I celebrated my birthday last weekend, March 8th. It was sweet and fun; I definitely felt loved and appreciated. But over the last seven years there’s this thing that starts to flood my mind a few weeks out from my birthday. Truth told, sometimes it starts to seep in a good month before. It’s this weird heaviness that’s tinged with disquiet; a dash of gloominess and too many deep sighs that leaves me feeling out of sorts for brief moments before bouncing back into contentment.
The brooding is essentially about time moving too fast and feeling like I’m getting old. Older. Old. Closer to “the end.” It’s not that I have regrets or dreams that I’ve abandoned and now I fear that I’m running out of time. No, it’s the opposite: I’m so grateful for my life, my family, my choices. All of those things make me feel fulfilled, happy, and like I’m truly getting better with age — learning more, seeing more, doing more, understanding more, and just growing.
But I still can’t seem to shake this weird thing that starts brewing in the last weeks of February.
Then this morning, I saw this wonderful NYTimes piece from 2012, An Illustrated Talk with Maurice Sendak. And through sniffles and watery eyes, I can almost feel the heaviness lifting, melting away, evaporating for good.
“There’s something I’m finding out as I’m aging, that I’m in love with the world. … It is a blessing to get old. It is a blessing to find the time to do the things, to read the books, to listen to the music.” — Maurice Sendak
So as I start this new day, a full week after my birthday, I plan to keep these simple but profound words of Maurice Sendak‘s close to the surface: “Live your life, live your life, live your life.”
For months after having my emergency C-section, I had nightmares about the experience. Even now if I study the moment for too long, I can feel a shiver run up my spine. It’s legit surgery and it was a rough turn on both my body and spirit.
This morning, while my little cinnamon bun — now 6 years old! — was having breakfast and getting ready for school, I heard this great health story on NPR about the gentle or family centered C-section. I stopped the everything and listened.
“And there were a bunch of little adjustments, such as moving the EKG monitors from their usual location on top of the mother’s chest to her side. This allows the delivery team to place the newborn baby immediately on the mother’s chest. In addition, the mother’s hands were not strapped down and the intravenous line was put in her non-dominant hand so she could hold the baby.”
Wow. My whole birthing experience would have been vastly different had this option been available to me back then. It probably would have been less stressful and more joyful. A real celebration. Of course, not having a C-section and going with a vaginal birth would have been Option 1 for me. But if a Cesarean was necessary, I’ll have mine gentle, please. As the NPR reporter said, “gentle C-section is not a replacement for a vaginal birth; it’s just a way to improve the surgical experience.”
I hope more doctors and hospitals move toward the family centered way.
What say you? Did you have a difficult birthing experience or C-section? Doesn’t the gentle version sound 10 times more humane?
As always, I welcome your comments below! Also, check in with us on MMM’s Facebook page.
Truth: I wrote this post last year and still haven’t found the nerve to ask the awkward, but important question about firearms in the homes of “new” playdate friends.
Granted, since I wrote this piece, my son’s playdates have either been at our house or at the same short list of kid’s homes. He’s had two new home visits in the last year, but I still failed to ask the question. Instead, I just stayed and chatted with the mom during the visit. Which was fine, I suppose, since our kids are still on the young side and sometimes actually ask us to stick around in the background as they figure they way through the new relationship.
But it still ways on my mind, heavier when I read news stories about young kids finding their parents guns and accidentally shooting someone or killing themselves. It also springs to the front of my concerns when I read pieces like this one from the St. Louis Post Dispatch, that highlights the fact that we will ask if a visiting child has any allergies (life-threatening or no), but not about the other potential threat to their young lives: guns.
It’s clear — especially living in this country — that as my kid gets older and starts venturing off to new places on his own, I will just have to find the nerve and ask. It’s that simple. It’s that important.
As I drove by the house with its orange, pro-gun rights flag flapping in the frigid breeze, I thought … well, first I thought, What the hell? I was actually considering pulling over and hopping out of my car to snap a photo. However, I was running too close to being late for a meeting (and I had flash visions of an ugly, git off mah lawn-style confrontation with the owners), so I kept it moving.
But the idea of the flag stayed with me for much of the morning. I started thinking about what it would look like if homeowners — more specific, parents — posted bright flags outside their doors letting you know that they indeed had firearms in the house. I know. The whole thing crosses many lines and bumps up against civil liberties, but it still made think how these flags could pull a very prickly subject out of the shadows and into the literal open air.
The loaded-weapon-in-the-house issue swirls around my head each time I read about the number of children shot to death in the last year or about a young child taking a gun to school or — worse — ends up dead after finding and playing with their parents’ firearm at home. It comes up again when I think about my son soon going off on more solo playdates (he had his first one ever just two weeks ago).
I’m a confident person and trust my choices as a mother, but having to ask a parent (and somewhat stranger) if they have guns in their home makes me oddly uncomfortable and sheepish. I haven’t done yet. I haven’t had to ask so far. But part of me feels like I should get un-sheepish about it, because it’s about safety and protecting these young folks.
Curious, are parents actually following through on this? Are you asking other parents or guardians this important question before allowing your kids go to playdates, sleepover, birthday parties alone? And on the other side of it, have you been asked about firearms in your home? If so, were you insulted? Annoyed?
Definitely leave a comment below. I’m always up for hearing your take.
Last week, “The Nib” — the comics/cartoon/words plus images section of Medium — posted this fantastic piece called A Lost Possibility: Women on Miscarriage. I was nodding along to everything, all the words and sentiment the illustrated women shared. And then I got to this frame:
That’s exactly how I felt: My body failed me. It was so devastating to feel like that. So many women feel like they failed at something that was supposed to be easy and natural. But the baffling part about miscarriage is how we don’t talk about it. It’s like a dirty, shame-covered secret.
I’m happy to see this necessary conversation about miscarriage happening out in the open, so to speak, and happening more often. Just posting this Medium story on MMM’s Facebook page got stirred people to talk about it. I even went back in the MMM archives to read my two-year-old post about my miscarriage, too.
Hope we can keep this dialogue going. It’s so important. Not talking freely about it and keeping miscarriage behind a veil of silence, that’s where the true failure lies.