Bunny Pancake

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This weekend son came to visit the Philly house.

 

I have not seen son since Christmas, you know now that he is 22 years old and all, he is very busy.

 

Son arrives late Friday night. We are watching CNN. I tell him, “You would make a good newscaster.”

 

“No, I wouldn’t.” he says.

“I think you would.” I say.

“Why?” he asks. “Because of the collared shirts and good hair?”

“Yes!” I say. “You look just like those guys!”

 

I think a moment.

 

“I guess except for the having to talk part.” I say.

Son does not like to talk. Or be touched. In fact, I keep trying to touch him and he keeps moving away as if he might be burned. One might even say he recoils. He actually assembles a pillow blockade between us on the couch.

 

“Geez.” I say.

 

I notice on the coffee table there is a large set of keys, complete with carabineer. “Are these Harley Davidson keys yours?” I ask Mr. Collared Shirt.

 

“Yes.” he says.

“Do you really need a giant clip like this?” I ask.

“Yes.” he says.

Some things about son do not make sense reader. This is one of them.

 

Next day comes and son and daughter sleep until noon. When they emerge from their young adult caves I tell them, “We are going to the co-op.”

 

When we get to the co-op CUTE GUY is working. Cute Guy has not been there the last few times we went shopping. However, the last time he WAS there daughter was going to give him her number via MOM going back in and delivering it. Except MOM did not wish to do so.

 

We are carrying the boxes to the car. Son tells me not to sour his goodwill. I can’t even remember why he says this. I just feel you, reader, should know he actually speaks like this.

 

Daughter writes her number on a piece of paper and gives it to me.

“Oh ALLRIGHT!” I say. And I go back in and give Cute Guy the paper.

 

I say, “My daughter would like you to have this.”

He smiles and puts the piece of paper in his pocket.

 

Ok, yes, I am slightly mortified.

 

We drive home. We put the groceries away. Son begins the son food-festing right away by cooking pasta. Then, as daughter and he play various card games, he polishes off two very large bowls of pasta.

 

It is now 3pm.

 

“You know we are going out to eat at six, right?” I say.

He nods.

 

“And you are going to be hungry by then?” I ask.

He nods.

 

“Ok.” I say.

 

As I watch him eat I am thrown back to days of yore with son’s face in the dog bowl, shovel in hand. I used to have to hide food from him.

 

Now daughter is beating son at their card game. Somehow son picks up a pen to draw on daughter. Daughter says, “Don’t draw on me or I will have to beat you up again.”

 

This is funny, but also true. Daughter did used to take advantage of son’s good graces. For all the times she hauled off and smacked him, I do not think he ever hit her back.

 

Soon it is time for the VISIT TALK. Son and I go outside for this little chat. The VISIT TALK is where we sit alone and I ask him questions. And sometimes he gets on a roll and shares different things with me. Since he is newly working full time, most of our conversation revolves around his new job and schedule.

 

“I think you seem happy son.”

Son says, “It is better than being unemployed.”

 

Later, we watch THE METS. Some kind of good play happens for the other fairly young team. I of course, curse the other team and their newness. But Philly and son are singing the opposing team praises. Philly always does this. And now Mr. Fair is here to back him up.

 

Mr. Fair tells me, “It is not right to discriminate against a team just because they are new.”

 

“I don’t care!” I say.

 

“The Mets were new once.” he says.

 

OMG.

 

“Listen, that was a long time ago.” I say.

 

I am then called the Donald Trump of baseball.

I decide not to say anything else.

 

I go to bed.

 

Next day is Easter. Son has promised to be up by 10AM to make me a bunny pancake since he refused to do an egg hunt, now that he is so old and all.

 

I even offered to stuff the eggs with money. MONEY. Who turns down money?

 

I have advised both of the children to set their alarms for 10AM. Daughter wakes up. Son does not. I send daughter to go fetch son. “Go wake up your brother.” I say.

 

Daughter walks up the stairs and bangs on his door. “Wake up!” she says.

Son grumbles, “I will.”

Daughter says, “No, not you will. NOW!”

 

Ok, yes, I love her.

