Sunday, March 27, 2016

Family - Gotta Love Them!

Easter[i] Weekend!  Time for a family dinner!

How will you spend your holiday meal? Hearing a detailed description of a recent surgical procedure?  Or wishing that at least one family member would turn off a cell phone and start a conversation? Or maybe you will be in a foxhole.

Family.  Gotta love them. And we do - through thick and thin.  

So today I would like to share a prayer for all of us:

Dear Lord, bless our families this Easter. Help me remember that You chose them to be family to me. Give me a loving spirit for the difficult times, a short memory for hurts, a loyalty that holds each one close always, and forgiveness for those times that nothing less will do. Help me to remember that, in your wisdom, families are forever. Help me to follow your perfect example of unconditional love for my family – this day and always.  Amen
*        *        *
Have a Blessed Easter with your one-of-a-kind family! 

And for the record, I will be missing those foxhole stories.

[i] Not so fast, my Jewish friends – Passover will be here soon!!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Panty Raid

We were richly blessed that day. It has only taken me 35 years to realize it.

The blessing? No cell phone cameras. No posts on social media. Nothing to leave a lasting imprint in cyberspace. 

It was a typical Sunday morning.  Daughter 1 was learning to dress herself, while Daughter 2[i] was wriggling out of her ruffled socks and Mary Janes as fast as I could put them on again.  Finally, both wore the matching yellow dresses – very short (think Shirley Temple) - from Grandma.  Perfect for a spring morning.

Running late as usual.  Why was our parish the Cathedral? And why were the empty seats in the very front?  Up the long center aisle we went, little girls swinging their arms enthusiastically.    

Half way through the second reading, D1 dropped her little straw purse.  As she bent down to retrieve it, I glanced over and saw . . .

The moon!  I SAW THE MOON!!  No ruffled Sunday panties! And no plain underwear! No panties pulled up backwards! No panties anywhere!!!

Prayer was difficult.  It was too late to pray that no one would notice (see mention of aisle, above).  

I believe in miracles, but slowly I realized that panties would not be among them, no matter how fervently I entreated the Blessed Mother.

The final hymn. We beat a hasty retreat.  Upon arriving home, I grilled D1 with useless questions like "didn’t you feel a breeze?” and “where were your panties?”  

It had just seemed too basic.  Face it, I had taken underwear for granted. No more! 

I overcompensated.  We had “panty check” every time we left the house. Something like "Miss America, show us your shoes," but with panties. Not kidding!

Only now do I realize how blessed we were. No photos!  None of the naked bum.  None of the laughing congregation. And especially none of the hysterical mother in the second pew!! 

Oh, and thankful that we moved away not long after that.

[i] From here on out, my daughters will be known as D1, D2, and D3.  Yes, we did name them, but see Disclaimers.  They are definitely some of the guilty mentioned there.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Up in the Air

Obscure facts: women can suffer tooth decay in pregnancy. Also hair loss. But there is another, little known, much more sinister side effect. (No, not children - that is well known.) And mommas have been silent for too long. 

Post-Baby Bubble Brain is real. Today I am blowing the lid off mothers' secret shame. There are support groups and help lines for everything else, while new mothers suffer for 18 years or more. Need proof? Read on.

Our newborn D1 was  beautiful. Mr. Wonderful was getting an “early out” from his military duty, and we would leave Ft. Lost-in-the-Woods in weeks. 

Soon the movers were everywhere in our humble (think “condemned”) quarters. This made nursing almost public. And I was no help with packing.

Finally, we surrendered. Mr. Wonderful drove the baby and me to the airfield, and we took the first of three flights that would take us to grandma’s.

D1 was a good traveler for three weeks old. I nursed her on takeoff and landing to make sure her ears did not hurt. My thirst was soon HUGE. Thankfully there were complementary beverages in those days.

Needed the bathroom. Soon. We landed at a small airport to board a puddle jumper for St. Louis. Just a quick connection, so I waited.

By St. Louis, the need was urgent. Luckily, Lambert is a major airport, and I quickly found a ladies’ room. “Closed for Remodeling.” Ugh. Baby D1 and I hiked the length of the airport to the other restroom. Open!    

A bit of history: this was before baby seats mounted into strollers. No one had ever seen a strap-on baby carrier.  This was the time of babies-in-arms

Where exactly could I put my precious baby in the germiest-place-on-earth?  Could not put her down. Have someone hold her? A stranger? My firstborn? Visions of kidnapping swirled in my head.

Back onto the plane, sloshing. Knees together, all the way to O’Hare. 

The new grandma and grandpa met us at the gate. (It was before security, too.)  They were immediately in love, and grandma carried D1 through the airport, I think.  I can’t know for sure – I was in the restroom during these touching moments.

It was YEARS later that it hit me.  At any time during my three flights, why hadn’t I asked a flight attendant or grandmotherly passenger to hold D1 so I could use the on-board restroom?  Where exactly did I think they would take my baby while we were 30,000 feet up?? 

I told you – part of the brain is just gone.  Next time your teenager asks “what did you EVER do for me?” try to remember this.  Of course, since you are a mom, you may not be able to.  

Not your fault. Post-Baby Bubble Brain is real.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

You Are Getting Very Sleeeepyyyyyy. . .

Shortly after the Paleolithic Age, Mr. Wonderful served his military commitment and I taught music to officers’ kids at an elementary on Fort Lost-In-The-Woods.

Young and enthused, I did not own a pitch pipe, and never, ever resorted to “Let’s listen to 'The Grand Canyon Suite' by Ferde Grofe again.”  

Instead, I sang a quick melodic excerpt to each student entering the music room and urged them to sing it back to me. With hand signals.  We plodded through an actual curriculum, uphill, since most parents got orders for elsewhere during the year.   Still, it was music class.

So it came as a shock when I saw a student copying during a test.  Later, I discreetly told the pupil what I had seen.  Done, I thought.

Until student's Mama Bear stormed the principal’s office  - on fire!  I was summoned, but had sense enough to let Mrs. Bear vent. The principal was supportive, but I was shaken.  

Fast forward to some minor surgery.  At the post hospital.  The anesthesiologist arrived.   Name tag: "Sergeant Major Bear."  As in, spouse of Mama Bear.  And he would be putting me to sleep.  TO SLEEP!!

Dr. Bear asked what I did on post. Apparently, the "loosen up" shot was working well.  I spilled the news about being the music teacher at his kids’ school, heh-heh, small world . . .

Would I wake up?  Would he tell the surgeon I was there for an amputation?  Would he slyly tell Mama Bear “Never mind that music teacher – she won’t be bothering us again.”

I said a quick “Hail Mary” as I nodded off.

Yep.  You would not be reading this blog if he had been out for blood.  In fact, he gave credence to that old adage, “opposites attract.”  What a nice man.  Very professional. Would recommend him.

But, in hindsight, I would NOT tell him about being the music teacher. 

Maybe just, "my dad always wanted me to be an anesthesiologist."