A Baby #OneGoodThing – The Student Affairs Collective

2016 was not my favorite year, but it won’t go down as one of the worst (I’m still pretty angry at 2006, and I’m a terrible grudge-holder).

This year, my wife got pregnant—by design, no surprises here folks! In January, we realized it was now or never to start trying to get her pregnant. We had researched sperm banks fertility clinics and the home insemination process for a while, but “now was happening NOW” and we had to go back to our online dating days (we met online) to find the perfect father for our theoretical bundle of joy. Then were the trials and tribulations of two women getting one preggers (look it up if you can’t figure it out).

Continue reading at: The Student Affairs Collective A Baby #OneGoodThing – The Student Affairs Collective

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#SAFirstJobs–“Things might have been different, but they could not have been better. | This Side of Theory”

This has been the hardest contribution to a blog series I’ve written

July 21, 2011

“Yes, I’ll gladly accept the position, thank you so much for your consideration.”

“Start date? Well, my mother died 2 days ago…thank you…so I know that they want me to start ASAP, but I need some time to…yes, thank you…I can’t do anything before August 1. Thank you for your kindness, yes, I’ll be in touch with the department.”

Continue reading at: Things might have been different, but they could not have been better. | This Side of TheoryThis Side of Theory.

Being in the Moment When Everything is Falling

"I have decided to be happy, because it is good for my health." Voltaire

“I have decided to be happy, because it is good for my health.” Voltaire
from Etsy

I’ve been trying to write a student affairs-related post for about a week now, but I have had no energy to get the thoughts into cohesion. Some of it has to do with end-of-the-year craziness (May 17…on May 17, all will be right in the world), but some of it is personal, which is totally blocking my ability to think about much more than the tasks immediately at hand.

2 days after the mess that was the Boston Marathon Bombings, I received a late-evening call from my dad–Monday he’d been diagnosed with Squamous cell carcinoma & was having it removed Wednesday; totally routine, he’d be in & out that day & could even drive himself! Yeah, not so much. After a few hours at the Dermatologist, he was told to call a family friend because he was going to Worcester for emergency plastic surgery. The cancer was all gone, but so was my dad’s nose. When he called me afterward; distraught, in shock, and totally overwhelmed, I think I broke a little–I’d spent all day Monday watching the news & communicating my safety to loved ones; I found out the following day that someone I was once very close to was a volunteer medic at the finish line, and my empathy for her was immense; now this.

I don’t think I realized just how closed up I had become until reading a blog post from a fellow polytheist/pagan and came upon this line (edited for swearing):

See, [stuff] happens, and that’s the way it is; pick a mythology, any mythology, and stuff on a cosmic level of SUCK happens to all the gods. Any god. Pick one. If they can’t spare themselves and their own families what the hell makes humans think that they’re going to get a free ride and have everything handed to them on a [omitted] platter?”

As I wrote in my last post,  the Gods don’t LET things happen, they just do. The gods of most ancient religions were part of the world, not outside of it, as with many modern religions, and are bound by it. Because I view Them as part of the world, I cannot expect any one of Them to single ME, or Boston, or even the USA out of all the other millions of people, and cities, not to mention animals, plants and ecosystems. Talking to my dad on Sunday, after several more visits to check the healing before the reconstruction, and as he’s getting ready to return to work after a couple of weeks away, he told me that he’d been feeling really sorry for himself until he remembered the woman attacked by a chimp in 2009. Laughing, he said that he had it pretty good.

And he does. So do I.

I’m meeting a friend in Downtown Crossing after work, so tonight I will get off the T at Hynes & walk down Boylston Street, being HERE. NOW.  Hopefully, a few of the negative daemons that have plagued me since Patriot’s Day will be exorcised as I enjoy the sun & air.

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” 
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring

Here. Now.

I enjoyed participating in Reverb Broads this past summer, even though I didn’t blog as much as I (always) want. When I saw that the 1st set of December prompts were up, I decided to try participating again.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received from a parent and/or sibling? Worst advice?

The best advice I’ve ever received came from my dad. We have not always seen eye to eye, but this was one thing that stuck despite all the teen angst and young adult anger.

Often enough for it to become annoying, my dad (who thinks of himself as some kind of mix between his heroes Kwai Chang Caine and Jesus) would turn to my brother and/or I and ask the questions, “Where are you? What time is it?” Over time, we learned that he was being philosophical, not literal; the correct answers are, “Here. Now.” As a tween and teen, I appreciated the sentiment of this lesson, but it wasn’t until later, when I became an adult and began juggling work, relationships, friendships, commuting, family, living on my own, furthering my education, etc, etc that I began to understand.

