Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
One thing to know about me is that I’m lazy. Lazy probably doesn’t even cover it. I may even stretch into the territory of slothful. I’m perfectly content to sit on the couch all day long and watch TV. Even if it’s bad TV, even if I don’t care about what’s on. Which is how I got into Big Brother in the first place. I think I watched one episode of one of the first seasons and I didn’t really get it. Then another year, someone whose blog I read really really liked it, so I tried to get into it, but I was not into the commitment of watching any show 3 times a week. That’s a lot of time to devote to one TV show. So I passed on it for many years.
Last year, I watched a whole season of Big Brother for the first time. It was kind of an accident that I watched it - I found it streaming on Netflix after the season had begun. In one day, I watched about 5 episodes. It was crazy, and I still hadn’t caught up with all the episodes there were. So the next day, I tried to be more disciplined about watching Big Brother. “Just one episode,” I’d tell myself, “and then you have to go do something. After one episode, unload the dishwasher. Then you can watch another episode.” I tricked myself into doing those household chores I hate by watching another episode of Big Brother. It worked. In that one day, I was able to do so many things that I had been putting off. And I loved that Netflix (and CBS too, I later discovered) streamed the episode the next day, so if we went out and weren’t home in time, I could just watch it later.
Going back to the laziness part of my story, it really bothered me in years past to admit that I just sat around all day watching TV. As a teacher with summers off, I always felt like I had to take good advantage of my time off. People think it’s 12 weeks of summer, and that you don’t do anything during that time, but my summer breaks had always only been about 8 weeks. 2 of those weeks in August are spent prepping the classroom, so I’m down to 6 weeks of vacation. Usually 1 or 2 of those weeks are spent in some professional development class, so now I’m down to about 4 weeks of vacation. Then if the Mister and I went anywhere for a week, that’s 3 weeks of lazy hazy days of vacation. 15 weekdays. Really, don’t get me wrong, because I’m not complaining that that’s a short amount of time at all. I always just felt like with 15 weekdays, that’s not much, so can I afford to waste several of them watching bad reality TV that I don’t even care about? No way.
Then at the end of the 2008-2009 school year, I got laid off. I was unemployed for the entire 2009-2010 school year. I’ve had a (thus far) 56 week summer vacation. And no end in sight. I have no job for 2010-2011 either, which can be addressed in a separate post.
So now, I have plenty of time this year for Big Brother. 3 hours of TV in a week? Pffft. That’s nothing. Well, when Mister and I moved in March, I called the cable company to renegotiate our package. I asked for more channels or to pay less. They were able to throw in a package that includes some movie channels, including Showtime.
Now I’m obsessed with Big Brother. 3 hours of TV in a week? Oh no, that’s just CBS. Every night, Showtime runs 3 hours of the live feeds from the Big Brother house for Big Brother After Dark. Big Brother now costs me 24 hours a week, and I’m kind of OK with that. Time is what I have, after all.
But the good news about watching 3 hours of Big Brother every day has awoken some part of me that has decided I can no longer be slothful. There is something disgusting about sitting on a couch watching 3 hours of other people sitting on couches. So now, instead of unloading the dishwasher, I try to tell myself that for every episode of Big Brother, I have to spend one hour exercising. Because there’s nothing slothful about people who exercise.
So there, Big Brother! I bet you never thought that because of your dumb show, people would get angry and start exercising and losing weight. Well, I don’t miss an episode of Big Brother, and I sure as heck don’t miss those 6 pounds.
Monday, July 26, 2010
The other day I was shopping in Target and I saw a mom with her two sons, who were probably about 10 and 6 years old. The 10 year old had asked for a new toothbrush before they went away on vacation, so the mom was standing in front of the toothbrushes, helping the older boy pick out a new one. The younger boy was by the cart and apparently bored.
“Mom,” the younger boy said, “I can tell you the price of all the things we’ve gotten so far.”
“Oh yeah?” Mom said, “How much is everything all added together?”
“$13.56 will be the price of all the stuff we’re getting.”
“Did you remember to add tax?” the mom asked.
“Mom, I don’t *do* tax!” the boy answered.
“Well, you’d better...” the mom said, “The government will charge taxes on everything we buy, Target does tax, therefore I have to pay tax on the stuff in the cart, so please remember to add the tax into your calculations. Tax is very important to remember!”
I wonder if the little guy was paying for the cartful of stuff with his allowance money or something. All in all, I thought it was such a funny discussion for a mom and a 6 year old kid.
