Friday, September 30, 2011

Our Story: Part 7 - 33 Weeks

I've taken a break from telling our story, mainly because the gut-wrenching portion of my tale had been told.  But on this Friday, two years ago, something very special happened which makes me want to finish our journey in writing. 

I last left off by sharing that our precious Dr. C found three heartbeats on that March 31st day much to all of our surprise.  The remaining six months are somewhat of a blur.  I ate religiously from a very specific list of foods with very specific vitamins and minerals.  The books said to gain weight early since the babies would come early and weight gain in the first two trimesters was key.  So ate I did.  For the first time in my life I was trying to make sure I got over 3,000 calories a day.  And I started wearing flats (which anyone who knows me knows I never go into the office in less than 3 inches).  People at the office started asking if I was pregnant in my NINTH week so I had to begin telling people at my firm several weeks before I had planned.  As you might imagine, news that I was carrying triplets was met with quite a spectrum of responses - we got everything from "you are so blessed," to "I am so sorry."  (I'm not kidding.)

Bray continued to process the news.  He struggled.  He worried - about everything.  I won't attempt to tell his side of the story, but from my perspective, he really settled into the news and started getting excited after week 20.  At that point, I was still in very good health, the babies were all growing bigger than expected, and we'd discovered by then that there was a boy and a girl hanging out in utero (we didn't find out about Mr. Sam, who at the time was Mr. Will, until several weeks later).  I was elated.  I decorated the nursery with reckless abandon in my long-planned Raggedy Ann & Andy theme (I'd collected items for the nursery for years).  Bray painted the room.  Bray built a bookshelf.  By week 24 he started driving me into work.  By week 26 I went on bedrest at home and worked from a hospital bed he set up in the den.  I went on strict bed rest by week 28 - bathroom breaks were my only reprieve and I continued expanding at a stunning rate.  I fell in the street going to the doctor for my bi-weekly check up about that time and wrenched the devil out of my ankle but fortunately did not break it and avoided having to be in a cast during a c-section. 

Then Monday of week 32 hit.  We were right on track.  We felt confident at this point, despite my unbelievable discomfort, that we would hit the 34 week mark we'd so prayed for during the pregnancy.  I had my check up and was resting at home when I got a call from the doctor.  I should be admitted immediately as my blood work showed pronounced preeclampsia.  I called Bray in tears and he rushed to pick me up.  They gave me steroid shots for the babies lungs and ran a lot more tests in the hospital.  The neonatologist came and told me everything that could go wrong with them coming this early.  Everyone prayed.  The next morning my blood work came back spotless. Perfect.  No preeclampsia.  They ran another slate of tests.  Wednesday morning my blood work came back spotless.  They released me.  Unfortunately, that was short-lived.

Apparently, while in the hospital, I had been exposed to and contracted swine flu or something similar.  By Thursday night I couldn't breath or move and was rushed back to the hospital at 2 am.  Bray was a rock.  He never left my side.  I could handle everything only because he was there.  I had specialist care around the clock for two days - always told they could likely deliver the babies on a moments notice because infection was very difficult to manage pregnant.  I began to improve.  My church pastor came to pray.  Friends sent flowers and prayers and food.  I was admitted for the duration so that the babies could be monitored around the clock and I could have the bed rest enforced.  Monday of Week 33 came and went.  On Wednesday, they got some suspicious looking tests - preeclampsia again.  Thursday morning the tests started looking worse.  My amazing Dr. R, the perinatologist that my fertility doctor recommended, told us that if the results had not changed by Friday morning he would have to deliver the babies.  He took us in for an ultrasound and they all measured over 4 pounds, a strong sign he said.  We called our parents.  I told my dad I was pretty sure they wouldn't deliver me on Friday, but he drove all night from Oklahoma anyways.  Mom camped out at the hospital.  Bray's parents drove in from Louisiana.  Everyone waited for Friday's results.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Can I Just Cry On Your Shoulder Today?

About the most trivial thing in the whole world.  And I know I just wrote about sometimes okay being good enough.  But I have put blood, sweat and tears into making the kids 2nd birthday picture perfect.  It's the first party we invited friends to and I had the precious custom invites ordered for their "barnyard bash" theme because they love the farm and animals.  Then I had a big sign and custom cupcake picks ordered to match the invitations exactly.  I have farm animal balloons.  I have farm plates and cups.  I have these adorable personalized napkins with their name and ages.  Plus I designed these farm animal birthday party shirts where the farm animal is wearing a party hat with the number 2 and each child's name is underneath the farm animal face.  I love planning parties but never more so than for my kids. 

