Saturday, February 15, 2014

A letter to my best friend and soon-to-be mama

Dear best friend,

You are pregnant! The whole world is excited!! I don't think anyone on this earth deserves to be a parent more than you. Since we were little, you have always had the most compassionate personality. With everything you have been through to bring you to this day, you have conquered it all so gracefully. When it felt like everything was against you, you still smiled and pushed through. My love for you has 26 years of your unconditional friendship behind it and I cannot thank you enough for that. For all of these reasons and so many more, you are going to be an amazing mother. 

Now I know I started this blog writing about some of my aggravations with pregnancy and parenthood. But this letter to you is from one mumma's heart to another. 

First, through these last couple of months, resist the want to punch anyone in the face that tells you "Sleep now because you won't be after baby is born." You won't sleep normally through the last few months of pregnancy, or after he is born, or ever again. And after a couple years you'll get used to it and it will be ok. It'll actually be great. The reason you aren't sleeping is because this little guy you created needs you. He needs your help, your love and your comfort. He will eventually sleep through the night but you still won't. Remember that book our moms used to read to us as kids, I'll Love You Forever? Yeah well you will be that mom that even after he falls asleep, will crawl into his room, hold him just for a couple extra minutes. Why would you do that? Want to sneak into a sleeping child's room, risking the chance that you'll wake him? Because you're sleep deprived and can't think straight. And because you created this little human and it is the best feeling in the world and every chance you can get to give him love, you will.

Another thing, don't be disappointed when labor goes nothing like you had planned. I really wish someone told me this. I ridiculously, but whole heartedly, thought I could actually have control of all of that. And well it killed me that not even the smallest things worked out the way I had wanted. But now two and a half years later I can write this letter to you and say don't waste your time planning any of it. Whenever and however that beautiful newborn gets put into your arms, smile and let everything else go. 

A baby changes your marriage. It does. No one told me this either. You're no longer just husband and wife. You're mama and daddy. This may seem like a pretty obvious thing, but it's a bigger concept than, well, a new parent can wrap her head around. You and your family of two are no stranger to hard work as a couple. You have both defied so many odds that this could be something you both just laugh at. But when sleepless nights get the best of you, or your parenting skills of a little defiant toddler seem to be drastically different, or any part of this journey into parenthood makes you two scared,  it is important to remember you're not in it alone. And it's important to keep reminding yourself that too because sometimes we all forget. 

The heartache from anything you have ever felt in your life with be nothing compared to your child's first big booboo. Oh god. It still hurts. It will hurt you more than him. But you're both get through it. Him sooner than you. 

There is no such thing as a perfect mama. You're going to make mistakes, a lot of them. You're going to sometimes have no clue why your baby is crying and have no way to help him. This is ok, mostly because he probably doesn't know why he is crying either. And when he gets older, you're going to make mistakes too. There are days where you will have 100% energy to be a super mom and take on his crazy little imaginative world and fill him up with even more important emotional tools for life. You will take him places and teach him things. You will show him the many different worlds outside your home. And these days will be beautiful.. but exhausting. And there will be days where you don't have that energy. Where the tv will be on all day and all he has eaten is animal crackers. You've accomplished nothing except maybe showering, and he has watched the same episode of sesame street for past three hours. You need these days. Even though your guilt may overcome you about not being a "good" parent, remember, you need these days. Life is about balance. So is parenting. No day is perfect. We wake up not knowing what it will bring. The same is with being a parent. Part of being a great parent is finding the balance in between all of the days. 

One last thing. This has been my proudest one to conquer (mostly because all of the above that I have written, in one way or another I'm still dealing with).  Don't worry about your body, now or after. Because you're gorgeous. You always have been and always will be. Every boy wanted to be your boyfriend when we were younger and now the two best boys in the world ((well one to be coming into the world soon)) have you!! Even if you never get back to "pre-baby body" it doesn't matter. The one thing I have let go of is that goal of being back to pre-baby. And I couldn't feel better about myself. Dude, I made another human being, I can keep on these few extra 25 pounds. I've earned that! 

So here is my letter to you. Of crazy, emotional, mama things. I think this letter was more for myself than you, but I am so excited to watch you on this journey. The love you have in your heart is no match for what is about to come. Some days it will fill so much it hurts. And some days it will just hurt. These are all good things. I love you so much and cannot wait to be this very lucky baby boy. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Finding my balance

Well it is 6:30 am on a Saturday, and because my mind is on auto alarm for 5:20 am for the week, I am awake now while everyone else is sleeping. So I am deciding to write.  But to be honest, I'd much rather be sleeping. 

So maybe I will start off this "Saturday Morning Insomnia" post with a look into the other person who is on this WTF-am-I-doing ride that we call parenthood.

Michael and I celebrated 4 crazy years of mah-widge (the Princess Bride was to say it is the only way to say it) in December. Four friggen years! It's crazy to me. This may seem like a small feat or even still the honeymoon stage to some but for me, well I have a problem committing to absolutely anything. So, high-five, Hubby! Looks like I am on the right track! But to be honest, he makes it really easy..

A few things about Michael (my husband, not my dad -see other post- now we're back to this weird Freudian thing again):

I am married to a rock'n'roll singing, dish washing, best dad in the world shirt owning, dinner cooking, house cleaning, laundry doing, converse wearing all-star. Seriously. I'm spoiled. 

