Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tory, Sweet Tory

The Tate-Ellis roadtrip across the great southwest was perhaps too aggressive, which we discovered about 48 hours into the trip. In hindsight, we have great memories of the things we saw (the Grand Canyon, rainbows over Sedona, fresh produce in November), the things we heard (Sadie's anguished cries in the car, the sounds of a Las Vegas casino, snow tires grinding through Flagstaff), and the things we ate (Cracker Barrel biscuits, thousands of pretzels and puffed rice on the road, and a pluot from the outdoor market in LA that brings tears to my eyes to remember). I will sort through the pictures and post highlights when I get organized. Come to think of it, however, that may never happen, because with the trip now behind us, we are staring into the deep abyss of ABOUT-TO-HAVE-A-SECOND-BABY-NESS and I can't string two thoughts together very coherently.
Yes, tomorrow is December 1, which means Baby Boy Meatball Ellis is due is about 2 months. I am going to need an oxygen mask as the weeks close in and I think about what that really means. This morning I made a to-do list and it all looks manageable on paper, but the minute I step away from the notepad, I start to hyperventilate thinking about the curtains, the crib, the clothes, the little issue of the VBAC I am dreaming of, the bottles, the pumping, the diapers. Even now, if I was standing up, I would swoon.
But, before I leave the subject of our trip out West and dive face first into panic about being a loving and sane mommy to two beautiful children who deserve my love and attention (and sanity), let's talk about a highlight of the trip that was all about Mommy. Mommy and her BFF, Tory Burch. It all started on Thursday when we showed up at the family Thanksgiving gathering to celebrate with great food. The minute I walked in (after one of Jeff's aunts greeted me with "Hey, Chubby!" which, I have to say, may have been warranted) I spied my sister-in-law JoJo wearing the CUTEST EVER Tory Burch ballet flats. They were shiny. They were colorful. They were from the outlet mall only 15 minutes away from our Friday night plans for Hannukah.
Only 15 minutes.
Well, you can see where this might be going. I happened to google the outlet malls in Camarillo, CA and see that they happened to be open until 10:00 p.m. on Friday. I may have mentioned that to Jeff. Then, when we got to his cousin Lisa's house on Friday night (only 15 minutes from the Tory Burch store at the outlet mall) I saw JoJo had on ANOTHER pair-- these more colorful and happy than the ones the day before.
I won't mention that Sadie was screaming her head off from the time we set out from Lisa's house to the the moment we hit the outlet mall perimeter. It started out as one of those amusing, "Can you believe our baby cries so dramatically when everything is fine," but it ended up as "I am pretty sure I am abusing my daughter so I can get some (still) overpriced pink flats at an outlet mall." But, I was swept up by the support of that shoe-temptress JoJo and Jeff, who drove the get away mini-van. And, even though I am a very committed shopper, I have never done any black Friday extreme shopping until 2010. We got to Tory's store at about 8:30 p.m. ish. The entrance was roped off and a security guard told me I had to wait until someone left before he could let me in. In about 2 minutes JoJo and I made it in and cased the joint for colorful patent leather flats. They just happened to have my size in the magenta ones pictured above. There were tourists in there from foreign countries running up tabs to the tune of $758.00. Thhe woman in front of me barely spoke English, but she spoke fluent fashion because she appeared to be buying "one of each."
I am proud to report that while it would be fun to also have the orange, gold, blue and green shoes, I limited myself to the pink ones. The best news of all is that Sadie had fallen asleep by the time I got done and doesn't appear to be too scarred from the tragic ride from Lisa's to Tory's. The next day she shuffled around our hotel room wearing the new shoes, which I took as a blessing from her. I am sad she had to learn at such a tender age that one must suffer for fashion. But, damn, those shoes are cute!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Tummy Time