It's sort of unraveling.  First, the outfits got finished late so instead of me getting them shipped my mom had to pick them up last night.  But she's working super late today and tomorrow so I'll either get them 30 minutes before the party or have to run up to Cypress tonight late to pick them up.  But the huge disappointment is that the cupcakes were the centerpiece of the gift table.  And they have these gorgeous cupcake picks (that I spent some money on) for each cupcake, each one featuring a farm animal and a child's name.  It's identical to our invites and to the big custom sign.  Well, the sign and the cupcake picks are lost.  Lost somewhere in the mail system, they should have already been to me by the first of the week (I ordered a month ago) and the designer is frantically trying to track them down but I'm not optimistic.  She said she'd remake them all but there's no way they will get to me, the sign or the cupcake picks, by Saturday morning.  So I'm so sad this morning.  I realize it is ridiculous, and if I told my husband how totally upset I was about this turn of events he'd think I needed medication, but I really worked hard to make sure it would be perfect and now it isn't.  And there's nothing I can do about it.  And it makes me sad. 

Here's the pictures of the lost cupcake picks:

And here's a pic of the invite and the cute little sleeves they came in (with horses and cows and pigs and chicks):

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Desire Prayer

I hadn't planned on writing today.  I've had very little to write about at all this week.  But I just returned home from a bible study I've started attending on most Tuesday evenings and felt compelled to share some sage counsel I received.  As luck would have it, this return to a study was marked by another blessing - one of my dearest friends and a Godly accountability partner joined as well. 

In the parking lot after the study she and I had the chance to visit for a bit and share what has been going on in our lives.  I felt like this week I had a very clear message from God about something related to my children.  However, in typical Type A "I can do it myself" form, I basically said Thanks God for that great idea, now let me go work myself and everyone into a frenzy trying to implement that plan.  I really think if you looked up the definition of insanity, in someone's dictionary, my various plan implementations would be Exhibit A.  So I was pouring all of this out and telling her that I really didn't WANT to take over what God was trying to do but I'm so plan-oriented and so activity focused that I didn't know how to STOP!  So instead of my friend saying, let me get this straight, God gave you a word, and now you've STOLEN it from Him and you're making it some crazy earthly nutty distortion of His plan and you're worried sick it won't get done?!!?!?!?, she said this instead, Pray for the desire to be different.  Pray for the desire to be obedient.  Whatever it is you THINK you should be doing - obeying, listening, sitting quietly - put the words "give me the desire" in front of whatever that thing is.

I literally jumped out of my car and hugged her because I needed someone to whisper those words over my spirit.  My out of control, worried, frenzied, Type A, disobedient spirit.  I can't do it.  Just like I can't make God's plan happen, I don't see all of it to begin with, only He does. I also can't, in my own power, make myself be a different person.  I AM all of those things - worried, frenzied,  out of control, focused on making things happen......and God knows me, this does not come as a shock to Him.  But if I would ask Him for the DESIRE to be patient, to be quiet, to be obedient, to listen, then He will give me the supernatural tools to transform.  I can't envision it, but I don't think I'm supposed to right now.  So if you find yourself frustrated by your own efforts to take the wheel, instead of praying for God to make you let go, ask Him to give you the desire to hand it over.  Wise counsel sweet friend.  Thank you for being a messenger tonight. 

Philippians 4 - I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Romans 7 - I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do...As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.  So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

I Thessalonians 1 - With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.  We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sometimes Okay Is Good Enough

I went to a movie last night.  I love movies.  But since the trio arrived, I rarely get to see them.  This year I've only seen two (so sad), last night, after Bray got home, I went to see a movie I had really wanted to see even though critics trashed it. 

In one scene, in this movie about a frenzied working mom, the husband and wife were fighting.  She'd been running late from work and he had to go to a business meeting, so he called a last minute babysitter who fell asleep watching the kids.  The wife was furious.  The husband was too.  And during the course of the fight, the husband said, "sometimes okay is good enough."  No, the situation wasn't perfect.  But it was okay.  Everyone survived the snafu.

