Sunday, November 27, 2011
Six years ago, on a warm Sunday morning in November, I walked down the aisle looking into the eyes of the man I had spent the past four years growing to love more and more with each day. I was walking toward him, knowing that he was already my best friend as well as knowing all (or most) of his quirks, his strengths and weaknesses, his goals and dreams but still feeling anxiously unaware and excited about what stood in front of us after we said I do.
The day could not have been more beautiful – we were surrounded by God’s beautiful creation as our scenery, our closest family and friends and a reassuring sense of peace knowing we were solidifying our already deep love into something even greater and more meaningful.
There certainly were blips in the day like when the DJ introduced me by my maiden name as we entered the reception hall or when the caterers broke the glass on the frame that we had our guests sign (as our guest book) but those were so insignificant when reflecting on the joy that was felt by all on that special day.
Fast forward six year later and I can still see the happy tears flowing down my face and that of my groom’s. I can hear our song playing as we embrace each other as husband and wife, quietly whispering private jokes and giggling in sync. Although I cannot recall every detail of my wedding day, my heart will never let me forget the happiness and excitement I felt about beginning our lives together as man and wife.
Six years is by no means long in the span of time. It still feels fresh and new sometimes even though I have a hard time reminiscing on life before Art. We have been through a lot in these six short years but those challenges have only helped us to appreciate what we have more and cherish the partner we have gone through those trying times with.
I married my best friend that sunny autumn day. If I were walking towards him today, I would be staring at so much more – the person that knows more about me than anyone (and still loves me), the man who makes me feel more beautiful than I’ve ever felt, the husband who gave me the two greatest gifts a woman can hope for (sweet R and P), the father who has managed to land himself two daddy’s girls and a spiritual head for our family who motivates me to be a better wife, mother and person so that I can set a fine example for our daughters. We may not have the greatest love story ever told but our story is full of greatness and love. I could read it over and over again, except that our story isn’t complete – it’s only just begun…
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Although I do not celebrate holidays including Thanksgiving (as you probably know and if you don't, feel free to ask me about it), today I would like to extend a giant thank you to the public school system, parents who send their sick children to school, and also bacteria. Of course I am being sarcastic because really, why on earth would I thank public schools or parents who are stupid enough, lazy enough, selfish enough or a balanced-blend-of-all-of-the-above enough to let their infected offspring attend school where (shockingly) they’ll be around other children with undeveloped immune systems. Not that my kid is perfect and knows or follows the proper sick etiquette but these kids tend to wipe their nose on classroom items, cough in each other’s faces and then hold hands during circle time – one big happy germ-infested class. And bacteria is just an accessory to the crime, it’s not his fault he’s being spread around haphazardly.
Because of the three culprits above, my family has been plagued with this superbug that refuses to die. Like the villain in any horror movie, just as soon as you think the good guys have won, in an instant you are screaming at the hero/heroine to “TURN AROUND!!!” because the bad guy is baaaaack for one last hurrah (or in our case, more like the Rocky or Die Hard sequels – you lose count after the third or fourth one).
What started as sniffles and coughs has developed into an all-around pandemonium of symptoms. We’ve had two rounds of pink eye, a cough that manifests into dry-heaves and subsequently vomiting, diarrhea and diaper rash, bloody phlegm, fevers and chills, but most recently, the hives due to an allergic reaction to one of the antibiotics. Last I checked, antibiotics were supposed to help, not make the situation worse!
The hardest part of this all was that this beast of a bug targeted my two innocent beauties, R and P. It took a shot at the hubby and I which was also a tough blow since it’s impossible to take care of yourself when you have helpless munchkins who need you (and yes, I’m lumping the hubby into the munchkin category because we all know that men revert to infancy when they’re ill but I digress…). There is not much worse than having a sick child, nonetheless two; and then to try to reassure them that they will get better, oy! Kids have no concept of time so R likely feels like she has been sick for three years (although it’s only been three weeks but I can appreciate her misconception because it’s starting to feel like years for me too). Each time R coughs, she nearly spews out anything in her stomach (which isn’t much since her already miniscule appetite is dwindling) and as she does, my heart aches for her. Then there is P who has woken up twice over the past few weeks looking like she might go blind because her beautiful blues were crusted shut due to the colorful bug known as conjunctivitis. She has remained pleasant despite the warm washcloth to wipe away the film of green yuck taping her eyes shut each morning and despite the three times a day I have to hold her down to put drops in her eyes. Sadly, she’s at the point where she laughs about me practicing a half nelson on her to plant the drops in her peepers.
