Friday, January 28, 2011

I'm A Nana In Waiting....But I'm A Mother First

Daughter's Baby Shower

I sit here not knowing how to express or articulate the myriad of contradictory emotions whirling around within me. I am happy, anxious, excited, worried, giddy, nervous and impatient to name but a few. No wonder I am exhausted! The reason for this mish-mash of emotions, my Baby Girl is on the verge of delivering her first child. My first grandchild!  From today on I will refer to first grandchild  as Little Sir on this blog.

Last week Husband and I went out to dinner with the very happy, proud expectant parents. Daughter beamed with the healthy glow of expectant motherhood. Conversation naturally turned to the upcoming event and Father-to-Be turned to me and asked, “Are you excited!?!” I was a bit taken back by the question. I stuttered a bit and stammered my affirmative reply. Father-to-Be looked a bit disappointed by my stammering response. I attempted a redo, but alas it was too late.

So why the insipid reaction to said question. I will tell you why. I am excited my Girl will very soon experience the sheer joy and bliss of a child of her own. I can’t wait for her to experience the endless well of love that will be unleashed in her when she holds Little Sir in her arms the very first time. I am also giddy with excitement over the prospect of a baby in the family again. I love babies! Some would say I am addicted to babies! So why the hesitation…… Well as a mother I have an inherent need to protect my offspring.  I know this will spill over onto Little Sir....but he is not here yet!

So let’s start with Labour. I would do this for my Girl if I could. But since I can’t I have been bombarding Heaven’s Pearly Gates with fervent prayers and novenas! Asking, well begging actually that her labour be as easy as possible. Hopefully God has been paying attention to the gnashing of my teeth.

We are going to be at the hospital with Daughter. Husband asked me if I was going to be able to watch Daughter in labour without crying. I threw him a Tundra stare in response.  Don't tell him, but you know he might be right. 

The labour is not my only concern. I worry about how the ground will sift beneath her, when she arrives home with Little Sir and the weight, the enormity of responsibility takes hold. I remember peering into the Moses basket at my first Little Sir and my whole body shaking with fright. What if I did something wrong. I know my Girl is not me. She is a very capable, confident young woman, but still I worry. I want to wrap her up in a bubble of love and protect her from the anguish she will feel if Little Sir suffers from colic and she spends hours pacing the floor unable to ease his discomfort. Or the tears she will shed as he wails due to that awful scalding teething rash on his bum. When he has his first sniffle or runs a fever and she is beside herself as to how to soothe him.

And later when Little Sir decides it is time to walk on his own two feet and topples over or careens into the corner of some piece of furniture. And later again when she brings him to school and he wails as she pries her coat tails from his little hands with a breaking heart. Or maybe Little Sir will  turn with a grin and wave her goodbye and her heart will break because he doesn’t need her all that much anymore.

This is why I hesitated when answering Father-to-Be’s question. Because in my heart Daughter is still my Baby Girl and protecting her has been my mission since that wondrous day I first held her in my arms.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Purging the Clutter

Husband returned a few days ago from a two week trip to Ireland. There were some plumbing problems in our Irish home caused by the unusual inclement weather that needed attention. So flights were booked and off he went.

The house was quiet after his departure, yet lacked serenity. I was unable to put my finger on the cause of the uncomfortable, stressed aura that surrounded me. Putting on the kettle…because this is what I do when deliberating about most everything. With tea in hand I walked from room to room  trying to determine the reason for this atmosphere of unease. It obviously wasn’t husband. After two mugs of tea and two visits to each room, inspecting closets, cupboards, refrigerator and drawers I came to the conclusion that house was burdened, weighed down and moaning under the clutter collected over the past months.

I was shocked at the volume of unorganized stacks of paper stashed in just about every corner. I gathered all the paper piles and placed them on the kitchen table. The purging had begun. Seven hours later I had wadded through the mountain of paper. I shredded four binfuls, sorted, filed or recycled the rest. My next area of attack was the refrigerator and freezer. Best before dates were carefully scrutinized. As I tossed things into the bin my surroundings began to feel lighter. I emptied the freezer finding things at the bottom I was hard pressed to identify. Deciding this was one mystery I had no desire to unravel, the unidentified frozen objects joined past best before dates in the bin. Now the freezer is neat tidy and all its contents are identifiable and usable.

