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i know, it’s been a while. consider it my maternity leave. i am doing my best to get back in the writing mode and so i begin.

there is a phrase that people say to women who have just had babies. for a very few it is the honest truth…gisele bundchen for example. for the majority of women who have just grown a tiny creature in their body and then managed to shove it out one way or another it is a bald faced lie. at least i pray to the god i don’t believe in that it is.

wow, you don’t look like you just had a baby!

really? thanks a million. i guess that means that in my pre pregnancy life i was a total science experiment gone awry. here is what that phrase really means to me: i have been enormously overweight since the day you met me. i typically have a jiggly mass in the area where normal people are able to fasten pants. my sad feet have always been so misshapen that i was never able to wear actual shoes therefore saving me a bundle on unnecessary footwear. i have never in my life managed to get the hours of  sleep needed to keep my complexion clear. i have never felt the need to purchase real clothing… t shirts suit a large breasted woman just fine. but let’s not even go into the boobs. it’s all too humiliating.

i realize that this is a dramatic over reaction to what was meant as something nice to say… but really. unless you are angelina jolie or madonna it is just never the case. what’s wrong with a simple “your baby is super dreamy.” because after all… wasn’t that the whole point of the trauma you just put your body through?

i will get back to my fighting weight. i will sleep again. i will one day wear a heeled shoe. well… maybe. but until then please, pretty please, avert your eyes and feast on the perfection that is the tiny creature that i somehow managed to grow inside of me. for all of the hell i have put my sad and tired body through, when i look at those 2 odd people i share a house with i know it was all worth it. they are beyond awesome.

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labor.

so i totally thought that the whole labor and delivery would be the hard part of this whole second baby thing… oh how wrong i was! the labor ended up being a mere 10 hours. i woke up at 2am with amazing contractions and at 12:25 that same day my little poppy seed was out in the world breathing air like the tiny person she is.

what a strange thing childbirth is. one minute there is a life inside of you, just an idea really, and then in a matter of sixty seconds you are suddenly responsible for a tiny life. it’s sort of insane.

anyway… now the hard part has begun. going from one to two is more than twice the work when you consider the following factors:

a mama’s boy just entering his terrible twos.

a new walker who wants to practice his fantastic new skill…. or would he rather be carried like the new baby?? how about both! all at once! tantrum to follow.

a baby with reflux.

hormones.

feeding issues.

absolutely no sleep whatsoever.

do you know what time your local starbucks opens?? i do. it’s 5:30 am.

add into the mix a husband who has been working late at a job he doesn’t love and you have one stressed out, exhausted, lonely mama. i know, i know… everyone says that this too shall pass. and it will. but until it does you can find me on the couch at 3am watching netflix and pat pat patting a tiny baby.

may the road to carpal tunnel be a long one…

fever.

the spring sort. recently, during my early morning dog walks, i have been noticing tiny green things poking up from bits of city soil. it gives me a little thrill and reminds me that THIS is why i live here on the east coast. the seasons… they are so fantastic.

yes, i hate winter… but would i be able to appreciate the spring if it weren’t for the bitter cold? could i love the slow cool-down of fall if it weren’t for blazing hot august in new york? i doubt it.

so yes, it snowed today. but it was a spring snow, wet and slow. i can deal with a little of that for i see signs of spring everywhere i look. and it makes me cheerful… well, as cheerful as a person 39 weeks pregnant can possibly be.

this baby will eventually come out and spring will eventually, well, spring. i just know it.

place your bets!

we are getting down to the wire here… march is progressing and while my official due date is the very last day of this month i sincerely doubt that poppy’s arrival will happen on the 31st. i am enormous and achy and the stabbing pains in my abdomen are starting to wear on me. not to mention the contractions i have been having for the past 4 days. sigh… looks like this creature is coming out after all.

the baby daddy and i have started making guesses… i think the 20th (full moon comes to us on the 19th) and he thinks the 25th (he just likes that date). what do you think?

