Monday, August 30, 2010

in it

We are officially in it. Fall has begun. Solomon had his first day away from his mama with his new nanny. Eliana had an extended play date with her fourteen year old BFF. They both awoke way too early. I'm pretty certain they picked up on my anxiety about it all. Eliana's first words this morning: But I don't want you to go to work, Mama!

Jeff, being the stupendous papa that he is, packed up his big, old climbing pack for Eliana's day. He made her a sandwich and cut it into four squares. He packed a spare set of clothes (which proved to be a very good thing...) and lots of books and games. After she was all set to go, he expanded on the letter I had begun for Solomon's nanny. He added a whole section on bottle feeding. He then pasted more information from a web page with more feeding tips. Rock star dad.

While he was busy getting them ready, I was drinking a glass of my new favorite Pinot at Scotty's, Solomon happily snuggled against my chest. We were having our last hurrah and it involved spinach salad and wine with old friends. I felt so proud as I watched them pass him around the booth. He smiled and they oohed. It was a perfect last night of summer.

But he wasn't that congenial, consolable little guy today. Apparently he was pretty damn upset without his mama. Aimee said she tried everything. He wouldn't take the bottle. He wouldn't settle. Even in the Ergo. Even when she sang and bopped.

But eventually, of course, he did. And that's where going through it the second time helps. Cuz even though I cried as I nursed him this morning, I pulled it together pretty quickly because I knew that all we had to do was get through this day. This would be the longest, the hardest, the day with the most unknowns. Perspective shifts a bit when you are going through something a second time.

I walked around the corner at 7:58, mug of coffee in hand, canvas bag with my teacher stuff ready to rock. The first person I saw was one of my favorite colleagues. Her eyes were red and puffy and she was hugging the art teacher. She had to leave her one year old. She returns to work full time this year. We hugged and my tears came back.

But it didn't really matter. No one was hiding anything. There are a lot of new mamas at the school and we band together and get each other. It's really a beautiful thing. No one was pretending it was easy. And we sat through our meetings and shared our ideas and sipped our coffee. When it was time to break for lunch I raced back around the corner at lightening speed. Aimee had managed to get him down. My breasts instantly expelled ten ounces of milk. I inhaled yogurt and cottage cheese because I clearly needed to replenish my dairy supply.

Jeff woke up Soli and gave him a bottle while I pumped. I then let Aimee hold him while I talked to him. His big blue eyes bulged from his head as if to say, what the hell is going on mama? Who is this woman and why the hell is she holding me instead of you?

But he was safe. And healthy. And still his perfect little manly self.

I returned to work lighter. Stronger. We're in it and we're all gonna be just fine.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

the last days of disco

For whatever reason this phrase keeps coming into my mind. The last days of disco. The last hot summer with a teeny baby. Long, stinky afternoons beneath the mountain ash, nursings in the shade. This little groove we've been rockin' is about to shift. Turn into weird early 80's electronic musings. A kiddo in school all day. A mama back at her paying job. A little man who gets to hang with the hottest nanny this side of the ol' Miss. Cuz daycare just wasn't meant to be. Not for someone so little. No when the lady bails two days before school starts. You get what you pay for. And sometimes the universe tells you to up the ante.

Part of our last hurrah involved a visit from my sister Wendy and E and S's eight year old cousin, Piper. They couldn't have come at a better time. Mid August was smoke free with perfect sunshine and the slightest of breezes. We explored in and around town. Thankfully, Piper loves the carousel as much as Eliana, so they were able to enjoy our little small town luxury to the hilt.

One of the best things about having family visit is it makes me feel like they actually see the life I've chosen. I've come so far from where I grew up. I never could have predicted this path we've found. Yet I adore my life, my town, my adopted state, my peeps here. Wendy and I were able to enjoy each other so fully in our few days together. That makes four of E and S's aunties here this summer. Four cousins. Three grandparents. Loads of friends. So many people who love us.

And it's not glamorous. It's not fancy. It's just us. It's real. It's beautiful. It's raw and loud and messy. Even today as I anticipated our buddies arrival from San Francisco - buddies without children - I tried, however valiantly, to de-kidify our home. I put the bottle in the fridge. Consolidated toys. Picked up ABC magnets. Put half eaten plastic plates of food down the drain instead of hoping they'd be finished later. And, really, I have no idea why. Our friends are curious about what really happens when real people have real children. I can show them what happens when people have children. And I'm quite certain they would say it all looks pretty cool. They'll be there soon enough.

It's just this glorious life.

Yet I still feel the ridiculous urge to tidy it all up. Make it look seamless. As if. As if we could even pretend that it wasn't enormous.

So here we are. The end of August. The last days of disco. Two children and their tremendous personalities. Possibilities. Our world overflowing with love. With the stuff that makes you see your life as a circle. A circle that glows and pulses. A circle that screams and cries happy tears. Helps you make connections. Remember how similar you really are to your roots. Sisters. So much love! These are your people! And then you make your own people. And the puzzle re-works itself. And it's so damn cool.

Monday, August 23, 2010

last monday

Today is our last Monday. Last Monday of vacation. Last Monday of summer. Last Monday of maternity leave. We checked out Solomon's daycare and as we walked out, I couldn't grasp that I wouldn't be spending the days with him. This time has just slipped away from me. When Soli went down for his afternoon nap, I stayed in the room with him. Held him like we used to back in the early days. He's such a big guy now. Holds his head up and pushes himself around on his belly. So strong. So full of smiles and goodness. My little guy.

I reflect on when I had to go back to work with Eliana. I had her Nana and PopPop here, so I never had to leave her with someone I didn't know. What a huge blessing that was. That's not the case this time around and I have to fill out paperwork explaining his schedules. I don't know his schedules. He doesn't need them. We're always together.

The air turned crisp tonight. Eliana finally declared that she's ready for her big girl bed. She picked out a shirt for the first day of pre-school. She's totally ready for this next step. I wish I shared her enthusiasm, though I know she and I would both go a bit batty if there wasn't a next thing to move into. But her brother is a different story. He is such my guy. Still so little. So needy for me. So perfectly innocent.

We have such an intense symbiotic love. One night on the camping trip I heard him crying from the tent. I raced down from the fire and ripped the tent zippers apart. It was dark and I couldn't find a flashlight. I scooped him up, fell back on my sleeping bag and held him above my head. His little head caught the moonlight coming in from the tent window. Upon recognizing me his tears instantly stopped and his sad little frown turned into a giant, Solomon smile. Just from that recognition. That hold. That light. It felt almost magical. My ability to make him happy. That's one of those moments I know I'll never forget.

So we move forward. And I know we'll find a new routine. I'll fall back into step. He'll find a new groove. But transitions have never been my thing. I need to give myself space to just be here.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

washington coast

Where does one begin after two weeks away? After nine nights of coastal camping with a chatty toddler and a smiley little guy. After many, many miles traveled in the car, multiple ferries and one historical carousel. After fresh salmon and rockfish cooked on the open fire, night after night of outdoor decadence. Weeks worth of assistance by devoted friends. The aunties and uncles that choose your children. That you choose. After tremendous Happy Sad hilarity or Sexy Boyfriend cuteness. Cool, misty coffee filled mornings. The brilliance of long awaited sunshine. Total contentment holed up in our tent with a good book and a nursing boy. Yoga on the beach. Surfing for the posse. Dive bombing into sand pits. Telling stories around the fire. Mess and laughter and full, vivid days. Soaking up this time. This grace filled life.