Yesterday was one of those days. The ones where I’m really treasuring moments with my Sugar Bee. It’s partially to blame on PMS; not only the fact that by itself I get a little sappier than usual, but that with the arrival of these emotional days comes the realization and acceptance that yes, my cycle is coming again. Not that I really thought anything was going to change this month, but you never know. God works in mysterious ways, and He knows that I am trying my hardest to leave this all in His hands. I succeed most of the time. At least I think so. He’s probably tired of hearing from me, but it is what it is.
This graphic that I posted on my Facebook page has to do with the rest of it. I scheduled this post on Saturday to come through yesterday morning. I didn’t know what my day would be like. Hey, I’m not a fortune teller or else I’d be hella rich right now. I had no idea how much this was going to speak to me as my day wore on. And it spoke loudly.
Every other month or so, The Russian has to work second shift at his job on Saturday and Sunday. This was his weekend. Of course I let him sleep in as I do most Sundays, he is also working very hard right now; working full time by day and going to college full time at night. He’s way short on sleep, so I let him sleep until 10 yesterday morning. (For the record, I can count on one hand how many times I have slept until 10 in the morning since Sugar Bee came along. The answer is ONE.) Yesterday, I really didn’t mind letting him sleep in.
All week long, I feel like I’m dragging this kid from one place to another; school, the store, Gigi’s or the nursery so that I can exercise, gymnastics, doctor appointments. We never stop moving. On Friday mornings we tend to laze about a bit since her gym class this school year doesn’t start until 11. Then along comes a Sunday like this. If The Russian isn’t working, it’s usually, “Where are we going to go today? What park should we go explore? Are we going to brunch? What is the plan for today?” I get it. He doesn’t see her (us) at all these days, so when Sundays come, he’s excited to do something. And that’s very sweet. What he doesn’t understand is that I’ve been running all week doing all of the millions of things that I do on a daily and weekly basis, including my actual job, and sometimes I might just need a little nothing time. To be honest, I’m actually not very good at nothing time, but I’ve learned how to force myself into it after having a kid. It might be that it comes along so rarely now that I’ve learned to appreciate it. A lot. And I’m appreciating it for Sugar Bee. This is what the first two-and-a-half hours of our morning was like yesterday.
I could not have asked for more. I was so relaxed, with nothing to do (aside form the tons of things that I could have done around the house that I was purposely ignoring) that I had drank the entire pot of coffee before I told her to go wake up her papa. We hung around, sitting on the couch, watching some TV, chatting off and on, and just snuggling. Doing nothing. It was so lovely and peaceful. My cup runneth over. Perfect Sunday morning.
After The Russian left for work, I figured I had better get Sugar Bee and I dressed so we could leave the house and go do something outside for a little while. I knew there was something going on at the the square, so I looked online and saw that it was the Whole Hawg Happenin BBQ and Music Fest. Perfect! Lunch, music, and fresh air, just what we needed before nap time came. So off we went. We had a great time eating and listening to music, and our good friends came to meet us a little while later. My friend managed to get a few pictures of Sugar Bee and I, pictures that actually aren’t selfies/usies for once. After getting a taste of her first snow cone (I shudder to think about the sugar and food coloring, but hey, we all survived eating that crap, right?), it was soon time to leave…and way past the start of her nap time. As usual, I rocked her to sleep, but this was one of those times when I thought my chest was going to explode out of love. Her little arms wrapped around my enormous-feeling rib cage took my breath away. I had no work to rush back to, no conference call coming up to distract me from this moment. What a perfect day we were having.
While she napped, I worked on a recipe post (that will now get published after this one), enjoying some quiet time to focus on my work here. I am finding such joy and inner happiness when I can actually get a new post out. I wish I had more time and hope that one day I will. I have so much to talk about and to share, and even more recipes! When she woke up, I wasn’t ready to finish working. A long time ago, I committed to making Sundays the day I don’t turn on my computer. I was always successful with it until I started this blog and my Facebook page. 🙂 I am still pretty good about sticking to it most Sundays, but I’ve decided that this makes me happy and if she’s sleeping anyway, what difference does it make? So I offered her a choice of two of her favorite (monitored) activities, painting or dough, and set her up in the kitchen to play with her “play dough.” I need to take a half-crunchy minute here and share that there is this great company, eco-kids, that makes awesome products. Their eco-dough is made with all natural ingredients and essential oils, and is gluten free. Did you know that regular old Play-Doh is not safe for kids allergic to wheat? And it can make your pets really sick. I have a lab that is under two years old, so that was also a driving factor in buying their product. Made in the USA, too!
photo by Shannen Yauger Photography
Back to the story. So after dinner, it was business as usual. Bath, milk-couch, stories, and then bedtime snuggling. And that’s when the day and feelings all hit at once. When we have real quality time together, just the Bee and I, things can really be so amazing. She really is a part of me, taken from my body. The connection we have is almost like an electrical current sometimes. The Russian likes to make jokes about how when she was a baby, she always knew when I got home or even just walked by her room because she would start stirring in her bed and often wake up. This still happens at three years old. I have been starting to think that it’s not necessarily that she’s acting up when I’m in a mood, but rather she is feeling my emotions and is my mirror. She doesn’t know what to do when I’m not myself….whoever that is. When I am feeling really awful, just holding her in my arms or giving/getting a good squeeze from her takes it all away and actually makes me feel better. It’s incredible, really. She is my only. And I am hers. As I rocked her, thinking about the saying that I had posted above, I could feel the tears start to sting my eyes. The next thing I knew, she moved her arms from around my ribs up to my neck. The tears silently fell as we rocked in the dark. She squeezed my neck and I wanted to sob for a moment, amazed that this little person knew exactly what I needed at that point in time. And then she took all the distractions from my thoughts, about the passage of time, my worries below, my yearning for another chance to do this all over again. She alone quieted me and my spirit. My angel.
