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Chapter XVII

because you never know someone from the very beginning

Month

January 2008

Letting Go…temporarily

I packed a bag last night for the hospital.  That was very odd.  To plan to take a bag somewhere and come back not just with the bag but with a kid.  Surreal does not begin to describe the feeling.

Even more odd is how to deal with work.  I am directly involved with seven companies at my firm, a mix of east and west coast.  While I am out, certain responsibilities have to be "transitioned" to others.  This phenomenon, though temporary, is very unsettling.  Don’t read that wrong – I am thrilled to work at a firm where we plan for these things and people are willing to take the ball when I pass it.  But just the same, I am not typically one to ask others to do things for me, to take over, to manage something I feel is primarily my responsibility.

I guess the answer is "Get used to it" because when I come back I will be transferring some of that other responsibility – motherhood – to someone I don’t even know yet.  Someone I – WE – that being the husband wife unit – DO NOT EVEN KNOW yet.  That is going to be very very odd.

But for now I will focus on work.  I am trying to tie up lose ends, get things in order, allow for an easy transition.  We’ll see how it goes, and I hope that what comes around (what I ask for) goes around (I can return).  I suppose this is what would happen if a man had a heart attack, or had to take a leave for some other reason, but let’s be honest, this is about the realities of women in the workplace.  And I thank my lucky stars every day that there are people here who get it, offer to help, seem excited to carry the ball for a while and are generally supportive. 

But all that said, it goes against the grain for me, and it still feels odd, uncomfortable and weird.

Inspiration

For several reasons, I found myself in search of a little positive inspiration this morning.  Other than my (half) cup of coffee, I have come up short and have not made time to dig into the Internet looking for some Power of Positive Thinking (to be clear, this is not a sign of being bummed or anything, I just did not feel like Rocky Balboa upon entering today, that’s all). 

Do you ever need something to give you a little bump of "get up and conquer the world" in the morning?  If yes, and if you have a great source of where you get this (coffee, a website, a favorite song, push-ups, peppermint shower gel), let me know. I am all ears.

Bliss197 BTW, on the peppermint shower gel, the one from Bliss is far and away my favorite.  This stuff is not for amateurs.  It’s a great gift for most people, great in the morning, great post workout, simply great. 

Appreciation

I have been really lazy about working out for oh, say, about the last eight months or so.  Like many, I have had slumps in my trips to the gym, but eight months is excessive.  And, yes, I know I am pregnant but even light exercise is beneficial.  The days of "You are pregnant, don’t get off the couch!" are long gone.  Being mindfully active – no marathons, but walking, mild activity – is encouraged.  I am not sure my daily walks to and from the subway count, but in any event, I have not made it to the gym.

So yesterday, a friend of mine from business school ran her second annual charity event to raise money for sarcoma.  She was diagnosed with sarcoma about three years ago and as an active, get things done person, she has made it her mission to fight the disease head on.  You can read about it here at http://www.spin4survival.org/ and read about her specific story here.  Jen is a true inspiration and has now raised nearly $1 million for the cause. 

Like we did last year, the Big H and I decided to participate in her event.  Now, at 37.5 weeks pregnant I was not so sure I could even get onto a spinning bike let alone spin.  But I did.  And it was great.  If Jen can spin throughout chemo, surely, I could spin a little as a pregnant person.  Pregnant women are discouraged from biking (risk of falling) but I take that as more of an outside biking thing than an indoor biking thing.  And the beautiful thing about spinning is that you can do it at your own pace.  I stayed on for the entire class (thank god for the air conditioner directly above my bike!) and in the process, realized how much I missed exercising.  I was so glad to re-discover my interest in being really active.  I now cannot wait to jump back into something – walking, running, lifting, whatever – post baby arrival. 

So Jen is an inspiration on many levels, but I bet what she does not know is that not only has she inspired me (and others) to have a positive attitude in the face of great adversity, to see yourself as a survivor, to take something you care about deeply and push it to try to change the world, but she has also been a catalyst for me to appreciate my physical capabilities.  Thank you, Jen, for so many things, thank you much.

Cinnamon Muffins

What are you doing today?  If I had some time to be in the kitchen, I would be baking Cinnamon Muffins from this recipe.

