Family life, Paleo-ish eating and Coping with Chronic Illness

I need to warn you about something.  I’m not really in my right mind yet.  I don’t know if it’s the unbalanced hormones, or the loss, but I’m not yet thinking like the me that I know.  And, to be perfectly honest, I’m sort of enjoying it.  I am thinking like someone who’s heart longs for deeper meaning in life, and a genuine, active, real connection with God.

So, if you are like the old me, and you kind of get bored when people start talking about things you can not measure, hold or see standing in front of you, then you may want to bag off this post for now.  I’m sure the silly, more shallow version of me will be making a come back in the future.  I won’t have hurt feelings if you want to wait until she returns.

The first thing I have been pondering is faith and the human spirit. What a beautiful combination. I am suddenly noticing how choices and the condition of a person’s heart make it possible for sadness and blessings to occupy the same space.

I have evidence.

Example A.  My sister, Gail.  You may remember that I’ve blogged about my sister, Gail, and her family.  Ryan was my sister Gail’s son.  Ryan was a beautiful person, physically and spiritually.  Ryan died in a climbing accident around Easter, three years ago.  From the onset of my sister’s journey to live without her eldest son, she has boldly committed to  grieve and worship simultaneously.  What happened next is a miracle.

ryan jumping

This past weekend, while I was grieving the loss of our unborn child, my sister, Gail, was conducting a “Birthday Weekend” for my parents, sisters and nieces.  Gail flew to Wisconsin from Colorado with the singular purpose of making all her family’s unmet Birthday wishes come true.  For 48 hours, Gail strategically preformed a dozen or so complicated acts of kindness, with the singular purpose of making people happy.  There was a water balloon fight (in some seriously cold Wisconsin temps), a “Frozen” party (after the water balloons, of course), a tea party, a dance party, and the list continues.

Everyone was supposed to tell Gail about their Birthday wishes in advance.  I thought I forgot to tell Gail what mine was.  I guess I was wrong.  Somewhere along the way I must have said I always wished I could have a surprise party.  You know, the kind someone else plans for you, and not the kind you plan for yourself.

I came over to my mom’s on Saturday morning.  I bet you can guess what happened next.  “SURPRISE”!!!!  The girls did it.  They surprised me.  Everyone bought me gifts too, which was the real reason I wanted a surprise party.

One of the gifts Gail gave me was a butterfly decoration.  She gave one to everybody.   The butterfly represents transformation.  Life can be ugly, and it can leave us feeling low and unworthy.  Gail knows that better than most.  Gail explained, our Faith in Christ can transform our hearts, and turn sadness into beauty and worship, allowing our hearts both to grieve and to soar.

butterfly

Gail said that regardless of our circumstances, our lives can become like butterflies; sharing  beauty with others who witness the butterfly in flight.

Kind of deep, right?  Kind of perfect, is what I was thinking.

At one point in the day, we were on a hill singing worship songs.  Gail was telling us a bit more about her butterfly theory.  And, just in case we missed her point entirely, she started to run and flap her “butterfly wings”.  Gail asked us to join her.  Only, we didn’t. Watching her do this on her own was just too much fun.  I’m not sure what happened.  That butterfly performance was for sure more like a me thing to do.  It wasn’t a typical Gail thing.  Really.  Not at all.

I keep thinking about Gail on top of that hill, flapping her arms, trying to make us laugh.  And, I think THAT is the miracle I know about.  The miracle I have seen. This grieving mother,  this grieving,  joyful mother, without her living, first-born son,  intent on spreading joy and encouragement into the lives of people she knows.  This is the evidence I have that with a heart in the right condition, intent on worship, faith and good choices, God will, and has, poured out blessings and joy, despite sad circumstances.

I’ve seen it.

I didn’t have a lot of words to share this weekend.  But, I want to use some words now to thank Gail, and to thank God for using Gail to show me things I desperately needed to know.

Example B

I am not sure anything will impact my thoughts as much as the miracle that is my sister’s life.  But, there are other smaller things happening that keep my heart in praise mode.  Like these two guys:

20150320_190739

I didn’t know how my own physical difficulty combined with a common family heart ache would affect teen age boys.  My boys have been trained by their Dad, and, just to be super honest, I couldn’t hope for more than these guys to turn out like their Dad. I’ve been PRAYING that this is exactly what happens.  Their Dad is seriously still my favorite person.  Ever.

That being said, nobody’s perfect.  If you hire Scott to be your nursemaid, you’d better have a back up in mind.  He isn’t good at it.  He’s good at a ton of things, but sympathy and pillow fluffing isn’t one of them.  I’m not down very often, but when I am, I’m pretty sure Scott would like to write me a prescription for, “Call me when it’s over.”

