heartcare

My post for The Red Dress Club is at Exploded Moments today.  It’s about a memory involving a game.

**************

My summer was slipping by.

I was stuck in the house day in and day out with a colicky infant.  People were doing things and having fun and relaxing their summers away, and I was crying all the time.

I wanted to get away from my child, but I didn’t want to.

I wanted to love him and snuggle him and have wonderful days.

But I also wanted to run out the front door because my head wouldn’t stop pounding from his screams.

He never slept by himself.  He always had to be held.

I couldn’t get anything done.

I had postpartum depression and didn’t know it.

*************

The plan was that Eddie would go to daycare full time when I went back to work in the fall, but that he would go maybe a half day or a day a week for a couple weeks before that just so he (and I) could get used to the daycare routine.

Notice I said “plan” and “was”?

Yeah.  We should have learned by now that when we make life plans?  They rarely go our way.

And my plan to love every minute of being home with my little boy?  Definitely didn’t pan out the way I thought it would.

Cort convinced me to call our daycare provider and see if she could take Eddie for a half day, one day a week.  Just to give me a break.

She said yes.

It was a relief and a terror at the same time.

I had never left my baby with anyone other than family–and at that point not even many of them had been left alone with him.

As much as I wanted to get away, I couldn’t imagine my baby being somewhere without me.

The day I left Eddie for the first time, I couldn’t even stay and chat.  I must have looked like I was in a huge hurry, but really I was racing against my tears.

They began to fall before I even got back in my car.

And I started to ugly cry as I realized I had run out so fast I hadn’t even kissed him goodbye.

That afternoon my house got cleaned from top to bottom for the first time in months.  And I took a shower.  Before 6pm.

It was wonderful.

*************

Miss Amy has been a friend of mine for years.  She and I scrapbook together which means we have gone through pregnancies (mostly hers) and breakups (mostly mine) and laughed until we cried.  Plus she lives about 4.5 minutes from my house.  And that is just because I have to leave my subdivision to get to hers.  If I walked though the woods from my front yard to her backyard?  It would probably only take about 2.5 minutes.

She is loving and caring and wonderful.

She was the only person I ever wanted as a daycare provider, and when we got pregnant with Eddie, she didn’t have any openings.

Her license only allows her to take six children at a time and she was booked solid.

I refused to worry about it.  I knew something would come up and it would work out.  And honestly?  I had no idea that it would be so hard to leave my baby.  I was a clueless first time mom who had a rosey outlook on everything.

I remember being so excited when Miss Amy emailed us to tell us that she was losing a couple kids due to moving and other things and that if we wanted a spot for Eddie full time, it was ours.

There was squee-ing involved.

And we thought our world was perfect.

Then I had PPD.

But she was there for me.

Then Cort lost his job.

But she was there for us and let Eddie continue to come once a week, keeping a spot for him in case Cort found work.

And then Cort found work.

And we thought our world was perfect again.

*************

I never knew that leaving your child with someone else is like leaving a piece of your heart behind.

That first day that I left Eddie with Amy I cried of a broken heart.

She had part of it in her arms, and I could feel that.

Even now, when I am at work, she holds that piece of my heart safe all day.  She nurtures him and loves him like her own.  He said “Ahh ee” before he said “maa maa”.

It hurts less knowing that piece is being cared for, but it’s still an ache until I see him again at the end of the day.

But I always trust that when I get that piece of my heart back?  It will be in better shape than I left it.

*************

This weekend we got the news that next fall Amy won’t be able to take Eddie anymore.

There are lots of circumstances that I won’t go into, but with Eddie, she will exceed her six children limit.

We totally understand that she has to do this.

We know she is broken up about losing her little buddy.

I wish I could say that because I logically understand and know we will find something else, I feel fine about the whole thing.

But I don’t.

I cried ugly tears again last night at the thought of letting someone new hold a piece of my heart.

I buried my face in my pillow trying not to imagine my little boy meeting new people, learning new rules, and trying to nap in an unfamiliar place.

I know he will adapt.

He is braver and stronger than I am.

I just wish I could explain to him.  I wish I could make him understand and prepare him.

He is my heart.

How do I prepare my heart for this change?

