Dear Baby: on nervousness about motherhood

Dear Baby,

It is now approximately 14 weeks until your due date, or a little over three months, and this has your father and me a little anxious. Not anxious because we’re scared to have you here–oh no, we can’t wait to meet you–but anxious because there are still so many things we need to do to prepare for your arrival. Things like, get a place for you to sleep in, empty your bedroom of all the extra stuff we’ve been storing in there, get clothes and diapers and all the other things you’re going to need when you get here, etc. And baby, I tell you what, I don’t think anyone ever realizes how overwhelming and big the world of products for babydom is until she/he has kids. I knew in theory, cause I’d heard it was nuts, and I had seen and even read mommy blogs and such talking about all of these things, but somehow, it’s all been brought home even more in the past week or so as I’ve started researching things.

This is probably because even though you’ve been growing inside me for six months, it wasn’t until about two weeks ago that I actually started thinking about the actual physical preparations for your arrival. (We’ll be just fine on that front, though, baby, I promise–lots of extraordinarily kind people are helping talk your mama through it. Don’t you fret.) And waiting to start getting baby things was an intentional decision, partly because we were moving halfway across the country and it just didn’t make sense to start sooner, partly because I wanted to not overwhelm myself too soon, and partly so I could focus more on you and me, and making my body a good home for you until you get here. I hope it’s worked for you.

Baby girl, please don’t misunderstand me here. I know perfectly well that this nervousness about getting everything ready for you is simply a metaphor for me fearing the big unknown of being your mama. The real fact of the matter is that I can hardly wait to meet you. And even though I sometimes still stare motherhood in the eye with abject terror, it’s my own insecurities and inabilities that I fear, which is something we all have to confront in one way or another. 

But when I’m wondering too much how I can ever care for and raise you to be the strong woman I know you are, I look down at you and smile. Because that’s when I feel your fluttering limbs inside me, (I don’t know much about you yet, baby girl, but I do know you like to dance)pushing eagerly out towards the world as if to say, I’m here, Mama–I can’t wait to come to you. And when I worry about how to help you be faith-filled and courageous in this often sad, scary world, I look down and see my stomach move for a split second, as if your tiny two-pound body kicking me from the inside proves that you will be powerful and brave and smart and strong, no matter what bad things are out there. And when I wonder if my failings and insecurities will make your life unnecessarily harder, I look over at your handsome father, and remember that thank goodness you have his love and his genes and his help too, along with God’s, and both of them love you just as much or more than I do, so although things will be messy, with two fathers like that, you can’t go too wrong.

I’m used to thinking of you being my baby now, but it is a different thing entirely to think of myself as your mother. I hope you’ll forgive me for all the times I’ll fall apart–I don’t know much about being a mom; I’ve never done it before. But oh, how I love you already and I can’t wait to get to know who you are and what you’re like and all the little things that make you special and unique and interesting.

Together, we’re going to have so many, many adventures.

Love,

Mama

baby announcement

guilty pleasures

Sometimes I am a little bit embarrassed by certain things that I have an unnatural affinity for. Like, you know those things that if they are accessible or in your immediate presence, you cannot, no matter how much willpower you believe you can muster from your inner soul, you just cannot resist these things? Or some of them might even be those things that you are a little bit embarrassed to be so obsessed with, but obsessed you are anyway? Yeah, those things.

Well, I’ve been noticing several of my guilty pleasures resurfacing with a vengeance lately. And clearly, either I’m not as embarrassed by them as I thought I was, since I’m blogging about them now, or else I have absolutely no self-respect. Whichever.

1. White Collar. One of my best friends introduced me to this show back when it was just getting started, and oh, my gosh, even though season 4 was kind of…eh…I don’t even care, because Matt Bomer in Armani suits and fedoras, because pretty much the best husband-wife relationship in all of TV ever, because art heists, and because New York City, hello. Obviously.

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(source)

2. Fairytale YA novel retellings. I know they’re often tacky, sappy, poorly written, because everyone and their dog is doing them these days so they’re not usually super original anymore, but sometimes, I still really love a lot of them, like this or this or this. Sometimes, it’s nice to be sappy.

3. Keebler Grasshopper Cookies. These have been my purchased junk food of choice since I was eight. I deliberately avoid the cookie aisle and displays where Keebler cookies go on sale at the front of the store when I go grocery shopping, because if these are less than $2.50 a package, it’s REALLY hard not to buy them…(turns out you can buy them on Amazon! What?!?)

