Heartfelt Concern

This past month has found so many of you in the hospital.

I have a friend who gave birth at the beginning of the month to a baby boy with HLHS. He recently underwent surgery and seems to be doing well. If he’s as determined and courageous and faithful as his mom, he’ll do just fine. You can follow their journey here.

A couple weeks ago, one of my best friends from high school was feeling some odd sensations in her chest and went to the ER to have it checked out, just in case. She found out that she had a heart attack and would be staying in the hospital to have a coronary spontaneous dissection monitored. She’s home now and seems to be doing much better.

Then some of you have checked into the hospital with chest pain or fevers or respiratory issues or brain surgery. Some time ago one of you went in for spine surgery. Someone I know is undergoing chemotherapy and may have had her kidney removed. Some of you have been in accidents and are going through rehab.

Some of you still need a flu shot.

My dad has a weak heart and dementia and won’t take his medicine, though from what I hear, he likes where he’s staying right now.

Mom and my brother seem especially susceptible to pneumonia and bronchitis, respectively. And mom’s husband still seems to be recovering from knee surgery he had a while back.

And there are lots of friends who have delivered babies or are due within the next few months. Some of them have experienced post-partum depression. Some of them work really hard to meet the needs of their families. Some of them are struggling a lot with motherhood in general.

There are some whose afflictions I don’t know anything about at all.

But I think about you. I’m here if you need a listening ear.

And I pray for all of you.

This Past Month’s Showing

Two weeks ago:

  1. I talked with another pregnant woman at church about whether she found a doctor. We chatted a little bit about appointments and how we’re feeling. She said, “You look cute. You can’t even tell you’re showing.” I’m like, “What? Really? Oh, you’re so nice.” If I wasn’t showing, I certainly didn’t feel it because none of my clothes fit anymore.
  2. The same Sunday an hour later at church, another lady sidled up to me and quietly said in a sing-songy way, “You’re starting to show.” We both laughed. And though I felt her perception is closer to how I feel, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to hear about my bump from another person.

This past Sunday:

  1. I asked a friend a church when she’s moving. She’s a massage therapist, and she said that they’re moving very soon and close to where she works. I asked if where she works offers pregnancy massage. She said yes. Then I said I might need one of those one of these days. Her eyes got big, and she she asked if I’m pregnant. I put my hand on my tummy and told her I was four months along. She said that was really exciting but she couldn’t even tell.
  2. Reilly recounted a short conversation where another woman at church asked him if I am pregnant. He said yes, and she said she thought so even I’m little and am not showing in a big way. She then said congratulations.

Oh. You want pictures, you say? You’ve been waiting for pictures? Patience, dear Grasshoppers.

My showing is not a problem or a complaint at all; it’s only slightly jarring the first time hearing about my bump from another person, especially if you’re as vain as I am. Or as aware of how small I am. It’s pretty simple: Pregnant –> tummy grows. Not only have I accepted that fact, I’m mondo excited about it.

The first time I really felt my bump start to protrude, I showed Reilly. I stood up, pulled my shirt over the bump and turned to the side so he could see my profile. He put his hand on my belly and asked if I was poking out on purpose. Well, the baby’s growing inside me because we planned it and you were there, but if you’re asking if I’m sticking out my tummy — filling it with air or pushing it out farther than it should be — I am not. I inhaled to let my belly expand not much farther beyond its resting position just to show I wasn’t poking out “on purpose.”

Reilly then smiled his cutest smile and got the twinkliest sparkle in his eye and said, “You’re showing!” and gave me a big hug.

As I’m writing this tears fill my eyes with the thought of our combined joy and excitement.

Friday Hodgepodge

Tears, people. And partial bafflement.

This morning a new post appeared on my reader from my friend Amy’s blog. On Fridays she tries to post a Special Needs Spotlight, but today she decided to feature a video about the beloved American gymnast who emancipated from her parents when she was 16, Dominique Moceanu. If you know Amy’s blog, you’ll have a deeper understanding of why she posted the video. It’s inspiring even outside of this context, but nonetheless, I’m grateful she shared this video:

Two books, by worthy prizewinners:

Yesterday I finished Blindness, by José Saramago. Toward the end of my commute to work I finished a particular heartbreaking scene and held back tears while making sure my fellow commuters didn’t see how distraught I was. On my commute home I read another scene that brought joyful tears to my eyes.

