the quickness

I often feel I’ve missed out on things. Events, weekends, whole seasons often escape me with my having realized until after. Fall more often than not slips away. I notice the slight yellowing of the leaves and tell myself to mind the trees, watch them turn, and then when I look back up at them, they are naked.

I started school this fall. After close to a decade I am back in an uncomfortable desk. Between 7 classes, work and the baby my free time is not existent. My days filled to the brim.
And for some reason, that fullness has slowed time. Every minute soaks in like a slow drip on a large towel. I watch leaves turn on my drive to school. I watch Mason turning into a little person.

Being back at school has made me feel both old and young. I barely remember being 18. Having no responsibilities. Having too much to drink, and too much fun. I know my schoolmates can’t fathom my life either. How I go home and cook dinner for my husband and son. How I don’t display interest in making friends. How I don’t wear Uggs and leggings.

But filling my brain with knowledge for the future, that makes me feel so young. I am no adult. With my schoolgirl insecurities shining through as I worry I’m not smart enough, or dedicated enough for this. I’m worried I’m not finding the right balance, worried I’m neglecting my son, or my husband, or my schoolwork. I’m worried I’m too old for this. Worried I missed the boat a long time ago and even though I’m set on swimming, I’m really just treading water.

Every day, more leaves pile on the sidewalks, and the temperature dips farther down. And every day, I tell myself just one more day. Not 6 days more until my weekend, not 4 more years until I have a degree, not 17 years until my son is a man, not a lifetime of being a wife. Just a day. Just one day. All I need to do is make it through the day, one day at a time.

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the week everything changed

My son turned one. To celebrate his birthday he decided to walk around.

Just like that, my baby turned into a toddler.

Two days later Sam and I were married. The days leading up the wedding I got really sick and may have had a few mental breakdowns. We had decided to EVERYTHING ourselves. At midnight the night before our wedding, in between my sobbing, I acknowledged there was a good reason people pay a lot of money to other people to have them take care of all the wedding planning and doing for them.

Mason woke up at a bright dark and early 4 am. By 7 I had calmed down. What I had spent the night freaking out about no longer mattered. My dress came together, the cake I decorated stopped looking like retarded octopus, and the pasta salad stopped smelling like something died in it. It was a fantastic day. It felt like a day in fast forward though. The whole thing is a surreal, magical blur of cooking, laughter, and love.

Mason spent the first few nights with his grandparents so Sam and I could be all married and on our honeymoon… As romantic as it sounds, the reality was Sam got really sick and slept/coughed while I drank juice boxes and played Xbox.

Mason left as a baby, but he seemed to have returned as a wee little lad. His face seems more childish and less babyish. He went from a few teetering steps here and there to full on walking. I mean, sure, his walking is comparable to that of a severely intoxicated person, but still he can stagger and sway as far as he wants now.

I start school in a few weeks and it blows my mind a little that all the friends I will make (because I’m totally convinced I with make… some) will only know me by my new name. My old name, won’t exist to them.

All of a sudden I feel mighty grown up. I am a wife. I have a husband. We are a family. A real, legitimate family. We are a unit. We come together. We belong together.

A better…

My son has made me a better person.

Hands down.

With such small gestures he has made me feel funnier, prouder, more together than I have ever felt. His presence has made me braver, made me live harder and laugh louder. I have never looked forward to something as much as I look forward to being that little boy’s mother. To see what kind of man he becomes. To see what kind of mother I become.

It is the hardest thing I have ever done, and the best job I have ever had.

Random acts of awkwardness

The street leading to the grocery store isn’t a nice street. In fact almost everything about it is unpleasant. It’s narrow, steep, hard to navigate around the parked cars along the sides. The houses are falling apart and trashed. Toothless, hairy, sweatpants wearing people walk up the middle of the road or sit on their porches chain-smoking and staring at me as I drive past…

But I take that street because it leads right to the grocery store parking lot.

There is one house though, one house that almost entirely makes up for the rest of the street.

It’s a gem amongst rocks… ugly ugly rocks. From the vines climbing up around the adorable entrance-way to the AMAZING garden behind the picket fence, everything about the house screams “I DON’T BELONG HERE”

It belongs in 18th century English farmlands. It’s wonderful.

And seeing as that house makes me smile every time i go the store (which is often) I felt like it was only fair to try to return the favor. So I bought the house (owner) 3 flowering perennials. I wrote and rewrote a card to leave with the flowers.