While there may be slightly fewer pictures of my belly this time around (and I am not sure why that is), there are some floating around. This is picture proof that Baby Meatball is growing and filling out the womb amply. Sadie is holding most of the obsession with my tummy these days. She wants to see my belly all the time. It's not like it's hard to miss, but she wants to see the skin and my belly button. I tell her to get a good look now, but it's likely to disappear in the next few weeks. At night when I am putting Sadie to sleep, she's taken to trying to rest her head on my belly, instead of on my shoulder where she put it for months. I wonder if she can hear her brother in there and if they are plotting to take over our household in the coming months.
It's incredible to be 29 weeks pregnant again. I seem to have developed some third trimester nausea, which is not uncommon. I am feelings shades of what I felt back in the first trimester, except now I have the extra weight to keep me company while I hold back my hurling on the CTA. I gave someone the stink eye this morning for not giving me a seat on the train. My sense of entitlement is not pretty, but neither is regurgitated Raisin Bran on the train floor.
So, a little nausea won't kill me. I am committed to crawling back to survival mode. The good news is that we have a family vacation coming in about 26 hours, where we will descend on the great American Southwest territory with our intrepid 15-month old. Jeff and are of the same mind about this trip: equal parts excitement and terror. The terror is not knowing how Sadie will enjoy and embrace the less relaxing parts of travel or being out of her schedule. The excitement is getting out of town, seeing new things and experiencing our family SADIE MOON!
Be on the lookout for tales from the trail.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mama's Roadtrip

Yesterday I spent 8 hours in my car alone driving from Chicago to Springfield, Illinois. After all that solitary time on the road, I have several observations.

  • In rural Illinois, the only music on the radio stations is oldies, Christian rock and Glen Beck's radio show.
  • In really rural areas, it's just you and Mr. Beck.
  • I was sure that listening to Mr. Beck would be better than letting my thoughts run amok for 3 hours.
  • Turns out, I was wrong. There really is something worse than my own unstill mind: Glen Beck.
  • From my tiny slice of Illinois-Americana, I noted that there was not one single fit person in Springfield out on the streets yesterday. Do rural dwellers not believe in the power (and compulsion) of physical exercise?
  • Ironically, the third largest building I saw in Springfield was a gargantuan Gold's Gym.
  • If you listen to enough Christian radio (I listened to a segment about how "green" activitists are defying the word of God by proclaiming that population control or protecting the Earth is a good idea, since God himself said Man shall have dominion over the earth), when you finally do get back into the City, you will feel grateful to be back where you belong. Even if you spend about 45 minutes on the parking lot known as 90/94.

God Bless America.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

School Days

I caught a glimpse of my future today when I went to speak to a fourth grade class about being a lawyer. As part of a program my firm participates in, we went to do an exercise designed to show the students how lawyers have to think to win cases. I was really distracted for the first 5 minutes because I was cruising around the room looking at all the boys' names written on their name tags. I didn't find a winning name, but I confirmed that Jacob and Max are really popular, because there were two of each in a class of about 25 students. I was enchanted by little Filippo, but not sure that Filippo Ellis is going to pass any of Jeff's tests for a baby name.

These students were definitely still kids. It was refreshing to hear some of their honest comments and they seemed pretty respective of each other, of us and of their teacher. Our exercise was called, "No Pets Allowed," and we asked them if that was a fair rule for a landlord to have, generally. Then, we switched up the facts and asked what happens if a blind tenant wants a seeing eye dog? What if a lonely bachelor wants a parrot for company? What if a kid has an ant farm for a science project? And, my personal favorite, what if someone wants some tropical fish to make her living room more interesting?

The kids had hilarious reasons for why pets should or should not be allowed. I appreciated the very rule-oriented little Victoria who said that a "rule was a rule," so there should be no pets, not for the blind lady, the lonely man or the decorating-challenged woman. I asked a little boy what was so wrong with having a few fish, especially since they don't make a mess and they don't hurt anyone. He disagreed. He told me that flying pirranha fish could leap out of the tank and kill tenants. I humored him and told him that was a very good reason to bar fish from the fictional housing complex.

My colleague who conducted the class with me was less humoring of some of the students' answers. We asked if a police officer could bring his drug-sniffing German shephard home for a night because of a kennel closing. This wide-eyed little boy said that would be ok since a police dog would be well-trained and well-behaved. My very liberal colleague was aghast that little Kamilliam thought that police dogs wouldn't hurt anyone. My V.L.C. referred young Kamillian to the 1960's southern race riots when police dogs savagely attached "black" people. I won't lie. I was uncomfortable that my V.L.C. explained this to the only back student in the class. Still recovering from that little "educational" exchange.

Anyway, I am happy I think older kids are cute and endearing. The highlight of the whole exercise came at the end, when we were wrapping up and saying our goodbye's to Miss Hartman's fourth grade class. One little girl raised her hand and said, "Now, what was the point of you coming here today?"

You gotta love a direct question.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sugar Mama

Glucose Test v. Christie:

1 : 1

Passed this year.

