Love for the One I Love

I feel bad for fathers. Well, not usually. At this particular point in parenting when we are figuring everything out I often feel I am taking on the heavier load in childcare. I’ve told Tyler before that sometimes I resent him between 10pm and 7am when he’s snoozing away and I wake at every little baby noise. (I don’t know if it’s connected but he’s begun to be more aware at night. Ha! )Perhaps dad radar must be developed while mom radar turns on the moment the child enters the world and instead must be fine-tuned. Dear ears, please stop waking me up for his every little noise!

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I’ve heard recently men say they found the first months of fatherhood easier than expected. It hurt me to hear that. My hormones are all over the place which has put my emotions on a constant rollercoaster (because pregnancy hormones weren’t enough??). Although we just recently crossed into six-hour stretches of sleep with our baby, previously I hadn’t slept through the nights in months just due to how incredibly hard it is to get rest at a certain point in pregnancy. Also, six hours never feels like enough. During the day I am breastfeeding or pumping every two hours. If I naively think I can skip a pump I am engorged, leaking, and wildly uncomfortable. Plus there’s the stress of finding daycare and preparing to go back to work after my 12 weeks of leave. So, this is all easy for dads*? I recognize that some burdens are difficult to share, but in any context in which your partner is struggling you should find a way to support them. That’s what partners do. For example, I am typing this while I sip a chai latte at a coffee shop. I am all by my lonesome and plan to be here as long as I want. Thank you, baby daddy, for recognizing the importance of this and many other things.

*In the context of this blog I am referring to fathers involved with heterosexual relationships involving childbirth as that’s the family dynamic I’m involved in. 

Fathers do seem to miss out on one of the best parts of becoming a parent I’ve experienced thus far- community. I don’t see men reaching out the way women do to lend a hand or check in on their friends who are new parents (perhaps because life with newborns is so damn easy?!) The women in my life, childless or mothers, have reached out time and time again to bring me what I’ve needed most: company and an extra set of hands. Over the last month we’ve benefited from multiple meals a week from my coworkers easing our days and giving us extra time to enjoy with our newly expanded family. Every week I’ve gotten texts just touching base and saying hi, helping connect me back to the world. In the last few weeks I’ve had visitors from across the state, the country and even Canada.

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Wilmington friends loving on this little one. 

The fact that they would take time off work, rearrange their plans, and pay for plane tickets all to see us and our little one is so incredibly wonderful in itself. I hadn’t expected how incredibly special it would feel to watch my friends interact with Haines, but every cuddle and smile goes straight to my heart. Watching them show love for the one I love takes all my words away.

There have been times over the past  year that I have felt far away from my core support group but these are just a few of the friends who have worked to make the distance smaller. I don’t know what I’d do without them.

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Hiding under this blanket is a baby who hates the sun.

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So much love all the way from Texas. 

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College roomies out for a boat ride with a baby who is not sure what to think of us. 

 

A Little Help From My Friends

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November 2nd’s topic is supposed to be inspired by a photo. This is one of my best friends, Anita, and I on my wedding day. Anita came from Vancouver several days early to help with wedding preparations but I don’t think she knew what she was getting into! She helped make 100 mason jar pies, hung lights, arranged decorations, told everyone what to do (mainly me- very necessary), helped make breakfast tacos, and the list goes on and on.

And Anita is not the only one! There is no way this wedding would have been successful if it wasn’t for our friends and family. I just started to list everyone who helped out but it just got ridiculous. I’d surely leave someone out and I would hate to do that.  Let’s just say the officiant, the photographer, the coordinator, the band, the wedding arch, the send-off, the decorations, my makeup/hair/nails, the invitations, the reason this wedding was so incredibly fun was all solely because of the efforts of our friends and family. There was very little that didn’t come by way of a little help from our friends!!

Thank you to everyone! I don’t know what I’d do without you.

The Issue of Platonic Opposite-Sex Relationships

This is a topic that has been coming up a lot lately in my life- platonic opposite sex (for the purpose of this post only, please assume any man or woman being referenced is straight) relationships. I had never really had to consider the issue until recently. When you’re single, who cares whether your friends are male or female? And when the Alaskan boy and I first started dating he told me he was just going to have to get used to my having so many guy friends. At the time, I had no idea that I had many guy friends or that it could be an issue. I just accepted his statement at face value- this was something he was getting used to, so I should just be mindful of that. And then I just moved on, forgot about it basically. Somewhere in my life I got ahold of the mentality that it was more important that I “not let a man hold me back” than check in with him on issues that may make him uncomfortable. So when I moved into a two bedroom apartment with a male roommate, I kept him informed of the situation but did not ask for his opinion or consult him before the decision is made. As a friend of mine is now dealing with being the person not consulted on a similar issue, I now realize what an inconsiderate move that was.

