Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Happy Sad Day

Hi All
Today is the 9th anniversary of the death of my mom.
I used to always take this day off of work. My sisters and I made a casual pact with each other we would honor the day by indulging in pampering activities: manicures, facials, massages--the kinds of things our mom never did for herself. I guess it's our way of acknowledging what her death taught us: Life is short. Enjoy it. But today, today I had too much to do at work. Today, Greg is in pain from a possible hernia, maybe pulled muscle. Today my house is a mess, deer ate all my roses and the state is after me for money from my maternity/recovering from cancer leave that I don't even owe them--a fact I have established multiple times on the phone with state employees--but none of them thought to tell the automated machine which spits out weekly collection notices and confiscates tax returns. Today marks a full week that Frida hasn't had a proper walk--the kind that leaves her panting, too tired to bark at the raccoons and other wildlife making noise in the creek behind our house. Today, well today I forgot.

I forgot until I pulled in to Fairfax to drop Sadie off at daycare, which makes me think of my dad, because that's where he works, and then I thought of my mom and then I remembered. So, I stopped by his work to give him a hug and as he waved to Sadie and blew me a kiss goodbye, he said, 'Happy Sad Day' and I thought it was funny. Not funny ha ha, but funny, makes you ponder things way. I mean really. What do you say on the day of someone's death? It's acknowledged like a birthday, an anniversary, but without the celebration-without the joy. It's just a dud day. A yuck day. A death day.

I can't believe it's been nine years. I still think she's home right now, on this hot night, wearing one of her Guatemalan sundresses doing paperwork in her office, talking on the phone with one of her sisters, or doula friends, or a lady in labor, doodling in her address book, puttering about the kitchen doing dishes, flipping through the newspaper on the dining room table, cutting out articles on organic gardening. That's what she should be doing. But she's not. And we are all here. Me, my sisters and my dad. And we are without her. And I have this baby. This little Sadie baby who has no idea who her grandmother is. Was. No idea what she has missed out on. And there is nothing I can do to fill that void in her life, the void she doesn't even know she has. The funny thing is that Sadie is filling my void. Bringing me closer to my mom by simply existing and making me a mother. It just sucks my mom isn't here to benefit it from it. To hear me say, 'Ah, now I understand it all'. Because I do. I really do.

When I got to work, I made a list. I told myself, get through these things without crying and feeling too sorry for yourself to function and then you can go. And that's what I did.

I went and I picked up Sadie at daycare. Little Sadie who has no idea what this day means or why she got woken up from her afternoon nap and wasn't going to go play outside with Cailyn, Aidan, Oliver and Gianna and instead was being shoved in her car seat on this hot afternoon and then thrown in to her stroller and, along with her Tia Nina and cousin Amara, pushed up a hill to a rock along side a fire road over looking all of San Anselmo and Mount Tamalpais with my girlhood home directly below.

Or why her Mom and Tia Nina started yelling YAAAAaaarrrrk at the top of their lungs, and their Grandpa Sam responded from way below (only a few people who lived with us on the Farm in Tennessee will know why we did that) or why we took a bunch of pictures of her and her cousin on this special rock, a rock being used by lizards to catch some later afternoon rays.

Or finally why, when we stopped by to say Hi to Grandpa Sam, he had teary eyes and couldn't stop saying how grateful he was to see her, to see Amara, to see me, and Nina. How grateful he was we came to visit, that we stayed to swim in the pool in his backyard even though it was dinner time, with bed time not too far off. That we were with him, there at that house, where she should be, but isn't....But is. In them, these little girls, in a way, in a cliche way, she is.

What Sadie and Amara didn't know while they splashed about in the water, and petted my dad's cats, and played with his silly stuffed red gorilla that sings the blues if you press a button on his hand and who they both insist is Elmo, that on this day, this sad day, it was a bit happy, because of them.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sadie Walks! And so far, it Sucks.

Hi All
Yeah, so it's all true. When they say don't push your crawler to toddle because a world of hurt opens up, they aren't lying. And the hurt isn't always just felt by the kid. Well maybe the literal hurt is, but the psychological is a whole other story.

