We stopped to sit and watch the ocean while Emilio slept. On our way to an afternoon celebration of 2012 which fittingly falls this year in January 1st, it was a happy detour. Take in the New Year watching waves. I got out to walk Khadijah, the unseasonably warm air greeted me, the sun bright and welcoming. A gust of strong wind pressed into us as we circled the lot. I looked in to it. There was blue sky, wisps of clouds and the sun. The new year, blowing against me, bearing in to me.
I thought about 2011, my resolutions then and now. I thought about where I am heading in to this year, I thought about Dad and realizing tomorrow would be his 60th birthday.
Khadijah pushed in to the wind, her ears perking at the world working around us, her fur blowing back from her face.
She stopped, unmoving, listening, as we turned a corner. I stopped too, taking in the moment. I resolved in 2011 to be a good mother, to balance it all. I did it.
My husband and son were holding hands, both with their eyes closed, when I got back to the car.
Happy New Year.
The thing about spending an extended period of time with my favorite people is that time slows down and speeds up at the same time.
In the moments, it all feels normal and natural and not too fast. Each day you think, “Oh, I still have tomorrow, and the next day, there’s still more time to soak this up.” But then, when you get home late on a Saturday night after sitting in more traffic than you would have predicted which is the worst kind of traffic, you think, “Where did it all go? How long until I can see those people all together again?” Too long is usually the answer.
Thanksgiving morning I was busy cooking and prepping and Emilio was in another room spending quality time with his Auntie to be who is really already his aunt in all the right ways. She later beamed when talking about how he’d cling to her, like he’d cling to me, Matt or a Grandparent, when strangers came in the room. And given it was a holiday and he didn’t remember meeting all the family when he was 3ish months old, they were all strangers. At the end of our time together, he was reaching happily for her and his Tia and his Mimi. They were in the inner Emilio circle, which is the best place to be. Photo Evidence Here.
On Sunday, when a new woman came to the house, without even a prompt, he reached for her to be passed over. He’s a quick study, our Emilio. Besides High-Five, How Big Are You and Yay (clap hands), he knows that a woman near him wants to hold him. Duh. I think it has some deeper meaning too. He already gets how important women will be in his life, and that likely, the majority of the women he comes in contact with are going to want some Milio Man time. Smart dude.
Last year, at this time I was pregnant. My mind was full of many things, and for the first time I wasn’t with my Mom for Thanksgiving. It was an interesting holiday. If I’m honest, it wasn’t my best Thanksgiving. So this year didn’t have too much to live up to, and it happily exceeded expectations.
I’ve been with various family since Tuesday evening, Emilio got two thanksgiving meals with us and his first taste of pie, My brother and his wife to be are here, we’ve got lots of days of family time ahead of us and it feels good.
As I sit here with Emilio drifting off to sleep, I’m thinking about being thankful and lists.
I’m realizing that displaying your lists is a little self indulgent and a lot of the “same old same old” with some hidden agenda and a little your not telling the whole story. Am I right?
Obviously I’m most thankful for the amazing joyous gift of my son. Not everyone can get pregnant easily or at all, not everyone had easy full term pregnancies and certainly not everyone gets easy babies. I got all that. And more.
But, at the risk of not being very poetic about this business I’m also immensely thankful that Matt and I both have well paying jobs. Besides my Son, that’s what I’m most thankful for. We can not only pay our bills and save, but we can live comfortably too. That’s saying something in this economy.
I would be remiss to not mention one more thing that I’m thankful for everyday, that’s always at the top of the list, and that I talk about often (like the two above). I’m forever grateful for Matt, for our relationship, for having a partner that is truly that. For having a partner I grow more in love with over the years. For having found someone that balances me, gives in to me, and keeps me honest.
I’m one lucky woman, and damn I know it.
So, since here I talk about death more often than not, I thought it fitting to write today about Steve Job’s death and his messages about death that so many people are retelling. Death is inevitable, it is a common thread we all share and although it is something most people fear, Steve Job’s spread a message about embracing it in a very motivating way.
When you watch someone you love die too young, some of the fear does leave you. Or for me that was the case, for some it becomes even scarier and the fear of death overtakes the love of life. Having gone through it all, I’ve come out the other side and don’t fear death for myself. I am scared of losing other people I love, and I worry about the affect on others if I died, but I know even more clearly now that it is inevitable, that it is an amazing process to be a part of and it is okay that we don’t know what happens after someone dies. I’ve learned to live with a little bit of groundlessness.
I think Steve Jobs lived with an immense about of groundlessness and it made him wildly successful, at least in bussiness and I would guess in life too.
It’s a good reminder, death, of the reality of life, that someday it is over. We all die. Life and Death. It is something we were very emboldened by after my Dad died, that we could share this reminder, that we could serve as a wake up for others, and it scared the hell out of some people. I to this day believe that much of the shitty reactions I encountered, the people that pissed me off the most with how they responded, was because it freaked them out to think about it happening to them. But, here’s the reality, it will. Everyone dies. Instead of letting it hold you back, instead of allowing death and its groundlessness to leave you running searching for something to hold on to, let it be apart of your life, because it isn’t going anywhere. Hold on to that knowledge and just live. Live a life that you’ll be proud of, put what matters first, do it now because you may not be able to do it tomorrow, in 5 years, in 10 years.
It is a graceful dance, that you may learn, when you embrace that someday it all ends.
