March 26, 2010

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

He's home! It's really over, can't believe it. So far Kurt's slept for 10 hours straight and is working his way up to 11. Afterwards-- cappuccino and a long walk. Woohoo!!!

March 25, 2010

Getting my husband back, a work widow no more

I know, work widow, sounds so dramatic. But these last few months I've really felt that way-- left alone and abandoned to a life without my husband. The caveat is, he's not deployed or away on business or, thank God, dead. He's just been GONE.

Since before Christmas, and really reaching back into the past year and a half at least, my dear husband has been suffering a death by nibbling predators. By the end of last year, the small bites became more painful mouthfuls. In the past three months, he's been nearly completely eaten alive by this scavenger called a "job". He's worked non-stop, 90 hour weeks, through weekends, sleeping 4 or 5 hour nights that are haunted by dreams of the work yet to be done. He wakes downtrodden and vaguely hopeless, exuding nothing more than a wave of exhaustion. The few days he has insisted on simply walking away and trying to breathe have been full of depressive episodes and fits of temper. He looks ill. He IS ill.

On the other side of the coin, the girls and I have been on our own. At first they cried a lot when he wasn't here and spent a long couple months behaving miserably for me, pushing me to my last nerve. Then they moved on to baiting him and fighting for attention with their best whining, tantrums and sibling antics for the times he was here. Then there came the night when, at bedtime, Anna leaked slow tears and held tight to my arms, sighing, "He forgot me, Mama. He usually remembers, but tonight he forgot me."

Now, they don't question his absence, they just delight at the treat for the moments he's here. Last night he came home right around their bedtime, threw himself down on the couch and closed his eyes. Silvia copied his every move from the opposite couch and Anna walked up, gently feeling his forehead.

"You're hot, daddy, you must be sick." She patted him on the arm and then gently covered him up with a blanket. I put them to bed after that. He opened his laptop and went back to work.

And every day for the last month at least has been the last day.

Today, though... today may actually BE the last day. He told me this morning that the tests and simulations on his chip (he's an engineer, is that too much information?) have all finally, finally, (Is it possible? Could it be?) run clean and flawless. Today the chip could go out and be done. When, if, this magical moment occurs, my husband will walk out of that office for two weeks without looking back.

He will rediscover sunshine and his children and sleep and smiling and exercise. He may even do the dishes. We will take walks and hold hands and stare at each other until our kids run up and throw stuffed animals at us, demanding attention and chocolate milk.

My first reaction this morning at the mere possible reality of all this was to choke back a massive scream of hysteria. Happy, disbelieving hysteria, but disconcerting nonetheless. The core principle of our family has always been to work in order to support our lives, never to live in order to support the work. Putting that to the test, and now seeing a glimpse of the chance to set it right again, is enough to send anyone into a tailspin.

So if this really is it and my husband comes back to life today then... I expect we will both have a good cry. And then go for a walk in the freezing air while the kids jump willy-nilly into frozen snow drifts. We'll all turn red from the cold, our nerves waking up.

Our family coming alive again. Let's hope.

March 15, 2010

Babies everywhere

Thursday morning before I had shaken the sleep from my eyes I received a texted picture on my phone of my new nephew. He looked VERY new, with red chubby cheeks and swollen eyes, bundled tightly in the ubiquitous hospital swaddling blankets. I cried because he was so beautiful.

Friday night I got to walk around a store for a long while holding a little three-month old baby girl. She snuggled into my shoulder and chewed her fingers, leaving a big drooly spot on my shirt. It felt WONDERFUL. When it was time to go, I almost forgot (on purpose) to give her back to her mom.

Saturday I visited my friend at the hospital and held her newborn daughter, a mere half-day old. I sat in the big rocker and snuggled her against me. She made little faces and yawned and gurgled and slept. Several times I won smiles (okay, probably just intestinal side-effects, but still, they looked smiley, so it counts). After carting around Silvia and Anna for so long, the weight of her felt wispy, dreamlike, in my arms.

Last night, I relaxed on the couch, my swollen calves propped up on pillows, to catch up on my DVR'd shows for a bit after the girls were in bed. I missed nearly the entire episode of Grey's Anatomy because I couldn't take my eyes off the bumps, punches and general movement visible against the skin of my belly. Every time I saw the shape of my stomach shift, I smiled and pushed right back. I found myself, (cheesy as it is), humming a little nonsense tune to see if it had any effect on the baby's movement.

It did.

March 12, 2010

getting it together

Nesting? How can I be nesting? I'm still 4 months out from birthin' time, but the urge to GET EVERYTHING READY is pretty all consuming these days. I'm sure it's just a control thing. After all, the world feels pretty much out of control at the moment, so grasping at preparations and organization give me something to hold on to. I'm that way, always need an anchor, even if it's just a list for the grocery store and an exercise routine for the gym.

That's right, the gym. I was blow-drying my hair the other day and casually watching my tricep-area wave back and forth in the flow of air when it hit me that I haven't really exercise, much less done any strength training since that little test came back positive. While for some this may seem like a "Woohoo!" kind of moment, implying relaxation, for me I just felt yucky.

Last year I got myself into the best shape of my life. I LIKED having muscle tone and fitting into cute outfits and feeling strong enough to keep up with my kids and my family and all the fun things you can do when you're body doesn't hold you back. Just because I'm pregnant doesn't mean I don't still want all of that.

Besides which, I always feel better, in general, when I make the time and force myself to work out. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and, yes, control. (Sensing a theme here?) I dragged my not-so-firm rear end to the gym and met with a trainer for a complimentary session to set up a good pregnant-friendly routine. I left feeling VERY SORE but motivated. Besides, I'm going to need those arm muscles come this summer for when I end up having to carry three children, a stroller and a 10-pound diaper bag through the mall. You KNOW that will happen at least once.

On top of that, I've decided to make a full-force effort to get a hold of our "what's for dinner?" disaster. I say "our", but I really mean "my". I hate cooking, I hate planning something every night, I hate 5 o'clock. I even hate when I cook something really disgustingly bad and Kurt eats it anyway in a show of love and support. Just makes me feel worse. He once at an entire serving of nearly frozen broccoli just to be nice.

But it's part of my life right now, so this week I've worked on sucking it up and getting it done. I went through my cookbooks and magazines and made a reference list of about 20 of my favorite recipes. Then, next to the reference, I jotted down a list of the basic ingredients for each recipe. Now I can just scan the list once a week, pick out 4 or 5 dinners, make a grocery list and get 'er done.

While I don't ENJOY any of this and will have to force myself to plan and then prep and then actually cook every night (or most nights), it's better than the all the freak-out I feel when I have no idea what to feed my family.

Being organized is a pain in the butt, but you know what? It puts me back in... CONTROL. Ah-ha!

March 05, 2010

All prayers welcome

Seems a little silly to be worrying about laundry and groceries and sore joints today. My friend Janalee, co-founder over at MA! Motherhood with Attitude, is at the hospital today while her newborn baby girl has open heart surgery. Mae was born about a month ago and shortly after they brought her home it was discovered she had a rare congenital heart defect. You can read more of her story here.

So any extra thoughts of healing and support you can send out to the Powers That Be today, I'd appreciate it. This has been a nightmare for their family and I'm strongly of the opinion that a big ol' happy ending is in order.