Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Dear Kate

Dearest Kate.

May I call you that?  It is not very reverent of me, but I feel that now you are a Mum, we are on more of a level playing field.  

Your prince is just gorgeous.  How could he not be?  I am sure you are staring at him, as you exclaim, "he has my mom's nose!  He has your ears!"  It's a wonderful time for a family, celebrating the addition of a person with their own unique features and yet can look just like someone you've been loving for years. 

How was your labor?  I read William was by your side, and that is wonderful.  I appreciated that you wrapped the show up within 12 hours, so we could find out if you had a boy or girl.  You are always so thoughtful!  I am positive that unlike most women, you didn't poop on the table.  It just doesn't seem your style.  In fact, I don't think you poop.  I read it in People.

You are a beautiful, real-live princess.  You hold yourself so regally, with your pretty clutch purses.  I love looking at the pictures of your beautiful smile as you greet your well-wishers, holding onto your husband's arm.  You embody grace, loveliness, sweetness and also a quiet strength.  No wonder the world is in love with you.

But girlfriend, you just gone done and had a baby.  Sh*t's about to get real, yo.

If you change the royal diapers, you will get peed on.  And pooped on.  A lot.  Perhaps you can don a frock over your gorgeous outfits while you wipe His Royal Highness.  Are you nursing, Kate? If you are, you no doubt are finding that the books that recommended strong and serious nipple play as a preparation were NOT joking.  You grit your teeth and hold onto a pillow for dear life as Boy-Not-Yet-Named seems to be punishing your tender nipples for something you did to him in the womb.  Hold tight, it will get better I promise.  I would advise, as a mere commoner, for you to continue nursing if you can, if only for this reason.  If you need an "out", what is better than, "I'm sorry, I must tend to my son who needs fed. "  Right?!

As a mom who had 2 c-sections, I can not attest too much to the carnage that I know happened to your Royal Vag.  However,  I'm guessing you're a tad uncomfortable.  Remember to be kind to yourself, and rest that J.  I hear sitz baths and ice helps.  Your son is a nice size - congratulations on building such a big boy!!  But I know that 8lbs 6 oz came at a price, and we know what that price was.  The next time William moans about an appearance he must make, or some such drudgery, you may or may not reflect on the war that happened to your down unders.  Not often, but perhaps once a year, you can pull out "I'm sorry dearest, yes that sounds wretched.  But I did go ahead a push a human out of my vagina, and I whined less than you are right now.  And then, the very next day, I stood upright as I waved at millions of people, while wondering how long I had until my pad needed changed.  So please be a dear and shut the hell up, ok?"  William seems like a lovely fellow, and I bet that will be all he needs to hear in order to man up.  After all, from what I read, he did witness it.  And I'm guessing he won't forget.  Neither will you.  But you will, in a way, never remember.  You'll know you had pain, you'll know what your body went through to deliver your perfect son.  But the minute he came out did you not think, "In a heartbeat, all again.  All of it, all again."  The pain becomes a badge of honor, not a hardship.  And a very, very small price to pay for love and joy in the form of a person, right there in your arms.

Kate, as the days go on, you will be tired.  He may or may not cry a lot.  You may or may not cry a lot. I'm assuming you have nannies and housekeepers, but a girl needs her mama.  Let her mother you...after all, now you know how she feels.  And you're her baby.  She'd give her right arm to make you happy.  Be honest with people, and say no when you're not into their plans.  Nap.  Or at least read or watch tv in a bath when you can.  Eat.  Drink lots of water.  

I want to warn you about one thing.  You're different now.  There's no escaping it.  You love William, of course.  But this love, this primal, fierce, nothing-like-it love for your son, it will never leave you.  And it may cause you some pain as time goes on, and you worry for him and his innocence.  You will pray for nothing harder, you will want nothing more, than for him to be safe, healthy and happy.  I encourage you Kate, I implore you, to look to God in this.  Because even with your security, and even with your guards, you will worry.  The only thing I have found is to pray everyday for my children's safety from illness and ill-will.  That helps, and I wanted you to know.  

I also want you to know that I am happy for you.  You have officially been given the hardest and yet most rewarding job in the entire world.  

Congratulations Kate!!  Many blessings and hope for a lifetime of laughter, love, joy and health.

Oh and one more thing.  The media sharks have already wondered about your "getting back in princess shape" plan.  Remember, you're the one living in a castle, not them.  So for crying out loud, have a burger if you want to.  You deserve it.

A Fellow Mum

Sunday, July 21, 2013

I Marilyn-ed it.

I look like my dad.  And some of my personality traits come straight from him - his bloodline or from just spending 19 years with him.  For years I didn't want to be like him, to tell the truth.  He had a temper, his expectations of people were very high, and he was a genius, which I saw as a flaw.  Among other things, I would say.  Suffice it to say, I am no genius, so phew I guess.   But like him, I do have a temper and my expectations of others is high.  Over the years I have tried to quell my temper, and I do feel my anger pales greatly in comparison to his, thankfully.  My expectations have also faded over the years...if anything, it is me that I expect a lot from.  I grasped onto what I felt were his shining qualities - his generosity and affinity for all things water - and hoped those traits would overshadow the less favorable ones.  I am still working on the generosity, but since I have raised two fish as daughters who LOVE the water, I feel good about that one.

I never felt like I was much like my mom.  I didn't look like her, and didn't act like her.

So I thought.

Now, let me lead by saying my mom means the world to me.  I adore her.  Before I had children, I felt that if something happened to her before I was old and gray myself with a foot in the loony door, I would want to go down with her.  I thought I couldn't face life without my "Ma".  Now I know it would be one of the great sadnesses of my life, but I will go on.  My mom is going on 70 years old.  70 used to be "old" to me.  Not anymore.  My mom went on rides today at Ocean City!  That is not something an old person does.

