December 20, 2009

The Spirit of Christmas

No matter how difficult the last few months have been, or this week has been, I cannot help but feel a sense of quiet joy and wonder as we approach our very first Christmas with Zane.

It is not lost on me that there were years that during this season I felt the emptiness of trying so hard for a child and not having one. There was something, someone, missing.

Now he is here and everything has changed. We are discovering the season together, side by side. He is opening my eyes to magic, and wonder, and possibility, and beauty.

Every morning we make our way downstairs and greet our Christmas tree. We picked her out together, and Zane watched me string lights around her boughs. When we greet her, we first smell her rich piney scent, then we run our fingers through her needles, and sometimes we even give her kisses and thank her for being our Christmas tree. We always give her a nice big drink of water as well.

It occurred to me today that this is the first of many Christmas traditions I am building with my son. The amazing part is how it just happened. It didn't require a lot of thought or planning or research. It just seemed like the thing to do. And now we have this special moment every day that we share together.

For years this season was a reminder of what I lacked, what I longed for. For years I struggled to find the joy of the holiday.

Now, through the wide eyes of my little boy, and in his smile and his laughter - I am rediscovering my own joy, my own wonder, my own Christmas spirit.

This may turn out to be the best Christmas ever.

Disclaimer: I do realize, in light of my last post, that this one might seem a bit over-the-top hopeful or even bipolar. I am still tired, still finding my way, but today I just couldn't help but feel hopeful as I realized the tremendous gift I have been given in my son, my family, and was reminded how very hard it was for us to get here. So, in the spirit of hope and gratitude, this is what came up. And it hardly does justice to what I am feeling and what I am hoping for.

December 18, 2009


In the last three months...... (in no particular order)

We completely remodeled our upstairs, living in our dining room for a full month and dealing with the post-construction deep cleaning of our entire house twice.

Mr. Spicy and I both had the swine flu.

I had the swine flu on a week that Mr. Spicy had to be out of town for work.

Our oven died.

We moved Zane into his own room.

I traveled alone with Zane across two time zones, and visiting two different states, taking two plane rides, and four trains.

Zane has suffered with the croup, two bad colds, two severe ear infections, Roseola, diarrhea, and a possible urinary tract infection.

We have suffered with each illness as well.

We traveled for two weeks as a family, across two time zones, visiting family, only to come home to a house covered in construction dust.

I have battled sleep deprivation and bouts of post-partum depression more often than I would like to admit.

It's been rough. I am not even sure if the list above does it justice. I am exhausted and it feels like just as I find my equilibrium, just as I am sleeping a bit more feeling more myself, just as Zane is healthy and actually able to venture out into the world again. Bam!

This week I was feeling good, I was planning on signing up for an art class in January, finally feeling free and excited to take a little time for myself on a regular basis. I was keeping up with housework, making delicious dinners, doing loving things for my husband, spending time with a friend.

Then Wednesday night Zane spiked a fever and was up literally from midnight to 6am. And although Mr. Spicy and I have been doing shifts at night so I can get more sleep, there was no chance I was going to sleep through this, so I stayed with Z all night, just holding him and worrying. A visit to the Dr. confirmed a nasty ear infection. But Thu. night wasn't much better.

I have learned in the last three months that my depression is pretty much guaranteed to show up when I am not getting enough sleep. And sure enough, it's back. And I feel so incredibly discouraged. I hate being here. I want the energy and the joy I felt earlier in the week. I want to finish decorating our little tree, finish Christmas shopping, sing carols to Zane. Instead I am sitting un-showered, in disheveled pj's trying to muster up the energy to make a sandwich to eat.

I feel so angry. I feel like I am being robbed of the delight I want to be feeling for my son and my life right now. I feel like just as I climb up and out of this, I get a boot to the face again.

I hate to even be writing this. This is not what I want to remember of this time, this is not who I want to be. I feel like I am complaining and being negative and I have so much good to be celebrating instead. But maybe that's another post for another day.

It has been a hard few months. I am careworn and dog-tired.

I think I just needed to say that and have it be ok.

It is hard to give myself permission to say that I am struggling. It is hard to admit that life isn't what I would hope right now. It is hard to admit I am not always strong enough to make it all better on my own. It is hard to not feel like I am failing. It is hard not to be angry at everyone else in the world who seems to be ok. It is hard not to feel like a total loser.

I don't know what else to say.

I love being a mother. I love being Zane's mom. That much is certain. He is the most incredible little person and I absolutely adore him. I would do anything for him.

But damn, it is hard being a mama right now.