Category Archives: Uncategorized

Intertwined

At church on Tuesday, I listened as my parents chatted with two old friends about how all of their children had grown up together.  We’re all adults now.  One of them, who had taught at the nursery school my brother and I went to, had been one of my colleagues during my brief stint as a classroom teacher.  We were there to celebrate the life of another woman who would have joined the conversation.  We were there to support two women who, like me, were once the children of which they spoke.

I’ve talked about Paula before.  I don’t remember when I first met her and her sister.  Laura and Paula were just always there.  Girls we went to church with.  As my brother and I got older, they became girls we did theatre with.  Girls we went to KAMSC with.  Women we were friends with.

Then Sofia died.  Then Sebastian died.  And our lives changed completely.  A simple school friendship became a deep understanding of each others’ hearts and minds.  Shoulders to lean on.  Ears to bend.  Most reliable confidants.

Paula and I tentatively announced our next pregnancies to each other with the relief to learn we were both again in the same place.  We continue to check in regularly.  Sometimes in the broader support group that includes our dear Joanna who is approaching the second anniversary of her Gabriel.  Sometimes just the two of us, especially when Joanna’s grief was fresh and the wound in her heart a mere scab and not yet a scar.

We see each other more frequently than we did in the years between high school and Sofia and Sebastian.  We make it a point to see each other.  To talk.  To maintain the connection.

It wasn’t public knowledge.  But Paula let me know that her mom was not doing well.  Last week I had a dream.  I think it was Wednesday night, but it might have been a bit earlier in the week than that.  For some reason we were all at her parents’ house.  Paula and Laura and their dad and my parents and me…  And in walked Carol.  She was healthier than we had seen her in years.

“We weren’t expecting you!” we exclaimed.  “The last thing we knew you were in hospice!”

On Friday, Laura posted a link to the obituary.

If I did have that dream on Wednesday, it was after Carol had died.  Paula had a dream that night, too.  It wasn’t quite the same as mine.  It was more motherly, as it should be.

Somehow, all of those children of which my parents and their friends spoke have grown up.  We’ve started to shift generations.  I’m not sure any of us are ever ready.  But we’re here for each other and we always will be.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Sentences I Never Thought I’d Say

This post is brought to you by this “stress nurse” that I picked up at a conference.  She didn’t look like this when I got her. I didn’t see the accident, so I’m not sure what happened…

  1. Oh, no, honey, we can’t put the nurse’s head back on.
  2. Are you bringing the nurse with us?
  3. Okay, I have the head and you have the body.
  4. Where’s the nurse’s head?
  5. Really, we can’t put her head back on.
  6. I’m going to put the nurse’s head here in your cup holder.
  7. Do you have the nurse’s head?
  8. What’s wrong?  Did you lose the nurse’s head?
  9. Do we have everything?  Lambie?  Burp cloth?  Nurse’s body?  Nurse’s head?

