Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Get Back Up Again

When I was 5 years old, my dad decided it would be a good idea to take the training wheels off my Strawberry Shortcake bike and send me down what I thought was the biggest hill in town.

This hill just so happened to be right in front of our house. It spanned a block, ran past the old fire hall and the library, and dumped you right onto Main Street. I don't know which is more appalling: the fact that he sent me straight into traffic or the fact that he did so without me wearing a bike helmet. Those of you who know the Main Street I speak of know I'm being facetious here. With a population of 400, traffic wasn't exactly an issue. And I don't think bike helmets were even invented yet.

Anyway, there I was freckle-faced and 5 years old perched at the top of the hill, legs shaky, stomach a little queasy, but as ready as I was going to get. Dad put his hand on the back of the bike and we inched forward just a bit.

"Ready?" he asked.

My memory's a little fuzzy, but I'm pretty sure he didn't give me a chance to answer.

Picture me - eyes wide, knuckles white - and dad, jogging to keep up with my wobbly wheels. The pace picked up a bit. And then it picked up even more. And...


He'd let go.

And as soon as I realized I was on my own, crash!


Man, that hurt. It hurt bad.

With skinned knees and snot rolling down my face, I looked at my dad and just knew.

I had to get up and do it again.

Thirty years have passed and I often find myself in the exact same spot.

This grief thing has knocked me down. It's knocked me down pretty good and I want so desperately to get back up.

So I try.

I've been trying to put myself out there, trying to get back to the land of the living.  But I often find myself in the same spot:  legs shaky, stomach a little queasy.

Sure, I do OK when I have somebody by my side. Most times that's Scott; other times it's a friend who's good at running interference for me.

But what am I to do when that person can't be there? I certainly didn't expect my dad to ride around the neighborhood with his hand on the seat of my bike for the rest of my life (OK maybe I did) and I certainly don't expect to have someone to act as my crutch from here on out.

So there are times I ride solo.

I fall.

And it hurts. It hurts bad.

But it's more than skinned knees.

It's a bruised heart. A broken spirit. Hurt feelings.

I cry.

And I get back up again.

So yeah, it's just like riding a bike.

Only it's not.

Sunday, January 6, 2013


I thought about clipping a couple of coupons on Sunday.

I know what you're thinking: big deal.

Well, actually, it is a big deal. To  me anyway.

You see before all this, I was a bit of a coupon clipper. Not anything like the crazies money-savers you see on Extreme Couponing, but I'd take 25 cents off Bounty paper towels. And I was a sucker for the buy three get a dollar off General Mills cereal coupon.

So the fact that I actually thought about digging the scissors out of the drawer and clipping a few represents a little bit of normalcy for me.

Did I do it? No. But I thought about it.

That's good though, right?

Then why does it feel so bad?

Because so many grieving parents don't want to move forward (at least not without their child).

Even though the rest of the world keeps on turning, a mom who has lost her baby wants to throw her hands up  in the air and yell, "STOP!"

Just stop. All of it.

But no one hears her.

And when she starts doing things that might indicate that her world is slowly beginning to rotate, it feels, I don't know, wrong. Things like clipping coupons. And complaining about trivial garbage. And listening to the radio.

Can you believe I went months without listening to the radio? I'd drive and drive in complete silence (not really knowing how I got from here to there and back again). Imagine my surprise when I found my fingers tapping the pre-sets in the van.

And singing along to some of the songs.

What Do I Have to Lose?

Do you hear that?


Well, I do.

It's the sound of my post-baby weight loss grinding to a halt.

I've been denying it for, oh, a week or so now and hiding from it in yoga pants and long-ish tops. But a couple of weeks ago there was no getting around it as I wasn't getting into a whole lot of anything as I tried to pick out something to wear to Isaac's Christmas program.

Outfit No. 1: Denim skirt, plum shirt (it's actually a pajama top, but shhhhhh, don't tell), a scarf, and tights. That's right. I said tights. It gets better. I had the pleasure of a running commentary from a certain 5 year old and 3 year old while trying on this particular ensemble.

"Look at mom's underpants!" Tripp exclaimed.

Let me assure you there is nothing special about my unmentionables. Or funny either. It's just the word underpants is hilarious to a 3 year old.

And then there were the tights. The control top tights. I'll spare you the details of the acrobatics I had to perform to get into those puppies.

"What are those?" Isaac asked.

"I think they're pants," Tripp whispered.

Isaac didn't appear to be convinced.

And I wasn't convinced this outfit was going to work. At all.

Outfit No. 2:  Pre-pregnancy jeans (now I'm just a glutton for punishment), mustard maternity top, black jacket, and scarf. By now the boys were bored, so yeah, just me celebrating the fact that I got into the jeans. But, just because you can get them on doesn't mean you should wear them. That was definitely the case.

Outfit No. 3: Maternity jeans (hangs head in shame), mustard maternity top, black jacket, and scarf. Notice I always have a scarf. Always. Scarves have always been a staple in my wardrobe. Fashion gurus say they add visual interest. Right now they're acting as camouflage for the mid-section.

You know what else can camouflage a little postpartum pudge? A baby. And you better believe I was workin' that.