Friday, May 28, 2010


When I go to sleep at night, I have a very hard time just relaxing, and letting go, and falling asleep. I have a constant stream of thoughts, and stresses, that don't shut down. I usually lie in bed, and watch TV. Mindless crap. Reality shows. These don't require much thinking, and seem so far removed from my own life, that they seem to slow my heart rate, until I finally can close my eyes, and sleep.
Some nights, however, this does not work. I try breathing techniques, and other nights, I imagine my dream home, and how I would decorate each room. I have never gotten to decorate the bedrooms in that dream home, because by the time I have finsished decorating the kitchen, and living room, and my artists' studio, I reconsider the whole look, and start over. I am dying to finally start the upstairs. I have gone all these years without any sort of anti-anxiety medication, or anti-depressants, that at some point, I know I will finally get to see the upper half of the dream house.
One thought that faithfully relaxes me, and I like to call, my "big gun", is when I close my eyes, and re-live a particular event in my life. It is the birth of my first daughter, Olivia. I don't like to always rely on that memory, as I don't want to cloud the emotion, but each time I revisit that time, and place in my mind, I can actually feel the way I did at the moment I had her. I labored for well over 24 hours. In fact, I started laboring 48 hours before I had her, and spent an afternoon lying in my bed, in East Hampton, alone, insisting that David go to work. I could not believe what was going to happen to us, and I was scared. When my contractions got 3 minutes apart, David came home, and we went to my doctors office. She sent me right over to the hospital, and then everything just went quickly after that. My pain was intense, and could not be relieved by any epidural. The contractions were just back to back, for HOURS. It was torturous. I screamed, and writhed in pain. Day went into evening. Evening turned into night. I remember screaming in pain, and looking at my husband, and the mean nurse that I had, and they were laughing at something on David Letterman. Here I was, screaming in pain, feeling like a shark was biting me in half, and they thought something was funny on TV. Nice.
I reached 9 and a half centimeters, and stayed there for 4 hours. I vomited, I begged for mercy, I pleaded, and screamed. David stared at me blankly after a while, not knowing what to say anymore. Finally, the doctor said the baby was stuck. A C-section was going to be the only way to get the baby out. I didn't care. Sweet relief. THank you Jesus. If they had said they were going to remove the baby through my mouth at that moment, I would have complied. I was taken quickly to the freezing cold operating room, and I remember thinking that it was just daybreak, and I could not believe there were all these people in there, all scrubbed up and ready to go, just for me. Had they been called from their warm beds? Were they just standing by? How did they know?
The spinal block was administered, and they made me lie down very quickly. They said I would not feel a thing from my chest down. It was bizarre. It was like being dead, physically. I could not feel my squirming baby. I could not wiggle my toes. I could not swallow, because I could not feel my esophagus. I was shocked by all the things that my body had gone, and was going through, in just hours. It was surreal.
And then, I remember sort of hazily, (due to all of the drugs) a voice. A British woman. She had pretty eyes. She said here comes the baby. And this is the part that always relaxes me in my bed at night....she said "It's a girl".  It's a girl. Oh my God. I just had a baby. It was magic. Pure elation. I felt my heart sore. Literally. I saw tears in David's eyes. He looked at me, and said thank you. They were going to take the baby and examine her. He was confused about if he should stay with me, or go with her, and I said "Go with her". And I remember thinking "her". How lovely. 
They closed me up and I had to go to the recovery room for a bit, and then real brutal pain from the operation began to set in, but I lied in my bed thinking, somewhere, in this hospital, I have a daughter. She is alive, and she is mine, and is a "her". I smiled, and cried, lying there in pain. 
Today is Olivia's 7th birthday. I love her so. Thank you.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Yesterday, David came home from his second day of working overtime for the week, which is a 12 hour day. He promised to paint Olivia's bedroom by her 7th birthday, which is tomorrow. He works very hard. Some weeks, actually, all but a few weeks, he works 60 hours a week. I know he just wants to come home, and rest. I knew, the last thing he wanted to do last night, at 7 p.m., was to paint an entire bedroom. But a promise is a promise, and he would not let his little girl down. He worked, in the awful heat, in the tiny room, with the door closed, so the girls would not get the fumes, until almost 11 p.m. He then showered, and went to bed, without dinner. He got up again this morning, at quater to five, only to work another twelve hour day. Tomorrow is Olivia's birthday campout. We are having 4 little girls come here, and sleep in an 8 man tent, in our living room. This means tonight, at 7 p.m., he will come home, and assemble a giant tent, and most likely, rearrange furniture to make it fit. And it is going to be another 90 degree day. He is a wonderful father. Truely, a gift to these girls, as they are to us.
Rest is something that does not come easy here. David is constantly working, and I too feel incredibly tired from 24/7 child care. The baby nurses relentlessly, and Charlotte is, well....Charlotte, and that requires a lot. Olivia is pretty self sufficient, yet she too requires my care, of course. House work, trips to the store, cleaning, trips to the laundromat, shuttling kids to and from their various things. Rest is hard to come by here. I yearn for it some days. Dream about it. I know I am not alone. I pass by home after home each day. I see empty hammocks. Empty front porches. Patio sets getting no use. Benches lovingly placed under shade trees, with no one being shaded. We are all consumed by our daily life, and the struggle to get through our day, the rest part is the least important part of our life. I know for me, it makes me cranky, and resentful. I too, have a deck, with a pretty "conversation area" as I like to call it. When we purchased it, with former President Bush's stimulus money, I envisioned long summer nights, gathered around the outdoor fireplace, with flickering candlelight, and outdoor lights. It happened. A few times. Just not as much as I thought it would.
I am vowing to rest this summer. I am vowing, that my family is going to put our stress aside, and be a family, and sit in our conversation area. We are going to have conversations until late in the night. We need to take this minute little speck of time, while our little girls still want to talk to us and we are going to enjoy it all. We are going to do this, because if we don't, we will never be able to back and do it over. It will be gone. We will have a quiet home, and time to rest and reflect upon all the time we didn't take the time to do it, and just let ourselves be free.
Just for a little while.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


