Every Little Piece

Emilia,

It’s been a while since I’ve written a letter like this. This one is important to me and it’s something I need to write down to remember to enforce every day in myself.

The first time I looked in the mirror and saw beauty there, I was in my 20’s. I have heard the word my entire life, but it was the first time I saw it myself. With naked lashes and spotty skin, I admired the shape of my jaw, the strength of my chin, the size of my eyes… I saw someone who I could love.

Now that I have you (and you are what it took to see myself clearly) I realize how important it is to feel that way. How important it is to bury that self-love deep into your soul.

From this point on I will make up for all of those years I missed. I will love myself now, because now is where we exist; you and I in this moment that we’re so lucky to have.

I am not perfect, but I am beautiful. I am strong. I am confident.  I am secure.

You are all of these things, too. Right now. In all of your two-year old glory. You are SO fierce. So beautiful and strong. You will do it “all by yourself.” And you do, you almost always do. At the same time, you don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it. I admire you so much for that. You’ve taught me that strength comes not only from independence, but recognizing limits and seeking support.

When I told you your hair was crazy, you corrected me right away, “No, my hair is BEAUTIFUL, Mom.”

And it was. You are always beautiful.

Your anger is beautiful and a force of its own. You lash out, you scream, you don’t want to be touched or spoken to. I stay back, but still as near as I can. I sit there with my arms open and my lap waiting and you come to me, you crawl into it and your hug is just as powerful. I love you so much then. I love every tear that spills over, every scream that rocks my core. You’re so beautiful in that moment it breaks my heart.

Your love is beautiful and more gentle than I ever would have expected. You caress my face and pat my hair and look deep into my eyes. “You love me mommy?” Yes, baby, I love you so so so much! “I love you so much, too. I’ll keep you safe.” Emi, my fierce little girl, that will never be your job. I will always be your  mother, you will never have to take my responsibility onto your shoulders. Broad like mine, yet so delicate, you will always be free to be a kid.

That little sigh you make right before you fall asleep, the way your breath hitches twice; your hand gripping mine from the backseat as my arm goes numb; the way you sing E I, E I, O; the way your whole face frowns; the way you smile all the way to your toes; the color of your skin and your hair and your eyes and your lips and your nail beds; your very faint scar; your endless bruises; your baby teeth gap; your voice; your cry; it is all so very, very beautiful.

By the time you are old enough to read this, Taylor Swift probably won’t be music you listen to, but you’ll know every word to this song anyway.

I love you, little big girl.

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Every Little Piece

Snapshot Saturday

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My ray of hope.
My reason to keep trying.
My first, but not my only.

Snapshot Saturday

Going Forward

When we were both new...
When we were both new…

I wrote a while back about how my blog name was outdated. There are less pawprints and no pacifiers and now that I am writing here more regularly I think it’s time for an update. In all of my “bios” I write the same thing. “Wife, mama, fit addict, happy.” because to sum myself up, those words are the most important things to me. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you may notice I’ve tweaked my name on their as well. I started out as a Misfit Mama, as someone who felt I didn’t quite fit in anywhere and that made me feel alone. As I’ve grown as a mother and met many other amazing women in real life and here on the interwebs, I no longer feel so alone or out of place. There are a lot of women out there like me, I just had to open my circle a little wider. So you’ll notice that my header has changed as well. My link will remain the same for a while, but I may eventually switch that over too.

I love that life is constantly evolving. I love change, I embrace it, as bittersweet as it can be. When I started this blog it wasn’t about anything, just a sort-of diary that I used to record the words I would have forgotten other wise. Some of the posts make me cringe now, some of my words seem so silly and immature in what is really no time at all. I am happy with how time as changed me, how I have let it flow around me like water and smooth away the jagged edges of my past. It’ll continue to change me, to shape me, and I am looking forward to looking back on these times. To see my own words, to remember those feelings. What I miss the most about my past is always the feelings and not being able to  remember them very well. I am such a different person than I was 5, 10, 15 years ago, but I get to revisit her in the hundreds of notebook pages she left for me, in the millions of letters I leave scattered behind me like bread crumbs. Sometimes I get a little lost and words have always been my path back.

In the years to come I’ll look back on each of these posts and I’ll still be thinking the same thing, “Thanks for the memories.” There is no better gift to give yourself.

Going Forward

Parenthood aka A Lifelong Panic Attack

*Please be warned, this entire post is a clusterfuck of bad writing.*

Being a parent ages you.

I used to think this was bullshit but let me explain why I’ve changed my mind.

They say young people don’t think about consequences, especially not about death. That our brains simply aren’t really capable of it and we all have an “It won’t happen to me, I’m too young attitude.” Yet, the second you get pregnant all you think about is death and every other thing that CAN happen.

Being a parent is terrifying. First it’s worry about miscarriage, then worry about premature birth, stillbirth, uterine rupture, hemorrhage, pulmonary embolism, you name it you fear it. After the baby comes, it’s worry about SIDS, weight gain, poop, allergies, and what this post is really about, VACCINATIONS.

