Date Night

In the passing lights of the highway, the glint from his wedding ring catches my attention as we drive to the coast for a quiet dinner together. A dinner with no children, no diaper bags, no whining. Just us.

I tuck my hand into his as he speaks of his clients that day. Of the menial details of his Monday. The conversation is light and airy, flowing between us as we share the little things we forget during the weekly hustle at home due to the homework assignments that need to be checked and the bathtime antics that need to be mediated.

I lean back against the headrest and let his voice carry me down the motorway towards the grey sky of November hanging above us. He hasn’t told me where we are going but I know. It’s our place. A little harbor restaurant tucked away between the boats and jetties where we can dine on seafood and wine with real linens and a small candle lit between us. Tonight there is no worry of little curious fingers finding their way into the glass sconces or markers making a permanent drawing of Big Bird on the snow white table cloth.

Tonight there will be no kid’s menu and no macaroni and cheese to cool down with our gentle whispers. No hamburgers to order with only meat and cheese between two buns, preferably without seeds. No sippie cups or lidded cups of any kind to avoid spills. No fighting over the crayons brought to the table to placate the children as they wait for their food.

Instead I’m in my purple sweater dress. The one that hangs perfectly off my curves that are usually hidden beneath my comfortable, worn jeans and careless tee-shirts. I managed to dig up a pair of black nylons and heels to match so that I’m warm yet dressed up. And though we rushed from work to the bathrooms to ready ourselves to sit in traffic on our way to the shore after the exchange of offspring from parents to grandparents, I managed to put on makeup and let down my hair.

His smooth voice brings me back and I realize I miss hearing him speak without whispering after bedtime or raising his tone to be heard over the din. I laugh at his jokes and he asks me about work. He shares his opinion about a song on the radio and I joke about the video I saw at lunch. Then, without warning, a silent blanket falls around us as we coast along the ebbing sea of glowing taillights. Small rain drops pitter against the windshield as the tires beneath lull us into a comfortable silence.

And there between us, our hands clasped casually over the center console full of nurse rhymes on CD and pacifiers, we fall in love all over again. In that brief moment of silence with only our palms resting together do we remember why we are here. Without a word, only a sigh from both of us, we find our romance tucked within the crumb covered seats, a lone shoe, and the toys that have been “lost”.

Letter To My Child: Aching For You

Dear Peanut,

The other day your big brother Jake asked me if you could be born on his birthday. I looked down at him, his big eyes gleaming back at me while he waited patiently to hear my answer. My heart heaved with a sigh and my soul ached for him.

Oh how I wished I could say yes. How I wished I could grant him this wish. I hated to tell him that no, at this moment you wouldn’t be here in time. His 8th birthday was only a few months away and you were not ready yet. We had not been blessed with any news of your coming. Instead we were waiting, again, for another cycle of trying. A cycle of hoping and crossing fingers for that faint second line.

I swallowed the lump in my throat and told him soon, hopefully sooner than later, we’ll tell him that he was going to be a big brother. Maybe not now but soon.

We are all very ready to find out that you will be joining our family. That you will make us a family of four. We can’t wait to read the pink lines, to celebrate, to hear your first heartbeat, then to begin the long process of growing along with you.

Your dad can’t wait. Your brother can’t wait. Without words and with only looks, I can read their thoughts and wishes and hopes. Their hearts opened on their sleeves and beating for you to come along and join us.

And my heart breaks a little each time the tests tell me no, not this month. No not this time. One more month. One more cycle. A little more waiting. I ache a little more each time I have to say to your dad and your brother “Not yet…”.

Peanut, we are all waiting, rather impatiently, for you to be here. The dreamy look in your dad’s eyes as we talk about future plans and try to imagine what your eyes will look like and whether you’ll have his nose or mine. And you brother, well, he can’t wait to hold you, to kiss you and to teach you all the things a big brother should.

And I can’t wait to hear your cries for the first time telling me that my waiting is over.

Impatiently yours,

Mama

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Your family awaits…

Time To Fake It

“Why are you sad, mom?”

My son hit me with this question this morning out of left field. Lucky for me, I was chopping an onion at that exact moment so I could blame my tears on the pungent scent wafting at me from the cutting board. But his astute observation made me realize that I was no longer doing a good job at hiding how I’m feeling lately.

And how am I feeling? Well to be quite frank I’m feeling miserable. I’m stuck in a hole that’s just deep enough to keep me contained while still being able to see the sunlight just above me. I’m frustrated and angry but still stuck.

I fall into this hole every couple of months when I realize I spend most of my day doing something I honestly dislike. Most of the time I can list the positive things about it and move on. I’ll go along, all fine and dandy, then I’ll get to a point when I trip into this hole where all the positive vibes wear off and suddenly I’m no longer able to mask my feelings.

When this happens I become a wild cat caught in a corner. I lash out, I claw at my surroundings, and just panic emotionally. Logic and reason fly out the window and I respond to life by shutting down and shutting out those around me.

It ain’t pretty and it’s probably not healthy but it’s my way of coping. In the end, after I’ve thrashed about and cried a good amount, I will suck it up and just deal with the hand I’ve been dealt. This is life, this is what being an adult means. Sacrifice, acceptance, doing what you don’t want to do for the sake of keeping everyone else happy and healthy.

The Reality Of It All

Reality. Real life. That constant current flowing through our days and nights. It’s always there whether you choose to see it or not.

I can say, as a human being, that reality isn’t something I ponder often. It’s just there, taken for granted. Like oxygen. Reality is that thing we fall back on when our dreams and hopes and wishes aren’t coming to fruition. Reality is the warm blanket that’s not pretty or special, it’s not fancy or exotic. It’s just there, waiting for us.

