Thursday, December 16, 2010

How I remember Christmas Trees

I was born in the early seventies, just a touch after the fifties and sixties when everything was magnificently electrified, while the common thread was the gaudier the better. You remember...gold....flashing...shiny. That is how I remember Christmas trees; flashing colored lights with huge bulbs and the tinsel....oh how I love tinsel. Part of me never understood why my mother switched from wanting a regular tree to suddenly being swept up with Victorian trees, sporting white lights and lace bows. Everyone knew that's NOT what Christmas was about...it's clearly about tinsel.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"And now, ladies and gentlemen......."

I was driving down the road today in cold, gray, wet, and dreary weather. Tornado warnings, pouring rain, sinus headache, it wasn't starting out well. Normally this would be enough to set the dismal mood for the day until I turned around to see Senia Mae smiling away while slurping on her passie, pleased as all get out to be forward facing in her new "big girl" car seat. She sat there looking very similar to Ralphie in "The Christmas Story" wearing her puffy, pink outersuit, shoved into the safety restraints, that gave her the appearance of a very happy exploding marshmallow. I laughed out loud and she laughed with me, knowing that if something funny was happening she sure didn't want to miss it, and I decided to redirect my lack of enthusiasm and enjoy the day by listening to Christmas music in the car with my new daughter.

The Judd's version of Winter Wonderland played softly in the background as I thought of how Gram would have appreciated the humor of this day, as well as the music, and how not a single day goes by that I don't think of her or how she would have handled the ins and outs of my daily life. Hearing the music made me think of how proud she was when my three year old little sister opted to sing "Silver Bells" rather than "Jingle Bells" at her preschool Christmas program. You would have thought we had our own version of Pavaratti, (Kristy, I'm not saying you were not good but...) Gram would put on her mock voice of the announcer of Radio City Music Hall and spout off "And now, ladies and gentlemen, Kristy Zajac will sing Silver Bells....." with so much pride in her eyes and love in her heart. Her girls were the very best singers!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I'm really getting organized this time!


What ever did I do with all of my time beforehand? Before kids, that is! The novel is still a work in progress...the progress has been a little slower than I anticipated...but my life is a little bit more hectic than anticipated. Senia Mae is now crawling, laughing, and almost walking and time seems to slip away before I even realize that a moment has passed. Parenthood is completely awesome and I would highly suggest it to anyone who at anytime has contemplated, "Is my life worth sharing?" My answer is a big "YES", because there is no better gift you can give back to the world than creating a well balanced, loving little person who will carry on where you leave off. It is truly amazing to think....my body made that whole little person!!!

Thank you for hanging in there with me!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Losing sleep


Last night was, by far, the toughest night of my life. Like nothing I had ever imagined, my heart ached so deeply as my left eye just slightly opened about every five minutes to check....yes...the baby monitor! We placed Senia Mae in her own room for the first full night and I thought I was absolutely going to die! As if birth wasn't hard enough, that little person being so much farther away then my womb, then having her in the bassinet feeling similar to reaching down a mile stretch of road, and now this??? I just don't know that I can handle any more separation! The worst part, she didn't even notice, which by most opinions would be a very good , healthy sign. To me was the beginning of the rest of my life's many heartbreaks of motherhood. And I was one of those people who secretly made fun of women who got so completely consumed in their children! It is a mean, cruel world!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Back in Time

Senia Mae was born on February 10th, 2010 and as you can see from the three month gap in my post, I'm just starting to get it together. Indeed, life will never be the same. I realize that this life is not all mine anymore and I am slowly learning how to balance its many different avenues. But, alas, it feels great to be back to being just plain old me, thanks for hanging on!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Am I a porsche or a VW Beetle?

Yesterday at the obgyn they explained that my dilation process can go two ways - and to them either is fine, you can either be a Porsche and get there fast or you can be a VW Beetle and get there at a slow steady rate. I think it is very apparent that I am not the Porsche, and the million calls we keep receiving saying "No baby?" - we have not forgotten announce the birth it just has not happened yet!! :) The good news is that they told me at the office yesterday that they had never heard of a baby staying in utero permanently. I'm sure I'll sleep better now!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Prego on the Go

It's gotten to the point now where my patients, even though it is said with love, address me "You're still here?" on a daily basis. I was certain that I would already be on maternity leave and have discovered that telling a first time mother that she is ONE centimeter dilated is as mean and cruel as telling a child that Santa skipped over their house.

