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The Very Strange Day of Miranda P. Stick

Birth and Adoption Blog Nosh MagazineOriginally published on Anne Nahm
first appeared on Blog Nosh Magazine on July 18, 2008

Dear Diary,

I could tell the moment I woke up: Today was going to be a day like no other. The sun was shining and birds were chirping. I knew because guess what? My wrapping was open! I don’t think that’s ever happened before.

pregnancy test puppet annenahm

Free of my plastic restraints, I decided to call my BFF, Carmen. We went to the pool. It was pretty awesome. You can tell I totally need a tan. Give me a break – I’ve been sitting in a bathroom drawer for six months.

at the pool pregnancy test

Around noon, Carmen said we should order some drinks. So we did.



The Facts (for Some People)

Birth and Adoption Blog Nosh Magazine{Originally Published on Swistle}

Some people find they can “Sleep now, because you won’t after the baby’s here!” Some people find their sleep batteries don’t work that way.

Some people have labors that are empowering and make them wonder why other women make such a fuss about it. Some people have labors that bring them to a crisis of faith about human design, because the Eve thing is insufficient explanation for this crap. Some people have labors that give them reason to be grateful for advances in medical science.

Some people will fall in love with their newborns instantly, on sight. Some people are fascinated right away, but not in love for a few days or weeks. Some people don’t fall in love for months.

Some people get the agreeable, laid-back kind of baby. Some people get the colicky, crabby kind of baby. Some people get the angry, opinionated kind of baby. Some people get the happy, bossy kind of baby. Some people get the whiny, fearful kind of baby. Some people get the early-developing, adventurous kind of baby. Some people get the irritable, rule-following kind of baby. Nobody should take much credit or much blame for their allotted baby.

Some people will get babies who will cooperate with the baby-wrangling system the parents have chosen. Some people will get babies who require a re-evaluation of system requirements.

Some people find they can “Appreciate every moment!” Some people find they can only appreciate it later, looking back on it, when they’re well-rested and well-dressed and fuzzy-memoried, standing in a supermarket telling a stranger to appreciate every moment.

Some people think the newborn stage is the best. Some people don’t really like babies until they reach the less-shriveled stage around 2 or 3 months. Some people don’t really like babies until they’re not babies anymore.

Some people find that the impact of children on their lives is so severe, they need to warn the world how bad it can be. Some people find that the impact of children on their lives is so wonderful, they need to tell the world how amazing it can be. Some people find themselves confused about what exactly it is they want to tell the world.



Ours

Birth and Adoption Blog Nosh Magazine{by Heather from The Extraordinary Ordinary}

I can’t. That’s what I thought.

I can’t.

We pulled in the driveway over four years ago, me in the back seat with this new foreign person, aching in every way. And I thought those words. I thought, I can’t.

I asked Ryan to take the baby in without me, to introduce him to the dog without the excitement of me, the dog’s everything, in the picture. So I stood outside and shivered in the heat, looking around at everything being different than it had been just a few days before, all overly bright and textured from the pain pills. Standing there in my suddenly roomy maternity shirt, I shivered. Empty.

Ryan came out and said everything was going fine. The dog sniffed the baby and the baby slept. There were no big events as I had imagined.

I walked up the steps, not quickly because of the surgery, and passed through the door. I looked down at the sleeping child in the car seat. Our child. My child. In our house. My house.

I walked slow circles in our tiny living room, trying to figure out what to do. My mom and my husband said that I should take a nap, but I don’t do naps. I just nodded and repeated over and over that they should get me if the baby needed to eat, and I disappeared into our room, knowing I wouldn’t be able to sleep. I sat down, frozen and staring, thinking and thinking.



Running on hope, holding up the world

Overcoming Adversity Blog Nosh Magazine{by Erika from Be Gay About It}

The holiday season serves as a lap marker for me, that pristine line on the track where time is measured and recorded, where, at the end of the race, the ribbon snaps against the heaving torso of the runner, his arms splayed in euphoric victory, holding up the world.

We expect the race to end because that’s what races do.

*****

Five years ago, my brother began to swell. Fluid filled him from the bottom up, an army of ounces colonizing territory after territory in

his feet, his ankles, his calves,

his thighs, his waste, his abdomen, his chest.

Before he entered the hospital the first time, he visited me at my apartment, a sort of willful last act of normalcy and wellness. I remember that we sat on the floor because that was the only place comfortable enough for the sixty pounds of fluid that had inflated his trim, athletic frame. I don’t remember what we talked about that morning, just that we spent the time together.

That was before we knew what was happening. Before I knew the starting gun had fired.

In the weeks that followed, so did the tests and the doctors and the questions until, ultimately, our family lexicon had no choice but to admit cirrhosis, terminal, and transplant into membership. He spent four days in the hospital that first time and all I could do was try to cheer him up. I wheeled around his room in his wheelchair, crashing clownishly into the vinyl visitor chairs and tray table at every pivot. When he slept, I watched him, my eyes squinted in the flannel light of the over-the-sink fluorescent, wondering why he had been drafted for this particular marathon, while I had been spared.



