What a View

There are many days I arrive home and vow that I am never driving in traffic again, so we’re moving closer to work or I’m finding a different job. Of course, I’m not serious. At least not very serious. 

And now, after hard work and saving and saving and strict austerity measures and cheap rent, thanks to my very generous parents, we are buying a house, a house far away from work but very close to the boys’ future school. 

I will still hate driving, I know. There’s no denying that the commute is terrible for my body (chronic pain in my back and neck) and soul (please never ride with me. I’m not a nice person when I’m driving.) But once I’m in the semi-rural suburbs where we’ve decided to live for the long haul, I’m glad I’m here. It’s peaceful. I drive by cows and horses and alpacas. There are vast empty green fields (but an alarming lack of good restaurants).  When we go for walks, it’s not uncommon to see one or two people we know walking or driving by. And my husband is very happy here, happy to be back in the place he grew up, happy to tell stories about a time when this town was even smaller and the open spaces even broader. My kids will play in dirt and split open their knees and get soaked in rainstorms in some of the same fields and roads as their dad and there is something so wonderful about that. 

And here’s my future view: 

 

Pass It On

I went to Starbucks for an afternoon snack and the barista told me, “I’m obsessed with your hair. The cut. The color. It’s awesome.”

Guys. Come on. You know I have a love/hate relationship with my hair. And to get a compliment? On a Friday afternoon after a rough week when the whole family has gone through 3 boxes of tissues? Made my day. 

Yesterday a co-worker told me she loved my shirt, the one I bought on sale…at Costco. 

It doesn’t hurt to pay a compliment and yet how often do we rush through our lives without taking a second to say something nice to a stranger or friend. 

So, to you, I say: happy Friday. You’re doing a great job as a mother, as a friend, as a coworker. Have a wonderful weekend.  

PSA: How to Get a Breast Pump for Free

The bad news first: my breast pump broke while I was at work, which meant I didn’t have access to my backup pump at home and my husband wasn’t available to bring it to me.

The good news, part one: there are least two other lactating women in my office. I know, I know, breast pumps are medical devices, yadayada, and are single-user products, yadayada. But when a woman has to pump, a woman has to pump. Thankfully my friend was at work the day I needed to borrow her pump. I’ve lent her mine in the past. I have no issues at all with this, sorry breast pump lobby who would like us to all buy our own.

The good news, part two: I just ordered a new pump, which will arrive in a few days. And it was free. My favorite word: free! Ok, so maybe not really free, since my insurance company is covering the cost, but the purchase requires no out of pocket money from me! And the other great part is that I didn’t have to do any paperwork. I just called the number listed here, requested that my doctor’s office fax a prescription to them,¬†and the pump was on its way. No paperwork. No money.

The good news, part three: breast pumps are required to be provided (for you to own or rent) by insurance companies per the Affordable Care Act.

Sweet & Sour

i woke up on Mother’s Day to an eager Future President who gave me a play-by-play of what was about to happen: here’s a picture I made for you to look at while Daddy makes you breakfast in bed. We’re going to bring you breakfast and a card and a present. 

A few minutes later I was presented with cottage cheese and strawberries, Future President’s own concoction, and a card and gift. My little 4 year old knows how to write his name in giant letters and there it was. So sweet. He was slightly disappointed that we don’t own a TV tray so the food could be delivered and placed on my lap. Junior tasted the cottage cheese and was a big fan. 

Next on the agenda was going to see the ground breaking on our new house. There were lots of big machines and dirt, perfect for Future President. 

We enjoyed brunch with my parents and sister and did a little shopping. And then I started to feel awful. Head cold, ear ache, body chills, the whole gamut. I made it through the rest of the evening and went to sleep as soon as the boys did. 

I couldn’t take a sick day today because of some important meetings, so I plunged through the head cold fog with lots of tea and coffee. 

On the way home Future President informed me had to pee. Now. So I did something I never, ever in a million years thought I would do: I pulled into an almost empty parking lot, opened two car doors and had him pee somewhat discretely into an empty grande-size Starbucks cup that I happened to still have in the car. Then I poured the pee into the grass. And that is the last we shall speak of it. 

We are now on hour three of trying to get the baby to sleep. 

Parenting has its highs and lows, that’s for sure. When I put the baby down in his crib, I’ll try not to make eye contact this time. That will work, right?!?

A Grownup’s 20 Questions

My 4 year old asks endless questions. A car ride wouldn’t be complete without a question that stumps me, like, “What’s underneath grass and rocks in the earth?” Hold that thought, let me Google it. Soil? Lava? More soil? 

But I have a lot of questions, too. 

  1. What age do kids start having sleepovers?
  2. What’s the going rate for the tooth fairy?
  3. Should I be flossing my kid’s teeth?
  4. Why is Ben Carson running for president?
  5. When will my kids be old enough that I can replace the IKEA couch that has coffee stains, spit up stains and other unidentifiable stains? 
  6. When will I be able to part with my copy of the Twilight series?
  7. Where can I buy a large area rug for less than $50? 
  8. If I sign up for a 5K, who will hold me accountable to train for it?
  9. When will my husband and I be able to go on vacation without the kids?
  10. Why didn’t I learn how to sew a button or hem pants?
  11. Why did I waste so much time in my 20s reading celebrity gossip blogs?
  12. Should I get a tattoo?
  13. Will my students take me seriously if I get a purple streak in my hair?
  14. When I tell my kids they’ll see their great-grandparents in heaven, do I really mean it?
  15. Why can’t I concentrate long enough to read a book for more than 5 minutes?
  16. Why do I still have acne?
  17. What if someone tells my son Santa isn’t real?
  18. How do I know if my son is ready for kindergarten?
  19. Why are clowns so creepy?
  20. Why are cell phone plans still so expensive?

So many questions. 

Sun and Surf

While fortunate to live close enough to the beach to make frequent day trips, we don’t go often enough. And since there’s no guarantee of warm weather even if it’s sunny, a trip to the Oregon coast holds no certainty that any time will be spent on the beach. 

Unless you have kids. 

I wasn’t planning to go to the beach this weekend but I sent my husband to the church meeting I had intended to go to and met my parents and H and B, who all happened to be staying 15 minutes apart. I took both boys and packed the car with extra clothes and snacks and off we went, leaving so early that we avoided the usual weekend beach traffic.  

 

It was cold and windy. But a day in the sun, watching the waves and the kites, it’s just what I needed.  

 

I just wish it was a little (a lot) warmer. 

The Silver Balloon

Today as I drove into work I saw a single balloon float into the sky. I imagined the small child in the grocery store parking lot, sad because the balloon slipped out of his hand because he tripped on the curb or absentmindedly let go of the string when he spotted a worm on the ground. 

Sometimes I feel like the balloon. My children are fine even without me completely present, floating above them in a haze as they are distracted by other things. It’s lonely in the sky by myself. I am high enough to see all of the pain and all of the heartache but I can’t float back down to do anything about it. 

When we talk about postpartum depression, we usually hear about the new mom who isn’t sleeping at night and it’s just a passing phase. I’m here to tell you that postpartum depression can happen well after your baby is eating solids and sleeping through the night. Postpartum depression needs a face, so that people stop making fun of the moms who need help. 

There is nothing funny about postpartum depression. When you hear about the people on bridges who disrupt commutes with their suicidal intentions, stop complaining. When you hear about the water being polluted with antidepressants because so many people are taking them, stop making jokes. 

Mothers come in all shapes and sizes. Healing after childbirth takes a long time – physically, emotionally, spiritually. May I remind you to be extra kind to someone today because postpartum depression or anxiety or stress has a face and that face belongs to someone you will interact with today.