Friday, May 31, 2013


So, it's been a few weeks, but at least it hasn't been a month. I'm improving, a little.

Anyway, I went away last weekend. For three nights. For fun. Without my husband or my child. I know. Craziness. I've been away from her before, but only when Mike and I had a wedding or I had to go to training for work. This is the first time I've left her for more than one night just to have a good old time with my girlfriends. And yes, I did feel the obligatory mom guilt gnawing at me from the bottom of my stomach, but once I filled that puppy with Espresso martinis and lobster, that gnawing was replaced by another feeling all together. That feeling was "Freedom!" There. I said it. Staying up late, sleeping until 11:30 (are you serious?), and doing whatever I wanted to do during the day felt pretty amazing.

Even though I've only been a mom for three years, I have grown accustomed to the constant reminder of her presence. I always know where she is, what she's doing, whether or not she has pooped, if her hair is up or down (down- obviously), if she is wearing the Cinderella underwear or the Dora underwear (Cinderella- obviously), and even while we're both sleeping, it only takes one tiny "Mommy?" for my eyes to shoot open, ready for action. When you are a mom, you are always on-call, 24 hours a day.

I think that was the thing that initially freaked me out about motherhood. I had understood, of course, that this would be the case, but it wasn't until that first night in the hospital when Lost was over and I was ready to go to bed that I realized, "Oh my God. I don't get to just 'go to bed.' There is no "clocking out" of this job, no union to help me negotiate working conditions and personal days. No, there is only this very small and very unreasonable tyrant telling me I will never have five minutes to myself ever again!" This went on for quite some time. You've all heard the sob stories about my devil baby, so I won't bore you with them again.

But now, fully emerged from the baby fog, I realize that there is life after motherhood. That I can find the balance between my role as a parent and my role as a friend. This past weekend was about celebrating the end of single blessedness for my dear friend Alex, a girl I have literally been friends with for 27 years. Going away for the whole weekend seemed impossible when the idea was first presented, not because I didn't think my husband could handle Ella (he's always been better at it than me), but because it seemed like a lot to ask of him, and because, well, I am a mom now and moms aren't supposed to spend a weekend drinking booze and riding through P-town on something called a "Funk Bus" while their friend gets an impromptu lap dance by a stray lesbian off the street. Moms don't sleep until 11:30 and play Sexy Slang until the wee hours of the morning. But then I remembered that before I was a mom, I was a lot of other things, and namely, I was a friend who enjoyed the company of her girlfriends more than almost anything. This is a part of my identity, too, an important part of it that I want to cherish and cultivate, just as I want to cultivate the relationship with my husband and my child. The good thing is that these relationships have always felt stable to me, but it is the quality of those relationships that is tenuous. Partner, child, friend. I am lucky enough to have all of these things in my life, and I know that with that blessing comes an obligation to nurture these relationships every day. That's a lot to take on, but it's a job I'm lucky to have.

So, I relished the time with my girlfriends as much as I could, and when I got home on Monday, there was a smiling little person, no worse for wear, so excited to see me that she ran in front of my car, and I had to stop in the middle of the driveway, get out, and hug her. She wrapped her arms around me tighter than she ever had before and said, "I'm so glad you're home, Mommy!" She kept grabbing me intensely all week, saying over and over again, "I missed you Mommy. I missed you so much." And I took her in my arms, holding her little body against mine, and I relished that blessing, too.

Ella B taking over my spot in bed. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Popping Bubbles

A disclaimer...

It's been over a month since I blogged. This is the first time since I started the blog that I've let an entire month go by, and this makes me a little sad. I'm sad for both the right reasons and the wrong ones. The wrong reason is out of a sense of failure. I love to write; next to cooking, writing is my most favorite thing to do. Also, walking in the woods. If I could find a way to write about eating while walking in the woods, I'd be a very happy girl. So, why, then, have I allowed over a month to go by without writing a post? Work, kids, life, work, weeding, laundry, etc. Okay, so I know why, but I still feel like a failure for not carving out one hour for myself every now and again to do this thing that really does matter to me. But this is not the right reason to be disappointed. What matters is that every time I don't blog, I'm missing out on a chance to create that living record of the amazing Ella B. The sheer number of funny things she said or did in that one month is unimaginable, and everyday I tell myself, "Oh, I'm totally going to remember that one!" and then I start to make dinner, and Mike gets home from work, and when I turn to tell him what she said, I've already lost it. Life is happening so fast, and sometimes it feels like she's passing by me in a blur of hair and teeth. I'm trying to catch her, but she slips just out of my reach every time.

This is all very dramatic, of course, and plenty of people can enjoy their children's lives without every taking pen to paper or finger to keyboard, but for me, this is a place where I get to hold her just a little longer, and I want to do a better job of giving myself that gift...So, without further ado...

 Dear Ella B,

You never want to go inside anymore. It takes every promise of Cinderella and sour worms and ballerina dancing to get you in the door so I can make dinner, but today was just too beautiful. So, we changed our clothes, made a picnic, grabbed a blanket and headed back outside. We raced on the driveway and practiced bike riding, and then we laid the blanket in the backyard and had our dinner. I read I Love You Stinky Face while you ate strawberries, and we snuggled under a canopy of leaves. You put your hands behind your head and said you were relaxing, and I laid down next to you, feeling the sun on my face, and exhaled long and deep. You are three years old, and your skin is soft and your hair streams halfway down your back. You say things like "disappointed" and "eventually," as if you're fifteen, but you also say "each udder" and "somefing" to remind me you aren't. You can almost ride a bike and get yourself dressed, but you still like to sit and hold my thumb while we watch T.V. You ask a million questions, but when I ask you about your day at school, you say, "I don't want to talk about it." You think sitting at the table during dinner is the worst kind of torture, and you scream every time I try to brush your hair. You know songs about the days of the week and the months of the year, and you desperately want to be a big sister. You are starting to remember things, Ella B. You are making memories, and it makes me so happy to know that all these days that fill our lives with joy are starting to stick. So, here's one for you, in case you forget. Tonight, while we sat on the blue blanket in our backyard, you asked me to blow bubbles for you to catch. As I did, we noticed that the ones that fell on the blanket didn't pop right away. They hopped a little and then rested there. You went to pop one, and I said, "No, wait, let's see how long it lasts," and we sat and watched the bubble, the iridescent sphere swirling in the sun until it finally popped. You said, "It didn't last, Mommy," and I said, "I know, buddy. It's okay." You furrowed your brow and stared at the spot where the bubble once was. I blew another bubble, and another, and another until I finally got one to land right on your dress and sit there for just a minute. You smiled at it, and we watched it explode into a million tiny droplets. You collapsed into my lap dreamily and said, "I love bubbles, Mommy," and I said, "Me too, buddy," knowing that we both meant so much more than that. These are the days I will cherish. I hope you will too.

Love you always,