Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Fine Art of Motherhood

It was Dolly family time at the Museum of Fine Arts Sunday.  Perfect way to spend a dreary in between fall and winter rainy cold kinda day.  Any chance at exploring uncharted waters of the city and I am in.  You know, to pretend like you’re the cool bohemian city chick you always wanted to be when you were 22 that just drops by the MOFA to be all in touch with your hipster artistic side….but with a Baby Bjorn on.  Lyla’s getting to a point now where she will take in an unfamiliar room with solid stares for like 30 minutes – never seen the kid so quiet.  So I thought it would be a fun experiment to show her the bold, lit colors of Norman Rockwell, or let her warm porcelain hand touch the cold stone of king’s statues that were recently dug up from hidden tunnels in Egypt’s majestic pyramids built thousands of years ago.  Seriously, just let that settle for a second – basically your grandfather + 29 fathers in front of him kind of years ago.2010-12-11 025pik           We are so getting buried like this.

2010-12-11 022pikSick trombone. 2010-12-12 002pik

2010-12-11 028pik       I. want. this.

2010-12-11 029pik 2010-12-11 031pik

2010-12-12 0112010-12-12 012As we strolled through the maze of history at our fingertips, I noticed a theme as we passed by the ice white marble statues frozen in time in the grand entrance. Or down the Italian Renaissance hallway decorated with countless works of The Virgin Child.  And into the photography showcase that I was begging Troy to navigate us to.  Lastly there it was as we stared at the Art of Americas with it’s wealthy self-portraits taking up most of the imitated 19th century wallpaper because of the golden frame’s monstrous sizes.  Caught my eye every time…

2010-12-11 020pik 2010-12-11 021pik
Mother and child.  Over and over again everywhere I turned my eager eyes to.

I couldn’t escape all of the historical artists’ portrayal of this profound relationship and it’s beautiful innocence.  It seemed to be what was most valued of women dating back to when art was first called art on the dusty cave walls.  Where woman was painted, there two angelic bare-bottomed children played in the soft grass below her.  A special connection from the showcased moms seeped into me as Lyla cruised through the museum tied to my body. 

2010-12-11 026pik 2010-12-12 008pik

Oh, you felt that too? was all I could gather from their adoring looks onto their children.

MOTHERLY LOVE. Where the hell does it come from?

Gain 40lb. for someone I’ve never met? Sure.  Who does that??  But then we’re introduced.  And my eyes can no longer even get past the reflection of my arms constantly pulling her in so close to disguise the midsection blubber below that remains.  The endorphins she secretes blind my insecurities.  But maybe that’s just because I haven’t looked in the mirror naked in 8 months. 2010-12-11 0082010-12-11 004

And who goes through labor and wants to do it again???  As my long-lost sister friend Season put it, the ring of fire.  Burns like no other.  Could not have hit the nail on the head any more perfect than that girlfriend.  We sweat, we push, we tear.  Not as in drops of happy salty clear liquid from the eyes tear.  As in torn. Pulled apart. Ripped.  Ouch. 

That birth day you attest to only your curious, younger sister “Oh. my. god, it hurt like hell was in my vagina.  The worst pain I’ve ever experienced.  I don’t know if I can do this again.”  The following day after a night in with your sweetly burrito-wrapped newborn by your bedside, you swear you’re having 4 more.

2010-12-11 001 2010-12-11 007

We give over our breasts that used to perk up nicely in a string bikini, in order to produce milk that has to be extracted 6 times a day by a device that I’d like to throw out the window by now.  Somehow developing 8 octopus arms to multitask the 20-minute milk sessions into an orchestra of pumping, bottle feeding, burping, emailing, music jamming, speaker phoning, baby playing, and husband conversing - who was never allowed to look below my chin while in session for fear of permanently damaging his brain with images of uttering nipples.  I love that only moms who pump will know what pleasant image I’m talking about here.

