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8.28.2009

Better

This is just going to be one of those stream of consciousness posts because I'm typing through tears and don't want to stop and try to figure out how to make a cohesive thought.

Today is effectively my last day of summer with my daughter. My mother is coming to take her until next week when we all get together and do our big anniversary celebration. I realized this as I lay in bed last night. Last Day of Summer. And I felt so sick I got up out of bed and went to look at Savannah while she slept and I started to cry because I'm just like my father.

And that makes me so sick I could throw up just typing it.

Until the day he died my father was filled with regret. Regret that he didn't play with me. Regret that he was selfish. Regret that he was so angry all the time. Regret that he shooed me away. Regret that he drank too much. Regret that he watched too much TV. Regret that he never talked to me about boys. Regret that me broke his promises again and again. Regret that he chose himself. Every moment. Of every day.

As he lay dying he sobbed with regret.

And I said all the right things. I told him he was a good father. I told him I had a happy childhood. I told him I didn't carry any emotional scars from my protector being my tormentor. I told him he was forgiven.

He and I both knew that was a lie.

As I lay there with my broken father, I had just started my journey as a parent with a cherubic three year old at home. I lay there next to him in the home where I grew up and I promised myself this wouldn't be me.

I promised.


I may not lay a hand on my daughter. I may not scream at her. I may not call her names.

But at what point am I going to realize that just being better than him is not enough?

Last night we sat in some friends' backyard. My wine glass miraculously refilled itself again and again. The laughter got louder, the jokes funnier. Savannah wanted to be involved. I kept dismissing her to go back in the house and watch a movie. Over and over she told me she was tired. She was bored. I tried to tease her and accidentally hurt her feelings. I embarrassed her in front of everybody and she started to cry. I apologized but the damage was done.

Eventually she went inside and fell asleep.

Hours later I woke up in the middle of the night gripped with regret.

It was sobering how familiar that situation felt.

The adults, the alcohol, the laughter. Being dismissed. Being a nuisance. Being humiliated.

Only now I was on the other side of the wine glass.

It occurred to me that I never did half of the things I promised I'd do with her this summer. A day spent playing board games in our pajamas, doing a picnic at the park, going on a scavenger hunt walk, redoing her bedroom.

And what good reason did I have? None. I was too busy doing what I wanted to do, smug with the satisfaction that at least I was home. Passively parenting.

How much time do I have left? How many more chances will I have to make it right? How much longer will my daughter keep looking for my attention before she writes me off until I call her one day and tell her I have four months left to live?

I've felt this sense of urgency to be a better parent before. But this time my heart is shaking me awake. To put down the laptop. To put down the phone. To put down the book. To step up my goal from being better than him and start being better than I've been.

I choose you, Savannah. I choose you. And starting today, I'm going to do a much better job showing you that I choose you.

***********************
Update: Ugh. This is one of those posts that you immediately wish you hadn't written once you hit publish because you feel better now. But then you realize that you only feel better because you wrote it.

Updated Update: Savannah just woke up and when I asked her if she wanted to stay in our pajamas and play board games today she responded with a fist pump and a "yes!". God, I love that girl. She just makes this parenting thing so easy sometimes.

8.26.2009

9


Dear Chris,

You didn't cry at our wedding. That's always bugged me.

I couldn't understand why you weren't so overwhelmed by my sparkling tiara and push up corset, not to mention spending the rest of your life with a goddess like myself, that it didn't move you to tears.

Thankfully, you've redeemed yourself throughout the last nine years.

How You Have Made It Up To Me, Let Me Count the Ways:

Thank you for not shoving cake up my nose.


Thank you for letting me convince you that it would take me "years" to get pregnant and agreeing to Stop The Pill...nine months before Savannah was born.

Oh, hi.

Thank you for claiming to "prefer" chipped toenail polish.

Thank you for ending many an argument with "can I make you a latte?".

Thank you for leaving the house with your shoelaces untied. I catch a glimpse of the boy you were. And I love that.

Thank you for seeing that look on my face and pouring me a glass of wine before announcing "I'll take Savannah to the pool".


Thank you for telling me I was "too skinny" when we got married. And making me believe it.

Thank you for our first kiss. On my hand. Before you said goodnight.

Thank you for always making me do the ugly laugh at parties.



Thank you for worrying when I don't call when I'm supposed to.

Thank you for bringing me my heating pad. (And I'm sorry for the things I said the time you wrongly assumed I needed it.)

