Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Today I'm Thinking of The Congo

I took my beautiful Sudanese friend, Adhieu Awan, to register for ESL (English as a second language) classes at Salt Lake Community College this morning. The beautiful and talented Katey Hebert Schmidt watched my kids so I could go. (That's beside the point...but I wanted to do a shout out). After we finished with registration, etc. I drove her the rest of the way to work. We talked about how far she has come...one little step at a time. She told me how much she loves her work and thanked me for getting her such a great job. (She sorts clothes at the LDS Humanitarian Center to be sent overseas to countries just like the one she came from). You should have seen the smile on her face a few weeks ago when she got her first ever paycheck.

On our route to work, she pointed out another woman she works with waiting at the bus stop. I wanted to pull over and offer her a ride, but hesitated because it was a tricky traffic situation to get to her. Adhieu suggested I turn right then flip a "U" --the timing was perfect with traffic and the lights and her coworker jumped in the car with a big smile on her face. She introduced herself as Florence. "Oh. I just love that name!"  As we drove we chatted about where she was from. "The Congo", she said. "In America 8 month."

"Wow. Are you a refugee?"

With a somewhat glazed look in her eyes she replied simply, "Yes".

"How do you like America? Utah?"

"Very nice. People don't kill each other. People don't tell you to kill. A lot of Christians."

I asked if she lived alone. "No", she said. "I live with my husband and 2 kid."

She and her husband both work. They take turns watching the kids. She has 2 boys, ages 5 and 3. I asked if she needed any clothes for her boys and she warmly and comfortably replied immediately, "Yes. If you have any."

Do I have any? I have boxes and drawers full of random who knows what. I have piles of laundry and so much food to eat it goes bad. I have never been shot at or raped or forced from my home or asked to kill someone else. Yes, I have some! And I have shoes and books and blankets and food and diapers and soap. And I have a listening ear that wants to hear everything you've been through. Please remind me that the fact that I ate way too many saltine cracker toffee pieces last night doesn't matter as much as I think it does. Please ask me again and again "if I have any"... because Utah is a tiny blip in a great big world full of color and struggle and love and diversity.

I'm so glad Adhieu made me stop when I almost drove by because the traffic was too inconvenient to get to her. It's a good thing to mix up our driving patterns once in a while. We miss out on so many experiences otherwise.

If you want to help Florence and her family, or darling Adheiu, please email me (my email can be found at the top of my blog on the 'contact' button). Perhaps I sound ignorant, bitter, or even jealous, but I sometimes hate that a fashion blogger has 22 thousand "followers" and a refugee woman from the Congo needs clothes and food for her kids. (I'm guilty as charged for wanting "all the things".)

This started out as my Facebook status post a few minutes ago and has turned into a quickly written blog/rant/pondering. Thanks for listening.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Joey and Zoë

Blogging? Who blogs? Why blog? Do people still read blogs? Huh.

We went to Bear Lake this past weekend with several families from Park City. These are families whom we love love love. These are people who have been with us for the long haul since Lucy died. They were part of our lives before she died too...and will always be a part of our lives.

Two of the couples on the trip picked out Lucy's (and mine and Vic's) burial spot. (We were unable to pick it out ourselves due to some timing issues. She died over Memorial Day weekend and we were on a tight schedule to make the cut off time in order for her to be buried the day after Memorial Day. We didn't want to leave her side for a moment and our dear friends set out to perform the difficult task of finding just the right spot for our princess).

missing from the photo: John and Debbie Flint and their son, A.J. Also, Peter. And Mike and Stacey Rasmuson and daughter, Hallie. Added to the photo but wasn't on the trip with us: Rachael Charles. Ha. (We met up at the park the day after we came home to visit and relive the trip). 

In other words, these people are like family to us. We packed up our camping gear Thursday morning and headed out. We didn't sleep much...if at all. It was horrible as far as sleep was concerned. I don't even want to relive the epic tantrum that Zoë had at 1:30 a.m. our first night there.

But I DO want to relive some of the great moments we had. The boating, the wake boarding, the food, the laughs, the kids playing with each other, the biking, the running, the swimming. It was marvelous.

But my very favorite thing was seeing my Zoë with a very special boy named Joey. If you've read the entire story of the day Lucy choked , then you know that Joey's lips are the last that Lucy ever kissed. Lucy loved Joey and his entire family.  Joey was an honorary Pall Bearer at Lucy's funeral. He was far too little to carry the casket.

