happy thanksgiving

I was going to pretend it wasn’t Thanksgiving today but as we rode our bikes to school, in a little line, Nine leading the way, followed by Five (almost Six), with me bringing up the rear, they were so freaking cute the gratitude came over me all on its own.

I have loved their every age, and now I love being a mom to big boys despite missing their little boy faces, their little boy grins. Five still has his, and I miss it already, knowing how soon it will be gone.

I try to practice gratitude every day of my life, and every day I am grateful for my boys and all the richness that the mingling of their lives with mine has given me. Some days the gratitude comes more easily than others (heh, heh) and it comes easiest when I look at old pictures of them (how soon our minds cloud over the harder bits of our past and highlight the best parts!).

This is what they were like four and a half years ago:

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Ooh those faces! How I got so lucky I do not know.

Happy Thanksgiving! May the gratitude come just as easily to you and yours.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

the annual pre-thanksgiving woe is me post

A few weeks ago I was at the track and had run three 4000m reps in exactly the times my trainer had advised me, except for the last one, which I had run faster. Every cell in my body was electrified with the thrill of what I had just done, and as I ran a few laps slowly around the track before heading home I let myself bask in the joy of such a very good moment. Part of what made it so good was that it was not the highest of high points because the very best moment was to have come a week and a half later at the end of the race I was training for, when I was to have obliterated my previous personal record.

Oooh, when I write that, the thrill comes back again.

Unfortunately, a few days after what effectively turned out to be the high point of my training, the various parts of connective tissue in my foot and ankle revolted. The rebellion worsened as the days progressed until race day when I withdrew. Clearly not pounding the pavement for approximately 1 hour and thirty something minutes with a foot that hurt after two Advil and only half a mile of warm-up running was the only intelligent choice I could have made, blah blah blah, but it still sucked.

On the positive side, I now have a better idea of what I am capable of if only my tendons will cooperate, and just the thought of it gives me a little thrill.

So I have not been running, which weighs on my spirits, and makes everything seem so much worse than it actually is. If only I could just go outside and pound the damn pavement for an hour and a half! I know that by the time I came back I would have perspective, nothing would seem so bad. Or I would be too tired to care.

As I get more and more desperate for my fix, I begin to think about quitting the racing and just running to run, the way I used to, when I never had injuries from pushing it to the limit and over to the other side. I go back and forth weighing the pros and cons in my head, not that I have to decide right this very minute, but what else am I going to obsess over if not running since I can’t run? It’s the “A Clockwork Orange” conundrum – the one I still haven’t made up my mind about – is life life without the thrill? I would miss it, I would miss it so much, but at least I would be able to run when things get rough, when it gets to be this time of year with Thanksgiving around the corner and all my family on the other side of the world, then my cat dies, and then my ex-husband, upon finishing the dinner I have cooked and served him, informs me that he would like to change the terms of our divorce and I should expect to hear from his attorney sometime soon.

Damn tendons.

Posted in Lou, nostalgia, running | 5 Comments

lou

lou

It was one of those nights. Five had asthma attacks, so I was up giving him aerosol therapy, and then checking on Lou, who hadn’t eaten all day and was uncharacteristically sprawled out on the couch in my office, one of her usual spots.

The couch has been covered in plastic for days because of her kidneys. She drinks and drinks and pees and pees, and most of the time, because her kidneys have not been functioning, she can’t think straight and pees wherever she happens to be.

I could have taken her to the vet and ended it, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I figured as long as she was eating and didn’t seem to be in pain, it wasn’t time. Last night, as I stroked Five’s hair to the monotonous hum of the aerosol machine I decided the time had come.

This morning she was a grim sight to behold, still sprawled out on the couch, and Nine said his goodbyes before we left to take him to school. Five stayed home with me and we arranged her as comfortably as we could on a towel, until the vet’s office opened and I could call to see what they recommended.

I sat down next to her and saw that she was barely breathing. By the time I could call the vet, she’d died.

Five minutes later the new people renting the offices downstairs rang the bell to say there was a pretty serious leak coming from the laundry room in my apartment and could they come in and check it out with the plumber?

Then it was time to take Five to the pediatrician, then Lou’s body to the vet, then home to work and wait for another plumber.

While fixing Five’s lunch, I kept glancing down at the space around my feet to make sure I didn’t trip on Lou. She always stands right next to me, or behind me, whenever I am in the kitchen.

We knew it was coming, and she hadn’t been herself for a long time.

Five will be fine, my work will get done, Nine has comic book class tonight, which he loves.

