I Wish Him Love…

Because it’s Valentine’s Day weekend, I felt this was the most appropriate time to write about this.

I am a part of at least 5 Facebook mom groups, and recently each of them, in some form or another, asked the general question “What do you wish for your kids?”.

The normal, expected things were stated 500 times over: success, happiness, great marriage, beautiful house, health, college education, kids, security, and on. Who wouldn’t want all those things for their children? I want those things for Damian most definitely…

But I want more than that. So very much more than that for him.

In the literally thousands of replies over the few months between the different groups when the question was asked, no one…NO. ONE. said what seemed to be completely obvious to me, what I’ve whispered and wished on him and spoken into existence thousands of times.

“I want you to have someone that loves you as much as I love your daddy.” 

More than anything in the world. I wish my son love.

No… not the artful postures of love, not playful and poetical games of love for the amusement of an evening, but love that… overthrows life. Unbiddable, ungovernable – like a riot in the heart, and nothing to be done, come ruin or rapture. Love – like there has never been in a play. ~ Viola De Lesseps, Shakespeare in Love

When people see Jeremy and I, they assume we are “newly weds” or that we have a “young relationship”…you know, the ones that are still in the obsessive phase where the other person is perfect? He is most definitely not perfect, but neither am I. That’s the beauty of it. We’ve been together nine years come March, and our fifth anniversary was New Year’s Eve. We are very, VERY far from perfect.

Not to put a damper on all the good intentions of the well-wishing moms of the world, but shit happens. Serious, awful, devastating shit happens. People lose jobs, hurricanes destroy homes, college doesn’t guarantee a future, happiness is fickle, there’s a million levels of success, and security is an illusion.

But the love I have for that man? The one I call “husband”? Oh my god.

We were told once “maybe you love each other too much” like it was a bad thing to be willing to go to the ends of the earth and beyond for another person. Then we realized, we have a gift that is rather unfamiliar, unorthodox, and extremely rare. We’ve gone through hell and back, walked through some amazingly awful times together, nearly ended it all because of toxic people in our life, and lost everything. Twice. We cancelled our wedding because his mother said she wouldn’t show, dealt with crazy exes, a shared child from another mother that we hardly see at all, severe health issues and going to school while working, and then some. All that and we’re only in our early thirties.

The point is, regardless of what happens (because life happens) there is one undeniable fact that is as true today as it was nine years ago in March in a basement where I said “I love you” without restraint or hesitation only weeks after meeting my soulmate. I love the man that has CHOSEN me (and he can just as easily choose to walk away) to share his life with me with every fiber of my being, and it’s because I know he loves me in the same “The Notebook/Outlander/Titanic/Casablanca/Shakespearean/Princess Bride” type way that people think is just make believe. But it’s not. We just wouldn’t settle for less.

So yes. The one thing, above all, that I wish for my son is true love.

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Oh The Things You Can Do!

Eight months ago, I started writing this post…then in whirlwind of life, I forgot about it. I never finished. At first I thought about deleting it all, then I realized “Oh my god. I forgot about the whole incident!” Read on…

Two days ago, my son pulled himself up to standing. He’d been attempting for a small while, and because I’m wanting be able to relive every amazing moment of his life in 20 years, I had my camera ready.

We have one of those half infant half toddler tubs from Target. It’s been his only tub, and because we’ve stood him up every single night in the tub since birth to wash that tiny little butt, it’s not surprising this was where he attempted, and accomplished, his newfound talent. If you’ve ever seen these tubs you know that the infant side is sloped like a spa tub so he could lay back and just splash. As he grew and could sit unassisted, we flipped it around to the toddler side…where he could splash. He gathered a few weeks ago that where the head goes on the infant side could be used as a handle and has been pulling himself up and over to flatten his tummy on the slope to generally reach around for things at a new angle. Recently, with the help of mom and dad, he’s been standing much faster from a laying or sitting position while on the floor.

