Insert foot directly into mouth…

19 06 2008

Scene: E. and I are talking in bed, almost ready to go to sleep. In reflection of an exhausting evening with Mr. E. which resulted in E. and I taking turns eating dinner, I say:

“I wish we could have a nanny.”

E: “What?”

A: “No, I mean, just someone who would take care of Mr. E most of the day…and evening…and night.”

E: “Um, you mean ME, who takes care of Mr. E ALL DAY AND NIGHT??”

A: “Uh…yeah. Oops. Nevermind.”

E: “Well, if you get a nanny, then I get a wet-nurse.”

A: “Deal.”


Aptly Named

9 05 2008

Since I haven’t posted anything on here since March, and it is now May, it might be obvious that I was thinking of abandoning my dear Fumbling. Indeed, I did abandon it, and you all (all 3 of you who actually read it), until now. What can I say for myself?

I was fumbling.

Fumbling around trying to just hang on with everything going on – finished up my student teaching and began staying at home with Mr. E. I had high hopes that I would post even more often once that change occurred, picturing myself cozily seated on the couch with Skeeter while the little lad slept the day through.

(All you stay-at-home moms can commence hysterical laughter now).

Uh, I was kinda busy. Like, CONSTANTLY busy and when he slept I GOT STUFF DONE because when he was awake he required ALL OF MY BEING. When I had a brake, I sat and gazed at the computer screen or TV.

Uh, I watch A LOT of TV now.

(All you stay-at-home-moms can commence your enthusiastic “uh-huhs” now).

Then, well, I just felt drained with the blog thing. Believe it or not, my life just felt too full to add blogging to it. Well, I guess that’s not quite true, since I’ve become somewhat of a F*ace*book addict, but I digress…

So, then came the BIG MOVE, which JUST HAD to occur right after my mom visited, which JUST HAD to occur right after her first chemo treatment, which she got sick from during her visit. In the midst of all our belongings packed up in boxes throughout the house. I thought she’d be there to help take care of Mr. E while we finished packing. Instead I had to take care of her. A lot. As in, had to drive to Maine to bring her home because she was sick. The DAY BEFORE our move.

We were both in a sh*tload of denial about that one.

So I was leaving a place I love, being a reluctant stay-at-home mom (more on that later I suppose), getting ready to give up having our own place, and dealing with my sick mom, who couldn’t even hold her grandson during her visit. It was all I could do to cope day-to-day and get everything done, and when I’m stressed like that I usually turn inward instead of outward.

I’m learning I need not to do this.

Same thing has been happening the past few days. We moved, and it was completely exhausting and stressful beyond belief, and until I started my summer job I was having a rough time with the lack of structure. Once I started having a place to go that was JUST MINE, even if it meant grilling up steak and cheeses, it was something. But the deli is VERY cliquish, with my co-workers 20 years older than me and native Cape Codders, and think nothing of making gay jokes right in front of me. They’ve never known anything different. They talk openly about going out on Saturdays together dancing at the local bar, without a thought to ask me (I wouldn’t go anyway). But we are of two different species: me, just washed ashore, young, queer, with my M.Ed and this deli gig just a stop on the way. Them: this is their life, period.

I just really, really want to teach.

I know it’s early, and I know it’ll happen for me eventually. But last night the faces of my kids from student teaching flashed before my eyes and I just cried. I miss them. I miss doing what I love. I CAN’T WAIT to do what I love. Sometimes it’s just hard.

Getting used to life in our new community has been both exciting and frustrating. It’s gorgeous here – things are blooming, and I LOVE our church. Even before we moved here I claimed it as my/our place to connect with this community and make our own friends. E. has lots of family, and her family has lots of friends, but as for us having our OWN friends, it comes down to nil. I thought the church community would be a great way to meet people. Last week we officially joined.

So did my mother-in-law.

