Friday, October 25, 2013

Becoming Sisters

When we announced we were pregnant with our second baby, most reactions involved some version of the question "How far apart will they be?" accompanied by a nervous little dance. Nervous for me or at that having 2 kids under two years might be contagious, I'm not sure.

Of course it's 10 times more hectic than just having one kid. Of course I'm tired and have developed a relationship with coffee never before seen between woman and beverage.

But I have gotten to see something really really cool happen. I've gotten to watch these two little loves become sisters.

 I willed myself to be confident that the magical bond of sisters would happen. I thought it would be later in life actually, when they were both toddling around or maybe after Josephine started talking.

 But these two have loved playing together since as long as I can remember.

Sometimes it was terrifying trying to teach a 1 1/2 year old what "soft" and "gentle" mean.

Until we very recently upgraded to a minivan with captain seats in the middle, the girls would often hold hands in the car. Makes your ovaries twitch, right??

There are countless sweet moments.

And there are special challenges. Like during the first six months when the only way anyone would nap is if I rocked them to sleep together. When everyone is crying at the same time. When both desperately need me at the same time. The logistics of grocery shopping. Then there's the unfortunate incident that happened a few weeks ago involved a fast toddling baby who fell hands first into *not her own* dirty diaper that was in process of being changed.

But overall, there has been lots of giggling, snuggling, a surprising amount of wrestling!, character-building and life lessons learned that would not have happened organically at this young of an age without a sibling. 

Nine times out of the ten that I set my alarm early to get some work done or some alone time, the littlest decides it would be great to wake up two hours earlier than usual and spend some quality time with Mama. She toddles after me as I fix my morning coffee and tend to chores, but seems out of sorts - clinging to me, randomly fussing, walking around aimlessly. The minute her sister wakes up and walks into the room, the two embrace like one just returned from an arduous journey. Eleven unconscious hours is a long time to be apart, y'all.

Now at 1 year and 2.5, I feel like the dust is settling a bit. The logistics of a two kid 2 and under family are more second nature now. Sometimes there are classic "sister arguments" and someone gets bopped on the head or smacked with a toy. 

But most days while I'm doing chores or cooking, I'll hear things get suspiciously silent and find two sisters snuggling in a cat bed behind an old wicker chair with a spoon they've stolen from their mama's kitchen. And it's worth it. So worth it.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Confessions From a Former Lurker

You know what I do all day? I wipe little noses and bottoms. I play chase and hide-and-go-seek and peekaboo. I sing silly songs and read books and wrestle around on the floor and make my little fairies fly and squeal with delight.

I drink a lot of coffee. I work two jobs from home. And I love it.


It can be isolating.

I still have an itty bitty baby in the house who requires a lot of milk to sustain her ever-growing leg rolls. At least eight times a day, we curl up together for a little baby nourishment. I gaze in her eyes and stroke her little baby head and her fat baby fingers. As she drifts off, I pull out my trusty smartphone that I never thought I'd use, and I read. And read and read and read. I consume articles and blogs and podcasts written by normal people. I've noticed my consumption of this sort of writing directly correlates with how much support I'm longing for at that moment.

I've got some great girl friends, but we're all moms and our kids are our priority. Sometimes it seems impossible to find a time to have a heart to heart when there are babies to care for, relationships with husbands to nurture, households to run, businesses to keep afloat.

On my toughest days, a strained conversation over the phone with kids in both houses shouting in the background just ain't cuttin' it. And it's not anyone's fault. It just is what it is. This is the crazy, beautiful season of motherhood.

I'm re-realizing the original reason of this blog. I often think, Why don't I just shut it down? But something in me can't do it. I can't just consume all of these other people's stories and not give back. If one person stumbles across one post that helps her feel supported, then my goal is accomplished.

I've been re-realizing in my "real" life as well. When I started college, I swallowed my pride and weird hangups and threw myself into situations to make friends. I prayed the summer between high school and college for at least one or two solid girl friends. He blessed me with an entire community of outstanding, inspiring women, many of whom I am still friends with today.

My husband and I spent the first 2 years after we moved to a new city craving community. Whining about it really. This past year, my husband and I decided that instead of waiting for a community to fall into our laps, it was time to create one. I've been letting go in ways I thought I never could. I made myself call acquaintances and invite them over. (I've been known to have trouble ordering pizza on the phone). We shyly asked people to come over for dinner. The more we did it, the easier it got.

Maybe these aren't big feats for most people, but I never thought I'd be in this place. We strike up conversation and drop our judgments and open our home to whoever needs support or coffee or laughter. And it feels good.

I've noticed this ability to easily create community is something lacking in my generation. Sometimes it still doesn't feel natural to me, online or in real life, to actively engage with those around me. It's easy to lurk on blogs and facebook pages and never comment, never contribute to a discussion. It's easy to listen in on others' conversations, but not hold meaningful ones ourselves.

I think when I succumb to this passive position, I tend to let toxic feelings creep up in my heart. When I don't participate, I sometimes feel smart and elitist. I don't have a chance to sound dumb and be humbled because I'm never taking a risk to say anything or grow or learn.

It's time to consciously form community. Maybe someone needs you to speak up or lend an ear or be silent but available.