Posts Tagged ‘ Family ’

Celebrating the Daughter That May Never Be

Blog Nosh Magazine Pregnancy Birth Adoption

{Originally published on Velveteen Mind}

When we finally decided that we were done having babies (you know, before we found out that we were pregnant with our third. ahem.), I spent some time mourning the little baby girl that I would never have. Mourning is the best way I can describe it because it truly did feel like a loss.

I am a girl. That’s fairly obvious given the creation of babies in ze belly, but I’m not a girly-girl. Perhaps the girliest thing about me is that I have always wanted to have a girl. I’ve always had those little baby daughter fantasies.

Before we find out if this new baby is a girl or a boy, either of which I would be thrilled about (well, thrilled if it’s a boy, thrilled and terrified if it’s a girl), I feel like this is my last chance to capture these “what if it’s a girl/what if I never have a girl” feelings.

A few months before I found out about our new baby, I was watching a movie that included a scene of a mother and small daughter taking a bubble bath together. With no warning, I found myself crying. The feminine tenderness of the image knocked around within an empty spot in my heart and left me breathless. I wanted that and had decided that I would no longer pursue it. Happily decided so, with no less than a heaping helping of relief, but it was a loss nonetheless.

We all give up on certain dreams throughout our lives, often for sound reasons, but we mourn the loss of their warm glow just the same. These dreams that have kept us company and occupied a bit of our imagination for so many years. For me, it was the image of my dream daughter peeking around corners of my mind any time I would see a little girl that reminded me of her.

My daughter. The one that exists in my mind has long dark, curly hair. Her eyes are almond-shaped and deep brown. Her skin is the olive of her father’s. She is the one child of my three that looks more Lebanese than Irish. Who would have ever imagined that my Irish genes would put the beat-down on my husband’s Lebanese stronghold?

She is the mysterious princess that might not fit in quite so well while growing up but that all of the boys will clamor for when she grows into her own. She is a woman beyond her years from the moment she is born, yet full of mischief and light.

I celebrate my daughter.

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.


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.

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.

Preggo Land

Birth and Adoption Blog Nosh Magazine{Originally published on Baby On Bored}

Let me just start by saying if you have an ultrasound picture of your baby stuck on your refrigerator with a magnet, you’re not someone I want to be friends with. And if you have someone else’s baby’s ultrasound picture up there, well, that’s just a cry for help. I’m never sure what I’m supposed to say when confronted with this. “Wow, that’s one sexy fetus?” I got pictures from my ultrasound too but I didn’t wallpaper the house with them. Isn’t it bad enough that we have to see a million pictures of your baby after it’s born? Now we have to see what it kinda sorta looks like before it even comes out?

I knew early on in my pregnancy I wasn’t like other pregnant women. When my husband and I went for my ultrasound, (yes, he came with me: there was like a 95% percent chance he was the dad we figured he should tag along), the first thing the nurse asked me was if I’d brought a video tape. A video tape? I must’ve looked confused because she explained to me “most people want to take home a souvenir of this magic event.” I nodded and said “Yeah, I definitely won’t need that. I’m barely on board with the whole pregnancy thing as it is.” To which the nurse replied that she was reporting me to social services. Okay, she didn’t say it out loud but I could see it in her stare.

Clearly there are many many people who do opt for the ultrasound video. If you are one of them, just know – I don’t want to see it. Oh, and that goes double for your skydiving video. About the only way I’d ever be interested in watching footage of your big jump …is if you don’t make it. It’s like the world is chock full of people with no clue of their capacity to be irritating. And pregnancy just magnifies it.

Pregnant women seem to take one of two paths when they get knocked up, although — being annoying– they’d probably refer to it as a “journey.”

First there’s the woman who loooooves being pregnant. You know her. She’s so excited to join the Cult of Mommy that she’s taking pregnancy yoga before the before the stick turns blue. Anyone who revels this much in being pregnant is suspect in my book…



Personal Blog Nosh Magazine{Originally Published on Sweetney}

When I made my list of the best 25 songs of the last 25 years a few weeks back, I burned, just for my own private listening enjoyment, a mix CD comprised of those select tracks. Since that time its been on heavy rotation during the 20 minute commute to and from M’s camp each weekday — I’m lucky enough to have a kid who’s tolerant of Mommy’s need to CRANK THAT SHIT UP — and in that time she’s absorbed all the songs and picked her favorites, notable among them the well-aged Oasis tune Wonderwall. It’s a song that for all its obvious magnetism and hookiness I’ve never fully understood. I mean, what’s a Wonderwall, anyway? And what, if anything, does it mean for a person to be that to someone else? Still, questions of signification and metaphor aside, each time the spare guitar strum of that track begins to play on our car stereo I see the joyful recognition wash over M’s face in the rear view mirror, and when the lesser of the brothers Gallagher begins to sing she does too, word for word.
. . . . .