Understanding does not always translate into action however, and I absolutely forget to think about these two relatively simple words.  I am always sometimes get carried away with planning for my future, from what I’m having for lunch & dinner this week and how we’re going to tackle holiday shopping to buying a house and potentially planning a family. I’m a worrier by nature, so being HERE, NOW is a challenge. Actually, maybe I’ll cheat on #oneword2013 and use two…now THAT is something to think about.

Worst advice…I can’t say anything has really stuck out. My family is/was kind of crazy, so much of the advice I’ve received over the years  has been less than ideal, but can I really say it’s been BAD? Nothing that immediately comes to mind anyway.

Rambles

Inside Fenway Park

This is not the best picture of me ever taken. But it’s not the worst either–it’s one of the downfalls of being alone at an event like this, you only have so much time to grab a picture while dodging thousands of other people trying to do the same thing. Yes, this picture was taken at the Fenway park 100th Anniversary Open House.

What does this have to do with anything you may ask? A couple things. My mom, who fostered my love of baseball and the Red Sox, passed away this past summer, and wasn’t able to join me in this. As I walked around the sacred grounds where mom and I spent as much time as our wallets could afford (less and less time as the team became better and ticket prices grew ), I pictured the look that would have been on her face as she stepped onto the warning track, or touched the Green Monster; two things she did on a tour of the park, but she always had a childishness about her, which annoyed me to no end. I wish I had appreciated that  more in the last few years as I became even more serious than I always had been, and her ability to cope with the real world diminished. I want, no need to learn how to be a child again, to appreciate the wonder that is still out there. Mentally I know it exists–otherwise Fantasy wouldn’t be my favorite literary genre–but I have an inability to participate in that novelty, to appreciate it.

I almost didn’t go because it meant going alone. My fiancee Ellie had signed up for OT, and my friends were otherwise engaged. Because of the invisible systems that say “going to an event alone means you have no friends,” my anxiety, which THRIVES on these systems, went into overdrive. When I first read that post, I wanted to write about it because it hit me, but after 2 days and no more than 2 paragraphs that kept being re-written, I scrapped it, thinking it was something I would never be able to put into words. If I had allowed this system to win, I never would have attended the Open House, and by extension, would not have participated in a casting call I was made aware of a few week ago.

Living the dream

Walking onto the field under the lights at Fenway Park? Yes please.

See, I had the opportunity of a lifetime last night: I was an “extra” in the practice run for today’s 100th Anniversary ceremony. I’m not posting this to brag (well, maybe a little bit), but to comment on what I saw during this experience. I was surrounded by ~100 people who were experiencing something that they had only ever dreamed of–to walk onto the field at Fenway Park, following in the footsteps of Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, Tony C, Johnny Pesky, Pudge Fiske…you get the point. As we waited in the concourse for things to start, people kept running up the ramps and stairs to take pictures, they took pictures of themselves and companions by everything that wouldn’t move. They all had that sense of wonder and amazement that my mom would have had. As people walked onto the field, you could see them just looking around–I saw the same look in the eyes of the alumni as they walked onto the field watching the live steam today.

I don’t have those moments too often, which is a detriment. Last night, I could tell that I wasn’t as “in the moment” as everyone else, being focused on the fact that I was alone–I had to pull myself out of the thought it was bad to be alone over and over again. The picture on the right was taken just as I connected to my mom in a way that I hadn’t done in about 5 years: “This really IS the Field of Dreams, these people are living that movie right now,” exactly what my mom has said about Fenway for as long as I can remember. It’s a point I have always felt, but rarely experienced , being caught up in the fear of being judged as not serious enough, or not passionate enough, or whatever my fear was that day/hour/minute.

I hesitate on a lot of things due to some pre-conceived (usually made up) notion that I’m supposed to be-or not be-a particular thing. I wish to be more active in Pro Orgs, do more with Girl Scouts, reach out and actually *gulp* meet people. But I don’t because of the invisible voices that tell me I can’t.

“You know we just don’t recognize the most significant moments of our lives while they’re happening. Back then I thought, well, there’ll be other days. I didn’t realize that that was the only day.” ~Dr. Archibald “Moonlight” Graham

Of course I had to steal a quote from Field of Dreams to end this. This might be the only day.