Superstitious

I’m a superstitious person. Not always. Only when it counts.

When I was running races each month back in 2012, I had my routine. I wore the same thing. I ate the same dinner the night before. I did the same stretching routine the morning of. My breakfast never varied and my races were always a success. Except for that one time I didn’t do all my little rituals.

That race was a disaster and it was because my good pants weren’t washed and I skipped my pre-race coffee.

I’m not running races any more but I’m seeing my superstitious side rearing its head when it comes to our trying to conceive.

This cycle I’m late. Not super late but later than usual. After so many failed attempts to conceive, just the hope that springs from this delay is making me ill with anxiety and fully superstitious.

I’d usually be chatty about this delayed start of my next cycle but instead have kept mum. Other than my husband (and these readers) I’ve not said anything to anyone. Not even my mom. Normally I share most everything with my mom but my worries that if I speak I will break the streak of missed days is keeping me silent.

By now I would have blown through a few Clear Blue tests to confirm my suspicions but not this time. I happen to have run out and instead of rushing to the store for a new pack, I’ve stayed away and refuse to pee on any pregnancy sticks. It’s almost as if I believe that having them in my house with jinx the way things are going. That just seeing one will instantly make me not pregnant.

So I wait. No tests. No talking. No nothing. We ignore it like its the big pink elephant in the room. I get up in the morning to use the bathroom and I hold my breath. So far, no signs either way. When I return to bed, I feel my husband release a breath he had been holding with me, anxious to hear if my cycle is still late or if it is starting over.

Together, each morning, we hold our breath and wait for a week to pass. Together we anxiously ignore any signs or changes in me and hope beyond all hope that this time we’ll get the news we’ve been waiting breathlessly for.

And alone I’ll continue my little superstitious rituals in hopes that something works.

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”.

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

You and Me Plus Baby and Him and All The Family Makes…Oh Hell….I Lost Count

Before we said “I Do”, the mister and I talked about kids. We both agreed that having two kids together was a dream we shared and we wanted to start as soon as the wedding was done and paid for. We had a few reasons to want to start right away but the main one was our ages: we aren’t getting any younger and neither is Jake. With one already in elementary school, we knew that we’ll practically be raising two separate families with the large age gap.

Also, our son is overjoyed with the notion of having siblings. We are thrilled he’s excited but we also know this feeling won’t last long for him once he realized how much of our time he’ll have to share and how disruptive babies really can be. Might as well capitalize that he’ll actually enjoy being around the little squirt and have one sooner rather than later when he wants to be in his room all the time.

So, riding on the coat tails of honeymoon bliss and the excitement our little one had to be a big brother, we jumped into the baby making process. We charted and tracked. We noted mood changes and any inkling of physical differences in my body. We logged time together and spent many hours planning and looking over our projected finances. I took pregnancy tests and waited impatiently for those damn two minutes to tick by for the results.

But when that initial month of planning and tracking passed without success, well the tears did flow and I found myself whining that I was broken. My husband, good man that he is, comforted me and reminded me that we’ve only just begun and we have more than enough time. This of course made me cry harder as I complained that my clock was ticking and I would soon find myself beyond the age of fertility.

All silly things really but still very valid concerns of mine.

My lack of conceiving was noticeable with all the family and friends surrounding us and soon we were being asked when we were going to have our next one or when our turn would be. At this we shrugged and I felt less and less confident that it would happen for us naturally. I started to foresee lots of stirrups and doctor’s appointments with poking and prodding galore for me.

While initially I was disappointed and bothered that nature had let us down and that we hadn’t conceived within the first millisecond of being married, soon I found myself not so bothered by it. Soccer started for Jake and school began not long after. We started having some issues with bedtime fears of Jake’s, keeping us awake at all hours and rudely reminding me what it feels like to work on disrupted sleep.

After that first month we stopped trying so hard. No more charting or testing if I had the slightest tummy ache. We let our time together be enjoyable and we finished out the summer as a happy family ready for fall and for school to resume.

It’s funny. I didn’t expect for it to be so easy to suddenly not care as much about becoming pregnant. That first month was intense and tiring. If it happened, then great! But when it didn’t happen and we moved on with our lives so easily, I guess I was not expecting that.

To be honest, I don’t know what I expected. I guess I just thought it would just work, like the teachers at my Catholic high school warned. They put the fear in us that even THINKING about sex would create a child. Plus, in my personal experience, even when you aren’t trying and you do what you can to prevent it from happening, well, it can still happen!

