because I want to remember

Things I forget

There are things I forget in between and around the entrance of babies.

I forget that the lack of sleep causes me to forget words often and not remember the punch lines to jokes.  This morning I struggled with the difference between sale and sell and yesterday I wrote “he was a welcome sign” rather than sight.

I forget about the feeling of waking up to feed her, only to fall back asleep before I do and in the midst, dreaming that I already have.

I forget that I am very plugged in to social media right now, as I spend a lot of time sitting in a rocker, nursing.  As the evening progresses, however, I try to stock pile Instagram and blog checks for the 3am feeding.

I forget that I have a lot of time to read right now(in about 7 minute increments), also rocking in this chair.  Some of the best books I’ve ever read have been a companion to nursing one of my babies.

I forget that I feel burdened by constantly putting her needs above everything else but if I’m away from her for too long, my arms begin to ache for her.

And I forget that if she’s’ not in them, I walk around, with a constant nagging suspicion that i’m forgetting something.

-smk

A Revist and a Wait

Yesterday I visited my OB, fulfilling my health protocol of one visit per year.

Seeing as it had been a lengthy sabbatical,  the last time I saw her was at my 5-week check up following Bea’s birth.  And still a year later, that office and it’s bridge-way connection to the hospital where Bea was born is a magnet of memories.

Co-mingling are the strange feelings that overcome me when I revisit our old hometown.  The route is completely routine and strangely more familiar than my current treads.  It is a mixture of sadness, relief, joy and apprehension.  I wonder if these will eventually fade and at times I am hopeful they don’t.  It is nice, I reason, to pilgrimage when the desire strikes.

The hospital parking garage is an old, familiar friend.  I wind upwards, wondering if a lucky parking spot is awaiting me at the top.  Curiously, no matter how high you climb, the deluge of parked cars never seems to thin.  So I begin stalking the 3rd floor exit, waiting for someone to vacate.

My time spent in this wait most definitely reminds me of MG.  She faithfully accompanied me to all of my appointments, even the ones that seemed to pile on top of each other at the end of the pregnancy.  We would count the floors as we climbed the garage tower.  1….2….3…I prayed for a parking spot near the door, one that wouldn’t require me to lug my expectant belly and toddler companion through a long trek of stairs and distance.

Just like in those desperate times, an open spot suddenly appeared a very short distance from the entrance to the skyway.  Bless.

As we would walk hand-in-hand, MG would recite our routine: “first I’ll play with the baby {they have a children’s area with toys and two very ugly, but sanity-saving baby dolls}, then we will listen to the heartbeat {Bea’s}, then I’ll eat a sucker {while we wait for the doctor to finish the exam}, then I will pick out a sticker, then we will go home.”

Walking over the bridge by myself, I suddenly missed her attentive commentary.

I passed through the elevator and into the office.  Nothing has changed in my absence, at least not in the physical sense.  I wondered if MG would still think the lines on the wall looked like snakes and the window sills like benches.

I couldn’t help but notice there was another little girl in the play area with the dolls.  She had them by their plush toes and was banging their bobbly heads together.  Probably for the best MG wasn’t there.

I filled out some forms as if I were a new patient (it had been a year, afterall); carefully marking in the dates and details of my pregnancies, smiling with pride as I filled in the girls’ hefty birth weights.

Not too long after, the nurse called me back.  It had been an entire year since I had seen her but in those last days she had become a friend by sheer proximity.  I wondered if she felt towards me the gravity of emotion that I felt towards her.

The doctor came in and routinely rubbed her hands with the waterless soap hanging from a container on the wall.  The smell of it is a memory napalm to me.  I am instantly transported back to room 305, leaning over a plastic bassinet, my hospital-issued gown tented over me as it is today, my deflated belly leaning with me, just a few beats behind.

I absently press my stomach as she shakes my hand.  It is still a mystery to me that something with bones and muscle and flesh can be stretched so far and then knit itself back together.  I am proud of its accomplishments over the past four years, pushing itself to its absolute limit two separate times and then coming back down according to my pleas.  There is no little one fluttering around in there today.  It is at rest for now.

