Currently…

I am having so much trouble finding things to write about in this space.  I think the problem is because I started this blog telling stories about big events, that I look at it in that vein.  There just aren’t a lot of big things (except for my impending grandmotherhood, which is still impending and not here yet) going on day to day for me these days.  I still haven’t gotten the knack of transitioning this space into a stream of consciousness, write about daily life, whatever strikes my fancy type of place.

But in my fitness blogging, I came across a blogger who had put some writing prompts out.  Maybe that’s what I’ll try for now, until I get my footing of writing about my current days, even when nothing seems like a big enough deal to write about.

So, thanks to Running with Spoons for this blog prompt.  🙂

Current book:  None.  I’ve been so terrible about reading anymore.  I am in a book club, of sorts, but we hardly ever choose books to read and we get together, if we’re lucky, twice a year.  The real readers who were the impetus behind the group forming have all moved away, and now it’s really just a social thing.  I don’t have a lot of time to read these days either, so most of what I am reading amounts to blogs on the internet.  And reading is one of the things I love!  OY!  Must find a book and time to read it.

Current music: I just downloaded a few new tunes for my race playlist:  Peace by OAR, Glowing by The Script, Classic by MKTO and Ain’t it Fun by Paramore.  I’m actually paying more attention to current music because of my bootcamp classes.  Before I was filling my playlist with slow, angsty music that really didn’t do much to get me moving.

Current guilty pleasure:  Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.  I liked me my OC girls and my NYC ones but never got into the truly over the top BH ladies until this season.  Now I’m freakin’ hooked.  Dammit.

Current nail color:  clear and chipping.  With the amount of work I do on the computer my nails never really can get very long; they’re right on the edge at this point.  I go in phases with the nails.  I bite, they get short, I get a manicure, I like the way they look and feel, they grow.  Rinse, repeat.

Current drink:  fruit flavored tea.  I’m back on the weight loss train and trying to fill my belly in the afternoons with something other than plain water.  Also helps with the bone chilling cold here in the northeast.  Peach is really my favorite right now.  🙂

Current food:  my newest favorite thing that I’m eating is tortilla pizza for lunch.  It’s easy, you can put anything on it, and it’s healthy.  Feels somehow more filling than a salad, but that could be my salad bias.  Somehow salads just make me mentally go blech.  I eat them but they are never my first choice.

Current obsession:  started my half marathon training today.  Yes, you read that right.  Me, who has never been athletic in her life, has signed up for a half marathon after two and a half years of dragging my slow self through 5Ks and 10Ks.  It’s the next logical step for me.  I know I’ll never be a fast runner, but for me it’s about completion.  Not many people run, and even fewer complete much more than 5 miles on a regular basis, so I really want to reach this milestone.  I am sure the next three months will be spent researching, talking about it, reading about it, and generally annoying the crap out of everyone about it.

Current wish:  that my grandbaby would get here!  My daughter in law is due on Friday and the waiting is killing me!  I’d like to travel to be there if at all possible, and the logistics of that get dicier every day with having my two younger kids involved in all sorts of activities.  So I’m hoping for a safe, healthy delivery sooner rather than later.

Current triumph:  seriously cutting back on my wine habit.  I was drinking 2+ glasses a night, more on the weekends.  I managed last week to drink only 2 glasses on two days out of the seven.  That was a big deal!

Current bane of my existence:  teenage girl drama.  My daughter is truly testing my patience.  I want to love her and share things with her and she is truly unpleasant to be around these days.  It’s so hard to figure out how you can love someone so much and still dislike their behavior so intensely.

Current indulgence:  new iPhone.  Best Buy was having a deal where you basically turned in your 4s and they gave you a 5s for free.  I wasn’t sure I needed one but now I’m very glad to have a spiffy new phone.  🙂

Current procrastination:  finalizing sponsors for the 5K I plan.  We have to close them out asap and I haaaaaaaate approaching people for money.  Hate it.  But it’s so necessary to making the race successful.  I have two more to deal with and six days to do it.  Must not put off any longer.

Current blessing:  work!  I have more and more website jobs which i am truly excited about.  I love the work and I’m learning something new with each project.  Also, money.

