Friday, May 31, 2013

A Gift

As time moves on, and I meet more and more new people, I find that telling them Rip's story becomes  a gift I can choose to give someone.

When I first moved into this phase of life, this phase where I wasn't so recently "that girl who", I felt unsettled.  I could have people in my life who would never know about my first born child-but if they didn't know him then they would never truly know me.

Recently, I've realized that this choice is a gift.  I get to choose who I allow to know the most precious parts of me.  Now, some of them may think, "hey-this is the worst gift ever, I would rather have an itchy sweater than this gift!", but that's okay, it just means we won't hang out and drink wine together, which is clearly their loss.

For the most part, I've waited until I was sure I wanted to bestow my gift on the new people in my life, and they have received him graciously.  They see the gift of Rip's life as what it has always been to me, something to be treasured and loved.

The Littlest Mama

Yesterday, while tidying up, I found evidence that the littlest mother in our home had put her baby down for a nap...

After calling the mom in question to the room, I suggested the kitty-baby may be more comfortable in a softer location.  She agreed.

But when it came down to it, this mama knew what all mamas know- there is nothing like snuggling that baby to sleep your very own self (even if that baby just so happens to be a kitty-cat).

Thursday, May 23, 2013

If you have two loaves of bread...

If you have two loaves of bread, sell one and buy a lily- Chinese Proverb

After a particularly rough week,  I stopped by the local Trader Joe's and bought myself some beautiful hydrangeas for the kitchen table and these roses for my office...

Normally, I would not advocate voluntarily giving up food for anything but I think the Chinese might be on to something.

Here's to a little hot pink in the rest of your week.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Half of My Heart

Some people are real big about their "side"- you know, as in which side of the bed they sleep on.  I've never had a side, per se, I've just always had to be on whichever side of the bed is closest to the door.  Like, if there is an emergency I want to be able to escape first.

It's kind of a subconscious thing which I didn't fully realize was that big of a deal to me until I got married.  Luckily, Parke pretty much took it in stride that if something dire was to happen in the middle of the night I was basically going to high-tail it straight for the door and leave him there to fend for himself.  Every man and all that jazz. In fact, when we go on trips, he often sweetly points out that I will need to put my stuff in the drawers closest to the exit so I can make my great escape.

On the day of our wedding rehearsal, standing at the front of the church our minister was showing us where to stand.  I told him I was going to need to stand nearest to the door.  He looked more than a little alarmed but Parke just nodded like it was the most normal thing in the world.  He gets me.

Anyway, as I mentioned, this weekend we went away with friends for the Mother's Day weekend.  We set Gracie up in her whoever-thought-of-it-is-a-genius Pack n' Play and hours later I went to bed before Parke.  It was right before I drifted off that I realized that I was not sleeping beside the door.  I was sleeping on the side closest to Gracie.  In fact, any time we have been out of town, I've slept on the side where Gracie has been closest to me, door or no door.

I recently came across that quote again that I love so much, the one that says "Having children is like letting your heart walk around outside of your body".  I guess my subconscious knows that even in a middle of the night emergency we can't be running off without half of our heart.  Now evidently our husband on the other hand...only kidding, as long as he steps lively he can come too.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mama Says

This weekend was the first Mother's Day that I've truly enjoyed.  Two years ago, I was still a broken mess of a mother.  Last year, even though things were much, much better, I was still something of a hormonal mess.  But this year was different.  This year Gracie is a strong and healthy toddler.  This year, Rip has found his place in my world-a place that strangely enough seems to be the same size as my heart.

We went to the beach with some friends for the weekend.  I took Gracie on a lone stroll down the beach in her stroller, and like any proper beach babe she promptly fell asleep.  Walking along the sand, I started thinking about my own mother.

I have the world's best mama.  She is beautiful on the inside and out.  She is one of those people who everyone wants to be around.  When we were little, my brothers and sister and I would get so annoyed when we went anywhere with her, because EVERYONE wants to stop and chat with my mom.  She makes you feel good.

I couldn't, repeat, Could. Not. have made it through the past three years without my mother.

She has taught me so much about what it means to enjoy this life, no matter what the circumstances.  The following are some the things I have learned...

- When life gets bad, get next to salt water.  Put your fanny in a beach chair, let your hair frizz, read a good optional.

- Get up and move.  Do something.  Sitters and stewers need not apply.

- Looking bad never helps anything.

- When throwing a party, don't worry so much about every little detail- people are thrilled just be invited

- You never know what other people are going through, be nice

- But not too nice, you can't be a dog for anybody who will pet you

- Most of the time, anger comes out of fear

- It's fine to splurge on something you really love, but 9 times out of 10 you can find something just as cute at TJ Maxx

- Your children always come first.  Make sure they know that.

- Traditions are important

- Birthdays are a big deal

- God is always there, no matter how many times you leave and come back

- It is important to be thrilled by the little things- four leafed clovers, rainbows, finding your favorite shell on the beach

- Laugh a lot-with others or by yourself

- Enjoy beauty, there is a lot of it in this world

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Confession

I have a deep, dark confession to make.  Two nights ago, I slept in my child's crib with her.  And it wasn't the first time I've done it.

Now, am I PROUD of this?  Absolutely not.  I have visions of her lying on a therapist's couch one day saying something like, "it all started when I was one, and my mother crawled into my crib...I've felt she's been caging me in ever since."

Before you think I've gone completely nuts, over-protective parent style, it wasn't by choice I found myself in this position.  It was out of sheer exhaustion.  Multiple nights of coughing, a child that (despite the hacking) can scream for hours, who won't sleep in any bed but her own, and maybe a little delirium on my part.  At any rate, my 32 year-old rear end found itself folded up in an infant's crib and I got an extra three hours of sleep.

The reason for this confession?  I've been reading a lot of blog posts lately that I find disturbing.  A lot of "Mommy guilt" posts.  A lot of "you are doing it the wrong way" posts.  I don't know that they are intended be that way, but that's how they come across.

Don't get me wrong- I love to hear about how other people are parenting.  I love to hear about other mamas who made it through natural childbirth, or made it through one whole year of breastfeeding- I am not being in the least bit sarcastic here when I say those are truly amazing feats.  My problem is when the word "best" creeps in.  As in, this is the "best" way to do it.

For someone like me, who literally had no other choice but to have a c-section, hearing that the "best" way to give birth is naturally feels like a punch in the gut.  It brings up all kinds of guilt on top of the guilt that I already have.  Who needs that?

And yes, "breast is best", but what happens when your milk goes away months before you are ready for it to?  When you are bawling your eyes out every day hooked up to a darn breast pump without a drop coming out, feeling like a defective cow?

Then there are the food issues.  We all try to feed our kids healthy foods.  But sometimes, when you work full time and your kid gets corn dogs at school?  Well, that has to be okay too.

I'm sorry if I sound harsh or jealous, I am! I am jealous of the mom's out there who sound like they have it down perfectly.  I guess I am just hoping that maybe we have all spent a night or two in a crib...something we knew wasn't "best" but was the best we could do for that moment.

I guess my point is that all (well, almost all) mothers are doing their very, very best.  And the fact that means something different for everyone might just be the best part for our kids.

Off my soapbox now, Gracie wants some high fructose corn syrup (kidding, only kidding).

The c-section, formula, and artificial dyes have finally gotten to her