Friday, March 28, 2008

Letters to Lucy - Home


You won't understand this until you're a mom. But if you met me before you were born you would have seen a Type A (or type triple A as your dad calls me) woman. I was a go-getter. A "get it done" kind of gal. I had multi-tasking down to an impressive science. You name it, I did it! I took lessons, I read books, wrote books, traveled, lunched with friends. I was a woman with goals and those goals got accomplished. Now I can't even seem to find time to bathe! Yes you heard me! Bathing has become somewhat of a luxury activity, one in which the entire time is spent with me peaking out of the shower to glance at the video cam making sure you are still sleeping and alive. I just don't need the papers writing some story about me someday as the mother who took too long a shower and her child got out of the crib and starting eating glue or something.

But today I had chocolate cake for breakfast standing on one leg in the kitchen and forgot to brush my teeth completely. I managed to remember to feed you 30 minutes later than scheduled and now I've realized I lost your baby book that has never even been written in. How's that for "get it done?" I've turned into this walking breast-feeding machine that runs from the couch to the laundry and back to the couch for more feedings and then to the kitchen to clean dishes that have been there for two days. You daddy is a big help I must say. I've convinced him that all men have to do kitchen clean up and dust so he does it. But I just didn't think I'd be so "out of this world" when you were past 3 months old. Surely, I should have the hang of this new role in my life by now right? Not even close. I went back to work in December and you and I did some fun comedy shows together on the road and we made it back alive. Mind you we had "Auntie Karen, Aunt Lilly" and others to help but we made it. It's true when they say," It takes a village to raise a child." I guess they meant you, huh? I know God knew what He was doing when He gave me you. You're so mellow and even in the midst of life's craziness you have this calm cool look in your little blue eyes as if you're saying, "Mommy it's going to be all right!"

I'm a terrible flyer I have to tell you. I get so scared up in the airplanes when it gets bumpy and I keep praying to God to save my life and I make promises that I'll be a better person all the time. I think I've found true religion on many airplanes. But the other day when you were laid out on that little meal tray and our plane began to bump and thump. I was freaking out. I grabbed your dad's arm and tried not to turn it blue from my grip of steel. He just smiled and told me it was going to be all right and then gave me some made up scientific reasons we weren't going to die. I didn't believe him anyway. But in all the up and down bouncing you just laid there right below me with this very collected grin on your face. You stared me right in the eyes the entire time without looking away. I tried to keep calm and you just kept smiling. I could almost read your thoughts. I think you were saying "Mom, we've got this covered. I'm here with you now and it's all going to be ok." Lucy, you as my daughter have that effect on me every day. I came home after we landed and walked into our little home completely exhausted. I looked around and compared to your grandparents 8500 sq foot mansion, our 900 sq ft place looked cluttered and dirty. My type A personality was rearing its ugly head and I started to despair on all the cleaning I'd have to do right that minute.

There were things to put away, bags to unpack, clothes to fold. I was miserable already. Then I looked down, as you gleefully played on our big red couch happy as a clam. You exuded a radiance of pure joy to be in your perfect little home. I know you knew right where you were. You were at peace in all of the clutter. Because you knew you were in a place filled with love. So I threw everything down and played on that big red couch with you and your dad. We all cuddled up and watched two episodes of "I Love Lucy" on the television. Yes I let you watch some TV sometimes and I'm sure all the parenting books will tell me I'm a terrible mom but I don't care. The show had your name in it after all. I felt at peace. I had everything I could ever want and I'm not just saying that. I really felt content. I was happy to be home. Thanks Lucy.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Letters to Lucy - Mommy Magic

Dear Little One,

I realized I have magical powers tonight. You were so sad and crying uncontrollably. People would say you were "teething" or have "baby gas" or a myriad of other issues. But all I know is that when I stuck my pinky finger in your mouth you happily accepted it and then sucked and sucked with all your might. You smiled at me as if to say "Thanks Mom!" and then you closed your eyes in pure bliss and drifted off to dreamland. I realize I have that power in my little finger and also in my very own bosom as you nurse for your food. I can make it all better very quickly. If only I could keep that "magic finger" for when your first boyfriend breaks up with you with a note in gym class, or the other girls don't pick you for their kickball team, or any of the other terrors I fear you will have to face before you make it through adolescence. Oh it can be so hard. I know this from firsthand experience. I pray to God of course you will never have to go through any pain or trial whatsoever. But unless Jesus comes back first I'm pretty convinced every day of your life won't be a total cakewalk.

You'll probably be blessed with my sense of humor which has been described as "inappropriate or lethal wit" at times. That can get you into trouble. The rule of thumb my dear is "sometimes we think things that are funny in our heads but we don't have to say them out loud!" As I watch you sleeping and kiss your forehead. I wish there was a way for me to permanently attach my lips to your soft little brow for the next 20 years or so. I wonder if my mom felt that way about me. I wonder if she thought her kisses could bring healing throughout my childhood and growing up years. I know there is nothing quite like a mother's hug or even now a mother's encouraging words. I think that is why so many daughters just crave to hear the words "I'm so proud you're my daughter" from our moms even when we're all grown up. Because you my dear will always be my little baby.