*************

My dearest readers, Amy reads my blog.  And while I don’t believe any of you would say cruel things, I just thought it would be fair to tell you that she reads.  My intent is not to make her feel bad about any of this, just to share my heart.  And right now my heart hurts.

the right wrong

It’s a mistake to think things can’t get worse because they always can.

The day can be normal, and with a quick, routine glance at the computer, life changes.

I had gotten a brief email earlier stating the minimum:  He had been laid off.  Unexpectedly.

Yes, the company was having some financial troubles, but who wasn’t?

Yes, we were expecting there to be layoffs, but not BOTH salesmen–certainly not someone who went from sweeping the floors in the shop to being the go-to guy for inside sales.

We were in shock.

My mind was reeling with questions and worst case scenarios as I drove home in the autumn sunshine.  The day seemed so happy and light, but I was slowly sinking into my catastrophic thinking.

The next day he was supposed to collect his stuff.

And then apply for unemployment.

Unemployment.

The word felt like sour rusty metal in our mouths.

It was for the rest of the country.  Not us.

Family business meant security.

If anyone was going to lose her job, it was me.  Our district had been making cuts left and right, and I had already held one of those pink slips.

Pink paper is heavier than other colors, and the weight of that slip nearly broke him.

My husband is strong.

I watched him hold himself upright with dry eyes at his dad’s funeral just days after having abdominal surgery.

He had held the pieces of me after I broke from two miscarriages.

In that moment, my steadfast partner lost his sparkle.  He was starting to fade.

From that exact moment that he had to look at me, and not just type out the situation to me, he began to lose something.

I suddenly stepped into a role that was unfamiliar to me.

We will be ok, I heard myself saying.

Even though on the inside I had completely lost my shit.

Even though there was a buzzing behind my eyes of worry and anxiety.

Everything will be fine, babe.  Really.

Sometimes you just say things and hope they are true.

For seventeen months we were blinded by budgets and money scrapping and never saying no to extra opportunities.

And the whole time Eddie was given the gift of a stay at home parent.

He was given his daddy.

It’s a mistake to think that everything is wrong.

Because sometimes the most important things are very, very right.

I Got You

This one goes out to you, Kim.

By the time you read this post, you will probably have read Lauren‘s and Miranda‘s.  And by this time, there might be others too.

You know we are telling you that we love you.

You know we wish we could help.

But here is the thing.

I’m not going to be we for a second.

I’m just going to be Katie.

You are my friend.

No, we have never met “in real life.”

No, I don’t know what your voice sounds like.

No, I have never watched you go from serious to a huge smile.

But….

BUT…

I have read your words.

I have seen pictures of you.

And you are my friend.

I don’t have a ton of close friends.  (Shut up, I don’t).

But those who are my close friends?  Know I can’t sleep or eat or function well when they are hurting.

They know I will do anything in my power to help.  Even if the only help I can bring is an inappropriate giggle.

Last night I tossed and turned thinking about where you were.  How you were.

I would dream of looking for you.

I checked my phone each time I woke up.

No Kim.

I cried silently when I thought of what “could” be.

I asked Cort if I was crazy since I didn’t technically know you.

He said, “of course not.  She is your friend.”

Yes.  You are.

My friend.

Why yes, you ARE on the wall-o-friends

And as my friend you have taught me to laugh at the bad in life.  Not because it’s funny, but because it’s our defense against it.  Bad hates laughter.  And we can bring the laughs.

As my friend you have shown me it’s ok to not be perfect…because that is more fun.

As my friend you have cheered my sorry ass on when I thought PPD and just life would win.  You made me realize there is too much going for me to stay in my hole.

You have showed me what a fighter is.

Right now?  You are finding it hard to fight.

You trained me.  Let me fight for you.

Or?  Let this guy fight for you.

hey pretty lady...let me take care of that for you.

and?  since I love you so much.  I had this made for you.  I will mail it soon, but here is a preview.

to be worn as a protective sheild against the evil world

Kim?  You are my friend.

I love you.

I am here for you, girl.  I got you.

And so does the rest of the bloggy world.

The Top Ten That Wasn’t

I was going to write a final Top Ten.

Because I am putting Top Ten Tuesday on hiatus.

