VALENTINE'S DAY

so with all this valentine's stuff going on i have been greatly refraining from any long drawn out rambling posts - those posts in which i put into words just a fraction of what may be growing, twisting, turning, and kicking in my noggin' like a small growing baby in a pregnant tummy. not to bad of an analogy actually, as some ideas i get so excited over you would think i was a pregnant woman waiting for the arrival of her newborn offspring. so, yeah, this is one of those posts. just to prepare you if you aren't really into that thing, or if you are into that thing and want to grab something warm to drink, perhaps a blanket, and curl up on your sofa for this - which is what i somewhat dream that people do when they read these horribly long posts.

however, this will also serve as my recap on what valentine's day was for me and my little family - and yes, there will be photos... probably at the end, so if you are just here for the photos, by all means - scroll on down! but if you would like to humor me by reading the musings of a surely somewhat delusional, and very rambly woman, at the brink of her thirties, who is thinking that maybe not all is right in the world, but perhaps more than what she might have thought... you can continue to read.

we started out the morning rough. chloe got up way to early, and by way to early i mean before eight. i had big plans for the day, and the night, and i knew i needed her to take a very late nap in order for her to be able to stay up waaay past her eight p.m. bedtime. but she was awake, and jumping in her crib when i entered her room. she removed her binky, and exclaimed "CHOO CHOO!? CHOO CHOO!?" then popped the bink back in her mouth as i shook my head "yes" and smiled. when we had bought our home we were a little leery of living so close to a train stop. on one hand it is nice to be so close to public transportation. we don't live in center city - it is quite expensive to own a home, and the husband likes to have a car, which is always a bigger problem then it is worth when it comes to parking and not acquiring mysterious dings and dents. so we felt the train may be a good little "amenity", but with the train comes train noise, which we felt was a little nuisance at first (but have become accustomed to). however, if i had known that chloe would love the train so much i would have moved even closer to it. "CHOO CHOO" was one of her very first phrases (which when said by a baby is just too stinkin' cute! the way their little mouth puckers and they kind of spit... oh my!), and every time the train passes along she will race through our home to the front door in order to catch a glimpse of it and exclaim "CHOO CHOO! CHOO CHOO!". and there is hardly anything more adorable than a little girl so enamored with trains... in a world where princesses and pink are so encouraged for little girls, and which i am sure we will visit from time to time, it is so sweet to see her enjoying trains right now.

i got her up and sat her in bed with me. she took my, i mean, her iPad (around here we like to joke that for my 29th birthday my very generous husband bought chloe an iPad, as she has claimed it as her own and i hardly ever use it during her awake hours), and turned it on and started to watch a little mickey mouse clubhouse. i checked my e-mail and sat next to her, enjoying our quiet time. then came a breakfast of mostly strawberries and a few honey-nut cheerios for her, and coffee and pepper-jelly toast for me. have you tried pepper jelly? my mother-in-law got me hooked, most-likely unknowingly, by giving us a harry & david gift-box one year for christmas that included the most amazing pepper jelly relish i have ever tasted. since then i have found pepper-jelly at the super market and made it a staple in my fridge. it is a perfect meal or snack when paired with a bagel or toast. it is sweet, but not in a sugary way, and spicy, but not in a hot way. a perfect little balance on top of some seeded crunchy bread.

i was waiting to get paid, and it was after nine, and i still wasn't paid. i let chloe play until ten while doing some laundry and cleaning up the kitchen, and checked my bank account and still wasn't paid. i checked facebook to see if anyone from work was complaining that they weren't paid, and then called payroll to see what the deal was, who referred me to my bank, who told me there was an "equipment failure" and payroll for everyone was messed up thismorning and would be fixed as soon as possible. humph! i always know about how much i will be getting paid, but sometimes it is a little more, and sometimes it seems a little less than i anticipate. i work shift-work, and my rate depends on which shift i work at which part of the week. for example, after 11pm on the weekends i get paid more than working before 11pm on the weekdays. it is the same work, just different hours. when i started as a nurse there was a time where the hospital would pay you ten dollars extra, on top of over-time pay for working from 3pm until 7pm. and being that i was still young-er (oh what a difference a few years have made!) and without child (and what a difference that has made!), and single (oh what a .....), i would just come in four hours earlier for my shift, making it a sixteen hour shift instead of a twelve! it is hard for me to believe i was ever that insane.

