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Everything Is Hard

June 24, 2014

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I guess it only takes one post on my blog to get the ball rolling again. (Two days in a row? Am I a superhero?)

Or it’s that I’m up too early because my daughter woke at 5:30 and wouldn’t stop coughing. Not an accidentally-swallowed-a-whole-shrimp kind of cough, but a post-nasal drippy kind of cough that was not going away and was not going to let anyone sleep, either.

Ope, there she goes again.

I’ll tell you, this mothering thing is hard. Actually, life is hard. Everything is hard. I want to be singing the Lego movie’s “Everything Is Awesome” theme song, just so I can believe it for a minute.

After looking at me yesterday, a woman told me that she couldn’t believe I had a month to go in my pregnancy. She though I looked like it was only a couple of weeks.

I know. And thank you. I look like a house. Like my belly is leading me around, and not the other way around. This baby seems to be rolling into a ball most days, as though preparing to shoot out of a canon. Either that, or she wants to see how far she can put her elbow or knee or foot (whatever it is, it’s sharp) into my internal organs. Has anyone had a baby poke through the amniotic sac? Because this baby is trying to. She wants out. Or she’s just laughing at me.

Seriously, people, I don’t know how I’m going to do this three kid thing. Three kids seems like a good idea when you’ve done a ton of yoga and everyone in your house is healthy. But when they enter the germ factory of summer camp and immediately get a cold? When they wake up at 3 in the morning complaining of an ear ache? When they cough in the other kid’s face while watching the most annoying show in the world, “Horseland”?

That’s when I think I must be crazy to have chosen this life. I don’t know why I forget that kids get sick all the time. And spit up and stuff. And try to wipe their poop without washing their hands.

Two weeks ago, when my family and I were on vacation at the Jersey shore, in the pool, there was a family there made up of five kids. Shockingly, the mother looked calm, and together, and still had vitality running through her. The kids were really good. The dad seemed happy to sip his Miller Lite and keep his feet in the hot tub.

In my college days and in my early 20s, I was impressed with women who became doctors and lawyers and CEO’s and prolific writers and widely published, admired professors.

Now? I want to bow down at the feet of a goddess mother who has five children and maintains her sanity. Because that is certainly more than I could do.

So anyway, this post is…a hormonal rant brought on by lack of sleep? (Because the cruelty is, even though I don’t yet have a newborn waking me up at night, I can’t friggin’ sleep.) A confession that I want to be perfect, energetic, bursting with joy and love…and I’m not? (Did I mention I’m tired?) That my face is getting that haggard look, where my nose spreads apart and my eyes look dull? (Because that’s what people mean when they say, “I can tell you’re having a girl.”)

Regardless, it’s Tuesday, which is better than Monday. And my refrigerator is stocked with Greek yogurt, and my husband got me a blender, so I can make as many strawberry smoothies as I want. And tomorrow, before a hot date touring the Labor & Delivery wing of the hospital, my husband and I are going to get dinner at a Mexican restaurant, and I’m going to have a few sips of a margarita with salt on the rim.

And if I get a nap today, I’ll remember I have amazing friends, and family, and wonderful people in my life, and even though everything is hard and stressful right now (in more ways than I can really share on this blog), it’s all going to work out. It always does.

Or it doesn’t. But that means I’ll have more to write about.

 

 

Image: “Vintage Postcard Little Girl Sleeping” by Cheryl Hicks via Flickr.

 

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Endings and Beginnings

June 23, 2014

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The college I went to was all women, and friendships and relationships there felt like a sisterhood. In those first few weeks as a college freshman, I was so thrilled and excited by my new life that I was barely interested in eating—my jeans were baggy around my waist; I couldn’t wait to get to the next activity or hang out with friends. There was such a feeling of newness unfolding around me everywhere, of adventure, of excitement, of me being able to own who I was and what I was going to do with my life.

Through successive years, that never went away. I loved every moment, every experience, every class, every teacher. I’ve often thought that if I could stay in college forever, I would have. (Aside from cafeteria food and communal showers.)

