What I Want Her to Remember

So, in less than a week, my daughter is turning two. It is really surreal to me that she went from this little, helpless meatloaf to this walking, talking, running, beautiful ball of chaos and energy. And it couldn’t be more amazing to have seen her become the little girl that she is now. When she turned one, I was pregnant with my son and I was emotional and crazy and thinking that she was no longer a baby was so bittersweet to me. She was growing up so quickly before my eyes. She was no longer interested in being held and cuddled and I was no longer the center of the universe to her. There were things to explore, things to see, things to destroy! She was starting to become a little girl. She was a person.

Looking back, I guess that the progression from meatloaf to little girl wasn’t as quick as it seems now. After all, my son is almost one now and I am going through all of the same things with him, just minutes it seems, after I have experienced them with her. They are both such wonderful babies. I mean…kids. Because, they aren’t really babies anymore, are they?

I’ve always been really scared of not being enough as a parent. Terrified, even, of not being able to be a good role model for my little girl. I want so desperately to raise her in a way that she will be respectful. Not only of other people but of herself. I want her to know her worth. I want her to see the value in other people and to embrace differences in those people and to know that all of these differences are what make people special. What makes them beautiful. And I want her to see beauty. I want her to experience moments in life that take her breath away. I want her to be able to sit back and have those moments without hesitation.

There are so many things I want for her. So many things I want to teach her. And so many things I know she will teach me. I am still terrified. Every day, as I watch her grow, I think about the things that we will face in the future. All the questions she will have about life and people and (gasp!) boys. And I hope that I am enough. I hope that she will come to me. I hope we will have the kind of relationship that I never had with my mother but am starting to build in my thirties.

I made a list, a while back, of things I wanted to tell my son. And I have had a running list of things that I want to tell my daughter and I just haven’t gotten it right. What are the important things that I want her to remember? There are so many. SO MANY. So, here goes, in honor of my baby who is no longer a baby.

  1. Be true to yourself. There will be times in life when people will want things from you. They will pressure you. Don’t let them. Stand your ground always. I know that telling you this could bite me in the ass someday. But, even if I don’t agree with you, if it is important to you, it is worth it.
  2. Know your worth. Don’t ever let anyone try and belittle you. You are amazing. You are so amazing that there could only be one of you. Remember that.
  3. You are beautiful. Don’t spend your time obsessing over the size of your thighs or the number on the scale. In fact, don’t even use a scale. Look in the mirror and know that you are exactly as you are supposed to be. Everyone has flaws but those flaws make you perfect.
  4. Be nice to other women. Women can be a tough crowd. They can be critical and ridiculous, but most of this, I believe, is a result of their own insecurities. Know that you might be the victim of this, but also know that you don’t have to perpetuate it. Be the kind of woman who lifts others up.
  5. Be the kind of friend that you want to have. You will make a lot of friends over the course of your life. Some of them won’t be very good to you. You can’t help that. But you can surround yourself with people who deserve to be around you. And you can be the kind of friend that you want to attract.
  6. Don’t take your family for granted. This one is hard to remember. Your parents and grandparents love you more than you could possibly understand. But we won’t be around forever. Don’t let yourself forget that nothing is more important than family. You can’t go back once they’re gone.
  7. Volunteer. There will come a time, probably when you are a teenager, when you will think that your time is too precious to be spent doing anything other than what YOU want. You will be wrong. Make sure that you make yourself of service to people who need you. Your time is the most precious gift you can give. Believe me. You will thank me later.
  8. Dance. Just dance.
  9. Find something you love. I hope that you will find a passion. I hope that, whether it is skiing or singing or underwater basket weaving, you love something. And you do it with your whole heart.
  10. Love. You are going to fall in love dozens of times. It will be magical and wonderful and exciting. And sometimes it will break your heart. But don’t let that stop you. Love with everything in you. It is worth it.
  11. Stay away from girls named Tiffany. Seriously. No good can come from a friendship with a Tiffany. (Examples: here and here.
  12. Be fearless. Wear red lipstick even if you think it makes you stand out too much. Apply for a job you aren’t qualified for. Ask that guy out. Jump out of that plane. (Okay…maybe not the thing about the plane but just because I will NOT be fearless about you doing that.) Whatever you do, know that you will ROCK THE HELL OUT OF IT. And then rock the hell out of it.
  13. Be gracious. Always.
  14. Fight for a cause. Stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.
  15. Know that your mother thinks you are the best gift she was ever given. You made her a mother and you changed her life. Forever. There is no better thing in the world than you. (And your brother, obviously.) Just know that I will love you forever. I will support you in everything. And I don’t care if it turns out that you want to ask the GIRL out instead of the GUY. She’d be lucky to have you.

