No Understanding

Lately each day that I’ve gotten to the end of, with my family clothed and fed and the house standing, has been a success. Whew—I forgot how tired early pregnancy makes me—especially with a family to take care of already! It’s made me miss those days when I was pregnant and all I had to do was work an 8-5 and then come home to a quiet house each evening. How times have changed!

I can’t believe I haven’t written this in almost 2 months, but I just haven’t had the time or energy. Although I’ve wished there wasn’t such a huge age gap between these kids, it’s actually been very fortunate that my first trimester hit primarily over the summer break when Steve was home, and also a break where we had no plans—just relaxed, easy family days. I felt so nauseous and tired most of the time that I doubt I could have kept up with our crazy work and school schedules.

I did make it through two short camping trips, which I feel proud about. A new symptom with this pregnancy was carsickness, so I was especially worried as we headed off on our 2nd one in mid-January, particularly because the heat and humidity have been tougher for me to take than usual, and these were Very hot days. But the place we went, the Bunya Mountains, actually felt somewhat like being in “real” mountains—the air was crisper and cooler—what a relief! It turned out to be a great little trip.

Our January camping trip
Our January camping trip

I also taught my first yoga workshop—a 3-hour class. My typical children’s classes are either 30 or 45 minutes long, so I was a bit nervous for this, but I loved it! I felt like I still couldn’t get it all in and I hope they liked it as well.

My 38th birthday came and went last month. It was perfect. I have still been struggling a lot with homesickness and feeling like we are missing out on all that our family is dealing with—so much going on right now, and much of it sad. I just feel like we’re stuck on some island in the middle of nowhere with no way to participate in any of it. But on my birthday, I felt so much love. My little family here made a great fuss over me. It was actually my first day home alone with both boys in ages, as it was Steve’s first day back at work. They wore me out—holy moly! But they were great and we all went out for a quick dinner that night, which was fun.

Friends and family near and far truly made an effort to make me feel special. I even got one card in the mail! I miss mail. My sweet friends here planned a dinner out that week as well. It was all just lovely—couldn’t ask for more.

At the end of January, Drew began 2nd grade and Zach started Prep, the equivalent of Kindergarten, which is every day, all day here. They are both doing great. We just had Parent-Teacher conferences and Drew’s teacher said he needs to learn to focus—his mind is clearly moving very quickly and handling a lot, but he needs to focus on the task of learning to read and write and follow instructions. She said she’ll likely be moving him to a desk near hers, so she can keep an eye on him. (He lost his 8th tooth this morning! How that beautiful mouth is changing….) 🙂

And Zach’s teacher said he is very easygoing, never bothered by anything and pretty chilled out every day, all day. She said he has his friends he enjoys and other people like to come up and chat with him, but he doesn’t seem too concerned about them. I’m glad both our boys seem to have such good teachers, who have already figured them out after four weeks of school! Ha!

Best mates off to school
Best mates off to school

Yoga teaching has been going extremely well. I feel like my teaching improves as the length of time I’ve been teaching increases—makes sense. I’m receiving positive feedback and significant interest. Steve’s new job has been going very well also—keeping him Very busy! He is doing great at it!

My only big surprise has been my lack of time. I work very few hours now (probably less than 2 full days per week if you add it all together) and I have no kids at home for six hours a day, five days a week. I worried I would be lonely and bored, but so far, I can’t find the time to get my home projects done and am turning down social invitations—weird! I don’t get it…..

All I’ve gotten done is kept up with the yoga business, groceries, and family bills. I’ve finally had the energy to cook more these past couple weeks, but I’ve still mainly done that on weekends, like I used to. Even with cleaning, I’ve pretty much stuck to my former “routine” of Friday afternoons and/or weekends.

When I think about it, we’ve had 19 days of school and I’ve had a kid home with me five of those days. Drew’s asthma was really bad two weeks ago and he stayed home for two days. I gave Zach one day off recently because he’s been so tired with his new schedule and then he had croup last week and had to stay home two more days—he was sick on his 5th birthday, poor little man. I’ve had three baby appointments, which have taken up most of those days (incidentally–I’m 15 weeks now and the apple and I are healthy and fine). 🙂  And, I am working two days each week, basically. So, I guess that’s where all the time has gone.

