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The day has come, and my first publication in an anthology is out. Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It is probably my biggest professional accomplishment so far.
But although I’m proud, I’m also super nervous. I know I shouldn’t turn something good into something worrisome, but, hey, that’s what I do. I have a book signing event this weekend and I’m kind of a mess over it. What have I gotten myself into? No one forced me to do this — in fact I wanted to. But that doesn’t mean it’s not nerve-wracking. I read an article today by a writer who said she’d rather get a mammogram than do a radio interview. That’s kind of where I’m at right now.
Here’s more from my conversation with myself:
What if no one shows up? What if tons of people show up and I have to speak to this giant crowd? What if my speech ends up sounding forced? What if it’s too long? What if it’s too short? What if my dress is too short and you can see up it when I sit? Wait a minute, what am I wearing anyway?
I’m not sure that I self-promoted the book enough. I’m just not that up to speed with social media. Why didn’t I get an article in my local paper? Who am I kidding, I’m not that interesting anyway. Yes but other authors were interviewed by their local paper. Maybe there is nothing else going on in their town.
What if no one likes the book? What if I revealed too much about myself? What if I didn’t reveal enough?
What if absolutely nothing comes of this? Silly, even if nothing comes of it, no one can take away from you that you were published in a book. Yes but I want my own book. Sigh. Just enjoy this, will you!
So yeah, that’s what’s been going through my head. This is on top of having some other assignments and having to do my taxes. Procrastination! I still have to get some pens to use.
If you want to come to see this potential disaster, here are the details:
Book event and signing with Tina Donvito, one of the authors of
Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It
Barnes & Noble in the Livingston Mall
Saturday, April 2 at 3 pm
Hope to see you there!
People have said to me, “I don’t know how you do it,” referring to the balance of writing and parenting. To be honest, I don’t know how I do it either — that sounds like a humble brag, but actually, I don’t even really believe that I “do it” at all.
Yet no matter what is thrown at me, I seem to also possess that maddening inability to say no. Today I have a really bad cold, but did I turn down the Fit Pregnancy assignment I got, due tomorrow? Nope. Did I say no to the offer to cover the new season of Orange Is the New Black from a publication I’ve never worked with before, even though I’ve actually never seen an episode of the show? Nope! Guess the next two weeks will be spent binge-watching Netflix.
What about LM’s therapy appointments, and his audiological testing? What about my gyno appointment tomorrow and trying to figure out about scheduling surgery for my fibroid? What about having play dates and trying to keep up with my friends? What about not being able to update this blog as much as I feel I should? Oh yeah, what about that book signing event for Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It, which means I have to finish reading the whole book, probably re-read Eat Pray Love just to make sure I remember it, craft a 10-15 minute speech and be prepared for any questions that might arise by April 2? (BTW, if you are in the northern New Jersey area, visit the Barnes and Noble in the Livingston Mall April 2 at 3 pm to support me and the launch of the book!)
I get how this sounds. Apart from the medical stuff, it’s all good. I should not complain to be getting more work. And I’m not. I’m grateful for it. It just makes it hard to figure out how to balance things so I’m not up until 1 a.m. every night (which I usually am anyway).
Sometimes I think I shouldn’t be bothering with any work at all because it distracts me too much from LM. I should be focused on taking care of him, especially with the additional challenges his hearing loss presents. He’s only going to be young for a few short years. Don’t I already feel like his baby years went by in a blur? Do I want that for his toddler years as well?
But then I feel that drive in me, that part of me that wants something of my own, that wants to work. The part that just can’t say no, that can’t resist putting another helping onto my already full plate. I overload it until there’s no way it won’t spill over.
There are great things about being a freelancer. I work when I want and where I want. I don’t really have to answer to anyone else except myself. But therein lies the hard part, because I am a difficult boss of myself. Without set working hours, I always have this feeling that I should be doing more. And because I can work anywhere, work follows me wherever I go. No matter how many good things come my way, I want more. And the pull for that is hard to get away from.
And then other times I feel like this is just how life is. This is the pace of life of being a sort-of working mom, the parent of a child with hearing loss, a writer and a wife and a homemaker. But I feel like I do all of these jobs at a level that’s just enough to get by, when I should be either able to handle them all with ease or just reduce them to the ones I can devote myself fully to.
It’s hard, this balancing act.
Do you feel like it’s hard to balance work and parenting?
Well, metaphorically, anyway.
Before I was a mom I took lots of trips. I love travel, and not being able to pick up and go has been one downside of having a baby. My wanderlust has been acting up recently, and I’ve toyed with the idea of starting a travel blog, or at least venturing into the world of travel writing. So I decided to take the plunge with one of my favorite places on earth: Ireland. My story, “Trekking Through Irish Culture in Doolin, Ireland,” was selected today as the top featured blog post on The Huffington Post! Check it out, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day! I’ll hopefully have more travel experiences to share soon.
Do you love to travel? Where has been your favorite place to visit?
All the talk among my mom friends lately has been preschool. Although LM has technically already started in a two’s program, I don’t know if it can actually be called “school” until he hits the age of three. Plus, the facility he’s currently at is labeled a “preschool alternative,” whatever that means.
So, my Facebook feed is now taken up with questions about preschools, how to select them, which are the “best” and which are recommended by other moms. Some moms are very interested in “curriculum,” others that the kids be allowed enough time for free play. When I read the hilarious satire on the criteria parents look for in preschools, It’s Preschool Open House Season, Motherf**kers, I could help but laugh. (Other moms didn’t seem to find it funny.)
But maybe mine was just jealous laughter. Because LM is deaf/hard of hearing (what exactly am I supposed to call it? That’s a subject for another post), he qualifies for free preschool. FREE, you say? Amazing!
