Back to the future

I’ve been seriously slacking in the blogging department lately, and it seems my absence hasn’t gone unnoticed (and I want to thank you all, for checking up on me and making sure I haven’t drowned in the bayou. I appreciate it!). I could say I’ve been busy over the holidays, which would be true, but it wouldn’t be the whole story. The whole story requires a bit of background information.

Let me start by saying that I grew up in a very buttoned up household. We went to church as a family every single Sunday. We prayed before every meal. I was expected to apply myself in school, had a very strict curfew and wasn’t allowed to date in high school. Sex wasn’t something we talked about, and my parents even dragged me out of sex-ed because I wouldn’t have sex before I was married anyway  and wouldn’t have to bother with silly things like birth control on my wedding night. Which, of course, would all happen after I got my law degree from Yale.

Even though I respect their beliefs, I knew early on that I didn’t agree with them. Yet, by the time sex was somewhat of an option for me, my brain was so screwed up about the whole thing that it literary put my body on lockdown. I was ‘blessed’ with vaginismus (the link will take you to a Wikipedia page about it, if you don’t know what it is. I could explain it myself, but that would be a blog post all on its own).

After years of trying to wish it away and trying to ‘power through’ (horrible, horrible plan) I finally started to see a sex therapist. She gave me homework that made me blush and stutter, and encouraged me to start journaling. And I did. I filled page after page with failed attempts, semi-successful attempts and, finally, successful attempts. Even after I was finished with therapy, I kept at it. Always written from the perspective of an outsider looking in, still distancing myself from it, until one day I stopped writing on paper and booted up a blog instead.

For months, I blogged about my relationship, love, struggles, my friends, school and yes – sex. Or, in short, I blogged about my life. ALL aspects of my life. Not only that, but I started talking to other people who blog about somewhat more ‘mature’ subjects, liked them, befriended them. And after years of struggle, I came to terms with being who I am. This girl with all these different aspects of life integrated into one breathing being. And having this blog meant that I could talk about whatever I wanted, when I wanted to.

… And then I got pregnant. Which was this life altering thing that I couldn’t even wrap my head around at the time. Something that caused many panic attacks, tears, laughter. Of course I wanted to write about it. And without thinking, I split of a blog just for that and Catching Rhye was ‘born’.

Now, here’s the problem- I split it off. Like I’m two different people; a 24-year-old who blogs about nothing and everything and all the things in between, and a mother who talks about clothes and kids.

I don’t want to do that anymore, blog like I am split down the middle. And I like to think we live in a world where I don’t have to. I do realize that not everyone can get on board with that, and that’s okay too. I’m willing to lose a few readers if that means I can go back to… non-split-blogging, if you will.

So, if you’re interested, you can hop over to Seven Seas of Rhye. The language might be a bit more crude sometimes, and again, I do talk about sex on occasion or mention it in passing (should I have given you the impression that I write a sex blog, I really, really don’t) but at least I can stand behind it and say ‘Here, this is all of me, and I mean what I say.’

As for this place… I’m leaving it up for now, but I won’t be around. All of you who decide to stay behind – best of luck to you, and thank you for reading. And to all of you who are willing to follow me along…

Catch you on the flip side ❤

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Don’t Say A Word

birthday

Tonight we’ll be celebrating Sam’s birthday by ordering pizza and watching TV. Doesn’t sound like much of a celebration, does it? That’s because it’s not. It’s what we do every Tuesday.

I’ve been ‘celebrating’ Sam’s birthday with him since he was 17, and I can’t remember him ever giving a flying fart about the day he was welcomed into the world – not even when he turned 21. It’s just not his thing. Parties thrown in his honor make him terribly uncomfortable, gifts are always too much and when people sing Happy Birthday to him he sort of starts glancing around as if he’s looking for the nearest exit.

So in theory we do not celebrate his birthday, because that’s the way he likes it. In practice, Sam has been receiving gifts from family and friends since early November, and this will probably continue well into February. The trick is to give him things he doesn’t view as presents, downplay your ‘random act of kindness’ as much as you can and not mentioning his birthday.