Thank God I'm still working, it's the only activity that allows me to actually think about something else and not obsess about my over-ripening bundle that is not too eager to enter the New World! I've heard a thousand times in the last week, enjoy the last of your alone time, and while I am totally convinced that this IS true, I can't possibly enjoy this time because I have turned into a crazed, phsychotic, hormonal lunatic who feels like Prissy just sitting on the egg. Certainly you remember her, she was the skinny, nerdy chicken in Foghorn Leghorn's roost that all of the other hens made fun of because she couldn't produce!

I have now decided that I am going to become Prego on the Go, a task oriented severely pregnant woman who completes tasks without obsessing about uncontrollable circumstance! If you have any tasks for Prego on the Go, please let her know, I don't want to say we are desperate....but we could be!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Ready, Aim...ok, Ready, Aim...No, Really,I'm Ready

Even though I advise people on a daily basis that the body has it's own time frame and healing does come from the inside out, this can't possibly apply to me! This baby is supposed to be here by now! By the way I am as big as a house, waddling with every step, and can hardly sit due to the enormous watermelon that is sitting on my pelvis, and while I am saying these things out loud, I hope that I am not giving my unborn child some kind of complex that will require therapy later, I really am excited and ready to meet the new addition to the family! Please, just come on! I have tried everything from Evening primrose oil, to spicy foods, eggplant Parmesan, herbal teas of Organic raspberry leaf, and yes, even nipple stimulation. If anyone knows anything that I have possibly missed that might help induce this labor (except Castor oil, please) let me know I am willing to give anything a shot!

Friday, January 29, 2010

When "We" Were Kids

In later years, when I had grown up, Gram would get that loving twinkle in her eyes, commenting on how much fun we had when "we" were kids. The funny thing was that she indeed felt as if she were one of us, somehow keeping alive her childish spirit. This was actually one of the most charming things about her because this type of spirit does not have the barriers and exclusions that adults somehow inherit when they cross over that line. She was never confined to that mature box labeled: must act, must have, must do. There were always endless possibilities, solving what seemed to be the largest obstacles in life. I don't know that I can ever remember her saying the words no, I can't, or I won't.

In my adult life I struggle from time to time with those phrases, becoming engulfed in the negativity of the outside world. If I listen long enough, I can hear her voice whispering in my ear and it reminds me that your own will can carry you as far and as high as you'll ever want to go.

Exerpt taken from: The Significance of Having Curly Hair; A Loving Memoir of the Life and Loss of My Grandmother by Kara L. Zajac

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

One of my favorite photos of Gram


This is one of my favorite photos of Gram, taken in the car with her 90th birthday balloons on October 11Th, 2003. The family threw a surprise party in which many of our Quincy relatives attended. I always found it unfortunate that Gram didn't connect more closely with her own brothers and sisters, even though they lived no more than thirty minutes south of Tewksbury.

Although one of her major personality traits was to stay a little below the radar at all times, she really enjoyed being the center of attention when it was her time!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Waiting, waiting, waiting

The baby is on its way. It could be in five minutes or five days and I can not believe the emotional rollercoaster that is happening to me as I judge every movement, every pressure, every possible inkiling that this might be it! But, alas, the last 72 hours it has NOT been it and I can't seem to think about anything else. I guess this is normal anxiety/anticipation. Is it time to start counting, no just more waiting. Is that a real one or just another faker.....this may just be my first real taste of what parenting is all about!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wednesday, April 30