In my completely right-side-of-the -brain-parenting technique, I cannot be a good mom without completely destroying our apartment. I'm not kidding. I am worse than Vedder. A mom who makes more of a mess than her two year old son. Our lovely dining table is permanently covering in paint from various projects. We are still finding confetti glitter around the apartment from new year eve sensory bottles. I have a half done chalk mural on V's wall in his bedroom ((see earlier comment about not being able to commit to anything)). 

When I come home from work during the week, dinner is always ready. Always. Sometimes when Michael comes home on the weekends, he's lucky if his son has even had one full meal the whole day, nevermind a full dinner being cooked. Not that he always keeps his cool about all the mess, but who would? I even want to punch me in the face sometimes for half the crap I do. However, he does know he married an ADHD self-proclaimed artist who cannot commit to change long enough to make it stick. But I guess that's what made him fall in love with me, right? My beautiful free spirit? The way I can just go with the flow? Or my amazingly creative brain? 

No, it was none of that. We met on a blind date. The reasons he fell in love with me was alcohol and the fact that I have a big butt and nothing else. 

So here's a big THANK YOU! to the man who absolutely and willingly deals with my crazy antics and scattered brain. Thank you for teaching Vedder how to do things like hang up his jacket while I teach him about how we can open the window and take all the snow off of the sill to play with it on the kitchen floor. Thank you for putting us both to bed at night. Thank you for creating such balance in my life. And thank you so much for truly loving me through all of this craziness that you have fully committed to. 

You are the best thing that has ever happened to me. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The night the Grandad Train came to our home

Twenty years ago, Michael (my dad, not my husband.. but now that I write that, I guess there is some Freudian thing going on) came into my life when he started dating my mom. I began calling him dad soon after and haven't stopped. They married when I was eleven. In the ceremony he also exchanged rings with my sister and me, us taking him as our dad. My brother did the same with a ring from my mom, ceremonially making us siblings. This day solidified our family. When I was thirteen, I changed my last name to his. My dad has always been the rock to our family. I have always been thankful for everything he has done for me (even though it took me years to show it). However, what happened last night is much more than I will ever be able to thank him for.

When Vedder was born, my dad said he wanted to be called "Grandad." We laughed and try to tell him not to give his hopes up. Vedder began to call him "DingDong." We laughed harder. Then not long ago Vedder started saying Grandad and hasn't stopped since. He talks about Grandad and the "Grandad Train" (Amtrak) every day. Last night, all he wanted to do was play trains with Grandad.

This breaks my heart. I live with my husband and son in NYC. When I moved here five years ago, I had no real plans for staying this long. However life happens. Now I am here (with still a hope in my heart that we will one day be back living in Massachusetts). I talk to my family often. I text with my sister almost daily, my brother frequently, and facetime with my parents every weekend. I dream of raising my child in the suburbs with a yard he can run in and I can watch him from the kitchen window.

But for now, a trip up to MA every few months and the everyday advances in technology, help Vedder to have a relationship with Nani, Grandad, Auntie, and Unc.

So back to my story about last night.

While facetiming with Auntie, Vedder kept asking if she talked to Grandad. "Where's Grandad? Do you talk to Grandad? I want to play trains with Grandad." So we hung up with my sister and called my mom. Mom instantly answers the phone. "Hi, Vedder!!" "Ummm, Nani, I want to see Grandad." ((My poor mom and sister. Right now in V's life NO ONE measures up to Grandad.))

As soon as they see each other over the iPad, they laugh hysterically. This happens every time we facetime, and lasts for the first few minutes of the call. Just looking at each other laughing. Warms the heart.

Then after talking a bit, Vedder said "I want to play trains with Grandad." We moved the iPad onto the floor of his room. He showed my dad his train tracks all set up. While Vedder pushed around the trains, my dad said "Chugga Chugga Choo Choo!"

This lasted a few more minutes, but Vedder kept looking at me and saying "I want to play trains with Grandad." Obviously it was getting to the point where having Grandad watch from the iPad wasn't good enough. He wanted him there in person. This confused and longing look on Vedder's face broke my heart. And while my mind began to wallow in self pity for living so far away, something amazing happened.

I looked over at the iPad and noticed my dad. He had his head laying down on the kitchen table, imitating Vedder (he lays down on the floor to play trains). My dad had a small black Brio train in his hand, gliding it back and forth on the table. Vedder saw this and smiled. I saw this and cried. They were really playing trains together. Two hundred and fifty miles apart. My heart was so full it could have burst!

They played like this for a while. And as I became the official "FaceTime iPad Holder" I knew I was no longer needed (well, except to be the FaceTime iPad Holder). They played trains, made choo-choo noises, and watched each other. It was beyond the most perfect moment.

Like April 19th solidified our family years ago, February 5th is the day that solidified Vedder and Grandad's bond. They are best friends, and this moment is something they will have for the rest of their lives.

((SIDENOTE: I would also like to thank my parents. Not every family has the amount of love that ours does and I am so grateful for everything you have taught and shown me. It is because of your love and parenting - and our arguments, my rebellion, and your forgiveness - that has truly molded me into the mom I am today. I would be so lost without your constant love and guidance. Thank you for never giving up and always showing me that family is the strongest bond there is. Blood does not make a family, the people in it do. I am so proud to be your daughter.))