Paging Ben & Jerry's.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Name Nonsense

Because my size 40 inch waist makes shopping for designer denim impossible, I accompanied my friend Joyce to find the perfect denim addition to her wardrobe. This was a good vicarious hit for me because Joyce is an avid cyclist and budding runner with very long legs so all the jeans looked good on her. While waiting for her to try on jeans, I sat outside her dressing room in all my prenatal glory. I struck up a conversation with the saleslady attending to the dressing rooms.

She asked me when I was due.

For as much as I bitch and moan about my size and girth, I am still shocked when someone knows I am pregnant. (Still shocked when someone gives me a seat on the train, and not just because most people are self-absorbed and unintersted in giving up a seat.) It makes no sense that I complain about how pregnant I look and then feel surprised when someone asks me about my pregnancy, but honestly, it makes no sense to push your offspring out of your vagina or have him lifted out of your sliced abdomen, either so we're not exactly dealing with logic.

Once I realized she was talking to me (the only person sitting outside the dressing rooms), I told her my baby was due on February 1st. She asked if we were having a boy or a girl. I told her it's a boy, and when she asked about names, I told her we were still searching for the perfect name. I may have mentioned that I was open for suggestions. In fact, I am pretty sure I told her to give me her best shot of a boy's name.

Without skipping a fetal heartbeat, she said, "I got a name for you."

Excited to hear this perfect name, I said, "What is it?"

She said, "Semaj." (Pronounced "se-ma-jay.")

Wow. Had she been waiting for a pregnant lady to come into her area so she could unfurl the majesty that is Semaj?

I asked her where she heard that name.

She said, "It's James spelled backwards."

Hmmmm. Of course. Why didn't I think of that? For every name we like, we can also spell it backwards and make an entirely new name. Ffej would be a nice name if we were going to abandon hundreds of years of Jewish tradition and name Meatball after Jeff. ("Come here, Ffej, time for dinner.")

I actually don't know how this backwards naming idea helps me, but it's a great example of a conversation that took place because I am pregnant, and let's face it: people are hilarious around pregnant women. The advice, the gestures, the speculations. I just love it. As long as people keep their hands to themselves they can suggest Semaj's all day long. It's funny. I believe people mean well. We are no closer to a name, but you never know when it might show up.


Isn't it time for Angelina Jolie to have another baby (or two)?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Highs and Lows

Highlight of the day: making it until almost 4:27 p.m. without any chocolate, which is a feat of Shakespearean proportions at this stage of pregnancy and fatigue. I am depriving myself today because my glucose test (for gestational diabetes) is tomorrow and I am determined to pass. Admittedly, I originally said I would cut out sweets for the three days preceding the test, but as I approached T minus 3 days, I decided I would rather risk a false positive than live these 72 hours without chocolate. I feel like I am home free now. I plan to be asleep by 8:00 p.m., since I have been up since 5:00 a.m., which, frankly, sucks. I can't blame Sadie because she was asleep until 6:15 a.m., and I can't really blame pregnancy because Jeff was up and wide-eyed himself at 5:30 a.m., and as I love to remind him and everyone else, HE'S NOT PREGNANT, I AM. So, it's just more time change funk. But, here's me on the cusp of passing a test that I failed last pregnancy. If I have to take that disgusting 3-hour glucose test I am running straight to Neiman Marcus to get a consolation prize. It will be cashmere and it will probably be a size XL.

Lowlight of the day: I had to appear at a hearing in state court, which, for reasons too numerous to name, I hate. One of the most unappealing parts of appearing in state court is trying to get an elevator from the first floor to the 23rd floor. Regardless of time of day, the elevators are jammed with cranky, self-important lawyers, whose definition of "business attire" is so incoherent and diffuse that it honestly seems like some of these people are trying to get sanctioned for fashion crimes. (Should you wear 6-inch high heals with feathers on them to court on a weekday morning? State court no less? In the midwest? With a cotton skirt? Come on!) Seriously, this morning there were no less than 35 lawyers waiting over 3 minutes to get into a 6 foot by 3 foot box to take them to EVERY SINGLE FLOOR BETWEEN 1 and 23. Are you kidding me? My baby son will be 5 before I find the courtroom.

Today's elevator ride was particularly suffocating. I got into the elevator first, because I am pregnant and aggressive and happened to be standing by the one elevator that happened to be working during the court's rush hour. I politely stepped in and walked to the back of the elevator. (Those whole 3 feet.) The next thing I know, a gigantic, 6 foot 4 inch, linebacker of a man gets it right in front of me, clutching his monogrammed leather satchel full of legal pads and files, and pushes his very ample backside right up against my bump.