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Daughters

So, I never thought I would have kids, much less a daughter. The thought of having a daughter was like…well…there wasn’t any thought of it. Because I just KNEW that if I had kids, I wanted a son. A son just seemed easier. Like, I wouldn’t have to have “the talk” because, obviously, as the opposite sex parent, I would get to be oblivious of all those nasty things that happen to boys during puberty. I wouldn’t have to explain that it is totally natural. I wouldn’t have to pull a Dan Connor and advise him to “put a book in front of it”. Because…gross. I don’t want to know about any other uses for your books than reading, kid. That’s Daddy’s department. I don’t have a penis.

But then I found out I was pregnant. With L. And she didn’t have a penis either. And holy shitballs, you guys. What the hell was I to do with this tiny female fetus? A fetus that would eventually go through a totally different puberty that warranted ZERO books. Puberty is totally shitty for girls. Because it isn’t just embarrassing. It is messy as hell. And, much like in pregnancy, things happen to your body that you not only can’t control, but don’t understand. And those things make PREGNANCY, like, POSSIBLE. Which is terrifying. And maybe the thought of that is MORE terrifying for the PARENTS of these little things. Because no parent wants a pregnant, barely pubescent kid. And you, as the parent, are responsible for making sure that this little spawn of yours understands that all this mess and embarrassment comes with some responsibility. How do you teach this to someone who can’t even drive a car? Or drink legally?

I know I have  a little while to stew on this, you guys. L isn’t even two. Right. I get it. But I definitely think about it a lot. Because as her same-sex parent, I want to make sure that I am a role model. And an information source. A trusted one. Because I sure as shit didn’t feel comfortable talking to anyone about anything like this. But I also waited until I was 19 to have sex. And with someone that I genuinely loved and trusted and planned to be with forever. And I definitely don’t regret that three-year relationship. Because I was responsible. But not because I had anyone explaining why I should be. But because I am just a pretty logical person. And I am kind of scared of everything. So…the combination did me well. I just want to make sure that my kid…you know…isn’t a total ignorant mess about the whole deal.

There are SO many things I worry about with my little lady. As she grows, I hope that she doesn’t ever get caught up in bullying. I hope she isn’t bullied either. But I hope that if she is, she will be strong and confident enough not to fall into a trap that threatens to ruin her. Because she is beautiful. And she is already so smart and funny and amazing. Kids are so mean. And society is mean to kids. We make them believe that they have to be this impossibly beautiful, thin, imaginary person. We make them small. We make women small, in general. And women are NOT small. We are the center of the universe, ladies. We are where life starts. And we are responsible for the next women. And we will plant the seeds for the women after them. And we have to do them proud.

And this scares me.

We don’t need more Kardashians. (Please, Cheesus, no more Kardashians.) We need more strong, brilliant, beautiful women. Women who are strong because they are proud. And not women who are famous for the size of their asses. Or whatever those Kardashians are famous for…

We need to lead by example.

It is especially daunting because, though I know I am strong, I am sort of delicate. I have anxiety and I like to blend in more than I like to be seen. And I could definitely benefit from being a little easier on myself these days, after two babies in two years. I have to be the one to show L that she, despite whatever flaws she might think she has, IS BEAUTIFUL. And to do that, I have to start recognizing the beauty in me. Because that’s where it all starts. With me.