i have to add that i am relieved that little miss poppy will have her own birthday (read: not mine.) mine is now safely behind me by an entire day and so the chances of that happening are, well, nil. i just think that it is more special to have a day entirely to yourself rather than having to share with your old mom. that would be me… old.

so, guesses anyone?

here i am! it’s 4 in the morning and i am awake hanging out with my old friend heartburn. it’s pretty awesome. a toddler and a dog, both about the same size and heft, have taken over my bed and i have spent the last hour trying to fall asleep on the couch. a fun place to sit, but well… not the best place for a whale to sleep. don’t even get me started on the heat in this apartment… it won’t shut off and it is hottest in the bedroom. open window? HA! it laughs at a steady breeze of below freezing temps. you will still wake up with night sweats. adding pregnancy to the mix makes for even more excitement.

i can’t wait for the sun to come up and for the new day to begin! it’s going to be a really great one. i think i have slept a total of 45 minutes so i should be right as rain and ready to rock.

we really need another bed in this house. if only we had the space…

shit i’m old.

march is upon us (i won’t miss you february) and with it my birthday looms. i am not the typ of person who dreads each birthday… being a year older really doesn’t bother me. i am happy with where i am in life and if that means i am soon to be 35 then so be it. but for some reason this year i can’t even begin to think about it – must i?? for i am a whale moving through the world (on cold concrete) and after a rather unpleasant day last weekend spent in bed with unwelcome contractions (dehydration… guzzle, guzzle, guzzle)  it has dawned on me that this creature inside of me must soon come out. so you can imagine that birthday baubles aren’t the first thing on my mind.

the last few years i have had to think long and hard about what i want for my birthday. i fear forgetting about something i really want but cannot remember. in the past i have gotten wild and wonderful things like plane tickets to far away places and my beloved sidekick gertrude. but things aren’t so hap hazard when you have a family and stuff that needs to be done each day. so, since the question is bound to pop up in the next few weeks… what the hell do i want for my birthday??

truthfully? i want to be able to wear clothing again (pants in particular) rather than being forced to brave the world in what are essentially sweatpants and pyjamas. i would like to be able to laugh or cough without worrying about wetting my pants. i would be overjoyed for the general puffiness i see when i look in the mirror to cease.

however… since none of that is at all possible for the moment i guess i’d kind of like to just reschedule the whole thing.

the idea of having to come up with a list, however small, of things i would like to add to my already cluttered surroundings seems daunting. this is not me, i am not generally a person who lives a life of  bare simplicity. i love stuff, pretty things, expensive shoes. but honestly, with all that is upon me at this moment in time (including the possibility of a move) i simply can’t seem to come up with a list of things my life is lacking. i think that my 35th birthday is important enough to be acknowledged somehow… i just don’t know how.

 

what i really want for my birthday is for someone other than me to shove this little alien out into the world… but since my husband tells me that’s impossible (his dad is an OB/GYN so i guess i have to take his word for it) i suppose i’d just like to have my birthday some other time… let me get a grip on this 2 kids under 2 thing and get back to you. there will be cocktails in the summer and sunshine and hey, why not my birthday too?

happy birthday.

there is something about writing a letter that i find so very satisfying. there is nothing else like it in the entire world. an email doesn’t cut it. they are so easily written (so easily deleted). i once had people i wrote letters to. these people wrote letters back – not always with the frequency that i wrote but responses none the less. long letters carefully thought out. letters on thick, creamy paper with sharp black ink. alas, nobody writes me letters anymore and so i have lately been considering an old fashioned pen pal. do those still exist?

several of the people i once wrote sort of petered away over time. the letters got less and less frequent and then one day just stopped. who knows if it was something i did (or didn’t do). i went for years without receiving a single personal letter but when wildboy got out of the nut house we wrote weekly, if not more frequently. long, intense letters. the letters weren’t about anything in particular. after a time we were both busy falling in love with the people we would end up married to and that was often a topic of conversation, but it wasn’t the only thing we wrote about. babies, the high school years, the missing years, inner turmoil and what it is like to live in a small community with the label “mentally ill”.