The exam is quick and she asks me about my future pregnancy plans.  It tumbles out easily.  After what we have been through together I feel I can be completely candid with her.

For the first time in five years I am not pregnant, nor do I have a baby nourishing off of me, nor do I desperately desire either of those things.  And I am pretty happy to be in that place for a while.  She gives me a knowing smile.  She has a 3 year old and a toddler of her own.  I tell people it’s because I have my hands full, as she expects, and that is part of it.  But another large part of it, that I am afraid to speak aloud, is that I am not in a hurry to usher in the end of possibly the dearest and most lucid time in my life I have ever experienced.  As long as I keep that door closed, I can relish that my days of cradling a baby are possibly not over, be that truth or not.

I leave, but somewhat reluctantly.  My heart physically hurts when I think about the last time I was here.  My happy, little toddler who had me by the hand and heart, My expectant belly full of promise fulfilled.  It was such a fleeting time in my life and surely one of the sweetest.

I don’t know when or even IF I will be back.  At some point I will most likely have to move my OB visits to my hometown.  I can’t tell if this will be a relief because I will be able to close this childbirth chapter and force my emotions to move along, or if it will come with much dread and heel-dragging, reluctant to say a final goodbye to a place rampant with memory.

My heart is a tangle of emotions.  It feels as if the good as well as the bad have encircled themselves upon it in a hard knot.  I don’t even know where to begin in order to sort them out.  For now, I think I will wait until next July, when my next appointment is due.  I am sure by then I will have a bit of clarity; when the nearness of Bea’s birth is not such a raw spot in my heart and the newness of my current home is not so strange.  Yes, I think I will give myself until then to sort it all out.

-smk

Because I want to remember…

…these are fleeting.

This morning

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you were up too early.  Though, I didn’t much mind.  I knew it wouldn’t take much more than a content belly to send you back to sleep.  Plus, this is the only time that you and I have together….Away from the demands of a sister, an unkempt house, a buzzing phone.  Just us.

I watched you curl your fingers into the back of your head and scratch your hair….a new habit that has formed of late.  It reminds me that we have the same hair and that I always scratch that spot on my head too…where the hair is unusually wavy and a bit coarse.  I smile because I like finding things that tie us together.

I lift you up and bury my nose into your cheek.  It is the softest and most delicious thing in the whole world.  For a brief moment, our cheeks are pressed together.  Yours, cool and tender.  Mine, warm and aged.

Your hair brushes my chin and I inhale you.  That heavenly perfume of a freshly shampooed baby, mixed with a little yogurt and the flowery scent of Bea.  That is entirely you.

This is what the early morning is like, just the two of us, together.

 

 

First Day

Even though I knew this day was coming (since I willingly imposed it upon myself last spring), it hasn’t been any easier to face.

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Today is the first day of “school” for MG for the rest of her life.  Okay technically it’s only pre-school (or is it Mother’s Day Out?) and technically it’s only one day a week.  But still.  It feels monumental.

We’ve been prepping her for this big change for quite some time.  In fact, the main reason I want her to go is so she can become more independent & comfortable in group settings.  Developing a relationship with authority (other than ourselves) and with other children.  The main focus of the year for her little ten person class is playing with each other.  Brilliant.

But I will miss her.  Much.  My biggest fear is that I will look back on this year with regrets.  That I will regret the one morning a week that I willingly gave her up.  That I will wish this time back.  But then I look at little Bea and remember that she needs me too.  Being the good baby that she is and the second one at that, she rarely sees me other than to eat and cuddle these days.  We need a quiet morning with baby activities to enjoy together.  Especially now that she is getting on 4 months and about to start scooting (eep!).

It will be good, right?  For all of us, right?

