#MicroblogMondays: sentimental

We are extremely sentimental in our house. The calendar is littered with the “first time since…” and “8th anniversary of XYZ.” Case in point: we just celebrated our 18th meeting anniversary :-)

September has been a special, significant month for us for many years, but its status was sealed when we cycled for our successful surrogacy cycle during it 6 years ago.

I always note the dates, but this year is the first time the calendar dates & days of the week align again, sort of like déjà vu.

I spent Saturday cleaning up the results of my little boy’s upset tummy. I blame it on an overly- sweet cupcake and don’t ask me why b/c you really, really don’t want to know.

Six years ago on that same Saturday, we received the almost unbelievable news that after years of infertility, we had our first positive beta ever. While cleaning up your child’s vomit is no one’s idea of a good time (I hope), there was an odd, messy rightness in it since nothing says “parent” like ungrudgingly cleaning up after your small person.

Thankfully, by noon Daniel was feeling better and begging to go outside. I often worry that I am not being the best mother I can be, but I’m forever grateful I have the chance, even if it means spending quality time with my favorite cleaning products.

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#MicroblogMondays: Soft Heart

Last night we carried a sobbing Daniel to bed. You see, he had just learned that the flowers and vegetables we planted last summer were dying and worse, there was nothing we could do to prevent it. We had planted zinnias, zucchini and peppers more as an experiment than anything else. He loved watering them, watching them sprout and grow and (sort of) bloom. Every night he said goodnight to them, bestowing kisses on them. The zucchini never bore fruit and the peppers never appeared. The zinnias grew tall, though.

A few weeks ago, I had started moving the summer plants to the side of the porch to make way for mums and pansies. This change confused Daniel and he tried to restore the plants to their former location but soon settled for telling the browning plants good night in their new location.

We had been telling him about growing seasons and how some plants are annuals while others are perennials, and it all clicked last night. He looked at us like we betrayed him, and it broke his heart that the plants he had cherished were dying. Cue tears.

We wiped his tears and reassured him that we would plant more flowers and vegetables next year. I think it helped a little.

Was this his first heartbreak? His first realization that time marches on and that life can be cruel and so often beyond our control? I know one thing: our little boy loves. He has a good heart and this first ache will make him and it stronger.

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#Microblog Mondays: No Pants

Since last spring, I have worn skirts and dresses exclusively, even on the weekends once I found the elusive super-casual skirt I’d been looking for. It’s primarily because I’ve gained weight and my pants are tight while skirts and dresses tend to be more forgiving. I also find them to be very comfortable. My coworkers tease me because even on “dress-down” occasions at work like retreats, I still wear a skirt or dress.

I promise I have not joined some Duggar-like cult :-)

We are having the first taste of fall in NC this week, and I panicked a bit yesterday when trying to figure out what to wear. I need to figure out how to transition my summer skirts and dresses into the Fall until it is cool enough to wear my other clothes. Or maybe I need to go shopping. I like the latter option!

The truth is that while I definitely need to lose weight and plan to , the thought of wearing pants feels so constricting and uncomfortable. Guess that places me firmly in the “no pants” camp for now.

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Am Reading

This year, I’ve made a conscious effort to get back to reading books. Conscious as in “I’m going to read instead of doing dishes while Daniel plays with Legos on the weekend.” I made a separate shelf for 2014 on Goodreads so that I could remember all the books I read this year.

I’ve read 25 books so far. It isn’t the most impressive number and it is definitely a far cry from the year in which I read 100 while also in grad school and working full time (pre-Daniel obviously!), but it’s not too shabby; it’s a start.

The truth is that I’ve probably read more like 30-35 books this year, but they aren’t books I list on Goodreads. They are too revealing, too personal. So they primarily live on my phone. Others are books I return to over and over again like Far From the Tree, books that belong to prior years but in which I find new truths each time.

Goodreads and my list of books read becomes yet another way in which I curate myself and the image I hope to project. My 2014 books hopefully reveal me to have broad interests. A fan of high-brow AND low-brow. Quirky. Or maybe it reveals me to be overly random or worse, pretentious – far too much non-fiction – when the truth is that fiction sucks me in and makes me unable to stop reading until I’ve finished the book. Fiction is much less cost-effective than a denser nonfiction.

Everything has become a data point into who we are.

I’m close to finishing two books I’m reading simultaneously – one a historical fiction and actual physical book; the other a book of essays on empathy I downloaded on a whim (and don’t especially love). I am reading, and I love it.

What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

#MicroblogMondays 2: Over Pumpkin Spice

In the past few weeks, my FB and Twitter feeds have been inundated w/ mentions of pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin spice coffee, pumpkin spice vodka (kidding. For now), pumpkin spice cookies, cakes, doughnuts, cronuts. Pumpkin spice everything. And it left me feeling uninspired and slightly nauseous. I chalked it up to summer’s last gasp as the temperature was close to 100 all week: who can think of pumpkin spice under conditions like that?

