Because the important moments in life just don’t fit in a status update! I started this blog when I was training for my first ½ Ironman, (70.3 miles) to record what I hoped would be growth and progress but ended up being a huge learning experience. Although fitness is one of the key ingredients to a happy life, it certainly isn't the only ingredient. My blog has evolved to document growth, progress and setbacks in other areas too. From my surprise proposal in Rome and wedding in the fall of 2013, to Mom's devastating stage IV cancer diagnosis and death 2 weeks after I found out I was pregnant. Who knows what shape it will take, but thanks for being along for the ride.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Sixteen More Summers With You

Your first summer in 2015 didn't seem like a summer at all because you slept almost 23 hours a day, and we spent most of our time indoors, with the a/c cranked, avoiding the sun. You were such a precious, helpless little bean. You were only a month or two old, and you couldn't hold your head up. I was still recovering from my c-section, and adjusting to the new wonderful world of being your Mom. Sometimes, we would lay in the shade on a blanket. You know, the round rainbow one.

That first summer, at the very end of August, you visited Oregon for the first time. I napped when you did, read you board books and sang to you probably more than you wanted me to. When your eyes were open, I was staring into them, imagining what your voice would sound like or what you would be interested in. We talked to you about Oregon, explaining how many times you would return over the years, and how part of it would be yours someday.

In 2016, we ambitiously took on Europe: 4 cities in less than three weeks, most by train. Prague, Vienna, Budapest and back to Prague again. Thirteen months old and new to the world of walking, you strutted around on cobblestones with more coordination than that guy who fell off the Segway in the rain, remember? Although you perpetually looked like you were going to do a face-plant (like him), you rarely fell. I'll never forget that brilliant watermelon swimsuit of yours, or the folds in your squishy thighs. You smiled with your mouth wide-open, and that was my favorite. Something tells me it always will be. I'll still do anything to see you smile, and I don't see that changing anytime soon. 

When we returned from Europe, we took you to Oregon and then also, Morro Bay.  You were an amazing, easy-going traveler and we vowed to keep up the pace.

But by circumstance, this summer will be a lot more low-key. 

That fall, IVF came along and stole a bit from the travel pot. And then it greedily dipped its hand in again, for my 4th IVF, which starts in less than two weeks. And then there's my doctor, who has issued a travel ban for me. The same doctor whose only caution with Italy over Christmas was "Don't eat too much pasta" has now told me that he doesn't even want me going to Oregon. 
Me: "But what if I'm driven?" 
Dr.: "No. You need to stay home."
We'll know on July 3rd if we get to fly up to Oregon and spend three weeks there, but of course I'm hoping we can't. As much as I cherish our time up there and time spent with family, I would love a little brother or sister for you to cover completely with a towel, pat vigorously on the back and say "Nigh-nigh" to. I don't know if that is in the cards for us, but we sure want to try. Though it is financially draining and the equivalent of 3 additional European vacations, you can't put a price on a sibling. 

Whether we just do Oregon or stay in California all summer, I cannot wait for all of the uninterrupted, unstructured time I will have with you. Because when you think about it, we don't have many summers left until you're an adult. Sixteen, to be exact. And if the past two are any indication, they will fly by. So here's my promise to you, little bean. 

1.) Get fully submerged. 
We'll do lots of water activities together. On my list to check out are some local splash pads and pop up fountains at local parks. I'll wear my suit even though I'm not at my goal weight, and won't care what the other moms think. I won't wear make-up on purpose, so my face can get wet too, and I'll run in the water with you. I'll get in your small, often a tad too cold pool with you. But I'll also be fully submerged in your world. Where we are, you and I, I will be fully present and right by your side, just like I know you want. "Stay here" or "Mommy, sit" you'll say, and I'll oblige. 

2.) Uncover something new.
We'll make the messy craft, go on a nature walk and take home flowers or rocks, and turn over a rock to uncover bugs hiding. We'll be spontaneous and turn the music up and dance. We'll point at any flying insect and say "Oooh! Bee!" and laugh. We'll eat ice cream for dinner and stay up late enough to watch a sunset. Come to think of it, I don't think you've seen one yet. You'll like them, trust me.

3.) More photos together. 
Dad doesn't like taking pictures nearly as much I do. Okay, actually he dislikes taking photos. But even if he enjoyed it, when we're just bumming around the house, I don't like having my picture taken anyway. But when you're older, you won't search for the posed mother's day photos of us with all my make-up on and better-than-usual posture. You'll search for the candid, natural ones where we're caught in the moment and don't even know the picture is being taken. I want you to look back on our summers and see me right there by your side, enjoying my motherhood just as much as you are enjoying your childhood. I want you to see us.

4.) Enjoy the simple moments.
I'll make plans for us, but more frequently; no plans. We'll stay a few nights at the Great Wolf Lodge, go to Disneyland and Pretend City, and visit the Irvine Spectrum and Irvine Park. We'll meet up with friends for play dates. But we'll also enjoy the slow and simple moments too. The days when we have nothing on our calendar, and stay in our pajamas until after noon. I know the messes you make won't be for long, the bruises and scrapes will heal, and your hair doesn't always need to be in a bow. I'll try out things I see on pinterest, like giant bubble or cloud dough recipes, and some of them will flop. But we'll have fun doing it anyway. We'll walk around the block and to the little library for a new-to-us book, and leave one behind.

For before we know it, you'll be gone. We will have used up all of the summers when you were solely ours. You'll set off on your own, and may even move away from us. You'll meet a husband and may have children of your own. Sure, you'll return, and maybe we'll even be able to talk you into a trip abroad like that first one when you were just learning to walk. But the time will be yours, not ours, to structure, and you'll have a say. "Sorry Mom, I have my internship starting" or "We're visiting his family this summer."

And so I'll soak up the enjoyment of watching you go back and forth with your bubble mower, and let your popsicle get your hands all sticky and drip down your face without wiping it. We'll create all sorts of the these amazing, ordinary memories now, to sustain us. Because life-long memories don't just happen in fancy European cities. Mostly, they happen in our own back yard.

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