Thursday, August 25, 2011

Feeling a little heart achey

I got sent on a mission today to photograph the seventeen buildings in the network of churches and organizations that partner with a local non-profit I volunteer for, Family Promise. It was a pleasant way to spend the day, if you don't count the broken air conditioner in my car, the 90 degree heat, and my black leather seats. 

One of the organizations in their network happens to be Carroll College, the beautiful campus where I found my way through my first year in an English Writing program just this past school year. Classes are back in session as of this past Monday and I've been grappling with what feels a lot like mourning since late last week. I'm not joining the other [often not nearly as eager] students this Fall. Probably not this next Spring either.
I'm essentially due to deliver my son around Finals week of this semester. Not exactly ideal. And then I'll have a four week old infant as students return from their Christmas Breaks for the Spring. I understand why that doesn't really work. And yet I'm yearning for it so, so dearly. I actually dreamt about it a couple of nights ago. The entire dream consisted of my strolling happily between the classrooms of Simperman Hall and thinking to myself, "Hm. It's strange that the professors are expecting me in my classes. I un-registered from all of these. Sure glad they saved me a spot!" and then, "What are you going to do when the baby is born? Oh well! We'll cross that bridge when we get there!" I dreamt in the sort of Pollyanna verse I wish I could live by sometimes.
The gritty reality of it is that I'm an obsessive perfectionist who darn near killed herself last year. I barely slept. I rarely had time to eat. I fretted and stressed constantly. I am aware of this. And I am aware that my husband is right when he says I simply can't do that to myself while pregnant. None of that, however, changes the fact that, today, I am achey.
As a kid, I fantasized about life as a college student. I know, I  know. Call me a nerd. It's fine. I'm used to it by now. But I did. I pictured myself wearing sweaters and funky plastic framed glasses (it was very much to my chagrin that my eye sight turned out to be perfect), sitting on a grassy hill somewhere in the middle of a history rich campus surrounded by a pile of books. That was my version of a bright and exciting future.
I waited six years after high school to finally make it there. And now, one very short year later, it feels further from me than ever before.
Here is where it becomes necessary for me to remind you (and myself) that I am truly thrilled to be becoming a mother. Truly. The desire to be a mom radiated from my bones for two years before I got pregnant.
But I crave writing, too. It's like a thirst I can't quench. I know I still have so much to learn.
Last year, my dream felt like it was there for the taking. I was learning and growing and creating and stretching and absorbing and experimenting and thriving. I was drinking my fill, and making plans to bring a bigger cup.
And now, if I am lucky, I'll get back to school Fall of 2012. But, let's be real: the odds of that are pretty slim. Our finances were tight last year. Now I want to throw the financial responsibilities of a baby in the mix and make that work? My time and energies were absolutely maxed out. How can I expect to be a the kind of mother I want to be and an over achieving, professor-pleasing student?

Am I really looking at a solid ten years (accounting for the fact that we plan to have more kids) before I can even wet my lips again? My creative throat feels dry already.

Friday, August 19, 2011

This guy

On  Monday, I will have been married to my best friend for two years and I still can't believe how lucky I got when he picked me. Prepare yourself - I'm going to gush for a moment now.
He's a sucker for me. 
That's what he has starting saying the last few weeks. The first time was during an animal shelter commercial on tv - I got my sad eyes, as I always do where animals are involved, and he shook his head and chuckled. "Oh Wife, you're such a sucker for everything!" (He's right here: the usual - orphans on tv, abused cats and dogs - but also - squished squirrels on the side of the road, the dead bird my dog drags in, a mouse stuck in a trap...) "I'm a sucker for you," he continued, "and you are a sucker for everything." He was poking fun at me, but it was also one of the most endearing things he has ever said. He can't resist me. Which, of course, makes me a sucker for him, too.
He's always, always there for me.
As a kid I had night terrors - nightmares that trapped me inside their terrifying worlds. Recurring dreams about being caught by some killer in a pink bubble gum trap, or lost in a giant black maze desperate for my mom, or hiding in the corner of complete blackness while giant voices boomed and a baby cried - and my parents couldn't shake me out of them.They sound silly now, but they were pretty traumatizing actually. As an adult, nightmares - twisted, intense, and oh so real nightmares - have continued to trouble me. I can wake myself up now, most of the time, but they still seem to have a grip on me. For several long minutes after I wake up, part of my brain and body remains seized by the raw emotion of the dream, whatever it may be. Fear. Anxiety. Sadness. And so, every now and again, I wake up crying and can't stop myself. But for the last two years, God has blessed me with something else that won't loosen its hold on me: my husband. The sound of my shaky tears wakes him up and he's instantly surrounding me. He lays there with me, no matter the time, no matter how tired, until it's over. Then he does his best to get my mind off of it. Make me talk about what I want for dinner that night - anything - until I'm calm enough to go back to sleep. This morning started exactly this way, which is a large part of what prompted this post.
Sometimes we fight, but we're never mean.
We got into a bit of an argument last night - a pretty rare occurrence, I'm grateful to be able to say. I'm a bit emotional these days, though, so it's not terribly surprising that I overreacted to some news he had for me. There was no yelling - just emotional and un-thought out responses. A few minutes in he said, "Geez, babe. I came home excited to tell you about this and you're kind of ripping me apart." My heart sank immediately. We've never been the kind of couple to beat each other up verbally. Even when we disagree - strongly - we care enough about each other to think through what we want to say. We never try to zing each other and I'm so, so grateful for that. I've known couples to say things for meanness sake, to fling purposefully biting words at one another in the heat of a fight. Most of them regret it later, apologize and makeup. But I'm a believer that those little wounds never completely heal. Words can not ever truly be taken back. God has blessed me with a husband too considerate, respectful and loving to take the chance, and I will fight like hell to make sure I never become the kind of wife who would. Needless to say, we took a pause from the discussion last night, took a few deep breaths, and then talked through it much more successfully.
He's going to be the best dad.
I've said it over and over again, because I believe it whole heartedly - and have since I met him four years ago. He just has a way about him. Gentleness - but the ability to be firm. Humor - without every failing to take the serious things serious. Responsibility - tempered by a strong sense of adventure. I couldn't be prouder to call him my husband and now, the father of my child. This morning, after I finished crying and telling him about the ravioli dinner I planned to make tonight, he gave me the most precious and unprompted compliment. Squeezing me, he said, "You're going to be the best mom ever." I might have leaked a few more tears at that point, but mostly my heart just swelled up.
And a 1,000 other things.... 
God, I love him.