I’m just kidding.  He’s not that bad, but these jokes are just coming to me, and I’ve been really serious lately, so can we just have some fun for once?  I don’t think Scott will care.  Not that he won’t find out.  Some gabby mcblabber mouth is bound to tell Scott what I said.  Someone always does.  I keep telling Scott that he shouldn’t be offended.  The stuff I blog about is just between my blog friends and me.  It’s not like I’d share that with just anyone.

But, what I was talking about was my boys.  I have felt this sweetness coming out of them that makes my heart all soft.  If you have teenage boys, you know what I mean.  I know that if I want what’s best for my boys, then I should be glad they my boys are becoming more independent.  I shouldn’t long for my boys to hold my hand or curl up in my lap like they did when they were little.  That would be nice, but I don’t think it would be so good for them. I want my boys to know how to take care of themselves.  They want that for themselves too.  I can tell,  and that’s why it feels like they are instinctively pulling away in small but steady increments.

I can tell you that when I’ve been sad and low, seeing my sweet sons keep one eyeball on me, sharing spontaneous hugs, and being very considerate of my needs, warmed my heart.  Seeing the tears in their eyes when they saw the tears in mine, helped me remember that these guys are independent and strong, but they have big, kind hearts.

I asked for ice cream one night.  They ran out and got it (Yes. There was definitely something in that for them too), and they bought milk and toilet paper too.  I didn’t know my boys were old enough to be caretakers, but I guess they are. That’s another blessing.

The other things that have been happening are just so little.  It’s really nothing at all, but it’s stuff that makes me see how God can use sadness to bring families together, and make a family feel closer.  It’s stuff like three teenagers sticking close to home, and opting not to go anywhere so they can hang out with their parents.  It’s three teenagers and two parents, spontaneously doing a crazy dance in the kitchen.  It’s two parents clinging to each other, and worrying about how to solve each other’s grief.

This is my testimony. This is me in a state of worship. This is part of  my sad and beautiful story.  We all have one.  This is me, trying to be a butterfly.  Next year I am totally going to flap my arms on top of that hill.  Gail should NOT have all the fun.

worship

Grief

I’m not sure what to say.  I found a way to be alone, and, of course, I want to write.  I just don’t know what to say.

The baby is gone.

We went to the hospital yesterday.  Olivia and Scott went with me.  I was more than ready.  Women who carry non living babies inside of them are strong women.  That’s a special kind of torture.  I never knew, and I’m sorry I didn’t, because my heart would have been so much more tender towards these sisters, had I known.

I didn’t cry.

I’m learning something about myself.  I have a chip on my shoulder about crying.  I hate crying.  Especially in front of people.  I would rather chew the inside of my cheek raw then shed a tear in front of an audience.  I have heard my mom say that where tears are present, so is the Holy Spirit.  Hmmm.  I don’t think I want to chew on that one right now.  I suspect I might discover I have some spiritual growing up to do.  Can we agree to table that thought?  I’ve got a lot of other stuff that needs my attention.

I was all business at the hospital.  The nurse asked me to come back to a room by myself at first.  She left me alone to change, and laying on the pillow was a poem.  I don’t know exactly what it said.  I got that the poem was about mourning the loss of your child, and it was exactly what I didn’t want to see.  Just looking at it caused spontaneous tears to form.  The nurse could be back any minute, so those tears were making me really mad.

My instinct was to grab that poem and throw it in the garbage.  I thought I might regret that, and maybe that poem was something Scott would want to read.  So, I picked it up carefully, keeping it as far away from me as possible. I put it in a folder that looked like it contained other grieving brochures and turned it upside down. There, now I didn’t have to see it.  I had a few more minutes to get a hold of myself, and I did.

The nurse eventually let Scott and Olivia back in the room.  That was good; having them there certainly helped me relax.  All of the healthcare professionals were really kind to Olivia.  That was nice.  The nurse asked Olivia what her favorite thing was.  Olivia asked the nurse to clarify, “Do you mean at school, or what sports?”

The nurse answered, “No.  I mean, if I asked you what your favorite thing was in this whole world; it could be anything.  What would it be?”

Olivia thought for a few seconds. Then she said, “Being with my family.”

Olivia for the win.  How did she know the most comforting thing for my ears to hear before I had to do something so hard?

I have realized that moving through this hard thing is going to make my heart soft towards other women going through this hard thing.  I know that because of all the women who have reached out to me to tell me they share my pain.  One woman I love told me this.  She said that when I went to have the procedure, they would give me an anesthetic, and I would love it.  She said that all that pain in your heart, shoulders and neck is briefly lifted, and it is heaven.

She was totally right.  Those were some sweet seconds.

