1000 aaah’s. #2 Fire & Blessings

We had an electrical fire last week that swept through our house like a great storm. An unexpected blizzard pummeled the Northeast, taking down power lines and trees. It was 2am when it made it’s way overhead, snapping an old elm which crashed onto our roof, taking the power lines with it. We awoke to a bang, then a buzzing and snapping. All the lights in the house began to flash like a scene from “Poltergeist”. An oily smoke filled our bedroom. We thought that the insulation in our attic had caught fire.

Our reaction was primal. Check on the baby. Call 911. Turn off the power. Grab the fire extinguisher and look for the source on the smoke. Throw on shoes, a coat, layers for the baby. Run downstairs.

We were getting ready to run to the street when we realized that we could not leave the house! There was a live electrical wire outside. We could hear it snapping and hissing as it hit the snow, like a snake spitting sparks. I was terrified. I held on to our baby as if he was still attached to me.

The Fire Department arrived swiftly. The house was dark and shrouded in smoke. It smelled like melted plastic. The firemen searched with my husband and found the culprit. Two surge protectors had caught fire after being zapped by the force of the current from outside. They were blackened and disfigured, with melted wires torn from the casing.

Thank G-d the Bear had shut off the power, because the firemen said the curtains and the bed would have gone up in flames had he not acted quickly. I was speechless. Evacuate. They said. No heat, no power. We complied.

We stayed with family for a week. We finally got back in last night. All the damage was inside the walls, except for a charred oval branded into the wood floor under our bed and a stink of sour metal. We lost our computer, our circuits upstairs, our washing machine, but we are safe and unscarred and our old house is still standing.

I stand in gratitude for family. For the primal instinct that flows through us. For the love we are lucky to have.

We didn’t NEED a fire to realize how much we have and how easily it can be taken away. But moments like this make you count your blessings. Something I truly needed.

One thousand aaah’s : #1- second chances

Forgive me.

It’s been ages since I have written.
So very much has happened.

Jacob is now every bit a toddler. He’s charming and mischievous and full of love. The Bear has gone back to school to pursue a career in nursing. Our “new” old house finally feels like a homestead. It’s rough around the edges, dusty and cluttered, but warm and welcoming. No pictures on the walls yet. Maybe next year….

I left my job in February to begin my own design strategy consultancy. It was a hard decision, but I remain steadfast and open to what the future holds. I want a fresh start, a new page turning.

I have read that good things sometimes rise from ashes. In the forest, dense new growth often appears after a great fire. Sometimes it is sudden, sometimes it takes years, but the seedlings that spring forth seem intent on taking hold.

I feel that way right now. When I look out, I see promise where there was once was dark, dense undergrowth. I see blank space. Green, wet soil fortified by ash. What is to grow in this new open space?

It’s important for me to sit in gratitude. When I feel my most frightened or alone, I need to sit in my power and remember what I DO have.

I have decided to use this blog to make note of things worth cherishing. Perhaps it will hold meaning for YOU TOO. If you have a comment or something to add, I welcome your thoughts.

I’d like to get to ONE THOUSAND AHA’S. It starts with one:

1. SECOND CHANCES: The promise of unlocking one’s potential and living with mindfulness, passion and intent.

No day like today.

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This one is for Betsy, who urged me to write again. Love you, sister.

My favorite post!

So many times, I have wanted to speak to you, to say “I understand…”

http://romancingthestone.wordpress.com/why-rubyfeather/
sisters

Traversing the summit

It’s been forever since I have written. Jacob is six months old now and sleeping upstairs. Today is a vacation day, but I find myself at the computer.I have team reviews to write, but I find myself distracted.

The snow outside is exquisite. It blankets our yard, and gentle shadows cascade across its surface. I want to roll around in it. Taste it. Come in chilled and wet and exhilarated.

I realized this week that I have been motivated (and often immobilized) by fear. Anxiety about “the worst” happening has seemed to put me in retrograde. Everyone has one of those fault lines. The dark crevass of our psyche where the “worst case sinario” seems to beckon, exascerbating our fears. My family is wonderful and healthy, my marriage solid, my job is exciting. Still, when you have spent your life building things up, you sometimes get consumed by the idea that they can so easily come tumbling down.

I have realized that in my quest to keep everything moving, I am beginning to loose pieces of myself. In fact, some things are moving in the wrong direction! I am like a hiker that has made it to the summit, only to find that she’s climbing the wrong mountain! Although the view is lovely, there are some things that I have lost along the way. I need to pack up, and lighten the load, and make it back down the hill. I’ll only carry what is necessary, like my child and my values. I’ll walk in step with my husband. At times, we can coax the other on, when one feels they cannot continue. When we get back down to the base camp we will decide what we really need for our next adventure. We will leave the gunk behind, pack a little lighter, and set out for the true summit. We will rest, breathe deep and take time for love. This adventure is not time bound!

So, here I go. being a little vague because I have to be. Just know that I will take you with me. And the view along the way, though rough at times, will be lovely.

Breast friends- Baby, can you get enough?