 

And…the pancake making begins. It is son’s specialty. Son makes a whole big bunch of silver dollar pancakes. And one big bunny pancake, which he PROMISED to make for me.

 

Philly is impressed. “You are pretty good at this!” he says.

 

We eat. Daughter and I have a little sunny yard time while the boys watch baseball inside. And then, just that fast, it is time to drive son to the bus back to Brooklyn. On the way over daughter tries to hold son’s hand. But, he will not let even DAUGHTER touch him.

 

“What the hell?” she says.

 

AND on the way in the car son just happens to mention he is playing soccer now. The whole car is like, WAIT, WHAT?

 

We have had an entire weekend visit with him and there was nary a mention of this new endeavor. And then here it is. Just like that.

 

I say, “We have had an entire weekend visit with you and there was nary a mention of this new endeavor.”

 

Son shrugs this off.

 

We arrive at the bus station. I decide I will walk son into the bus station. I used to stay for a while, but this time I get as much of a hug as I can get and I am on my way, with a little encouragement.

 

And off he goes.

“See you soon son.” I say.

See you soon.

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Passover Baby

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Monday I attended a birth.

 

It is Sunday and the iphone rings. It is April Mama. We have been in touch over the last days quite a bit as April Mama is now 41 weeks and has gone for acupuncture and had some cramping.

 

AM says, “I think I am starting to have some contractions.”

I say, “Great! Rest. Hydrate. Stay in touch and let’s see what happens!”

 

I tell Philly, “Maybe birth.”

“Ok.” he says.

 

Throughout the day we are in touch. Around 7pm April Mama wants to head in to the hospital.

 

It feels a little early to me based on how she sounds.

I am torn. It is a half hour drive.

Do I wait for her to be triaged?

Do I just go?

 

I talk to Mentor. Mentor says, “She is a second time mom. Better go.”

I go.

 

Just as I pull into the Hospital Parking Garage AM calls me. “They are sending me home. I am just 4cm which is only 1cm more than my Tuesday check.”

 

“Ok.” I say. “Get in the tub. Eat. Rest if you can.”

 

I drive back home.

 

I tell Philly, “I better go to bed. I am sure I will be called in the middle of the night. Will you make me a sandwich and snack bag?”

 

“Sure.” he says. Because he is an awesome husband and Doula support person.

 

I text my sub for Monday Yoga class. Luckily, she is available.

 

2AM and the iphone rings. “We are heading over now. Contractions are about 5 minutes apart and much stronger.”

 

I get up. I take a quick shower to fake my body into thinking it is morning. I talk to Philly for a moment as I grab the food bag he has so kindly prepared. And I head out into the traffic-less night.

 

When I get to the hospital this time April Mama is in Triage. She has been checked and is 6cm.

 

“Great news!” I say.

 

But then Nurse comes in and tells her, “You will need to stay on the monitor. Baby has had several concerning dips.”

 

OMG reader! Not again. Not again with the continuous monitoring.

 

AM asks about the dips. AM tells Nurse she does not want the monitor. Nurse gets a little terse as she says, “Baby took a seven minute dip. Usually that would be a trip right to the OR.”

 

Ok. I must stay in my scope. But questions enter my mind: Why did no one come in here in seven minutes time? And since baby looks fine now would we not say this was a mama position issue?

 

AM is not giving up. She happens to work in the medical field. AM says, “How long until I can come off?”

 

Nurse says, “An hour and a half.”

Nurse also tries to put in a saline lock, but AM refuses it.

Even though AM is a tiny person with a soft voice, she is very strong and clear.

 

I feel like it is forever we are in the little Triage room. It is a full moon and Labor and Delivery is busy. Finally we are moved across the hall. We get the most excellent room with the tub. As soon as the monitoring is done we plan on using it.

 

Now it is almost dawn. I think: I get to see a lot of sunrises doing birth work.

 

We are doing massage, positions and walking.

Midwife comes in for a check.

Midwife says, “7.5-8 cm. Maybe posterior.”

 

Ok, yes. I do think: AGAIN with the posterior!

 

And then she says, “Your bag of waters is still intact. I could rupture it and it would likely speed things up.”

 

AM does not want this. She says, “I will wait.”

