Sentimental Fool

When Z and I first started dating he had just turned 25 and was 115lbs soaking wet.  He was skinny and cut at the same time, he didn’t have a 6-pack, it was more like a 12-pack.  You couldn’t tell how fit he was when you first met him, his clothes hung off of him and he just looked like he needed a hamburger.  His skin stretched across his face so tight it was like he was all flat plains and angles.  I recently came across a picture from the weekend we got engaged and it made me cry.  The kid in that picture is gone, I’m never going to get to kiss him again, and I feel like I forgot to say goodbye.  The man that I’m married to now is infinitely more interesting to me.  In a side by side comparison I’d take him over the kid in a heartbeat, but I’m sentimental as hell and I have trouble letting go of the past.   
Really, I have trouble letting go of everything-hurt, bad relationships, Brooklyn, every home I’ve lived in.  Moving around so much made me realize I wanted to be from somewhere.  I wanted to have roots, to know the same people forever, to feel like I belong.  Every change in my life feels like starting over to me, even when it really isn’t.  For the last 12 years every time I’ve moved I haven’t had to start completely over, Z has been there with me.  But in the moment I haven’t been able to see it.  I just feel loss over everything and everyone I am leaving behind.  Holding on to things too tightly can have its upsides as well.  It’s part of the reason Z and I were able to work through our problems and stay together.  It’s the reason I’ve kept in touch with one or two people from each phase of my life.  It’s why I have an encyclopedic knowledge of the Harry Potter series. 
But the fear of change and of letting go, the inability to move gracefully through lives phases is mostly a big problem.  I’m starting to wonder if my body isn’t following my mind’s bad example.  This morning I got the results back from the latest blood test.  My HCG levels are 6.  I am pissed.  Acceptable levels are 0-5 for someone who isn’t pregnant.  The doctor really wants me to be at 0, but I’d be happy just to be in the normal range.  The three day 14 point plummet last week made me feel sure I’d be back down to zero by now.  But to be one measly point out of the normal range?  Give me a break.  Just give me a fucking break.  Tomorrow marks 8 weeks since the D&C and my body just can’t let go of the pregnancy.  And I feel like a hypocrite for being so mad at my body for doing something my mind does all the time. 
So Monday I’ll go back to get blood drawn.  And Tuesday morning I’ll leave town for a month.  I probably won’t get the results before I’m out of here and that makes me quite uncomfortable.  I wanted this done before I was multiple states away from my doctor for an extended period.  And I feel like it is my fault because my mind has been a terrible example for my body.  The end.  No hopeful little tidy sum up like usual.
Here’s that picture.  Atlantic City June 1999.  He sure was a handsome devil.  