Currently, Sam:
1. Has new tires on his truck because his parents got a ‘good deal’,
2. Will be going to a concert because one of his sisters had ‘an extra ticket’,
3. Received a CD one of my brothers ‘got for free and already had’,
4. Will be going to a basketball game because one of my other brothers ‘would be in town anyway and wanted to go’.

As for me, I booked us a weekend away in a fancy hotel 135 miles down the road because ‘I desperately need a weekend away’. Which is also why my brother Raven ‘happens’ to be in town – he’ll be taking care of Cole and Sadie, while my in-laws take the babies. Oddly enough nobody was brave enough to commit themselves to taking all four of our minions for the weekend. Imagine that.

So, all in all, it looks like Sam will be celebrating his 25th in style. Basketball on Friday and spending Saturday and Sunday in a city that he loves. Not bad, right?

Now let’s hope he isn’t on to us.

 

I’m Mine and You’re Yours

We adopted our tomcat Julian a couple of months ago from our local animal shelter, a little surprised by the state he was in – which was perfect. No fleas, no ticks, no sneezing or runny eyes, nothing. This little man was in perfect health. We figured he just got lucky, took him home and didn’t think much more of it.

Until this morning, when I received a call from the shelter saying they had been contacted by people who saw Julian’s picture on the website and claimed he was theirs. Apparently they had moved house and during all the commotion that comes with it, Julian bolted. They found his collar down the street and feared that the neighbor’s somewhat cat aggressive dog had him for lunch (no, really. This was their theory).

Still, they kept a lookout for their beloved furry friend, and surprise! There he was, looking all sorts of gorgeous in his shelter mug shot. They contacted the shelter, who contacted me, and I said that they were more than welcome to come by to take a look at Jules. I did ask them to bring a picture, just in case they were simply crazy people who had their hearts set on a cat that was already adopted and were scamming to get their dirty claws on him.

… That happens, right? No? Well whatever, it does in my head.

As I waited, I wondered how I was going to break the news to Sadie if Julian was indeed these people’s cat. Because yes, if that was the case, I would absolutely give him back to them. After all it was obvious Julian had been well cared for and accidents happen. Dogs jump the fence and cats slip out – we’ve all been there.

Anyhoodle, long story short – Julian was indeed their cat. No doubt about it. His owners let us know they would cover all the costs we had made if we would consider giving him back to them, but that they fully understood that my kids had grown attached to him and by now, we had had him longer than they ever did. Basically, they were the most well-adjusted, lovely people I have met in a long time.

So we gave Julian back. And I needn’t have worried about Sadie. Because after explaining it turned out that Julian already had a home and that he would be going back, she shrugged and said okay.

‘Okay? Are you sure? You’re not going to miss your kitty?’ I asked, bewildered. Because Sadie adores Julian and Luna (our other cat). She brushes them and feeds them her dinner when she thinks we’re not looking.

‘Nawt my kitty. Shoolian is Shoolian’s.’

‘Julian is what?’

‘Shoolian’s! Belongs to Shoolian!’

‘Julian belongs to Julian?’

‘Yes! And Sadie’s Sadie’s!’

‘We all belong to ourselves?’

‘Yes!’

Oh, there’s that pride again. Amazing, the things children realize. Julian was never property, he had always belonged to himself. We just got to take care of him and enjoy his company for a while. And now he will bring joy to his other family.

Bon voyage, Julian. We wish you well.

Odds

Last Wednesday at my weekly appointment, my OB/GYN asked me if I had made up my mind yet about what I wanted to do about birth control after the twins are born. She knows this pregnancy was unplanned, so it’s been a topic we’ve been revisiting for weeks now. My answer hadn’t changed.

‘I really don’t know.’ I told her.