 

Next, Labor Nurse comes in to scan AM bracelet. But the scanner is not working. This happened before. It helped when Husband held the bracelet flat. I say, “You have to hold it flat.”

 

This is not the right thing to say to a Labor Nurse who has been working in L&D for 26 years. I am properly chastised.

 

When Labor Nurse leaves, Husband says, “You know she has been doing this 26 years.”

He is funny, that husband.

 

It is soon after this visit that things begin to change. AM is entering Transition Phase. She does not want much touch now. Everything feels very sensitive. She shoos Husband and me away when we do something she does not want. We try the Peanut Ball. AM hates the Peanut Ball. She is leaning over the bed. When this stops working she wants the floor.

 

You never know what a laboring mama is going to want. Husband and I lay the blanket on the floor and we all get down there. In between contractions I tell AM, “It is a Labor Picnic!” And, “Passover baby!” since AM is observant.

 

Soon the floor is no good and we need to change it up. We get the birth ball and stack the pillow on the bed to lean on. Husband is showing AM pictures of their son on his phone. AM is working the ball, rocking and bouncing. In between contractions she is falling asleep. I am holding her up to make sure she does not fall off that ball.

 

AM has been telling me through this part she wants the epidural. I work to help her go through it, but it is a long labor with slow progress, just like her first labor. AM goes a little longer before she very clearly wants the epidural. She buzzes the NURSE button.

 

“Yes?” Nurse voice says.

“My wife wants the epidural.” Husband says.

 

Now we wait. Because they have to start an IV and get a whole bag of fluid in her. And the anesthesiologist has to show up.

 

This of course, feels like FOREVER to AM.

However, when it finally happens, AM is very, very happy.

 

In fact, I have never seen a mama so blissed out on an epidural.

 

AM has a big smile. She says, “This is wonderful…this is so good.”

I think she says this at least 10 times during this birth.

 

Now our interactions change. Comfort measures turn into conversation. Husband lays down for a nap. When he awakens he eats a sandwich. AM is starving. She speaks to him in a language I do not understand, but I can still tell she is begging food off of him.

 

He gives her the eyeball.

But then he gives her a piece.

I am a fan of mamas eating in labor, FYI.

 

Now it is 9 in the morning. New Midwife comes in to check AM. But AM does not want to be checked yet. Midwife does notice AM water has broken and changes the pads.

 

“I will be back at 10.” she says.

 

When she comes back in and checks AM she is 9cm, with a bit of a fore bag intact. Baby is still kind of high. I am starting to fade reader. 3cm progress in eight hours is a little hard to take in a second time mama. When the midwife asks if she can rupture the fore bag to help baby descend, I am very glad AM says ok.

 

Husband encourages me to take a break. I know I cannot sleep, so I go for a walk. I go outside and do some yoga in the park. I text Back- Up Doula, who is on call, just in case. I get an egg sandwich and a coffee.

 

Then I get a text: About to start pushing.

JESUS!

 

I pick up the coffee and trot back to the hospital trying not to spill it all over me. When I get up to the floor I am confused about which way to turn to go to AM room.

 

I realize now I must look like a lunatic running in there darting around, coffee in hand. Nice Nurse points me in the right direction.

 

Now it is noon. I lunge into the room and AM is sitting up in bed smiling. Midwife comes in and says, “Change of plans. Mama in the next room is moving along very quickly and ready to deliver. Lets allow you to labor down a bit and I will be back.”

 

I sit down with what is left of my coffee.

 

AM REALLY likes this particular Midwife. I know even though there are two Midwives on the floor, she wants to wait for this one. PLUS, baby is high and posterior.

 

We wait.

 

I am not sure when it is exactly. Maybe 1PM. Midwife returns.

“Ready?” she asks.

 

In comes Labor Nurse. By now we have made our silent peace. With her comes Student Nurse. Student Nurse is also a Doula. She told us this during one of her visits to the room. She even offered some services. I smiled politely.

 

The Delivery Table is opened up and readied. Everyone takes his or her pushing positions.

And off we go.

