Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I Suppose It's Time I Jumped On The Bandwagon.

I'm not really one for "escaping." Never have been. Granted, I like to get away and do fun things. I enjoy an adventure, but it nearly always includes my boy band....or at the very least, their dad. This is where I feel the most comfortable, the most complete. Absent my time spent in the hospital delivering Jake, I have never spent even one night away from my boys, and I like it that way. I know that there are some moms who crave time away, some couples who manage to take time just for themselves. I also know that they feel that they return from this time rejuvenated and refreshed. Better parents for having been away for a while.

My "better self" shows up after a simple morning of cleaning my home without tripping over any little people who are lovingly tripling my work time. My rejuvenation comes from a couple hours at Starbucks sipping some overly sweetened coffee while chipping away at the family budget. I'm just not very high-needs in this department, which works well because my own little family also tends to work best when we're together as a team. That said, you can understand why neither one of us tends to escape all that often.

HOWEVER. This Saturday I took a teeny-weeny-beanie (vocab courtesy of Christopher) escape to Sacramento where I had the opportunity to finally meet some of the loveliest people with whom I've ever come in contact. I didn't know very many of them going in. Scratch that. I didn't KNOW any of them. There was a small handful of participants who I knew quite a bit about, however...

There was Emily: she who was the very first person aside from Tim to know that I was expecting baby #3 at a time when I was still trying to distinguish between my anxiety and my joy over the new addition to our family.

There was Maggie: she who, if she didn't live SO. FAR. AWAY. we'd be sitting next to at Mass on Sundays and not worrying if our kids were too squirmy or too loud and would totally understand exactly why it is that I couldn't tell you a word from that day's homily.

There was Liz: the one who, out of the blue, assured me of the ongoing prayers of her family for mine while I was in the midst of my own sort of mommy crisis and feeling like the weight of the world was on my shoulders. And all along, there was her family praying for me in a way that allowed me to keep those shoulders strong...without my even knowing it.

And there was Manda: that girl who made the funniest joke without even realizing it during a twitter-chat one night and, in so doing, managed to turn my WEEK around from exhausting and stressful to manageable. And even joyful.

Of course, there were all of these other super amazing women with whom I spent the afternoon sipping water from a sippy cup, chatting, laughing, and becoming FRIENDS with. As Holly said in her 13 Things post, "Do you know what's scary? Making friends as an adult." And yet, simple it was. Granted, my blood pressure went up about 50 points as I parked my car outside of Elizabeth's house. But that was fleeting. The day, itself, was delightful. EASY. And so wonderful that I wish I could spend every Saturday doing just that: having lunch and building friendships with these people who I had never met before.

Nearly all of the girls I met on Saturday have posted their own thoughts on the weekend, and have done so far more eloquently than I; however, it must be said...my teeny-weenie-beanie escape on Saturday changed me. I came home that night and started to tell Tim what we did, who I met, how it ended far too quickly. Do you know what happened as I started to explain all of these things to him? I started crying. We're not talking "misting" or "tearing up" here. When I say crying I really mean it. I mean, on the verge of Ugly Cry crying. Have To Take A Break From Talking Because You're Getting Too High Pitched crying.

Because it was such a lovely day. Because I finally was able to sit face to face with these friends who I have "known" for so long and can now put voices, expressions, and mannerisms to their stories. Because of how surreal it was to sit across from Emily while she talked to Asher on the phone. Because of how exciting it was to see Maggie running out of Elizabeth's house, arms outstretched for a big hug. Because Amy and I would totally be BFF's if we taught in the same school. Because Elizabeth's house is so charming and perfect and sweet and well-painted. Because Jennie and Kristie and Melissa are so open minded and so fun to just sit and talk to. Because I could talk to Amber about a museum exhibit and she, being local, could actually go check it out. Because I could sit next to someone like Whitney, find her completely delightful and and a joy to behold. Because Holly, who I got to see the least I think, works at my husband's old company. Small world. And because I actually got to see A'Dell's red hat in person.


Because now I can stop referring to "this mom on this blog that I read...." and just start stories with "My friend..."

What a tremendous blessing.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Because I Can Never Sit At A Computer Without Typing Way Too Much.

So...The Blathering is this weekend. FINALLY! A few items, for your consideration...

1. ...I am nervous to meet you all. There. I put it out there. Some of you I don't know at all, others have blogs that I've been reading for three years or so. I started reading the Mommy Blogs when I was at the end of my pregnancy with my oldest boy, Christopher. I SO ENJOYED reading your shared experiences and realizing that I was not alone in what I was going through. AND THEN I got my first email response after a comment I had posted and it was like getting an email from a celebrity. I know. I'm such a dork. But it's true. So, yeah. Little bit nervous. That is all.

2. ...I started my own blog at my husband's urging. He came up with the name (which really fits our family perfectly, by the way) and I enjoy writing on it. But, um....well, I just don't get to it that often. I should have known this would be the case. I love reading blogs, but making the time to write on my own is a struggle. It's the same for email. I love to receive emails, but writing them is often such a chore. And yet, I do realize that one must SEND an email to get a response worth reading. I'm working on that.

3. ...There are no pictures on the aforementioned blog. Well...I think there may be two from way back when Jake (baby #2) was born. It's a comfort thing. I do post photos on my facebook page and from time to time on Twitter, so if you want to see my boys you'll have to look there.

4. ...Speaking of the blog, no one I know personally knows about it. Well, Shelby does. And a couple of other college friends. And my husband, of course. But aside from that I've kept it a secret. (I suppose this explains the readership.) Anyway, while the photo thing is a "stranger" issue, this choice is a "family" issue. It all started when family members started joining facebook, which had previously been my own private outlet for communicating with my friends who all live so far away. Once the family signed on, I needed a new "me space." The blog, and now Twitter (SO MUCH EASIER THAN BLOGGING), fills that role. This explains the MASSIVE PANIC ATTACK I had recently when somehow facebook decided to take my twitter feed as status updates without my knowledge. I swear to you I almost died. There may have been crying involved.

