26 June 2008

I Am Loved


I'm really feelin' the love these days.

First of all, I am the 1st runner up in the mamazine MAMAFOCUS contest! I am really honored because the entries and other winners are amazing. Not only do I get the feel good joy of winning and the numerous clicks over to my blog from mamazine and shutter sisters, but I also get a prize- a Metalsgirl Inspirational Bangle!!

Second, Augusto and I went to Tomales Bay for our first overnight ever... JUST US. It was really great. I mean, really, really great. We talked about things other than the kids, we flirted, we climbed up a rock, we kayaked, we had a delicious dinner. And we didn't bicker. Not even once. The kids behaved and enjoyed their night with our fantastic friends. So that means there is hope for more!


It's all just too cool. I love being loved.

19 June 2008

End of an Era

Tuesday morning Otto nursed from right to left and back again. He gripped the side he wasn't suckling, obviously plotting the next switch-over. I thought hard. We are going out of town without kids for one night this weekend. Soon I will be working weekly 12 hour shifts delivering babies (!). My father is visiting next week. Augusto might go out of town soon. I made the decision. I hesitated. Then I talked to him. "This is the last time for nursing, Otto. Tomorrow you'll get up with Papai. We won't have any more mama milk." He didn't say anything, but he did linger more than usual. Or maybe I was lingering. I have been nursing since October 18, 2004. Three years and eight months. Well, there was a 6 month break while pregnant with Otto. But I was pregnant and under hormonal influence.

Weaning Stella brought tears. Initial nursing was so rough, that letting go of our triumph was especially hard. By weaning Stella, I was making way for the new baby. It was the first space she needed to yield. By weaning, I was letting go of her.

Weaning Otto is bittersweet. I have been boasting for months. No more babies for me. I've been a vessel for too long. I want to drink martinis without guilt and go rock climbing again. And here we are. Two days into it. At 5:30 am, I breathed in and out, fluffed my pillow and listened to his cries when Augusto got him and took him downstairs. "Mommee. Mommee!"

I could turn back. Nurse tomorrow. Part of me wants to. I will never nurse again. I keep thinking it! There are no rules, no guidebook. We make it up as we go. Why stop now? My friend who is taking the kids this weekend- she can handle one tough morning. She is a good mother. Our night away is the inspiration, but it's not the reason. I'm not completely sure, but the reason is linked to my need for self care, independence. Parenting is a state of constant alert. Deep giving. My personal stores are dangerously low. I am running, reading, getting occasional pedicures. But mostly I am taking care of others. Work. Dog. House. Garden. Husband. Neighborhood politics. Oh, yeah.. and Otto and Stella. Nursing is a beautiful symbol of nurturing. I think that's why I need to let it go. Otto needs to yield space for me now. By weaning him, I am letting go of me.


12 June 2008

friends, or what i love about oakland #2

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I envy little in others. Fame and wealth and extreme beauty fascinate me. I thrill at another's exotic vacation or fresh romance. But a real coveting of something someone else has? Here's one thing: old friendships. That's something I wish I had. Like Karen at Shutter Sisters, my family moved around a lot. I moved in 3rd, 6th, and 9th grade. Then again for college, after graduation, and for graduate school. I crossed state lines and finally, a continent. And then my parents left where we had lived during my high school, so that became another move for me, as related to holding on to friendships. For a few years after each move, letters and seldom visits kept friendships alive. But the oldest of those, formed in grade school and earlier, those are gone. Really gone. Time, mostly has erased them. But our slow climb on the social ladder, via my dad's promotions and bigger houses, was probably the real killer.

Sandy was my best friend in elementary school. Our back yards touched since the day I was born. Even though we went to different schools, we still spent our summers flying on her trampoline or turning over rocks in the creek. At 21 she was married and living in a trailer. At 21 I was studying Matisse and Tagore. It never mattered where we lived or what we did, but over time, the memories faded and we didn't have much to talk about. I wouldn't know how to find her today.

I have lived in the bay Area for 13 years. Longer than anywhere else in my entire life. Stella and Otto are blessed by fun, diverse friends. It is not uncommon for Stella to tell me that some people have a mommy and a daddy, some people have two daddies, and some people only have a mommy... and so on. She once let us know that she wanted two mommies too. Augusto said he thought that was a great idea! Most of our crowd is from somewhere else- as is common in the San Francisco Bay Area. Will we live in this house, this neighborhood forever? Or will our friends? I doubt it. But we want for our children what we long for ourselves. How will we preserve their - our friendships?

08 June 2008

"Now that's something."

His voice, round and cheery, is over my shoulder this morning. And I think it too when I stand on the Transbay bus to get a gander of the new bridge. It looks ready, complete with speed limit signs and benches, but ends abruptly 1/4 mile from Treasure Island.

San Francisco is glowing at 7:42. "That's a beautiful city. Just beautiful."

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My grandfather visited twice in my 13 years here. Once we toured the wharf and then jetted off to Alaska- just the 2 of us. Once we met at SFO. He and his 86 year old bride were on a layover. They were heading home from a Hawaii honeymoon. Melvin had a way of getting around. He was an elevator repairman who knew how to save. We talked weekly until he died. But he is still everywhere.

This week I watched a young woman and an old man sorting out details after a fender bender. She was on her cell phone while he waited at the hood of his car. He had his manual open, registration and insurance card at the ready. My guess was it was her first accident, and his first in many, many years. I wanted to go to the double yellow line, ask if they needed any help, but I was stuck on the curb with both kids and a doll's stroller. The kids and I were walking to school. We had paused at the FedEx and UPS drop off boxes, and they were opening and closing the slots. I was about to stop them when I was overcome. That was Melvin there, prepared for anything at 93. Most likely a reassuring presence for the young gal (although in private, he would complain about her ruining his paint, how she didn't know how to drive). It was the way he just waited, rested his hand on the hood. I waited for Stella to ask why I was crying, prepared myself for her little voice, "Old Pop Pop died." But the kids kept on opening and closing the mail flaps, and I stood in his presence, sad and content until the moment passed.


Between work, food prep, exercise, and games of chase, there isn't much space left for memory that stops me in my tracks. The joy and stress of daily life are so noisy. Often I can't hear my feelings. A day or week even, can pass so quickly I don't realize what I've missed. Paying a parking ticket. Scheduling a sitter. A page of emails. My grandmother's birthday. This week was one of my busiest in months. In addition to the usual, I went to Vallejo for half a day and SF for a 3 day conference on antepartum and intrapartum management. But in the journeys (walking, riding the bus), there was enough quiet to receive the visits from the man I miss so very much.
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