 

I am on my good shoulder side. Husband is by AM head. Student Nurse is on the other side. Midwife and Labor Nurse are in the catching area. As always it takes a few pushes to get a groove going. Labor Nurse is doing some excellent coaching. AM is getting a groove. We go for a good 45 minutes.

 

Midwife says, “We should be getting more progress with these good pushes. We seem to be a little stuck.”

 

We decide to change positions to help baby rotate a bit. Even though the position change doesn’t seem to do much, when we change back to the old position progress is totally different.

 

“We are over the hump!” Midwife says.

 

And now reader, I can see the beginnings of the baby head. Because AM is a second time mama, things move quickly. Ina few pushes that baby is crowning!

 

“Your baby is almost here!” I tell AM and Husband.

 

Midwife is very, very good. She talks AM through very controlled little pushes so the head comes very slowly. AM takes a breath in between and then out comes baby. Baby arm flings right out in the air as if to wave HELLO! to the world.

 

Right away baby is put on AM chest.

“Hello baby!” AM says.

 

“So big!” I say, and I cry a little birthing tear.

 

The room bustles with all the after birthing fuss. Clean up, make sure everyone is ok, placenta delivery, and check for tearing, of which there are NONE.

 

I stand back. Quiet. It is an awesome moment when the new being enters. I feel the room fill with light and love. I feel the new being arrive, really arrive.

 

And then the exhaustion hits. It has been 14 hours not counting the initial run. I stay for about an hour and then gather my Doula bag and begin my departure.

 

“Thank you so much!” AM says.

“Yes.” Husband says.

 

“You are very welcome.” I say. “Thank you for inviting me!”

We smile.

 

Because it is a little funny.

But it is also true.

It is an invitation.

A beautiful sacred invitation.

And I am honored.

 

Yes I am.

THE SHOW

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The other day we had Evening Showtime.

Evening Showtime is a new-ish event here at the Violet house.

This is an event that occurs in the living room and involves Philly running back and forth across the living room stage with various props, set to a carefully selected song.

 

I am not quite sure exactly how Evening Showtime got started around here.

However, I am pretty sure it grew out of boredom.

Mine, that is.

 

And maybe as an alternative to me bouncing up and down in the kitchen at nine o’clock at night desperately trying to discharge the day’s energies.

 

Oh OK! I KNOW I am supposed to be able to entertain myself and all that. But, no. I have enough time to myself driving around town alone to teach. Thank you.

 

I need PEOPLE!

 

So it is the other night. And I am bored.

I ask Philly, “Can you do the show?”

Philly hesitates. “I don’t know…” he trails off.

“Come on!” I say. “You promised last night you would do the show TONIGHT!”

 

Then I say, “You PROMISED!”

 

He is laughing but he knows I am right.

 

I tell him, “If you do not do it, I am going to text you the CLOWN FACE first thing in the morning.”

Philly does not enjoy the emoji CLOWN FACE.

 

Actually, it is a little frightening.

 

I trot off to my audience perch, which is located in the adjacent dining room.

I pull up a chair.

“Ready!” I say.

 

“You have to turn around.” he says. “I have to gather items.”

Woo!

I turn around. I listen to the bustling and gathering.

“Ok.” he says.

 

And on comes the Ethel Merman, There’s No Business Like Show Business. Which is from Annie Get Your Gun. Philly is a Musical Theater person. ALL of the Philly shows have been Musical Theater-ish. We have also enjoyed Everything’s Coming Up Roses, from Gypsy.

 

You never know what is next, but I am kind of hoping it is not more Ethel Merman.

 

And now the show begins! First, Philly trots by using a cable as a jump rope. This is a bit of a fail, but still very funny. Next he runs by with the fire extinguisher, and then a broom, complete with sweeping action. THEN he SCOOTS by on a Razor like scooter apparatus.

 

Right across the living room floor.

OMG. People. I am LOSING it. I am laughing so hard no sound is coming out.

 

But wait! There’s more! Next comes the Polar Explorer hat dance, followed by various expressions of kitchen utensils. And the grand finale is a reprise favorite from the last show, bucket-on-the-head now WITH SCOOTER!

 

Bucket is timed perfectly with the ending of the song, complete with a TADA-like raising of the arms and a bow.

