September 2010


Gee, there’s an awful lot of things I hope I never have to do, a lot of things I hope God never asks me to do (or live through). Since I obviously cannot list here all the things that it would be horrible to experience, I will share my top two. One is, I hope I never have to bury my husband. At least, I hope that if I do have to go to Jake’s funeral, I am an old woman with a rich life together to remember. And I hope that I never, never have to bury a child. People like to wax philosophical about death, saying it’s just a part of life, but that is a lie. Humans weren’t created to die, we were created to live. Death is a nightmarish consequence of sin, a perversion of life, and a child dying before a parent is a perversion of a perversion. Putting my baby (or one of my babies) in the ground would shatter me irrevocably.

Anyone else – something you hope to never ever do?

I have always wanted to acquire a good set of laugh lines by the time I am 30. I selected a marriage partner with this goal in mind so I should be well on my way. However, I have the misfortune* of having oily skin, which does not wrinkle well so I am just going to have to work with what I have. I think I have a decent start on the laugh lines. They probably won’t be as noticeable as I want by 30 but these things take quite a bit of time, apparently.

*Normally this is not considered a misfortune. I do not, in fact, consider it a misfortune; just something working against me in this particular instance.

I never understood why women would gripe about making a bottle (of expressed breastmilk, not formula). After pumping…this suddenly makes a lot of sense. Pumping is a lot of work, and not particularly enjoyable. It is really nice to be able to pump for the occasional outing, but not something I would want to do all the time. I have a friend who is exclusively pumping right now, and I am in complete awe. You have to be determined to keep that up.

I never understood how exhausting nursing could be. I mean, I empirically knew that it requires more calories than pregnancy…but it never occurred to me that this was because it is work. I guess I just thought the extra calories went straight to the baby or something. 3 months in we are at a good place, and I love the closeness that it fosters, but there were some moments in the nursing-all-the-time-plus-sleep-deprivation stage (not to mention cluster feeding) that I was just overwhelmed at how draining it can be. No pun intended.

I never understood why some women don’t enjoy the newborn stage. Sure, you don’t get much sleep…but babies are just soooo cute, and you get to cuddle them all day long, what’s not to like? Now let me be clear – I LOVED the newborn stage. But I didn’t love it as much as I expected. It can feel like you are just sitting around in blood and milk and spitup and pee and poop all day long, and you can’t get up to tend to yourself because he needs to eat again; your baby doesn’t know what he/she needs, and you sure don’t either, so until some of those things get smoothed out it can take some concentrated effort to enjoy yourself and your baby. I loved it, mostly, but I can now see why some people don’t.

I never understood why women wore maternity jeans for months and months after their baby was born. Surely if you don’t put on too much weight, the passage of 4 or 5 months is plenty of time to fit back into “normal” jeans?! Now that I know how comfortable they are, I may just wear maternity jeans for the rest of my life. Also, my regular jeans just don’t fit. They may, in another month or two…but I’m not in a hurry. Like I said, maternity jeans are comfortable.

I never understood why moms would get all bent out of shape over their kids being sick. I mean, if it’s not life-threatening you do what you can for them and ride it out, right? Uh…well, that’s kinda right – in the sense that there’s not much else you can do. Having now survived my baby’s first illness – a mere cold – I can say that the sad, listless expression on his little face was just heartbreaking. He was never in any real danger, health-wise, but I hated hearing his snuffly breathing and knowing he was having a rough time.

Those are some things I’ve learned so far…I’m sure just the first of many.

As a “naturally” bitter sort of person (not that bitterness is natural, just something I tend towards), this one is surprisingly hard. My first instinct was an incident that, after looking over subsequent 30 days topics, I will be using on a different day. And then, while there are plenty of things I need to get over, it is hard for me to think of them on the spot.