Current excitement:  grandbaby!!!!!  Can’t wait to know if it is a boy or a girl, what its name is, what he/she looks like, and hold the baby!  I can’t wait!

Current mood:  content.  Other than the teenage girl drama, things are going well right now for us.

Current link:  MyFitnessPal.  With me trying to lose weight again, this is my most used link these days.

So that’s where I am currently.  🙂

Hanging On

I’m still hanging on here in my little corner of the world.  Things are quiet and busy and for the most part good.  Here’s a quick sampling of the latest and greatest goings on these days:

1.  I am running for the local Board of Education (again).  I’m so much more jaded and realistic about it this time.  I know it’s all just a shell game of name recognition and party affiliation.  Our town is a red town so running as a D is tough, but doable if you have enough name recognition.  I have done a lot in town so we’ll see what happens.

(Here is where I could lapse into a huge diatribe about how this whole government shutdown is keeping me up at nights and how party and politics is stupid and why can’t people do the right thing, but I digress).

2.  My daughter is busy, busy, busy and it’s getting hard to keep up with her.  It’s a good thing, a far cry from her awful days last fall when she struggled with friends and spent a great many days alone in her room after school.  I’m loving that she’s thriving in marching band, in soccer and landed a role in the middle school fall drama.

3.  My little guy is holding his own, but isn’t doing much for activities.  At this point we’re chalking it up to needing the down time after holding himself together all day at school.  We’ve had a few alarming meltdowns recently (one, two weekends ago, was a reminder of the bad old days, with an all out screaming fit that lasted over half an hour).  I’m not going to lie, I’m a little worried for him, but staying the course.

4.  Hubby is looking to potentially switch jobs.  This is big news but likely won’t mean too much of a change for us as a family.  He’s been putting feelers out with other companies and getting some results….we will see what the next few months bring.  After being with the same company for two moves and 13 years, it seems like a big jump.  Especially since this job was the one that brought us here to CT where we knew exactly one person when we moved here.  The new positions he is looking at mean no move but lots of travel for him.  It’s not a huge change for us, and will probably be a great thing for him.  We’ll see what happens.

5.  Worried about my son and daughter in law with all of this shut down business.  My son’s job is with a private company but a lot of their work comes via the EPA so this is all getting a bit much.  They have a baby on the way and I was already worried about how they will support themselves once he/she is born.  They don’t have the luxury of throwing away their savings right now on stupid party politics.  For the love of God, I hope these idiots in the House get their shit together today.

6.  Entered a weight loss challenge from now until Thanksgiving.  I’ve been trying to lose the same 15 pounds for…gulp….two years.  Enough is enough.  Hoping this will be the wakeup call/jump start I need to finally make better choices and feel better about my body.

7.  Speaking of losing weight, it would be perfect timing because I’m finally going to see my favoriate rock start again after four years.  A few girlfriends and I are going to see my pal Rick Springfield in NYC in November.  It’s a small, initiate, acoustic show at a winery.  I hope everyone enjoys it and I’m able to just lose myself in the moment without all the crap that used to be part of going to RS shows.  We’ll see.

That’s about it for now.  Deep thoughts are for later….it’s 6:15 am right now and time for me to start the day.

43

I turned 43 a week ago today.

It was a quiet day.  Birthdays at this age aren’t the source of fanfare they used to be.  Still, it was nice day filled with good wishes and friendly camaraderie.   My girlfriends had taken me out a few days before, my family took me out the day after, and all manner of far flung people filled my cell phone and Facebook page with their thoughts.

I’ve always said that getting older doesn’t really bother me.  In fact, I try to revel in the fact that I am extremely healthy and look young for my age, despite having a child in his twenties.  Certainly I’ve never even thought about lying about my age; as it is, people still greet my eldest’s age and station in life with shock.  I see them do the math in their heads when I tell them how old he is, how old I am.  Still, all told, 43 isn’t a problem for me.

I’ll be 43 this year, the year I become a grandmother.

My son and his wife shared their news with us this weekend, four days after my birthday.  They are expecting their first child, in March.

So many thoughts have occurred to me since the moment they told us.  They seem so, so young.  Except they’re five years older than I was when I had him.  They seem so unprepared, but yet they both still have good jobs.  I was still in college when I had my son.  They’ll need to move, to find a bigger place, but they’re still out on their own.  I was living at home, with my mom, when my son was born.

