“Let us be grateful to people to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
…Because Thanks Giving should not be just once a year.
I sat down at my computer today with the full intention of writing something funny. Something witty and clever and far, far, far away from the emotional and slightly sad tone my blog has taken as of late. I starting typing a blog about losses and gains – about funny things that you gain and lose after having a baby. Inconsequential things… like your mind. However, the more I started thinking about losses, the more I started thinking about loss. And, as so often happens when I am writing these blogs, my fingers began to take me somewhere that I didn’t know I wanted to go. My husband says that he learns so much about me by reading my blog, and I have to say that in writing it, I learn so much about myself. So screw funny. It’s over-rated anyway. (But stay tuned next week for the revival of my usual biting wit and thinly veiled sarcasm. Probably.)
I have had loss on my mind lately. Last weekend my husband found out that one of his good friends’ wives passed away. It was cancer. It was quick. It was devastating. I personally had only met her once as they live in London, but she was a beautiful and kind woman. She was also a wonderful mother to her two young children. Her youngest is the same age as my daughter. When we heard the news over the weekend, my heart ached for my husband’s friend who was left without a wife and especially for those two young girls who were left without a mother. But I also ached for this young, vibrant mother who will not get the chance to see her children grow up.
As I said before, I didn’t know her very well. But in the short time we spent together, I was struck by how much she reminded me of me. She was about my age. She loved her family. She loved to have fun. She loved to laugh. She loved life. We were both pregnant when we met, although she already had one daughter. She was wise and experienced and she graciously answered all of my (many, many) questions about babies and about motherhood. Since then, I expect that the past year-and-a-half since her daughter was born was a lot like mine: sleepless nights, blissful moments, more laughter than she ever thought possible. I am sure that she spent many hours marveling at the perfection of her daughter’s face and imagining the possibilities of her daughter’s future, much the way that I have.
Then she woke up one day, just like any other day, but on this day she had a headache. She woke up with plans and hopes and dreams, just like any other day, but she didn’t know that this particular day would be her last. She didn’t know that she would never get to see her children grow up, get married, or have children of their own. She didn’t know that she would never again get to marvel at the beauty of her daughter’s face or get the chance to discover who her daughters will become.
She reminded me a lot of me, and I think that’s why I felt the loss so greatly, even though I barely knew her. If it could happen to someone like her, then it could certainly happen to someone like me. None of us know which day will be our last. And as sad as this thought makes me, it is also a reminder of how wonderfully precious life is. A wise somebody once said that we should, “Live every day like it is our last.” And while I do think this is sound advice, I also think it is a bit too sad for my taste. It is hard to think of our last days without feeling a bit melancholy, and I don’t want to live every day like that.
Instead, I am going to try to live every day as if it is my first. Like a child. Full of the magic and wonder and true appreciation that comes from experiencing everything for the first time. Without the fear and regret we learn as we get older and “wiser”, and without the ambivalence that often comes with age. The world is full of amazing things and people and moments that, as adults, we often fail to recognize or even see.
My daughter’s new word is “Wow!” A bird in the sky gets a heartfelt “Wow!”; fitting the right puzzle pieces together gets a “Wow!”; seeing a dog on the street gets a “Wow!”; even my stepping out of the shower naked got a “Wow!” (It’s been a while since that happened, but I will try not to let it go to my head.) A bite of cheesecake, a big splash in the bath, my funky neon green nails, a great song, a perfect hi-five… all of these are deemed “Wow!” worthy by my daughter. And they are. Each and every day is full of these simple Wow! moments if we are young and wise enough to recognize them.
And while I hope that I have many, many (many, many, many, many) more Wow! moments left before my last day, I am going to try to live them all like they are my first.
photo credit: Frederic Mancosu via photopin cc
“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”
– Marilyn Monroe
I don’t have much in common with this tragic, lovely lady, but I do have some of her flaws. And I have some flaws all my own. Thank goodness I found someone who not only can handle me, but loves being my handler.
In relationships, learn to let go of the little things and look at the big picture. You will be a lot happier!
I swear that being a parent is the craziest roller coaster in the world.
My daughter is sick yet again, for the third week out of four weeks. This time with a nasty cold and again with a fever hitting above 104. She was up at midnight night crying inconsolably. Probably because she was tired but couldn’t sleep, scared because she couldn’t breathe, and angry because Mama couldn’t fix it. She was screaming and crying, and I was crying because I couldn’t help her. And I was tired because I haven’t once slept through the night in the past month. And it was midnight. And I was thinking, “I don’t know if I can do this anymore.”