Oh, sorry, did my unborn child take up too much room for you?

I couldn't move. I was literally boxed in by Big Foot and he was talking about his latest forays into horse racing. Our gigantic horse lover lawyer man was so busy talking about the horse racing odds and his winning gamble that he didn't realize he was cutting off my oxygen and close to racking up a charge for attempted feticide. If I hadn't been with a more senior partner, I think the toxic mix of fatigue and crowded personal space may have given me push to tell him to get out of my way, get to a f*cking Gamblers Anonymous meeting, and learn to talk in a hushed elevator voice when you are surrounded by 15 strangers, all of whom are running late.

This is what's so great about third trimester: As the fatigue takes over and the weigh gain accelerates apparently so does my charm and ability to take life's little challenges in stride. If I keep this up, I will be riding those elevators as a defendant and not a defense lawyer.




Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pregnancy Advice

The best pregnancy advice I can think of is this:

Chili with beans is NOT a cure for heartburn no matter how much ice cream you eat afterwards.

Time Change Can Suck It

This time change (the "fall backwards") can kiss my ass. I have never hated a time change so much in my life. "Falling backwards" left our hardwon routine in the dust and I am not happy about it. For the past 3 days, Sadie has arisen around 5:30 a.m., and she hasn't seemed any happier than I do about that. It's still dark outside and the WHOLE POINT of this freaking time change was for the sun to shine in the morning. I am trying not to jump on the Prozac truck about this, but I am really desponent about it.

Now that I am awake so many more hours per day you would like to think I can pack more into my life. Aside from more complaining and more yawning, there's not much more I have packed into it. This morning, I did make some heartburn-free lemonade out of my early morning lemons when Sadie's battle cry ripped through our house at the pre-dawn hour. I embraced the only upside I could think of: more time with Sadie. I went to her (dark) room, got her out of her crib, and sat with her in the rocking chair for about 45 minutes. I know she was still tired and I was determined to get her back to sleep. Sure enough she was snoring her little piggy snores in about 5 minutes. I sat there meditating on life's meaning, and thinking about how to teach her numbers so we can train her not to cry out until she sees that it's at least 7:00 a.m. I have to say that I could see the sun rise through the slats in her window shades and she was cute as a little ladybug (a ladybug that snores) in my lap. I conceded to my innermost self that getting up an hour earlier isn't the end of the world. I do what I always do in those uncomfortable parenting moments: I project myself about 10 years into the future and remind my current self that these days are numbered and Sadie won't always be in little footie pajamas snoring in my lap smelling like yummy french baby shampoo.

I take a few deep breaths.

And, I remind myself that I probably don't have to wait 10 years to yearn for the days that I got to sleep from 9:00 p.m. until 5:30 p.m., considering our ladybug piggie has a brother who's on his way.

And, speaking of Meatball. Can I say that yesterday he moved around the womb for about 6 hours straight. It's still the most awe-inspiring and fantastical thing that I have ever experienced. I am a little nervous about what kind of nutritional plan I will have to adopt to keep up with the baby who grows from this very active fetus. Will I be eating seaweed and sawdust instead of Luna Bars? I love him and his summersaulting ways. My sense is that he's going to come bounding into this world with lots of flourish.

Too bad he may not have a name until 2012.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Mr. C. Sheen

Just in case there was any doubt, there will be no dating of Charlie Sheen.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Pamper Mama

At this stage of my pregnancy, where my limbs are almost always swollen, and I wake myself up 4 times per night because my snores are so loud, it's time for some pampering. You know, something just for me. Before I turn my pampering over for Pampers.

There's a facial and a mani/pedi in the works for next Saturday with some friends. If you could see my fingernails right now, you would probably urge me to see if I could get in THIS weekend instead of waiting another 8 days. There's also a hair appointment also on the books for early December. These appointments will provide a vital dose of Mama care that will take some of the edge off of having to lumber around with cankles for the next 12.5 weeks.

But, there are other kinds of pampering. There's also the pampering of the mind and the soul and the spirit. And, I must report that I have done a good job of feeding this part of myself this week.
Well, of course, I made an extra therapy appointment. But not just any appointment. I made an appointment with my therapist (who happens to be a psychiatrist, so that means it costs A LOT OF MONEY) to play Scrabble.

What? You've never done that?

