Monday, December 30, 2013

One Year and Counting!!!

Tomorrow, my baby turns ONE!!!

One year ago tonight, David made me a delicious and healthy dinner while I sat on the birthing ball and breathed through early pressure waves.  We watched an episode of Kitchen Nightmares (you know, nice, relaxing prebirth stuff. hehe) as my waves intensified.  Then I texted my doula and that’s when shit got real. :)

One year ago tomorrow, I got in the birthing tub at 3 am, and by 5:45 we had a little red-faced, red-haired baby in our arms.  And that’s when shit REALLY got real!  ...especially when she pooped in her Daddy’s lap. hah.

This year has been a long but short, hard but amazing, exciting but sometimes sad.  I never realized that having a baby meant saying goodbye every second of every minute of everyday.  But it also means saying hello to all of the new things that come along.  Babies change faster than I ever could have imagined, and the time has just flown!

In one year, Ebba has gone from a little curly creature who could barely move her arms voluntarily to an almost-walking little kid who can say “doll” and “byebye” and “duck” (as well as “butt” as I learned this morning, when she smacked her bare bum and said “butt!  butt!” hah).  Now, she has preferences and thoughts and jokes.  She doesn’t want this book, she wants that.  She likes this song but not that one.  She doesn’t like boiled eggs, but she’ll eat them with caviar on top (seriously!)

I’m really excited about this one-year milestone (and not just because she gets cake and we get champagne. hehe.)  I don’t think I’ve had so much change in such a short period of time ever before.  In addition to looking back on Ebba’s development, it’s been nice to look back through all of the pictures and writings I’ve done over the past year and see the change in myself as well.  After a year of massive ups and downs, I feel amazingly strong and confident.  Perhaps it’s because I had been so low that I can really see how far I have come.

On December 31, 2012, I said “I’m a mom?”  On December 31, 2013, I will say “I am a mom.”

...oh, and I’ll also say Happy Birthday of course. :)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Be Good for Goodness' Sake

I had an epiphany today, and it’s one I hope I can hold onto because I think it’s important, especially this season.  Though I know I won’t because I’m a true child of the consumerist, spoiled-brat culture, and it’s damn hard to let go of that.

But anyway, my epiphany was this:  You give what you give and you get what you get.

Not “do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”  Not “you get what you give.”  Both of these old adages are rooted in comparison, quantification, measuring up.  What about just doing things to do them?  And what about receiving favors and really receiving them, and feeling gratitude.

What if instead of do unto others as you would have others do unto you, we just did “do unto others.” full stop.  And “others do unto you.” full stop.  Separate things that exist without the burden of comparing them and making sure it was an even exchange.

This morning, I had to ask a friend to sit for Ebba, as my mother in law (the usual sitter of choice! :) ) was ill.  After my friend drove through the rain to my house, entertained the munchkin for over two hours, AND took ME out to lunch, I said, “I’ll definitely have to return the favor soon!”

To which he scoffed and said, “If it had been a favor, okay, but this wasn’t a favor.”

Oh...right.  Wait, what?  I had to ponder this a moment.

It wasn’t a favor.  It wasn’t something he did to get something back.  He just...did it.  Because it was helpful and because it was fun.  And gee, I think we’ve lost sight of it, but isn’t that what friends are meant to do?  Our lives have become a series of exchanged favours.  I’ll take you out for drinks because you took me out last week.  You walked my dog, so I’ll bring you a bottle of wine.  I owe you a coffee because you got the tip last time we were out.  Hell, even Santa requires you to be on the "nice" list before he'll bring you a gift.

It’s one thing to show gratitude, and I’m not advocating for doing away with all of the give and take (like, I’m sure your dog walking friend appreciated that bottle of wine! :) )  But, here’s the thing, the constant trade of items and favors takes some of the savor out of the whole process.  For example, before my friend said to me “It wasn’t a favor,” I felt a little beholden.  Grateful, yes, but also a little like “how can I make this up.”  I wasn’t fully immersed in gratitude for the kindness, as I should have been.  Half my mind was thinking of what I should do, could do, have to do next.  Would a bottle of wine be equal enough?  Would paying him be too much?  Would watching his kid in exchange be too little?

Instead, his words stopped me in my tracks.  It wasn’t a favor.  It was kindness.  And I was grateful for that and told him so.  And I’m sure in the future I will show him a kindness...and it won’t be because I felt I had to.  It will be because I felt like it, because I like my friend, and because it’s nice to do nice things.

In this season of gift exchanging and consumerist frenzy, I think we should all take a step back and look at when we’re actually being kind for being kind’s sake.  Are you doing something in exchange for something else, or because you want a favor in the future?  (Okay, I really hope I’m not the only person who does this, or I’ll be a little embarrassed. hehe.)  Or are you doing something because it feels good to make others feel good.  Because that motivation has a richness in itself, no exchange needed.

I’m going to really work on doing things for others without expecting something back or tallying up what I get in return.  And I’m also going to try and be more sincerely grateful to those who do nice things for me.

So, thanks, friend.  Not only did you help me out this morning when I was in a bind and then take me out for lunch, you also inadvertently taught me a major life lesson.  Feel free to remind me of it regularly. :)