THAT mom

The other day, I became THAT mom.

When we left the house, I glanced in the mirror at my unbrushed hair, unwashed face and baggy, ill fitting sweats and momentarily feared a fashion police ambush intervention. But, whatever, I was only going to the hardware/garden store and coming back to do some yard work. I would shower later and no one would so much as glance my way or care what I looked like, right?

Zoe was psyched from the get go. So psyched in fact, that she spent the whole first 20 minutes running around the garden section like a crazy person, exclaiming "THESE are pretty fowers Mommy!" and "I like this FOUNTAIN, Mommy! Can I go SWIMMING?" and "Look! I can sit on this pretty plastic DEER!".

But, when instructed, she put every carton of flowers right back where she found it (after taking it off the shelf, spilling some dirt on the floor and parading around with it for a while), she did NOT go swimming in the fountain and she got off the poor plastic deer as soon as I told her to. I felt I was still somewhat in control of the situation.

I would have crammed her into the cart with a snack or a toy or A SEDATIVE but she didn't fit in it because we had so much stuff to buy to entice the mythical future home buyers. She was totally bonkers because, GEEZ, I HAVE NO IDEA. Why do toddlers sometimes act like they are high on PCP? Why does it have to happen in public?

We wove our way through the store and she helped me put things in the cart and carried a few, nonbreakable items and.... slowly decompensated. By the time we were ready to check out, she had lost interest in helping me, started to roll around on the (SLIMY) floor and, apparently, became TOTALLY DEAF. I had to take each and every plant out of the cart and hold it up for the check-out lady and Zoe wouldn't stand up and get out of people's way or STOP LICKING THE FLOOR, DEAR GOD. I finally had to stop checking out to pick her up and out of the walkway. When I tried to set her on her feet, she crumpled repeatedly and then BOLTED, OUT THE OPEN AUTOMATIC DOOR, INTO THE PARKING LOT. I ran after her and snatched her up before she got to the part where cars could have, you know, FLATTENED HER. Running back in, I saw the many, MANY eyes on us and realized what they saw: me with my saggy, stained sweatpants and disheveled hair, her wriggling and giggling in my arms.

What they saw? THAT mom, the one who is clearly out of control of the situation.

The tears sprung fast and furious from my eyes. I had to put her down, hike up my pants, make room in my cart for her, shove her in and continue to check out. She was giggling and wriggling around and I was wiping my nose and sniffling and trying to get the hell out of there as fast as I could. I couldn't get everything in my cart, NO ONE OFFERED TO HELP ME (including the check out lady who just stared at me like I had on a tinfoil hat with antennae and was babbling about MARS), and I finally gave up and went out to the car to unload before coming back for the rest.

Walking back in, with Zoe still half hanging out of the cart, took all the strength I had. It was bad enough to be THAT mom. I had to come back so everyone could enjoy "THAT mom part two".

It was my first time being THAT mom. Somehow I'm guessing it won't be my last.


Meeting with the experts

We met with our realtor on Sunday and if that wasn't a big depressing kick in the pants, I don't know what is. There's nothing like spending the morning cleaning and de-cluttering like banshees to only be told by your innocent, super sweet realtor that the most important thing to do is: DE-CLUTTER. Riiiiggggghhhhttt. Why didn't we think of that?

We now have two weeks to get everything in order (read: get rid of over half our stuff) before our first open house.

We bought this house at the height of the market, our seller didn't even bother to take her bras off the doorknob in the bathroom. Many of the houses we looked at were crappy but sold in a matter of days, with multiple offers. We felt so lucky to get this house and have poured so much money, time and energy into making it even more lovely that we received it. I knew we wouldn't stay here forever: we'd eventually outgrow it or CG'd get a job somewhere else. (Hey looky there! Both happened!) But I imagined us selling it in a sellers market, with multiple offers and bidding wars. Open houses filled with loving couples oohing and ahhing over how sweet our little home is.

We'll be lucky if we only lose .... way too much money.


