Five. My baby is five. I was searching through my files trying to find H's birth story to post, and re read. I must have written it in my sketch book, I plan to find it and post it. No promises. What I did find is a half assed journal from late pregnancy to when H was 10 months .
She and I have come so far since then. I have never forgotten how hard it was for me to be a new mother- but reading this, it amazed me how scared, isolated and alone I felt, that I still had the deep pure true love for this baby.
This little powerful life changing person, who grew herself AND me. And still does.
July 25, 2003
I took a pregnancy test the day before yesterday, and inconceivably, the second pink line began to appear. Even though we have been trying to become pregnant, somewhere in my head I had deemed it impossible. I’m afraid to talk about it, even now. Afraid to think too much about it, and at the same time having a hard time thinking of anything else.
I also seem ready to cry about anything. Today I was in the garden, looked at a flower, thought how beautiful it was and wanted to cry. I thought also that if everything works as planned here it would be nice to put the aquarium in the babies room. That too made me almost cry.
April 18, 2004
Sometimes I look at her and the fact that she’s human blows me away. I’m used to caring for dogs, cats- and can fathom taking care of almost any animal, other than a human one. And yet I seem to be doing OK. she’s getting bigger- doing all the things she’s supposed to.
I don’t know how something as basic as having a baby can sneak up on me 20 times a day- especially since I am attached to this little thing all the time. But repeatedly, I startle as if she jumped out at me.
Since she got here, my days have become much more basic. Wake, feed, change, eat, try and sleep again. My days are basic in retrospect, as in all I did all week was feed the baby, but each day as it happens is monumentally complicated. Today seems to be a good day, probably because I got out of the house.
I find myself wishing for days to be over- which is something that should never be said out loud. Its pointless, really, because each day is the same as the next- just that one day is ok, the next horrible. The events that transpire are the same, my reaction to them is what changes.
I’m expecting a call from J soon, where he will either tell me he’s on his way home, or he’s going for a beer with a friend. If he does go out for a drink, it will require some effort on my part. Ridiculous, and something else that shouldn’t be said out loud. Why? Because I want to go out too, because the list of things I can’t do or participate in grows daily. I don’t quite resent the baby personally yet, but I’m waiting for the part where it all becomes worth it. Right now I look at her, admittedly beautiful and fascinating face, and wonder how this happened- and whats in it for me. Selfish, I know.
I really screwed up this journal. I have had many positive feelings- the birth of my daughter was amazing, I’ll never forget it. One day I'll compile all these writings, maybe even give them to H when she’s old enough to not be offended by them. Like when she has her first baby. Thoughts like that get me all fuzzy again. A life! Amazing.
Today we all took a walk. H, Ruby, Tamayo and myself. I wore H in the carrier, a dog on either side. I felt like a one man band. It was a beautiful day, we walked through the woods and I found myself imagining running into someone else carrying a baby. Maybe she’d have dogs too. We’d smile and strike up conversation right away- our babies would be close in age, we’d marvel at how we found ourselves mothers, we’d agree that its so not us. We’d find whatever it is mothers do instead of going out for a beer. Maybe she’d be an artist too and we could talk about the effect of childbirth on ones productivity. But I saw no one with a baby. A few mid life guys jogging, a few bikers who I must have stared at longingly- I wish I could have ridden. They all said hi. A guy with some beagles. But no babies.
She’s sleeping now, which is whats enabling me to write this, Her arms over her head. So unprotected. I want her to always feel that way. We grow up and get so messy. Life should stay as simple as it is when it begins. We should all remember to strive to keep it that way. But everything gets complicated. Needs grow.
Another thunder storm. This girl is a little over a month old and there have been so many storms in her life. She brought one of them with her, in fact. The barometer caused my water to break, the nurse said. Must be a storm coming. We went to the hospital on a sunny, springy day, and came home to flowers buried in snow.
I printed the other day, wearing Hannah in the front carrier. It was tiring, but beautifully possible. Until she gets bigger, then I’ll have to figure something else out. I ordered some pastels yesterday- the art goes on.
It’s hard to find time to write this. Having a baby is hard. Mostly its the constant-ness of the situation. The planning every detail of everyday in order to get anything done. I had no idea it would take me a whole day to get showered and go to the grocery store. Unsuccessfully I might add, the grocery store part. Hannah was pretty good, but I always wonder how much more quiet time I have- and if I should quit while I’m ahead. Should I look for tapanade, or be thankful we’ve gathered as many groceries as we have already and get in line. It’s not until I’m home that I realize that yet again I have bought nothing to eat. Just ingredients that I have no recipes for. Or time to make.
July 14, 2004
Sitting in my studio for the first time in a really long time. It feels good just to be in here. It’s easy to forget who you are while being busy trying to figure out who you’ve become. When things seem bad, they seem really bad. Is that just the way it is? I sometimes feel so desperately that everything is wrong, off or just indecipherable. I’m grasping. Acting like I know what I’m doing.
Why do I treat this like a bad thing? I love H so much it scares me. I can see day by day how she’s learning, she gets better at using her hands by the hour. I still look at her and can’t believe she’s here. Most of the time, though, the concept is too huge for me to even know what I’m thinking.
I can’t believe I’m someones mother. I can’t believe nothing will ever be the same. There will be a new same.
We went to Dallas to see your Aunt K, got back yesterday. Your first plane trip. You did really well, slept through most of it. Made some friends on the way out- a really large man wearing a Hawaiian shirt that you thought was really cool. You loved your cousin A. A after seeing me feeding you and hearing my explanation that you eat like other mammals eat, told his mom that you were drinking juice from my belly. K explained that is was milk from my breast. The next day you were sucking on my finger, and A said “milk!”
January 16, 2005
Not sure how this happened, even though everyone tried to warn me- my baby is 10 months old. Even though it feels like she was born yesterday. I’m sure when she turns one, three, five... it will still feel like she was born yesterday.
I think I have transformed into a mother. I know it doesn’t take most people this long, but when you study yourself the way I have my whole life, and finally think you have your self figured out- its really hard to swallow such a drastic change. Although I am the mother of a beautiful 10 month old baby girl, I am still the same antisocial artist who needs people around. Still just as irritable- perhaps more so due to less sleep.
H is standing, taking steps holding on- or in my newly learned lingo, ‘cruising’. She will walk any day now. She stood from about 8 months- and has really good balance. She has 2 teeth on the bottom of her mouth, in the center, and is getting her front teeth in. She loves the animals, especially Maxi. She loves music, and is dancing and clapping. She started waving bye-bye, with her whole arm, a few days ago.
It does feel, five years later, like she was born yesterday. And that shes been here forever.