Everything I hear myself saying about how they’re not ready yet to be parents flies in the face of my own experiences.  And I worked it out, made a good life for my child, my children.  Right?

I want to happy for them, but I am so worried for them.  I wanted my son to not make any of the same mistakes that I did, and to have a much different experience than I had as a young adult.  I wanted him to revel in his twenties, have that time to enjoy life and travel and not worry about every penny, not worry about tomorrow and just have fun.

But I raised this boy to be responsible, thoughtful, and goal oriented.  So he’s done it all right:  gone to college, gotten his degree, gotten married, lived on his own, saved his money.   He didn’t waste his time partying because it simply isn’t in him.  I hope he feels that he’s had a lot of wonderful experiences, that he’s enjoyed his life as a young man.  Because his life is about to change dramatically.  It won’t ever be the same.  And most of the time, that will be wonderful, amazing, a gift that he will always cherish.

I hope they’re ready.  I pray they are ready.  And I wish, against all hope, that somehow the universe will hear me.

Blame Game

Blame.   I just want someone to blame, sometimes.  And the older I get, the more I realize that often there is no one to blame, nothing to do, no choices to be made.

So what do I do then?  I blame myself.

The latest round of blame game in my head comes home to roost in a familiar place.  My son’s non existent biological father.  Sure, I’ve beat myself up for the last 24 years about how I must have done something to keep him away all of this time.  It’s one thing to have it going on in my head, alone, with only me to witness my own personal level of crazy self talk.

It’s quite another when I see the pain evident in my son, as well.  That brings a whole new round of it.

My son’s fiancee talked with me a few weeks ago about Z’s biological father’s family and their wedding.  It was a conversation I’d had with him a few months ago, when he expressed the fact that he really wanted a representative of that family there.  He hasn’t mentioned it since.  I had advised him to do a lot of self examination before deciding whether or not to invite the one member of the family he has contact with.  I told him he needed to be OK with any of the possibilities of her responses, and to be honest with himself about the whole idea being a longshot.

What I didn’t put on his shoulders was how awful and awkward her presence would be for me, and for everyone else who has been a loving and supportive person in my son’s life throughout his life.  It isn’t his burden to bear, and frankly, I know that we would all swallow any amount of bile in our throats to give him what he wants on this one.  He wants a connection.  He wants to know that part of who he is.  The parts that aren’t me and can’t be explained any other way.  It hurts me greatly, even though I know it’s not his fault and not intentional in anyway, so I button that up and move on.  Or try to.

So he spoke to his fiancee about the whole situation to get her thoughts.  And she was so disturbed by how upset he was, that she came to me.  She asked me what I thought could be done, should be done.  How could we make his biological father choose to be a part of Z’s life.  Because it is making him doubt that important part of who he wants to be:  a father.  How can he be a good father if he knows it is in his DNA to walk away and never look back.

He’s 23 of course.  When I was 23, I still believed such things to be true.  I didn’t realize that a lifetime alongside a person can change who you are, make you different than maybe other circumstances might have formed you.  And, being 23 of course, he still believes in things like miracles and happy endings and neat, simple closures to messy situations by the end of the movie.  He doesn’t have the years of the world showing you different tucked neatly under his belt like I do at age 42.  Hell, at 42 I still don’t believe that his father has stayed away all of this time.  I still wonder if a hangup call is him trying to connect with us.  Even after all of this time, I hope that he’ll make things right.  And if I feel that way, I certainly can’t blame my kid for feeling that way.

Even though, as I told this young girl who will be my daughter in law soon, I know that he has already chosen.  Z’s father has chosen every single day of his life.  He has stayed away.  Even though I lived for the first ten years of Z’s life in the same place that Joe knew.  Even though when I did move away, there was the Internet, and with my work online I was always easily found.   Even though I made a point of attending my 20th high school reunion with the hopes of finding him there.   Even though now his own aunt maintains an email correspondence with Zach.  If Joe really wanted to know his son, be a part of his life, he would.  He has chosen, very clearly.  We just don’t like what he chose.