We met with our doula on Monday night. She brought a doll for Zoe, which instantly endeared her to my doll-loving girl. She also brought reams of paper with lots of words on them about the fact that apparently I'm going to birth another baby.


My last labor was about 24 hours long and full of interventions; it didn't exactly go as I planned.
Our doula insists that this baby, as a second baby, could come as fast as TWO HOURS and it could be as early as a month before the due date. She gave CG a sheet entitled "Emergency Labor Procedures" and instructed him to place it on the bathroom mirror. (Welcome, Open House Attendees! Here's our lovely bathroom! And if you need to give birth unexpectedly, I've got the directions!) She told him if he were to wake up in the middle of the night and find me in the bathroom (Is she crazy? Our ALL WHITE bathroom, with WHITE GROUT? That we're trying to sell??) on all fours and moaning to just pull it out and follow along.

Okey Dokey.

She had free samples for us, including a diaper the size of my palm. Whaaaa???

I might as well have never had a baby considering how confused I am by all this. I think I'll go back to sticking my fingers in my ears. "LALALALALALA".


I met with my boss today to rehearse the workout we're going to tape for the prenatal fitness video on Saturday. I didn't have the heart to tell her that I'm sure that I'm on day one of Zoe's horrific cold/flu/crud and will most likely be a snotty, coughing, red eyed mess by Saturday.

I also didn't have the heart to tell her that the STRETCHING section made me short of breath. Or that the outfit she bought for me to wear is less than flattering. Or that I'm not sure if I can do the perky, smiley Richard Simmons imitation that she's assuming I'm going to be able to pull out of somewhere.

It's going to be an interesting couple of weeks.



Back when I was dancing, my body betrayed me on a regular basis.

By the time I was 20, I had already begun my long list of injuries; some were passing issues, some would prove to last many years. In my twenties, I was diligent about going to physical therapy and hoarded all my spare tea-shop tips for massages and chiropractic visits. I regularly stuck various body parts in ice baths, moaning and screeching through the painful part, about 5 minutes in, when it's not just uncomfortable or itchy but every instinct screams at you to GET OUT OF THE ICE OR YOU WILL DIE. I wrapped joints in tape, rubbed sinus-clearing balms on muscles and, when all else failed, I reluctantly rested.

All the while, I talked to my body. And not very nicely.

The injured parts heard from me in imaginative expletives. I hated my hips for their restrictions, their unforgivable "early arthritis", and I let them know it. My feet were never good enough: my arches too low; my toes, the wrong alignment. I thought it was my body's fault; it was purposefully holding me back, making me miserable. I knew it wasn't helpful to be so mad at my poor body, of which I asked so much, but I didn't know where else to aim my anger and frustration over not being the dancer I wanted to be. I knew I would never be superstar great and that, deep down, is what I wanted to be. In my disappointment, it was helpful to have something tangible to blame, even if it was my very flesh and blood.

When I stopped dancing, at age 30, it was a bittersweet relief. I had made it to a point where I was dancing with choreographers that I had dreamed about 10 years prior, but the price I'd paid was steep. I woke up most days and silently took inventory: how was my fractured foot, my achilles tendonitis, my plantar fascitis, my worn knee cartilage, my arthritic hip, my bulging spinal discs, my torn rotator cuff, my whiplash? My injuries were beginning to catch up with me, with longer and longer periods of physical misery.

Some where along the line, it finally occurred to me that perhaps it was not my body that was betraying me but the other way around.

When I immediately got pregnant with Zoe, my body entered a whole new realm. I was starving and exhausted all the time and wound up gaining over 50 pounds. I tried to let go and let my body do what it needed to do, to be forgiving of its new contours and understanding of its new needs and dimensions. After years of abusing my body (in more ways than one), this was a challenge. But the pregnancy was relatively easy and pleasant and she turned out to a relatively easy and pleasant baby. I became subconsciously convinced that these two things were related.

