Posts Tagged ‘family’

Roooooadtriiiiippp.

May 23, 2013

I don’t think my sister has wifi. Why should that matter to YOU? Well, by the time you’re reading this, we will be in her flat.

We had always planned to go to ..uh, big capitol city we used to live in, let’s call it Luvdom, this weekend. She is having all of her furniture and everything shipped from Country A and has been in a bare flat with only one plate, knife, and fork for months, which is why she hasn’t wanted us yet. Well, her furniture is yet to arrive, but we were like, shit, dawg, we can camp there. We keep it real with the plastic bags shoved full of our own bedding and inflatable beds. No probs.

Unfortunately her dog is a bit ill, and Blondie needs to take her to the vet Thursday for some medical stuff to be done. At exactly the same time the Country A people will be delivering her shit. So, like the dyke in shining armour I am, we will be driving up to Luvdom Wednesday night after TMD gets home from work. Me and the kids are staying through Monday, while TMD is taking the train back to our city…..PirateTown (they talk like fucking pirates here, really)… Thursday, going to work Friday, then coming back to Luvdom.

I’m happy she’s coming, because directing moving people around a strange flat while keeping two three year olds out of the way would have been a real treat.

Friday Blondie has to work. So we will be visiting her office – let’s just say every kid in the country would KILL for a chance to do so. She works for a very popular and well known gaming company, and kids everywhere are obsessed with collecting all the merchandise, watching the YouTube videos, playing the game, etc. Her office has recently been featured in My Favourite Newspaper/Website as ‘Country B’s coolest office’ or some such thing. It has a slide between levels! And all sorts of other stuff. The kids will love it. And no doubt walk away with all sorts of freebies.

I’m hoping we will see Lady and her gorgeous boys that day as well – she lives in Luvdom, so we don’t often get to meet up. She doesn’t have a blog that I’m aware of, so I’m saying here for the record that she knows of the chicken pox risk and is willing to take it. This is a binding public statement.

Next Tuesday will make it two weeks from two days before Snort came out in spots, which is Coco’s earliest possible exposure. So hopefully she won’t get spots till mid/late next week, but who knows. In theory she could get them Saturday. Unlikely, but there you are.

At any rate, today is packing, oh, epic packing. A trip to the dentist for my still crazy tooth, all the drama from it gives me copious diarrhoea. Then an illicit drive thru trip for tea, changing kids into pajamas, and leaving for Luvdom around 7. You’re reading this sometime after 10 am Thursday, which means through the magic of time travel we will have already had two kids sleep in the car to Luvdom, before waking up and staying up till like 2 am from excitement and recharged sleep batteries. Which means you are reading this as I weep with exhaustion, fake smiling every time the movers look at me.

Catch you on the flip side.

(And lest you think of robbing us, we are not leaving the house empty and devoid of people.)

High tide.

May 21, 2013

beach

Oh, we have the time to see what it feels like for our feet to get sucked into cool, wet mud. We won’t cringe or scream unless we want to, but we won’t….we’ll be too busy laughing and figuring out how to move again. We will be hunkering down to watch sand swirling in perfect circles. We will be standing halfway between dunes and the ocean, in the halfway sort of place that is half land, half water.

And if we wander down to the sea, if we walk that long distance, no one will say no. We can get messy, we can explore, we can try it out. When we fall into the warm, brown water, our clothes will stick to our bodies and show the outlines of all that we are and will become.

We have the chance to watch the tide race in, fifteen feet distant to ten to rising to cover our feet. We usher the water in, it follows us and we stop now and then and let it engulf our toes, calves, knees. The waves are small and unrelenting, they rush us closer to dry sand, to the sandcastles waiting to be built, the sunshine wanting to drench us.

Oh, that water is so warm, so unbelievably warm, and it’s water we’ve never seen so high, the tide usually pulling it so far from our eyes we can only imagine the water at the horizon. But we tried, and we walked far, and we laughed and struggled through the mud. The water rewarded us, following us home like a puppy, lapping at our heels. We watched waves roll in, one after the other, spitting perfect small seashells onto the sand. We marveled at the millions of years that caused the sand, the many, many moments that led us to this spot.