The statement really struck me.  I am a competitive person, and the person I'm the most competitive with is myself.  I'm always competing against the impossible standard of what I "should" do or be as a mother and wife and attorney.  I've dreamed up what the perfect picture should be and I constantly fail.  No matter how hard I work, I can't achieve this unrealistic goal.  However, my competitive nature tells me if I just tried harder and slept less and did more then I could meet it.  Eventually.  And the real failure would be to stop trying to achieve that goal. 

We women are terrible at this.  Somehow, somewhere, we get an individualized notion of what perfect is and often feel horribly off the mark.  One of the things I've been beating myself up about lately is cooking.  I actually love to cook.  I have no time.  I throw something together for the kids when I get home but Bray and I often dine on cereal or watermelon or wine and crackers.  It's pretty pitiful.  I know LOTS of other moms who cook.  Lovely beautiful healthful dinners for their family whom they clearly love more than I love mine OR I WOULD FIND TIME TO COOK DINNER!  I'm working on it.  My friend is making me a crock pot set of recipes to help me out.  But I feel like a failure.  I also hate my figure.  I'm not naturally a lean person.  I have to work my tail off and eat like a mouse to get fit.  And I did that from last September to this June and then I took a break.  I was exhausted from 5 am boot camps and spinach salads with grilled salmon.  So I took a few months off boot camp.  And I ate cupcakes and pizza and chicken enchiladas (these are the most delicious foods, it is hideous that they are so full of calories).  And I've gained 10 pounds.  (Truthfully, it's more like 12.  In three months.)  I get so exhausted from all the working out and watching everything I eat, but I know if I want to be a fit mom and wife then that's the only recipe that works.  It's dispiriting. 

But what if okay was good enough sometimes?  What if I don't cook dinner every night but cook it a couple times a week?  What if I'm permanently one size bigger than I want to be?  What if I can't be the kids' room mom because I can't juggle it and work?  What if I buy fruit already cut up at the store instead of creating my own display for their Halloween party?  What if the counter has mail on it?  What if okay was, well, okay?

Would I be less stressed?  Would I be a happier mom?  And easier wife?  In this same movie I mentioned, the husband remarked one time out of frustration, Things are never quiet, they're never still.  We don't ever just sit and talk.  You never laugh at my jokes.  Everything is so rushed.

Do you have that house?  I do.  I know that frenzied energy can be tough on my kids, on my husband.  What if I temporarily stopped making lists I can never complete?  What if I removed that idealized notion of a wife and mother and attorney and put in its place a realistic model, a wonderful model, but an achievable one?  Let me encourage you, if you struggle with competing against perfection like I do, to join me in loosening our standards just a smidgen so that everyone enjoys life and home more. 

Luke 10 - “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Matthew 11 - “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Psalm 127 - Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Morning Commute

There's not much off limits for my blog, but there is one thing I leave off the table:  direct conversations with my husband.  Primarily because he is a private person and didn't sign up for having his conversations published.  He'd probably stop speaking to me if I wrote about them.  Secondarily, particularly if we're having a "discussion" about something, I think it is disrespectful to air those conversations publicly, and the one thing I try to do at all times (though I'm not always successful) is treat him respectfully.  He deserves that. 

The only reason I'm making an exception to the conversation rule this morning is because the conversation is not a dispute nor is it about any private matter of his or ours.  It is, rather, pretty dang funny.  Tuesday mornings, Bray and I are carpooling so the nanny can have the car to take our kids to school.  Bray and I have quite different political opinions and we were listening to a political issue on the radio on the drive in.  The conversation quickly veered to us each "offering" our political perspective on the issue.  So as we near his office, after he'd given me a hard time about my political opinion and driving his truck (which I have, once, accidentally run into the parking garage), I said, "hey, you need to say something nice, my love language is words of affirmation."  (A while back we read this book called The Five Love Languages and we discovered, not surprisingly, that we have different love languages.)  So this is what I got in response, "you look nice this morning....{pregnant pause}, you look like you're going to a club."  What the what?  At 8 in the morning driving to work?  The shirt underneath my khaki blazer did have some sparkle on it, and I have to admit neither one of us have been out lately so the trend may be to the more conservative in the party hot spots, but I wouldn't have spotted that one coming from a mile away.  Note to self, don't force a compliment before he's finished his coffee.  Well, really, don't force a compliment.  Period. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Top Five (or Maybe The Bottom)

This weekend had its highs and lows.  For example, I lost 2 pounds.  But I didn't lose it the fun way. 
Here's the Top (or bottom) Five Wrap Up from the nuttiness that was our weekend:

5. I got to go on a date with my husband.  To the E.R.  After he stepped on a nail Saturday night, which went through his boot and into his foot (which he then proceed to extricate), he decided he probably should get a tetanus shot Sunday.  Not wanting him to feel lonely, I woke up at 5 am and threw up so violently for several hours that twice I thought I was going to pass out because I couldn't breath in.  Then I broke out in a terrifying, and itchy, rash from neck to knees.  We didn't make it to church Sunday morning, but St. Luke's we figured was close enough. 
4.  The little lady's burgeoning independence.  She loves doing stuff herself.  She will punch you out if you try to help her (unless it's putting her shoes on, those she wants on all the time, and various pairs, and she needs help and needs it now).  During our school drop off this morning, I've never seen a child run so fast.  She ran right past me, gave her lunchbox to Miss Michelle, put her paint smock on and began her next work of art.  Seriously, she was painting in full gear in the two minutes it took me to unload all their stuff and say goodbye (not that she bothered waving, she was busy at school). 
3. The baby's empathy.  Little buddy was SO worried about mommy laying near death on the sofa while waiting for Miss Maria to come (so Bray and I could go to the ER), that he ran over and crawled up on the couch with his blanket and covered me up and sat there patting me.  Seriously?  He's not even 2.  He's going to be the one making sure my hair gets done at the old folks home. 
2.  The neighborhood playground.  I can not BELIEVE it took me so long to discover this thing.  You pay $25 and get a playground access key.  I did it because we're having the kids' 2nd birthday party there so I got a key about a month ago.  Oh my heavens, it is wonderful.  It's the only place right now I can take them solo.  It's fenced in and super kid proof and has all these fabulous slides and swings and toys.  We go every weekend morning and had some weirdo not come and parked there and watched us with his truck running we would have stayed all morning long.  It rocks!
1.  Rain!  It rained on our little corner of the world for several periods this weekend.  My favorite of them all was the 5 am rain we got this morning.  The thunder was loud enough to wake two of the three.  The little lady settled back into her crib but Dennis the Menace was having none of it.  He was coming to bed with us.  Lest you think he was beside himself with fear, let me clear up that misconception.  One of his favorite books is Mr. Brown Can Moo, in which there is a page that says, "Boom, boom, boom!  Mr. Brown is a wonder.  Boom, boom, boom!  Mr. Brown makes thunder...."  So imagine, if you will, a three-foot, towheaded, evangelical preacher standing in your bed, pumping his fist in the air with all his might, bellowing "Boom, Boom, Boom!"  It was too funny to grieve over my lost hour of sleep.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Teach Me, But Not The Hard Way

I had the unexpected pleasure of seeing a dear Godly friend of mine last night.  Our conversations are always laden with these nuggets of wisdom that I take away and ponder.  We were discussing our marriages and children and future paths and she was sharing some of her past experiences (her two kiddos are a little older than mine and she's been married longer than I have).  As we were discussing a particular issue we've both struggled with she said, I prayed, God teach me, but not the hard way

Boy, I know that prayer.  Please Lord, don't make me hit rock bottom to have my eyes opened up to what you are calling me to do.  Please God, let me learn this lesson without having to crawl across hot coals to figure it out.  Because both my friend and I had learned plenty of lessons the hard way.  And it's no fun.  If you've been through that refining process, then you know.  Sometimes our stubborn, know-it-all, prideful, human ways get in the way of just listening and obeying.  Heck, I see it in my kids.  The eldest fell off the dining room table with a heavy thud the other day (as we both panicked over the repercussions which fortunately, this time, were not serious) because, despite my repeated remonstrations, he thought it would be fun to sit high up on the dining room table.  Surely he knew better than I did.  Plus, his way was more fun! 

When I was emailing a writing buddy of mine today about this topic, she said, Well thankfully it isn't ALWAYS the hard way, but I seem to learn better when it is.  It certainly is more MEMORABLE, isn't it?  My mom used to say, don't pray for patience, God just might help you get it.  

I have several life lessons God is teaching me right now.  In the midst of my prayer I am crying out, God please teach me, but not the hard way!  The hard way can be painful.  The hard way can be time consuming.  And the hard way often involves going places and doing things that I really don't want to go and do.  But the Bible is chock full of people who went on to do great things, people that God blessed, even though their route was, well, less than ideal.  Jonah ended up in the belly of a whale - talk about the hard way.  Abraham slept with a slave because he figured God couldn't get Sarah pregnant.  Moses committed murder.  David committed adultery.  Peter denied Christ - three times.  They made foolish decisions that required them to learn the lesson of faith the hard way. 

