Thursday Randoms

It’s wild to think that a year ago I was frantically packing, avoiding saying goodbyes I didn’t want to need to say, and feeling so unsure.

It isn’t easy making the transition from leading others, to leading only yourself.  I miss having a team, but I also love the deeply personal pride I feel after completing a project on my own.

One of my favorite things about being home with my Sunshine is the luxury of doing one thing at a time and giving all of myself to that one thing.  Whether it’s playing with her outside, cooking, writing, chores, or anything else, I no longer spend all my time doing one thing and thinking about something else that needs doing.

Part of the reason I loved this house the moment I met her is that a writer is meant to live here and I knew when I crossed the threshold for the first time that I wanted that writer to be me.

Motherhood is amazing and fulfilling and difficult and precious.  The rest of me is still here, too, and still needs to be acknowledged, exercised, and cherished.  It’s a balance I’m still working out.

Even on our worst days, I miss her while she naps.

Time to go, the dishes are calling, and since I let that call go to voicemail yesterday, I’d best pick up today.  : )

Bye!
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Snippets

Outside, the wind is swirling so many autumn leaves so high, it’s like living in a fall snow globe.

It feels like I have a place in this lovely, little town; I’m just not sure where it is yet.

To love and care for my old dog, who loved and cared for me so very well in his prime, has been one of the greatest honors of my life.

Don’t tell my husband or my mother in law, but my daughter is reminding me of everything I ever loved about Christmas before working in retail destroyed that love.  At least I thought it was destroyed . . .

We were going to call our little farm Boldlygo, but just the other day, my sweet Sunshine brought me a book off of her shelf and we read it together.  It was a long-forgotten favorite of mine and fits too perfectly to pass up naming our place The Tomten Farm.

As it always does, fall is pulling me into myself where all the winter words are, and though it hasn’t always been a pleasant journey, I find myself looking forward to writing from that dark, silent space.

I don’t know how he is always the man of my dreams when my dreams are always changing.  I just know that every day I wake up and it’s still him.

 

 

Morning Mama Thoughts

My favorite thing about her ability to crawl and stand up is watching her choose where she would like to go and what she would like to do when she gets there.  She used to be limited to where we put her or what toys we presented her with, and now another layer of her personality is coming through.

My least favorite thing about her ability to crawl and stand up is that there are now roughly 10,762 new and exciting ways for her to accidentally maim/injure/kill herself.  I have nicknamed her “suicidal octopus” because I swear she has eight, lightning-fast arms and they’re all reaching for something dangerous!

We are getting closer to the end of nursing and I’m both excited and sad.  On one hand, I will be SO happy to be able to wear whatever I want without thinking about how hard/easy it will be to nurse in.  On the other hand, because my wild child is always on the go, nursing time has been our snuggle time and I wonder if/how she will snuggle when there’s no need to stop and snack in my arms.

I think about my parents all the time.  Having a child of my own puts an entirely different spin on so many of my memories.  Like when I was twelve and I was riding my horse bareback, with a bridle I made out of baling twine and jumping the irrigation canal/all the irrigation pipe in the field.  If I remember right, my dad was supposed to be watching me, but he had to go handle a work emergency so mom came to pick me up.  She was terrified of horses and I remember seeing her white knuckles on the fence as we thundered up the way.  I have always thought that story was hilarious.  Now I can actually imagine the worry and fear she must have felt that I would be hurt.  To my  mother’s credit, she did not punish me; she signed me up for jumping lessons.  : )

Another hilarious thinking of my mom moment came when I was exiting the restroom and passed a woman and her young son going in together.  It struck me for the very first time that my mother actually taught me to use the bathroom!!!!  Thanks, mom.  : )

I am so happy to finally be in a permanent living space.  Every situation we’ve been in since she was born has been temporary.  She’s been shuttled across the country multiple times, spent countless hours in the car while we looked for vehicles, then apartments, then houses.  She seems pretty happy wherever we are, but I think she’ll feel the difference as we get settled.

A lovely friend sent me a lovely book (The Magic of Motherhood) and though it’s hard to find time to read, my favorite line from the early chapters is, “Your body will be a home to your children.”  How very true.  My body doesn’t look or feel quite the way it did before my Sunshine came along but there is no place where she feels as safe and comfortable as my arms.  No other body will do, it’s only mine that gives her such peace and security–how beautiful is that?

She is swinging in the living room, fast asleep while I sip coffee and write.  Occasionally, I look up and her face swings into view.  If I had known before getting pregnant just how much I would feel as a mother, I might have chosen another path.  It’s frightening sometimes, the depth and breadth of it.  What I know now that she’s here is that I’d feel it all a thousand times for just one of her sunny smiles.

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Fear and Love

My daughter is now eight weeks and three days old and, miraculously, alive, well, and thriving.  I say miraculously in the truest sense of the word.  I am awestruck at her growth and progress.  From the moment she was born, two emotions stood out head and shoulders (if indeed emotions had heads and shoulders) beyond the rest: love and fear.