And it was beautiful.

Where I come from.

April 19, 2013

My heritage is in listening to medical stories over dinner. This heart attack, that injury. Words spinning and dancing in the air, describing microwaving blankets to heat the up for boring night shifts. How the full moon makes everyone crazy. What this doctor said to that nurse, and always, the quiet thread of lives she has saved.

My heritage is in music, his stunning ability to sing and play the saxophone and just about any instrument he tried. Long walks in the woods, no place to go, all the time in the world to waste. Board games and letting me put make up on his face.

My heritage is lying in a bed while her older hands lightly trip across my skin, scratching my back and weaving stories together, telling me my future, the future of my sister. Sitting by her kitchen table, eating long johns and cheap hamburgers. Sitting in the dust, feet over water, fishing and listening to the rhythm of the world.

My heritage is in his books, his silences. Reader’s Digest condensed novels handed to me like some people offer seven year olds candy. Big bowls of popcorn, almond praline ice cream. Hose nose shines from my mother’s face, my sister’s.

My heritage, too, lies within myself. Hours alone in the woods, in fantasy worlds, climbing over fences into areas that were off limit. Endless filled notepads, playing with little people on my bookshelf and creating worlds for them, composing music during other empty hours and being absorbed and whole.

Friendship, racism, family.

March 6, 2013

My sister has banned my mother from seeing her Facebook updates for ‘an extended period of time.’ Blondie posted a picture of her with some people she used to work with, who all happen to be in Big City here in Country B (Blondie has just moved here! She’s coming to us next weekend and I can’t wait!). The guys in the picture were not white.

My mom sent her a text message saying to be careful because she and my stepdad saw the picture and think the guys look ‘scary.’ Blondie was understandably pissed and now my mother has lost her most valuable stalking tool.

Mom called me this morning to try to get me on her side, as ‘you are a mother now and you know how I worry!’ I said I thought she was lucky she had daughters who believed most people were good people, regardless of skin colour. Then came five of the most racist, misguided minutes of my life.

I tried to reason with her, but things got more and more surreal. So I switched topic. ‘Hey, we are going to a concert of Ghanian music this afternoon!’ She was like, ‘Awesome, that will be fun!’

Apparently old dogs can learn new tricks. She is now more scared of brownish people than blackish people. I pointed that we are very good friends with people of various skin hues and we love them all. She was quiet.

I am lucky to like people, to have a sister who likes people. I am lucky to have children with brown, pink, black, white friends, who judge people not on skin colour but on who they have the most fun with. I hope that never changes.

I AM ALIVE!!!!

January 4, 2013

This is probably the longest I’ve ever gone without blogging. Here is  my litany of excuses…I mean, updates:

  • Aussie came to stay with her two little ones – Walnut and Travolta. Snort and Coconut were overjoyed to have their friends back, with the addition of a cute baby to fawn over. Since their departure, Walnut and Spiderman play a very big part in bedtime stories, by request. Aussie got sick, as did her kids. Before I realised just how sick she was, I ate some leftovers from a bowl she’d had. That is what Got Me Very Sick. Luckily neither of my kids fell prey.
  • The aforementioned Very Sick.
  • Those Christmas stockings. I’m not sure whether to use ‘fucking’ or ‘amazing’ as the adverb to describe them. I stayed up till 1:30 am on Christmas Eve morning so the kids could get them a day early and their splendor not lost amidst a haze of presents. You guys, they are beautiful. So beautiful that I would seriously have commissioned someone to make us stockings if I saw these as a sample. Don’t get any ideas, though. I’m not about to open a business. But they are perfect, exactly what I wanted, and handstitched to last a lifetime.
  • iPad. Since my sister gave me her hand-me-down iPad in the summer, blogging has taken a bit of a hit for me. Not only because of soul destroying games like Candy Crush Saga, but also because I write longest and best on a real keyboard.
  • Adventures – lots of them. New giant playgrounds, train rides with Santa, museum trips, and on and on and on.
  • Me. When TMD is home, literally all I want to do is lie in bed and read….if I can avoid Candy Crush Saga. I am seriously debating whether something is medically wrong with me, the amount of time I could just lie in bed and luxuriate. However, I am lax to take these wonderings seriously, because I think the only thing I could be diagnosed with is Parenting Young Children (PYC). I hear PYC is a well known and documented creator of exhaustion.