On Sunday, we finally told her about the split.

For those of you who’ve never gone through a separation (and seriously, here’s hoping none of you ever have to), the awful, soul-rending anticipation of having to break this news to your child — the tiny, blameless person who you’ve made it your life’s mission to protect and shield from all hurts and pains — is psychological torture of a magnitude it’s difficult to fully wrap your head around. Over the course of the past few weeks I’ve said to friends, relative to the crushing dread I felt about having to do this, that I now understand why people stay together for the sake of the kids (or, rather, tell themselves that’s what they’re doing — it’s probably closer to the truth to say they’re staying together for the sake of not having to deal with the anguish and guilt of having to tell the kids). It is the worst thing I could ever imagine having to do, and believe me, I can imagine having to do a lot of pretty awful things. Like having to attend a Celine Dion concert, or watch the complete filmography of Paris Hilton, for example. YES, THIS IS EVEN WORSE THAN THAT.

So Jamie came over Sunday morning with the idea in mind that this was the day. No way out but to barrel through it together, however ineptly, and hope to god we don’t have to look back on this as The Day We Shattered Our Daughter’s Identity, Crushed Her Spirit, And Destroyed Her Self Esteem For All Time. I think some of my generalized terror about this event can be traced back to having known a few very seriously broken human beings who pointed to the cataclysm of their parents breaking up when they were a kid as the hot molten core of their volcanic screwed-up-ness. And when I say “human beings” you should read “people I dated.” This is definitely NOT how I want my daughter to turn out.

Swing Away

Family Blog Nosh Magazine {Originally posted on Whiskey in My Sippy Cup}

I’ve talked before about the craving we as parents have to mold our children into little mini-mes, to see some glimmer of ourselves behind those big, beautiful eyes. I’ve talked about how hard we both have striven to avoid doing just that thing, for the sake of our kids’ sanity. We were both pushed and pushed perhaps a bit too hard as children. We both spent most of our lives trying to live up to some unattainable ideal of perfection that our parents had laid out for us. We both had an absent parent who we alternately tried to garner the love of and spite with our over-achievement.

We both have parent issues. We try to not share them with our kids.

For me, not pushing them to be me is simply a matter of not letting them slit their wrists and not pushing them to get straight A’s all the time and reading them something other than Douglas Adams. For The Donor, it’s a bit more complicated. He was that kid. I have scrapbooks on scrapbooks full to the brim with newspaper clippings and accolades. I have cases of ribbons and pins and trophies in my basement. I have a wall full of plaques and a closet full of uniforms waiting for a child who needs them. For a child who will follow his father’s footsteps. And I have a very tired father here, too, one who never got his childhood because he was too busy being pushed to be the fastest, the hardest, the leanest, the best.

And so I’ve read them other stories (thank you, Dan Brown) and he’s let them dip their foot in a pool with an instructor rather than with him, and he’s put them in soccer lessons with any other coach, and he’s sat back and waited. I’ve seen him dream. I’ve seen the hope well up inside of him like a fire and I’ve seen that flame extinguish time and time again, mostly because he’s an athlete and I’m a nerd and nerds don’t push their kids to hit balls for a living and athletes don’t buy their kids Mensa Mind Challenge books for fun. Our kids will be neither of us, it seems. At least not by our doing.

He’s actually been trying his hand at their sports of choice a little lately, and let me tell you that a 37 year old man on a Ripstick is damn near the funniest thing you’ve ever seen in your entire life. Especially when he does a double-backwards-aerial-somersault and lands flat on his ass. That man was never a cat, in any life.

Bennett Ryan

Blog Nosh Magazine Pregnancy Birth Adoption{Originally published on Weddings by Heather}

It would be impossible for me to describe the emotion that I witnessed today with Jason, Kelly and their families. They entered the hospital with a terminal diagnosis for their son and the anxiety and emotion leading up to his delivery was difficult to process. But I can tell you this, in no uncertain terms, I witnessed a miracle when I heard Bennett cry as he was born. He was able to breath on his own. A MIRACLE. This is Kelly getting her first good look at her new baby.

Pittsburgh Newborn Photography

To capture these first, precious moments of Bennett’s life for Jason and Kelly is an absolute honor and I cannot thank them enough for allowing me to share in this very special, very private moment.