Nov 042013
 

About three and a half weeks ago, my family, my life, and truly my whole self was completed.  On October 10th at 4:26 PM, I gave birth to my son, Myles.  The labor and delivery, of course, did not go according to my “plans”. I was induced early and fairly suddenly, rushing to the hospital the previous night in more than a little of a panic.  Upon checking in, I was treated to the most beautiful sound a mother can hear… the sound of a strong and healthy heartbeat.  My son was fine, but I had to be induced 11 days early due to low fluid.  Needless to say, sitting in a hospital room all night, hooked up to every monitor they could think to torture me with, and watching Breaking Bad on my iPad was not the beautiful and natural labor I had imagined. (Sidenote: Breaking Bad: Holy shitballs, right?!) But, the next day I was blessed with the most beautiful baby boy I have ever seen. He was small, but perfectly healthy, and all mine.

Since then, life has been a whirlwind, as you can imagine. Waking up every two hours (which really means a single hour of sleep in between the feeding, diapering, burping and rocking) throughout the night, and dealing with a slightly jealous and totally “two” two-year-old during the day. And so, I haven’t been blogging, as you may have noticed. Or maybe I flatter myself too much and you actually have not noticed, nor do you really care…which is probably closer to the truth, but I will choose to ignore that simple truth the same way that I choose to ignore the fact that Toms shoes are actually butt ugly, and keep wearing them anyway.

It is not that I haven’t had time to blog, because I could find the time. I always did before, although admittedly, it is a bit harder now. It is not that I don’t have anything to say. I actually have so much to say… too much. Every day I write a few blog posts in my head. The truth is that I haven’t been writing because I am terrified of what I might say. Everything is too real right now. Too raw. Too close to the surface. Every emotion. Every fear. Every joy. Every beauty. Is all… right. there. I feel like a wound that has just barely closed over and might suddenly break open at any minute. I am deliriously happy, deliriously tired, and deliriously frustrated. All of it. And I am scared that in this state I might write something that I don’t mean, or that I mean right at that moment, but don’t mean the next day, or the next 5 minutes.

But I guess that is why I started this blog, right? To be real and honest and true. And maybe even to say things that I regret later. Because that is motherhood.  And as hard as it is to say some of these real and honest and true things, I need to say them for me, and for anyone else who feels them too and, like me, is scared to say them. So stay tuned, because I have a lot to say, and I promise to say it. At least, most of it.

For now, I will say this about my new status as “Mother of Two”-  I remember a few years ago, asking my friend who had just had her second daughter, if it felt different to be a mom of two. And she said, “It feels like my family is complete.” At the time, it was hard for me to understand this. I only had my daughter then, and even though I knew we wanted one more, I felt complete with just her. But I have to say, when I gave birth to my son, and I gazed down at him for the first time, something in me shifted.  Everything clicked into place. I looked into his eyes and thought, “Oh. There you are. I’ve been waiting for you my whole life and I didn’t even know it.”

And that, my friends, is the real and honest truth.

IMG_0087

Jun 042013
 

Ok. Forgive me, oh worshippers of biting humor and sarcasm, because things are about to get all touchy-feely for a moment.  What can I say…I’m pregnant.  Kitty litter commercials make me get all weepy these days.

I’ve had a couple tough weeks, pregnancy-wise. Nothing serious. Some minor problems and small concerns, but when your future progeny is the subject of such problems and concerns, it feels like it is serious. Besides that, I have had a roller coaster of near-dibilitating emotions. I am sure that I will write more on this later, but I basically spent a day or two feeling really sad for absolutely no reason… other than the fact that my hormones are raging more than a pimply faced teenager at a 7th grade dance.

Anyway, like every normal human on this planet, I have had some bad days.  And you know what got me through?? Love.

My husband’s love and care and understanding, even when I am crying on the bathroom floor for no apparent reason, other than the fact that he asked me what he could do to make me feel better and I burst into tears because there was nothing to be done except hope that the next day I would feel normal.

My friends’ love. Chatting on the phone with a friend and making plans for her upcoming visit. Just looking forward to spending time with her and her family has gotten me through some sad and scared moments.

Skyping with two friends the other night and just laughing my ass off, as I as lay in bed, so tired and sad that I had gone to bed at 8:30. Laughing with them made me feel so much better than the oblivion of sleep.

Every conversation I have with a few other friends who are also pregnant, remind me that I am not alone in some of the things I am going through.

My parents’ love. When I was feeling really scared yesterday about what I would do in a certain situation, just hearing my mom’s voice made me feel better.  And the fact that she offered to jump on a plane to come help me, made all my fears start to disappear.

