Friday, July 25, 2008

Late July ponderings

Is it almost August already? Crikey.

So, I have been much out of the blogging habit of late and need to stimulate my brain a little, so I'll share with you some random thoughts I've had of late and see if anything interesting comes of it. Don't bet on it, but you never know.

Heading to Myrtle Beach tomorrow for a prisoner exchange and making the most of it. My precious niece, Beth, is coming to visit and rather than driving to Southport and back, we're meeting her in Myrtle Beach, which is about halfway. Millie (her momma) and Hope Marie (my little niece) are bringing her there and meeting us at Hard Rock Park. The kids will have a great time, Jimmy and I will get to play some, and we'll save enough in gas money to pay for our tickets - well, not quite, but close! I am looking really forward to the whole hot, sweaty, waiting in line experience of it all. I am hoping Tina will come (my other sister) as it is her birthday tomorrow, and because I want the kids to have some time with her. She probably won't, but hey...

So Beth is coming because we haven't had any time together this summer and the last time we were together was for Pokey's funeral. She always counts on me to take her shopping for bras (sorry, Bink, but it's true) and school clothes. I count on her for some good hugs and entertainment. This time I'm counting on her for childcare - my hysterectomy is Wednesday, and she'll be taking care of Austin and me both during the day while Jimmy's at work. I told her I'd pay her whatever she makes as a barista - I could be out a bit more than planned, since she just got a raise. Anyway, we'll have the amusement park tomorrow, some house time Sunday, and we'll go to Charleston to deliver Kori to Nana's for a week or so and to hit the Tanger Outlets on Monday. I have school stuff and a doctor's appt. on Tuesday, then we'll chill Tuesday night.

Yeah, I said I was having a hysterectomy Wednesday, which most of you readers already know. It's really overdue, and I am looking forward to it in a sick way, as the recovery time will afford me a perfectly good opportunity and excuse for resting. I know the start of the school year will be tiring and we'll all be adjusting to new responsibilities and schedules, so it will be lovely to have to force myself to be still a while beforehand. Well, all that and no more periods from hell. These are good things.

And school starts in just a couple of weeks! I love that I have the enthusiasm of a new teacher, the experience of motherhood and previous teaching, and the comfort of a familiar setting. My room is pretty well organized for now - seriously empty compared to what it will look like by the end of the year and in years to come. I still have tons of planning to do and plenty of reading stored up for my recovery time, and I'd love to think of some clever decorations to include in my room, but I am trying to keep it simple for a while, as I know it will get busy beyond belief soon.

I have some awesome geekin' friends and coworkers, by the way, and I love talking shop with them - we're too busy thinking and planning and discussing that we don't have time or inclination to piss and moan and whine - not that we have much to whine about at our school, for that matter, but the atmosphere of this group of ladies I'm connecting with is one of mutual support and courage and optimism and idealism. Ahhhhh.

Sunday will probably be a day of attacking the playroom and garage - I'd love to have those areas in functional order before I am "down" and before school gets fired up. We have many new routines to establish - well, they're actually old habits we need to bring back that we've never really given much effort to doing since moving here for one reason or another. I love it when our house is tidyish and cleanish and when we don't feel pressured to work at getting it that way because we've done a little here and a little there.

Ok, much to do, as always. Just needed a little procrastination break, I guess, and to feel like I'm still a blogger. Take care, friends.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Bless the Beasts and the Children

When I was a kid, our little tiny choir sang a Carpenters song with the same title. Went a little something like this (thank you internet!)
Bless the beasts and the children
For in this world they have no voice
They have no choice
Bless the beasts and the children
For the world can never be
The world they see

Light their way
When the darkness surrounds them
Give them love
Let it shine all around them

Bless the beasts and the children
Give them shelter from a storm
Keep them safe
Keep them warm

It's been playing in my head all evening. (I hate it when that happens!) I need to think through this to see if i can figure out why this song is stuck on repeat in my mental i-pod. Stick with me. It might end up making sense to us both at the same time.

So, my Casey dog is a blessing to me. Such a beautiful puppy, despite her continuing need to find miscellany in the yard and bring it to our back door and shred it to smithereens. She is still snuggle-icious and is proving to be a great companion for the boy, in particular. Her utter dependence on us for love and care is, well, satisfying. Maybe that's where the "bless the beasts" thought came from.

In other random news, I continue to be surrounded and dumbfounded by loss. My neighbors, whose last pregnancy ended in second trimester miscarriage, have just had to make a terribly difficult decision. She is again pregnant, this time much further along, and their second trimester ultrasound and screenings revealed chromosomal and physiological issues that had complicated the fetus's development. They were given very little hope that the pregnancy would come to term or that the certain-to-be-very-premature baby would ever have any chance of living for more than a few brief moments before being whisked to neuro- and gastrological surgeries, only to face almost certain lifelong (albeit brief) life support. They opted, after much prayer and consultation with their physicians, to terminate the pregnancy. This had to have been an immensely difficult decision for them, or any parents, to have faced, and I hurt deeply for both their loss and their sense of responsibility in it.

Before I even had a chance to fully comprehend this neighbor's plight, more bad news came. My dear friend and neighbor who is "barely pregnant" went for her 8 week ultrasound today, as she, too, is high risk for miscarriage, having had one earlier this year. She and her husband were giddy with excitement today, certain that they would leave the office having heard a heartbeat, having seen a "peanut," having a photo of their precious gift-to-be. Alas. (I know I use that word flippantly, but here I say it with all the angst and hurt I can possibly suppress on their behalf.) It appears she has experienced a "blighted ovum" (google it later, if you think you can stand it) in which a placenta develops, but there is no embryo. Her body just hasn't figured out yet that there is no baby in the sac. Eventually, the body will recognize this and expel the placenta, but it could be days or weeks, or God forbid, longer before the endometrium flushes. Per her doctor's advice and in accordance with her own best logic and emotion, she will be taking matters into her own hands and having a D&C tomorrow. Bless them.

I really struggle with finding the good news, here. I am such a silver-lining, make-it-okay, hold-on-to-what-you-can kind of gal, but this is a mess. I hurt because of the true love both of these families have allowed themselves to feel for these unborn babies, and for the horrible, medicinal endings they both have to endure. I know how real the loss feels, no matter how "developed" the fetus is, and that it is something you have the right to carry with you forever. Granted, I know that our bodies are miraculously aware of how to grow a baby, and when not to continue to grow one. I am certain that it is the right of each of these couples to decide to help nature out and help themselves in the process. I am absolutely grateful for the fact that I never was faced with the decision the first couple had to make and the "what-if-the-doctors-are-wrong" feeling both couples had to grapple with in their decision making. I believe that we only have as much drama and trauma in our lives as we perceive and certainly no more than we can handle, but damn. It just makes some stupid hamburgers and fireworks all the more ridiculous seeming when you know how much hurt people you adore are feeling.

So, I guess that brings me back to the song. We all know to protect the animals and the children, the weak and the downtrodden, because they can't do it for themselves. But do we know how to bless our friends and neighbors and families? Do we always recognize how and when they need shelter from the storm? Do we make every effort to keep them safe and warm? I know I don't. I like to think I do, but I can barely take care of my own some days.

I suppose I'll end this ramble with a prayer request for the peace of mind and spirit my neighbors (both sets) need. Pray that I may help light their way when the darkness surrounds them, as the song suggests. Pray that we may all give each other love and let it shine all around us.