Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pookie, part 1

We had the weekend all planned; a typical family night on Friday, a day of fun playing tennis with Uncle Brad on Saturday, Church and the Saints game on Sunday (complete with face paint and lots of cheering).

Then, we didn't do our family walk in the park on Friday...
then Uncle Brad flaked on us...
then I got a call that my SIL was in labor...
then I got pulled over by the police and almost arrested because my registration AND drivers license was expired...
then, I died...
then, he let me go...
then, I got better...
then the labor stopped and I went home...
then the phone rang at 5:30am on Sunday morning...
then, me and my illegal self drove to the hospital...
in my Saints shirt.

When I arrived at the hospital, my mom and oldest niece were in the room with my SIL. She was excited and happy...the contractions hadn't gotten mean yet. My niece was playing on her DS and SpongeBob was on the TV.

Soon, the room got really full. My brother and their oldest son came back after getting breakfast at IHOP (they'd been there since 4am), my dad arrived with my youngest niece who was not too happy about any of this foolishness, and my oldest brother, his girlfriend and her daughter arrived, wearing Saints jerseys...they had tickets to the game and were stopping by before driving to the Dome.

Finally, Uncle Brad showed up, also in his Saints gear, determined that the baby would arrive well before kick-off so he could make it home to his "lucky" chair in time.

The maternity floor, which had been very quiet up until that point, suddenly got very loud...but not nearly as loud as it would later on.

For the first few hours, we took turns rotating between the delivery room and the waiting room. At one point, it dawned on me that I hadn't put any make up on and must surely be a frightening sight to everyone, so I sat in my SIL's delivery room to put my face on. She looked over at me and said "You're going to stay, right?" I said, "Well, I'll stay for a while. I'm sure other folks will want to come in before you deliver." She replied, "No, I mean, you're going to stay for the birth, right?." I just started crying.

I'm tearing up just typing that.

I stood up, tears streaming down my face, and went over to hug her and thank her for asking me to stay.

Truth be told, I'd thought about being part of the delivery for quite some time. I knew I wasn't going to be asked to be the godmother...I'd already had my being in the delivery room would be such a special moment to share with the new baby and my SIL. But, also, since I may never have the opportunity to experience a birth of my own, sharing in it with my SIL would be the next best thing.

After the tears subsided, I finished my make up and the Saints game started, the contractions starting coming hard and fast...and my SIL started getting loud.

Really loud.

She yelled. She writhed. She smacked herself in the head. She squeezed our hands. She fussed at us when we told her she could do it. She begged for drugs. She growled at my brother.

We laughed. Lots.

Finally, it was time. I got pushed out of the way by the team of nurses who arrived to help get that baby out. There were no fewer than 5 nurses and the doctor, a tall, calm woman who was not my SIL's regular doctor. My SIL was good to go. She knew all she had to do was bear down and Pookie was going to be here, but the team needed to get ready. They needed to get her in position, break down the bed, set up the plastic bags to catch the grossness, and put protective gear on themselves. My poor SIL had to just sit there, being pushed and lifted and scooted all while trying to keep a person inside of her. But, finally, after lots of hurried maneuvering and some calming words from the doctor and a nurse, it was time.

"Ok, I want you took take a deep breath and push gently." the doctor said.
My SIL complied, quietly and calmly pushing.
I was focused on her, praying for her, but then my brother tapped me on the shoulder and said "There's the head."
I looked "down there" and sure enough, a tiny head was about half way out.
I began to cry. It was the most incredible thing I'd ever seen. For months, I could only imagine that there was a person in my SILs belly, could only love on him or tell him I loved him through her belly. Now, he was almost here. He was real. And he was going to be with us.

One more push and he was out and I was sobbing.

This little boy I knew was in there, I knew I'd love 'a million, trillion, billion" was real and was here...finally.

And I didn't care one bit that he looked kinda gross.

As soon as the baby was delivered, my poor SIL was back to her pre-hard labor self. Smiling, joking, cheerful, and apologizing to everyone for being so loud.

While Pookie and Mommy got cleaned up, we just stood there, in awe of what just happened and this new little person who was suddenly part of our lives and our hearts.

What happened next, was some of the sweetest moments our family has experience in a while...

I think they like him. :)

The rest of us think he's pretty ok, too.

Can you blame us? Clearly, he has looks AND intelligence.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I may not be the Biggest Loser...but I'm a Loser, nonetheless!

I'm going to share a bit of shocking news with you. It may be hard to believe. You may read what I have to say and be all "Psh! Yeah, right!" You may stare at the computer screen in utter disbelief, but I swear on all that is holy, I am telling the truth.

I've never watched "The Biggest Loser". 

That is, I never watched the show before last night. Early into the two-hour premiere of the show, my tear ducts and my psyche repeatedly asked "What are you doing to us?!!?!" and begged me to just make it stop. To say that I could identify with pretty much every single person on the show; to say I shared their pain, their frustration, their feelings of hopelessness, and their shame, would be, well, at the risk of sounding trite and predictable...a huge understatement.

To say that I cried, would be an even bigger understatement.

I cried when the contestants had to take off their shirts in public. I cried as they jiggled and hobbled over to the scale. I cried when they had to say their weight out loud. I cried as they fought and sweat and cried and pushed and wanted to give up during their challenge. I cried when they shared their stories and their hope for a big change and a real life. I think I even cried during the commercials. Point being, I cried...a lot.

The breaking point for me was a woman who would eventually be eliminated. She was a backup singer, stuck there because her appearance didn't match her voice. She struggled through the challenge, fighting for her chance to move to the forefront, but her knee just wasn't letting her do what her mind and heart were screaming for. The other two competitors finished before her, and this woman's chance for the ranch was lost, but her husband and son stepped up, even supporting her physically, so that she could finish the challenge. 