Then, morning came. And the sun was shining. And my daughter woke up feeling a bit better. And she hugged me tight and said “Lub you” in her little, hoarse, stuffy-nosed voice. And I thought, “I don’t know what I ever did before this.”
Since becoming a parent 16 months ago, I have done many things that I thought I would NEVER do. I have nonchalantly wiped my daughter’s poop from my forehead, licked a kleenex and then used it to wipe her face, picked up a cracker that she threw on the floor and then gave it back to her to eat (hey, it was the last one!), let her run around with a watermelon-stained shirt for hours because I was too tired to change it and knew it would only get dirty again, and let myself run around in a vomit-stained shirt for hours because I was too tired to change it and knew it would only get dirty again… just to name a few NEVERs.
Although I have learned to never say never, the truth is that before becoming a parent, I have never been so tired. I have never been so ungroomed, disorganized, forgetful, weepy, or tired… did I mention tired? I have never gone so long without seeing or at least talking to many of my friends. I have never gone so long without seeing an adult-sized human. I have never gone so long without getting my hair highlighted, shaving my legs, putting on make-up or even showering. I have never gone so long while sleeping so little. That is the truth.
But I have never, ever laughed so much, loved so hard, or felt so happy. And somehow (in a way that I think you have to be a parent to understand) this love and laughter far outweighs a little vomit and sleep deprivation.
The truth about parenting is that it is a math equation that doesn’t add up, but somehow works anyway.
As of late I know that I have made many references to time, or lack thereof. And as much as I post about it, I actually whine about it about even more (sorry friends, family and random strangers who mistakenly ask me how my day is going!) In my life there is barely enough time to do all the things I HAVE to do, such as eating, sleeping, changing diapers and teaching my daughter all the dance moves to “Call Me Maybe”. So, if there is barely enough time for the things I must do, there is rarely enough time for the things I SHOULD do, like shower, exercise, grocery shop, clean, and connect with friends and family every now and then to let them know that I am just really busy, not dead. If there is rarely enough time for the things I should do, forget the things that I WANT to do like… hmmmm… what did I used to like to do anyway?
It’s no secret that when you are a parent, there is just never enough time. But it is not simply the lack of time that bothers me, it is also how quickly the time that I do have goes. My daughter is now 16 months old. She is walking, running, talking, playing and feeding herself (more food usually ends up on the face/hands/hair/clothes/floor/ceiling/mom’s shirt than in her mouth, but it still counts!) However, it seems like only yesterday she was a snuggly little bundle curled up on my chest, reliant on me for absolutely everything. And even though it has been less than a year and a half since all this madness started, for the life of me I can’t remember half of it. It has all become such a blur. What was her first word? Was it “Lyla” or “Hi” ? (Yes my daughter’s first word was her own name, if that says anything about her.) When did she start sitting up? Was it 4 months or 6 months? When did she begin to crawl? What was her first food?
When did she start sleeping through the night? When was her first smile, giggle, and full-out laugh? It all blends together in some kind of wonderful, exhausting, beautiful life-smoothie.
Some of these things I wrote down in a baby book, but there are many things that I didn’t write down because either I thought that they were not important enough to count as “milestones” or because I thought they were things that I would never forget. What I failed to realize is that a child’s life is full of so many major milestones that sometimes the smaller things get lost along the way. And while the day that Lyla took her first step is very important (that one I do remember… 10 months and one day) there are so many more small but wonderful things she does that I never want to forget. The Small Things are not the milestones that you find in books or that you brag about to Grandma or that you use to compare notes with your friends. No, the Small Things can sometimes seem insignificant in a lifetime of achievements, but often it is the Small Things that make a big life. They are Things that only you know, Things that only you recognize. They are the Things that can’t be captured in a story or on video or in a photo. They are the Things that make you tear up with love, smile with pride, and laugh till you wet yourself (c’mon, you know that if you had a baby come out of your JJ this happens.)
But as important as the Small Things are, they are often the first things forgotten in a busy life full of memories. So, in recognition of these magical Small Things I am going to write a few of them down here and now so they will be recorded for all of time… or at least as long as the internet is around. And if you ask me, the Internet is here to stay.
TODAY’S SMALL THINGS:
– The way that Lyla “reads” a book to herself, all in her own language. Pointing at the things, as I do, and usually saying “shhhh” and “noooo” they way I do when I read to her.
– Her favorite word “Missibah”. I have no idea what it means, but it seems that Lyla does.
– How every color is currently “bu!” (blue)
– The way she sometimes looks up at me, smiles and presses her nose against mine. It’s our own special kiss and it always brings tears to my eyes.
