Thursday, January 20, 2011

Birthday Misses

M was sleeping and I started to cry. It felt like it had been a awhile (not that I forgot, only that I had been too busy the past few weeks). It had something to do with actualizing the moment at 10:37 pm when I came in to my parent's life. It had something to do with being 1 hour and 23 minutes off from my dad’s birthday. It had something to do with marveling at miss m and knowing what I would do for her to find joy in this life.

Later in a much needed shower, I thought about how strange it is that I am tied so closely to my dad in birth and death. We celebrated our birthdays together. He always let my birthday eclipse his like it did on the calendar. It's yet another way this man loved me to no end.

This new year starts alone with the hollow silence of my birthday mate gone forever. It's all I can do to not pick up the phone to say hi.

Happy Birthday Dad - I miss you today and every day!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Happy New You!

I’ve been thinking a lot about the course of a year. It’s easy to take it for granted; to let a year slip through our existence while we’re busy paying bills or listening to NPR. Sometimes I feel like years are strewn on the side of the highway in the rear view of my drive to live. Perhaps I’m paying more attention to the clicks that make up a year right now because Miss M’s weekly development demands I notice changes. It got me thinking about how she started her life in the Fall. Her year begins with Halloween and then moves in to the holiday season. (I remember right before she was born, NR said to me it was a beautiful time of year for a birthday. It's so true - Fall is a poet crunching down some leafy lane in a J. Crew catalog). In my case, each year starts about three weeks after, um, the New Year. It’s ironic because in the course of my year, New Year’s Eve is actually at the end of it all. I always see the holiday as the end to a year instead of a beginning. I asked a few people if they ever view the year through this type of lens, starting with their birthday rather than what society has deemed the definitive flipping of the calendar. A general "no" was the consensus followed by a feigned interest in my theory. So I figured I should blog about it...

Perhaps because my birthday falls so closely after the New Year, it’s easy to adjust the beginning of a year to my birthday (and slightly self indulgent). My years are therefore pretty much in line with tradition (barring the usual New Year's philosophy).

I read my birthday post to the year ahead in 2010 and I feel I was no more knowledgeable than the girl in the photo. Now a lifetime has passed. That is how much has changed this lap around the sun. And I believe it was a good year; even though it kicked my ass.

Looking back, it surprises me to think about how plentiful my innocence was as I entered in to the responsibility of having a kid. Everything fell so easily in line. I got pregnant in January, told my husband on our first anniversary in February. Sheepishly told my dad, not really believing the reality of it all would come to pass (he assured me everything would be fine). I spent the next month truly digesting the news and getting used to the new mountain I had begun to climb. I watched my hormones take the reigns over my mind. I rode the waves and apologized afterwards. I spent the summer riding my bike, easing my stress levels at work, and watching my belly grow. I caught happy hour, art night, and book club as often as I could and all the while realizing subtle changes were happening before the baby was even here. I revisited my dad with D and the belly. In a yellow bikini, I walked the beach in the hot humid Florida summer I knew so well from my childhood. I spent the Fall getting the Bird's room ready. I realized how powerful women can be on a whole new level. I felt the excited support of friends and family alike. I believed I still had control over everything if I thought through it hard enough. I learned how a tidal wave looked and felt. I ran for higher ground, found something that floated, and called for help. The wide net of friends caught me when I couldn’t catch myself. I lost my anchor... and then... I found my sail. I’ve never felt more love in my life. My heart swelled for D, my heart swelled for M, my heart swelled. So much so that perhaps my polar ice caps melted a bit. There was a definitive shift. A crack; and light was shining through. I straightened my back and stood tall. I became the project manager. I began building the memories my daughter would carry through her life. The last hour of New Years Eve came alone at a keyboard for the first time in months. It felt like returning home after a journey of a thousand miles. I had two weeks left to say goodbye to this ball of energy called 34.

Welcome 35. Can you believe just a few days ago I was scared to even call you by name? But I’m too old for that anymore. Perhaps it’s because I'm busy focusing on the moment in the hour in the day in the week in the month of the year. The irony is that it all seems so much faster than the painstaking slowness of youth when I was busy earning each new candle on a cake. In any case, I welcome what is to come. I'm sure it will bring the surprise of things I can’t even imagine and lessons I have somehow escaped thus far.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Back to Mine

So many words have slipped through my brain, so many lush moments ripe with emotion have fallen into the black hole of my mind. I'll always wish I could go back and collect those words that came to me in the lonely moments of my hospital stay and the raw newness of being a mother but something tells me that to wholly live it without a pen was perhaps the way it was supposed to unfold.

Even now when I fall victim to the middle-of-the-night feedings, I think lovely thoughts that come with sleepless inhibition. It is the one reason I welcomed back the curse of Miss M's nightly show. Still, I don't write them down and though I promise myself to remember them in the morning, they slip away into the ether (literally about 15 years of late night thoughts and you would think I know better by now).

Aside from the sheer overwhelming absurdity of being a new mom, I wish I had the time to record my thoughts on a page so I could iron out what I am in thinking. My thoughts are like thick tar these days; so slow and tough on the recall. It’s all so much and so new. This little person gets me in her gravitational pull and I’m lost gazing in on her. She amazes and for the time being it seems more important than pouring over a keyboard. But the fact remains that time is already moving swiftly along. The sweet girl has outgrown her newborn clothes and now talks to me in grunts and smiles. We have these moments together and soon enough they too will feel like a dream. I trust I can get back to solid writing like the true friend I return to time and again. For now, there is nothing to do do but steal a moment away between the tenderloin timer going off in the kitchen and another round of breastfeeding or bottle cleaning and falling a little more in love with the new human in my life.

The challenge is to find the time to be the me I used to be when really I should be sleeping while she sleeps or cleaning something or researching daycares or a million and one other things that could come before my wants and needs - such is a mother's plight. D is a passing ship at times; Gingy, a long lost pen pal I haven’t wrote (still her loyalty finds me in the middle of the night when he is sleeping and she is screaming. G wakes up to sit at the top of the stairs across from me - us two the only ones mostly conscious). It feels clunky and indulgent to carve some space so the sweet nuggets of thought and gems of life don't slip so deep into space that I can't find them again. And yet if I don't stop now, they will be gone when I wake up years from now. How do I get back to mine? Perhaps a redefine is in order.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Did you know Elvis would be 76 years old today? I can't imagine a 76 year old Elvis. It's funny to think he would be the same age as my dad (for about two weeks) if they were both still alive. Still there is a wake of influence and inspiration in our lives.

(possibly for posterity but mostly b/c I see a resemblance)