*Morbid sidenote: I don’t know if other people feared their own death as much as I did, but the thought never left my brain. When I hemorrhaged after Emi was born I didn’t even panic, I actually thought, “I knew it.”

Hiss.Boo.Yuck.

Everyone has their own opinions on vaccinations; whether to get them or not, which ones to get, how soon to get them, how many at a time, blah blah blah blah. It’s a personal choice, one of a billion a parent has to make for their child, and I think every family should make an INFORMED decision that works for them. As for my family, we chose to vaccinate.

Emilia has been a CHAMP so far, she barely blinked at her PKU test, she doesn’t seem to care that her intestines fall through her pelvis occasionally, and her first round of vaccines resulted in a whole 45 seconds of crying and maybe a little more clingy-ness that night. (In all fairness, the clingy-ness might have been more on my part because my heart was breaking that my poor little baby had to be poked in any way.) I mean, child tries to drown herself on a nightly basis, she’s a badass.

Enter her 4 month vaccinations. First shot, no reaction save for a little side eye at the nurse who was restraining her from rolling or kicking her legs. How dare you nurse, don’t you know that’s her favorite things in life? Second shot?

holyshitfuckDYING!

It took about 2.5 seconds for her to register that something had happened, something PAINFUL ,and oh dear lord she must scream as loud as her lungs will allow. It took me 2.7 seconds to try to pick her up (the nurse was still putting a band-aid on her leg) and 3 second to succeed and hold her as close and tight as I could without hurting her.

Sorrysorrysorrysorrysorrryyyyyyyyyy honey!

I nursed her before her shots and then about 45 seconds after to try to help her with the pain and it seemed to work since she stopped screaming and settled into her car seat for a quick nap. (Shock? Maybe, but probably not she does usually nap after I pick her up from daycare. I don’t want to think about it.) She woke up, I bathed her and she was her normal, happy playful self. Trying to drown herself and all of that jazz. We spent some time on the floor playing with toys and taking pictures and all seemed well. She was fussy and tired so I took her to bed, nursed her down and then went to watch some Glee with the Hub after which we joined her in bed. (Family bed, woot!)

At midnight she woke up SCREAMING, not a normal “I’m hungry and I can’t find your nipple” cry but an “OH MY GOD SOMEONE IS KILLING ME!”, blood chilling, instant panic inducing, wail. (By the way if you are reading this and know anything about proper grammar, sentence structure, and other proper english stuff – I do not and I apologize for what I am sure is a painful reading experience for you.) I picked her up and tried to get her to latch but she wouldn’t. I jumped out of bed thinking standing might help but it didn’t. I ripped her PJs open to make sure her skin wasn’t broken out or splotchy, checked to make sure there were no hard lumps or issues at her shot sites and tore her diaper off to make sure her hernia wasn’t incarcerated. Nothing.

Notice, the words I used, jumped, ripped, tore… I was in no way or shape calm at this point. Lights were on, pets were up, and I was unsuccessfully trying to calm my poor little princess down.

Where was the Hub, you ask? Asleep. Amidst all of this panic he was face down in his pillow oblivious to the world. So what is my next move? I kicked him and yelled, “WAKE UP GOD DAMNIT I NEED YOUR HELP!” (Sorry Hub, you know I don’t handle stress well.) “SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH EMILIA, THIS IS NOT NORMAL! WAKE UP I NEED YOU TO LOOK UP VACCINE REACTIONS AND TO GET THE PEDIATRICIANS NUMBER AND HERE, HOLD HER I HAVE TO TAKE HER TEMPERATURE! (she starts crying harder) GIVE HER BACK! COME WITH ME!”

That right there, that is sheer new mom ridiculous-ness.

Poor Hub, I’m surprised he didn’t think the worst and freak out too. He just stood there, dumbfounded as I barked orders at him yet did everything myself. After throwing the contents of her medical kit bag all over her room I finally got her temperature and calmed down a bit when I saw she didn’t have a fever. (Fever, brain swelling, seizure, add that to the fear list.) Hub followed me into the living room and looked up vaccine reactions (Fuck you, Yahoo answers and the absurd amount of fear-mongering, anti-vaccine commenters. Who are also anti-tylenol, news to me.) and our pediatricians on-call number. Which obviously I need to put on the fridge but hey, BAD MOM right here. I wanted to give her Tylenol to help her but the bottle doesn’t give you a dosage, you need to get it from a doctor. I finally got a hold of the pediatrician who gave me the proper dose three times because I kept saying “It’s the concentrated stuff, are you SURE it’s the right dose?” (fear of drug overdose) and had to mix it with some breast milk to get it down her throat. The crying lessened, Hub went back to bed and after about 30 minutes we were able to join him. Emi slept on my chest (her usual place in times of stress) and I stayed awake and listened to make sure she was breathing. It was a pretty restless night.

So come October, I won’t be taking shots in a bar like most 23 year olds, on my birthday. I’ll be at home, with my baby, checking her breathing and worrying about the ulcer I am undoubtedly developing.

Parenthood aka A Lifelong Panic Attack