Tooting My Own Horn

I mentioned yesterday that I’ve been reflecting a lot. Today I’ve decided to spend a moment giving myself a pat on the back.

Yes, yes, self-absorbed blogger who writes about herself all the time is now going to write about herself some more.

Hey, look, it’s Me-from-June-2011!

You look cute, old me! Too bad you can’t fit into that dress anymore! But it’s okay.

Last June I had no idea what the next year would bring. Graham was just starting therapy. I was in a new job. We were in a new apartment. I was only a few months in to turning my blog into something more than the occasional cute picture of my kid.

If you’d told me a year ago that today I would be at home with a new baby and that I’d be happy about it, I would’ve been pretty shocked.

A year ago I didn’t feel ready to have another baby. I wasn’t sure how I felt about motherhood. I was still coming to grips with the fact that I had a special needs child and that our problems weren’t all in my head. I had started working because I needed to be out of the house and feeling independent. Once that started, I wasn’t sure I ever wanted to go back.

But here I am. Before I had kids I wondered if I’d ever be happy staying at home with them. When I had Graham he put me to the test right away. When I was expecting Tessa I had my doubts about whether I could do it all again.

It’s not that Tessa has been a significantly easier baby. There are ways she’s easier and ways she’s harder. (Like, oh, you know, the waking up every 2 hours at night thing.) I think it’s me. I have been able to accept Graham and Tessa as they are. I spent a lot of my pregnancy thinking about what was coming and how I could deal with it. I thought a lot about what it was that I wanted from my experience with a new baby.

I think the thing that’s helped me the most the last couple years is the ability to be in the present. It wasn’t an easy adjustment, I’m a planner. And we planners like to live halfway in the future where we are planning what will occur. But now I am not thinking much about the future. Which is obvious when I realize HOLY CRAP BLOGHER IS IN 2 MONTHS HOW DID THIS HAPPEN???!!!

Stay-at-home-dom is amenable to this. The days are repetitive, the weeks are repetitive. There is the daily cycle of feeding and cleaning and sleeping. There are the weekly cycles of errands and planning. There’s not a lot for me to invest in. There aren’t any vacations to book or plans to make. Living day-to-day is the best way to live when your days are the same. Otherwise you can feel overwhelmed by the sameness instead of appreciating it.

I’ve found outlets to keep myself happy.

A year ago I was reading my very first Advance Reader’s Copy of a book. Now I’m really enjoying my weekly book reviews and having my toe in the publishing industry in this very small way.

A year ago I went to my first Bruncher outing. Now I count many of them among my friends.

A year ago I had only a couple of friends that I rarely saw. Now I have a thriving group that I interact with online regularly and get to see in person all the time.

A year ago I didn’t know what “special needs parenting” would mean for me. Now I hear from so many other parents and find myself being the advice-giver instead of the advice-receiver.

I made a conscious effort this year to find ways to enjoy my life more. I think Graham’s diagnosis was a major turning point that way. Now that he was getting help, I had to get help for myself.

I feel really happy with how far I’ve come. I know this is patting myself on the back. But I hope that for those of you who may be feeling down in the dumps like I was a year ago, who may be dealing with difficult choices or hard truths, that you can see it’s amazing the kind of progress a year can bring.

One year, a bunch of therapy and a new baby later, I’m a better and happier person than I was.  I didn’t think I’d ever be able to be a parent without feeling conflicted. But here I am, loving and appreciating and enjoying my kids in a way I couldn’t last year.

Love you, Bug.

And you, too, Tesser.


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