Friday, December 26, 2008

Double Digits and Divine Intervention

Today marks the day that my oldest girl turns ten. Double digits. Pre-puberty. 'Tween. I can't even begin to imagine where that time went. It was a mere blur... a speck on my radar.

One minute I was pulsating through the pain of her ridiculously fast delivery, at the tail end of which my obstetrician beckoned me to open my eyes during a particularly strenuous contraction, and give him my hands. And when he positioned my outstretched fingers underneath my birthing daughter's tiny armpits, allowing me to gently grasp her and deliver her up onto my stomach myself, all of the pain simultaneously washed away, and the floodgates of joy took its place.

With this child, the feeling of joy has remained. She is, without a doubt, an incredibly special being. Her kindness is almost limitless, and her love for humanity is to be revered. During the insanity of 9/11, and all of the days of sorrow, confusion, and pain which followed, my husband and I (like almost civilized human beings on this planet) were practically glued to the television set, reaching out for even the tiniest smidge of hope that another lost person may be found; that some semblance of happiness or normalcy could be unearthed from all that rubble. My daughter was almost 3-years-old, then. Such a tiny thing, that one would think she couldn't possibly fathom the preposterous scope of the trauma that was coming into our living room every evening.

One day, shortly after the Twin Towers exploded throughout New York City, my teeny bit of a babe came to me and said, "Mama, I want to be a firefighter when I grow up, so I can help people like those firefighters did." Her conviction was so strong that year that, when we came across a uniformed firefighter one day at the grocery store, she walked up to him, tugged on his pant leg, and said, "Thank you." (To which he scooped her up, and with tears welling up in his eyes, he said she was more than welcome.) She also wanted to be a firefighter for Halloween, and I was proud to dress her up as one that October.

To this day, she still expresses interest...those memories firmly etched in her mind. When she isn't talking about fighting fires, she says she'd like to be a veterinarian, so she can make animals well. She sobbed uncontrollably over every lost fish, hermit crab, and bug that she'd snag in her bug catcher. She still talks about all of her "pets", recalling them with the fondness and love that only a person with the kindest of hearts can feel.

On her birthday four years ago, one of the earth's worst disasters hit most of the land masses that border the Indian Ocean, when, as a result of an enormous aftershock from a giant underground earthquake, the tsunami that followed rose up in 100 foot waves and devastated several countries, killing over 200,000 people.

Again, my compassionate, empathetic child watched the news....and cried. When she heard one of the news reporters state that all of the children survivors had nothing... not even any toys to play with.... she announced that she would like to donate ALL of her new Christmas and birthday toys to those children, because she was lucky, and had enough old toys to play with.

I believe this child is truly a gift from God. Two years before her birth, when I was convinced that, in my heart, I could never love more than one child, and was content to have only him, I dreamed of this little girl with wavy, sunstreaked hair, and the most amazing ice blue eyes I'd ever seen. We were at a park I'd never seen before, and I was lounging in the grass, calling out to her. She came running over the crest of a small hill, wearing a grape-colored, short-sleeved t-shirt with little puffs on the sleeves and the tiniest of bows on the neck, underneath a pair of faded denim Osh b'Gosh overalls.

She had in her hands a bright red ball, and as she ran toward me, giggling the entire way, I called out to her: "Come bring the ball to me!", and spoke to her by name. It was then I knew that she was out there for me. That God was trying to let me know, in his Infinite way, that this little girl was waiting to be delivered. This gift.

And, on the day after His son's birth, he brought my gift to me. Ten years later, I'm still feeling awfully blessed to have her in my life.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It Came Upon A Midnight Clear

When I think of all of the gifts I could possibly want for Christmas, NOTHING can compare to the love shown to me by my family and friends. No material possession can come close to feeling the arms of my babies wrapped tight around me with a big "neck squeezing hug". No amount of money is worth hearing my kids laughter, or having them tell me they love me, or that I'm "the best mom EVER!". And, every time I either meet a new friend, or reconnect with an old one, I feel the blessing that is part of the REAL reason for the season.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas. May you and your family be blessed with the bounty of the greatest gift of all.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Snow's STILL Falling

The storm came in right on time yesterday afternoon. The first flakes I noticed fell sometime right before 2:00 p.m. It is now almost 6:30 p.m. on Saturday evening, and it's STILL flurrying.

I can't tell for sure, but it looks as if we've gotten a good foot and a half. Enough to make driving anywhere distant a major nightmare. I'm just so grateful that we're DONE with all of our major Christmas shopping. We will need to make a trip to the grocery store sometime this week, to get the remaining ingredients for our Christmas feast (and for our oldest daughter's birthday celebration the following day), but hopefully the roads will be much easier to navigate in a day or so.

