life: it’s a nice day to start again.

In the silence between the last post and this, many things have happened. Cece is almost four months, a chubby little ball of drool and giggles and poop. We got married. A three word sentence that still looks incredibly strange. Life is still a continual trip down a rutted road, bouncing us along. The view is incredible, but I am exhausted.

Our wedding day. More about this later.

Our wedding day. More about this later.

For one thing, I still don’t know where myself went. Cece sucks me dry, both literally and figuratively. From the moment she wakes us up in the morning (too early) to the last flutter of her (ridiculously long) eyelashes at night, she dominates our entire existence. I am so intensely in love with her, but I am also mourning my independence, my self. I still need to find out who I am with her on my hip, in my heart. Sometimes it feels like I’ll never figure it out, but I have plenty of examples of wonderful women with full lives and full selves. So I just have to believe I will get there. Every so often something will happen that feels like a small step back towards me. But it’s a new me, and I am slowly starting to recognize her.

I know that I am incredibly lucky to be able to stay home with her. Money is tight, but we agree that it is worth the sacrifices. And I have never been the sort to find my validation and self in the jobs and careers I have had — quite the contrary, I have always worked begrudgingly, with a not too small dash of spoiled reluctance. I know it. I own it. I am a head-in-the-clouds, starving-artist-wannabe with a loathing of nine-to-five. Yeah yeah, special snowflake withers away in a cubicle, yadda yadda. I know how it sounds. I think James was so quick to agree with our current situation because he was sick of me coming home every evening in melodramatic tears.

Feeding the longhorns at the hundred year old farm we stayed at the night before the wedding.

Feeding the longhorns at the hundred year old farm we stayed at the night before the wedding.

But despite my abhorrence for the regular grind, I have been trying to pull my weight and, at the same time, recapture some sense of normality. I stupidly signed up to be a vendor at our local art market, neglecting the fact that I have absolutely no time in the day to create. There are two more markets this year and I would love to make some money off the holiday gift buyers, but I just don’t know if I will have the time. I think that is what kills me the most — not being able to create, to sew. It was such a huge, huge part of my life until literally the moment I went into labor. And then, poof! Gone. But not, because there is my sewing machine and there are the piles of fabric and there are all of the things I was working on — there they are, taunting me. Hi, old friends.

My love, my life.

My love, my life.

Moms, how do you do it? How do you recapture all of the things that made you you? Cece won’t nap anywhere except on my chest. She has to be touching me at all times at night, too. There is the odd time I can slide her off me and get a quick fifteen minutes of pattern cutting, but it is never longer. She wakes up screaming and I am near beside myself too. Sometimes I think the frustration will slay me.

The older she gets, the easier it gets. Small, tiny, minuscule steps towards something resembling normalcy. I can only hope that our new normal will include time and space for me.

life: six weeks.

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How have six weeks gone by already? I remember making our appointment for the six week check-up and thinking, wow, that’s a long way off! But here it is, and you are so big. Strangers stop us in the store and exclaim about how tiny you are, so small and perfectly formed. And a voice in my head says No! She is so big! Because they don’t know the difference of your sweet weight in my arms from then and now. They don’t know the rolls that are starting to form on your thighs or the little belly poking out of your diapers. I know, and it blows my mind.

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Life is still in a total upheaval — I don’t know when we will get used to this new normal, but it is a constant learning experience. You are clingy, wanting only me. And sometimes that is so wonderful, to be needed and loved and trusted so much. But other times it is exhausting and I don’t know what to do with it. But we work through it, you and me and your daddy. We will always work through it.

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I keep starting and stopping your birth story. I don’t know if I can share it, but I want to. It is already fading fast into a rose-colored memory, a hazy memory of pain and anxiety and then that brilliant, incredible flash of love and wonder when you came screaming like a banshee into this world. And into my arms. How do I describe that? I don’t think I ever, ever could.

life: new normal.

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One week old. What was our life like before Cece? I can’t really remember. She is so much a part of us now that it is inconceivable to think about how it was. Everything is so surreal — the past week has flown by, a blink-and-I-missed-it moment full of family visits, late-night nursing, new-baby smells and so, so much love. Today I finally brought out my DSLR and took some photos, because I don’t want to miss a moment. Her squinty-eyed stare, her flailing hands, her hiccups. How did we make something so wonderful?

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Today we ventured out into the big wide world as a family for the first time. We went to Target, where I bought nursing shields and a car window shade and anti-bacterial hand wipes for the diaper bag. Mom stuff. I am buying mom stuff at Target. And then to Half Price Books, because it is a quiet, safe space for us and I had a 30% off coupon. My fears of germ-ridden strangers sticking their hands in her face never materialized (though one woman mistook her for a boy because of the camo onesie and I didn’t correct her, too busy admiring her baby-dream-faces to get into a gender lecture). She slept the whole time in her carrier and on Daddy’s shoulder, and we are tentatively hopeful we might have a calm and chill baby? Knock on wood, please don’t jinx it.

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She rolled over on the exam table at her newborn check-up to the shock and delight of me, my mother and the doctor. She holds her head up for a length of time that is supposed to be impossible for a newborn. I know every mother thinks their child is exceptional, but it is sort of scary how strong she is. I want her to always be strong, and curious, and daring. Right now she is curled up against my chest in her wrap, and her little quick breathes are a song. How can you love someone so much you just met?

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