Since Lucy's death, Joey and his family moved to Boise, Idaho--so we only see them on occasion. Joey and his sister, Kalena, met Zoë when she was just 4 weeks old. They were shocked at how big she and Peter both have gotten.

It takes a long time for Zoë to warm up to someone. No matter how friendly or bright or fun you are, she usually wants nothing to do with you unless you have had some significant bonding time. Usually involving popcorn or treats or puppies. So we were surprised at the way she immediately took to Joey. And not just a little bit.

He was so sweet with her, so protective and brotherly with her. I am entirely letting myself believe that their special and immediate bond was because of Lucy. 

Have you ever seen such a thing? The KOA campground in Bear Lake was quite the place! But I won't be camping again with these little ones for another couple of years. 

I really wish I knew how much goes on on the other side. My kids seem to know and understand and accept so much when it comes to Lucy. Just today, Peter was going on about an amazing idea he had that when Jesus comes back, and Lucy comes back, that we can all be together and that I will be forbidden to give her an apple again...and then we can all live together. "Ok, Mom?"

And yes, Kalena and I (Joey's 15 yr. old sister) stood there while they jumped on the pillow and planned their wedding. Joey and Zoë. Joey's parent's are 12 years apart, which is less than he and Zoë--it could work. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

High on A Mountain Top

Have you  noticed the moon this week? It's huge and bright and beautiful. An absolutely spectacular site.

We went on a wonderful family hike a few weeks ago in Park City. We did our old stand by trail that we call "the loop". It is at the top of our neighborhood (neighborhoods in PC have "tops" and "bottoms") and we have hiked it and run it a million times...with all 3 of our kids.

I was reminded of a very difficult and sacred experience I had once at the very spot pictured in the above photos. I had Vic snap these of me for the specific reason of writing this post. A few weeks after Lucy died, exactly this time of year--July--when the moon was just as ripe and big and full and bright as it is now, I went on a walk to this lookout point. I planned on going alone, but a friend joined me at the last minute.

Utterly exhausted and trembling with grief, I silently made my way to the trail head and began to climb. Once at the top, I sat down on the bench and looked out over my beloved city. My friend could sense I needed some time alone and wandered up the trail a bit while I sat thinking and praying, questioning, talking, trying to make sense of the unsensible.

That's when I began weeping. I don't remember where Vic was this particular night. He may have been at some sort of church meeting, or even just home in bed. It was at a time when we didn't know how to grieve with each other. We were not able to comfort each other. There was no give and take. No taking turns being the strong one. We were both incredibly broken.

As I sat there weeping, it turned to sobs. I tried to stifle my wailing noises, my mucus and tears and loud, fast breaths. I was gasping for more than just air. I needed peace and comfort as desperately as a drowning person needs to break through to the surface of the water. But I was sinking fast.

My friend approached the bench, sat down, and lifted me into their lap and held me. As my friend stroked my hair and wiped the tears from my face, we didn't say a word to each other. Just then, the heavenly summer moon rose over the crest of the mountain. The power of its beauty and majesty was palpable. Again, we said nothing. I continued to cry and mumble "why did I give her the apple?" "I can't believe this happened". "It's too painful. It's too painful"!

As the moon continued to rise, a calm came over us. I began breathing more slowly. I stared at the moon as if it were a peep hole into the heavens...where my daughter's new life was just beginning. The timing of the moon rise seemed musical. Like it was a prop, arriving on stage right on cue. It cast a gorgeous glow on everything in sight. I think that was the moment I decided I wasn't going to be mad at God for this. His works are too mysterious, beautiful, and unknown for me to comprehend.

Sitting on that mountain top, surrounded by the wildflowers, rocks, trees, and the city lights of my home, I felt the possibility of healing. It lasted for just a moment, but I recognized it amidst the extreme heartache.

Again, we walked back to my friend's home in silence. I was still reeling. Still wiping tears. Still torn and upset and confused and utterly, completely, entirely lost. But to this day, every time I see a full moon, especially in July, I think of that night. I will never forget the tenderness my friend showed me.  The calmness and sacredness in which my friend handled the situation was one of the purest acts of love and friendship I've experienced. I see the summer moon and it reminds me of that heartache. It always makes me feel melancholy and grateful at the same time.

I've come a long way--and the moon always reminds me of this. But it reminds me I haven't done it on my own. We all need each other. Sometimes we are the ones who offer our lap and unspoken support, and sometimes we are the one needing a hand to hold and someone to wipe our tears.