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4. Fangirl-dom when it comes to Emma Thompson, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, or Jennifer Lawrence clips, interviews, Buzzfeed articles, etc., to say nothing of their films. Hi, I love all of you. Can we be best friends, please? (Ahem. Like this. Seriously, watch it.)

5. Elementary, Sherlock, and most other Sherlock Holmes things that pop culture appears to be obsessed with lately. Yes, I know everyone is on a Sherlock Holmes kick. Yes, I know it’s kind of goofy. And I don’t care, I like it anyway. (Plus, Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu was a GREAT idea, as was Holmes in New York, just in case you were wondering whether or not Elementary was any good. It is.)

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(source)

6. Frankie Valli and Marvin Gaye. These don’t really need explanation, and I’m definitely not embarrassed about these guilty pleasures, but I’m pretty much on a serious oldies kick lately with these two starring (odd combo, I know), I listened the Marvin Gaye Pandora station the other day during a workout, and holy cow, Motown is fantastic to break a sweat to.

7. Gossip on the Oscars or the Olympics…yeah, pretty much anything here. I’m so excited for both of these, so yeah, I’m following more than many normal human beings.

Mmmhmm. Guilty pleasures, that maybe I don’t feel quite so guilty about after all.

Overheard at the Symphony…

uvs

from here

I’m in the Utah Valley Symphony, playing 2nd fiddle to a lot of really fantastic musicians (no really, I actually am in the 2nd violin section, and most of the people in the group are talented enough that I truly am playing 2nd fiddle to them and I am totes okay with that). Anyway, we have a concert coming up.

As such, symphony rehearsals tend to go a bit lengthy and get a bit exciting when you’re in the crunch time before a concert. Our conductor is a fantastic musician and director, so the fact that he’s hilarious as well is a bonus. Here are some gems from tonight’s rehearsal:

  • “Upper strings and winds, you’re supposed to be witches here. Play like witches! You know, with…pizzazz. Cause witches are full of…pizzazz.”
  • “Jazzier! Jazzier! This isn’t Mozart!”
  • “Cut, cut, cut. Um, hi. Rytting here. Rytting conducts. Please follow Rytting? Thank you?” (Rytting = his last name)
  • “She is the soloist. That means the audience has to hear her. That means, you are quieter than her. That’s, you know, shhhhhh. Good? Good.”
  • “Winds! What excellent sound effects you’re making! You’re sounding perfectly like Halloweenish demons!” (Note: this was a completely sincere compliment. They were supposed to sound like that.)
  • “Oh, very nice, clarinets–so very Halloweeny.”
  • “Folks, I need to tell you something. I think…I think Berlioz was on drugs. Maybe when he wrote this? So, you know, play like that. Do you know what that’s li–you know what? Never mind. I don’t want to know. Just imagine what you think that sounds like.”

Symphony’s fun, folks.

(p.s., if you’re in the Provo/Orem area, and available next Wednesday or Thursday, come to our concert at the Covey Center! We’re playing with all these amazing prodigy kids , plus the couple of Halloweeny songs mentioned above, so it’ll be a really fun time. And like serious, on the prodigy thing–check them out; they’re amazing. Or just talk to me if you’re interested–I might have a couple discounted tickets available.)

p.p.s. I definitely had to look up how to spell “pizzazz.” Who knew–it has four z’s?!?

thinking

The husband is out playing basketball tonight, which means I am at home, alone, with lots of thoughts to keep me company.

I am thinking about a lot tonight.

I’m thinking about how when I got home after a long day at work, I was vulnerable and tired and hungry and a titch sad, and therefore, I ate too many pieces of bacon with supper (breakfast sandwiches on bread that we made last night, but no, I will not say how many pieces of bacon I had) and now I am regretting my emotional eating. Yeah, I have a hard time with willpower when I’m exhausted. So I threw the rest of the bacon in the freezer to save myself from…myself. After all, who wants to eat cold, frozen bacon? I mean, really.

I’m thinking about all of my beautiful, lovely friends who are just now returning from traveling everywhere from eastern Europe and Russia to southeast Asia to Israel and so on and so on. And how happy I am for them that they got to do that. And how it’s kind of amazing that for once in my life, when everyone but me seems to be off having adventures, I am actually starting to feel satisfied with where I am; that I’m feeling less like I’m being left behind and more like my turn will come too to travel the world some more someday, and in the mean time, I’m okay where I am. Even if I don’t really know exactly where that is.

I’m also thinking that in spite of that, I’ve been missing England lately. Missing it hard.

