I have intended to come here so many times over the last 5 months. Finally, on a quiet summer night backdropped by crickets and fireworks, I feel truly ready to update, although to be honest I haven't uploaded photos in ages, though there are many, so those may have to wait.
I was reading back through my posts over the last two years, and realizing how much has changed, how much I have changed, since then. I miss many parts of that old me, but I like the "ancient stone' I feel has been etched into me since becoming a mother.
We are well. George is now 15 months old, and literally a finger away from walking on his own. He drinks from a cup, feeds himself, is learning how to use a crayon, chatters incessantly and adorably, has a mouthful of teeth, weighs 22 lbs. and is 30 inches tall. He is the best thing that has ever happened to us. He also has not had a seizure in nearly a YEAR and we are hopefully on the last month of medication. We are very, very blessed. Sometimes I marvel at how I grew him and yet ... he is so very much his own person. It's a complete miracle, this boy. He is starting school in October. He will be a Montessori child! I can't wait to buy his little L.L. Bean lunch box. I also want him to stay a baby forever. He is just-weaned (his lead). So that was HARD for a few days as my hormones went absolutely wacko, combined with PMS and awful work-related stress. But now, summer vacation has finally started and four days in I'm slowly beginning to feel better.
Overall, I feel as though I'm finally coming out of this strange fog that's enveloped me since G. was born. The first two months of bliss, the next six weeks of hell (seizures), the next months of intense PTSD and anxiety that robbed my sleep literally every single night upon night upon night upon night. I am still struggling with a LOT of anxiety and night is still the worst, although I have been sleeping much better for a couple months. After he'd been seizure-free a few months, which were the first few months I started a new job and called home about three times a day to check on him, I began to see that he was growing rapidly, so many milestones one after the other. I began to feel the true weight of raising a child. The exhaustion, the times when you feel as though you're not going to make it, because it's just too all-consuming and too damned hard. The guilt for feeling that way. Basically, every waking moment not consumed with work, consumed with a child needing constant care and attention -- take it up a few notches when you're doing it "Montessori" and everything is about completely conscious parenting (no screens or cell phone breaks).
Now, as he is on the verge of literally taking his first steps away, and is done breastfeeding, I feel as though oh yeah here I am again. I am retraining my brain to think of myself as a separate entity again. I am fighting off the last of this insane anxiety that makes me think constantly of horrible things that could happen to me to take me away from G., my constant fear that something is wrong with my health, my constant fear that something bad will happen at school. I haven't had anxiety this bad in years. I'm sure I've still got that PTSD kicking around, and we are so ironically isolated in this overpopulated, over-yuppied area where we stick out like sore thumbs, and I haven't truly exercised in about exactly a year, and I haven't done yoga regularly for five years-ish. So. Getting back to being active is a huge priority of mine going into the summer. I'm also doing a second Whole 30 later this month (did one in spring, didn't lose weight, probably due to low exercise). It's VERY hard with a toddler and a working-during-summer husband and no child care options (no $!). My plan is to find many great parks with walking trails and hoof it with G. in the carrier! And do this nearly every day! :-)
I am really okay aside from the anxiety. It just makes you feel, at a young 36, as though you are an old, world-weary lady on her last legs. In your head, not physically. It makes you scared as hell. It makes you terrified of every weird, yet innocuous, feeling your body gives you. It is hard to live outside your own head. I know getting back to yoga would help, too. So .... it's a slow climb back to the light and the living, if that makes sense. Funny, I hear a lot of moms talk about this 15-month mark as a milestone, a turning point.
I never did tell you much about my job, did I? Well ... it's full-time teaching at a local Montessori school, where George will also attend this fall. It's so much better than the last situation I was in pre-George. But, and this has nothing to do with the school itself, I am getting TIRED of the b.s. that exists in the entire teaching field. Mainly related to additional work expected, parent-pleasing crap, lack of money for materials, and not enough pay to meet living standards/work expectations. It's STRESSFUL and takes up a ton of time. I also LOVE the actual work I do with children. So, for now, I stay in. But my radar is open to just about anything. In fact, I'm in the process of training to be a Tinkergarten leader on the side (lead classes for children in local parks). I'm still figuring out yet another $$ avenue. We know we can't stay in northern VA indefinitely.
A month ago, we went up to CT for one of my best friend's weddings. It was a great visit, but always makes me wish we both lived closer to friends and family. So, when we reevaluate within the next year or five .... we will consider this heavily. We need jobs, but our money needs to work better for us so we can become homeowners and give G. the stability of environment he will ultimately need as he grows up.
In a couple weeks, we will travel back to the Eastern Shore for a few days to stay in a beautiful, remote home. Have ice cream, eat at our favorite Mexican place, maybe drive past our old, beautiful, home on the wharf, wade into the Chesapeake Bay. It will be perfect. I have a few knitting projects and a stack of books I want to read. I am still battling an evening screen addiction (Kindle), other than that I still don't have a TV (no TV since 2009!), and definitely no "smart" phone (though I may be forced to when that's all there is, huh? sure hope the plans go less than $100/month, and it will definitely stay OFF in my purse 90 percent of the time).
Food, food yes, trying to stay Paleo-ish except when out, but I always feel crap after gluten and now it's summer and I'm drinking beers sometimes and that's gluten too whoops. If the next round of Whole 30 PLUS exercise doesn't take I've decided to go back to being gluten- and sugar-free vegetarian, PLUS exercise.
We have new neighbors who have a sweet son 10 months older than G. We are hoping to do babysitting trades with them for date nights. This is wonderful, we need to focus on our marriage as it took an understandable backburner to George for a LONG time. We are also using part of our tax refund to finally buy a bed (I wake up sore from the IKEA futon every morning). Good beds help make good marriages! :-)
This is such a massive update. If you've made it all the way to here, thank you. I have been all take and no give here lately, reading others' blogs with abandon for hope and inspiration, and the will to keep going towards a better place. Having just written out all of the above words, I feel all of those things. I hope to feel lighter, and more like my young age over the next few weeks.
Stay tuned for pics :-)
Love and light,