Now I am continually astounded by how different the same body can be in two different pregnancies. If I was starving and tired and pleasantly slow and introspective last time, this time I'm a crazy person; hungry and upbeat one minute, green under the gills and morose the next. I have calf cramps and heartburn and digestive issues a mile long. Lima Bean's been swirling and kicking me fiercely for weeks now and sometimes does an all over spazz that I fear is her having a seizure in there. (Whatever you do DON'T GOOGLE "IN UTERO SEIZURE". Dear God. My doctor was only slightly more helpful: "In general, all movement is good..." PHEW "...Of course, there's no way to tell if your baby's having seizures in there so if she comes out and has them, then we'll know." GEE THANKS. "I mean, it could just mean she'll be a crazy, rambunctious kid." YOU CAN SHUT UP NOW.)

After being fairly forgiving of myself when I was pregnant with Zoe, I'm now finding myself back in my dangerous old routine. I am sporadically angry at this body; my body but also, sadly, HER body, since hers is inextricable from mine at the moment. In weak, petty moments, I find myself wondering if she's "doing this on purpose", making me sick (yes, my nausea, dizziness and general feeling of suckitude has returned in this last week, now that I'm in my third trimester). I catch myself labelling my poor defenseless unborn child as difficult; I secretly wonder if the unpleasantness of this pregnancy is an early announcement of what she'll be like once she's out here with us (my OB/GYN certainly didn't help with that now did he?). I don't want to treat her like she is an injury I can berate or to blame her for the days of misery from this pregnancy but I sometimes feel like I'm fighting a losing internal battle.

Lima Bean doesn't deserve that blame. Just like my poor old body didn't deserve any blame for its aches and pains and limitations after years of hard work and impossible expectations. She is my family, she is blameless, she is deserving of love and forgiveness. We both are.

I know that motherhood has changed me in so many ways. I hope that I can change in this way too: no more blame for this poor body who has served me so very well. And no blame for this little babe tucked somewhere behind my navel and above my bladder, who certainly doesn't mean to make me miserable.


Same old addict, brand new addictions

Once upon a time, when no one had laptops, cellphones didn't exist and Poppy Bush was galumping around the White House, I received a little paper thing called a "Facebook" that was sent to every incoming freshman at my college. It was, funnily enough, a book of faces. Our entire freshman classes' faces. One could see what one's roommate-to-be looked like. One could scour the pages looking for friendly faces from nearby towns.

One could, unfortunately, use the book to debate the "hot or not" girls before they even appeared in front of us. (Jeez, freshman boys are SO LAME. And I'm not just saying that because they relegated me to the "not" list.)

I assume this book of faces existed at other colleges and is the genesis for THE Facebook, the timesink/blackhole that I just joined? (Nothing like 2 years later than everyone else, right?)

I'm not sure what Facebook is really for, exactly. Is it necessary for me to spend all my limited free time telling random people from my life what I'm doing RIGHT NOW (You: Uh, isn't that what this blog is?). Does my first kiss from high school who I haven't spoken to in almost 20 years (OMG I'M OLD.) really care that I took my snotty daughter to the pediatrician this morning and tried to keep her from french kissing all the germ-encrusted toys? Do I really want to be chatting with girls from high school who I'm not sure ever even spoke to me back then? Is it necessary to be THIS in touch?

I'm not sure. Though I am thrilled to be this in touch:
If you never hear from me again, at least you'll know where I went...


And she likes to run around

I find it helpful to spend some time watching happy videos of Zoe being silly and adorable when she's really unbearably whiny, slimy with snot and coughing in my face and the day stretches before us like one long dirty crumpled tissue.

This is my favorite at the moment: Zoe at her first tumbling class. She was supposed to actually do specific Toddler Tumbling Tricks across the long trampoline. But Zoe had other ideas. (You gotta love the moment when the "coach" tries to hold her back. GOOD LUCK, BUDDY.)

Her smiles say it all, though. She kept exclaiming "AGAIN! AGAIN!" at the end of every run. We'll be back (assuming they let us!).