Last night, my girls and I all climbed into my bed and snuggled up watching Christmas specials while the snow fell. We must have all passed out relatively early, 'cause my husband said he came into the bedroom around 9:00 to say something to me, and I was passed out! I'll tell ya, all the jewels, fancy cars, and big homes can't compare with a nice snuggle with your kids. Especially when you know that as they get older, they're less and less inclined to want to cuddle with Mom (it's not too "cool", you see).

I know it's going to break my heart when my oldest daughter gets to the point where she no longer finds it acceptable to climb in bed with dear old Mom and watch some hokey movie on TV.

But, I have a three-year-old. There's still plenty of "cuddle" years left in her.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Battening Down the Hatches

An impending snow storm is heading this way sometime tomorrow. Depending on which channel I turn to, the forecasters have different conclusions about how much is going to be dumped on us, and when it's going to begin. The general consensus is sometime late tomorrow afternoon, with an accumulation of anywhere between two and six inches.

Which could mean that it starts early tomorrow morning, and we'll get whalloped with three feet. Such is life along the coast. The ocean breezes can sometimes wreak havoc. If you don't believe me, take a gander at these:

After then, I think all of the meteorologists (especially the "old timers", who were here in New England forecasting that particular nightmare back then) have become a little gun shy when it comes to impending snow storms in our vacinity.

If there's one constant about snow, it's that it can sometimes be completely unpredictable.

Hopefully, this will all blow over and we won't get much of anything. I certainly wouldn't want to be cooped up in my house for a week, like we were back in '78. I have shopping to do! :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Something to Do Until My Hubby Comes Home

Okay, so I'm sure there are a bazillion other things that I could do, other than to participate in this particular "tag", but none of the other things are half as fun! :)

1. Did you date someone from your school?

I had several boyfriends all throughout high school, some that never amounted to much of a relationship, and some I was pretty darn serious about.

2. What kind of car did you drive?

I didn't get my driver's license until I was 41-years-old, so in high school, if I wanted to get from Point A to Point B, I either took public transportation, bummed a ride, or hoofed it.

3. Did you pass your driver’s license test on the first try?

Why yes, yes I did! :)

4. Were you a party animal?

I certainly had my fair share of fun, but I didn't do anything lewd or lecherous. I was a good girl then. Still am, to a certain degree! :)

5. Were you considered a flirt?

HECK, yeah! But, mind you, there's a REAL distinction between a flirt and a tease.

6. Were you in a band, orchestra or choir?

None of the above. But I was heavily into theatre.

7. Were you a nerd?

Not in terms of the standard definition, no.

8. Were you on any varsity teams?

I've never been athletically inclined. I was asked to be on the cheerleading squad during my Senior year, but I was too crazy busy to fit that into my schedule, too.

9. Did you get suspended or expelled?

With the father I had growing up??? NEVER!

10. Can you still sing the fight song?

I never even knew we HAD a fight song!

11. Who were your favorite teachers?

Honestly, I liked most of my teachers, but my true favorites were Mr. Toomey (History), Miss Sullivan (English Lit.), Miss TePaske (Musical Theatre), and Betsy Grady (Psychology). Oh, and Miss Grant was the best Homeroom teacher EVER!

12. Where did you sit during lunch?

If I wasn't going across the street to grab a slice of pizza, I had lunch in the cafeteria.

13. What’s your school’s full name?

Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School.

14. What was your mascot and colors?

I couldn't even begin to tell you what our mascot was, but our colors were maroon and gold.

15. Did you go to homecoming?

Our school didn't have a homecoming, but I did go to my Senior Prom.

16. If you could go back and do it all again, would you?

Yes, but only if I knew then what I know now (and could somehow arrange to meet my husband back then).

17. What do you remember most about graduation?

That the ceremony itself was excruciatingly long, and how amazing it felt when a whole buttload of people cheered for me as I walked across the stage to receive my diploma.

18. Where did you go on your Senior Skip Day?

I don't think we had a Senior Skip Day. If we did, I sure don't remember it!

19. Were you in any clubs?

No. I just participated in the Theatre Arts program.

20. Have you gained some weight since then?

Ppppffftttt!! Next question, please!

21. Who was your prom date?

Skipper McKaskill (hmmmm... I wonder what ever happened to him???)

22. Are you planning to go to your 10 year reunion?

That's come and gone. If there is another reunion planned, it'll be my 30th, in 2010. Ask me then, if I'm going.

