Last summer, my grandfather passed away. My sister, mom, and I drove out to Michigan, meeting my Dad who flew, to be with my grandmother and other family during the funeral and Shiva.
Now my grandmother, Leah Haller, has passed away too. My Dad went to visit her last week, and I’ve been wearing the opal ring she gave me for graduation ever since.
They always lived in Michigan, and I grew up in Florida, which means we saw them periodically. But I remember they would visit in March every year and get a condo on the beach. Rachel and I would toss cereal off the balcony and watch the seagulls circle to catch them in mid-air. We would buy kites to fly on the beach. We would drop our dolls from their balcony to see how fast they’d fall.
I visited them in Detroit several years ago, and I remember talking about politics and history from their nearly socialist perspective. They had a framed photo of FDR on their wall. They believed in what I believed in. They wanted the world to be a peaceful place.
Grandma was in a book club for a long time and would send me boxes of books after she read them (she would send Grandpa to the post office and he would always call to let me know it was on the way). I loved that. I have kept many of them even though I purged my novel collection.
We didn’t see them as much as my mom’s side of the family, but they were there for important things: my Bat Mitzvah, my wedding. Grandma was going to come visit in May for my birthday, meeting Abraham for the first time. But a few days before she went to the hospital with terrible pain in her abdomen. Soon after they told her why: colon cancer.
I will miss her voice, her thoughts, her love.
January 2010, David and I visited Grandma and Grandpa
It is strange to come home as an adult.
Abraham and I are visited my parents and family in Florida last week. It is, of course, always good to see everyone, but the place doesn’t feel like home anymore. That’s a sure sign I’m an adult. My home is where I live with my husband and children.
My parents no longer live in the house I grew up in or even the house I lived in after college. I don’t have a room here; Abraham and I are sleeping on Noah’s (my little brother who lives at home) mattress on the floor. That’s a sure sign I’m an adult; there is no physical place for me here.
Many of my best friends have moved away, and some of them have returned or live close by. I visited with them, met their children, heard about their love lives. Sort of like high school, but Abraham gave me a 7pm curfew. I never had a curfew in high school.
We flew down with my sister, who visited but for less time than we did. We flew back alone. And I was sick (103• fever when I got back to my house…). How I lived I don’t know. But I have no shame after lying around with Abraham on the nasty floor of the Atlanta airport during our layover.
Since we’ve been back to our home, I’ve been sick. First strep throat and now a killer cold. All I really want is to be back home with my mom, watching soap operas with her, playing cards, using that weird wooden lap desk to catch up on school work, and drink-eating lipton tea from a packet. But I can’t go back. Even if I put myself in the place and did all the things, I can’t go back.
Abraham was recently pictured on Natural Parents’ Network on their Wordless Wednesdays feature about food. After he was pictured and I shared the link with my family and friends, I wondered to myself if I am actually a natural parent. What does that really mean?
There is a long list of what it means to be a natural parent on their website.
I prepared to have a natural birth at a birth center, but I found on my due date that Abraham was breech, so we had a c-section and it wasn’t so bad.
We went around and around about the decision, but we circumsized Abraham because we are Jewish and that heritage is important to us, even though we still wrestle with our choice.
I nurse Abraham and intend to as long as we both are enjoying it, but I also supplement his nursing with formula to keep him on the right weight track.
He sleeps with us, but I’m
looking forward to getting would love to get him to sleep on his own so I can have a little space and time back to myself.
I fed him food at 4.5 months old (which is a bit early) but he was full-body-lunging for it. I also give him food that is not organic or local. Local is preferred, but the child loves avocados, which aren’t exactly native to Pennsylvania.
I have 3 different baby carriers, all of which I love to use, but damn, it is nice to push him in a stroller in this hot weather.
We are vaccinating Abraham on a regular schedule. We feel it is our responsibility to him and to our community to ensure that diseases that have died out stay gone.
What is most true is that I hate all of these parenting labels. They are shortcuts, sure, but they are also pegboards. I never have enjoyed being pegged (though I think I’m pretty predictably peg-able…) in any position, especially being a mother.
So that’s it. I’m a mother. I’m a step mother. Those describe my relationships to my kids. That is all. Every choice I make as either is not because I’m a natural parent, a free-range parent, a whatever parent. It is just because I’m a parent and I’m always trying to do the right thing for each of my kids.
Posted in baby, family, myself
Tagged baby, Berks, breastfeeding, children, community, connections, family, learning, life lessons, love, personal, slow down
Vicki: David, I’m going to run the dishwasher. Are you finished? (while I wipe off the table after dinner)
David: Yes. Thanks for cleaning up!
Vicki: (Smooches him and goes about her business.)
—10 minutes passes—
Vicki: (looks up from her business. David has gone out to the grocery store. The previously clean table has a small trail of ice cream droplets and there is a lone spoon in the sink.) Sigh.
At least he is going to bring me cookies from the Grocery Store!
I am overwhelmed.