Thank you for always convincing me it's their problem. Because they're jealous.

Thank you for spooning with me even though it makes your shoulder fall asleep.


Thank you for responding to my hysterical meltdowns by vacuuming. It's always the right answer, by the way.

Thank you for letting me get just one more cat. Three times.

Thank you for making our daughter laugh in a way that I never can.

Thank you for apologizing when I think you won't.


Thank you for asking me every day if I've written so you can go read it.

Thank you for every time we're with friends pointing at me and saying "Now, this one" before launching into some absurdly generous compliment.

Thank you for nodding thoughtfully at all the right parts during my stories.

Thank you for talking me down when Dr. Google diagnoses me with a fatal disease.



Thank you for not getting mad when you should, like that time I was supposed to grab a quick dinner with friends and ended up in San Diego until 2:00 a.m. (We can laugh about that now...right?)

Thank you for this morning. For coming full circle. By hugging me with tears in your eyes and a smile as you said "Happy anniversary. I was just thinking about how much I love you." And you were crying. Yes.

Thank you for trying. Every day. To give me everything I've ever wanted. You already have.

8.21.2009

And That Is All I Have To Say About THAT

A widely read blogger had the misfortune of being on some asshat's radar the other day when she posted an intensely raw and personal picture of her financial situation. One that included her efforts to seek relief from her steep mortgage payments, among other things.

And even after she pulled the post a short time later, the vultures continue to pick at its carcass. Dissecting each photo, criticizing each word.

Money seems to be the flavor of the internet lately. You're trying to make money with your ads. You're trying to make money with free products. You're asking for things from your readers. You're giving away things to your readers. You didn't manage your money well enough. You have no money and it shows.

Let me be clear. Money was a big issue in this house. A huge one. A big ugly cry yourself to sleep issue. BUT. If I were honest? My worries about what COULD HAVE HAPPENED were much worse than how things have actually played out.

We're nowhere close to where we want to be, but we're still making six figures, paying the bills and saving a little and from what I can tell, that's enough to get excited about these days.

But, boy am I empathetic for those on the downswing right now.

And I can tell you from experience that they don't need any help kicking themselves.

I'm talking to you, internet.

It's so easy to draw conclusions from someone's Starbucks cup in a photo or a Blogher trip or a day at the zoo. (Maybe if you stopped feeding the giraffes you could pay your mortgage!)

You're never going to have the whole story. You're never going to know the details of someone's finances whether you read their blog or live next door or see them at church.

Shortly after we moved to our new wealthy neighborhood, where we rented among homeowners, I stumbled upon a name I recognized in an online foreclosure database. The name belonged to a mom from Savannah's school. Fortunately for her, she was nice to me. (I kid! Sort of.) But my first reaction when I saw her name was to flash on her car: newer BMW X5, her shoes: Coach, her bag: Louis, her hair: freshly highlighted, and her nanny. All the while her house was in foreclosure.

Since that day I've seen her name pop up on the foreclosure list like clockwork every three months. They're struggling to stay afloat while awaiting a loan modification from their bank.

I could judge her. My first reaction after all was to judge her. I could think nasty thoughts about her "poor husband" or "poor kids". I could let powerful words like "selfish" and "greedy" and "my tax dollars" and "bailout" flow through my brain and even out my mouth to the other moms around us.

But I know a few things about this woman.

I know she grew up extremely wealthy.

I know she's attempting to start an at-home business.

I know she's a good mom.

I know she's quick to laugh.

I know every time I see her with her husband they're holding hands and smiling.

Maybe her nanny is a family friend. Maybe they have medical bills. Maybe they owe more on their car than its worth.

In other words, do I know the whole story? No.

Would I like to? Yes, because I'm very nosy. But that's another post.

I'm just not comfortable with this notion of using "my tax dollars!" as an excuse to get all up in someone else's business. Because, trust me, people are not getting bailed out. BANKS are getting bailed out. I worked for these criminals claiming to "help you access the bailout money". They take your money and rarely even make a file before throwing your "case" to the bottom of a pile worked by a bunch of clueless 18 year old kids.

And do you know who these criminals are? The same brokers who put people in the loans in the first place, coming back around to double dip into their empty pockets.

I've had brokers hand me their own grandmother's mortgage file WITH A SMILE to try to "help" her get out of the horrendous loan her grandson PUT HER INTO while he pocketed thousands of dollars in fees. And do you know what happens to grandma now? She has no equity so she gets evicted by the bank. And do you know what happens to the bank? They get money from the government.