I’m thinking about my little brother serving a mission on Guernsey, and how happy he is, and how joyous serving people all the time is.

I’m thinking about how much better Adam’s Natural Peanut Butter is than any other kind. And how almond milk might just be my new favorite thing. And does this make me a cool person leaning towards granola? No, but I still like natural peanut butter and almond milk a lot.

I’m thinking about how terrible I feel that I missed telling one of my best friends happy birthday a couple days ago. And how she has never missed one of mine. Even when she was living in Russia. And it’s awful to feel like a sucky friend.

I’m thinking about how sometimes I forget about things that I maybe used to be good at, and how I want to recapture a vision I used to have to the person I hope someday to become.

I’m thinking about femininity and divine womanhood and how I’m starting to catch the tiniest piece of a glimpse of what that might look like on a practical basis for me and my life personally. And really searching and hungering for that like I have been for several years? Well, it’s made the catching of that glimpse infinitely more rewarding. And it’s also reminded me again of just how many things you learn in life that can’t be put into words.

I’m thinking about how part of the person I want to become is someone who never represses a kind thought or action. And how I almost stopped myself from doing a kind thing for someone tonight because it was easier not to; and then how glad I was when I was kind after all and it changed the mood of my entire evening.

I’m just thinking.

cloudy english countryside

growing grace

Sometimes, I feel like different portions of my life are very separate and portioned out from one another. On weekdays, between 8 ish and 5 ish, I have my work-professional-be-a-good-employee life, other days, I have my symphony-music life (like during the two hours in which I am at rehearsal and stumbling very badly over one of Strauss’s awesome-but-super-hard compositions), Sundays (and some other days too), I have my church-and-ward-service life, and on weekends, I have my Will-and-me-and-sometimes-social-stuff-too life. Sandwiched somewhere in between all of those too, is my workout-life, my healthy-eating life (trying, anyway), my mundane-run-errands-and-be-a-grown-up life, my reading-good-books life, and my calling-and-spending-time-with-important-people life–none of which there ever seems to be enough time for.

They’re all really great lives. And I honestly don’t feel like, at this point in my overall existence, I am in an exceptionally busy or crazy fast-paced stage. I recognize that, and, having forced myself to live on the edge of my capacity for busyness, schedules, things-to-do, and running every which way for far too many years, I’m truly grateful that I’m learning to not pack it in quite so much. (In terms of life. Not necessarily food. Although that’s a good goal too.)

But I have found that sometimes, I tend to get in the habit of seeing these different things I do as separate from each other, discrete packages with little to no crossover at all. When I first began thinking about this, I thought that perhaps the one exception would be my church life, as I happen to belong to a church that highly encourages practical application of all faith-based matters.

But when you actually try to do that? When you try to un-compartmentalize different portions of your life and recognize that you’re cheery with which the cashier at the store and you’re far-too-easily annoyed at the driver who cuts you off. And worse still, you’re willing to see the good in your best friend, but you continually internally criticize the way that other person who shall remain nameless chooses to handle certain situations…well.

It just goes to show you that you are the lump sum of all of your compartmentalized lives. And then you start to see that your brushes with divinity result when you put aside the barriers between sections of your life and recognize that the integrity you’re trying to have with your eating habits, and your sometimes not-total-honesty with yourself about what you can and can’t take on crosses over between your healthy-eating life and your personal-introspection life. And that your belief in an all-powerful God who loves and cares for you because you’re his child, and your worries about your temporal future are actually integrally intertwined. And then you remember that, of course, because you believe in that, you can then also believe that those worries will be cared for, alleviated, and taken care of. After all, if a=b, and b=c, then c=a too, you remember, like in 5th grade math. (Seems rather obvious, I know, but like I said–uncompartmentalizing really obvious principles across multiple facets of life like that hasn’t exactly been my strong suit of late, which is why I’m writing this post.) :)

Uncompartmentalizing like that for me, is a regular process that has to happen over and over again, because I’m mortal like that. And this time around, it has been revolutionary and totally terrifying. It means I can’t any longer just give lip service to this belief that I’ve professed, that the God of all the universe actually knows who little me is and gives more than a passing thought to my circumstances. It’s terrifying to confront your beliefs like that and actually try to live like you believe them, without any other lifelines. Because, now that I’m out of lifelines, there’s nowhere else to turn.