Since I had gotten myself under the impression that this being uncomfortable with platonic opposite-sex relationships was his problem, not mine, I never thought to deal with it. Recently though, this topic has come up frequently as issues for other friends or as an open discussion at work so I find myself trying to figure out how I feel about all of it. Until the last few weeks I’ve always argued that men and women can absolutely be friends but now I’m wondering are my friendships with guys appropriate? Does my being in a committed relationship affect the appropriateness of my friendships?

Most of the women I have discussed this with agree on the issue being addressed on a case-by-case basis. Some friendships truly can be platonic but it’s not a good idea to think of it as a blanket rule. After all, guys are hound dogs and all that. But the opinions I’ve gotten from men fall more under skeptical. They were more distrusting of male-female relationships and the idea that this type of friendship could truly go nowhere. And even if it did, one party would at least be displeased with that.

It’s hard to just go on the opinions of a few selected people who I already have much in common with, so I consulted the ever trusty World Wide Web for more information. The two articles I ended up reading both agreed, while true opposite-sex friendships are not impossible they are both rare and unlikely. The article that best broke it down for me is that men typically think that friendships with a woman will eventually progress to something romantic and women often think nothing of it at all and even are disappointed when a man tries to make a friendship something it’s not. If you want to check these out, they were on Psychology Today and Salon. So is a friendship with a man just leading him on?

I still have no idea what my opinion is. I guess Harry might be right after all.

 

What if the Time is Now?

Anyone who knows me can safely assume that I am a big proponent of travel. I don’t know of any other activities that can open your mind, change your perspective, inspire you, or build you up like a journey will. Each trip can be an adventure of both quiet and monumental revelations if you let it. If you are willing to see it.

I haven’t gotten the opportunity to travel much recently (I consider visiting home a very different category of traveling), the downside of the steady job. I knew that when I moved to Austin, almost three years ago, I would have to take break from traveling and start a different kind of adventure. An adventure based on growing roots, making friends and creating a world of familiarity. Some days I appreciate this adventure a lot and other days I’m insanely jealous of all the trips I read about on Facebook or hear about at work.

This past month a very last minute trip was thrown together to meet a few of my favorite people in London. At first I was apprehensive, this wasn’t really the best time for me to be making a trip. Alaskan boy was coming home, my dad was tentatively planning a visit and work was starting to pick up. But despite the possibility of my dad’s visit, he told me, Getting together with old friends is always hard. It’s always hard to drop it all and get away. There will never be a better time to wait for. He was right, of course. The time to go is when you’re willing to make the time. It will never just appear.

As a result of taking my dad’s fine advice, I had an incredible reunion with some wonderful ladies I haven’t seen for many years, I got to explore London and take in many of its fine sights, I had the best food of my life in Paris and frolicked all around its magical streets. I even made new friends! There was something in me that needed to be reminded that I knew how to get around a foreign city by myself, that I could navigate a place even though I didn’t speak the language, that the person I became when I first met these wonderful ladies and the person I am now are actually the same.

So don’t wait. Now is the time. Take a journey, explore a new place, reconnect with old friends, reconnect with old interests or passions. You think there will be a better time, that there will be more time later, but what if this is actually it?

Beautiful London

Beautiful London

Remnants of love in Paris

Remnants of love in Paris

Highlights of My Weekend

  • Had a lovely calm evening on Friday where I got to have along, much needed phone chat with my sweetheart.
  • Getting to see dear friend and old roommate, Ben, and wish him congrats! on his college graduation.
  • Dancing (although not exactly two-stepping) with an over the top dancer at the White Horse on Saturday. No one has danced with me like that since Gero left for Germany and I got to tell you, it’s pretty fantastic! It involved alot of being lifted up and spun around. Pretty great!

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  • A brunch complete with clothing swap!
  • Sunday afternoon at Barton Springs. There’s really no better way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
  • Fast and the Furious 6. I know! It’s embarrassing but in case you were interested I’ll tell you: this movie is all that would expect. And more. You’ll laugh when you’re supposed to laugh. You’ll laugh when you’re supposed to cry. You’ll leave energized and have a dance party by yourself in your apartment at 1 am. On a scale of 1-10 how bad is it that I’m currently thinking of re-watching the old ones? Never mind, don’t tell me. Embarrassing guilty pleasures die hard. Fast and The Furious 6 Trailer
  • A chat with my girl, Nelli. Sometimes, all you need in the world is to talk to someone who really knows you. Someone you can pick up a conversation with as if you’ve never been apart.  I can’t remember now how many years it’s been since I’ve seen her last- 3? 4 years? Our talks are never as frequent as I’d like but each one is always special and gives me an extra burst of hope and joy for the world.

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This is what I think of when I think of Nelli and I. Dancing, just us.