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Friday

Dearest girls,

I write to you from years in the past and who knows how many miles away. Tonight I am in the Bay Area, sleeping in the spare room of your Granny Mimi and Papa Phil's house. It will be a quiet night and with a little bit of luck I will even get some sleep. Tomorrow morning I will wake up and drive an hour to Marin County to spend the day delving into Waldorf early childhood education. This is what I do every other weekend: drive nearly 3 hours to spend an entire Saturday away from you and your daddy and then immediately turn around and make the 3-hour drive home. Tonight, Ophelia, I could feel your growing anxiety about my trip. You became teary and clingy and told me repeatedly that you hate it when I go, that it's boring, that you just want to be with me all the time. You are so earnest in your devotion to me, in your immovable assertion that I am that bit of magic that makes your whole world turn. It humbles me and makes me wonder how I have possibly come to be worthy of such boundless love. Theta, you are queen of the barnacles. I can't put you down for more than a minute before you are reaching for me, telling me in that mighty voice of yours, "I. Want. You. Pick. Me. Up." making sure to punctuate each word, less I fail to understand your seriousness. And god, the way you look at me when you say "Hi Mama," just about cracks me in two. You adore me. I adore you. We are the inseparable trio. And when I leave there are always tears. So so many tears. I try to placate you with chocolate and jokes but inevitably I do walk out the back door and turn around to see the two of you wailing in your daddy's arms. But what I can tell you now, in the safe keeping of this journal to future you, is that your pain, quite perversely, is my relief. You ask why I leave you, why I want to be away from you and of course I reassure you that I don't, that I just can't do the two things at once as much as I wish I could. But it's a lie. I need to be away from you. I need it so much I can feel my body thirst for it. Before you were born, before I met your daddy, I enjoyed many endless swaths of alone time. I happily rented my own apartment, cooked for myself (whatever the hell I wanted- quinoa! quiche! vegetarian whatever! And there was nobody there to complain!) walked to my favorite coffee house and sat writing for hours or just watching the baristas and other customers.  I wrapped myself in a blanket of solitude and although it was comfortable and familiar I longed for company. I longed to be a person amongst people. I longed to share the ripe juicy parts of myself with someone else. Sometimes I would drive to the farmers market on a Sunday morning, cloth bags dutifully slung over my shoulder and walk the aisles and wonder what it would be like to be arm in arm with someone. And then, in what has felt like the blink of an eye, here I am; so very far from being alone. In nearly every way and in every moment, there you are. And you and you. So I'm sorry, darling(s), if the truth is painful (for it often is) but you are not the one(s) I miss: I am.

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the sum of your parts

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the sum of your parts

Dear girls,

My eyes are hot and dry. My skin feels tight like something outgrown. Despite the open windows, it is stifling upstairs as I write this. The summer is barreling at us at full speed. We spend nearly every afternoon in the garden digging holes for seeds and transplants, striking pocket weeds that are still difficult to tell apart from our budding seedlings. Half of the time is spent shepherding Theta out of the veggie patch, occupying her with bowls of dirt or a few pushes on the swing. Ophelia, you are often reluctant to go outside, preferring quiet play with your dolls. But as soon as we kick ourselves out the back door you couldn't be happier. And every day, without fail, there is a quiet moment when I find myself alone and sweating over a shovel or spade. I look up to find the two of you in a corner of the yard, faces pressed together, sharing something whose depths I will never fully understand; something unfamiliarly beautiful.

Theta, I remember your anatomy ultrasound, getting that first real glimpse of your darling profile. There you were on the small grainy screen, an impression of our flesh and blood baby girl. That night as I put you to bed, Ophelia, I saw your own silhouette black against the light outside your window. The same rosebud lips, the same delicately sloped nose. Sisters. The word entered my consciousness as if for the first time. I was not just going to be the mother of two children, two girls. I was going to be the mother of two sisters.

I never worried much about how you two would get along. I figured it was as much up to the cosmos, to luck and chance, whether you would actually enjoy each other's company. Theta, the morning you were born you were in a big hurry. You had barely made your way earthside and up to my breast when Ophelia tiptoed out of her room at 5 AM. Still wrapped in sleep, Ophelia wordlessly came to the couch, curled her body against mine and softly kissed Theta on the forehead. It was so shockingly clear that this was not the first time you two had met.

Watching you girls together is incredible. Ophelia, you have a voice saved only for your sister. A sugary love voice. A while back you started calling Theta "Seuss" which has stuck like taffy. Theta, you save your bubbling laughter for Ophelia and if mama is away, it's your sister you need.

I try not to have expectations about how this sister love will grow and change. But sometimes I let my imagination run wild and you are traveling to Thailand together to celebrate your scantly spaced birthdays, sending long, confessional letters to your respective corners of the world, snuggling up on the couch of your childhood home, this home, when your wandering souls need a rest, need one another. I wish for you girls a lifelong bond that weaves through thorny lows and breathless highs. A bond that plants your feet in the earth and lifts your hands to the sky.  

I love you each immensely and yet somehow I love you even more together.

All my love,

Mama

 

 

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Theta Eleanor

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Dearest Theta Girl,

Tonight I write to you, just you. I often wonder how you will react to reading this blog many years from now. After all, this blog was never intended for you. More specifically, you were not intended. Please don't get me wrong, I do not mean to say that you were not wanted or planned (you were actually very much planned, right down to your gender). What I mean to say is that I always thought I would have one child and that that one child would be your sister. I wrote to her for years before I was ever even pregnant. I kept a box filled with old dresses, a dancing wooden bear; all my childhood treasures, just for her. For the longest time I held fast to this notion of a second generation only child, even swearing publicly that I was done having babies. But all of a sudden it crept up on me. You crept up on me. And I knew that you were out there, knocking on that proverbial door and waiting for me to let you in. I'm eternally glad that I did.

These last fifteen months have been beautiful. I can say without a doubt that I thoroughly enjoyed your infanthood in a way I wasn't able to do the first time around. This time I knew how to bounce, how to surrender. I knew that everyday you were needing less of me and that as stifling as that need felt at times, soon it would be something I would long for. We spent hours on the couch while your sister was at school, you reclined on my bent knees so I could simply stare at you. I was dazzled just making you laugh, stroking your hair and savoring the way your skin felt against mine when I kissed your buttery cheeks. At night I would fall asleep reading in the dim bedroom, your small body tucked against my side and in the very early morning the only way you would continue sleeping was if I brought you onto my chest and we could breathe in tandem for a few more hours.

