In 2003 I moved to Chicago in search of a music career and a much needed change of scenery. I grew up in Indiana and had seen about as much of it as I thought I needed for a while, so I headed to the Windy City with the intention of making it big. I suppose looking back I never thought that the happiness I was hoping for would be trumped by something much different and much better. Instead of becoming the musician I wanted to be, I surpassed those dreams by marrying the most wonderful man and becoming a mother to a perfect little girl named Willow.
She came about in the usual way -
1. girl meets boy.
2. they fall in love.
3. they get themselves hitched.
4. In due time they decide to create a genetic combination of themselves that they then raise for the rest of their lives.
(Or something like that.)
She was every bit a planned baby that we were happy to welcome on 9/23/2010. Although 8 days late, she entered this world with much enthusiasm and her almost immediate love for communicating to us in high screechy squeaks garnered her her very first nick-name: Mouse. She's pretty incredible, and I'm already really proud to be her mom.
So, I am currently a stay-at-home mom and am really enjoying the challenges of life with a 10 week old baby. That's also a load of bologna because this job is seriously hard, yo. I never really fathomed how difficult the first six weeks would be, and I'm not sure that anything could have prepared me for it, really. One thing I have definitely learned thus far is that you can dispense as much advice to your pregnant friends and loved ones as you want, but no amount of talking can ever really prepare a person for how it feels to be a brand new, sleep-deprived, completely unhinged parent to a squawking ball of adorable fury. It is an experience that I do not feel will be equaled in emotional growth for me anytime soon. But it was also an incredible time of burgeoning lifelong feelings that surprise you with their intensity - the love I have for Willow surpasses any kind of love I've ever felt. It's amazing and a bit unnerving, but every bit wonderful.
My husband, Ryan, has also been wonderful, and I count myself lucky for having him as a partner in this life. He is forever challenging me to grow and learn and although he can be charmingly pushy about it sometimes, I always appreciate that he wants me to better myself everyday. That is the kind of person that everyone should want to be with for life, someone that pushes you to be your best and loves you when you sometimes fail. We are truly happily married and I try to always remember how rare that is. Also, he is devastatingly funny one moment and completely insane the next and although I would usually much rather fly under the radar, I find that I am pulled out of my shell often by his antics - which, in the end, I think is a very good thing. :) As a Dad, Ryan is top notch and he's really taken it on himself to take frequent responsibility for Willow and to be sure that he is staying involved in all the many intricate processes that constitute her life. We've had our rare moments of conflict only when the sleep had dwindled to a seriously low number of hours, and he has really made an effort to understand my feelings and to support me. Which I totally appreciate. I mean, seriously, it's awesome.
But that's not to say that I have not had challenges since I left my job and took up employment at The Chamberlain House, Inc. I can definitely sympathize with moms who begin to feel a bit undefined when they first begin the mom journey. I felt a bit unanchored during those first few weeks. Nothing about your life is the same as it was and I found myself really reeling from the sleep deprivation and very stressed. Without the familiars of my life or schedule I had a chance to reset myself and reprogram my own behaviors, and it was strange to me. On top of all that, I had trouble feeling like I was worthy of staying home, too. I worried that the Husband would resent me, that I wouldn't do enough to warrant a free ride. But then, I head-checked myself and was reminded that he would never do that to me. We discussed this at length and had decided together that this was the best possible course for our family at this moment and so there would be no reason for him to harbor any bad feelings about it. We were at peace with the choice, so I needed to be at peace with the responsibilities that are now mine and to stop feeling guilty for imaginary crimes.
And so far, I think I'm kicking ass. I have completely gotten into the groove of mothering and have honestly become pretty confident with the current set of tasks. Willow is beyond amazing, and I try every day to absorb all of her quirks and accomplishments. She is seriously growing like a mutant weed or something and it's crazy awesome! All of that has made the days really rewarding. I feel like I'm truly succeeding as she succeeds and I totally get where all those crazy stage moms get their complexes from - it's addicting to watch your child win at life! Not that I plan to go all Toddler.s and Tiara.s on you guys, but I do understand now how it must feel for parents that are faced with watching their child make bad decisions or stumble and how you always want them to have accolades and congratulations over regrets and possible police records. I mean, come on - could you want anything but Academy Awards and Nobel Prizes for this kid?
Didn't I mention that she's perfect? :) Holy cow, we're lucky people to be able to call her ours.
And so I come to the point: This blog is meant to be a place for me to retain some personal sanity in the face of all the changes and new routines yet to come so I plan to document my experiences, share my interests, and perhaps display some art (maybe some of mine, but lots of other people's for sure). I want this to be a place for remembering what makes me the person I am and also to reflect on what will affect me in the future. I can already look back now and see how far we've already come, but it is truly humbling to look forward to the enormity of the journey that lies ahead and to realize that you've only just begun it.
So, here's to the glorious, rocky road that surely lies ahead - I look forward to sharing it with you.