Rock and Roll Show

A few days after the miscarriage Z found out that OK GO was playing in Syracuse at a theater around the corner from our house on October 26th and the tickets were only $15.  I was a royal mess and he was clearly trying to do something nice for me by suggesting we go and I think that’s what made me say yes.  It also was far enough in the future that it didn’t seem real.  Of course every time I thought about it after the tickets were purchased my heart started racing, but I fixed that by just not thinking about it.  But the Steve Miller Band was correct, time does, in fact, keep on slipping into the future.  The show was last night. 
I got more and more nervous as the day progressed, and as I donned my best approximation of a rock and roll outfit I felt like a total fool.  It was unseasonably warm last night, warm enough for short sleeves and I knew the venue would be hot.  When I came downstairs the very nice babysitter commented I had my tattoos out for the show and I felt like even more of an ass.  So, to put it kindly, I was snippy with Z as we walked to the restaurant for the dinner part of our date.  He asked if I was going to be mean all night long, because if so he wasn’t really interested in hanging out.  That was a fair point, so I tried to zip it. 
I get take out from the restaurant we went to at least once a week.  The kitchen guys know me and my order.  But I hadn’t eaten there with Z since I was pregnant.  After we got our table and were waiting for the food I actually started to relax and enjoy myself, mostly because I was enjoying the company so much.  We realized it was the second date we’d had since T was born.  Last winter we got a sitter and went to see Alice in Wonderland.  I’m not counting the time we went out to dinner when visiting my folks because I had an anxiety attack mid meal and we had to bolt.  Or last year’s anniversary.  My mom was staying with us and we did go to have dinner, but we were back at our place in under an hour.  T wasn’t yet a month old.  I was freaked out about leaving him. 
People do tell you a lot of stuff about this parenthood gig that you comprehend intellectually, but you really don’t understand in your bones until it happens to you.  I know we need to have time alone and away from the house because it will help us be better parents to T, but last night I really felt it for the first time.  We missed T, we talked about him quite a bit, but we didn’t talk about him more.  We talked about us.  And it was awesome. 
I read once that the human mind can only remember five things at any one time.  I don’t know if that is true or not, but it really sparked my imagination and I think about it a lot.  Before I became a parent I didn’t know if I wanted to become one.  It seemed like such a huge responsibility I wondered if one’s child wasn’t always one of the five things.  I remember awkwardly asking one of my best friends if she ever forgot her baby daughter existed.  And she told me of course.  When the baby was in bed and she was hanging out with us her daughter wasn’t in her thoughts every single second.  I felt so relieved. 
So last night felt good.  We got to be us again and we found out that while we love being a family of three, we also miss being just a couple.  And that is more than OK.  Don’t get me wrong, it was not a perfect evening.  When we got to the theater at 9:30 we were sure the second opening band was playing, but it was the first.  We impatiently stood around till 11 waiting for OK GO to come on, and 11 is way past our bed time.  We didn’t stay for their whole set, the babysitter has morning classes so we bolted at 11:50. 
But I’m glad we toughed it out and watched them play.   They are really fun live.  And it was the first night since T was born that I thought of myself as something other than T’s mom.  I love being his mother, it is the best job I’ve ever had.  But I was just me for 32 years before I took on that role.  It was nice to remember.  And frankly, it will probably be a hell of a lot healthier for T if I don’t let myself get wrapped up in being his mom every second of every day for the rest of his life.  He won’t be able to breathe and I will be lost when he grows up.  This post feels like another super obvious one.  But I guess everyone’s experience with motherhood is reinventing the wheel over and over again.  You just don’t get it until it’s your life. 
On the way home I told Z I would probably regret saying it in the morning (leaving the house is still an epic struggle for me), but I’d like to have date nights more often.  

The show.

Us being us before T was on the scene.  Full disclosure–T actually was conceived when this was taken, but we had no earthy idea yet.