One of our friends was the anesthetist.  He was rolling me back to surgery, and I felt so light.  I wasn’t carrying a block of concrete on my heart and back like I had been since we heard the sad news.  In my drugged state, all the nurses looked funny, misformed, like an old TV that was going out of focus.  I am almost positive I told our friend, “I’m totally gonna blog about this.”

And, so I did.

So, now it’s time to move on.  I was a good patient.  When I got home I read the folder on grief.  What I learned is that anything goes.  Whatever I feel is okay to feel.  Some moms take it as hard as you possibly can.  Some moms don’t.  Both moms are right.

The best advice I have received is from someone close, who’s walked this road more than once.  She told me that if you feel grief, you have to express it.  She didn’t do that.  She is super tough and hard working.  She lost two children, two separate times.  Each time, she got up and went to work the next day.  You know, carry on, and all that.  She didn’t even give herself much credit for doing that at the time.  Then, years later, that unexpressed grief,  simmering below the surface, bubbled up and poured through all the open crevices of her life.  She was quite paralyzed by it.

If you think I’m not going to listen to sage advice like that, you don’t know me very well.  I’ve been telling the other four people in my family this advice too.  I say, “Whatever we are feeling, we have to express it.  We have to take time to acknowledge that our hearts are broken.  That doesn’t mean we’re going to stay stuck in this sadness, this is our way to move through it.  Because, we are definitely moving through.  We’re not here to stay.”

I’m trying to express it now.

I’m really, really sad.  I have an image I can’t get out of my head.  On the ultra sound, it looked like the baby had it’s back to me. Was he doing that on purpose?  Didn’t the baby know how much I wanted him/her?  I should have told him.  Yes.  I was overwhelmed.  Yes.  I was fearful.  But, I just would like a chance to tell our baby that I was doing everything I could to create a safe environment for him.  I was eating all the right things.  I was taking my vitamins and reading up on tips for how to have a healthy pregnancy.  I would have given my life for him, just like I would his/her brothers and sister.  That’s what I want our baby to know. So, I’m saying it.

Life will keep going, and we will eventually be less sad.  I know that because of all the women who have told me about their lost children.  I didn’t know.  A lot of people are good at surviving sadness.  We are too.

Coincidentally, the day after my surgery was my family’s girls’ weekend.  I put on a smile and participated for part of a day.  It was really good.  My sisters are great.  They made me laugh until my sides hurt.  I can’t think of any better therapy than that.  I told my sisters I did not want any emotional tributes.  I didn’t want any special attention on our family’s recent wound.   This is the kind of family who wouldn’t dream of giving you anything other than what you asked for; I am blessed to be a part of this clan.

We did go to a beautiful spot and spent some time in worship.  My soul was lifted.

My Good Life

We heard sad news today.  I’m not pregnant anymore.  I’m sorry not to ease you into that.  I think we all know by now that I have to just say it straight.

A few months ago I was talking to someone I love.  She is a very private person.  We were talking about her small circle of trust.  I found myself feeling a little insecure.  I have always admired private people.  I even married one.  I find private people to be so dignified.

I was rolling this conversation with my private friend around in my brain, and then I had a thought that was so clear it felt electric. The private people in my life are private,  because that is how God made them.  Private people can own that about themselves;  they don’t need to try to act differently than what comes naturally to them. They shouldn’t.

The same is true for me.

I bounced this theory off of Scott, and he said he couldn’t agree more.  He even said he really likes the way God made me. Which, really, was a big relief.

Honest to goodness, I feel like God gives everyone a purpose on Earth.  It’s a real sweet thing to know what your purpose is too.  I have a strong feeling  that one of the reasons God put me on Earth is to be transparent.  I don’t know how I know it.  I just do.  I feel like God has whispered in my ear, “Just tell your story; I will handle the rest.”

I can’t tell you how many times this instinct has been confirmed through people God put in my life.  So, I’m owning it.  I’m admitting to you that I am not private.  Sure. there are things that happen in my family’s lives that I am sensitive enough to know I shouldn’t share.  But, as for my part of our journey, I am an open book.  I will freely share happiness and pain and all the learning along the way.  I know that stuff isn’t for me to keep to myself.  I’m sure of it.

Here is my latest learning.

We had an ultrasound this morning.  Olivia came with me, because this pregnancy news has definitely affected her more than anyone in the family.  She has been staying even closer to me than usual. The Doctor told us the baby died, then she showed us a picture.  Anyone who has seen that picture knows it’s not a good thing to look at.  I was 11 weeks pregnant.

The Doctor was really very sweet.  I don’t envy her at all.  I know she has to deliver that news more often than she’d like.  I was strong.  I didn’t cry. When you are 43 and pregnant , it occurs to you that your body is not up to the task.

