Monday Video

Shopping with Mama

 

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On Giving Birth…Again

I took Vera to her weekly swim class yesterday. The pool is in a big light-filled room with floor-to-ceiling windows like a cathedral. It's kept very warm and it is always a treat to be standing around in a bathing suit looking outside at the snow-covered trees.

Swimmer

Vera is sweet in the water — she's a little clingy and cautious. She watches the other kids around her for cues, getting nervous if they cry, or enthusiastic when she sees them happily paddling around. Yesterday was a small class. There were only about 8 other parents in the pool, one dad with his daughter, and the rest of us were moms, all of our kids in the 1-3 year old age range.

It only took a minute to notice that I was the only mom who wasn't pregnant with her second baby.

Having a second baby is something I think about every day. The bottom line is that we've decided to wait until we are settled in CA before we start trying for another, but that doesn't mean I don't think about it all the time. I told Greg this the other night and he laughed and said that he NEVER thinks about it. Obviously, we're in different places.

For me having another baby is less of a cognitive desire and more of a biological tug. I can feel myself just kind of aching for it. Even after I force myself to think about how hard  those early months are, even after I watch my friends struggle with their multiple children, and even after watching Vera break down just because I'm holding a friend's baby, I still have this deep-rooted pull to get pregnant again.

I guess part of it is simpler than that too. If you know that one day soon you are going to do a really huge thing, you kind of want to know when. Or at least I do. I also feel strongly about V not being an only child, like I was. I'd really like for her to have a sibling and I want to know for sure that it's going to happen.

While my mom friends are going on to have their second babies this year, I've been watching with a twinge of envy. It's not the crippling kind of jealousy that makes it hard to hold their babies, more just a twinge of hey, I think I want this now too. Part of me just wants to know for certain that I can have that and I worry a lot that I might not be able to get pregnant again.

The other day I was at the coffee shop finishing the last chapter of my book when some of my mom friends came in with their kids for lunch. It was weird to see them all sitting around together, feeding and soothing their toddlers, all little friends of V's. I felt kind of funny sitting by myself, childless and plugged into my computer.

I actually finished my book that afternoon, and in doing so, I realized that while I may not be pregnant with my second child yet, I did just give birth to a manuscript that took just as much time and emotional energy. I printed the book out yesterday and seeing it in its physical form, I felt incredibly proud of what I've accomplished. Maybe I just need to put a onesie on it.

 

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Keeping My Mother Alive

I know it's not time to really figure this out yet, but I spend a fair amount of time thinking about how to make sure that my parents are a part of Veronica's life. Right now, when she hears "Grandma and Grandpa" she automatically thinks of Greg's parents. I wonder how long it will be before she understands that she has another set of grandparents too.

And how long after that it will be before she asks me where they are.

And what I'll say when she does.

For now, I maintain their presence with photos. In her room there are about half a dozen pictures of my mother. They're beautiful old black and whites that were taken in the 1960s when my mother was in her early twenties.

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I love these photos. I never saw any of them until after my mother was gone and I wish so much I could ask her about them, how old she was, where she was. I know she did a bit of modeling and that her older sister was in fact, a professional model. All I really know is that there are tons of these. From all different eras, in all kinds of locations. There's one set in particular that are hanging in V's room.

I adore them.

Veronica and I stand in front of them every once in a while.

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Each time I ask her: Who is that?

Without fail she answers: Mama.

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That's my mama, I say.

Mama, she insists, smiling at me.

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And without fail, my heart fills up.

 

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