Interview with me, your Mama

Hey Four,

I am still on bedrest and just giving myself the time that we need for this pregnancy to stay healthy so you can grow and grow.  It is almost Thanksgiving.  All of your GPs, Aunt D, and your dad’s cousin, her husband, and her daughter will be here to make sure that I get to have a nice Turkey Day with family.  This will be a different experience from the traditions that your dad and I used to do for this day.  We are looking forward to it because our house is very warm and cozy, and we are excited to make some great memories here starting now – and you will be there too.

I will continue to write to you as it makes me feel hopeful, which is good, because you will learn that I am a pro worrier.  That is just my nature, and hopefully you will have more of your dad’s chill factor.  I thought that I would ask questions you may be curious about and then answer them.  These answers are like a time capsule as I am sure answers change over time.  When I went to my 20th class reunion one of our 6th grade teachers had a survey that we filled out from way back when.  Reading those answers was a riot.  I wonder if I still have that somewhere.  Anyway, here is where I am at as I sit with you growing at 19 weeks old.

Q: What are your strengths?

A: I think that my creativity is one of my best strengths.  I love to write, craft, and make things.  Hopefully I will have time to do scrapbooks for you.  I love to archive, probably because I see the value in having things to look back on so that you can appreciate the change and growth you’ve made.  I also have an outgoing personality.  I think I am talented at putting people at ease and engaging them in conversation.  That isn’t something that I was always good at because when I was a teen I was very, very self-conscious and that had me living in my head second guessing myself much more than being in the moment.  Now that I am older, I am still self-conscious, but able to check that get past it.  Your dad might laugh, but I also think I am intelligent – and that is combined with being competitive.  When I was little I wanted to learn to do things for myself.  It was being competitive and wanting so much to achieve things that I learned, and learning felt good because it meant I could do things better.  I loved reading, researching, and immersing myself in topics that interested me.  Your dad is an avid learner like this too.  I am proud of being smart, and proud of how hard I worked to get good grades, graduate in the top of my class, earn scholarships, and produce papers and projects that were solid work. I am also very sensitive.  Sometimes I can feel things so deeply that I swear I am plugged into some type of life force.  Empathy goes with being sensitive.  I can empathize with people and step outside of myself in order to appreciate and understand the world and others much better.  Most importantly, I would hope that I am thought of as kind.  I try to aim for that each day.  Kindness embodies a lot of these other traits.  It is about living the golden rule, “treat others as you wish to be treated yourself.”  That can be hard to do at times when you feel that you’ve been treated poorly by others, but it is a necessary way to live as times continue to be tough for kindness to shine through.  The world would be so much better if people tapped into the golden rule more, and no matter how hard I try to protect you, you will get hurt.  Please take care of yourself when that happens, but don’t let it darken your light.  Remain kind…always.  And, finally, people who know me will tell you that the crazier things get the calmer and more laser-focused I get.  This is strange strength because it only happens in times of pure chaos.  I have weathered some pretty scary and overwhelming moments and that is when this other-worldly clarity and a slow motion effect washes over me and I can simply function…and function well.  I don’t know where that came from, but it is pretty awesome when it happens.  Once, your Grandpa M had a major health scare where I was at the hospital with Grandma J.  In all of the frightening frenzy that happened so fast, I was in this state of grace and managing things like a wise, grounded soul.  I hope that you experience this, because it is a wonderful strength.

Q: Who do you talk to or what do you do when you have a problem?

A: Now that I have your dad in my life, he is the first person I go to for everything.  I think it is important in marriage that we are close in all things.  He can tell when I have something on my mind and will just check in with me.  Prior to that, and even still, I almost always go Grandpa M for help.  Your Grandpa M is very calm and incredibly helpful.  I find that I get very emotional if I talk to him about big life stuff, and I have broken down in huge messy tears when I have opened up to him.  He was the first phone call whenever something broke.  This would be my car breaking down, the bottom of the water heater rusting out and flooding my house, and the flame on my fireplace never catching.  Grandpa M is an engineer and can see how things are put together and figure out how to fix them.  I hope you can learn about those things from him.  Maybe you will want to be an engineer too.  Now I also turn to Grandpa E for help too.  He is also very smart and always there to help.  I think it is great that the three people I turn to are three people who will be there for you too.  Finally, and honestly, when I am swirling in a storm of hardship and trial, I turn to God…I pray and pray hard.  Believe me, I have been praying a lot lately.  I need to turn things over and surrender myself to God’s grace.  I think that there is power in prayer and I hope that it pays off when I get to hold you as a newborn.

Q: What is your favorite book, movie, band, food, color, animal?

