Family ties

I have spent a lot of time wondering how different my life as a parent might be if I were lucky enough to have family nearby.  Mostly, I fantasize selfishly about having a support network with years of training in our inner workings, messy bits included.  Of course, the family in my fantasies reflects my own idealized version of this institution rather than any of the actual people who share our names.

G is far more practical about these things.  He recognizes that family can be a colossal pain in the butt and believes generally that the very best help, while challenging to find, can be purchased.  He has a point.  But that doesn’t change one very important detail: you can’t pay somebody to love your child.

During those occasions that we do get to spend time with family, I’m reminded just how right we BOTH are.  My MIL has been here visiting for the past few weeks and life has been rather challenging – and wonderful.  g has soaked up the love and attention with delight.  I have been given not one but SEVERAL opportunities to make plans sans child and each time I have returned to a happy child – monumental.

I have also been trying and failing and trying and failing to be patient, to skip over all of the little and not so little moments that have made my hair stand on end.  But these moments are making me yearn mostly for opportunities to make plans sans MIL.   I’m afraid that some of them are destined to sit with me even after she has been safely returned to her home thousands of miles away – like her hasty decision to tell g that he will be a big brother.  I have spent months planning the when and how of this discussion and, despite my apprehensions, I somehow believed that it was mine to tell.

Bristle, bristle.

But perhaps the most difficult part of this particular relationship is the part that will never go away.  It’s the fact we share something, our two precious boys, even though they aren’t easily divided and it’s almost always my turn.  It’s not something to take lightly, especially because, if I’m lucky, I may one day BE her.


On 2012

I have enjoyed reading everyone’s reflections on 2011’s exit and the arrival of 2012.  Truth be told, I am a total sucker for new beginnings.  I love the way a small calendar shift moves people to pause and examine, resolve and hope.

But this time around I’m not feeling particularly compelled to evaluate. I don’t have much in the way of resolutions to offer.

This year I’m pregnant.

What I’d really like to say is that I intend to do my best to prepare for the impending arrival. That I believe that 2012 wields the kind of magic that can make me a better mother to two than I ever was to one.  That I will discover new ways to inch my way toward greater balance, despite the upheaval.

But what I’ve learned is that pregnancy robs me of my power of self-determination.  It leaves me with no illusion of control.  When it demands, I surrender.

So this year I will do my best to succumb with dignity.  And I will grab on to a sliver of that hope that is so plentiful this time of year, dispatching an earnest request to 2012 that it doesn’t bring me anything that 2013 might not allow me to recover from.