So, this is going to sound stupid, but my mom gave my favorite stuffed animal from childhood to Goodwill a few months ago. I would say I’ve forgiven her for it, in that I am no longer losing sleep from being angry about it, but I can’t say I’m over it. She said she didn’t know how important Sandy was to me, which I don’t understand because my dad, my sister, my brother, and even my cousin all knew that he was a keeper. Plus, anything someone has kept for a quarter of a century is probably important to them. Oh, and to make it even more confusing, my grandma got rid of some of my mom’s possessions while she (my mom) was overseas too so you’d think she would have been more sensitive. I guess you could say that I’ve forgiven her but am still hurt by her actions.

Over the past year/year-and-a-half I have had a lot of guilt over being here. Thanks to this job, I have missed my sister’s graduations from college and grad school, a good friend’s wedding, a cousin’s wedding, and 2 good friends’ babies being born. Plus my dad has been ill the whole time. If I think about these things for even a little while I am just eaten up with guilt over not being there. I know that mere presence doesn’t change the outcome of situations but if I’d had the money I would have been flying back and forth all the time. I don’t regret coming to France but I do need to forgive myself for it, because I think we did what we were supposed to at the time. I just feel horrible for not being there, you know?

A long time ago (10 years, to be exact), in a galaxy far, far away, my now-husband asked me to go out with him. I declined. He asked me out again, exactly one year later, to keep the “tradition.” To keep the “tradition,” I declined. But yet another year later, my resolve had been worn down and we went on our first date.

The intervening years were all celebrated with special dates (by which I mean, “going out,” not the “specific days” sort) until our engagement in September 2005. And every year since, we have continued to mark September 14 as an important day in our relationship. This year a night out would also require a babysitter, and as there were no babysitters to be had we celebrated at home. Jake made homemade refried beans with some pintos brought to us and the stock of bacon grease we have been saving, and they were PHENOMENAL. Soooo delicious. He is on his way to rivaling Ms. Mary’s beans. We made nachos with the refried beans and real cheddar, which is practically a delicacy ’round here these days, and I took him up on his offer to watch Pride & Prejudice – the long one. Of course we didn’t make it very far into the movie because I was exhausted (hmm, wonder why?) but that wasn’t the point.

The point is, our life looks wildly different now that I ever imagined it would – 10 or 8 or 5 years ago. And it is still our life, and we still enjoy each other’s company (though admittedly that has taken work), and while it might have been nice to visit my favorite restaurant in the whole wide world, it was perfectly delightful to eat nachos on the couch with my pal in honor of our years together.

Like most parents, Jake & I spent a lot of time discussing potential names for our baby while I was pregnant. This time was doubled for us since we didn’t know if the baby was a boy or girl, so we had to have a game plan for each gender. We ended up deciding on a few candidates for each and waited until the baby was born to select a name that seemed to fit.

And we picked Asher. We like this name because it means “happy” or “blessed,” and that is how we feel about being his parents. Also those are qualities that we hope for his life, that he will have a cheerful disposition and that he will be richly blessed in all the things that matter. (I have to admit though, we also just really liked the way it sounds and I was immensely pleased to receive quite a few compliments on our selection.)

So far? This is the happiest baby I have met. Seriously. He cries if he is REALLY hungry or tired and fighting sleep and that is it. Oh wait, he also cries when we wash his hair. But that’s it. He wakes up laughing and is full of smiles. He is friendly and curious and we are so blessed (and relieved) to have such an easy baby. Even in the summer, when my hot-natured little boy was sweating day and night, he didn’t fuss about it.

As for blessed…well, I am fairly certain my good fortune this past year was really him. My grandpa won a Cracker Barrel gift certificate on Father’s Day for having the most recently born great-grandchild, which made me consider that the giveaways I won were things for Asher. (I keep trying to win an ERGObaby Performance Carrier for him but so far no dice.) (Also I know I said I want him to be blessed in things that matter, and these are all material things which is not what I meant, but I think this is evidence that he’s on the right track in the “blessed” department.)

So three months later, I am very happy with his name and really believe we picked just the right one for him – his name.

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