She's crafty

I know many talented, crafty women who can make the most amazing things with just their own two hands, some dental floss and a battery. (Oh wait, that's MacGyver. *swoon*.)

My best friend K made a doll and doll quilt for Zoe and crafts in many media.

My sister-in-law makes tiny, detailed doll clothes and can sew pretty much anything.

Another sister-in-law made a shirt for Zoe and a doll tutu.

Yet another sister-in-law makes these shirts over at chickadeez and has made everything from felt advent calendars to muscle warming rice packs.

A good friend made Zoe adorable bean bags and homemade soaps.

Me? I got a sewing machine for my birthday (in *cough*cough* NOVEMBER) all in the hopes of finally realizing my true craft potential (or at the very least, being able to hem my Ikea curtains without using that iron-on stuff.).

I just opened the sewing machine box last week. No time like the present a few months later!

But! I made my first craft! And delivered it on Saturday to my littlest valentine.

Can you guess what it is?? (No, it's not a too-small dog blanket. Dog provided for scale.)

Oh SURE it may LOOK like just a piece of fabric with a few seams (and dog hair) but really it's...... okay fine it IS really simple and yet took me a few HOURS to make. Never mind, there really is nothing as sweet as giving someone you love something that you've spent several hours swearing over made.

It's a baby doll sling for Zoe!

I like to imagine us both happily carrying our tiny babies around in slings in just a few months!



February, 1999. San Francisco

My boyfriend doesn't like swing dancing. Luckily I have a new male friend, someone who was an acquaintance in college, who does.

My friend and I meet at the Metronome Ballroom or Cafe du Nord, take the free class, practice some new steps and wait for the band to start up and the real fun to begin. We arrive separately, often bring friends, because we are not dating and there is safety, clarity, in numbers.

(I definitely don't notice how handsome he looks in his vintage shirts or how sweet he is or how nice he smells when we get close.)

The live music is upbeat, infectious. He leads me gently, his hands a little too tentative on the small of my back. I try to lead, out of stubbornness, impatience, an inability to read him and his gentle nudges. Still, we work it out. Swing. Laugh. Dance.

We are partners. Already.

Last Sunday, 2009. Los Angeles

Our last moments at the house are separate, rushed; he talks to the babysitter and plays with our daughter, I cook her dinner and place her pajamas next to the bath. We throw ourselves into our clothes and rush out the door. On the way to dinner, we chat idly, catching up on the day, laughing about our daughter's latest escapades, worrying about her latest challenges.

Once inside the club, our faces soften, our voices slow, and we shift into being alone, together. As we leisurely eat our meal, actually chewing our food and staying seated for minutes, HOURS, at a time, the band sets up. Soon there are couples on the dance floor. Twenty-somethings in exquisite vintage zoot suits and polka dot dresses throw each other around with furious abandon. Seventy-somethings in simple suits and sparkly, forgiving sheath dresses strut and turn with subtlety and grace.

We take to the dance floor, my belly preceeding me by at least a foot, and try to remember our favorite steps from back in the day. It's been years since we last tried to remember how to get into the open position or transition from a swing to a charleston. We glance at our feet a bit too much, I lead myself into turns, we collide with other couples during the fast numbers.

But we swing. Laugh. Dance. We're partners, now more than ever.

(Happy Valentine's Day, CG. I love you.)


Her mouth runneth over

There was a time when we were thrilled by every ASL sign Zoe used. There was a time when I could count on one hand the number of words Zoe could say. There was a time when I wondered what marvelous things she would say when she spoke full sentences.

I barely remember those times.

This girl now does NOT SHUT UP.

I blame myself, of course. Not only am I a bit of a chatty Cathy (genes!), I also spoke to her constantly as an infant (environment!). I spent those early days at home with her gurgling, squirming body beside me, narrating the minutiae of our lives in imaginary conversations: "What do you think, Zoe? Should I fold laundry first or make some lunch? Lunch, you say? Great! Salad or sandwich? Both? I AGREE."