5. ...I used to cry a lot more than I do now. Well, a lot more than I do at my current stage in life when I'm not pregnant. My eight-month pregnant self cries nearly every day. This third pregnancy has turned me into a hyper-sensitive basket case and it's driving me crazy. I'm counting the days until this baby comes just so that I can regain my sanity. Which, we all know certainly doesn't happen when the baby is born. It just gets worse. But at least I'll be on the road back to normalcy. Right? RIGHT?

6. ...Speaking of pregnancy #3, I am eight months pregnant. EIGHT MONTHS. This means that I am rather large. You won't miss me when I come waddling into Elizabeth's house on Saturday morning. I find pregnancy to be a challenge for many reasons, but one part of it for me is the total-body makeover that it provides. Let's just leave it at this: my nose is not normally this big.

7. ...I do better in small groups than in large ones, and better one-on-one than in small groups. I suppose that's because you're forced to make conversation when there are fewer people. The more people, the more comfortable I am sitting back, watching and listening. I imagine that will be even more the case on Saturday when I'm surrounded by people who are so much funnier and more outgoing than I am. The only exception to this rule comes when I'm in a large group over which I am allowed to hold court, whether that's by telling a story or giving direction. It's the teacher in me. While generally quiet and gentle in spirit, I like to be the Boss of Everyone and am quite comfortable in that role.

8. ...Before I was a mommy, I spent five years teaching religion in Catholic High Schools. Three years in San Diego and then two more up here in San Francisco. I loved teaching more than anything I have ever done, I suppose for two reasons: I am very passionate about my subject matter, and I ABSOLUTELY ADORED my Freshman and Sophomore audience. However, if I pass a group of teenagers on the street, my first reaction is to be annoyed by them. Double standard, I know. Three years out of the classroom, and I do not miss it at all....despite how much I loved it. Now I volunteer with our parish Youth Ministry, so I get my teaching & teen fix there, but I am perfectly content at home with my little people.

9. ...We are a very conservative and orthodox Catholic family. I love my Faith with a passion that I cannot describe. I enjoy talking about it, but shy away from debate. I certainly am never the one to start one up, although my husband will do so in a heartbeat. He LOVES debate for the sake of debate and he's good at it because, while he gets fired up, he never gets offended and it never gets in the way of relationships. While I enjoy the debate as well, I am never as good at defending / explaining my Faith to adults in general conversation as I am when I'm in a teaching role. I think it's a psychological thing. And here we have yet another situation in which I'm more comfortable sitting back and listening than jumping in.

10. ...Said husband is 12 years older than me. We were set up by some mutual family friends. Actually, it's a cute story. His childhood babysitter grew up next door to them in San Francisco. When she married, she and her husband moved to Tahoe where they became good friends with my parents for the last 25 years or so. One summer, five years ago, I went home and had a couple of opportunities to visit with them. Upon returning to San Diego, I had an email waiting from this friend telling me about a great guy she knew (Tim was the ring-bearer in their wedding)....and the rest is history. We dated long distance for that first school year, after which I moved up to San Francisco to be closer to him, after which he asked to me marry him. And that was nice. My students at the time were massively freaked out by the age difference, particularly because at that time the age difference between Tim and I was the exact age difference between me and my students. I suppose I would have found that gross in high school too.

11. ...In our four years of marriage, we have been truly blessed with our two (and soon to be three) little boys. Having three children so close in age brings a lot of comments and, while they don't bother me ALL THAT MUCH, my back does go up a little bit with the frequency of comments such as, "oh WOW! YOU have your hands full!" (Really? what gave you that impression? The fact that I carry my car keys around in my mouth?) Or, "Are you going to try again for a girl?" Perhaps the girl comments push me the furthest. I'm sure little girls are quite lovely, and I would have been thrilled to have had one. But I'm not embarrassed or ashamed to admit that ever since I started thinking about what my family would look like, I have wanted all boys. That has been the picture in my mind's eye. When we saw that extra little appendage on our ultrasound screen, Tim and I both cheered. I am absolutely THRILLED to be a boy mommy. I wouldn't have it any other way. That said, I have no problem admitting that shopping for baby girls is SO MUCH MORE FUN. Luckily, we have a lot of friends who have baby girls.

12. ...Oh! Another thing about the blog and the whole "family not knowing" thing. When I talk to my husband about whatever I've read on your blogs or whose kid spread poop all over the crib or whose baby started talking this week, I always use your first names. He knows you all as though you lived next door. HOWEVER, when talking to other people in my real life, I rarely reference anything about my bloggy relationships. I may say, "I heard about that on one of the blogs that I read" or something like that, but it stops there. Maybe I'm not giving the Real Lifers enough credit, but to be honest, I just don't think they'd understand. Same for this weekend. I've asked my sister-in-law to be available to help Tim out with the boys on Saturday because, "Shelby is coming up to visit and on Saturday a whole bunch of our girlfriends will be congregating in Sacramento for a visit." I left it at that. No one needs to know that I've never met any of you before. Too much 'splaining to do.

13. ...Shelby was my Maid of Honor in my wedding. And I in hers. Before that, we were roommates for three years in San Diego. Before that we were roommates at our small college in Eastern Ohio.

So there you go, friends! I'm so looking forward to meeting each of you. We'll only be there for Saturday and the duration of the visit will depend largely upon my ability to hoist my giant body around from place to place. But meeting you will be lovely and I can't wait! Travel safely!