I still pray that I don't have to learn the lessons of faith that God is teaching me the hard way.  But it gives me hope to know that if, in my humanity, I fail to go where God leads because my own silly pride gets in the way, God will still teach me the lesson.  It may be hard, but He can still use me.  And in the end, that's all I want. 

See what Hebrews has to say about those folks who had to learn the hard way:

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see...And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him....By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going...And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore. All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth....By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible... And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Faithful Friend

I have written before about how this phase of motherhood, the period when you are a mom to young children, can be incredibly isolating, particularly if you were one of those women who had many women friends.  Between work and the kids, there's no time for anything else.  So weekend brunches or pedicures or movie outings have to fall by the wayside.  Everyone knows it is not a permanent circumstance, but in the midst of it, you start to feel very alone.  I remember watching a television show years ago where several girlfriends were talking and one of them said: You just can't rely on a man to provide you all the emotional support you need, they're not wired that way, that's why you have your girlfriends.  It's true.  In the absence of time with dear friends, your emotional well being can get a little shaky. 

I have been blessed to have always had a lot of girlfriends.  I've had friends on boards with me, friends through bible studies, friends through working out, friends through young professionals groups, etc.  I struggled selecting a small wedding party (though I did do it).  I had TWO thirtieth birthday parties because my friends were so precious to help me through being bummed about that milestone (silly now, I know).  I had five baby showers because of the unbelievable outpouring by girlfriends from Houston to Fort Worth and from church to work.  But once the babies arrived, my time and attention (rightfully so) was diverted exclusively.  Then, once I returned to work, every moment I had outside of the office I felt had to be devoted to the children and Bray.  Again, this is not a bad thing, but I felt alone.  I still had girlfriends, but there was no time to interact.  Out of all those girlfriends, there are a handful that I could call day or night who would stop what they were doing and rush to help me or support me or just have a cup of coffee.  I am truly blessed to have these women because not everyone has such a priceless gift. 

But there is one woman who has seen the good, the bad, the ugly, and the totally wacky, and loves and supports me regardless of whether I deserve it.  In an open-the-heavens, rain-down-blessings, turn of events, I have seen her three times over the past few weeks and enjoyed some serious quality time.  We had dinner a couple weeks ago.  We went shopping a week ago.  Then we had brunch and pedicures for my birthday.  She is the most faithful friend one could possibly conjure up.  After a summer with very limited visits, these past few weeks have been a gift for my parched and aching soul.  She knows exactly what to say.  She knows when we need to talk about serious stuff so she can be such a support, but she also knows when we just need to be funny and zany and girly.  So this is my thank you card to my dearest and most precious of friends.  God's gift to me presented with a big red bow on it.  And let me encourage you that if you are in one of these stages, an isolating period because of young kids or aging parents or other life circumstance, give your spirit a lift and meet your dearest friend for a cup of coffee or a late night dessert.  I'm telling you, it will refill your tank to get you through the next leg of your journey.  I feel like I could go for miles and miles now.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hard Words, Easy Words

This was my birthday weekend.  Fortunately, I had the opportunity to see several friends over the course of the week as part of the celebration.  On one encounter, I heard some hard words.  They were absolutely words I needed to hear to get some fresh perspective on an issue I've really been struggling with this past month, but boy was it tough.  And those hard words settled in my bones for a while and I wrestled with what to take away from it and what behaviours I should adapt as a result of getting this perspective.  Fast on the heels of that incident, came another one.  One with a person who knows me better than anyone in my life that is not family.  She had truly precious soft generous things to say about the same issue that I've been struggling with.  Easy words.  Easy to hear and easy to settle over my soul.  I came away from my encounter with her with a peace and quieter spirit. 

