Saturday, November 20, 2010


Traveling outside the country always provides me with an unexpected perspective that ultimately makes me feel more contented with my life. Greece post college gave me an awareness of what it means to be an American. Central Mexico with my mom made me realize that possessions do not make a life; love does.  And Europe with my husband was a chance to appreciate history, discover different cultures and explore my family heritage.  

Post-children, the perspectives are no less profound. Last year, when my daughters were 2 1/2, I left them in the capable hands of their father and took a girls' trip to Mexico.

I re-connected with my inner self on that trip. I climbed out of the muck of diapers and spit-up and discovered the woman that still lived inside.

Last week, my husband and I took our first vacation without the girls since they were born. At the tip of the Baja peninsula, between Lover's beach and Divorce beach, I realized this trip was about connecting.

I re-connected with my husband - seeing him again with the eyes of a wife, not as a harried working mom. Seeing him as my husband, and not just as the father of my children and partner in twin parenthood.

I re-connected with humanity outside of my own circle of family and friends. I related to strangers lounging around the pool, old and young. Tears dewed my eyes as I silently wished for a good outcome for a Multiple Sclerosis surgery recipient that was staying at our resort. I imagined her grandchildren, and prayed that she will one day be able to frolic with them outside of her wheelchair.

My twin-mom friend/travel companion and I met a kindred spirit and we celebrated their 40th birthdays dancing like college kids, reincarnating our youth, uninhibited and unabashed at our age, our confidence fueled by alcohol and the fun-loving atmosphere. We celebrated our freedom from our children, and then discussed them incessantly.

And I discovered the natural longing of a mother away from her offspring, ironically choosing to read a book about motherly ambivalence. I missed their voices, their forms, their delicate arms and legs wrapped around my neck and torso, clinging to me with feisty ownership. I missed the warmth of their bodies in my lap and their determination while weaving their way through childhood.

Most of all, I missed their need for me - the indubitable desire for their mama.

Thereby, unknowingly, connecting with my purpose in life; my children.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Socially Awkward

I remember my first few forays out into the "real" world after having my babies. I felt like a fish out of water. What was once easy and natural was suddenly awkward and uncomfortable.

The worst was while I was still lactating. My breasts were like ticking time bombs strapped to my chest. 

My clothes felt like an ill-fitting costume and I would self-consciously fiddle with my earrings and hair and wonder what was the point?

Heels felt like stilts, in contrast to my birkenstocks worn while waddling through the neighborhood pushing my double stroller.

Was it my post partum depression? Was I simply out of practice after a challenging pregnancy, extended hospital stay and maternity leave?

Or had my perception of society - of the world - changed?

Which is not to say I didn't enjoy the company of friends. But my priority had become these two new human beings that relied on me for life support that were made of my own flesh and blood.

Now I had a built-in, fool proof excuse for remaining away from social events. The old stay-home-and-wash-my-hair bit was put to shame by the I-have-two-preemie-babies-to-sustain. 
Who wouldn't want to spend every free moment with these 2 little nuggets?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Daylight Losing Time

There are all these concepts that as adults we simply accept. Like changing the clock and sleeping in an hour later, or vice versa. But when babies enter the picture, we question the validity of such reasoning.

My girls came home from the hospital on April 30th, 2007 and we struggled to settle into a four hour feeding/sleeping interval schedule. The predictability was the only sense of frail composure in my sleep-deprived, post partumly depressed brain. 

Six months later, along comes our trusty friend Daylight Saving Time (or rather, the end of it). I know to "spring forward" and "fall back", but I couldn't always calculate if that meant I would be early or late. It didn't matter. I would dutifully change the time, and follow the clock. "Losing" or "gaining" an hour was never a big deal.

Then I had two babies.

The delicate balance that existed in our household was like a thin sheet of ice on a warm spring day, a microscopic fissure just waiting to crack open with catastrophic results, or so it felt in my overworked brain.

Unlike (most) adults, its a bit more challenging to shift sleeping and eating patterns for an infant, much less two of them simultaneously. Daylight Saving Time felt like this completely ridiculous, totally unnecessary wrench in my schedule. What did I care if it was lighter later or earlier? The whole concept felt outdated and ludicrous.

I remember we had managed to push the nighttime feeding from 3AM until 5AM. A blood-sweat-and-tears feat that took six months to carefully manipulate.

When DSL ends, we move the clock back; we "lose" an hour. What it meant for me was hearing those needy cries at 4AM instead of 5AM, which felt like needlessly unravelling half of a nearly completed hand made sweater, and being unable to do anything but pick up those knitting needles and start all over again.

Looking back, I realize that having some control over the feeding schedule (as opposed to feeding on demand) saved my sanity, and over the past few years, I have developed a strong belief that not only do babies and toddlers need routine, but adults do too.

Snoozing atop the milk factory

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Vulnerability Captured

Children ooze vulnerability from their pores. Sometimes it tugs at my heart and elicits that motherly response to simply hold them to me as close as I can, as if my touch is a panacea for what ails them.

At birth, their wrinkled, jaundiced bodies covered in cords and sensors were the essence of vulnerability. It brought me to a place in my mind that was difficult to confront. It was easier to focus instead on the task at hand, which was to provide them with sustenance.

As they grow, there is a new challenge at every corner, and I take such pleasure in their focused concentration, and such distaste at their hasty frustration.

My dad is always reminding me that everything is new to my daughters. There are so many "firsts". This past weekend, walking through a field of rotting pumpkins, I overheard a conversation between him and Tristyn. While she was observing all the pumpkins, he asked her (in jest) if she had ever made a pumpkin pie? To which she replied earnestly, "No, grandpa!" and he joked with her saying, "You've never, in your whole three years, made a pumpkin pie??"

It made me think about all that lay ahead for her and her sister.

Not only experiences, but emotions and thoughts and disappointments, fears and thrills, joy and pain.

I can only cradle them in my arms when they are crying for so long. Eventually, they will need more than a kiss on a boo-boo to make it better. The mere sound of my voice may not always have the profound calming effect that it has on them now.

Maybe it's me that's vulnerable? Vulnerable to relinquish these creatures to the world, and let them experience it without holding my hand, or comforting them at every turn.
8 months
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...