I also was strong because my daughter.  She sort of crumpled a bit when she heard the news,  and that was another thing I didn’t want to see.  I held her for a little while while the Doctor explained our next steps.

We drove back home then, and our hearts weighed a lot.  Olivia is almost as tall as me now, but she isn’t too big to crawl on my lap and cry her heart out.  We called the boys, because we knew they would want to know.  They took the news like men, quietly and without complaint.  Gosh, I love all these people.

I told my family and a few close friends right away.  Some of those women I love have walked this road before me.  Scott and I agree that one unintended positive consequence of our current circumstance, is being able to feel empathy for those people we love in a new way.  A better way.  The same is true for our children.  Our children now have new words in their vocabulary; they have had their hearts hurt in ways I am certain will make them stronger, more mature and more sympathetic as they grow into the adults God intends for them to be in this life.  I guess all that makes this whole thing sound like something that should make me feel thankful.

I am thankful. I am sad, and I am thankful.  It has been years since I’ve been under the illusion that a good life is a life void of pain and sadness.  Thank goodness I know it too.  Yes.  Thank goodness my life and my faith in a God, who I believe is intimately involved in the details, has led me to a place where I know a good life is having a heart that accepts.  A heart without bitterness.  A heart without walls around it.  Walls keep a heart from being honest.

A good life means accepting what I’ve been given and trusting that with every hard thing there are lessons to be learned, courage to be gained and friends to be encouraged.  A good life means remembering that for every hard thing there are a hundred good things.  A good life means focusing my attention and thankfulness on what I DO have, instead of what I DON’T have.  To me, that is a good life.  I have a good life.

I want to thank you again if you’ve shared a kind word with me.  A lot of good people have.  Those kind words are something I DO have.  More things to make me thankful.

I’m sorry I had to tell you a sad story.  I didn’t wan to tell it.  I like happy stories better.

I think that now the five people in my family are going to take some time to be together.  We’re going to do what we do when we’re sad, and experiencing some grief.  We’re going to talk to each other, and speak honestly about how we feel. Some of us might even cry a little bit.  And, for sure, I mean I know this for sure, we’re going to keep laughing.   We will always keep laughing, because, I forgot to say that laughing is another essential ingredient in my good life.

I’m weepy and vulnerable right now,  like I’m drunk.  Only, I’m not.  I promise. Some idiots decided we shouldn’t keep alcohol in the house, and that seems like a really dumb idea to me right now.   I’m just a little drunk on sadness, and that’s why I want to tell all my friends (real life and virtual) that I love you. I’m not afraid to say it.  It’s true.  Thanks for being another essential part of my good life.

My sister-in-law, Haley, sent me this song a week ago.  She said she thought of me when she heard it.  I thought it was beautiful before we heard our sad news.  Even more so now.  You might enjoy it too:

http://bethelmusic.com/nearness-jenn-johnson

I don’t know what I expected when I blogged that we were pregnant.   I’ve told you before I have an ever steady compulsion to write.  I don’t ever remember a time in my life without it.  Blogging is a beautiful invention for people like me.  Sometimes I forget that some people are actually reading the words I write.  I’m not sure how I ever got lucky enough for that to happen.

When I posted the shocking news, I did not know that people’s responses would actually lift me up and set me down in a better place than I was before.  People responded with encouraging and relevant stories that gave me hope and faith that we can do this thing. If people did not have good things to say, they kept it to themselves.  I’m thankful for that too.

I don’t plan to make every blog about all of this pregnancy stuff.  But, it seems like my previous post begs a follow up.  Some people asked me some questions.  Like, “Remember when you were deathly ill with the last three pregnancies?  What about that?”

I am sick.  But, I think I’m not as sick as I was when I was young, and if you want to know the honest truth, I think I might be a little tougher than I was then too.  I felt horrible this year during State Wrestling, but what were my options?  Staying home?

I have a pretty good memory, and that doesn’t always help me.  One of the reasons I was never anxious to get pregnant again was because of the mind blowing nausea and vomiting that always were part of the package for me.  When I was pregnant with Olivia, I remember standing over the toilet vomiting  while Zeke had himself wrapped around my leg and Eddie simultaneously asked me to make him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. That’s how young moms suffer.

Maybe things don’t seem so bad now because I have the luxury of being sick in private.

I’ve had a lot of people tell me not to be afraid. They say I am smarter in my 40’s, and I’ve learned things I didn’t know when I was in my 20’s. This is already turning out to be true.  The other reason I think I am not having to be put on IV’s like I was with Olivia is because I’m drinking tons and tons of water, I have better eating habits, and I’m doing weekly acupuncture. I didn’t even know acupuncture existed in the olden days. These are just some of the things I’m grateful to have learned.  I’m also grateful that even though I feel nauseous and not right all day, it isn’t debilitating.  I can go to work, grocery shop and make supper.  I just have to be patient, and some day I’ll be me again.