I wanted it to be awesome.

But instead?  I had a bad day.

I went into today with the attitude that I was not going to have a bad Monday.  But Monday slowly wore me down.

First, my students wore me down with their teenageness.  It’s March just before Spring Break.  It is just the beginning of the most difficult time of the school year to keep kids engaged.

But this is expected.  So I tackled it.  It wore on me; it tired me out;  it definitely weakened me,  but it did not take me down.

Then, after school, I had a horribly depressing union meeting.  The outlook for education, educators, and any union member or elected local government employee looks grim in Michigan.  I don’t want to get all political here…you can look it up for yourself.

I just don’t understand.

Of course I don’t agree with screwing our students, but right now?  I am thinking about ME.

I did everything “right”.

I followed the textbook on “how I should live my life”.

I was a good student who stayed out of trouble in high school.  I went to college right out of high school with a major in mind.  I worked toward that major without ever changing it and graduated in the recommended number of years.

I worked hard for two years substitute teaching before finally landing my first teaching job.

I got my Master’s degree in my field.

I paid off loans.

I got married and then had a baby.

I was involved with extracurricular activities to show my school and my students that I loved and believe in them.  That I enjoyed my job.

I worked hard at every. single. task I was ever given…even when it wasn’t my first choice.

I endured three+ years of layoffs and budget cuts switching to teaching in my minor.

I even did that with gusto because I love my students.  I love teaching.  And I was so grateful to have a job.

And now?  after all of that?  The government is threatening AGAIN to take it all away.  This time by the hand of someone who just wants to be able to say he crumbled the unions in Michigan.  Not because that would help our budget crisis, but because he can.

If I do keep my job, they are talking about thousands…THOUSANDS of dollars in pay cuts.  No extra money for higher degrees.

And if I complain about this?  Society tells me I am selfish and not thinking of the kids.

If I side with the union and say I would strike to protest?  I risk losing my job and am told I am nothing but a selfish jerk.

If I don’t side with the union, I break our unity.  I show the government that they can roll over us and do what they want.

And all this because at 18 years old, I said I wanted to make a difference.  I wanted to BE somebody TO somebody.  I wanted to teach the way I was taught.

I was told that I should go to college, get a degree, to do it right and I would find security.

I tell my students to go to college, get a degree, and they will also find security.

I was lied to.

And I am lying.

Anyway…pile on come technical difficulties elsewhere, and my day went from me feeling like loving on myself a bit here, to me not  knowing if I was coming or going.

So instead of an awesome Top Ten?

I will tell you this one thing I love about myself: I am a survivor.

When I got home today full of tears and snot, Cort held my face and said, “We will get through this babe.”

and I replied, “I know.  The only other option is to NOT get through it.  And that is not really an option, right?”

Right.

We will survive.  We have before.

It just sucks.

So cheer me up.  Since I can’t come up with a list for me right now, tell me what you love about YOU.  I want to know.  What are the best things about you?

And go ahead and link up if you’ve written a post.  I want to go and celebrate you today.

Oh and?  Tomorrow we will get happy again…I have FOUR giveaways coming to thank YOU for being so awesome to me!

Secret Mommy-hood Confession Saturday

This bothers a bunch of my family and friends but…

I don’t do the telephone.

I hate it.

Talking on the phone for non-business reasons gives me hives.

Ok, to be honest, I am not a fan of making business-type calls either.  But when I can have a script in my head of what is going to be said by me and then by the person on the other end?  I am better than just a friendly call.

Most people think I am just being silly when I tell them to text or email me, and they call me anyway.  And they go to voicemail.  And they get a text back.

I am serious, people.

I don’t do the phone.

Yes, I will return parent phone calls at work and occasionally make calls to parents when it’s necessary.  But I prefer email or face to face.

The only person…and I mean ONLY person…I do not feel weird with on the phone is my mom.  I call her ALL THE TIME.  Probably because she is my mom.  I don’t need a script with her.

But even with Cort…I prefer an email if I am at work or a text if I am elsewhere.

It doesn’t help that I HATE to be on the phone outside of my house even more than I hate being on the phone inside my house.

