guy is a milk-processing machine. He's seriously cute and smiles all the time. On purpose. Dang. I am in love. Like, serious love.


So tired. Long day, Tim's on call this week. I've hired a baby sitter so hopefully more to come later in the week.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

10 Songs

I didn't open my computer at all yesterday. This morning I was reminded about Monday Listicles and the topic this week is juicy. Could have taken this in any one of a thousand directions but, again, followed the KISS principle. These are the first 10 "favorite" songs that came to mind, in order.

Jailbird - Jim White
Poetic and moving, it's what I would say if I were a great song writer like Jim White.

The Bones of You - Elbow
I have a visceral response to this song. These guys are amazing and lyrically so descriptive. 

Don't You Know - The Sleepy Jackson
Like a punch to the gut.

Sugar Pill - Ambulance Ltd.

Carry Me Ohio - Sun Kil Moon
Nevermind that Mark Kozelek and I both from Ohio. Forget it that, until recently, we both were living in San Francisco. Let's not talk about the time he threw up on my kitchen floor years before I lived in that apartment, or so I'm told.
He is a genius.
Genius, I tell you.

Upward Over the Mountain - Iron and Wine
Pick a favorite Iron and Wine song? Impossible.

A Case of You - Diana Krall
I consider it blasphemy to redo the songs of certain artists. Normally Joni Mitchell would be one of them. This was from a tribute concert where all of the artists did fabulous things with her music but this one? Oh, this one was the very best. 

Charlotte Sometimes - The  Cure
Based on a book by the same name. After Disintegration The Cure lost me. 

Skin Trade - Duran Duran
My love for them will never, ever die. All of their songs are favorites.

Be Not Afraid
A Cathloic hymn, yes. I cry in church whenever we sing this.
Bonus: Ave Maria does the same thing to me. The first time I heard the Miami University mens glee club sing this I had to leave. I couldn't remotely hold my shit together.

Ten on 10: September 2012

7:30 am
Let the day begin.

9:00 am
I call him "Smiles" because he has been smiling since birth 6 weeks ago.

10:30 am
At the Subaru dealer. Good coffee and a [clean, organized] kids play area? Made getting a spider web cleaned out of our our exhaust positively pleasant.

She's been such a good sport that I let her have french fries for lunch on a very, very rare visit to a fast food joint.

Fetching play sand at the Home Depot.

I'll try anything to increase my milk supply.

Eyelet lace.

I love our new town.

Father and son.

Ada decides on footie pajamas for bed so that she matches her baby brother. Luckily the weather has broken and it gets into the 60's at night now - perfect for sleeping.

ten on ten button small

Thursday, September 6, 2012

When It's Right, You Feel It

The new little guy is ruling the house. We woke up this morning before 5 am when, only 90 minutes past his last feeding, Ingram decided he was hungry again. Tim couldn't go back to sleep. I didn't share that problem. I've gotten quite used to oscillating quickly between dead asleep and wide awake. It's like riding a bike.


Today wasn't about Ingram though. This day was a big one for our first born. Tim had the concern and the foresight to ask for the morning off. See, I knew it even 15 years ago that he would be a great father and husband, present in all the ways that count. By 8:00 am we were all out of bed and with the kind of nearly wordless exchange that only long-term partnership can bring, Tim and I tag-teamed to get the ourselves AND the kids ready. We were out of the house by 9:00. I even put on mascara. Hallelujah!

We went to meet Ada's first ever teacher this morning. Next Tuesday will be her first day of preschool. I picked this place back in May. Rather, they picked us. Anyone who has tried to get their kid into a "good" school in an urban area knows how competitive and difficult it can be. In some cases, applications are in before you even see two pink lines. So I was relieved when it turned out that getting Ada into preschool was the easiest part of the whole move. The universe smiled on us in this circumstance.

I haven't been back since then and that was over 3 months ago. I was a little nervous. Would I still feel confident in my decision to send her here? Would Tim think I had made a good choice? Most importantly, would Ada feel comfortable? I know she's not going to be learning her times tables or anything but this first experience and this first teacher - this is when she finds out that school is fun and learning is a life-long pursuit, one I hope she will wholly and passionately embrace. This is also when she's learning the kind of emotional intelligence that will let her function in society as an adult, a skill so valuable that I was more focused on this than anything when selecting a school.