Now, of course, she narrates every moment for us, her dollies, the ETHER. Mostly I enjoy sitting back and listening to her running commentary. It's often sweet and cute and warms my heart.

She's has gotten herself A TON of words but there is A LOT of repetition, especially in her whine repetoire. Her whines are interchangeable and often come in rapid, unspecific succession. A lot of her favorite whines were supplied by us a year or two ago in true Happiest Toddler on the Block fashion, in an attempt to give her the words to express her frustration rather than just screeching. I would still be a true believer in the HTOTB method if I wasn't so tired of hearing those same words coming back at me so often:

"I'm HUN-GAR-Y" (to which CG and I always reply "I'm Austria!" "I'm Germany!")
"I'm tiiiired"
"It's hard to WAIT"
"I don't LIKE that, Mommy"

Mix and match and REPEAT at will.

On the flip side, she's also got a strange sunny optimism that we know came from us responding to her positively when she's on the fence about getting upset, though her application of it is a bit... extreme? off? In response to spilling her milk while clowning around: "That's okay Mommy! We can just clean it up." In response to breaking something while not following directions: "It's okay, Mommy! We'll fix it.". These responses often leave us sputtering because well, it often IS possible to clean up or fix something but it is NOT "okay".

Her sunny dismissiveness of our concern is annoying, frustrating and.... totally our fault, I guess. I catch myself now jumping in with a "that's okay!" after she takes a spill or drops something and I try replacing it with something non-committal like "oh!" or "are you okay?".

Because seriously, if everything I say is going to come back to me tenfold, I really gotta start working on "how may I help you?" or "may I please go silently play by myself" or something.


Preserving the moment

I've been mulling over ways to mark this, my last pregnancy. I feel it going by quickly, probably because I have no time or energy to pay attention to it in any way, and I wonder about ways to commemorate it for posterity. Besides posting about its every mood swing here on a public BLOG, that is.

I've posted before about the possibility of a little permanent ink. I still think that might be in my future, if I can ever muster the creativity to make it lovely and feel RIGHT, since it would be PERMANENT and all.

Then there's belly casting. Which seems a little... messy? Embarrassing? (I mean, who would cast me?! ACK!) And what would I do with it afterwards? Would I really want to hang it on my wall (OMG I didn't realize you casted your boobs too! I may be into these boobs but WOW that may be a bit more public than I really want to take it. Not to mention the fact that their huge, plump roundness hanging on the wall would mock me every time I passed by them, tiny non-pregnant boobs a-dangling.)

HAHA! If you follow that last link, there's a picture at the top of a belly painted to look like a watermelon! Maybe that's what I should do! At least then I wouldn't have to include two twin cantaloupes on top or anything.

What about the ever popular soft-focus black and white belly shots? Oh lordy. I just don't think that's for me either. I mean some of them look like they belong in some seriously WRONG men's magazine. GAK.

Oh RIGHT. There is one way that I AM going to memorialize this pregnancy. In three weeks, I'm going to shoot a pregnancy fitness video with my boss. Who's about 5 feet, 100 pounds and NOT PREGNANT. I'm not sure this was the loving, supportive thing I was looking for.....


Today's realizations, stream of consciousness-style

I am totally addicted to having a laptop and this past week with just a wood-burning desktop, stationed way too close to Zoe's sleeping head and therefore NOT USED much because I was terrified of waking her up, has cemented the fact that I can never go back.

A week without it made me realize that I use the laptop too much. I need to have some time each day where I sit cross legged on the couch WITHOUT THE LAPTOP.

This is why I should never get an Iphone. Though I lust after CG's. Daily.

I have a bit of an addictive personality when it comes to technology. I don't do moderation very well.

This issue with moderation goes for certain foods, as well. As in, I have found my lost sweet tooth and dark chocolate is my friend once again. But I'm sort of SMOTHERING this long lost friend, if you know what I mean. Note to self: BACK AWAY FROM THE CHOCOLATE.

Not incidentally, I am breaking out like a greasy teenager on a first date.

