Thursday, September 2, 2010


I don't have a full plate. I have an exploding buffet, balanced on my head, and I'm spilling. TOO MUCH.

I have friends I miss, friends I am worried about, and I want to call them. I'm sick, stuffy, sneezing, coughing, and not calling anyone. My husband is out of town, school has started, technical difficulties multiply like fruit flies.

So I do what I do in the crazy spaces. I grab the journals.

Do you have these journals? Of when your babies came into the world? I wrote letters to my babies for several years. I wrote to them and told them all the littte details from our family time. I quit around the time of the autism diagnosis. I quit because instead of writing journals, I began to obsess on reading everything I had written. It consumed me for a time. I was hunting my love letters to my son for clues as to why, when, and how autism happened to us. I grieved over the entries' references to torticollis, sleeplessness, colic, immunizations (not that I think they caused my son's autism), grumpiness, feeling different, doctors, tests, worry and anxiety, the feeling even when my son was 8 weeks old that things just were not right. I scoured the journals and indicted myself for not figuring things out sooner, not doing more, not being a better mother.

That is not why I turn to those journals now. Two and a half year post diagnosis, I find myself in a new place with autism and with parenting, and with both my children.

I am coming to a place of acceptance that I am all done having babies. Now that Peaches is wearing 4T, I realize soon there will be no more "Ts" in my clothes shopping soon. My baby girl practically runs our household. My boy starts first grade soon. I am 39. Our family is complete. We've given away everything baby. I turn to those journals to remember the joyful times of babies in the house. I turn the pages to bring back the smell of baby, the coos and hiccups I wrote about with such joy in the good moments, to remember that I did take time to celebrate, to wallow in the happy moments.

One coworker asked me over lunch about these crazy weeks of getting back to school, juggling both kids' crazy schedules and needs, and behaviors. While we all laughed at my ridiculous tales of dramas and chaos, a woman chimed in: "Yeah, well I remember you about a decade ago doing lunch duty going on about if only you met Mr. Right, and all you wanted was to find a great husband, so...." And I remember that too. And I don't dispute, amid all my kvetching and kvelling, that all my wishes came true. One the one hand, I have everything I ever wanted. On the other, I still find things plenty challenging. I am never going to be the person who is all that sorry for complaining -- it's part of my identity! it's deity insurance! -- but I fully recognize that some day down the line I will yearn for these very days that flatten me.

As I flip through my old journals now, I treasure the references to cuddling, to firsts, to celebrations. I love that I chronicled who visited us, what my kids wore, how we laughed. I don't keep those journals any more, but I do have this blog. When I completed my first year of blogging, I found myself rereading my first posts, again like a detective, looking for evidence: were we or were we not making progress? How much? But some day I will be rereading these posts to revel in when my children still said ridiculously funny things I could put in Notable and Quotables, when they were first starting school, when they were still wearing sizes with letters in them.

My husband has an expression: Enjoy your vigors. I was thinking of that when I decided not to clean the house tonight, not to fill out paperwork, but to blog. This is where I'm enjoying the vigors, not of my youth, but the youth of my kids, right now.

In that spirit, I am leaving this is a journal letter that my future self can enjoy...

Dear Rooster and Peaches,
The days are getting shorter again, and even though the nights still feel hot often, you can feel some fall in every morning. You wake up sweetly lately, Roo's footsteps quickly sounding his rush to the bathroom before piling in our bed, Peaches asking for breakfast and attention. I love the way you are starting to do such big things independently: the way you brush your own teeth, pick out our own outfits. I love how you both ask more and more questions. Today Peaches asked, "Was is better a long time ago in the old days, or is it better now?" I love how Rooster is trying to control impulses, and feels sorry when he makes a bad choice. Roo, you asked me yesterday, "I'm still a good guy, right mommy? I'm not naughty?" I assured you that even when you make a naughty choice, you are our sweet and good boy, and that we love you a million percent. You love hearing how much we love you -- so Big!! -- and you love our kisses. You love Super Why and you are proud of learning to read. Peaches, you love attention, back scratches, music, and collecting. Mostly, you love attention. You are all about princesses and pink. You are proud and how quickly you learn, and you are good at numbers.
We had a decent summer, and I have some back to school anxiety, but I am very proud of both my boosties, and I am so happy to be your mom.


Paula H. said...

Ah, yes. We all need to take a step back now and then and realize that we have what we wished for long ago. I revel in my children's development, just as you. My son has started asking what certain words me which thrills me to no end. His vocabulary is growing, and he's already thriving in school (even though he was only there for 2 days so far). My daughter is silly and funny and loves pink and princesses. The humor from both of them keeps us laughing, and keeps us going in the crazy hectic times that are our lives.

Stimey said...

I like that: Enjoy your vigors.

kim mccafferty said...

I am so relieved, I thought I was the only person who did this... I figure in my dotage, at least I'll appreciate I wrote them!