My next target was the pantry. Again best before dates were examined. I am not a stringent best before dater. Call me cynical because I consider these dates a marketing ploy. I am meticulous about dairy product dates though.  All except yogurt that is. After all what is yogurt? Getting back to the purging. The pantry was now sorted. Each shelf had its theme and all products on the shelf were repackaged if needed, sealed and labeled. Closets, drawers, sideboards etc. were all subjected to the same. After two weeks of moving through the house like a bat out of hell, filling the rubbish and recycling bins along with boxes and sacks for Goodwill I took a breath  and put the kettle on.   With  mug of tea in hand I moved through the house to observe my handiwork. To my surprise and slight disappointment everything looked the same. I had to open doors and drawers to see the results of my efforts. The house looked the same and yet it felt lighter. As I moved quietly from room to room sipping my tea I was sure I could hear the house say thank you. Then husband arrived home and the dining room table  once again sagged under travel debris. I began to feel  restless and uncomfortable again. Thankfully the table was cleared within two days and calmness restored. 

There is still much purging that needs to be done. I didn’t have the time or the energy to tackle the basement. But it is on my list.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Not A Dumbell In Sight

Thank you Google Images
The New Year is moving along as time has a habit of doing and here it is week two of 2011.  How did that happen?  I have no idea where the first eleven days of January went!

Today marks the end of the Fiction Writing Class I started 12 weeks ago. As I was in the throes of this class I wondered what madness possessed me to take it on. I had assignments due every week which was good. A schedule to produce is much needed in my world. BUT isn’t there always a BUT! As I was saying but there were two major family holidays and two less major ones requiring organization thrown amongst the mix. Halloween and New Years (the less major ones), Thanksgiving and Christmas (the major ones). Now some of you might feel Halloween and New Years are also major holidays but…..there is that word again…It depends on how on you qualify a “Major Holiday.” For me hours of shopping, food planning, cooking and a limp exhausted plastic card are the criteria for a “Major Holiday.” So my point, well I stressed out over the holidays and I stressed out over the writing assignments. Today I realized just how stressed I was because today I am relaxed. So what did I do, I went looking for another writing class. I kid you not.

Friends of mine told me about this wonderful place called the Loft in Minneapolis. I went to the Loft website and as I was perusing it I came across a wonderful list of New Year’s resolutions. Resolutions that are not daunting or setting one up for a fall.   Best of all there is not a single dumbell in sight!!!

January: Read a classic that has always been on your list. I’ve never read Virginia Woolf— embarrassing, yes. January is the time to conquer this hole in my education.

February: Write for at least 15 minutes every day. Take away the pressure and swear you’ll never show anyone this new work. You’ve heard it before, I’ll tell you again. Just get it flowing. Conquer the blank page. This is a short month. You can do it. If fifteen minutes turns into an hour, send yourself a valentine.

March: Go to at least two author readings at your local book store, library, or literary center. If your community does not have authors passing through, you can watch a reading online. After hearing from the author, read the book.

April: Celebrate the foolish. Find some of the best humor writing and see what makes you laugh out loud. “Right ho!” You can never go wrong with P.G. Wodehouse. Then, give yourself a humor writing assignment. After you make someone laugh from a quip or joke, try to write it down. Can you capture spoken humor in the written form?

May: Spend the month rereading your old work. I have a half-written novel waiting patiently for me on my computer. Why does this scare me so much to go back and read it? Read fragments, half-finished essays, and rejected work. Invite one piece back into your life for revisions, and a second chance.

June: Get an anthology of poetry and read the same poem twice every day—once in the morning, and once at night. Does coming back to it in the evening change it? Take June to think about language—what draws you in, what bores you?

July: Spend two hours a week working on one long piece. This could be a rescued piece discovered in May or something new. Take off the pressure: tell yourself just one month.

August: Reread your favorite book from childhood. Why did that book make such an impression on you? I often wonder if it is a coincidence that I fell madly in love with Robin Hood at the age of 11 and as an adult became a professional fundraiser.

September: Submit. Submit to your dream of being a writer. Submit your work to a contest, a local newspaper, a literary journal.

October: Read a best-selling mystery. What can you learn from a well-paced page turner?

November: Jump on the NaNoWriMo bandwagon and try to write a novel in a month. NaNoWriMo offers plenty of online resources and many communities have meet-ups. The Loft offers a weekend novel writing conference to offer inspiration in early November.   Ahem! Don't know about this one???

December: Buy books, give books, talk about books, and spread your love of literature throughout the holidays.

"In one painless year, you’ve become an active participant in the literary community. You’ve read a classic, you’ve created new work, and you’ve heard new work, you’ve supported authors and not once were you encouraged to get more exercise or cut back on sweets and alcohol."
Jocelyn Hale, the Loft’s Executive Director.

I love these resolutions; well all except November…
Thanksgiving people, Major Holiday!
Wishing all my blogging/writerly friends a very Happy and Prosperous 2011.
May all your publishing dreams come true!!!