This little episode, in the matter of 24 hours, reminded me how good God is.  I'm not at a place to share my struggles but sufficed to say it has weighed on me tremendously this past month.  And throughout it I likely did not shoulder as much responsibility for the situation as I should have.  So God sent someone to give me some fresh perspective.  Someone to help me realize I needed to manage things differently and own up to some things I'd dodged recently.  But........simultaneously, God knew I'd need someone to be completely (and unrealistically) my unabashed cheerleader.  Someone who would take my side regardless of the situation and love me regardless of some new faults I had just discovered.  The yin and the yang.  The hard and the easy.  God's balance and faithfulness on display. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Over the Mountain

As you might imagine, I hear a fair amount of kids music these days.  We have a little c.d. player (yes, we're not high tech in my house) and a stack of kids music c.d.s covering everything from the alphabet to nursery rhymes.  I've had this one annoying song stuck in my head all week.  It goes something like this (I apologize in advance for my singing):

The bear went over the mountain, the bear went over the mountain, the bear went over the mountain, to see what he could see.
And all that he could see, and all that he could see, was the other side of the mountain, the other side of the mountain, the other side of the mountain........was all that he could see.

Clearly the people that write children's songs are geniuses.  But after hearing this song in my head for several days, the wisdom of the lyrics began to seep in.  Here's a bear that is restless.  Discontented.  He's looking for something new, exciting, different.  So he sets out on a big adventure.  He's going to go to the OTHER SIDE of the mountain.  Maybe it will change his life.  Things could be so much better.  Then he gets there.  To the other side.  To see what he could see.  Turns out, all that was there was the other side of the mountain.  Can't you hear his little bear brain whirring, "Hmmmmmmm, this is just the other side of the SAME dad-gum mountain.  What was the big appeal?  Why was I in such a hurry for this?  It's the same mountain." 

Have you been there?  Are you there today?  Are you fed up with your side of the mountain?  Are you ready to take off to see what you can see?  Leave your job, your marriage, your church, or your friends......  Unsatisfied, unfulfilled, unsettled.  Wouldn't life be better on the other side?  Can't you imagine what must lay JUST on the other side?  Might I offer the wise words of a children's song to you?  When you arrive, it will just be the other side of the same mountain.  Life has a way of working that way.  I know, I've gone on these adventures.  They promise more than they can deliver.  So hang in there.  Say a little prayer.  Take a deep breath.  Reconsider going over the mountain.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Gindi Got Her Groove Back

This weekend was terrible.  Quite frankly, post-kids, three day weekends tend to be challenging, but this was among the worst.  You may have slept in or vacationed or entertained but that doesn't happen around casa-de-Vincent.  Three day weekends while enjoyably providing me with more time with my kids, unfortunately, often coincide with Bray having to travel out of town and inevitably someone (or someones) being sick and submarining whatever fun activities I may have planned.  Well this was such the case, on steroids. 

It got off to a bang on Thursday night with multiple (avert your eyes if you're queasy) episodes of being vomited on by the eldest who apparently caught a bug at school.  (Additionally that evening, the youngest had pooped on me and the aforementioned sickie headbutted me busting my upper lip.)  Friday I woke up feeling pretty crummy too - I didn't throw up but was pretty sure all day long that I would.  Friday evening the baby threw up on me at dinner.  Especially tough when you're solo and sick.  So I emailed my dear girlfriend who I had made lots of fun plans with for the weekend (she is a fellow working mom with young kids and a traveling husband who makes her one of my favorite play date buddies) and sadly cancelled.  I was so bummed at a looming housebound weekend.  Saturday found the eldest throwing up again and me on the phone with my friend so we could at least have a teleconference play date :)  Saturday and Sunday were long on sick boys and a forlorn mommy, although the little lady was an absolutely obedient delight of a child which was fun to watch.  Sunday evening took another terrible turn when we thought I was having an appendicitis  - Bray got home just in the nick of time for me to check myself into the emergency room.  After blood work, CAT-scans, IVs, etc., the diagnosis is "we're not sure."  It could be early onset appendicitis, but unlikely.  Maybe a small tumor (lovely).  Maybe a kidney stone.  The discharge instructions - drink a lot of cranberry juice and go see your doctor (I don't have one mind you, who has the time).  Monday brought more vomiting and a frighteningly high fever spike of 106 in the eldest which had us 10 minutes away from another ER visit (luckily with medicine, ice chips, and baths, it dropped quickly). 

