I’m only sharing this, because I’m going to need a lot of moral support today.

I have nothing important to say.

 

Nothing at all.

 

But, I do have something HORRIFIC to share…

 

ONE OF MY KIDS POOPED IN A BACK PACK AND LEFT IT THERE FOR A WEEK.

 

I almost died. In fact, the stench from the poop could have killed just about anyone.

 

That’s it.

 

My kid pooped in a back pack.

Bear.

My dear, beautiful Bear,

 

How can I even begin to sum up the joy that you have brought to my life, before you were even outside of my womb? You were the first. Just like me, just like your dad. The excitement surrounding your impending arrival into this world was something I had never experienced, nor did I know possible. It was magical. It was mysterious.  I laid awake at night wishing and hoping you’d kick, so I wouldn’t feel less alone. Your daddy had to work a lot, so it mostly just you and I trying to make Michigan our home. I washed your clothes in that stupid Dreft stuff. (Still wondering why that shit is so expensive.)

970698_10200673199305871_672312130_n*You were about ready to come out right about here*

Every singe breath I took while doing yoga, was no longer a  breath for me, it was a breath for us. I put my hand on my belly and said, ” Hi baby, I’m your mama”. I always cried. Literally, even single class. It was almost embarrassing.

You were the only child we decided to find out the gender for. I had spent years in Chicago as an actress at night, and days to a few families full of boys. I could play baseball all the time. (GO CUBBIES GO… well, until next year.) I could score some sweet soccer moves…ok. No, I couldn’t . I suck at sports. I liked to impress them by telling them that my uncle was a Major League Soccer Coach for the Columbus Crew and I had the opportunity to sing the national anthem at Crew Stadium when I was a freshman in college for the MLS playoffs.   Their response would be, ” Yeah, but can you TRY THIS TIME actually kick the ball into the goal?” I loved to build fortresses in the sand box at the park. I loved to line up their race cars and see which one went the fastest.

I also babysat for an incredible family with two daughters. They have now become part of our family. I spent countless hours writing plays, wearing tutus, watching ” Jessie” on the Disney channel,  making weird magic potions in their kitchen. We would watch every Disney movie, make popcorn, and snuggle while I sang them to sleep for a decade.

 

(Side note: FUCK JESSIE. I hate that stupid show with every fiber in my being and I hate that I even decided to mention it, because that stupid, stupid, STUPID DUMB THEME SONG IS IN MY HEAD. So, Fiona, if you want to make Mama happy- DO NOT WATCH IT. I’ll throw the TV right out. UGH.)

 

I also had the privilege to spend time with my two beautiful cousins. My aunt and uncle were one of the main reasons I decided to move to Chicago. I loved babysitting for them and watching my brave, smart, opinionated, special cousins as often as I could.

 

What I”m trying to say here is that I had plenty of experience with kids. I started getting a little cocky around 16 weeks pregnant. I was ONE HUNDRED PERCENT CERTAIN THAT YOU WERE A BOY. I thought boys were easy. I would let you outside, let you run around in the mud, and call it a day. You’d love trains and cars. None of that princess shit.  I will admit though, I was absolutely terrified to change you diaper if it had a penis in it. Just keepin’ it real over here.

I laid on the table as your daddy held my hand while the technician put cold gel on my barely there bump. She started showing us the various organs and I was thinking, ” Yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever… WHAT IS IT?”

 

A girl.

” I’m sorry, can you repeat that?”

A girl.

” How accurate are these ultrasounds?”

 

I watched Daddy’s face go white. I saw his mind spinning. He was mentally making a checklist for any boy or girl that ever would want to date you. I didn’t even realize how HUGE the smile on my face was. Don’t get me wrong, I was terrified. I”m still terrified, but a daughter. My daughter. I thought you would look like me, have the same interests as me and together as a mommy-daughter team, we could take over the world.

IMG_5136*sometimes, we bake…*

Haha. HAHAHA. First time moms are so cute. 

Originally we were going to name you Aoife, which is Ava in Gaelic, but my family begged us not to torture you  with that. What kindergarten teach is going to know how to say that in Detroit, Michigan. None. The answer is none.

So, I let your Daddy pick your name. Lots of people think we named you after Fiona Apple, because I”m basically obsessed with her. That had nothing to do with it. Daddy wanted you to be his Fiona, and I chose your middle name, Margaret, to honor the life of my precious grandmother.