23. Did you have a job while in high school?

Oh, yeah. I started working a month after I turned 16. And I haven't looked back since! :)

Conversation with a Three-Year-Old

My littlest little is home from preschool today. Partly because we woke up to snow on the ground this morning (told ya... New England), and partly because she has yet another cold, with a low-grade fever, and one of the many rules of her preschool states that you can't bring your child into school if they have a fever, and they may not return until they're fever free for 24 hours.

No matter. I love my one-on-one time with her.

Case in point:

After sitting on the floor behind me, contentedly coloring and singing a little tune while she was at it, she decided it was time to play with her dolls. So, she gathered up a couple of her stuffed animals (one in particular, her pink bunny with its missing ears and holey backside, is an absolute favorite of hers), her dolly high chair (in which pink bunny sits, at its place of prominence), and her little chair from her table and chair set.

She then proceeded to explain to me that I was the mommy, she was the sister, and her treasured, holey bunny was the baby, and that we were to pretend to be at a restaurant.

I asked her, "What are we doing at the restaurant?"

Her reply?

"Eating, you silly!"

Guess she got me on that one! :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like... Springtime???

Here in Massachusetts, it's 47 degrees outside. Right here. Right now. It's supposed to get up to 56 degrees, at some point today (according to the weather thingy-ma-bob on AOL).

I currently have all of my kitchen windows open, my bathroom window open, one of my living room windows open, and both of my bedroom windows open, and the breeze that's blowing into each of those windows isn't the slightest bit cold. Not even cool.

Need I remind you... it's December. And I'm in New England.

It's just so weird, that it's a week and a half before Christmas, and it's so balmy here. Not that I'm complaining, though. I've grown to HATE shovelling.

But, seeing as how it's New England, the old adage can hold true: "If you don't like the weather here, just wait a minute."

I'm not holding my breath.

Monday Randomness

Morning, all!

I just realized I haven't posted anything since last week, so I figured I'd better get on the bandwagon and update you all on my oh-so-exciting life! :)

I FINALLY managed to go to the doctor's, and his "official" diagnosis was that I had a sinus infection. I personally think it had gone waaayyyy past that. When he tapped on the spot underneath my eye sockets and asked if it hurt, I told him, "It doesn't now, but as the antibiotic starts to work, and everything begins to drain again, it will." I was so clogged up that NOTHING was coming out!

He wasn't my usual doctor (in fact, that's one of the reasons why I don't like going to my doctor's office much any more; my doctor's SO in demand that I hardly ever get to see HIM when I make an appointment), so he didn't know ME well enough to know that when I get sick like this, I know pretty much exactly what's going on with me. So, even though I wasn't symptomatic of anything in particular, he was nice enough to take me at my word and give me a prescription for ten days worth of amoxicillin.

I'm happy to say that, after three or so days of taking the prescribed medication, I'm sleeping a bit better, and FINALLY starting to feel as if I might just shake this thing after all!

While I was there, I wanted to have him administer a TB test for me. I have the opportunity to work in a lunch service position at my littlest little's school, but everyone who goes NEAR their food on a regular basis has to have an up-to-date TB test performed. Since I don't believe I've EVER had one, it's important that I get one. The logistics are what always seems to get in the way, though.

He was happy to put the order in for me, but said I'd have to come back in two days to have the test "read". That meant going into Urgent Care on Saturday. Not one of my favorite prospects in the world. Not only would the wait time depend on the amount of people waiting to be seen, but I couldn't figure out a way to get the reading done without having to pay for parking. And, call me cheap, or call me stubborn, but I REFUSE to pay six bucks before I even walk in the door! So, I canceled the test for that day, and will call in to schedule it for the week that my husband's home on vacation. Problem solved.


My husband has taken it upon himself to take off his scheduled weekday (Thursday). The good part is that we've been able to spend some time together, get errands done that either require the both of us to participate (like finishing up the wrapping of Christmas gifts), or that we need to "tag team" for (like for my oldest daughters parent/teacher conference -- I stayed home with the girls, while he went to meet with her teacher, only because I was sick as a dog that day, and didn't feel like getting dressed and heading out ANYWHERE). The bad part is, we're losing valuable overtime everytime he doesn't work on that day.

I know he's wanting to take some time off and relax, but I need to get his butt in gear to make that extra money! :) He said he'll start working the overtime again after his vacation week. Fair enough.


