baby development

Wednesday, February 23, 2005


As I age, I'm learning more about how good it feels to come home at the end of the day. Of course, it helps if you have a nice place and a nice partner to come home to.

There are fewer things more comforting than coming home and putting on comfortable clothes, and not having to pretend to be smarter, or more interested, or more sophisticated than I really am. So much of the pagentry of my day ends when I get home. I take off the Mary Kay mask and the over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder, the pantyhose, and the jewelry, and I suddenly feel more like "me".

I came home last night to a nice husband, a 3 bedroom place overlooking the lake, Chinese takeout, and a tape of American Idol. God bless it! And I curled up with my husband and fell asleep listening to a Diana Krall CD. Oh, life felt good last night.

And I'm heading home from work soon - more American Idol, probably more take-out, but at this time in life more than ever,I've learned how great it is.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Sex Lies!

OK, I'm officially pissed off and back on the road with the other raging lunatic feminists. I've been reading books and Christian press publication about how to be a better wife and partner to my husband and I have realized that we are being lied to.

I want to know whoever published this crap about us women having to "put out" to keep our husbands from cheating and that this activity in the bedroom will somehow make us a more loving Christian wife and partner. From The Power of a Praying Wife to Optimizing Your Marriage, I have learned that I need to watch my figure and dress nicely, compliment my husband a lot (i.e. stroke his fragile ego), and have sex with him whenever he would like it (so he can stay true to his commitment to me). And I am insulted, and I am angry. These so-called Biblical interpretations insult me, and insult the good sense of every thinking, feeling woman I know.

Nowhere in any of these publications does it tell the men to have sex with their wives whenever they want it. No, if fact - it tells them to be more understanding of the fact that she probably won't be interested in sex very much. Apparently, these texts assume that when we become a Christian woman, that we loose all good sense AND our sexuality (probably simultaneously).

I have a vagina, and I like it. God had a good idea there when he gave woman a vagina. In fact, penises were a good idea (and they prove that God also has a sense of humor). And I like sex - a whole lot. And I would like to have it a whole lot. I'd like to have it more than I do. But apparently this is not my lot in life as a Christian woman. Apparently my husband is supposed to get his way - and have sex whenever and wherever he feels like it (and by omission NOT have it when he doesn't feel like it), and I get to submit because there is some ultimate touchy-feelie reward in the end somewhere that only the sanctified can see. I am not going to "put out" for anyone who isn't doing the same for me - period. This one has to work both ways.

Buying into this lie about sex means we buy into the same lies we used to buy into - that we are property, that sex is for men and their pleasure, that our bodies are not our own, that we are merely vessels, that "submission" means accepting whatever "bone" is thrown in our direction and not speaking out when our needs are not fulfilled.

Equal mean equal. We shouldn't need separate chapters or books about being a loving wife OR a loving husband. We need to be loving partners - there is no need for the gender difference here. The rules for me should be the same for my partner - male or female. If we are going to build sexually healthy relationships, the equality has to be there. And we've got to stop buying into the lie that women don't want sex. Yes, we want sex - we want more sex and we want better sex. We want to have sex on the sofa in the livingroom, in the kitchen, on the floor. We want to have sex more than once in a night, and we want more foreplay. We want more kissing. And we want you to do more than just lie there. And we want to be able to get it whenever we want it, too. Sex is for us, too. It is no wonder so many women these days are angry. I'm angry too.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Knowing Love

My girlfriend is wondering if she is in love, and asked me this morning how we know when we love someone. I realized that my pre-midlife crisis has given me a slightly different (skewed?) view of love - perhaps one worth writing about for a few minutes today.

As a teenager, love was a physical manifestation - all hormonal and googly-eyed, weepy poetry-laden, sunsets and pink flamingos kind of experience. It was possessive and needy, and selfish. It was shallow and superficial - and laced with care and concern, and elements of love. And boy did it hurt sometimes!

In college, I thought I sought an intellectual kind of love - all criteria-based, pragmatic, and rational. I sought out the smartest, most insanely intellectual and odd-ball men who could provide me with challenges and curiosities and novel experiences and conversation. Coupled with physical attraction, this was intoxicating. Feelings so powerful I felt overwhelmed - and when these relationships ended, I felt lost and empty. I had invested so much of myself and left so little room for my own self-development in being so smitten with my intellectual prince.

At 23, I married someone who was fun-loving and laid-back - the antithesis of myself. I convinced myself he was "good for me" and "complimented" me. In 9 years of marriage he held 10 jobs, and took us into thousands of dollars of debt between job-hopping and casino gambling. It was an adventure alright. But I got neither the passion of my youth, nor the intellectual stimulation of my college days. I honestly do not know exactly why we got married, other than the fact that we wanted to. But I stuck it out for a good long time.

I met my current (and last!) husband at a professional conference in 1997. I was just about to turn 26, and I was separated from my then-husband who had moved to FL to live with his sister. I was not looking for anything, but I made a good friend. I liked Michael a lot. He was certainly beautiful and intelligent, and kind - but he was also shy and reserved. And I was still married and not even aware of possibilities. It was when I became single some 5 years later that I even saw Michael as someone who could be more than a friend.

