Overwhelmed…

12 Sep

Between the start of the public school year, the start of my graduate classes, and jetting from one place to another to do things with family and friends, we’ve been some busy people and I just haven’t had time to post…

As I wrote before, my two classes at Marymount University are under way – neither are blowing my mind so much as blowing my budget.  I am forever annoyed at the great number of idiots who are taking graduate-level classes. How on God’s green Earth did they ever get out of a Bachelor’s program without any intellectual gain or even common sense?! Seriously, a chick in one of my classes had to raise her hand and ask what the word “compounded” meant…It was all I could do to not point and laugh.  Not to mention that during one of our prescribed “group discussions regarding Multicultural Education” the flaky chick behind me has a mini-diatribe about how the people of China eat aborted human babies, which they keep secret from the rest of the world because they know how wrong it is, but they have so many aborted female babies they have to do something with them so they eat them and consider it a delicacy – when I asked how she got this (obviously grossly incorrect) information she said “Oh I read it in a bunch of magazines”.  Ummm, yeah – solid.

Oh, and also, Chuck and I started our Gifted-Ed endorsement program through JMU – this is an online-only course and this was our first week of “class”.  For our first “assignment” we were instructed to post an introduction on BlackBoard – you know, a PROFESSIONAL introduction related to the course curriculum – who we are, what our background is, why we are taking the course.  Everyone posted fluffy paragraphs full of fake enthusiasm and personal information about their babies and children.  It’s so annoying to be paying wads of dough for professional development when in actuality I’m paying wads of dough to witness a bunch of flaky idiots wax retarded about cannibalizing human fetuses and what their 18 month old is doing while they type on BlackBoard.  Seriously, I have one semester left before I do my Student Teaching and it can not go by fast enough.

I haven’t had time to do anything lately, short of work and school, but I’ve been doing a lot of thinking – this week a good friend of ours lost his brother in a tragic automobile accident…on his birthday.  This brought back some very raw emotions, as my own brother-in-law was killed on his father’s birthday.  Also, with September 11th came remembrance of the events that started this awful war – the war that took Jesse from us.  My heart has been heavy this past week, thinking of Jesse, of his family and my sister…of everyone that has lost loved ones.  And, of course, with friends’ and family members’ due dates coming up this month and next, I’ve been thinking a lot about the family Chuck and I thought we’d be having soon.  Calling ours a “failed pregnancy” is apropos, I suppose.  I did feel like I had failed…failed at giving Chuck a child, failed at becoming the mother I so desperately want to be, failed at “keeping up with the Joneses”.  I wanted a baby so bad it became a physical ache.  We planned for months, counting cycles, avoiding caffeine, talking baby names.  We found out we were pregnant the week of Jesse’s death – it was bittersweet news, so right and so wrong at the same time.  Having Jesse ripped from our lives, there were some people who felt this baby was an affirmation of life – some bright light in such a dark and awful tragedy.  But for me, it was all wrong.  This wasn’t the way I had dreamed it would be – I had pictured Chuck and I huddled in the privacy of our own home, waiting together for the pregnancy test to reveal what we already knew…nervous and excited, we would read “pregnant” on the digital readout and we would hug and cry with joy…quickly dialing the friends and family we couldn’t wait to tell.  Instead, I took the pregnancy test alone, in my mom’s hotel room, the day after burying my brother-in-law.  Since noboby knew why I was holed up in the bathroom, I couldn’t invite Chuck in with me to wait, so I waited alone…I read the result of the test alone – I had to tell Chuck in a hushed whisper, without celebration.  We couldn’t share the happy news with anyone because we were all deep in mourning – our hearts were still bleeding.  It didn’t feel right to be happy.  Nothing about it felt right.  Five weeks later, when we lost the baby, we were halfway around the world celebrating a friend’s marriage.  I couldn’t curl up in my own bed and cry myself to sleep, my mom wasn’t there to comfort me and hold me, I wasn’t able to get in touch with my OB-GYN…I spent a week cramping and bleeding while crammed in tight airplane bathrooms and strange hotels in sticky-hot Manila and bustling Tokyo…we had to put on a brave face because we were traveling with  friends and visiting family who didn’t know our situation.  Everything about the pregnancy was wrong – the beginning, the end. Without Chuck by my side throughout all of the losses we suffered, I would not have held it together.  He was my salvation, as usual.

