Lucky Number Seven

This past Saturday we celebrated Brady’s seventh birthday. Seven whole years of his being on this planet. Seven years of my being a mother and my husband being a father–of us being a family. It also reminded me that I have now officially been freelancing longer than I was a staffer. A very odd concept.

I always thought that I would grow up and go to college and then go to more college and then maybe some more and then I would get a job and be “successful.” Never was it in my future plans to try to juggle mostly full-time full-on mothering along with part-time work. That moment, seven years ago, when they placed my baby in my arms was probably the most defining one of my entire life. It threw all of the descriptors I had of myself to the wind and left me grasping for new ones.

I think that in the last seven years I’ve done a fairly good job of both finding new ways to define myself and of letting go of definitions. It’s not easy and I don’t always succeed, but I have come to be have a more expansive self definition than I ever did before kids. I can see myself as  “mom, wife, editor, yogi, friend, sister, daughter, activist,” and many more. It’s difficult sometimes to accept that I am many things all in one, but motherhood, and age and experience, have helped me find myself more fully.

Ok, back to that seven-year-old boy. I have also loved growing my definition of my son and seeing him grow in his view of himself. Where once he played with shiny things and loved buttons, he has now decided that he likes the Seattle Seahawks and Pokemon and reading about boys having adventures and so many other things. He is no longer just my baby. He is a student, a friend, a son, a grandson, a helper, a martial artist, a soccer player. And who knows what the future holds.

In those struggling days of having a new baby and trying desperately to hold onto who I was, I never imagined having conversations with my son about the different dinosaurs and why they died out or what dark matter is or how shark lose their teeth and replace them all the time. I didn’t realize all that he would teach me, not just about myself, but about the world. It’s a great gift of parenthood. Children test your limits at every turn and surprise you when you least expect it.

Seven whole years of my life as mom and he’s grown and changed so much, and he has also changed me. Amazing.

Here’s to my astounding seven-year-old and to all that he is and will be.

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Project Optimism: The Importance of Missing My Kids

Wow, I see why Keeping It Real, The Best Life, and When Crazy Meets Exhaustion set this for Mondays. It is seriously tough to find some bright and shiny on a Monday. But after reading a few of the other posts and digging deep, I found some.

This past Friday was my birthday and I was feeling down. Not because I’m a year older, I’m ok with that, but because somehow once I gave my life over to motherhood birthdays have lost their special for me. I still had to get up and make lunches and change diapers and soothe cranky toddlers and mediate sibling fights. There wasn’t time to really have any, well, time. 

But Saturday my in-laws took the kids for the night. It was the second time we’ve done this with both kids. The first was for the husband’s birthday in November and it went well, so I was less nervous this time. So at 3:45 on Saturday afternoon, the husband and I were foot-loose and fancy-free. We watched tv, we took our time getting ready, we went out and drank alcoholic beverages and ate yummy food and didn’t worry (too much) about when we got home. It was heavenly!

Yet, in the back of my mind, I kept feeling like I forgot something. Something like maybe, my children. I’m so used to having them with me, that it’s strange to be apart from them. By the next morning I was missing my little guys. After yoga, the apartment seemed empty and quiet. When my in-laws called from the drive to say they were there, I raced down to get them. Brady ran to hug me in classic, romantic-movie style and I picked him up and spun him around. Declan was sleeping in the carseat and let me pick him up and bring him upstairs without waking. 

need to get away sometimes, to go out and be a grownup and just take a breath. More than that I need to miss my kids sometimes, to be reminded of how much I like spending time with them and enjoy their little voices and faces and of how sweet and adorable they can be. I know it’s not ideal, or even possible, for every mother. For me, a night off can do wonders for my relationship with my children.

 

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Happy Birthday Declan!

One year ago today I had a nightmare that I was in labor and had to fly to London to give birth. When I woke at 4am I discovered that the contractions from my dream were in fact real, but since I had been having contractions for the past 11 weeks I told myself to go back to sleep and I did. Throughout the day the contractions got stronger and more painful and around 4pm I noticed that that they were fairly regular so I timed them. They were 5 minutes apart. So I called my doctor, called my sister-in-law to watch Brady, and called the husband to get his ass home.
I showered quickly, grabbed my bag, and off to the hospital we went. They got me in around 8:00 and at 8:30 checked me. I was 1cm! I nearly threw up from frustration. I thought I would never make it if these were 1cm contractions. The resident went to call the OB on call and while she was gone I had a massive contraction and my water broke. The husband ran to tell her and instead of going to walk, I got to go into a room.
Fifteen minutes later, my contractions were much, much more painful. My amazing and wonderful nurse had me sit in the rocking chair because I was having back labor and it really helped. I was in so much pain that the resident came in to check me. I was 5cm, yes! So back to the rocking chair I went. About 20 minutes after that I had to push and when I say ‘had to’ I mean ‘HAD TO”.
The resident ran back in pulling on her gown and booties telling me not to push until she checked me. As she tried to check, I couldn’t help but push. Once she said I was fully dilated it was go time! About 10 minutes later, at 9:48pm,Declan was born. One of the most amazing moments of my life. I realized I had just had a baby with no medication whatsoever and felt like I had won a marathon. I had asked for an epidural in there somewhere, but Declan had other plans. They handed him to me and the husband and I just stared at him for awhile.
There was a moment the next morning, around 7am, when I sat in my hospital bed looking out at Manhattan with the sun shining and nursing my new little boy, when the world felt perfect. The joy that Declan has added to our lives is amazing. I never imagined I would enjoy him so much. He is calm and smiley. He is mischievous and sneaky. He is a terrible sleeper (most of the time). But I can’t imagine my life without him.

It’s hard to believe in one short year, he’s gone from this

to this

And with his new haircut he looks so grownup. Sometimes I miss my teeny baby, but I also love the little boy he’s becoming. I love you, Smoosh. You’re the best.