 

Uninvited

Before you ask: No, I haven’t had this baby yet. And yes, I am due in 6 days. And yes, I am uncomfortable, annoyed and generally ready to do the damn thang. (But yes, I am still having nearly nightly panic attacks about having another baby to take care of. I don’t think that’s going to change until I prove to myself that I am Superwoman. And this will hopefully occur sooner, rather than later.) But this isn’t really what I want to talk about today. Because if I talk about, I could get pretty profane. And, well, no one wants that. Right?

 

Who am I kidding? I am most likely going to get really profane anyway. Because this shit is pissing me OFF, you guys.

 

Okay, so MB, Baby L and I moved out of my Mother-In-Law’s house for several reasons. One was because, when we found out we were pregnant with Baby O, I envisioned myself actually locking MB’s nephew in a closet for several months so my kids would be able to sleep peacefully. And when you see yourself doing things like this, you know you are in an unfavorable situation. (And maybe it isn’t the kid’s fault that he is disobedient, loud and generally obnoxious. But it doesn’t matter. He IS those things. And I knew that if we didn’t move, I might start to get really mean.) I was so relieved to get out of there. Not because I didn’t like the family (obviously, I love them) but because I couldn’t stand living with people who were on different schedules, doing different things, at different noise levels, all when I was trying to get my kid into a sleep pattern that didn’t require me to be up all night and then cleaning up after everyone all day. This was not ideal. And I hated the side of town that we were living on.

When we found our rental house, I didn’t love it either. And it is on the same side of town. But the price is right. And the size is right. And guess what, you guys! My in-laws don’t live there! Score! So, I sucked it up. I gave in and agreed that, since I am not currently employed outside of the home, and MB is the breadwinner and this place is not falling apart and doesn’t come with built-in annoying children, I could do it. And I would grin and bear it until I go back to work, and can contribute more financially. SO…here we are. On a side of town that I hate, but no longer bitch about because I am grateful to be here. Alone with MY little family. And with my giant back yard.

But, here comes the bitching.

Several times a week, after I have spent an hour trying to get Baby L ready for a nap and then waiting for her to fight sleep and finally give in so I can go and EAT A DAMN SANDWICH, I walk back into the living room, take a bite of said sandwich and notice, out my front window, people walking up to my front door. (It is important that you know, internet, that we don’t use our front door. It is locked at all times, and can only be opened (even from the inside) with a key. Because we use the carport door. Because that makes sense. You know, because we park there. All of our friends use the carport. Everyone uses the fucking carport.) It happens before noon. And, because I have to, then, frantically search for my keys in order to unlock the door, these people typically have time to ring the doorbell and within ONE SECOND of doing so, add in a good banging on the front door. You know, for good measure. And then Baby L is screaming. And there is a rotund black woman wearing a giant hat, and a tall gentleman wearing a suit standing there, anxiously waiting to tell me where to find Jesus.

I KNOW WHERE JESUS IS.

I went to church for the entirety of my childhood. Never once was I required to knock on a stranger’s door to tell them about where to find Jesus. Because it seems to be the opinion of the people in the congregation I was a part of, that if you WANT TO FIND JESUS, you will do that. You do not need some strangers to help you. It is creepy that people will come to your house to tell you about this stuff. It is creepy because they don’t know me. I could be ANY KIND of person. I could be the kind of person who would totally shoots the kind of people who are not the same as me. I could be the kind of person who would be offended by their religious views. I could be the kind of person who has a one-year-old child who doesn’t sleep and who gets very hostile at 39 weeks pregnant when her baby is awoken by strangers who want to tell her about Jesus. I AM THAT KIND OF PERSON.

(And I am, honestly, a little offended when people try and push their views on me in the first place. That takes some NERVE to come to MY HOUSE and disrupt MY DAY like that without any consideration about how your views might sit with me. But I won’t get all on a religious or moral kick here. Because that is not the kind of blogger I am, and frankly, it doesn’t matter what I believe. Except that I believe that you should not come to my house unless you are invited. And, preferably, have brought me wine.)