I sobbed. It wasn't pretty.

Well, the moment was beautiful, but my face was not.

Neither was the dinner I ate while I watched The Biggest Loser - ramen noodles. That and two hours of emotion and tears, left me exhausted, and I fell into bed completely spent, rubbing my red, burning eyes...praying for good sleep and the ability to wake up and go on my morning run. I had to. I'd just watched The Biggest Loser. 

When my alarm went off, I didn't want to move. I purposely forgot I'd watched The Biggest Loser the night before. As I got out of bed, I proceeded to talk myself out of my run. ("I'm still really tired from the ramen." "I think, yeah, I'm pretty sure I have a headache." "I could sleep for 42 more minutes." "Man, that tornado dream was weird.") I even started doing some housework! But, eventually, I did strap on my heart rate monitor, lace up my shoes and head out into the dark morning. I hadn't been on a run in 4 days. It was hard. As I ran, I beat myself up about letting that time pass, about how slow I had to go now because of it, about how crappy my dinner of ramen noodles made me feel, about going backwards with those bad choices...and then it hit me. 

Despite all of that...

there I was...


at 5:30am! 

So, I told myself to shut up about all that yuck and started thinking about the fact that I WAS STILL RUNNING. Sure, I have taken some steps back and fallen down a bit, but...I AM STILL RUNNING! I may not be where I "think" i should be, but I'm not where I was. But, I AM STILL RUNNING. I may not be happy with how consistent I am with my diet or how much weight I'm losing or how often/how fast I run, but I am still moving forward, still fighting, still getting back up when I fail, and, I'M STILL RUNNING!

I may never be the biggest loser. I will definitely not be ON The Biggest Loser. Haha. It may take me a long time to get down to a healthy weight...longer than I'd like. Longer than it takes me to get to 40...but I'm still losing, still making healthy choices, still fighting and STILL RUNNING. And, to me, that in itself is a major victory!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Things I learned in college...

Yesterday, the subject of "college" came up (or "university" if you are Canadian or British or like to try too hard to be fancy). Actually, the subject of student loans came up and how many people we know who spent time and money on college (or university) for what seems like nothing. My friend thought she had a good argument (and ally in me) since, she said, at least I was working in my field and using my degree.

I laughed.

I laughed a lot.

I laughed long and loud and clear. But I didn't float up to the ceiling for a tea party...which is always a huge disappointment to me.

I am currently a Human Resources Manager. Before that, I was a Marketing Director. Before that, I worked in the Report Production department of an Archeology firm. And, before that, I got the only job a person with a liberal arts degree can get with no other experience or connections...I was a receptionist.

None of these jobs had anything to do with my Government/Criminal Justice/English degree.

That degree was intended to take me to law school and was really good for nothing else, except maybe going on to get a Masters degree.

But, despite the lack of marketability and the inauspicious entry into the workforce...and the 10s of thousands of dollars I had to borrow...I really don't regret my college career or degree choice(s). I loved my years in college. I liked the classes I took (with one or two exceptions). I learned tons. I left a different person.

In college...

1. I became a Christian. I enrolled an atheist/occultist. Don't ask me how these co-existed rationally in my head, but they did. Then, in the summer of 1994, God met me in my dorm room as I mindlessly read the Book of Ruth. My world was rocked. My heart was changed. My life would never be the same.

2. I learned to properly fold a letter so it will neatly fit into a standard envelope. It's a skill I use to this day, and think about hours spent stuffing envelopes with friends every time I fold a letter today.

3. I learned that friends don't have to be from the same neighborhood, look the same, think the same, or act the same...they're just people you love because you love them...and vice versa.

4. I learned that Mythology teachers are unimaginative and boring. When asked to write about a bacchanal in modern times, I made it truly modern and turned the woods into a club and raw meat into taco bell at 2am (which was then ritually vomited out a car window, while all of my classmates wrote about modern day kids running naked in the woods and eating fresh, raw venison. I got a C. I should have gotten an A.

5. I learned to not make everything about me. After months of living with a roommate that generally ignored me and slept the semester away, I assumed she just hated me or was on drugs. In truth, she was hiding a pregnancy and in serious denial about it all.

6. I learned that sometimes it takes other people believing in your to help you believe in yourself. I've always enjoyed singing and even had the option to go to school on a music scholarship, but opted to pursue a line of study that would be more "practical" (hahaha). However, I enrolled in the choir. I was the only non-music major in the group and felt very out of place. One fellow choir member encouraged me to take voice lessons. Finally, in my senior year, I did. The teacher encouraged me to sing in the recital. After months of prodding, I agreed. I remember walking out. I remember hitting the high A I was worried about. I remember walking off the stage. I also remember being a bit of a celebrity when I walked through the music department the following week...and for the first time, feeling like singing was something I could really do and pursue without apology.

7. I learned to be ok with being me ...or to be more ok with it, anyway. In college, I came out of my shell. I went after things I wanted. I tried new things. I walked in the rain. I danced in public. I spoke in front of groups. I set goals for myself...and I achieved them.

8. On top of all of that, I learned to rely on myself, to be responsible for myself, to make decisions, to express my thoughts, to fight for what I wanted, to have confidence in myself, to take in information and discard what was useless, mere opinion or untrue, and that God is absolutely sovereign over all..

9. I also learned that me and Estee Lauder perfumes are not friends...never will be friends...but that me and Math could be.

10. ...and that, sometimes, women grow hair on their chin.

The End.