When Every Little Bit of Hope is Gone, Move Along…

Personal Blog Nosh Magazine{by Melissa from Rock and Drool}

It was August 1999. I was a 30 year old mommy of two small children. I was the wife of one really screwed up little boy stuck in the body of a 33 year old man. Yet, I was no one. Just an empty shell.

Things looked pretty from the outside. Pretty house. Pretty cars. Pretty kids.

On the inside. It was ugly. I was dead and rotting. I felt lifeless and completely without any hope.

I was teetering on reaching maximum density. I was also precariously balancing my sanity. I was beyond misery and I didn’t want company. I wanted to stab my husband in his sleep. We couldn’t have that though. Because who would raise the kids if the dad was dead and the mom was in jail? The system? Hell to the no. I hated him though. With every fiber of my being.

It was bad. Not in a violent sense. There was just nothing worth saving there. But I wasn’t ready to jump off that high dive.

Until, one afternoon in early August. I snapped awake from a short nap. He was the first thing I saw. I looked at him, sweating on the exercise bike that was in our huge bedroom. And I knew it was finally over. Whatever guilt that had been holding me captive in that house, it had lifted. My fears and my conscience screamed that I was free to go.

And I did.

I grabbed clothes and toys. Enough to keep my 1 1/2 year old and 3 1/2 year old dressed and busy for the next couple of days until I could come back to the house when he wasn’t there. I grabbed some essentials for myself. Loaded the stuff into laundry baskets and placed them in the trunk of my car.



On Motherhood, as an immigrant

Race & Ethnicity Blog Nosh Magazine {Originally Published on Classy Chaos}

Naturally as a mother, my ultimate goal is to raise happy, confident and loving children. However as an immigrant in this country, I desire more.

This desire. This hungry for more is a common thread between many immigrant experiences. Library shelves are full of fascinating written words ranging from Japanese-Americans assimilating into the vineyards of California to the Mexican migrant workers surviving droughts in Texas to the Jewish people building an empire with their hands in the early years of NYC. The mothers in these carefully crafted histories did more for their children then just basic mothering.

They came to America for a better life. Leaving behind all the hardships in their homelands for a chance to conquer all the opportunities in a free world. They witnessed living in countries where success was measured by the entree served for dinner instead of by experience and education. Immigrant mothers grew hungry for more, taking nothing for granted.

There’s a valid reason why I can not really identify with any references made to Saturday morning cartoons from the 80′s. I remember the scent of my mother’s hair as she knelt down before me and repeated in a heavy Polish accent, “I did not come to this country for you to sit and watch TV.” Minutes in front of the TV innocently robbed us from essential backyard free play, from extravagant vacations to Machu Picchu, from endless summer fun at the community pool and from rhythmic gymnastics competitions. TV and video games deferred us from my mother’s desire for a better life. “We are different. You are different.” She repeated my entire life each time I begged to go to the mall or asked to watch The Wonder Years, yearning to become more American like my peers.

Richard Rodriguez’s acclaimed autobiography Hunger for Memory set a nationwide debate some years ago by addressing, “If Richard Rodriguez could succeed given his obstacles, why can’t everyone else?”

His success came from his desire for more. His hunger. That motivated him. I do believe that those factors are a result from his immigrant experience as he witnessed the hardships of the community first hand. Of course you don’t need to be an immigrant to experience hardships and to have desire/motivation for more. Although. Had Rodriguez been born into third generation Latinos his life might have been different on a more stable and paved journey through life. It’s difficult for educated immigrants to watch life in America pass them by; instead, they leap at every available opportunity within their sight.



Of Dreams

Family Blog Nosh Magazine{Originally Published on Collecting Raindrops}

“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp-or what’s a heaven for?”
-Robert Browning (1812-1889)

I was nine, living out the unfortunate fashion legacy of the 80′s, on any given day sporting Jams and jellies or leg warmers and Keds, and devouring Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret when no one was looking. I was ugly and I knew it, like an English Bulldog puppy. The kind of ugly that tugs at heartstrings and causes onlookers to want to scoop her up, fix her a cup of cocoa, swipe the smudges from her pink plastic glasses, and entertain her wild ideas.

A fair amount of my time was spent watching surgeries/procedures, studying oddities that my Dad retrieved from the stomachs of his equine patients, and exploring the barns and acreage around his veterinary clinic. I enjoyed the dual citizenship extended in childhood, dividing my days between reality and imaginary worlds that spun themselves into convincing, more entertaining versions of the truth with colorful landscapes and curious culinary creations.

I was an odd little girl, (which may be the most redundant phrase ever uttered, following the previous paragraphs.) I wrote myself into mystery stories. I concocted ridiculous diary entries that chronicled the life of a more ordinary and attractive girl. (If someone were to find that little diary, some day, which is hopefully decomposing nicely in a landfill somewhere in Oklahoma, they’d be bored to tears and think I lived a very different life…with platinum blond braids.) That was the year I decided on my career path: I would attend Harvard Law School followed by a brief, but spectacular stint as a lawyer before being appointed to a judgeship which would of course, lead me directly to my seat as Chief Justice of The Supreme Court. I was nine–where are the dizzy daydreams of riding unicorns over rainbows (both of which enjoyed popularity in the 80′s thanks to Rainbow Brite, The Care Bears, and Hippies having children) or wanting to be a Marine biologist and work at Sea World when I grew up?