– How, the second I pull her out from the car, she says “hi” and waves, just in case anyone is around who she might need to say hi to.
– The exact way she smells right at this moment: baby shampoo, laundry detergent, Vick’s Baby Chest rub (she has a cold), fruit, milk breath and Lyla.
– The way she shrugs her shoulders and scrunches her face up when I ask her where anything is.
– How tightly she hugs me around my neck and then kisses me directly on the mouth with a wet, slobbery kiss.
– The way she contentedly twirls her hair with her fingers while she is drinking her bottle.
Ok, so these are a few of my Small Things. Now it’s your turn! What are the little things that your child or children do that you never want to forget but probably will. Feel free to record them here for all of the world… or at least all of my followers… to read. And if you don’t want to share them with me, write them down for yourself every once in a while.
Cheers to the Small Things!
“You don’t really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around – and why his parents will always wave back.”
William D. Tammeus
Back in the day, when I was a young college student and “boot-and-rallying” was a badge of honor, the name “Vomitfest 2012” would have implied a crazy night involving numerous shots of dubious quality, dancing on the bar 100% convinced that I looked fabulous, possibly an ill-informed bar-makeout session, and ending most definitely by kneeling before the porcelain goddess before hitting up Denny’s for pancakes, french fries and cheesesticks. Now that I am a mom, the word vomit doesn’t conjure up nearly such grand images.
Vomitfest 2012 started as my nights rarely do with a dinner out with girlfriends. My husband was home with my daughter, and I was a carefree woman on the loose, free to enjoy a great restaurant with a wide variety of delicious dishes, which I would greatly regret later, and many drinks. Later that night, as my husband and I were going to bed, I started to get a raging headache and a fluttery stomach. I joked, “Is it bad that I am ALREADY hung over?” This might be the first time that I have ever said this, but oh, how I wish I was hung over.
By 2 am I was puking my soul. After 10 minutes of vomiting so hard that I expected my head to spin around, Linda Blair style, I returned to bed, chilled and sweating. I heard my daughter making a little noise and coughing a bit, so I looked on the monitor to see her calmly sitting her crib. I repeat “calmly sitting her crib.” At 2 am. Not crying (which is scary at 2 am because you know it’s going to be a long night,) not playing (even scarier as this usually equals an even longer night,) but calmly sitting up in the corner of her crib, hardly moving a muscle (the scariest thing I have ever seen, akin to Paranormal Activity.) My husband goes to check on her and after 10 minutes I hear him call my name. I rush to her nursery and discover what looks like a horrific crime scene… an explosion of purple-black vomit (the result of some unfortunate blueberries for lunch) covering every surface of my daughter’s crib and my daughter herself as she lay on the floor, staring sightlessly into space. My husband says, “Can you watch her? I’m going to be sick.” as he rushes out of the room, and I am left with my filthy, sick daughter, wishing that I had something left to throw up.
Seeing my normally active-bordering-on-manic daughter laying on the floor barely blinking was probably the scariest experience yet in my short career as a mom, and I instantly forgot my own illness and snapped into Mommy Mode. I swept my daughter up and began to hum while initiating the Mommy Mode Cleaning Cycle (when you don’t know what to do, clean!) opening windows and stripping off pjs and sheets. Somewhere during this time frame I was vaguely aware of the fact that my husband had returned with the news that he was also throwing up and, after briefly passing out in the bathroom, had called 911. Even armed with that news, I was still quite surprised when halfway into my Mommy Mode Cleaning Cycle, 6 giant men stormed into my house.
Now I realize that my husband had told me that he called 911, but for some reason I thought that he had called a fictitious 911 advice line, where they had given him some sage advice and then hung up. Apparently this does not exist. And if you have never called 911 before, let me tell you a little secret: when you call, they come… 6 big men and a fire truck and an ambulance. I know this because I said, “Wow. There are a lot of you guys. So, this is what happens when you call 911? I wish I would have known this when I was single.” In my defense, I make really bad jokes when I am nervous and right then I was scared as hell.
Ignoring me, the six giant medic-firemen continued to storm around the house testing for carbon monoxide, while taking our blood pressure and asking all kinds of questions like, “What did you eat for dinner? Could this be food poisoning?” (We all ate separately. No.) “Could you be pregnant?” (Recoil in horror. No.) “Do you use recreational drugs?” (After this experience I am considering it, but… No.) “Do you have any known enemies who would want to harm you?” (um. swallow… run through a fairly long list of people I have offended in my head and decide that there is no one who would want to actually kill me…No.) “You go to Lake Powell?” (Yes. No. What…Huh?) “I saw your photo there at Lake Powell. We all go every year. It’s pretty cool.” (Now, I know that I’m not a trained firefighter or medical professional, but how is looking at my family photos helping anyone? Just… No.)