Ok, I’ve REALLY tried to be open-minded and understanding about this. Obviously anyone can join or attend whatever church they wish. But I started attending this church last fall, and felt at home there. She recently learned we were joining, and wanted to join too. I think she likes it ok, but has attended just a couple of times. Let me explain. She’s the type of person that likes to join ANYTHING. There’s a famous family story that she once saw a huge line somewhere and got in it just to see what all the fuss was about. In short, she’s a JOINER.

Whatever. I can still make my own friends and get involved in my own way. But put all these things together, and I’ve been feeling a bit down lately. I found myself turning inward again, not wanting to deal with anyone, even E. Thankfully, my wife is quite observant and patient, and made me talk about it. I felt so much better. We decided that since we live with her parents, and don’t really have our own social network yet, we really have to make time for just us – either the three of us, or the two of us. I think that will really make a difference. I’m realizing I need to talk things out with her instead of retreating.

I’m also remembering I don’t do well with big transitions.

A similar experience happened when we moved to the Valley. I think I was mildly depressed for months (might have had to do with the fact that we were completely broke as well). But I’m just a stable gal – I like knowing what’s ahead – a loooong way ahead: where we live, where I work, etc. Being with E. has helped me relax a bit in this area in very healthy ways, but to some extent it’s just the way I am.

So perhaps this transition will be hard for me for some time. I think blogging about it might help, too.

Thanks for reading, whoever you 3 readers are. 🙂

My Little Valentines

14 02 2008

Remember passing out valentines in elementary school?  Either you made them, or bought the Looney Toon-or-Barbie or-whatever-was-popular-themed cards and passed them out to everyone in your class?  And remember decorating your paper bag with pride, the tiny post office that would receive all your glorious goodies?

This was my day today.

How fun it was to cut out little pieces of construction paper and address them to all my students, including a little note of what I love about each of them (done during yesterday’s snow day!).  The excitement was almost unbearable all day – while the unopened valentines sat on top of the bookshelf, and my heart-shaped cake sat in its box while we had to create polygons during math and work on our nonfiction-reading skills during reading.  Of course everyone just wanted to get to the valentines – even us teachers.  Finally, at 2:00, the main event began, and everyone ran around the room in a furry to pass out their cards and candy and chocolate, the ELL kids stopping me often to ask where their classmates sat, because they were still not familiar with their names.  I got back to my seat the the front of the table, and while eating my pink-frosted cupcake, opened my bag of valentines, and marveled at the artistic talent and thought that went into these cards (I even got a heart full of Russell Stovers – score!).

When I was this age, I seem to remember the passing out of valentines heavily laden with the romantic overtones that only a 4th grader could dream up – and it was completely stressful.  I was so impressed at how my teacher handled this event today in a year where these students are for sure still kids, but on the verge of being something a bit more: she wrote home that the rule was the students had to bring valentines for everyone, and made the theme be about friendship.  I loved that.  And it worked so well.

E. and I are celebrating V-day like we always do – by doing absolutely nothing out of the ordinary.  Boycotting both the over-consumerist and overly-heterosexist nature of it all, with a dash of disdain for Hallmark essentially telling us exactly when to be romantic, we always decide to stick to our wedding anniversary as an extra-special occasion to celebrate US.  We do just fine without Hallmark and chocolate and jewlery stores, thank you very much.

But I dare say the excitement of celebrating V-day in 4th grade style completely made my day in a way I had no idea it would.  The surprises and  joys of working with kids never ceases to amaze me.

Hope yours was just as wonderful.


6 02 2008

I’ve been a bit overwhelmed and busy lately.  More than anything, I’ve been feeling a lot of different things, including:

