Put it in the story.
December 22nd 2013
Wilder is eight weeks old.
Maybe it’s the pills, or the anticipation of upcoming days off from work, but I’ve been feeling better this past week. Although I am not without occasional bouts of sadness, the severity of them has been greatly reduced. My goal has been to attempt to focus more on the present and try to enjoy these early days with Wilder. Everyone tells me how babies grow so fast, and I’m starting to see it with my own eyes. This past week Wilder officially outgrew his newborn-sized clothes. He is also beginning to be more reactive to my voice and interacts more often when I get all up in his face (for lack of a better description). It is ridiculously rewarding when he smiles or giggles at me and I am enjoying my time with him more and more, even when he pukes directly in my face, blinding me with a forceful shower of warm formula. I think he has my sense of humor.
To boost my low disposition, I decided to attempt to write a novel with one of my dearest friends (and my favorite editor), Amanda. It’s more of an exercise in co-creating and a good way of keeping up with my creative writing, but who knows, perhaps something amazing will come out of it. If nothing else we now have a running joke which involves shouting “Put it in the story!” whenever anything mundane happens. Nurturing my sense of humor has always proven to help me out of a funk. I also have a hidden love for long-running inside jokes. I imagine Amanda visiting me on my deathbed and my final words to her being “put it in the story.”
This past Tuesday I went to my young cousin Lisa’s house for a family holiday dinner. This time Lee Kyle joined us and I was glad that my extended family was able to finally meet him. Holiday dinners have had a depressing undertone since my mother’s death in 2005. She was always the one who organized the holiday meals. But now that Wilder is here, he has become the center of attention and a common bond between all of us. He is adorable, which is something we can all agree upon, unlike whether people should eat their ham hot or cold.
I went to yoga class on Wednesday and it brought up a lot of emotions for me. Yoga is something that helps me immensely, not just physically but emotionally as well. Since Wilder’s birth I have not been practicing as much as I would like to. When I do get to attend a class, especially with one of my favorite teachers, it is often very cathartic. Keith, who was teaching this particular class, said something that really resonated with me. “When you let go of who you think you are, you can become who you might be.” I felt like this statement was meant specifically for me. I have been struggling so much internally, trying to understand my role as a parent. I have been painfully holding on to the idea of what I have identified myself as, and not allowing any room for growth into the new role of being a mother. I have been downright resisting this change, afraid that if I allow myself to embrace it I will have to abandon all aspects of who I used to be. In those quiet moments of introspection at the end of class, I realized that change is inevitable and it is necessary for all growth. God knows how awful my life would be if I had never changed in the past. I’ve spent many years being a real dumb motherfucker, and luckily I grew out of most of that. I understand that in order to learn how to enjoy parenthood, I have to accept that parts of who I am will be constantly evolving. I cannot be the same parent to a newborn as I will be to a toddler, or to a teenager. Parenthood in itself demands change, and if I’m going to be any good at it, I have to learn to go with the flow. I hope that just knowing this is half the battle. I still had a crying fit after class, surrounded by some of my dearest friends and teachers. When a student walked up and saw me sniveling, she asked what was wrong. Jackie quickly responded, “Oh Lori’s just practicing her stand-up comedy routine for tomorrow’s holiday party.”
We did attend the holiday party the following night, but luckily I didn’t cry. There were a lot of children there, running amok and having a good time. We saw smiling kids and crying kids and kids that had just about had enough of everything. I looked over at Andy at one point in the night, when a little boy was having a loud meltdown and we non-verbally communicated “This is our life now.” Although at times it was a little overwhelming, the two glasses of wine I had helped a lot. I felt much more at ease when Ellen and Joel arrived with their two little girls. They have been and continue to be the type of parents that I hope Andy and I will one day be. They are so relaxed and take things in stride always with a sense of humor. I think the sense of humor is the key.