Love Letter to Rhode Island

As we drove into Rhode Island on Saturday morning (Z was held up at work Friday night, so our plans were pushed back a bit) I simply felt happy.  I moved to RI kicking and screaming in a last ditch effort to save my marriage.  The choice was between two loves of my life, and much to my surprise New York City lost.  If it was up to me we never would have left.  But Z was miserable there, with work, with my mental illness, with the city itself.  Grad school in RI was the chance for a fresh start for him.  At first it wasn’t clear if I was going to accompany him.  I begged him to consider the idea of me staying and him coming home on weekends.  He said he didn’t want to do long distance, we were either in the marriage full time or it was over.  I chose the marriage, and I’m glad I did, but boy did I ever resent Rhode Island for a long time. 
While I was so busy resenting it for not being Brooklyn a bunch of things were happening.  My marriage became stronger than it ever was before, Z and I started to like each other again, really and truly enjoy each other’s company.  We had fun, we were silly, it was wonderful.  I also was emotionally healthier than I’d been in years, and I found a job that I did well enough in to get promoted several times.  And I started to fall in love with Providence.  It might not ever be one of the big loves of my life, but it is still real love. 
If you haven’t had the good fortune to travel in the Ocean State it really is a delight.  The good people of RI are very proud to from the smallest state in the union; they are also quirky as hell.  New Englanders are sort of mean in general and suspicious of outsiders on principle.  They talk funny, they are loud, they are resistant to change.   There is something honest about them that I find refreshing.  Most of my family lives in the south, so we visit often.  The saccharin treatment one is inundated with in the south makes me incredibly uncomfortable.  I just don’t buy it.  No one actually feels like being that nice all of the time.  I prefer the straightforward gruffness of the north. 
And we made some amazing friends during our three years there.  A co-worker of mine was horrified when he found out we didn’t have any family nearby, and he and his wife basically adopted us.  We were invited to spend every major holiday with them and their extended families.  I made another friend at work who has become one of those women that will always be in my life.  She has been to visit us in Syracuse and we stay with her when we go back to Providence.  And Z met so many wonderful people at RISD.  One of his former classmates was the groom at the wedding we attended.  The bride and I hit it off whenever we hung out.  The spouses of the RISD grad students tended to bond over all the annoyances of being spouses to RISD grad students, but beyond that we both are voracious readers and we both accidently got knocked up a few months apart.
So on Saturday morning we drive into RI, and I’m thinking about all this stuff and really feeling happy and actually homesick.  Not five minutes later I was literally shaken out of my reverie by pothole after pothole.  I thought, “God, I forgot how bad the roads are in Rhode Island.”  Fifteen seconds later the bouncing around woke Z from his nap in the back seat and he called up to me, “God, I forgot how bad the roads are in Rhode Island.”   
Other than T fighting a fever all weekend we did have a wonderful time.  I got to visit the first Whole Foods I worked at, which always makes me tear up.  We had dinner at our favorite Providence restaurant before we discovered T’s fever had spiked to 103.1.  And the wedding was a blast.  Naturally no one was looking at my tubby belly, so my ridiculous obsessing was a waste of time.  Here is my pathetic moment of vanity-at the last minute I ran to CVS to get pantyhose because the ceremony was outside and it was really chilly.  I found what I was looking for and checked out the size information on the back.  The sizes are A, B, and Q for Queen.  I guess Queen is supposed to make one feel better than say, Fat Ass.  I was borderline B/Q so vanity won and I bought the B.  When I put them on I almost immediately got a run (because that’s what happens when the hose are too small), and my stomach was killing me from the too tight control top.  We got to the venue in plenty of time, so I begged Z to find a drugstore so I could swallow my pride and buy a nice roomy Queen pair.  He complied.  I changed hose and my midsection actually felt comfortable for the rest of the event.  My back, not so much.  Lesson of the day (I mean besides the “don’t be a vain idiot and buy the right size pantyhose” one)  was it hurts to carry a 21lb baby while wearing heals. 

The wedding was T’s first.  Corralling him was a full time job, and we were so disappointed when we realized we didn’t take the camera out once.  So here’s the little man on the way home.  He isn’t a fan of the car to begin with, so five hour trips are just about his least favorite things ever. 

And much love and many congratulations to the bride and groom!  You guys sure know how to throw a great party! 

RSVP with Regret

A while ago I wrote I’ve made one good friend up here.  If I think about it, that isn’t really true.  There are a small handful of people who have become close friends.  The  friend I was talking about has kids, one barely four weeks younger than T.  I’m not friends with her because she is a mom; I think we would have liked each other no matter what our child producing status was.  But the mom thing is an added piece of good luck.  We are there to watch each other’s kids so we can make it to doctor’s appointments or get our hair cut, or go to faculty meetings.  It’s like having a friend with this bonus component.
But besides that friendship there are several other people who have made our first year in Syracuse great.  One of them had a birthday yesterday and her husband invited Z and me along with some other lovely folk to a restaurant to celebrate.  It was after T would be in bed, Z asked me to call around and find someone to watch him so I could go.  And my anxiety level shot through the roof.  My stomach cramped, my heart raced, my throat got tight and I knew I couldn’t do it.  Now let me make myself perfectly clear, I like this woman.  I look up to her, I care deeply about her, if we were to move away I know she would continue to be part of our lives.  While my attendance was in no way going to make or break this dinner I felt like a complete ass for knowing there was no way I could do it. 
The circumstances need to be just right for me to make it to an event outside the house.  Earlier this week Randy Cohen, writer of The Ethicist column in the NY Times spoke at the SU Lecture Series (quick SU plug-this Tuesday night series is free and open to the public and it gets some pretty darn cool speakers).  We arranged a babysitter so we could see him, we were only gone for an hour, and he gave a very interesting and thought provoking speech, but I was freaking out the whole time.   Getting back to the safety of our house was such an enormous relief.  And tonight we drive down to RI for a weekend of friends and a wedding.  Traveling with a baby is fraught if you don’t have an anxiety disorder.  But I’m so scared about keeping it together during the weekend I want to curl up under a blanket and stay there forever.   Yet I also really want to go to this wedding.  The couple getting married is one both Z and I really care about.  I want to see them make this commitment to each other.  And the woman we are staying with is among my closest friends in addition to being one of the kindest people I have ever met.  I hate that the whole weekend, which I have been looking forward to for months, will be tainted by my fear and anxiety. 
The fact that the dinner last night was bookended by two high stress events means my attendance was a nonstarter.  The month long trip to the south that is looming on the horizon does not help matters.  If the dinner fell on a week with no obligations I might have rallied.  Instead I hunkered down at home and ordered my favorite take out.  Z said the dinner was lovely and the food was really good.  I got to hug the birthday girl when she stopped at our house to pick Z up.  But at this point in time the fear of embarrassing myself in public still beats the shame of missing out on so many occasions. 
OK.  Now the fantastic news.  After just 3 days my HCG levels are down from 28 to 14.  This is the fastest and most dramatic progress we’ve had since the blood tests began.  Perhaps my rebelling uterus does know what to do!  Looks like the scary drug is going to be unnecessary.  I just have to have one more blood test done next Wednesday and then I’ll be all clear and we’ll have the green light to start trying again.  Of course, the following Monday I’ll be heading down south for a month and I won’t see Z for 3 weeks.  So if I do get pregnant that first month I will have some serious explaining to do.  But my imagined extramarital affairs are neither here nor there.  Because I feel really positive and hopeful about this for the first time in so long. 
We bought these hilarious pirate pjs for him when he was brand new.  He wore them for the first time last night and we were ridiculously excited.  

