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Today I felt out of sorts. Not downright depressed or anything, just kind of anti-social and weird and worried about stuff. Does anyone else ever get in funks like that? I forgot to even run a brush through my hair or put on Cherry Chapstick - the two main components of my morning beauty routine - before hopping the bus to work. Then, upon arriving to work, I was determined to have as little human interaction as possible, which is admittedly hard if you're a teacher. So I slipped into my office and slipped back out, zombied my way through classes and a workshop, ducked into the student union to grab a plate of chicken-n-veggies, and inhaled it while scurrying off to catch my bus home.
Human interaction avoided, with the exception of a few students: check.
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I saw Juno this week, The Movie That Everyone Loved But Told Me I Ought To Wait a Few Years Before Seeing. My mother was so concerned, in fact, that she called on her way home from the theater and left a message on our machine, which I still remember clearly:
"Hi honey! Dad and I saw Juno at the mall today. Great movie, but whatever you do, don't go see it! Wait a few years until you're ready. Oh, and the main character really reminded us of you."
Now, having seen it, I'm pretty sure she didn't mean the main character was like me in terms of looks, not that I wouldn't love to believe I look like Ellen Page. Must be the profanity, the baggy sweatshirt, and the shouting demands for the "spinal tap" during labor. Anyway, I'm also pretty darn glad I waited - yeah - "a few years" before seeing it.
Juno: it's witty, sad, gritty, and funny as hell - well, funny if you share my own twisted brand of humor. The characters in it are cool in a slightly annoying, edgy cool-person kind of way, similar to Superbad. It also tugged lots of tears and made me keep getting up and running into the kitchen for nose-blowing paper towels. Just lots of baby-related drama. If you're an infertility-fighting sister in particular, this movie will strike you hard.
But, as my mom says: "Wait a few years until you're ready."
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Yesterday I got a one-hour massage as an early Valentine's day gift to myself, since - rest assured - THIS gal is not going to be slipping into that black bustier-n-stirrups getup from my springtime Victoria's Secret jaunt of last year (gawd...was that really a year ago???). Oh, it'll come out again to play, once I'm no longer of walrus-like proportions. Assuming that day comes.
Oh, how tiresome it is to hear myself think and talk about my own occasional bouts of irrational panic. This one I'll mention briefly because it perhaps relates to today's anti-social, anti-hair-brushing behavior. It happened while I was halfway through my massage, lying on my side in a darkened room with Enya-esque music in the background. My brain should in some faraway Zen-like place, but instead it kept wandering into whatever that space is where paranoia lives, where we overthink ourselves into muscle-tensing funk: I haven't felt the baby move since this massage began, not once.
The thought hit me out of the blue, and even the masseuse - incidentally a younger girl who looked like Ellen Page - noticed it:
"You feel tense all of a sudden. Am I hurting you?"
"Nuh-no, I'm fine. Just, um, thinking about stuff."
That evening, and all day today even, there was some occasional flicking and flitting around in there, but none of the full-on fetal gymnastics I've gotten used to. Why isn't he moving with gusto, all the time? It just puts me in a funk when he doesn't, and then the fact that I'm in a funk puts me in an even greater funk, because I just don't want to be one of those ever-worried types that gets pulled into funks really easily. Sigh.
Did I always worry like this? I seem to think not. Gawd, I'm irritated with myself.
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One of my fellow KuKd momma's daughter Annika died...oh...some-odd years ago from nec-ro-something, that horrid thing that I can't spell or pronounce, where a preemie baby's intenstines stop working. Anyway, she (the friend) now has another baby named Theo, and I asked her once how her past experience with Annika affects her relationship with her new son.
She sent me this really lovely and fascinating response, which I went back to reading last weekend. Not sure what compelled me to relook at this, other than the occasional thoughts I've had lately about how to integrate baby-past with baby-future. Here's an abridge of what she said. Isn't it gorgeous?
Having Theo makes tangible the fact that my life has kept -- and still keeps -- moving forward, and I know more concretely now that I'm not stuck in an interminable spiral of grief. But I also think of the gifts Annika gave me, all that I learned from her life. Having and losing Annika made me into the mother that Theo has, probably a different mother than Annika would have had.
I like to think she gave him the gift of a better mother: a mother who not only loves him the way all mothers love their children but who also understands the enormity and the preciousness of his unique life. Everything changed when she died. Annika's mother probably would have felt torn between motherhood and career; Theo's mother doesn't question his supremacy. Annika's mother would have been impatient with all the not-sleeping and night-waking; Theo's mother thinks mere exhaustion is a small price to pay for his well-being. Annika's mother might too often have listened to her head more than her heart; Theo's mother won't make that mistake.
I know, I know. It's about the most poetically lovely thing a person could possibly say. Now, had this come from one of those pink-n-lavender grief pamphlets, it probably would've gone in one ear and out the other. But as it is, this one came from a trusted friend who I happen to know shares the same disdain for frilly sappy things as I do. And she's a lawyer, for God's sake; a real honest-to-goodness lawyer with an analytical head on her shoulders. You can always trust lawyers, right? ;-)
It got me wondering, though: will my experience be the same? That is, will Zachary's death make me into a better mother for this next kid coming up, or at least hopefully coming up, provided he starts kicking with gusto again so I don't inadvertently kill him with the anxiety-chemicals oozing from my mind?
I hope so. I wondered that today, on and off. Just another odd thing that may or may not have contributed to my funk de jour.
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Anyway, I'm outtie and off to look up chocolate-dipped sugar cookie recipes. Seems like an appropriate thing to make.