Wife, most importantly.
The first week of Eleanor’s life was bliss, a delightful honeymoon period that Mattie and I were able to enjoy together. We experienced heightened affection for one another as we cared for our newborn. She made it easy considering all she did was eat and sleep, and her diapers didn’t stink. Mattie would feed me from his plate as I nursed Eleanor. We’d spend close to twelve hours in bed each day, watching her every move.
Week two was lovely as well, but then I made the mistake of eating buffalo chicken wings. That sent her into three nights of gaseous pain and poopy diapers that looked exactly like the buffalo wing sauce. Thank goodness for gas drops that seemed to bring her instant relief. Eleanor was kind enough to give us a few hours each night to go out to dinner as she slept in her car seat.
Matt went back to work this past Monday, and my mother and stepfather came into town to give me a hand around the place. Despite our desire to co-sleep with Eleanor, Mom convinced me to start putting her in her crib in the nursery. Lo and behold, she sleeps better and for longer stretches. What is it with daughters not wanting to listen to their mothers’ advice? Mom made tons of good food, stocked up our pantry, took the baby off my hands a couple times, and got my stepdad working on a few projects around the condo.
It was an interesting time for my mother and me. I have always tried to reserve my emotions around her for the most part and she has been the same. What with postpartum hormones and whatnot, I couldn’t hold much back and openly wept in front of her. My mother has always been wonderful to me, but this is the first time that she has been tender to me. Her affection made it that much harder to see her leave.
Yesterday was my first day alone with Eleanor. I won’t say it was a nightmare, but all of a sudden I felt very inadequate and alone. I wept over my baby for a couple hours, begged my husband to come home early, then changed my mind and told him to stay at work. After a bucket of tears, I finally calmed down and tried to discern what my daughter’s cries meant, how I could help her, what I could do to make her comfortable. She cried for so long, all day long, and then finally rested in our friend Emily’s arms with eyes closed, serene.
Nights have been lovely and quiet.
Eleanor will stir and wake me up with a few coos from her crib in the room next to ours. The nursery is our sanctuary. It is very peaceful and feels like a cocoon. She’ll sleep for three hours between feeding sessions, often falling asleep on the breast. Honestly, I have a tendency to fall asleep with her, nestled in our arm chair.
Mattie gets up at 3:45 AM for work during the week. He kisses me and tells me he loves me every morning. I can only assume he does the same with Eleanor now. Shortly after he leaves, she stirs as if she knows he’ll be gone for a while, our knight in shining armor. He’s the one who keeps us happy and safe, who provides for us and is the reason why she and I can be together all day. It’s hard for me to see him leave every morning, too.
Today, our friend Annie took our beloved dog Molly to her new owner. After nine months of feeling immense guilt that I could not care for my dog the way she needed, it was a huge relief to know she was going to a better home to have a better life - a doggy paradise with new friends, an acre of land, doggy bunk beds, and wonderful new parents. It’s strange now, not seeing her curled up on the couch waiting for Mattie to come home so he can take her out to play. Her hair is still all over the place; I have yet to clean it all up. She was so good with Eleanor. I’m sad that they could not grow up together.
Showers are infrequent and sleep is, too. I eat when Eleanor lets me for a few minutes between crying spells. I planned on cleaning the house today, washing the dishes, vacuuming, and everything else before Mattie got home. I wanted to surprise him, but like every parenting book and website will tell you, that’s stuff you just have to let go. So long as Eleanor’s with us, there will always be a few loose ends, but that’s probably good for someone like me.
Eleanor cried off and on today from 10:30 AM to 3:15 PM. That doesn’t make me mad. There are moments when she suddenly stops and looks up at my face with the most pensive expression. I imagine that she’s pondering the reason for her distress. “How can I tell mom what I need? How can I help her help me?” I ask her, “What can I do for you? How can I help you? I’m so sorry that I’m not very good at this yet, but we will get better in time.”
I love her so much. I know one day I will get mad at her, but it hasn’t happened yet. I’m grateful for that. Eleanor is teaching me to trust. She is too young and too good to be manipulative. Every cry is a genuine need. Every quiver of her chin is a desire for comfort. Even though she exhausts me to the point of something akin to a brain freeze, I am so soothed by her whether she wails or sleeps. She’s not out to get me. She doesn’t want to hurt me. She just needs me. I’m her lifeline.
And she’s mine.
BRAD PITT ABOUT HIS WIFE :
My wife got sick. She was constantly nervous because of problems at work, personal life, her failures and children. She lost 30 pounds and weighted about 90 pounds. She got very skinny and was constantly crying. She was not a happy woman. She had suffered from continuing headaches, heart pain and jammed nerves in her back and ribs. She did not sleep well, falling asleep only in the mornings and got tired very quickly during the day. Our relationship was on the verge of a break up. Her beauty was leaving her somewhere, she had bags under her eyes, she was poking her head, and stopped taking care of herself. She refused to shoot the films and rejected any role. I lost hope and thought that we’ll get divorced soon… But then I decided to act. After all I’ve got the most beautiful woman on earth. She is the idol of more than half of men and women on earth, and I was the one allowed to fall asleep next to her and to hug her. I began to shower her with flowers, kisses and compliments. I surprised and pleased her every minute. I gave her a lot of gifts and lived just for her. I spoke in public only about her. I incorporated all themes in her direction. I praised her in front of her own and our mutual friends. You won’t believe it, but she blossomed. She became better. She gained weight, was no longer nervous and loved me even more than ever. I had no clue that she CAN love that much.
And then I realized one thing: the woman is the reflection of her man.
If you love her to the point of madness, she will become it.
from Leo Babauta's Little Book of Contentment
Earlier today, I stood looking out at the river and was overcome by a deep awareness of something sacred. It overwhelmed me with yearning. A yearning for what? I’m not sure. I just watched the water move, felt the wind blow, and observed myself.
When I got on my mat tonight, my mind was so full of ideas that need to be placed on paper, that have needed to be written down for years, but I was always too scared to do it. There was a gnat flying around the room, making the quietest and loudest of noises. I would catch glimpses of it and sometimes it flew right by my ear. It nearly drove me crazy. But I just practiced.
I was halfway through my sequence when finally I just wanted to give up. I surrendered, taking child’s pose and closing my eyes. Then, I listened to the gnat flying, buzzing. I decided to pretend that I was the gnat and I started to describe myself:
There’s unexpected truth that comes out when you put yourself in the shoes of another. Describing myself as a gnat, I identified not only how I’ve been feeling recently, but also how I see myself. Small. Annoying. This isn’t good. This should change. Where is my self worth? How do you build it?
I said a prayer and again that overwhelming sense of the sacred washed over me. I don’t really know what that means when I say it. God? A spirit? The universe? But then out of nowhere, behind closed eyelids, an image of a man smiling at me and these words:
"Just write it down."
Molly Bear, @matthewakery and me at the park. This is church. #love #marriage #family