How often, as parents, do we really sit back and marvel at our children? We birth, nurture, protect, provide, and guide them into adulthood, but do we really just look at them? As the people they are?
Today I am doing just that. As much as possible anyway. As I type this, it is exactly 9:10 am EST in the United States. 20 years ago today I was pregnant with my twin sons and sitting in Thomas Jefferson University hospital being prepped for induction. You see, I had fed my twins so well during my pregnancy that they didn’t want to come out, lol. Yet, they were too big to stay in and I made the mistake of watching a cesarean section video on YouTube. Nope. I told my doctor she would not be slicing open my innards. I already had insecurity issues with my body so a C-section was a hard no for me.
I had gone into false labor twice (at work) over the last few weeks but at 3 cm dilated, the hospital kept sending me back home. My preschool students were fascinated at watching my body change over the months and had adopted my babies as theirs, especially since two of my parents were also pregnant. My co-workers were concerned about me working, the deacons in the church had been trying to convince me I needed to be on bed rest for months (because of how huge my stomach grew early on) but my doctor said I was perfectly healthy to work up until I deliver. In hindsight, I think my doctor was excited to see how far I could carry as all of her previous twin deliveries never exceeded 26 weeks. I was induced at 35 weeks.
My pregnancy was normal for me. No morning sickness but constant hunger, and constant cravings. I did experience nausea when I tried to eat some of my favorite foods like shrimp fried rice and any kind of chicken. My boys said those were hard nos for them, lol. Their personalities were distinct even then. My eldest was pretty chill. Twisting and turning mostly to get comfortable. My youngest was energetic and constantly hungry. My stomach growled as I was eating most times.
Now, as young adults, I see them watching to see which direction they want to go in life. They are quiet and introspective, for now, until they discover what lights them aglow. I am excited for when that moment comes and they flourish in their passion. I knew this phase of life would arrive but it is as bittersweet as the day of their birth. I was excited for their new chapter yet sad that our chapter, in that capacity, had ended. Work and bills will always be there as a reminder of responsibilities but remember to take time to enjoy your children before they branch off into their own lives…
My daughter graduated from kindergarten two days ago. I am a proud momma. It’s taken me two days to re-contain my emotions before I could write about it.
She’s my only daughter and the reality that she’s not a baby anymore is not lost on me. I look in her face and I see her infant face but I also see a younger version of myself.
She’s courageous and open-minded, curious about the world she lives in and (in a few ways) more bold than I ever was in speaking up and out about what’s going on around her. I don’t want to smother her or block her from exploring her own potential. The only way to grow into that is for me to explore my own potential more fully so as not to stifle hers. She is me 2.0. The upgrade. She’s in beta mode and I want to ensure she has every opportunity accessible to her.
So, I have quite a few emotional adjustments to make to myself. Recognizing the maturity in her (it’s a battle sometimes when my Aquarius clash with her Leo) is hard because I don’t want her to grow up too fast. *grabs tissue* She just left preschool last year and now she’s a first grader. Sigh…
Well, I have been fighting back tears all day today. Happy tears. Tears of joy and acceptance. My little girl is on the road to growing up and growing independent of me. She has started preschool today. Gone are the innocent days of her looking solely to me for her answers. Newly arrived are the days of testing the rules and challenging her limits (more than she already does).
I dropped my daughter off to school this morning half hoping for, but not really, some resemblance of her wanting to miss me. Not a screaming fit or anything like that but just some sign that she would miss me during the time that she would be at school. I received a good bye hug and kiss and off she ran to play with her new school mates. Not a glance back was had. Not a ‘mommy don’t go’ like some of the other kids. In a way I guess that means I have raised her to be independent so far and that’s good – right? Could it mean that she couldn’t wait to get away from me and school is a welcomed reprieve? A mother wonders sometimes.
I believe she is courageously independent and well adjusted for a three year old. More wise than her years and in her wisdom, did not cry when I arrived to pick her up this afternoon. She was excited to return home and when I asked about her day she told of some of her adventures with excitement in her eyes and laughter in her voice. She recalled that she had meatloaf for lunch and a banana with her breakfast! She told me that a little boy took a red ball from her and the teacher said to him, “Give Yehudi back that red ball!”
