On my First Mother’s Day – This is For my Husband

Posted on May 12, 2013


Last night you were all around me
As if you and I are connected in a way that means
Where I go – you follow

You gave me life when I believed all my life could be was an afterthought.
You gave love – you gave me great words of love
And this poem we call son

I can’t live without you by my side
Because you’ve been within me, a part of me and cradled in my heart
I have carried in my womb the best of you – I is now we and we are forever

If I am out there in darkness on my own
All I can ever think of doing is finding my way back
Within your arms is where I am reborn – where I can brave the light

And when I am trying to cast all my pieces away
You inhabit my bones and keep me together – gathering the lost parts
Aspects of myself only you could think are beautiful and worth saving

Last night you were all around me
At a time where once again I needed you
I called out – and you answered

I swear I felt your hand in mine …

Woe is Me and if Not I’ll Give it a Go

Posted on April 30, 2013

I have to say, I am experiencing a weird problem. Life is good, child is only moderately frustrating once in a while when I’ve stupidly sacrificed sleep to watch crap television, so therefore not much fodder for the ol’ blog (the blog with the domain name I now pay for.) I mean I could write something if you really wanted me to. If you want a post about how much I love my squidgy pudding (baby) I could whip up some frothy, overly sentimental shmaltz for you, repeating much of what I’ve already said in new ridiculous ways. Any takers? Huh. I don’t hear a roar in the crowd. Odd. I figured I had more admirers …

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It’s not like everything is perfect, I am not saying I am supermom with nary a care nor issue to pimp out to the public for consumption. No, no. In fact all day long I come across little gems that would make great posts, however more often than I would like to admit they are quickly forgotten because Jonah has dropped my phone in his lunch, or he’s dropped a deuce in his diaper, or he’s dropped a toy (just to watch me stoop to retrieve it) or he has dropped some more drool. I could go on. Like I always knew, the writing just keeps falling down the list of priorities and unless I get the “white lightning” of inspiration from the writing deities I am not turning on the computer, if not for any other reason but to save it from being dropped in baby cereal or baby pee. And again, life has been pretty smooth due in part to having a healthy son who is growing and developing on point, like a boss. A lot of my writing in the past has been born from my sorrow and these days, damn it, there just hasn’t been too much sorrow, unless I am listening to David Bowie’s “Sorrow”. Which I do quite a bit, but that tune makes me peppy, and when I grab the hairbrush and belt out the lyrics to Jo we both get peppy.  And pep doesn’t translate into prose as easily for me. I am a drama queen, really the only line I know is “woe is me,” and Jo hasn’t given me much material to fill that quota.

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 So this gives me the opportunity to create my own woes, which is a talent my mother says I’ve had since birth. Go me. Lately I’ve been trying to consider what my next “move” should be. Jonah my little blessing was a complete surprise in our lives but after his arrival both Hubby and I had to start putting pieces together of this life so our kids get the structure, routine and safety they deserve. It is a daunting and a deeply self-analytical process because it’s not fanciful pondering anymore. It is decisions and choices, diverging paths and huge forks in the road ahead of you. It is the reality of making a choice for the three of you, not just for yourself but like any path in life there is no map. I am a stay at home mom as most of you know and my goal in life is to be a good mother, capable of raising considerate, kind and responsible individuals that will carry on my family’s legacy and contribute actively and lovingly to my country. But how do I achieve this without making all the right decisions at the right time? I go back and forth on whether I should have my desired second baby sooner or later, or I am constantly thinking about my return to school to exchange one diploma for another and when, if ever, I will find the time to do so. It is a delicate balance you need to keep to have a happy home. Right now, for the most part we have achieved this but with the addition of another baby or a new schedule we risk obliterating that balance and possibly making our lives very difficult. I want to be the mother I described there a moment ago, but to do that I strongly believe I need to be self-assured and have a career I can be proud of in order to pass on those qualities to my little ones. Is now the time to begin either one of those journeys? I always believed that things in life would just fall into place naturally and maybe that is true but after having my first baby I’m feeling a bit of pressure to “make it happen” plus, hell, I’m not getting any younger. It’s either school or baby deux, because I am not satisfied by the prospects of being the stay at home mother of one, a girl who never becomes the woman she thought she would become. Nor is it healthy to stagnate and not be in constant ever-evolving forward motion in life. My parents treated me so delicately in my youth, telling me I had time to make decisions about my future. And for what it is, I am proud of what I have achieved but I still reflect on my younger self and I find this urge yearning to tell her to make some different choices. Because it’s not that I am worse off now as a consequence of those past choices but the decisions I make today aren’t just for me, they are for three.