 

I stand up. “Encore!” I clap. “Encore!”

 

Philly puts the bucket back on his head for a moment and I snap a picture. I am still laughing as I say, “We are old. This is what old people do to entertain themselves on a Friday night.”

 

HAHAHA!

 

Whew. I cannot wait for the next show.

No, I cannot.

For real.

Born

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Last week, I had a birth.

A first baby, of a young vibrant couple, who I met through my yoga travels.

They are strong, fit and I would say, ready to be parents.

 

The due date is March 21, which is also daughter’s birthday. This day comes and goes with some light contraction activity after a midwife visit. We stay in touch.

 

By the next day random contractions are starting, and picking up.

I say the same thing to E that I always say, “Rest. Eat.”

And she does. I text her at 8PM: You ate?

Mama E texts: Yes, and I got in bed right after.

 

She knows she will need her energy. And I have a feeling things will be picking up overnight. I go to bed with my phone turned all the way up, just in case.

 

Morning comes and I get a text from E: 5:38/55/1 hour.

I text: Excellent!

And I know the new family-to-be must have been up a good part of this night with those stats.

 

Dad K has a most excellent app on his phone called FULL TERM. He is using it to track the E progress. K is completely involved in this labor and the connection between these two people is clear and beautiful. I am the proud recipient of many contraction pattern screen shots, which I now can fondly look back on.

 

E is laboring at home. She uses the shower as the contractions are getting closer.

I text: I am ready to come whenever you are ready!

 

Not too much longer and it is time to go meet up. I drive to the apartment and I get a most excellent parking spot. Because THE PARKING GODDESS. When I walk in I can see E is very much in active labor. I will not be surprised if she is beyond five cm dilated.

 

“Did you call the midwife?” I ask.

“Not yet.” K says.

“Maybe it is time to do that.” I say with a smile.

And so he does. He calls.

I yell over, “Tell them she is in active labor.”

“See you when you get here!” they say.

 

And so we begin the gathering of items and the walk to the car, which is only a block or so away, but in labor can seem like miles. We stop one time to manage a contraction against a telephone pole.

 

Amazingly, some nice gentleman comes over to make sure we are ok and asks if we need a ride anywhere.

 

Really, I think we are all shocked by this act of generosity in the city.

It is good to see people helping other people.

I am glad this offering has occurred.

 

We decide to go in my car. E and K pile in the back. There is road construction today and so it takes us a little bit longer than usual. I drop them off at the hospital entrance and go park the KIA in the garage.

 

“See you inside!” I say.

 

I grab the doula bag and head up. Kind Desk Person lets me into the triage area, where E and K are getting settled. The monitor is strapped on and we wait for the midwife to check on the statistics.

 

After the check she tells us, “Seven cm, zero station, 100% effaced.

I look at E.

“Yay!” I say. Because this is really great progress. I feel so proud of her and happy.

 

Not too long and they are getting ready to move us to Labor and Delivery. Before they do midwife comes in and tells us, “We need to keep watch on the baby’s heart rate, so we need to leave the monitor on.”

 

Reader, this is hard to hear. Like any part of labor that does not go in a way one wishes, it is hard to accept. Continuous monitoring creates more of a challenge and it removes the tub and shower option. And I know E likes the water.

 

I say a little prayer for help as wee move down the hallway into THE ROOM.

 

I am not sure exactly when we get into the room, but it is sometime in the afternoon. E is moving further and further into her labor, into a place that is hers alone. She calls for the safety of her husband, near and pressing. E is having a lot of back labor. We do some essential oiling. As she moves through she gets more and more clear about what she wants and what she does not want.

 

It has been a few hours. We have used the birthing ball. And the peanut ball. And some hands and knees. When midwife next checks E is 8cm. There is a mention of possible posterior position and a question of rupturing a bulging fore bag.

 

E says, “I want to wait another hour.”

 

K is right there. I mean RIGHT THERE. We get the cool cloths, change the temperature, get the ice chips. I do some more oiling while K uses counter pressure. E is using the tools she has brought to help her manage her strong contractions.

 

A little while and E decides to let Midwife rupture the bag. There is meconium. This is not an emergency, but a concern. Now we know neonatal will be coming by at delivery time.

