Thursday, March 7, 2013

Slice 7

     To be honest, my childhood was spent with very feminine communicators.  Namely, my entire family provided supportive feedback (mmmmhmmm, I see!), we used our hands to illustrate our meanings, and --most importantly-- we varied our pitches to indicate our emotional states.

     Once I got married, I really had to adjust.  Even when I asked my husband a direct question, I was greeted with silence.  If I asked it again, he'd tell me he heard me the first time. 

     To this day, if I'm telling a story or giving options, he becomes alarmed and asks me to get to the point.  I'm giving, he tells me, too much information!

     One thing that really bothered me in the early years was the lack of emotion in his voice.   He would deadpan.  Good lasagna...

     In a move reminiscent of Groundhog Day, he'd tell me, "I went back for seconds.  Don't you think that means I like it?" or "The way I say the words is not as important as the words I say."

     I beg to differ!

     But 15 years of marriage does have its benefits.  I have worn the poor man down.  And it's even become something of a joke.

     My husband will open his eyes wide, smile, raise his voice a register and say, "Wow, Baby!  That lasagna was extra delicious!"

    At least when he's in a good mood.

    And do you know what I call that?  



Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Slice 6

I'm experimenting today with an image related to my topic. In a discussion with my BFF the other day, we decided that we really enjoy the blogs with pics.  I don't always have a photo of my own that fits, though.  What do you think?  Does this pull you in?  Or is it just kitschy?

Do you remember the show X Files?  I've been watching it nightly with my kids recently, and it's been a blast.  Amazingly, the production values for 1993 (I WAS 19!!!) were great.  By the way, it you'd like to see it, you can stream it on Netflix.

Anyhow, the particular episode that leads to my slice has to do with a computer system that takes over a building and MURDERS PEOPLE that attempt to interfere with it.

The first scene shows an arrogant CEO being trapped in the bathroom and electrocuted by the computer operating system.

Incidentally, my son (just shy of 8 by four days) is somehow terrified of being alone in bathrooms.  For the longest time (and to my absolute chagrin) he'd demand that I stand outside of the bathroom each time he visited.  To this day, he keeps up a running conversation during his entire tenure.  I find this exasperating as he expects cogent answers when I'm not always in the mood for an in depth conversation.

When he runs out of things to say, or he's just really desperate, he'll call, "Mom?  Mom? Mom?"

"WHAT???"  I normally crank out (in the crankiest fashion imaginable)

"I love you."

Damn!  I am such a lousy mom, I think.

But X Files made it all make sense.  Now that I know the dangers of the bathroom, I will never again snap at his natural fear.

"See, Mom?"  Seth says.  "That's why I don't like being alone in bathrooms.  Especially ones with no windows.  At least I can escape through a window!"

Thank goodness our bathroom has windows (I don't allow computers in there either).

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Slice 5

As I write this, my almost eight year old son is fast asleep next to me.  When we do his nightly reading together, we cuddle in my big bed.  Tonight he wanted to cuddle a bit more, and I started checking my email so that I could manage his needs as well as my own.  Typical mom move, huh?

Nothing was more frightening to me than the day, eight and a half years ago, when I realized the image on the ultrasound screen was a pair of testicles.  I already had a daughter, and I reasoned I am a mother of girls.  I know what to do with girls.  

But man, oh man, when I held him in my arms that first time all I could do was cry and say, "I love boys!  I love boys!  I love boys!"  It didn't matter that his wine colored birthmark made him favor a baby Gorbachev or that his feet turned frightening shades of purple to punctuate his angry cries.

And he was such an affectionate little boy.  So joyful and should I say it again?  Cuddly.

But the hint of man has come knocking at my door all too often lately, and it terrifies me.  This year, he refused to have me walk him to his second grade classroom after the first day.  He jumps out of the car and sprints to the playground as soon as the car slows to 5 miles per hour (not really, but it seems that way).  If I do something that hurts his feelings, he becomes sullen and refuses my efforts to mend the bonds (shrugging off hugs and such).

