Change is a-comin’…

Last night, Mister, Beatle Butt, and I ended up at a little hole in the wall Americana restaurant for dinner. I spent the majority of the dinner on edge, which is how I spend most of my time these days, because it hadn’t occurred to me until we sat down that the place had “Dixie” in the name and all I could see in the dining room were white faces. Because I am a panicked sort of person naturally and also because you never can tell when you’re in Texas, all I could think about in the back of my mind was whether or not we were currently sitting in an establishment that perhaps was owned by people or frequented by people whose vision for the world I didn’t agree with.

It’s an unfair assertion to jump to based only on the name and the racial make up of the people who are hungry at the same time as you, but this is the anxious space I live in these days for reasons I won’t fully dive into right now. My brain seeks out things to feel tense about and then rides them out past all possible plausibility. I would blame this state of mind on being the mother of a less-than-cautious toddler who gives me heart attacks on a routine basis, but lets be real, I’ve always been a Nervous Nelly. It’s how I escaped childhood with nary a broken bone, a point of pride I remind myself of when I’m mentally curled up into the fetal position murmuring to myself about the What Ifs.

So, anyways, here I am, shoving into my mouth the best pot roast I’ve had in forever with gobs of real, fresh horseradish on top while the terrible possibilities of what this restaurant stands for are running through my head at a frantic pace. The TVs that are positioned around the place are ostensibly for local advertisers (hence the “ADVERTISE HERE” print out taped to the bottom of each screen) but really all they contain are the same kinds pictures that every single person has posted on Facebook because they are either cool or funny or some amalgamation of both. Chuck Norris jokes, pictures of incredible chalk drawings, and pictures of people either doing stupid things or the after effects of said person doing stupid things kept filtering through and Beatle Butt would comment on each one. “Oh! Ponies! Doggie! Plane! Fishy!!!!!!!” Until the familiar bearded face of one Abey-Baby Lincoln popped up on the screen. She thought it was Papa (as all bearded men have now been named) and I told her it was Abraham Lincoln and that he had once been the President. It was what Mister said next that broke me out of my pot roast coma/bleeding heart panic. He told BB that one day she could be President if she wanted to be.

This isn’t just an empty platitude anymore. There’s never been a rule that women couldn’t be President, just cultural norms that have prevented any woman who tried from getting too far. The system is by no means fixed just because we do currently have an incredible woman running for President; there’s still plenty of stumbling blocks that women face when attempting any position of authority. These times are a-changing, though, and progress is continuing to march forward. There will always be places and people who hold onto relics of the past like security blankets but their influence is waning. The image of my little, tiny Beatle Butt as POTUS made my heart explode with joy and completely changed my demeanor for the rest of the meal. There is hope. Things are changing. We will get there. Just enjoy the damn pot roast already, you fool.

As an aside, on our drive home I asked Mister about his take on the name and populace of the restaurant and he laughed and told me there had been a Hispanic family at the table behind me. So, most likely, my panic was for nothing, as it usually is. This is a relief because, guys, the pot roast came with real, homemade mashed potatoes and I’m real excited to eat that again.

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36. A Whole New World

beatleandme

July 11th this little bundle of joy finally arrived. We had scheduled an induction because, as my OB put it, baby girl wasn’t getting any smaller but Miss Beatle Butt decided that she would choose her own arrival time and I went into labor as we were leaving for the pre-admission appointment. I had just pulled into our driveway and was walking toward Mister’s car and WHOOSH a whole bunch of liquid appeared in a previously dry place. I went to the bathroom to make sure I hadn’t just peed myself in a big way but no. There is a large difference between the sensation of your water breaking and the sensation of peeing yourself. Life has been an absolute whirlwind ever since that moment, as if it hadn’t already been that way.

There was a time in my life that I believed that I would never be married, never have kids, and never have a home of my own. They were things that seemed so random and unable to be planned that I tucked my hope away and decided to just wait it out. Eventually, I took the stance that I didn’t even WANT those things because it was easier to pretend to not want them instead of worrying about the where and when and hows. Then I met Mister and I realized that if I was going to be married to anyone it would be someone like him. So, I followed him to Texas and starting building a life with him. A year and a quarter later we were married and had found and purchased a house that we loved. Two months later, the week of Thanksgiving, we found out about Beatle.

For the most part, I like moving at a fast pace. Things get done quicker and there’s less chance that you get stuck in a limbo situation (one of my least favorite situations to be stuck in). Now that Beatle is here though I can already see how much faster time flies when you want to slow it down. I’m hoping to eventually master some of the tricks from The Matrix or Professor X so I can freeze time every once in a while.

