That’s a place to start, right?
Because although I think about posting a lot – write full, elaborate and exceptionally detailed posts in my head while falling asleep or nursing or driving to work – I haven’t actually managed to write anything in a few weeks. I know that by many standards, this is hardly an absence, but it makes sense how a few weeks turns into months – it’s harder to get started once there’s some distance.
But. Today was a good day.
To start, it’s Ansel’s half birthday – which means we have kept the kid alive for a full half year. And, I have kept him alive with my boobs alone for those 6 months. What?! I always want to state clearly and up front that feeding a baby, however it happens, is awesome. And, I am really proud of myself as well! Dude has some pretty chunky legs and adorable rolls to show for it, too!
Second, the store where we buy a lot of our cloth diaper stuff is moving, so they posted about a flash sale where you could get all the diapers you could stuff into a bag for $15. I ran over on a break and got 12 fitted and pocket diapers (the fancy kind we don’t use often!) for $15!
Then, I went out to lunch with my boss for my annual review. I got to eat sushi (my first since before I was pregnant!) and hear all the (mostly) nice things people said about me.
And things are good most days, too. La is in rehearsals for the show she is directing at school, which means we’ve hardly seen each other for a few weeks and won’t for a few more. We hand A off at my work, outside the theater, or tag out at home. She often gets home late, after I’ve gone to bed, and sometimes gets up early as well. And while its sometimes lonely (in part because I’m not so good at reaching out to folks to spend time with) and lots of times exhausting (I have a teeny tiny glimpse into single parenthood, and it seems so tiring), I have enjoyed having a lot of time with Ansel by myself too. And I know L loves directing shows and working so closely with students.
Work is still exhausting, but rewarding. The idea that somehow managing a federal project would get ‘easier’ is laughable now. But I’m also getting better at delegating and collaborating (some of the feedback from my review, and my own personal experience, indicates that this is an area of growth for me) and now that I’ve finally shifted my old job off my plate, I have the energy and time to focus more on developing systems and tools that I need to do my job well. Plus, that raise finally came through, so I’m feeling less resentful about not getting paid for the extra work.
But none of that is what I have thought about writing so many times in my head. That isn’t the really interesting stuff. That’s just the update, the basics. Nothing good.
So, what have I thought about writing?
- About how a few days ago, when Ansel came to work with me for an event, a community partner gushed over him and told me he looked like me and then asked about his “Daddy.” I explained he didn’t have a daddy, but he did have two moms and a donor. She seemed to hear that, but then kept asking about his ‘daddy’ – did his daddy have blue eyes? what was his daddy’s ethnic heritage? did I know his daddy? And because I was at work and she is an important partner, I didn’t totally lose my shit. But I felt sick about it. Maybe even more so because she was well meaning but still so very far from the mark. I don’t think she kept saying ‘daddy’ yo intentionally invalidate me and L, nor because she didn’t ‘get’ the situation (her questions clearly illustrated that she did.) But every time I responded, “His DONOR has blue eyes, his DONOR is german and swedish” she just kept coming back with the daddy shit. That’s how you feel invisible, when you feel like you should be talking to someone but it’s more like yelling into an abyss.
- Or, how my co-worker, who is a little brash and kind of intense but whom I’ve always enjoyed, told me unsolicited that A “should be sleeping through the night by now.” Not in response to my complaining about lack of sleep (because I don’t complain) or anything else related to how my baby sleeps, but seemingly out of no where. And when I just smiled awkwardly, she said, “Well. He should. He’s big enough and old enough. He doesn’t NEED to eat at night.” I thought about pulling out all the research I have that indicates that while sure, he “could” be sleeping “through the night” (whatever that means) it’s also ok that he’s not. And that if I don’t mind, why should she? It bothered me all day. It made me wonder if I AM doing something wrong? If he should be sleeping differently? I finally snapped out of it, but it stayed with me way too long. And I wondered why the fuck people offer so much unsolicited advice when it seems like everyone hates it so much. Like, is there some sort of parent amnesia and you forget how awful unsolicited advice is and start giving it out? Because she definitely made some knowing comment about unsolicited advice regarding parenting this morning and I wanted to say, ‘uh, like the kind you gave me on Monday?’
- Or how things continue to be so hard with my mom, not that she knows this, because she just doesn’t seem to respect me as a parent. She basically does what she wants – gives Ansel ibuprofen without asking beforehand or holds him while he naps or any number of other things we’ve asked her not to do – but there’s so much baggage for me and emotional manipulation that sometimes I choose not to fight her because I don’t have the ability to do it. And my very excellent therapist who was also way too expensive fired me because I couldn’t afford her, which is ultimately for the best but kind of sucks right now.
- How about that we are donating two of our embryos to our friends who have been trying SO LONG to have baby #2, and how that is exciting but also feels like a huge dark unknown. What will it be like to know that there is a child out in the world who maybe has my eyes or my hair or my hands, but is not my child? Maybe this especially nuanced because my child was conceived with a donor, and I imagine at least one of my children will also not be biologically related to me, and I love the complexity of that – families and community and all of it. But there’s so very much to think about.
And, I want you to see how big Ansel is getting! He is sticking lots of foods in his mouth (not ‘eating’ so much as experiencing!) and rolling over and beginning to inch worm his way around. He’s still so happy and smiley and lovely. And parenting is both everything and nothing like I thought it would be 6 months ago when this sweet boy slipped (too) quietly out of my body via the VIP door.