Getting, and feeling, lost

For a “softer” look, she should loosen the hair from her ponytail. Makes ALL the difference.

This past Sunday was kind of a rough one for me.

We just hung around at home, mostly, but I’d had a long, demanding week at work; taking care of Neve and Lily was draining enough that I never got the chance to shower or brush my hair or teeth; the short yoga pants I wore were also worn during the previous night as pajamas, and they were stained with Neve’s milk spit-up; and I had a headache, so although Joe managed to give me time for a nap, I still grumped around and snapped at everyone intermittently.

I was feeling sorry for myself, and empty, and subhuman. It seemed that over the course of just a few years, I’d become a woman whose entire life, outside of work, consisted of nothing but repeatedly pulling Neve down from the coffee table (where she perpetually longs to “surf”), negotiating meals with Lily (“How many bites ’til I’ve eaten a good dinner?”), and countless Sisyphean domestic details.

I stared longingly at the untouched Sunday New York Times on our kitchen table, remembering when I had the time and freedom to read it through, and go for a long run, and talk with my husband about the articles I’d read. I used to be interesting, I thought. I used to read have Sundays filled with rest and joy. And more generally, I used to travel and read entire books (that didn’t have talking bunnies or ducks) and see my girlfriends and take occasional, two hour bike rides.

So although Joe had planned to make a stir fry for dinner on Sunday night, he looked at me that afternoon and said, “You don’t look like you’re up for doing dishes tonight. Why don’t we just order something?”

I didn’t argue.

And when it came time to pick up the pizza and salad, I leaped at the chance to make even a cameo appearance in the real world. But then I realized, Oh, wait, I look like hell.

Stepping in front of the bathroom mirror, I loosened the hair from my ponytail a bit to get a little volume on top of my head, so as to not look quite as harsh and rigid.

And then I nearly cracked up, looking down at my spit-up-on black yoga shorts. “Yes,” my last remaining shred of vanity intoned, “that little hair-pull makes ALL the difference. Instant MILF.” Continue reading

Freedom Burger

In early November, Joe and I drove to the Fillmore Theater in downtown Detroit to see the Indigo Girls in concert. We hadn’t had dinner, and we had some time, so we tucked into the bar/restaurant next door first.

I got a cosmo, Joe got a beer, and we ordered burgers. As we talked during the meal, I said, a couple of times, “Wow, my burger is REALLY GOOD,” and I ordered another cosmo. Now, this was the most I’d had to drink in one evening since before I was pregnant with Neve, so I was feeling pretty tipsy, but I was also really enjoying myself.

And I had a great time with Joe and friends at the concert, so it was a fabulous night overall. But for days and days afterward, I’d think about that burger, and my mouth would water, remembering how good it was.

“I don’t know what it was,” I said to Joe one night, “but that burger I had before the concert tasted amazing to me. Were the burgers that good?”

I’d questioned this afterward, because the place wasn’t a cult local favorite for burgers – just a run-of-the-mill bar in an advantageous location. And my suspicions were confirmed when Joe said, “They were good, but not that special.”

So I finally figured out that although I may have had cosmo goggles on that evening in regard to the food, the main thing that was heightening my enjoyment was the sense of freedom I felt (or “tasted,” as it were). Freedom to have a couple of drinks; to spend time with Joe and some dear old friends from college, listening to music that I love; freedom from absently, mechanically shoveling food down in order to feed an increasingly disgruntled baby or comfort a sensitive 3 year old; freedom to re-visit the person I had been before I became “Mommy.”

It was such a relief, and a release, to find that I could still locate that person within myself. But the opportunities are few and increasingly hard to come by. Continue reading

Lily’s first Mommy-less weekend (Spoiler alert: she survives!)

Me and the lovely Danielle, who lives in Minneapolis

For the first time since Lily was born, I took a solo trip to visit friends this past weekend, leaving for the airport Saturday morning at about 9 a.m., and returning home on Sunday at about 6:30 p.m. 

I felt nervous about this, but I ultimately made the decision to do it because I’ve been desperately longing to spend some quality time with my far-flung girlfriends (check out this previous post on the topic). Distance makes it hard enough for adults to maintain close friendships, but throw some babies and toddlers into the mix and it’s damn near impossible.

So when I heard that three close friends would be communing in Pennsylvania, I thought about how travel would only get trickier after July, when our second baby‘s due, and thus decided, on pretty short notice, to just go ahead and go for it.

That doesn’t mean, of course, that anxiety about my decision didn’t enter the picture – far from it. Though I was excited at the prospect of some aimless gal-pal bonding time, the potential for guilt loomed large as I imagined tearful calls from Lily telling me to come home. NOW. (Shudder.) Just thinking about this filled me with dread. Continue reading