Well, I highly recommend it. And here's why:

First, I am a really crappy Scrabble player, despite the fact that I think I am reasonably verbal and pretty well-read. I have what I would call an "underdeveloped" strategic thinking muscle and it's starting to bug me that Jeff can beat me so thoroughly at Scrabble. So, I had a feeling that my therapist would be good at Scrabble, or, at the very least he would play differently than I would, which would be interesting and a "teaching" or "therapeutic" opportunity.

Second, the whole sit-down-and-talk-about-my-problems-or-neuroses is sort of played out. It's boring and also I don't have a lot of problems, which is a good thing, but it cuts down on the attention you get from your therapist when you turn out to be getting happy, healthy and fulfilled. So, I wanted a new venue that was less about "let's fix this about Christie" and more "what can you teach me?" Scrabble seemed easier than showing up to knit a sweater or to learn how to balance my checkbook.

Third, I wanted to have the experience of being "parented" in an activity that was important to me. Very little is more important to me than words (ok, I admit it, and winning), so instead of trying to make the things that are important to my parents important to me (to be a football fan; or to be interested in finance; or to be in sales or accounting), I asked for an appointment with a surrogate parent that would center around something I like to do and want to do better, or at least differently.
Fourth, I am exploring different templates for my relationships with Sadie and Meatball. I want my relationship with both of my kids to have a component where I teach them and share with them things that I enjoy, as well a relationship where I enjoy the activities they discover independently that bring them joy. I am not sure I know how to do that, and I figured a good place to start is finding a place where I can be a teachable kid so that my own children can grow up with a parent who's ready to parent them because she's had the luxury of being a kid whose parents shared "teaching moments" with her.
Do I secretly wish I could have kicked his ass with one eye closed? Yes.
Did that happen? Um, not exactly. I have a suspicion that he's played a lot of Scrabble. As in, I think he's an avid Scrabble player. I didn't account for that. I literally never considered that he'd even played before. Sure, it's not like it's a secret game or something he would not have come across. I just figured he sat around reading back issues of JAMA and reviewing former Yale colleagues' books on mitochondria or something like that. I wasn't picturing him to have Scrabble-specific skills. I guess I am glad he does have as many Scrabble skills and strategies that I plan to employ going forward, but it really wouldn't have matter if he didn't have them either. I wanted the experience of playing the game that feels perhaps like how some boys growing up feeling like they should be playing baseball with their dads. Do little boys really care if their dads suck at throwing the ball? They just want dad to show up in the yard and put the mitt on.
People keep asking me who won the game. I don't know what the score was, but I know I won the game.
(Ok, I kept the score card and technically I really did win, but Dr. High Points helped me strategize and make plays that would ensure my victory.)
Better than a manicure? In some ways, yes. Much, much better than a manicure.
Maybe next time we can get pedicures and I can show him a thing or two.
(EEwwwwwwwwwwww, seeing your therapists' toes!!!!!!!!!!)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

27 Weeks

Here's the report from 27 weeks:

Feeling: HUNGRY

Craving: Mangos, peanut butter and grilled cheese, gluten products served warm with butter

Reading: Born to Run by Christopher McDougall (not the best pregnancy book I have never picked up, since it inspires me to run, and that's just plain physically impossible these days)

Looking forward to (short-term): Getting in bed tonight

Looking forward to (long-term): Sitting in my house holding both of my babies and teaching them to fetch me things I need

Highlight of the week: Scrabble game (post to follow)

Lowlight of the week: Feeling under the weather and having bad sleep for 3 nights running. (So cruel is that Mistress of Sleep)

Shock of the week: My wedding ring still fits. (WOOT)

Weepy moment of the week: Sitting quietly with Sadie in the rocking chair this morning, watching the sunrise and feeling Meatball kick.

Ready for: A vacation (16 days and counting)


Sad about: The Republicans winning so many seats on Tuesday

Proud about: My commitment to public transportation even when the blue line takes FOREVER to come and I need to get home to relieve Zenia because Jeff is out of town.

Monday, November 1, 2010

November 1, 2010

Not to beat a dead philly, but my son is due in 3 months. That's only 13ish weeks. Those 13ish weeks include a family vacation through the great southwest United States, the holidays (Thanksgiving, Hannukah, Christmas, New Year's, Diwali, and Kwanzaa). Excuse me, but who said time could fly like this?

