So, of course, the week wherein I need to get some serious work done (in addition to planning and preparing for Laurel’s first birthday party), I fall ill. My symptoms are flu-like, but I don’t think it’s the flu. Because if it were, it would be H1N1, and I am IMPERVIOUS TO PANDEMICS! So, I’m popping ibuprofen and Emergen-C (the latter of which will probably result in some digestive … distress … in the coming days) in hopes of keeping that roadkill feeling at bay until I can crawl out from under the weather.

Goals for today: Finish my introduction revision and send off to Chair 1. After that, I need to write up a small, short (500 words) freelance piece that’s due tomorrow. Sadly, that means I have to do some interview transcribing, which I hate more than life itself.

Goals for the rest of the week: get back to revising my Chapter 4, then next week I need to retrofit Chapter 1 to speak to my revised, more explicit framework, and then on the 30th, I send the introduction and Chapters 1 and 4 to both my chairs and my out of department committee member (she’s my big foodways person, so her role is bigger than that of just a reader).

Phew. Meanwhile, I’m home and trying to make peace with all of the spooky noises that the house makes during the day. *trembles*

On Courage

I will do some diss-related updating soon (extreme micro version: workshopped my introduction with my diss group today and the overarching theme was, “good bones, bulk things up, yay you!” Chair 1 wants to see a revised version of my intro before I send it and two chapter drafts to her and Chair 2 in advance of a meeting the three of us will have to discuss the State of My Career and Like Such As.)

But I want to share here something I’ve been thinking about for the past few days as my daughter’s first birthday approaches. It dawned on me last night that having children in and of itself takes courage. It’s a risk to bring children into the world and all of its beauty, joy, sadness, and danger. It’s a cliche by now, but parenting is not for the faint of heart, from the minute-to-minute work of keeping the newborn alive to pushing through irrational anger when your baby won’t let you sleep to choosing not to get into a power struggle with the preschooler over what he’s going to wear of a day.

But I also realized that it takes courage to decide to stop having children. It’s an acknowledgment that a certain part of your life is over and an acceptance that it’s time to move forward into an ever-uncertain future.

In recent months I have considered the possibility of having a third child, simply because I’ve enjoyed my daughter so much this past year and it breaks my heart every day to know that once these days are over, they’re gone. But I’m 37 and detest being pregnant and never, ever want to have another C-section, and the newborn days are so very, very difficult. I look forward to having a full night’s sleep and to not having to get up at 7 or earlier of a weekend morning. I look forward to not having to jump through logistical hoops to meet my girlfriends for drinks because so much of the children’s bedtime routine depends on me (especially the nursling’s). And so on. I anticipate and welcome the freedom of having older children, and also watching my two darlings become who they’re meant to be.

And yet. There’s a part of me that resists the imminent end of the baby days. Those sweet, snuggly times when every new discovery is a wonder, when you marvel at how brilliant and different your children are from you and each other. The thrill of new teeth and curls and the beginnings of words. I don’t want these days to end, but the only way to keep them going is to have more children, and that’s simply not an option for our family for so many reasons.

It’s responsible to stop at two. It’s the sane thing to do, for our family. It’s such a bittersweet time for me, the moment of turning my back on these rose-hued days for good, of closing the door. It takes courage to face this future, a future of no more children, a conscious decision to move into the next phase of our lives, even though that decision simultaneously brings my mortality into stark relief.

Maybe, just maybe, what I’m saying is that in some small way I identify with Michelle Duggar.


Another late start yesterday, as Laurel slept in after a rough wakening at 5am. Continued polishing introduction, adding a quick and dirty historicization of recipes THROUGH THE AGES. But this means that I get to dip a little bit into food blogs, which is fun because I’ve kind of turned into a little Pioneer Woman fangirl of late. Realized in the shower yesterday morning that I owe work to diss group for Monday, so I’ll be doing a lot more quick and dirty work on the intro today in order to send it off to them tonight.

I have found that keeping a notebook and functioning pen with me at all times is extremely useful for those moments when inspiration strikes and I’m away from my laptop. So, if I get a bolt and I’m, say, walking from my office to the gym, I can just whip out my notebook and scribble away. Also, sitting at red lights. An opportunity for improvement in this arena, however, would be to scribble LEGIBLY so that when I come back to those notes, I know what the hell I’m reading.

Very little time to do work on the intro today. I’m in meetings from 2-5pm, have other crap to work on, including the paper I’m presenting in Salt Lake City tomorrow. Too. much. to. do. Have to get up at 4am tomorrow to make a 6:30am flight.

Back to work.