Her teacher came out and introduced herself and Ada had a rare moment of shyness, something that almost never happens. "Uh-oh." I thought, "Ok. Ok, give her time." Next, she transitioned to what Tim likened to dropping a cat in the middle of a new room: tentative but insuppressibly curious. Surely, just as I knew my girl would, she was moving confidently all over her new classroom in no time. Picking up the giant copy of Goodnight Moon and organizing all of the little plastic animals.

Tim and I settled in on some low stools to talk with her teacher while Ada played comfortably with a class assistant. What I loved about this place the first time is the same thing I loved about it today: it's the most nurturing, patient, loving and kind environment for a child to be in. I was nearly in tears talking to her teacher and hearing what my daughter was about to experience here just as I was nearly in tears talking to the program director back in May (at that time I chalked my teariness up to pregnancy hormones). This school feels so incredibly right for my empathetic, sympathetic, social little girl. It's more than just my thoughts about this school, it's my intuition telling me we are, without a doubt, on the right track.

I was supposed to bring a picture of our family for her cubby. Since Tim was on a plane to NY within 2 days of Ingram being born we have not a single picture of us as a family of four. Today we fixed that. Oh, it's an imperfect picture: framed poorly and we're not all looking in the same direction and I still have a gut from the 10 pounds of purity and sweetness I delivered almost 6 weeks ago. Still, when I look at this picture all I see is our future and how happy we are to be here together. I see something full of potential and goodness. It's us, just as we are right now.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Secret Handshake

Even though we've only been in our new house for a couple of weeks the long weekend called to us to get out of town. Enough with the unpacking, cleaning, organizing and categorizing. Philly isn't too far away so we loaded up the car and got out of town early Saturday morning. We went to see some friends who we've known for years. I met Lucas in grad school, Tim met him in med school - that was somewhere around 14 years ago. Since then our lives have intersected and paralleled but always the friendship has been comfortable. 

These friends are good people. These are the kind of people that you can leave all your humanity exposed and know that they love you in spite of, or even because of, your faults. We hugged long, tight hugs - the kind that speak the words you can't say because no language has created the words to convey the entirety of this meaning. We told stories and laughed with our heads thrown back and mouths wide open. We enjoyed the company of adults without worry about the children. They were safe and occupying each other, leaving us completely free to engage with each other.


That night I watched as my friend read bedtime stories to our daughters and I loved her with my whole heart.


This woman I might never have known if our husbands weren't driven to retire to the barcaloungers with a glass of scotch, neat, and discuss such nerdy things as the caudate nucleus and hippocampus. And they're seriously passionate about these conversations with iPhone pictures and everything.

But what if I never met her? This friend in whom I confide regularly? We may not go "way back" or even speak the same native language but she knows details of my life; the ones I tell her and the ones I don't have to tell her. We don't have to elaborate on call schedules or grant deadlines and what they do to our lives. We don't have to convince each other of what that circumstance really means. Or how every day seeing terrible things happen to good people has changed the men we love and us too. We live it and we know what powerful forces humility and dedication can be.


Our Philly friends are extraordinarily special to us regardless of the professional commonality even though that's what brought us together originally. Maybe there are others? How long until we meet them, if ever? Can't we speed this along?

It got me to thinking: why isn't there a network of physicians spouses? Even if you never, ever met in real life wouldn't it be great to have a community of people who "get" you and the weird circumstances that influence the very fundamentals of your family function? The internet has made it such that we do find each other...eventually. Sometimes. We could do better though. We're literally all over the country. We could make each others lives so much easier in those times when our spouses career leaves us holding the bag of transition, loneliness and aloneness. How awesome would it be if when you relocated you already had in place a group of friends who get you on this bizarre level that is so impossible for an outsider to understand.

Why not organize this secret club we all belong to?
Centralize it.
Make it accessible.
Get the young ones to draw in the non-network savvy matriarchs.

We could have our own secret handshake and everything.