On Friday I picked up Wilder from Sara’s house by myself. I was quite proud, as this was the first time that I had driven alone in the car with him. I sang to him, Christmas carols, all the while silently praying that he wouldn’t cry. He didn’t and my confidence gained a few points. My original plans for Friday night were to accompany Cody to Celebration in the Oaks while Lee Kyle watched our son. Cody and I cancelled our plans though because he had to catch a very early flight the next morning and was not at all prepared for the trip. I had texted Lee Kyle to explain that he didn’t need to babysit and he texted me back asking if we could talk. He explained that he had made plans for both he and Clint to spend time with Wilder and that my cancelling my plans and changing his at the last minute was not fair. He was really nice about the whole thing and I immediately saw his point of view. I apologized and insisted that he and Clint still pick up Wilder and take him to the studio (as they had planned). I was really glad that he had called me to talk about things instead of silently feeling upset about the situation. I am hopeful that we can continue to have open communication. I never want Lee Kyle (or Andy, or Clint) to feel that I don’t appreciate or respect their roles in Wilder’s life. I couldn’t do this without them.
Friday night ended up being a lot of fun . Gabby was in town shooting a few photo sessions and she stayed the night at our place. She is always so wonderful to be around, because she has one of the most positive outlooks of anyone I know. She is halfway through her pregnancy with twins and looking more radiant every time I see her. She posts photos of her physical development on her photography blog (http://www.gchapinstudios.com/blog/ ) but seeing her in person is a real treat. She was at the house to greet me when I arrived home solo with Wilder and held him while I washed bottles. Jackie and Luis showed up a few minutes later to pick up a few things I had for her. Gabby and Jackie had a good time catching up while I looked at pictures of Madonna with Jackie’s friend Luis. Just as Jackie was heading out, my dear friend Laura Fine showed up. Luckily she got there before Lee Kyle arrived to get Wilder so she was able to hold him for a bit.
Photo of Gabby taken from her blog (link above)
Gabby and Laura hadn’t met before but they clicked immediately. We spent a few hours chatting at the kitchen table while eating pizza and drinking wine (not Gabby). It felt so good to laugh and catch up with Laura who has some exciting things happening in her life too. Andy arrived home and he and Laura geeked out over audio books and Dune. Gabby and I listened and interjected every now and then, between giggling fits. Before any of us realized it was nearly midnight. I went to bed with a smile on my face feeling extremely fortunate to have such wonderful friends.
Andy tended to Wilder on Saturday morning and I was able to sleep in until 8:30 am. Upon waking I had Andy bring me Wilder so that I could feed him. He is quite adorable in the morning and I absolutely adore the range of faces he makes. Gabby snuck upstairs to my room with her camera and got a few shots of us still in bed. Even though I am usually extremely vain and particular about the photos taken of me, when she posted them later that night I was taken aback by how beautiful they were. I had morning breath and uncombed hair and she still was able to make me look beautiful (testament to her skills). As always, I was sad to see her go, but look forward to seeing her again soon. We had quite a few visitors on Saturday as well. Jennifer Jane came by with some wine and cheese in the afternoon. I love hearing her tales of working on different television shows and movies. She is an incredible hair stylist/makeup artist. She had been out of town filming in various locations for nearly the last year. We reminisced about how the last time we had all hung out was Andy’s birthday party – the night Lee Kyle and I started artificial insemination. She is really entertaining to spend time with and although she doesn’t have any children, you can tell she genuinely likes them. I can’t wait to watch a relationship between her and Wilder blossom as he gets older. After Jennifer departed we had two final guests for the evening, Sally and John. They brought me the most magnificent, touching gift which was a photo collage of Brando pictures. It brought tears to both Sally’s and my eyes when she gave it to me. Both Sally and John are amazing photographers and many of the shots in the collage had been taken by them at our parties. It was really kind of them to stop in as Sally was under a lot of pressure putting the finishing touches on her book, closing out the semester and planning to visit her family within the next few days. John was there, helping her through all of it and I was once again reminded of how precious all our relationships are.
Photo by G. Chapin Studios
Photo by G. Chapin Studios
Sunday closed the week with Wilder having an upset stomach. He was fussy in the morning, which is unlike him. We were relaxing on the couch as I had just finished feeding him. I was attempting to burp him when he projectile vomited onto my face. My eyes were drenched with warm formula and the force behind it astonished me. I couldn’t help but laugh, though, and was immediately sad that no one was there to witness such an amazing moment in our relationship. We had planned to go caroling that night in Jackson Square, but the weather had been so awful that I didn’t risk taking Wilder out in it. We had Lee Kyle and Clint over for dinner, which is something I’d like to do every week. After dinner we all gathered in the living room to watch Lee Kyle’s favorite holiday movie, A Nightmare Before Christmas. As we all settled into relaxing together, I looked around and once again felt very thankful for this new, sometimes absurd “family” that we have co-created.