Wednesday, August 19, 2015

First Smiles

A couple of weeks before Will was born I read an article in The Huffington Post called The Moment I Tell New Moms to Hang On For. It was written by my blogger friend Allison Slater Tate recalling the first six weeks of her first baby's life. She writes about all the change, and about the mixture of terror, exhaustion, excitement and confusion that the first weeks with a newborn bring. But, she tells new moms, wait for it. Because sometime in those first few bleary weeks your baby will smile at you for the very first time and it will cut through all the hard and the struggle and that will be the moment where you know that you are in love with this tiny creature.

I thought about that article a lot over the first six weeks of my baby's life. While I learned how to be a mother. While I wondered what it feels like when you really love your baby and whether maybe I was feeling it already and I didn't even realize it because it was all mixed in with exhaustion, diapers, bottles, baths, bedtime routines and tears, more mine than his.

But then it happened, just like Allison said it would. We were doing our regular 9am diaper change/getting dressed routine and he was wide awake. As I snapped up his clothes I noticed that he was looking at me. Not above me or somewhere beside or behind me, but right at me. So I looked back and there it was. His first real smile.

And in that moment, my world righted itself.

I have lived lifetimes in these past seven weeks. I still feel sometimes like I barely know anything at all, but what I do know for sure is this: being a mother is tough stuff. I am a different person than I was just a few weeks ago. Equal parts stronger and more fragile. Both more patient and less. More anxious. More tired. But what I also know now is that there is joy running underneath all of this complexity that seeps up and fills my cracks just exactly when I need it. Like when my baby smiles at me on an otherwise utterly ordinary morning.

Because that's not ordinary at all. That's magic.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Three Weeks In

For three weeks, we've been a family of three. In a way it seems like forever, and also two minutes that this tiny creature has been in our lives. The past three weeks have been a blur of feedings, diaper changes, snatches of sleep, tears (mine more than the baby's), and complex emotions. 

The day I got home from the hospital I was a soggy mess of hormones, anxiety, and utter terror that I had no idea how to be a parent to this brand new baby. I walked into my house to a kitchen table covered in baby clothes, cases of diapers and wipes in the middle of my living room, and a baby bath tub on the counter next to the kitchen sink. As my wild and exhausted eyes took in the chaos that had replaced my formerly organized house, it occurred to me that barely anyone talks about this part of becoming a mother.

They talk about the euphoria and the happiness and the oh my god you've never felt a love like this. And maybe some new mothers feel like that. But not everyone. So it hit me hard that first day home from the hospital that no one talks about the other side of becoming a mother. The fear and the confusion, the tears for every reason and no reason at all, the feeling that a torpedo just exploded in the center of your life, and the guilt that you are not positively over the moon about this baby that you wished for for such a long time and that sometimes, in your lowest moments, you wish just a tiny bit that you could reverse course and go back to the way things were. No one talks about these things. We should.

Honestly, I'm still sort of sorting through it all.

Thankfully, for me, all of this complexity has been interspersed with moments where I am in awe of what we have created, and grateful that this baby is here and that he is mine. And as we settle in and form some semblance of a routine and figure out how to be parents, every day I feel a little more like myself. A little happier. A little more normal even if that normal isn't the same as it used to be.

Since this blog is a time capsule of sorts, I feel strongly about documenting both sides of the story, especially now, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, here is a little snapshot of our first three weeks as parents, a terribly cute baby, and our brand new life that we are slowly learning to navigate.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

And Then There Were Three


With joy and immeasurably deep gratitude we welcome our son,

William Charles Merel ("Will").

June 30, 2015

6 lb, 3 oz.

19 1/2 inches.

And just like that, two became three.

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of emotion, activity, and, more than anything else, wild and stunning change. We are all starting to settle into this new life of ours, and I am so happy to be back here to write it all. There are sundry stories in this change, and I want to tell them. 

But for now, for today, there is this. A tiny person starting to stir on his favorite perch - a blanket spread on the couch. He needs me. And I am here.

Friday, June 26, 2015

It Is So Ordered

"The nature of marriage is that, through its enduring bond, two persons together can find other freedoms, such as expression, intimacy, and spirituality. This is true for all persons, whatever their sexual orientation. There is dignity in the bond between two men or two women who seek to marry and in their autonomy to make such profound choices...The limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples may long have seemed natural and just, but its inconsistency with the central meaning of the fundamental right to marry is now manifest. With that knowledge must come the recognition that laws excluding same-sex couples from the marriage right impose stigma and injury of the kind prohibited by our basic charter."
                                    -Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, Obergefell v. Hodges

There are a great many things to say about today's historic Supreme Court decision, which ruled that same sex marriage is legal nationwide. But for now there is just this. I am proud that the child I am expecting in just two weeks will be born into a country where love is love, and where on this day, equality wins.