Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Love in the time of Parenthood

I complain a fair share about my children. 3 year olds are damn-near impossible, if you don't know.  They have a list of demands a mile long.  Mine knows she is right about everything, and I am wrong, and she would love to tell you.  She sings all day long, endless made-up songs with no identifiable melody.  She asks me 'why' about things that do not have a freaking why.  Why is it 7pm?  I do not know!  She makes messes, vomits at odd times, climbs in my bed regardless of how many people are already in it, and sweats and kicks.  She wakes up at 4am occasionally and asks for pancakes.  After all of that, she complains. 

I also have an infant.  He has just started making eye contact. Other than that, I am a constant source of milk, and something that makes him more comfortable.  It is a hard time, before the first hug, the first "I love you", the first "mama".  Infancy, ugh.

So occasionally someone hears my complaints and says, "but you enjoy them right?  You love them?"  And this is a ridiculous question.  The problem with parenthood is I adore them.  I mean, seeing your children happy is fulfilling on a spiritual level.  It's like choking on a freaking rainbow.  It's beyond good.  As I typed this, my 10 week old spit out his pacifier, staring at me, to give me a rare ear-to-ear grin.  I can't describe that joy.  It is literally an indescribable feeling.  More so than a first kiss or a great job.  It's just satisfying.

I am the first to say that there is no biological imperative to kids.  If you can avoid it, do.  My body is a wreck.  My time is no longer my own.  I realllly miss pooping by myself.    I don't want to go anywhere that serves "nuggets" but I give in, I do.  I miss girlfriends, high heels, wine, smoking hookahs, and watching movies that have scary parts.

My daughter, not yet 4, has chosen to spend 3 weeks with her grandparents, and I am so rejected.  I sometimes don't realize how much I need her to tell me she needs me.  And now I feel like a hypocrite, for all the times I thought of parents, 'how can you be so insecure?'  I still want her to be independent, have friends, but to think she doesn't long for me is somewhat excruciating.  All of my "freedom" is only kind of worth the pain of missing her and wondering if she misses me.

Why do I miss her if she is so difficult?  And why did I have children?  I am so confused.  Love is so bothersome.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Soul Food

Here's an odd confession.  As a person with strong faith, the thing I find hardest to buy is the idea that we are more than just meat.  Human beings often seem to me...just like instinctual animals.  I find people predictable, usually in a sad way, and the idea of "spirit" is hard for me to accept.  Do we really have souls?  Imprints of some sort?  The idea that we go somewhere when we die has always been so strange to me, like the stuff of science fiction.

In the here and now, I feel like I have seen time and again the presence and power of something bigger than us.  But we, as people, seem so incredibly limited.  We have believed, for what seems like forever, that there is more to us than just our human bodies, that there is something spiritual, magical, a life that starts at some point, and is essentially sacred...and even people who don't believe in God, at least the way I do, they often believe that people are more than what you see.

But I am confused by that, I guess.  One thing that is true about me, however, is that I can be "lit up".  Things sometimes make me happy, unexplainably, throughout the day.  When I sang in Sweeney Todd two years ago, every day was as happy as a kid's balloon.  Nothing could get me down.  And when the Chicago audition was a major disaster, I was not myself for weeks.  Once in this state, it feels like I can't be mobilized, I can't be happy.  On Monday, I was in the car with my husband, giving him a speech about how things will get better for us financially...I mean, we are both people who are highly trained, with an enormous amount of experience and who love what we do.  SO at some point, a job that pays more than say, a manager at Kmart might earn, should be out there.  It's not just hoping, or trusting, it's logic, it's bound to happen.

My husband touched my leg with the back of my hand, an odd gesture he makes when he thinks he might get in trouble for something, and said, "Please don't take this the wrong way, but since you started doing this morning exercise, you are more yourself, you are perkier than you've been since Baby S was born four years ago, it just...fits you."  And I popped out of my positive diatribe and said, "of course."

I am not just exercising these days, I am clean.

You know what the problem is with addiction?  It makes everything worse.  Subtly, secretly, just having a little extra ice cream for me drives me deeper into a state of not being happy.  Painful as it is to not have it, and trust me, it's painful, it holds me down, makes it harder to say that things are going to get better, and makes it harder to love my husband despite his big bag of flaws.

So feeling clean, forcing myself to do the stuff that I was made to do, somehow surprisingly supplies me with the power to move forward and believe better things are coming.  And also reminds me there is a Master of this soul.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

First Days

I have been thinking all week about the phrase "the first day of the rest of your life".  I am easily inspired, I think, and have started a million diets, a million practice regimens, and multiple life changes.   Each time, I felt like it was the first day of the rest of my life (which implies that it will change what you've had to deal with and give you a new hope, a new direction).  Sometimes I was right, and sometimes wrong, but the day always felt the same, you know?  I didn't have like a "special tingle" when it was one that was going to work.  I always believed it in my heart!  I just couldn't predict what would change me.

I think about meeting my spouse.  Now, seeing him in the airport for the first time, that was the first day of the rest of my life.  But it kind of felt like just meeting some poorly-dressed dude in an airport.  I did not swoon, I did not feel like my prayers were answered.  A week later, I probably did feel that, but mostly I just thought, "huh, I'm really happy with this man" and that was unusual.  And that didn't feel so inspiring.

I have wanted my whole life to be thin.  Good lord, I talk about it here so much.  It occupies such a significant part of my little brain.  At this point, "thin" to me means 1. No diabetes meds and 2. not shopping in "plus size", and a million other little thoughts and goals that change over time.  I am hoping I'll be able to recoginize the goal when I get there.

So this month I started two things that I'd like to be a part of the rest of my life.  I started an eating and exercise program called Farrell's, which involves kick-boxing and strength training, led by a coach, every morning at 7.  It also involves being coached by other members, and planning menus and writing down food.  I LOVE it.  On the first day (of the rest of my life?) I showed up and all I could think of was the massive allergic reaction I was having.  Swollen right eye, blisters on my chin, a horrifying rash under my breast and on my hip, and a general sense of "oh crap this is awful."  Is that the way first days go?

I started practicing voice the week before and the first day was scary.  The second day was better, the third day even better.  I determined I have 4 days a week when it's easy to practice, so I better do it.  And here's my new life....emailing someone I just met with everything I've eaten, waking up at 6 to pump breastmilk and workout like a fiend, and practicing on my breaks while teaching.

I feel utterly fantastic.  I feel so happy I could cry.  My body feels good, I can't WAIT to see the doc in 9 weeks for my diabetes check up.  I can't wait until tomorrow's leg strength training class.  It's the 5th day of the rest of my life?  Or something like that.

I guess what I feel is that if you don't have a LOT of "first days of the rest of your life" you eventually die of boredom, right?