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But what I wake up to every morning is also the result of the path I’ve chosen to walk, and even when I am deep within myself carving out woes to ache over, at least I have the little slice of heaven that is my son and my marriage. Someone recently said to me that I have an enviable marriage and it was quite possibly the most life-affirming affirmation … and that is all me. I made that and it sends me ascending right back to peppy.

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Teething, and the Like

Posted on April 9, 2013

Well, there was a day a few weeks ago where all hell broke loose in The House of Huyghebaert. I didn’t know at the time but what was bothering our little shireling was a bout of the terrible teething baby rage. He was intolerant of everything that day. Food, air, hugs, love, diapers, stuffed toys, chew toys, bathes, outside, inside, it didn’t matter. Jonah was simply inconsolable and in the end so was I because even though I love him, I wanted to hurl him several feet away and not be responsible anymore. But, by the morning the next day I realized we had both survived, no worse for wear, so I rolled over and said “Good morning Satan,” and Jo jostled around in his crib and smiled at me like yesterday was a figment of my imagination and he was still an angel baby. Not Rosemary’s baby. His crib is right beside the edge of my side of the bed. I can reach and easily slip my hand through the slats and give him a good loving rub down every morning and frankly, it’s pretty precious. If I don’t wake and immediately wriggle my hand through to grab his, Jonah is reaching out in my direction instead. It is really, our one act of tenderness. Why? Because my child is not exactly … a hugger or a lover. My happy little man is a lot of wonderful things but he doesn’t seem to be keen on hugging or cuddling or even equipped to touch tenderly (ask my dog Callie). Maybe this is just how babies are and part of the journey that is his development but seeing his already incredibly independent nature takes a tiny toll on me because I know very well where he could have gotten this trait from.

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For my own reasons, I am “not exactly, a hugger or a lover” myself. My husband has long since come to grips with the fact that I’d rather flick his nipple than share a cuddle, and that some days I am just not in the mood for long embraces. I know. It is a shock because I talk about our love with such sentiment and grandeur … and even though our love is epic, I still battle my own issues when it comes to navigating that fifth sense: touch. I wonder what I’ve done or what I did through my pregnancy to imprint this onto my own son. Sure, maybe it is too soon to tell if he is like me or if I am just projecting some of my fears upon him, but nonetheless it has me thinking. I thought part of the perks of having your own offspring was the option of cradling your newborn babe in you arms whenever the hell you felt like it. My kid doesn’t even like blankets or clothes. It’s like a premature evolution of our relationship. He doesn’t want to be hugged particularly so my brain goes, “Ah, no hugs. He doesn’t need you anymore.” Does that come off as insane and mentally unbalanced as I think it does? Probably. But honestly sometimes I start thinking that or worse, the heart sickening “Is there something wrong?”

The truth is I’m growing a little worried. I am his primary parent right now, which basically translates to “mean mommy”. I am with him twenty-four hours a day, so sure I am there when he his bright, happy, full of smiles and new-found excitement but I am also his prison guard, parole officer and punisher. I’m the one who enforces the crying it out tactic when he wont nap, I’m the one that after however many hours of being on her feet loses her cool, I am the one that has to make tough decisions in the moment because it is for now, just me. So, me and my crazy brain start to concoct a reason for his independent ways … I am mean mommy ­so he must be distancing himself from me and it is easy to do because he is predisposed to the instinct to recoil from touch. See? Not insane. Logical. Right?

I rolled over and said “Good morning Satan,” and Jo jostled around in his crib and smiled at me like yesterday was a figment of my imagination and he was still an angel baby. Not Rosemary’s baby.

I think back to the mornings when I wake up to find him still next to me in his crib. He catches my eye and in that first moment of his realizing that mommy is still here, he just lights up. Lights up and does everything he can to grab my hand, get it to his cheek to nuzzle. The morning after his day of sore gums, it was during this routine that he showed me his new—and first— tooth. There wasn’t even a transition of emotions for me. I immediately forgot about the trials of the night before and became a hybrid of tearful and giddy. I guess it felt like my triumph as well as his, something we were sharing together. It made me so happy that day … Jonah is my baby but he isn’t the fantasy baby I had in my head. He is the baby he is, the baby he was meant to be. A beautiful and bright baby. My misgivings are all centered on my fears that I am not the mother I am supposed to be. I just don’t know how much of what I am doing in these early months will affect him the rest of his life. It is such a massively terrifying realization that everything you do, everything from how you treat others to the way you react to the decisions you make big or small, all of it is being absorbed by the little one in your arms. Reflect on that one awhile, will you?

