I love being pregnant. Well, okay, let’s be honest – the first trimester stinks. Not only are you trying to hide your nausea and overwhelming sleepiness from everyone, but you look fat instead of pregnant, and you’re dying to tell everyone why. But with that behind me, being pregnant is awesome. When else are you going to have an excuse to come to work wearing yoga pants every day? Get foot rubs every night? Replace your morning coffee with chocolate chip cookies? And what other time in your life are you able to care for your child completely hands free? I can take this baby to work with me, and sleep all night long. (minus a few bathroom breaks) It’s wonderful. Oh, happy belly day!

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Night-night!

October 22, 2010

Last night, as I was rocking my precious to sleep, tears welled up in my eyes thinking about how AMAZING it is to be a parent. Everyday, I look at this child and think, “I couldn’t possibly love anything more.” But then I wake up the next day and realize my love for her keeps growing exponentially. I am amazed by the capacity of my own heart.

And as my thoughts wandered through hummed verses of Yo-Gaba-Gaba’s “Nap time” song, the only song Gwen wants me to sing/hum to her lately, I thought of how I am lucky enough to have a husband that rushes home from work to give her a goodnight kiss before she is off to bed. I know it makes her feel good to know that her daddy is home, and what could possibly be more fulfilling than a goodnight kiss from your baby? There couldn’t have been a better place to be at that moment, than in that rocking chair with my baby in my arms. I hope our life will always be like this…I hope we will always be able to provide a happy home at the end of the day with a safe warm bed for our children to drift off to sleep.

Sometimes I can’t get over the enormity of it all; the horrible circumstances people are put through in life, without explanation. Natural disasters, illnesses, horrible accidents, lives that are taken too soon, wishes that never get fulfilled – sometimes it’s too much, and all I want to do is stomp my feet and cry like a toddler, “But it’s not fair! Why does this have to happen?” I suppose life would become monotonous if there were no trials and hardships to overcome, no reason to celebrate, but I have to wonder if this is really what keeps us going? Why does it take an awful event or someone else’s suffering to give us a reality check and say, “oh yeah, this is what really matters.”

I wish I could take my loved ones pain and kiss it away like a skinned knee or a bump on the head. I wish I could reach out and give them a hug from hundreds of miles away. Most of all, I wish they didn’t have pain to begin with. But they do, and I can’t make it disappear, and it’s not fair.

Like most people, I dislike using public bathrooms. The thought of who knows how many hundreds of naked bottoms sitting on the same bacteria laden seat is repulsive. A few years ago, someone finally decided disposable seat covers would be an appropriate addition to public bathrooms, and for this I am thankful. I truly am. But, I don’t use them. Why? Because I’ve been designing my own seat covers out of toilet paper for as long as I can remember, and I find them more effective. I can fashion up to six layers of protection if I find it necessary, (which I usually do) and this puts my mind at more ease than a little piece of tissue that never seems to match the shape of the toilet seat. Still, I avoid using the public restroom if at all possible because it really does gross me out. But lately, they seem to be unavoidable – in my dreams! That’s right, I’ve been having reoccurring nightmares about having to use public restrooms that turn out to be the most obnoxiously disgusting restrooms you’ve ever seen. Ginormous toilets that would leave your feet dangling. Teeny-tiny seats with metal wires around the tops, making for an impossible toilet paper barrier. Rooms full of dirty toilets and no stalls. Worst of all, seats full of wet toilet paper and other unmentionables. And for some reason, in my dream, I have to figure out how to use them. It’s so disturbing. I mean, it’s a dream. Why can’t I just decide, “hey, this is flat out disgusting, I think I’ll find somewhere else to go.” I honestly wake up from these dreams a little bit out of breath from anxiety. What does this mean?

I know I really have no right to complain about the weather given that I live in a climate that is perfectly tolerable 10 months out of the year. And I usually don’t – growing up in the Midwest taught me to cherish everyday I don’t need to wear a 20 pound coat and scrape an inch of frost off my parked car. I even bite my tongue about how gorgeous it is in California when I log on to facebook and hear of the “unusual” snow storm in April or thirty below weather from my friends back home. After all, I remember what that’s like, and I’m not going to throw my sunshine in their face. But this time of year is always hard for me ~ it’s supposed to be fall. I miss bundling up to watch a football game, drinking hot chocolate to stay warm, and crunching leaves under my feet. I miss wearing long sleeves and socks, playing backyard football in the crisp air that turns noses red. I miss days where the sky is clear blue, but the air is frigid. It just doesn’t feel right – 90 degrees in October.

