Sunday, December 26, 2010

Could you imagine?

So Baby Sister is eleven months old.  And here's the shocker of the week - in this month's newsletter I get from some baby website with tips on development and "what to feed your baby at this stage" kind of content they started talking about having another one.  Are you kidding me?!? 

Another baby?  NOW?

I can barely keep my wits coping with my current baby who is becoming mobile!  We still have a hard time going out because of babysitting options not to mention that I just BARELY feel like my body is back to mine again.  Who in their right mind would dream about starting over and going back to being exhausted day and night, transitioning into being big as a whale and completely incapable of keeping up with a toddler, ending with bringing another one home to add to the chaos?


Add that I am weeks away from turning thirty-nine (yes, that's knocking on forty's door thank you very much) to the fact I don't think I have the energy or desire to add another child to our little family right now and you've got the worst combination.  The hardest part is that Hubby really longs for a boy.  A son to coach football and take fishing; another shot of testosterone to balance out the estrogen fest we currently have going on, not to mention carrying on his family name.  And while in some random moments of insanity I think it might be nice to have a son I quickly start thinking of all the realistic things that scream NO FUCKING WAY!  Perhaps if we hadn't waited so long to decide we wanted more than one kid we might have time and the energy to do this dance all over again.  But that's not how we did it.  There's way too much pressure to make a crazy snap judgment about another kid just because I'm getting older.  Lots of women have kids later in life, right?

My mind still boggles at the thought of people with kids two years apart (OR LESS!) - of which there are plenty around.  I have total respect for them but know there is no way I could do that myself.  Who knows, maybe when I'm 45 if we still think we want another one I'll hop on the "advanced maternal age" bandwagon again in a moment of insanity... but I seriously doubt it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas to ME - selfishness of the season

'Tis the season!  I am a very giving person (although I don't share well with others, just ask my sister) and typically am completely focused on others during the holiday season.  But this year the hubby and I did something big for ourselves for Christmas.  We joined a gym. Not just any gym either, the "Caesar's Palace of Gyms" as Hubby calls it.  Yes, I shopped for everyone on the list and then some and I know that this is the wrong time of year to be purchasing things for yourself - or so my Mom always told me - but they have treadmills that go downhill!  And to add on a child under 12 it only costs $6 a month for which you get two hours - TWO HOURS A DAY - every day of free daycare while you're working out.  Plus it is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week - something that "24 Hour Fitness" cannot even boast - which is important to Hubby who occasionally works the night shift and needs something to do while we are all sleeping but he's not working.  Then there's the amazing pools that are open for family swim time almost every day that Big Sister will love, a rock climbing wall she's already hooked on, and a monthly "parent's night out" where you drop your kids off for some fabulous activity and then YOU. GO. OUT!

Hubby has been begging and pleading and dropping hints and finagling and scheming for ways to convince me to join this club since it opened several years ago.  I always heard the amenities and assumed it was way out of our price league and dismissed it.  Now, however, I'm a full-blown runner who wants to run 3-5 days a week regardless of the weather who has been hampered by snow at least twice already and it isn't even officially winter yet.  So, I relented in going for a tour.  And of course it was amazing - the yoga classes are included - even the heated ones - and they have Pilate machines and did I mention the treadmills that go downhill too?!?  Of course they sweeten the deal in December by waiving fees and cutting others in half and we were suckers for the hard sell after the tour.  But, there has not been any buyer's remorse and we spent seven hours there last Saturday. 

Seven hours. 

Now before you call for a running intervention, let me break down those seven hours...  First we had the event "Breakfast with Santa" where you could bring non-member friends (Big Sister opted to bring the BFF of course!) After breakfast, the girls got to enjoy the bounce houses, see Santa, make ornaments for the tree, decorate cookies and even meet "Santa Paws" the dog.  We also took our neighbors in a shameless effort to convince them how crazy cool the club is so they would join too - not sure if that worked or not but we are hopeful...  After the event was over, we dropped the girls off at the Kid's Club (aka, daycare) for two hours while we met with our trainers for our first evaluation and orientation and then Hubby played basketball and I worked out.  Then we grabbed the girls, had some healthy lunch in the cafe and hit the pool for Family Swim.  Before we knew it three hours had passed in the pool with the two of them having fun while Hubby and I took turns tag-teaming between the kiddie pool and the lap pool/hot tub.  By the time we hit the showers and headed for home it had been seven hours of fabulousness and we were all exhausted.

What a lifestyle kind of place rather than just a place to go to work out and I know we will be super happy there.  Big Sister is counting the years (she has three left) until she can do spin class and yoga with Mom and asking if we can go to the gym to swim or climb the rock wall every day.  I'm apprehensive about my first experience at spin class coming up tonight and REALLY looking forward to a treadmill run that can actually mimic outdoor terrain and not just go UP hill!

Looking back on my life "before running" I can see that I'm a different person - one who thinks a big chunk of cash every month to belong to a health club is a valid use of financial resources; one who schedules time in the calendar to work out 5 days a week and sticks to it.  And most important, one who is healthier and fitter and a good example to my girls as they grow up.  So while, yes, the membership itself was a selfish gift bought at an inappropriate time, it is a gift that will keep on giving and I refuse to feel bad about it for a single minute.  Happy Holidays - we're celebrating Yule today - of whichever flavor you prefer!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Grief as a helpless bystander

Here's where my blog becomes an outlet for my own inner demons... if it's too heavy for you, I apologize.  But this entry is really for me.