I work from home. When she’s not at school, she’s with me almost every other minute of the day. We have a strong bond, and I love it. But it also worries me. Yes, I would love to have a gaggle of children, but I’m already of advanced maternal age, so as I said earlier, it’s in God’s hands now. Yet I want to give her a sibling. For so many reasons, none of which I think my husband understands. He may not ever and he may not even be able to.
The Russian is an only child. He was also the only grandchild on his mother’s side, and they helped raise him. His aunt did not have children of her own, and she loves and cares for him as if he were hers. She’s the reason and way that he came to America, and her love for him is something fierce. But as you can imagine, he might have been a little spoiled (and still kind of is). I have found through my life that a lot of onlies have some qualities that those of us with siblings don’t have, and vice versa. I’m not comparing only children to those with siblings to be negative, rather I’m just stating my observations and opinions based on my own personal experiences of my close to 40 years on this revolving orb.
Growing up with a brother or sister, you are rather strictly encouraged to do things like share and apologize. Now sharing is something that can be worked on through things like school, and I can go either way with this one, really. I mean, how often are we expected as adults to share our stuff with another person? The apology part is one that has been an issue with The Russian and I. My thoughts are that without a sibling in your life, you don’t get as many opportunities to understand that an apology isn’t only about being sorry for something that you did. You can (should) be sorry that something you did or said made someone sad and that warrants an apology, regardless of whether or not you are sorry for the actual act. It’s called empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. We are usually forced to say that we are sorry to our siblings, if for any reason but to appease our parents, but we are still learning valuable lessons that will transfer over to all of our future relationships, romantic or platonic, such as honesty, communication, humility, and owning up to doing something wrong. In my opinion, the most important thing that apologizing teaches us is forgiveness, not only forgiveness of others, but of ourselves.
I want Sugar Bee to learn this piece. I am trying my best to model this for her and many other things that I deem important for her social development; the areas of social development that are often facilitated by having a sibling. (Read this article to get more insight into my thoughts.) She’s doing very well in the apology department and I’m not ashamed to take credit for that one on my own. I have apologized to my kid for more than my share of less-than-fabulous-mom moments. I talk things through with her when I apologize and it really looks like I’m getting through to her. She even tells me why she’s sorry when she apologizes, so I think this one’s a win. For now.
Aside from these few social aspects that I’m touching upon (I could babble about my observations on this topic), there are two other huge things that make her being an only a struggle for me to accept sometimes. Of course from a financial perspective, one child is great. Especially in a world when both parents often have to work and are not necessarily doing it because they want to. Hell, I would love to be doing this full time, be freed up to do all sorts of things with my kid, coming up with new recipes, and a ton of other things, but this is where my life is, and it is what it is. And it suits me right now. Add a second child in to an already overachieving life that doesn’t get much help from the other half because he has no time or energy, and people would probably think I had lost my mind if I came out and said I was knocked up. But I would love it and make it work, because I always make it work.
So one of these fears of mine is that she ends up spoiled. Like badly spoiled. A little here and there is fine, but I know me and how I am. I know that I am a tough mom and I have expectations, sucks for her for having a mom that used to teach preschoolers, but I can’t control how crazy in love I am with this little blond creature that IS the center of my universe, no matter how much I try and hide that fact from her. She is feisty and strong, independent and smart, and she’s going to give me a run for my money every day for the rest of my life. I have to give her lots of attention. This is the only way that I can teach her to channel all of her outstanding qualities, to focus them to work in her favor, and help her to develop into the strong woman that I know she will be. It’s all about balance, but I still worry. I only want the best for her, and that includes not being a spoiled brat.
Then there is my biggest worry for her – being alone when The Russian and I are sick, dying, or dead, when one of us is gone and the other isn’t capable of much. Yes, I’m being melodramatic and this is hopefully far, far away from now, but it’s a real thought. We are guaranteed nothing in life and we never know when we will leave. When both of my grandmothers passed away (a week apart), I watched as each of my parents turned to their siblings. They had someone else to lean on, to fully understand what they were going through, to mourn with. As much as my relationship with my own sister has been hot and cold through the years, I know we will have each other when the day comes with each of our parents.
I don’t want Sugar Bee to be alone. She won’t have me to lean on. I won’t be able to help her or give her advice. My own mortality won’t allow that. A friend and I talked one day about this very subject as her parents are aging and it’s all on her. I don’t want my sweet girl to have to make decisions about our care by herself and to have all the responsibility on her shoulders. I want her to have someone to share the burden. The Russian’s aunt approached me about having another child and is aware that I’m all for it, and have been since Sugar Bee was about one. She also agrees on my thoughts about a sibling, especially for when we are old. The death of each of her parents was rough for her as they were still in Russia and she was here. She told me that she didn’t know how she could have gotten through everything without her sister. When I explained that this was one of the main reasons I think it would be great for Sugar Bee to have a sibling, she understood even more. One can dream.
She is growing so fast and no one can slow it down. As fast as she grows, I’m aging even faster. She will be off to kindergarten before I know it, and then I will blink and she will be graduating high school. How much longer will I get to have Sunday mornings like this, hanging out on the couch together? It won’t be long before she wants to go to the BBQ fest with her friends and not hang out with her mama. It’s life and change happens. I just worry I will hang onto her too tightly if she remains my only. I know I will struggle with letting go as she gets older and doesn’t need me as much, yet I hope to hide it from her as best I can. But I know she will know. She will feel it. She is the best thing that I have ever done in life. I just want to give her everything she will ever need. My only.