If you’ll excuse me, I am going to go hug the crap out of my kid whether he likes it or not because at least for a little while longer he can’t argue with me.

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Squidgy Squidgy Fish Feet

Posted on March 25, 2013

I just finished singing a rousing rendition of “Squidgy squidgy fish feet” to my son and it dawned on me this is where all my time has gone. It has been what, more than a month since my last post? And, all I can do is apologize and try and convince you that I don’t love my son more than all of you, my dear—hopefully still devoted—public. No, the problem is this, I love making up nonsensical songs for my son while making oodles of quiche. Yes. What I am saying is I have become Susie Homemaker and I like it!

It is really easy to do all the embarrassing things I do with Jonah because I am virtually a single parent these days. So if I want to bake quiche naked, while wearing a colander on my head singing, “Squidgy squidgy fish feet, on my Jonah a-sweet-treat!” I will, with pride. I know what you’re thinking. You’re think I’ve been abandoned because Hubby just can’t take my new musical stylings. Wrong. Sadly he heard the workforce calling and dumped us for some stuffy—I’m sure fully clothed—office folk. Somehow he figured this would be more amusing than spending time with us, watching Jo giggle at me as I let the expletives fly when I get splattered by bacon fat. Curse you bacon splatter.

All right, so that’s not exactly what he’s thinking. Jonah’s dad is working everyday of the week these days, and five out of the seven he works 16-18 hours straight. And, no this is not one of those times I use hyperbole to enhance my prose. I am a single parent because my partner in crime is doing everything a man can do to provide. He also thinks he’s not doing enough … Yeah, cause I am really pulling in the big bucks here with my job as a 24 hour singer/songwriter bottle-warmer, quiche-dispensing bum-wiper.

Ah, we are managing. And we must be pulling off this parenting thing whether together or apart because our kid is a giddy, drooling, happy damn mess. I kiss him twelve thousand times a day, and I am telling you my face has never been so moisturized.

We have a move on the horizon and I’ve been wondering who I can hire to do that. I’ll need a team to pack the crap and move the furniture, someone to organize the workers, someone else to watch Jonah and keep him amused, and finally someone to prepare and serve me cocktails while the work gets worked. Is this … unreasonable? I need these things to survive, because I am known to be lazy, emotional and micro-manage-y when stressed. Would you want to attempt moving with a gal like that? Right, even I feel for my husband. However, my marriage has survived thousands of my meltdowns. What’s another swell breakdown? I’m charming.

So I guess what I’m getting to here is a hollow apology for neglecting this blog that I adore so much. Truthfully, so much is happening with Jonah, it feels as though he’s checking off milestones on a daily basis and I cannot stand how fast time is passing yet I’m so excited to wake up each day to see how much Jonah has changed overnight.

God, he makes me so proud … now it is clear to me why my dad came to every play, cried at every performance and yelled at the other parents to “Stand up and clap, god damn it!” or why my mom stood on side behind the curtain watching me hack the art of ballet to pieces, every time. Multiple times. Pride makes you swell and do ridiculous things because your kid is the be-all and end-all and the best  kid of them all.

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The “Da Da Da Da” Event

Posted on February 20, 2013

So, you’ve decided to make “Dada” your first word, huh? Well, isn’t that nice! Sweet even … and no, of course I wasn’t expecting “Mama” to come first! Since I am only your goddamn primary caregiver, the woman who carried you, birthed you, bleeds for you, the woman who is practically your slave and you can’t frigging offer me a little babble “Mama” action? Are you, are you kidding me?

Listen up, kid. I know your dad is pretty bitchin’ but you know what else he can be? A full-on actual bitch. Yeah, I said it. I own both your asses. Your dad thinks you’re as cool as creamed corn, so what? You guys gonna form a little club where you high-five each other on your escalating cool factor? What’s your next word going to be, I wonder? Could it be “Jedi” or possibly “Spock”? Huh? Cause I know your dad is to blame for this little indiscretion. I didn’t realize when I was sleeping in he was making you his little nerd minion. Who knew my son could be such an easy mark! What did he do, give you cake? There was cake given, wasn’t there … that bastard. I will kick his little booty for this. Yours too. Everyone thinks you’re brilliant for six and a half months, you know what? Being a daddy’s boy, not so smart. Saying “dada” before “mama” über not so smart. Now you’ve done it. Mama is ticked off. What’s worse is you wont even shut your face now. You were “da da da da da”ing all frigging day long WHILE YOUR DADADADA WAS AT SCHOOL AND NOWHERE AROUND. I had to wipe your butt while you told me all about dadadada and I wanted to puke.