 

E is all the way on her birthing planet now. We have re-installed the peanut ball. I am sitting next to her on one side of the bed. K is on the other side. E has found a groove she has locked into, something all laboring women do, something unknown that will emerge when it is time.

 

When I look at E, I believe hers involves swimming. She is breathing rhythmically and looking directly into my eyes. Her face is focused and flushed, with clear bright blue eyes. There is nothing else in this moment. Only here, now.

 

I tell her, “There is only here. Only now.”

She whispers, “This is so hard.”

“I know.” I say.

K sweetly reminds her she will be going to the beach in a week.

But E is so much in her place. E says, “No beach!”

 

At some point in labor the couple has the above moment. And inevitably the partner says something like, “Ok, no beach.”

 

Now we change position. Previously double hip squeeze was not a favorite. Turns out now it is. K says, “Hey! This is working now!”

 

“Yep.” I say.

 

I feel E is complete but Resident comes in and says, “Nine and a half.”

And I say, “Can you reduce?”

And he gives me the blank stare.

 

OK.

 

Now it is night. Maybe eight or nine o’clock. And NOW E is complete. She cries a little tear when she hears this because she has been waiting, laboring, naturally for hours. Baby is still a little high but midwife says go ahead and try a few pushes.

 

And so she does. It does not take too long for E to get her pushing groove on. She tries squatting, hands and knees, and curling up half sitting. K and I are helping her curl up and around. I do not know if I have ever seen a mama push with the ferocity E has right now. She is pushing for two hours when she tries side lying pushes.

 

E is working to have that baby. I hear her say something.

I ask K, “Did she just call them sets?”

“I think so.” he says.

“Allright!” I say.

 

But even as she is pushing so effectively, baby is having a hard time coming down.

 

Finally midwife calls for doctor consult. Doctor comes in and confirms position posterior, likely asynclitic head, but ALSO says E has a roomy pelvis and maybe we can rotate baby. The team confers and asks E how she feels about getting an epidural JUST TO SEE if Doc can reach in and rotate.

 

I can see in her eyes that E is tired. “Ok.” she says.

Not one, but two Docs come in after the epidural is in place to try to move baby. Doc One seems to feel perhaps he has had some success. But when Midwife checks again, she feels no change. A c-section is recommended.

 

It is now close to midnight on Thursday. E has been laboring really since Tuesday. And pushing for close to three hours. Preparations are made for the OR.

 

It is now that I pause reader. To pray quietly inside for everyone’s safety and well being. This is not what E wanted. And she and K have worked so hard and so well together. Quite quickly E is readied and rolled out of the room, down to the OR. K soon follows while I wait in the L & D room.

 

On the couch, there is nowhere to go but acceptance.

 

Maybe it is an hour and I see K coming into the room. I think it is almost 2AM. By this time I am so tired I can barely remember what happened. I cannot imagine how E feels. Somehow I am eventually led back to recovery to see E and brand new baby D.

 

It is in this moment everything melts away. And there is just this brand new being in his mama’s arms, in these, his first moments in the world. Born. Eight pounds, seven ounces with a 38 cm head!

 

Later I learn of some of the complications in the OR. Of the difficulty getting him out, of the minute of resuscitation afterwards. As K tells me these details he is perfectly composed. Later, when I ask him how he feels he tells me he is still recovering and has not really yet started processing. I know in the coming days he will.

 

I want to end this birth blog with something fabulous. And real. And maybe the truth is birth is unpredictable. And in this case involved a long natural labor with many unpredictable factors.

 

Birth always, ALWAYS requires the people involved to dig deeper than they ever have. And in that digging there is joy. And there is grief. And all of those feelings deserve to be honored, to have space held for them.

 

And amidst it all a new family is formed.

 

And a new life has begun, of which birth is just the beginning.

 

 

In honor of every family who has labored and has a story to tell.

CLOSER

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Yesterday we had in-home-dermatology day.

 

This fascination with skin care, and especially EXTRACTIONS, is a new penchant of daughters. In fact I am often called to the iphone by daughter to witness some lancing and extracting by her favorite online doctor, who apparently, posts these things.