I’ve been in a funk the last little while about this, mulling over what, if anything, I should do here.   Because I could, if I really wanted to, pick up a phone right now and speak to Z’s biological father.  In a fit of obsessive Googling and sheer dumb luck, I found some contact information a few years back that I believe may be credible.   Should I reach out to him?  Appeal to his conscience?   Absolve him of his 24 absent years?  Talk of what a credit this amazing kid is would be to him?

I think back to all of the things I wish I’d done differently back when I discovered I was pregnant and the ensuing difficult months where we ended up splitting up.  All of the lost chances to make this right, to be the bigger person, to think of my son before myself.  So many mistakes I made.  Could this be the chance I have to fix all of that?

Or is it just simply time for me to grow up and realize that I did the best I could, under difficult circumstances?  That my self blame doesn’t take away the fact that at the end of the day, Joe left his pregnant girlfriend to raise his son alone.  Without any financial or emotional help.   That sometimes people just are really awful, and that they only have themselves to blame.

I just don’t know.  I just don’t know what to do here.   I don’t know who to blame.  I don’t know who to be mad at.  I don’t know how to make this better or right or make sense.

 

Closing Doors

Someone I know is pregnant.

This statement is becoming increasingly rare as the years keep marching on in my life.  It used to be that everyone I knew was in a couple.  Then, couple by couple, everyone seemed to be getting engaged, and then married.  Back in “my day” (intone the Old Lady In Me here) this was around age 23-28.  Most of my close friends were good and married off by then, which I know isn’t exactly the case with kids that age these days.

Then the babies came.  Each time I was pregnant I shared my pregnancy with at least someone else I knew.  In my eldest’s case, these women were my older sister’s friends.  But with my younger two there were any number of contemporaries that were either in the same family way, or who had just had a child within the last year, or who would find themselves pregnant shortly thereafter.

My youngest was born when I was the ripe old age of 31.  At first, we weren’t really sure if we were done having kids.  I stubbornly packed up all of the tiny baby clothes as he grew out of them and put them in sturdy plastic bins in the basement; the kind that would last.  I put the Pack and Play and the swing and the crib down there with them. We kept thinking….maybe.  Maybe just one more.  But it never seemed to happen.

As M’s issues came to light, we actively avoided the idea of a fourth child in our house.  We had too much on our plates with him and his issues and needs.  So many therapy appointments and meetings at school and worries.  It wouldn’t be fair to bring another child into all of that. And then, after we felt like it might be an option again, our eldest went to college.  He turned twenty.  And then twenty one.  By then, it just seemed preposterous that we would give him a brother when he was old enough to be a father himself (Lord help me that I’ve actually put that in printed form).

That door has been closed for quite a while now.

But then, I heard about this woman I know who is pregnant.  She has two adopted children from China, hard fought adoptions after years of infertility issues between her and her husband.  It had been universally assumed that they couldn’t have children, and their two perfect cherubs made them all the perfect family from the outside looking in.  Except that around Christmastime, the woman somehow found herself inexplicably pregnant.  The weeks wore on, everyone quietly waiting for doomsday to occur, but it didn’t.  She is nineteen weeks pregnant, and forty four years old. It is an amazing thought, after all of this time, that she and her husband will have a biological child.

It makes me wonder if my door is truly closed, as well.  There have been times in the last five years, perhaps six or seven, when I thought I was pregnant.  A few times so sure that I purchased pregnancy tests and took them.  But each time, the test slowly turned negative before my eyes.  And each time, I was a little disappointed.

I do wonder.

 

Trying Again

When I was younger I thought that being thinner would solve all of my problems.  I would be instantly surrounded with friends, boys would want to go out with me, and my crazy life would somehow find order and purpose.  It’s a struggle I have fought my whole life, this inner dialouge I have with myself about my weight.  It is very true that you can figure out right away where I am in my head on any given day by looking at my waistline.

I was never really heavy until I got married and started having more children.  I gained weight with my second pregnancy, miscarried, but kept those extra ten pounds.  I gained even more with my third pregnancy, and lost about half of it.  By the time my fourth pregnancy rolled around I set an all time high water mark for myself.  Another cross country move and sedentary days spent updating websites and answering emails didn’t help.

