Sunday, July 28, 2013

Tootsie's Time

Summer was very busy before the girls and I came back East for vacation, and it promised to be busy when we returned.  I emphasized to the girls that this vacation signified time with me and my undivided attention, which they had begun clamoring for.  In the weeks before and after our trip, and around work and preparation for the school year and my new role, I also made several overdue appointments:  dental cleanings for the girls, Little Sis's 7-year-old checkup, a maternity photoshoot.  All cancelled now!

One appointment I'm so glad we fit in before we left was a 3D ultrasound of Baby Tootsie.  We made it a family field trip the day before we departed.  I knew it would be exciting to see the 3D images, and that the girls would be surprised by how realistic they looked.  But it was Husband who was arguably most moved by the experience, and we left, images and video in hand, with him feeling more bonded to our baby girl.

Big Sis was born almost ten tears ago on August 29th during another hectic start to the school year.  Our school was on the cusp of being completely renovated, and my classroom was moved into a portable trailer for the year.  My task was to unpack and prepare my classroom for my maternity-leave substitute, who would greet my students on the first day of school.  I had more than three months of lesson plans ready, and by the end of the day before Big Sis's planned c-section, I had attended a faculty meeting and finished moving and unpacking my last classroom supplies.  The week prior, I'd defended my master's thesis.  What I hadn't done was taken any deep breaths and reflected on the big life change before me.  I'd ridden a wave of to-dos and checklists, erroneously thinking that having all my ducks in a row would make me ready.

I look back now and wonder if a little more quiet time, maybe even just one day off, would have helped me manage the transition and identity change into motherhood.  I had a bout of the Baby Blues after Big Sis was born that swept me off my feet momentarily, like a rogue wave.  I often wonder if I might have quelled the effects with more reflective time before her birth.

Baby Tootsie's gestation has been marked by significant life changes as well:  moving homes, new job, a sick auntie, our cat's passing.  I was to return to work on this upcoming Monday, intending to use every day up to Tootsie's birth in service to my school, staff, and students.  I'd have six weeks to set tone, lay groundwork, hire teachers for now-vacant spots, lead professional development, greet students and families.

But Tootsie had other plans, and it's easy to joke that she, too, craved my attention and was the only one equipped to truly demand it.  Nevertheless, she has my full attention and long days' focus intently on her, as I welcome the moments I hear her heartbeat on Doppler and feel her reassuring squirms in utero.  I'm taking the opportunity, with the luxury of time attached to bedrest, to imagine her, talk about her, write about her, and draw her.  We are bonding.


Marisa Reichardt said...

It's drizzling here so I sat down with my coffee to get caught up on your lovely blog. What a gift these entries will be for Baby Tootsie one day. You two make a great team. I'm proud of you and sending hugs.

Susan Keller said...

Jenny, I am loving your blog! It's the first thing I look for in the morning, hopeful that another day of nurturing Tootsie will also bring me another entry from you. Keep up the good work on both!

vertigomama said...

Thank you for sharing your experience and strength. You and Tootsie were on the minds of many friends in unison today at the incoming K students playdate. Looking over the canyon towards your house I had the image of you and Tootsie happily ensconced with hubs and the big girls. Love to you all.

P.S. Next W&W on me ;)

aitchpea said...

That drawing is just so incredibly beautiful! How did I not know (or how could I forget) that you had an artistic streak?

Hilda said...

This is gorgeous!