Happy Dada Day

Dada. Similar to Jimmy Fallon, Chris has decided that he wants Nico to call him Dada. As most of you that are parents know your life and world is turned upside down when you have a kid. I now call Chris Dada when he is in another part of the house and I need him. We both hope Nico will say Dada or momma first. Of course I think I carried the kid, and feed him every three hours, I should come first right? Alas, it probably will not work that way.

I have it good. I have the most amazing, smiley, giggling little boy who is happy all the time, squeals in the afternoon because he wants to go outside, and NEVER stops moving. He is just like his momma, my brain never stops, and I am always moving. This kid is going to be hard to keep up with for sure.

I have no idea how people adopt or raise children alone. It would be almost impossible to me. Chris keeps me sane, fed, encourages me to relax, and is so damn patient with me and Nico. He will be the perfect parent to oversee the potty training because he will sit on the side of the bathtub for as long as he has to (whereas I would eventually lose my mind waiting), he already cooks while holding Nico, and I see a budding chef in the making. As I go back to work, they will be spending some father/son time together this summer, and while I am wildly jealous I cannot be with them, I am so grateful and excited for this time they will have together.

I could not do it without you. Happy First Dada’s Day, Chris.

Pamper me everyday

I know Mother’s Day was over 2 weeks ago, so I guess you could say I am a bit late with a Mother’s Day post. It is funny, when I was pregnant with Nico during Mother’s Day 2015 people sent me notes to say Happy Mother’s Day. It felt a bit odd to me, as we had not yet met this little baby boy. This year also felt a bit strange — as he is still so young.

My mom passed away when I was 16, and even then she was not really present in my life going back to the age of 12. Those four years in between were filled with doctors appointments, hospitals, nurses, at-home health equipment, food stamps, depression, and so much more. I do not remember much about middle school and the beginning of high school, but I remember the bed pans, the pain, the fear of not being there for her. What kid should go through that? I also do not remember much about how we spent our Mother’s Day each year.

So why do I sound like the scrooge of Mother’s Day? I strongly believe that we do not need these hallmark holidays. Those that know Chris and I will know that my response to someone who says, “Chris, pamper Tami on Mother’s Day.” I would say to that, “pamper me everyday.” Why not, right? We should love, cherish, and take care of each other each and every day. Why find one day out of the year to share appreciation? Why not do it every day? I feel the same way about Valentine’s Day and a plethora of other hallmark holidays.

So since I have spent more Mother’s Day without my mom than I spent with her it maybe takes a bit of the pizazz out of the day for me. Since Nico is so small, why celebrate? When he is old enough to care I would rather he decide how he would like to approach the day. Some kids get really into it. At the end of the day, though, I would rather teach and model to him that we cherish each other every day. Why not, right? Life is short.

I am back

I am back. Or I think I am back. I do not know for how long. See I like things to be consistent. If I say I am going to be somewhere, I will be there. I do not want you to get your hopes up, in that every-day-there-will-be-a-blog kind of way. For now I think I can deliver. Although, I am not making any promises. But for now, I am back.

And…I feel like myself again. Motherhood is so many things. Some can be expressed so clearly and described, and others have to be experienced firsthand. I am a planner and a list maker. Motherhood has already taught me that I can have all the plans I want, and eventually they may happen, but for now this moment is all that matters. Birthing a baby has turned my world upside down.

The world continues to spin, work happens, life happens, but these moments with a newborn are as though time has stopped. They are so precious, so right-in-the-moment. Often I do not get a real meal in there, instead Chris finds me with a bag of open pretzels (and yes I ate half the bag). Easy wins, right? Nico is now 3.5 months old. I have folks ask me if I am going to continue with my blog and I think yes, no, er. I don’t know.

I will find that an hour has passed and I have sat in the same spot staring down at the baby sleeping on me. The wrap that I am wearing that holds him so close to me is drenched from the heat from both of our bodies. As I write this I am also slightly cold and wet from the amount of spit up that came out as I put him in the wrap. He fell right to sleep, so we both will deal with it.

I am back, but if you do not hear from me, you will know I had one of those days.

The Man Who Hated Christmas

The story below showed up on my Facebook feed this week and as someone who has a similar sentiment to Mike, I felt rather than share a story for Christmas I would share his. Hard to believe that this was from 1982, especially the part that says: “overspending and the frantic running around” — I guess some things do not change. I cannot remember the last time Chris and I exchanged gifts for Christmas (maybe those first few years of marriage). Now we do something together, or decide to do something for our home, but we are done with trying to find that perfect gift, especially when there is little we need.

If we do celebrate Christmas next year with our little man (and the jury is still out on how we are going to decide to navigate the holiday with our son) there will be a white envelope on the tree. Read on to see what I’m referring to, enjoy, and have a wonderful holiday with your friends and family.

December 14, 1982 Women’s Day

“It’s just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past ten years.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas. Oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it – overspending and the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma – the gifts given in desperation because you couldn’t think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.

Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was on the wrestling team at the school he attended. Shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes.

As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler’s ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford.

Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, “I wish just one of them could have won,” he said. “They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them.” Mike loved kids – all kids. He so enjoyed coaching little league football, baseball and lacrosse. That’s when the idea for his present came.

That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes, and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed a small, white envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done, and that this was his gift from me.

Mike’s smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year. And that same bright smile lit up succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the tradition – one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.

The white envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning, and our children – ignoring their new toys – would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents. As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the small, white envelope never lost its allure.

The story doesn’t end there. You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree. And the next morning, I found it was magically joined by three more. Unbeknownst to the others, each of our three children had for the first time placed a white envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing to take down that special envelope.

Mike’s spirit, like the Christmas spirit will always be with us.”

For the Man Who Hated Christmas
By Nancy W. Gavin

Yes.

We all have things we want to change in life. It is why so many individuals decide to make New Year’s resolutions. Sometimes that means that some need to add more adventures in their lives, and others might need to cut back to make room for space in their lives.

Last week I finished reading: “Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person” by Shonda Rhimes. At first I did not want to read it. While I watch all of Rhimes television shows, I do not know much about her as a person, and sometimes books that come from the Hollywood bore me. I was happily surprised. Shonda Rhimes is a badass.

She talks you through her experience from no shows to having 3 shows on Thursday night at once and what it is like to be so successful, have a family, and be a black woman in Hollywood. And yet, want to hide from it all. Year of Yes is her year to start saying yes to life, yes to what comes her way, and quit hiding from the world. We could all probably use a bit of “yes” in our life. On discussing the 100 pounds she lost (from saying yes to how she approached food):

“Did I not just say it was never going to be easy? Never going to be quick, would there be anyone left out there who talked about struggling with their weight? Now, I’m betting all of these big-time programs you see advertised and recommended by your doctor work. But only if you decide that YOU are going to do the work to make the programs work. Meaning, nothing works if you don’t actually decide that you are really and truly ready to do it.” Page 157

The key is “decide that you are really and truly ready to do it.” Applicable to so many decisions in life. Making the choice to really be in your marriage, to be the parent you want to be, to give your job your all, to stay fit and healthy. Decide to do it. It is that easy. Yes.