My family’s love.  Talking to my brother on the phone about serious things one minute and hilarious things the next, made me so grateful I have him and reassured me that having baby #2 is the best gift that I could ever give my daughter.

Seeing my aunt and uncle and cousin this weekend and feeling how much they love my daughter made me so happy that I have them nearby. Their offers of help, without me even having to even ask, made me realize how lucky I am to have family close to me, even though my parents are far.

And most of all, what gets me through every tough time, is my daughter’s love. Although she sometimes drives me crazy with her toddler ways, she always snaps me out of a funk with a joke or a hug. She reminds me how beautiful life is and how lucky I am. She reminds me that everything will work out just fine.

And for all the other millions of acts of love that my friends and family and even strangers give to me daily, that are far too numerous to write here, I am truly grateful.

To quote some brilliant philosopher, “All you need is love. Love is all you need.” It is true.

Thanks for reading.  We will return to your regularly scheduled sarcasm shortly.

hands
photo credit: rogiro via photopin cc

May 092013
 

Ok, I have a confession to make.  A few actually.

In case you didn’t read my last post, I am pregnant with baby number 2.  I am excited about it, of course.  It is what we wanted, and I feel blessed that we were able to get pregnant so easily.  I know it is not always easy.  It is a cruel trick of nature that when your body is most ready to have a baby – at, oh, the tender age of 13 – nothing else in your life is ready for this baby, including you. Although you  probably would share a mutual love of Demi Lovato and pizza-flavored Cheetos with your five-year-old, that alone doesn’t qualify you to raise a child.  However, by the time everything else in your life is finally ready, and your finances, mental state, and career are more secure, your ovaries are often shriveled up like Raisinettes, and your body scoffs at your attempts to conceive. Maybe my body is not quite there yet, but I am not getting any younger either, so I feel very happy to have gotten pregnant. But as happy as I am, the truth – and my confession – is that I am not as excited as I think I should be. To be honest (Ok, cover your tiny ears, Fetus) I don’t really think about the baby all that much.

Sure, I think about it all the time in practical terms. I think about all the things that must be done before the new baby comes. I think about the construction we must do, the endless amounts of crap that we must buy, and all the old gear that we need to haul out of hibernation. I make lists and then check them off.  I go to my doctor appointments and look at the ultrasounds and am relieved to discover that everything is ok. I take my vitamins, eat my fruits and veggies, exercise when I can, and avoid alcohol and caffeine and sushi and  lunch meat and soft cheeses and the long list of everything that I love that I cannot have.  I do my job as this baby’s diligent mother.  Or do I?

I do worry about the well-being of the baby, of course. That is a powerful instinct that I cannot deny. I think about all the things that can go wrong. I both fear and look forward to the tests that will reassure me that the baby is ok (I hope.) But when I think about the future with this baby, instead of daydreaming of his or her face, I find myself thinking more about how it is going to affect the baby that I already have. What does all of this mean for her? Is this really the right thing? Is this new addition really going to add to her life, or is going to take something away from her?  Like me.

Gone are the wonder and magic of the first pregnancy. I no longer read the weekly updates and marvel at the fact that the baby growing inside me is now urinating or that he or she is the size of a Meyer lemon or a navel orange (although this does make me hungry.) We haven’t even thought about names or what the new nursery will look like.  The journal I bought to start writing to the new baby, as I did with my first child, lies untouched.  Every time I sit down to write, I realize that I haven’t nothing yet to say. I really wish I did.

I know it is still early in the pregnancy.  I don’t know the sex yet, nor have I felt much movement other than the slight flutters that may or may not be gas. I am sure that I will connect with this baby at some point, but right now I am finding it hard to connect with this unknown creature when I already have a flesh and bone child that connects back. I distinctly remember feeling a lot more excited at this stage in my first pregnancy.  Writing in her journal, reading every book on the market, marveling at my body’s changes and taking pictures each week of my growing belly.  Now, it feels a bit “Been-there, Done-that.” And I hate it. I hate to think of my child as a been there, done-that. It is not fair. And I know it.

Ok, tiny fetus, you can uncover your ears now.  I do love you and I am excited to meet you.  I guess, like so many relationships, ours just needs a little bit of time to develop.  Good thing we have till October. And then the rest of my life.