 

I daresay it has become a bit of an obsession.

 

So it is yesterday. And I am comatose on the couch next to daughter after coming home at 3:30am after a 15-hour birth. And I have a zit. Usually, when I have a zit, it is not very long before daughter will ask, “Can I pop that zit?”

 

But for some reason, she has not noticed this one. I point at my cheek. “What about this?” I ask. “Can you get rid of it?”

 

Daughter pats the couch for me to move closer. I scooch. “Let me see.” she says.

Out comes the iphone flashlight. And the facial exam begins.

 

“I think you are going to need THE PIN.” I say.

After finishing THE EXAMINATION, she agrees.

 

“Just a moment please.” she says as she retrieves the pin.

 

Now the poking begins. She is squeezing my cheek but it is not an easy area to get. I can tell she is getting frustrated.

 

“I need to get the Punctum.” she tells me.

“What?” I say. “The what?”

“Punctum. The hole. For drainage.” she says.

 

“I think you have been watching too many extraction videos.” I say. “No one says PUNCTUM.”

Then I say, “Maybe you should just get the tweezers and squeeze it really hard.”

And she says, “No, I need the Comedone Extractor.”

 

OMG.

 

“The WHAT?” I say.

Seriously reader, she has been watching too many of these videos. I have been called over to witness some of them and let me tell you, they are disgusting.

 

Daughter moves in closer. “Here, hold the light.” she says and hands me the iphone.

Now she is very close to my face and really squeezing.

I say, “Isn’t this nice? Look how close I get to be to you!”

I get a little smile.

But then I let the light slip down and I get yelled at.

 

I think maybe I should have daughter look for zits on a regular basis just so I can be this close to her. Meanwhile, daughter squeezes harder. “Jesus!” I say. You are pulling my eyeball flesh!”

 

She backs away. Daughter says, “I got a little out. Let’s see how it looks tomorrow.”

She reclaims the iphone and goes back to the teenage land of Instagram and Twitter.

 

“Will you check me tomorrow?” I ask.

She looks at me.

She says, “Yes, mom. I will check you tomorrow.”

 

“Allright!” I say.

I like in-home-dermatology day.

Yes I do.

Birthday Girl

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Today is daughter’s 19th birthday.

And so, like I do every year, I write the birthday blog.

 

This year I have Doula Client due TODAY. Which is really so appropriate, since the birth of daughter is pretty much what got me interested in the world of Doula-ing anyway.

 

As written in previous years, the birth of daughter was a long train-wreck of an endeavor, with many interventions. And some scare tactics. And me feeling generally unheard and under supported.

 

And in my mind right then I knew one day I wanted to help and support women in having their babies.

 

And now it is today. And I get to do exactly that, 19 years later.

 

Since daughter is an older daughter now, she will spend the evening with her friends. And so we decide to go to lunch to celebrate.

 

I text: I am on my way back from yoga. Get ready so we can go to lunch.

She texts: Ok.

Then she texts: Will you drive me to school after or should I take the bus?

 

This is not a fair question reader.

I drive all over, everyday.

But it is the daughter BIRTHDAY.

 

I text: Ok.

 

I come home and we jump right back in the car. We drive to our favorite diner.

“I am getting a cheeseburger.” I say.

“Me too.” she says.

 

“Are you getting a milkshake?” I ask.

Because daughter loves milkshakes.

 

Then I say, “If you are, you better not drink it FIRST.”

 

Which is a very MOM thing to say, however, daughter has quite a history of sucking down the entire milkshake before the food arrives and winding up curled in the corner of the booth in a MILKSHAKE CRASH when the food actually does arrive.

 

“Right.” she says.

 

We eat. We talk. Daughter looks so beautiful sitting across from me in her teenage outfit with her slender fingers peeking out of the sleeves. You know, she gets them from her father, those long fingers.

 

We talk more. Daughter gives me her daughter perspective on the current state of my relationship with son. Which is best left for another blog. Or maybe another universe.

 

When we finish, daughter orders THE MILKSHAKE. Mint Chocolate Chip, of course. When they bring it, they always bring the extra in a metal canister, with spoons.

