A Monday Pick-Me-Up

Happy Monday everyone, and welcome to a brand new week!

I found this, and simply must share it with you.  It’s a movie mash-up…Between The Muppets Movie and Ocean’s 11.  It. Is. Awesome.

Watch, enjoy, soldier on!  Monday is but one day, and it’s followed by Tuesday, which is the day of the week that’s as far away from Monday as possible!  So really, you’re almost there!

Maudlin Day

Dad and ErikaToday is, well, quite frankly today is a day I’ve been dreading for a while.  It’s the one year anniversary of the day my Dad passed away, and I’ve been dreading it because it feels like it should be the end of my grieving period.

When he passed away, so many people said and did such sweet things for me and my brother.  Some sent flowers, some brought food, some sent cards.  One of the cards someone sent me said something that’s stuck with me.  It said, more or less:

“The first year is the worst, because it’s filled with all those firsts without that person.  Gradually, though, you’ll feel the sadness subsumed by the happy memories you built together, and thinking of the person you lost starts making you smile rather than cry.”

This person, Wes’ uncle in fact, is more or less correct.  The first year was hard, and there are very few days that go by where I don’t hold Aidan close and smell his little baby head and ache because my Dad won’t ever get to meet his grandson.  But, I don’t spend nearly as much time crying as I used to, and in fact can now share stories and memories of my Dad without misting up.

For example, while on vacation it was massively windy and my nieces and I, together with their parents, dashed outside to fly kites.  As those brightly colored kites took to the sky, it reminded me forcibly of how my Dad used to fly kites with me and my brother on the beach.  I smiled at those memories while my kite took to the sky.

Me and DadStill, as happy as I am to coexist peacefully with my memories once again, I’ve been dreading this day.  While I know intellectually that I’m only one day farther away from the last time I saw him than I was yesterday, now that it’s officially been a year since the last time I saw him, that day feels a lot farther away.  Does that make sense?

It’s just hard for me to get used to the idea that as time inexorably marches on I’m only going to get farther away from him.  It’s just feels disloyal somehow, to be moving on.  I know that’s silly, and that it would be unhealthy to hold onto my grief, but I’m loyal to a fault and have never been the kind of person who lets go gracefully.

My little brother, Nick, is one the left with our Dad in the middle and Wes on the right.

My little brother, Nick, is on the left with our Dad in the middle and Wes on the right.

So that’s where I’m at.  Wes has been forewarned that this was going to be a maudlin day, so he’s prepared to come home bearing pizza and cupcakes, and then to turn a blind eye while I eat my weight in said pizza and cupcakes.  I called my brother a couple days ago, and we shared some memories and generally agreed that we wish he was still here but that we were glad he isn’t suffering any more.

My little brother is an awesome fellow, actually.  You guys would like him.  He’s getting married in October, so Wes and I will take Aidan on his first plane ride and watch my little brother tie the knot.  Even though Dad won’t be there, I plan to say to my brother what our Dad said to me right before he walked me down the aisle.

And that’s how life will go on.  My brother and I will be there for each other, our spouses and families will be there for us, and we’ll keep being a family.  My Dad would be proud, I think.

Quality Qualification

I was chatting with Wes’ little sister today, and she asked me how my labor experience with Aidan was.  And I couldn’t answer her right away.  Truthfully, I’m not entirely certain how to answer that question.

My first inclination was to say that I had fun, and would totally do it again.  But, as my mother in law pointed out (she was there when Aidan was born), I most certainly was not having fun.  Contractions hurt, and there is no way, had you asked me while I was in labor, that I would have said I was having fun.

As for totally doing it again, that is true.  I am still as passionate about natural childbirth as I was before I experienced it, though maybe for different reasons than I was before.  Before, it was all hypothetical and I had no real idea what to expect, I just thought I could do it.

Now, well now I just suppose I know I can do it, and would prefer not to have to mess around with a hospital and anesthesia.  I’m hoping my next birth (whenever that is) will involve less bleeding and less tearing, so that I can genuinely just bask in the afterglow and not have to mess around with lame stuff like IV’s and stitches.

So, getting back to original question, in answering the question of how my labor experience was, it was…And there we go again.  I can recount the details of the day, but how was it?  How do I qualify the experience?