I don't have a clever or profound ending to this post. It's just something I have wanted to record for a long time. Last night's moon told me that now was the time.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Bursting my Bubble

Most of you know about our good friend, Abraham, one of the Lost Boys of Sudan (again, please google "lost boys of sudan" if you don't know what that means), and his wife, Adhieu. In fact, several of you made donations when Adhieu first arrived in America 7 months ago, helping them get established as a couple with essential things like sheets and bedding, silverware, and plates.

Adheiu (pronounced A DOO, like saying "goodbye" in French) has desperately wanted a job. She has never been paid for her labor in her life. She tells me that women in her country are not allowed to work. Her mother is a widow (she lost her husband and all 4 of her sons in their country's civil war) living in Kenya to avoid the continued violence in Sudan, and is able to provide very little for her youngest daughter, Adheiu's 12 year old sister. She rents a mud hut from a man. Two weeks ago when she told me her sister was unable to attend school because her mom didn't have the money to pay the school fees, I drove immediately to Wal-Mart to wire some money to Africa. These are things many of us cannot even fathom.

Adheiu is bright and positive and beautiful. And she is a hard worker. But no one wants to hire her because she has no high school diploma, no resume, no work background, and speaks broken Enlgish. (Though, somehow, she and I communicate absolutely fine. Everyone at her current job--which I'll get to in a minute--thinks I am her translator).

Luckily, I was told about the amazing program at the LDS Humanitarian Center that trains immigrants and PAYS them while they are gaining job skills, learning English, and learning to drive. It is an incredible program. I had never been the Humanitarian Center before and cried like a baby when the sister missionaries took us on a tour of the facility and explained what services they offer other countries. Water, clothing, newborn resuscitation training, shoes, blankets, first aid...Absolutely amazing. One of my very favorite things about the Mormon Church.

We finally got her enrolled and set up in the program, (which was quite the process...) but our final hurdle has been figuring out how to get her there via public transportation. After two weeks of driving her to and from work, we decided we'd give Salt Lake City's Public Transportation system a shot. We had the bus route all mapped out and ready to go. I drove to her apartment then slowly followed her in my car as she walked to the first bus stop. She lives in a low-income area and I hate to say it, but there were a lot of shady and interesting characters waiting for the bus and just passing through the neighborhood. There was a man smoking a cigarette right next to us, with earphones in, and he gave us a nod. "I have no idea what he is thinking but avoiding eye contact with him is probably a good idea", I thought.

When the bus arrived, I handed the driver a 20 dollar bill (after he helped an overweight, paralyzed woman in a wheelchair and her daughter on) and he just laughed at me. "Exact change is required." I tried to explain to him that Adheiu would be getting a discounted bus pass later that day through her job and that I was helping her figure out the system and would be following behind the bus in my van. I thought the driver would be more helpful, but he just kept giving me this smile that said, "You idiot".

Just then, the smoker headphone guy reaches his arm around us and hands the driver 3 dollars. I heard him say something about me having a 20 and I thought he was paying for Adheiu's bus fare in exchange for my 20 dollar bill. I offered it to him but he waved me off. "Don't worry about." He smiled and got on the bus after Adheiu.

Well...my. That was awfully kind.

Long story short, her connecting bus at the Midvale Center Station never came. It just didn't show up. I ended up driving her to work...again, but grabbed a few Trax maps and figured out a better way to get her there.

So this morning, we tried for a second time. And we had success! I followed along from stop to stop, asking a young guy from Congo if we were on the green line, and asking the Hispanic kid at the Center Pointe station if the train we were catching was heading West or East. Even the old toothless meth man was anxious to inform us exactly where Adheiu's train was heading.

At each stop, as I unbuckled Zoë and walked to the platform to meet Adheiu, I looked around at all the different people and wondered about their stories. I had several thoughts.

First--it is not easy for the poor to get out of their situations. If I were not Adheiu's mentor, I have no idea how she would be getting to work. I don't think she would be working. You can get a job, but how do you get there?

I thought of how I misjudged Mr. Smoker Headphones (not that I'd necessarily be best friends with the guy) and how helpful everyone had been over the past few days as we tried to figure things out.

Second--as I watched some of the very obvious drug junkies, I wondered about their lives. What kind of abuse and neglect have they experienced? Where did they start in life? What kind of support system and examples do they have to lean on? Have they ever been shown another way to live?

