Friday, September 05, 2008

October approaches

October is a spooky month.

Of course, there's Halloween. Ghosties and ghouls and witches and bats and all that. But they don't scare me.

It's also breast cancer awareness month. Pink ribbons make me quiver with remembered fear more than any bat ever could, but of course I politely thank people for their support of the cause because I DO want a cure and awareness is critical to finding that cure. Still, constant reminders of how 40,000 women will die of breast cancer in the US this year is, well, frightening. I continue to pray that I will not be one of these women.

It's also the anniversary of my giant breakdown last year. The corrective surgery that went wrong, surgeon's mistakes, and my utter inability to process one more thing. Dark, dark times.

And this year, it's surgery #10. I have known for months that October would be the date of my next surgery, and with Tessa in school I no longer had a chance to tell myself I was too busy to book the appointment. Today I called, and I was scheduled for October 23. I am assured that they will accept our new insurance as a preferred provider; I am assured that this will be an "easy" surgery. ("Tylenol Extra Strength if you're lucky. Of course, we'll send you home with "real" pain drugs, but maybe you won't need them!" I do not feel particularly "lucky" and I hope that my bad attitude does not cause me to have pain above and beyond what is required.)

Why am I doing this surgery?
- Replace expanders (rock hard awful deformed objects on my chest) with soft implants
- Line up my breasts so that they rest on the same horizontal plane (which they currently do not)
- Remove the heinous attempt at nipples that just created nasty scars
- Remove some of the weird deformed shapes (breast liposuction, if you can believe that)
- Remove the bump over my eye - it's a scar left over from the failed attempt to use my eyelid skin for areolas
- Drop two cup sizes

I am most excited about having smaller breasts. These are bigger than I wanted, and I hate them. If I have to hate them, I at least want them to be smaller so that they're not so noticeable. Plus, I want to run, and smaller breasts are better for that.

I am choosing not to pursue nipples, areolas, tattoos, or any other corrections after this. I am just so **** tired of all this surgery that it takes more strength than I have just to schedule the appointment. (I was "supposed" to schedule it in June. )

I'm lining up childcare and self care and I hope to get it over with asap. But now there is a date on the calendar: October 23, I get the knife. Again.

Winding down the week, winding up life

This week is almost over, and Tessa is at her third day of kindergarten. So far, everything is a thumbs' up, and just typing that sentence makes me choke up with gratitude. The teacher is great, the school is great, friends are great, everything is interesting. The Metro bus ride is working out great, and Shep is enjoying his long walk home, as he's getting more exercise than usual because of this schedule. (He's lying on his bed beside me as I type, looking a bit exhausted. Ha - I wore out the lab! Hallelujah!) I'm also enjoying the exercise, and the stolen fifteen minutes where I sit facing the sea and meditate and think about my life and my day - what a blissful thing to connect with the ocean that way.

We are not yet in the full routine, but we're learning. I need to get up at about 6am to get showered and dressed, make Tessa's lunch (next week I'll be making Ryan's lunch, too), and prepare breakfast before Tessa wakes up. Then, I have to roust the sleepy girl - she, like her mama, is a bit anti-morning, and I have to go in her room several times before I can get her out of bed. I'm trying to accomodate this by giving her lots of time between when I first wake her and when she gets out of bed, and leaving time to have a gentle morning so that we don't have to rush from the get-go. This is a challenge, but I think it's going to go well.

I'm also trying to make hot breakfasts for the girl. Usually we're content to stick with cereal, but since there are no snacks at school and lunch isn't until 12 or 12:30, I'm trying to stuff her full before school so that she can make it that long. This week on various days I've made bacon, eggs, sausage, and oatmeal with yogurt, always with fruit and a glass of milk. I don't really want her to eat that much meat (nitrates, fat, yada yada) every day but it seems that my mornings are destined for lots of time in the kitchen.