Yehudi is asleep now. She is eager to wake up and go back to her school so she can play with her friends some more. She is excited to sing the alphabet song with her peers and to recite the story time rules we have here at home:
rule #1 – sit down quietly
rule #2 – put your hands in your lap
rule #3 – listen and enjoy the story
How can you not enjoy story time with easy to remember rules like those? Then on twitter this afternoon I found this inspirational quote to cheer me up. Well, it’s time for me to pick out her school clothes for tomorrow and begin to plan toddler activities for Chava for this school year. He’s one now but he’ll be three and headed to preschool before I can blink!
Thunder rumbled, rattling the kitchen windows as Lydia sat on her knees frantically scrubbing blood off of the vinyl flooring. With each crack of thunder Lydia’s hand gripped the sponge tighter until her knuckles began to turn white. The rhythmic tink, tink of the raindrops hitting the awning over top of the kitchen window was comforting. Lydia began thinking about what the nurses said to her when Nathan went to the cafeteria for a sandwich.
“Mrs. Williams, do you remember what happened to you?”
“Not really. I came into the kitchen and a strange man was there. Before I could call out for help I was knocked to the floor. I hit something on the way down and blacked out.”
Scribbling on a clip board the nurse looked Lydia in the eye. “You’re lucky to be alive. The trauma to your head could have been more severe. There was a 4 inch gash on the side of your head. We stitched you up but a vessel in your right eye ruptured and the force of the blow to your stomach ruptured your uterus which is why you miscarried. I am sorry to tell you this Mrs. Williams but we were unable to repair the damage. You will not be able to have any more children…”
“Wait… my uterus… no more children?” Lydia’s vision blurred as the tears absorbed into the patch on her eye. Instinctively her right hand went to her belly to massage her baby and she flinched in pain.
“We had to perform an emergency hysterectomy. You have 13 staples in your abdomen. In about two weeks you can come back in and have them removed. In the meantime you rest. No lifting more than 5 pounds. No standing for long periods of time. No strenuous activities. No sexual intercourse for eight weeks because of the trauma to your abdomen. You may…” Lydia zoned out as the nurse rattled off her discharge instructions. A soft knock, knock at the kitchen door jolted Lydia out of her thoughts. It was Nathan’s friend Mark. Favoring her right side, Lydia grabbed the handle on the cabinet door and pulled herself up onto her feet and opened the door.
“Damn. Nathan told me what happened. I’m sorry about the baby.” Mark said as he inched into the kitchen. He handed Lydia a bouquet of daisies to cheer her up. “If you recall anything about the cat who did this to you let Nathan know and we’ll go handle that right now.” Lydia averted her eyes as she felt her cheeks flush. Mark had always been nice to her. He didn’t know how Nathan treated her. Nobody did.
“Thank you Mark. The flowers are lovely. Let me put them in water and tell Nathan you’re here.” Walking gingerly to avoid the poking of the staples in her stomach, Lydia half-slid, half-tiptoed to the kitchen sink to grab a vase for the flowers. That’s when she saw the blood on the edge of the counter.
Nathan walked into the kitchen just then and stopped in his tracks when he saw Mark standing in his house. He looked from Lydia to Mark, sizing up the situation. He noticed the flowers Lydia had placed in the vase. Um, hm. Looking at Mark, he smiled but the smile didn’t touch the rest of his face.
It’s 11:51 pm and I have been trying to get my ideas to stop dancing around in my mind. I’m also trying to convince my one year old son to stop dancing around on the bed and go back to sleep! My thoughts are bouncing between river dancing and doing the cupid shuffle. Fragments of stories are teasing me and the pages are still blank. So what is a mother to do?
Thankfully my 2 3/4 year old is sound asleep, unaware of her brother’s antics at this late hour. I am curious how you other writers with children handle disruptions and uncooperative-ness? I am sure there is something I am missing. A technique to get my son to stay sleep? Some have suggested cough syrup but that sounds medieval. I have heard tales of creeping into another room in the wee hours of the morning. Feasible, except for the lack of another room to creep into to. I have even heard of the old work whilst the little darlings nap in the afternoon. HAH! I’ve been trying that one and the joke is on me. My children take turns NOT napping.
As I type this my son is in his crib shaking the sides (squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak) as if to protest his confinement at this hour. Surprisingly as I am committing this to print the squeak, squeak has slowed. In my peripheral vision my son is watching me intently, even though I know he is tired beyond belief. I figured the bedtime stories I read to him and his sister before bed were sufficient. Oops! I typed too soon. His cries are going to wake up the whole neighborhood. *Sigh* A mother’s job is not ever done.