Mommy Finished

This past weekend was significant in Scroogyland, not just because it was Mother’s Day, but also because my daughters saw me cross the finish line of my first 5K.

It brings tears to my eyes to think of it, Peeps.

Me, Scroogy- far from athletic- finished a run.  (Well, more of a walk/jog- heavy on the walk, but still…)

Lala and Loopsy waited for me, with their grandparents and their Daddy, at the finish of Saturday’s Color Run here in Baltimore.

They witnessed their Mom -television addict, usually found reading novel after novel on the couch or spending hours on the computer writing or playing Candy Crush- finish something she’d set out to do last summer.  Mommy got ready for, and ultimately finished, a 5K.

Without having a heart attack or passing out or spraining anything.

I’ll never forget how proud I felt when I saw them and heard them calling for me as I jogged under the inflatable Finish arch, covered in layers of colored dust, sweaty, and a little red in the face. 

Girls, if you read this one day, this is what I want you to remember:

Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t or that you shouldn’t.  Not even yourselves.

Don’t let people judge you for your size or your looks or your past.  Not even that voice in your head.

If you work hard, if you stick to anything, you can finish what you start.  You can do or be anything.  You can beat any odds, meet any goals you set for yourself.

I love you girls.  This 5K was for you.

The next one is for me.

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The Summer Camp Conundrum

Apparently, Peeps, I have been hindering the development of my children and giving into my own social anxieties by not enrolling my five year olds in multiple activities.  Meh.

Okay, so my therapist didn’t say those exact words, but that’s how my Mommy brain translated them when she suggested it would benefit me and my kids if I signed them up for summer camps before sending them off to the big bad world of Full Day Kindergarten this fall.

So, I started the dreaded internet search for proper programs for Lala and Loopsy.  What the fudge, you guys?  The mind, it does a-wobble….

Why are day camps so expensive?  Or is $250 to $350 per week normal?  For half days?  I mean…  Ugh.  Hubby is not going to be pleased about this.  Neither are my plans for us to either join a pool or take a real week long vacation this summer. 

Anyway, besides the cost, there’s the whole decision of what kind of camp to choose.  I’m looking primarily at an Art Camp and a Gymnastics Camp.  My little twincesses are very crafty and tumbly.  So, that should be a perfect fit, right?  Gah, I dunno.  Should I be more focusing on music or sports?  Would those skills prepare them better for school?  I mean, I know it’s just a week or two and it’s just camp.  Why do I make these decision so much harder than they need to be?

Then I start to think, “Hey, Scroogy, the kids will be away for 3 whole hours for 5 straight days!  You can get so much done!”

Then I feel all Mommy guilty and the “what-ifs” break out… 

What if Lala has one of her infamous melt-downs and I’m at Planet Fitness without my phone?

What if Loopsy shows how she inherited her grace from her Mommy and falls head first off the balance beam?

What if one twin makes a ton of friends and they ignore her sister?

What if either of them get an attack of explosive diarrhea?

*sigh*

Me thinks my therapist is on to something here…

Abrakadoodle and Little Gym…  here come the Scroogy twins…  You have been warned.

(about me, that is…)

 

 

You’re doing good Mommy! Keep up! Keep up!

I bit the bullet and did two things in the past two weeks that I always wanted to do, but never had the balls.

One was to get a tattoo.  More on that later, Peeps.

The other was to register for a 5K.

Eek.

Yes, me.  Scroogy.  ME.

I am going to run/jog/walk/crawl/roll 5 kilometers.

I will.  I swear.  Stop laughing, you guys…

I started training a couple of weeks ago with the advice of my friend Aims who is a more accomplished 5k-er. She’s started me out super slow, just walking 15 to 20 mins a few times a week.  I’ve been waking up with Hubby and walking before the twins wake up.

This morning, my bed was just too lovely to leave.  I had to stay up and watch the Oscars after all.  So, I debated going after Hubs got home this evening, or doing something radical and including my daughters in my training.

It’s a lovely winter day here in Bmore.  High 40s and sunny.  No wind.  Delightful.  So I asked dear Lala and Loopsy if they wanted to walk with me.

“To the playground, Mommy?”  Lala asked.

“Not this time.  Remember when I told you I am going to run a special race?”

“Will there be a finish line?”  Loopsy pondered.

“Yes there will!  I am walking today to get stronger and healthier so I can run to the finish line.  Will you help me?”

“Yes!  Yes!”  They bounced up and down.