Then Sunday I was in the grocery store (again!) and passed the new display of seasonal, pumpkin spice-flavored beer and had zero interest or excitement.

It’s disconcerting because as an Autumn worshipper, I have loved pumpkin spice stuff for years. We go to major lengths to find good pumpkin spice coffee. I make pumpkin muffins. I have loved to compare the various pumpkin beers – and I’m not even a beer lover!

Has pumpkin spice jumped the shark? What does this sudden ennui mean and will it extend to Autumn in general? Maybe I’m just anticipating Halloween and pumpkin carving and the smell of the ripe pumpkin as I scoop out the slimy, sticky guts because that’s my job. Kind of hard to enjoy pumpkin with that visceral memory.

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#MicroblogMondays: the Grocery Store

Today Daniel and I went to the grocery store for the third time in 4 days. Sometimes we don’t have our shit together in our house. Other times I channel the Grateful Dead and mutter, “what a long, strange trip it has been.” In the checkout line, a lady wheeled her cart behind ours and said, “Hi, neighbor.” I greeted her & made small talk. She looked vaguely familiar & referenced Bunco, but I couldn’t place her. Finally, on the way to the car, it hit me. She hosted the last neighborhood Bunco game I attended in January, which was also the first time I met her. She remembered me, but I didn’t remember her. Granted, she had on no makeup, hair pulled back & workout clothes, but she had remembered ME. It turns out the cashier lives in my neighborhood too. It was a little mortifying and I couldn’t help but think, “this is why you have no friends.”

this is part of Mel’s new MicroblogMondays series.

Kindergartener in the House

Between the summer of 1999, the summer I graduated from college, and last year, I developed a disdain for summer vacation. At best it was childhood nostalgia. At worst, it was a slap in the face as the reality of an 8-5 workday and a small amount of vacation time became understood.

This summer, though, I rediscovered the point of summer vacation as Daniel’s Pre-K year ended.  It was a relief to have the school year over with its homework, frantic nightly routine, lunches to make, firm bedtime to meet. June 6 came, we made it through Pre-K graduation and exhaled, feeling the tension leave our bodies.  We filled Daniel’s summer with two different summer camps, afternoons with grandma and two beach trips. We all moved a little more slowly in the evenings.  If we were running late, we could adjust bedtime without difficulty or repercussion.  Our mornings started later, so we didn’t rush as much, could sleep in a bit and enjoy a commute without traffic. The slower speed was nice, and for the first time in many years, I felt like summer was defined.

Summer vacation ended on Monday of this week when Daniel started kindergarten.  Kindergarten is a milestone year, and I’m struggling to wrap my brain around how he can be a kindergartener already. Five is so old, yet so young (remind me to apply that some logic to myself in a few weeks when I turn 37. Doesn’t work the same way, does it?).

Daniel isn’t attending the same school for kindergarten that he did for Pre-K. We didn’t have the greatest year last year.  He learned a lot and met wonderful people, but at the end of the year – before that actually – it was clear the school wasn’t a good fit for him. We thought the routine and structure would be great, but it turned out that perhaps they depended too much on structure and routine and were too inflexible. There were a lot of expectations and pressure, pressure we all felt when he didn’t meet the expectations.  And at the end of the day (or year, rather), we felt as a family that it wasn’t right for so much pressure and anxiety to be placed on the still-small shoulders of a new 5-year-old.

So the school wasn’t a good fit for him–so what? Many more schools out there, and we’ll find one that fits, right? It’s not a big deal.

It is a little bit of a big deal. And the issues we had went a little beyond a too-rigid structure and to the fact that our little boy is baby square peg just like his Momma Square Peg and Daddy Square Peg. I bring it up because it was a pretty bad year and impacted all of us.  I cried a lot. We were short and frustrated with Daniel and with each other. We argued with teachers and administrators. We spent a lot of time on the phone and email. We felt like failures which I know had to make him feel like a failure, and he tried so hard. So very hard.

And we didn’t say anything. Couldn’t say anything because we were scared and worried and anxious. And angry. I was angry at the school, the world, everyone. I couldn’t post anything because I was and am trying to figure out how to give Daniel privacy and not stigmatize him in any way while at the same time, this is all we were thinking and talking about. And selfishly, I also worried about schadenfreude and whether others would revel in our difficulty (“that perfect KeAnne doesn’t have a perfect life after all!!” Ed. note: not that I ever claimed to). So that’s why I bring up the school change. Because it’s nothing, yet everything.

I have a LOT of feelings about it, especially how it contributed to my already not-great opinion on religion.  Jimmy has a LOT of feelings about it because it was his alma mater. That’s not important.  What is important is that Daniel is great.  He’s smart, sweet and funny as he’s always been. We enrolled him in a very small, private kindergarten taught by a wonderful teacher who adores him and understands that one size doesn’t fit all. The three of us have so much less anxiety, and that is such a good thing.  He is going to have a wonderful kindergarten year (even though he still refers to it as “work”).

Here’s to building a better hole for our square peg.

First Day of Kindergarten!

First Day of Kindergarten!