I’ve noticed that reality isn’t as bad as we can make it out to be. Yes, our dreams are brighter and our future hopes glimmer oh so enticingly but reality, the solid consistent mass that sits in the back ground patiently, isn’t as dark as it seems. It’s nothing more than a basic thread in our lives, weaving the background together while we frolic and dance about hoping for more.

We’ve been married for 5 months. In those five months we’ve planned big, taken huge leaps, and we’ve loved passionately in that blinding newly wedded bliss that happens to everyone. But that isn’t reality. That is the post-wedding/honeymoon glow.

What is in actuality our reality is homework. Monday through Thursday homework. It’s rescheduling doctor appointments and juggling after-school pick up. Reality is going to bed to read a book while your partner works through the night to support the family. It is the dirty socks that must be turned right side out and the grocery shopping list for all the dinners to be made that week. Reality is the linen closet that needs to be organized and the light bulbs that need to be replaced.

Reality is boring. It’s basic. It’s everyday. But it’s unwavering and reliable. There will always be dishes to be washed and toys to be picked up and bills to be paid. And as a married couple, our reality is that even when the flames dim a bit due to the hectic family life that’s being created and executed, there is still a strong foundation of respect and love. Reality is that married life isn’t the blasting heat from a raging bonfire but the glowing warm embers of a fire that never dies.

I realized today as I paid off a credit card and added my husband as my additional payee on another bill that I was allowing myself to slip into the realness of everyday life and that I was forgetting to step out of it for a moment, for a quick second, to remind him that I loved him. Those glowing embers are there and I bet he knows how I feel for him without saying it but I didn’t want to rely on that. I wanted to take that second, grab it tightly and to say what I felt.

And most importantly, to say it without the expectation that I will get something in return. Instead, I said it because I meant it and I wanted him to know.

Reality. It’s not glamorous or special. It’s real and constant. It’s there whether you think about it or not. And in married life, reality is what kicks people in the face after the excitement of a wedding wears off. If you don’t plan for the everyday stuff and you go in with the expectation that your married life will be just as special as your one big day was, then you are in for a real surprise, and not the good kind.

Instead of mourning and clawing ferociously at the slowly fading shimmer on our post-wedding bliss, I’m settling into my warm, comfortable reality and wrapping it around me. These embers are still glowing and are scalding to the touch because even in the comfort of reality, the passion and love is just as present even if the folded laundry does need to be put away.

chamfort

No Words

I haven’t had a lot to say lately. Or I have but I haven’t really taken the time to sit and write them out. Things have been busy as life usually is. Plus, the words I need to get out hadn’t formed yet and as I write this, they are still winding their way together to convey what’s going on.

While nothing out of the norm is happening in our day-to-day lives, there is an undercurrent of a general malaise. Which is not fun to feel, especially when you can’t put a finger on its exact origin. And after awhile, that sunken feeling gets worse and it affects other areas of your life till you are suddenly feeling low and can’t pull yourself out.

I guess I could say that things are sliding into a routine, so much so that we are forgetting to take time and make each other feel special. And as one area of our life slips, another loses its hold and falls, too. Like a chain of dominos stacked so studiously, it only takes one to topple them all.

I stopped going to the gym. I felt needed at home and unable to tear away for even a moment of me time to make sure everyone else was taken care of. To make sure dinner was made and homework was complete. To be the one to rub or scratch the backs and to ensure all the soap or shampoo was rinsed off after bath time.

Knowing this was happening, I tried to replace it with other things like making sure I dressed nicer and wore make-up. Little things to fill the gap that my dropped gym time had made.

Turns out it didn’t matter what I filled the hole with. It seems that this one component can’t be replaced and my lacking fitness routine is taking its toll on my relationships. My son is doing better in getting all his work done and, for the most part, there is a hot meal ready each night. The house routines are coming together but instead of feeling accomplished, I get the feeling that that one glaring gap is overshadowing all the good I’m doing.

I could cook a gourmet meal everyday and I could fold every piece of laundry and have all the homework completed after a full day of work and yet, if I can’t carve out time to make it to the gym, it all means nothing. I claw and make my way through my day and do everything I can to make sure everyone else in my house is taken care of and yet, it’s not good enough.

My efforts aren’t good enough.

I’m not good enough.

When I realize this and that all my responses in this one area are heard as excuses or taken as laziness, I start to sink into a sad little place where I question myself and I feel taken for granted. Lazy? Do I really come off as lazy?

It hurts to realize that the strings attached to you are now slipping and cutting off your air supply, making it difficult to breathe. And it doesn’t help that when your breath is caught up trying to escape, no words can make it out either. So you sputter and reach for something but there isn’t much you can do. You’re stuck wound up in the web of expectations around you that hold you back instead of encourage you to improve.

With all that I’m struggling with right now, I need to find a way to dig down and focus on me. Love me no matter what form I choose to do that in. Whether it’s getting a hair cut or spending time with girl friends or making a date with my son to just be with him. Or going on a run or taking an art class. Something that is just mine.

Lately I’ve found my way into books again and I’ve enjoyed the peace that comes with losing myself in the words and stories woven by brilliant authors. That may be why it’s taken me so long to write anything down. I’m too busy soaking up words instead of creating them, myself.

Either way, this is where my peace is right now. There is so much change in my life from small to large, earth shaking movements that shutting out reality for a brief moment to soak in the words of H.G. Wells or Jane Austen is my way of recentering. It’s very anti-social but it’s what I’ve needed lately. And I need to accept that it’s what I need at this time. Already feeling judge harshly by outside influences, I need not be another voice in the din. I must stop judging myself so harshly, love myself and find something positive about me.

When that happens, when I’m finally able to shut the world out and tell myself I’m pretty awesome, then the other pieces will fall into place.