Even six months later I’m still having trouble wrapping my mind around it.  I suppose the best way to describe the whole shooting match is to liken it to a marathon.  I can guarantee you that come mile 24, none of those marathoners are enjoying themselves and thinking about how much fun they’re having.  Their knees hurt, their muscles ache, they have to pee, and their lungs burn.

But then they see the finish line in the hazy distance, and they feel a spurt of adrenaline that carries them across the line.  And then they stop running, and it is that moment right there that makes them glad they ran the marathon.  It’s not those middle miles that feel interminable, it’s not the training that leads up to it.

It’s that endorphin-soaked moment at the end that makes them feel proud and exhausted and accomplished and absolutely victorious, even if they didn’t finish first.  Because they finished.  Because they did it, something that not many people have done and that a lot of people think is crazy.  And they are crazy, but maybe not in the way that people think.

Granted, I’ve never run a marathon.  I doubt I’ve ever even run more than a mile at once.  But I can imagine that this might be what it’s like.

So maybe that’s how I’ll answer that question in the future.  I’ll liken it to a marathon, and just say that it was hard but so worth it.  I won’t try to explain why it was worth it (because I’m not sure most people care why) and maybe I’ll try to stop saying it was fun.  Because it wasn’t fun in the traditional sense, and it wasn’t really fun in the nontraditional sense.  But it definitely was, and I’d definitely do it again.

Vacation Detox

You know how when you’re on vacation, you eat more than you should of things you should never really eat at all because hey, you’re on vacation?  And then you get home from vacation and your pants don’t fit and you want to shame-eat a box of brownies but then the self-loathing kicks in and you throw the brownies in the trash and then briefly consider eating them out of the trash before covering them in dish soap and forcing yourself to exit the kitchen?

Yeah.  Let’s just say that I had a love affair with Crunch bars and Cashew Clusters last week and my stomach is loudly protesting the lack of snack food right now.  I’m going to attempt to drown out my gastrointestinal outrage by sharing some nonsense with you.

Specifically, the nonsense that leads people to my blog when they search for these things on the Internet.  I have this nifty thing called Google Analytics that enables me to spy on how many people come hang out on my blog, how they find me, which posts they like most, etc.  It also tells me what keyword searches people do that lead them to wash up on the shores here.

I did a post like this a long time ago, so here’s the updated version.  I now present to you the top ten most ridiculous search queries that lead people to my blog:

  • “How to make mommy ducks forget her ducklings” Because mommy ducks suck, and everyone knows it.
  • “Pushing contractions confused” Sounds like I’m not to only one who was confounded by her pushing contractions!
  • “Married in a tutu” Is it bad that I don’t even remember writing about that?
  • “Thumb in the eye phrase” Apparently I’m an expert.
  • “Erika Mitchell naked” Erika Mitchell is actually the name of a model, so I’m certain this person wasn’t looking for me.  And was probably disappointed in what he/she found.  Unless someone actually was looking for nekkid pictures of me, in which case…FOR SHAME!!!
  • “Celebration rugs happy human stick figures dance” Doesn’t this one sound like a Mad Lib but without the surrounding story?
  • “Creepy stalker songs” I’m not the only one who considers this song creepy.
  • “Ihop prenatal vitamins” … … …Dude, I don’t even know.
  • “Hump my purse” Thankfully in my case it was my dog humping my purse, not something infinitely more sinister and/or disturbing.
  • “Finger punch” YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OW

Hellooooooo!  I’m on vacation, and the weather is lovely, and I’M IN PAIN.

I didn’t want to lose my working out momentum, so we’ve been taking advantage of the fitness classes offered here at the resort complex.  We did tennis the first day (such fun!), and yoga the next day (stretchy and sore but still fun).  Today though?  Today we did the Total Body Sculpt (aka: Total Body Torture).

I mean, doesn’t total body sculpt sound like you just lie there while someone carves you into a hot statue?  I’d love to lie down while some sculptor guy makes me look like Jessica Alba.

Everything on my body hurts.  I will be physically incapable of dressing myself come morning.  So, I’m going to dull my pain with more shortcake and drown my sorrows in decaf coffee.  Doing an hour of sadistic muscle torture totally burns off a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, shortcake, a Long Island Iced Tea, and cheeseburger, yes?

Yes.