I try my best to treasure each and every moment I have with my little girl. I’m well aware that this time will pass too quickly, and her beautiful smiles and chubby legs that come running toward me at the end of the day will one day not be waiting for me when I get home. She will save her smiles for her friends, her kisses for her boyfriends (hopefully not too many) and she will want to spend her time elsewhere, anywhere but home. So, there are moments that I try my best to etch into the memory folds of my brain, hoping to hang on to like a home video that I can play forever. Like when she smiles at me between the staircase railings, with her lips puckered for a kiss, or her giggles in response to my peek-a-boo faces. I want these memories to last forever.

Yesterday, we took a shopping trip to Target. Usually, this isn’t the most fun adventure for me, since she would rather walk on her own and pull everything off the shelves than stay in the cart. But, yesterday, she was being an absolute angel, sitting contently in the cart, playing with a baby wipe and digging in my purse. I got all my shopping done, so I decided to take a stroll down the costume aisle. Right away I spotted Elmo, and figured that would be the winner, but thought I should check out the rest just in case. I let her out of the cart to have her own look at the costumes, and she went straight for a white horse costume. (It was twice as expensive as the Elmo costume, so in my head Elmo is still pulling off the win at this point.) I speed through the rest of the aisle to check out what I thought might be a contender for number two – a pumpkin costume. When I turn around, I notice my precious little pumpkin is eating popcorn off the floor. Of course, when I tell her, “oh, honey…ick, that’s a no-no!” She gets upset because she thinks I am taking a perfectly salty and delicious snack from her. I quickly try to divert her attention with the Elmo costume, but she’s not interested, and dives enthusiastically for another kernel. When I take the popcorn from her hand and substitute it with Elmo a second time, she gets upset, pushes Elmo away, and goes straight to the white horse for consoling. As if to say, “Mama, that was my snack, and anyways, I don’t care about the Elmo costume! I said I wanted this one!” And with that, she took off – – holding on tight to the horse’s neck, with the legs dragging behind her, and her head peering over the nose. She was so adorable; she was turning everyone’s head. As I followed her from a distance, wishing I had my camera, I used all the brain power I could to tuck this memory away for safe-keeping. My little angel on a white horse, I love you!

I am a procrastinator. I don’t deny it, nor do I wear the label proudly, it just is what it is: the truth. As I’m typing this, I am literally surrounded by a growing mountain of paperwork that I just can’t get myself to do. Maybe it’s because I’m off cycle for observation this year which feels like I have a get out of jail free pass in my back pocket, or maybe it’s because I’m still feeling the repercussions of my unfairly shortened summer vaca. I’m convinced this is the only school district on Earth that starts one week into August. Most likely, though, it’s because I’m pregnant and I’m trying to conserve my depleted energy stores for my one year old angel waiting for me at home.

Being a procrastinator doesn’t bother me, really. I find it sort of thrilling when I finally to meet my deadlines on-time, and I find it entirely satisfying that I didn’t waste all that time working while I should have been. In other words, I don’t consider it to be a character flaw. However, my other blossoming trait of being cynical has been slowly starting to bug me. Early in my career I had high hopes of being the next Michelle Pfeiffer or Hillary Swank to my underprivileged students. I was going to inspire them to be the best they could be, to make something of themselves, and in turn, they were going to appreciate me for my wisdom and kindness. I quickly learned that Hollywood, like politicians, is painfully out of touch. Kids don’t shut up and listen when you say something profound, and the bell doesn’t magically save you from a drowning lesson plan. Kids fail, drop out, reproduce too soon, and find the consequences of smoking marijuana far more rewarding than doing their homework. I don’t mean to sound like a defeatist; I’m just trying to be realistic. But, it does dishearten me to look back at my former self, the smart, optimistic, ready to change the world young woman, and realize that in many ways she has given up. It’s depressing. I entered a career thinking the lack of pay would be more than made up for with the fulfillment of helping others only to realize that the only thing worthwhile about my career is the 8 week hiatus during the summer. My growing concern for this dampening of my spirits was lightened the other day while I devoured my Dove chocolate over lunch break. The foil message read, “A pessimist is really an optimist with experience.” So there! I’m really not a negative person, I’m just experienced.

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