I feel like I haven’t seen my family or friends since jeggings were in style…oh wait, they’re still in style so scratch that. Well, it still feels like it’s been since the 80’s. I want desperately to be human again. I’m starting to feel like our family belongs on one of those SyFy shows. I miss breathing through my nose. I miss my kids having normal poop. I miss all the money I shelled out on doctor visit co-pays in just the last two weeks (almost enough to pay for medical school…in a foreign country albeit). I would love to be taking the girls to the new Muppets movie today but alas, we’re stuck indoors watching the same old garbage that has been the background noise (that we can barely hear because we’ve all had or have ear infections) while we’ve all been basking in a cesspool of each other’s germs.
This probably sounds like quite a negative rant and it mostly is; however, to turn it around, I know there are families going through much harder times with children who are sick everyday of their life with viruses or diseases much worse than what we’ve gone through even at our weakest. Those parents and their brave children make my problems seem so insignificant (which they are retrospectively). To keep the positivity going (because quite frankly, I need all the positivity I can get right now), I would really, truly (not sarcastically) like to thank the many family and friends who have offered to help us in whatever way we may have needed them. Although we didn’t take you up on most of your generous proposals, just knowing you were willing to extend yourselves means the world to us. And also, I am so appreciative of the ladies who work at my daughters’ pediatric office who were working today to see little sickos like mine who just couldn’t wait another day to be seen. On that note, I will be going to lay down for a snuggle-infested nap with Little P in hopes of kicking our viruses’ butts to the point of no (and I mean, no) return!
(Below is a picture of my two dear darlings in all their gooey-glory)
Monday, November 7, 2011
As I'm watching a movie that involves a paternity mishap, my mind has started wandering onto the subject of family - specifically inherited traits. The child in the movie has distinct characteristics (moans when he eats, thinks he has every disease in the book - hey wait, that sounds familiar…) - all of which link him to his real father. And so it got me thinking about some of the faces I make subconsciously, the protruding bunion on my right foot, my incessant need to ruin surprises or even the foods I refuse to eat just based on the way they look - all pieces of the inheritance that my parents and the generations before them have left for me.
Inadvertently, my parents and grandparents have bestowed upon me some of their worst traits; albeit, they are also responsible for my best traits but it's typically harder to see the good in people and even more so, the good in ourselves. For better or for worse, the mesh of good and bad equals me. That doesn't, however, mean that I cannot change and steer towards another course. After all, we are all granted free will (at least once we turn 18 or leave our parents’ home) which means we have a choice. For example, a child who is raised by an alcoholic father might be more likely to inherit a problem with self-control or addiction but that isn't a one-way ticket to Margaritaville; instead, that child might silently vow never to be anything like his father and push harder than normal to assure that he/she doesn't get to that point. Similarly, I can make the call as to whether I will have an uncontrollable sweet tooth like my father and grandmother or a constant curiosity like my mother. But as evident by my muffin top, I have made a stand on one of the above although I desperately wish I could rid myself of that innate love of all things sugar. As for my nosiness, I'm happy to say that it is a work in progress.
The point is - no matter how hard we try, we can't escape who we are...or who our family is for that matter (even if DNA is the only thing we have in common). We may not even like our family but it's important to remember that God gave them to us - they not only shaped us into the person we have become but they are the bridge that links us to our future (as quoted by Alex Haley).
Although I am no longer Jessica B. (insert maiden name), I have still carried much of the "B" into my own family. My daughters very much resemble my husband but are programmed with so many similarities to me and my side of the family. It's not exactly what I had in mind as an inheritance for my children but in reality, it's a priceless gift. After all, my father's mother is no longer around but seeing some of her quirks in me is a sweet reminder of her that lives on and will continue to live on in my children and so on. It's actually quite a beautiful thing!
There are some people I know that find their family a nuisance or perhaps even worthless. They feel they could do better without them and would rather forget them altogether. No matter how hard we try to avoid them though, perhaps even going across the world - the truth is that they are always with us – they are inside of us, deep within our bones.
To conclude, I think this quote sums it up nicely - "A man may travel the world over in search for what he needs and yet returns home to find it." Family is home - they are the only people in the world who know everything about you and still love you for who you are. Family matters - especially this one...