So this night, we saw his little brain working, while he was wiggling and reaching and splashing. Jeremy sat on the floor to catch, I worked the camera. He leaned forward, grabbed ahold of the infant side and very slowly straightened his legs. He concentrated so hard, wobbled a bit and fell backwards. Then he did it again. And again. And again. Each time he got sturdier, and thus more confident. Each time Jeremy and I held our breath so we wouldn’t break his concentration. Each time, I got closer and closer to sobbing.

Finally, he did it. He stood up, stayed sturdy (as much as you can having never really used your legs before now) straightened his torso and walked his hands up the seat in the shower…and promptly grabbed for the shampoo.

Damian stood up that day...May 11, 2014

Damian stood up that day…May 11, 2014

I have never been SO proud in my life! Then I realized: except when he rolled over the first time, or sat up without assistance, or we felt teeth buds, or when he ate solid foods, or when I lost him in the living room because he’d rolled from one side to the other, or when he nursed for the very first time.

My kid is amazing. I know, moms…right? But seriously. Amazing! Maybe not because he’s developing wonderfully or because he’s so chill or because I still feel I don’t deserve this tiny miracle, but I think he’s amazing because he simply is. When exactly do we become so tarnished and beaten that we think one decent effort is “good enough”? I keep replaying how many times, and for how many weeks, did he try standing? What if I tried something that hard?! What could I do? Talk amount blowing your mind…

Amazing right? How on EARTH could I forget about it?! The answer was right there, like an annoying fly that won’t get the clue when you swat at it, because LIFE has happened.

First time feeding himself. April 2014

First time feeding himself. April 2014

Since then, he’s learned to walk, to feed himself, to drink from a cup, use a fork and climb the stairs. He’s learned where his eyes, ears, mouth, nose, tummy and toes are. He’s learned how to make animal sounds, and find his socks and shoes. He’s learned how to sign for mom, dad, eat, drink, show, bye-bye, please, all-done, milk, play, more and bath. He learned to climb on the couch and that he can see daddy through the window when he’s home from work. He knows the iPad is how you talk to grandma and grandpa, that DayCare means other kids to play with, and when someone is cooking that the kitchen is dangerous.

First real steps. October 2014

First real steps. October 2014

He’s massive now (compared to that tiny ten pound bundle we brought home), he’s sooooooooo smart, and he’s growing so fast. Everyone said he would, but when you stop for a moment to really think about it, it is alarming. Eight months ago he learned to stand, now he runs and climbs. EIGHT. That’s less than a full-term pregnancy, a school year, only two and a half seasons.

First time going up the stairs by himself. November 2014

First time going up the stairs by himself. November 2014

As parents we’re so exhausted and overwhelmed all the time that though we celebrate when an accomplishment is made, by the next day it’s old hat. One days he can’t, the next day he can. Simple as that.

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Waiting for Daddy. January 2014

But it’s not. I feel like Moira from “Hook” with Robin Williams is standing there saying:

Your children love you, they want to play with you. How long do you think that lasts? Soon Jack may not even want you to come to his games. We have a few special years with our children, when they’re the ones that want us around. After that you’re going to be running after them for a bit of attention. It’s so fast Peter. It’s a few years, and it’s over. And you are not being careful. And you are missing it.

BAM! Right in the feelers. I work at home, go to school virtually, raise Little Man and pretend to be a house wife (though the last gets neglected more often than not). So many days I’ve just wanted him to keep sleeping, to zone out on the TV, to play without calling out for me just to get a break. Then he did. It was a relief…and yet heartbreaking. He was fine without me.

He’s growing up so fast. I’m very blessed to be home with him, I know that…and even with the emotions, the fatigue, the dirty house, and feeling overwhelmed I thank god every day I’m not missing it.

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So Should We Just Round Up the Anti-Vaccine Parents And Ship Them to Guantanamo?

So Should We Just Round Up the Anti-Vaccine Parents And Ship Them to Guantanamo?