My sister made them recently, and they were ridiculously good.  So if you have nothing else on your agenda, do this, pour yourself some milk, and settle in for some very very happy bites.

Welcome to 2008, Time for a Few Memories

It’s been a long time.  One month, to be exact.  I have not wanted to post of late, I have turned inward a bit.  Or at least many things going through my head these days are not ready for sharing…but… 

We have not sent out our holiday cards yet.  I made them in December, and they will get out, but when I made them I had a frightening realization.  We had almost no pictures from the past twelve months of the Big H and me.  Nothing showing where we’d been or what we’d done.  In 2007, we did a very poor job of recording our life.  I have had a vivid sense of mortality and aging lately for some reason, and of course, I freaked out when I realized I had let so much time pass without marking the occasions. 

Similarly, I realized today this time of pregnancy is nearly over and there are things about it I will want to remember.  Experiences, feelings and sensations that have rolled into the last 36 weeks…and I had not written those down either.  One thing I know is that children are always curious about their parents before they were born.  I am curious what my mother’s pregnancies were like, I wonder what my dad was like when he was 20, I wish I could travel through time and see them at parties and dinners and church and just simply at home…all before I was around, or too young to remember.  And that is why I need to take more pictures, to write more, to record more, to somehow make it last…even after I am gone someday.  I gave my father a recorder last year for Christmas and asked him to please use it to tell stories, record memories, talk about anything that might be lost when he is well, gone.  My mother needs to do the same thing.  The memories do not have to be big grand life lessons or anything earth shattering – just moments, little things, favorite dishes, where granddad worked and when he came home at night what did he drink, what it was like to live in a foreign country, their favorite outfits as kids.  Small stuff makes up the big stuff.

I do not mean to be morbid.  But time passes and memories are lost. 

So along those lines, a few things I would like to remember later in life, and/or be able to pass along about the last 36 weeks, with a few other random memories sprinkled in…mostly directed to the Pending Bean…

  • I had irritating but manageable nausea in the first trimester (always good to start memories you might pass along to your kids with how they made you sick)
  • I was tired, but functional
  • I felt like a rock star during the second trimester
  • I had no cravings, only aversions.  I could not even be around french fries for a while (the horror!)
  • I carry forward, as they say.
  • Everyone thinks you are a boy.  I think you are a girl.  One day your father thinks you are a boy, then he thinks you are a girl.  Neither of us cares which you are, we just want you to be happy and healthy.
  • We were nervous but not petrified to have you.
  • We had no home for much of the pregnancy, and then we moved, and created a place for you.
  • In the third trimester my feet swelled.  All of a sudden, I was limited to sneakers.  I had to wear medical socks.  I had Shrek Feet.
  • When you move and kick, it feels almost the same as sitting in a massage chair…though not quite as good.  But it’s as if you are kneeding or rolling from one side of me to the other.
  • I am amazed and thrilled that I truly sense there are many many people – friends and family – who are genuinely excited for your arrival.
  • People keep asking me if I am going back to work.  This is, I suppose, a natural question but always strikes me as odd.  I love my job and have not even come close to doing everything I want to do in this industry.
  • I do not want you to show up until at least week 38 (I am now at 36).  I have several loose ends at work I am trying to tie up.  I am avoiding spicy foods for this very reason – no reason to induce!  Let’s see if you listen to my wish or will we start off with you asserting your independence.

On other notes:

  • I was not nervous at the end of the aisle.  I was thrilled.
  • We love Brooklyn and are not sure why we did not move there earlier.  But that said, we loved every second of The Manhattan Years, so there we go.
  • I am horrified by how much faith and religious talk has entered our political dialog in this 2008 Presidential campaign.
  • Your father is an amazing handyman.  Who would have thought from a guy who also has a taste for L’Occitane and Fresh and other froofy things.
  • I feel younger at 35 than I thought I would.  In some ways this is good, in other ways it’s daunting.  Focus on the good.
  • I loved visiting my father’s parents in Ohio because they built me a swing set.  And we always drank orange juice out of small frosted glasses.
  • My sister and I used to search for our Christmas presents and unwrap them before they could make it under the tree.  We were bad kids.  My parents never held it against us.

There’s more.  Much more.  This is a good start.

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