Being thankful

In The Search For Your Village, Sometimes You Are Your Own Worst Enemy

I’ve written about the village before. You know, that mystical place where woman accept each other at face value, and chat about their differing parenting techniques over a wine cooler, while the kids eat dirt and fight play?

Since writing that post a few months ago, not a lot has necessarily changed, with the exception of discovering that when it comes to gaining entry into the village, I am my own worst enemy. (more…)

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Things I Never Want To Forget: A Letter To Baby 1.0

A letter to Baby 1.0, days before you turn 18 months old.

Oh Baby 1.0, you are growing so fast. It seems like just yesterday you came into this world, with your head full of black hair, and your tiny pink lips. It’s no secret we had a bit of a rough start, but that doesn’t take away from how much I love you, and have loved you, from the very first second of your known existence. Every day you grow, and every day you change. Looking back, there is already so much I fear I’ve forgotten, little details buried under more recent developments that are equally as important. So today I will write you this, in hopes that someday, you can look back and know how I was feeling days before your 18 month birthday, and if not you, then me when I am days away from your 18th year birthday, and I want to rip my hair out because you have decided to get a neck tattoo and run away with a biker gang to Costa Rica.

-You sing songs and communicate with us by meows. You also seem to think you have kitty cat hands and feet, and often hold them up to me requesting I kiss them by making a pouty face and sadly meowing at me until I do it. In fact, as we discovered tonight, you actually quite like it when we talk to you and pet you like you are a cat. (Note to self: socialize Baby 1.0 with more babies, and attempt to reinforce she is indeed a baby.)

-Speaking of animals, you love dogs. I mean, you really love dogs. The way you say it “dawg dawg daaawg” makes me laugh every time.

-You have an insatiable appetite for dancing to questionable music. To be fair, it’s not all questionable, as you will dance to anything that makes a rhythmic sound (including the dryer), but you appear to show a strong preference for pop, much to your daddy’s chagrin. I may or may not have introduced you to that pop, so I don’t care much. I just like to see you happy. We both do.

-You still have baby breath, and it is the most amazing smell in the whole world. Sometimes while I’m rocking you to sleep and you are breathing tiny puffs of air in my face, I close my eyes and try with all my might to put that smell so deep in my brain I will never forget it. It is the only thing about you that is still baby-like, as you are turning into a little girl faster than I am prepared for.

-You love books. You have always loved books, but the bigger you get, and the more capable you are at handling them, the more you love them. I hope you always feel this way.

-You are so smart. I can’t imagine this ever changing, but you never cease to amaze your daddy and I with how much you know. You just have to see us doing something once, and for better or worse, with enough time, you will figure it out.

-You show an incredible degree of empathy for humans and animals alike. When our rambunctious young male cat picks on our old female cat, you drop everything to break it up, and then calm our old lady. When someone is crying, you are right there to pat them on the back, or participate in a good old-fashioned sympathy cry. You have a good heart, little baby. I hope that never changes.

-You are fearless. There is no play structure too high, no hill too steep. You take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’ and this is equal parts admirable and terrifying. I hope you continue to toe the line here, and never fall too far on one side or the other.

-You love your daddy. I get that, he’s a pretty great guy. Watching the two of you together, laughing and being silly? It doesn’t get any better. I hope you always think he is as funny as he thinks he is, though I worry one day you will think both of us are actually quite embarrassing.

-You are loved. Though you’ve never been a snuggly baby, occasionally when I do get an extra long hug in, the feeling of your little body in my arms is enough. It’s all I could ever ask for in this world. You are all I could ever ask for in this world. I may make light of the parenting undesirables, but at the end of the day, I wouldn’t change one single thing about our experience together. You are truly my sunshine, little baby. I love you so much.

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Parenting In 5 words Or Less: #3

In light of the horrible tragedy in Pakistan, it seemed important to remind myself that for however difficult life can be with a kid, I cannot possibly imagine how hard it would be to continue living without your kid. My heart breaks for those families.


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On Being Thankful

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not exactly the sentimental type. It’s not to say I don’t appreciate things, but I’ve never really been the type to ooze emotion, even when the situation would call for it (like, say, at our wedding, or the birth of our baby). But today, when pondering what I would write for my next post, a really crazy idea came into my head. Maybe I should try to write about something I’m thankful for, but in a way that lacks the emotional ooze. So what am I thankful for? Baby naps popped into my head immediately, for without the blessed 45 minutes Baby 1.0 graces me with most days, I would not only lose my mind, but I also wouldn’t be able to write. Or shower, or do anything for myself in a semi-relaxed way. Squeezy food pouches were a close second, but it seemed like maybe I’d be a little light on material. It wasn’t until Baby 1.0 was dozing peacefully, and I was in the shower, that the idea to write about my parents came to mind.

Wedding photo

This is me, in classic form, being very unserious at my wedding.

Now this idea to write about my parents was a surprising enough revelation that it made me stand there, mouth slightly agape, left eyebrow arched suspiciously, head cocked to the side like a confused puppy. “The parents?! But they are divorced and there are many of them,” my brain said with dismay. “Yes. The parents,” repeated the heart, “all of them.” “But maybe we could just be thankful for cheese?” suggested my brain. “No cheese. Parents,” insisted the heart. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea, for however weird, different or challenging I perceived my childhood to be at times, it was actually pretty great, thanks in large part to my parents.

It wasn’t until I became a parent myself that my view on my childhood fully shifted, and allowed me to see my parents for what they are: People. People who love, and people who care. People who make mistakes, and people who struggle. Just your run-of-the-mill, everyday people, living their own lives while simultaneously trying to be responsible for somebody else’s. Reconciling this new title of “people” with their previous titles of “Mom” and “Dad” has been paramount in appreciating the incredible effort they put into raising good kids, and continue to put in as we ourselves become parents.

Of course nobody is perfect, and this is hardly meant to be some brag about how I came from a modern-day Donna Reed family. That wasn’t the case at all. But now that I am a parent, it is much easier to look back, and not only cut them some slack, but also feel appreciative for the lessons they taught us, even if they were tough lessons to learn.

Thanks to my parents, and their openness about their less than perfect relationship, I have been able to use their missteps as a guide, and their victories as goals. Use good communication. Work hard. Practice transparency and honesty. Be supportive, loyal and kind. These are all invaluable lessons I am thankful to have learned from people who I love and respect. Perhaps the best lesson of all, they have recently shown me the importance of forgiveness, as they embrace friendship once again, and relish in their roles as new grandparents. This, the forgiveness, has strengthened my own relationships, and also allowed me to permit myself the same courtesy as I stumble through new motherhood.

I am so thankful to have the parents I have. My mom, my dad, my step-mom, my in-laws. Every one of them brings something incredible to the table. I could go on and on about the individual traits each person shines with, but then I’d be oozing emotion, and that makes my skin a little itchy. So today, I say thanks. Thank you for your love, your support, and your kindness. Thank you for your mistakes and your quirks. Thank you for above all else, sharing your imperfection, and in your imperfection, being beautifully human.