SO WHY ON EARTH IS THIS POST TITLED AS IT IS?  Why did you sit through all of my venting?  Well, for is good.  God is good.  A new day came.  So here's my top 5 list of reasons why I feel victorious today after feeling pummeled this past weekend - from substantive worthy reasons to totally insane superficial reasons:

5.  The dainty dame.  She cracks me up.  She was healthy all weekend so she went to school this morning.  Luckily Bray had today off and took her so I could take Sam to the doctor.  She got her school clothes on and her hair fixed and she put her little back pack on and picked up her lunchbox and posed for pictures - she was so proud of herself and quite excited to be going on her own.  She's Miss Independent.  Bray said she couldn't get her backpack off fast enough at the classroom to go sit down at the play table.  You rock little sister!
4.  The stoic statesman.  He felt terrible.  He'd had virtually no sleep with all his fever treatments last night.  But off he went to the doctor, a little weak and clingy, but with a stiff upper lip.  After the doctor came in and treated him, of which he wasn't a huge fan, he was sitting on my lap facing me while she talked to me.  Then he leaned up and kissed me.  A sweet big smacker.  And smiled.  And did it again.  And once more for good measure.  I am so in love with that precious little one.  (The verdict too was reassuring, the fever was delayed from his MMR vaccine and the throwing up was likely because he wasn't going to the restroom and it had to come out so we got on some meds for that.) 
3.  The weather.  I'm sorry, but if you live in Houston, you were crazy if you were not JUMPING around doing the dance of joy because of the weather this morning after a month of triple digits.  It was gorgeous.  I drove into work with my car windows down loving every minute of it. 
2.  A killer pair of new black Banana Republic pants I'm wearing for the first time.  These suckers are doing things for my figure that I do not deserve after a couple months of backsliding on diet and exercise.  I'm writing someone about these miraculous pants.  I'm not kidding, they're called the Action Jackson. 
1.   A flashback.  I drove into work, mid-morning after doctor's appointment, to little traffic with the windows down and a old favorite rock CD blaring that my brother had given me for a birthday.  My hair, ever growing longer, was blowing as I rocked out, even (gasp) speeding a little.  I drove into downtown feeling a little rebellious with my loud tunes blasting through the streets, killer pants, and Starbucks which wasn't in the budget (I splurged this morning feeling I'd earned one).  I have to tell you, I felt 10 years younger for about 20 minutes.  Incredibly rejuvenating.  I highly recommend. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Deposition Question

In my line of work, I occasionally have to take or defend a deposition.  In a deposition you get to ask the opposing party's witness questions before the case goes to trial to understand what the facts are that support their claims or their defenses.  Some depositions are short, some are long, some are easy, some are hard.  But one of the most interesting parts of a deposition is when you begin to ask the witness about the heart of his claim or defense.  There is always a question you don't WANT to ask.  You know it's going to be a terrible answer for your side because the witness has prepared and knows the best answer (oftentimes) to support his position.  You don't want to ask the question, but you have to because you need to be prepared for what will be said at trial.  You have to know exactly what the answer is going to be even if it's an answer you don't want to hear. 

Have you ever had this moment in life?  Have you ever had this moment in your marriage?  Well, I have.  Something is upsetting my husband and I THINK that it has to do with something I did.  I won't know for sure until I ask the question, but I don't WANT to ask the question because I'm pretty sure I won't like the answer.  So I avoid asking the question for a while.  In the meantime, we walk around avoiding the issue.  Whoever said silence was golden wasn't married - silence isn't always golden.  Sometimes silence is terrible.  Stifling.  So I make myself ask the question.  I might wait until we're in bed and the lights are off so I can put a little bit of a buffer over the answer if it's one I don't like.  I don't have to watch the answer come out of his mouth - I can just hear it and process it.  But sometimes the answer is not AT ALL the one I was avoiding.  The response might be as simple as my poor husband having a terrible day at work, and he had NO IDEA that I was walking around thinking I'd done something wrong (and then I'd lost an opportunity to support him all day because I was too scared to ask).  But, on occasion, the answer is what I was expecting.  And what I was avoiding.  But it is also the truth.  One that must be confronted and discussed and resolved if we want to move past it and make our home a happy place again.  Avoiding it was making it worse.

In a deposition, I always ask the question.  Even if I don't like the answer, it helps me prepare for trial.  It helps me understand more fully the strengths and weaknesses of my case and plan to present the best case possible for my client.  That exact same approach should be used in marriages.  We might not like the answer to the question we ask, but it helps us understand more fully the strengths and weaknesses in our marriage.  Then we can address them and plan the best path forward to improve our our relationship and heal any hurts - or, as we say in my house these days, kiss those boo-boos.