I love the luminous little person you are. I love to watch your unfolding. I think of you as a small yet fierce, winged girl, my sweet Theta Bird. I love the way you fly to my hip, light as air. I love your warbling laughter, the nonsense words that fill my ears and heart like a balm.

There's more, so much more. There are so many words I want to pin down, hold still for you before they fly away. But they will have to wait. Now is time for sleep, or at least the idea of sleep. Most of the night will be spent chasing it as we configure and reconfigure our bodies around each other. But really, it's ok. Sleep will return someday. Right now you need me. And as is so perfectly clear, I need you too.

All my love,

Mama

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Hello rock, hello hard place

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Dear daughters,

At this very moment, you are living a fairly idyllic childhood. Eighteen months ago we moved out of the city, to the Sierra foothills. Our house, a solid, white farmhouse built in 1903, sits on a third of an acre on which you have free range. You run and tumble over spring growth so high it often pulls you down as you run through it. You turn over rocks to find earthworms, make "soup" out of rainwater and leaves and swing from the massive oak tree that shades the house. Soon a spring garden and backyard chickens will add to your fun.

Ophelia, you spend your mornings at the local Waldorf school; a five minute drive from our house. While you are there you bake bread, roll in the sand pit and cozy up in a loft full of pillows. You can't go a day without telling me how much you love your school. Each day you come home glowing and exhausted.

Theta, we spend our mornings together, either meeting with mama and baby friends for a crafting morning/walk, shopping at the local co-op for groceries or just hanging out at home and folding laundry. When we are out you wave at smiling strangers and hold my hand as you toddle your way from one place to the next. You are the sweetest companion.

Each night we light candles, say our blessing ("we love our bread, we love our butter, but most of all we love each other") and eat dinner as a family.

That is the picture of our lives in this moment. This is the picture we carefully crafted; a quiet neighborhood, a good school, a loving community and mellow days. A simple and full life. A childhood free of debilitating distractions. Hell, we don't even let you watch TV.

And I believe in what we are giving to you girls. I do, I truly truly do. We've worked hard. made personal, professional and financial sacrifices to live this life. But please don't hate me when I say this: I am mind-numbingly bored.

Maybe bored isn't the right word. How can I be bored when there is something to be done, someone who needs me nearly every minute of every day? There's no thumb twiddling. But I am restless. My brain is constantly looking for mindless tasks to complete because it feels so utterly useless otherwise. I loathe being asked to play make-believe. No, thank you, I would not like to eat raspberry soup from your wooden bowl. Again. And after you go to bed, there's just nothing left. I don't want to write. I don't want to read a novel. I want to watch Louie and eat peanut butter out of the jar.

As much as I love our life and I want the two of you to continue to benefit from all of this, I feel myself slipping away. I'm going through the motions: cooking the oatmeal, tying the shoes, wiping the asses. But I'm not really here.

So now what? you may ask. And truthfully I don't know. I just recently reread a blog post from when I was teaching in Oakland and just the thought of going back to work and feeling that same sadness to leave you scares the hell out of me. But even if we're not talking a full time job, I'd like to at least dip my toes in the water. How amazing it would feel to go 2 hours without having yogurt smeared across my shirt, to constantly unclip and re-clip my bra to nurse, to have someone ask my opinion about something other than whether I prefer burps or farts. So I updated my resume, drafted a cover letter and sent references out in the hopes that I will get an interview for a teaching position opening up next fall. I'm not sure whether I actually want it or whether I just want to get dressed up and talk about my profession for a while. Either way, here it goes!

I love you so very very much,

Mama

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Introducing...

Hello dearest ones! This blog has been left alone for quite some time. In fact, when I look back at the archive of posts I see that I didn't write a single thing in the year 2015.

2015. Yes, that's the year your were born, dear Theta. I could apologize for the lack of documentation but I've been in the thick of it. For the past fourteen months I have been mama to two daughters. Two. Sometimes it feels gluttonous to even say it. For fourteen months I have been drenched in the light of your sunshine and also occasionally, drenched in bodily fluids. Yours, mine and ours, to be precise. And it's been amazing. Really truly, 2015 was the best year of my life to date. For the past fourteen months I have cared very little about writing, very little about personal pursuits in general. Only in the past few months have I begun to gets glimpses of my old self, the self that craves writing, alone time and quiet. For fourteen months I have let go of my introverted needs and lived in the noise, stink and joy of mothering two girls. I have you two to thank for that time spent away from myself. Really, thank you.

But all was not lost from that beautiful year. I did manage a few journal entries. This one from April 2015 pretty well sums up the feeling of last year.

" I am the mother of two astounding daughters, girls whose eyes stun me, whose hair burns a hole in the middle of my chest. Their beauty seers me. And I know, somehow, finally, that this will all be swept into the ocean when the tide of this moment recedes. They will be grown girls reading books with flashlights in the night, write their own journals, become enamored with horses or dolphins or fairies. They will stretch up into trees, their bodies becoming foreign entities. They will become secretive and mischievous. I look forward to all of it, to mothering them through it all. But now they are small, bitty things that I can fold up into my heart, that call for me. A part of me adores this phase, being their sun and moon. Part of me hears what older wiser mothers have warned and stops to kiss buttery baby cheeks, tickle chubby bellies and smell their wet hair. Part of me is immersed in this thing called motherhood like I've donned an extremely heavy but luxuriously soft cloak. But another part of me misses who I once was and wonders impatiently who I will be once the fog lifts, once they need me less."

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And of course, there were pictures taken. Many pictures but obviously not enough.

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I don't intend to try to "catch up" with this last year but I have been putting some thought into how this blog should continue now that I have two lovely daughters to write to. I won't set anything in stone but I think I will proceed by writing to both of you, sometimes together, sometimes separately. But for now, I am off to dust off a resume that has sat useless for almost 2 years. More on that later.

I love you my strong, precious girls,

Mama

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Not the Puppet Master

Dear Ophelia, My sweet girl. There is so much to write about. There is so much I want to ask some older version of you. Did I do alright? Did I make the right decisions? Did you feel loved enough? There's so much left to faith in this whole parenthood gig. It's difficult for someone who does not pride herself on keeping faith in much of anything.

You and I are different people. I know it's such a funny thing to be landing on this far into our relationship but there's something profound in that realization. I have always tried to respect who you are as a person. This is not always easy when the person whose opinion I'm trying to respect is sobbing hysterically because we can't listen to Christmas Carols for the sixth day in a row in the middle of October. But I do my best to remind myself that your opinion matters and my job is not to control you. So you'd think that I would be perfectly clear with the fact that we are not the same person, that I do not get to decide everything for you. But here's my confession: for a long time it  seemed like we were, if not the same person, too entwined to ever be very separate. I've told you a million times that our relationship feels like one of the longest I've ever had. That's because I always knew you would be here someday. You. Not a child, not a daughter even. I knew it was you I would one day have in my life, who I would be lucky enough to mother. So when I became pregnant and you were born, it felt incredible but not unknown. I've always felt like a mother yet to have a child and because of that my vision of you has become threaded through my whole life experience. You feel like such an integral part of me.