so, i decided to get chloe dressed. she had the most adorable vintage dress left over from christmas, which i know she will outgrow with the blink of an eye, so i decided it would make a good valentine's dress. i got her dressed, and decided i must shower. deodorant and dry shampoo wasn't going to cut it... but i hated taking a shower with her still awake and dressed. she is pretty good about entertaining herself, but she knows that if i am doing something where i will be unable to get to her quickly that her chances of getting away with being slightly-naughty are probably worth taking. she is a good toddler, but she is a toddler. so i decided that i would for-go the real shampoo and get by with some dry shampoo (it IS only day three...), but that i would need to shower. i put the baby gate up at the steps, grabbed her and the ipad and locked her in the bathroom with me. it didn't go smoothly, but i got showered and even shaved my legs - so, yeah - worth it. i made sure to acknowledge chloe's somewhat good behavior as she threw a q-tip with one end missing (???) in the tub when i turned the water off. then i unlocked the door and started to get ready.  less than two minutes later i head "mmmmMMMMmmmm", the click of a glass, and more "mmmMMMMmmm", call chloe, and see her appear in the bathroom doorway wearing diet coke down the front of her valentine's dress.

i should know better than to leave diet coke all over my home, but i guess i don't.

i got us both dressed. me in my first outfit, and her in her second. i checked my bank account - got paid, and it turned out to be a tiny bit more than i anticipated. so, i did a happy dance, and paid my bills, slapped some down on my student loans, felt rich, and decided we would go out for lunch, go to the grocery store, fill the car with gas, and that i must have some black liquid eye-liner. 

we got into the car, and the car is where my thoughts run wild. not as wild as they would run if i was taking public transportation, but pretty wild. my thoughts while i drive are say state park nature reserve wild, while my thoughts while taking public transportation are undiscovered, uncharted, uncultivated land full of ravenous beasts wild.... at least that is how i feel they are in comparison. but i was driving, and lately i have been thinking about death. not in a sad sense, if death could be thought of as anything but sad... but in a more natural and healthy (for lack of a better word) sense....

as a nurse i see natural death, and very unnatural life. things are constantly in the process of dying, and we try so hard to stop this from happening. from spa services and vitamins to ventilators and drugs, we do what we can to defeat it. but why? because we don't want to lose one another? we don't want to lose ourselves? we don't want to be old? ultimately we don't have too much control over these things, ultimately we are all going to die eventually, ultimately we are going to get old no mater how hard we try not to. i thought about getting old. i already tell chloe she is not allowed to put me in a nursing home. i don't want to be an old lady in nursing home. i fear, or rather i know, i am going to loose my mind eventually, and that anyone who is not related to me, who doesn't love me, who i haven't managed to endear myself to, may not have the patience enough to still treat me nicely when i am an old crazy bitty who puts pots in the microwave to cook macaroni. chloe, mama never goes to the nursing home. never.

but, then i think about death and how sad we are when people die. but what about the people who die? now this depends on what you believe happens to you when you die.. and i have things i believe which i won't get into on here, because this isn't that kind of blog. but then part of me wonders if those who are dead are sad that they miss out on all the love and fun things that happen during life? births, watching people grow and do stuff and accomplish crazy things, valentine's day, sleeping, eating good food, pepper jelly toast, chocolate, diet coke, toddlers, silly houses full of family and love, "CHOO, CHOO"?  do you think they are just as sad, or if not, more sad because they no longer get to be part of it?

i wondered if i died... what would chloe do? how would she deal with it? she is too young to understand death and dying. she would probably just wait for me to come home, for a long time, and then become sad in a weird way that nobody would understand but would be very heartbreaking to watch... and i cried in my car with her in the back seat, and i looked in my rear-view mirror to see the little mirror reflection of her face in the mirror we had attached to the seat that her carseat is fastened to... i whimpered " i love you". 

christian would remarry. that is our agreement. he needs to remarry and chloe would have a new mom. which makes me sad. i want to be chloe's mom forever. and i think i would be a sad dead person. a sad ghost.

i recently was in triage and sat there with a mom and daughter.. the daughter not too much older than me, and did an electrocardiogram, which immediately confirmed my suspicion that she was having a heart attack. gave the sheet of heart-attack paper to the doctor and wheeled the mom, still lying in the stretcher back to a room while explaining to the daughter "your mother is having a heart attack. she is here, and you have done the right thing. we are going to help her", as both my eyes and her filled up with tears. 

i cry for my patients sometimes. i cry when people give birth - thank goodness that doesn't happen very often! but i can remember a time when it did happen and i stood there rubbing a newborn baby in a towel under a warm light while feeling like my heart was surely going to explode. and i didn't know it yet, but at that very minute i was holding a baby in my own body. i have cried for patients who are having strokes, and their poor families. i have cried for patient's with cancer. i have cried talking on the phone with mother's of young men who have been shot. i have cried for children who are brought to the hospital either alone, or with their parent who is in one way or another sick and unable to care for them.

and this is what i think about while driving.. and then i begin to wonder if my heart or head will explode. or if i will have a seizure. if this is what it feels like. so many thoughts and emotions (which are really just more thoughts without words), going though my head and exciting my neurons, and all the synapses firing, and wondering if maybe one of these times it will just lead to convulsing and firing and snapping and i will lay there unable to control it until it stops. i wonder if all these thoughts, much too many for me to write, or even speak, all running and rambling through my skull are maybe a tiny bit  how a patient with expressive aphasia (the inability to express oneself through speech or writing even at times), may feel. the inability to communicate what is happening inside them or around them.... and i am happy i have words. 