I’m looking forward to the next few years of nothing (compared to the last couple of years of moving and school and wedding and baby and school and holidays and trips home and school and homemaking.. etc). I have about three semesters left in my Master’s program and until that’s done and I have breathing room in my schedule I’m just going to use every ounce of free time to take everything in. I want to absorb every single little look, giggle, and movement our little one makes and keep it locked in my heart forever. In the past year, Mister and I’s marriage has only gotten sweeter and I can’t wait to see how we continue to grow together to form a cohesive team. Our little house becomes more of a home every day and I can’t wait until the holidays come and everything is warm and sparkly and full of love. Things feel like they’re on the right path and I couldn’t be more thankful. I wish I could go back in time and tell myself how well things work out in the future so that I could stop internalizing my worry. Hopefully, I can prevent Beatle from ever putting that amount of weight on her shoulders. I guess that’s how life works: one generation tries to prevent the next from making the same mistakes.

35. Next, on this week’s episode of Hoarders…

Yes, it is organized that much on a daily basis. I am a freak.I miss having this big of a closet to myself.

One of my projects to complete before Beatle arrives was to clean out my two closets. (Well, technically I have 1.5 closets because Mister has some clothing in the other one.) Over the years, I’ve amassed quite the wardrobe comprised of a handful of outfits I wear regularly and then rounded out by a bunch of “back-up” clothing for when I neglect to do my laundry in a timely manner. This strategy has served me well when I didn’t have a washer and dryer on site or when I was unsure of what my next job’s dress code policy would require (Don’t donate those lumpy old black pants! I might need them again!). Now that I’m firmly planted in a house equipped with laundry machines and in a job that I don’t plan on leaving for many years, I believe the time has come to pare down my wardrobe to the items that I actually enjoy wearing. Goodbye, 6 year old black dress that I never wear because I got suckered into purchasing it by a great deal without ever actually having an occasion to don it. Sayonara to the t-shirts that I bought from a fun t-shirt website that turned out to be too short but I couldn’t bear to part with the cute cartoons.  Adios, those few items that I held on to out of desperation that Yes Someday I would be that size again. I still haven’t given up hope about getting my butt back into shape but now I think that I deserve some new threads for my effort.

I have a tendency to hoard things that I think will be beneficial in the future. Old jars, scraps of scrapbook paper, and magazines with articles that I view as valuable litter my life because, in my mind, someday there might be an occasion that I will be able to use them instead of having to buy something new. I blame this habit on my dad, the master of curb shopping who possess numerous articles of clothing that are older than I am (some of which I have pilfered over the years). I’m taking the opportunity to make some big changes while we undergo the biggest little change of all and I’m going to adjust my wardrobe philosophy to reflect who I am now and not the bits and pieces of me that I’ve clung to over the years. I’m about to be a mom! Moms always have their wardrobe pulled together; it’s like one of their super powers!

Besides, there are people in the world who might actually like the never-worn black dress and the funny cartoon t-shirts and they will probably look 1000 times better in them because they either have places to wear them or are not 6′ tall. Why should I deprive these poor articles of clothing the chance to be out in the world? They deserve a life, too!

34. The One Where I Forget About Mother’s Day

So, I had set up those previous posts days ahead of time and it never occurred to me that Mother’s Day was just around the bend. Time just seems to be flying by! Is it really May?! Yesterday we hit 32 weeks so there are approximately two more months separating Beatle and the world. You know that infamous scene in Alien where you can see the alien wriggling around under Sigourney Weaver’s skin? Yeah, that’s pretty much what my stomach has been looking like lately. It is exciting and unnerving all at once. (Sidenote: did anyone else know that Sigourney is not her real name? I just learned that when I Googled to make sure I spelled it right. Huh. Learn something new every day.)

This was my last Mother’s Day before I become an actual mommy. The weight of that responsibility has been weighing on me lately. I’ve been devouring every piece of parenting advice that I can find because I’m hoping that I’ll internalize the patience and strength they espouse and it will just come naturally. Last night, I was talking to Mister about the articles I’ve read and about how I want our daughter to be a strong young woman who is secure in herself. While she’ll always be our baby, eventually she’s going to be out in the world having a real impact on the lives of others and I want to prepare her with the skills necessary to make that impact positive.

The exhausting part is that there is no 100% guaranteed method to raising a healthy, wealthy, and wise child. Parenting is a lot like dieting: there are about one million different ways to get relatively the same outcome and everyone will tell you that their method is the best and absolutely reliable. My instinct says that the most effective methods are ones that teach the child to value and respect themselves and others and so those are the tips and tricks I’ve been trying to absorb.

I really like the DERA (Describe, Empathize, state the Rule, and discuss Alternatives) method (described in this article on Everyday Feminism) because it harkens back to a lot of the tools I was taught when I worked on mental health crisis lines. I like that it recognizes the kiddo’s emotions but still insists on adherence to a rule structure. I’m sure I’ll have a whole new set of feelings about it when I have an unruly 2 year old in front of me, but for now I’m just hoping to create within me a naturally patient response. This probably will not be my last post about parents tips and tricks so if you have any suggestions leave them in the comments!