I love you, Justin Waugh. I can't wait to turn our 2 years into 10. And then 20. And then 50....

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sunning the belly

Took a trip to the lake yesterday with the other instructors from my dance studio (aka my second family). It was a great afternoon: great friends, sunshine, water, macaroni salad and watermelon (the food matters to a pregnant lady!), and a belly on display. 21 1/2 weeks and there is no disguising it any more!

Monday, August 8, 2011

It's a.....!!!

Despite a pounding headache and dizziness that day, the moment of our gender reveal was one of the most fun and exciting in a long time! The thrill of finally getting to know the gender of this amazing little baby growing inside of me was amplified by the joy of sharing it with my wonderful family and friends.
As tempting as it was, we did not let our ultrasound tech tell us the sex of the baby. After all the measurements were taken and each organ, bone and appendage accounted for (what a glorious sense of relief each time she listed off something else as normal, good, healthy, beautiful!) she shut off the monitors and went searching for the gender answer without us. She printed a couple pictures to prove her observation, sealed them in an envelope and we drove straight to this great little bakery here in town, Park Ave, to order their delicious White Chocolate and Lemon Delight... except for one small modification. We entrusted them with our envelope and asked them to dye the inside of the cake accordingly: blue for a boy, pink for a girl. (I got this fun idea from my gorgeous friend Emily Haire.Thanks Em!) That way, we could all find out together when we cut the cake.
As for the rest, well, the video pretty much speaks for itself.

(P.S. - I just joined an awesome site called Bloggy Moms. All you other Mommy Bloggers out there should check it out!)

Monday, August 1, 2011

My first baby

My favorite picture of her - 7 weeks old, sleeping on my slippers.

I have wanted a dog my whole life. No exaggeration, I promise. Both of my siblings had dogs to call their own, as did my Mom and Dad, but apparently 4 dogs was the cut off. And then I moved out of the house when I was 18, and despite the crazy desire to run out and buy the next puppy I saw, was smart enough to recognize that my life would be completely unpredictable for the next who knows how many years. The apartment hopping life just isn't really a life for a dog. So I can not tell you how excited I was when my husband told me last year for my birthday that we could get a dog.
I had never spent any time around boxers before. The few I had seen I thought were kind of ugly. The only reason I decided to go look at the puppies I saw advertised in the paper was because my husband had a boxer named Lady as a teenager, and I knew how much he had loved that dog.

My baby at six weeks - those first few days after I brought her home. <3

It was truly love at first sight. From the first time I met her, Sadie and I were fast friends. She chose me, really, continually coming out from the litter to demand my attention. I was very happy to oblige. And since that day, she has been my baby.

She is so precious when she's sleepy - and my favorite napping partner!

She is truly spoiled. Hopefully not rotten, but both my husband and I have such a soft spot for her, I know she gets away with much more than we should allow. But for more than a year now, she has been one of the brightest spots in every day. Always happy, always looking for love and attention, way too smart for her own good, and a genius at using the sad puppy eyes to get more from us (more scratching, more play time.. just more).

See? Spoiled.

And now with a real baby on the way, I'm worried about her. She is an attention hungry dog. What will happen when I don't have as much time for her? It breaks my heart to think of her feeling neglected or pushed aside.
My husband and I are seriously considering adopting a male boxer, 3 years old and neutered, to be her companion. My hope is that this eases the transition for her. A friend to play with. But I'm  nervous. Is that just one more thing to take our attention away from her? Is it too much to take on with a baby on the way? Or is it helpful, keeping her occupied and happy?
Any words of advice?