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Catching Up

  1. Anna turned two last week.  And she talks and sings and has just about mastered the art of jumping.  She’s still working on landing.  Either that or else it’s just fun to land on one’s bottom.  She laughs hysterically when she does.
  2. One of the things that I’ve looked forward to is silent sustained reading.  I didn’t expect it to happen quite so soon.  Yes, frequently bedtime stories go like this:  Anna hands me a book and says, “Here. Read this.”  Then she sits down and picks up another book.  “Should I read it out loud or to myself?” I ask.  “To yourself,” she responds.  Then she hands me another book and another and another.  Not to read to her.  To read to myself.
  3. I’ve been knitting a lot of pussyhats.  I’m looking forward to knitting something that’s not a pussyhat.  I’m sure it will feel weird.  I’ve been knitting on size 13s.  I rarely use needles that large.  The 1s that my new mittens will be knit on are going to feel so tiny!
  4. The National Day Without Women is next Wednesday (3/8).  All women are asked to refrain from both paid and unpaid labor.  Wear red (in any amount – a shirt, a piece of jewelry, a pair of socks, ruby slippers).  If you must participate in labor, try to frequent women- or minority-owned businesses.  As a single mother, this is a little awkward.  If I strike from unpaid labor, the only person I hurt is my two-year-old.  And given the work that I do, the only person I really hurt by striking from my paid labor is myself.  However, I have asked my childcare provider if keeping Anna home from school that day will support her teachers’ desire to strike.  (She’s checking and will let me know.)  And while I probably will go to work that day, I plan to leave my phone unanswered and my email unread.  I hope you’ll join me to the best of your ability in showing the contribution women make on a daily basis.  I know it won’t be as amazing as when the women of Iceland went on strike, but I’m hopeful that we can make an impact that day.
  5. My mom’s birthday was last week.  It was the same day as Anna’s 24-month well-child visit, and I took the day off so that my mom and I could play after Anna’s appointment.  One of the things we decided to do was go bra shopping.  We went to Mastec to see if they still had bras for hard-to-fit women.  They don’t for the simple reason that they closed.  Back in November.  Yes, their website is still active.  But they’re closed.  But when we got up to the door, my mom saw that another boutique had left business cards.  She tried to call while I pulled up a map on my phone*.  It’s five minutes from where I live.  It’s called Beautifully Unique, and it is a lovely place to shop.  Like Mastec, they fit women who are post-mastectomy as well as women who are hard to fit.  They have a huge selection of standard sized bras and are working on being able to do special orders.  (They’ve only been open for about a year.)  I walked out in a 34K that’s almost perfect.  The underwire is just a bit too high in the front and scratches a little as the day wears on.  But the rest of it fits so well that I haven’t worn a different bra since I bought it.  So Mastec may be closed, but there’s an even better place to shop that’s still in Kalamazoo.

*When we got home, we discovered there was a map printed on the back of the business card.  Yep.  We’re good readers.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

When I Wasn’t Paying Attention

I’ve been waiting for three months to write this post.  I didn’t want to jinx anything.

And before you get excited for the wrong reasons, no, I’m not pregnant.  God, no!  I’m never doing that again.  As you may recall, my body and pregnancy are not friends.

Something happened over the past decade or so.  I don’t know how it happened.  I wasn’t really trying for it to happen.  I was just here, doing my job.  And then this fall, my boss and I started talking.  He’s my dad’s age.  He’d like to retire at some point.  And there’s really no advancement left for me… Except for, well, his job.

Wait, what?  I’m thinking about applying to replace him when he retires?  Yeah.  Surprised me, too.  But since we’re planning to expand our accreditation, there’s no reason the head of our program has to be a physician.

There’s just one problem with us convincing the dean to promote me when the time comes.  We work in higher education.  I have a BA.  Sure, I’m a CHCP, which is the primary credential for people who work in healthcare CE.  But that’s not a degree.  Academia is picky about those initials after your name.  So I did the only logical thing:  I applied to grad school.  And yesterday I got my acceptance letter.  I start classes in the fall and in two years, I’ll be able to add the initials MPH (master of public health) after my name.

Yeah, it’s a little crazy.  I’ll still be working full time.  And I’m still a single mother.  And I’ll technically be a full-time grad student.  Village People, I’m probably going to need you!

‘Cause when I wasn’t paying attention, I somehow wound up with a career.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Holiday Parade

Today was the annual holiday parade.  We didn’t go last year because it was cold and Anna wasn’t going to remember it anyway.  We all went this year.  Anna, me, my dad, and my mom.

Now you have to understand that my mom doesn’t really do parades.  She likes the marching bands, but that’s about it.  So when I was growing up, my dad was always the one to take my brother and me to the parade* (or most parades for that matter).  And we discussed and debated about her coming.  Since the parade was always a special Daddy thing, we all kind of want it to be a special Anna-and-Gpa(-and-maybe-Mamma) thing, too.  But she still isn’t really going to remember this year, so we all, including my mom (who doesn’t really do parades but kind of wanted to see Anna at her first holiday parade), agreed that we all should go.