There's no "government program" to help "people". There's only the government's own self-serving program to adjust their OWN loans (freddie mac and fannie mae backed loans). Loans they insured. They are "helping" these people to make sure they don't walk away from those lucrative mortgage payments, leaving the government to hold the bag. And oftentimes? These modifications force the homeowner to agree to yet another government loan which sits silently on the books and is due and payable when the homeowner sells the house. And the cycle continues.

Of course there will always be those who try to game the system. Whether it's welfare, disability, taxes or their mortgage. I know this, but don't kid yourself. People are not getting anything for free. They're just being victimized again. And yes, it's their own damn fault most of the time. Having dealt with thousands of these people all over the country, I can say with certainty that the majority of people who agreed to these loans did so out of a little ignorance and alot of greed. It doesn't mean they weren't victimized. It just means that they were willing participants. They wanted the bigger better house. They didn't want to read the not-so-fine print (my God, it's on the FIRST PAGE of the mortgage in plain English) and the broker didn't want them to read it either.

It was the perfect storm.

So don't think there's one villian and one victim.

There was entitlement. And it met up with greed. There's a reason those Ten Commandments are so handy!

I'd like to say that I'm not one of them. That Chris and I didn't play into the game. But the truth is we did. It's taken a long time to admit this, but we weren't victims. We were greedy.

We started off smart. We started off responsible. But as time passed and we started buying more stuff and more credit was being thrown at us and more money was pouring in, we lost our way. It became about more more more.

We lost our way.


We didn't want to pay off our credit cards the old fashioned way. Why should we when all we had to do was refinance (again) and be in Cabo by next week with the cash out?

True story.

But do you want to know how I feel about that? Initially I felt like a victim. Then I felt like a loser. Then I felt like an idiot.

But now I just feel like someone who made a conscious choice.

Yes, we chose to live a very full, fun, active, materialistic life for a few years while deluding ourselves that $10,000 or $20,000 in the bank and $200,000 in equity made us untouchable.

Yes, we spoiled ourselves and traveled and ate out and charged charged charged ahead. (pun!) We didn't drive Bentleys or live in a huge house. But we made enough bad decisions that when the house of cards fell we were left holding a dead hand.

And I've written about our penance in great detail.

It's been a rough two years.

And I'm not interested in going over it any more. But I will say that Chris and I paid for our mistakes. Ten times over. Things have been sold, dreams have been shattered, goals have been put off, many nights have been sleepless.

I fought tooth and nail to get our house sold and then fought even harder to get the short sale approved and escrow closed all within four weeks. (Anyone who knows anything about short sales knows that is nothing short of a miracle.)

I went back to work.


Savannah went to day care.

I clipped up credit cards.

I clipped out coupons.

And Chris tore out his hair.

For many long months my poor husband waited for news from his employer, a failing bank. And then when the news came - he would be laid off after the acquisition - he made sure to shine like a star to secure not one, but TWO potential positions at the new acquiring bank.

I'm a new woman. He's a new man. We're forever changed. We've cried. We've apologized. We've felt sorry for ourselves, each other, and our daughter. We've been exhausted.

But we have never stopped living.

We continue to go to Starbucks. We catch the occasional movie. We still drive nice cars. We still pay for Savannah's weekly gymnastics. We splurge on the occasional dinner out.

Do you want to know why? Because it keeps us sane. Because it keeps us moving forward. Because sometimes the little pleasures remind you that you're alive. And, yes, sometimes they cost money. Money that may be better spent replenishing our 401K account, but dammit maybe I just want a funnel cake! Or hazelnut crusted halibut!

You'll just have to grant me a few of life's pleasures and look the other way.

When a blog invites you into their life, tread lightly.

I assure you, there's no judgment that can possibly be harsher than what whispers in their own head. You're just going to have to trust me on this, Internet.

8.19.2009

Dear Chris, I Need An iPod Armband For Our Anniversary. That'dbegreatthanks.

I went for a run today.

If you can call it that.

I have gained 10 pounds that I cannot seem to shed. I've tried everything: thinking about it really hard, making lists, looking at TMZ, baking pies, reading books. Nothing will do the trick! Weird I know.

This weekend I decided I was going to get serious about working out. So I told Chris that I was taking up running because how hard can it be? I was a gym rat in a former life: I've worked out with a personal trainer, I've kickboxed, I've spun, I've been down to 19% body fat. Surely I can run.