I have a coworker who is 41 - basically my age - and fighting cancer.  She has a very rare, super fast growing type that no one even really knows the name of, which isn't even important.  Suffice it to say, it is THE BIG C.  When I was having Baby Sister, she was having her uterus removed because it was full of a huge tumor.  That was ten months ago.  She went through chemo and radiation and the tumor was gone and we were all very positive.

But then it came back...

And she did more radiation and more chemo and stayed positive and never let anyone really know how bad it was - or at least me, anyway.  And then, out of the blue last week we got an email stating that she wasn't coming back and that there wasn't anything else that they could do but manage her pain for the next couple of weeks.  I know enough about that little catch phrase to know it means she is not going to win her fight against this disease.  And that just plain sucks.

I am seriously at a loss.  Me, who always knows what to say and what to do or if I don't, doesn't care because I just breeze through life taking what comes in stride.  Except what do you say to someone when you know that whatever you have to say is trivial?  I think the hardest part for me is that we are co-workers, not friends.  I don't feel like I could tell her I love her and hug her and cry.  Others on the team have worked with her long enough that they are both and so they can.  I've never hugged her before now so I would feel like a fraud if I did it now.

Her significant other told us she was feeling up for visitors for a couple of days before they leave to head across country and spend her last days with her family.  And I couldn't bring myself to go.  I feel like I'm some kind of emotional failure because I can't.  I just know it would be me sitting there staring at her, crying, with nothing to say and taking time away from her and those that she would rather be spending her last days with.  But what does that say about me that I don't want to go and "say my goodbyes"?  It isn't like she is quitting her job and just not going to work with us anymore, she is dying. I feel just as sad as the rest that she won't get to grow old, to see her kids get married and have children of their own and everything else a person my age has to look forward to doing in their lifetime.  But I feel like an outsider who is reading about her in the paper because we don't have a close or deep relationship, even though I will miss her.

I feel a bit better today after talking to one of the people who did go to visit.  She told me when they were there that she was very out of it, sleeping mostly, surrounded by her family and that it was as if she had let them come for their sake instead of hers.  Imagine being in so much pain and suffering so much and still letting people come to say their goodbyes.  How emotionally draining for her when there are so many other things she is struggling with! 

I don't have emotional ties and I won't have regrets that I didn't go to see her before she died so I'm going to leave it at that and try to feel okay with everything instead of beating myself up for not going.  Although part of me feels like that makes me some kind of heartless bitch who is rationalizing myself out of an awkward situation to make it easier on myself.  One thing is for sure, I don't like being in this limbo area reserved for acquaintances - I think I'd rather be a close friend or a stranger when it comes to grief.  At least then there are clear-cut roles for you to step into based on tradition and culture.  Life is short - squeeze those you love and live every minute as if it were your last because there are no guarantees any of us will live to see old age...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Okay so maybe I'm not perfect

Notice I said maybe...

It is officially December 1st as of fifty three minutes ago.  NaNoWriMo is officially over for another year and I haven't written in more than a week - well, except for here on my blog.  I thought it might be therapeutic to reflect on what the month and my unsuccessful finish has taught me.  First and foremost, I realize I'm not perfect and, although I normally do exactly what I say I'm going to do when I say I'm going to do it, sometimes I just can't do everything I want.  That's what happened this year.

Am I wallowing in self doubt and telling myself I'm not a "real" writer?  No 
Do I want to?  Yes
Will I? Only for a minute or two every now and again before I snap myself out of it

Instead I'm going to focus on the positives of the month: 
  1. This year I wrote more in November than I had in the six months previous combined 
  2. I have a kick ass start to the rewrite of what I hope to someday be a kick ass novel people can pick up off a shelf and read
  3. I'm inspired again to work on said novel I "shelved" six months ago which, without NaNoWriMo would still be languishing in the recesses of my mind
So, what the hell happened?  How can an entire month fly by so quickly that I don't even realize it's gone?  Probably the same way almost an entire year has passed since I had my baby who is now 10 months old, that's how!  She is almost walking, crawling everywhere and quite honestly I blame her almost solely for my lack of writing time this month.  I'm knocking on 39's door and I don't have enough energy to keep up with her, my job, my running and still have time to write.  It is what it is and I accept that I can't do everything but sometimes getting older really sucks.  Remember the days where you could stay up until the wee hours of the morning and still get up and function all day?  Now I actually need sleep... so irritating sometimes!  Although back then I lived with my parents and had little control over my own life so there is a trade off I guess.

There were times throughout this past month I had flashes of self loathing.  Times where I would think "what are you doing?  Why aren't you writing?" and berate myself for lack of will power and commitment.  But I realize that - although I know it is most likely a rationalization of some kind - it is okay to accept that things are sometime beyond my control with my life and it doesn't have to mean that I am a failure.

Tonight I thought about making a final stand and spending the three hours I had while big sister was at dance writing  - just to see how much I could get done by the end of the deadline.  But there was baby sister and how could I resist those big blue eyes and that skinny little diaper butt that beckoned me to follow while she crawled all over the house and pointed at the wind chimes she wanted me to activate for her listening pleasure.  And then there was the giggling when I tickled her and the cute way she has of flinging her little head back to tell me she wants to go upside down so she can come back up and laugh some more.  And shaking her head "no" at me when I tell her not to push the buttons on the TV or open the cabinets to investigate the treasures within.  Yes, I picked her and snuggling on the couch with big sister when she got home from dance instead of making a last stand for 2010's insanity of a writing goal.  I'm guessing even if that means it takes me another year to finish the novel it will still be worth it since I will never forget the everyday joys of the times like we had tonight.

So, there is always next year to try again.  This time more prepared and hopefully with a finished draft of my first novel already under my belt.  Here's to growing up almost as fast as I'm growing old...