The ever present nausea is playing tricks on me.  I keep thinking that weird things are making me sick.  Like Facebook, blogging, shopping for maternity clothes and listening to people say the word “baby”.  Hmmm…I might need to see a psychologist.

I’m going to grit my teeth for a moment and endure how sick I feel when I tell you about maternity clothes.  I’ve tried to find a couple of things; my selection of work clothes that fit is quickly disappearing.

I.AM.NOT.KIDDING.YOU.  Cheap fabric t-shirts with, “baby on board” written on the front, seriously make me want to vomit right there on the store’s floor.   I honestly had to leave Kohl’s the other day before I tried anything on there.  I will wear a bed sheet to work before I will put on one of the scratchy, polyester lace maternity shirts I saw at Kohl’s.  I know.  I’m vain, but I just can’t do it. I can’t be the only one who gets sick from this stuff, right?

The other subject some people have gently addressed is postpartum depression.  You may remember that I blogged about how after Olivia I had a wicked bout.  I know I have also mentioned that in all my reading on the subject, I learned that one of the best ways to avoid postpartum depression is to plan for it.  See.  When I had Olivia, my vocabulary did not include the words postpartum depression.  Anyone I knew who HAD experienced depression, didn’t share their story with me.  Which, really, is a shame.  I think people tell it like it is more often in this day and age;  I’m a fan of that.  Let’s not pretend.  It takes too much energy.

I spent four months in a downward spiral before I acknowledged that I had a serious problem after giving birth to Olivia. There may have been literally a hundred warning signs I ignored before I hit the crisis point.  Do you get what I’m saying?  I don’t know if I can avoid that depression monster, but knowledge is power.  I don’t have a young body, but I do have some knowledge.  I plan to use it.

I have had a few days where I feel closer to normal and my whole outlook changes.  I feel optimistic and ambitions about this awesome new adventure.  That’s where I’m headed.  I just have to keep my head down until I’m all the way there.

If you were one of the many people who took a moment to share a kind word with me, I want to sincerely thank you from the depths of my heart.  God used you in my life to help me find some courage.  I really, really, hope I can do the same for you some day.

I was going to leave you with a picture of me as a young mom.  I found this one instead.  It’s a picture of Scott,  just after playing airplane with Zeke. Zeke thanked him by puking all over his face.  More good times ahead, Scott.

zeke puke

What do you consider big news?  If I told you I was going to get my head shaved, or quit my job, that would be big, right?  What I got is bigger.

I’m pregnant.

There it is.  Thought I’d just be out with it.  No fancy, dramatic prelude.  Just one giant hunka how do ya like that?  A bit of a bombshell.  Well, maybe not to you, but, to us?  Definitely.

Maybe you have noticed I haven’t blogged in a while.  There once was a time when I thought I would never run out of things to say; the blogs would just keep rolling.  I figured nothing could silence me.

I was wrong.

The shock of finding out I was pregnant rendered me mute.  I was literally stunned into silence.

I only just made this announcement to my family and a couple of friends a few days ago.  I felt like I had to; it might have been rude to have my mother find out I was pregnant by reading my blog. When I was young and pregnant, I could not tell people that kind of news fast enough.

This time, I literally could think of NO ONE I wanted to tell.

When you are youngish and married, and you tell people you are pregnant, that’s exactly what they expect you to say. They’re very excited with you.

When you’re 43, and you have three teenagers, and you tell someone you’e pregnant, they simply cannot respond to that news with unrestrained enthusiasm.  It’s no one’s fault.  It’s just complicated.

I’m trying to handle my own complicated emotions.  I’m without the resources I need to deal with the complicated emotions of others.

When your family hears the news, they worry.  When your  friends hear the news,  they wonder if you’ve gone mad.  When people you don’t know hear the news, they consider it a novel curiosity.  But, no one, and I mean no one, says, “Oh, that’s WONDERFUL to hear from you, my dear.  I had a feeling you’d be telling us something like this.   I figured you just needed 14 years to get back on your feet and be ready for one more.”

So here is how our story goes:

The night before Valentine’s Day (and the boy’s wrestling regionals) I had an alarming thought as I crawled into bed.  It suddenly occurred to me that it had been a while since I had my period. Unusual.

Warning: I don’t like being so graphic, but this story can’t be told without a few gross details.  It’s probably going to get worse.  Turn back now, if you don’t have the stomach for it..