In the end you made your dad’s day. There you were in your swing and when your dad came to get you, you looked him square in the eye and said the inflammatory infamous “Dada!” But while you may have made an old Trekkie proud as punch you also made a powerful enemy … me. Mama.

I am going to go all Mordor on your ass. Just you wait, Shireling.

Now to out you in some embarrassing video footage. The reign of terror begins.

 

I Just Needed to Say

Posted on February 15, 2013

I am just about three million miles away from anyone right now. Emotionally, I am in a boat floating aimlessly on open ocean and though the sea is calm beneath me I feel the distance between my boat and everything else just expand, expand, expand …

In my apartment the clock on the wall is ticking its way around to three thirty am and I have been lying in bed awake listening to it claim little bits of my life.

You know, a friend of mine just passed away. And, I must be going through the stages of grieving mightily slow because the hits just seem to keep on coming. I heard of his passing over a week ago but I can’t help myself from dwelling on the simplest aspect of it all: He’s just not here anymore.

I trip over it like it can’t be true because this man seemed to be bigger than everything, bigger than us all. He was louder than the rest of us, funnier than the rest of us … and just one of the brightest lights I had ever seen. When I think about that kind of man just not being with us anymore, I simply cannot not reconcile it. Not in my mind and certainly not in my heart.

My friend was a ballsy ass, cocky, boisterous kid and everybody adored him. My best friend always likes to say that when she first met him she thought to herself, “Who the hell does this jackass think he is? We aren’t going to be getting along,” but by the time he said “Come have a smoke with me,” Andrew had turned her impression of him around and she suddenly adored him like the rest of us. He was genuine. Genuinely a decent man with charisma up his butt to spare. And this was how it happened for everyone, you were powerless to not feel lucky for meeting the guy, being his friend or even being the one kid who got the nickname “Scrot,” short for scrotum.

I worked with Andrew for years at a job that was my second home. I don’t even have to say how all of my memories of what I like to call the ‘glory days’ of my life, have him there. I close my eyes and there he is on the line in the restaurant’s kitchen, corralling all the cooks, hooting and hollering, getting one of the newbies to eat a week old floor sausage. Andrew was the guy everything happened around. If he went out for a smoke, so did everyone else. If he was filling his milkshake tin with soda from the fountain pop, nobody would be concentrating and he’d just be entertaining us all. He always, always said hi to me when I came through the door. I could count on it, and I wasn’t even all that important in the grand scheme of things. But, hell. He knew my name. He used my name. He made me feel like I meant something to that place and in time we grew to know much more about each other and he would once in a while drop his act, walk over to me at the coffee station and say, “Hey Kels, how are you really doing, eh?”

That time in particular I remember so vividly now, that thinking about it gets me going and my throat starts to tense up. Because he’d remember something I had said weeks prior in passing about my life. Something small and to him, insignificant. But Andrew remembered. You knew Andrew cared, not about the detail but about how you were. He could always turn it around. Whatever it was, Andrew could take it off your mind, cure it or get you laughing so hard nothing else mattered. He was no angel but that’s what somehow made you trust him. I don’t think I’ll ever know anyone else that has even half his style.

I just can’t make it connect. Can’t reconcile it. How did this time ever end and how is the world not falling in on itself now that we are lacking a spirit like his?

See? At four am I’m even worse for sentiment and schmaltzy lines, god help me.

As a parent myself one of the things I cannot ever let myself think is “What if I ever lose my son?” I can’t keep it together when my mind drifts into that realm. Could I sit in a funeral home and listen to stories and claims that my son affected people, their lives, their memories in such a manner? Would it help the pain or make it unbearable on top of unbearable? I don’t know. But it all weighed so heavy on my mind tonight that I had to tell someone. So, I am telling it to the void instead of someone else close to this reality. I just figure … if even I, merely a shadowy figure of a past friend, can’t make sense of his death, how can his mom and dad survive this? Where do they go from here, from today?

My son isn’t even his own person in my eyes some times. He’s just an extension of me, of my husband and of our love. He’s our heart. How do you live on when something takes away the heart of your being? The thought upsets me to the point where I am sure I’ll finish writing this and then have a good long cry …

If we as parents could conceive of the possibility of losing a child before having our babies in actuality I wonder if that would stop some of us. I would never say that I regret having my son, that isn’t what I am saying, but tonight I lay in bed thinking about losing a loved one, a child, and the thought crossed my mind that ultimately I live in a little fear that the possibility is a reality. Now and forever, a possibility. And, it sucks the air right out of my chest.