I knew the message would come one day, in a call, because I wasn't around to receive it firsthand, I dreaded it, although I knew it was somewhat inevitable, and tried to slowly prepare myself over the last couple of years for what was going to have to become my truth at some time. Yes, she was aging; the stroke the previous year had definitely left its mark. Her proprioception was not the same, balance had become a major issue, but still she seemed like she'd be around forever. We could just catch her when she fell. The short-term memory loss was more cute than a sign of life slipping away. All of our recent history got shifted to a lobe that could no longer be accessed. It's not that it wasn't there; it was just no longer accessible, which was fine, because we got to know the part of Gram that was her without us, before us, when she was all her; not a wife, not a mother, not a grandmother, just Senia. Hearing stories of her childhood in Quincy, swimming in the rock quarry, jumping over fire hydrants with her brother, became a monumental record, except that at times the record would play three times in five minutes. That was the cute part, and although she was aging both physically and mentally, at 94 she still looked young and seemed like she would be around forever.

taken from page 2: The Significance of Having Curly Hair; A Loving Memoir of the Life and Loss of My Grandmother

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Is it time yet?

Many of you may or may not know that I am desperately trying to get this manuscript completed before the arrival of the baby, which now, at 37 weeks, could be anytime. All of you that are already parents have given me fair warning that free time after children becomes a thing of the past! Ok, so I'll just type faster!

Whenever I get to a deep emotional section of the book, usually when I am crying, the baby kicks and moves, letting me feel its presence (I say its because the gender is going to be a surprise, but if it's a girl, it will be named Senia after Gram). I wonder if there is part of her growing inside of me, and of course, I hope there is. Her death was the reason we decided to get pregnant in the first place.

Lately I've put plenty of thought into exactly when a spirit enters the body. Is it at conception? Or at birth? And does birth gender really matter if your spirit has been here before? I'd love any feedback if anyone has an opinion on this. Whatever it is, it's pretty amazing to feel that connection already; the mixture of new life, old life, and whatever life is left in the middle!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Dad's birthday


This photo shows happy times in our old house on California Road. Gram is onlooking from the left, as I help Dad blow out his birthday candles, circa 1976.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Many times I wondered if my father represented the type of man she had wished her husband had been, a true family man, a good, supportive husband, a loving father, funny, dependable, and most importantly, the one trait with outweighed precedence over all others, more significant than fine china, all of the money in the world, or striking it rich with black gold, he had curly hair.

Not a day passed that Gram didn't gripe or complain about the condition of her own hair; how it was too thin, too flat, too fine, and too straight. In her day having curly hair was not only the current trend, but absolutely every woman seemed to wear it that way, be it forced with pin curls, hot rollers, or a permanent wave, if you weren't one of the blessed few having it occur naturally. And how she admired those blessed with the waves.

Gram exerted a life-long, tremendous effort trying to get her hair to stay curly. It would curl easily enough, but even the slightest mixture of wind, rain, or humidity would make her waves fall right out, leaving her disgruntled as she tramped away with her limp, unraveled strands. If we ever had an outside engagement, she immediately became an atmospheric conditions monitor inside and outside of the car, making sure that the windows were opened no more than a crack, to insure the safety and survival of her coiffure. It was one of the few natural defnses she held over the living horrors of having her type of hair.

The issue was so significant that for years she mercilessly contemplated how to change the DNA of her offspring, so they would not be burdened with her self-proclaimed albatross. The answer was clear: marry a man with curly hair, to insure that her children would be blessed with the same. Much to her chagrin, all four of her girls ended up with stick straight hair, and the same nearly manic obsession of wanting what you will never naturally have. Apparently, in our family, curly hair is a recessive gene. Kristy and I ended up with the family treasure, but not until our early twenties. Most of our childhood it was just thick and wavy, which was still, in Gram's mind, better than what she could ever dream of, making sure we appreciated God's precious gift to us.

I would later tease her about choosing a life partner based on that specific criteria. Shouldn't hair texture be at least fourth or fifth on the list of must haves? But what did I know about love anyway?

taken from page 44: The Significance of Having Curly Hair; A Loving Memoir of the Life and Loss of My Grandmother

Getting started!

I initially thought this book was going to be about loss and grieving, which it is, somewhat, for it takes place during the five days my family gathered together during Gram's funeral services. During the writing process, I have laughed so hard that I almost fell off of my chair, cried at the wonderful memories, and tried to honor her life in a way that she would appreciate. I will post little excerpts from the manuscript and you can tell me what you think! Enjoy!