Sometimes, We Cry Over the Silliest Things

For Mother’s Day, I shared a snippet of my journey through being a mom of a baby in the NICU. I thought I had faced most of those demons, but we defrosted our fridge last weekend.

When I came home from Texas Children’s Hospital, the Milk Bank sent me home with over 100 bottles of breastmilk I had pumped while staying at the hospital. They represented hours of work and tears. I put them all in the chest freezer. We did not use bottles and they all just sat there. I knew the effort that I had put into those bottles, so I started looking into donating them. It turns out that donating breastmilk is not at all easy to do. Nearly impossible, which is very sad.

Then, Hurricane Ike made an appearance.

We live less than four miles from the coastline and, while we may be at the high point in our neighborhood, we are always in one of the first zones to evacuate. We went north to safety with our four month old baby in tow. Our house was fine, but the electricity went out for about 24 hours. The chest freezer contents were alright, but I did not want to take a chance on the milk if it had even defrosted a little. I had to throw it all out. It was difficult, but I did it.

There was this one bottle though, wedged in a corner and cemented in ice. It would not budge and I left it there.

Seven years later, it was time to defrost the freezer. Past time, actually. I unloaded all the other contents and there was that bottle. I had forgotten it was there, covered up by some cranberries and juice from the lemon tree. It was wedged tight, still. I turned off the freezer and waited. A couple hours later, I knelt down, pulled out the bottle, and took it inside.

I put it on the counter.

I never could fill these things up by pumping. I'm in awe of working moms who do.
I never could fill these things up by pumping. I’m in awe of working moms who do.

The label has his name, medical number (which I had memorized after a few days because I wrote it so often), the date (6/2/08), the time (8am), and medications (which I never listed because I was too tired to write advil every dang time).

I moved it around the counter.

I carried it around the kitchen. I put it in the fridge. I took it out. I put it back on the counter. I looked at it all day.

I could not throw it away.

That night, I was washing dishes, looking at it sitting on the counter, and I started to cry.

That bottle was hours of sitting in a curtained off space in the Milk Bank at Texas Children’s. It was oceans of tears shed while I begged God for the life of my son or the fortitude to survive if he did not. It was words of prayer sent up. It was almost seven weeks of sleeping at the hospital, going to the Milk Bank every 3 hours without fail to pump. It was mastitis and wondering if I was making an effort for nothing. It was pain and heartache.

That bottle was realizing that my baby might live. It was falling in love with Mr. R all over again as he read C.S. Lewis to our boy who we had never yet heard cry. It was holding Gideon for the first time when he finally got off ECMO and was stable. It was rejoicing when I was able to feed him for the first time. It was joy and peace.

That bottle is still sitting in my fridge. Mr. Rochester asked me today if I wanted him to throw it out. I said no. I think I will pour out the milk and save the bottle.

I want to be reminded of that time. I want to remember the tears and the joy. I want to look at it and remember to be thankful for what I have been given because it is a blessing, that child that lived against all odds. I want to remember what it feels like to be cast into the fire and come out refined. I want to remember so I will remember to share my story.

Sometimes we cry over silly things and sometimes we remember why we are blessed by those tears.

This Moment

This first year of motherhood is overwhelming, joyful, and stretches you beyond your limits. Eventually, the children learn to amuse themselves, though they still need you for many, many things. Once Bairn4 turned one, I started writing again. I wrote a book, Mob Rule Learning.

It was an interesting process, writing non-fiction. I found through the process that I preferred writing non-fiction in the length of articles and blog posts, not books. The process did give me the confidence to try something new and different.

Then Bairn1 came along and I was again in the throes of high maintenance motherhood. The youngest Rochesterling has achieved the ability to amuse himself and thus I have again been writing. All the free time I could squeeze out has been spent working on a new project.

I wrote a novel, a fantasy romance, that has been bouncing around in my head for a very long time. Unlike the non-fiction experience, it was exhilarating. I am now polishing up the manuscript for submission. That part of the process makes me freeze with anxiety and fear. I have determined that one step at a time is the best way to tackle the anxiety of the submission process.