So? That is how I got in this goddamn boat. Feeling seasick and lost.

Writing to you

Posted on February 7, 2013

Writing to you is like writing directly to my happiness. Mommy thought she was happy before you were born but she has since learned what true happiness feels like, what it can do and why money can’t buy it.

Dear lovey, you are six months old and during this time and for a little while before you were here I have been writing this little journal. At first, to express how I felt about being pregnant (me being selfish) and then I wrote about motherhood while you were just days and then weeks, and now months old (more being selfish, and tired … and terrified.) But now, here we are with you turning half a year old and something that should have hit me a long time ago has finally hit me. One day you may very well read these accounts of your first firsts and with that in mind here are some things I would like to tell you, because by the time you’re whatever age you are when you read your mother’s incessant stark raving mad ramblings, I may have forgotten. So, Jo? Where to begin with everything that you’ve done for me.

I never knew that I would take so much joy in moments that are very small or terribly normal or dare I say, to most even boring. But to your mom, the first time you smiled or laughed, rolled over and pooped brought me to tears. Happy ones. I’ve spent a good portion of your life so far scooping you up, hugging you against your will and wheezing away happily. Since your birth, every night I say a silent thank you and often that gets me going all over again.

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Moving on, truth be told I am exceedingly gross with you. You’re so young for now that I see no reason why you and I have to be clothed. You’re an infant and I am a stay-at-home mom, so we don’t wear clothes a lot of the time. You, like your mom, are happiest when your tushy meets air. Problem is I spend a lot of the daytime hours giggling your bum cheeks. You think it’s hilarious because you don’t know what embarrassment is or feels like and I hope you don’t discover that for a long time. This is the most free you will ever be and I think I am being a good parent teaching you that there is nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to your body. Plus your baby body is bangin’, and for the record your father supports all of this so don’t be looking up from the page there and giving him a look like he’s supposed to be protecting you somehow, ok? Your dad there, well that guy recently admitted to me that he nibbles your earlobes. Yeah and that’s closer to child abuse than anything I perpetrate. There is a reason why your dad and I got married. We are wonderful weirdos and you my little one are likely to turn into one yourself.

The grossness continues. I kiss you everywhere all day long and I can’t help myself. If I kiss your neck you curl up into a ball around me and laugh with a healthy belly laugh that makes my heart swell. Also, it should be stated for the record that I’ve laid a smacker on your tiny lips, which makes me officially the first woman you’ve kissed. And I plan to tell your future spouse this on your wedding day. (Also while we are on the subject, going off of what happened on my wedding day, keep me away from the wine.) I do have a complaint though, some times when I am smooching you silly you drool on my face and then proceed to gum on my chin which tickles. It is also not glamorous or good to do in public. So I hope you will grow out of this habit and you don’t jump my face on your graduation day or something.

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These days you are talking to me more and I in turn tell you everything that waltzes into my mind as we spend long days together waiting for dad to come home. I talk to you as if you understand and I have to tell you it is nice to have an ear that listens completely without judgment. It is my hope that as you grow up we continue to have a relationship where we can tell each other everything, openly and honestly without judging each other. Because I’ll tell you a little secret, I’ve made so many mistakes so far being your mom and I tell you when I make them. I hope one day you trust me enough to tell me when you royally fuck up and feel safe doing so. The secret is you’ll get away with a lot more without pain or punishment if you just own up to it. Why? Because I’ll just be happy you’re still talking.

What else … what else… Oh, sadly your intelligence at six months rivals my own … that’s all I want to say about that. You’re über smart for a baby. Congratulations.

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Well, I will say one more thing on the matter, you get your smarts from your dad but you get your beauty from me. And being beautiful in life will you get everything, and heavily laid, everywhere.

Finally, sweetheart I want to tell you a few things in all seriousness. Oh my god, I love you so much and I will never be able to explain to you how or why or even come close to imparting to you how much I love you. I struggle to understand it myself. But everyday your dad says to me, “Baby, I love him.” And I say, “I know, babe. Me too.” Just like that, every day. You know when you look at me just for a moment or for a few long seconds like you do in the morning I feel this amazing thing. It’s like a light being lit within me. You look at me and I feel chosen. And it is clear to me why I am so lucky to have this life. I don’t know why I got to be your mother Jonah, but I did and I am honoured. It is strange to live everyday wanting to both slow time down and then speed it up. I can’t wait to see you grow up but this morning I cried because I realised how fast you are growing up. I cannot tell you how much happiness you’ve brought into my world. Thank god your dad and I don’t know crap about contraceptives. You, my little angel are the light of my life.

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