The note pretty much said “hey thanks for having a nice yard/house in such a shitty neighborhood. here are some plants for you to take care of” but it a nicer way.

In my head I thought “well I’ll just leave them on the porch, or in the driveway with the note and scurry off… no interaction, no confrontation, no problems”

Yeah, because life is that easy.

I parked my car and as I went to get the flowers out of the backseat a man that looked like Mario emerged from the front door with a white cat.

So, of course, I panic, and go straight to super-duper awkward mode.

me: uhhh.. oh hi

mario: hi

me: uhhh… these… uhh… are uhhh…for you.

(at which point i practically throw the plants onto the step in front of him while tucking my chin into my chest to avoid even accidental eye contact)

mario: thanks

(he said this so causally… like it happens all the time. like he was expecting me to swing by with the plants)

me: ok… uh… bye..

And then I ran to my car and sped away

And I will now probably avoid driving down that street at all costs for a while until Mario forgets what kind of car I drive.

I’m a mother on mother’s day

My first mother’s day and Mason is sick. Nothing says “I’m a mom” quite like caring for a snotty baby. With his leaking crankiness, and this day, comes the realization and reflections of the many challenges to come. This will seem easy compared to the first night he misses his curfew, or the first time he tells me he hates me.

I have procrastinated and half-assed my way through my life, through most of my relationships, and many of my years. I have lost friends, missed deadlines, and over slept. But there is nothing I do, or have done as fully, as whole heartedly, as mother. There are fleeting moments of worry that I am pouring so much of my heart and self into this baby that I am leaving too little for the others in my life. Those moments mix with the realization that having a baby, having this baby has made me a better person. I am happier. I am more confident. I am stronger. He has taught me how to love, and how to find joy in simple things. He has taught me to sing again, and to accept myself. Now, before I do something I think “who is this benefiting” where in the past my actions would have warranted no thoughts at all.

There are times I miss the freedom of “I” where there is now a “we”. Times I wish getting out the house didn’t inv0lve a 2 hour readying. There are times I find myself thinking of what I would give up for 6 consecutive hours of sleep.

But there has never been a time I wished to change any of it.

I have been many things in my life. I have woven in and out of duties and names. But there has never been a title I have been so proud to hold, so happy to be defined by, as “mom”.

My plant-filled life

I love plants. My collection of them falls somewhere in the hoarding category. I bring in tiny saplings of maple trees, I pinch off and pocket pieces of easily rooted plants from the garden section of hardware stores to bring home, I have saved every seed my morning glories have every produced.

Hundreds of plants.

And now, to feed the addiction obsession love of plants even more, I’ve gotten myself two plant centered jobs.

The first is at an urban garden store. My first day, the manager looks at me and says, “you do know what the underlying purpose of a store like this is right?”

“uh… gardening… supplies?”

Yes.. gardening supplies.. For marijuana growers.

Now the state I live in has recently legalized the growth and use of medicinal marijuana, but for some reason that hasn’t made me any less likely to giggle at the people who come in who I know are growing it.

There are the old farmers, who figure, “aw shucks, figure I can grow corn, why not grow marijuana?”

There are high as fuck teenagers who ask “hehe.. uhhh.. haha.. uh… how much weed can I grow for a hundred bucks?”

Despite the amount of time I spend laughing at the customers, I’m learning a lot form them. Or at least the ones who are into horticulture, not just into weed.

The second job, is my greenhouse job…. I must have the biggest smile on my face the whole time I’m there. I’m just so overwhelmed. So many plants.

They made the mistake of telling me that the sick/stressed plants that are going to be thrown away, I can just take ’em home if I want. And take them home I will. I am actually afraid of what my house will look like at the end of the season with all the cuttings and plants I will take home.

I will tell myself, “just let it get thrown out. It’s just a plant.”

But then I will drive it home saying “I had to rescue it, they were going to throw it out!”

 

The air quality in my house is going to be amazing.

 

 

 

And

Wednesday week #2

This past week’s mission was to use up fabric I’ve had kicking around for a while. I had some old clothes to mend, or that I wanted to turn into something else. I was pretty pleased with my ability to just LET THINGS GO.

Example: I wasn’t entirely paying attention to what I was doing (I blame the baby) and cut part of my fabric too small for what I was trying to do. I didn’t have enough fabric to make a new piece. Normally I would have kept the all scraps and pieces and just held on to it “for later”. But I walked over to the trash can and I threw it all out.