The lights are on. We were not disconnected. I called the electric company. I pleaded with them. I actually cried to the operator on the phone. How mortifying. But I could not help the tears from coming. We had to pay $875.00 to bring us current, or we were indeed going to be in the dark. Don't think that it did not cross my mind to let us be in the dark. I envisioned nights by candlelight, and grilled dinners. Quiet, unplugged times with our girls. Sounds nice, in theory, yet the reality of what it would actually be,  was what snapped me back. Whiny kids, driving us nuts, wanting to watch a movie. Freezing cold bath water. Having to make runs for ice to keep our food cold in a cooler. No computer. No TV. No escape.
The $875.00 was quickly coughed up. We just did not make our May mortgage payment. That makes me laugh when I think about it. The choice was to keep our lights on, or keep a roof over our head. We opted to play phone tag with the mortgage company for the next month. Our lights are on, in a home we can't pay for. That is the irony of our life. The daily, weekly, and monthly choices we must make, just to get through a day. I have cried, and stomped my feet more times than I can about this. It has reached the point of it being acceptable. These terrible choices we make, are just a way of life. Until a better day I suppose. I feel that day coming sometimes. Each time, my cell phone rings, I think it is the news we have been waiting for. The day of relief. The stress free portion of our life will now commence.
We have made a choice recently to end our financial suffering. My David is going to Afghanistan in the fall, for 6 months. He will be making six figures, tax free, in exchange for volunteering his time in a terribly, dangerous place. We are faced with choosing to risk his life, to better all of ours. It is such an unbelievably, scary, and sad choice. I cannot begin to express how frightened I am by this choice.
 My heart is broken. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


We received a notice from our electric company, that unless we come up with $800.00 by Friday, (not gonna happen) they will shut our electric off. David's car needs over $600.00 in repairs and we do not have that either. To say that I am feeling down, would be putting it mildly. Panicked would be the word that more closely describes my feelings. Sometimes, I imagine myself walking and coming across a brown paper bag filled with money. Enough money to just pay our bills. One time, when we were at a toll, about to go over a bridge, I looked out the window, and saw a ten dollar bill on the ground. We were just about to go onto the GW bridge. I got out of the car, and picked it up. I couldn't believe my luck. Our luck. Later that day, we paid for groceries, in one of those self checkout lanes, and left the change in the receptacle. It was almost ten dollars. In one hand, out the other.
Today, I was at the bus stop, feeling down. A Jamaiican lady, whose name I cannot remember, but has such a soothing way about her, came over to my car. She handed me some plastic bags filled with apples, and potatoes, and onions. She said that the food pantry at her church had too much, and before things spoiled, she needed to get rid of some things. It was like a pat on the back.
Tonight, we will feast like kings. Roasted chicken, roasted potatoes with garlic, lemon and oregano, and a side of broccoli. Maybe, even an apple crisp. While the lights are still on, I shall pretend we are OK. And we will be. Fingers and toes crossed.

Monday, May 17, 2010


I have been wanting to write for weeks now. I have been unable to for so many different reasons. Sick kids, busy life, no time, crying, whiny baby at my side, day in and day out, not letting me have even thirty minutes peace. It has been trying. Sometimes maddening. A lot of times maddening. Like right this very moment, my little Molly is pulling on me, and scratching and crying. Charlotte is asking me fifty questions. I want to cry. Some days, I want to run out of the house screaming, and not look back. I never would, but  the impulse is so strong some days. 
I think another reason that I have been unable to write is sometimes, when you put something down about yourself in print, and you have been honest, it is hard to look at. It is painful to see the person and the life you have, as opposed to the one that you want other's to believe that you have. Or the one you would like to believe you have.My husband does not like that I have mentioned that we are requiring food stamps to help feed us all, at this time. I almost feel required to write, "at this time". Like it hasn't always been like that, and it won't be like this for long. He is ashamed, I am ashamed. It makes me sad to be ashamed of who I am sometimes. I want to feel proud, and successfull. I don't want to always have to work so hard, to never get ahead.
I am working on little sleep, and a lot of stress. David told me to garden today. Plant my basil. It is good for the soul. I am hoping he is right.