Sort of. Yes, it’s cool we won’t have to pay for preschool (although we did have to shell out thousands for his hearing aids, not to mention his therapists, doctors and audiologists). But we also don’t get much of a choice of where he goes.
This is how it works: As LM transitions out of the early intervention system, we meet with the school district. His EI team makes recommendations for what kind of accommodations are needed for an appropriate learning environment. The school district either says they can meet them or they can’t, in which case they will send LM out of district to a more appropriate school.
Through early intervention, LM has recently started at a school for the deaf, in addition to his “alternative preschool.” I wish this had happened months ago, but again, that’s a subject for another post. This school is awesome. He gets to see and socialize with other kids with hearing aids and cochlear implants. He gets to be taught how to listen, speak and interact with his environment in a setting geared for his needs. His teachers are all specially trained to work with kids who have hearing loss.
The school district’s teachers, on the other hand, aren’t. They lump all the “special ed” kids together in one class. Maybe they have an FM system, in which the teacher wears a microphone so the sound can go directly to LM’s hearing aids. Maybe they consider that sufficient.
But it’s not.
I get why they wouldn’t want to send LM out of district. It costs money. And maybe I’m selling the district short — I haven’t toured their facilities yet so I don’t actually know what they offer. But my initial thought is that LM doesn’t belong in a class with kids who have mental disabilities. LM’s disability is physical. Yes, it affects the way he learns. But I don’t want him lumped in as “special ed.”
I’m not trying to be snobbish about this. I understand that each kid has individual needs and that there is nothing wrong with being considered “special ed.” I just don’t want that for my kid.
So what do I do? I might have a fight ahead of me. I might need to hire an advocate or a lawyer if the district stonewalls me. I might be labeled as the “problem parent” for the rest of his school career, when and if he does mainstream in district.
I just want the best for LM. I want him taught appropriately with other kids who are like him. He’s different, yes, but his disability is one that can be overcome. He will be able to live a full, independent life—if he gets the proper education.
So while other parents are worried about curriculum and picking the best preschool (I’m reminded of that scene from Baby Boom in which a mom is devastated her son didn’t get into one top preschool, and therefore has lost all hope for a good college), my challenges are very different. It’s hard for me, as a competitive person, to take myself out of the race and feel comfortable on another track for my son’s education. But comfortable or not, I don’t have a choice.
It’s Transition to Special Ed Preschool, Motherf**kers.
Do you have any special challenges to face with your children? How do you accept them?
**Warning: possible TMI ahead**
I am using “bloody” here as both the literal meaning and the English curse word.
As part of my testing to see if I can get pregnant again, I had a saline sonogram, which is like a regular ultrasound except they squirt fluid up into your uterus, which somehow gives them a better picture of what’s going on in there. It’s kind of uncomfortable because they have to stick a catheter up through your cervix, and then you have some cramping afterwards because your uterus is thinking, “Get this stuff out of me now, please.”
I didn’t really expect for my doctor to find anything. That seems oddly naive and optimistic of me, especially in hindsight. But I had passed my second shot at a prep cycle (I failed the first), so I felt like things were looking up. Maybe I could even cycle in the next few weeks.
But the doctor did find something. A four-centimeter fibroid that is pushing into the cavity. She said she would consult with the surgeon and let me know, but it would probably require a hysteroscopy. This is a procedure in which they go in through the vagina and clean you out. It involves anesthesia, but you go home right afterwards and recovery time is minimal. There is no actual cutting involved.
The next day I got a call from the doctor. She tells me that the surgeon thinks I need to actually have real surgery to remove this thing. “Like a laparoscopy?” I asked her. I had a lap six years ago to remove endometriosis. It was an outpatient procedure that involved four small incisions, through which a camera was inserted and the surgery was performed. “No, a laparotomy,” the doctor replied. “Like a C-section.”
So, as I understand it, this would mean actually cutting me open and going at the fibroid from the outside of the uterus. It would involve a couple of nights in the hospital, two weeks until I can drive and at least two or three months until I can try to get pregnant. It’s that last bit that is killing me. I don’t want to wait anymore. Now our timeline just got pushed back almost half a year, by the time we will actually be able to get this thing scheduled (apparently the surgeon is very busy).
Foggy Daddy said that maybe this is a sign we should go with adoption. Except that I don’t believe in signs (and, I thought, neither did he). Maybe he just meant that this is evidence that pregnancy is not the best route for us to have more children.
OK, so say we sign up with the adoption agency whenever it is that they start letting in new families (they told me “spring,” whenever that means). Then we have to get all our paperwork in order, have our home study, etc. Then we wait. Who knows how long it could be? What if we are waiting for a year or more? Then I’ll be thinking, Damn, I should have just had the surgery.
But on the other hand, what if it takes a while to get pregnant? Or what if it doesn’t happen at all? Then I’m going to be thinking that we should have gone with adoption, which at least has a definite end point. There will be, at some point in the future, a baby for us through adoption.
Once again, I have to make a decision without all the information.
So then I descend back into anger. I hate my stupid body. I hate my uterus more than any other part, because that stupid organ killed a bunch of my babies and now it’s preventing me from having more.
I suppose I should be grateful for it, because it gave me Sam. But it grew him sideways in such a way that he had to come out with a planned C-section. He was wedged in there so well they had to call in another doctor. They called him a “difficult extraction.”
I saw a blog post once about a woman who was having a hysterectomy. The title was “Die, bloody bitch” (I googled but I couldn’t find it again). For some reason that line has always stuck with me. I have had endometriosis, adenomyosis, fibroids, you name it. I don’t know how I ended up with such a messed up reproductive system, but I have a feeling somewhere in my future, after I am done with all this trying to get pregnant business, a hysterectomy awaits.
And I will be glad to see it go.
Have you ever felt you “hated” a part of your body?