Sleep – who needs it?  It used to take an act of God moving mountains in order for my parents to get me out of bed for 10th grade.  There was loud whistling, clapping, yelling, and even afghan removals into the crisp morning air of the Snow Capital.  I’m pretty sure I was late 174 of the 180 days in a school year.  Present day, a blip of a whisper comes from that video monitor, and I’m all Big Brother studying the night vision screen.  Ready to leap from bed to interject the rolling log baby in order to seamlessly mend her sleep cycles together with a soft needle pattern of shhhhhing.  Doing that 3 times a night has you thinking Ok, maybe just 2 kids total.

2010-12-11 011 2010-12-11 014

2010-12-11 017                                                          And we’re sitting  :)

You have your I Love Babies good days, and your pulling-out-your-own-hair bad days. 

You have your proud mastering mom moments where you’ve got her figured out down to the face that will produce poop 2 seconds later, but then these wonderful things called phases pop into your routine to throw your Lyla Master’s Degree right into the Diaper Genie.

Attention-sucking colds come and go.  Followed by signaled health with rolling belly laughs that fill the living room after a couple of bounces on the knee.

This fine art of motherhood is just that – an art.  It’s first draft lulls of hard black charcoal depicting labor on the canvas eventually get filled in with 20 shades of warm pink that blend together to form the love in the moment.  Erasers made of gummy smiles are there to take away the first pencil sketch of a sleepless night.  We must fine tune our days with just the right amount of focus to get us through the exploding diaper hour and onto the next that will capture the perfect photograph of baby’s first day sitting.

It’s an art that’s hard to understand by some.  Singing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer on repeat and spooning in pureed peas into a tiny mouth only to get them spit back at you is not for everyone.  It’s a maternal instinct of caring that drives the population into what it is today.  Motherly love goes on and on, knowing no limits, blinding the hard times with illusions of an infinite lifetime full of family.  And that’s what it’s all about.2010-12-12 005pik2010-12-12 006pik

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tis The Season

The turkey carcus was swallowed up by some yummy day-after Thanksgiving turkey tortellini soup.  The family has made their way back by planes, trains, and automobiles from our little waterfront rental.  Our cozy ‘Grandmas Are In Charge” Thanksgiving is complete, leaving me stress-free to take care of the remaining bits of our tiny patient. 

2010-11-27 004pikAmazing how much has healed in only 2 weeks. 2010-11-28 004pikRalphie!!! I can’t move my arms!

2010-11-27 009

Rich Kahlua cheesecake for breakfast every morning is over…damn.  Thanksgiving 2010 is finito, but marks the kick off to The Holidays. 2010-11-25 003pik

2010-11-25 002pik

2010-11-25 012pik 2010-11-25 013pik
2010-11-25 010pik2010-11-25 005pik
2010-11-25 011pik 2010-11-25 026pik
My favorite time of year.

I was waiting for the house to quiet down back to its late night silence.  For the living room to be free of the holiday chit chat melodies and just full of the diamond glow from icicle lights hanging in the windows.  To be able to stare at our sparkling fresh-cut Christmas tree, standing 7ft. tall, peeking out the glass door with it’s just the right amount chubiness.  Our first real tree in years!  I feel like a true Northerner again.  Letting the evergreen perfume motivate my creative juices to put together a post on how The Holidays are the best fuzzy-feeling times an optimist could ask for.  2010-11-23 008pik

10 days since my last story, and I was now filled to the brim with all of the fun tellings of how bright our festive abode has been lately.  To show off my Target Holiday $1 aisle skills in some photographs.  To decorate this blog with “I am thankful for…” paragraphs relaying a message of appreciation I hope to pass onto my absorbent readers as they overlook our picturesque New England fall walk we took last week.  Of course I left my camera on the dining room table - right next to my pile of Make Sure You Grab This stuff that I always forget - so cell phone camera art it was.

2010-11-16_12.44.22 2010-11-16_12.43.25

2010-11-16_12.48.19 2010-11-16_13.15.17
Looks like this mom had a rough day!