After this happens, and I try my damndest not to seriously injure these people (who are likely thinking they are doing some sort of Godly work or something), I am seriously angry. I mean, ANGRY. It is the most annoying thing I can think of. Like, ever. MB had to stop me today, from putting a sign on our front door that said, “I know where Jesus is. Do not knock on this door. Thank you.” He said that it would be in bad taste. I think knocking on my door uninvited and waking my kid up is in bad taste. But maybe that’s just me?

What IS it with this side of town?!

Since I posted this, I’ve gotten some awesome illustrations:

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Un-resolutions and Zero Goats

Guam beach

Guam beach (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Space Needle at Seattle Center in Seattle,...

The Space Needle at Seattle Center in Seattle, Washington. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, I don’t make resolutions. Just, like, as a rule. Because I know myself and I won’t keep them. Because something always happens that gets in the way. Like, when I decided a few years ago to drink less vodka. Then I started drinking way more wine. So…that kind of defeated the purpose. Although, at the time I convinced myself that, you know, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! I was the best resolution keeper EVAH.

Fail.

So, anyway, I don’t do resolutions. But this year, you know, in the wake of all the (more) crazy and the changing situation and everything, (Hello, unexpected baby!) I decided not to make resolutions, but to make some goals. (I just typed goats. I don’t make goats OR resolutions, just to clarify. I am pretty damn good at making babies, though. It would appear.) So I started making this digital vision board. Because MB told me that he made one once and that it actually helped him to stay focused and to make things happen. And being that it is hard to focus on anything other than my ever-expanding waistline, I figured it couldn’t hurt. None of my goals for my new family are terribly unattainable. I mean, some things might be a little more involved than others. But, you know. I think I am up for the challenge. And these are all necessary goals people.

So, here is the list of things that I hope to accomplish this year. And I hope that by my posting them here, I will get my ass in gear and remember that people are watching. You guys will be watching, right? I mean, even if you aren’t, I will pretend that I will really disappoint all of you if I don’t stick to my shit. Anyway, here it is.

1. Finally graduate from college. Okay, okay, this will just be my Associates degree for this year because I honestly only have two classes left and really just need to get the shit done. I am not going to say that this will depend on how my life is after this second baby or if we can afford it financially. Because if I say those things, I will give myself an excuse to never graduate. And then I will hold you all personally responsible because you weren’t keeping me in check. And you don’t really want that, do you?

2. Buy a house. This is the most important one. I mentioned before that MB and I were planning a cross country move for this year but have obviously had a change of plans because of Baby O. But it is IMPERATIVE, at this point, that we find a home. Because I sure as hell cannot live in this house with TWO babies. And honestly, I just feel like I will be better able to concentrate on being a kick-ass parent if I have a kick-ass home to call my own. So, this is a big one for me. I NEED IT.

3. Save some cash. I have a savings account. It is not super cushy. And I have a husband who is notoriously bad with money. Not because he is going out and buying ridiculous gadgets (like the iPad he bought me for my Christmas/birthday present) or anything like that…but because he is just too generous. He “lends” money to friends and family members all the time. People who don’t necessarily seem to think they have to pay him back. And my husband is amazing, but this makes me want to punch him in the throat. (He has gotten better and he knows that this is no longer an option.) He has agreed to let me handle the finances now that we are married. Meaning that money will actually be SAVED. Like in an account. Like for to DO THINGS with. It will be glorious. AND it will help us achieve several of these goals.

4. Have an amazing first birthday party for Baby L. This is going to happen. I don’t think I need to explain. I could be broke as hell and I would beg, borrow and steal to make her first birthday amazing. (Not that she will likely remember. But I will.)

5. Welcome Baby O into the world. Looks like this is happening. It isn’t really a goal, I guess. I guess the goal would be not hurting anyone while impatiently waiting his arrival. Because we all know how much I LOVE BEING PREGNANT. (All lies. B-T-Dubs.)

6. Take a vacation. Just me and MB. Yes, I know. We just went to Vegas and got hitched. But a bunch of people went with us. And we partied. Well, MB partied. I mostly felt guilty about my mom staying in the condo with Baby L and came home early. I want to go somewhere with sun and palm trees. Or maybe cabins in the mountains. Or maybe the Space Needle (I heart Seattle). Or maybe visit my dad in Guam. I mean, who knows? I just want us to have a getaway. And maybe this won’t happen this year while the kids are so small. But it is a good goal. And I’m keeping it.

