Archive for July, 2010

Second chances…

Posted in Tiny spaces on July 26, 2010 by talesofanunfinishedmom

Sometimes the universe tests you.  I had such a test this past week.

I was lucky. My medical scare turned out to be nothing. Nothing.

But, oh the places my mind went.

Repeatedly.

I feel so blessed.

Not all women walk out with the same peace of mind that I did today. In fact, far too many don’t. And, it’s just not fair.

It’s weird to feel grateful and sad at the same time. Grateful for my good news while sad for the other women in the same waiting room with anxious husbands and nervous faces who may not have received such positive results.

I don’t take it for granted. Second chances are gifts.

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When it’s hard to be zen…

Posted in Tiny spaces on July 23, 2010 by talesofanunfinishedmom

Yesterday I received some potentially alarming news.  Ok, so maybe not alarming, but, definitely concerning.

A routine medical test I’ve taken for years without issue has turned up a questionable result. The kind of result that stops you dead in your tracks as you try not to imagine the worst. The kind of result that sends you rushing to “Dr. Google” to search for answers to said questionable result.

I know these kinds of questionable results can often mean nothing. I’ve had ambiguous results on tests before.  But, this is different.  An unfavorable outcome on this particular test would change my immediate landscape and foward-moving path for an undetermined amount of time.

I don’t know how to factor my statistical outcome but simply looking at genetics and overall health, I have reason to not overworry. And, I’ve been trying to do that. Trying to put it out of my head until I can get further tests. Unfortunately, every second feels like a minute and every minute feels like an hour and let’s not even get into what the hours feel like. I have far too many of them between now and when I get my next round of tests.

I’ve often told my husband over the years that I’ve always had this sense that I wouldn’t live beyond 50 years old.  I’ve said it only a handful of times but far too many for him.  Even though I do have a bit of a flair for the dramatic,  I am not so sure what I’ve been basing such an outrageous statement on. And,  since I’ve become a Mom, I’ve really tried to steer my thinking away from such morbid places.

If anything, I’ve become more positive about my overall health and general statistical outcome for longevity as of late. That all came crashing down yesterday when even the slightest doubt was placed in my head.

This morning I popped into the drugstore to pick up some vitamins. Cuz, damnit, even if something were to be seriously wrong, I’m still taking my vitamins!  As I make my way to the back of the store to the pharmacy area, I pass through the aisle that contains all of the greeting cards. For a moment I pause to think about any forthcoming birthdays that I should consider but decide I’m in no frame of mind to stop and shop for birthday cards. As I’m whizzing by the cards, out of the corner of my eye I see this word – CANCER. It immediately catches my eye and I notice a small section of cancer support cards. I’ve been to this Walgreens a million times and NEVER remembering seeing that section.

Is it a sign? Or, am I just more sensitive and noticing this for the first time because it is so on my mind.  

All I know is that the next 76 hours are going to be long ones.  But, at least at the end of it all, I’ll have an answer. For better or worse, I’ll have answer. I sure hope it’s for the better because I can’t bear to think about my not being 100%  there for my child for any length of time – my little girl who needs me healthy and strong for many years to come!

Freezeframe…

Posted in Tiny spaces on July 11, 2010 by talesofanunfinishedmom

At long last,  the hubby and I invested in a fancy schmancy camera. I’ve been thinking about it for a long time and to his credit, the hubby found the best one for us.  I hemmed and hawed at first given the price tag but agreed to go take a look at it.  We had a suprisingly great experience at Best Buy. The sales guy (more like kid) was incredibly knowledgeable about the camera and in fact, owned one himself. I explained to him the kinds of things I wanted to do even though I’ve never taken a photography class and have only had basic point and shoots. He could not have been more helpful or gracious and we found ourselves buying the camera on the spot.

My other hesitation in making the purchase was that I was afraid that we’d get the camera and I’d NEVER do anything with it. I didn’t trust myself to really put the time and energy into it.  But, much to my surprise, I’ve been immersed in the camera manual (which is easily 100 pages) since we got home. I don’t have much free time so I’ve been stealing sleep at night and reading about apertures, ISO sensitivities, and various other camera lingo.  And, I have to say…

I am in love!!

Of course I have a long way to go learning all there is to learn about the camera and who knows how far I’ll ultimately take it, but, right now, I’m having SO much fun.  It helps when you have great subjects to shoot!

Mommy, you really need to get a zoom lens. I'm trying to watch Tigger and Pooh here.

We do need to invest in an additional zoom lens which is a bit of a pain but I LIKE my close ups and the only way I’m able to get one like the above is to get REAL close. That’s fine, but, trying to take a close up of a toddler is like trying to take a shot of a fly – they NEVER stop moving. I was lucky to get a few like the one above.

Next step, stop cutting off head in picture.

I did manage to get a beautiful shot of Ellie and her Daddy on the roof of our apartment building.  My favorite one yet.

Note wool coat on Ellie. "Coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." -- Mark Twain

We decided to take a little jaunt out to Petaluma today to visit my brother’s place. Even though he and my sister-in-law were out of town, Ellie had a great time visiting with her Nana and Papa and her cousins. She LOVES her cousins. She only has five first cousins in total and three of them live in Connecticut (and are much older) so it’s a real treat for her to see her Petaluma home boys!

Enjoying cookies and conversation by the backyard shed.

My youngest nephew spent most of the afternoon napping but when he finally arose, I couldn’t resist getting some shots of his deliciousness.

Pensive after a long summer's nap.

 So, as you can see, I’m having a lot of fun with my new toy. I’m so bummed that I have to go back to work tomorrow and won’t get a chance to play again until next weekend  (something tells me my fellow cubicle dwellers wouldn’t appreciate my practicing at the office.)