As I was trying to fall asleep, I thought about that missed period and a few other ways my body had been betraying me in the past few weeks.  Then, I remembered a conversation one of my bff’s and I had  about a month ago. We were talking about PMS.  She was saying PMS bit.  I was saying I wouldn’t know.  I have never had PMS.  I told her the only time my hormones made me crabby and crazy were in the first months of pregnancy, and after the baby was born.  Otherwise?  All good.

A few weeks after the PMS conversation with my friend, we were sitting at our daughters’ basketball game. I told my friend I must apologize, and I had to eat my words.  I explained that I was feeling really irritated for no reason at all.  I mean, if you want me to get real, and tell you how weird this gets,  I’ll tell you that the friendly lady behind me at the basketball game was bugging the crap out of me…for being friendly.  Yep. Not proud.

I told my friend I was due for my period.  I told her that I guessed I DO get PMS after all.  (You should know that this is the kind of stuff moms really talk about while their kids play sports.)

That conversation with my friend was running through my head on Valentine’s Day Eve, and then I felt the panic bloom.  I thought about the dusty pregnancy test sitting in the medicine cabinet. I did some deep breathing, and told myself I would take the test in the morning.  Then, I would see, as usual, that I was worrying for nothing.

While I slept,  I had a dream that I took the pregnancy test and it was negative.  I was sobbing and sobbing with relief.  I was thanking God in my dream, and telling him I knew he didn’t really think I could do all that stuff again.  Then, I woke up and took the test.

The plus sign turned up immediately.

I sat in quiet shock.  Then, I took the dog for the walk.  Good thing about being in your 40’s.  You’ve been shocked before.  You know there’s no sense in stopping to gawk.

Before I left for my walk, I put the positive test on Scott’s clothes he had laid out for that day on the bathroom counter.

When I came back from my walk, Scott was in the bathroom.  I knocked on the door to ask him if he had seen what I left for him.   He said real nicely, “No.  I haven’t had a chance.  Sorry.  I’ll look in just a minute.”  (He thought it was a Valentine’s Day treat. Oh, it’s a treat alright.)

I went out to the kitchen, and a few minutes later Scott came out too.  He looked confused.  He said, “What is that?”

I said, “Oh, you mean that stick with the plus sign that says a plus sign means your pregnant? Well, it’s a wrench.”

I know.  You’re thinking that there was no need for sarcasm.  You’re right, and I didn’t really even say that.  But, I wanted to say that.  Sometimes I just don’t like having to spell everything out.  Especially when I have a wicked case of PMS which isn’t actually a case of PMS, but a case of pregnancy.

Scott took a few moments.  He stared off in the distance like he was in deep thought, and then the bugger smiled.  He actually smiled.  I think he said, “That’s crazy.” Or, something like that, but he didn’t look a bit disturbed or scared or disappointed.  He just looked surprised, and, I guess,  pretty happy.

Scott told me he had a dream that night that he was walking around holding our one-year-old.  And, of course, he loved it.  Don’t you think that part of this story is kind of freaky?  Because, I do.  I really do.  Dreams are funny, and sometimes scary.

Scott and I hugged, and said, “this is crazy” a few more times, and then we started our day.  Regionals was super exciting.  I welcomed the distraction.  Like always, I just loved watching the guys in my life and their awesome teammates work toward their goals.  There was so much happening:  some disappointment, some thrills, loads of cheering and smiles.  And, throughout all of that, I had that tiny voice in the back of my head asking me, “Is this friggin’ for real?”

I kept my eye on Scott more than usual that day.  I watched him pat kids on the shoulder, laugh with kids, and hug his sons.  I watched him from the balcony of the gym, and I thought this, “Of course, that guy down there could have another child. Children are his thing.”  And, truthfully, since this whole thing developed, that’s one thought that reassures me.

Scott has never met a child he didn’t love.  Really, if Scott’s crabby and I tell him something cute a child did, or show him a cute kid video, he is delighted.  And, really, I am too.  Our common love for children is something that brought us together when we were teenagers.  I think I recognize that same love for children in our own kids too.

I don’t KNOW how I can do this.  Really, if you ask me, I won’t have an answer for you.  But, what I do feel sure of is that there will be love in excess for any child who joins our family.  That thought comforts me too.

What concerns me most is probably the same thing you have been thinking while you read this.  We’re old.  I saw a picture of myself recently that someone took while I wasn’t looking. I saw my bare arms in the picture, and I thought those arms looked like they belonged to a Grandma. I really didn’t mind so much, because while I do want to be my best, I’ve never objected to getting older.  But, I guess I object now that this thing is happening.  Don’t you need young arms to take care of a young life?

I know, I am being a bit dramatic.  I had two dear high school friends give birth this past year.  They both did it beautifully.  I know it can be done, and that before modern day birth control, it happened plenty.  The difference between my two girlfriends and me, I think, is that my friends’ minds were open and receptive to this possibility before it happened.  I, on the other hand, have spent not one hour, minute or second pondering “what if”.