Needless to say this is all very self-centered (go ahead, blame my only child-ness), I know. But it is what it is. So now as you become even more of a fiercely independent girl I am forced to step back and look at all the ways in which my expectations are absurd. Some days we get in these ridiculous standoffs and I realize I have no idea why I give a damn that you aren't doing exactly what I want you to do. The result is basically inconsequential to your overall wellbeing. I'm just being a control freak.

I know this is only going to get harder. In so many ways I feel the reigns slipping from my grasp. Every time you dance around the living room singing "I'm a pretty princess!" I ask myself what the hell I did wrong. I cringe when strangers say hi to you and expect some sweetness back only to be answered with a mean stink eye. But I am not your puppet master. I am your mother. This is your life. I'm here to provide for you and guide you but not dictate where that road will lead.

I know we'll figure this out. We may not be the same person but we're on the same team.

I love you beyond measure, sweetheart.

xoxo

Mama

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Worth

Love of my life, It's still early, although I have been up for hours now. I can hear you and Daddy wake up and amble up the stairs of the Pine Mountain Lake house, your Yaya and Papa's house near Yosemite. In just a few hours the place will be flooded with family and we will be swept into our yearly ritual of swimming in the lake, creating and consuming one gargantuan meal after the last and pausing for just a moment to take in the fireworks spectacular tomorrow night. But for now the house is quiet, save for the sound of your sweet voice requesting a bowl of yogurt.

Ophelia, you are beautiful. Stunningly so, I would say. From the moment you were born people could not stop marveling at your huge blue eyes. Once an older woman walked by us on the street and just looked at you and said, "Those eyyyyyyyes" shaking her head slightly in disbelief but continuing to walk on by. Your white blonde curls seems to defy gravity and although you know your mother is not one for belief in celestial beings I find it impossible to look at you and not call you "angel". Of course, you are only two-years-old and not even teeth are permanent at this point but I feel confident you will always be a a beautiful person to look at.

But here's the thing, my love: none of it matters. Nope, not really.

Before you write me off as an ogre of a mother, let me explain. In light of recent political agendas and Supreme Court rulings, I've been thinking more and more about what these decisions will mean to you, what message our government and the culture we live in are sending. And I think I've boiled it down to one phrase: You are just a body.

Even reading my own words makes me shake with anger, leaves tears clawing behind my eyes. But there is no other conclusion that can be drawn when at every turn women are denied their rights to obtain birth control, to feed their babies without criticism or debate, to access legal abortions without threat of bodily harm and all the while, the protections we are due are given to faceless corporations, as if our lack of recognized personhood needed to be even more defined. You are just a body. And more over, you have very little say in what happens to that body.

It's dark, my girl, but it's reality. So here's the thing, and I know it's asking a lot of you but I think you're the girl to handle it. You need (in whatever future decade of your life you do read this) to decide that they are all wrong and to live your life accordingly. You need to decide that you are so much more than the flesh you live in. Whoever you decide to be, whatever job you decide to work or not work, whomever you decide to love; all of that, the strengths inside you, the people whose lives you touch and the change you make in the world around you are worth a hell of a lot more than what they will try to reduce you to. You need to say to hell with the idea that anyone else has any more say in what happens to your body than you do. I know that none of this is easy. Trust me, I still fight every day to remind myself of these truths. But as a woman it will be one of the most worthwhile fights of your life.

I love you, sweetness. I love you with such a fierceness that makes me want to turn the world upside down just to give you all that you deserve. Maybe someday we'll all succeed in that. But until then I'll keep fighting the good fight for you, darling and I hope that someday I can pass the torch to you.

All my love, Mama

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Somewhere, something, somehow

Hi Sweetness,

I am writing to you from an unfamiliar, hazy place that they call "Working Motherhood." I don't know exactly how I got here, where I'm heading or how many hours of sleep I'll get tonight but here I am.

I started work full-time in January while your daddy went down to part-time and will be going back to school this fall. As much as I feel like Future Ophelia would be interested in hearing the particulars of my day-to-day (ok maybe not) I just can't go there. I feel as if I have been dragged through everyday, like those kids have wiped the floor with me. There's a strange new pounding in my right ear, something heavy yet invisible sits on my chest and I haven't pooped normally for months. You're welcome for the TMI. I look at my face in the morning and I wonder who the hell I'm looking at. I've never looked so tired.

I don't know what to say to you that is encouraging of someday being a working mother yourself. This feels like hell; the stress, of course, but seeing so little of you too. It feels so unfair to have this astounding and luminous little person in my life that I am only allowed to see for a few short hours at night and on weekends. I thought I'd feel fulfilled, connected to the world, excited for each new day but none of that seems to be true so far. I've never felt more isolated and unsure of my path.

The bright spot in all of this is that somehow you are thriving despite all of the tumultuous change in our lives. Your sunny disposition shines bright as ever. Remember those stones I told you that the midwife gave us when you were born? Joy. Serenity. Flexibility. Your blessings continue to follow you. You say the sweetest things I've ever heard. You like to add "little bit" to just about everything you say. For instance " Daddy is a little bit funny" or "I'm a little bit tired". You have definite opinions on the music we listen to saying to one song "I wuv it!" or another "I don't like this song" and demanding I change the station. You still think farting is the funniest thing on the face of the earth. You are clearly a Watts. No doubt about things there. The way you say "Hi Mama" can bring me to tears even when I just hear it in my head.

I love you beyond measure, Ophelia. If this time is difficult you don't show it at all. Thank you for making it easy to do the hardest things I've ever done. All I have to do is remind myself that I wake up everyday and go to work for you and suddenly there are no more questions. I just know that I have to strive to be the person my daughter already sees me as.

Love love love,

Mama 

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Hey Baby Girl

Dear Ophelia, There's always so much to say about you that I find it hard to know where to start. You are TALKING TALKING TALKING! It's incredible. You repeat just about everything we say...even when I'd rather you not yell "CRAP!" at the top of your lungs. You're even trying out sentences and using our phrases by yourself. I tried making a list of all the words you know (as in, when I ask you what something is you correctly identify it or use it without me asking) but that soon became an exercise in futility because you learn at least 3 new words every day. I'm also kind of convinced that you can read. Yeah, I know. You're 18 months old but I swear to god you looked at the word frog (no pictures) and then said "frog". It's happened before too. But I digress into hallucinations.