Wrong.

I showed up at the gym the next morning wearing two sports bra, a bad attitude, and my iPod filled with women-objectifying songs. Could I be more ready?

I gave the front desk hottie my gym card to scan, made a joke about how proud he must be to see me back at the gym again, ignored his COMPLETELY BLANK expression, and was on my way to the treadmills.

Tragically the only treadmill available was wedged between a blonde hard body and a prolific sweater. (Not the kind you wear. Although that visual is making me laugh. The sweater is all "I got to get into shape. I used to be a mitten.")

ANYWAY. I told myself that it didn't matter who I was next to, this was my journey, and no one cared that much about my undulating ass cheeks anyway.

So I stepped up, started off with a nice brisk walk, stepped it up to a brisker walk/run, and then waited for my favorite part of "Golddigger" before I broke out into what felt like a cheetah sprint, but when verified in the mirror looked more like maybe I was lightly jogging back to my car after returning my shopping cart.

I shrugged (mentally; I'm not that coordinated) and told myself this was the first of many runs upon which I would improve.

Then the burning started.

First in my lungs, then my chest. Then I swear my moles started hurting.

It must be time for a break, my brain screamed.

I checked the clock.

02:30

Two minutes?!

I became frantic.

My eyes darted around for an escape, an excuse. I have a muscle cramp! doctor appointment! hammer toes! job interview! diarrhea!

You can do this, Lena. You're a winner. A big winner.

I imagined the parked car directly out the window in front of me carried Savannah. I was chasing the car! I am a mother! Mothers have superhuman powers! I will tap into my fierce maternal reserve! I can lift a car off a burning building or something how does it go oh God my face hurts!

I pawed at the speed down arrow and slowed to a fast walk. Interval training, y'all.

My pounding heart encouraged me to take my heart rate.

2
0
2

Two-oh-two.

Clearly, I was dying.

I sipped some water, took a few deep breaths, and walked two minutes more. Surely I can manage to run for two minutes without dying. Who am I anymore?

I glanced in the mirror at Gym Bunny on my right. She ran effortlessly, her feet like butterflies landing on flowers. Her body was tight, her face firm and focused on her own reflection.

Did that used to be me?

I looked at my loose sweats, my beet red face. I winced at how my belly shuddered with each step, how my face jiggled up and down.

Who am I?

How did I let myself get this out of shape? How did I lose complete control like this? I've been deluding myself into thinking I was fit and I'm not. I fail at staying hot.

And yet.

I just wasn't very offended by it all.

Believe me, I tried. I waited for the familiar feeling of shame to well up in my chest. I waited for the embarrassment, the humiliation, to grip me.

It just...didn't come.

I'm 32. I look 32. I still think I'm beautiful. And if I can feel beautiful like this - out of shape, overweight, puffing, exhausted from my three minute run - then it can only get better.

So I started to run again. I found "Suddenly I See" by KT Tunstall in my iPod and blasted it through my ear buds.

And I ran. Fast.

Her face is a map of the world, a map of the world.

I pumped my fists.

You can see she's a beautiful girl,
a beautiful girl.

My feet pounded the belt.

Suddenly I see.

I felt the chilly rush of adrenaline and I was flying.

This is what I want to be.

I wanted to cry with pride.

Suddenly I see why the hell it means so much to me.

I was doing it!

And then?

I.

Fell.

Like a complete on-my-ass fall at full tilt.

As luck would have it, one of my crazy possessed-by-joy hands (which I had clenched into tight fists like hooves for precisely this reason) came down on my iPod wire and flung the damn thing right onto the whizzing treadmill belt. This caused me to do a very cool backward trip hop jump before finally landing at the bottom of the treadmill.

Gym Bunny glanced at me alarmed and then returned to gazing at herself smugly in the mirror.

I stood up, brushed off my sweats, got back onto the treadmill, walked for a respectable one minute, and then raced to my car to catch that very pressing doctor interview. I mean job appointment. Whatever.

Then I did what any self respecting adult would do after pitching over on a treadmill in a crowded gym. I got a McGriddle and sat with my laptop.

I'm happy to report that I've never felt fitter.