and within just ten minutes of leaving our home we are at the little yuppie thin crust pizza place with long booths for chloe to run on, as i talk to another momma with a baby not too much younger than chloe about boring mom stuff like baby friendly eating esablishments, baby carriers, and frozen yogurt places. her baby is sitting nicely in a high chair, watching chloe run back and forth on the booth, alternatively grabbing a bite of pizza and running to the end of the booth where a clear water dispenser sits on a counter. she must cover it in her fingerprints. she must.

we wish them good day, and make our way to the drug store to purchase me something to knock out my weird sinus cold thing that i have had going on for way to long. and forget the black liquid eye liner. run to the grocery store and pick up some flowers, sandwiches, desert, milk, strawberries, frozen vegetables. i once thought that cut flowers were sad, because they died. then a woman from a church i went to told me that she loved cut flowers because they were a reminder to enjoy what you have while you have it.... her husband had died years before.

i stopped at another drug store and grabbed black liquid eye liner, diet coke, and a small package of m&m's for chloe. her first m&m's. i ripped open the package while she sat in her car seat and fed them to her as i filled the car with gas. yeah, i was feeling rich yesterday. i called my mother-in-law and decided to bring chloe to see her. decided to pick up donuts since my mother-in-law was picking up chloe's cousin from pre-school. 

chloe and her cousin played. chloe is the youngest and still a little too young to really play well with others. she just kind of runs around, and sometimes through stuff the other kids are doing. the older kids know this. they usually try to play without her at first, but within only a few minutes are playing with her just fine. they chase, and yell, and scream. they are happy. my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law, and myself stood in the kitchen, drank coffee, and talked. i brought chloe home to take a very late nap while i called my sweet grandmother, and got christian's valentine's gift ready before we went out for the evening.

christian's valentine gift: a ton of all red rot-your-teeth candy that he loves, the softest red t-shirt, and a moose card, ha! he has been trying to give me my gift all week - he is horrible at keeping gifts a secret. since monday he had been asking "do you want your valentine gift?", sooo excited. cute. and i had been refusing to open it until valentine's day. he walked in the door last night and pulled a big rectangular flat box out of the closet. i made him open his, and he laughed at the handmade card and what it said inside... then i opened up his gift... more crying. i had been wanting a red cross flag replica for a while to frame and put in the living room. the boy bought me a real, authentic red cross flag, dirt and stains and all, and framed it. he is so much better at buying me gifts than i am at buying him gifts. i have a pretty thoughtful guy. i am a lucky girl.

we threw ourselves together, i wore a necklace and my high shoes to feel extra-fancy. we woke up chloe last minute, changed her, and put some red jeans and heart stickers on her as she whimpered. she hates being woken up.

and we went to the circus! i had scored amazing tickets for fifteen dollars each (!!!). we were sitting next to a cute father and daughter pair. the daughter was maybe two years older than chloe and holding a little stuffed dog with a red ribbon. chloe took notice and made friends quickly, by smiling leaning over and holding the little girl's hand, just for a minute. when i catch chloe being affectionate to children she doesn't even know, i wonder where she gets this from. then i stop wondering and caring where she gets it from, and i am just happy she is who she is... and melt into a proud mommy puddle. 

we spent way too much money on parking, and on fries and cotton candy, and on a soft stuffed elephant when chloe wouldn't stop touching the little girl's stuffed dog. even though the girl's father kept saying it was fine, it just kind of felt awkward and uncomfortable. chloe and i missed the elephants, while riding the huge escalators in the wells fargo center (escalators are her favorite), and once we got back to our seat chloe was finished... she had been woken up from her late and very short nap, and was up way past her bedtime, and a stuffed elephant was going to calm her. we walked out of the stadium and back to the car, all smiling and happy. happy to have gone to the circus. happy to have chloe. happy to have one another. happy to not need to wait in traffic at the end of the circus. chloe sang to her elephant the whole ride home while christian and i smiled and talked.

we got home and all went to bed. warm. cozy. tuckered. cuddled. together. it was perhaps (most certainly) my favorite valentine's day so far.... and now here's the photos:


i hope you had a very happy valentine's day wherever you are. i hope you know you are loved. i hope you know that i appreciate all who read this little blog and send me their love, and know that i send you all the love from my little woman heart.




and here is a heart sticker that got stuck to a baby's bottom & black liquid eye liner that lingers into the next morning.

oh yeah, and i was included in a lovely post, by a lovely lady, who has a lovely blog! check it out here. thank-you T.J. for including me and my husband in your valentine's day post!


love,

leah.

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