 

Jul 312012
 

In my family we have a tradition.  Well, we have many traditions, one of which is drinking mimosas and calling everyone we know on Christmas morning to sing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and then hang up before they can respond.  Drunk Christmas crank calls rule.  So my family does have many awesome traditions but one of the them is attending the Llama Races in the small town of Fairplay, CO where my parents have a cabin.

If you have never heard of a Llama Race (and why would you) it involves a team of 4 humans dressed in ridiculous costumes and 1 llama racing on a 3 mile mountain trek up and down hills, across streams and over rocks.  In short, it is one of the most asinine things I have ever heard of, and one of the funniest things I have ever participated in.

My family and friends take it seriously.  We spend a year thinking up clever names (how many different puns on llama can one think of!) and stupid costumes.  We spend weeks making logos and bedazzling t-shirts.  Then we spend hours embarrassing ourselves in front of the citizens of Fairplay and the all the llamas of the region.  To us, it is not the fastest team who wins, but the best costumed, and we have been champions the past 2 out of 3 years.  (This year we were robbed.) Just take a look at Team Dolly Llama and tell me what team could possibly have  been better.

This year we may not have won, but we managed to have a great time.  The older I get, the more I realize the value of traditions… whatever they are.  I want my daughter to someday look back and tell her friends that every year her family raced llamas, and while this tradition may seem odd, it is her family’s tradition… and, well, her family is more than a little odd.

For more pics check me out on Twitter.

Apr 272012
 

After two weeks of having family here… all together…in our house…in every single bed and pretty much any surface that would support a body… and after two months of planning my daughter’s first birthday party which culminated in 75 people partying in our already overstuffed house, the dust is finally beginning to settle and I am finally beginning to breathe.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents and my in-laws, and I really do enjoy having them here.  I love seeing how much they love my daughter and seeing how much my daughter loves them.  Truly, nothing gives me more joy than to be with my family… except when I take NyQuil and have those very vivid and quite graphic dreams about Ryan Gosling.

That being said, with a house full of people it was a bit hard to relax.  It’s tough to find the alone time I so desperately need when there is always someone everywhere you go.  Plus, I spent the past two weeks on my very best behavior… shopping, cooking, entertaining, smiling, laughing and cleaning, cleaning, cleaning…  I swear that dirty dishes have been breeding in my sink.  But even more exhausting than the constant cleaning is the constant role-playing.  There is nothing more tiring to me than pretending to be someone I am not.  Even if it is just a slightly better version of myself.

Even though I know that my family loves and respects me, for some reason I feel the need to prove how good of a wife, friend, host, entertainer, and most importantly mother I am.  And man, am I tired.  I spent nearly two weeks treading lightly for fear of offending someone.  I scurried around in a whirlwind of activity for fear of someone discovering the truth… that I am not as clean, organized, friendly, together (ha) or constantly happy as I pretend to be.  I scuttled around following orders to get my daughter more clothes, less clothes, different clothes, and to retrieve more water to stave off dehydration or more food to stave off starvation.  I alternated between letting her cry it out so I don’t seen weak, and picking her up at first wail so I don’t seem cold.  I bit my tongue at unsolicited advice, and nodded my head at tips that I don’t intend to follow.  But really,  who am I trying to fool?  Surely no one who knows me thinks that I am anything close to perfect, so why try to keep up an appearance that mostly exists in my own mind?

After having 24 hours to clear my head, some things have become begrudgingly apparent.  While advice is sometimes (ok often) annoying, it is given to help… not to hurt.  It is not given to question my judgement and certainly not to imply that I don’t know what the hell I am doing.  And even if it does imply that I don’t always know what I am doing, the truth is… I don’t.  Mostly I am just muddling through, figuring things out through trial and error, and error, and error.  And, yes, I spend a lot of time pretending that I know what I am doing.  So actually, I could use some advice… even if I don’t want to hear it. Maybe if I stop spending so much energy pretending to be perfect, I could spend a bit more time on really trying to be better.

So, my beloved family and friends (and not so beloved random strangers who feel it’s your duty to share your opinions despite wearing dirty, fuzzy slippers in public.  true story.) while I can’t promise that I will always take your advice, I promise that I will try to accept it in the loving spirit it was intended.  I promise to try to listen to the wisdom you have to share, but also to question you when I don’t agree with what you have to say, instead of just nodding politely.   And at the end of the day, I promise that my husband and I will raise our daughter the best way we know how… because that’s exactly the example that our parents set for us.  Most of all, thank you all for loving us and our daughter.  Thanks for your advice, even if I don’t always take it.  And thanks for your presence in our lives… although maybe we all don’t have to be present at once for a little while.  At least until next year…