This past weekend, two of my closest friends from college and I met up for a reunion. It was a chance to catch up and go over old stories—many of which I seem to have blocked out, starring me (mostly at concerts) being brazen and bold. (Am I still that girl?) On Sunday, two of us went to an alumnae reception to honor our now-retired favorite English professor, a woman who pretty much defined my academic college career. Not only did she help establish my standards of excellence, but she also threw her all into being a role model outside of class, the epitome of confidence, professionalism, and decorum. As an English teacher myself, I have often summoned her in both my preparation and presentation, thought of her often, kept in touch, and tried to do my best to channel her energy and her ideals so that I could have as positive effect on my students as she had on me. (I don’t think I ever got there.)

On the same day, the cousin who was flower girl in my wedding had a graduation party to celebrate the end of high school and beginning of college in August. My son starts summer camp today, where he knows no one and will hopefully make a bunch of new friends. And I, of course, am waiting for this baby in my belly to stop elbowing and kneeing me in the ribs and come out already and join our family, which is exciting and fearful at the same time.

Life is in so much transition, with so much up in the air, so many endings and beginnings, so many moments of happiness mixed with anxiety and stress and fear. All I can really do is sit and marvel at how quickly time passes, how rich my life has become as a result of so many beautiful and deep emotional experiences. I don’t feel sad, necessarily—I’m more stunned by all of it, how things happen at their own pace, how little control I have, how we all close and open doors constantly in our lives and can have a profound effect on the people around us.

I only hope that I can do my best to be in the present moment in each stage of my life, to acknowledge the vastness of human experience as well as my individual blessings, and to hold all these people and moments—as Quakers say—in the light, deep in my heart, carry them with me wherever I go.

 

 

*(I am pregnant in both of these pictures. Have I always been pregnant?)

*Sorry for not writing more on this blog. My time is very consumed with kids, family, and editing/running The First Day.)

 

Image: “Rosemont College” by Tom Ipri via Flickr.

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Why Women Should Be Worshipped

March 14, 2014

“You look so cute,” the after-school teacher said, smiling at my growing belly. She’s a caring woman, so warm and friendly, and great with all the kids. I know she didn’t mean anything negative by it—she was trying to compliment me, and even gave me a hug. It’s not like people haven’t called me cute […]

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Seasons of Life

January 21, 2014

Can I sail through the changing ocean tides? Can I handle the seasons of my life? –Stevie Nicks For a couple of years, I walked nearly every morning. I got up early, when the house was still quiet, put on my sneakers and headed out for the same two-mile trek through my neighborhood. Even in […]

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The Year of Joy

January 3, 2014

Maybe it was the cold weather or the new year, or being stuck inside with my kids for days and days, but driving on the highway New Year’s Day, I became viscerally aware of all of my flaws. Here’s the shortlist, in case you’re curious: I am not always good at loving people the way […]

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My Christmas Song (Which Doesn’t Rhyme)

December 24, 2013

When I was in college, I mentioned at the cafeteria dinner table that I just didn’t feel that Christmas spirit anymore. Maybe it had to do with writing ten-page papers and studying for finals (ya think?), but I didn’t feel the same zest, the same joy as I remembered from being a kid. My friends […]

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Thanksgiving Poem

November 28, 2013

I’m no Sharon Olds or Lucille Clifton, but today’s a day to be grateful, not judgmental. I’m learning to let my guard down and let all the imperfections slide…. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.     Before Thanksgiving I am thankful for the moon last night A flash of crescent that lit up the […]

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SuperWoman Makes Progress

November 1, 2013

Here is one sure sign that SuperWoman is progressing as a yogi. She went to her regular 9 a.m. yoga class this morning. Nothing unusual. She left feeling wonderful, refreshed, free from tension. She knew she would need a snack when she got home, and her favorite snack lately is Ritz crackers and peanut butter. […]

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Me and Thich Nhat Hanh

October 30, 2013

Apparently, a person who practices yoga is supposed to have a guru. At least that’s what I heard from Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love. She had (or has) one, but she doesn’t reveal who it is in the book. All we know is that it’s a woman, which is cool enough. There are so many highly […]

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Practicing

October 11, 2013

I’ve feel like I’ve been neglecting my little blog. I hear her calling to me, saying Remember me? We used to be best friends. Why don’t you visit anymore?  The truth is, I’ve wanted to visit, but I’ve been trying to stay on top of all the other endeavors I’ve been pursuing in recent months. Not […]

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