after he met his lady we still wrote but he had me continue to send my letters to his mother’s house so that his lady wouldn’t be set into a wild jealous fit. i didn’t know her then but i do now and that thought is sort of ridiculous. our letters were not sexual or romantic, we didn’t write paragraph after paragraph about our unyielding love for one another. but when i think about him and our secret corrospondence i wonder if it made it more exciting for him, more special. like a treat. going to his mother’s house and finding a heavy cream envelope. going out to the woods with a cup of coffee and some cigarettes to read my latest thoughts. for an adult man recently having gotten out of a state hospital now living with his mom… it must have felt pretty good to have something to look forward to.

the funniest thing is that it is since his death that i have really gotten to know his lady. we were just starting to get to know each other when he died and after the accident we were brought closer in our rage and sadness. i have grown to really love her and in that process i have been given a view of wildboy that i never saw. i realize there are always three sides to every story – his, hers and the real one.

now that he is gone so are the letters. well, not gone exactly, but trapped somewhere in a box deep in the bowels of his mother’s basement. if she and i had a better relationship, or any sort of relationship at all, i wouldn’t hesitate to ask for these letters back. but alas, that would fan a fire that i am not willing to fight. i hope that she will discover them one day when she is ready to part with the things he left behind and, fingers crossed, she will send them to the return address that is carefully printed on each and every one. it breaks my heart to think that she might read them… but on the other hand perhaps if she did she would see him through my eyes. she would realize that the person she thought of when she imagined her son was not the person he was at all.

i try to explain my deep feelings for wildboy to those who didn’t know him and i can never seem to make people understand what he meant to me. he was more than a friend in that we knew each other when we were just babies of 14 and 15. so young and clean. we loved each other before the drugs got him and we had dreams of riding around the country on a motorcycle and living in a tepee. it sounds so stupid and childish but we were stupid children and we had found in each other a completely kindred spirit.

while we both went on to love others (and he went on to love many others) i didn’t find a pure love and understanding from anyone else until i met the man i married. i was never able to be my complete self.

we were learning about growing up together, boys and girls and the relation of one to the other, the woods and loyalty. we loved each other in a way that allowed us to go on and love others in the way that we needed to be loved.

i realize that i began this ramble as a way to mourn letters and the hole their absence has left in my world. it has instead turned into an epithet of sorts lamenting one of the truest friends i have ever known. i miss wildboy every single day and still can’t understand that he will never be that old man living in the woods smoking a poorly rolled cigarette and plucking on a banjo.

who knows, maybe my wildboy is the real rip van winkle and one day ,when i am old and gray myself, he will walk out of the woods looking just as he did the day he left and greet me like an old friend. cheesy? totally. but it’s a thought that makes me smile a bit those times when i suddenly remember that he is gone.

i do not mean for this entire post to be about wildboy but i am constantly amazed by the awesome hole he has left in my heart and life. day to day he often felt like a part of my peripheral life – he lived far away in the winter and closer in the summer. he was wrapped up in his new married life and the life of a new father. but now that he is gone i realize that he was always there. always. even during the missing years, when i heard from him about 10 times in as many years, he was somewhere in the back of my head loving and appreciating me unconditionally and just waiting for us to pick things up where we left off.

so happy birthday old man. you would be 36 today (and 15 and 100). if i weren’t pregnant (and smoke in my lungs didn’t make me want to hurl) i would wander out into the wilds of brooklyn, crunch through the snow that refuses to stop falling, roll a poorly crafted cigarette and have a whisky drink in your honor. instead i’ll just sit here for a bit and think of you at 15. sitting with me in the tree in front of (the now demolished) memorial hall on a warm spring day.

love you forever cool guy.