Why did I think it would be a good idea to teach theatre, teach yoga, run a small religious school, and work on writing a play in the months after having a baby? Not to forget my family, the house, and myself. Oh dear.
Up until January 6, 2011 (when Abraham was born), I always kept myself very busy and did well. The busier the better, most of the time. I carefully packed my days with all the things I enjoyed.
I have not only added “Bio-mom” to my list of labels (because I was already a step-mom), but moved it way, way to the top of the list. I love it and wouldn’t trade it, but it is overwhelming. Abraham wants to be held when he is awake, and he wants to be nursing while he is asleep. So much touching. Which is what I wanted, but I didn’t realize how intense it would be.
In the short times that Abraham is not touching me, I am desperately doing things I can’t do with him: showering, laundry, dishes, working, yoga. Yoga comes last.
I am about to turn 30 (which I was thinking was making me an adult for real, but in fact, I think it is really young). I was feeling like I needed to do things I’ve been wanting to do: have a real job again (instead of 4 small ones), join boards, make a big difference. But I think what I am realizing is that I want fewer commitments now. I have time. Hopefully lots of time. I can get a real job when I’m 40 and still get to do it for a long time. I can join boards when I’m 50 and still serve my community for a long time. I can make a big difference when I’m 60 and still be younger than my friend Lane was when she joined the Peace Corps.
What has been my hurry? Why are we all in such a hurry?
I don’t anticipate having more children (sorry, Mom) because 3 is enough. But it means Abraham will be my only baby. Which is ok, babies are hard. But I don’t want to fret about his sleep because I need to do things during his nap time. I want to cuddle up and sniff his little head.
you can come cuddle with him too
I hate wearing shorts. I like the idea, but I am self conscious about my thighs.
Also, I haven’t shaved my legs since October.
But I’m wearing my husbands boxer briefs as shorts this morning, and I can’t tell you how comfortable they are. Perhaps because they remind me of him? Perhaps because men’s clothes are better than women’s?
But it is probably inappropriate for me to wear them in public, right? Even to teach yoga? Because at the end of the day, I’m wearing underwear over my underwear.
not my actual ass
No one is touching me right now. It is simultaneously wonderful and sad. I miss my guys.
Abraham is sleeping a mere foot away from me. I’m experimenting to see if he will sleep without nursing all night long. So far, so good.
David is sleeping in Philadelphia tonight. So much work to do. I’m so grateful for his effort, because it means I get to be home with Abraham. But I miss him and I wish our home and his office weren’t so far from one another.
I don’t know what to do with myself. I’m not good with free time. I never have been, but now I really suck because I never have any. It is too late to practice yoga, so I suppose I will just rest and breathe. Perhaps read a few longer articles that I can’t concentrate on when Abraham is awake.
Perhaps I am more conservative than I care to admit. I’m not a huge fan of the secularization of Christmas, and I’m Jewish. I don’t like decorating holidays, and I don’t like giving presents because I HAVE to.
David and I were having a conversation about this (his family, Jewish, always did Christmas as a time to get together and exchange gifts, even though they lit candles for Hanukah), and I pulled out “We need to put the Christ back in Christmas” and “Happy Holidays is what the Terrorists say” (which I stole from 30 Rock).
But my favorite Holiday is Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement, of reflection, of fasting from the comforts of life).
But seriously, I prefer holidays with meaning. For me, decorating is not meaningful – it is a big mess.
BUT, Christmas is my anniversary. David and I got married 2 years ago. Time has flown by, and we feel like we’ve known each other forever. So in that way, I like it.
What is your favorite book from your childhood? Or your child’s childhood?
Just looking to expand our collection…
Posted in family, myself
Tagged baby, books
Twas the night before Christmas…
And I’m relaxing in bed a bit. I already ate breakfast at 4am – I’ve been getting super hungry in the very early morning hours. Perhaps I am turning into a newborn before my new one is even born?!
I’m thinking about the word “twas” because so many things are turning into twas-es for me. On Monday, I went to my last yoga class for a while. On Tuesday, I taught my last Neighborhood Bridges class for a while. And one of these days, pretty soon now, I’ll have my last day as a pregnant woman. And my first day as a Bio-Mom.
I never thought I would have to specify Bio-Mom, but it turns out being a step-mom is really important to me. There are two children at my house right now, as they are half of their time, who count on me as a parent. Not their Mom, but another parent. Going from half time to full time, from step to step and bio, from kids to baby – we are all so excited for these changes. But we also don’t really know what to expect.
When David and I got married (our anniversary is tomorrow! Happy Christmas!), we spent a lot of time prepping the kids for the wedding and forgot to prep them for the rest of life together. We all got used to it eventually, pretty quickly actually, and we really feel like a family now. With the baby, we’ve been prepping them for life with a baby, not just the pregnancy and birth (don’t worry, they won’t be there for the birth…).
I think we are all as ready as we can be. But I think once he is born, we will, if even in a small way, miss our time together as 4, the way i’twas.
38 weeks and counting...