I have always felt so done with my child bearing years.  In fact, maybe even a little smug. Never had a should we or shouldn’t we have another baby question in my mind.  Just happy for three children who fed,bathed and put themselves to bed.  I have looked at young mums, and thought, “sorry about that.”

This is the kind of thing that I thought would always be funny if it happened…..to someone else.  Not to me.

So, these are all my thoughts I am working on right now.  If you’d like, you can stay tuned, because I’m fairly sure my thoughts are bound to change.

I have all these worries, and then I think of Scott.  Do you want to know what?  When I had young mom arms, I thought that my arms were the only ones that could take care of new life.  Scott had way stronger arms than I did back then,  his arms were just as loving as mine, but I didn’t take advantage of that like I should have.  I kind of hogged the experience for myself.

I’m older now, and, hopefully, smarter.  I won’t do that again. My plan is to do this thing with twice the manpower, which might make it half as hard, which is good because we’re almost twice as old.

The other thought that that I’m holding on to is this:  God and I have been through some stuff.  I am trusting that this is His idea.  Scott and I have been using the same birth control for 13 years, and we are not careless about it; God must have a reason for defying His laws of nature.

I’ve heard people say that humans use faith as a crutch.  I don’t disagree.  Except, I might amend that statement and tell you that I use my faith as a wheel chair.  Without faith, life might shock me into an immobile pile of good-for-nothing.

Absolutely.  One hundred percent I do believe that there is a God who loves my family and me. I believe we can trust the plan He has for us, even when the plan looks a little scary.  And, I’m telling you right now…this plan looks a little scary.

I guess there is one other reason I could be pregnant.  Remember when I told you that I watched, “Call the Midwives?”.  It’s a show produced by BBC.  Well, guess what?  I became addicted to that show. I watched every episode because every episode was beautiful.  And, I should have known that would make me pregnant.

In that show there are so many, many women having babies.  I guess I just pressed my luck with it.  I don’t think it’s scientifically possible to  watch that many women having babies without having one yourself.  I mean, that line of thinking is if you’re not into all the hocus pocus, spiritual stuff.  That’s just more the science part of it.

So, that is the news.  I am not worried that sharing our news with you will be bad luck.  Whatever happens in our lives, I will ask God to give us the strength to accept it, learn from it,   and hopefully use the experience to help others.  That’s the whole point, I think.

Apparently, I have a lot yet to learn.

Midwives and Crusty Coots

I’m glad  you came to my blog today so that I can tell you that you are crazy for having your kids vaccinated, and crazy for NOT having them vaccinated.  I’m totally firm on that.  Don’t even TRY to make me budge.

I keep thinking I’ve made my mind up about things, but then I keep changing my mind.  I only seem to change my mind when other people tell me to change it.  So, at least there’s science behind what I do.

I started thinking about how wishy washy I am when I was chatting with all the crusty ol’ coots I hang out with on the Wisconsin Wrestling forum.  I’m a regular reader and contributor to this forum.   It’s weird that I do that.  Trust me.  You probably don’t know just how weird, but it’s weird.

Hanging out on that forum reminds me of when I was fresh out of college, selling time on the radio.  I had to visit a LOT of “seasoned” businessmen in a rural area.  These guys were hunting, fishing, farming type of guys who often gathered for coffee in the morning, to jaw about oh, I dunno, whatever guys like that jaw about. Maybe guns and trucks and 4-wheelers…whoa.  Sorry.  I just fell asleep while I was writing that sentence. I got really bored.

I don’t have much in common with those kinds of guys.

I was in my early twenties then, and not from around those parts.  Sometimes, I’d walk into a store with a group of these guys, drinking coffee, yacking away; they would see me coming and the conversation would abruptly stop.  The group of buddies would stare at me while I’d make my spiel to the shop owner, trying to convince him to do business with me.  All those guys were completely comfortable with making me completely uncomfortable.

I really forgot about that part of my job until I started writing this post.  I’m glad I remembered, because I want to have this story on hand when my kids complain that they have to do something hard at work.  That was hard for me.  Truth be known, even though I am not shy, I do NOT like a live audience.  Really, I don’t.  Ask the people who know me best.  I’ll joke around all day when I’m in a comfortable group.  But, I don’t like real people looking at me with expectation.   I actually suck at official performances.  Makes my bones rattle.

Those rural business owners actually ended up not being so bad.  Turns out a lot of them were salt of the earth type guys, who helped keep me employed.  I think guys like that just think people should have to work for things.  They sorta like making people sweat.

