Month: January 2016

Blood from a Stone

Or a baby, as the case may be.

Today I had the inevitable but no less traumatizing experience of holding my baby down while phlebotomists attempted to fill impossibly large vials from her impossibly tiny veins. She struggled and she screamed and she kicked off her shoe. And I wanted to tell them to stop, but I didn’t, because these tests are important.

I couldn’t even think how to comfort her. I thought about singing, but I couldn’t remember the words–or the tune. I resorted to shhh…shhh…shhh… and resting my cheek on her head.

Phlebotomist 1 told me that she was upset about being held more than anything. She said this as she wiggled the needle in my baby’s arm and Phlebotomist 2 and I failed to hold her still.

It’s 12 hours later and I’m still reliving the moment. And kicking myself for not making them stop sooner on that first attempt that was obviously not bearing fruit.

I never have the right words in the moment. My brain doesn’t respond quickly. I need time to think and to process. Now I can imagine telling them to stop. At that moment, I did have the thought, but I didn’t want to risk having to come back another day and try again. To put her through this torture a second time.

I hate that I doubt myself in the moment. I hate that I don’t react quickly enough.

I wish I could find a stock answer that acknowledges the circumstances and also allows me the space and time I need to formulate an authentic response.

Two Weeks Later

That first post annoys me, now. I read another January 1st blog that was nearly identical. Why does anyone start a blog if they have nothing to say?

Life is moving along at a grind. Sick babies and overwork and not enough money. But the bills are paid for the month and the baby’s hair is getting long and there are cupcakes in the kitchen.

And snow! I love that we finally have snow. I don’t like the bitter cold and the wind whipping through the 100-year-old windows in my living room, but I love the cold.

This fall, I came across the Norwegian idea of koselig. The closest translation is cozy, but it’s a feeling of closeness with friends and family and hunkering down against the winter, making your own warmth.

I’m trying, this winter, to cultivate koselig. When the worry about money and health and being stuck inside gets too thick, I put on fuzzy socks, light a candle, and snuggle my family.

I can’t say the worry never wins, but I have been able to beat it back at times.

Beginning Again

I am not unique in facing a new year and feeling suddenly inspired to do more! and better! and every day!, so here I am again, starting a blog.

The idea came to me as clicked through to the Rev. Molly Baskette’s tumblr the other day. She is starting the new year with a series she calls “Apology for My Liberal Politics.” And in the half a second it took to load her first post in the series, the thought flashed: I should write again.

I mentioned it to James (he’s my husband), and he began to ask me questions: “Jot down some features you’d like in a Google doc. Themes, social media, image galleries…do you want it magazine-style or more like a personal blog? What sites do you like? What features do you like about those sites?”

And I was like, “Uh, can’t you just throw a generic WordPress theme on a domain and let me type in it?”

But I married him for a reason, and he’s right. I should think about what I’m doing here.

Which was enough to make me think I shouldn’t bother. I’m not so egotistical as to think the world needs another blogger, shouting about my life into the cavern of the Internet.

But then I went to church today. I have to admit, I didn’t expect to get much out of church today. It is the first Sunday of our pastor’s mini-sabbatical, so we have a fill-in preacher. But I went, because it’s my church, and because it’s important to keep consistant for my kids, and because I couldn’t stand another day of post-holiday cabin fever sitting around the house with a 5-year-old and an 11-month-old.

And the stand-in preacher said something that resonated with me: Hiding your talent isn’t modesty; it’s a form of stinginess. If you truly don’t know what your talent is, ask. And then use it. Because if we are going to build a more loving world, we are going to need everybody’s best to do it.

Well, my talent is writing and editing and communicating. And I’ve been a bit stingy with it of late.

It feels very hubristic to think that anything I can write will make a difference in the world, but at the same time, it kinda feels like writing might just be my best shot at it.

I’m still not entirely sure what I’m doing here (sorry, James), but I’m going to start trying to figure it out. I want to be honest, I want to talk about struggles and successes, I want to talk about right and wrong, I want to talk about the kind of world I want to leave my children. So here I go.

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