I’m sure I have more excuses tucked away here or there, but largely I’ve had a good few weeks. TMD has been home from work for an extended holiday break – we celebrate Christmas in a purely secular way, for those who wonder, and will probably celebrate Yule next year as well – and it’s been amazing having her home. She’s had a chance to dabble in our daily lives – trips to a cafe for shortbread, children ripping the house apart, etc. I wish we were independently wealthy so she could be here ALL THE TIME.

My other wish is a for a nice, reliable printer. We haven’t had one for a good long while, but as we get further into our home education journey, I realise just how useful one would be. I am also attracted to one that would print photos (though I suppose they all do, nowadays, ye whippersnappers) but only if that is actually cheaper than paying someone else to print them.

Have you all had a nice holiday? Lots of holiday angst…I mean, joy? I sincerely hope so. I know *I* had a great time hanging out with the relatives I just unfriended on facebook, namely because I clearly made my BIL very uncomfortable. I am sad about this. But as TMD says, all we need is an apology and we’re back in business.

In other news, my little sister is moving to Country B (!) possibly this month (!) and while she’ll be in the capitol, she’ll hopefully live on OUR side of it so she’ll be a mere two hours away. Very different from 7,000 miles away! She is a techie sort of gal, so we will be entering the land of more blogging, perhaps. If we aren’t constantly in the capital stalking Lady and her kids and visiting my sister! The kids’ schedule now involves classes of one sort or another on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, which is perhaps not ideal for visits.  We also have a weekly home ed group on Thursdays that lasts all day, but that is totally optional and does not cost six million gazoombas per term.

And one more thing. Our new Wednesday activity is swimming, and we started this week. I don’t know what I expected, but it was not that my children were, in fact, adults. Three of the five kids in the class are totally new to swimming lessons, and so I expected some sort of water confidence build up. But no, lo and behold, we are preschoolers (or preunschoolers, in our case!!), and 3-4 year olds are hardcore. It was one teacher and assistant, no parents required. Swimming laps from the get go. LAPS. I know. They looked so grown up and awesome!

Snort and Coconut were fucking STARS. While I don’t much hold with giving automatic respect to someone just because they are an adult, I did explain that water can be dangerous, which is why you need a grown up helper. I explained their helper would be the swimming teacher, and they listened and followed instructions…and most importantly, just BEAMED the whole time. When they weren’t making their concentration faces, anyway. It couldn’t have gone better, especially as they are by far the youngest in the group, and I look forward to next week.

Coco did swallow a bit of water when she went under, and was not well pleased, so that may be a hiccup. But judging by the amount of imaginative play devoted to swimming lessons since Wednesday, I think we’re okay.

The day our cat fake saved my daughter’s life.

November 16, 2012

I woke up about forty minutes ago. My wife was in the shower, Snort was still sleeping, and Coconut was downstairs. Me? I was lying in bed, luxuriating in the sweet feeling of soft warmth. Then I heard it.

This freaky noise that sounded like baby led weaning gagging. For those who don’t know, the first time you hear baby led weaning gagging, it sounds like OH MY GOD MY BABY IS DYING.

Within a half second, this weird choking sound was followed by the cat going absolutely nuts. Yowling, and I tell you, it sounded like she was calling for help. Of course I imagined that Coconut was choking (and this is what I screamed at a bewildered TMD in the shower – ‘Is someone choking? THERE IS A CHILD CHOKING!’) and the cat was channeling Lassie’s spirit to alert us of this fact.

I’m flailing around, trying to find my glasses, while we run down the stairs. Turns out Coconut was just clearing out her throat six hundred times in a row – something she has never done, so she obviously needed to experiment to find the best technique. These were not human noises, people.

