Picture it, Mechanicsburg, PA, 2010.
Sorry, had to get the Sophia homage in there.
Anyway, I got to have a night out last night with a friend! YAY ME! YAY HUBBY home with the kids.
A friend and I decided to meet to have a late dinner at Red Robin. With a husband who is “off the meat”, I don’t get dead cow a whole lot, and every once in a while I crave it. In this case it was dead buffalo, but equally as tasty and a little less guilt creating.
However, the burger comes later.
On the way, I stopped for gas. Once we sat down at our booth (Remember BOOTH. It is being introduced in the first act.), I realized my hands smelled like the fuel I had recently procured (I’ve been playing a lot of Words with Friends.), so I went to the bathroom to wash them, leaving my rings in front pocket of my purse which was sitting on the BOOTH seat.
Or so I thought.
When I came back to the BOOTH, I got my rings out to put back on. Except one was missing. My. Engagement. Ring.
Within in a minute my friend and I the BOOTH seat off. That’s when the poor host decided to intervene. Bless him, he was even polite as he approached the crazy lady, and when he found out I was looking for my ring, he didn’t act like he had a cornered animal on his hands anymore. He went into action!
Unfortunately, the ring was not in the BOOTH seat. It was in this little crack between the booth and the wall.
My friend was all into trying to fish it out, she was on a mission, but I think the Red Robin staff was afraid of a lawsuit or something, and they kinda got her out of the way. So the two of us sat munching sandwiches while at least four Red Robin employees fashioned device after device trying to fish the ring out.
Finally, several straws wrapped with a napkin and duct tape, natch, in the hands of the manager did the trick. I hugged each and every one of them, completely ignoring their various levels of discomfort.
I needed a brownie sundae to calm my nerves.
It is really hard having two children under one year. Hard. But I have decided it is not as hard as being pregnant with a newborn/infant. As I emerge from that state of being, I am realizing that I was in survival mode as I fought nausea, discomfort, exhaustion, sleeplessness, etc. from not just one source but two. There was nothing that wasn’t about the baby or the fetus. Aspects of my wellbeing and independence became secondary. The funny thing was, I didn’t realize any of this at the time. It wasn’t until I came out the other side of my c-section and started being able to do more for myself, that I figured it out.
Yes, the majority of my day is spent keeping small people alive, but it’s different as I can do more for myself and more things that are not about babies.
Today I weeded beds that desperately needed it. In our neighborhood of yard obsessed retirees, the excuse of giving birth is only going to last so long. It was sweaty, dirty, muscle stiffening work, but I had the time and strength to do it. I pushed around a fully loaded wheelbarrow, and it didn’t put the fetus is danger. It was something I did totally unrelated to babies or worrying how it would affected them. This was my household job before I was a mom, and even though I kinda hate it, it was good to get back to it.
It was a physical representation of finding my way back to Duffy not just Mommy.
Well, all four of us survived our first family vacation. Heck, we even had fun.
John’s band, Landslide, had a gig last Saturday, so we went to that before heading down to Virginia. The gig was a block party in the lead singer’s neighborhood. The kids and I camped out on a blanket to take in the music. Things got off to a tricky start when Leila pooped through her clothes and the front pack all the way to my shirt, but the rest of the evening did not go as messily. CJ even did some dancing!
The kids were in PJs and asleep as we took off around 10 PM. It made for a long night, but the lure of no traffic and sleeping kids made driving all night worth it. John ended up playing the hero when we came along a car on its side. Don’t worry, the driver was just fine.
When John and I slide into bed around 4 AM all we could look forward to was napping on the beach the next day. It was not meant to be though. It was rainy and windy on Sunday. We all made a valiant attempt to stay on the beach, but it was not meant to be. Fortunately, Monday and Tuesday boded better.
CJ really took to the water.
Leila mostly slept in the shade. Though she enjoyed herself too.
Things took a small turn for the worst though on Wednesday when poor CJ came down with the cold that seem to make the rounds through several of our group’s members. We made the most of it though by going to the visitors’ center on the wildlife refuge and the pony center. Even sick, CJ enjoyed the touch pool and ponies.
The rest of the week was spent enjoying the sun and the surf. I will admit packing for a family of four was much more epic than just for one or two, especially with two babies, and maybe previous vacations were more relaxing, but we have been dreaming of family vacations for many years now. Our first one was more than all of those dreams combined.
Like most little kids, I changed what I wanted to be when I grew up at least every other day. I know firefighter lasted a while, and veterinarian lasted through middle school all the way until I hit chemistry in college. The constant though was mommihood. I never even considered not having kids. Even when I was going through maudlin phases, despairing of ever finding A Man, I had thoughts of sperm banks. In other words, it was important to me.
So when I got my dog, Hobbes, in 2000, let’s say I was a little ridiculous with him. I never made it to Paris Hilton dog in the purse status, but I was close. This did not get any better when John and I started dating and lavished the same attention on the dog he bought, Snickelfritz. Then in 2005, my then stepmother made an impulsive purchase of a puppy for my seven-year-old brother. Cosmo, the yorkiepoo, spent about seven months in my father’s home before he begged us to take him. By he, I mean the dog. Seriously, we visited one Sunday, and Cosmo tried to follow us out to the car. This pretty much sums up the care he was getting at home. So now we had three dogs, and since we were having trouble conceiving, he was added to the furry children substitutes. We dealt with a lot of dominance issues with three male dogs (Don’t let anyone ever tell you fixing them changes that.), but just like with real children, we dealt with it.
Then the real kids showed up. And I became a stay at home mom for actual humans.
Two kids plus three dogs can be wearing. The dominance issues meant lots of barking that naturally led to interrupted naps. There was territory marking which became really inconvenient when my son learned to crawl. And while I know Cesar would come in and explain everything I was doing wrong, my time for dog training was limited.
As I pointed out, the purchaser of Cosmo is no longer married to my father, and he is living with a woman who has drastically changed the atmosphere of the household to the point that I started to consider sending Cosmo back to his original home.
That was a really hard thing to do. He was our dog now, mostly, though he still really loved my brother. Plus, I was starting to realize he really didn’t like being a member of a pack. Yet the responsibility I felt for the little guy made me only thinking these things for a long time. Then the peeing, the barking, the jumping on the baby just got too much one day.
Cosmo is back with my dad. He’s happy. We’re happy. They’re happy.
I still feel responsible and guilty. I couldn’t do it all. I should be able to. Why do we seem to be hardwired to think we should do it all? Why should a solution that is working for everyone leave me with guilt?
I don’t have the answers to those questions. Until I find them, I am just trying to breath deeply when the guilt pangs start and remember how much easier things are now. Then I text my little brother to ask about the dog.