We walk out the door at 8:10am to get three blocks in 12 minutes for our 8:22 pick up. Of course, a "normal" walk would get us there in about 4 minutes, but I want to let her go at her own pace without having to hurry, so we go at a snail's pace. Then we wait, with Shep, for the bus. The bus feels like a private car, because the regular driver, Scott, remembers our names, promises to bring treats for Shep, and chats with us as we go in. Plus, the route isn't very popular, so when we get on we're sometimes the only passengers.

We get dropped off a block from school, right on the beach, then walk a block, arriving at school at about a quarter to 9, in time for 20 minutes of playing on the playground before first bell. We tie Shep up and he gets lots of pets from all the kids coming in and out, making Tessa a bit of a star.

Then the bell, and Tessa's off with a kiss, and I'm free for the day. WOW. Of course, groceries, laundry, more cooking, and the rest call to me....but I still have time to myself. Look at me now, mid-day and on the

So we're winding down the week, looking forward to the weekend. On Sunday, the first "real" week begins. Ryan will get on a plane for his orientation at BearingPoint - his new job. Everything is signed and ready, and Ryan's first day is Monday in DC; the company is located in Virginia (Ryan works in the Bellevue office) and so orientation is held there. So, Ryan will be working, Tessa will have her first full week of school, and ballet classes will start, and we'll be off to the races....

Hoping for a good year. A great year. An amazing time. Isn't it our turn now?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

End of day kindergarten notes


Tessa looked a little nervous when she came out of the school doors to meet me at the end of the day, but then she caught my eye, ran into me at full tilt, gave me a massive hug, and smiled for all she was worth. The day was a success, and "Mommy, we had Spanish!"

I can't get too many details from her, but there was a school assembly, there were stories, there was recess with Anna, and at lunchtime she sat with Jessie. (She ate all of her fruit and no sandwich....hmmm.)

After school, some parents and kids went to celebrate the first day with ice cream from Pepperdock at Alki, and the girls played in the sand in the sunshine. I was struck with the beauty of the place - blue sky, sparkling seas, the Seattle skyline around the bend, Olympics presiding over all - and the beauty of the moment. I was so grateful that my daughter is filled with confidence, and that she is embracing the idea of school. I hope that she will be a lifelong scholar, filled with a love of learning.

We're off to a good start.

First Day of Kindergarten

The long anticipated day has finally arrived, and as I type this, Tessa is sitting in Ms. Coghill's class at Alki. She was filled with excitement for the day, waking up early and thrilled with the prospect of a day at school.

I made a massive breakfast of Tessa's choice: sausage and bacon, scrambled eggs with cheese, mango and strawberries. Tessa chose her own outfit - a new school dress - and hairstyle. We have chosen to take the bus as much as possible, riding Metro each day together. Most days I will take Shep with me, and tie him up while I drop Tessa off, and then I'll run/walk home with him for a workout for each of us. For pick-up I think I'll drive more often because it takes a bit to get home if I Metro it, but most mornings (maybe all!) I will take Tessa on the bus.
(Tessa can't ride the yellow bus because of administrivia; we don't qualify for transportation on the school bus to Alki. No matter; I like the chance to talk with her on the way in.)

Pictures tell the story -

Tessa with a backpack on (it's as big as she is, despite the "ergonomic fit"!) at our front door, dressed for school; On the bus with Mama and Daddy; with the bus driver (Scott - super friendly Metro driver); in front of her pink locker with her name on it (and she's sharing a locker with Benjamin); on the playground with Anna; walking in line to the classroom from outdoors; sitting at her desk; a broad view of her classroom (you can see that Jessie sits in the same row, a few seats away).
When the settling in was done, and the parents were encouraged to leave - already? - I asked Tessa if she was ready for me to go or if I should stay a little. She said, "I'm ready for you to go," in a very matter of fact voice, and with a smile. I felt a tiny bit heartbroken, but so proud of her in that moment. She is, indeed, ready for kindergarten on her own, and she is going to do GREAT.
And me? I need to start working on MY new life, with a child in school full time. Lots to think about on that front.