Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Is almost upon us.

Thankgiving is my favorite holiday. Christmas, for many years, was a big source of stress for me. Because I was alone. On Thanksgiving - my family would all gather together - for many years at my mom's house - or one of my sisters - we would all be together, my mom, me, my two sisters and their husbands, and their numerous kids. I did not get married until I was 32 - and so when Christmas rolled around - my oldest sister and her children were at her in-laws house. My second oldest sister was out of town and usually at her in-laws house with her kids as well. My mom was very busy with church on Christmas Eve and Christmas - and for a while there - busy with her second husband's family (until they got divorced.) And I was - alone.

I never actually stayed home alone - I don't think. I usually foisted myself off on somebody - my in town sister and her in-laws (where I felt out of place - why am I my sister's in-laws on Christmas Eve?) ... or I'd be with my mom and her husbands' family ... one year I actually flew to Los Angeles with a friend and stayed in the Georgian Hotel in Santa Monica for Christmas. I can't remember what we actually did on Christmas Day though. Maybe that was the day we flew out. Anyway - I pretty much dreaded Christmas. But I have always loved Thanksgiving.

Last year though - we pretty much skipped Thanksgiving. I was a hot post-partum mess - with scabby, bleeding nips from my ill fated breastfeeding adventure ... Jack was a week and a half old and losing weight (and would soon end up in the hospital diagnosed as failure to thrive) ... I was so stressed out and exhausted. I stayed home and nursed my anxiety and attempted to nurse my (literally) starving child and cried and someone brought us turkey later in the day.

So last year sucked.

Far worse than my breastfeeding misadventures though - was the October death of my nephew, David. A month before I gave birth - my nephew took his own life. He was 15 - and he climbed up a tree in the woods near his house - put a rope around his neck - and jumped. He was found a day later. My sister, his mother, was still pretty much in shock when Thanksgiving rolled around last year. I think it takes a long time to register that your child is not just at a friends house or temporarily absent somehow - but truly has died and is never coming back. I still don't think I've really dealt with David's death. I was in the middle of welcoming a new life - and I don't think I really have ever wrapped my mind around it, to be honest. And so this year will be somewhat somber as well, because this year, my sister does know that David is gone - lost to suicide - a suicide that no one predicted, that he never threatened, and that rocked his family to its core. David left his mother, father, 4 brothers and a sister behind.

November is also the month that my other sister's husband died. Four years ago, on November 9, from an accidental drug overdose, at age 39. Leaving behind my sister, a son, two daughters, and a pile of debt. That son, my nephew, struggles now with a serious anxiety disorder and may be bipolar. At 22 years old, he spends most of his time at home, in his room, cannot work, but refuses to go on disability - "welfare" - as he calls it. My sister is chronically depressed, and approaches life - and problems - with a lethargy that alternates frustrates and angers me -- and makes me sad. She and her children get by on very little money, and are always struggling to make ends meet. Her youngest daughter, now in second grade, is also anxious -- her oldest daughter, 16 -- doing fairly well -- but not as well as she would be if her father hadn't become addicted to drugs - died - and left behind a mother who is literally crippled by her own depression and fear.

But with November - comes my son's birthday. And Thanksgiving. And though I have tears in my eyes as I type this - I am thankful. I am thankful for my beautiful son. I am thankful for his November birthday - a light in what could be a dark season for all of us, year after year. I am thankful that all of us will be together this year - at my home - and though it will not be perfect, and there will be sadness - there will also be laughter, and good food, and we will manage to have some fun.

Life is hard. Harder for some than others. Savor every beautiful moment you are graced with - and eat as much as you want this Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

How Did This Year Go So Fast?

Almost one year old. Impossible.

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Slow down little man.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Oh. Um .. hi.

It is pathetic - PATHETIC! - that it has been this long since I last blogged. So let's catch up!

I left off thinking Jack's helmet would be off in early August. Nope - mid-September! And his head is still not perfect - but we definitely achieved some correction. I am a spaz though - and lately (a month and a half out of the helmet) I find myself focusing on some of the facial asymmetry that I literally DID NOT SEE before - a slightly fuller right cheek ... the remains of the forehead bulge ... to the point where last week I felt panicky wondering if his head was regressing ... if the helmet did not do what it should have ... if we took him out of it too soon (we had too though - one of the helmet "sideburns" was starting to press into his face.) I talked it over with the specialist at Children's Hospital - she was mildly helpful. I'm taking him in for another scan at the orthotist's office next week. Just to see. I really hope she scans him and says "you're crazy, his head looks better than ever." Because if she says "hmm. Yeah. There does seem to be some regression" - I don't know what I'll do. I really don't. Ugh. It never ends.

In other news ... head and face imperfections notwithstanding - Jack - is beautiful. (Maybe that's why I obsess - he is such a beautiful child - I just don't want him to ever have to worry about a cranial-facial deformity that never should have happened in the first place. OK deformity is a dramatic word but I don't know what else fits.) Hospitals should educate new moms and dads about PLAGIOCEPHALY - not just say "do tummy time!" That means nothing. There should be clear instructions to alternate the side of the head your baby sleeps on - EVERY NIGHT. The whole thing pisses me off. If we ever have another baby (and that's another topic for another post) you can bet your ass I'll be more on top of it. Plus everything else that "went wrong" with my fledgling attempt at motherhood. Don't get me wrong - I am blessed with the best baby in the world - he is beautiful, sweet, not fussy - I am so lucky. And I know I'm a good mom - and I know that every mom has to figure these things out as she goes. People can only tell you so much - most of it - you just have to make up as you go. And then you understand how it all works. Like many things in life!

OK .. so that no one is alarmed and thinks poor Jack has a big weird bulbous head now or a deformed face .. here is my beautiful baby boy - just 2 weeks away from turning one (which is equal parts wonderful - and awful. How did it happen SO FREAKING FAST???) I want another one.

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And because I haven't posted in so long .. here's a few from our August beach trip as well!

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