Archives for the month of: November, 2016

Dear Uterus,

Dude, get your shit together! I can’t keep doing this. Every single month, you announce the release of your egg with about as much restraint as Kanye plugging his next terrible album. And in the meantime, you make me go on just about as many nonsensical rants.

Look, I get it. Babies, man. BABIES. They’re amazing. (Well, mine are. I’m not sure about anyone else’s, ammirit, Uterus? Heh, yeah. You know I am.) They’re soft. They’re warm. They have that crazy strong grip. You know the one? When they grab your finger, and it’s like all of the strength in their tiny little bodies is just concentrated in one chubby fist. Just holding on to you with everything they have. Nobody else can do that. Nobody needs you that badly. Only babies. They only want you. They only need you.

And then the smell.

Oh, sweet tap-dancin’ Christ, the smell!!

It’s the smell of angels.

Kids smell like a fart inside of an old egg, dipped in rotten chicken trimmings, but babies? Damn. If they ever figure out how to bottle that stuff, I swear I’m going to buy it, then just sit on my couch, sobbing and lactating.

So, see? I get it. I know how excited you get. I understand it. Really, I do.

But, seriously. We can’t keep doing this dance.

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See? How perfect are we!

I mean, my family is perfect. The girls are incredible. They’re doing new stuff all the time. Sophie is getting so responsible. Do you know she actually put herself to bed the other day? Just looked at me, said, “I’m tired,” then walked up to her room and went to bed! And she knows how to make her own toast. I never have to worry about her burning herself, or putting a fork in the toaster or anything. She just tells me she’s going to make some toast, then, boom. Toast. She amazes me every day.

And Maddie? She’s a riot! She’s still obstinate, and cantankerous, and will never listen to anything I have to say, but I’ll be damned if she doesn’t get away with it. Because she knows that if she can get me laughing, I’ll forgive anything. She’s only three, but she’s seriously one of the wittiest people I’ve ever known.

So, see? We’re good. We’re only having to budget for two sets of Christmas presents. Two college tuitions (Though, really, our girls are such geniuses, you know they’re going to be rocking those full rides, ammirit, Uterus? Ha! Up top, Uterus!). Finding babysitters for two kids is way easier than three. I get to have a craft room. Nobody has to share a room. Nobody has to sacrifice. We got to plant a garden this past summer, for cryin’ out loud!

Dear Uterus, we have to be done. Really.

Because pregnancy sucked. Well, okay, not all of it. Those stretchy pants were pretty awesome. And the feeling of that firm, round belly? Man. Nothing like it. My nails were pretty sick too.

But that’s it!

Well, except for those wiggles. And jabs. Remember how excited the girls would get after dinner? We’d just sit there and watch my belly contort. I always tried to film it. But those things never really turn out. You can’t capture that movement. Not really.

Oh, and do you remember Maddie at the ultrasound? The tech set that wand down, and, BOOM! Maddie’s flipped herself over and is showing everybody that–yup!–there’s a girl in there! The technician was so freaked out. She jerked back, “Woah! Uhhhh. You did want to know the sex, right?”

Oh, dear Uterus. We did have some good times.

And, really, I have to admit that I think about it too. All the time. (Not just when you remind me every 28 days.) I think about how Sophie would love to help. How she would want to feed the baby. And wash the baby. And grab me a million little diapers for the baby. I think about how Maddie, in spite of how crazy she can act sometimes, is so so gentle around anyone smaller than her. How she loves to stroke her cousins’ soft, round cheeks. How, like a wild animal, she just knows–just knows–that these tiny people are things that need her love, her protection. I think about what great big sisters they’d be.

And I think about us. About how scared we were both times. About how he would over think it. Go over every possible scenario. He researched all kinds of potential outcomes, good and bad. We could never be sure that you knew what you were doing, Uterus, so we worried. (Guess we shouldn’t have. You had it all on lock down, didn’t you?) Now, when I talk to him about it–about the maybe–I think that the only things he can remember are the bad scenarios.