However, there’s a kind of freeing grace in uncompartmentalizing my perceptions of my life(s) like that. It’s like a faith-filled freefall deep into my soul, to discover what’s actually down at the heart of it, and to discover if those beliefs I’ve based my soul’s development upon will catch me once I do. And while it’s terrifying to let go like that, it’s so empowering to discover that that faith in the divine, that lowering of barriers between areas of my life actually enables a richness and beauty to living that I had not previously understood.

There’s a phrase I’ve seen multiple times in multiple contexts (on Pinterest, of all places) that I’ve come to really love. And in this letting go of my own self-made life compartments and barriers, in letting go of my fears to rely totally on faith because there’s nothing left to do, I find that I’m learning to live in the way that that phrase so perfectly encapsulates. I find that I can accept and confront my own sorely lacking self by trusting in that power, that grace that makes me whole.

I find I’m growing grace.

to be braver than I am

I’ve noticed that I tend to put off writing here when I feel tired or stressed or worried or unsettled. I think it’s that part of me that is still very, very afraid of other people knowing that I am (gasp!) human and therefore, extremely fallible. And then, the fact that I just wrote even that makes me want to hurry up and compulsively press the backspace button because I don’t even want you (whoever you are) to know that I do, in fact, care very much about what other people (you) think of me.

And so, because I am scared of that and bravery is not my forte, as much as I wish I could be as fearless and feisty as this awesome chica, here I sit on my couch, in an effort to acknowledge in a somewhat public forum that I have this terrible tendency to look sideways and get fearful of the amazing people around me realizing that I’m actually just schlepping myself along my life and attempting to look graceful whenever someone might chance to look my direction. I don’t want you all to know I’m a schlepper.

laden

schlepping.

graceful

what I pretend to be doing when you look…

But, in an exercise to face fears and attempt to acquire a semblance of bravery, I’ve decided that maybe learning to talk about my life-schlepping (and why I’m fearful of others seeing how lame I can be sometimes) could actually limit the fear of it and impart me with a little more grace to combat it. Or at least maybe learning to talk about schlepping more openly may help me not freak out quite so much when my pretense of gracefulness shatters, as pretenses are wont to do.

And so, even if no one really ever reads this, the fact that I’m acknowledging that I sometimes crave approval and need people to think I’m awesome in order to think I’m awesome myself (I know it’s not the healthiest mindset–I promise, I’m working on it), is a step forward in a positive direction, I think? I was recently having a conversation with my serious rockstar of an aunt about some health goals that I personally have for myself. In the course of that conversation, I said something about how I want to be a healthy, active, fit person, but I don’t feel like that’s quite a part of who I’ve always been, so I’m not quite there yet. And her response? (Slightly paraphrased, I’ll admit.) “Yes, Lisa, maybe you’re not where you want to be yet. But that doesn’t mean it’s not who you are. Being aware of something and wanting to have a certain trait be a part of your identity are the first steps on the road to becoming.”

And you know what? She’s right. So here I am–fully aware of my weakness and insecurities and wanting to acknowledge them and become more confident in making them strong. Instead of trying to hide them or pretend they don’t exist. And that awareness and desire for improvement…that’s the first step, right?

Maybe one can learn bravery.

0725-merida

A short list of things on which I am an expert.

There are a lot of things I’m not awesome at. But I always try to look on the bright side of things. So, here’s my list of things that this week I have learned that I am very, very good at.

  1. Taking a really long time to get into consistent habits of things I want to be good at; i.e., posting on my blog.
  2. Reading cookbooks whenever I am hungry and cannot eat for at least two more hours.
  3. Scattering bobby pins about the entire house. (My husband knows this, and he has tried to keep them in normal places, like the bathroom vanity. He was completely vindicated the other day when my little brother was over at our house and found a bobby pin on the kitchen shelf by the cookbooks…and said, “Oh, so you still have bobby pins everywhere, do you?” Yeah. Still do.)
  4. Making sure that my toes are always at least twenty degrees colder than the rest of my normal body temperature. Particularly whenever my husband is near, so he can yelp and run away from me at my approach.
  5. Accidentally hitting the open-the-trunk button on my car keys instead of the unlock button…and then driving several miles with the trunk lid waving in the breeze before I realize I did it again.
  6. Never checking the mail.
  7. Falling on my face during complicated yoga poses…and then pretending I meant to face plant. (Seriously, if anyone were to walk in my living room while I’m doing yoga, he/she’d likely laugh very hard.)

Crane-Pose

(This is not me.)

crane

(This is me.)

Oh well. At least I know I’m good at all these things. Optimism is a good thing, right?