I'll go through these periods where I think, what have I created?  What did I do wrong?  If he's this tough at 8, what will 15 bring?

I realize, of course, that this is my fear talking.  The same fear that says, "a daughter's a daughter for the rest of your life...a son's a son 'til..."  well, you know the rest.  I love my son and, at the same time, I know that he's the one most likely to break my heart.  Not because I think he'll be a terrible person, but because we'll never quite understand what makes the other one tick.

And that makes moments like this all the more precious.

Thanks to my friend Maricel for taking the pic this morning.  I tried to take a pic of him sleeping, but I just couldn't get the light right.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Slice 4

This morning I was awoken by the sweet sounds of wildlife...birds mostly, but I felt like I was living in the middle of an enchanted forest.  It was 5:50 A.M., and it put me in the nicest mood.  I felt like Snow White!  The funny thing about this is that I live in an old neighborhood in the middle of a fairly large city.  I marvel that hawks and owls can thrive in such an urban environment.

Too bad that we are springing forward on Sunday.  When I think about when life seems hardest, it is always when I've had to get up in the pre-dawn hours.  In the summer, I have no difficulty being up by 6 A.M., but when it is pitch dark out (and cold) it is another story.  I really can't figure out who this time change benefits.  Often, friends tell me that they enjoy having the extra hour in the evening, but invariably, their jobs don't demand an early rise and I truly can't figure out how the extra hour of evening daylight could make a dramatic difference.

So, I'll enjoy my taste of singing birds and gradual morning light only to have it yanked away.  In the end, I'll get it back once again.  By mid-April, the birds will sing to wake me once again.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Slice 3

My cousin had a party today, and she had a young lady reading tarot cards there.  I've never had mine read.  Mostly because I just hate to pay for that type of thing.  I'm too much of a cheapskate, I guess.  Anyhow, I pulled a card that had something to do with letting go of fear.

It's interesting because, lately, I've been thinking more about options.  I've taught for 16 years now, I work in a great school, and yet...  I can't help but fixate on a career I didn't even know existed when I started on my path to teaching.

Certified Nurse Midwifery.  My experience birthing my children made me recognize how strong I truly am.  Was it the most perfect birth ever?  The way you see in natural birth videos?  No, but it proved to me my worthiness for the task ahead.  It gave me the confidence to know I could do more than I'd ever believed I could.

And yet, I hear so many women relating such scary and sad stories.  I guess those birth stories are our war stories, huh?  And it's made me think about how intertwined our emotional worlds are with our physical worlds.

After attending births of friends, I eventually attended training to be a doula (if you don't know, it's a woman who sees to a woman emotionally during a birth, helping the woman and her partner through the process while minimizing fear and discomfort).  Anyhow, I blazed through my training and volunteer births.  And then...I don't know.  There was something hard about charging to attend a birth.  It made me uncomfortable.  So I stalled out.

But I just can't stop thinking about birth.  About helping women to enter motherhood on their own terms whatever those terms may be.  So, this summer, I'll get that web page up, and I'll face the fear of putting myself out there as a doula.

And then, what's next?  I'll make my way toward an RN degree.  I don't know how I could do it without quitting my amazing teaching job, but I'll take it one step at a time.  It's certainly better than standing still.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Slice Two


I don't know why I can be so snippy.  Today was one of those days.  The kids would show me love, my husband would ask an innocent question, and out would come that sharp-tongued reply.  In the past, my temper was one of those things I'd try to give up for Lent, but it never worked out.  I'm not sure what gets into me.  Mostly, my mind will be somewhere else, and I'll feel put out by the interruption.  It's not a slow build where I can count to ten or breathe deeply to calm down.  Lucky for me, my family seems to love me all the same.  How lucky am I?

Friday, March 1, 2013

Slice 1

Made some time for a family bike ride today...

And I always wonder, why is it that I don't do it more?
On the outskirts of Pomona, with all its problems, there is a lake.
The sun is reflected on the water, and my burning lungs take in the pine-scented air.
I watch my daughter's strong body as she pedals up the hill,
and I realize
how lucky I really am.