  • completely overwhelmed at what I need to accomplish during my student teaching
  • exhausted from sleepless nights, coupled with teaching all day
  • a deep sadness at the loss of Emmy Lou – more than I ever thought I’d feel
  • sheer awe and humility at the intelligence, resilience, cleverness, affection, and persistence shown by 4th graders
  • appreciation and excitement that I get this time solely dedicated to learning how to be a teacher
  • profound wonderment that I had such a hard time deciding which Democratic candidate to vote for, and still in utter shock of the loss of feeling like I’m voting for the lesser of two evils (or, my favorite twist: the evil of two lessers), and instead feeling completely satisfied if either of the two front-runners get the nomination
  • a deepended love and appreication for E., who cares for Mr. E. all day and night, crafts diaper liners and homemade wipes, manages so many household importances, and does it all with such grace and without any complaint
  • complete relief and thankful that my mom, who is getting a lump removed from her breast, is ok and without a cancer diagnosis
  • completely in love with Mr. E., who stays on my mind all day, and is the first thing I want to see when I wake up, and when I walk in the door after a long day, and whose skin I’ll never tire of kissing

Endings and Beginnings

6 01 2008

Friday was my last day of work. Tomorrow I start student teaching, a.k.a. road to completing my degree and jump-starting my new career path. Leaving my job after 3 years was such a strange and surreal thing, and I’m still processing it. Among the many conversations between E. and I about it this weekend, she said, “Well, now it will be SO MUCH EASIER to answer people when they ask what you do!” To which I responded, “well, not really until I get my first teaching job.” E. said, “Well, you are student teaching and a grad student!” Oh ya. People ACTUALLY go to school full-time and that’s just what they do. Not thrown in there in the margins of working full-time. I forgot about that.

Just when I think baby-nesting has commenced in our house, more projects emerge. E. is little-miss-Susie-sewer and is working on creating our own handmade burp cloths (oh, why don’t we just call them puke rags like they really are?) and wipes. I never thought I’d have homemade baby wipes, and if it wasn’t for E.’s patience and determination with a sewing machine I don’t think I would! Co-sleeper is attached to the bed. Bassinett has been brought downstairs to the living room. Today I flipped through the (“alternative families”) baby book and re-arranged and took out unnecessary pages (no need for the “my egg donor” page). The bottom drawer in the kitchen whose handle fell off a long time ago and left hazardous screws sticking out has been fixed. Seriously – this baby NEEDS TO SHOW UP ALREADY so I have some distractions from all this DAMN WORK!!

Anytime, Moon. Anytime…

Delayed Reaction

2 01 2008

My cousin visited the other day, a rare occasion although we live a mere 30 minutes apart, albeit separated by the vast but unmentionable class and racial geographic boundary of this area. She came to drop off some of her homemade fudge and a small gift, and I was excited to see her after so long. We grew up together – are the same age and share our birthdays, but as adults seem to have little in common.

While we were visiting, E. and I were telling her about our troubles with our cat, Mr. Lou. She immediately began talking about her own situation with her cats (ah yes, a quality of hers I’d forgotten about), and how one of her cats had died and she discovered it, freaked out, and her boyfriend took care of it. She looked at the two of us, and asked, “If you discover your cat dead, who will take care of it?” I think we disregarded the question with our plan of the next time he gets sick, we are taking him in to put him down (plus the fact that I’ve hardly EVER heard of this happening to people!). Thus, since we know his illness so well by now, we won’t let him suffer to the point of death.

Later on I’m vacuuming and whirling around the house like a tornado, when I cut he power, turn to E. and explode into a stream of curse words including “What the F was THAT about? What, does she think we are SHORT A MAN around here, or something??!!” Holy delayed reaction! I had been festering about that one, quietly, for a couple hours (and perhaps the pre-parent jitters also had something to do with my sensitivity level…). My cousin also made a couple uncomfortable comments during her brief visit that painfully reminded me that she is not “all there” with being completely ok with us – or me – at least not in the way I’m used to. Another one happened after she saw a framed newspaper article from when E. and I got married, just after the court ruling, and she remarked, “The subtitle saying ‘Lesbian’ is kind of weird – almost used in a derogatory way.” Um, it really isn’t – perhaps the derogatory use of the word came out of her own head onto the page.

What a weird reminder. I literally live in the bubble of supportive friends, family, bloggers – that I completely forgot how strange (and possibly wrong) my life is to some people. How lucky I am to only have this brutal reminder once in a great while? I know so many others have to walk around with daily shields of defense.

It also sadly confirmed for me our distance to one-another. She’s lived with her boyfriend and their now 4-year-old child forever, and I’ve met her boyfriend maybe once, and he barely spoke to me. How do I know how he feels about me? I don’t have the energy to care anymore. I’ll see her occasionally, but I just don’t have the space in my personal life to put up with judgments*, not if I can help it. I’m luckily surrounded by a gazillion supportive and loving people, thank-you very much. And I certainly DON’T need any of this around our child.

It’s such a bummer when those you love disappoint you.

*While we’re on the topic, if you are reading this and you are not queer, please refrain, when your queer friend is talking about his/her family, from asking “are they ok with you/your partner?” If you do, I hope that person asks back, “Yes, and are YOUR parents ok with YOU?”

ETA: Note to self: Use as a springboard for an angsty post about the “inner dad.”

My Year of No Life/Full Life

31 12 2007

2007. What a year. So many milestones, transitions, and multiple count-downs. But damn, I’m glad it’s over.

I started the year calling it my “year of no life,” as I signed up for full-time graduate school, attending 4 classes at a time on nights and weekends. It was a bit much at times, but I soon learned that I found THE BEST GRADUATE DEGREE ON EARTH, because, well, it wasn’t really that much work! (which led me to do some double-checking as to its credibility, which all checked out ok, but this recent scandal doesn’t help its reputation much). So I plowed through the excruciatingly boring and annoying 4-hour classes, and actually learned some things about teaching. All in all, it’s exactly what I wanted (thanks to E. who discovered the program!)

Career-wise, I spent the year knowing I would be leaving at the end, which is a really interesting mindset in which to go to work every day (and perhaps the longest notice I could give an employer!). I took that time to fully appreciate what I liked about this job in my 3 years here, and also solidified why I’m switching gears to go into teaching. Being able to volunteer regularly at an after-school program was such a blessing – to be able to connect with students and form a relationship with local schools.

I had the wonderful milestone of my 10-year high school reunion, and took a solo trip to my hometown to see close friends as well as classmates I hadn’t seen in the full 10 years. It was an amazing experience to re-connect with these people who shared a great 4 years together (we have some intense school pride), and it felt really cool in a growing-up-come-full-circle kinda way.

Then came the news in May that forever changed our lives, that our 2+ years of trying for project baby ACTUALLY WORKED. I think I was in shock for the first few months, and then I let it sink in how extremely happy I was to finally create our family. It also started to sink in how much our lives are about to change, and leaving 2007 means leaving the “just the 2 of us” portion of our lives together (6 years). It’s a big change, but one we are both so ready for, and going into it we know our incredible bond will get us through all the midnight crying, the dirty diapers, and the years of watching in awe as our child grows up into his/her own person.

Perhaps because of all these huge life changes, I also spent some introspective time thinking more about community, connecting and giving to others, and my own spirituality. This is still in process, of course, but one thing I discovered is a deep connection to a church on the Cape where we’ll be moving next June, which seems like it will be a starting point for all three needs.

Moving! Right! 2007 also brought with it the BIG DECISION to move closer to E.’s family, perhaps the first decision in my life which feels completely grounded in this visceral need to be connected to family and to provide that for our child(ren). In other words, I feel SO FREAK’IN GROWN UP. And that is a WHOLE LOT about what 2007 meant for me. BIG transitions, BIG decisions, and BIG growth.

There was a year that E. and I coin the “nothing” year. When we count back to try to remember something and we hit this year (2002), our minds just go blank. We figured out it’s because in that year we didn’t move, switch jobs, or make any BIG decisions. We just were. Day in, day out, just lived. I’m sure that 2007 will be just the opposite, a very BIG year that laid the groundwork for the whopper 2008 promises to be, what with arrival of BABY, the BIG MOVE, and work transitions abound.

Bring it on.

Wishing you new inspiration, hope and promise of a fantastic new year.