July 29, 2007

Day 489: First comes love, then comes marriage...

Friends of ours got married yesterday, so I washed the yogurt from the morning's food fight out of my hair and off we went. Maddie came to the ceremony with us - her first time in a Church, much to my mother-in-law's chagrine. We came armed with her ever-present blanket, her teddy bear, and a tupperware full of cookies which quickly ended up smeared all over Fernando's new tie. She did remarkably well, actually, until she got the idea in her head to attempt to army crawl underneath the pews to freedom. But Fernando managed to drag her up and get her out before the screaming ensued, and so she spent the rest of the ceremony tottering about the church courtyard.

The wedding itself was lovely, as weddings tend to be. Really, what is nicer than seeing two people in love? Especially wedding day love, with wonderful times behind you and endless possibilities ahead. For that day, you are not thinking about getting the garbage out, getting the baby to bed, getting the bills paid. Your love is beautiful and sparkly and has nothing more to endure than some pre-speech jitters and a few drunk guests. Ah, am I sounding a tad bitter here? Fernando and I will be celebrating 4 years of wedded bliss next month, and we're lucky because for the most part they have been blissful. It can be tricky, though, navigating these waters with a child in tow. Suddenly everything becomes that little bit more complicated. Now it's not just that the car is low on gas - it's that the car is low on gas and Maddie is crying in the backseat and we're 20 minutes late for naptime and I can't remember where I put my wallet because my memory has gone to hell. I guess it can just be harder to smell the roses through the stench of the diaper pail. I try to remind myself that the key, as with most things, is to keep a good perspective. A torn apart kitchen, a pile of laundry, a screaming baby, a sleepless night... all trials, to be sure, but nothing that hasn't been survived a million times over, nothing that can sink the ship.

The father of the bride got up and said a really sweet speech and I cried through the whole thing. He talked about being there when she was born, watching her grow up and become the person she is today. It made me think about Maddie, and about how if we're very lucky Fernando will be the one making that speech one day. For so many reasons I would never say that this parenting job is easy. But I would never say it's not worth it, either. (Okay, actually, on a really bad day I might say that because I sometimes succumb to hysterics and exaggeration... but I wouldn't mean it.)

July 25, 2007

Day 485: I want my baby back, baby back, baby back...

It is so strange not having Maddie in the house. She’s such a little monkey these days, I miss seeing her grinning little face peeking out at us from around corners and under blankets. I miss seeing her toddle out from her bedroom with her ever-growing collection of dollar store necklaces strung around her neck. I even miss her perpetually sticky hands leaving prints everywhere, a clear trail of the mischief she’s caused. I guess I should admit that I don’t miss having food launched at my head from the highchair or having peas-and-carrots poop smeared up my arm during our daily change table struggles. Those joys I can do without. But this is by far the longest I’ve been without her, and her not being around has definitely left a whole in our home and in our days.

It has given us a small reminder of life before baby, though. Ah, I’d forgotten that life. Running an errand without having to pack as though you were going out of town for a week has been nice. Not having to drop everything and rush home every day at 1pm for naps been a treat. And the other night we just up and decided to go to a movie, if you can imagine that. Yes, we’re wild, we’re crazy, we’re just a couple of D.I.N.K.s. So we went for some disappointing sushi and then caught the late show of Sicko, Michael Moore’s latest. I don’t know if I’m on some hormonal bender, but I swear I cried through half the movie. It was just so sad, seeing all of these people who were old, sick, poor, lonely, left behind. It made me so grateful for my health, and my healthcare, that’s for certain. There was a point where he talked to a mom whose baby had died and I was reduced to heaving sobs. I remember a friend telling me that once you have a baby you can’t stand even the thought of a child suffering or being hurt, and is that ever the truth.

And so of course it made me miss my Mads that much more. I know I’m quick to bitch and whine sometimes – no, it’s true – but just this little taste of life without her helps make us realize how lucky we are that she’s around.

July 20, 2007

Day 480: Fun in the sun

Well, we’re back! Or, at least I am back. Maddie is taking an extended vacation. She was supposed to return with me, but she decided she really needed a bit more time to work on her tan. Okay, actually I had to leave her behind with my mom due to a rough start with round 1,836 of the home renovation project. Let me paint a picture for you: Our kitchen – or, I suppose, the space where our kitchen used to be – is now a gaping whole. Ditto the bathroom. Our furniture is all piled in the basement, the porch is half-torn down, my bed somehow ended up in the garbage bin at the end of a long day of demolitions (Fernando is still sketchy on the details of just how that happened), my entire wardrobe is packed away in boxes that I can’t find, and at last count there were 3 people, 3 dogs, and a cat sleeping in the not-so-big basement suite. So Mads is on the island for another few days until we are able to at least sleep in our rooms if nothing else. But really, bathing and eating are so overrated, don’t you find?

Vacation was great, though it seems a long, long time ago. Maddie is officially a beach bum. The girl lived in her little polka dot bathing suit. And she really has got the greatest little tan going. Whereas I burn to a crisp under a dull lightbulb, she just soaks in the sun (yes, I had her lathered in 45 sunscreen every day… fingers off the child services speed dial button). Fernando was able to come join us for a few days, which was great. We just hung out and the beach and marveled at the little girl our baby has become. At one point there was a group of kids on the beach – maybe 4 or 5 years old. They were all playing together, doing the things that kids do on a summer day – filling various buckets with sand, splashing in the surf, screaming. Poor Mads wandered off in their direction, thinking I guess that she should be with the kids too. They looked at her suspiciously, her unsteady walk and muteness giving away the fact that while not quite a baby anymore, she’s not quite a big kid either. So of course off they took, leaving her standing pathetically on her own looking after them. Is it too awful to admit that Fernando and I just about busted a gut laughing? It was just the sweetest, saddest little scene. But then she returned to our blanket, pail in hand, deciding that for now at least mom and dad are cool enough playmates. Sadly, I know that won’t last long!