For the first time in a long time I feel semi-well rested. I find it amazing how becoming a parent basically means you enter the land of zombiedom. I felt like I survived parenting “boot-camp” when I made it to month three. Cherri was taking naps, happy, and sleeping through the night. Life was good. We had a routine. But then we moved to Montana and everything was thrown off balance. First, she stopped wanting to take naps and then she learned how to roll over, which meant she would roll on her belly at night, then wake up crying because she forgot how to roll back over.
Once we solved that problem we had a week were she was napping and sleeping through the night again. Now though she is teething and it is a nightmare! My normally happy baby is constantly grumpy, wakes up during the night, and doesn’t take naps. No amount of Tylenol or Gripe Water helps. I love the girl but I’m so ready for this first tooth to come in. But here is the truth…this is only the beginning. I have a long road ahead of me still.
Being a 24 hour parent is a never ending job. Some days I want to sleep the day away while others I want to cling on to my daughter like a lifeline. I find it interesting that my daughter and I will forever be tethered together. And right now we are in sync. If she has a bad day mine will likely be bad too and vise versa.
Everyone always makes the joke that wives are a mans “ball and chain,” but I would like to argue that a child is a mothers “ball and chain.” My days are wrapped around her feedings, the need to be entertained, changing, and dressing. Without me she would literally die. She needs me in order to live. It is such a huge responsibility. Right now we are each others worlds.
I will say though, I like being able to pawn her off on my parents from time to time. Granted it is an equal amount of me waiting to get rid or her for a few minutes and them fighting to hang out with her. Unlike when I was living in South Carolina. I was 100% on my own for the first three months. No friends. No family. Just me and Cherri. I had to pull up my big girl panties and do what needed to be done. In a lot of ways that is what being a new parent means, constant survival mode.
I had no clue what I was doing and the questions I had were endless but without a place to turn to I simply did what needed to be done. Sometimes in life that is what you have to do. Sink or swim. Give up or give in.
Now, my brother and my cousin have daughters of their own who are a mere two weeks apart. They are lucky to have each other during this time. With my daughter being four months older it will be awhile before we are all on the same page.
Speaking of my brother, he and his family were able to visit last weekend. It was such a beautiful time. My brother only lives three hours away but he is dealing with a lot of things regarding the adoption of his daughter so he isn’t able to come visit much. Same goes for my mom. It is too much for her to travel now that her chemo treatments are weekly. In other words, being able to see the latest edition to the family was so wonderful. The cousins were together at last!
Not only were the baby cousins together but my cousin Dan, who is also my brothers close friend, and his family came to visit for a short spell. Making it so all three girls were together for the first time! It was exciting. The house was full and alive. I don’t think I have let myself feel that happy in a long while.
It was good for my mom too. Family is her rock. Right now I know that she sometimes feels chained to her cancer as much as, or more so, then I do to my daughter. With my mom being so positive it is easy to forget that she has cancer.
To me my mom is nothing other then healthy. She has been so amazing through out all of this. But, she has her bad days. Her moments of weakness like I do with my daughter. Just like any other new parent, I want to turn off my parenting every once in while and be me. Have a normal none stressful day. Fortunately, for me that is possible from time to time. My husband can give me a break or my parents. But my mom can’t turn off her cancer. She can’t have normal for a day. That is easy to forget. She has no choice but to ride it out like a long tidal wave.
The new medicine that they have been giving her has been making her very tired, the occasional rash on her skin, and a lot of mouth sores. Not to mention her tastebuds have decided to take a vacation. Scariest of all her fingers and toes are going numb which means that neuropathy could be a very real symptom that she experiences.
She has a long 10 weeks of chemo ahead of her still and the question of mastectomy or lumpectomy still lingers in the stress corners of her mind.
So that is why, times like last weekend are so crucial. Having the time to cuddle a newborn while sitting in the sun watching dandelion seeds drift by is perfection. Some of my moms favorite people were here, her two sons and her daughter. And with them came four of her grandchildren. Two babies and two preteens. My other brother Joesph lives one town over so we see him and his family almost every weekend. Which is a good thing because everyone adores there two kids. They are 10 and 12. The twelve-year-old, Alexis, is probably the funnest kid I have ever met. She makes every room and dinner table come to life with her odd sense of peculiarity. Right now her biggest worry is about “breaking.” When I first heard this I was confused until I understood that she has recently gone through a class about what happens to your body when puberty strikes.
My mom and Alexis are very close. They even have sleepovers. My niece even shaved the underneath of her hair to support my mom and is constantly posting supportive photos to her Instagram. To know her is to love her. I am so grateful for the joy she brings my mom. Grateful for the joy that all the family brings. There are many reasons in life to feel weighed down. Chained to your surroundings. Losing yourself in the wake of new adventures. Good, bad, and the in between. I am learning that it is not your condition, your surroundings, or your emotions that control you but what you choose to do with them that counts.
I have been taking my little blue pills of happy because I am one of many people that is suffering from post pardum depression. Everyday is a fight for me to be positive. I have let my surroundings and my circumstances define me for so long that I have long forgotten who I am.
However, with every day that passes and I see my daughter brighten into her personality I can’t help but feel real genuine joy. They we she smiles when I sing to her and how her laugh sounds more like a cackle. I am realizing more then ever that life is a precious gift. Often times we have to to choose to cherish that gift and fight for everything that it is worth, but a gift nonetheless.
Life is seldom perfect but there are perfect moments. The little things. Small pieces of happy that we should cling too because those are the forever moments that build who we are.
Last weekend my mom was having a bad morning and literally cried over a spilled egg yoke on her pink shirt. As small as it seems my heart broke for her in that moment because I know how hard she tries to match scarves/hats with her outfits. Every woman wants to feel beautiful on a daily basis. I grew up with my mom hiding herself in photographs or not being willing to be in them at all. She was on diet after diet trying so hard to be what she thought was beautiful. It always hurt me to see her doubt herself because to me she has always been the most beautiful woman in the world. It took her years to finally feel good about herself. To finally have the confidence to wear yellow against her red hair and not feel like Ronald McDonald. Then just as hard as it was for her to achieve that goal, of feeling confident and beautiful, she had to step through that valley all over again as a bald woman.
Who by the way, is still the most beautiful woman in the world to me, bald or not bald. So she cried when she spilled on herself and it made me so mad because little things can ruin your day in an instant.
But, thats when it hit me. Every day has an equal amount of good and bad. It is what you choose to focus that builds a lifetime. Good or bad. Happy or Sad. It is the little things that define who we are.