BREAST FRIENDS. 

It’s been ages since I have written, and I am sorry. I’ve been meaning to write…but it’s been challenging just to get rest and food. I’m running on fumes, but trying to pretend I have a full tank.

I decided to try to breastfeed Baby Jacob for as long as I can. I gave myself a mini-goal of six months, after which I will reacess and see if I can get him to a year. He went in to the NICU when he was born and my supply has never caught up to his demand. I have spoken to doctors and lactation consultants and tried to catch up with him, but I’ve finally resigned myself to being his supplemental food source, rather than his exclusive or primary one.

After all the ego hits of IVF, hospital bedrest and the big stamp of “advanced maternal age,” not making enough milk for my  baby is up there on the ego smackdown. But here’s how I look at it. At least I can offer him quality, rather than quantity. Sure, I am still trying like hell to catch up, but if I can get him to 5-6 months, at least he’s had a constant supply of mother’s milk. And rather than feeling guilty for making less than I would hope to, I treasure the times that we do get to spend together when I feed him. He’s still my little miracle.

I have a dear friend at work who had her second baby girl a few weeks after Jacob. She is a lovely woman, full of vigor and zing. Every time I see her and ask about her kids, she tells my how much milk she’s producing in each pumping (8-10 oz each time!!!). I know she doesn’t mean anything by it, but it reminds me of a guy who brags about penis size, or how many girls he bedded last week. Part of me is filled with envy when I hear her reports, but I try to take it back to center and remember how lucky I am for having a healthy, gorgeous son, a great job, shelter, family, and a hubby who loves me. Milk shmilk! It’s all relative.

 

THE SUNDRESS GIRLS. 

There is always going to be someone who seems to have something you want. When I was on hospital bedrest (for six weeks!) they would wheel me on a gurney down to a daily non-stress test. They’d take me through the part of the hospital that was bustling with out-patient testing. It’s hard enough to be wheeled around in a wheelchair- but being pushed on a BED takes it to a whole other level! Once inside the testing area they would park me in the middle of the hallway. After a while I learned to bring something with me to distract myself, like a book or my blackberry, something that I could look at to avoid the glances of pregnant women who were visiting the hospital for a quick test before returning to the world outside the berm. Since I was not allowed outside, I could mark the passage of time (and weather) by their attire. June and July were “sundress time” in Boston and all the pretty ladies seem to sachet past with their florals and batiks mocking me. When they would look my way I would smile. I tried to wish them well with my eyes. “Don’t worry, I’m not contageous” I thought to myself. Most women, however, would do everything they could NOT to make eye contact, as if my baby and I had some disasterous affliction, and locking eyes would somehow curse them. I know that fear, I used to have a twinge of it every time I heard of a friend on bed rest. “Oh how awful,” I’d think. But here I was, in the hospital for six weeks. On my back. Immobile… At least I was smiling.

As much as I resented the sundress girls, with there billowy dresses and protruding bumps, I knew there was a long chain that linked us together. The grass is always greener somewhere else. What I needed to remember was that we ALL are of great value and beauty. We all MATTER. There is always going to be someone who has something you want. You can spend time consuming yourself with envy and grief, or you can treasure what you do have, and hope for what you want. I try to remember this. 

 

ACTS OF GRACE

It was the founder of Acts of Grace Foundation who send me a small care package while I was on hospital bed rest. She and I will never meet, but her kindness touched me deeply. In honor of one of her twins, Grace, who passed away, I will pay it forward this holiday. I will be making small care packages for the women on bedrest at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. My friends are coming over to help me, and it will also be a great closing of a chapter for me. I will never forget how much I have grown this year, and hope to channel some of that experience into something meaningful for others. (Acts of Grace foundation….http://www.actsofgracefoundation.com/5.html)

WISHING YOU JOY…..

Leave a comment and make a wish for the next person who reads it….

What’s on Your Hat?

A man lost his way while hiking in Joshua Tree National Park and was rescued six days later. He kept himself alive by staying still and writing his last wishes on his hat. He wrote love notes to his family and children, in the event that he perished.

What would be scribed on your hat if you wanted to leave behind something for your loved ones? What would you wish for ? How would you ask your friends and family to celebrate the life that you have lived?

Momster

I’m sitting here with my baby wedged under my left arm and my laptop dangling precariously between my knees. Jacob is finally asleep and I dare not wake him. His tiny fingers are laced across the strap of my  camisole. He needs his nails cut.

There’s not much I can say tonight because I am in an exhaustion stupor. I’d love to unpack from our move, but it’s easier to sit here and stare at my hands. I have been nursing non-stop and I feel as if my essence has been drained along with any bit of nourishment I can provide for him. I’ve been wearing the same three pairs of knit pants for about six weeks…

It’s not that I am ungrateful for this gift, but it is harder than I thought it would be. I think people should feel comfortable mentioning that. I am so happy to have him, but I am still learning how to be a good mother.

I am sure we will find our way. I know we will….

Jacob on a Pizza Box- Special Delivery

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