Anyway, as I have aged myself, and because I am a mother, I have seen some similarities rise to the surface.  Some are intentional.  I sing the same lullies as she did.  I use her recipes to make marinara sauce and meatloaf.  I buy sandals thinking, "Ma would like these."

And some similarities just show up.

My mom (Marilyn) is a Monce.  What is a Monce?  It's her maiden name...her parents were Verna and Albert Monce, and she is one of 9 children they had.  She was in the middle of their line up of 6 girls and 3 boys.  Over the years, my cousins and I have termed "Monce" as a way of describing some of the common traits the Monce siblings share.  Most notably, is their interpretation of the right way to do something.  Anything.  From cutting produce for a crudite tray, to assembling lasagna, to arranging items on a shelf, to ironing.  When I was young, my mom didn't have me help with many chores, simply because I didn't do them well enough.  And when I did, she'd often redo my work.

I still fold towels COMPLETELY wrong.

Kevin has told me I can be a Monce.  Although he coined it "being a Marilyn."  When I watched him put together the girls trampoline, he non-politely told me to stop being a Marilyn and go away, because I was Marilyn-ing it.  I really thought I was just offering helpful suggestions.

Well, I see it now.  I am currently on vacation with my in-laws in Wildwood.  In the downstairs floor of a house, close and cozy.  My mother in law has told me she hates the noise I make when I itch my throat, and I have told her I hate the way she takes her first sip of coffee and smacks her lips.  When you spend several days together, with nary an inch between you, *%$# gets real, yo.

The other morning my father in law lovingly offered to make us all scrambled eggs for breakfast.  "Sure!" we said.  I stood at the counter slicing bagels for the girls as he got started.  I watched in horror as he put a slab of margarine in the pan, and didn't wait until it heated up before he started cracking eggs on the side of the pan and throwing them in.  Then, after a few eggs, he took a spatula and mixed them all up.  (Sidenote and yet completely on the subject, as he cracked the eggs, he'd throw the shells in the sink, with leftover drippy egg going all over the counter and the cream cheese that was out.)

My jaw hit the drippy-egged counter.  No bowl in which to mix the eggs with a dash of milk, salt and pepper?  No BUTTER in the frying pan, heating up before you pour in the already-mixed eggs?  No waiting until they're set just right before gently sliding your spatula underneath to start breaking up the eggs?

And so then I said it.  I Monce-ed it.  I Marilyn-ed it.

"Um, Poppy, is that how you make eggs?"

"What do you mean, I'm making eggs."

"Yeah, but you are, like, scrambling them like that, no bowl..." I stammered, starting to understand that he was indeed, making eggs like "that."

And let me tell you - the eggs were pretty good!

My towels do fine folded the wrong way in a closet that no one sees.  Sometimes my carrot sticks aren't of uniform cut when I arrange them on the tray...and no one cares.  Unless my mom is attending that party.

So I learned something here.  But that doesn't mean I won't peer over Kevin's shoulder the next time he's loading the dishwasher and ask if he intended on putting the cereal bowl on the top rack or was that an accident.  Because I forgot to mention, I get my verbal impulsiveness from my dad.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

never far

The other day I found a crinkled up piece of paper with Taylor's writing on it, and it had apparently had water spilled on it as the colors ran and were faded.  I almost threw it out without reading it, but since I am "One Who Hates to Throw Out Anything My Kids Have Created That's Special and It's Almost All Special" I read it first.

Then my heart stopped and my throat caught and my knees buckled.

"Why did my baby brother die"

"When can I talk to him"

"When can I not cry"

I have already put this note in my baby box along with other items that I never really want to look at again, but can't throw away.  So I forget the exact wording of her questions, but that's the gist.   I am guessing these were questions to God.

All four of us mourn this baby like we actually met him or her.  Kevin tears up sometimes if I bring it up, but he doesn't talk about it really.  Bailey once in awhile says something like "if Baby Collin were here he'd be in a high chair now" or if Baby Collin were here I'd hold him in the pool" and it makes all of us nod and cry for a minute.  Taylor and I both have grieved more outwardly, and we comfort each other.  The thing that she talks about most is how much she wanted to sing "Baby Mine" for the baby, and be a big sister.  I always encourage her to sing the song anyway, and she does through her tears for her brother in heaven.  I remind her she is a wonderful big sister, and was right from the beginning, petting my tummy and talking to the baby.  As the pregnancy went on and things were not going right, she prayed for her baby sibling.

My sweet Taylor Elise, those are my questions too baby.

Tears flow down my face as I write this.  I want that baby so much I can't see straight.  Something wasn't right from the start, but I saw his/her precious heartbeat and I was so comforted.  I thought, ok, our little one just took his time coming around and now he'll really start growing.  With the girls my HCG levels were extremely high, and I knew that my slowly climbing numbers were a bad sign.  I knew it was a bad sign when I measured 7 weeks when I should have been 10.  I knew I was feeling way too good, when with the girls I had been sick as a dog.

He or she had something wrong, and that baby was not meant to be with us here on Earth.  But that baby was still meant to be in our lives.  I don't know why.  To teach us something?  To soften us to loss so that we can be more sensitive to others?   I like thinking of those reasons, although there are times when I wonder if he was taken because I would not have done right by him, or God knew he had something wrong and we couldn't handle it.

My girls are enjoying a great summer.  I am too.  But the baby that was and then wasn't, is never far from our minds.