You are fierce! Seriously, you are stubborn and sassy and funny as hell. You have these looks that clearly say "I mean business. Don't you know who I am?" But the best thing is that you can be giving me one of those looks and I'll give it right back to you and then we'll both burst into laughter. We're too alike. Oh and you are MOOOOOODY. I wonder who you got that from? ;)

Yes, you are smart as a whip and you've got a spine of steel but what I adore about you most is how tremendously kind you are. I've spent so much time with babies and toddlers that I feel like I have a good idea about the average 1.5 year old's capacity for compassion. You, my lovely, are exceptional. You hug random kids before they go down the slide at the park. If you see me get hurt or know that I am sad you run over to me to give me a hug and a kiss. When Daddy and I hug you insist that we pick you up for a family hug. You say hi to everyone and always have a smile, even for strangers. When I lie down with you to fall asleep, you give me a smooch on the cheek every couple of minutes. My heart just absolutely melts. Despite our challenges, I feel lucky everyday to be your mother.

Before I sign off, and get some much needed sleep, I want to thank you. Your mama has had a tough year, to say the least. But you are amazing. You wake up everyday with a smile on your face and pull me into real life. You remind me that the world keeps spinning despite my worries and stresses. So thank you, my girl. I will try to do the same for you.

Love, Mama

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Goodnight

How could I forget?
Young eyes
Excited opals
Dancing at me like tambourines
How could I forget your wild arms,
Winding up for flight?

4/29/13

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This is not a Mommy Blog and I am not a Mommy Blogger

Dear Ophelia,

Occasionally, very very occasionally, I entertain the idea of becoming a real blogger. You know, the kind that posts pictures of the amazing Halloween costumes they've sewn for their childrens, gluten-free pancake recipes and hosts product giveaways. Mommy Bloggers. I entertain this not because I think I would be any good at it but because I see the sponsored links on those blogs and I know that they are getting a tidy little check every month just for writing a blog they would probably keep up with anyway. That modest paycheck would be a very nice thing to have in addition to our 1.12123 income household (I made that number up if you can't tell). We want to do cool things like, I don't know, take trips, eat good food, send you to college. Any extra cash would be niiiiice. But then I come back down to Earth and I realize that there are a million and one reasons I should not and could not become a Mommy Blogger. Here they are in no particular order:

 

  1. I don't even know how to post a picture. Seriously. I once knew how to do it and then our internet got all slow and now it takes seven hours to upload a tiny picture. And even when I do wait it out the picture is always awkwardly sized in comparison to the text.
  2. I don't know ANYTHING about html codes or making a blog look pretty. I'm still not even sure I fully understand hashtags. People explain them to me and then I think "No, that can't be it. That's too stupid and unnecessary to be what they're for."
  3. While I am pretty damn crafty, I should never really be the person whose example one follows, say, in a tutorial. I'm the crafter that gets bored sewing something and breaks out the hot glue gun instead. Or I start something with high hopes of finishing it in time for a particular holiday and then totally punk out and find something else I'd rather be making.
  4. Despite the fact that I continue to read them, I kind of actually hate those blogs. I think they project a false idea of motherhood. Reading them you get this sense that having a kid consists of idyllic days of felt crafts, wholesome baking with toddlers and a house you aren't ashamed to post photos of online. I generally feel completely incompetent after reading a post or two then looking around at the avalanche of board books in my livingroom and the lack of dinner on the table. I don't feel the need to make other women feel that way just so I can have a little extra income every month.
  5. I am a writer. Since having you I have had to be hyper-vigilant about carving out time for myself just to write. I'll be damned if that precious time is going to be spent writing for the benefit of someone else. Unless that someone else happens to be you. Which brings me to the final reason why this will never be a a Mommy Blog:
  6. I'm writing this blog for you. Sometimes I am self-indulgent and I write about things that maybe you will never give a damn about. But I'm always writing for you. This is not to say that Mommy Bloggers are selfish for not writing for their kids but personally I need to stick to the reason I created this blog and that is to leave a record of my thoughts and your early childhood.

And that, dear daughter, is another self-indulgent rant. Thanks for listening.

 

Love,

Mama

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Too too long

Hi wonderful girl,

Your mama has been totally remiss in updating this blog. It seems like the months have had their way with me and now here you are, 13 months old and quickly becoming the most amazing person I know.

You took your first steps the other day. It was March 5th. We were in the library and you were playing with some blocks and some little cars that you could hook up into a chain and drive around. I don't know exactly what you were going for, a toy, a book, maybe me but you took 2 hesitant, teetering steps and then fell on your butt. I just looked at you in astonishment, wanting to yell out "She just walked!" but I was surrounded by strangers so I didn't. But it was amazing. You are amazing. You looked so cool and nonchalant about it all, like you could have done it at anytime but decided it had to wait until that day.

We had your birthday party last month at Granny Mimi and Grandpa Phil's house. We kept it small and pretty grownup. Your friend Gracie was the only other baby there. We ate manicotti, lasagna and homebrew made by your daddy and a delicious salad made by Auntie Mary. You opened a few presents and then we had your blessing ceremony where everyone said aloud a wish they thought of for you and lit a candle. It was very special and sincere and I cherished every second of it.

You have been giving hugs and kisses. Grandma Watts is particularly over the moon about this. I love it too. You've even started giving your teddy bear hugs too which is just too adorable for words. And you know how some people are really crappy at hugs? Like they just give you a little squeeze or a lame pat and then let go? Well you will never be one of those people. You have the sweetest, most perfect embrace.

You say "hi" all the time. It's particularly cute when a stranger says hi to you at the grocery store and you surprise them by saying hi back. Sometimes you and I will go back and forth exchanging "Hi"s for a few minutes. You're so proud of yourself. I'm pretty proud too :)

You say lots of other words too but not very consistently. You like saying "kitty", "dada", "Mama" and "thank you", which sounds like "taykoo".

Whenever music of any kind comes on you light up and start dancing (read: bouncing on your butt). I've even caught you dancing to Brahms. I think I would be remiss in my motherly duties if I didn't enroll you in a music class in the next few months.

You're still a nursing champ. I would even go as far as to say a fiend. You can't be anywhere near me without demanding that I immediately whip out my breast. This is of course annoying but I'm trying to be compassionate. Your teeth have been giving you a real hard time lately and you're reaching out for your favorite comfort. Dear girl, you certainly have taught me a lot about patience and stamina in the last year.