I found out things I’d been holding on to for certain projects, as it turns out, weren’t even big enough for what I’d had in mind. You’d think I would have checked, or measured at some point.

But all things said and done, I have some mended clothes. Did I use all my fabric? No. But in all fairness I have a lot, and some of it I will use in future. But I am happy with what I managed to get rid of, or use up.

I also realized how much better water makes me feel. I used to drink a glass a day, on a good day. 8 glasses seemed like a ton at first, but that was just because the first few days I was trying to cram all 8 glasses into a few hours of guzzling. Spread out, it’s not bad, it’s actually refreshing.

 

This weeks goals:

Play an instrument everyday. I own a lot of instruments, and I don’t spend nearly enough time playing them.

Do something will all the tin cans I’ve been hoarding… They are taking up too much space in my cabinets and my counters.

Mobility

Seemingly overnight, Mason went from wiggling backwards and rolling in circles, to full-on crawling. He crawls like a wounded soldier, army style, with one leg doing all the work and the other splayed behind him like it’s been shot or broken.

I don’t know who was more shocked and terrified by his new mobility, me, or the cat. My house is not even remotely baby proofed and I find myself chasing him around pulling things from his (surprisingly strong) baby grasp on their way to his mouth. The poor cat just flails dramatically when he goes after her, and looks at me as if to say “this thing can move?!” before she bolts out of the room.

It’s getting tiring, being a mum. My baby is becoming a real boy. He was gone from having only needs, to wants, and I’m trying so hard to fill those wants. I’m trying to read baby minds and decipher pterodactyl cries, trying to make him smile, and make him happy. Every time he gets too shifty to eat, or tries to crawl out of the room, or requires immediate preventative measures while I’m trying to do something, I remind myself, before I get too frustrated, that that website, that book, that art project, that laundry will still be there in ten minutes, an hour, a year… but this tiny baby will be gone in the blink of an eye.

As for my weekly mission… holy crap! 8 glasses of water seems like a ton when I’m not used to drinking that much liquid a week never mind a day.

Wednesday weeklys

This past weekend my sister came up for a visit with her new boyfriend. I spent the days leading up to their visit frantically cleaning the house. Sweeping, resweeping, vacuuming, rearranging furniture, containing baby gadgets. By the end of my cleaning whirlwind, our house was the cleanest it has EVER been. I was actually a little surprised by what the house had the potential to look like.

Now when I say the house was clean, I mean it was clean to my standards, clean to what I would assume are the average person’s standards…My sister’s new fella, is perhaps what one would call a neat freak. He has OCD and is compelled to clean. My house, though clean for me, had him frantically trying to scrub the dried paint stains off our table and counters. 

To trigger him further, I am a hoarder. I, for some unknown reason, am practically incapable of allowing things to be thrown out. There are jars of bottle caps, every glass container (juice, sauce, jam) we have ever purchased, expired phone books, newspaper ads, tin cans, and dead light bulbs littering my house. To me, containing these things in jars, buckets, boxes, and cupboards makes them seem less offensive, but to everyone else (especially those who are compelled to clean) it is not different as if they were scattered all over the floor.

As guilty as I felt about my house giving the poor boy a panic attack, I still found myself digging his bottle caps out of the trashcan.

Which lead me to the realization, this needs to stop.

I should follow the lead of Russell who is throwing away a thing a day for a year.

But let’s be honest, that’s not going to happen. So instead, I will attempt to actually use my collections of hoarded goods. Every week I will take on a project that will use/eliminate some of my goods.

Here are the rules I have set for myself

  1. I will not purchase things for my projects with the exception of minor necessities such as glue, string, or something I may have run out of in the process of making the weekly project.
  2. As this is meant to use what I already have, I will not start collecting(hoarding) anything new for use in a project.
  3. I will attempt to give away as many finished products as possible.

As this is meant to help me improve my quality of life, I would also like to add to my weekly challenge, one goal to better myself, either mentally or physically. These extra bits of self betterment will not end after their starting week, but will hopefully become a permanent part of my routine.

 

This week’s goal:

To drink 8 glasses of water a day (usually I’m lucky if Ii remember to drink 3)

To use the random articles of clothing/fabric I have been saving to mend, or sew into something better.