I explained that I needed to walk as fast as I could without stopping.  So, we couldn’t check out any leaves or branches or dead bugs. They totally got it.  Really, they did…

Loopsy, especially, was an incredible motivator.  She jogged ahead of me, encouraging me to go faster and faster, warning me of cracks and bumps and sticks, telling me I was doing great.  Lala was wonderful too.  She mostly stayed by my side, occasionally reminding me to breathe.  haha.

The only part of the walk they faltered in their enthusiasm was the brutal up-hill portion at the very end.  Both slowed down, both wanted to stop.  But they soldiered on.

When we got back home, Lala even did my outside stretches with me and both girls did my stretches inside on the living room rug.

They even said it was fun.

Who knew?

I am so proud of them, and so glad for the opportunity to teach good fitness habits to my little ones.

I give myself a good star for the day.

Oh, and here’s my tattoo…

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Eviction Day for the Twincesses

So to continue Monday’s post…

Tuesday February 12, 2008 was dulls-ville. I kept collecting my pee, getting my BP checked, talking to my fetuses, watching TV, texting Bestie… I did finally beg a nurse for some toiletries and took a shower. Haha. The nurses were insistent that I’d be going home that night or the next day, since my blood pressure was fine. We were just waiting for 8pm for the end of the 24 hr urinalysis and the lab to get the results.

8pm came and went and they told me it wouldn’t be until the morning. So… On to Wednesday, 2/13/08, Game Day, or as it came to be known, Eviction Day…

The nurses woke me up to weigh me and give me Reglan and all that jazz. They still were insisting that I’d be discharged soon. But I just knew differently.

See, Peeps, February 13 was also my Dad’s birthday. Poetic and bittersweet.

After the nurses left, I rubbed my enormous babies bump and said, “Ok, ladies, today’s the day. I’m issuing an eviction notice.” And I laughed.

My doctor came to see me and said that she wanted to do another sonogram to be certain all was well. The lab was backed up so the urinalysis was not complete. She wanted one last check before succumbing to popular medical opinion and letting me go home.

So, soon an orderly came to wheel my gigantic self down to the ultrasound room.

The ultrasound tech did his thing. I was used to it by then. I’d been having bi-weekly sonograms since 20 weeks to check for twin-to-twin-transfusion.

“Hm…” He adjusted his glasses, kept pressing that damn wand thingie on my belly. “Hm…”

“Everything ok?” I asked.

“There doesn’t seem to be a good enough pocket of fluid around twin A.”

(Side note: When we first found out there were twins in there, Loopsy was denoted Twin A and Lala Twin B because they were side by side and Loopsy was on the right. By the time birth came around, Lala had slipped lower and was to be born first- therefore becoming Twin A officially. The doctor was talking about Lala.)

I knew this wasn’t good, and became pretty concerned. What I learned is that another side effect of pre-eclampsia is that amniotic fluid is decreased. I asked what that meant, and he said it meant that the babies had to be born.

So… they took that eviction notice seriously, Peeps. Either that, or they wanted to be born on their Grandpa Doug’s birthday. Aw, tear…

I was whisked to a labor and delivery room and my OB met me there. She was telling me what was going to happen, while gathering various and sundry tools and instruments. Then she said she was going to check my cervix.

“I’m gonna go ahead and break your water.” She said. I thought she meant soon. But she meant now.

It all happened before I realized she was actually doing it. Let me tell you, that feeling is like so bizarre. Just gooooosh. Warm and wet. Ugh.

She said that she was going to observe me for a while and then see if they needed to start pitocin.

I put on the TV (The Price is Right was on) and called Mom and Hubby and Bestie. I settled in to wait.

Here is a rundown of what happened next:

Started pitocin,
Contractions began. The monitors were only picking up a little. The nurses, my OB, even Mom kept telling me that they weren’t strong. Um… Lies!!!
Got an internal contraction monitoring catheter doo-hicky because I was in a lot of pain and the contractions still appeared to be weak. BULL. I could barely stand the touch of the doc to check for dilation. The insertion of this catheter was the worst part of the whole labor and delivery. I was in such pain that Hubby had to leave the room. Mom stayed and held my hand.
Eventually I reached the magic number of dilation or whatnot and the OB asked if I was ready for my epidural. I could’ve kissed her.
Speaking of kissing medical staff… The epidural guy was the most handsome man I’d ever seen. Or so I thought after the pain went away.
Pitocin was stopped and I was given oxygen because the fetuses were not liking it. I was quite worried, but soon after this, all went back to normal. Whew.
My OB gave me one more check and said she was going to go home, have dinner, tuck her kids in, and leave instructions for the nanny for the morning. She said that by the way my contractions were progressing on the monitor, it was going to be a long night. This was about 7pm.
I slept. A blissful, pain-free sleep. Ahhh…
10 pm, Doc is back and checks my contraction monitor, mumbles something about no big changes, still progressing slowly, yaddayaddayadda.
Then she checks my cervix and gets this shocked smile and shakes her head. “You were right, Scroogy… Your contractions were working. You’re ready to go!”
Say What?
I immediately start trembling. Like full on shakes. They are wheeling me to the OR and Hubby looks at Mom as if to say, “Okay, who’s going?” She says, “This is all you” (or something like that). And we were off to the races.
(Side note again: Even though both babies were head down, there was still a chance for Loopsy to turn during Lala’s delivery, so I had to deliver in the OR. In case I needed a c-section to deliver Loopsy. This also meant that my best buddy the epidural guy would be on hand just in case I needed a spinal whatsitcalled. So… there was my OB, two nurses, Hubby, a team for Lala and a team for Loopsy, and the epidural guy. Crowded house.)
Hubby gets his scrubs on and meets me in the OR. He is being amazing, even though he is terrified.
I start to push. I’m guessing it’s about 10:30 or so at this point.
Honestly, this was part was so easy. I give mad mad props to my epidural guy.
Hubby and I are laughing and joking, the nurses and my OB are cracking up. It’s going really well. My Doc says I get the gold star for pushing. Nice.
11:42 pm, Lala makes her debut!!! She is pink and wiggly and calm. I worry that she doesn’t cry, but she’s whisked off to her team and begins to cry. Hubby goes to see her and says she’s so cute that he wants to squeeze her and love her and call her George (from the old Looney Tunes cartoon). Doc says, “George? I thought her name was Lala?” haha. Silly doc.
Since the internal contraction monitor came out with Lala, there was no way for anyone but me to know when to push. So… I’ll admit that I was tired. I rested through one contraction. haha. Whatevs. Don’t judge.
It’s approaching midnight and the nurses are getting all giddy that the twins might have two birthdays. I start thinking, “Um, hells to the no. I want to get this over with!!”
Pushing didn’t hurt, but it was tiring.
11:54 pm, Loopsy is born, pink, wiggly, and screaming her lungs out as soon as her head was clear.
Both girls are healthy and taken quickly away to the NICU to be assessed. Hubby almost went with them, but then…
Doc starts to get all worried. She orders the nurses to give me some sort of injection.
Apparently my placenta has torn or something and I’m hemorrhaging.
My epidural starts to wear off, so I can now feel all the shenanigans of my OB making sure I deliver the entire placenta, owies. I can feel her stitch me up too.
Oh, then, just for fun, I start to barf again. Good times.
12:30 or 1:00 ish, I am back in my L&D room, and they bring me my little ones.
I hold my Lala and my Loopsy for the first time. True and undying love.

 

Scroogy is a Mommy!

Scroogy is a Mommy!

Always and forever Love

Always and forever Love

The twincesses debut begins

Hi.

I’m writing this week as a little jog down memory lane for my girls to read one day.  This week they will turn 5.  Holy smokes.  5.

So we’ll start at the very beginning of our birth story:

Five years ago today, I went to my 35-week OB appointment and found that my blood pressure was elevated and my urine showed protein, so I was exhibiting signs of pre-eclampsia. 

My doctor nearly salivated at the idea of being able to induce.  It was a high risk pregnancy because I had an “irritable uterus” and since 34 weeks she’d been waiting for a reason to get the girls out.  So she cheerfully sent me home to pack and get ready to be admitted. I was in some sort of denial because I asked her why I was being admitted.  She laughed at me and said, “Um, Scroogy…  You’re having a couple of babies…”  haha.

Honestly, this part of the story is still just a blur.  I was not thinking very clearly, still in some weird la-la-land and very distracted, so distracted that I suddenly had no clue what to do next.  I called my Mom and my husband, and they left work to meet me at the apartment.  I sat on my couch and waited for them.  Just waited, twiddling my thumbs as if nothing big was going on. 

Even though I’d known this day would come sooner rather than later, I was still so ill-prepared and just glossy-eyed.  It was happening so fast, I was in a fog, detached.

Mom got there and asked if I’d packed a bag.  Um… wha???  I clearly had not.  All the baby clothes were still in big rubbermaid containers.  We were in the process of buying a house, waiting on settlement, so all of our life was in disarray and boxes.  So, while we chatted, I packed ONE set of pajamas and undergarments for me, ONE outfit for each of the babies, no toiletries, and for some reason, about a half dozen CDs.  I even forgot to pack my Reglan, which was the only thing keeping me from throwing up from week 11 on.  Morning sickness does not end in the second trimester, Peeps.  