You've started using "no" a lot and your comedic timing with the word is always impeccable. You still shake your head emphatically while saying "nahnahnahnahnah"

Your hair is still blonde as can be and you're finally starting to get those sweet curlyques around your ears. You look like a perfect little Kewpie Doll. 

You love peekaboo or pretty much any game with daddy. He still gets the best smiles from you.

Your newest thing is spitting when you are displeased with something. At first it cracked me up. Now I just roll my eyes and pray that this is a phase you will outgrow. I call you my little stinker all the time and you just giggle and giggle.

I'm going to be better about writing to you more, my love. It's hard when there's so much to do and you need lots of attention and love and kisses. But I do think this blog is important, if only to serve as a reminder someday how in awe I have always been of you.

 

Love,

Mama

 

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You, right now

Right now. Your daddy calls you the girl with the golden hair. It's finally begun to curl right up around your ears. It sends pangs of loss right to my heart to see my baby turn into a child before my eyes.

Strangers always marvel at your eyes.

"Those eyes. Those EYES," an older Black lady said today as she passed you.

You love to wave at people and sometimes get so excited that both hands have to get in on the action.

Sometimes you open books and begin to speak gibberish like you're actually reading.

If I look away from you for even a second you look at me and cock your head in my direction as if to say, "Um hello, don't forget about me."

You squeal with delight at the kitties. You squeal in delight at a lot of things. Sometimes it quite resembles shrieking in terror. You're ambiguous like that.

The heart-shaped birthmark on your thigh is growing into something very unheart-like. I'm pretty sad to see it go.

You're pulling yourself up to standing and getting up on all fours but you remain disinterested in crawling. You continue to remind me that patience is a virtue...and so is having a baby that can't crawl before your house is babyproofed.

Your favorite toy is my wallet. You can get every single credit card, dollar bill and receipt out of it in seconds flat.

You are a ravenous eater, devouring everything from artichoke torta to shrimp and grits to plain yogurt. If I want to eat something in front of you I better well be prepared to share unless I want to witness a complete meltdown.

You nurse more or less constantly through the night. We need to fix this because my sleep deprivation is bordering on dangerous these days.

I have to keep careful track of what I give you to eat. You have been known to keep your fist clenched for hours around a tiny nugget of cheese without anyone (not even you) remembering it's there.

You love music, especially "Bom Bom" by Sam and the Womp. As soon as I put on the music video you start bumping up and down excitedly.

You give hugs and big open-mouth kisses but only to me and Daddy. We feel very special.

Right now,

You are perfect.

 

 

 

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The Greenest Grass

Dear Ophelia, It is nearly 10'oclock and you have been asleep for hours but tonight I can't stop thinking about you. I can't stop thinking about how quickly you've become my favorite person, how I can't look at pictures of you without grinning from ear to ear, how much you've brought your dad and me together and cemented us as a family. Sometimes I feel like these blog entries are getting redundant. I imagine you reading them one day and saying to me with a sigh, "Seriously, Mom? Couldn't you think of anything else to write other than how much you love me?" Maybe I write it over and over because at times it's a little difficult to process how deeply I love you. Maybe it's difficult to fathom that I am even capable of being so consumed by my love for another person. Or maybe, and I think this is the big one, it's that it is difficult to voice in any way just how much I have to lose. You represent not only the most precious thing in my life but the most precious thing in many people's lives. Certainly in your dad's, grandparents etc. And I am responsible for protecting you, loving you, teaching you, inspiring you and providing for you. Sometimes, just sometimes, it feels like a job that someone else would be better at.

Ophelia, you are amazing in so many ways. You are funny as hell, you are gregarious and charming, you are smart as a whip and you are deliriously beautiful. One thing you are not (at least at the time of this posting) is very physical. You turned 9 months old the other day and you are still not crawling. Truthfully, I'm not even sure you want to crawl. For the first six months of your life you would scream as if someone was sticking pins in you whenever we tried to give you some "tummy time". To this day it is still not your favorite thing. When I took you in for your regular check up a few weeks ago the doctor said that although you are still within the normal range for crawling time, you should be able to get from your tummy to sitting position by now which you cannot yet do. I walked out of there feeling guilty as hell and determined to give you your prescribed 30 minutes of tummy time every day whether you liked it or not. And for the most part, that's what we've been doing. And you've improved by leaps and bounds, scooting around the kitchen like a pro. My guilt, however, stubbornly remains. Not to mention the nagging urge to compare you to other children. And then of course I feel even more guilty for the comparison. And dear daughter, that comparison is a bitch. It is the thief of joy (to quote some wise person from Pinterest). I have decided for your sake and for mine, that I will not compare you to "the norm" any more. In the time that I've been dwelling on your less than stellar physical strength I have almost missed some of the precious and hilarious things you've been working on instead. The other day I noticed you opening up a book, staring at the pages and babbling a string of nonsense, as if you are actually reading. I've caught you doing this several times since. You're brilliant. End of story. Then tonight you amazed me by reaching for the book over and over each time I asked "Ophelia, where is your book?" So you see, my darling, your mother has the tendency to be blinded by comparison. But I'm working on it. And I will make a promise to you now that by the time you are reading this, it will shock you beyond belief that I ever worried you were less than average.

Thank you for keeping me in check, sweetheart.

Love,

Mama

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Home is where the bay is

Dear Ophelia, This morning we packed you into the Scion and headed down to the Wells Fargo in Chinatown for our meeting with a guy named Jimmy. Our mission: get you a house. We sat in his office for an hour and half,  answering one personal question after the next while several older Asian women walked by and made googly eyes with you through the picture window. A petite Chinese woman dressed in staggering heels kept running in and out of the office, asking Jimmy questions in Mandarin and answering his in English. Your constant chatter and movement was a welcome distraction from the seriousness of what was at hand. I was sure we wouldn't get approved for anything; your dad was more optimistic but certainly removed. But to both of our dismay, we walked out of there with a letter approving us for more money than either of us thought we would qualify for. And more than anything else, that letter feels like a promise from me to you to find us the best home possible.