Because it is the FIRST day and I am a huge, huge sucker for tradition  I couldn’t let today slip by unnoticed.   I carefully handcrafted her lunch, complete with a message on a napkin…of the artistic variety…because cats are her love language…

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At breakfast, I prayed a special blessing over her and for a great school year.  I held out her two little pro-biotic vitamins (because we narrowly escaped the Norovirus last year and I am quite certain it is knocking at our door this year) and let her choose which one she wanted.  The cat won again.

We drove to school and we practiced saying her teacher’s name and what to do if she needed to potty and how to handle a little boy that bothers her (you should hear her say “stop” in her “mean” voice).  Then she randomly brought up the time she had to get her “picture taken by the blue man”

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(i.e. her follow up x-ray for her broken collarbone).  Perhaps this was her way of emoting her fear–by bringing up another time she was afraid.

Once at school, she proudly placed her backpack and lunch in her designated cubby.

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I kissed her goodbye at the door and told her I was so proud of her.

 

I watched her through the picture windows to see how she would respond.

 

My little lone soldier went immediately to the slide (didn’t she learn anything from the blue man incident :)?)

And then she spotted IT

 

And I knew she would be okay.

Later, the preschool director sent me this:

 

All is well for my little student 🙂

And of course I couldn’t let this day get away without a video tribute. So here you go:

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/73867871%5D

MG first day of school from Kate Miley on Vimeo.

 

Remember When

note:  I’ve found my writing style to be a bit different lately.  possibly due to this current phase of life I’m in:  my head is foggy, my heart is mushy, and my hands are full. thanks for bearing with me as I find my new voice 🙂

Dear N,

Remember when we went to see Catfish in theaters, on a school night, at 11pm?  When we only had exactly two loads of laundry each week?  When we changed our sheets only once a week?

 

Remember when every night was date night?  When the determining factor in picking a restaurant was the menu and not how close it was or how high-chair friendly it is?

Remember when our cars were spotless?  When we could haul stuff around in the backseats because there weren’t 2 car seats and an explosion of toys?  When we didn’t look in the rearview mirror to see a little green frog-shaped potty?

Remember when we took a hip-hop dance class just for the fun of it (what were we thinking?)  And that time we slept in the guest bedroom for 6 weeks  just because we could?  When we used to sleep in and make biscuits and gravy on the weekend with those little fancy plates?

 

Remember when we used to turn the heat off at night to save a few pennies?  When we didn’t have to hide in the pantry to eat something sweet after dinner?  When we used to have “reading parties” at the supper table because we both enjoyed the silence? 

Remember when we used to just pick up and take off for the weekend (why didn’t we do that more??)?  When we picked up our phones, made a phone call, talked as long as we wanted, and then mindlessly put them down?  Remember when we thought our little ball of grey fluff was the cutest thing ever and that we’d never be able to give anything as much love as we gave to him?

I don’t much either.

Those were the old days, but they weren’t the good ones.  No, I’m quite certain that is what we have now,

 

Because I want to remember

It occurred to me as the days and nights are slipping away there a few memories I have tucked away in my heart that I wanted to record.  Right now these memories are a constant and very habitual but very soon they will  be just a distant feeling attached to this very condensed but extraordinary time in my life. How quickly one forgets….

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I forgot what night was like with a baby. 

Not so much the up-all-hours part (we’re past that, knock on wood).

But the staying up till 11 to feed her one last time and then rocking quietly in the dark until her tiny fingers unlock their grasp on my hair and her arms fall heavy to her sides.

Kissing her one last time and placing her ever so gently in her bed…praying that the startling coolness of the sheet doesn’t wake her.

Silently entering big sis’s room, sure to cover her up under the blankets she’s inevitably kicked  off. A kiss on the cheek and a whispered promise to be a better mommy tomorrow.

Breathing finally into a quiet house, lights are methodically extinguished, prayers are said, and at last my head falls heavy on the pillow too. 

The last one to bed and never the first one up.

Despite my exhaustion, sleep does not easily find me.  I lay, listening for those bitty cries that only a mommy can hear that signal she is needed.  My sleep is light wondering when they will come.

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These are things I want to remember about my life right now.