Anyway, after of all this, they deemed our house free of carbon monoxide and determined that we had most likely all gotten a stomach flu at exactly the same time. They did suggest that we take Lyla to the ER because she is so small and susceptible to dehydration. We declined the fancy $1500-a-pop 5 minute ambulance ride and decided to drive our daughter to the ER ourselves. So, armed with a plastic bag for me and a waterproof bib for Lyla, we headed to the closest ER. After a brief detour so I could throw up in the parking lot, we made it inside and proceeded to wait… and wait… and wait. My daughter, of course, didn’t get the memo that we were waiting and continued to throw up continuously. I guess you truly know that you are a mom when you let your daughter throw up on your neck because you can tell by her frightened eyes that loosening her death grip on you is not an option.
After what seemed like an puke-soaked eternity, they finally brought us in. They checked out Lyla and said that she was going to be just fine. They gave her an anti-nausea medicine and some Pedialyte, and after a while they let us go. On the car ride home she was already returning to her normal self, singing and playing with her toys. By this time it was 6 am and after a 3 hour nap she was as good as new. Her parents, however,were another story. I have never been so relieved to see her tearing around the house, causing her usual chaos and destruction. But as thrilled as I was that she was doing better, when I looked at the clock and saw that it was only 10 am and realized that we still had to get through the entire day… if I wasn’t already throwing up, I would have thrown up. That’s when I came to harsh realization that parenthood is the only job that truly has no sick days. My husband and I had to take care of our daughter. But who was going to take care of us?
Somehow we managed to tag team our way through a long, long (long, long) day with a little help from Sesame Street (for 5 minutes) Etch-a-sketch (6 minutes) and Goodnight Moon (11 times and counting). Finally at 9 Pm, we put Lyla down for the night, slapped each other a pathetic high-five and passed out. Lyla let us sleep for a blissful 11 hours and I woke up feeling… well maybe not 100% physically (or even close really), but in some ways even better than 100%. There’s something about that first day back after being really sick that makes you appreciate everything a bit more. I appreciate the energy and life in my sweet, wonderful, crazy daughter; I appreciate that I have a husband with whom I am sure that together we can face any obstacle (even when the obstacles are coming out of both ends); and I appreciate how damn good it feels to just feel normal.
Now I’m going to go celebrate life, love and health… by drinking till I feel like crap.
If you didn’t before, check out my first featured article in Natural Child Magazine, and get your sexy back… or at least brush your teeth once in a while!
“I’m sexy and I know it!”
Ok, so maybe this is the song currently stuck in my head (curse you LMFAO and your catchy lyrics,) NOT the phrase that I am most likely to think while looking into the mirror. As a working mom of a ten-month-old baby, whose wardrobe usually consists of a variety of faded black yoga pants and whose highlights have grown so far out that they are now back in (ombre is so hot right now,) I desperately need to find my sexy. The only problem: I don’t know where I lost it.
I used to be hot once, if I do say so myself. Back in those days, I used to spend hours primping with my girlfriends. Then we would strut around the bar, preening like peacocks, daring any man to talk to us. Now-a-days I usually slink around with zero make-up and my hair in a dirty bun, praying that no one notices me, or worse… recognizes me. While I am married with a baby, and definitely not trying to snag a man, I miss that confident, sexy creature I used to be – or at least think I was. My problem is not that no one finds me sexy… my problem is that I don’t find myself sexy.
So what is the answer? How do you get your sexy back when you have no idea where to start looking? What I am not going to do is give you a list of “full-proof” tips guaranteed to make you feel sexier or make your sex life better. Every person is different and everyone’s likes, tastes and limits are different too (and discovering what yours are is a joy that I would never take from you!) But what I will do is give you one piece of advice… start making love to yourself. No, I’m not talking about this in the literal way, although that might be a big step for many women, what I am talking about is making time to do the things you love and that make you feel good about yourself.
Make regular appointments at the hairdresser, waxer or both. Hit the gym. Take the extra five minutes to put on some mascara and lip-gloss. Take a bath, take a class (brains are sexy too!) or take 15 minutes to meditate. Go buy some sexy new lingerie that fits the body you have right now, not the body you hope to have after six months of starving yourself. Whatever it is that makes you feel like the smart, sexy, beautiful woman that you are. I promise that she’s in there somewhere!
And most importantly, stop hiding out and slinking around. Hold your head up high and strut around the grocery store, office and your bedroom. You ARE sexy, and if you know it, chances are the world does too.