I have begun, in the past year, to drop my ALA committments and disengage from libraryland. Oh, I still follow mostly librarians on Twitter, though they are starting to be outnumbered by editors, publishers, and writers. I will still be presenting at Internet Librarian in October. I loved being a librarian and I may be one again, some day, but my heart’s desire is to write more. Now that Bairn4 and Bairn1 are older, I can write more here, there, and everywhere.

Being at home means I can juggle writing in between quiet time, preschool, and PBS Kids. I am going to use this opportunity to see what I can do.

That is where I am at this moment. A once librarian (and maybe again some day) stay at home mom who wants to write stories with kissing in them.

–Jane, happy with her place

Maternity Haitus

While there may be an occasional post, I am placing this blog on maternity leave until later in May.

I will have the obligatory baby post here in the next couple of weeks, whenever he decides to make his appearance.

–Jane, will need extra moments for sleeping

You know you are a geek when…

You have a serious debate with your husband over what order is the proper viewing order for Star Wars when it is time to introduce them to your children.

Do you go with the traditional viewing, Episodes 4,5,6,1,2,3?

Do you show them chronology and run the risk of the special effects of the newer ones shadowing the campiness of the older ones? Will the crappy dialog and terrible acting of Episodes 1-3 completely turn off the young ones?

We came to the conclusion that Star Wars is best shown in the traditional manner, with the original trilogy followed by the newer movies. Besides the reasons stated above, we also feel that Episodes 1-3 allude to events and people in the older Episodes (4-6) which enrich the viewing experience.

–Jane, thinks the Jedi Drinking Song Prequel says it all

Curious George Is No Monkey

This not a new controversy, but it still has been bothering me. One of the Wee Bairn’s favorite books is Curious George Feeds the Animals. In this book, it says that George was a curious little monkey.

Any first year Anthropology student can tell you that all monkeys have tails and Curious George plainly has absolutely no tail. Curious George is, in fact, a chimpanzee which is a primate.

George is actually a curious chimp.

I have already explained all of this to the Wee Bairn and I am positive that he understand the structural difference. Next we will have to have a talk about the difference between Old World and New World monkeys.

–Jane, can’t let the young ones be led astray

I Still Have Flair

This has been a very different and interesting conference for me due to Mr. R and the Wee Bairn being with me in Chicago. I am very happy to have them here. In fact, I am certain that I would have been miserable without them.

Having them here has meant that I act more my age. You know, coming in before 2 am and getting some sleep before starting again the next day.

It has been gratifying to know that people did in fact miss me and that others remembered me fondly as someone who is smart, competent, and can get things done. I have also learned that I have not lost my knack for opening my mouth when it is prudent to keep it shut. I just do not often mince words when having discussions about things which I am passionate.

At a dinner last night, I do not think I earned a lot of fans when I announced that ALA is in the habit of navel gazing and that our divisions and committees should be offering more learning online for free. Some things never change. After the dinner, I headed to the Billy Goat to to laugh with other librarians with big mouths.

Today, I am going to the CLENE Showcase and then to some LITA stuff before taking my boys to the Blog Salon. I have been thinking about the Unconference and working on a post. It is hard to write much when my time not at conference is spent with my boys.

Must get ready for the rest of the day.

–Jane, expects everyone at the Blog Salon to tell me that I have the cutest. baby. ever.

Getting Ready for Annual

In an effort to get ready for ALA, I turned on the Twitter widget that creates a post from my daily Tweets. Sadly, it went a bit haywire. I will try to fix it today, but there may be another strange post tomorrow.

The rumors are true. I am bringing Mr. Rochester and Baby Rochester aka Wee Bairn with me to Chicago. They will definitely make appearances at LITA Happy Hour, the OCLC Blog Salon, and maybe the Unconference. They may appear elsewhere, but I know there is only so much adorable you can stand, so I must regulate the consumption.