Making this decision makes me consider your whole childhood, how the home we buy now will become the framework for all your memories from your early years. You will garden with mama in the backyard, make "real" mac n cheese with daddy in the kitchen, hang Christmas stockings on our fireplace. I am incredibly protective over these memories yet to come.  I see myself as the keeper of the purity of your childhood. And call me a snob, but I want that childhood to be in Oakland. Sure, your dad and I grew up in the suburbs and turned out alright. We're even kind of, sort of, in our love of NPR and Barack Obama and CSA boxes and craft beer, cosmopolitan (stop laughing). I want you to remember a bazillion trips to the zoo, to Fairyland, to MOCHA and Tilden Park. I don't want Telegraph Avenue to be something you discover with wide-eyed fascination as a teenager...I want you to be on a first name basis with those homeless dudes by Kindergarten! I want you to have friends of all colors, creeds and sexual orientations and to be aware that you are privileged and damned lucky to be in the socioeconomic position you are in. I know these things are all possible in the suburbs too but I'm holding on like mad to the idea that we will find a home in Oakland that is A) not in a shitty dangerous neighborhood B) we can afford and C) makes us feel like we're finally home. The market is crazy and there are multiple offers on most homes, but we're diving right in. Let me know in 20 years if we made the right decision.

Love,

Mama

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Motherhood...and the rest of the story

Dear Ophelia, Today is the first day of fall. Everything is still outside and it's a little chilly. I walked out our front door yesterday only to have to run back in to grab a sweater because suddenly it was cold. The seasons are changing- it's official.

School started a few weeks ago and I have been in the classroom, gaining my teaching experience, while you and your dad play every Tuesday. At first, I couldn't bear to leave you, even with your doting papa. While it seems like you love just about anyone that flashes a smile at you, I am clearly your preference and your separation anxiety only seems to be mounting. When I leave you at home every Tuesday morning I feel washed in guilt for a few minutes and then...relief? Yes, relief. I drive to work without a thought to the radio's volume, blazing over bumps in the road without having to worry about a tiny backseat passenger. At work I am focused on children, yes, but my mind is in the academic world again, mentally referencing coursework and pondering the effects of poverty on my students. I go to the bathroom when I want to, I linger over my packed lunch and I dream of having my own classroom someday. For a few hours, I am a working woman, an intellectual, someone's peer. And yet, I am always a mother. While these breaks from your constant needs are invigorating and necessary, I am always humbled by the thought that whatever else I may be, whatever roles I may adopt, for the rest of my life I will always be your mother. I can no longer compartmentalize my identities because those boundaries don't exist. While I refuse to begin calling myself "a mother who writes" instead of a writer, my writing will always be informed to some extent by my motherhood. As will my teaching. I can no longer look at a child and feel even a shred of apathy towards their complete well-being. I've always loved children but now it's different. Though I don't feel the maternal love for them that I feel for you, I recognize that (hopefully) there's a woman out there who does, whose baby I have been entrusted with.

I have been waiting my whole life to adopt the role of Mama. And now I have. I even sometimes (to my slight horror) refer to myself in the third person as Mama. And all cliches aside, it's one of the only things in my life that has lived up to the hype. You have brought me the kind of joy I'd always heard about but never knew personally. So yes, I will always delight in being your Mama. It will always be my most important role. But please don't forget, when you're sixteen and think I'm the lamest person in the world: I once danced on tabletops at a wedding I crashed in Venice, Italy, I was kicked out of a bar on my 21st birthday for mooning a group of fighting drunkards, I graduated from college Summa Cum Laude and I married the man of my dreams with you in my belly in front of all our family and friends. And then I gave birth to you at home, wiped your butt, nursed you and gave you a home. And I'd do it all over again. As well as being your mom, I'm a pretty interesting person...in case it wasn't obvious.

Love always,

You know who (Mama)

 

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Birth Story

Dear Ophelia,

It has taken me close to six months to complete your birth story. I won't lie and tell you it was for lack of time. Lord knows, I spend plenty of it sewing and browsing Pinterest. It's an emotional day to go back to and I could only manage to write little bits at a time.

Enjoy!

Love,

Mama

 

Ophelia’s Birth

Everyone said I would just know when it was real labor. And I believed them. After all, eight months earlier, I just knew that I was pregnant before ever taking a test. When that second line appeared it only confirmed what I knew in my bones; I was pregnant. But when labor does come just a few hours after my 40week appointment with the midwife, my intuition is not quite as keen. I spend a restless evening and then a sleepless night riding contractions that still seem not much stronger than the Braxton Hicks contractions I’ve been experiencing for weeks. At some point in the night things ramp up and I am jolted out of my shallow sleep with every contraction. Still I am skeptical. It is only when I barely make it into the bathroom and vomit into the sink, that I finally admit this is it. Our baby is coming!

Noah, the midwife, calls in the morning and tells us that we should have her come over as soon as managing the labor becomes a three-person job. In the hours Rob and I spend alone before the she comes I discover that nothing I had planned for sounds appealing. Forget the birth music I chose. I only want silence. With every contraction I tell Rob to put pressure on my lower back, but it only seems to dampen the pain. Finally Rob needs to fill the birth tub, a job that would have been infinitely easier hadwe been able to hook up a hose in the house. But instead Rob has to fill it with hot water by hand so we tell Noah to come over now and Mary, my best friend, to come over too.

I am lying on the couch when Noah arrives; staring outside at the brightest February morning I have ever seen. I always thought it would rain on the day my daughter was born. Once again, I surrender to the element of surprise.

When Mary finally gets there I am tucked away somewhere inside myself. In retrospect I realize this is the closest I ever got to that dreamy state known as “Laborland”. Mary’s loud and cheerful voice only pisses me off. Doesn’t she know that I just want quiet? But how could she? Only last night we ate dinner and laughed through my contractions. Only last week we rummaged through her CD collection for powerhouse birth music.

With Noah’s hands on the small of my back, primed for action, and Mary stroking my feet, I dive into a contraction. I learn to distract myself from the pain through Non-Focused Awareness. My mind skates from the sounds of construction outside to the brush of skin against skin to the blinding yellow of Mary’s daffodils.  But I only skim the surface of the sensations; each one is given its due, before I move fluidly to the next.

“As soon as you can, soften to the sensation. Soften your hands, your back, your belly,” Noah says. The pain drains from my body as the contraction ends. My cheeks are on fire and I can hardly catch my breath. I hear Rob filling the birth tub, pot by pot.

I turn to the midwife and tell her the story of my 11th Valentine’s Day. The bathtub in our home had been out of commission for months, leaving my mom and me dying for our regular, luxurious soaks. As a Valentine’s Day gift my dad boiled countless pots of water to fill a tub for each of us. I feel safe in that story and in the memory of a perfect expression of love. And every splash of water I hear now makes me feel safe too. The midwife smiles. She says my mom and I must be mermaid girls, the way we find such peace in the water. I think of the next mermaid girl to come, an Aquarius baby born in water. Rob fills the tub where she will soon swim up to meet us.

“Acts of love,” Noah says, motioning towards my husband. And even though I am so scared, even though the pain is so strange and unknown, I feel loved. I know I am loved.

