My son was born 7 weeks early. He spent the first 78 days of his life living in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). A dozen nurses helped his father and I take care of him, watching him and feeding him when we weren’t able to be there. They taught us how to hold him, how to feed him, how to change his diaper. They showed us how to swaddle him when he was upset. When he accidentally ripped his nasogastric tube out a dozen times, they showed us how to replace it (though we never really did) so he would continue to receive the breast milk I spent hours each day pumping so he would have as many nutrients as possible. (more…)
My extended family on my dad’s side is huge. My dad had a bunch of sisters and a brother, and they’ve all gotten married and had babies and all of their babies are getting married and having babies. My oldest cousin is in her 40s; the youngest is in her early 20s. The oldest of the cousin’s children is 17 and the youngest is…just a couple weeks old.
Growing up, one set of cousins lived particularly close to where we lived. J is almost exactly 10 years older than me, and his sister V is 8 years older. They both used to babysit my siblings and I, but I mostly just remember V. She would take us on the bus when we left the house. She was a cheerleader, and when I got a little older she was my cheer coach.
In all honesty, she was basically my big sister. I looked up to her in a way I wished my little sister would look up to me. I still do.
Recently I had a mini breakdown at a family event and I ended up closing myself in a bedroom for a while to have a good cry. I just needed to get it out to be done with it and move on. It was the only way I could deal with all of the emotions I had been feeling.
V came to me to talk. It was a little bit of a relief when she admitted to me that she doesn’t have everything together. She made me realize that it’s all right for me to not have it all together at 30. People have been telling me this, but V saying it–for some reason–really made it click. I have looked up to her for so much of my life, and what I could see always looked like she really knew what she was doing. For her to admit even the smallest imperfection meant a lot to me.
Not because I feel better that she’s imperfect, but because she made it okay for me to be imperfect. She made it okay for me, and I’m here to tell you that it’s okay for you. It’s okay if you don’t have it all together. Nobody does. We’re all just doing the best we can with what we’ve got. And what more could we ask for?
Do you ever feel like you don’t quite have it “all together”? How have you dealt with the emotions you have felt?
Photo credit to Lina Hayes. This photo has a creative commons attribute license.
In a conversation with a friend the other day, she mentioned that someone once asked her if I was seriously okay with letting my 7-year-old go to the bathroom by himself. A little while later I read Mama B’s post about how her house is a dungeon of rules, and I suddenly felt extremely guilty for not imposing more rules on my son. (more…)
When you walk into my apartment, you’ll see immediately three beautifully painted Athenian green walls. The fourth wall, one that also leads you down the hallway to the rest of the house, started off as your typical apartment-white. I started to paint it an off-white that I thought would match the green. When I realized it didn’t, I stopped painting. I never restarted the search for a secondary color. There is a distinct line between the two shades of white.
There is a particular shelf in my room that I put together and left on the floor for over a year before I finally got around to hanging it. It was another month before I put anything on the shelf. I haven’t even begun to pick a color for the walls, or hung curtain rods, or hung any decor. The walls are bare. My son’s room was painted when we first moved in, to avoid the baby sleeping with paint fumes.
I can’t even finish two loads of laundry in a single day because I leave it in the dryer for at least 24 hours before moving it to the couch–where it sits until I finally fold it a day or two later. (more…)
Earlier this month I attended my son’s graduation ceremony. He looked so handsome in his bright red cap and gown, smiling proudly at all he has accomplished. He clutched his little blue diploma when they called his name, and I was overcome with emotions that felt out of place. Especially considering the fact that my son had just finished Kindergarten.
Between the ages of 4 and 16, I was a Girl Scout. I sold cookies, calendars, cans of nuts; went camping, learned to tie knots and start campfires; made new friends, crafts and sewed badges on my vest (or, rather, my mom probably did that one). I completed my Silver Award, but dropped out of the Scouts before I could reach the Gold Award. Being a Girl Scout wasn’t cool, and I gave it up.
Considering I only had one more project to reach the top of the Girl Scout pyramid, I’ve always been slightly disappointed in myself for quitting. The organization was fun, and it was a place where I developed close friendships. I even worked for a short period of time at the local office.
I always imagined my own children would be Scouts. I imagined camping trips, teaching them to tie knots (I used to be really good at tying knots), helping them earn badges, and watching them make a bunch of new friendships that would last the rest of their lives. (more…)