things that:

Things that can level me in seconds flat:

1. Learning through social media that our friend who is due at the same time we were due had her mid-pregnancy ultrasound and her little boy is about to have a baby sister. It doesn’t matter that this isn’t personal. Or that I’m a good person who wants happiness for my friends. I wish it did, but it doesn’t. There’s just: nausea, an inability to breathe.

2. Seeing my father’s new grave marker in a text message my sister sent me (on Father’s Day). Seeing his name on a stone. Birth date. Death date. Finality. Nausea. An inability to breath.

Things that bring me joy:

1. The new game B plays at bedtime. We’re together in his new toddler bed (small mattress pushed snuggly between our bed and the wall, where B spends around a third of his nights these days). He’s giggly and cuddly and sweet. He’s had lots of stories. Lots of milk. He takes my mama-sized hand and holds it in his tiny ones. He pulls something invisible from my palm, something only he can see, with his thumb and pointer finger. He puts that invisible thing into his ear with a twisting motion, his face serious and focused. He does this again and again. Sometimes, he takes something out of his mouth with the same motion and puts it into that same spot on the palm of my hand. At some point, he becomes satisfied. He smiles. He falls asleep soon after. He does this every night right now.

2. The romantic night away that J planned for September, an absolute surprise, a birthday gift that she couldn’t keep secret. A B&B. Massages. A concert. Farm-to-fork dinner. One lovely night. My romantic wife.

3. It was Pomo’s Day yesterday. We celebrated J in style (by bowling, of course). We went with wonderful friends. With the help of a purple dinosaur, B bowled a 94. I bowled a 35. :) Together with J’s mom, B and I got her a robozo to use at her many upcoming births. It was a sweet day to celebrate our wonderful love.

4. We were in our backyard with new friends a couple of weeks ago, and B kept bringing little pebbles (glorified gravel) to everyone except me. I teased him: “Bug, doesn’t mama get a pebble?,” but nothing. Then, after some time digging, he walked up to me with a smile on his face and put something in my hand. Only it wasn’t a pebble. I swear to the gods, it was a polished, perfect, oval-shaped piece of quartz. I’m making it into a necklace. It’s the first object-gift my son ever gave me. It is the most perfect stone I’ve ever seen of course.

5. My mom and Aunt Nancy got me a new nose stud for graduation: an opal set in gold. It is beautiful. And also: I got a nose ring for getting my PhD. That’s standard, right? Like giving law school graduates a briefcase? I love my family.

6. That same aunt got B a John Deere baseball cap, his first baseball cap. Seriously.

7. I also got my very own royal blue regalia from my father-in-law. Is regalia close enough to Hogwarts faculty robes that I can pretend I’m there whenever I wear it? Because I’m going to do that anyway.

8. This kid…

Who plays with chalk in our driveway with his pomo:

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Who rides a bike passed down to us from my dissertation director’s kid:

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Who plays a purple guitar from his bubbie on a park bench:

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Things that confuse me:

1. What to do next. Do we wait for adoption to maybe come through (knowing that we’ll have to fundraise even if we do get chosen… if we even can fundraise enough)? For Foster Care to maybe come through? Do we inseminate J again next month (and again and again until it works)? Do we just stop trying for awhile and accept that our kids won’t be all that close in age? We really really don’t want to do that. This will be our fifth attempt at bringing a child into our family. Sometimes confusion is born of weariness.

Things that make me hopeful:

1. I got another class, this time at J’s small liberal arts college. I’ll be teaching three classes in the fall. This + applications feels daunting, but still: me back in the classroom. That is good.

2. Having felt just not quite right about any of the possible childcare centers in the area, I’ve been working on a childcare co-op with a handful of other mamas. If it works, B will have three or so friends that he gets to play with regularly, and I’ll have eight hours of childcare in the fall for watching two other little ones for four hours total. Community. Connection. Reaching out. But also: keeping things close. I’m intimidated to take what is full-time work without anything close to full-time care, but I’m committed to making it work. I’m hopeful. It feels like the most.right option.

3. J goes down to half-time hours for all of July and August. That is some family time that this family could use.

Things that brought me pleasure today:

1. The smoothie J made us all for breakfast.

2. Iced coffee.

3. A walk with friends and a play date with the potential co-op families.

4. A loving e-mail from my wife.

5. Lots of impromptu smooches and snuggles from my boy.

6. Iced Earl Grey, and keeping it coming.

7. The time and space to write these things down.

8. Knowing how to center myself after the stuff at the start of this post. And knowing how many years of hard work that knowledge took to show up. And feeling proud of that work.

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7 thoughts on “things that:

  1. Dear R, I needed to hear your grounding voice this afternoon. Thanks for your good words. And yes, you should feel mighty proud of that hard work.

  2. You are strong. So so strong. Thank you for sharing the hard stuff, the good stuff, the confusing stuff and the great stuff with us. I love the idea of a co-op and am eager to hear how it all works out. Hug that little one extra tight tonight!

  3. Iced earl gray is something that I never thought of but which is going to transform my summer. Thank you. Things are moving in the right direction, ever so slowly, but surely, it seems.

  4. I’m glad to see the positives outweighing the negatives. I have more to say, but am terribly sleep deprived after spending half the night awake with a sick babe. All the best.

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