Third--I thought how absolutely caught up I become in my Instagram bubble where I truly believe that every stay at home mom is a super model with her own booming business and lives a life out of a magazine. For every one of those moms, I could see 65 people trekking their way to a minimum wage job to feed their families. For every uber rich family I know (and love) in Park City--whose life begins to seem "the norm" when it is all I am surrounded by, there are thousands of individuals scraping by but who have the necessities of life.

So in summary--I guess I'm saying that through this wonderful friendship with people from entirely different backgrounds than mine, I am remembering what it felt like to be a missionary in Illinois, entering people's homes who had little to nothing. Remembering my days in New York City where I would go tracting with the sisters in the projects, and see the sad lives and cycle of poverty. I'm learning so much about Sudan, Kenya, and Africa in general, and even making new friends whom I'm meeting through Abraham and Adheiu. I'm sacrificing my time and money to help someone really build their life. And I cherish it. I love what it is teaching my children as well.

Things I have/can do that Adheiu would absolutely love to have/be able to do:
-Read, Write, and Speak English
-Drive a car
-I have both of my parents and all my siblings
-Beautiful children to raise
-A safe place to live
-Peace of mind that my parents have enough food to eat and are safe from violence
-Job skills

These are things I don't even THINK about day to day. But I do now. And I will try again and again to burst my Instagram, Facebook bubble and taste more of the real world.

*I hope this didn't sound too horn tooting or manifesto-y

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Molly's Mind--Unleashed

Vic reading "The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie" to me while waking up from surgery. The nurse thought it was the sweetest thing and snapped a photo. 

I've never been a nail person. You know, someone who paints their nails. I try, but it just isn't me. Toenails, yes. But fingernails? Not so much. I can do clear, or maybe a nice French manicure, but that is about it. I love the plain, dark, muddy colors I see women wearing on the fingernails, but I just can't do it. Too much upkeep.

Why am I telling you this? Just for your your information. My mind has been coming back to this little factoid about myself again and again as I scroll through my Facebook feed and see all sorts of nail designs. So there you have it. I'm not a nail person.

I've been crying more lately. I have been feeling a connection to Lucy and my other loved ones who have passed on. I guess by that I mean my close friend, Justin. Greatly do I miss him. (I just wanted to word that sentence as such. Get over it. Greatly do I miss him).

Just yesterday, a friend of ours gave Vic a poem that he'd written right after Lucy died. He held onto it for 6 years, waiting for the right time to give it to us. I read it while we were eating dinner at DP Cheesesteaks--and I didn't care how many people in line could see me cry. It felt so wonderful to FEEL. To remember that blonde beauty of mine. The tears on my cheeks felt so cleansing. I don't know how to explain it.

I was told that you were mine to borrow for just a little while
but I did not expect that time would be so short--
and I suppose that is why
my heart is broken

My fairy princess
so brightly light the night and
sprinkle your little dust of hope
to us who stay below

So many marvelous and wonderful plans for us
that were just not meant to be
but as I watch the butterflies
I will always think of thee

My little darling beautiful girl
with your locks of gold
more precious than the world could buy
which I so long to hold-

Fly away to all the dreams we had for you,
and we hope that maybe someday
we will know
why you had to go

So fly my little one--
fly away to Parents' arms far stronger than my own
and when they hug you-
will you please ask them to hold me too?

Until we meet again
with the angels sing
and remember us as we will always remember you
through the butterfly's wings.

Can you handle it? I had a little girl. Her name was Lucy--and she died. She is gone. She is not here to play with her brother and sister. And I miss her. I miss the part of me that she took with her. The emptiness she left has been filled with something new and wonderful and strange...because I could not go on living as a broken being. And when I read words like this; when I know that someone took the time to put their thoughts and feelings into a poem, it touches that broken part of me. It reminds me of love and miracles and healing and hope and tenderness and hopelessness and the brevity of life.

I'm just spewing out words and thoughts here. I'm trying to make sense of things.

Other than not being a nail person, and missing my Lucy, and crying over poems, I am adjusting to my new nose--and having a hard time with it. But as one of my favorite quotes goes, "What can you do or drag a board?" (I don't even really know what this means. But my friend, Karyn Mann always says it. You start off my saying what can you do..but give no other option besides dragging a board. Get used to it).

