Posted by: Kate | February 25, 2011

News, News…

…lots going on, not lots of time to write.

I’m OK, really. Doing considerably better than I expected, actually; almost as soon as I got home from the hospital last April, I started worrying about how I would handle the one-year anniversaries that were waiting for me in 2011. Isaac’s birth is a celebratory sort of thing, of course, but then right away after there comes, “Oh, right, a year ago today, that’s the first time I knew something was wrong. A year ago today, that’s when I was in the ICU. Last year at this time, I was in a helicopter flying toward Boston. Three hundred sixty-five days ago, I was in a coma… still in a coma… and still… and still. That was hard for my family, but I was completely unaware. Then I woke up, and that’s when things got hard for me.”

Willem’s a math guy, I have always put value on anniversaries, and so between us, dates have been significant sorts of details. So I expected to have a hard time, rolling into the next March, and there have been some rough spots. But so far, I’m sliding through smoother than I’d have guessed, for which I am grateful.

The major reason for that, aside from the simple support from my loved ones, has been the suddenly crazy-busy-ness of daily life. I took an unexpected and barely-planned trip to Texas, which handed me one bright spot and a very large, dark bruise on my soul. I returned a few days early, thus allowing us to go house-shopping when two prospective properties popped up within days of each other. We visited both and actually applied for both, because after seeing the first one we thought it looked good and we could make it work, so we quick shot over to the realty office to get our names on the list… and then after seeing the second one we knew it was even better, so we were even quicker and more decisive on that process.

The past ten days have been a whirlwind of financial planning and frantic emailing and heavy-but-fast decisions, and tomorrow I’ll have the keys in-hand. We’re moving from a two-bedroom second floor walk-up to a five-bedroom house, from a rental with no equity prospects in sight to a property that’s fairly likely to convert from rent-to-own over time, and from a changes-by-the-week childcare situation to a live-in au pair (or do we have to call her a nanny, since she’s not European? I don’t care; I like the sound of au pair better, much more worldly…).

I’ve also been struggling mightily to allow Emily to survive her February vacation intact. She’s struggling mightily to convince me to casually dismember her and sell the parts over the Internet. I’m noticing, now that we’re into the third time around, that she seems to have some sort of strange body-snatching, frontal-lobotomy, personality-swapping sort of experience every winter, right after the holidays. I’m not sure what that’s about, and frankly right this moment I don’t care: I just want to get through it without permanent scars, for any of us. We’ll look back and analyze it all after the fact, and maybe figure out a way to break this particular cycle before next winter.

Isaac decided to give himself a first birthday gift a month early, and has become fully, yet oddly, mobile. The Beatles knew of what they sang: Something in the way he moves… It’s not a crawl, but not a scootch… often I can’t even catch him actually in motion, but I’ll turn around and suddenly he’s 20 feet away from where he started. So that’s made things more exciting, particularly when you consider the physical chaos we’re about to introduce into our lives with packing boxes and shifting furniture around.

And little Jacob just keeps puttering along, doing his Jacob thing in his quiet, sweet little Jacob way. He may well end up being the child I have to visit in prison, but so far he has just been an easy kind of kid. He’s the one that makes me feel like perhaps I’m not a complete moron when it comes to parenting, because between the sheer unpredictability of Emily and the bizarre world of bottles-and-pacifiers that I’m navigating for the first time with Isaac, I have more than enough self-doubt to keep me busy.

Just to make sure we’re at maximum insanity, Willem will be starting the actual in-person observations and interviews for his dissertation in another week or so. He had the dissertation proposal accepted quite a while ago, but my illness last year did a fabulous job of completely derailing that particular train for a while. He got it back on track, and even though he has insisted on singing a song of pessimism and doubt, it has actually reached a point where we’re confident this thing is actually going to happen. Which means that instead of having three 12-hour days and two shorter days each week, he’ll be out of the house at last 60 hours per week for the rest of the semester. This doesn’t scare me all the way to death, quite, but only because we’ve known it was coming for a while and our mother’s-helper-turned-au-pair is working out so well. Him working more means more work for me, too, both in terms of the obvious daily household stuff and the transcription he’ll need, from those observations and interviews.

So… yeah. Lots of stories brewing, lots going on, and here I’ve gone and missed two more weeks of my own carnival yet again. I start off each day with the best of blogging intentions, and pour myself, exhausted, into bed each night, having barely glanced at the computer at all, most days.

I’ll keep it on my to-do list, though, and I will try to at least check in more often.

But for now, I’m OK. The hard-and-hurting parts of life right now – both the expected year-old stuff and the miserably disappointing, unexpected new stuff – are there, and I’m dealing with them whenever they crawl to the forefront and demand attention. But the grudgingly optimistic stuff keeps pushing itself to the front of the line, too, and as much as it scares me to rely on good stuff, I actually believe I can look forward to some big, positive changes, not to mention the smaller, but just as important, positive staying-steady stuff.

How about you? If you haven’t heard from me, on your blog or via email or on Facebook, don’t fret; I’m ignoring pretty much everybody in my cyberworld just lately. Believe me that the “no news is good news” rule very much applies to my life, especially over the past year, so if you’re not hearing from (or about) me, that’s probably a very good thing. Enough people have my passwords that I can confidently say that if something big and bad did happen, someone would find a way to broadcast that… so long stretches of silence, while not as good as actually taking the time to put reassurances into words, are actually signs that things are doing OK. But me-not-writing is not equivalent to me-not-thinking, so please believe that I would love to hear from you. Here, email, Facebook, whatever… and if you toss a quick update my way, then you can pat yourself on the back for having done a good deed for the day.


  1. Very exciting news on the house and au pair front (and I definitely prefer au pair to nanny, too – nanny always makes me think of Nana, the dog-nanny in Peter Pan, which just always struck me as odd, even as a kid). Sorry to hear about the soul-bruise, though.

    My Joy struggles in winter, too – I think, with her, it’s that she loves so much to be outside, and because of our living situation we spend most winter cooped up in the house. So she gets bored, restless, and miserable for fresh air. Poor kid. I hope you and Emily work out what she needs!

    (And good luck with the move!)

  2. We’re just starting February vacation here, with a Friday snow day no less. If you find a place to sell dismembered kids’ body parts, do let me know.

  3. Yay! Congrats on the house – that’s wonderful news!

    One thought on Emily – she may be showing signs of SAD. I know she seems young, but I know I can definitely verify signs in myself as early as seventh grade, and possibly even younger. It might be worth looking into, especially as a lot of the treatments are actually very simple and non-medical.

  4. Glad everything is working out well!

    And, technically, a nanny. An au pair is someone who goes to another country to provide child care in a culturally different environment. A nanny stays in their own country.

    Oh. Wait. Yeah, au pair works 🙂

    • Given how our kids behave sometimes, you may very well be asked to take them out of the country.

      • You know, I HAVE always wanted to go to France. Or Italy.

  5. How exciting Kate! It’s nice to see that after all the nastiness of last year, your family has happy events to celebrate. Y’all deserve some celebrations after all you’ve endured.

  6. There’s a lot of good news in there! Yipppeee! Best wishes with the big move!

  7. I am flat out excited for all 5 of you. As for emily, I really believe it is that often odd mother daughter relationship. I adore my mom however from like 8/9 until I was in my mid20s I pretty much tortured her if we were in close proximity for long periods of time (more than 24 hours.) My faith in God is a little off from most people however maybe all of this change and excitement is to give you something to celebrate this time of year rather than focus on 2010 happenings. {{{HUGS}}} as always.

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