I have my own thoughts…but this guy’s are pretty interesting to say the very least. This article written by a man named Matt Walsh is pretty involved, with great resources, and some pretty astounding responses to his Twitter feed.

Wrestling alligators…

Okay, yes this blog is still about my adventure in mommy-hood…but I’m convinced my son may be half lizard. Or platypus, snake, or any other animal that can somehow slink its way out of a tight spot before you realize it’s halfway gone.

I’ve said it before… I was a preschool teacher and a nanny. I have had my fair share of changing diapers, changing clothes, washing faces, putting socks back on, putting on coats, putting miniature mittens on, and digging random objects out of little mouths.

But for the life of me, I feel like I am dealing with an octopus every single time I have any interaction with my son. My husband and I have taken to putting a basket of random objects near the changing table just to entertain my son long enough so that he doesn’t smear the poop that has exploded in his diaper on his legs, hands, back, and sometimes face. Even then sometimes we fail miserably.

It takes twice as long to get my son’s pajamas on after bath then it does for me to make dinner most nights.

Even after removing his tray when he is finished eating, somehow Damian manages to find a food that he can smear all over his face after I have washed him down.

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I’ve let him run around in just his diaper during the winter because fighting him to get his shirt back on wasn’t worth the energy. I’ve learned he will come ask for his shirt when he gets cold.

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I couldn’t figure out why my cat’s food seem to be disappearing faster than it ever has in her entire 10 years of existence, until I realized my son thought it was snacks I put down at his level.

Maybe it’s because moms are inherently tired from waking three and four times a night to answer a crying child (after going to bed two hours after everyone else), from constantly struggling between housework and work-work (and in my case schoolwork as well), feeling like the definition of insanity because daily you do the same thing over and over expecting ONE day the house to stay clean, because your obligations, duties, responsibilities, chores, and others’ needs seem unending, and that the same thing I did years ago seems nearly overwhelming now. Maybe it’s because I got legit breaks then. Maybe it’s because (once again) my experiences only prepared me the way college prepares you for life: just minuscule enough that you aren’t blind sighted but not enough to truly be “prepared”.

Then this miraculous thing happened today. My son didn’t roll while I was changing his diaper. He didn’t fight me and cry when I was trying to get him dressed, and (the biggest surprise) he let me wash him after meals. Then I realized as I was telling my husband what I did differently today, was that I talked to my son. I didn’t yell or try holding him down, I didn’t chase after him and do a pretzel hold to try getting his shirt on. I literally, in my exhaustion and exasperation, said “Baby, PLEASE let mommy change your diaper. If you let me change you, then we can go play faster.”

It struck me like a tonne of bricks. I know he understands most of what I say, and instead of forcing him to do something I asked him. I let this little human know he had a choice. Small, and minuscule as his choice was, it was still his choice. I ASKED if he would let me help him. He chose to let me. We so often get in the parent mode of “I’m right, you’re wrong” without meaning to be condescending, that we are. We forget that if someone forced us day in and day out to do something, it would make us angry too. I’m not saying that tomorrow he won’t go back to rolling like a ‘gator who just caught his lunch…but for today his choice was to let me help. So today, life was a little more peaceful.

Random Mom Thought #55

I’ve decided nap time is the lunch break of stay at home moms. True, we get at least an hour and a half, but that hour and a half feels like 15 minutes. After finally eating for the first time that day while making the phone calls you couldn’t while your toddler was screaming and running through the house (because being able to do that high-pitched noise is super awesome!) all morning long, doing a load of laundry, trying to switch over the dishes, catch up on any emails for work, and pick up toys so you can sit on the couch without killing yourself… By the time you actually sit down to take a moment, you hear your son talking and calling out “mooooooooooooom?!” while shaking the playpen so it bangs on the wall… Just in case you can’t hear him calling for you.

Sex Starts In The Morning.

I won’t lie… I literally started sobbing when I read this. It’s a very very difficult thing to feel unappreciated, unwanted, and unneeded. Thankfully I don’t actually feel those things… But sometimes your brain tricks you and you think you really do feel that way.

