Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Now that is a great idea...

The past nine months (the number of months keeps getting higher faster than I want to believe it) have brought several brilliant business ideas to my mind. My two favorites...

1. High-end Chuck E Cheese - where they serve a one-glass limit of wine or martinis to moms, while their little angels play together and burn off energy. The beauty is that they will only let in clean, healthy, nice kids. There won't be any little Johnny to teach your kid swear words. And snot-nosed Suzy will be denied entrance. It will be quiet enough that moms can talk to each other and actually hear the other side of the conversation. The entire play-space will be visible from the location where moms sit. And no kid will ever get hurt, bored or scared. Everyone will come crabby and leave happy. Perfect, right?

This amazing idea evolved from the early days of Shawn's diagnosis when I really needed [errr, wanted?] a glass of wine and a chance for some girl-talk, but I wasn't able to leave Livie. Sadly, I never got the wine, girl talk or safe-place-to-play.

2. Glass throwing. It would be established as a 501c3 NFP - whose purpose is to assist with other's mental health of course. People could donate their unwanted glassware (tax deduction!) and those in need of a release could visit the glass throwing room, and break some glass. Throw it, stomp on it, whatever they wanted. Best part? The waste would be completely recyclable. This past week I have been furious for no good recent reason, and really wanted to break something. Throwing glass against the wall sounded heavenly. Unfortunately, I would have been stuck with the clean-up, so I nixed the idea. But to be able to go somewhere and break something on purpose? Perfect. (seriously)

(for the record, if anyone gets rich off these ideas, I want a share for being the brain child)

And that brings me to someone else's crazy idea. Making jewelry out of milk. Breast milk to be exact.

A friend told me about the creator when she read my post about having milk in the freezer that I didn't know what to do with. I found the thought insane at first. I was supposed to mail her Carter's milk?

But the more I thought about it, the more intrigued I was. I won't admit what I spent on them, but eventually I decided to order a couple of milk beads. Who knows if she actually makes them out of the milk that is sent to her, but I am going to humor my heart and believe that my milk beads really are made from Carter's milk. I don't plan on wearing my pendants - one is for my purse and one is for my drawer, but here they are:

They aren't exactly what I expected (or what I ordered for that matter) but I am not about to send more milk off, so they are what I have.  If nothing else, at least in some way, I will always be able to carry a part of Carter with me.

I chose the heart bead for obvious reasons.  I agonized over the choice for the second bead - a tear drop was a close second, but I chose the moon because moons and monkeys have come to remind us of Carter.  And it seems fitting.  The moon is a symbol of nighttime and sleep, and my little man was born sleeping.

Livie was watching me take pictures of the pendants, and started asking questions.  Prompted by something a new friend began for her son, our conversation quickly turned into a project of sorts.  The Carter Project.  Livie knows that I love taking pictures of her, but I can't take any more pictures of Carter, so instead, we are going to start taking pictures of things that remind us of him, as we come across them.  Monkeys, moons and his name.  Liv is an avid picture taker, so I am eager to see what all she comes up with.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Broken Heart

My first Valentine's Day with a broken heart. I tried to keep busy showering Shawn and Livie with everything I had.  Livie wasn't all that thrilled to model her outfit for me, but I forced her to take pictures anyway.  She was adorable.

After school, we made dinner for daddy and enjoyed an evening as a family (with a rousing game of Cooties).

I was lucky enough to get a homemade valentine from Livie that she made me with no prompting or instruction.  Love it.  And I love her - sweetest little girl ever!

Despite my best efforts to stay busy, my mind was on Carter all day.  I love you little man.

(thanks to Lindsey for introducing me to this song - I love it and listen to it constantly)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

How are you?

I have never hated a question so much - "How are you?"

How am I supposed to answer that? Every time I am asked, a million possible responses swim in my mind. The question itself sends me into an internal panic. I can't actually think about my answer right away, or I risk tears. I only have a split second to triage the situation before a lapse in conversation becomes akward. "What answer do they want?" - "What answer can they handle?" - "How much do I want them to know?" - "What answer can I handle?"

Some people ask in passing because it is the socially appropriate thing to do. They are the easiest to answer. They don't want to hear anything other than, "I am good - how are you". They probably wouldn't even realize it if I answered differently.

Others though, genuinely want to know. Or at least they think they do. So what do I tell them? There are a select few that I know I can answer honestly each and every time. (and they aren't necessarily the people I would have expected them to be)  There are some though, who already think they know what my answer should be.

If I acknowledge that I am genuinely having a good day, I risk being tsk'd tsk'd, for I must be lying. If I admit to having a horrible day, I risk being tsk'd tsk'd, because "shouldn't I be over it by now?"

My standard answer has become, "I have good days and bad days, but I am doing ok". This seems to appease most people. But some press further. To those people, I have no clue how to respond. Do I insist that things are great? Do I force some tears? Do I tell them how pissed off and angry I have been lately?Because reality is that most of the time I don't know how I am doing.

Some of those in my day-to-day life seem to think that everything is back to normal for me. My childless twenty-something male co-workers have stopped acting uncomfortable around me (except for that one time when I said Carter's name in passing - you could have heard a pin drop in the room). Others have figured out that I am just good half-way decent at putting on an convincing act.

One of those insightful friends has come up with my favorite response - "How are you?" - "I am good, how are you?" - "I am good, but I know that you are lying." and then we exchange an understanding smile or two, and I'll often add a "well, I could tell you the truth, but you probably don't want to know..." which sometimes gets a giggle from those close by, and sometimes causes the mood in the room to drop and people to look around uncomfortably until someone changes the subject.

So, just so we are all clear, this is me as a hot mess:

(and this is Livie as a hot mess)

Nap time + Desitin

How many kids do you have? - What do you do? - 
 What do you and your husband want to do when you retire? - How are you?

Such seemingly benign questions have never before been accompanied by so much heartache.