So, about this wrestling forum.  The deal with that is somewhere in the last 25 years of watching wrestling, I’ve become a fan.  I like the forum, because they talk a lot of wrestling, and I can learn a lot from all those crusty guys.  This week they’re talking about a unique type of head gear.  One guy would say this head gear is the best.  He loves it.  Then, I’d think, yeah, me too.  I love it too.  Then, the next guy says the head gear is dangerous.  It does damage to the opponents face.  The head gear should be banned.  And, I’m like, yeah.  I think so too.  Let’s ban that head gear.

See what I mean?

Scott has always said that if people say things with enough confidence, everyone believes them, whether or not the person yammering on is speaking the truth.  I think Scott says that because he doesn’t now how to make false proclamations. And, maybe it bugs him that other people do. Scott is very, very (Did I mention very?) slow to state his opinion.  He won’t make a bold statement unless he’s completely and totally sure he has the facts.

I, on the other hand, get excited about things all the time, and can’t wait to share my opinions, based on quasi-truths.  It’s just one more thing I’m good at.

I told Scott he gives know-it-alls too much credit.  I said most people know that the folks who think they have all the answers are generally people who are full of crap.  How can a person know so much about everything?  They can’t.

Wow. That’s kind of mean.  Doesn’t mean know-it-alls aren’t nice people.  You can be nice AND full of crap, right?

That’s a lot of rambling with no particular point.  I’m sorry about that.  It’s been a quiet week.

Here’s one thing I DO know.  Take this statement to the bank: Netflix is awesome.  Definitely one of our family’s best purchases.  Zeke, Scott and I have invested about half our lives so far in various intriguing series.  We just finished “Lost”. That took some commitment.

Eddie has always accused Scott and me of not having a life.  Netflix isn’t helping.

We are currently searching for a new series to start.  I suggested, “Call the Midwife”, produced by BBC.  Scott saw just a few scenes, and he was completely appalled.  He couldn’t understand why anyone with a shred of dignity would watch this show.  It’s about women having babies a long time ago in London.

Every episode has multiple birthing scenes.  “Lost” had a few birthing scenes in it too.  Those scenes for sure were Scott and Zeke’s least favorite.

The first episode of “Call the Midwife” has a lady who is pregnant AND she has a venereal disease.  She takes off her underpants to be examined, and the nurse almost passes out from the stench.  There’s some talk of terrible discharge, and I do mean from her body, and not from the hospital.  You get the idea.

Hard to believe Scott doesn’t like that, right?  I knew you’d agree.

I guess I’m going to watch this one on the side, and  I’ll watch some other low-brow series with Scott and Zeke, if I must.

Call the Midwife … 'We don't go out on bikes.'

Maybe if the show would have put these midwives in race cars, or given them guns, the show would appeal to more people.  Shortsighted on the writers’ part, really.  I might send an email to the producer, and give them my suggestions.  I know a lot about all that stuff.

Our Remodeled Basement

What???  Is this happening?  It is.  It is happening. Our basement is done.  Can you believe it?  I can’t believe it.  This project has been in progress since October.  Wait. That’s not true.  We actually started doing this 10 years ago, when we moved into our cute little house.  We put windows in the basement, and thought we’d finish the rest up right quick.  But then, an expensive sick kid, and all sorts of other stuff threw us off course.

I blogged about this whole thing before, so I won’t bore you by telling the story again.

Let’s just recap by saying our basement used to smell not so fresh.  Maybe a little like pee. Plus, we were short a bedroom. Zeke’s been sleeping on the floor for the last year.  Scott kinda pushed the issue, and said we had to finish the basement, or move.  Only, I didn’t want to move.  I love our house.  So, that’s what this is.

This project took way longer than we thought it would.  I think we started in October, and it’s finally done.  But, it was so worth the wait.  The people who did the work were awesome.  Really. Top notch.  They gave us everything they promised, and more.

We don’t deserve this nice basement.  Don’t worry.  We know it.  But, I promise, we will be grateful for it every single day.  Scott got kinda caught  up in the excitement today, and said now we can invite people over and have parties.  When he said that, Zeke turned to me and said, “This remodeled basement is turning Dad into a whole new person.  He’s not an introvert anymore.”

I told Zeke that I was going to go just a bit slow before I started claiming that was true.  I wanted to see these big gatherings his Dad was planning first.  I feel a little skeptical.

Anyway.  Here is a look at the before pictures.  These are actually cleaned up versions of what the basement looked like before we moved all our crap out.  It isn’t pretty:

basement 1

basement 3

Instead of posting after pictures, I’m posting an after video tour.  This might be the most boring 4 minutes of your life, but that’s why you’re so awesome.  If you post a tour of your basement, I promise I’ll watch that too.

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