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I’m Jealous of My Son.

I have a beautiful, amazing, smart, strong and super funny child. He takes after his dad. My husband is beyond amazing. He’s supportive, uplifting, playful, and an amazing provider. Even when things have gotten pretty bad in the past (I’m talking bad BAD. Like, homeless and starving bad) I knew he would always be there. We would survive, our marriage would thrive, and he would still be there.

Jeremy and Damian

So why am I jealous of my son? Not because of the amazing person he is, nor the exceptionally amazing man he will become…but because of how his dad interacts with him. It sounds ridiculous, and it is. I should be jealous of the fact that he gets a nap every day, that he gets 12-14 hours of sleep every night, that the entirety of his responsibilities consist of telling mom when he wants milk or food if it’s not meal time, telling mom when he is all done eating, and drinking all the water in his water bottle. Everything else is up to me to help him with or through, or just simply nature.

Let me back track a bit.

I’ve mentioned Love Languages before. They are brilliant. Before my husband and I were married – right before, actually – we went through an awful rough patch and actually called off the wedding. But we stayed together. We went to counseling and learned each other’s Love Language. His is Words of Affirmation and mine is Quality Time and Touch. Basically, when I got angry and exploded he ALWAYS took it personally…whether it was about him or not. He feels most loved when I leave little notes and texts affirming how amazing I think he is. It greatly impacts him when I say something positive, or negative, about him in any way. For me, however, though words matter, I feel most loved when he is spending Quality Time with me and when he snuggles, hugs, holds my hand, or any form of physical affection. You can see where this is going…

My husband and I have always been extremely affectionate with each other. In fact, when we went through that rough patch (we never did have a wedding…we eloped) there were extremely toxic people in our lives that actually told Jeremy: “I think you just love her too much. It’s not normal to be that affectionate.” Wait…WHAT?! Anyway, that is one thing in nine years that has never changed. Except, it has.

It was not unheard of for my husband to come home, hold me for a good solid minute, and talk to me about our days. We would do things together, we would go places just to go, and we had conversations that didn’t always have to do with the house-stuff.

But, as is life, we had a baby and things changed. I entered the Stay At Home Mom realm of once-a-week showers, yoga pants, no makeup, and pizza for dinner (again). It started as “Damian is too young to be left with someone” of why we didn’t go on dates any more, then morphed into “Well, no one else has ever put him down,” and settled into the every-parent reason of “We have no money and I’m too tired.”

I spend all day with this little amazing human, and (though wonderful and something I’m eternally thankful for) I’m exhausted and drained when my husband gets home now. I just want a break. I want to be alone. I want to be able to work. I want to be able to shower. So in passing the parent torch every night at 5 o’clock I stay back and finish dinner or literally just zone out on Facebook.

The last few nights though, it was a bit of a slap in the face for me. We don’t snuggle any more. We rarely hold hands, and when he comes home it’s a very quick peck and maybe an awkward, momentary group hug because the baby is on someone’s hip poking at someone else’s face. We drown ourselves in our phones or computers or tablets, and IF we talk it’s quick and house-stuff. We haven’t been on a date in months, and even then it was a movie…no conversation, no engagement, just sitting in different chairs in front of a reallllllly big TV. We PAID for the same nightly scenario just with a louder, darker TV than the one we watch every night. But to make it worse, every night while I’m trying to decompress just a tad I hear my son giggling hysterically, then silence, then conversations, and then more giggles. My husband is playing with him, then snuggling and watching a show, then reading to him, then playing again.

I had this moment of unbelievable joy at the sight of this normal nightly ritual, while simultaneously trying not to sob. It is NEVER that I want him to be any less of an engaging, fantastic father…I just want my husband too. I want to feel like I matter just as much, or that I’m just as interesting.

How do you get it back? How do you keep the actual intimacy in your marriage? How do you share the intense draining of parenthood…and still have enough to give to your marriage at the end of the day?