As far as all the rigmarole happening in the Mormon Church right now goes--I don't know. I have different thoughts and feelings. It's no secret I am a progressive/liberal Mormon. But when it comes down to it...I really don't know anything. I have no desire to debate or figure out who is right or wrong. I'd rather spend my energy having fun, going on adventures, and enjoying all the parts about people that really matter to me. (In other words, the parts about people I enjoy/that matter to me are not really what they believe...but how I feel around them. What I can learn from their personal experiences. The adventures we can have together. Their talents, etc).

Here comes another subject: TV. I enjoyed binge watching "The Mindy Project" after my surgery. Such a funny show. Can't wait for the next season. I have a total crush on Danny Castellano.

I think I've just cleared a few cobwebs from my mind. (I didn't include EVERYTHING I am thinking about the whole church debacle...That takes some serious one on one conversation. It's difficult to be yourself in a very conservative church when you, yourself, are not a very conservative person).

Have a wonderful weekend my friends. Look for my Lucy on butterfly's wings.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Birthday Letter to my Zoë June

To my Petite Red-Headed Princess,

We flew in from Costa Rica on your 2nd birthday, June 5th.  I was so anxious to see you and wrap my arms around your tiny little body.

When Stacey (our friend who picked us up from the airport) pulled up the the curb with you in the backseat, I could hardly believe how grown up you looked! She had done your hair in two low piggy tails and you were wearing a new pink, fluffy birthday dress. Your hair is getting so long!

I ran to the car and watched as you kicked your feet excitedly in your car seat, your giant Julia Roberts smile beaming across your face. Your big brother unbuckled himself and jumped out to give me and daddy a hug. After loading our luggage in the trunk, I hopped in and sat next to you in the back, marveling at your beauty.

As we drove home, I couldn't stop kissing you and tickling you and squeezing you. You are two! You are beautiful! You are my baby!

We said our thank you's and goodbyes to Stacey and decided to go out for dinner to celebrate. You and your brother were so sweet with each other, and so happy to see us. I was so worried you would be upset that we'd left you for 8 days. It was such a joy to be together again as a family.

It's hard to believe you have surpassed your sister's age. The other day, while you were, yet again, watching Frozen, I started getting so emotional as I heard the red-headed Anna singing a duet with her blonde sister, "Do you Wanna Build a Snowman?" I mourn that my girls cannot be together. I have no doubt you would idolize her. You copy Peter's every move as it is. I can only imagine how you would be with Lucy.

Zoë--you have brought healing to our family. Of course it was wonderful to have Peter in our arms again after Lucy died...but there was something about you, from the second you were born, that cooled the fire of our grief. Of my three children, you are by far the most calm, the most sweet, the most agreeable. I can actually reason with you! If you don't want to get in your car seat, I can explain to you why you need to and you will say, "Ok", and get right in. If you are walking the wrong direction, I can take you by the hand and lead you the right way. Simple as that. I would have spent 30 minutes dealing with a tantrum from hell if you were Peter in that situation. You are my only child to sit still in my lap while I read a book, who will cuddle with me while I rock you to sleep, and who would take a binky. You just amaze me.

You aren't perfectly behaved all the time...of course not. But you make me melt with your utter adorableness. It is more than I can handle sometimes. Thank you for being patient with your mommy as she balances everything in life.

I love you, my Zoë June. Tiny, petite, lively, gorgeous, adorable, darling, loving, sweet, cuddly, gregarious YOU. I love watching you sing and dance. You are amazingly coordinated and your awareness of stage presence and how to hold your body is truly astounding for a 2 year old. I have no idea where you get it. (wink) Watching you learn and grow each day is the source of some of my greatest joy. I love you more than you may ever know.

Hugs and kisses,


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Update on the Schnauz

Here's the dill. This anesthesia business is no joke. It's been six days and I am still dizzy and loopy. Each day gets better...but it takes effort to not walk in circles. When I focus on something, be it T.V. or cooking or taking care of the kids, I can push past it. But the minute I sit down or stop focusing on a task, I feel a bit tipsy.

The good news is that I'm breathing better. The swelling peaked at day 3 (Father's Day) and I can feel it gradually going down. Hallelujah. I still have to sleep elevated and on my back, which is not the most comfortable, but I am in a safe, clean home with my little loves. I'm on a comfortable mattress with pillows and my husband reads me to sleep every night. (Our current obsession is the Flavia DeLuce series by Alan Bradley. Absolutely delightful!) And I just had a surgery that I've always wanted--so I really have no complaining to do.

