Thursday, May 16, 2013

The New Normal

I haven't been writing as much lately, because I'm not sure there's much more to write about.  Sometimes I feel like my posts are mundane- uneventful, even.  But a friend and reader was asking me, "What happens when this is all over?"  And I thought it a very good question, and worthy of an entry.  I'll finish my post on baby-lead weening later.


Last night I went to see Start Trek with my husband at midnight.  When I told my friends this, they thought I was insane.  And maybe I was.  I knew he wanted to go, and in my attempt to be "one of the guys," I ordered up the tickets for the midnight showing, and off we went.  During the movie we cuddled and I fed him M&M's and we split popcorn and it was this amazing time that felt like we were dating again.  Except we both had wedding rings on and we came home and had sex...but other than that, it was like we were 18 again.

This has been a long time coming.  This is a huge step for us.

A few weeks ago he was slamming the door, threatening to leave.  A few weeks ago I was sitting in my car with the baby, counting my cash and texting a friend that we were just leaving.  Just driving until we ran out of gas with nothing but the clothing on our backs.  This was happening consistently for a solid month.  He left us twice, I left once.  There's still a mark on the wall where he kicked it with all his might.  I remember clearly the look on Liam's face when he grabbed his wallet, walked out of the house and said "I'm done."  I distinctly remember how I felt as I was counting the cash in my purse from my last painting job, texting Alison, "I'm doing it.  I'm leaving him."

After that baby comes out, you have half a million feelings all balled up, and you're emotional and your body is vastly different.  Your hips are considerably larger, for a start.  Your chest cavity expands, as do your boobs- even after you're done nursing.  Shirts that used to fit now span you.  There is extra skin around your midsection and it won't go away.  You sit down and it all piles up under your boobs.  Your feet are wider than you remembered them.  Your hair and nails begin to fall out and break off.  What was once luscious and sexy is now just coming out in your hands every shower.  And all along, all you can think is, "My goodness I'm hideous."

But I need to tell you something.  It DOES get better, but it will never go back to where it once was.  You will eventually fit into your old jeans, but they won't fit the same as before.  Eventually your chest will shrink back, but you're not going to fill your bras the same way.  Your feet will come back down to size, but your shoes may stay stretched out.  Do not expect the high school you to suddenly make a come back.  It's not supposed to.  You are a mother now- life has changed.

It's going to take work.  Andy and I said it out loud, and it's like our world just stopped.  We were hiking up this huge hill, and we had just had yet another blow out (a very, very public blow out) before we started our trek.  I just was looking at the ground, panting, chugging up this hill like a train, and I said it out loud- "Andy.  What's happening to us."  It was the saying out loud thing that really changed us, I feel.  "We're falling apart."

We started a marriage Renaissance, and the first thing we had to come to terms with was that we are NOT the people we were last year this time.  And we both needed to start with kindness.  I heard someone bashing their body as I was bashing mine, and I realized how unattractive it was.  I stopped immediately.  We started saying things like "please" and "thank you" and being acutely aware when the other person was going out of their way to make something happen.  And we started dating again.  Every Thursday night I meet him at the local pizza joint, without Liam, and we just sit in each other's presence for 30 minutes.

I'm also making time for myself to go to the gym.  I'm getting active again.  We bought a bike trailer and a helmet for Liam.  I get the pack out and walk with him if I can't make it to the gym.  Andy is realizing that for me, going to the gym is therapy.  I've set goals for my self- attainable goals- about how I look.  In my heart, I believe it's getting better.

I started reading through a book called "The Power of a Praying Wife" and day by day, I'm noticing changes in my husband.  It's a powerful book.  I highly recommend it.  I read it every day, pray the prayers in the book, and then pray for our marriage.  I believe it works.

So last night, as we're canoodling in a theatre, it was a little bit like we needed to get back to the beginning to start again.  Like two teenagers, wrapped in each other, because we knew when the lights came up in the theatre, the moment would be over.  Today I feel like trash...but a good trash.  When I get home, there should be a little package from Fredrick's of Hollywood waiting for me.  Another sign of the new normal.

More on this in the next few days.