Hubby and my Mom drove me to the hospital, where the nurses and OB on call decided to keep testing my urine (giving me a catheter- ugh), and monitoring my BP.  I hope to never have a catheter ever ever again.  Owie.  Speaking of owie…  There was a burly midwife with gigantic hands that kept checking my cervix.  I was only about 1 cm.

My blood pressure stabilized, but there was still protein in my pee, so, they decided to keep me for 24 hr urine analysis rather than jump the gun on induction.   No contractions had started.  They did a sonogram and the babies looked fine.

I was admitted, and sent Hubby and the soon-to-be-grandparents home in a snow and ice storm while I watched a lot of TV, and talked to my babies.  I talked to them a lot. 

So, here I was, in the hospital, all alone with nothing to do but think, and  It still did not occur to me to ask my husband to bring more clothes or some toothpaste.  Haha.

To be continued…

 

 

Martha Wittie’s Saturday

4:30 am  Saturday:

“Wake up, Jake!  Last call!!”  I shout upstairs.  This is his last chance to get up himself before I pull him, kicking and screaming, out of bed.

If my darling boy doesn’t get his tush out of bed we are going to be late for his soccer tournament at the University.

“I’m up!” He grumbles, shuffling down the steps, already dressed in his uniform, socks, and Nike slides.

I sigh.  He’s up.  And dressed.  Awesome.  I restrain the urge to scoop him in my arms.  He’s 10 now.  Big boys don’t hug their mommies anymore.  Or answer to the name Jakey, apparently.  I can barely see my Buster Big Boy Baby in his face anymore.  Sigh.

He stops his shuffle just inside the kitchen door and gives me a sleepy smile.

“PB toast and apple slices on the counter.  Eat while I’m in the shower, okay?”  I tousle his messy brown curls, my arms still aching to hold him.

He nods and takes his seat at one of the counter stools.

I wish we had time to chat over breakfast like we did when he was little, but we have a tournament to make.  And just like Jacob donned his uniform, it is time for me to don mine.

Also just like I’d laid out Jake’s uniform last night, I’d laid out my clothes just before I tuckered out and tucked in mere hours ago.  Yawning, I survey my pick of heather gray yoga pants, a white tank top, and the team mom purple zippered hoodie with “Jake Wittie” and the number 4 in white on the back.  Boots or sneakers?  Sneakers.  Yeah, that’ll do.

I could linger in the shower for hours, but instead take a quick one, throwing one longing look at my soaking tub.  One day, my friend, one day…

In less than 25 minutes, I am dressed, my dry-shampooed hair in a strategically messy bun.  As I sweep Jake and his backpack of snacks, cleats, chocolate milk and Gatorade out to the car, I realize we still have just enough time to hit a Starbucks drive-thru.  Score.

Finally, it is 6:30 and I am hoofin’ it to my spot on the bleachers with the other Brandywine Striker moms.  I see my friend Deb across the field.  I wave and she waves back.  I smirk and dig my cell phone out of my pocket to text her.

“United’s going down, McFadden.”  I tease.  Her son Matt is the striker for our rival team.

Beep beep goes my text alert. “Oh we’re gonna box now, Wittie.”

She reaches into her bag and pulls out her blue and white MOT United cap.  After she pushes it crookedly onto her head, and flips me the bird, I watch as she types furiously with her thumbs.

Beep beep, “United rules.  Brandywine drools.  Yo.”  She pulls up the hood of her blue and white team mom sweatshirt, and I can see her giggling to herself.

I text her, “LOL”, and take a sip of my rapidly cooling Caramel Macchiato.

Beep beep, “Spiked?”  Deb asks.  I can’t help but smile.

“Not this time,” I type back, “Got a luncheon for Finnian and a sleepover with 4 preschoolers tonight.”

Beep beep, “All the more reason, dammit.”  She holds up her water bottle, which I suspect contains more than a splash of Grey Goose Cherry Noir.

The whistle blows and the game begins.  There won’t be anymore texts until after the game.  Deb & I are two of the very few moms who actually come to watch, and not to show off our designer hand bags.

I watch as my Jake challenges Matt for the ball.  The two are pretty evenly matched, but this time Matt gets past Jake’s defense and nearly scores.

“Mark closer, Wittie, dammit!”  An irate Dad yells from the first row of bleachers.  I hate that guy.  He’s just jealous that my boy is a starter and his warms the bench.