 

It is pretty fabulous.

But there is A LOT of it.

 

“I have to stop eating this.” I say as I shovel another spoonful into my mouth.

She takes the rest of the milkshake in a TO GO cup.

 

In the car on the way to school, daughter plays some Nirvana, which is something we both enjoy. In my mind, this is somehow connected to a few pairs of boots I have had since my twenties that have now become hers.

 

I look over at her and bounce up and down in the seat a little bit to the song.

She smiles.

 

And then we arrive at her college. I pull up and I say, “Kiss mom.”

Daughter leans over and kisses me on the cheek.

 

“Have a Happy Birthday!” I say. “Be good!”

“Ok mom.” she says as she gets out of the car.

 

And that is it.

March 21.

A day like any other day.

 

A day that changed my life for the forever better.

Yeah.

The Power of Love

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The other day I thought about cancer.

 

My BLOG FRIEND “T” has cancer. She is going through treatment right now. And she is really, really, GOING THROUGH IT.

 

Since she is a very smart Blog Friend, she is writing about this experience. In detail.

 

Her chronicle is a worthy read. I am following her different posts:

In this country, a woman has a 1 in 3 chance of developing cancer in her lifetime. For a man the chances are 1 in 2. EVERYONE should be required to carry health insurance and everyone should be able to afford it. Because at some point in our lives, each and every one of us will become seriously ill or injured and require major, expensive medical treatment.

The screening I got to detect my cancer (stage 3) cost THOUSANDS of dollars. I could not have afforded it without insurance. My cancer would have gone undetected and I would have eventually died.

Healthcare isn’t a privilege. It isn’t a right. It’s a necessity.

 

She is right, of course. I think about how many people I have known so far who have had cancer. I think about how cancer has changed the direction of my life, and so many other people’s lives.

 

In just about 10 seconds I think of 11 people I have known who have had cancer, not including Blog Friend.

 

One of these people is Wuzzy. For those of you who might not know, this is the name for the EX, the father of son and daughter, the WUZ-BAND, once husband.

 

I have been through a lot with Wuzzy. More than I can recount here, now, in this one blog. Of all of the things I have felt about him over two years of courtship, ten years of marriage, and twelve years of separation and divorce, none was as clearly profound as the deep affection I found I still hold for him in my heart when I found out he had Stage 4a cancer.

 

Many of you have walked the ups and downs of the Wuzzy road along the years with me in this blog. Somehow when I received the email of his diagnosis, all the positions and resentments and guilt melted away. And all I really wanted was for him to be ok. And I realized yes, this was for my children. But maybe selfishly, it was also for me as well.

 

We do not communicate very much, The WUZ and I, but we began to communicate a bit more as he kept me apprised of his treatment. Which was aggressive and concurrent. One of my yoga students is an Oncologist and so I asked him based on what I knew, “How hard is it going to be?”

 

He looked at me. And very sincerely said, “Hard. He will be sick.”

 

Because of several factors there would be no operation. But there would be chemo and radiation, most days, for seven weeks.

 

Along the way, Wuzzy tells me things -things that remind me of my brother in treatment so many years ago.

 

It is not a good memory.

 

And the treatment is hard. I am sure way harder in the day-to-day details than I know or can understand. Way more than I can really understand for my Blog Friend today. Cancer requires a lot of love and support. Those who are lucky get this love and support. I know Wuzzy has his fiancé. And “T” has “B”.

 

“T” posts on her page on the book of face: The other night “B” told me, “When you get married, you make vows for better or for worse. And it’s easy when times are good. But you know what? It’s easy now, too. There’s nowhere I’d rather be.”

And then she wrote:

Sometimes I can’t believe how lucky I am.

 

I cry when I read this. The power of love. They met in a Blogger Group you know, in different cities. And after some time, they married.

 

People said it couldn’t work.

But it did.

 

You keep on writing “T”.

 

You are you.

But you could be anyone of us.

Thank you for your bravery.

Thank you.

 

You can read more about BLOG FRIEND in her very honest and often funny Blog: Exit Stage 3: An outrageous blog about going through cancer treatment. https://exitstage3.wordpress.com