(I don't really believe that whole business about chocolate causing breakouts. Small, unborn children gestating within, however are not blameless, DO YOU HEAR ME, LIMA BEAN?)

I almost believe in reincarnation.

If there is reincarnation, I'd really like to come back as my very own dog. (This would obviously involve some time travel as well, which I don't believe will ever be possible. SUCK IT, LOST.)
(Seriously, on this rainy day, who wouldn't want to be this dog? Is this not THE LIFE? The only downside to being her? She cannot hold a cup of tea and a book in this, or any, position.)

If I could time travel, I'd like to travel to the next possible sunny day. It's been rainy here for four days straight (three of which included me being a single parent while CG in Virginia) and we are all totally stir crazy. (I know, those of you in Real Winter are SO OVER my "it's waaainnnning" whines. What can I say? My skin has gone THIN and I'm SPOILED.) The dog sleeps most of the day and then paces and whines for her chewing bone all night. The child is enamored with her new umbrella which means a lot of running around our house looking for things to break with it or ways to impale herself upon it.

This all drives home how EFFED we are next year when we have actual winter FOR MONTHS AT A TIME and we cannot use our backyard as a year round playroom.

Cooped up inside, I am resorting to the usual: dance parties with matching tutu for Dressy Bessy.
(Zoe's reversable tutu: Christmas gift from Grandma and Grampa made by Ellie Bellie Kids. [Dudes! They're on sale!] Dressy Bessy's matching tutu: handmade by L, yet another super handy sister-in-law).

Then there's a little activity we like to call Hair Band Fun. (Usually quickly followed by Tearful Tantrum over Supposed Tearing of Scalp.)

And then, by the fourth rainy day we just say EFF it, stay in our pajamas all day and put it all together:


Pregnancy check in

Let's start with the belly, shall we?
Just. Plain. HUGE.  How is it possible that I still have 3 months of GROWTH left?? How is it possible that I will have another baby in 3 months?!?!?  

Weird pregnancy issues-  

I am out of breath, all the time.  I remember this from last time, the wheezing up the stairs, the breathless SLOW CRAWL on the elliptical trainer that I called "exercise".  But then I could blame it on how high she was.  How she was clearly wedged way up under my ribs and pressing on my poor little lungs.  Now?  Now, she is somewhere between my belly button and my feet and getting lower by the second.  What can I blame it on now, when I run out of breath just by talking too fast???

My usually perfunctory visits with my OB have always mysteriously included him squeezing my calves and inquiring if I've had any calf cramps.  I've always said no and wondered silently why he's asking.  Of course, since the last visit I had with him,  I've been woken up by calf cramps almost every night.  (Why, WHY didn't I ask him??)  I didn't have these last time.  Are they a symptom of something dire??!?!  It seems an extra calcium and magnesium supplement is taking care of it.  But still.... it is fodder for...

outlandish but realistic nightmares.  I usually collapse face first by 9 pm go to bed just fine.  But pretty much every morning, around 4 am, I'm woken up by completely bizarre, very upsetting nightmares that seem so real and urgent that they last for a long time after waking.  Last night I woke up convinced that Lima Bean had been born with indistinct genitals and the doctors wanted to cut him/her up and I was crazed with the need to shake CG awake and convince him to TALK SOME SENSE INTO THEM AND SAVE OUR BABY'S GENITALS.  This whole paranoid delusion lasted for a good 10 minutes while I talked myself down from the ledge, lucky for the peacefully slumbering CG.   The nightmares are almost always baby related and seem SO REAL when I wake up.  But it is only after a LONG time that I am able to come to grips with reality and fall back asleep again.  Only to be awoken by Zoe, not ten minutes later.

On to the good stuff!  Is there any??  Oh yes!  The hair! The boobs!  Can I keep them forever and ever and ever, pretty please?!!?  I don't think I'll miss pregnancy too much when this is all over.  Take my watermelon belly, take the freaky nightmares, take the heartburn that's A LITTLE EARLY TO THE PARTY DON'T YOU THINK.  Just leave the bodacious tatas and the thick healthy hair and I'll be a happy camper.