So with all my convoluted thinking and my past experience with conceiving, I guess I figured that when I actually tried, it would just BAM! Happen…And then, it didn’t happen. Damn teachers lied… After the disappointment wore off, we found ourselves peacefully ok with it. We stopped worrying and we’re not even really trying anymore.

And I’m honestly happy to not to be worrying about getting pregnant anymore. It’ll happen when it’s meant to. Plus it took up too much brain space and emotional energy. And pregnancy tests don’t come cheap.

We still want our family and we very much looking forward to adding to our brood. And when that time comes, there will be no limit to the joy we’ll feel.

Guilt Trip

When the Mr. and I dated, we had a healthy relationship that included time together and time apart. I had my girls nights out and he had his dude days. We also had friends together we’d hang out with and date nights just for us along with family nights with the little man.

I never once felt guilty for spending time away from my little family. We felt our time together was wonderful but our time apart was just as important to maintain our sense of self and our friendships outside of each other.

But all that seems to have changed. We said our vows and signed the legal document making us husband and wife about 6 weeks ago. In that span of time we’ve done what we usually do: family nights, date nights and our own separate nights out with our friends. Nothing new and shnazzy other than us being able to call each other Mr. and Mrs.

Things are only different in the legal sense, we are still the same couple. Then why do I feel so guilty?

Yes, guilty. Suddenly, as if things have changed drastically, I find myself struggling to make plans with friends and not feel bad about it. Weird…

Take this past weekend, for example. Before the wedding, my sister and I made plans to go to San Diego to see The Postal Service perform. It would be our weekend away after the hub-bub of the wedding was over. This plan seemed awesome until the time came to pack up and head down south. I was suddenly struck with concern and worry about leaving, feeling some unspoken fear of abandonment. It took much encouragement from the husband and from my sister to continue with our plans. In the end we enjoyed the time and show together immensely.

So none of this is coming from the husband. He’s completely supportive of me to make time for friends and to explore new things like painting and wine tasting nights. And I encourage him to do the same, have time away with his friends and do their guy things (whatever those might be).

Then why am I suddenly regretting any plans I make away from my guys? Is this some magical thing that overcomes you when you get married? Does it creep up your arm as your sign the license and take over your body and mind?

It’s odd how suddenly this change happened. Maybe it’s because I’m happiest at home having dinner and watching a movie with my son and husband. Maybe it’s because this marriage is still so new and fresh that I’m still intrigued by it and want more of it. It must be that honeymoon phase people talk about. I must be knee deep in it and it pains me to take time away from my home.

I wonder how long this phase will last. For now, I’ll just roll with it.

Tidying Up

Our home is where our heart rests no matter where we venture to. And when that home is a disaster, you can bet coming home is a bit of a heartache.

For the last couple of months, our home was a mess. There were gifts lining the couch from the shower, clean laundry piled high waiting for a drawer to be available, boxes of decorations and items for the wedding littered the living room, and our son’s bedroom had slowly slipped beneath the radar and was filing up fast with junk.

After we returned home from Costa Rica, we knew we needed to do some heavy duty cleaning. So we worked together, unboxed everything, washed all the old dishes and carted them off to Good Will, organized the kitchen to within an inch of its life, and cleaned out the refrigerator. That was only the kitchen.

Soon the living room followed with a new coffee table to replace the broken one we currently were using, wrapping up cords that squirmed around the entertainment center, and vacuuming the carpet more than once. New pictures went up on the walls and everything was clean and orderly.

It felt good to have an old space look new!
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It felt so good that I took to my internet hangouts (Facebook, Friendfeed, Twitter, WordPress) and decided to do a virtual cleaning of my own. I whittled down my followers. I deleted old, unused accounts from sites I rarely ever visit any more. I trashed a few draft posts I never finished and released a few older posts that were at one time private. I adjusted my name on a few sites to now reflect my married name.

I swept and cleaned every little virtual corner and in the end, felt a certain level of peace come over me. I was letting go.

I was moving on and accepting this new life. Change is tough no matter how great it is but it’s worth all of the pain in the end.

We now have a clean kitchen and I’m finding myself in it more, cooking and baking and trying new recipes like…
 photo adaa173e-1af5-4610-850d-ac3e6fbf883c_zpsd238ccb9.jpgBacon Wrapped Chicken Kabobs

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Fourth of July Pancakes

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Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Even our son is becoming interested in learning to cook. We started with something simple, scrambled eggs.
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Nowadays I feel relieved to be home at the end of the day or after a good workout instead of stressed and uncomfortable in my space. And it’s also something we work on together, as a family. We help each other fold the laundry and wash the dishes. We load the dishwasher together and help fill the laundry basket when the dryer is done. Together we made this space ours.

As a family, we made it our home again.