And, it’s true. Billions and billions of possible genetic combinations. The odds are good that something could go wrong. I mean, you’re good Uterus, but you’re not perfect. You kicked that last one out a bit too early, right? I mean, you didn’t really bother giving her lungs enough time to develop. Just started to push her out. That was definitely a mistake. And I can’t go back there. Not to the NICU. Not again. I can’t.

But, then again, we’ve already walked through that Hell. We’ve been through it. And we made it. We made it. A little war-weary. But whole.

We keep on making it.

It’s funny, Uterus. Just when you think that you can’t possibly have any more.

Any more patience.

Any more money.

Any more time.

Any more love.

You find a way. You scrape, and weep, and gnash your teeth. But you find it.

And then you find some more.

I do have more.

I do.

I have more.

I just need to find someone to give it to.

Oh, dear, Uterus.

Is someone missing? From you? From me? From us?

After three years, isn’t this feeling supposed to go away? Shouldn’t I know by now? Shouldn’t there be an answer? Or am I calling out to someone who doesn’t exist? Who can’t answer me back?

Oh, dear Uterus. This was going to be our breakup letter. My way of removing myself from your constant guilt and reminders of what could be.

But now? I don’t know.

Maybe it’s not you. Maybe. It’s me.

Signed, Rachel.

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The other day, I sent my four-year-old to find a pacifier for my three-year-old.

“There are a few in her room. I remember seeing them. Can you go grab one for me?”

She helpfully and eagerly bounded up the stairs, only to return a while later, with no pacifiers.

“I looked on the bed. I looked behind the bed (Did you know I’m big enough to move her bed??). I looked all over. There are NO pacis in her room!”

Flustered, I walked upstairs, entered my youngest daughter’s room, and looked down at the floor, where no fewer than THREE pacifiers lay, scattered on the grey carpet.

Exasperated, I yelled, “Sophie! You’re so terrible at looking for things! Didn’t you see these? How could you not see these?!”

It’s amazing what kids just don’t see.

They don’t see mess.

They don’t see toys.

They don’t see the mud puddle.

They don’t see cars, or waiters, or busboys carrying precariously tall stacks of dishes.

They don’t see clean underwear or socks.

They don’t see the water drops on the sink. Or around the bathtub.

A lot of times, I think they don’t even see the toilet.

They also don’t see those five (or ten, or fifty) extra pounds you’ve been dieting over, or stressing over, or grabbing in hateful fistfuls and wishing, screaming, cursing over.

They don’t see the dark circles. Or the worry lines.

They don’t see the rough hands. The short, chewed nails.

They don’t see that zit on your forehead.

They don’t see the dirty dishes that have been piling up.

They don’t see the stack of mail cluttering up the kitchen table.

They don’t see the mismatched plates. Or the chipped paint. Or that really loud, squeaky spot on the floor.

They don’t see the failing.

Or the flailing.

They don’t see the tears.

They don’t see what you see.

They don’t see it.

Instead, they see that, even though you’ve served them cereal for dinner—again—tonight, you remembered to shake the bag before pouring their bowl, bringing all of the marshmallows up to the top. Just for them.

They see that you’ve still managed to shove aside the clutter on the table to make a space. Just for them.

They see, in the dirt that has built up on their faces and in their hair, all of the hours that you have let them play. And explore. And investigate. And given over to the grime of childhood. Just for them.

They see that you know exactly what their favorite shows, their favorite songs, their favorite apps are, and you can and will summon those things for them. Just for them.

They see that you are magic. Just for them.

They see the splashing game they played together in the bathtub, which you filled with perfectly warm, soothing water. Just for them.

They see a pile of clothes, still dryer-warm, perfect for a cannonball, that you have washed and left in the basket. Just for them.

They see unmade beds perfect for jumping.

They see round, soft bellies for story-time snuggles.

They see sleepy, bloodshot eyes that crinkle in the corners when you smile.

They see you kiss them goodbye early every morning.

They see you come back to them. Every night. And smile.

They don’t see anything that happens in between.

And what they don’t see? What they don’t see is all the stuff you are not.

They see you.

They know you.

And they love you for it.

Because they see it all.

 

November 1st: Today, I am thankful for my daughters. Every day, they teach me a little bit more about how to see myself, my home, and the world the way they do.