Sick but happy little 5-year-old!
Sick but happy little 5-year-old!

I’ve also been better about knowing my limits and sticking to them with this pregnancy—I guess 3rd time’s the charm! My first day teaching two yoga classes in one afternoon tired me out so much; I didn’t do much outside the house the next day. I’ve been making sure I squeeze in a half an hour nap each day, no matter what, which still doesn’t seem like enough. I’ve cancelled coffee dates or said no to lunches when I just don’t have the energy, particularly after a sleepless night due to nausea (thankfully, those nights have been rare).

We’ve been fortunate this school term that all of our after school childcare needs are taken care of through swaps with friends. It saves us a great deal of money, even though it’s taxing on my energy levels. It’s giving me good practice at having more than two kids in the house! Currently, I watch friends’ kids Monday and Wednesday mornings before school and Wednesday afternoons. I teach Monday, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. So pretty much all of my energy is spent on children—thankfully, they’re all beautiful! I also walk the kids to and from school as often as I can. Oh, and completely, unrelated, but I do start my adult yoga teaching training next month—I’m very excited about that!

I can’t end this without mentioning what’s been pretty constantly on my mind these last few weeks and that’s the death of my cousin. She was a distant cousin, so don’t think I’m grieving the loss of someone close to me. It’s more that I can’t stop thinking about the sadness of the situation and the unfairness of life. I think pregnancy makes me feel emotions even more deeply and I often find myself imagining how people close the situation feel, to the point where I even seem to “feel” it myself, to some degree I guess. I’m sure that sounds weird, and I think that it’s even more pronounced during pregnancy.

Anyway, the 29-year-old daughter of my Dad’s cousin went into the hospital in late October to give birth to her 2nd baby—a joyous time for all of their extremely close family. They found out she had cancer while she was there and she died last Tuesday. I cry about it so much. I think of her mother, who not only lost two of her own siblings when they were young, but now has lost a daughter. I think of her brothers and sister, who lost one of their closest friends. I think of her husband, a widow at age 30, with two young kids to care for and his life partner gone so quickly, how a celebratory time turned so tragic. I think of those poor babies, aged 3 and 4 months, who lost their mother and they don’t even know it.

I see a life insurance ad on TV and I wonder if she had some. Every time I got up to comfort and help Zach this past week, I would think about how she just has to hope someone else will do that for her babies—get up four times a night to soothe their coughs and fevers and then snuggle with them all the next day, while monitoring their fluid intake. Who does that besides a mother?

As I’ve planned what to serve at Zach’s 5th birthday party and how to make his cake, and watch his delight as he opens his presents, I think about how she has to entrust all of that to others and will never get to see it herself. When I’m trying to sleep at night, I wonder if she knew she was dying, that the treatment didn’t work and there were no more options, before she slipped away from her loved ones. I hope she knew, because I hope she had the chance to tell her loved ones about her hopes and dreams for her children, what songs her daughter likes at bedtime, her favorite outfits. Maybe she got to write them letters to open when they’re older, about what she’d love to tell them if they were old enough to understand—how it was absolutely not her choice to leave them.

I’ve been emailing a lot with another cousin who lost his mother in a car accident when he was a baby. She definitely never had that chance. I hope Angela did.

My husband and I watched a show the other night where a couple dealt with the news that their baby wouldn’t survive birth and had to deal with the loss of their hopes and dreams for a new family. He asked me if I needed to turn it off. I said I was ok, because, when I think about it, if I lost my baby, yes, it would be devastating, but I do have two children and I’d still be around to take care of them, to watch them grow, and we would move on. For two babies to lose their mother, for a mother to have to leave her babies, entrusting their love and care and growth to others, is just worse somehow……it’s heartbreaking.

I know to be thankful for what I have and I am definitely squeezing my babies and my husband tight these days. It’s just that I don’t understand why I get to raise mine and others don’t—who decides that and how? It’s just not fair.

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One thought on “No Understanding

  1. Sounds like you are thriving Down Under! I’m excited to hear if you will find out the sex of the baby!!! I’m sorry to hear about your friend. I remember you mentioned it on FB before. Life is full of challenges, which is why its important to appreciate the here and now. Yoga has shown you that, I’m sure. With love, Leanne

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