The afternoon feels like it drags on without any sign of progress. I admit to Noah that I am scared of the pain becoming too much to bear.

“I know,” she says, stroking my hair. “And there are thousands of women around the world right now wondering if they are strong enough too.”

The pain begins piling up on itself, leaving me breathless after every contraction. I wonder how this can possibly be called active labor when I feel so completely passive, as if labor is happening to me. Even the slightest movement sets off another contraction. I feel like I’m lying in a field of landmines. All I can do is lie still and get out of my body's way.

Lying there, I become obsessed with “transition”. What does it feel like? Is it any better than active labor? Worse than pushing? How can this possibly get any worse? Noah answers each question with the utmost patience and admits that some questions she doesn’t have answers for. Only in retrospect do I learn that while my mind was preoccupied with transition, my body was actually enduring it.

The contractions pull apart and I am miraculously able to fall asleep between them; something I haven’t been able to do for an entire day and night. Rob lies behind me, hands ready to press down on my back at my signal. I am later told that I slept so deeply I started snoring. But before long the contractions ramp up again and I can no longer sleep. At this point Noah has not checked my dilation once but something keeps telling me that now I really do want to know how far I have to go.

“I don’t want you to be disappointed if you’re only 3 or 4 centimeters,” she warns, but I tell her to go ahead anyway. She moves quickly because there is virtually no relief between contractions. Every time I feel one rip through my belly I writhe and jerk around in pain, making it impossible to check. After checking Noah is silent and lets another contraction come and go before telling me what she feels. I think we are both a little shocked when she announces “You’re almost completely dilated.”

Rob and I move into the tub, triggering a handful of back-to-back contractions. I slump into the water and wrap my arms around the edge of the tub, letting my hips float to the surface. But now when a contraction comes I feel the urge to push and as I push with the contraction the pain is pushed away. I feel empowered by this sudden feeling of control. I am no longer mentally checking out so my body can do its thing, now I have work to do! Noah, the assistant Jamie, Mary and Rob cheer me on from around the tub. The pushing part is almost easy, I think to myself. It’s the pain of my hips spreading apart that drives me to push harder and longer, knowing the end is in sight. My water breaks as I push and everyone else can see her hair. When I demand to know the color, they say it is dark, as I imagined. I look at the clock in the kitchen. 6:30. This baby better be born by 7, is all I can think.

6:36pm. Everyone is cheering me on through a contraction, but when I get to the end of it I just keep pushing and out she comes! Surprised, Rob catches her in the water and he struggles to get  hold of her slippery body before Noah grabs her, unwinds the cord from around her neck (it's so long!) and hands her to me as I turn around. But the baby in my arms isn’t dark-haired as promised. I barely recognize this hair-skinned, red-headed girl, though she is my spitting image. For nine months I had imagined a baby that looked just like her Italian papa. But she is perfect.  And as the three of us lie on the bed in exhaustion and wonder, placenta coming out, Pitocin going in (to staunch the bleeding) we announce her name to the midwives with pride: Ophelia Catherine. Thank goodness you’re here.

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The Growing Girl!

Dear Ophelia, It has been quite a while since I’ve written a blog for you. I wish I had some good excuse but I don’t. However, my explanation is this: I’ve been waiting to write another entry until your birth story was done. Well, it still isn’t. So of course I’ve been putting off writing to you which is totally unfair to you seeing as there is so much going on in your life that needs to be documented.

Today you are 5.5 months and tall as the day is long! Every time I look at you while you’re sleeping I can’t believe how much you look like a toddler already. It’s a bittersweet feeling. You can sit up by yourself for a few minutes until you start squawking to be moved. Tummy time is still the bane of your existence but I still insist on it 4 or 5 times a day. But really you just hate to be put down in general. At 5 months your stranger anxiety came on with full force. With few exceptions, you hate when I hand you over to someone else and equally hate when I walk out of the room. You can be happy chomping on a toy by yourself but as soon as I disappear from sight you burst into hysterics. This pretty much means I can’t get anything done all day (except if I put you in the Ergo, which we both LOVE) so I’ve learned to live with a trashed house I have managed to make some toys for you though. I always have these high hopes that the things I make will encourage your curiosity and stimulate your brain…then the thing goes directly in your mouth. Sigh. If you’re happy, I’m happy. Daddy gets the best smiles and giggles by far. The other night we were winding down before bedtime in our room when your dad came home from work. All he did was walk in the room and you started busting up laughing. Also, you’ve started this HYSTERICAL growling that I’ve managed to catch on video a few times. First you get a very serious look on your face then your jaw drops and out comes a very satanic deep, menacing growl.

We’ve been spending lots of time up at Pine Mountain Lake with Grandma and Grandpa Watts lately. You’ve gone on hikes with us to Carlon Falls, spent the day in Columbia State Historic Park checking out Gold Rush history and spent countless hours splashing around in the lake. You sit in this sweet inflatable froggy and kick all around and squeal up a storm (I’ve started calling you O-squeal-ia lately).

I mean it when I say that my life is so much happier with you in it. I can hardly fit in all the fun things I want to do with you but damn, do I try. I don’t think parenthood makes everyone a better person (lord knows there are some awful parents out there) but having you has certainly made me better. I am more compassionate, more giving, more appreciative and less petty. Being your mother has forced me to do what I’ve always sucked at; live in the moment. You are not the same baby you were yesterday and I know tomorrow you will have changed even more. There’s no time to waste, no reason to look back or wait for what’s next. Some of my happiest moments are lying on the floor with you, kissing your pudgy cheeks or tossing you up over my head and listening to your sweet belly laughs. I’ve never felt that kind of joy before, the kind that isn’t dependent on things falling into place perfectly. It’s pure and simple. I’m happy because you exist.

Love,

Mama

 

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Reflections on a Year

Dear Ophelia,

Yesterday you turned four months old. It is amazing to me how fast it all goes by. I know everyone says that but it happens to be true. You are such a little person now. You laugh all the time. Sometimes you will give me the silliest giggles and sometimes you give a huge open-mouth laugh. It cracks me up because you look like you're trying to catch flies. The other day your dad saw you roll over while I was sleeping in the other room. I'm a little bummed that I missed that milestone but since your dad gets to see very few of your "firsts" I was happy for him. You've just figured out that you can get away with playing while you eat. When you're nursing you will stop, look up at me until you get a smile, smile yourself then voraciously resume eating. Repeat. Again and again and again. You think you are the funniest baby ever and I happen to agree. Also, while you're nursing you sometimes start smacking my breast as if to say, "Come on boobie, give me all you got!" Yes, I frequently make up your inner monologues.