My Mom and Dad encouraged this phantasmic life plan. I was really good at Memory so, you know, I was already qualified.

It never occurred to my adolescent self that I might not be the Chief Justice, or attend Harvard, for that matter. These things were guaranteed because in my other world, my imaginary world, I had already lived them.

My imaginary world was as easily accessible as my back yard. It wasn’t until I was fourteen that it started to crumble. Reality came crashing down and the pillars of my youth showed deep and unsettling cracks. I began to question everything. Pragmatism emerged as an important ally in the days after my Dad left and my Mother couldn’t stand up underneath the sadness that enveloped her. Dreaming, planning, writing, inventing, creating, were dismissed (by me) as childish and I no longer had the luxury of being a child. I locked the door to that world of dreams and tossed away the key.



St. John Restaurant

St. John Restaurant

Food Blog Nosh Magazine{Originally Published on Gourmet Chick}

The best excuse ever to eat eye popping amounts of pork is to gather together 18 of your closest friends and book a whole pig at St. John Restaurant in Farringdon in London, England. You really do need to book the pig in advance. A deposit of £320 at least a week before your meal is required to reserve the pig which we affectionately began to refer to as Percy. Yes, Percy would die for our eating pleasure however where else but St. John’s to best appreciate and pay tribute to the life of the pig. The head chef at St. John Restaurant, Fergus Henderson, is the champion of the concept of ‘nose to tail’ eating. We could be sure that every part of the pig would be appreciated in all it’s glory and used and consumed right down to the last trotter.

stjohns_1

For the privilege of eating a whole pig our group is allocated the private room at the front of the restaurant. Just around the corner from the Smithfield meat markets, the austere white washed walls of the restaurant and the waiters clad in butchers aprons are a nod to the area’s continuing carnivorous traditions. The bone marrow served with parsley salad is St John’s signature dish so I have no intention of passing up an opportunity to sample the bone marrow despite the lashings of pork that was to follow.



Answer

Answer

Personal Blog Nosh Magazine{Originally published on Thursday Drive}

I was in the middle of nowhere, but I felt as though I had arrived at someplace important and pivotal. A place that should show on some map of my life with the words Go here.

Heavy and golden, the moonlight sank to earth on a parachute of stars and brought everything around me out of the shadows – the hulking shapes of mountains, open space, a black ribbon of road. Far away, the light of one house.

I stood in the middle of a road in northwestern Montana, shivering with the wind that ran through me like a hundred ghosts. I had stopped to get out, to look. No other car would pass by while I stood there. The night was big. The world was big. How many times had the wind that filled my lungs traveled along the curve of the earth? I breathed in, sure it told me secrets of what my life could be, how big it could be, now that it was all mine again.

Back home in Connecticut, my job waited for me and my husband did not. Our separation was new, no older than a month. With less fuss than it took to plan our wedding, we decided to break apart the marriage, each of us taking uneven halves of the whole, pieces that had never quite fit together and always left a space between two people who tried.

I settled into a new place and then took every vacation day and every bit of cash I could, and I drove – this time, from Connecticut to the western side of Montana, 5000 miles in 12 days. It was the middle of September – now, almost to the date. This time every year, I give myself over to nostalgia for that trip and for the person I was then. Brave. Unafraid to go as far as that, alone, to see something beautiful, to be changed.

And despite the disappointment of a marriage that ended, I still thought I could see ahead and predict the future, or shape it.

The joke was on me, of course. On her, on the person I was that night, eight months before I would learn that I was pregnant with my first child. Whatever I thought was brave or scary before hitched a ride to somewhere far away.

But she learned. You want scary? I told her. Having a baby is scary. Cobbling together a life with another person, with a new life between you, takes guts. Believing that it will all work out? Harder still.



the sun sets gently, goodnight riviera

the sun sets gently, goodnight riviera

Personal Blog Nosh Magazine {Originally Published on Mommy Melee}

It’s a little after 5:30 and the sun is starting to give everything a rusty, magic glow. Green is greener. Blue is bluer. And half of Riviera Middle School is in ruins.

riviera

I knew about it, of course—racing the sun to get the light, to document the destruction before I forget, before it’s gone gone gone. I have my camera in the passenger seat. I pull up against the fence, crack the windows for my sons in the backseat, and step out onto the pavement.

Monsters in the parking lot. Two giant diggers. (The dinosaurs are eating the school, my son whispers.) The sun glints just right, a little flare of personality. A wink. I shiver and start taking pictures.

diggers

Gum on the seat, then my jeans, a jacket tied around my waist. Crying on the phone, please come and let me go home, the girls are so mean. I write a report on dachshunds. A boy in gifted class writes a song about the way I pick my nose. I know I’m not the only one who thinks about last year’s rape incident every time I march up the dingy stairwells. I have a boyfriend for three days in the hall. A high school student volunteers with the after school chorus program. Why don’t blondes use vibrators, he asks me. Because they chip their teeth. I don’t get the joke.