I can let that go

 
 

Both my boys have eczema. The younger one has it worse, the red patches pop up like a daily game of whack-a-mole on his little body. Scaly clouds behind his knee, and a constellation of pin-pricks across his belly. We have the steroid cream the doctor prescribed, but I like to think of myself as a ‘natural’ mother, I grew up eating fruit leather and carob, for christssake. So it sits on the shelf reserved for worst-case scenarios.

I spend hours searching the web for ‘natural eczema remedies’ – but they almost all involve giving up dairy and wheat, and I just can’t do that. (um, hello, French toast Saturdays?) In this way, I am a terrible mother. Selfish, lazy, hypocritical. Of course I would do it if his life depended on it; I’m not THAT terrible. But he doesn’t seem bothered by it, nor does my pediatrician. So I let it go.

I let a lot of things go. Don’t we all? That’s the only way it’s possible to survive this motherhood gig. If I make it look effortless, it’s only because I choose not to bother. Or at least, I do it half-assed, which I clock at a smidgen above lazy.

It drives my husband mad, because he of course sees all the little things I let go. He sees the half finished projects all over the house, and can find me by following the trail of open cupboard doors like Hansel and Gretel following crumbs. And speaking of crumbs, he only need look at the floor to know that I do indeed feed our boys while he’s away.

Read the rest of this essay here at Mamalode.

 

A long way to enough

 
 

We never gave our babies names. In utero, I mean. We never called them peanut, or sweet pea, or bubby or anything remotely cutesy like that. Even when family members named them for us, we didn’t really play along. We thought it too dangerous. We hardly acknowledged the fruit we grew through along the way. We might raise an eyebrow in passing. “We’re a fig this week,” my husband might say. “Nice,” I’d reply, spitting out my toothpaste and reaching for the floss.

We might have actually done this the first time. I can’t remember now. But we’ve lost too many since then to allow ourselves to get attached. Last week we lost number seven. I was twelve weeks along, but the baby was only five. I like to think she stuck it out in there because she knew she’d be the last. Maybe she felt safe inside and just wanted to hang with her mom as long as possible. (no idea if it was actually a she, I just like the sound of that).

And this concludes our attempt at becoming a family of five. Or six. Or seven. Not officially, not drastically, no measures have been taken. But we’ve decided (kinda-sorta, 96%, probably most-likely, pretty-much) that we’ve had enough. Don’t quote me on that. But I’m still going to say it. I’m tired. My body is tired. Our spirits are tired. We’re just plain tired.

But I’ve also been reflecting a lot this week on ‘enough.’ Because in saying I’ve ‘had enough’ I am also saying that I ‘have enough.’ And I do. This week more than ever, I am so incredibly grateful for what I have. And in a strange way, this miscarriage has given me pause to take stock in what I do have, and for the first time in a long time, call that ‘enough.’

This is NOT to say I was not grateful before. But for the last six years (OK, really since we tied the knot as far as I’m concerned), we’ve been looking at what we can add to make a family. For the last six years, I have either been trying to conceive, pregnant, or breastfeeding. And there’s always been the desire for more on the horizon. I’ve never stopped taking prenatal vitamins, I’ve kept myself mostly-healthy, limited my alcohol intake, peed on countless sticks to get the timing right, and constantly visualized a big crazy family.

But now, I don’t have to do that anymore. I can just sit still. I can just surround myself with my incredible husband and two beautiful boys and call us a family. This is it. This is us. This is everything. No more, no less. Exactly as we are meant to be. From here until the end.

Don’t get me wrong, this is going to take a SERIOUS amount of meditating on, sitting with, crying over, talking about and will (very likely) involve copious amounts of wine in doing so. (Because, why not!?) But I’m going to go ahead and give myself permission to be content. It’s been a long time coming.

 

(This is a nicely wrapped up little reflection, I’m aware. Miscarriage is a LOT harder than this, it f*$King sucks, believe me. I’m writing the hard stuff too. Maybe for another time, it’s a little raw right now).

 

 

Mom (resolves to) fail. Part 2.

I want my boys to fail. Not ultimately, and not incredibly hard, but I want them to know how to recover. I want them to be resilient. I want them to know what it means to work hard for something, even if there’s a chance they might not get it in the end. I’m not very good at that. Let me rephrase: I’m terrible at that. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve tried something new knowing there was a good chance I might not succeed. I’m not a huge risk taker. Which might sound strange coming from someone who’s lived on three continents and traveled to 20+ countries, moved to London after college graduation with a few bucks in savings and a boyfriend, quit a job to move to Africa to build a preschool from the ground up, switched careers and went back to school at 33, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. (and what I really mean to say by that is yadda, yadda, yadda). Yawn.

But I’ve always known I could do those things.

Is that confidence? Is that what I’m hoping for my sons? I guess so.  But I hope for more. I hope they try things even if they know there's a chance they could fail. That, to me, is real risk. That’s the kind of risk real risk takers take.

(How much risk would a risk taker risk if he knew he just might fail?)

So as 2015 comes to a close and I sit with my trusty green journal, handwriting my annual New Year’s Resolutions as I do at the end of each December, risk taking will be high on my list this coming year. Not the kind of risk that might be life threatening or dangerous, I’m not interested in skydiving or bungee jumping, thank you very much.

take risks.jpg

I’m talking about the kind of risk that makes me uncomfortable. The risk that gives me pause because I might as well be dangling from a suspension bridge for as vulnerable as I feel once I’m out there. The risk that keeps me up at night wondering whether I did the right thing, or what people might think.

(Although side note: immediately following ‘take more risks’ on my list this year will be ‘stop caring what other people think and just GO FOR IT if it makes you happy and won’t hurt anyone.’ Turning forty has definitely improved my chances of success with this resolution!).

Putting this blog out for public consumption is a start. And we’ll see where I go from there. Hopefully a few more writings will get published. Maybe I’ll run a few more retreats. Maybe I’ll finally figure out my calling and get on it.

But for now, I’ll start where I can, which is right where I’m at, since I can’t possibly be anywhere else. Here’s to risking (even if it fails) in 2016!

Happy New Year!