Gabriel turns Two: Happy Birthday Sweet Boy

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Med School Wife, day 24

The weeks are going by, and by miracle or survival, I am adjusting...getting used to things, my new role, the constant rearranging of time; the ebb of changing schedules and the unpredictable cycles of play and work, waking, sleeping, alone and together, family and independent me and the kids. I am getting better at this.

Something I discovered is that it is not a very big shift from being miserable and content, between angry angst and simple ecstasy. They are always there, each present in every single God blessed or damned moment (we get to decide,) maybe one at the front door, ringing the door bell, one at the back entrance standing next to the hose fixture, waiting like a friend.

So why do I look for someone else to make me happy? I never realized I could do it for myself, for one. Also, I always thought someone else should make me happy, like it was there job. And if I think someone's not doing their job, then I darn well am not going to let them off the hook by doing their job for them. If someone else is supposed to clean up, I have always chosen to live in a messy house covered in rotten food and shit stains on the toilet, rather than simply clean up. Does this make sense?

And so this is exactly why I have insisted on remaining an old version of myself.

Is it someone else's job to make another happy? It's not all or nothing. In an ideal world, you love someone, you do things that make them happy, or at least that will eventually lead to their happiness. But that doesn't account for the vast majority of actual life, in which people are suffering so much they cannot make themselves happy, much less do it for you. So I've decided to go ahead and do it myself and I like my decision, which is really tons of tiny decisions I make during moments of my life. Of course sometimes I still opt for self-pity and feel upset, but I try to be compassionate with myself and become more aware of the choice and what it entails.

The best part has to do with sex: Since I've stopped looking for David to make me happy and decided to do it on my own, we been doing it alot together, if you know what I mean, which of course you do. Yes, despite being more tired than ever, we're getting hornier. Sleepy horny, i is the phrase we've ascribed to the state of things libido. The pressure's off him, so he's free to love without feeling like I'm sucking it out of him, and my happy life becomes all the full and lovely because of someone absolutely amazing who loves me and wants to have this adventure along with me.

Funny, I feel similar to when we were first falling in love and I worked really hard to be independent -- sharing things with my guy, but only after I'd dealt with it a little myself first. Intimacy, rather than dependence, or something. Of course now we know each other better, love each other more truthfully because of the better knowing. It seems our lives and bodies are entwined more profoundly -- with two more cute babies as evidence. I sometimes fold his scrubs so they don't get wrinkly, even though I am not naturally domestic; he sometimes surprises me with flowers and declarations of love, even though he is not naturally expressive of his love, which normally he takes to be assumed.

So learning to arrive at being fine, or on my way to fine without turning outward first for deliverance is uncannily helpful. Possibly the ultimate secret to happy relationships. Cause I've noticed this: When I take care of myself apart from my love life, my intimate relationships becomes fresher, freer, more fun and lifegiving, because it's not having the life sucked out of it with the weight of baggage better sorted through before the trip. Whoever knew giving up on being rescued could be so romantic?

Black and Light

An odd thing to say from a postmodern is coming:

The way things unfold goes according to whether we choose black or white. Black, I have heard, is all the colors mixed together in a solid; rich, textured and deep, absorbing light and heat into darkness. All the colors are there, but you can no longer see them. White pigment simply is the absence of color, which could lead a person prone to drama to discount white as boring, utterly pointless. I am not talking about white pigment. I am taking about white light, which is the cradle and proud mother of all colors. She holds them gentle and lets them shine. And you can see this at the exact point where heaven's tears and light touch, awaking the Good, like a flower blossoming exquisitely on account of the shit in which its roots derive nutrients for a beautiful life.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Evening In Summer

Evening wraps itself around me. I can hear myself breathe. Trees sway quietly, night insects and moisture fill the air, an ensemble like a peace blanket of wind and being.

I am on our deck, a periwinkle blanket spread beneath me, a plate of something Indian beside me.

Avriana is between my legs, which are outstretched like a starfish relaxing in the quietude of suburbs at night. My daughter has eyes like the moon, which blink as she stares at the woodwork of our deck, as though it is a novelty, fully enrapturing, yet probably not separate from her at all. Like her thumb. Her pinkie. Her mother, and well everything. She is so at home in the world, at one with everything she absorbs with curiosity and open intent. Unset goals, certain to be attained, the future confidently resting in the present. I nibble her belly and she laughs and her eyes rediscover the panels of rough reddish wood holding us above the world. Is she benignly patronizing me? She knows more than I do, I am sure.

I finish my masala burger and push the screen on its track, careful to push the right angles, so as not to get the thing off track. I whoosh Avriana inside and check email.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Beyond Good Girl or Bad Girl

So I'm sprawled out in Nika's bedroom on her sleeping spot of choice -- the floor -- and I say with awe and meaning,"Nika, you're an amazing person Do you know that?"