I took the plastic off the couch but I will leave her water dish and dry food out another night.

Posted in Lou, nostalgia | 9 Comments

more on five, the bossy one

Our bedtime ritual involves a hot water bottle, a book and snuggling. Almost every night, as he feels around for the mole on my neck, his security spot, he says to me:

“Rub my back now.”

Sometimes he adds:

“You can give me kisses. If you want.” And he sighs audibly, to be sure I realize the extent of the concession he is making for me.

“Rub my back! Rub my back and give me baci.”

Last night, he clarified:

“You always rub my back when we start to snuggle. Ok? And you can give me kisses. Ugh! If you want.”

Posted in The boys | 2 Comments

one of the countless joys of motherhood

I eagerly wait for Five outside his school and I know that his smile for some reason will be brighter and his little face even more endearing than I remembered.

He drops his backpack at my feet and the litany of complaints begins.

Today I asked, “Before complaining why don’t you first say ‘Hi Mommy, I’m happy to see you’?”

“Because I not.”

Posted in The boys | 5 Comments

lou

My cat is sick, has been sick since this summer when we left her with trusted friends. What at first seemed like nothing very serious swiftly spiraled into a rash of ailments and the vet has spoken two or three times those very terrible words, “There is nothing, really, that we can do.” Which of course I hear and understand, and gulp and say I’ll take Lou home and have a think about it, but then at home she’ll ask for food or limp all the way to her litter box for once and I say, “Well, now! Look at that. Maybe we were wrong.”

But we were not wrong. As I reread what I have written, even as I wrote it, I realize that there is nothing, really, that we can do and to tell myself otherwise is self-delusion. My cat is very sick and it is getting more and more difficult to take care of her. Her kidneys aren’t functioning properly and so she drinks and drinks and drinks and the water goes straight through her. I can’t change out the newspapers under her fast enough.

The vet gave me two choices, take her home and let her die or bring her in and do that other thing. My mind is almost made up, I just need a little more time to brace myself for it.

Her condition has nothing to do with our friends who took the absolute best care of her possible. It is just one of those things that could have happened at any time, and probably the stress of us leaving her in a different house brought it all out.

Posted in Lou | 13 Comments

real

Today feels like the first true day of fall. It stormed last night and was still very dark when I woke up this morning, but the sky brightened to a brilliant blue and the air was crisp and cool for the first time this season. On our way to school Five noted, “Brr! It’s cold today!”

I was so enjoying the unseasonably warm weather we’d been having, and although it’s a shame that it will soon be cold, this feels good and right through and through; this is what a real October is.

Three years ago, another October, the boys and I moved into this apartment, and in the first days of November I was legally separated. Like most things and as impossible as it seems, that was a lifetime ago and also not much more than a mere second.

The apartment has slowly evolved; I am always moving the furniture around. A good friend recently gave me a desk, one of two, and she kept the other. I am sitting at it now, and it is just the right size and the wood has loveliest yellow hue to it, and whenever I am admiring it I think of her, possibly working from home herself at my desk’s sister, and it feels good and right; this is what a real desk is.

About a month ago, another good friend patiently listened to me complain about my living room again. “You need to get rid of those couches,” she said.

“I need to get rid of those couches,” I said. And I have been saying that to her for years. As much as I wanted to be rid of that big, bulky living room set, I could barely stand to let it go to anyone but him, and he would have none of it. They were the first big, grown-up furniture purchase we ever made.

My friend, though, she is an architect and designer, and she is studying Feng Shui. “Seriously. You need to get rid of the couches. They are holding you back. Find a way to do it. Whatever it takes.”

And so I did. I found someone – another good friend – who needed them and would pick them up and take them away, and it hurt a little bit to let them go. I almost came up with an excuse at the last minute, but I didn’t let it stop me.

The couches are gone. And yes, it is a shame, they were very nice couches, but too big and manly for my taste. Now they have a new home to which they’re better suited. And now, for the first time, I like my living room. I go in there. Even when I don’t have to. And I sit down. Last night I read in there and almost fell asleep on the couch, a small, comfy yellow loveseat, a hand-me-down from another good friend. It is just the thing. The space felt good and right. Yes, I thought. This is what a real living room is.

My ex and I have almost reached the end of our mandatory three years of legal separation. We’ll be eligible for a divorce in a week and a half. There will be paperwork and legal fees, but soon it will done. It’s a shame since he is a good person and we have the boys and all that, but not everything is the right fit. I like my life now. It feels good and right through and through; this is what my real life is.

Posted in Separation anxiety | 10 Comments