So while I sometimes think of this space and worry it is a bummer, I hope if anything it’s allowed others to see through the bs fog we often let get in our way, and remember that we only get one life. I hope it has been motivating rather than depressing. Or, not motivating, but invigorating and refreshing. I hope people read about my journey and think, “yes, life is short, live well.”
Death is a part of life, we all share it. So today, and for the next few, while we remember together an innovator that has helped connect us all, let’s also use the time to remember together what matters most to each of us and share it.
I won’t use this as a platform to encourage people to stop fighting, stop putting work first or stop holding back what you feel because how you want to live your life is up to you and only you.
What I will use it for is to remind you that you only get one beautiful shot, so however you see fit, make it count.
I just logged in to look for how to change something on a wordpress blog. Since I’m here, I’m feeling like I should write something.
Tonight, while I was washing dishes I got to thinking how literally life changing losing my Dad was. I know, duh. But, I think, often actually, about how I would not be where I am now, I would not have Emilio, if my Dad hadn’t died. Sure, I might be married, I might be living in a home I own, I might even have a child, but it wouldn’t be this house, it wouldn’t be Emilio likely.
It is pretty wild to think about.
Life feels so, normal, so, how it should be. But it isn’t how it was supposed to be, or how I thought it would be. It is weird to think about, how things could be different, how things might not be how they are because how they are now feels so how they should be.
Sorry, that was kind of a mind fuck, huh?
So, there’s something. And, I figured out what I came here to figure out too.
Towards the end of pregnancy I wasn’t really reading fiction, I was soaking up books on labor, child raising, researching toys and equipment, getting prepared for breastfeeding. During maternity leave I had no time to read for pleasure, wait, actually, I had no desire, I was too tired to read anything, all I could do was stare at my Emilio’s sleeping face, sleep with him or zone out to trash TV. I watched a lot of Say Yes to the Dress, Super Nanny, Hoarders, Keeping up with the Kardashians, etc.
When I first returned to work, I carried a book around with me for the first month, but the trains were used for sleeping as I was still only getting little chunks, 3 hours at the most, of sleep.
When I finished my first post-partum book, “American Wife”, I was quite pleased with myself and welcomed my reader self back happily. Now, I’m back in the grove, lapping up good and bad (read: chick lit) fiction and excited to continue to add to my list of completed books. Fun fact, my Mom kept (keeps?) a list of books she’s read. As a list lover that makes me happy, and I kind of wish I’d started that at some point, too far gone now to do it, but how fun to be able to go back and look at the list of books you’ve read in a lifetime? Maybe that’s what bookshelves are for, but I tend to pass on and let books I’ve read keep moving through new hands and new eyes.
I’ve never really considered an e-reader. I love the feel of a book in my hand, I like the weight of it, I like flipping to the back, counting down the pages and knowing the end is coming soon. I like holding the book when I’ve completed it, closing that last page and saying, “I’m done!”
But, I see so many people with them, and I kind of have tech lust. I like the idea of the e-reader, how portable and light, how you can have a few books going at once, and you can read magazines there too. I look how much I can pack in to one little device. I don’t think I’d quite give up books, but I’m interested in exploring both e and paper.
Not that I’ll be making the move anytime soon, but when I saw today that BzzAgent has a Kindle campaign and they’re seeking people with an interest to submit to it, I thought, “why not?” I’m back in the saddle, so why not look to take my reading to the next level?
Oh, and by the way, I’m a bzzAgent.
When I was pregnant, I had amazing nails. They were hard, I didn’t bite them or my cuticles, they were long and lovely. Right after I had Emilio I still had the lovely nails, but I bit them down so I wouldn’t scratch my little boy, and so I could use my pinky as a pacifier for him when he needed one.
Now, 6.5 months later, my nails are disgusting. I can’t help biting, I’m picking my cuticles like crazy. Its bad. What is it a symptom of? What am I taking out on my nails?
A blogger I read posted a photo recently of her during maternity leave and said, “It was the best, most unstressful time of her life.” It got me thinking, about my maternity leave. I don’t think I’d describe it as unstressful, but I do think I would describe it with words like best. My days were free, only slighty scheduled around Emilio’s nap and eating times and I didn’t really have any thing to worry about besides caring for a baby.
Now that I’m back at work, life is busy, really busy. I work at a fast paced busy start up that doesn’t really lend itself to much work life balance so I have to work really hard to achieve it. I get home and try to soak up as much time as I can with my boy while also getting the dog fed and walked, laundry on and myself fed. On the weekends it is another rush to soak up time with our son and each other, to spend time with family and friends and get some down time too while also maintaining our house.
Maybe that’s why my nails are a mess.
But would I change it? I love what I do, I love HR, I love helping people and a company succeed. I also love daycare and how it helps Emilio socialize and grow. I love that he gets to spend time with his grandmothers during the week and the relationship he’s building with them.
There is a small piece of me, somewhere that feels like something has to change, something has to give, but I don’t think it is going to any time soon. We’re going to keep rushing along trying to balance it all. Maybe in a year, maybe in two something we’ll allow either of us to have more time at home, more time with Emilio, more time to keep ourselves and our house kept up.
So while we’re in this flurry, this lovely storm of raising a new child, I need to remind myself to slow down sometimes and just enjoy.
We’ve kind of started this tradition, of every Sunday late in the day, we put on some music, put a blanket on the floor and play with Emilio. It is moments like that that we need to keep creating, where it is just us and nothing else matters. And I don’t bite my nails.