“Good pressure, Jake!”  I yell louder.

“Yeah, Wittie!”  Another mom follows my lead and I feel vindicated.  I sit back and relax.

The crowd fills Olympic stadium with roars.  Only seconds to go for Team USA vs Team Italy in the Gold Medal game. 

I scan the field, or the pitch as they call it here in Jolly Ol’ England, for my boy.  I see him finally, centerfield, defending Italy’s best attacker as he attempts to score the tying goal, which would bring this game to overtime.  

“USA! USA! USA!”  the fans chant, followed by “Wittie, Wittie, Wiiiiiittttie!”

Italy’s Paolo Millardi goes for a banana kick around Jake.

Jake blocks with a back tackle, getting tangled up with Millardi, but sending the ball in the direction of USA’s top striker Matty McFadden. 

McFadden leads a demanding counter attack and scores in the last millisecond before the buzzer. 

GOOOOOAAAALLLLLLL!!!

USA wins 5 to 3.

We won the gold.  The Gold.

Beep beep.  My text alert snaps me to attention. “Earth to Martha.  Come in, Martha.”  It’s Debbie.

I text back.  “Sorry.  Game over already?”

 

11:45 am:

“Marth?”  Finnian peeks his head into the bathroom to check on my progress.  I am just putting the finishing touches on my hair and applying on last coat of mascara.

“Two minutes, tops!” I promise him and hook the clasp on my necklace while slipping into my heels.

We are nearly running late to the retirement luncheon for the founding partner of Finn’s law firm.

I make my way down to the foyer, where he is already pacing nervously.  “Ready!” I say with forced cheerfulness.

The luncheon is at some hoity toity country club and I am so not in the mood.  But my husband is next in line to make partner, so we have to make an appearance.

“Tie straight?”  He asks before meeting me with a quick kiss at the bottom of the stairs.  I survey the perfectly knotted grey silk that not too obviously compliments the silver sash on my wrap dress.

“Perfect, as always, my handsome man.”  I kiss him again.

He rolls his eyes and makes a face.  “Whatever.  Let’s go.”

We make sure the babysitter has our cell phone numbers and then we’re off.

We are taking his Cadillac instead of the mini-van and it feels almost decadent.  Riding around and listening to grown up music, in a vehicle that’s not riddled with old french fries and gummy bears.  I’ll take it.  This luncheon thing is starting to seem more appealing.

I relax into the leather seats, stretch out my legs, and listen to the new Mumford & Sons on the satellite radio.

“Let’s just run away…”  I kid and Finn laughs.  We throw scenarios back and forth highlighting where we’d go and for how long.

Before we know it, we are pulling up to the valet at the club.

Soon, I am standing there, my one and only glass of wine of the day in hand, as my husband and his fellow attorneys talk shop.  I take tiny sips, savoring my Sauvignon blanc, not paying a bit of attention to affidavits, burdens of proof, or causes of action.  I’m just watching Finn talk, so self-assured and confident.  So sharp minded.  Sexy.

Our eyes meet over the twinkle of our wine goblets.  Finnian is a warrior, a knight new to our kingdom, come to slay the dragon at the request of my father, the King.

“Your eyes sparkle with the light of a million stars, milady.”  He flatters me with the truest of chivalry.

“Sir, you are a poet as well as a dragon slayer. ” I demure, lowering my face and looking up at him through the fringe of my eyelashes.

“Aye, your highness, and a dancer.”  He puts his wine down on a nearby tray, takes mine and does the same.  “Join me for a carol?”

He gallantly leads me to the dance floor, my hand resting gently on his proffered arm.

With expert timing, he and I swirl, turn, curtsey and step through the chain of the dance.  Our eyes are locked, our whole selves in tune, even the most casual brushing of arms bringing tender thrills.

The music ends and we bow to each other.  Forgetting all courtesy, Sir Finn takes me suddenly by the waist with one strong arm.

“Princess…  I cannot resist.”  He breathes huskily seconds before his mouth crushes mine in a kiss that rivals song itself.

“Martha?”  Finnian clings his pint glass against my wine glass.

“Hmm?”  I snap back to reality, “Oh, lunch time?”

“This way, my dear,”  he chides and holds out his elbow.

We walk arm in arm to our table, my head rests on his shoulder, and I smile.

 

7:30 pm:

I can barely keep my eyes open, but I promised Jocelyn and Vivian and their two best buddies that I would watch their “fashion show”.

I hear them giggling and fussing in the playroom, and I check my watch.  Half an hour until I can reasonably get them to try to go bed.