This morning I finished The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate. She won the Newbery Medal in 2012. This book also made me cry, also because of sad and happy moments.

Excellent writing about important issues. Call to action and most definitely to contemplation.

I highly recommend both novels.

The other day I observed a conversation where one person said to the other,

I don’t know what your political leanings are, but there is one side that does whatever they want, and then there’s the other side with principles.

As I observed this conversation, I realized I was the other person, and the one person was talking to me. Approximately 67 trillion assumptions bounced around in my head, attracting and repelling each other until an image formed — like the kind with a magnet and iron shavings — of a big question mark. I didn’t say anything, because there were stray thoughts circling this question mark, trying to find a niche but also seeming to defy the magnetic force. In this defiance, these stray thoughts kept my brow from furrowing; they allowed me to have mercy on the one person’s soul. And if all I wanted to say was, “Huh?” I know that the one person’s “principles” would have tried to replace my metal shavings with shavings made of soap. Because the one person stands on a box of soap. Which is fine. I respect the one person’s opinion and I won’t treat the one person like less of a human being. This kind of understanding and regard is a principle the one person and I have in common. So we’re actually on the same side.

But we’re so, so not.

The Second of Roundabout Christmas Messages

It’s likely the animal shelter would be open tomorrow, but I wanted to be able to give Chicken and Pig as much of a chance for a loving home as possible by giving them as much time to be adored at the shelter by loving families. I held on to them as long as I could without compromising that window.

It would be cool for some kids to come out to their living room to find two very sweet bunnies waiting for them Christmas morning. That’s what I’m praying for.

I dropped them off today.

Pictures, video from the past couple of days. Nearly six years of memories tucked away in my mind. My heart. I’ll try to share.

I’ll stop for now. I’ve cried enough today.

May’s Movie Review: Wit

May’s synopsis: The writing really appealed to me; the actors delivered. Very effective, very powerful. Very Emma Thompson. So sad, but SO good.

May’s scale rating:

MAY!

May?

meh…

meh?

MESS.

 

This movie was taken from a play by the same name. It’s about a professor (Emma Thompson) who has terminal cancer. Christopher Lloyd is her doctor, and he prescribes a pretty intense treatment regimen. He connects her to a flux capacitor and streams about 80 jigawatts through her body.

Wait. Almost.

This movie comes off very much like a play with various switches between scenes. The dialogues between Emma Thompson’s monologues are well-placed. The flashbacks are particularly poignant. The story progresses slowly, if painfully, but that’s what it’s going for. The pauses are long and uncomfortable. The movie essentially begs the viewer’s participation.

Emma Thompson often speaks directly to the camera. She shares insights about her experience at the hospital. She introduces flashbacks. She confuses her presence with her memories. The movie develops really well.

Christopher Lloyd is the medical, intellectual counterpart to Emma Thompson’s character as an English professor. This movie follows her humanization to the end, while Christopher Lloyd and his medical team remain a detached fixture, for lack of a better oxymoron.

There are a few minor characters that add so much power to this story. This story is about human nature, one’s need for a personal connection, how we are to treat each other.

There are also characters that will infuriate you and compel you to root for Emma Thompson, even though up until the time she got sick she was a Very Not Nice Person. You’re human; it’s the Right Thing To Do.

This movie will make you cry. I cried the first time I watched it, then I took it home and watched it three more times. These days, I appreciate how the movie doesn’t lose power with each viewing.

It’s a relatively simple film, with minimal scenes that depend heavily on the actors to carry the story. Carry they do, perhaps even cradle. Or finesse.

The writing is excellent, as most plays can’t or shouldn’t really depend on special effects. The subject matter is relevant. The story flows, in part due to the writing, but also because the acting measures up. Because the writing is so good. Because the actors commit to the parts. Because the writing creates the strong characters. Writing. Acting. Yay!

I love this movie.