Posts Tagged ‘honesty’

Training Wheels

Friday, October 12th, 2012

I impulse-bought Evan a bike yesterday at Goodwill. It was outside the doors on the sidewalk and he fell instantly in love. After we got inside, Caroline melted down because I wouldn’t let her climb the display of Halloween knick-knacks while Evan stood quietly and angelically next to me declaring “I not naughty, Mommy! I a good boy!” I felt like it was $7 well spent in the scheme of positive reinforcement.

Evan is totally convinced he’s going to take off on his little bike at any second, despite the fact that he’s never ridden one before. He’s barely mastered forward pedaling on his tricycle, but that hasn’t stopped him from hopping right up on a two-wheeler and hurling himself at the floor repeatedly. Don’t worry, he keeps breaking his fall with his face.

I spent most of the day hunched over with one hand on the back of his seat and one clutching the handlebars, trying to help him steer and balance and move forward at the same time while shouting “NOT BACKWARDS. BACKWARDS MEANS STOPPING!”

It was sort of like getting kicked in the face with a metaphor for motherhood, sore back and all.

I put training wheels on the little blue bike last night after he went to sleep so today is another metaphor for motherhood, only this time it’s about letting go to see what he’s capable of on his own.

I only wish I still had a 3-year-old’s exuberance for falling on my face instead of the fear of failing I carry around as a grown up. What if I can’t do it? What if I look foolish? What if I get a boo-boo on my knee or my elbow or my heart? I’m too old for training wheels but I’m still unsteady enough to wish I wasn’t. All I can do is keep moving forward and learn as I go.

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An Explanation For My Children

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Dear Evan and Caroline and Future Hypothetical Offspring,

Congratulations! You have learned to read and also know about the internet! Those are two of the most important things in life, so excuse me while I pat myself on the back for a minute. I am not a complete failure as a mother! Speaking of which, I’d like to explain to you why you are here, on the website, looking at words and pictures about yourself that you did not give me permission to post, which some might say DOES make me a failure as a mother so I feel like maybe I should elaborate.

This is my blog, a web log if you will, an internet journal of your lives from the moment I knew you were coming until (enter current date and time here). I have shared many things about our lives here for anyone with an internet connection to read. I’ve told the stories of your births, my fears about motherhood, your milestones and birthdays, your favorite things, special days, normal days, good days, bad days and everything in between. Through those stories, I’ve met and connected with a community of women who have become dear friends. You have met some of them already, and probably many more by the time you read this, and even more who love you even though you have never met. I am so happy to share our lives in a way that has made them more joyful.

Some people think this is a very poor choice on my part, that I show a lack of discretion, intelligence and general self-awareness by making our lives public. I absolutely understand their point of view. There are definitely periods of my life – most of 1996 for example – I wouldn’t be thrilled to see on the internet.  When my dad threatened to show my prom date my baby bath time photos I died dead of embarrassment right there in the living room and never even got to GO to prom. Ok, that’s a lie, but I sure wished the earth would swallow me up before Dad got out the pictures. I imagine you feel like this now, seeing dozens of photos of yourself, many of which you probably think are embarrassing.

But now, as a grown up – and I assure you I will do everything in my power to make sure you are a grown-up some day – I cherish every photo, video, scrapbook, postcard, and slide of my own childhood. I check the back of faded prints to see if they are labeled with names and dates and places so I can fit them into my consciousness. I have a terrible memory, so tangible evidence of things I vaguely recall are precious puzzle pieces. I hope this blog can provide you with all that a more. You’ll have access to hundreds of different days in an instant, with places and exact dates and the names of your friends all recorded. You will have details about your childhood I have long forgotten. Someday, if you have kids of your own, you will have a totally comprehensive guidebook explaining everything you need to know about raising them to be perfect, brilliant, successful humans! Because that’s what I did! Or, depending on how you think you turned out, a very serious warning. Either way, I’m being servicey!

More selfishly, I’ve written things about myself. You’ll probably find posts detailing what we ate for dinner and my knitting projects boring now, but someday I hope you’ll read them, eager to know more about the person your mom was when she wasn’t just your mom. It’s a remarkable thing, realizing your parents and grandparents and great-grandparents had lives before you came into the world. Maybe you’ll learn where you got a love for the ocean or why yellow always makes you feel so happy or that your parents were once cool enough to drive a Mustang convertible instead of a minivan.