8.11.2009

My Day In Numbers

Percentage of myself that feels 20 minutes on the elliptical this morning does not make up for the asiago bagel and cheddar bacon cream cheese: 0

Number of hours I've been at Starbucks waiting to be inspired to write while digesting: 3

Number of those hours spent Googling ex-boyfriends and watching singing dog videos: 2.5

Number of times I've texted Chris gift suggestions for our anniversary later this month: 8

Number of times I've asked him what he wants for a gift: 0

Number of dirty text messages that I feel are a gift in themselves: 5

Ways this makes me a good wife: lots

Number of times I've checked for Hawaii deals on expedia.com: 3

Number of times said deals considered Macaroni Grill coupons as good as cash: (tragically) 0

Number of times I've wondered why I wasn't born a princess: 11

Number of times I've lost all feeling in my ass: 3

Number of times I've been caught by a stranger absentmindedly rubbing my newfound chin hairs: 2

Number of times this wasn't weird: 0

Number of girls ordering coffee I've lost to while playing the game "Is she younger than me?": 5

Number of times I willed them to trip and spill their frappuccinos: 5

Number of times I've played the "What's your Cowgirl name?" generator before settling on Lena "Horseshoed" Lotsey: 4

Number of strangers here I gleefully tried to share this with: 3

Number of those people who were actually trying to get real work done, like selling me insurance: 3

Number of times I've wondered what length of time is acceptable between a bagel and a croissant: 2

8.06.2009

And Then I Realized That I Win At Parenting

FACT: An "only child" must have more playdates than the average cub.

FACT: An "only child"'s mother must make more of an effort than the average mother to create a social life for her child.

FACT: Telling the mother of an "only" child to be "grateful" that she doesn't have to listen to "two children fighting" will make her want to kick your legs out from under you.

I'm not what you would call overly social. I enjoy my friendships and love my close circle of friends. I love a good party and a houseful of kids. But just as much I also love a good book, spending hours online, reality TV, and hearing myself think. Things that are not conducive to entertaining a sibling-less 7-year-old for an entire summer.

So yesterday I decided to have yet another playdate: something that brings her great joy, but for me just means I have to wash my hair.

I invited over a little girl who went to Kindergarten with Savannah but who we haven't seen in awhile. I was never close to the mom, but she's pleasant enough so I invited her to stay. This is when the urge to slam my head in the refrigerator started.

While I struggled to find a common ground (Her: What's it called? Tweetter? Her: No, we don't watch TV at all. Me: *blink blink*) she drifted from one boring topic to the next: the mall, tennis, vacation homes, gated communities (why OC? What is this obsession you have with gates?).

If it had seemed she were trying to make an effort, I would cut her some slack. But she checked her watch more times than I referenced Paula Abdul which was alot. I finally let her off the hook by inferring she probably wanted to go enjoy her alone time. She readily agreed.

As soon as she left her daughter piped up "I'm hungry!".

Savannah, ever eager to please, rattled off our specials. She chose a bagel, which I smeared with cream cheese and served to both her and Savannah.

She made a face at it. "Ew. I thought I said I didn't like cheese."

I couldn't help but laugh. Savannah looked at me alarmed since the only way my child would ever speak to another adult like that is if she were delirious with fever.

Once the cream cheese situation was rectified, Savannah tried to engage the little brat girl with game suggestions. I could overhear the little girl's disinterested responses as Savannah's voice grew more and more high-pitched with her effort to please.

Why don't you have a Nintendo DS?

Savannah started to explain how she lost it when she was interrupted.

Are these all your Barbies?

A short time later an old friend of mine stopped by. "I love your place!" she exclaimed about our humble cracker box. "You should see MY house" a little voice interjected behind me.

"Why don't you girls play upstairs?" I brightly suggested. So I don't lock you outside.

Hardly an hour into their playdate I noticed Savannah looking somewhat miserable. I pulled her aside and asked if she was ok. "I'm ready for her to go home now" she replied.

Me too.

When I dropped the little girl off, her mom met us out front. We exchanged pleasantries. The little girl showed her mom a clay animal Savannah had made her. "Oh great. Now your brother is going to want one too." She looked up at me. "Be glad you don't have to listen to two kids fight".

I smiled politely.

"Next time you can come here" she said to Savannah, "and swim in our pool!"

For sure I said brightly. Let's do that...never? Does never work for you?

As we drove home I asked Savannah if she had fun. Not really was her reply.

"Why are they always pretty?" she asked.

"Who?"

"Mean girls."

I sighed. "It seems to go hand in hand. Mean girls tend to be pretty. But not all pretty girls are mean. Look at you."

She smiled satisfied out the window.

"Want to watch lolcatz when we get home, mommy?"

For sure.