It reminded me of when I was in high school and I would shop with my mom. When we would shop the sale racks, our deal was that she would buy me things on sale if I could figure out what the markdown price would be. When the sign would say 30% off and the marked price was $49.99, if I could tell her the markdown price would be $34.99, then I could have it. I suppose it was a good way for my mom to make me practice math when we were out shopping. She was probably going to buy me whatever it was anyway, but I always thought I had to do the math. Good thing I knew how to figure it out! And that was definitely a more fun way to learn percentages than figuring out Connecticut’s 6% sales tax at the ripe old age of 6...
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
A little bit of our story
We were married 7 years ago, in 2003. Way back when. We decided not to try for children right away, rather, we would enjoy a year or two of being together and building our marriage. About a year later, we decided it was time to start trying. Nothing happened, except crushing monthly grief. Month after month, I “knew” I was pregnant and so excited for 2 weeks. Month after month, I was wrong. I think each month the disappointment got worse. Mister told me that it would be OK, we’d try again and it would be OK. We kept trying, I was not pregnant and nothing was OK.
When we finally took ourselves to the doctor after the requisite “12 months of trying and no success” we were given the sad news that we would not be able to conceive. It just wasn’t going to happen for us. The doctors offered to keep testing us in future months, just to see if our bad condition would have improved. We declined.
A funny thing was happening at the same time. In late 2005 and early 2006, even though we had not officially been diagnosed as irreversibly infertile, I was googling the heck out of adoption terms. Even though I was still hoping that we’d be able to have biological children, I was also hoping that we would adopt from China. I started to follow some blogs of families with children adopted from China, and I started to read the Rumor Queen. OK, I kind of became obsessed with adopting from China.
I didn’t know how it would all play out in the future, but when the doctors told us there wasn’t anything they could do, I was pretty OK with that news. “OK, we’ll move on. Next thing, we’ll adopt from China when we’re both 30...” It was that easy. Of course, nothing’s ever that easy and I should have known it.
We weren’t ready to adopt right when we both were 30 and by the time we were 30, China had slowed to an almost halt of their adoption program. In fact, people who received their referrals from China this month sent their dossiers before I even turned 30. If we had submitted our dossiers the moment we were both 30, we’d still be waiting. And we’d still probably be waiting next year and the year after and the year after.
When we finally decided we were ready to adopt, it was just a few months ago. Now we’re 33, we haven’t sent a dossier to China (yet) and we’re instead planning to do a domestic infant adoption. We may still send a dossier to China for #2. Or not. Who knows. Right now, the goal is to finish the homestudy and the profile book for adoption #1 and from there we’ll see where we end up. I have no idea what we’ll do, but the adventure so far has been one heck of a ride, and we’re in it for the long haul.
What a long, strange trip it’s been. I’m sure it’ll only get stranger and longer, but here we are.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
I hate you. I hate you for several reasons.
1) I hate that I’m not in charge of opening pictures of people with smiling happy babies when I want. I just log into Facebook and then - BAM! - I’m punched in the face with pictures of babies and everyone gushing how cute and adorable and wonderful the parents are for producing such beautiful children. Yuck.
2) I hate that my friends are not my friends anymore. People “check in” and write on my wall and say hi. Not the kind of “hi, how are you?” that actually sounds like they’re interested in how I am. What am I going to do? Really say how I am and write it on my wall? No way. And anyone who’s really my friend would know that I’m not going to say how I really am when I write on my wall. I miss my friends calling and writing e-mails.
3) I hate the news feed that reads like a toddler itinerary of awesomeness. “Went to park, then a birthday party. Had Gymboree class. Home for nap and then we’re hitting the beach!!11!!!!”
4) I don’t care what the best playground/beach/toddler class/babysitter/stroller/carseat is ranked. I don’t care. I don’t care about private school tuition costs (it’s your choice, after all. Miss Fancypants could attend the neighborhood free public school. Just sayin’.) And I don’t care about Sesame Street Live, Disney on Ice, Hannah Montana, or the Wiggles.
5) I hate reading pregnancy announcements. I hate reading a weekly update that you’re one week pregnant-er than you were last week. I can count, thank you. I hate reading how tired you are, how sick you are, how your pants don’t fit, how much you miss drinking wine and eating hot dogs. Whatever. I’d kill to have those problems.
When I’ve had annoying friends on Facebook before, I’ve hidden them. One guy is a friend from college, whom I don’t really remember from college. I kind of remember him. He’s kind of annoying as a Facebooker though; every day, he posts a ”Good morning everyone!” message, often including some crap about “bright sunny day” or something. Fine, I have a Mister Rogers type on my feed. I hid him quickly. Oh, he also posts a “good night everyone!” message before he leaves the office for the night. Seriously, I’m too crabby for people like that.
Anyway, my problem with parents on Facebook is that most people are parents. I can’t really hide people who talk about their kids. I hide them by hiding myself. Though now I’m completely alienated from most of my friends. So that’s not really a great solution either. Sigh. And that is why Facebook sucks.