So, I was wrong on one count. On the other, the cat stopped screeching for help the moment we appeared, so perhaps she is more down with health and safety that I previously appreciated. This may bear watching.

Things you SHOULD say.

November 2, 2012

I’m so sorry.
I feel so bad that this has happened.

Any variation of the above is an acceptable thing to say when you have been watching my child and she gets hurt badly enough to need a fucking cast.

She got hurt at gymnastics. I can’t place blame because I wasn’t there, and I suppose it could have happened if I had gone with her, too. But the minimalising it? Not okay.

I looked at her arm, squeezed her wrist a bit. Said if she was still upset in an hour to call me, as we would need to go to the doctor. It didn’t matter that I was in pain, a trip to the doctor with coconut trumps my pain.

I got no call. I blame myself for not checking in, but also sort of assumed things were fine. Till you called three hours later and said my kid had been crying the whole time. For that I do place blame. I heard her sobs in the background and said to bring my kids home, that I would call the doctor. You brought them, helped me take them to the doctor. But you weren’t worried, you didn’t apologise, you acted like she was making the whole thing up.

The doctor said she needed to go to hospital for an x ray. You went with your daughter, my wife, and I sit here now while your husband attempts to put Snort to bed in the midst of fireworks exploding every two minutes.

Coconut needs a cast. She has a bend rather than a break, but she needs a cast. How many hours was she in pain without needing to be? How rough were you with getting her in and out of the car, her carseat restraints, that I did it myself at the doctor’s rather than seeing her cry again?

I feel guilty for not calling. For not insisting she stay with me. But at least she is getting her wrist/arm sorted now, though she’ll be tired and probably scared and definitely missing gym for a few weeks.

I’ll tell you something else, though. I wish TMD had taken the camera to the hospital. Surely this is a moment that could be classed as a milestone. The cast, not the fact that I am going to have to think more carefully about trust and what it means in relation to someone responsible for my kids.

What not to say.

November 2, 2012

So I’m lying on the couch, totally immobile. I’m waiting for you to come help, like you said, at 7:30. At 9:30 my wife calls you, her mother, to find out where you are. When you finally arrive to find me lying on the couch, trying to play with my kids without actually moving, you say,

See, this is why I was worried about you having a third child. You gesture at me, broken. This is why I worried. Because if you were like this and needed me to help, how would I take care of three? I’m getting old. It would be too much work for me. This is why I’m glad you aren’t having another one.

I lay there, holding steady, while another part of me is wounded and raw and curling up to protect myself against your totally selfish and unthinking words. Because who cares if your daughter and her wife are heartbroken, if it saves you a little bit of work?

I don’t say anything like, I know you don’t mean to be hurtful, but I’m still very upset about TMD not being pregnant. Devastated, actually. So your words do hurt me.

Instead I say,’I wouldn’t leave a baby with you anyway. Little babies need their mums. And babies are the easy part. It’s older kids that need you to move around.’

You raise your eyebrows when I say babies are easy. And I remember how hard you found mine, even when multiple adults were around. But I didn’t find them hard. Or a chore.

I laid on the couch, immobile, with two little lovely people cuddled into me. It was a perfect time, a time I cherish, a time I won’t be able to have again….not with my ever growing kids, not with the other child. I feel our family isn’t complete, I feel hurt, I feel like I want to say words to you that you will find so hurtful. But I keep my mouth shut and think about writing it here, writing it for my friends, writing it to capture this raw pain.

And I won’t say this to my children in the future. If their dreams are punctured, their souls tired, I will say, ‘I’m sorry. I love you and I’m sorry this has not worked. Can I do anything to help?’ I may think about me, about the impact their dreams have on my life, but the only words I will ever give to a grieving child will not be about me.

14 st 11, would Mickey approve? Also, I need deadlines in all areas of life. No exaggeration

October 28, 2012

20121028-125232.jpg

This is me, about six years ago on our very belated honeymoon in Disney World. It marks the second time in my life I wore a bikini. The first was when I was about ten. It was a tight hot pink and orange number, and I was on a boat with my family and our friends. I felt uncomfortable and like the thing was going to fall off the whole time. As a teen, I looked back at that picture and remembered viscerally how uncomfortable I felt. I don’t know whether I thought I looked good, or too chunky.