Because my boys are coming, I have less things on my schedule than in the past. It should be an interesting change. I am making time to go to my favorite things and see my favorite people. I expect to stalk some of you until I find you in the flesh.

–Jane, must go pack now

Frivolous TV Post

And because the Wee Bairn is occupied I would like to take this moment to say:

Smallville may have jumped the shark last week. Giving Lana superpowers so her and Clark can go fight bad guys and, you know, super bone is about the silliest thing I have seen and there is some crazy crap on tv. Seriously.

Bairn now demanding attention. Someone should have told me this was a 24/7, thankless job. *sigh*

–Jane, where is a damn nanny and housekeeper when I need one?

With a Thankful Heart

It has been a banner year for thankfulness at the Rochester household. Some things I am thankful for are simple and some are more dear, more complex. Here is a list of things this year has brought me.

Good coffee with real cream – My mother-in-law always drinks real cream in her coffee, and after a recent vacation with her, I have realized that nothing quite beats the creamy goodness of cream in coffee. Foolishly, I have tried substitutions, but nothing beats the original. I recently discovered Peet’s coffee and I think this duo has made mornings a beautiful thing. Something has to make getting up around 5:30 a pleasure, besides the little smile and big blue eyes that greet me. The Wee Bairn wakes my heart and the coffee wakes my mind.

Good books and movies – While nursing the Wee Bairn, I have spent many hours reading and watching movies (Thank you for movies that come in the mail!). In the past few months, I have escaped as everything from a Spook to a dragon rider.

Family – The Rochester clan is large, noisy, opinionated, stubborn, and has a propensity to imbibe a bit too much at times, but I can not imagine going through the past year without them.

Mr. Rochester –With the crazy first wife in the attic business behind us, he is the most amazing man and the very best Dad.

The Wee Bairn – He had a rough start, my wee man, but he brings joy to my life everyday. I never knew that you could love in quite this way. I have come to realize that God must love us for the beauty that we hold in infancy and that is the image He keeps of us as we grow into headstrong adults.

Provisions for each day and the breath to enjoy it – I have all that I need and I am alive to see the sun each day. What a blessing!

–Jane, is thankful and wishes blessings upon her readers


Life amuses me.

For about the past 4 months I have agonized over my lack of time to do a few things:

    Clean the entire house at once. It is now done in batches.
    Read my RSS feeds on library news or any news for that matter.
    Check my email everyday.
    Write in this space or any space.
    Take naps.

I worry that you are all wasting away for lack of posts here, in this space, though I know the world goes on without me and that is hard as well. (Ironically, as I type this, the reason for my compressed schedule has awoken with an expressed need for me and so I will continue this later.)

(days later, it turns out) When I used to talk about technology in libraries, people would often ask where they were supposed to find the time for these new things. Time for the learning curve. Time in the daily routine. Simple Time. My reply was always the same. If it is important, you make time. You trim the things that have become less important. It was true then and it will always be true.

You spend time on the things you value. Where you spend your time, there your heart is also. (paraphrased Luke 12:34)

I have decided to stop beating myself up about my lack of posts here. I will post when I can and feel good about it when I do. I will stop being sad about not writing more and simply be happy when I do find time and have something to say. Rest assured this space will not go away, I just will not be as prolific as I have been in the past. I hope you will keep this in your feed readers so that every other week or so you can still get a dose of Jane.

I think as the Wee Bairn gets a little older my time will free up in different ways.

In this season of my life, my family is more important than anything else. The Wee Bairn only gets one Mom and I only get one shot at this Mom thing for him. I want to enjoy it and be free in that choice.

I will still be around in other ways. I am mentoring an Emerging Leaders group and I am working on a sweet unconference shindig with Meredith Farkas as part of Jim Rettig’s Presidential Initiatives. ALA Annual 2009 will be my first conference after a long hiatus.

–Jane, happy to have this written, finally