But top of the list is to get caught up with some of my own inspirational readings through others’ eye-opening blogs, and I came across a heavenly woman who advocates for charities in need of being heard.  This one little faint infant cry was coming from her latest guest blogger, and Thanksgiving 2010 I am most thankful that I had my ears perked up on ‘Mama’s Super Ability To Hear Cries From The Shower’ mode to get wind of this baby boy featured.  I cannot begin to replicate her enlightening, impactful, profound message. So please, click this trooper’s picture to hear Cliff’s story from his angel’s mouth directly. 


As you can see from Cliff’s message, we have lots to be thankful for.  Not to pity his life, because it should be celebrated.  But I firmly believe will be changed by this cause.  We must be thankful that do-gooders exist out there.  That even though this advocate blogger’s life was turned upside down itself, she still found the sliver of time in her mommy days to make another child’s life hopeful.  To pull Cliff from the system where his tentative itinerary is the final destination of a cold institution, and instead detours him to a love-filled, kisses everywhere, bountiful hugs kind of home.

Sliding a $1 bill into the Christmas cheer ringing from the Salvation Army red bucket, even though the guy shaking the bell may look a little creepy, is the right thing to do.  Writing your name with black Sharpie on a cartoon turkey to tape on your local grocery store’s wall after a $2 Food Bank donation to fill a stranger’s Thanksgiving plate will make you feel better about purchasing that 14lb. turkey on the conveyor. 

Now taking this challenge – $5 or more to help Cliff find a mom and dad – will fill your core with warmth.  A mother and father that want him, but can’t afford the $20,000+ it costs to adopt.  Skip the gossip magazine you’d buy at the register, and instead give this little boy the Christmas gift that he deserves. 

If you’d like to take the extra step, please continue to give when you can to Reece’s Rainbow.  It’s the parent organization to Cliff’s cause.  They promote the international adoption of children with Down syndrome by raising money to give adopting families the extra financial help to bring a child with Down syndrome home from a miserable existence in overseas orphanages.  I don’t know how I was in the dark about Reece's Rainbow until now, but I am dumbfounded by it's overwhelming intention of giving all special needs kids a home. 

The lure of hyperlinked almond-eyes on an awaiting orphan, leading to another link listing all of the helpless faces needing homes has me in a mess of tears.  The guilt sunk me into the couch as I stared at all of these souls crying out for help.  I know it’s heartbreaking to see, but don’t let the heart ache make you look away.  Push through the pain.  Click, click, click.  Now I’m staring at pages showcasing which kids have been a glimmer of hope by fundraising families trying to get through the expensive, tangled process to take them in.  Click, click, click.  Feelings of raw envy for the stories of families who have fully adopted from beginning to end one, sometimes two, one couple chose THREE beautiful children.  And I thought it was hard to shower – holy multi-tasking props to you super adoption mamas!  The child’s before picture taken beside the cold crib rails overseas, right next to the glowing after pictures with a rosy-cheeked little girl engulfed in warm hugs by her new family.  Breathtaking. 

I hate to think of how these little darlings were given up in the first place, but gives me hope to see the good outweighing the bad through pictures documenting the new ear-to-ear smiles on these babes’ faces as their new Dad kisses their forehead.    The new Dad that was so selfless to help as long as money was not a factor.

Keep a place in your heart for the godsend Reece’s Rainbow organization that connects all of these forgotten kids to open-armed families.  Or do what I did and consider the true Christmas spirit – when you donate $35 or more to a specific child through Reece’s Rainbow Christmas Angel Tree before December 15, you will receive a Christmas ornament featuring that special child’s face that you have gotten one step closer to a mom to cuddle with.  Tis the season to spread gifts, so why not give a meaningful one instead of that over-sized remote control you found on the end cap at TJ Maxx?

113pik 134pik

045pik 048pik
121pik 119pik
131pik035pik044pikTis the season. Happy donation giving!