We just passed Halloween and I am feeling a mix of pride and dismay that I have not had one single piece of Halloween candy. How can that be? I think it's because 1. We didn't buy any candy for trick-or-treaters, which made it tricky indeed when the doorbell rang last night. (Jeff put some Welch's fruit chews in one of Sadie's porta-potties and gave them out. Trick! and Treat!). 2. Also, when your child is only 15-months old and doesn't really know what candy is, then you really can skip the candy parts of the holiday. We had a blast this weekend though. Saturday I insisted we suit up and go to a pumpkin patch in the City, but I didn't read the fine print that said the Pumpkin Patch activities were over by 2. Thus, we we arrived looking for some pumpkin loving at 3:30 p.m., there was not much left other than some sad, scarred old pumpkin hunks and some hay bales. Luckily, again, Sadie had no idea what we thought we were going to find, so finding a swing and some kids to play with at the playground was just fine for her.

Sunday we dressed our first-born up as a chicken and went to a party. I am still dismayed that Sadie let us dress her up in a funky fleece costume that she gamely sported for several hours. The party was a nice break from the joint nesting project that Jeff and I engaged in on Sunday morning. It's called CLEANING OUT THE CLOSETS so we can move the office to the fourth floor loft and give the third-floor office to Meatball. Oh lord, the stuff that Jeff and I have held on to. Man, if I got a dollar for every stupid thing I bought at Ann Taylor Loft I would be able to buy a farm full of chickens. That's the thing about my former BigLaw job: at almost every single second I felt entitled to BUY whatever I wanted, because often, the ONLY perk of the job was the ample paycheck. (Don't ask me what my excuse is now, because I left BigLaw and rate myself as a 7.5 on a scale of 10 for job satisfaction, but believe me, I do have an excuse.)

Anyway, somebody who's lucky to find my load at the Salvation Army could seriously put together about 50 different outfits all from 2007-2009 Ann Taylor Loft Collection. There is also a hot pair of hot Citizen For All Mankind jeans that I am certain will never fit again. And, believe me when I say, "fine by me." Or, believe me mostly.

Ok, you know I am lying, but who needs jeans sitting upstairs in a perfectly nice office mocking me when I am busy building a brain and raising my little chicken daughter? In the spirit of full disclosure, here's a slice of my particular insanity around my body that is a totally true story:

Me: Hey, guess what I did today when Sadie was napping?

Jeff: What?

Me: I tried on some pre-pregnancy jeans. [REMINDER: I am 26 weeks pregnant. Almost to third trimester. That makes me officially INSANE and probably in my eating disorder.]

Jeff: How'd that work out for you?

Me: Um. It worked about halfway up my leg.

What's going to happen to my children with a mother this vain?

In my defense, that is not all I did when Sadie was napping. I also took a shower (nice to have a clean mommy) and I organized the growing pile of clothes for Meatball (nice to have a mom looking after your sartorial needs) and I read some of my latest book (nice to have a mommy model literacy for you).

On a completely unrelated note (is there any better kind of note?), today is the 29th anniversary of my paternal grandfather's death. John Callaway Tate of Forreston, Texas. His death was my first great loss and I was so upset by his passing when I was in 3rd grade. It was upsetting to see my dad cry and to worry about my grandmother living in this big farm house all by herself. It wasn't my last loss, but it was the first and there something about the first one. I had never really been to a funeral before and it was simultaneously so sad and so stimulating-- riding in a limo with my grandmother from the funeral home to the graveside and all those people all around for days. I remember sitting on my grandmother's lap and all her friends from the farming community were around her talking about my grandfather. I thought it was great to have everyone around telling these funny and happy stories. I just wished my grandfather didn't have to die for us to be together eating Ona June's cherry cheesecake and sharing so many good things. I remember telling my cousin, Susan, who is a few months older than I am, that Grandaddy's passing was the worst thing that had ever happened to me. I think I remember she had a lawn chair on her head when I was trying to engage her in this conversation. She and my brother were playing a game on my grandmother's porch and my philosophical musings were not exactly part of the game.

Frankly, I was dying for someone to talk with me (no pun intended) about death and loss and grief, but I didn't know how or who to ask. I would get my chance later in life, but it makes me think of something very important now that I am a parent: I want to give Sadie and Meatball a chance to talk about anything they want or need to as they are growing up. Especially the hard stuff that I actually may not want to talk about. I want to give them space and language and signals that it's ok to ask questions or have feelings or wonder where people go when they die and what happens to the people they leave behind.

Let's see: We started with happy pumpkins and ended on a morbid note. That sounds about right.

Happy All Saint's Day.