When a butterfly becomes a dove…

Posted in Ellie, Mommy stuff on July 7, 2010 by talesofanunfinishedmom

In case you’re wondering if I perhaps missed a key class in school regarding the evolution of insects, I am aware that butterflies don’t actually turn into doves. That is, unless you’re my daughter.

Last Tuesday Ellie wrapped up her first year of preschool. It’s pretty hard to believe since it feels like yesterday that I was feeling sooo anxious about her first day of preschool.  It also feels like yesterday that her response to any question you asked was a demure “o-kay” and she was still nursing her nightly bottle. My easy two-year-old of yesterday has turned into a leggy force to be reckoned with three-year-old and today, she officially became a dove.

I had been feeling very apprehensive about the approaching end of her first year in the butterfly class. Her butterfly teachers were extraordinary. One teacher in particular – Teacher Robb as we all called him – truly  redefined my expectations for everything a teacher could be. And, I was not alone. Parents were throwing around phrases such as the “toddler whisperer” with reference to him and at one point during the year, all of the parents rallied to try and get Teacher Robb to move ahead with the Butterfly class. There are many cases to be made for keeping a teacher with the same class – or looping, as the official term goes – and Robb made a lot of those arguments, but for us parents, we just knew that our children were all tremendously attached to this wonderful kind smart man and given an unusual year of vacated teaching positions at the school, we hoped we could request one more move.

Anyhow, it didn’ t happen and I’ve mostly gotten over it (as you can tell) but it still smarts a little. The thing is, I, too, was attached to Teacher Robb. This same fellow who I was suspicious of at our initial parent gathering (Why would a man be teaching preschool? Why does he keep looking down? Why isn’t he smiling more? ), proved to me once again that first impressions can often be uninformed impressions. This teacher was so incredible smart, calm, nuturing, and engaged with each and every one of those 2-3 year olds in my daughter’s class AND the parents. Basically, he was AMAZING. (There I go again…no, really, I’m over it!)

On Ellie’s last day of school I did my best to be upbeat and positive about her move to the Dove room (the 3-4 year old classroom). As I was driving to the 5:30pm pick up to gather my child and all of her things from the Butterfly room for the last time, I had lots of internal dialogue with myself about how I wasn’t going to cry. There was no reason to cry after all since Ellie was only moving DOWN THE HALL. But, I knew, just as I’d witnessed all year, that behind the door of each classroom’s entrance is a special world – a unique environment created by the teachers. And, I hoped that as excited Ellie was about becoming a Dove, that she wouldn’t be missing that special former place too much.

The goodbye was not easy. In fact, to overcompensate for my propensity toward tears, I started asking questions such as “How did the last day go?”.  When he immediately told me that there were tears, I thought, “oh please don’t let there be tears.” I kept trying to act as if it were like any other day, any other regular pick up, until Teacher Robb in all his 6 ft. stature after deciding he’d fielded enough of my questions, came over to me, put his arms around me and said “Thanks so much for a wonderful year. Please keep in touch and let me know how Ellie is doing.” All I could get out was “Thank you. You know how I feel and I can’t really talk about it or…” and with that my eyes welled up with tears and I turned away while another teacher standing by looked at me with that “awwwww” face and I pulled it together. After all, this was ELLIE’S last day, not mine. For god’s sake, as the Mom, I’ve got to keep it together, right?

Ellie was cool as a cucumber EXCEPT I could NOT get her to leave the classrooom. She was working away on some artwork and refused to leave until she finished. He suggested that perhaps she was having a hard time leaving. That’s the thing about three year olds, they can’t really tell you how they’re feeling all the time and so you have to infer from their actions what’s going on. Eventually, she was the only Butterfly remaining and Teacher Robb told her that she could take home the two markers she was using and offered her one last “ride” to the door.  He had used this tactic on occasion over the year when Ellie didn’t want to say goodbye. He’d say “Do you want to fly to Mom?” And, he’d pick her up and fly her in the air to me outside by our car or into her car seat. This time, he flew her to the door and into my arms and we began to make our way down the hallway when she said “Oh, oh oh!” as if she forgot something. She swung open the Butterfly door one last time and ran in to give Teacher Robb one last hug which he eagerly accepted.

Flash forward and here we are, 3 days into Ellie’s first week as a Dove.  My guilt is at an all-time high about leaving her there all day. Previously, when I’d bring her into the Butterfly class in the morning, one of her teachers upon seeing us would say “Ellie!” and would ALWAYS be on hand to give Ellie a hug or pick her up when she was especially clingy to help assist with the goodbye. One of our recent rituals involved Ellie giving me a big PUSH out of the classroom – a way for her to feel as if she was CHOOSING for me to leave. Even if we both knew the truth, it worked pretty well. Somedays, when Ellie was having a particularly difficult time parting, one of the teachers would walk her to a window in another classroom so that I could wave goodbye to her on the way out. All of these special touches made me feel really comfortable about having to leave for work.

Now?

I escort her into the Dove classroom in the morning and the teachers barely look up. There is no special welcome, no gregarious “Ellie!” and certainly no hugs.  I  know she’s moved to the “big girl” classroom but geez, she is still ONLY 3 after all! And, it’s been so hard for me to say goodbye to her in the mornings.

She, however, seems mostly fine with this change. She has, however,  been especially difficult this week which I chalk up to the change and I keep trying to talk with her about it. I’ve tried to be much more patient with her outbursts and defiance, assuming that she has to work all day to be the “big girl” and just wants to let loose when she gets home.

I know it’s taking time for me to adjust. I figure it will be at least a couple of weeks before I stop longing for the old classroom, the old teachers, the old ways.  I imagine it will take Ellie at least as long.