Might be in bed by midnight, then.  I yawn so hard tears spring to my eyes.

Jocy  tiptoes in the room, and flips off the switch.  “Lady and Geddlemens…”  She says in her cute sing-songy voice, “Presenting the best fashion show in the wooooorld!”  She flips the light back on and pads back to the playroom with the others.

Seconds later, Lola, our 4 yr old neighbor -the oldest one in the group tonight- dramatically struts down the front hall, plastic heels clicking on the hard wood.  She swings her hips and her pink feather boa in exaggerated rhythm.  She’s wearing the boa, a huge straw hat, a sparkly tank top, the purple plastic shoes, and nothing else except her Dora the Explorer panties.  But, she is working it…

Her facade cracks before she makes it to the living room carpet, and she collapses in a giggle fit on the sofa.

Next in is my Vivy, decked out in last year’s Halloween costume- Belle from Beauty and the Beast- and some lime green cowgirl boots, and a fez.

“Vivy… you wear fezes now?”  I laugh.

“Yes, Mommy,” she laughs as she skips down her imagined runway.

“Nice.  Fezes are cool.”  I laugh some more, and watch my adorable girl bounce onto the sofa next to her fellow fashionista.

“Is it my go now?” Grace, Lola’s 2 yr old little sister stage whispers from the play room.

“Yes!”  All three older girls yell, exasperated, in unison.

Grace baby steps down the hall in sunglasses, flip-flops, and one of my old satin nightgowns belted with a hair ribbon, the gown trailing the floor so that she has to lift the hem to walk.

“Ta da!” She exclaims as she reaches the living room, then covers her face and giggles shyly before joining the other girls on the couch.

“And lastly…”  Jocy calls out, “here comes the bride!”  And she step-stops, step-stops down the hall in her dress-up Barbie wedding gown.

My heart falls to my stomach.

“Who presents this woman to be married?”  The priest says, and my gut churns.  I clutch my disintegrating Kleenex in one hand, and hold onto the back of the pew in front of me with the other.

“Her mother and I do.”  Finn chokes out, fighting emotions of his own.  He turns to face our girl.  He lifts her veil, kisses her cheek, and transfers her hand to the arm of her groom to be.

Finn makes his way to our pew, and takes my hand tightly in his own.  We smile at each other, such joy and such sorrow mixed as one in our tear-filled eyes.  I feel a brush of an arm on my back, see a quick pat on Finn’s shoulder.  Our boy Jacob, now a man with a family of his own, offers us his support.

We are giving away our last baby today.  Talk about bittersweet.

The priest asks us to take a seat, and I tuck my arm in Finn’s and look at the lovely wedding party standing so poised and perfect at the altar.

Jocelyn asked her sister to be her Matron of Honor, of course, and was nothing other than thrilled to find out she’d have a 7 month pregnant honor attendant on her special day.  Vivian was just glowing in her buttery yellow gown, full of love, and new life, round and happy, and smiling at her twin as the vows began.  The other girls, Lola and Grace, beamed proudly in soft pink taffeta as their best friend pledged her troth.

Finally, my eyes settled on my baby girl, my Jocy, and my chin began to wobble with unshed emotion as I listed to her repeat those legendary promises.  Girl grown to woman.  Woman made wife.

“Mommy?  Are you crying?”  Jocy bounded into my lap and I couldn’t help but laugh.

“Me?  Never!”  I wiped my eyes and then tickled her ribs.  “Who is ready for popcorn?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Out of the mouths of babes

I know I’m one of those obnoxious Moms that posts every totes adorbs thing their offspring says or does.  I don’t care.  I waited my whole life for these little monkeys and I intend to brag.  They are turning out pretty good.

Today we went to Pizza Hut for lunch.  As always, Lala and Loopsy started a discussion with the people in the booth behind ours.  This time, our fellow diners were incredibly inviting of the intrusion to their meal.  They were two sisters, born on the same day a year apart- Whitney and Liz.  And Whitney carried on a conversation with my babes for several minutes.  She was lovely. 

I’m a terribly shy and buttoned up person.  I don’t make friends easily or start conversations with strangers.  I kept stopping myself from telling the girls to turn around, to leave these people alone.  I kept feeling odd, and unsure, and uncomfortable.  But…  my daughters did not.

Today, on Thankful Thursday, I am grateful that my little ones didn’t inherit that gene.

They were so sweet and asked good questions and were polite and endearing.  When Whitney and Liz left, they asked if they’d come back to Pizza Hut another day because they want to be friends.  !!!!

My kids are making plans, making friends, with EASE!

