Loving My Baby


For the majority of the population, it goes without saying that you love your children dearly.  They are an amazing creation that leaves you shocked and amazed at your own capacity to love.  When Starbuck was born, I kept waiting for that feeling.  I loved her and cared a lot about her, but I didn't feel overwhelmed by these feelings.  For a while, I even questioned myself on how much I loved her and thought that I needed to love her more because something didn't feel right.  I was congratulated on becoming another member of the "having your heart walking around outside yourself" club, but I didn't feel it.  Where was the love?

If you know me, this may seem incredibly odd.  I'm quite sentimental, sappy, gushy, lovey, and especially, emotional.  I thought I should be hearing alarm bells, but I didn't feel alarmed at not feeling the love either.  I just thought it was strange, and though I questioned myself, I did not ever think that I didn't love my baby.  I kept waiting for it.

One night, I decided to let loose and get crazy.  A little bit of this and a little bit of that and I was happy, tipsy, loopy, whatever you want to call it.  To my shock and dismay, however, I couldn't stop crying.  It took me a while as my brain was fuzzy, but I figured out why - it was the love.  I had finally let my guard down and all this love was overwhelming and scary and, quite frankly, too much for little ol' me to deal with.  It was HUGE*.  The biggest feeling I have ever felt in my life and I couldn't even comprehend it all at once.

So now, I just have to know the love is there and keep my guard up.  I'd be a wreck if I felt that love every moment of every day.  I don't know that I could actually function.  I'm practicing being able to feel little bits of that love at my leisure when I have time and the fortitude to withstand its power.

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* That's what she said.

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Rural Life

I've been asked a few times lately about how I'm enjoying my small town. It's been over a year now and the novelty should have worn off by now.

Well, I still think it's where I need to be, where we need to be. There is still a lot less stress in my life because of living in a small town. I need that. I need to be able to keep focused on the important things - my family. I promised Cheruby in my wedding vows that he and our children would always come first. I need to figure out how to do that with minimal distraction so I can do it when there is distraction. In most cases, distraction for me is promising all my time to doing things for others and taking out my frustration on my family because they'll forgive me (see also, depression). Starbuck is most of our world right now and that's how it should be. I still feel pangs of guilt for not being a better friend and making the effort to spend time with the people I care about, but mostly, I know that they're good with where I need to be right now. And if they aren't, it's not my fault (that's huge for me).

I believe it is a great place to start my family. People in the community know who we are and think Starbuck is adorable and will, essentially, look out for us more so than city communities of which I've been a part. I'm looking forward to being able to trust that letting my child play outside by herself won't endanger her life significantly. There's always a possibility, but chances are she will be just fine. I'm pleased that she will have to walk three whole blocks to school and the line up of cars outside the school for picking up kids won't be insane like I've seen in Calgary. I hope it'll be easier to keep her from learning grown up things too quickly, but I'm not set on that. It's just easier to hope for in a small town.

Cheruby and I are also growing as people. We are learning what it means to be part of a community. I love it. When you invest your time and energy and yes, a little money, into your community, you get back all those things and the knowledge that they will be there for you if you ever need ANYTHING. When we forget to take our garbage can to the alley, the garbage man comes to our deck to take it. When we need a truck to haul something, we have had several offers of, "You can use mine whenever you want." When the local art gallery was just getting ready to open, the proprietor tentatively asked for help painting. What she got was a first coat, a second coat, and extensive clean up of the building - probably 80 hours of free labour with a smile. Cheruby was asked to play at the local dance recital and accepted - his violin student played first and then he played a number. The grin on Cheruby's face when he returned was outstanding. Giving of oneself without expectation of reward is easier learned in a community, I think.

A small shout out to rural life for being cheaper than the city although it shouldn't be the major motivation for moving to a small town. There has to be more to it.

The price to be paid for community is that everyone has to know your business. If you have nothing intensely personal to hide, it's no big deal. Coming into a community with a solid marriage and a baby on the way was perfect - no demons hiding in the closets that can be brought to light at anyone in the community's choosing. I have to keep my feelings about new people I've met to myself. New and good skill for me to have learned.

Having said all that, I miss the city. I miss like-minded people. I miss not holding my tongue because someone's going to think I'm too different. I miss being able to go movies, swimming year round, concerts, plays, boardgames, and all kinds of other things, on short notice. Of course, all my time is spent with my beautiful Starbuck these days so I'm just missing the opportunity to do these things. I wouldn't be doing most of them if I lived in the city right now, anyway.

I don't miss having someone break into my house, trying to steal Cheruby's car, breaking the windows in his car, breaking into my garage and stealing our bikes, being threatened with a $10,000 fine for not having eaves troughs, and rush hour traffic.

I have a 22.5 minute drive to work and it's predictable and easy and gloriously quiet if I want it to be. I get to see sunrises and sunsets and stars and wildlife all the time unhampered by tall buildings and city lights. The people at the store and at the post office and at the bank and at the insurance place and the art gallery know who we are.

I saw a little boy on a riding lawn mower pulling a small trailer with two friends and some garbage to the dump on their own. I like that. I will never see that in the city.

In the end, it's all about us - especially her.

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I'm quirky, confident and happy. My friends say I'm generous, warm, reliable, and dependable. My mom, dad, and angel say I'm beautiful. I'm not perfect, but that makes me human.

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