Robinson Rams

Recently Z asked me if I wanted to go back in time and relive high school again.  I felt like the question came out of left field.  Who in their right minds would ever want to be a teenager again?  You know the amazing “It Gets Better” campaign reaching out to suicidal gay teens?  I think all teenagers, regardless of their sexual orientation should be listening.  My high school experience was pretty happy all things considered, but I still would have taken a lot of comfort in hearing it does get better.  I told him no way in hell.  He then asked me if I’d do anything differently knowing what I know now.  Part of me would want to make changes.  I would try and be kinder and clearer with my intentions, and I would take back a few huge mistakes that fill me with shame.  But when I think more about it I know I wouldn’t change a single thing.  My choices led me to Z and if I could make changes I might not have ended up at Swing 46 with my sister and my high school friend Kevin the night of June 14, 1998 when Kev’s roommate Z unexpectedly showed up and asked me to dance. 
Z asked me the question because I have been talking about high school a lot lately.  It’s facebook’s fault.  Before I reconnected with a lot of Robinson Rams on FB it didn’t feel like I had a big gaping hole in my life.  I’m not the high school reunion type.  A few years ago the only people I had relationships with from high school were my sister, my best friend, and Kev and that was just fine with me.  Then about two years ago Kevin posted some pictures from school and a frenzy of friending among those of us who were disciples of Mr. Rome the drama teacher began.  And over the last two years I have discovered I want to know these people.  Some of the people I knew casually have grown into people I sincerely like so much as adults.  Some of the kids I looked up to so much back then still create that response in me today.   The bottom line is a lot of these people enrich my life so much now, and I think it is damn cool. 
I moved around a lot before high school.  From kindergarten to 8th grade I attended 8 schools.  I went to 4th grade across the street from my high school and there I met one of my favorite people in the world.  Four years  and 3 moves later when we re-met in 8th grade he didn’t remember me at all, but as the perpetual new girl I was thrilled to realize I had a history with someone, even if  I was the only one who remembered it.  We forged a friendship and now all these years later we correspond regularly.  He is friends with my husband on FB, and I am friends with his wife although we he haven’t met each other’s spouses or seen each other in 15 years.  Out of the blue last spring he gave me one of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever received in my life.  I feel like the world is a better place because he is in it, and I feel privileged to call him a friend.   
There’s another gal who I didn’t know well at all in school, but now all these years later we have so much in common it is just strange, right down to the dishes we have in our kitchens.  If we lived closer I could see our families spending a lot of time getting into trouble together.   I feel the same way about another gal, though the specifics are different.  Kev got to meet her for coffee when he was back in NOVA recently and I was positively green with envy when I heard about it.
There’s the woman who is friends with my cousin and his wife because this is such a crazy small world.  I was lucky enough to see her January, and I would love to see her again.  A woman who scared the bejesus out of me with her confidence and popularity back when we were girls has become a friend much to my surprise and now delight.  A boy I was sure I was in love with when I was 14 wanted my feedback when he started a blog.  A teddy bear of a guy I once knew has only gotten more adorable.  I now desperately want to go to DC and get a drink with him so he can crack me up with his acerbic wit.  My high school sweetheart, oh I am so grateful I get a peek into his life.  The beauty who lives in Austin, the sassy gal who lives in MD, the heartthrob who lives in NYC, the friend who’s whole family is dressing as Harry Potter characters for Halloween, the gal who is advocating for the arts in SC, the masseuse in Chicago I still wish I knew better, I’m forgetting tons of people I care about but the message is the same.  I’m grateful each and every one of them is back in my life. 
Last weekend I read a status update from someone I liked so much in high school that the word “like” doesn’t seem to cover it.  I looked up to her, wanted to be like her, wanted to be worthy of her liking me.  She was and is a talented artist, which was enough to fascinate me, but even more importantly she was kind.  Kind.  Now that is a rarity in adults, let alone teenagers.  So I emailed her and told her exactly what I thought of her.  It felt really good to be honest and to say something nice that I meant from the bottom of my heart.  We have been corresponding back and forth and it makes me so happy to learn more about her.  Last night I was discussing this on the phone with Kev.  And I just felt lucky.  Lucky to get to know these people who used to be such a huge part of my life.  Lucky that I will see my best friend in a few weeks and I know we will make each other laugh as hard as hard as we did in 1991.  And most of all lucky to have Kevin, a friend who I am fiercely protective about, who I love as much as family, who I feel so proud of because I knew him when he was 16 and he has become a man that anyone would be lucky to have in their lives.   
So thank you Robinson Drama Department, for bringing all these awesome people into my life.  And as corny as it is, I encourage all of you to send a crazy “I like you” email to someone from your past.  It is really worth it. 
Thanks Uncle A and Aunt B (perhaps my favorite Robinson Ram ever) for the awesome hat!


