Wednesday, December 31, 2014

What a year

Let’s see—I started 2014 with few expectations. Andrew and I had moved into our Brooklyn apartment and were beginning to explore wedding venue options, having been engaged for two months. My job was going well and freelance, if lighter than in previous years, gave me the occasional jolt of creativity and excitement. Things were nice and comfortable. I was happy and conscious that my life, overall, was mellowing out.

It was a brutally cold winter. In February we journeyed up the Hudson Valley to Rhinebeck for President’s Day weekend with friends (have you ever been? Super cute town!) We came home and, my sore breasts nagging my conscience, I took a pregnancy test. It was positive. Everything changed.

Springtime became a flurry of doctor and wedding venue appointments as we decided to move the wedding up. (There was time in Miami, London, and a lovely week inParis, too!)

Being of “advanced maternal age,” I had to get frequent ultrasounds to make sure the baby was okay. We heard her heart beating. We sawher 3D photo in the womb. We passed critical tests and milestones and, after holding our breath for months, knew this was our baby.

In the meantime, we threw together our wedding weekend, a celebration filled with such love and joy. It was an ode to this great city of New York and, cliché but true, one of the happiest days of my life.

After a honeymoon in St Bart’s, we spent the summer lazing about Brooklyn and visiting Connecticut, Boston and Pennsylvania.

We cooked a bit, saw some music, and watched some baseball.

We reoutfitted our second bedroom/office into a second bedroom/nursery.

And then on October 8th, we welcomed Parker Anninto this world.

The two and a half months since have been filled with wonder. Just as the first couple weeks were tough—recovering from a c-section, not sleeping at night, not knowing what I was doing, and trying to figure out breastfeeding—and there are days that I can’t help but question my identity and if I’ll continue to write and travel and be motivated by all the things that made me happy in my thirties, I am experiencing a whole new chapter that I couldn’t be happier about. I love that little girl so much, it makes me cry. She is the sweetest, cutest, most delicious peanut in the world. We are so lucky.

Who would have thought that I’d be a bride at 41 and a new mom at 42. And on the eve of 2015, I can’t help but feel excited to think about how life will unfold, surprise and challenge.

Happy New Year, friends!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Tina Fey's prayer for her daughter... (mine for Parker, too)

One of the benefits of being a housebound, breastfeeding new mom is that you're parked on the couch a lot. Ideally, this would mean marathon sessions of Sex and the City or reading all those classics you always swore you would if only you had the time. But the breastfeeding/newborn care thing means that, while I have the time, I don't have the attention span or ability to dig into complex plots or Russian names. So light reading has been in order.

One of the books I read is Tina Fey's Bossypants, which made me laugh out loud, especially toward the end, when she was delving into motherhood. I especially loved her chapter about breastfeeding and all the "Teat Nazis" who make you feel less than if you're not gleefully breastfeeding until your child is two-years-old. But this little prayer for her daughter is pretty awesome, too:

First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be beautiful but not damaged, for it’s the damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered, may she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half and stick with beer.
Guide her, protect her when crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the nearby subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock N’ Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.
Lead her away from acting but not all the way to finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes and not have to wear high heels. What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You because if I knew, I’d be doing it, dammit.
May she play the drums to the fiery rhythm of her own heart with the sinewy strength of her own arms, so she need  not lie with drummers.

Grant her a rough patch from twelve to seventeen. 

Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, for childhood is short — a tiger flower blooming magenta for one day – and adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.
O Lord, break the Internet forever, that she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers and the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.
And when she one day turns on me and calls me a bitch in front of Hollister, give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, for I will not have that shit. I will not have it.
And should she choose to be a mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 a.m., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.“My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck.“My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a mental note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Oh, hello

Yes, we’re still here in Brooklyn, living in a little cocoon of new parenthood. Sometimes it’s blissful. It’s raining outside and I’m inside, eating m&m’s and watching Footloose on AMC.

Other times it’s tough, really tough. Parker is screaming, I’m starving, my teeth feel fuzzy, my nipples are on fire, and I wonder what day it is, why I’m doing this, will it ever get easier.

And it always does. The little lessons that emerge along the way: This too shall pass. One day at a time. Be in the moment. Find something positive in what is difficult. Count your blessings. Clichés, all, but true and comforting nonetheless. The love from family and friends, near and far, is astonishing.

And one week slides into another. Parker is now nine weeks old (nine weeks old!!). She’s regained her birth weight and eats like a champ. She’s able to chill out on her own for as long as 20 or 30 minutes. We can tease smiles out of her. And she is absolutely delicious.

Oh, and speaking of delicious, I’ve gotten out to some new spots. Doughnut Plant debuted in Brooklyn pretty much down the street from us. Tres dangereux.

And last weekend I had my first extended break for a hair appointment in Soho. Andrew stayed home and gave Parker bottles and danced to entertain her. I rode the subway, pumped in a bathroom, got a fabulous blow-out and tried, Maman, this killer new French café that has introduced some of the best cookies in the city. I felt part of the human race again.

I’m about midway through my maternity leave. I’m starting to meet other new moms, look into childcare, and fall deeper in love with Parker. It’s bee an interesting exploration of self and identity. After a couple decades of being so focused on a writing career, being home without the ability or ambition to write (to say nothing of exercising, keeping up on news, engaging with the community) is weird. It’s hard. I can feel alienated and adrift, wondering what I’m going to do from here. What I want to do. Sometimes when I tell Andrew that I did nothing all day, he corrects me and points out that I kept a little human being alive. Enough said. I mean, look at her!!

So here we are. Me and my girl. In love with her and my husband. Embracing the nuttiness. Wondering about the future. Another day. Lucky me.