Thursday, April 21, 2011


I do plan to post something coherent about work, chronic illness, and parenting very soon, but right now, while I am limping across the finish line of the semester, indulge me in some more unstructured thoughts on being a parent.

Time. As I taped my daughter’s Easter picture to the refrigerator this week, I realized a few things: this was the first time my own child’s holiday picture kept her cousins’ pictures company up there; this time last year, we already had three (of many) ultrasound pictures up there to greet us every time we went into the kitchen; it was this week last year that I finally went public about being pregnant. A year ago April 16, I felt my daughter move for the first time, and this year, almost to the day, she cut her first tooth and balanced on her own standing up for a few seconds. It is hard to wrap my head around everything that has changed in this past amazing and challenging year.

Relief. I was back at my (our) hospital for an appointment of my own this week. I’ve done my very best to avoid going back there, having spent far too much time there during the pregnancy. Anyway, it is such a different experience evaluating pulse oximeter results and medications without worrying about the impact of the numbers on a growing baby. Knowing her welfare is no longer tied so wholly and viscerally to my own health is reassuring, yet the relationship between my health and what is best for her is still a regular negotiation: to be the best mother I can be for her, I need to feel as well as I can. (See also: upcoming post on balance….)

Gratitude. “Every morning is kind of like Christmas morning.” We agreed about this the other night. It was almost 1 am and we’d both had a very long week, but none of that mattered, or matters. Knowing there is a wriggling, giggling little girl waiting for us every morning often makes it hard to sleep.

And, in lighter terms…
Humility. I was getting a bit cocky last weekend. In one day, I’d managed the logistics of swimming class, a play date, and a birthday party with nap time and meals (and final papers! And work deadlines! And a nasty, plague-like virus thing, oh my!) and everyone was intact and smiling. Clearly, I was too confident.

As I went to fold up the new stroller and head to our final destination, I could not figure it out. Like, 10 minutes into it, sweating and exasperated, I still couldn’t fold it up. I pulled tabs, I pushed bars, I moved wheels. I may have sworn a few times, and I may have even tried shoving the whole thing in the back still upright. With the guy who was waiting for my spot impervious to my motions to move on, I got more flustered and more inept. Eventually, he got out of his car to help me and he couldn’t do it either, but that didn’t make me feel better because I’d had lessons. Fearing a situation just like this, my husband, who is used to the manifestations of my spatial relations problem, had walked me through it several times. Thankfully, a second passer-by, the mother of twins, hopped out of her car and came to our rescue.

So a good fifteen minutes after I buckled my daughter into her car seat and tried to leave the parking garage, I was ready to go. The only upside is that this time, I hadn’t gotten lost actually getting to my car, which is a routine occurrence in parking garages.

So there’s that.

Let’s hope she gets her spatial abilities from her father….


Rachel said...

I like the part about humility, just to add some comic relief. Last year at this time was so different for me as well, for much different reasons, but I remember how delighted I was to hear of your news.

Roalind Joffe said...

Children do have a way of bringing joy -- and heartache - like nothing else. Also can bring out the most "spaced out" qualities in us. My adult children are a continual reminder of what I've acccomplished and how much I still manage to say the "wrong" thing. Oyy - so glad to hear you're enjoying the moments, Laurie. Even in the midst of the chaos.

Laurie said...

Thanks, Rachel. You've certainly had a lot of ups and downs over the past year, too! In many ways, what a difference a year makes, huh? I hope you continue to feel as well as possible!

So true, Rosalind, and yes, enjoying every moment, no matter how crazy! I always think of what you wrote here once (I think it is in the form of a blog comment, anyway) that the waiting makes it all the more precious, and I couldn't agree more!

HealingWell said...

Great post Laurie. For being unstructured, I thought it was pretty well structured :) Parenthood certainly does change our priorities and our direction in life, all for the good I believe. I'm sure you're a great mom!

WinnyNinny PooPoo said...

I'll bet she will be folding up strollers just like her father when you are a grandmama many years from now! So glad you didn't do what I would have just crammed it someway in the car and taken off!!

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