I love “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac.  I have read many books and that one is still one of my favorites.  If I had to watch just one movie, “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” – I love the Star Wars saga and it takes me right back to my childhood.  I love a lot of other movies too.  “Dead Poet’s Society” and “Life of Pi” are also amazing and tug at my heartstrings.  Having majored in Film, I think it is hard to pick just one as there are so many amazing films out there that can just wrench your heart right out of your chest.  U2, Sting, and Peter Gabriel are my three favorite musical artists, and in that order.  If “Where the Streets Have No Name” starts, all else stops and I am completely absorbed by that song.  U2 has grown with me from when I was in Junior High through now.  My bachelorette party was your aunts and me going to a U2 concert in Chicago – it was awesome!  My favorite food…uh oh, how do I pick one?  I love Lou Malnoti’s pizza, GGF’s devils food cake with seven minute frosting, mac-n-cheese, Co-co wheats, spaghetti, ham salad, turkey, homemade chocolate chip cookies, and French fries – isn’t this a terrible list??? On the flip side, I love cucumbers.  I can eat those plain, or put them on salads and sandwiches.  The other healthy thing I like, but never enjoyed as a kid, is fish.  I love eating fish now and that is good because it is good for you.  I have tried to eat healthy before we tried getting pregnant and now I try even more to be healthy.  Your dad is a great cook, and he makes nice meals that are good for the both of us.  My favorite color is probably still blue.  There are many shades of it and we used turquoise in our wedding.  It makes me think of the ocean and there is something very calm about that.  I also like shades of green too.  Your room will be mostly blue and green.  We are looking forward to doing that for you (well, and for us too).  I have a lot of favorite animals.  The elephant is probably one of my all-time favorites.  If you study them, they are smart and very graceful.  They are also threatened, so it is important for people all over the world to care about them.  I also like penguins.  I saw the movie, “March of the Penguin” and the extremes that Emperor Penguins go to in order bring one baby into their world is astonishing.  Climate change is impacting them as well, so again, paying attention to them is necessary in order to drive discussion and action.  I love cats and dogs.  I was a dog person for a long time.  I had my own dog, Molly who was the best dog of all the ones I had.  Now I have Mittens and Mia, the brother/sister cats who I got as kittens in 2011.  They are super cuddly and melt my heart.  I am glad that your dad is so into animals because I know you will always have pets in your world and that is something very special.

Q: What is your favorite holiday?

A: I like four Holidays a lot: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter.  Halloween is FUN!  I connect back to some many great memories of Halloween as a kid.  I love the holiday and we have a decent amount of decorations to really do it up.  This year, I was able to get the outside decorations done before the bedrest thing hit, so the house was really spooky.  Unfortunately, we only had 1 trick-or-treater.  Halloween is colorful and quirky, I look forward to it so much!  Thanksgiving is great because there is a simple focus on getting family together and truly “giving thanks” for our blessings.  It is also when we kick off Christmastime.  I love, love, love Christmas.  I think it is the sounds of it: carols, bells ringing, and the quiet of a fresh snow in the morning.  I have a TON of Christmas decorations…probably way too much.  I enjoy crafting that goes with Christmas.  I also enjoy shopping for, wrapping, and giving gifts.  While it is easy to let the season stress people out, I try to enjoy it all.  I write cards, do little thank you’s for people, and (when time permits) bake up a storm of cookies to share.  I love baking Christmas cookies because it connects me with happy memories doing that with GGF, Grandma J, and my sisters.  I don’t know if I will be up for lots of baking this year, but I am hopeful.  Easter is another favorite because I like the start of Spring.  Easter also reminds me of many, many trips to GGF and how when we would all go to Easter mass only to come home and have GGV tell us some bunny was causing trouble in the yard so he chased him away.  Each year we used the same Easter baskets for our egg hunt and then on the ride home we would eat chocolate eggs and bunnies until we were nearly sick.  As I am older, I enjoy the fun of Easter and can not wait to see you hunt for eggs in our beautiful yard.  While Halloween is purely a fun time of year, these other three holidays allow you a chance to get in touch with your spiritual side.  Thanksgiving is a great way to reflect on gratitude; Christmas connects with with giving; and Easter is about both sacrifice and new beginnings.  This year’s Easter should be VERY special as you are due right around this time and there will be no greater new beginning in your dad’s and my life than becoming parents.  Really, your start of life is also the start of a new life for us.  Becoming mom and dad is huge step from husband and wife.  We can’t wait for Easter 2017 as that is when you will be ready to come into our lives!

Q: What are things that soothe you?

A: I still have the same stuffed bear that was the first stuffed animal I ever got when I was born.  I call her “Baby”, which is neat when you think that I am still snuggling “Baby” each night, right next to you, my baby.  She is very old and very frail.  GGF used to make new “skins” for her because her cotton body would disintegrate with so much hugging.  It has been decades since she has had a new skin.  I may have to find a seamstress to do this as I she is really falling apart.  Just the smell of her takes me back to when I was little.  She has had a lot of tears cried into her and she fits just right under my chin so that I can rest my head at night.  My cat, Mittens, is something else that helps me to relax.  He is so cuddly and will go belly-up for petting when I lay on the bed.  He is my natural blood pressure calmer.  He has a great purr and sweet eyes.  I hope you will enjoy Mittens and Mia too as they are still young and will be your cats as you grow up.  Maybe Mittens will be a way for you to be calmed as well.  I like to take walks in nature to soothe me.  I love the trails at the Morton Arboretum.  It is beautiful at all times of the year.  Your dad introduced me to the beauty of Starved Rock, and I am certain that you will have a lot trips there too.  There are so many pretty places to get lost in nature all around us and I hope that you will enjoy that as a way to calm down and take a deep breath of fresh air.  I also listen to music.  Usually I go to ambient spa type or a quiet classical piano for that.  I am going to find my headphones so that I can play you some quiet music too.  I don’t want it to be scary or too loud, but just something that I can do very early on to calm you as you are growing so fast.  And, finally, I write.  I have diaries, computer files, and blogs that go back to when I was in grade school.  I wrote about all kinds of things and found that writing was a way for me to work through my emotions.  It is a way one of the ways I have weathered the ups and downs of life, so maybe that is something you will do.  Not everyone does, and you are going to be your own person painting the canvas of your life with the colors you choose.  I can’t wait to see what that becomes.

Well that is it for now little one.  I am a very busy bedrester today as my Thanksgiving tennis tournament got very large, so it is all about scheduling up a storm!  I am so glad that I have help for these tournaments, even though they still take up a lot of time with planning and coordinating.  I love doing it though!  Okay kiddo…let’s get back to some actual rest today.

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