Although losing Jesse and the baby left us in pain, we pulled through.  Months later, we are still looking forward to our future – we are still planning the start of our own family, but our timeline has changed.  I’m going to finish my Master’s degree first, we’re going to get our finances in order so we can buy a house, and Chuck is looking into beginning his graduate degree.  We are on our way, albeit slowly.  Together we’re doing it, but there are still days when it’s all too difficult, too overwhelming.  He’s pulling me through, though, and we work to keep each other encouraged as best we can.

I’ve been thinking, also, about home – missing it, actually.  Not really sure why, but it’s something that has been preoccupying my brain for the past few weeks (probably because my brain isn’t stimulated enough at school).  I tried to plan a weekend at home to visit some places I’ve been longing to see, but Chuck and I spent the weekend doing family things instead.  Since I moved to Northern Virginia, going home is now only about visiting with immediate family – there just isn’t enough time to visit everyone I want or go to the places I miss.  In the next month or so, before the leaves are gone, I’m going to make an effort to go to some places back home that are a part of my childhood and college years – just for the sake of nostalgia.  I want to take Chuck to several places that have special meaning to me, so we can make our own memories there.  I also finally have a good camera (It’s not professional-level “awesome”, but for two poor people, Chuck and I are quite in love with our Nikon D40 and our new lens) and want to get some nice photographs of these places for my own keeping.

I want to take Chuck on the Blue Ridge Parkway – he’s never been.  I used to go all the time with my parents, then in high school and college I would go with friends (when driving for the sake of driving was fun and still gave us a sense of freedom). Although we’re not wine drinkers (or anything drinkers, for that matter) I’d like to take Chuck to the local winery, Chateau Morrisette.  Often they have music there or sometimes craft vendors, and it’s just a beautiful place to catch a glimpse of the mountains and the parkway views.  I also want to take Chuck to Mabry Mill – I have fond memories of sitting by the pond with my dad, licking fast-melting Mikey-Mouse-shaped icecream bars.  I want to drive down toward North Carolina and take Chuck to several of the tiny, quaint little churches adorned with beautiful murals done in the traditional fresco style.

Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway

I also want to revisit Blacksburg and spend some time in that area, just doing what we used to do in college – I want to take our camera on campus while it’s still green and get some good shots of the beautiful architecture.  I’d like to take a walk at Pandapas Pond, hike up to the cascades in the Jefferson National Forest (shockingly, somewhere Chuck’s never been), and go out to Wind Rock. Also, the dear preacher that married us has moved back to the Christiansburg area and has his own church now – so Chuck and I want to pop in and surprise him one Sunday morning.

Cascades Falls in the Jefferson National Forest

Cascades Falls in the Jefferson National Forest

Most importantly, I want to persuade my dad to tear himself away from work for a morning and for him to escort Chuck and I on the 3-mile hike up to his homestead – a tiny little cabin at the top of a mountain in Catawba, Virginia, a place that I find beautiful and awe-inspiring.  Although he plays it down, my dad is waiting to find out if he has cancer.  This has made me realize I need some private time with him – something of a precious commodity nowadays.  With the possibility of his health failing in the coming months or years, it is important to me that he shares this with me one last time and that we share this with my husband.  That cabin means something to me and to my family – it is evidence that you can grow up with nothing and still succeed in building a world on dreams that becomes a reality.  I don’t think too many people would believe the way my father was raised unless they saw it themselves. I want Chuck to see this part of my heritage and I want to take photographs of the homestead before the wood gives way to rot and the cabin is gone forever.

View of Catawba Valley from McAfee Knob

View of Catawba Valley from McAfee Knob

I also have a couple of sewing projects underway – a little something for a new member of the family, a barely-begun quilt I’ve been ignoring for years, and my baby niece’s first hand-made stuffie.  I also have some watercolor and paper-cutting projects that are swimming in my head that I haven’t yet found time to begin.

There aren’t enough hours in a day to do everything, but hopefully with some careful planning, I will be able to get through work and school and be able to make time for some serious memory-making and craft-creating…I’ll keep everyone posted if we actually accomplish anything!

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