33. The Story of Beatle

I’ve been asked a handful of times about the fetal nickname we have for our little girl. There’s not much of a story to it but it’s become a term of endearment and I’m sure its a nickname she’ll carry for her entire life.

I’m blessed to have a world full of amazingly talented people who have harnessed their passion for a particular subject and pursued that path with aplomb. Lucky for me (since I was still waiting for my new job’s health care to kick in) I have a bff who is at the tail end of her journey to be a doctor (Heather of It’s My Life)  that let me ask every stupid questions that popped into my head (“Do I hurt the baby when I sneeze too hard?”).  One day she and I were texting about the baby and she was using the talk-to-text technology on her phone. Every time she would say “fetal” the phone would type “beetle” and hence, the nickname was born. I decided to change “Beetle” to “Beatle”, though, because I didn’t like the idea of a gross bug growing in my uterus; I’d prefer to host an epic rockstar.

The nickname Beatle has other personal significance because of that legendary rock group. I grew up listening to the Beatles and their contemporaries and my mom would regularly wake all of us up for school by singing “Here Comes the Sun”. I have only fond memories attached to their music. My love for the Beatles only intensified in high school when I became part of a group of friends who shared my love for the group. Since then, the Beatles have always been a comfort to me and are always, always some of the best sing-a-long choices for long car trips.

So, that is the story of how Beatle got her name. Granted, we starting using it before we knew she was a she, but I think it still works. 🙂

32. A look back at the journey thus far…

I recently reread a post from one of my very first blogging attempts (a joint effort between my bff Jane and I that never really got off the ground). I wanted to re-post it here because (although the end is a bit melodramatic) it helped me reflect on how much my life has changed in the past three years.

The toughest lessons so far…

Posted on June 9, 2010 by Edith

I’d like to think I’ve learned something about relationships in the last 24 (almost 25) years. I’d like to think that I’ve absorbed enough information to prevent repeating my mistakes. Yet, here I am: sleepless and listening to Elliot Smith on repeat.

Relationships are like glass. Sometimes it’s better to leave them broken than try to hurt yourself putting it back together. ~Author Unknown

I have found that this quote (whomever it may belong to) to be truest when involving romance. Friendships are relatively easily repaired and it is not strange cycle through levels of involvement. However, relationships tend to have an expected level of intimacy and so it seems impossible to repair whatever ground is lost. When trust is lost and there isn’t a strong enough foundation to rebuild upon, it is easier to cut your losses and walk away. Usually whatever repairs can be made aren’t enough to build on anyways.

Sometimes it hurts too much to fix the un-fixable.

So what are you supposed to do when you remove that source of pain? Some say that distraction allows you to focus on your own needs until the problem fixes itself. Some say wallowing in the void allows you to fully appreciate what needs you do have and where you can best help yourself.

I’m on a mission, dear readers. I’m on a mission to figure out where heartache ends and recovery begins. Any suggestions you might have are welcome.

At that point I had recently ended a long term relationship with someone who was a nice guy but wasn’t the right guy.  Quite frankly, we were a terrible fit and had been actively trying to ignore our discomfort for the past five years. The dam finally broke one day about two months before this entry was written and I found myself without the safety net that I had clung to so desperately for so long. I’m glad I made that leap into a new life, though, because without it I would never be where I am today.

31. Assemblog du Jour (IRL): Leggings for Everyone!

Leggings for Everyone!
Warehouse , $93 / Velvet by Graham & Spencer slim pants, $165 / Old Navy maternity / Pier 1 Imports cowgirl boots, $130 / Lacoste

Clearly, these are not the exact articles of clothing I’ve been wearing (except the stripey shirt… I love the stripey shirt). Polyvore has it’s limits, people. This gives you a general idea of one of the outfits I’ve been wearing obsessively, though. I know normally I use these “Assemblog du Jour” posts to fantasize about the fabulous clothing I would buy if I could but I feel like maybe some reality needed to seep into them. Voila!

30. Operation: Feel Pretty

Ha. Anyone who knows me well enough probably saw that last post and went, “Sure, Edi, tell us another one.” Ah, they truly know me and my tendency to over extend myself. Good news: the semester is over! I now have approximately two months until Beatle arrives and I’m going to use this time to do fun things like reading and crafting and deep cleaning the house. Okay, that last one isn’t necessarily “fun” but when you’ve been carrying around the guilt of not being about to do the chores you want to because of other commitments even house cleaning can look appealing. I have a list of goals in my head and I’m going to eventually write a post about each one. Today, we’re going to get my mojo back.