But let's cut to the chase. The photo below is me at day 5--which was yesterday. I'm wearing makeup for the first time but you can still see the yellowing under my eyes and the patch of purple bruising. (Yes, those are my real eyelashes. I only point that out because I've gotten a barrage of comments about them lately. I think with all the eyelash extension stuff out there these days, people are asking more and more if mine are real.)

During surgery, the doctor made a "W" shaped incision under my nose (in between the two nostrils) and pulled the nose back. Then he placed in the plastic "button" (to bridge my lower and upper septum--I had a hole, remember?), filed down the bump on the top of my nose and shaped and stitched the tip. 

Today the nurse took off all my bandages and outer stitches! I have to say...it is WEIRD. I have a new nose! I am still very swollen and there is still a butt load (it seems) of inner stitches.  However, you can still get a very good idea of how the finished product is going to look. 

I just snapped these with my phone so you can't see all the gruesome details. But believe me when I say I definitely look like I just had plastic surgery...ya know? It is hard for me to smile because it pulls on the nose and hurts. I still feel very plasticy and numb. But it's such a relief to have that outer splint off and to have permission to get my nose wet. 

Doctor Randal Swenson said (I totally just dropped his full name again because if you are thinking of having anything done on your face...be it an eye lift or face lift or nose job--he is the man to call) that the most common comment I will get is that people will think I've lost weight. I saw a friend this afternoon and she said it looked like I'd had a face lift. Interesting. 

So there you have it. A quick peek at Molly's new nose. I think the 50 year-old me is going to be very glad that I did this. But it is going to take some getting used to. No question. And like I said, I am still very swollen so this is not the final outcome. Some of you may like it, some of you may not...and that's totally fine. 

I'll post more photos in the coming days as it continues to change. It is still surreal to me that I actually did this. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Why I Decided to get a nose job

I think the desire came around age 15 or 16. I wanted a different nose. I didn't know how or when this could be possible, but it sank into my subconscious and anchored itself firmly on the bottom of my thoughts.

As a young girl, I got an acorn stuck up my nose. How exactly this happened, I am unsure. I must have stuck it up there. My 4 year old self only remembers titling my head extremely back and looking up at a tree in our Virginian yard. I always thought it just "fell" in my nose. I have no idea. My mom will remember the details better (or maybe she has forgotten)? I do remember going to the doctor's office and having him remove it with some long, thin, metal tweezer/plyer things. 

Whether or not this is what started the hole in my septum, I don't know. Like most kids, my hands were always exploring the inside of my nose, or picking at toenails, playing with my belly button, pulling at my earlobes...just general body exploration. 

The thing is, anytime I'd blow my nose, it was always somewhat bloody. For years it felt like there was a huge blockage in my nose so I was always picking at it...which then made it bleed more. I think the hole was trying to fix itself, but as it did so, it felt to me like there was a giant booger that was dying to get out so I could breathe better. I had no idea I was making the problem worse. I always chalked my bloody noses up to the dry Idaho air once we moved there around Jr. High. 

It wasn't until my first consultation with a surgeon in Park City that I learned I had the hole in my septum the size of someone who had been sniffing serious drugs for 15 years. I was shocked!  This particular surgeon was snooty and expensive, with a horrible bedside manner, and informed me there was nothing he could do to fix the hole.  Not to mention, he didn't believe me when I told him I'd never done drugs! (If it is small enough, they can stitch it closed...mine was too large). "Why are you getting a nose job in your 30's?" "Most of my patients get them in their late teens or early 20's." 'Thirties is usually a boob job." "40's a tummy tuck and eyes." "And 50's a face lift". WELL...I'm sorry I'm off schedule! Do you want my business or not? Not impressed. 

Luckily, a good friend of mine recently had rhinoplasty done (such an unfortunate name for nose surgery...I mean...)and had spent an extensive amount of time researching surgeons and paying hundreds of dollars for consultations--all the way from California to Idaho and Utah. She basically did the research for me and referred me to the best of the best! Dr. Ronald Swenson. He's an ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) doctor and a plastic surgeon. He's been practicing for over 30 years and he's wonderful! Terrific bedside manner (this is important to me. I had a HORRIBLE experience with a doctor at Primary Children's when Lucy choked), he's extremely professional, thorough, and all the nurses and staff at IMC raved about him. 