And it was cold, but not too cold.  And we found a sunny spot not to far from the beginning of the route.  Anna watched it intently.  She pointed out the snowmen, but other than that, it was hard to tell whether or not she was enjoying herself.  Until it was over.  When she didn’t want to leave.  She would have stayed sitting on the curb watching the cars go by if we’d told her they were part of the parade.

As for me?  It was unexpectedly cathartic.  When the WMU band marched by, playing their fight song, I started to cry.  I don’t know why that was my trigger.  It seemed like the entire city was out.  We were a community together.  Different colors, ages, faiths, all reveling in the same joy.

I cried a little on Wednesday.  Today I wept.

*Those things you learn when you’ve grown up.  When I was a kid, it was the Gilmore’s Holiday Parade.  My dad worked at Gilmore’s, and he worked the parade every year.  He wasn’t in it.  He worked at the staging area.  I don’t remember this.  At all.  I have vague recollections of going to the staging area once, but I think that was after the parade.  But my mom never took us to the parade.  It was something we did with my dad.  So, yeah, while waiting for the parade to start, my mom called my brother to see what he remembered about going to the parade when we were kids.  We think we figured it out.  Daddy and Matt left early and went to staging.  Mommy must have dropped me off a bit later.  But this still means my dad took at least one of us to work every year as part of taking us to the parade.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

First Citizen

The first president I can remember is Ronald Reagan.  But he wasn’t president when I was born.  Jimmy Carter was.  I’m saddened today to think that the first president my daughter will remember is Donald Trump.  But I’m glad that I’ll be able to remind her that the president when she was born was Barack Obama.

The classicist in me can’t help but look back.  We compare ourselves to Rome and Greece.  We are not an Athenian democracy.  Our government is much closer to that of the Roman Republic.  People tend to focus on the fall of the Roman Empire, but we should think about how the Roman Republic fell.  Augustus Caesar did not call himself “emperor”.  He was the First Citizen.  The Roman Republic didn’t fall in glory.  It was chipped away at until the Senate did not have enough power to override the decisions of the First Citizen.  Why was Julius Caesar murdered by members of the Senate?  To protect their power.

Do not read that wrong.  We are better than Ancient Rome.  We can use the lessons of their history.  We can encourage our legislative branch to act as the check on the executive branch our founders designed them to be.

Yes, today I weep.  Today I mourn for the world my daughter is growing up in.  Today I am sad that half of my country voted to return to a glorious past that didn’t exist for the other half of my country.

And tomorrow?  Tomorrow I will stand up and continue to do what I can to make at least my corner of the world a better place.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Truth

You may have heard that there’s an election tomorrow.  Unless you’ve been living…  I don’t know where.  I suspect that even people in caves or under rocks are aware that there’s an election tomorrow.  And I say this every time there’s an election.  Go.  Vote.  I don’t care who you’re voting for.  Just do it.  Exercise your right to vote.

But that’s not completely true.

I do care who you’re voting for.  Of course I do.  I want the candidates I’m voting for to win.  (And you can probably guess which candidates those are.)

I’m not saying I want you to tell me.  Unless you really want to tell me.  We have a secret ballot.  Who you choose to vote for isn’t my business.  But of course I care.  I have strong opinions about the purpose of government.  In general, one candidate represents my opinions and the other doesn’t.  So I don’t really want you to vote for the other one.

But even if you’re going to vote for someone else.  Even if I don’t agree with your politics, I still think you should vote.

Even if you don’t want to vote for either of them, I still think you should show up to the polls.  You can leave that part of your ballot blank.  There’s a lot more going on this election that what’s at the top of the ballot.

There’s still time.  This election, I highly recommend Google for finding out about the people on your ballot.  I picked up the League of Women Voters non-partisan guide at the library, but I still had to Google in order to find info about the local library board and school board candidates.

The election is tomorrow.  I hope all of you who are eligible go and vote.  I’ll be at the polls* once I drop Anna off at school.

*Wearing white.  In case you haven’t figured out my politics by now.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized