Monday, August 31, 2020

#Microblog Monday: Bad Dream

Sometimes you wake from a dream and it colors the whole rest of your day, maybe even longer than that. 

The other day I had a dream that I was pregnant. 

Even my dream consciousness knew how unlikely this was, so I wasn't pregnant in my nonexistent uterus, I was pregnant in my right ovary. In the dream world this was possibly viable, and not an ectopic situation. 

I thought, huh...where will we put this baby? I thought this was behind me, but now a strange possibility is growing in an unusual place, so can we convert the craft room/guest room into a nursery? Can we fit this baby into our babyless, childless life that we've so carefully and lovingly crafted from the ruins of the dreams we once chased so voraciously? 

I didn't have to worry for long. 

I started to feel cramping in my right ovary, and in my dream I thought, "ah. I know this feeling. I'm sorry, little ovary baby, I'm not good at hanging on to things like you." 

For the rest of the dream I was losing, not losing, possibly losing, probably losing the improbable baby. 

I woke up unsurprisingly unsettled, and also with a fresh sense of sadness for what we lost in the Before, and with a pain in my right ovary that I'm hoping isn't some horrible harbinger of something else growing that wants to destroy me (I have an irrational/rational fear of ovarian cancer after all the hormonal manipulation I endured that never resulted in a second trimester). 

I blame it on August. I lost both my babies in August, although now 9 and 8 years ago, in what feels like another lifetime, but also an alternate world that sometimes pokes its head through to remind me that really isn't that long ago. 

This dream is haunting me still...maybe in writing it out I can exorcise it. 

Want to read more #Microblog Mondays? Go here and enjoy! 

Monday, August 24, 2020

#Microblog Monday: What Exists Now

School starts a week from Thursday...and I am in full on panic mode. Well, I waffle between "OHMYGODI'MNOTREADYANDWE'REALLGONNADIE" to complete exhaustion and denial and lying facedown in the couch. I guess that's pretty normal, actually...just heightened by the whole pandemic thing. 

I was in a writing PD last Friday when we were talking about how to teach in this new environment, and I said at one point in a faculty meeting (we had a Special Ed Meeting, followed by a Union meeting, followed by a faculty meeting, all online) I had to turn my camera off so I could cry. It was just so overwhelming. 

And then, a wonderful literacy teacher who I enjoy said that someone told her this: 

Lose what was, it doesn't exist anymore.

I think for clarity it needs to be adjusted to lose the expectations of what was, but I did like it. 

I can't go into this school year expecting things to be how they've been in the past -- the setup of my room, the way we'll interact, the differences in teaching modes, my own anxiety. That's GONE. I can be sad about it, but ultimately, that's not the world I live in. That world doesn't exist -- I can't have groups at a table, I can't have my own dedicated half of a room to decorate, I can't wear my fun back to school clothes instead of my "trying to keep me safe" PPE. I could spend all my time wondering what it would look like if I could have that world back, but it's probably better at this point to focus on the world that DOES exist, and how to work with THAT reality. Find the ways to make it doable. Figure out how to connect with my kids as fast as possible so that it will be okay if we close. 

It's not to say it's not HARD. The new reality can be hard, and I can mourn the loss of the old one. But I can't spend all my time bemoaning what used to be, because then I'll have nothing left for what's very, very real in front of me. 

It's freeing, actually. It's like getting to that point of resolution where you're no longer expecting your life to go down a certain path. At this point, I'm in a different house and I don't have spaces where I imagine where a child could have been or what their room might have looked like, because that doesn't exist anymore. It's what was. In that active striving and grieving space it was impossible to lose that, because all I felt was loss. I was drowning in it. But to be able to move forward into a space where I could focus on what exists NOW, and not what COULD HAVE or SHOULD HAVE been? It took work, but what a heavy heavy weight, lifted.

Want to read more #Microblog Mondays? Go here and enjoy.

Monday, August 17, 2020

#Microblog Monday: Uncommon Experience

Last week I had the opportunity to join in a Professional Learning class based on the book The Writing Revolution by Judith C. Hochman and Natalie Wexler -- I bought the book last summer with all intentions of reading it and it just didn't happen, so when I found out there was a PL for the book they added me to it. It was primarily reading specialists (elementary and middle school) and ELA teachers grades 6 & 7. 

It was also primarily a bunch of moms, which I discovered when someone asked a teacher I didn't know how she was feeling, and she responded "Halfway there!" ...and so the assumption that this was a common experience began. 

It went from a perfectly reasonable "how are you doing?" to a 10 minute litany of personal experiences with first babies, hospital stories, "everyone remembers what that first drive home with your first is like!" type conversations... It was unrelenting and full of "don't you remember?" 

I pasted a smile on my face and resisted being the evil fairy not invited to the christening who desperately wanted to say, "NO, actually, I don't, this is not as common an experience as you think." 

During this whole momfest, I noticed another woman intently focused on her computer and something off to the side of the screen. It could be that something else was going on for her. It could be that this assumption of a common experience that is painfully uncommon for some of us was also affecting her and she was trying to concentrate on something, ANYTHING else. 

Hmmm. No one else seemed to pick up on the fact that not everyone was participating, that there were two very silent people in the group. Another woman joined later who does not have children and is single, and I thought to myself, Oh man, you dodged a stabby bullet there

As a teacher, I find myself in this position A LOT. People love talking about their pregnancy and birth experiences even when those moments are DECADES in their pasts. People love to say things like, "Don't apologize for your toddler bombing your screen! We've all been there, trying to balance work and young children, right ladies?" WRONG. We have not all been there. 

These are moments that make me feel so excluded, and a little bitter, honestly. It's not hard to say "I remember" rather than "We've all been there." It's not hard to pick up on the fact that what you think is a common bonding experience among moms is actually painfully uncommon for those of us who for whatever reason didn't get to have those moments. 

Want to read more #Microblog Mondays? Go here and enjoy!  

Monday, August 10, 2020

#Microblog Monday: One and Done

I didn't want to miss Microblog Monday even though I've missed it several times this summer thanks to school related stress, but now today my computer has shit the bed and I can't add photos from Google photos for some reason on my phone AND I had a 2-hour in-person meeting at school today that resulted in a 2-hour nap (i.e. total shutdown) and all I really want to do is lie my on the floor and read my book...and so I am DONE. 

(Not the most well-written post but for once I am within the parameters of the game.) 

Want the read more #Microblog Mondays? Go here and enjoy! 

Monday, August 3, 2020

Mine, All Mine

This is a picture of my car. Well, the car that was formerly mine, as I just traded it in, but when it was new (to me) it was one of those weird commercial moments where I got a car for Christmas. Sort of. It was for me, but seeing as how this was December 2015, it was also a safe, reliable car for FutureBaby. 

Exactly once this car housed a car seat (I installed it but then found out that if you get in a fender bender and the car seat is in the car, it's no longer considered safe, so the seat went into the back room closet until it was donated), and there's picture evidence somewhere but I can't find it. Which I think is actually okay, that some of these things are not easily accessible. 

In the past two years, this car started to cost me a lot of money -- it needed new brakes, new wheel bearings, new ball joints, I had the exhaust completely rebuilt, it had a new timing belt, and it recently got new tires and a new battery. All good things, but the car was already 70,000+miles in when I got it and it fast went from super efficient and cost effective to "Uh, WHEN can I expect a bill less than $1200???" 

After the replace-the-battery-at-2-a.m.-at-the-emergency-animal-hospital incident, I was driving home from picking up stuff from a student who discovered a bunch of library books she hadn't returned and my brake light went on. Like, the light that comes on when your emergency brake is engaged (mine wasn't). At the next stoplight I turned the emergency brake on and then off, but the light stayed on. So I called Bryce, and he looked it up while I continued home and it turns out, PSA for you guys, that if your BRAKE light comes on while you are driving it means that your brake fluid is dangerously low. So I drove it straight to the dealership, which was unfortunate because it was full of crap from my classroom and a box or two of things my mom gave me from my childhood and a bunch of plant markers and evidence that I used it to haul plants and mulch recently. I did not know I wouldn't drive it again. 

By the time they got to inspecting it (I was something like 15th in line when I dropped it off), it was determined that the brake lines had rusted out (EEEK) and it failed inspection with another wheel bearing and ball joint that needed replacing, and the total cost was nearly $2,000. At this point, a significant percentage of the value of the car. 

So, we talked, and did some research, and decided that it was time. I am so embarrassed at the state of my car when they evaluated it. I don't doubt that impacted the trade in estimate, which was abysmal, but I also couldn't drive it off the lot without fixing the stuff, so I was a bit nabbed by my metaphorical balls. 

But, I found a used Sunshine Orange CrossTrek that was only 2 years old and had only 28,000 miles, only to find that it was sold (and also that a 2020 was only a couple thousand more and had all the things like warranty and ZERO mileage). 

And so... I said goodbye to the car that was part for me, part for the mythical FutureBaby. 

I am actually smiling in this picture, which makes me concerned for the fall because instead of looking like I have smiling eyes I look a little mad. Or constipated. 

And I said hello to my new little Pumpkin Pie, my first EVER brand new car (I got REAL attached to the idea of sunshine orange): 

I love this car. It's fun, it's zippy, it's smaller than the Outback but can still haul stuff, and is perfect for just me and Bryce. It's all for me, just me. It's for the life I have now, not one that we'd hoped to have but didn't. It's super safe, which would be great for a kid but is also wonderful for me, as I'd like to live, too. I will never lose it in a parking lot. I can't really sneak up on anyone, but that's okay, I wasn't into stalking anyway. It makes me smile every time I see it in the driveway.

Welcome to the family, little Pumpkin Pie! 

Want to read more #Microblog Mondays? Go here and enjoy!