Again, let me go back to my point about not knowing how this was actually going to happen. I didn't know how Vic felt about it. I had no idea if my insurance would cover any of it. I didn't know how we'd pay for our portion of it. But I knew that if I was scheduling consultations, talking to friends, researching on the internet, and dreaming and scheming, that it was something I really wanted in my heart of hearts. And it turns out, Vic was extremely supportive. Not because he didn't/doesn't think I'm beautiful as is...but because he knows this is something I've wanted for a long time...and he has a hard time saying no to me. I love that about him. 

Once my friend referred me to Dr. Swenson, it all kind of clicked. I had my first consultation with him back in November--and that's when he told me he could "fix" the hole in my septum. He would be putting in a plastic "button", or divider between the top and bottom of my septum (to act as a normal, complete septum would). With the hole in there, mucus was getting caught and crusting over. Then I would pick at it and the process would start again. It also became a place for bacteria to live and grow since it wasn't sluffing off and exiting like most mucus normally would. 

I wanted to schedule the surgery right away but was cast in Les Mis and had to wait a few more months. Luckily, all the money I made from the show is going to pay for a large portion of the procedure! It pays to be a whore! (My mom won't think that's funny...sorry). Insurance will cover 80% of the medical portion. 

After doing a cat scan on my nose, it was not only determined that there was a large hole in there, but that the remaining portion of my septum that I DID have was crooked. They also discovered I have an extra sinus. About 10% of the population are born with an extra sinus. Interesting. It's not necessarily a good or bad thing..but it can get in the way of your turbinates--the airways that filter and humidify the air you breathe. 

Along with the hole was a small "spur" in the delicate bone of my inner nose. It was time to get to work. 

Here's the thing--I could elect to not have this surgery and just hope that my nose wouldn't collapse as I got older. Without the entire septum in place, there is a risk of that happening. Also, let's talk cosmetics here..there is the issue of my "butt nose"--a nickname my brothers gave me ages ago. 

As you can see here, there is a definitive line down the middle of my nose. I don't think most people notice it unless they are extremely close to me. If you were to feel it, it's quite pronounced. At times it is purple in color. The butt was one thing...but there is another component to the butt. 

The one sided saggy butt syndrome. If you look at the tip of my nose, you'll see that one side of the "butt" hangs down lower than the other. Dr. Swenson informed me that as I age, this will continue to droop more and more. 

SO. I can fix the hole in my septum so that mucus runs off naturally and doesn't get stuck, so it won't create crustiness and bacteria--which also insures no collapsing of the nose (forming a dipping look from the outside) as I age. He can fix the spur that sticks out from the perforated septum.  And he can collapse the extra sinus, allowing me better breathing. (Truthfully, I've never had a problem with breathing. The hole in my nose let in a lot of air! I have an excellent sense of smell as well). But if I'm breathing just fine before surgery, imagine how I'm going to breathe once everything is healed. Wonderfully, I hope. 

It just felt like the right thing to do. And since he's going in anyway, might as well get rid of the butt while he's at it. Aesthetically, there was more than just the butt that "needed" to be corrected (the bump on the top of my nose, noticeable in my profile, and the rotation of my nose--as it is quite pointy and rotated downward). 

The surgery itself really snuck up on us with our trip to Costa Rica, Zoë and Lucy's birthdays, and the general busyness of life--but despite feeling a little unprepared (mostly Vic), the entire process went so smoothly and felt so effortless that I knew it was the right choice for me. Never did my gut tell me not to do it. I got a little anxious the evening before (My sister and friend Rachael each talked me through it and let me vent) but woke up the morning of my surgery feeling very excited. 

Here are a few last thoughts before I end. (I'll blog more about the actual surgery...being put under, what they did while I was out, the kind of care I got at the hospital, photos of the damage, etc.--later next week). These are the things I talked about with Amy and Rachael:

-Augh! What am I doing? This is going to cost a lot of money. We could be paying down our mortgage or really helping someone in need. 

-What if I die in surgery? 

-Am I just so selfish and vain? 

-What if I miss my prominent Jewish nose? 

The thing I was most hung up on was the money. I am on the cusp of doing some more work with "A Good Grief" to really get it off the ground once and for all, as a full-fledged non-profit with a huge increase in donations. In the process of working with an agency to make this happen, they showed me some video clips of other organizations that they help fund. (The Red Cross is a huge client of theirs). One of the clips was an organization that helps prevent child sex slavery. Did you know that every year, ONE MILLION children are taken from their homes to be sex slaves? ONE. MILLION. I watched this promo/fundraising video the evening before my surgery and thought, "These children and parents are living an unimaginable nightmare. To me, it is much worse than death. And here I am, getting a new nose even though mine functions just fine." 