This melodrama of a miscarriage is wearing me down.  I feel like I’m a character in a telenovela thrown barely plausible twists and turns resulting in at least one freak out complete with weeping and gnashing of the teeth per week.  I’m also starting to fear I sound like I’m making this shit up.  Not that it’s so bad in the scheme of things.  There are plenty of worse heartbreaks out there than a miscarriage that drags on and on without resolution.  But I’m tired.  I’m frustrated.  I want, no, I need to move on. 

Yesterday I spent almost two hours at the doctor’s office waiting to get a shot of Methotrexate.  Part of the reason I waited so long was for the results of the blood test I’d had in the morning.  The good news was my HCG levels went down 5 points to 28.  The bad news was my HCG levels only went down 5 points and this far out from the D&C we need them to be at 0.  So it looked like I would be getting the shot.  Before the appointment I should have done some research on the drug, but I didn’t.  The nurse started going over side effects with me, and I got very nervous.  Then she said I’d need to wait 8 weeks after the drug was out of my system (which would take several weeks itself) to get pregnant.  I told her to hold it—the doctor had said if this shot worked I could try after my next cycle.  Then she said I couldn’t breast feed.  That’s when I had to really fight back the tears.  I haven’t begun to wean T, she was saying if I got the shot I’d have to cut him off cold turkey.  Clearly I asked her to clarify with the doctor.

This is the first interaction I’ve had concerning my miscarriage care that I haven’t been 100% comfortable with.  The nurse was very nice, but I hadn’t met her before and she didn’t seem to know anything about the drug.  All this info came from a book she had at her desk.  And honestly, almost two hours is a really long time to wait especially with a 14 month old who is missing his nap in order to be there.  Little man was a champ for the first hour and a half, and I really couldn’t begrudge him the meltdown that occurred after that.  When I did finally hear back from the doctor she said she didn’t know I was breastfeeding.  But I’ve been in that office an awful lot lately and each time I’ve spoken to the doctors I’ve made it clear I still am.  The upshot is I was not given the medicine.  I need to have more blood drawn Thursday and hope the levels have gone down much more. 

