Friday, March 18, 2011

Alternate Universe

Before I became a mother every one would very knowingly say, “your life is going change” to which I internally responded with ‘well, duh”.



I expected a certain amount of transition—how could I not? I was going from SWF to table for one and a half. Some of the changes were sudden and some were gradual. The first thing I noticed was a fatigue that settled deep into my bones that was not relieved with any amount of sleep. I didn’t really recognize it for what it was until talking to another new adoptive parent who complained she was tired all the time despite the fact that her daughter slept beautifully all night long. It was responsibility. It was knowing that I was the ONLY parent for this child and that my life suddenly had a bigger meaning. My life no longer belonged to just me. While our parents teach us to fly a child ties us to this world. I had never felt so deeply rooted in this world, to this life. Before Duc there was always the chance of escape. Always the wanderer, anytime life felt boring, overwhelming, whatever, I knew I could run. I could pack up my few belongings and hit the road. To be honest, it was that probability that got me through many difficult days at work. I feel tied, but not necessarily tied down. Now, when I picture my escape I see Duc and I sitting on a beach watching the sun set on the Pacific (but to be honest I rarely ever think of escape anymore). IMG_7894

Certain things that I had once enjoyed no longer interested me. Hot new guy on TV or on the street—nothing. Barely even a pitter patter. There was a time I deeply longed to be married, but I now find myself at peace and sometimes even grateful for being single. Duc keeps me so busy that the only time I wish I had a husband is when I am sick or exhausted or days when he just wears me out through his sheer physicality.



I haven’t worn a dress or high heels since I became a mother. I am more interested in comfortable shoes that allow me to dart after him and breathable cotton that won’t make me hot when he falls asleep on me or when I have to carry his 30+ lbs. through a mall because he won’t walk. Dry clean only clothes are a waste of time. It has only been the last few months that I have made it to work without snot or cereal smeared across one or both or my breasts.

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I can’t stand watching shows or movies that show acts of violence against women or children (sorry, men). I nearly vomited the last time I tried watching “Criminal Intent”. it’s too close to home. I can remember trying to watch the Liam Neeson film “Taken” shortly after Duc came home. I was so anxious I paced the floors and had to keep pausing the movie so my heart would stop racing (yeah, I could have turned it off, but that goes against my nature to finish everything I start).

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And where these desires waned, new ones took root.



Before Duc I didn’t spend much time at home. Now I am home every night by 7 pm (6 pm is the witching hour where tantrums are more likely to occur). I’ve had a chance to evaluate my surroundings and realized it no longer matched our lifestyle. I’m obsessed with HGTV and all things relating to home decorating or renovating. I have little money, time or energy to take on new projects, but I have.



I’ve started building.



This…

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Became this…

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(just to clarify, that is only dust and cat hair on the edge of the bed from being moved from the living room to his bedroom—I wiped it off right after I noticed it on the picture!).



After two years of sleeping in a pack ‘n play my baby now sleeps on a bed with a mattress—and no rails! He has had his bed for exactly one month today and everyday he shouts “I like my new BED!”. We store toys, books, out of season clothes in the cubbies below the mattress. For a small house it has really worked out well.



When I shared the photos with my boss the only thing she said is “why would you want to do that (build the bed)?”.



Honestly, I don’t have a great answer other than wanting to pass on something tangible to my son. Something that that his son or daughter will some day sleep in. For two months he has bragged to people that “mommy built my bed!” and I hope he will always feel that way. My dad built me a bookshelf when I wasn’t much older than Duc and even though it is a rather odd looking bookshelf (sorry Dad!) I won’t part with it. It is now in Duc’s room.



As a single parent I think more about sustainability than I did when it was just me. I want to know how to build my own furniture (please see http://ana-white.com/ for easy to follow plans—they are amazing). I am more interested in growing our own food and even if I am not as concerned about what I am consuming, I want the food he eats to make his body healthy and strong. Last weekend Duc assisted with building another raised bed for a cold garden (spring veg). He is going to have his own raised bed and has already chosen pumpkins and watermelons as his crop for the summer.



As we are entering Spring I will probably try to tackle new projects around the house and I will also try to document the process to share with all of you (that being the 7 people that still read this blogSmile).



If you are curious about anything please feel free to ask.

6 comments:

The Baxter Family March 19, 2011 at 7:55 AM  

I am still here, :-) just not able to check blogs as much this year.

I also have noticed a change in how I relate to anything on TV/movies that has to do with children being hurt in any way. It makes me picture how I would feel if that child was Caroline, and I just can't take it. I know exactly what you are talking about.

I really admire you for building Duc's bed. We have a number of furniture pieces that Dave's grandfather made, and they are very special to us. Keep up the good work, super mom!

myminivanrocks March 21, 2011 at 12:37 PM  

I love the bad!

I have gone through the same changes. I also had that reaction when I watched Taken (and it made me think about some really poor decisions I made when I traveled when I was younger, too!. I really like crime documentaries, too, but I have found I can't watch the ones where there is violence against children anymore. My husband says he can't watch the ones about home invasions.

It's really hard to believe that I have only been a mom for five years, because it feels like this is what I have always done. I look back at pictures from college and I can't believe that was my life ondce!

kitchu March 21, 2011 at 12:52 PM  

i will add that the tired to the bone does not discriminate against those of us with partners. it is the first and most overwhelming change i noticed as well and one that has yet to leave me- and E has slept soundly through the night (10 to 12 hours) since day one as well. i think you nailed it though, it's the responsibility that comes with being a parent that brings on this kind of fatigue, and fatigue isn't even the right word.

i love how you are focusing on the important things- sustainability, eating healthy, and COMFORTABLE clothes :O) we do the same here!

duc has grown up so much. not just because mom built him a big boy bed that i completely envy and admire, but just because he has. he is growing into a handsome little man Erica!

Michele April 1, 2011 at 8:58 AM  

I totally agree with kitchu, even with a hubby I am tired most of the time. But I do know that part of it comes from chasing around and settling arguments of the two. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Jammer needs a new big boy bed for his new room and the one you built for Duc is really cool. Info on how please!

Shea May 22, 2011 at 6:15 PM  

I feel like I could've written that post! So true. I keep trying to remind myself that I still need to have a life outside of work and child, but I'm not really interested or energized enough to do much else. Maybe when my daughter is older. I think the big thing for me is not wanting to waste a minute away from her because time passes so fast.

The bed is terrific!

canadasue August 7, 2011 at 6:01 AM  

Grateful to have found your blog... I may become a mom through adoption next month. Your words are of great value.

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About This Blog

This started as my story, but has evolved to OUR story. This is the story of life as a single parent to a wonderful little boy while we wait for baby sister. China LID 2.12.07.


But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, be patient! For it will surely take place. It will not be late by a single day.
Habakkuk 2:3

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