I stopped everything and prayed my heart out for those kids. It sickens me to no end. 

Am I the only one who can go from plastic surgery to child sex slavery in one post? I think you get my point. I was conflicted. I can't tell you any wise words of how I justified this decision, to spend thousands of dollars to make myself feel better. But it's what I decided to do. Not just for the present Molly, but for the future Molly. My nose problems are only going to get worse as I age. 

The other thing that might surprise you, is discovering how many of my friends have had a nose job. So many more than you'd think. 

Also, it has not escaped me, the irony, in that I was just posting pictures of me in a bikini in Costa Rica declaring self-love, self-acceptance, a healthy lifestyle, and celebrating all that our bodies are capable of. Hmmm...I'll have to think through that some more. 

Such is the life of a woman. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

This and That

First of all...COSTA RICA! I mean!!!! It was pure bliss! Here are a few photos to wet your pallet. I will share more photos and deets later this week. We spent 8 glorious days celebrating our 10 year anniversary. I am so grateful we had this experience. These photos are just the tip of the iceberg. If you follow me on Instagram (smallyspice) you have seen most of what we did. But there are so many fun stories to tell. 


Zoë June turned 2!

I have been composing a birthday letter to her in my mind all week. All about the wonderful little doll that she is--all that she does to make my heart swoon. I can't wait to put down in writing all that she means to me. 

Third--today is Lucy's birthday. Her 8th earthly birthday. It's hard for me to fathom that I would have an 8 year old. I am at peace today. I also have a birthday letter for my little Lucy love. 

And last but not least--

I'm having nose surgery on Friday, the 13th. Ummm...I didn't realize the date my surgery was scheduled for until I called a friend and left her a voicemail with the details. I hope this isn't a bad omen. You guys--I have a giant hole in my septum the size of someone who has been using cocaine for 15 years! I figure that while they are in there straightening things out and putting in a new plastic septum/divider, they might as well give me a nose job while they are at it. 

It's true! I'm getting a new nose! And I have no problem telling you all about it. I will be blogging a series of photos and updates pre and post surgery. I know many of my friends and family have mixed feelings about this. But the good news is that I do not. I know very clearly that this is what I want to do. 

"But you have such a beautiful, prominent, Barbara Streisand nose!"

"But what about the actress from Dirty Dancing who got a nose job and then she never got work as an actress again?"

Well--luckily, for me and my nose, I am not a famous actress and am not worried about no longer getting work. 

Oh, I will tell you so much more about it. Including the cat scan images of the inside of my nose and what they are going to do to it in surgery. This is going to be saving me a lot of problems as I age to have it done now. 

So there it is. Wish me luck!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Mother's Day Interview

Vic sat down with pen and paper (while I napped the afternoon away) and had a little "Mother's Day" interview with my Peter boy. It went exactly as follows:

-What is something that mommy always says to you?
Her says, "a good example."

-What makes mommy happy?
Her loves singing. Maybe we can sing for her. 

-What makes mommy sad?
When I'm mad

-How does mommy make you laugh?
From tickling me and squeezing my tummy

-What was mommy like when she was a little girl?
I don't know. I think her liked her necklace that I found. (I still have my plastic charm necklace from Claire's)

-How old is mommy?
I don't know

-What's mommy's favorite thing to do?
Wow. That's a lot of words. How did you learn to write?
-I practiced and went to school
I wish you went to juggling school

-What does mommy do when you're not around?
Her changes Zoë's diaper

-If mommy becomes famous, what will it be for?
I don't know. Maybe her can be a rockstar. 

-What is mommy not very good at?
I want this question to be done so we can play checkers.

-What does mommy do for her job?
Her goes where we went for Tarzan. (The Hale Centre Theatre)

-What makes you proud of mommy?
The dishes

-If mommy was a cartoon character, who would she be?
I think maybe the unicorn who flys. 

-How are you and mommy the same?
Taps his lips--maybe because we don't lose

-How are you and mommy different?
The thing what mommy has when Zoë was born and there was milk in there.

-How do you know mommy loves you?
Because when I do good stuff, her loves me. I already know. 

-Where's mommy's favorite place to go?

I love this so much.