I couldn’t be prouder or more grateful.  I need to take some notes.

Little Angelfaces

Holy snikeys, Peeps, I know I complain about my littles on here a lot.  Or repeat their silliness ad nauseum.  But this post is in complete gratitude of my daughters.

I have had a terrible headache for 4 straight days.  So bad that Friday and Saturday I spent mostly in bed, in the dark.  I’ve been nauseated and dizzy too.  It’s been pretty hellish in Scroogyland.  (Never fear, faithful Peeps, I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow.  The hubs even took off work for it.)

But my girls have been amazing.  So patient and sweet, so quiet and caring.  Quiet has been the greatest blessing as my brain pulses against my skull.  I am in awe of their understanding.

Today I had to brave the big bad world to go to the pharmacy and to the grocery store.  We were out of everything.  And my little monkeys helped in every way.  They even helped load and unload the trunk.  I mean…  Wow.

So, Thank you my Lala.  Thank you my Loopsy.

You are treasured.

Final Daybreak

We are coursing through the clouds, headed back west, back towards the night.

My heart is thudding in my chest.  The Petit-Maitre has completely worn off and my horror has set back in, squeezing my lungs and chilling me to the bone.

The overwhelming sharpness of my senses has returned, but all I can see are her wine-red curls mixing with my ashy brown waves against an ink-black sky.  The only sound is the whistle of the wind, the only scent my own.

“Take me home, Courtney.”  I say timidly.

“Not yet.”  She holds me tighter to her, pinching my arm.  Her voice is a tight utterance through her clenched jaws.

She’s angry with me.

After she referred to children as “darling bloodbags”, I’m more than ready to be out of her presence.

“Why are you doing this?” I try to look her in the eyes, but she’s focused on the horizon ahead.

“I told you on that goddamn soccer field, Anne.  You deserve this.  You will love it.”  She sighs, her anger slipping into apparent exhaustion with the silly human that I am.

“I don’t believe that.”

“You’re so damn stupid!” She shouts at me, finally turning her head to me, and bears her fangs.

“Take me home.” I repeat, firmly this time.  As terrified as I am, I refuse to look away.  Vampiric moodswings or not.

“I know just where to take you…”  She turns her attention back to the sky ahead, and we gain speed.

So much time passes with us locked in that intimate soaring embrace, I am almost tempted to broach the topic of home again when we descend.

It’s stifling, warm and sticky, even though the sun has barely risen.  I can tell by No Entry After Dark sign on the gate that we’re back in America.  The fence is ancient wrought-iron with ornate stone columns and a grand stone arch.  On the far side of it grows gothic oak trees dripping with Spanish moss.  The air itself smells green.

I’ve been here before, on a road trip with Tony when I was pregnant with the twins.

Georgia?

“You’ve taken me to Georgia?”

“More precisely, a cemetery in Savannah…”  She purrs, mightily proud of her choice.

“Because?”  I start walking down the gravelly path strewn with crunchy, fragrant leaves.

“I believe a funeral is about to start.”  She almost giggles, and flicks her head towards the fence.

She’s right.  Through the archway, I see a long procession of vehicles led by a gun-metal gray hearse.

She and I move, unobserved, to the shadow of one of those great oaks.  We watch as the family gathers around the canopied grave, as the pallbearers carry the ornate mahogany casket to its place, as the funeral director places the heart composed of white roses next to the coffin.  The heart is draped with one word, “MOM”.

I watch, for the second time on this adventure, moved to tears.

The priest says the final blessing, “O God, by whose mercy the souls of the faithful find rest; mercifully grant forgiveness of their sins to Thy servants and handmaids, and to all here and elsewhere who rest in Christ: that being freed from all sins, they may rejoice with Thee for evermore. Through the same our Lord.”

The mourners sniffle and sob and wipe their eyes with crumpled tissues in clenched fists.

The funeral director steps forward, murmuring words of comfort, and invitation to the wake at the home of the deceased.

A young man is the first to step towards the coffin.  Somehow I know he must be the dead woman’s son.  Shoulders trembling for only a moment, he shakes himself just once, a quick shiver of resolve.  Steadily he places a single white rose on the gleaming wood of the casket, just beginning to glow in the morning sun.  He pauses only briefly, and I can see his lips moving.  He is saying goodbye.

I watch him ignore the pitying smiles, brush away the comforting pats on his arms, and make his way back to  the limo.  I watch as he rolls the limo window down and stares back towards the canopy, unblinkingly, not wanting to waste a second’s view of his mother’s eternal resting place.