7. Take more “me time”.  I would like to read more. And, no offense to any of you, but I mean BOOKS. (Taking suggestions…PLEASE!?) I don’t have a lot of time now, but I will have less when Baby O gets here.

8. Be healthier. Before I had Baby L, I was not a health nut, by any means, but I definitely ate better. Healthier. Smarter. And then I got pregnant and gave up wine and cigarettes. HELLO, CUPCAKES! So, I need to get back to that place where I am not stuffing my face full of weird shit like McDoubles and cheese puffs. Seriously. But this will have to wait until after June also. Obviously. Right now, I will eat whatever the eff I want, internet.

That’s all I got for right now. I wanted to post the actual vision board that I am making. But it isn’t done because I can’t find suitable illustration. You know, because my shit has to be PERFECT.

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 11,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 18 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

On Tragedy

I should have known that yesterday wasn’t going to be a good day when MB’s glasses were inexplicably lying on the floor next to my side of the bed when I got up in the middle of the night to check on Baby L and stepped on them. I couldn’t, however, have known that it would be the kind of soul-crushing day that it ended up to be.

When I originally heard that there had been a shooting in Connecticut, that is all I really knew. I didn’t know where or who the victims were. I didn’t know anything else. Just that some other asshole had opened fire in a public place. Again. Looking back, I am ashamed that my original reaction wasn’t one of shock, even without the details. Because these things are so terrible, no matter who the victims are. But the truth is, internet, that things like this happen so often these days that I think I got a little desensitized to them. I mean, haven’t we all to some degree? If you don’t become at least a little desensitized to this stuff, you would have to lock yourself and your families up in your homes to avoid being murdered at Target while shopping for toilet paper.

I remember Columbine. I had just graduated from high school a year earlier and I remember thinking that it was absolutely insane that something like that could happen. Like, in a school. And that it could have just as easily been MY high school. But I felt as though I had dodged that bullet because, hell, I had graduated already. These things could not hurt me. Crazy people don’t shoot up movie theaters or shopping malls. They just don’t. And then things like this just kept happening. And happening. And happening. And I would see it on the news and my heart would hang heavy for a couple of hours and then I, along with the rest of the world, would move on to lunch at Panera. Or an afternoon meeting for work. Or a pedicure. And I didn’t forget, but I didn’t want to think about it anymore. I couldn’t think about it anymore.

Yesterday’s events hit me hard. Harder than, I think, any other random act of crazy has ever hit me. It felt as though a piece of my heart actually turned black and died along with those tiny, innocent victims yesterday. And maybe it is because I am a parent now. And the overwhelming love I have for my own daughter creates an overwhelming fear of evil. Or of the whole world. And now, when I hear about tragedy like this, I am no longer able to control my humanity. I cannot turn this off. I cannot ignore this tragedy because I know that if my child were taken from me, I wouldn’t be able to continue to live. She is not a piece of my heart, she is my WHOLE heart. She is what helps me to believe that there is still good in the world. Because there has to be. For HER. There just has to be. Otherwise all of the reasons I was terrified to bring a child into the world are justified. And how could that be?

I’ve thought and thought about the victims’ families in these last 24 hours. I have cried for them. I have prayed for them. I have mentally cloaked them in hugs. I have thought about them not being given another opportunity to hug their sons and daughters and I have hugged my daughter twice as many times as I have ever done before. And I have meant it more than I ever have before. Because, I fear. And because I love. And I want to believe that there is a solution. That there is hope that things will change. That no more innocent children (or innocents of any age) will be taken in such a horrific way.

I don’t know what the solution is. I know that it isn’t to board up the windows lock the world out. I know that it isn’t to be numb to the whole thing. I know that it isn’t going to be easy. But I know this: As I type this, I am watching the most beautiful creature in the world play and learn and laugh and she is worth it, you guys. They all are. A solution has to be found.