Tag Archives: parenting

Begins with ‘m’

The only thing I can think of is Mama.  Life is so wrapped up in that aspect of my being right now that it is the only thing that comes.  Well, monkey did too, but I honestly couldn’t think of anything to write about a monkey.  I did think about describing the Littlest Pet Shop monkey we have, but being so small, that wouldn’t take long.  It is purple, by the way.

Mama is the thing I wanted to be most of all. After a certain point that is.  I also wanted to be a model (at age 13…), and an artist, and a writer and finally a professional stage manager.  I managed that last one. There’s an M word…manager.  I am a very good manager. I can take a lot of things in stride, and sort through chaos pretty neatly.  I even won an award as a manager.

But Mama…now that is something else entirely.  From the beginning the journey wasn’t easy. After years of constantly being worried about accidentally getting pregnant, it turned out I was infertile.  And husband was sporting a few million less sperm than he ought to. We tried to get pregnant. Then we went to a doctor and had tests.  Then we tried some more things to get pregnant, finally succeeding after nearly 4 years, and we had a baby.  A brilliant, gorgeous, blue-eyed baby girl. She was the best and most important thing that ever happened to me. She still is.

Being a mama was a challenge, but a good one. One that made me grow and stretch and that felt fulfilling. I loved it. My daughter and I were incredibly close. It was joy to be with her and watch her learn. We came up with adventures to go on and things to do each day. When she reached 5 years old, I knew that we would homeschool because I adored being around her. I love teaching her and watching her discover things. I love listening to her narratives.

And I thought that was it. That was my picture of Mama. Me and my girl.

And then…turns out infertile doesn’t mean sterile. After years of knowing we couldn’t conceive on our own and years of thinking that we would need help and a lot of money to have another child, after wrestling with the fact that we only got to do this whole journey once, after coming to terms with that and being okay with that…after all that (roughly 6 years of all that) it turned out I got to be mama again.

She arrived fast, and with a full head of dark hair.  She was a surprise in every way possible, from the hair, to her size, to her dark eyes, to how angry she got.  Born in Leo, in the year of the Dragon, and she was going to let everyone know it.  Everything was different with this baby.  It was not a peaceful gazing at the baby and becoming a mom.  I feel like I was still slightly surprised by her until she was nearly 6 months old. She had a tongue tie and a lip tie that made it hard for her to get enough milk at first, and she would get a lot of air when she nursed.  This made her gassy, and hungry and MAD. So mad. I was shocked by her arrival (40 weeks is not enough to get over nearly 10 years of infertility), and then shocked that she was always upset.  Except for the brief hours when she was sleeping. It was nothing like the mama I had envisioned.  It was hard, and exhausting and finally at 4 weeks old we got her tongue tie clipped and everything seemed to let out a breath.

Here we are now, big kid is 7, and tiny is 15 months (as of yesterday). Mama looks a lot different from here.  Mama is tired.  Mama is trying. Mama frequently finds herself short tempered and stressed out. Mama is trying to not yell.  Mama is trying to learn new languages to speak to her kids the way she wishes she had been spoken to.  Mama is trying so hard to let her girls know she is there for them. Mama is being a mama.

That is the only M word that comes up for me because it is so much of me.  There’s another M word: ME. These days, Mama and Me are one and the same.

following the daily prompts for November from Writealm.com

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Regret(s)

I used to say I didn’t have any regrets. That every single think I had done had move me to where I was, made me who I was. I still stick to that – mostly. I never saw the point in spending a lot of time regretting what I had or hadn’t done. I couldn’t change it, I could only move forward.

Even now most of my regrets are about smaller things. I regret not saving more money, or using my credit cards too much. I regret not getting good grades in high school (and college). Small things in the grand scheme. Things that can’t be changed, and that I didn’t need to dwell on.

But there is the one thing that I have come to regret. While I was pregnant with Tiny, the situation in my house changed pretty dramatically. And it wasn’t awesome. For me, for Big Kid. I was not the mom I wanted to be, and I am still getting my parenting legs back after that. But the thing I regret is that the last 6 months I had with just Big Kid was derailed and (I hate this word, but it fits) ruined. I was focused on things that were ultimately not my problem and shouldn’t have been my focus. I can’t get that time back ever. I can’t go back to it just being me and Big Kid and have those months back. And I bitterly regret that. It is going to be a while before I can forgive myself for making the decisions that led to the situation.

I dislike having regrets. I feel like I need to make up for it, to fix it somehow. It feels like a weight that I have to carry around with me all the time. All interactions with Big Kid are weighed on that time, and how much I failed her, whether or not she is mad about it, if she will remember it. I can’t change it, but I haven’t quit figured out how to let go of it yet either.

following the daily prompts for November from Writealm.com

First, Be Present…

Jumping into Writealm.com’s November Prompt-a-Day.  I’m a couple of days behind, and read the first two prompts (1. First, 2. Be present) as one: First, be present.

You have to show up. Sometimes that’s the hardest part.

In parenting, being present is the biggest challenge I have ever faced. I am prone to navel-gazing, being preoccupied with things to come, or just liking to focus on something until it is complete. Children, they demand your presence in ways that are non-linear and immediate. You must pay attention to THIS. RIGHT NOW. And then you must pay attention to THIS OTHER THING! RIGHT NOW. It is enchanting, fascinating and undeniably exhausting.

The days when I reach the end and find myself shaking my head an wondering what they heck just happened, or feeling like I have failed miserably, are the days when I am caught up in the “shoulds” of what I think needs to happen.  What I should do to be a good parent, or what I think my kids should have. It leaves me seeing only what I lack, rather than what these bright, shining children have to show me each and every day. It is breathtaking to feel like I lost a whole day to pushing a boulder up the wrong hill.

When I remember to be present, to watch and engage, to encourage and listen, I’m still exhausted at the end of the day, but in a way that feels rewarding and like good work was done. For this month, I think that perhaps “First, Be Present” is going to be a daily reminder. Especially as we get into the holidays and things get wound up tightly. Especially as my husband may have to go on a business trip. Especially as the rain sets in and we are stuck inside more.

Most importantly, so I don’t feel like I lost another day to seeing only what I think should be rather than what is.