“Is this what you really want, Annie?  To put your children through this?”  Courtney whispers and takes my hand.

“Huh?”  I brush a single tear off my cheek, and finally look away from the boy.

“Do you want to hurt them like he’s hurting?”

I think about her meaning for a moment.  Briefly contemplate the bizarre idea of never growing old.  I picture myself as I am, walking down the boardwalk with my girls.  They are bent over with age, using canes, heads of whispy white.  I also consider that perhaps I could do for them what Courtney is offering for me.  Could I?  Should I?

I start to walk away from her then, although she follows silently behind.

I pass headstones plain, headstones ornate.  Angel statues, crosses, doves.  I read all the names, the dates.  Some of these graves have been here for centuries.  So many lifetimes.  So much history.

Then another question, another quandary percolates in my brain.

“Do you have a grave, Courtney?”

“Huh?”  It was her turn to be confused.

“A place your parents can visit, your cousins, Evan?”

“You know I have a grave.”  She answers curtly, and not really acknowledging my real question.

“I don’t mean some hole in the Earth where you lay dead.”  I turn on my heels to face her.  “Do you have a memorial place?  In a hundred years will there be a place that proves you were born, you lived, you died?”

“Um…”

“Didn’t think so.”

“Annie, what the hell?”  She’s getting frustrated, she knows I’ve made up my mind, and she doesn’t like the answer.

“Courtney, take me home?”

“What for?  So you can grow old and weak?  So you can die and moulder in some box for eternity?”

It was my turn to chuckle.

“You say I’ve learned nothing tonight, but I have.  Have you?  Have you been paying attention, at all?”

“Enlighten me.”  She snarks, and perches atop a large tombstone.

“I am gloriously alive.”

“Yeah.  For now.  Go on.”

“You don’t get it, ” I walk over to her, and take her hands in mine.  “I have all those memories of my twenties, going dancing with my girlfriends, flirting with strangers, kissing boys.  The angst, the thrill, the buzz, the chase.  I did that.  I’m done.”

“Whatever.” She whispers and goes to move away, but I squeeze her hands tighter, wish her to look at me.

“I am in love with my husband, with our family.  As mundane as the daily grind can be, nothing can replace the ecstasy of seeing my little girls light up the world.  No prima ballerina is more captivating.”

I see pink blood-tinged tears clouding those cobalt blue eyes, threatening to spill down her porcelain cheeks.

“I want to grow old and wrinkly and soft.  I want to have a plush lap for my grandbabies to crawl into.  I want to sing them lullabies and laugh when they ask me why I have age spots.”

“But…”  She hops off the stone.

“No, Courtney.  I want a long life, I want all the ups and downs, the aches and pains, the joy and sorrow.  I want there to literally be a marker that says, ‘Anne Lived.  Anne Died.’  I want the full package deal.”

“Are you certain?”  She puts her hands on my shoulders and searches my face.

“I am.  I deserve it.  I will love it.”

She charges at me in a flash, knocking the wind out of me, swooping me up to the sky.

Then blackness.

——————–

I wake to the usual sounds.

Tony snoring softly beside me.  Elise and June giggling quietly in their bedroom across the hall.

I roll over and reach on my nightstand for my cell phone.  I check the time.  8:26.

Wait.  How did I get back home?  What day is it?

I check my cell again.  Saturday.

But…

My shaky hand reaches to my neck, my quivering fingers brush the smooth warm skin there.

No bites.

I sneak out of the covers, careful not to jostle Tony.

I run to the bathroom, flick the light switch.  Just the normal dull glow of the lights, just the usual whispering whirr of the fan.

“Mooooommy!!!”  June bellows from her bed.

Peeking my head in their room, I whisper, “Yeah, baby?”

“Can we have waffles?”

I smile and bound over to her bed in one big step and swoop her up in my arms.  Elise bounces over and joins us on the bed.  I kiss them both on their sweet little heads.

“Sure, sunshine.”

We tiptoe downstairs for the day, and walk past my desk.  I am so relieved that it was all a dream that I almost don’t see it.

The single white rose.  A single drop of crimson on one perfect petal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Story of my life…

I started one of those Good Things jars I saw on FB or Pinterest.

Image

You know the ones, where you write any good event on a scrap of paper and save it to be read on NYE of next year.

Well, mine is only about a week old, so I only have one Good Thing so far.

The other day, I left my office door open while I went downstairs to fold laundry.

Came back up to find the twins had taken the lid off the jar and crumpled up my one scrap of paper.

They ruin all my Good Things.

Seems like there’s some sort of powerful metaphor here at work…

Story of my Life.