I don’t know who these women are that find pregnancy exhilarating, but I image they’re the same ones that go running on the beach in white pants during Tampax commercials at other non-pregnant times of their lives. I, for one, am exhausted, cranky, stinky, and I look something akin to Gollum most days. Pregnancy glow, my ass.

As you can imagine, this has dealt a healthy blow to my self esteem (as well as pregnancy hormones doing their part, of course). Now that I’m out of the second trimester and almost half the way through the third, I’m going to try to start doing things that will combat the little voice in the back of my head every time I struggle with what clothing to wear in order to cover my ever expanding waistline.

Things that I want to get back in the habit of doing:

  1. Putting in my contacts and putting on make-up every (work) day: I’m definitely still pregnancy exhausted but not nearly the same way I was even a month ago.  I need to get back in the habit of actually spending time on my face and hair because they are habits that make me feel good and that I genuinely enjoy doing. Well, I genuinely enjoy playing with make up… doing my hair is another story. Thankfully, I have the best hair stylist in the entire world who uses her magical powers to provide me with the perfect wash and go hair style. In any case, I always feel better when both parts have been taken care of instead of just waking up with enough time to wipe the crusties from my eyes and run a brush through my hair before throwing it into a sloppy ponytail.
  2. Doing my nails (or getting them done): Granted, every single day increases the struggle to reach my toenails, but I’ve already recruited the Mister to paint them for me as long as I do the prep work. Also, daily prenatals have given me fingernails that grow alarmingly fast and I haven’t even remotely taken advantage of them! For shame!
  3. Wearing clothes that are comfortable and stylish: I won’t lie to you, I’ve embraced leggings in a way that I did not know was possible for a fat girl. Mister picks on me because he says they aren’t real pants and I just tell him to hush because no real pants fit over his unborn child that is currently residing in my belly. Leggings can be cute, though, and I’ve been trying to make sure I wear things that make me feel better about my ever-expanding waistline. Also, maxi dresses from Old Navy are my new favorite thing. I’m considering trying some maxi dresses from Lane Bryant so that I can have a few newer outfits to transition me into post-partum land. I’ll try to put together a whole new post on pregnancy plus-size fashion alone.
  4. Take time to do stupid beauty rituals: Between the dry desert air of Texas and the skin-drying effects of pregnancy, my hands look like I’ve gone 10 rounds in the ring with Dempsey. (My Grandmother would appreciate this reference and use it as a jumping point for a story about my Great Grandpa, the boxer.) I need to get back into the habit of doing those stupid beauty rituals (like using Mary Kay Satin Hands) that take extra time but offer a chance for some extra pampering. I know that I will have zilch time for these things once Beatle comes so I need to take advantage of them now. Especially now that the semester is over and I have normal human amounts of free time again.

I think four goals are ambitious enough. I’ll try to remember to post pictures of Mister’s paint job on my tootsies. It will probably look 1000 times better than the job I do, as with most things he does. (Not laundry though, I definitely kick his butt in the laundry department.)

29. Return after a looooong hiatus

Well, hello again.

It seems that I allowed my hectic life to sit on and smother what little time I had devoted to this blog. Sorry about that. I know, you were probably panicked; wondering if I’d ever resurface. I’m sure you spend every waking hour rereading my past posts trying to find some sense of pattern that would predict when I would decide to return. More likely, the four people that actually read this are also friends with me on Facebook (as well as in real life) and already know exactly how the last 9 months have gone.

Let me sum it up for anyone that hasn’t been following along through other outlets:

  • Started a Pintrest (isn’t is amazing?)
  • Married Mr. Z in one of my favorite spots in all the land and spent our honeymoon in glorious Chicago
  • Bought a house and moved into it the night we returned from the honeymoon
  • Started a new job at the University I’ve been taking classes through the day after we moved into the house
  • Became pregnant sometime between starting the new job and the week of Thanksgiving (which is when I did the actual pee-stick-test)
  • Adopted two more doggies within all that mess which means I am now outnumbered by men at a 4:1 ratio
  • Oh yeah, and I was still taking two classes in my Master’s program

Phew. I have had a wonderfully exciting, chaotic, stimulating, and overwhelming last few months or so. The fact is, I’m really ready for a big dose of boredom. Especially considering the upcoming addition to our mostly-furry family, I feel the need to soak up any and all moments of relaxation and calm.

Luckily, my new job is nothing if not calm. I’ve found myself in the midst of one of the more serene environments that I’ve ever experienced. Yes, we still get crazy days where there never seem to be enough people or hands, but the people I work with are just calm. It is a very nice change of pace that will hopefully allow me to get back on the wagon with this project. For all the changes that have occurred, I’m still seeking out my original desire: a focus on the things that embody my true sense of self.