Saturday, July 22, 2006

Friendship After Baby: Chapter One. What To Expect....The Reality

Grade 12.

What a wonderful year.

Another year of under age drinking...And other sorts of experimentation. A year of amazing camping trips, sleepovers, naked runs, and bush parties. The year most of my closest friends were made.

It was not like grade 9 where you searched through endless faces for people you could call friends. Spending time with people you would rather not because for some reason or another, they were cool.

By grade 12 I had my group of friends established, both male and female. I consider myself lucky for having met such amazing individuals at such a young age. Friends I still have today. Of course I've meet new friends along they way, amazing friends, but my friends from highschool are still some of my most cherished friends. Some people don't even remember the friends they had in highschool, lost contact, moved apart, or so and so cheated on me with so and so, so I don't like so and so anymore.

The girls and The guys. 10 girls. 7 guys. That is how we refer to one another. "The girls are going out tonight", "Some of the guys will be there". Our group of friends, as beautiful as we are, are not without our faults. Some of us, for one reason or another don't talk as much, but through one another we still always know how we are each doing. Despite our issues, we always ask how each other is doing.

We aren't some freaky clique of people. We are quite kind to most people, and always welcome new friends, we always did. We are all unique, we always were. I'm not going to say we were popular, because we went to a school where not too much of that existed. "

I am one of "the girls". Dave is one of "the guys" (by they way, the first picture is of Dave in a sexy red suit for prom) . I'm lucky that way. I have the best of both worlds, though I'm sure some of "the girls" would beg to differ.

2005 Enters Beautiful Baby Miles

I'm 31 now. I'm married. I have a baby. I have many new and wonderful friends, along with the ones I had in highschool. Quite a few of my friends are married, but only two have children. Both of which live far away.

What I Imagined After Baby

I would deliver a wonderful child, all our friends would be around us, supporting us, laughing with us and creating memories with us. Friends would visit often, friends understand.

What Really Happened

I delivered a wonderful, precious, beautiful baby boy. The friends that were able to be there, were there (see first post), supporting us, laughing with us, and creating memories with us. Many friends didn't visit often. Many friends didn't understand. I felt like a stranger among my friends.

When Miles first arrived there was a slew of visitors to greet precious Miles into this world. Friends to tell our birth story to. Then, days and nights became one. Sleeping when I had the chance to, nursing, cuddling, loving Miles and Dave. Days passed. Friends called less, and calling friends became difficult, laborious sometimes. I was never sure how much they wanted to hear about Miles (because surely I could talk for hours) so I often asked of what filled their days and I listened. And when is a good time to call?

I had imagined I would see them more. I often felt left out. Saturday night would arrive and I wouldn't get invited out. Not that I was going to go. I was happy to stay with my new family. Though an invitation would have been nice from time to time. I know most of my friends didn't ask because they thought it would be rude to, because I wouldn't be able to go anyways. This is was a difficult time for me. I've always been quite social. Close with my friends. Talking every day to many of them. About people we saw on the street or the bus, or an act of kindness, or a thing of beauty. Now my life was Miles. Miles and Dave. Walks in the park. Nursing. Bad daytime television. Nursing. Sleeping. Not sleeping. My life was baby. I felt alone. No friends near me to relate to these changes. No one to understand the isolation I felt when Dave was at work.

One Year Later

My friendships are a lot easier now that Miles is older. I can go out. I'm no longer a slave to the boob. Many of my friendships on a social level have been rekindled, not that they were ever lost. Contact was simply less frequent with many of them. Many of these friendships however, exist outside of me being a parent (Don't get me wrong, they get their earfull about Miles).

I miss that many of them don't get to see Miles on a regular basis as I had imagined they would. I envisioned Miles would know all my friends names before he could walk. That he would smile from ear to ear when they arrived (ok he smiles regardless). That they would know first hand all of his quirks and his character. I do have friends who go the extra distance to spend time with the little guy, and who want to hear what new things he's doing when they aren't around. Friends Miles knows and loves. Friends who know exactly how I feel about my friendships and how sad I have been over them. So I wasn't totally alone.

So when did I get to be the centre of the universe anyways?

I realize that my friends have lives too. That Miles goes to bed before many of them get home from work and have dinner. That weekends are often full of activities, especially during the summer. I've spent a lot of time thinking about my friendships and how selfish we all are when it comes to friendship. I am as much to blame, for when a close friend of mine had a baby I didn't reach out as much as I should have. She lives far away, but now that I know what I know. I realize I could have been a better friend.

I know many of my friends plan on having children. I hope that none of them experience these feelings I've had about friendships since I've had Miles. I know how lonely it can be, so I intend to reach out.

No one told me that having a baby would put such a strain on my friendships. No one told me it was going to be so hard to be one of the first among friends to have a baby. No one told me.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

What To Expect....The Reality. The Unwritten Book For Expecting Parents.

Sometimes I disappear. But I'm not gone. Just thinking. Playing. Laughing. Reading. Running. It's summer and I'm enjoying it.