Sadie had only been walking (really walking, not that crawl, stand, drop, couch surfing, but serious from one end of the room to the other walking) for a few days when she fell on the corner of my neighbor Linda's coffee table. Already used to the sudden backwards collapse to her butt, I didn't take much notice until I saw red. As in blood. A lot of blood. Gushing from her nose. I grabbed her and we laid her down on the counter in the kitchen and all I could say over and over again was, 'It's bad. It's really bad. It's bad. Really bad'. Linda only lives two houses down so I grabbed screaming Sadie and ran to my car with Linda trailing me. I was shaking as I handed her over to get my keys from the house and an ice pack and cloth to sop up the blood. Linda was smart enough to grab a sippy cup, a diaper and her sweater. We put her in the car and headed out. By then she had stopped crying, but she was dazed and I could see a serious split above her lip, right beneath her nose. We drove to the Woodacre Fire Department and had five firemen surround us within minutes (firemen are always the nicest guys). An amazingly calm (was it shock?) Sadie erupted in to new screams when one of them reached a gloved hand towards her face to make sure she still had all her teeth which answered that question pretty quickly. I turned in to a puddle too when I had to recount what happened to a lady with a clipboard. Everyone agreed she needed stitches so we went to Marin General.

What a nightmare. The waiting. The keeping her entertained with the fish tank, crappy crackers and non-organic (the horror) milk from the vending machine. The stupid moms who allowed their toddlers to interact with Sadie without telling me they were there because their kids had high fevers--if I hadn't asked I never would have known. Jeez.

However, that was nothing compared to watching a 16 month old get stitches. First of all, I had to keep a band-aid soaked in some sort of numbing (but stinging) solution on her lip for FIFTEEN minutes. To Sadie, and too me, and to the other sick (migraine lady, mountain bike accident lady, car accident teenage boy) patients in the room listening to her wail, it was ETERNITY. I have never done so many animal noise imitations, funny faces and silly dances in my life. Rocking her while pacing was a good distraction but there was some sort of drunk driving situation and police were everywhere and so they made me stay in the room.
Then the stitches. They tightly wrapped my puffy faced exhausted kid in a sheet, like a burrito, with just her red, freaked out face peeking out. Then they laid a sterile towel over her face with just a hole for her mouth--which was the worst kind of torture because Sadie can't even stand it when a shirt lingers over her head a bit too long while getting changed--and then they shot the wound directly with a needle to numb it and sewed her up--and the whole time she is screaming, 'Momma Momma Momma Momma!', and all I can do is hold her and tell her it's going to be OK and do my best to ignore this instinct telling me to whack the cavalier, calm as can be, seen it all, this is no big deal ER doctor across the face for coming near my kid with anything sharper than a crayon, grab my kid and get the hell out of there. He kept telling me she couldn't feel a thing, yet every time that fish hook looking needle pierced her tender baby skin she let out another wail and I had to fight the urge to push him back against the wall.
Ok, so thank GOD Linda was with me. Greg was in the East Bay at a meeting and walked in right when it was all over (which is a probably a good thing--I mean if I was wanting to whack and punch that doctor, who knows what poppa bear Greg would have wanted to do). He barely recognized her swollen from crying face.

But here's the thing--right after it was done, I was so grateful. Because it was so awful, because it felt like an eternity watching my child get two (yeah, a measly two) stitches, I thought of the moms out there like my friend Amber whose daughter had open heart surgery when she was just three months old ( I think, maybe older, but still a little baby!). Moms whose kids have cancer, break bones, lose limbs in tragic accidents, have incurable illnesses, who are premature and hooked up to machines for months, unable to be held, soothed and nursed. I am so grateful that it was just those two little stitches.

Now all I do is watch over Sadie like a hawk as she blunders about like a baby monkey, with protruding belly, arms up and out for balance, scooping her up if she shows just a hint of faltering. Oh how I miss my little crawly baby. My safe little low to the ground bug.

The stitches came out on Tuesday.

Here she is post doctor visit, roaming about the courtyard, which I wish wasn't made of bricks but soft, silk covered, marshmallow tender cotton balls.


Monday, June 1, 2009

I can't help it..

I must post this. If you don't at least chuckle a little bit during this then I don't know what to think about you...you, whoever you are. This song is my go to Karaoke song, when I do Karaoke, which has been maybe three times in my life. Anyway, it's the ultimate 80s ballad and whenever I hear it I am in grammar school again, wearing jelly sandals and Esprit sweat shirts. Now though, when I hear it, I'll burst out laughing thinking of the below video. I laughed so hard my face hurts.