So, now you’re four and you make me late for literally everything. I can’t remember the last time we were on time for anything at all. But, you did make your grand entrance ON YOUR DUE DATE.

They said it couldn’t be done. I said, ” Fuck off, I”m having this baby today.” Granted, you came out a little more dramatic than I would have preferred, but you were finally here. Finally in my arms. I could almost physically feel my heart grow, explode, grow some more, explode some more. I didn’t want anyoene else to hold you. I placed you on my breast and it was a beautiful moment. ( HAHAHAHA. No it wasn’t. It sucked, literally and figuratively. You were trying to kill me with your inability to latch. Big shout out to all of the Lactation Consultants out there, you saved my life.) I couldn’t stop looking at your tiny fingers and long legs. Other than that, you didn’t look a thing like me. You are your fathers twin. Your blonde hair (what little of it you had) was beautiful. Your gummy smile warmed my soul over and over again.

You made me a mommy, Fiona Margaret.

947360_10200701796300778_1687657825_n*This is Us*

Before you I was selfish. Before you I didn’t care what happened to my body or my mind. I wanted to spend my life numb. I put on a huge act for everyone, so that no one would worry. Something about becoming your mother changed that. I’m not saying this, because I want you to feel the pressure of aways keeping me happy in life, but your birth was a turning point for me. How can I even begin to thank you for that? You showed me the mystery of life. You showed me the wonder of birth. I realized I had to take care of myself for the rest of my life, because you needed me.

20799783_10102187734644517_868879360969540009_n*stop growing up!*

You will always need me. I could have sat and wallowed in my postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety, and you know what? Sometimes, I do. More than I wish I did. But, I look at you when you ask me to come play, and my heart melts. I let you sleep in my bed still, because cuddling you at night is still the most powerful moment of the day and night.

11074155_10101113310558997_4325101330229421730_n*Enjoying the view at GGB’s house*

The time is going to fast. I remember the day you sat up on your own for the first time. My next thought was, ” Well, shit, pretty soon she’ll be asking for the car keys to go meet up with her friends.” When you were itty bitty we did yoga together, I didn’t realize you were even paying attention. Now, at four years old you and I practice yoga or workout together in the basement so that we can be healthy and strong.

 

You amaze me. Every day. Even when I’m screaming at you, like today when I said, ” IF YOU DON’T STOP BOTHERING MAEVE RIGHT NOW I AM STOPPING THE CAR AND KICKING YOU OUT.” I”m such a great mom.

1234172_10100726410335147_756170434_n*seemed like a good idea at the time*

You love school, you love the outdoors, you love your cousins and family all across the country. You love to giggle with Maeve and you love to hold your baby sister Lucie. You’re still growing, and I watch you with happiness and also a twing of sadness. It won’t always be like this. There’s going to come a day where you will think you won’t need me anymore.

I speak from experience. You will always need me, and I will always answer your call.

I call you Bear, because there’s no efficient nick name for Fiona. Fi? Eh. Fi Fi? I think that sounds like a dog name, although I do let two of your grandparents call you that. I decided we would call you Nona Bear, until someone pointed out to me that Nona means grandmother in Italian… so Bear it was!

 

You are my bear. You give me nose kisses to wake me up in the morning. You give me big bear bear hugs. You let me hold you as if you were still my little baby when you know I’m having a tough day. You are wise beyond your years.

 

It is an honor being your mother, Bear.

21317530_10102224612745507_4260930839800514326_n

Motherhood: The Land of Lonely

When you announce your pregnancy, everyone is excited. Everyone has a million things to tell you about parenting. People want to express their feelings on feeding your baby, how your baby will sleep, whether you should vaccinate or not and everything else you can imagine. People love to tell you how wonderful it is to hold your amazing, precious baby skin to skin. People love to tell you how beautiful the relationship between a child and a mother is.

All of these things are true. It is amazing to give birth. It is amazing to hold your baby. It is amazing to bring your baby home and turn your house into a home. There’s lots of awesome things that happen the second you become a parent.

But, no one prepares you for the lonely. How could they? If we all sat around talking about how isolation as a mother is completely debilitating, no one would ever reproduce.

 

I have a hard time committing to anything. I like options. I like an exit strategy. If there’s something I need to give myself fully to, I have to go big or go home. If I don’t, I”ll end up running in the other direction. Getting married and pregnant within three months is a perfect example. I was twenty-five years old when I took that positive pregnancy test.