Yesterday also marked another important day. Yesterday was the one year anniversary of the day I found out I was pregnant with you. This story is another one of those that I am wonder whether or not I should share with you. On the one hand, it is part of your story, not only mine. Why should I hide the truth from you? On the other hand, this particular story might upset you. Maybe not. I don't know. I've known since I was a young child that my parents didn't plan on having children so my mother's pregnancy came as quite the shock. But they also told me that I was never unwanted and I never felt as if I was. My hope is that you will feel the same.

June 8, 2011 was a Wednesday. I was working as a Substitute Teacher and your dad was the Assistant Manager for the Discovery Bay Safeway but we both happened to have that day off. I woke up that morning with untamable nerves. My period was days late and while that hadn't been too worrisome the night before for some reason it lit a fire under me that morning. I dressed, left your dad asleep in bed, and walked the five blocks from our Lake Merritt apartment to the drugstore on Broadway. I remember that walk so well. I remember thinking to myself that either I would forget that walk within a few days or I would remember that walk for the rest of my life. As you now know, the latter won out. I bought the pregnancy test and headed back home. The instructions tell you that after you pee on the stick you should put it on a flat surface and wait five minutes for the full results. But that was completely unnecessary. As soon turned to put the stick on the edge of the sink I saw that very obvious + sign. I didn't know this at the time but your dad was awake in the other room, listening intently (or so he tells me). He claims that technically we found out I was pregnant at exactly the same time because as I read the test I let out an audible gasp before yelling "ROOOOOOOOOOOOOOB! WAKE UUUUUUUUUUUUUUP!" He ran in, read the test and immediately started trying to prevent my hyperventilation. How was I going to have a baby in a one-bedroom apartment? I had finally gotten an internship with a publishing house. Had I just demolished all my career options?

It took me a long time to calm down and as you can probably guess it pissed me off how calm your dad was about the whole thing. We (obviously) decided to have you and started planning how we were going to move up the wedding we had planned to have the following year, two months after you were expected to arrive. I'm not going to lie to you, Ophelia. Last summer was sad. Or maybe I was just sad. I was sick and exhausted most of the time. Sometimes I feel like I slept through my whole first trimester (I find this ironic considering this summer I don't plan on sleeping a wink). Your dad and I were distant. I knew that he wanted better for you than for him to be working a job completely unsympathetic to people with families, living in an apartment that could barely house the two of us. It wasn't until after our wedding in late September that things really started looking up. On our honeymoon your dad got a call about his online resume. A small family-owned grocery store in San Francisco was looking for two managers for their small chain. That next month your dad went through their lengthy interview process and landed the job. We were both so damn happy. It meant everything that he would be working much closer to home, off on all major holidays and was finally employed by a family-friendly store. Dad started his new job at Rincon Market just a week before we moved into our two-bedroom apartment, the very apartment in which you would enter the world 3 months later.

We finally felt like we had our ducks in a row by the time you got here. And what about now? Well, I won't say it's easy but life is good. It wound up being a blessing having you before my career could take off. Now I have plenty of time to spend with you without worrying about returning to a job that I left. I start a credential program in the fall and I'm writing more now (and getting published a little too) than I was before you were born. Your dad is happy working in the city and his commute takes all of 20 minutes! We spend our days off together taking day trips to regional parks, going for short hikes and cooking knockout meals with Aunt Mary. You've made our lives so rich just by being born. You made us a family and taught me to slow down and savor every precious minute. Thank you, my serendipitous baby, for being the missing piece.

Love,

Mama

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This Day and Age

Dear Ophelia, Every once in a while when talking with your dad I will start a sentence with "If I die soon, you have to remember to..." This usually illicits an eyeroll or two from your dad who doesn't have the same morbid hangups as I do but who also isn't as much of a planner as I am. True, there's not much potential for my early demise; I'm young, I eat well, exercise, look both ways when crossing the street and floss between my teeth (sometimes). But now that you are here what I leave behind feels that much more important so if in fact some unforeseen tragedy does happen to me I want a contingency plan in place. That's why lately I've been thinking more critically about what is most pertinent that I write to you in this blog. What if this blog was all you had left of me to refer to as you grow up? What would I want you to know about the world around you, about the ideals I sought to instill in you and the person I hoped you would become.

I think it goes without saying that I have high hopes for you, dear daughter. Your name, Ophelia, means "helper" and from the time we chose it for you I knew you would be a true humanitarian, the kind of person that truly gives a damn about others. Don't worry, I don't expect you to join the Peace Corps or anything (although I'd be even prouder of you if you did) but I know that you will take very seriously the upholding of human dignity. That being said, I feel that I have some sad truths to tell you. As of today, our country is at a standstill because many people want to deny what has become a basic human right to millions of Americans. Right now, same-sex couples in most states cannot be legally married or enjoy any of the benefits that are given to married couples.

Ophelia, I still have not decided when I will let you read this blog but I truly hope that whenever you do read it for the first time, those last two sentences will no longer be true. It is sad to think that you were born at a time when so much ignorance and hate still abounded in a country which claims to be a land of freedom. But I do have faith that things will change and that you will grow up to see those changes take place around you. I hope that this also means you will be part of a generation that wholeheartedly embraces gay marriage and homophobia will quickly become a thing of the past.

One of the interesting things about writing this blog is that in many ways I don't know the person to whom I'm writing it. True, I know you. I know your spirit. I know that you have parts of me and parts of your father. But what else? Who else will you be? What will be the details that make you a whole human being? I love that I am getting to find all of that out in small doses every single day. In general, I make very few promises because I'm only human and I'd hate to have to go back on my word. That and promises are special and should be used sparingly. But now I would like to make you the promise that I will never presume to know things about you which you have not told me or are not expressly obvious. Even that last bit I'm a little iffy about. What I mean to say is I will make it my job to get to know who you really are and I will do my damnedest not to assume that you are anything simply because I am that thing. I will not assume that you are straight or do obnoxious shit like ask if your little friend Billy on the playground is your boyfriend. I will not assume that you identify as a girl even though your anatomy says you are one. I will not push dolls/makeup/pink crap on you nor will I deny you the opportunity to play with "boy toys." I will make it my duty to establish a relationship with you in which you feel comfortable and safe telling me intimate things about yourself but I will never demand that you divulge any information which you don't want to tell me. I will respect your right to privacy but make it clear that whoever you are is not only okay with me, but thrills me.

If all goes well this will sound very familiar. Maybe you will tire of hearing it, but if it has been said so many times maybe you will be incapable of not believing it. Whatever you are, whoever you are, that's the you I want to know.

Love,

Mama

 

 

 

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