The love is not really love the way I usually mean it, but since this is English and I have so few words for love to work with, I’ll try to describe it better.  I can hear her breathing change in my sleep. Her cries are like words to me now, and each new sound is carefully considered until it’s meaning can be discerned.  Every time she smiles my heart hurts. Every time someone else holds her, I become a bear-hawk–watching closely with eyes sharper than my pre-mama eyes, ready to unleash a superhuman degree of hurt or just take her back should things start going south. And I love her with the usual kind of love, too.  ; )

The fear is intense, often unreasonable, and it never goes away.  It can roar to the forefront at a moment’s notice or hum at the back of my mind but it is always present, soul deep, and seemingly impossible to shake.  I’ve been afraid many times in my life before, really afraid, but none of that fear even touches this feeling.  I believe it to be the source of my new-found superhuman awareness of my tiny human.  All of that said, it is just like any other fear in the sense that the only way to live with it is to confront it head on.

In our case, due to our demented plan to live apart for three months starting two and half weeks after our baby was born, I ended up having to face the biggest boatload of fear I’ve ever confronted in my life just four weeks in to new motherhood.

My husband started his new job on the East Coast and we knew we couldn’t do three whole months apart while he worked and I finished packing our things up.  The only option was for the baby and I to fly across the country and join him for a time.  So we did.

At two months, our little girl had already flown across the country twice, traveled through Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York, and lived out of hotels for nearly three weeks.  I was terrified every minute, but every minute also added to my confidence in my ability to care for her under just about any circumstances. At this point, I can safely say there’s nowhere we can’t go together.  : )

As my mother promised it would, having a baby has changed my life forever.  There are already parts of my life and self before that I miss, but I miss them the same way I miss anything I enjoyed that has come to its natural conclusion.  My daughter has opened a new chapter which means closing the one before, just like going to college, moving out, and getting married each held endings as well as beginnings.

Since the morning she was born (an early riser, like me : ), I’ve found the love to be so much bigger and more than the fear. Every time we step into new territory (a near daily occurrence!), our bond becomes stronger, our confidence grows, and I find another mom or dad or sympathetic stranger to share a knowing smile or nod, offer a helping hand, and generally remind me I’m not alone in this wild adventure.

My life has been touched by an angel (who will no doubt grow into a hellion!) and I’m glad.  : )

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Where to Begin?

I truly have no idea where to begin writing about birth and new motherhood.  Words don’t seem big enough.  This little list is my warm up.  : )

Someone wonderful (I don’t know who, there was no note!) sent me a beautiful necklace with a pendant that has the word “Mother” engraved in several different languages on it.  I burst into tears when I realized what it said. Until that moment, I hadn’t actually thought of myself as a mother.

I can’t always sleep when she sleeps because I love to watch her sleeping.

My belly button is back!  I missed my belly button.  : )

Watching my husband love and care for her is even more sweetly beautiful (and sometimes hilarious) than I imagined it would be.

Oddly, while I never had a single craving throughout my entire pregnancy, the day she was born I started needing almond/toffee Symphony bars as if my life depended on them.  So strange and it hasn’t gone away yet! I’m just saying, there may or may not be three, king size Symphony bars in our refrigerator right now.

She is delightful and exhausting and I have never felt so much so fiercely.

And I think she may take issue with my morning breath . . .
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Sunday Thoughts

When did my voice become too quiet to hear over the t.v.?  I’m hiding  amidst piles of dirty laundry in the living room, crouched over my laptop behind closed doors trying so hard to hear it, faintest of whispers, my voice, come back, I’m listening now.

Our marriage is where I can sleep
After setting my burdens down
After closing the door on the world
Unfailingly safe, comfortable, warm, loved . . .
I can rest my head and my heart
in us
until I’m ready to rise and face it all again.

Multi-tasking with a speed that felt like so much more, but was actually so much less . . . Worse than nothing when all was said and done.
I want my focus back, my concentration-to indulge my interest in one thing until it becomes familiar, known, maybe even loved.
To carefully, deliberately subscribe to something, to someone with discipline and care.

I wanted to dissolve into the sky
out of my senses, out of my skin
untethered, unfettered, forgotten to everything.
I get that way sometimes.

Where do I belong? I asked myself, silently in the car between what I knew then and what I know now. It is stunning how some answers come so quickly while others elude for eternity.

Curling over, again and again,
I can’t tell if the water seeks the shore or
if she’s simply a captive of the moon.

I’m still learning to end the poem in time
to prevent too much understanding, which
always seems to lead to misunderstanding.

Sunday Thoughts

I wish the friendship were as simple to repair as the ring.

There will be no home for me.  I loved too much in too many places, too young to understand my heart would eventually break trying to accommodate the distance.  And yet, love is such a strange thing, even though it hurts terribly to never and always be home, I cannot make myself regret.

Another chapter closed while my mind was turned and now I stare at the next blank page thinking, “How did we get here so quickly?”

Fall is coming and myself, my knitting bag, my pen, and my heart are ready.  I think.