Monday, July 19, 2010
My mother died about five years ago. She had cancer for almost two years before, so it was not a surprise to anyone when she died. We all watched her condition worsen and had many conversations with her about death and illness and what it would be like to lose her. (In a previous post I said that my parents were involved in our church - one of the ways my mom was involved was working as a bereavement counselor to families dealing with loss.) My mom had read all the books on dying and grief and loss. She wanted to talk us through this grief and get us through it. Well, none of us had read all the books on death and dying and grief, so these were strange conversations. Also, my mom and I have completely different personalities. She tried to engage me to talk about loss, but I really didn’t have anything to say.
My mom wanted to talk about my feelings, and my feelings were short, to say the least. “I can’t change this situation. It makes me sad, and I think it’s a terrible situation. But I can’t change it, so what is there to talk about?” It’s not like I could have convinced her to stay with a really good argument. Nothing I could say would have changed her cancer, so what good would it have done to spend my last months and weeks with my mom crying and telling her how sad I am? I told her that I was sad, that I would miss her and that I wasn’t ready to lose her. But saying it all the time seemed like it wasn’t the best use of our last time together. I preferred laughing and joking and talking together, as we always had.
As we all expected, my mom did die, and it was calm and peaceful for her and really for my whole family. We were all there with her and with each other. The week of her wake and funeral is kind of a blur now. We were busy all week, and there were tons of friends and family who came to help us. It was an oddly happy and comforting time. Surrounded by family and friends, I knew I was sad, but I was not really able to process grief at that point.
After about a week, the friends and family went home, and I went back to work. At some point, I stopped feeling sad all the time. I figured I was done with grief - after all, I wasn’t crying and feeling sad all the time, I had gone back to work, and I was getting used to life with a new normal. I was still sad, but I think I had a handle on it.
I got a grief book about dealing with the loss of mothers. I read it, but it seemed like it was aimed at people who had some animosity towards their mothers. I didn’t, so the book didn’t really help me. Or maybe it did, I don’t know. I started to feel better all the time, and as the holidays and birthdays and anniversaries without my mom piled up, I had kind of moved on.
I can still get going, if I’m having a bad day, or if there’s some emotional mother-daughter moment on TV or a movie (Tami and Julie Taylor on Friday Night Lights especially always get to me for whatever reason...) The other real trigger for me is thinking about infertility, adoption and becoming a mother. I really miss my mom then.
But the thing I don’t understand about grief is this. What’s the difference between avoiding and denying emotions and dealing with them? After some time, aren’t sad feelings supposed to go away? I will always miss my mom. I’ll always feel like we were cut short and I’ll long for those years I’ll never have with her. Will I always cry when Tami and Julie Taylor have a moment? And if I always cry during Friday Night Lights, have I dealt with my loss? It’s been more than 5 years already. I have a personal goal to not cry someday when there’s an emotional moment on TV. And then I might feel like I’ve dealt with this loss. I wonder what my mom would say about that. I also wonder what Tami Taylor would say about it.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Me - Shy, sincere, elementary teacher, unemployed, hopeful (more often than not) about adoption, lonely, hating Facebook and its ensuing superficial friendships these days. Love good music, movies and wine.
Mister - In graduate school at night, working full time. Busy. Serious, loving, funny, busy.
The name of the blog - I was raised Catholic. I went to Catholic school and my parents were always involved with our church as I was growing up. I remember this line from Mass, “protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.” That state of joyful hope always struck me as a particularly poignant concept. It doesn’t say we’re waiting quietly and patiently. It does specifically say not to have anxiety about waiting (which I have yet to master) but to be joyful. Waiting in joyful hope acknowledges that waiting is not easy, even waiting for something happy has anxiety and stress. Whatever the particular anxieties are - it may not happen, it may take longer than you expect, it might have a different result from what you planned, or your feelings may change along the way - whether we’re waiting for the coming of our Lord or we’re waiting for an adoption to happen or anything, when we pray at Mass that we’re waiting in joyful hope, we ask God to protect us from all anxiety while we wait. I have a lot of anxiety about my life these days, and I need some protection while I wait.
Mostly, I think I do wait in joyful hope. I can’t wait to be a mother. I’ve never wanted anything so badly, and I’ve never quite pictured myself as anything else. I even think I’ll do a good job. But waiting is hard, for sure, and it engenders many anxieties. So I try to remember to ask God to protect me from my anxieties while I wait in joyful hope. I suppose if you have to wait, joyful hope is a better state in which to be waiting than dismay and caution. Now I will wait in joyful hope, protected from all anxieties. Wish me luck...