TWENTY-FIVE. Literally, still a baby myself. I didn’t realize how much of the world I had yet to see. I didn’t realize how every single priority in my life would change. I had no idea that I would lose and gain friends over and over again.

It’s hard to be a mother when most of your friends aren’t. I totally get it. If I didn’t have kids, I would still be living in Chicago. I would still be doing theater, my first love. I would still think about my future and how I could leave my mark on the world.

Now, I realize raising my children to be decent and honest human beings is how I’m going to leave my mark. It’s going to be a very large mark if Maeve has anything to do with it. ( Love my little wild child.)

 

How can you possibly explain that to someone who’s not yet a mother? I used to sit in the dark, breastfeeding my kid, scrolling through my Facebook feed religiously. My baby would be farting on my leg, while I would see pictures of my friends out on the town doing shots of Jameson and dancing to Snoop Dog. My heart would turn green with envy. I wanted to be there with them. I wanted to experience life. I wanted to travel. I wanted to make mistakes. I wanted to hike. I wanted to cover my body in tattoos, reminding myself of my journey. I wanted to be able to sit outside in the sun while reading a book.

 

Instead, I was knee deep in poop, barf, and stretch marks. Sometimes, I would sit on my couch, tears rolling down my face, baby on my boob, just wishing I could go out. Wishing I could live the life I led before kids. As fast as those feelings would come, they would almost immediately be replaced with guilt. Over and over again.

I told myself to shut up and stop whining. I had a beautiful, healthy baby. I had a home. I had a car. I had no reason to feel sorry for myself.

 

Except, I had no one to tell this to. I couldn’t pick up the phone and call my person. I couldn’t call anyone. I got married young and started my family young. I made the choices I made, but leaving my independent life was the hardest.

 

You’re probably thinking, ” Join a mom group! Go to story time at the library! Go here, go there, just do it!”

 

Yeah…um… ok. I suffered for so long with the postpartum shit and when you’re going through that, the last thing you want to do is go to a freaking mom group. I didn’t want to sit in a circle, sing some songs, and compare myself to every perfect mom there. I wanted to sit here, in my house, feeling sorry for myself.

Even five years later, I still feel sorry for myself sometimes.

 

They say it takes a village. It does. Especially, when you’ve moved to a new state with no family or friends. That’s not to say that I haven’t made friends. I have. I have made amazing, wonderful, generous, kind friends. I’m SO grateful for that. Most of these friends have kids, so they get it. They understand that you have to leave at 7:30 pm, because you don’t fuck around with bedtime. That shit needs to be on schedule. They understand when you can’t make it out to lunch, because your baby pooped all over you.

 

I’ve had a few villages. Some of them turned out to suck. Some of them were awesome, but they weren’t the friends I grew up with.

 

They weren’t the people who knew about my first kiss, my parents divorce, my dreams of being an actress, my eating disorder, my love of the ocean and my hatred of camping. I missed those people. My people.

 

It gets better. I wouldn’t have believed that a few years ago, but it does. At some point, I took my lazy ass out. I went to playgroups. I went to family yoga. I forced myself to introduce myself and my kids to every mom I could make eye contact with. I came out of the darkness of lonely with a pretty awesome circle of friends. They’re funny, understanding, kind, generous, willing and honest.

That’s hard to come by. I hate saying this, because it’s so cliche, but I feel blessed.

 

There’s still an empty hole where my past life used to live. A life where staying up until 4 am doing karaoke was normal. A life with keggers and nachos. ( I did throw a kegger this past year. And yes, I did keg stands, because I’m THE COOLEST MOM EVER.) A life where things were so much more simple.

 

It’s a grieving process, letting all of that go. It also takes a significant amount of time, love and patience to keep those special people in your life.

 

I’m still grieving, but I’m hopeful. I used to think it was black and white. Friends with no kids, friends with kids.

 

Life with friends is so much better than a life without. I’ll take them anyway I can. My village is not the same, it’s not complete, but it’s made up of people who love and care about me… even if I show up with my shirt inside out and someones poop on my arm.

 

(Side note: I listened to this the entire time I wrote this blog. I have a flair for the dramatics…)

 

 

(Last side note: Don’t get it twisted, I’m definitely an NSYNC fan. FOREVER AND ALWAYS… but this song cracks me up and I felt it necessary to share.)