A Visit

Colorado Wildflower Images - Butler Gulch Sunrise 5

photo credit: Rob Greenbon

I had a visit from my grandparents last night. I used to call them dreams. But a few years ago, I had an eye-opening — a heart-opening — conversation with my amazing cousin Farhan, and he introduced me to the idea that these were not just dreams, but visits.

Now, my belief in a world beyond our own heartbreaking reality is equal parts shaky, desperate, deep and nonexistent. But I have to say, something about what Farhan said really stayed with me. Because it felt true. It hadn’t felt like a dream. It felt like a visit. And so it was.

Visits from my grandparents aren’t new. The first one was a couple of months after my great-grandmother died. She and I were pretty close, and she passed away one night in her sleep. As far as little old ladies dying, hers was kind of ideal. She wasn’t sick. She wasn’t immobile. She was just old. And done. But still, I was heartbroken.

A couple of months after she passed away, I had a dream that she was sitting on a couch across the room, with her two daughter-in-laws beside her. I missed her, and I started crying. I asked her, “Where did you go?” And she responded, “I’m right here.”

I had this dream 21 years ago, but it’s as clear as day. Not a dream. A visit.

My grandparents visited me several times after Amira was born. In one of them, I asked my grandfather what he was doing there. He looked down at Amira in the stroller I was pushing and said, “I just came to see her.” He always wanted lots of little girls in the family. There’s no doubt in my mind that he came to see her.

And last night’s visit was similar. My grandfather, my grandmother and my great-grandmother were there. The little old ladies were sitting together and talking talking talking like they did every day. My grandfather was off to the side, and when he noticed me, he said, “We came to visit.”

 

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She Brings Me Wildflowers

http://www.dennisflood.com/photos/get/2777/irish_wildflowers

About a month ago, Amira started doing the most curious – and beautiful – thing.  She started bringing me flowers.

Often, she and Stu will go out for a quick jaunt around the neighbourhood in the morning.  One morning, I took a call while they were gone.  I was up in the office with the door closed, and I heard them come in, and Amira saying over and over again, “Mummy!  Mummy!”

Stu told me later that this is what happened:

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I look for helpers

Another day, another reminder of our humanity, with all its beauty and its brutality.

This time, two detonated bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

I’m a runner.  I’ve run races.  Long races.  I’ve pounded my feet on that pavement, the will to keep going barely stronger than the pain in my legs.  I’ve seen that finish line, felt the elation grow as I got closer, and never, ever, in my wildest dreams, did I ever consider anything waiting at the finish line besides a foil blanket, a finishers medal and a high-five.  But now, the end of every race I ever run will always have an ellipsis after that high-five, and the race will inevitably end with…Could it happen here?

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I’m worth it

A couple of days ago, our little family was on our way out for a walk when I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and had to stop to take in what I was seeing.  I was wearing a sweater, jeans, and running shoes.  That’s right, running shoes.  And not the cool, Skechers kind of running shoes, but actual, white, running shoes. Like, for running.

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Her word is Feisty.

A few weeks ago, I had a friend over for lunch.  She came with her beautiful baby girl, Lucy.  Though Lucy and Amira are exactly the same age, they couldn’t be more different.

Lucy’s mom said to me, “Her word is ‘Placid’.  As long as she is fed, she is perfectly content to just sit there and be happy.”  And it was true.  Lucy wasn’t up for crawling or rolling around or getting to things.  She was beautiful and happy, just sitting in one spot, laughing and playing with whatever was rolled her way.

We pondered over a word for Amira.  We threw around spunky, spirited and vivacious, but none of those really felt right to me.

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We still have a million amazing moments every day.

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Remember back in September when all I had all that breastfeeding drama?  Well, it didn’t end there.  I took the herbal supplements, I took the prescription drugs, I pumped, I gave Amira my stockpile till it was gone, and I never made enough breast milk to keep up with her demands.  The drama went on and on, and I persisted in giving her breast milk any way I could for as long as I could, but I couldn’t do it as long as I wanted.  So after 8 months of martyring myself to give her all that I could, it’s done.

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My Wandering Heart

As this year comes to a close, my heart is so full.  Full of love for Stu and Amira and the little family we’re growing.  Full of love for our extended family and friends, who have come together in a beautiful village where Amira will be raised with love and laughter and celebration.  And full of sorrow for those 20 families in Connecticut – 20 families – whose lives were changed forever a few weeks ago.

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Oh, the places you’ll go

Being on maternity leave is great.  Being home with the baby, having all this time with her, bonding with her, blah blah.  All good.

You know what’s not good?  The four walls of my house suffocating me all day.

Stu works from home, and he talks often about how he needs to just get out of the house because he he needs to just get out of the house.  And while Stu works alone at home, he’s often on the phone or online with other people, having adult conversations, and making stuff happen.

I’m just doing everything I can to get her to sit up.  I need to get out.

And so, Amira and I don’t stay home.  We go out. We go anywhere.  And over the months, I’ve compiled a list of the 6 best places to go with babe in stroller.  Since I’ve done the legwork, allow me to share.

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Please don’t do it

http://www.lifemanagementcenter.org/healthy_families.htm

Since I’ve been on maternity leave, I’ve developed an interest in reality tv.  I can see all your eyes rolling now, but hear me out, yo.  You can miss whole chunks of episodes while you change a diaper or get some laundry or warm some milk, and really, you haven’t missed much at all.  So it’s great tv when you need something on but know you can’t sit there and watch the whole thing.  With that said, even I have standards.  I won’t go near Jersey Shore.  But I have enjoyed watching every episode of every season of Guiliana and Bill.  Twice.

Because the summer allowed me to get all caught up with G&B, you can imagine my excitement when the new season started a few weeks ago, and G&B are having a baby boy!

In last week’s episode, their baby nurse mentioned the option of circumcising the little guy.  She stressed that it’s not medically necessary, but that there are people who opt to do it for religious or cultural reasons, and she needed to know what they chose.

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