Because I don’t. I’ve lost my faith in birth control. I lost it the minute I got pregnant straight through the Depo shot, which I was told was The Safest Option. Virtually no chance of getting pregnant, they said. You have a better chance of winning the lottery, they said. They even said that when I did wanted to have children, it could take up to a whole year before I would be able to conceive. I told them I could live with that.

Yet here I am, a very pregnant non-lottery winner. And they ask me what gamble I want to take next? Apart from neutering my husband (oh relax, I wouldn’t do it myself. I’d have the vet do it!) and Abstinence (which to Sam sounded even less appealing than being neutered), I don’t see a way to not get pregnant again. Except maybe using all forms of birth control known to mankind simultaneously… Which, my doc informed me, was not an option.

So she whipped out her chart. ‘Let’s have a look.’

‘Just give me three things I can use on top of one another.’ I pleaded.

‘Two.’ She haggled.

‘Fine. I just don’t want to get pregnant again.’

The moment I heard the words come out of my mouth, I felt bad. ‘Not that any of them are unwanted, though. Just…’

‘Just that four in one year is enough.’

Four in one year is enough.

Right before my 24th birthday last March, Sam and I first started talking about maybe having children in two years. Or three. Maybe four. Would six be pushing it?

We weren’t ready yet, we thought. We lived in a very small split level studio smack in the middle of Amsterdam’s Red Light District, because it was all we could afford at the time. Sam had to travel for work a lot, and his second job involved working nights. I was still in school. We. Weren’t. Ready.

Yes you are, God said, here, have two!

And he was right. We got our shit together, we settled down (which, I’ve learned since then, is not a bad thing), we got excited. And somehow, after all that growing up, relocating and organizing, we ended up being able to give two more beautiful children a home the moment it became clear that they needed one. Today, I have no doubt in my mind that this is how it was always meant to be.

But I also know that this is it. This is my family.

So yes, birth control. I went home with folders and flyers and I Still. Don’t. Know.

If anyone has the answer, do tell.

The Art of Growing Up

There’s a quote from the TV series Friends that goes like this:

Monica: Excuse me, what’s wrong with a woman eating alone?
Chandler: Well, obviously something. She’s eating alone.

I used to believe that everyone shared Chandler’s opinion. That anyone who passes a girl sitting at a restaurant alone must come to the conclusion that this girl is sad with a capital S. That she must not have any friends.

Needless to say I was never very good at eating alone. I like to pretend that I was, and there have been occasions where I sat down somewhere for a bite to eat without company… but never without a shield. I’d have a paper, or coursework – something that let other people around me believe that I was a Busy Girl who needed to multitask, and not some pathetic loser who besides eating alone also spent her Friday nights alone at the movies, or at home with her cats.

If I could help it, I wouldn’t sit down at all. I’d grab something I could eat while walking, so I wouldn’t feel like I was on display.

But this has proven to be an impossible thing to do during pregnancy. I can be walking down the street perfectly fine one minute, and nearly fainting because I’m starving the next. And as tempting as Eating While Wobbling sounds, it’s just not an option. These days, I need to sit down and rest while eating.

During the past 31 weeks, I slowly made my peace with sitting down somewhere and having a big meal all by myself without some sort of buffer. These days I’ll sit at a table, chin firmly placed in hand, elbow firmly placed on the table, smiling at people who catch my eye while I wait for my food.

You always hear people say that becoming a mother forces you to grow up, and I’ve always thought of this as a negative thing. No more impromptu nights out, no more spontaneous city trips. No more this, no more that. No more nothing. Never once did it cross my mind that I might be gaining something apart from a child and a buttload of responsibilities.

But I’m gaining so much. For one, I’ve gained a massive amount of respect for what my own body is capable of, which is a big deal for someone who had major body image issues. That, and the amount of soul searching I have done since I found out I was pregnant made me a lot more confident in general. As a result, I’m much more at ease with myself as a whole, and far less concerned with how people might view me. Because I Know Who I Am now.

No more need for buffers, shields or masks.

Come get to know me.