We had a conversation on the sofa on night on a long weekend visit during which we talked about whether we loved each other, or were "in love". We had opposite beliefs - I felt that being "in love" was the beginning, and loving each other was the next level. Michael saw it the opposite way - he said he loved me, but wondered if he was "in love" with me yet. It was semantics, really. We understood that there were stages to these things, and that we were in the midst of a shift. Certainly, the attraction was there. Certainly the intellectual conversations were there, too. And we enjoyed each other's company. But was this a relationship for the "long haul"?

We wanted to be sure that we had the kind of love Paul wrote about in his letter to the church at Corinth - that love "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" - and "never fails". We had experienced failures of what we had thought was "love" and called "love" - so was it not love, then? We had also both thought we had been "in love" before. But how could we sort through the initial attraction, the overwhelming and powerful physical "chemistry" between us, and our own desires for a relationship?

We celebrate our 1-year wedding anniversary in a month. And I think we are still learning that we love each other. Love enabled us to be together. We each quit our jobs and moved to a new city we'd never lived in - in Kentucky of all places. I moved without even a prospect of a job, and worked only part-time for 5 months. We each left friends who had become like family. We each gave up freedoms we had grown accustomed to. We gave up our private space and quirky habits. Michael gave up piling laundry in hampers until it climbed up to the ceiling. He gave up working in the office until morning came. He gave up hours every night at the gym before heading back to work, regular basketball with the guys, and watching endless hours of ESPN and every game that came on TV. For us, in many ways, sacrifice = love.

So, how do I know I love my husband? When I have a bad day or a good day, he's the first I want to tell about it. When I wake up, I'm grateful he's there, and not in another state. It's a good feeling to come home at night to each other. When I think about growing old, I envision us on the porch swing together philosophizing about politics and religion, and music and technology. This time, my happiness is not based on him. Rather, he adds to my happiness. He is my partner and together we are building a life that we both want. We are learning that compromise is not a dirty word. We have been bearing a lot of each other's burdens, but God has been renewing us together to be able to do that. When we are more faithful to God, we are better partners to each other. God just allows us to be able to do it.

Now that I know I love my husband, and know more about why I love him, I am more "in love" with him. My love for him has less to do now with what he does for me, or how he make me feel - and more to do with who he is and the great gift God blessed me with. This year has been incredibly difficult - getting married, moving, changing jobs and careers, paying bills, setting up a joint household, navigating the daily stress of life together, and now struggling with minor health issues and those health concerns of our parents. And we have grown to love each other more, and thank God more. Each day we learn more about how to best love each other, and we are making many mistakes. But we are both enjoying love a lot more, and learning to be thankful for love that comes not through the physical, not through the intellectual - but through the Spiritual. When we pray together, I feel our love (and experience our love) for each other more than any other time. Our life together, through God (the author of love) = our love. Anything else just will wouldn't endure.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Valentine's Day

Sitting here in grey sweat pants, about to make a run for Chinese take-out on Valentine's Day, I realize how lucky I am in love:

I have a husband who will walk through the door tonight happy to be home. He took me out on Saturday night, even though I didn't request it and didn't expect it. He is beautiful and sexy, intelligent and ambitious, diligent, and caring. And he will not care that I am in grey sweatpants - in fact, he may very well comment that I look cute. And he will give me a kiss, and smile. Ummm. I'm lucky...and blessed.

Three years ago I ended a most unhappy marriage and gambled on the fact that God had something much better in store for me - and He not only forgave me for the sins of my past, but He poured out belssings unimaginable. He gave me friends, a place to live, income to sustain me, jobs that I have enjoyed, adventures to laugh about, and love sweet love.

Life may not be the prefect happily-ever-after that I would have invented. In fact, as I look around, this is nothing like I would imagined my life would be in 2005. I do not have children, I still have debt, I am in less-than-perfect health and shape, and I did not finish the PhD like I said I would. But I am rich. I do not have to worry about a Tsunami sweeping away my home and my family. I have friends, a husband, and a quirky family. I can go get Chinese take-out and still pay the bills. And my husband will think I am cool for getting take-out. And we will sit on the sofa and watch the news, and we will crawl into bed and start a new day tomorrow. And Valentine's Day will have passed in the usual, uneventful way for both of us. But this was my best Valentine's Day yet...

for it is the first one I spent with my husband, and I like him very much.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

I Don't Give My Husband Enough Credit

This morning I was reminded how blessed I am. Now, I am reminded of my blessed status often, but how often I pay attention to those reminders is another story.

I had one of those initial doctor's appointments this morning. The day was rainy, foggy, and miserable. I was going to a new doctor to talk about my risks of breast cancer. My maternal grandmother had breast cancer, and a mastectomy, and my mother was diagnosed several weeks ago. I am 34, and my health is passable by American standards. But I am now facing a lifetime of worrying a little more than your average woman about breast cancer. I am now scheduled for my first mamogram and an (and this sounds scary) ovarian ultrasound. My breasts will be squished and my ovaries scanned and we hope all will be well.