All that being said, if you decide you are uncomfortable with this – any of this – I will take it down. I’m sure there are posts where I shared more than I should have, told stories that belonged in a baby book instead of a website and forgot you deserve my respect as well as my love. It is just so tempting to shout from the modern-day rooftops that my kids are the cutest and the best and the smartest and the loudest and the most frustrating and the most adored ever. Even though it might be hard for you to believe, sometimes parents make mistakes too, and I apologize if you think this blog is one of mine. Although I’m assuming by now kids get Facebook pages the day they are born and people all wear cameras that record and broadcast their entire life online, Truman Show-style, so my little baby blog is barely a drop in the bucket of your Googleable life. Just please remember the internet is a public place – and I will try to do the same.

I love you,

Mommy

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Opening Up

Monday, February 13th, 2012

I finally scheduled a doctor’s appointment to get referrals – one for the scary mole on the back of my arm and one for the scary shouting I can’t seem to control. The appointment was at 9 am on a Thursday at the military healthcare building. On Wednesday, I realized my car didn’t have updated stickers and I couldn’t get on base without stickers.

I went to get new stickers.

I couldn’t get stickers because my ID had just expired, so the guy gave me a temporary pass to get to the ID office.

I went to get my ID.

I couldn’t get a new ID because my sponsor – my husband – has to be with me OR I needed a power of attorney OR he needed to come in and fill out a form.

I called my husband.

No, he couldn’t come. No, he had to be at work. No, he couldn’t do it on his lunch break. No, he couldn’t do it tonight. No, there is no way it could be done before my appointment tomorrow.

I started to cry.

“FINE!” I screamed into the phone, “I hope your job is REAL HAPPY when your wife goes FUCKING CRAZY because you couldn’t take TWO MINUTES to come sign a piece of paper. GOOD LUCK WITH THAT.” I hung up.

No stickers, no ID, no form, no appointment. No no no no no no no no no.

I watched the kids run back and forth in the grass outside the building and wondered if I was just imagining going crazy or if it was something that was actually happening. It was 55 degrees in January, after all. Maybe this wasn’t real life.

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 The next day I was really embarrassed about my temper tantrum, just like I always am. I calmly rescheduled my appointment and couldn’t figure out why it had felt SO URGENT only a few hours before. I should just stop overreacting and calm down. There’s no reason to be so angry. Good mothers don’t shout so much. I told myself I just suck at everything and need to get over it. Just like I said the time before, and the time before that, and the time before that, and the time before that… I kept my appointment.

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I talked to my doctor for a long time on Tuesday and filled out her questionnaires as honestly as possible. She said it sounded like anxiety – which I was just calling OVERREACTING TO ALL THE THINGS – with mild depression. I don’t know if it’s technically postpartum anything but when the doctor said “It’s OK, you’re not imagining things, I can help” I felt better than I have in months.

I took my first tiny Zoloft pill last Tuesday. I am still not sure how I feel about it. I am still not sure that it’s working. But I AM sure talking to my doctor was the right thing to do. I can’t believe I waited so long. I can’t believe I still feel so reluctant to share this. In my online life I know so many women who have dealt with or are fighting  or have overcome postpartum depression or anxiety or OCD or some other form of baby-related hormonal brain disease. Some days I wondered if I was crazy for NOT having postpartum depression. And then when things started to feel out of control I wondered if I was just exaggerating so I could fit in. Oh look, another mommy blogger on medication. What a cliche. Doesn’t she know Dooce already did that? It’s so 2009. Besides, my “baby” is 13 months old – didn’t my ticket to postpartum mental disorder town expire in December?

Although I know the internet is FULL of support, in my real life things like this are Not Talked About. The only person I’ve ever heard mention PPD was the sad, weepy, exhausted mom at breastfeeding support group who was so obviously depressed I wanted to bundle her into my car and drive her to a therapist myself. I’ve never felt like that. No one has ever said “You look like you’re struggling.” My husband has never taken the baby away from me and suggested I talk to someone.  I think my family is going to be really surprised to read this. I’m worried what they’re going to think. But hopefully soon, I won’t have to worry so much about what I think.

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