8.03.2009

Day Care(less)

I haven't written much about Savannah on this site recently. I haven't written much about anything recently, which is the main reason. The other more specific reason is because the last year has been a little trying with (and for) her.

I thought I would never know which came first: my working or Savannah's attitude. Sadly, the last two months of my not working has answered that for me.

I worked full-time, 50-60 hours a week, for close to a year. There were days that I saw my daughter for 15 minutes. Those were the nights that the ache in my heart was so unbearable I could only silence it by hardening myself to our new reality. Lots of moms work. She just needs to live with it. I just need to live with it.

I worked with mostly moms and they all shared the same sentiment. My child loves daycare! He cries when I pick him up! She misses it on the weekends!

Savannah went to after school care at the Y. I disliked it from the start. And by disliked I mean I spent a lot of time Googling the care providers names and spying through the windows at pick up.

I tried to tell myself she loved it. I tried to tell myself that she would have been bored at home with me. I tried to tell myself to let go and let her grow by having a new experience.

For some kids this may be the case. Not with mine.

At first I noticed her anxiety increasing. A missing chapstick resulted in a morning meltdown. Being picked up after 5:00 ensured she would pick a fight. A fight she would lose. Because she was smaller. Because I was louder.

I noticed a quickening in her frustration. With me. With school. With her friends.

She started feeling her chest and worrying that she couldn't feel her heart "beeping".

She refused to use the Y restroom for fear of "getting locked in" and started 'holding it' for hours and hours until I picked her up.

She started coming home with unexplained scratches.

She started having nightmares.

She started sitting in a dim corner by herself if I picked her up late.

A panic was forming in her little heart. I knew it. Chris knew it. We had to fix it.

We tried talking with her about how mommy "had to work". She tried to understand, but how could she when we couldn't? Chris and I took turns beating ourselves up. Why didn't we save more? Did we really need to buy new cars every year? Did we really need to go on vacations every six months? If I had known then that that new couch, the updated computer, the landscaping, the eating out would all result in my child being cared for by strangers two years later I would have stopped dead in my tracks.

Savannah was paying the price for our mistakes. An innocent victim of the economy.

She had been in the Y for nearly three months when one day I forgot to forewarn them that she would be late. She had her first keyboarding! lesson, so I escorted her to the Y about an hour and a half late. When we walked in the care provider (and I use that term loosely) said to my face "Oh! I didn't realize she wasn't here yet".

My mouth flapped opened and closed. I was speechless. MY 7-YEAR-OLD FAILED TO SHOW UP TO HER AFTER SCHOOL CARE AND NO ONE NOTICED? IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING?

I immediately got Savannah a pre-programmed cell phone with strict orders to call me the moment she arrived at the Y, a short 20 feet away from her classroom. I now knew I couldn't rely on these people to acknowledge my child's presence, let alone engage her in fun and learning as promised in their stupid brochure.

From that day forward, every single day no matter what I was doing - arguing with a client, in a meeting, conducting an interview - I would look at the clock at exactly 2:15, the time my phone should ring alerting me to Savannah's safe arrival at the Y. And I would say a little prayer. It was almost eery how spot on my maternal clock was.

The first grade school year was coming to a close when Savannah received her first somewhat derogatory remark on her progress report.

Her teacher wrote: "Savannah needs to work on patience. She always has stories she wants to tell and we don't always have time to listen to them."

I felt like throwing up.

Who's going to listen to her stories if I'm not? Who?

The following week Chris got the good news that he would be working from home. Filling out the "drop" paperwork was probably one of the happiest moments in my life. Followed closely by when I quit my own job a short time later.

As I sat in front of my kind boss he tried to get creative. "What if you work from home? Part time? On call? Consult??".

I just shook my head and apologized because all I could focus on was the Mother's Day project I had received from Savannah the day before. It read "I love when my mom...." and she had written "stays home when I'm sick".

Surely I can do better than that.

Since I've been at home I've seen a complete turnaround in Savannah's attitude. There's a lightness to her again, a levity in her voice, an ease to her laughter. And I have to believe I made the right decision.

I still work here and there - we have yet to find that oil well in our backyard - but now when I tell Savannah I'm working she'll look over my shoulder at the computer and see pictures of herself (or say Halle Berry) and say "Oh, that kind of work".

The best kind, my love.




Disclaimer of the Obvious variety: I know for some kids childcare is enriching and stimulating. I don't doubt that it is The Right Answer for many parents. It just wasn't for us.

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