I mentioned that we're done with our Christmas wrapping. Or, so I thought. One of my girlfriends dropped me an e-mail, letting me know that had some INCREDIBLE, one-day deals on toys. I made the HUGE mistake of looking through the list of things that were on sale. Of course, there were two things that Miss S. has been BEGGING for; 1) Puppy Grows and Knows My Name, and; 2) the holiday singing Hanna Montana doll. Both were RIDICULOUSLY marked down, and I couldn't resist. I ordered them. So, even though I thought I was completely done, I now have two more things to wrap (which isn't all that bad, really). That is, unless I decide to put them away for her birthday in February... then I can hold off on the wrapping for awhile! :)


Speaking of birthdays, my oldest daughter's is coming up, too. She was born at 8:24 a.m. on December 26th! :) She's without a doubt THE best Christmas present I've ever gotten!

She was dying to be old enough to be able to have a laser tag party at Good Times Emporium. You can't play laser tag until you're ten, so this year was IT for her. She was all excited about the prospect... until, to her dismay, we found out that Good Times had shut down. Another victim of the lousy economy. She was crushed.

I found another place that has laser tag parties, but they only schedule them on certain days, either before or after the general public is allowed into the building. The laser tag birthday party involves a package deal, and because it's a bit pricey, she's agreed to hold off having her party until after the holidays are over (I'm thinking February or March). To a kid that's had her heart set on a laser tag party for YEARS, a few more months doesn't matter much, I guess.

Of course, we'll still have a small family celebration of her birthday ON her birthday, as we've done every year. Considering the fact that she is pretty much a Christmas baby, I have a certain set of criteria for her that MUST be followed:

1) Her birthday is always celebrated on her birthday (the same as my other children);
2) Any birthday present that's expected to be opened on Christmas will be considered a Christmas present;
3) Any birthday present that's wrapped in Christmas paper will be considered a Christmas present;
4) Any Christmas present given to her on her birthday will be considered a birthday present.

I don't want ANYONE to ever assume that, because she was born on the day after Christmas, that she got jipped somehow. Everyone's birthday is special... INCLUDING hers.

And, like she has always said, she feels lucky, because she gets to celebrate Jesus' birthday, and then she gets to celebrate hers! :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

I'm Throwing Down the Gauntlet

Why is it that, as a mom, my needs pretty much always come last? At least that's the rationale I'm going with to defend my position against making a doctor's appointment... until now.

I felt a cold coming on, about a week before Thanksgiving. Oh, great. Just what every pie-making, cookie-baking, turkey-and-all-the-fixins Mama needs to feel when she knows she's going to be up against a marathon of a day. But, like a trooper, I persevered, getting all the dinner (and desserts) expertly done, in between sniffles, coughs and sneezes. Heck, I even felt somewhat GOOD on Thanksgiving. Perhaps I was only fooled by the euphoria of the day.

By Friday morning, the sore throat came back again in force. Once again, I bravely (or stupidly, depending on your side of the fence) ignored it, choosing instead to push ahead and get through the day, as only a mom with three kids home from school for Thanksgiving vacation (who were hopped up by an overload of apple pie, might I add) can do.

I'd casually mentioned to my husband, in my Robitussin induced stupor, that I'd like to put up the tree for Christmas that weekend. Silly me.

I woke up late on Sunday, after a ridiculously fitful nights sleep (I was coughing up half a lung all night long), and saw, with dread, that my well-rested husband had taken it upon himself to assemble our tree already. Poor guy... I know he meant well. But, all my weary body wanted to do at that point was go back from whence I came... and crawl underneath the covers and die.

But, once again, I persevered. I half-heartedly went through the boxes of lights, garland, ornaments, and other Christmas-y doo dads, and pretty much stopped at the tree and the mantel. Mind you, I typically have something... something that embodies the spirit of Christmas in each and every room of my house. My kids even have their own little Christmas trees, which I place in their bedrooms every year. Not this time, though.

After the tree and mantel were complete, and my homemade Advent calendar was hung, and the wreath was placed on our front door, and a few nick nacks were strewn about in the dining room, I called it quits. My husband gave me quite the quizzical look. I think, only then, he knew how sick I really was.

I spent the next week feeling about the same. Struggling to get through the days, doing just enough to get my kids to and from. Struggling even more to get through the nights, stealing what sleep I could in between brutal cough after brutal cough.

Finally, today, I decided enough is enough. I've thrown down the gauntlet. I called my doctor's office and made an appointment for ME. I'm to be seen by someone in my doctor's staff at 9:30 in the morning on Thursday. (I told the nurse who returned my call that I couldn't care less if I was to be seen by the janitor on duty, as long as he had the authority to write me a prescription for amoxicillin!).

So there you have it. I have succumbed. Now, please pray that I'll be better for Christmas!

Friday, December 5, 2008