She looks at me equally meaningfully, with penetrating eyes like similar to a cat, an owl or a Buddhist monk, and says quite seriously,"Mom, you're very very very Very very VERY very very very Vvvery very very very Girly.

Girly. Of all the things.

Such a surprising crescendo reminded me strangely of my first group therapy meeting, one week ago today, when a woman whom I couldn't stand (and this feeling was quite mutual,) chanted in a voice reminiscent of a crossbreed between bitter divorcee' berating her husband on a talk show and an angry parrot, "You know what you are? You know what you are? I'll tell you what you are...no, I'm not even gonna say what I think of you. You're a, you're a....YOU'RE A Goodie Toe Shoes."

I told my husband and he got this goofy, adorable look and said, "oooooh." Now perhaps some people would be horrified to be called a Goodie Toe Shoes, but I thought it was funny. People perceive largely as either a trouble maker or a goodie toe shoes; either one or the other, and the truth is I am both, although somewhere beyond little personality check boxes The Wicked Witch of the West has melted and Dorothy has traded in her red shoes bare feet, occasionally dressed up in Fair Trade heels the color of living sand. Beyond Good Girl or Bad Girl, I'm free.

Someday will I let them see?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Thursday, July 05, 2007

A lovely dinner

Adventures come with a price, and and the also come with dividends, assumed and unexpected. Living day by day is an assumed blessing of adventure. Spontaneous celebrations come to flick on switches of unanticipated joy.

Life with a medical student entails erratic schedules and getting on a roller coaster that can be a joy ride or a hell ride, largely dependent upon your own creativity, resourcefulness and ability to embrace uncertainty as a positive ingredient in an adventuresome life.

I spent last week making myself miserable, and decided to move on from that, because likely I've only got one life to live. Unless reincarnation happens to be true, and while there's that possibility, I'm not counting on it. Besides, why suck up to misery? So I decided to stop moping and start opening up to the possibilities latent in an adventure I might have foregone in favor of normalcy (whatever that is) if I hadn't been lucky enough to fall in love with my husband.

And fate/God threw me a delightful surprise: Tonight David got off unexpectedly early and we took the whole family out to celebrate at Norma's Meditaranean Restaraunt. Miraculous, from oldest to youngest, everyone savored the company of family, as well as the Sifa pizza, drizzling out feta, onions and little squares of tomato from pitas sandwiched together like lovers. Gabe didn't fuss as he stuffed his face with couscos and cucumbers, occasionally smearing smushy remnants of food on his sister's infant head. Avriana didn't wail. Nika followed directions. David and I conversed. Not one person left without a belly sated, content and practically overflowing with warmth, laughter and good food.

We've been going to Norma's for just about three years now, and our favorite waiter has seen me go through two pregnancies. Today he told his girlfriend that we're his favorite family to wait on, and then told us. He also said his girlfriend said she couldn't stop staring at us because, "they are such a cute family." Alot of people look at my family and probably idealize us; they see us as young, cute, happy, nice and successful. There's a danger in that -- a danger that we could start trying to live up to a fantasy; that we could forsake the gritty true-love of family for a graven image of an idyllic family. But there's a gift in seeing through the eyes of pleasant strangers too: a recognition by others of the beauty we offer to one another and the world simply by being together and loving each other. And tonight we really had a lovely time, shining a light flowing from the blessings we have in one another.

Of course each and every kid fell into fussy wails when we returned home. On the other hand, we turned the tears into giggles before lights out and it's only 8:09. What else could a girl want?

Maybe just a little more sleep. A few more minutes of quiet. But I'll miss the raucous when it's a memory. I already know I will.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Your Doctor May Be Laughing AT You

Now what could be worse than getting laughed at by someone who's seen you with your pants down? Okay, it would be worse to be caught amidst a genocide, live trapped inside an abusive marriage sanctioned by a sexist culture or get the chicken pocks right before giving birth. Nevertheless, probably you'd be pretty upset if you knew the professionalism of your doctor went out the door after you, leaving your quirks and vulnerabilities the possible subject of crass and callous humor -- the coping mechanisms of choice among many physicians.

I remember lying on the OR table getting a C-section, while the doctors tossed jokes back and forth about their favorite TV show. That was disturbing. But apparently, it gets worse when you leave. Or if you're asleep. According to my med student husband, it's the culture: comraderie and coping at the expense of patient dignity. So how can doctors cope with a conscience? If "coping" jokes have to be at the expense of someone, or something, why not focus on the exploitive pharmaceutical companies or the cheesy paint-by-numbers artwork occupying the office walls? Or make fun of your own illegible charting notes, or your over-gelled hair or the semen stain on your white coat. And if you must have a catharsis at a patient's expense, go home and do it with your partner. If you don't have a partner, vent to your dog. If you don't have a dog, tell your goldfish, and if you don't have a goldfish, get one. Or get a shrink. But do not humiliate a patient by discussing them derogatorily amongst office staff whom they will see again in the future. And don't make poking fun at patients a sport. For God's sake.