I read a lot of pre pregnancy books while I was pregnant. I even read them before I was pregnant. Through the writings of midwives, doctors, and mothers, I came to expect pain and joy. There were books that told me how much weight I was supposed to gain (liars), books that told me how our baby was growing, when to expect kicks, when to expect aches, and how difficult it might be to breastfeed. This list of knowledge (unwanted or not) is endless. I don't claim to be an expert, and don't understand anyone who does, except the biology of it all of course.

There are things however that I have experienced that were never written about. Important things. Things that I would have appreciated having some understanding before they happened. Perhaps it's just a part of parenthood, and this knowledge comes with the package. Some may argue that I am compulsive when it comes to being prepared (though now I have a baby, they can no longer argue that point). There are however a few things I would have appreciated time to understand.

During my pregnancy I can't begin to tell you the number of times I heard, "Having a baby will change everything". Well, no shit. I thought things would be exactly the same as they were. Needless to say, OF COURSE there is truth in this. Go Figure.

So I guess it is the everything that I would l would like to explore. What is everything that changes, and what do I wish I knew before I had a baby that would have better prepared me?

  • How much more I would fall in love with Dave.
  • How much unwanted advice I was going to get and how to deal with it.
  • How having a baby would affect my friendships.
  • How I see my parents in a new light.
  • What about me?
  • Time.
  • Appreciation.
  • How upsetting weaning would be.
  • ..........Well, basically EVERYTHING I guess. HA!

Over the next few days, I am going to take some of the everything that I have found have had the most impact on me write about them. Why? I don't know. I feel like it.

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 01, 2006

A New Tradition?

Some people need coffee in the morning to wake up and some people need to take a shower. Others can get along fine without either. My dad needs the newspaper. Let's discuss to what extent.

The year...hmm...Somewhere between 1983 - 1985. I can't exactly remember. I was young, that's all I remember.

It was morning. It was dark. The sky was ominously green. Pea soup green. Like a tornado is going to strike down anytime soon green. The thunder was loud. Rock concert loud. Standing beside a speaker at a rock concert loud. The lightening was fierce. Step off your porch and I'll strike your ass down fierce. For all storm lovers (my family included) it was beautiful. Watch from the porch beautiful, not dance in the streets barefoot because it's just so beautiful beautiful (that's only reserved for showers, not tornadoes). We used to get our chairs out on the porch, blankets if necessary, and watch the storm.

The car, a Voltswagon Thing. It looked just like the cars below, only it was yellow. Sunshine yellow. Please note: Canvas roof (totally practical). Plastic windows (you had to unzip them to open them). The passenger window on our was ripped, and held together with duct tape (along with many other things in that car).

Instead of asking if I wanted to join the family on the porch and watch a seriously wicked storm, my dad looked at me and said, "Heather, we're going to get the paper". I don't think I had a choice in the matter. I know it seemed ridiculous at the time, but I also know I wasn't scared.

I remember my mom running out to the car trying to stop us. I can't remember what she said, but it was likely somewhere along the lines of, "Are you fucking crazy Tony? Do you really need a paper that bad. Can't you just wait?". I imagine my dad's response was something along the lines of, "Don't worry, we'll be quick. I'll keep the car running, and Heather can run in and get it" (UM...WHAT?)

Driving away I could see my mother. Well, a sort of warped version of her, because when you look through plastic windows covered with rain, things are just not as clear as they should be (a little safety feature courtesy of VW). That and the duct tape was blocking my view. She was clearly pissed (though I believe she was secretly happy that she would soon have the crossword in her hands).

Crazy drive to the store. Windy, low visibility, flooding in the streets, branches falling, thunder that shook your body to the core, rain pouring hard, rain pouring through the holes in the plastic windows, me holding the door closed because sometimes it just didn't want to shut.

Shortly after (in my dads defense, the store wasn't that far), we arrived at Beckers (I still miss Beckers chocolate milk...Straight from the jug). I ran out, now it was hailing...Large balls of hail...Dent the car large (lucky me). I have to admit, it was exciting.

I grabbed the paper and proceeded to the counter. The store clerk looked at me like, you are too young to be reading the paper, and clearly if you do read the paper, what kind of parents let you out in this weather. It was that moment that I saw the clerk look out the store window, see my father (more likely the bright yellow car), waved (yeah like he can see you) and looked at me and said, "Is that your dad? Nice guy. Crazy, but nice." Crazy but nice. "Yup, that's my dad".

Another crazy drive home.

We arrive back home. I can't remember how pissed my mother was, if she was at all. I'm sure she got over it as soon as she got her crossword, and discussed the foolishness of our actions with the family on the porch (watching the storm of course)....Wait...I'm not taking the blame for that...We were discussing the foolishness of dads actions.

Since Miles was born, we have watched many storms go by on our porch (I'm so lucky to have a husband that loves storms as much as I do). Now that Miles is older, he sees and points out the lightening, and he gets so excited, just like his parents. I hope to watch many storms, wicked storms, fierce storms, thunder storms, lightening storms with my family. And if Miles is lucky..I just may take him to the store in the middle of a tornado to buy a news paper. Perhaps I'll make it a tradition.