But my dear husband picked me up at the door of my workplace and drove me to the doctor's office. Now, I am not helpless, but I think he sensed what one friend once called an "air of fragility" about me, and I think he was sufficiently worried about me. But he did not just drop me off - he sat in the waiting room and did work-related reading while I met with the doctor.

Afterwards, as I was paying and setting up my next appointment, he asked me about my experiences with doctors as a child. Flash back to my pediatrician I had as a kid - a great physician from Sri Lanka. I said something about having one of the smartest doctors, and one of the nicest too. Then my husband asked if I ever got candy at the doctor's if I was good. I grinned and thought about it, but I really couldn't remember. My husband teased that I really missed out if I didn't get candy at the doctor's. And then he presented me with a little Valentine's Day box of chocolates. And I felt so much better, it was unbelievable. I was so thankful and grateful for his support.

Yesterday, my husband brough me lunch on his way in to work. Tucked inside the sack were 2 CDs - new releases from Michael Buble (whom I am really digging these days). Again, I felt really special, and blessed. My husband likes me, and sometimes having someone like me feels just terrific.

These moments of joy have come during a time when I have been less-than-lovable. I did not deserve his kindness. I have been self-absorbed in feeling awful about what my mom is going through. I have not paid much attention to him, and have not been very patient. I have not been as outwardly thankful of him and all he does to add to my happiness and well-being.

I shall work harder at being the kind of wife to him that God wants me to be. Perhaps this is God's way of telling me things - how much He loves me too, how He loves me despite my fatal flaws, and how willing he is to show me how to be the kind of wife He wants me to be...if I am just willing to listen.

Thank-you, God, for my husband.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Some Big Changes

In a past life, I've been a singer, a secretary, a graduate student, a endless list of identities it seems.

I'm at the crossroads of 30-something ville. In March, 2004 I married someone I thought could be my partner and best friend. I quit a job I loved as a professor, and moved my jobless self to Lexington, Kentucky. (The license plates on the cars here feature a smiling cartoon sun with the statement "It's that friendly." but I would argue for many reasons not to advertise that - false advertising being but one of them.

I teach college classes and work full time as a research educator at the University of Kentucky. I began my job there last month, and enjoy it immensely. Most days I say a prayer of thanks that I ended up in a full-time position in higher education (I really should pray more, but that's another story).

In the greater search for life fulfillment, I find myself wondering about children- whether to have them, or whether my partner and I can have them. This will perhaps be the greatest hurdle, as I may write about in future volumes. My husband is certain he could live his entire life childless, and never feel he missed out on a thing. I used to feel that way, when the hopes of feminism sprang eternal in my breast (both of them). But I was a different person then, and my mind has changed.

I think I am beginning to believe in a biological clock - or believe more in an old colleague who used to say "we are hardwired as Homosapien-Sapiens to do one thing: make more DNA". She was, and is, a very cool woman who I might also have to write about sometime. She, strangely enough, would understand my new-found desire to reproduce.

I'm having a terrible internal battle. Why on earth would a sane woman with the whole world at her fingertips want to "ruin it all" by having children? Have my feminist roots withered away and died? Am I too old at almost 34 to now be considering trying to conceive? And what about my career? What would happen to my independence? What if adoption is our only option? (More about attending my first informational session on adoption to follow in a later blog.)

Obviously, I am struggling. Unfortunately, my husband and marriage are feeling it, too. He is frustrated, and does not understand my desire in the least. Why?...Um, his maleness does not fully explain the phenomenon.

My husband is a good person (I must write about him later, too). I see him as fatally flawed as I see myself. I like him, although there are many times I do not enjoy being in his company. I am certain he feels the same way about me. He is a professor, a bookworm, and introvert, a perfectionist in some ways - a slob in another. He is affectionate when he wants to be (aren't we all), and does not offer affection much without prompting (and sometimes not after prompting). He seems overwhelmed with life a lot, and I worry about him. He came from an awesome family (I am lucky in the in-law department) and has little (objectively) to worry about. But he never seems to believe he is good enough - award after award and accolade upon accolade - and still he sees himself as far less than others see him.

So, in weeks ahead, I think I'll write about children, marriage, balancing work and home life, and figuring out how to manage "it all". I see my sisters out there trying to do the same thing every day. We all want to be "Super Woman" - "Wonder Woman" with her invisible jet and magic lasso and silver bracelets. BTW - you must watch the original Wonder Woman and listen to the theme song sometime. It is truly hilarious: "..fighting for your rights, in her satin tights...".


This first day of February finds me entering the blogging world - a little hesitant, quite naive, and ready to expereince all it has in store. To avoid looking like the pre-midlife idiot I feel like, I'll end here and begin my blogs once I have figured out how and where to begin my story.