I’ve always loved those images that can be viewed two different ways, like the young girl or old woman. Once you’ve seen one, it’s nearly impossible to recognize the other. And then, just as quickly, the opposite is made clear and it’s hard to go back to your original perception. It seems inconceivable that the two could coexist. And yet somehow, they do.
Life feels like that sometimes.
6 years ago was my wedding rehearsal. I can remember everything about that day in better detail than I can remember what I was doing this Tuesday afternoon. Continue reading →
A few days ago, I enlisted the help of my 2-year-old while making a batch of brownies. (Actually, they were cookie-brownies: the kind from Annie’s that is essentially a brownie with a cookie on top — you’re welcome.) I helped her stir the mix, let her lick the spatula, and asked her to scoop the cookie dough with a little spoon. While it was baking, we turned the oven light on and she stood in front of the door, alternating between patient self-reminders of “they’re cooking!” and impatient exclamations of “wanna eat!” Once they were cooled, she tasted her very first cookie-brownie, somehow even more delicious I think, because she helped bake them.
There’s a lot I love about watching my daughter discover things about the world, but arguably one of the cutest is seeing her get excited about her favorite foods. A few weeks ago, I purchased a pack of muffins from the bakery, eliciting a squeal of “Ooooh a muffin!” She’ll announce everything on her plate at lunch — “PBJ! Cheese! Crackers!” — and she’s become inexplicably fascinated with one of my cookbooks, asking questions about everything she sees.
Halloween is just around the corner, and depending upon the kind of person you are, you might have absolutely nothing planned. (Unless you bought your costumes back in July, which is seemingly when Target started putting their Halloween section together because time is a flat circle these days.)
If you have kids, they probably only have candy on the brain (or, if they’re too young to understand the concept of Trick-or-Treat, the break in routine is excitement enough). But as an adult, especially a millennial, there’s probably something you’re thinking about more: The costumes. And, subsequently, the Instagram post. Right? Right.
I’ll be walking my son in his stroller, watching him pull at his socks and kick his legs happily as he woofs back at dogs in the neighborhood. I’m usually listening to a podcast about motherhood, nodding my head as the women I’ve self-declared as friends talk about how they do mornings and meal times and meet other moms.
I’ll catch a glimpse of a bumper sticker as a minivan rolls by. Something about dance or soccer. My mind will start to wander. I’ll begin imagining recitals and open fields. I’ll think of our blonde little boy chasing a ball. I picture buns and tutus. Orange slices and Gatorade. Cheering on sidelines and carpool lines.
While I sat rocking my daughter in her nursery last night, trying yet another position to get her to go back to sleep, I closed my eyes and rested my lips on her head. I tried to remind myself to relish the time with her while she’s small. She turns 5 months tomorrow, and I lost my first two months with her to postpartum anxiety.
My anxiety robbed me of enjoying my first weeks with her. I honestly thought I was on top of my symptoms. I wasn’t. I finally admitted I needed more help after I acknowledged I was experiencing intrusive thoughts, and it took me 5 weeks before I could get in to a postpartum specialist.
I couldn’t call my daughter by her name. I didn’t want to look at her. I couldn’t be alone with my thoughts because I’d lose myself in a whirlwind of fears and anxieties that I knew weren’t rooted in reality, but I couldn’t pull myself out of them. I felt out of control, out of touch, and at a loss. I returned to a new job after 6 weeks at home, and I was a mess.
I used to be a ‘different night, different dinner’ kind of gal. I’d hop into the grocery store on my way home from teaching a yoga class to see what I was in the mood to make and have that evening.
Then…I had a kid. And I became a ‘how many nights of leftovers will this make?’ kind of person.
Enter our family favorite penne pasta bake. My mom even called it “restaurant quality”. But then again, my mom told me that my elementary school artwork was impressive. So, I suppose, take her review with a grain of salt. Continue reading →
Soon after our son was born, I developed a somewhat standard response to check-in questions. “Hard and best.” That’s how I described my transition into motherhood. Because it felt impossible to mention one without the other. The sleep deprivation without the joy, the loneliness without the fulfillment, the loss of one identity without the discovery of another.
Eventually, I graduated to the blessing sandwich.
You know, the “I’m grateful I get to stay home with him. Sure, sometimes it’s isolating. But I feel really fortunate to have this time together.” Or the, “He’s a really happy baby. Still not sleeping through the night. But all the smiles during the day make up for it.”
I didn’t have a detailed birth plan. Without ever having ever gone through labor and delivery, I was unsure of how I’d feel about pain management or who I’d really want in the room when it was time to push. So, on the hospital form, I kept my preferences short and sweet. Healthy baby, healthy mama. That was it.
At 40 weeks and 6 days pregnant, I went into labor. After 28 hours, I gave birth to our sweet boy. I awaited the moment everyone promises, when all the pain and pushing evaporates and you hold your baby in your arms for the first time. Continue reading →