Friday, February 26, 2016

The Season of Motherhood

Oy... I can't tell you the number of times I wanted to write here. And yet, sleep, dishes, zoning out and part time work won out. But I'll admit that as someone who loves to write, I've been missing this space and know I need to carve out the time for myself. Now on to motherhood...

When I first started this motherhood journey I'll admit I wasn't sure how I felt about the whole stay-at-home mom gig. I knew I wanted to stay home with our little one for a period of time, but I also had hopes I'd move on to a career or back to school within six months or a year at most. In hindsight, I know now that I was a bit naive in having such expectations without yet knowing just what taking care of a child would be like.

Since I was little, I have always valued career as highly important in the scheme of one's worth (although I know it certainly doesn't paint the whole picture). And in my career, I always felt I was several steps behind where I "should" have been. It's one of the first things I want to know about anyone I meet.

Over the past nine months, I've noticed my perspective shifting. I am still highly fascinated in the career and the story behind someone's career (how, what and why), but I'm realizing that not having a career path carved out can be okay too. Yes, it gives me mild panic attacks to realize I'm in my 30s and still don't know "what I'm doing with my life," but I trust I will figure it out.

As a mama, I'm now keenly aware of how many other stay-at-home mamas there are in our community, from women I meet through friends or moms we connect with at the birth center (where I received midwifery care) during a weekly baby weigh-in.

And these women certainly aren't sitting around eating cookies and watching movies all day. These women are taking care of their kids, feeding them, taking kids to doctors appointments, doing the majority of the dishes, laundry, cleaning, paying bills, often working part time/evening gigs and trying to find a moment for themselves on occasion.

By no means do I believe that a stay-at-home parent is somehow holier than the full time working parent. Both gigs are HARD. Both have advantages and sacrifices.

But I guess this is just a long winded way of saying that my perspective has shifted. Staying at home with a baby is as exhausting as it is awesome. I'm slowly giving myself a bit more credit for the work I'm doing to raise a happy, healthy and curious little boy.

In fact, until recently the guilt for staying home was really getting to me and I found myself apologizing in various ways. At one point I finally had to say to myself "What you are doing matters and so what if someone else doesn't think so." So I'm working on not negating my role. I worked full time before and I'll likely work full time again. But this time right now feels sacred and I feel humbled and thankful to get to spend my days chasing Henry around.

How's your week been? What's one thing you want to give yourself more credit for? 

Also, how is it already Friday?? We have been packing up slowly and are planning to move the majority of our stuff into our new place this weekend. I can't wait until we are moved and unpacked!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Jonah Bell

Pete brought Jonah home when she was eight weeks old, a year or so after he moved to Eugene in 2002.  She became his little companion going on hikes together, trips to the dog park and plenty of pheasant hunting.

When Pete and I started dating seven years ago, I coincidentally became a dog mama at the same time.

As black labs are, Jonah Bell was needy, had plenty of energy and loved people (at the dog park she would ignore all the other dogs and come right back to us). She loved being out on the trails and darting in and out of the woods across the path.

For several years, she would go running with me in the morning for maybe 20-30 minutes. But over time, she started slowing down and no longer wanted to run. So it turned into a morning walk, almost daily, for years.

This past Thanksgiving, Jonah had a scary episode while Pete was visiting his family where I was sure we were going to lose her. The vet did a blood test and said her red blood cell counts were low and white were high and we knew she had a tumor on her back. We didn't do any further testing, but assume it was likely cancer.

I regret that in the last two years as we focused on our growing family, she didn't get as much time or attention as she had before. She got fewer pets, shorter walks and some impatience from us.

When she passed away on Tuesday night, I was surprised how hard it hit me. There have been plenty of tears in our house, loss of sleep and general sadness for losing Jonah Bell. I already miss the things we were so accustomed to... the clicking of her paws running to the front door when we get home, seeing her head poking out the window curtains as we left the house, her grunts or scratching at night as she's getting comfortable, the way she would check on Henry after his naps, and her request for morning (or anytime) walks.

The house feels eerily quiet when we come home and I'm sad for the bond she and Henry were starting to have. So, this is a friendly reminder to appreciate what and who you have while you have it. We never know when it's going to be gone.

So yeah, I miss her. And while I don't think we'll get another dog for at least a year, I already know I want one. Jonah Bell, you will be so missed.