Mental health checkup-

All seems to be well in that department, especially when you consider how lousy it was this fall,  my dad has cancer, we're supposed to get our house ready for open houses (you know, to sell our home to the endless legions of folks with high paying jobs and easy credit that they want to pay huge sums of money for a funky little house on a "transitional" street) that begin THE MONTH BEFORE Lima Bean makes her grand entrance AND, come August, we will somehow be moving across the country with a newborn and a toddler to a place where I know no one.   In fact, looking at that list, I think I should be kinda depressed right about now BUT I'M NOT.  Check that out!

I can tell how I'm doing mentally by how long the fringe of hair is on my forehead.  When I was so miserable this fall, I pulled my hair back every single day and left it there, causing my hair to break.  It's been a while since I spent the whole day (or several weeks) in a perma-ponytail and this, this is great progress.  My hormones seem to have found a somewhat happy place (though they cold lay off the pimples for a week or so PLEASE GOD).  


So close and yet so far

I've been home since Sunday, after a four day visit with my folks after my dad's surgery, but several things prevented me from writing sooner.  First, I found out that my latptop's motherboard is fried and, thank goodness, my husband is not only saintly but also a handy computer whiz because he rigged up an old desktop for me so I would not die from Internet Deprivation.   Then I realized that not only did USair deny me a movie (that I could have actually watched as there was no toddler next to me requiring entertainment/snacks/potty visits every 5 minutes!), ran out of "meals for purchase" by the time they got to my row and CHARGE NOW FOR ALL DRINKS (wtf!?) but ALSO I left my brilliant half finished blog post, written on several smeared shreds of paper, somewhere in the seat back pocket.  Oh boy.  I sure hope whoever finds it just recycles it right away without reading it.  You'd think I wouldn't care since I was fully prepared to put it on the freaking WEB and all but the thought of someone finding it and reading it as they sit in my butt-cheek-indented seat makes me a little queasy.

Anyway.  They took it out, that blasted tumor, along with a whole lobe of my Dad's lung.  He's in pain but recovering and soon will leave the hospital.  My mom is doing really well;  she's a strong lady who happens to be dealing with a major house renovation in the middle of her husband's major health crises. (Hey, I know!  Let's cut a big hole in his chest WHILE they're cutting a huge hole in your house!  Doesn't that sound grand!?  Not disruptive or stressful IN THE LEAST.  It is spectacularly poor timing all around but it couldn't have been predicted or prevented.)  

It was good to be there.  There was nothing for me to "do" per se but being there counts for something, right?  It made me sad that we live so far away and a simple thing like visiting during a health crisis has to be such a big deal.  I made this bed, moving out to California 12 years ago, telling my folks it would be "just a couple of years".  I wanted to separate, to create my own life.  Most people do that by rebelling in their teens.  My parents and I had such an open, honest, close relationship, I had nothing to rebel against.  My parents invited my high school boyfriend on vacations with us.  My mom put condoms (in a cute little "condom wallet"!)  in my Christmas stocking in high school.  I was the only person I knew without a curfew. 

(Edit:  It has come to my attention that the previous paragraph could make it sound like I had a wild life as a teenager when in reality, I was SO straight arrow that my parents NEVER FELT THE NEED FOR A CURFEW.  And the condoms?  Expired before they were used, if I remember correctly.)

So now my 20's "rebellion" is kicking me in the ass.  I would love nothing more than to be able to pop over to my parents' house for dinner or BETTER YET, to be able to drop Zoe off for the afternoon so CG and I can catch a matinee or something, or most importantly, to be able to be there EASILY when it really matters.  I used to secretly wonder about friends who never left their hometowns or moved back quickly after college.  Now I realize they might have figured out something before me and I envy them.

Our move to Virginia will put me within 3 hours driving distance from my folks in New Jersey.  Not quite close enough for spontaneous lunch dates but closer.  Much, much closer.  And this is a very good thing.

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