The Wonder of Babies

Maybe you know this, and maybe you don’t, but back in the early days of the internet, I was a semi-famous web designer, specializing in sites for people working with breastfeeding mothers and babies. Now, THAT was a career I never would have foreseen (besides not knowing there would BE a World Wide Web, I was pretty sure I would never reproduce. My first love didn’t want children (and never had them, just cats), and I thought they’d slow down my feminist agenda, or something.

Turned out, though, that not only did I like babies quite a lot, doing websites allowed me to stay home and watch them grow, with plenty of time left to support other mothers and babies. And by gosh, I got a career out of the whole deal. That pretty much fit right in with my agenda, after all.

While that career path has dwindled a bit (oh wait, I am still the webmaster for some organizations), my enjoyment of babies has stuck with me. I love the potential. I love watching them change every day (though I haven’t had a chance to do that in a long time), I love watching parents grow and rise up to all the inevitable challenges, or lean on others when those challenges overwhelm.

This was my challenge. No sleep! Lost me a spouse! I wasn’t much fun. Photo by @andreafwagner via Twenty20.

Parenting brought me life-long friends (I have some from 30 years ago, when I first got pregnant and looked up information on online bulletin boards). Now that my friends are grandparenting, I get the joy of watching those relationships develop. It’s really amazing how my friends have been helping their children’s children during the pandemic, ranging from caring for them so the parents can work from home to home-schooling programs on Zoom.

It doesn’t appear that I’ll be a grandparent (I guess if K fathered children, I’d not get to see them, and there are some challenges for D). I guess that’s good for overpopulation. But I’ll miss having the chance to be there for my sons and their partners, and to hold and smell little ones again (yes, I remember there are also bad smells).

This generic newborn stands in for the real one, who I don’t want to plaster all over the internet, since he’s not my child. Photo by @christyhermogenes via Twenty20.

But, other people’s kids aren’t quite so set on not having babies, so I got to be a great aunt by marriage a few days ago. I’m excited, though the pandemic means I only get to see photos of the little guy. I look into his face, with eyes old beyond his age, and see so much potential. He already shows what he might look like when he’s older, with a large mouth, lots of hair, and very expressive eyes. What a wonder, indeed. His young mama is enjoying him, and his grandparents are ridiculously excited, as they should be. I get to enjoy it vicariously, which is better than a kick in the head!

The actual baby. I got permission to share. Isn’t he adorable.

I don’t know what’s going to happen in the next few very scary months in the world, but I’m very glad that I will have a sweet baby boy to distract me and to remind me of the timeless wonder of babies as they grow. May he grow into a world full of peace, love, and kindness.

I Forgive You. Forgive Me.

Admission: I’m not feeling too great today, and this UU Lent prompt, forgiveness, didn’t help. I shall now indulge in some wallowing in self pity. You know, sometimes you just have to do it for a while, pick yourself up, and get going again. I promise, I’ll get going again. So forgive this post. I just need to say it.

I had absolutely no clue how to parent.

With the pandemic going on, it’s just killing me that forgiveness hasn’t happened in important parts of my life. Mostly, I just want to tell Kynan that if he did anything that led him to disappear from my life, I will forgive it, because I love him. And I so dearly want to be able to ask his forgiveness for anything I did that led him to desert his mother.

I tried really hard to be a good parent. Obviously I wasn’t perfect, because there’s no such thing as a perfect parent. I know I gave them too many presents, because I’m totally clear now that my love language is gifts. Oops. That’s okay, all the kids left most of the things I gave them at home when they moved out <insert smiley face>.

Memories! What a bright little kid he was.

So today, I officially ask forgiveness of my kids, people who I felt maternal toward, and anyone who I may have hurt when they were young and vulnerable.

I also want everyone who’s hurt me that I forgive them. People mess up. People get angry and do things they wouldn’t normally do. Mental illness can color people’s interpretations of others’ motives and actions, and I know that. If I love you, I love you, warts and all. Even if I don’t forget things that happen, I can forgive you and accept you.

I will always care for these three, no matter what happens in our lives.

That was all really hard to write. Today I’m still reeling from some terrible dreams I had about Kynan a couple of nights ago. He was there, which felt great, but he kept reminding me we’re really apart. At one point, he rejected an outreached hand and said, “You know, we never really did like each other.”

No, son. I adored you and thought you were the most amazing creature on earth. I only want happiness, growth, and love for you.

Interestingly, I am wearing that same shirt today.
Equal opportunity baby picture of Declan.

Hey, I know I’m not alone. Estrangements are more common than I once realized, and I am sending virtual hugs out to anyone going through this along with me. I’d just like to know why I’m estranged, but until then, I’ll go on living and hope to heck I get to see my children and all my loved ones again, and that we all make it through this disease.

Forgive someone. Forgive me. Life’s short.

End of self-indulgent wallowing. Supportive comments will be appreciated.

Highs and Lows of 2019

Questions!

Yeah, so I said I wouldn’t be posting about goals for the year, but I didn’t say I wouldn’t pause to reflect a bit. I finally have a few minutes to actually do that, so I’m going to answer some questions originally shared by my friend (and brilliant writer) Teresa Pitman. I will also add some cheerful flower photos to prove it’s still colorful, at least among the tiny flowers outside our former church building!

What made 2019 unforgettable for you?

The most unforgettable thing is that other than one sentence when we ran into each other in the summer, my older son didn’t speak to me in 2019. I’m still at a loss about what the reason is, but I’ll never forget 2019 for that very unexpected turn of events. I honestly thought we had a good relationship and could discuss any issues that came up. It’s a mother’s nightmare, but dwelling on it and going through possible scenarios won’t help. I’ll keep waiting and sending love.

Common storksbill

What did you most enjoy doing in 2019?

There’s no one answer to this one! I crammed a lot of good stuff into the year. Here are some of my favorite things:

  • Riding on Apache and exploring the ranch
  • Playing with the dogs
  • Walking in Austin and at the ranch
  • Attending book club
  • Learning from Master Naturalists
  • Writing
  • Brainstorming in all my jobs
  • Traveling to beautiful places
  • Spending time with my family
Continue reading “Highs and Lows of 2019”