I don’t hear people well on the phone…that could be another one of my issues.  And because it’s the phone I can’t figure out what they are saying by gestures of facial expressions.

Yes, I have had my hearing checked, and even after the years of loud concerts it is perfect.

So I don’t know.

I don’t even like to call for pizza or Chinese food.

It is that bad, people.

Cort tries to MAKE me call sometimes, but it’s of no use.  I will change my mind about dinner just so I don’t have to call for it.

(On a side note:  God bless online ordering.)

I am just better in writing.

Writing gives me time to think…to pick just the right words.

I like to think I am great at communicating in writing.

On the phone (and even sometimes in person)?   Not so much.

I am awkward.

So now there are people out there who are begging me to get on skype.

What are you trying to do to me, people?

this is not about the Olive Garden

This weekend Cortney and I went out for a much needed date.

In fact I am pretty sure the last date we went on was for his birthday.  At the beginning of December. So to say this was much needed?  Is really kind of an understatement.

ANYWAY…

For Christmas two alumi of mine gave Cort and I gift cards to the Olive Garden–one of our favorite chain restaurants–and we figured it’s the weekend before Valentine’s Day, we should go out.

Now considering we were going to the Olive Garden, I didn’t feel the need to put on a dress and strappy sandals and make an appointment to get my hair and nails done, but I did put in extra effort.

I took a shower AND dried my hair with a hairdryer AND curled it.

And for effect?  I stuck a cute flower in my hair.

See?

oh hey!

We both wore our nice, dark wash jeans.  Cort wore a button down that I gave him for Christmas, and I wore a cute sweater from the Gap.

Nothing super fancy, but not my yoga pants.

I figured this is what people do when they go out for dinner to any place that has a hostess and serves wine.

I would be wrong.

People?  I am not saying that you need to wear your Sunday Best to a chain restaurant, but I did think that clean clothing was sort of a given.

Again, I would be wrong.

When we arrived at The Olive Garden, there was a 40-50 minute wait.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  And we were out for the night, so regardless of if we were sitting at a table or sitting in the lobby, we were still playing on our phones enjoying being alone together.

A 40-50 minute wait will give you a lot of people watching opportunities.

For instance, did you know that apparently wearing an old valour sweat suit with worn out patches at the knees and elbows is totally proper attire for dining at The Olive Garden?

Or that it is completely acceptable to wear tights (not leggings, people.  TIGHTS) as pants with a “dress” (um, SHIRT), is so short your cheeks are not covered…to the Olive Garden?

Perhaps you were aware that wearing hats (ball hats, stocking hats, cowboy hats…) are ok to wear INSIDE the Olive Garden…while you eat.

I was clearly ignorant of the fact that I could have come to the Olive Garden in my pajamas…slippers and all…for this dining experience because a couple times Cort had to give the shush and and tell me to get my jaw off the ground and quit staring.

When our little disc light up happily announcing it was our turn to be seated, I breathed a sigh of relief.  Maybe we would be put into a nice little romantic corner.  Away from…the fashion police rejects.

Or we would be eating at that table right there that is within reach of the lobby.

No problem.  I will sit with my back to them.  Cort is more tolerant.  He can stare at that herd.

We decide to sample a Riesling.

I settle into my chair.

Only to observe the table over Cort’s shoulder.

A mom wearing the largest pair of mom-jeans I have ever seen on such a skinny body tucked into the biggest moon boots ever topped with a massively huge Bon Jovi T-shirt.  Across from her was a dad with those dude jeans that are all tight around the ankles, but all “loose fit” everywhere else and a GIANT Red Wings jersey.  And a hat.

Their two kids?  Were totally cute.

I understand just wanting to get out of the house with clothes on.  Especially when you have two itty bitty kids.

But shouldn’t your look reflect where you are?

Or am I a snob?  Is it wrong that I was visually offended at the “going out” clothing people deem acceptable these days?

I mean I GET the “come as you are” at McDonalds or Wal-Mart or even Target.  I’ve been that girl getting groceries in my yoga pants and a hoodie.

But I feel like I’ve seen enough episodes of What Not To Wear to know that you need to dress for the occasion.

Yoga pants for home?  Ok.

But at the Olive Garden?

Really?

Or is that joint not as classy as I thought?