Tuesday, May 06, 2008

No New Tale To Tell

What can I say? Literally? I feel like life has slipped into an easy sort of rhythm and balance so much so that something silly like the release of a book rocks my world. Yes, I will be at my local Borders to buy the new Barbara Walters biography. I saw her give a speech once and she made me cry, so I am hoping she brings some of that candor and honesty and tear-producing passion to her book.

My life is pretty much divided into two types of days: The ones with me and the girls alone and the ones with me and Nicole and the girls. During the week when it is just the girls and I, the day revolves around their two naps and three meals and, weather permitting, two walks. The days are very structured and it really works. On the weekends, when Nicole is home, we usually do something big (“big” is defined as anything that involves a car) on one day, and the second day is a more relaxing, homebound sort of day.

During the week, when it is the three of us, I want to hop in my car and go places with them, but that can get overwhelming. I get scared to get them off of their schedule. I like things orderly and predictable, and when we are home things are orderly and predictable. I am not a fan of surprises. I obviously suffer from control issues, but who doesn’t, really?

Babies crying in a car is really hard for me to deal with alone. I’m usually on highways so I can’t just pull over and make them feel better or pick up tossed toys or adjust sun shades. And then, wherever I go, I am dealing with two babies. So if I go to visit my friend, I end up chasing after the girls the entire time, leaving little room for socializing/relaxation. It’s just much harder for me to do my mother job in different locations. It’s a lame excuse, I know, and I am trying to get past it, but it is just difficult at this age (their age, that is, not mine, but I guess old habits are indeed hard to break). It will be easier when they get older, but I would prefer not to put life—mine and theirs—on hold till then.

So I make a plan in my head and I think in excruciating detail about what I am going to do (Bjorn one baby, stroll the other, pack their bag, go to the car. I literally try to plan every detail and try to factor in possible issues I might deal with. Traffic? Missed naps? Feeding two babies without a highchair (which, by the way, if a nightmare)? A day out with the girls means Anything Goes and Parenting on the Fly and that is an adjustment for them and me. I am just now getting a handle on this whole mom thing, and it has been 11 months. Sometimes I feel like I am not good at taking the show on the road, so to speak.

Having a child instantly makes you a mom on paper but I really think it takes a long time to figure out how that translates into actions. I’m working on it. I know the girls need to get out and socialize. And I do too. I miss spending time with my friends, a lot. I need to learn how to let go of control and go with the flow.

Once, in my 20s, I drove cross country with a friend and that was such an amazing exercise of letting go of control. It was one of the best experiences of my life. And we had lots of little bumps and unexpected things happen. We spent three days in a small time in Michigan (Traverse City…it was beautiful!) because we had to wait for a faulty brake part to be shipped (lesson here: Don’t except to find parts for German cars in American Car Country). We hit detours and weather delays. We got sick some days; we were hung-over on others. Each day was unplanned until the moment we got in the car. We traced routes on a map spread before us over breakfast in a coffee shop (alas, these were the days before internet and GPSs in cars and Mapquest). We changed our itinerary in Minnesota and South Dakota to include stops at Little House on the Prairie sites. We made bed and breakfast reservations on a car phone (they were kind of rare in those days!) every day, using a guide book for phone numbers.

It was such a good experience for me. But now, years and years later, I see that it was an aberration for me. And even though I enjoyed it so much, the freedom and the flexibility and the go-with-the-flowness of it all, I still haven’t managed to make it back to that point. That is what makes us humans so strange: Even though we know something or some way is better, we still cling to what we know instead.

OK, we’re off to buy Barbara. Oh, happy day.

Pictured above, the girls love when Mommy gets home. And below that, after an intense hour of playing with Mommy, Miss Avery rather suddenly got very cuddly and cozy and warm. We think she is fighting a fever, perhaps brought on from teething. She shows no other signs of sickness, so it must be her teeth. Right? I hope so because I don’t like surprises.


judy said...

I love Traverse City. I don't think flying by the seat of your pants, or, staying mostly at home with 2 babies is the RIGHT way. It's just one way.
I found the most emphasized and unexpected outcome of motherhood to be it's limiting-ness. Now, as the kids are a bit older, I long for the excuse of a scheduled baby nap to keep me in the house. Enjoy this time. Soon enough there will be sports, school and other activities that will keep you perpetually out and about.

Anonymous said...

I love Mad's face in the pic with Nicole.

Blue Pearl said...

Such nice photos, especially snuggling Avery. I think I saw you and the girls in stroller last week, but maybe not really you --- it was chilly and grey out. Gold Star's baby born and I came to help. Waved anonymously to you (or someone) from across the street.
Enjoy the Spring.