When I look at the above picture, taken on a waterproof crappy camera, I feel a lot. Freedom, sunshine, laughing, bliss. I also think I looked awesome. This trip to Disney happened to mark the end of my eighteen month journey at Weight Watchers. I’d lost fifty four pounds and felt terrific. I bought two different bikinis and felt so confident and happy. We have lots of pictures of us on waterslides and in wave pools and my face just glows in them all.

It is not a coincidence that the trip landed at a time when I had just hit my goal weight (11 st 10). No, I knew the trip was going to happen and I used it as a deadline.

A couple of days ago, my mom brought up the possibility of us all going to Disney next September, which happens to be seven years exactly after the above picture was taken. (How do such large chunks of time pass by?) So once again, I have a trip to Mickey’s Florida home as a deadline, though I am realistic. Last time I lost weight slowly, steadily, and very consistently. I may not have lost every week, but I never gave myself a week off. Never.

A small part of me hates myself for saying I will lose weight by Disney, when I never lost it for having a new baby. A bigger part shrugs, accepting, and says what is done is done and cannot be undone. No point in beating myself up, not when weight loss will require much courage and self love. Hard work.

Last time TMD did all our meals at home, and she often packed me healthy lunches as well. I was working so was not around food all the time. My job also required me to spend a good portion of my day walking through inner city __________, which involved dodging the crowds, speed walking, and a few particularly funky hills. This time I do all the food. I hate cooking, and often feel panic. What will I eat? When will I eat? This is why I reach for convenience foods, because they are so much easier when you are tired and cannot cook.

But it would be nice to have a new swimsuit. Red, I think. It would be nice to have more energy and less aches so I could keep up with the kids as they run around Disney in that hot, hot sun.

This last week I got some very scary news from back home. The sort of news that makes me wonder about trying, again, to figure out how we could possibly navigate the rough waters of immigration and relocation. When I got off the phone, I started eating and did not stop. I could not stop, even when I ended up unpleasantly ass sick as a result. Nothing stopped the eating until the casual mention of Disney, so I latch onto that. Seven or eight months to focus myself on something positive, while quiet worries and the realisation of time passing by try so hard to drag me under.

I have no printer, but really want to find a way to print out the original picture from this post. A few copies. So I can keep looking at it, knowing that no matter how hard it is, I KNOW I can lose this weight because I did it before. The circumstances have changed, but at the core I hope my inner strength and self belief is still there waiting for me and the possibility of a new swimsuit.

Coming to terms.

October 25, 2012

Ever since we brought Snort and Coconut home, I knew I wanted another baby. As our children get older and more independent, I think even more about how nice it would be to have another child or two, and what great siblings Snort and Coconut would make. They are protectors of younger children when we are out and about. Protectors, entertainers, so gentle and warm. I feel like we have cheated them out of the chance to have more siblings.

I keep thinking about adoption. Another lesbian blogger in Country B who plans to home educate decided to adopt a second child, but had to put her first in nursery because apparently you aren’t considered for adoption if you home educate. I need to follow this up. I have also thought about international adoption, but of course it is a minefield because only one of us would adopt – probably not me because I am unemployed – and then the other would have to do a second parent adoption here at home.

Of course, we are STILL waiting for TMD to adopt Snort and Coconut.

I am squeezing the joy out of every day. TMD is totally happy with two children. I am, too, except I would also be totally happy with more. I don’t think it is going to happen. So I appreciate the ones we have every day. Their growing up, the nighttime bike rides which are becoming a ritual, their wild and funny imaginations. We are lucky.

But every time they cradle a doll or talk about babies in tummies, I get a pang.

We are lucky. Lucky to have such caring, empathy filled cheeky monsters I adore. I pour my love on TMD, them, myself. I quietly think of the potential lives we lost this ivf cycle, and the last too, because I have living proof times two that those little embryos can become great things.


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