Bring On the 40 Days

Welcome, Lent.

This year, I am using this season to force myself to do something I've been meaning to do for a long time now: re-establish the habit of writing.

I stopped writing regularly awhile ago, and as a result, I don't know what I think about pretty much anything anymore, except that I really want the Trump presidency to come to a screeching halt.  But other than that, I can't really figure out much about life.  Writing used to help me make sense of things, and I'm hoping it will again.  Things like:

  • Why do my teenage daughters' midriffs (and sculpted eyebrows and endless, curated selfies) bother me so much?
  • How can one person make a stand against the divisions and rancor that are everywhere?
  • When will I figure out how to make my iPhone serve me, rather than the other way around?
  • Why is life so unbelievably hard?  Why is life so unbelievably beautiful?  And why is it so hard to focus on the beautiful?

I used to write a ton on this blog about raising my kids.  Now, I am deep into this parenting thing and have been doing it mostly without the outlet of writing.  I've now been parenting for almost 22 years.  Still have quite a few more years ahead before that day in the distant future when I invite my grown kids over for dinner.  I think about that day a lot -- what it will be like, who will be there.  Will I like the people my children bring in to the family?  How many grandkids will I have?  Will my adult children trash my house then as they do now?

I feel simultaneously seasoned at motherhood and baffled by every new experience that comes my way as each individual child grows and changes.  It's stunning, really, how unprepared I can still feel for the things that life throws our way.  And I think life is trying to teach me to never feel like I have arrived, to always stay open to learning more and changing and becoming who I am.

This week marks one very gigantic milestone in my family: we officially change pediatricians as of March 1, and I'm seriously deep in mourning over it.  21.5 years ago, after I had failed at one of the first TO DO items I ever became aware of as a newly expectant mother (research, interview and carefully choose a pediatrician for your new baby!), we were lucky enough to give birth on a night when Dr. Maria happened to be on call checking out all the newborns.  She asked if we had a pediatrician and I sheepishly said no.  She offered to be ours, and what the heck, she seemed nice, so we said YES.

It turned out to be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.  Ever since, she has been by my side.  She has helped us through the usual fevers and ear infections and viruses and sprains.  She got us through a lacerated kidney and a rather unusual bowel movement issue (nuff said, truly).  She has a perspective and approach to medicine that is fundamentally based on the relationships she is able to build with parents and kids, and IT WORKED FOR US.  I have never, for one minute, been a mother without the amazing Dr. Maria in my back pocket, as it were, and we -- me, my husband, and all five of these little shits -- are beyond fortunate to have fallen into her lap.

Alas, health insurance rates don't care one whit about those relationships.

Faced with a choice of sticking with Dr. Maria and seeing our health insurance cost go up by $450 per month or switching to a plan that will only go up $150 -- which is to say, not much of a choice at all -- we "adulted" and did the totally sucky responsible practical fiscally smart very sad thing, and switched.  (I'll have you know that I consciously chose not to use commas in that sentence because that's how it feels in my head: a steady, uninterrupted litany of yuckiness.)

It's fine.  We'll all be fine.  Maria will still be a big part of our lives (because BONUS: We became FRIENDS over the past two decades!  We play FIDDLE together!).  The kids will get another doctor, and I have a recommendation for a great one at Kaiser, where they will now be seen.  It will all be fine.  So why do feel like I'm in mourning?

Maria has been formative to my mothering, and to my identity as a mom.  So now, I have to forge a new mom-dentity, with a new pediatrician who doesn't know our history, who doesn't know that Sam is the sweetest boy ever, or that Vincenzo and Lola are basically Picassos, that Elizabeth is wicked smart and hilarious, that Tallulah is a force of nature that we're gonna try not to screw up too much.

The new doctor will learn.  She will come to see these kids as the freakin' miracles that they are.  If she doesn't, I'll find a new doctor.

I saw Maria tonight (fiddle lessons every Thursday, yo!), and told her of my heartbreak.  She gave me a hug and said: "I'll always be your pediatrician.  You can always call me with stuff -- I just can't prescribe for you anymore."

See?  She's gold.

Looking forward to seeing what I write about tomorrow.



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