Monday, November 26, 2007

The Final Box

We moved into our current home two years ago. Yesterday I unceremoniously decided to unpack the last remaining box in our bedroom closet. I knew there was something in there that I must have been avoiding. That’s why it sat there for two and a half years. Laziness hadn’t kept it there. Avoidance had. I excavated through layers of Olivia’s old baby toys, her wooden bear puzzle with the interchangable facial expressions and outfits, her very first cloth book, her original “Po shoes,” the sandals with the Teletubbies characters she walked in during her second year. This box also held some my old belongings from high school that Mom gave me: my senior year concert band program, buttons I pinned on my competition jacket, rusted now around the edges. But that wasn’t the stuff that got to me.

It was the photographs. Of course there were photographs. I found the first ultrasound images of Olivia, made around ten weeks’ gestation, probably at the first appointment with my OB. She was just a little lump inside the gap which was my womb. But she was so much more. This must be what my other two babies looked like when I lost them around this same stage of gestation. The questions came up again: why did I lose them? What went wrong?

There were more photos of me and my family taken during those difficult three years, from miscarriage to miscarriage. I looked fine – my hair was nice – Jane in Columbus was my stylist then. I had a stylist because I worked full time and made good money, so I could afford a stylist. I was exercising twice a week. The classes were in a facility right down the hall from my office. It was one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do: push aside my maternal instincts in order to work a corporate job. I did it to support my family and my husband through his career change. It forced me to work on those parts of myself that resisted doing what I hated doing.

Looking at these photos now, I deeply fear that this work-filled period of time consumed my last years of opportunity for having another baby. I wasn’t fully aware of it at the time. I was too busy loving the child I had. And working. For some damn reason the embryos just didn’t hold on. I will be forty two years old soon, and the option of a full term pregnancy becomes less likely with each passing day. This is a reality that is so, so hard for me to accept. I’m the kind of person that likes to keep all my options open. But it’s starting to look like I have to decide if it is time to give in to my body’s failings and call it quits on childbearing.

My friend Iva does spiritual readings. She sent me a message recently that tells me I am not a failure for not having another child, and asks me to release that falsity. She relays to me that after I have moved through this letting go, there will be a gift; a surprise.

I like surprises, but I think I’m going to need a lot of help with this. Time to tap my resources.

Dear God,


I’ll think of a more refined prayer tomorrow. Although I don’t think that’s a requirement, is it?

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Results are in

Drumroll ......... My daughter will be the Scarecrow.

Have you seen those cute clay jars with phrases on them like "Cruise Fund," or "Dreams," or "Shoulds & Oughts?" They've been around for awhile. Well, I need one right now that says "Things to Let Go Of." That's where I can neatly put any suspicions I have regarding the politics involved in how the roles were assigned. Then I can put the lid on the jar and place it neatly on the shelf next to my fireplace.

Elaine Mellencamp wrote a guest article for the Herald Times on September 9 about the politics involved in her boys' sports program. I could write a similar article about the politics I suspect are involved with children's performing arts. But I think I will stick to my little jar this time. My little jar and this blog forum.

That leaves me lots and lots of room to feel very happy, because the Scarecrow will be a very fun part for her. It suits her personality very well. She's goofy. I can totally see her pretending her legs are made out of straw. She's bright and loving. She wouldn't be happy running around in a gingham checked dress all day.

I am actually very excited that she continues to earn lead roles when tons of kids are auditioning. That's pretty cool. I'm a proud Mom. But I can't help wondering if there was anything more I could do to give her the best opportunity possible to win the role of Dorothy.

The larger question here is this: What is within my control? What I can do to ensure that my daughter's light isn't overlooked in this world (or at least in this community)? At what point does that responsibility shift from me to her? I'm forty-one years old, and it feels like I am just now starting to take responsibility for shining my own light. I think she'll get it before then. She probably already has it. And "it" overrides politics, doesn't it? It's too wonderful for the pettiness of politics.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

In the Beginning...

...I started a blog. Talk about Blank Canvas Anxiety! I'm just diving in, without a clear idea of what subject matter I will cover. I just want to write and share my thoughts with whomever is interested in reading them (hi, Mom.) I came up with the name Cozumel Dreamin by combining one of my favorite vacation spots and one of my favorite things to do. Nothing more glamorous than that. A close runner-up was Choco Mom (one of my favorite things to eat and definitely my favorite thing to be).

Today my daughter auditioned for a part in The Magical Land of Oz, a children's musical being staged by a local theatre organization. At the ripe old age of nine, my child is an "Old Hat" at this kind of thing. She wasn't nervous at all. It is I, always I, who is more nervous. At first she wanted the role of Toto, but Toto has no lines. So then she switched her interest to the Cowardly Lion - a really fun part in my opinion - and now she really wants to be Dorothy. I want her to be Dorothy so badly, that I secretly (or not so secretly now that I've posted it on a blog) imagine myself wrapping my fingers around the neck of the person responsible for denying it to her, if in fact that is what happens. (Okay, now I'm taking a deep breath and smoothing the wrinkles out of my skirt as I gently sit down and re-gather my dignity. Actually I'm not wearing a skirt, but still...). 

The scene wasn't a suprise - A church hallway packed full of Moms and daughters (and a few sons) with neatly combed hair. I know every single Mother there was thinking the same thing. Why don't mothers in these situations just throw away the pretense, get it out in the open, and have a free-for-all-my-daughter-is-more-talented-than-yours Mama Cat fight in the hallway? You know, just to break up the tension a little.

In all sincerity, I did have a coping strategy. I prayed for a peaceful and clear mind. I took my journal along and planned to find a quiet place to write during the audition. But then I saw a friend and we sat down and began a nice chat. My husband was her grandson's band director about seven years ago, before he switched careers (another story for another time) so we have a lot of memories in common. Her grandaughter is my daughter's age and loves theatre too. So I decided to leave my journal in the car. Then another friend from my writing group joined us - I introduced my two friends, and we had a really wonderful conversation. Before I knew it, it was time to meet up with our kids again.

Wow. Sometimes you get what you pray for - in a different way than you expect.

My daughter felt really great about her audition. And I have to trust the Powers That Be to make the best decision based on the talent they saw today. And I'm sure she will have a great time - no matter what (I say as I smile through gritted teeth).