When I stopped working on websites so much, and the kids started preschool, I found myself with a little more time to think about my health and my weight again.  I lost 35 lbs following the Weight Watchers plan, and finally felt good about my body again.  I went to my 20th high school reunion in a black Calvin Klein dress and didn’t, for once, worry about how I looked.  I knew I looked great and spent the evening not once worrying about whether or not my but looked too big.

It was a fabulous feeling that I didn’t choose to value.  Over the next few years the weight has slowly crept back….ten pounds one year, ten pounds the next, and in this last year, another ten.  I am slowly working my way back to that high water mark, and very frustrated with myself.  And while I no longer peg my self worth to my weight, it is true that I find myself just feeling frustrated; I know what to do, I’m simply choosing not to.

And there’s the drinking.  I know that I am drinking too much these days, more than I ever have in my life.  It wasn’t until just a few years ago that I would pour myself a glass of wine every night with dinner, whether or not I was sharing the meal with family and friends or if I was eating alone at the kitchen counter.  I drink daily at this point, sometimes more than one drink a day.  And out with girlfriends?  Forget about it.  I hold my liquor, and then some.  It’s not only bad for my waistline, but it worries me because I know my paternal grandfather was an alcoholic.

So today, in My Current Life, I’m going to try (again) to take back my body to a healthier place.  I started the Couch 2 5K program this morning, and while I sweated and ached and pounded out the minutes unhappily on my treadmill, I do feel better now.  I’ve been told this is a great way to start back into an exercise program, because it slowly builds your pace and your stamina.

I celebrated my 41st birthday over the weekend with great meals, great friends and great food.  I know that my weight doesn’t make me a more likeable or better person…but it sure would be nice to celebrate number 42 next year feeling less self conscious and more able to embrace the positives in my life.

Speech Therapy

“No language at all?  Not even sounds that don’t really sound like words but he uses the same one for the same situations?”

I racked my brain trying to think of something, anything, my son could do that would qualify as him trying to communicate with me.  He would cry, he would make noises but nothing that was consistent.

I hadn’t really thought that it was all that out of the ordinary.  Everyone said boys talk later, and that second and third children talked even later than that.  One of the classic stories of my own childhood was how my worried mother stood in a similar office with myself at age two and change, worried that I hadn’t yet started to talk.  “When you finally did start, at nearly three, you didn’t just say a word.  You said a whole sentence,” my mother had told me many times of my own childhood.  So I had been rationalizing Michael’s lack of speech away over the months, worrying for a moment, then talking myself out of it, then getting busy with something else and not remembering it again for a day, or a week, as he happily played on with his favorite few toys.

“No, nothing,” I said quietly.  “What could that mean?”  I asked worriedly.

“It’s probably nothing,” the doctor said in a singsong voice, allowing Michael to find the toy bear in her white coat pocket.  “But it is a real concern now that he’s two; most children do find their words between eighteen months and two years.  This will definitely put you at the top of the waiting list for speech therapy.”

Speech therapy.  As a teacher, I remembered that kids would sometimes get pulled out of class for speech help, but I’d never sat in on a session.  I had no idea what kinds of things would be done in such a setting.  And for a child with no words at all?  I couldn’t imagine what that would be like.

“If there is a problem, what could it be?” I asked, knowing this would be the question that R would ask me later when I recounted the visit, as would my father and both of his parents.

“Like I said, it’s probably nothing, especially since he is the third child.  Kids with older siblings tend to let the others do the talking for them.  Lots and lots of kids have speech delays, and they nearly always work themselves out with some therapy and sometimes other interventions.”

This sounded to me like the reassuring doctor talk they always give to nervous parents because they can’t handle something possibly being wrong with their son. “Right, but what could it be if it isn’t just a simple speech delay?  What else could cause a kid not to talk this late?”  I thought back to every cup of coffee I’d drunk during my pregnancy, the few sips of wine I’d had, the lackadaisical attitude I’d had with my third child, thinking that no matter what, I was good at birthing healthy babies.

“Let’s not worry until we have something to worry about.  Your son’s development physically is fine, which is great news.  Let’s get him into therapy and get him talking, ok?”

I wanted to believe her, that nothing really terrible could be going on with my son.  I wanted that hope, and not the guilt that was washing over me in waves.  So I nodded and smiled.

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