The complicating factor is T and I are leaving town for a month on November 2nd.  We are going south to visit family; we’ve had the plans for months, well before I lost the baby.  But when I had the D&C on September 10th it didn’t occur to me I’d still be dealing with the miscarriage as we moved into late October. 

Hindsight is always 20/20, but I’m starting to think I really made the wrong decision in the ER when I was presented with the choice of having another D&C or trying to get rid of the stuff left in my uterus with drugs.  I thought the drugs would be less invasive, but now that I’ve looked up Methotrexate online it seems pretty damn scary.  It’s primarily used to treat cancer.  And the side effects are daunting.  If’ I’d had the second D&C I’d only have had to wait an extra week to start trying for another baby.  If my levels don’t go down fast enough before the end of the month and they decide I must take the Methotrexate I’m back another 10 weeks or so.  I am tired, I am grumpy, I am scared.  I just want this to end. 

But I’m gonna do my best to end on a positive note.  I pulled it together and didn’t have to take a chill pill after all this yesterday.  That, my friends, is major progress.  

T loves guitar playing with Z.  And yes, he wears this outfit 80% of the time.

Hurting and Forgiving

Yup, as soon as I put it out there that T and I are having a honeymoon phase he stopped giving me the time of day.  Little man has been fighting some kind of nasty bug for almost 3 weeks and this weekend included an unfortunate amount of vomiting and diarrhea.  During all the sickies he didn’t want me around him at all, he only wanted his dad.  Every time I tried to hug him or play with him he would weep in frustration and look for Z.  Needless to say, my heart was broken. 
It got me to thinking about this post, namely the part about Z and me hurting each other.  I’ve come to terms with the idea he and I have and will continue to hurt each other, and that I will hurt myself, and that it will happen with friends and family as well.  We need to try and not do it, but almost always we need to figure out how to forgive each other and move on when it does happen.  I don’t want to excuse bad behavior on anyone’s part by saying we just need to blindly forgive.  We should always attempt to be careful with each other.  This philosophy is not a go ahead for people to behave like immature ass holes.  And there are certainly things that are unforgivable.  Z and I have a short list of behaviors that are deal breakers, from the glib to the more serious.  For instance, he knows that I cannot bear facial hair in any form on the person I am with.  For all you gentleman out there with facial hair, I respect you and I might even find you very handsome.  But I cannot kiss you.  And I cannot be in a relationship with you.  Well, I can’t anyway because I’m married and cheating is one of our serious deal breakers.  But the facial hair is not helping.  We have a running joke that if Z wants to split he can clearly signal his intentions by rocking a mustache. 
OK, lost focus for a second there.  Swinging back to the topic at hand.  While considering all that hurt I didn’t make the logical leap to include my relationship with T.  He is going to hurt me and I am going to hurt him.  I am really having a hard time coming to terms with that.  I mean, he has hurt me already.  And even though he can’t communicate how, I’m sure I’ve hurt him.  I need to figure out how to cope with that.  How to explain to him it is alright.  How to ask him to be careful with the people he loves while at the same time teaching him it is natural to fail, but there are ways to make it right. 
And while my broken heart this weekend felt like such a huge deal, I need to remind myself this too shall pass, or maybe I should say this already has passed.  Today in the early morning he was very lovey.  Then when I dropped him with a friend because I needed to go get blood drawn he was a sobbing mess.  It hurt like crazy to walk away from him when he was crying, but it also did my heart good to know he wanted me to stay.  And my friend told me he stopped crying less than a minute after I left.  So ultimately he made me feel better, and he was actually fine.   Well played little man.  Maybe he already knows how to make it right without me teaching him.
Is there anything more delicious than a naked baby butt?  
The disgusting bathroom wall was like that when we moved in, and though immediately getting the bathroom redone was part of our deal with ourselves when we moved in it didn’t happen and we have been living with grossness for 14 months.  But that will finally change this November!  We are so excited.  
One last thing, I love it when Z forgets to take off his hearing protection.  Although I wish it wasn’t orange.