I will always want to be there to make the bad things in this world go away. I'll use my pinky finger, my lips, my mind or my whole body if needed to shield you from harm and heartache. I wish my kisses could be contracts to promise that you'll never be hurt. But alas I don't think that's completely true. I just wanted you to know as long as I'm able and on this earth. I'll keep kissing you, singing you made up lullabies because I don't know the words to the real ones. I'll keep pulling the car over to make sure you're still breathing in the back seat when you're quiet. I'll keep rocking you at 3:00am and doing whatever I can to make your tears go away, even when you're 33.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Letters to Lucy - Sugar Sugar

Dear Lucy,

Here I am again. It's like old times. I'm sneaking into the kitchen reaching to the very back of the freezer to find the Ghirardelli chocolate mint squares that your daddy brought me. I was trying not to eat candy and so I put them far away out of my reach. But I could hear them calling to me tonight. They were calling my name so I had to get out of bed to sample them. On the way to the comedy show last night your Auntie Karen brought dinner. We had Pepperidge Farm Milan Chocolate mint cookies. Then at the show I ate eclairs with chocolate frosting for dinner. Then tonight after dinner of pizza and Coca-Cola I stopped at Starbucks and had a large hot chocolate. This is not good.

I'm supposed to be cutting back on all the bad stuff. I'm working out in the mornings at that beach boot camp for mommies. I'm burning calories and slimming down so I can once again wear my old pants. But I can't seem to get a handle lately on the sugar addiction. Yes that's always been a vice in our family. Your nana and grandpa in Georgia are the worst. They raised me with a major candy addiction because our house was filled with it. Everywhere I looked there would be bowls of M & M's or mini Snickers. I so don't want you to inherit this craving that I always seem to have for chocolate. I call it "stress eating" but I must be stressed a lot because I eat it allllllllllllllll the time!

People tell me to go on a sugar fast but then I say, "what would I eat?" I think you're young enough I can master this bad habit before you're old enough to want to eat like mommy. I do realize all my little treats have been getting into my system and feeding you since you were in the womb and now through my breast milk. I bet my breast milk tastes like chocolate. Lucky you! But I read I'm not supposed to feed you any sugar at all until you're at least one. The other day when daddy was gone and I had eaten some chocolate gooey candy I came back to bed. You saw the leftover morsels on my lips and you were just crying out to me for a kiss. So I gave you a big old "chocolate kiss"! Maybe you tasted some of it then? Who knows? But this madness must stop. I don't want to raise you to be 200 pounds and end up on some talk show about childhood obesity. I don't want to be that tree-hugging, granola-eating, Whole-Foods-market, organic-only-eating mom either. If I raise you like that, you'll end up at some other kids birthday party freaking out the first time you eat cake. I'll come home and you'll be on the ceiling. So there has to be a happy medium.

There's no way you're my kid and you won't love the taste of Godiva chocolate covered cherries. They are healing. That is just a fact. But maybe it won't be so abundant around our house? Maybe I'll shop at Trader Joe's sometimes and get some vegetables for you eat? Maybe I can learn to cook healthy food for you? I really would like that. I would like you to be that kid that actually likes salad. I think most lettuce tastes like soft cardboard but that's just me. In this instance we must re-train our brains and start some better habits. I bet every mom sets out this way when her children are so young. That's why I'm breastfeeding. I want you to have the best nutritional start possible. Also I'm not into the guilt you'd give me later if I didn't at least try to nurse you. But I'm also an avid watcher of the food channel. My new challenge is the actually take some of the healthy information I've gleaned from Rachel Ray and Paula Dean and put it into practice. Ok, seriously who are we kidding? You'll find out someday that there's nothing healthy about Paula Dean's down-home southern cooking. That's why it's so good. But I'll keep trying.

My mom was a great cook and she had some awesome southern recipes that started with a stick of butter and a pound of cheese. She fed me the all-American breakfast when I was a child of Flintstones Fruity Pebbles cereal and a Flintstones multi-vitamin and grape Hi-C. Then in my BeeGee lunch box (They were a great band that mommy used to roller skate to her in basement. Roller-skates were these things with 4 wheels...yikes we'll talk later about history like this). I'd have Grape Hi-C juice box, a hostess chocolate cupcake, peanut butter and jelly on white bread or a ham and Kraft cheese sandwich. I never ate the crusts I would throw them away before I got home. When I came home my snacks would be Fruit Roll Ups, Chips Ahoy cookies Oreos, or whatever else sweet was in the house. We didn't have any huge restrictions on what we snacked on. I always felt sorry for those kids. The ones who's mom's only let them snack on fresh fruit like my friend Kelly would come over and eat a whole box of ice cream and binge at my place. When my dad would come home the first thing he would do was reach for the bag of salt and vinegar potato chips and then drink Coca-Cola from the bottle in the fridge. We weren't allowed to do that but I'd sneak drinks from the bottle anyway when I thought no one was looking. It was a big 2 liter bottle and my dad just drank right from it. I know it's gross but he worked hard all day and no one questioned him. He'd stand in the kitchen and talk to my mom and me about our days munching on potato chips. It was a fun treat when he'd take me to the convenience store sometimes to pick up Salt and Vinegar chips and a video rental. So what do I love to eat now? You guessed it...Salt and Vinegar Chips and M & M's. It's a dream come true when I'm suffering from PMS. I hope you don't suffer from that my dear. But if you do, that'll combo will do ya right up. Sweet and salty never fails. Oh what am I saying? You're not going to eat that stuff. You're going to munch on carrot sticks and other organic specialties that are overpriced at these gourmet markets because we're all convinced that the food they tell us is "organic" is healthier.

I was so stressed today I told your daddy I needed some "mommy time." I was driving around and then I turned into the McDonald's drive through. I thought of you as I ordered my chicken McNuggets. I thought, "I don't want Lucy to like fast food! I don't want her to end up like me with my eating. It's terrible!" I have this relationship with comfort foods from my childhood. It's simple. I find them comforting. I'm sure I could find a way to make something else comforting but I must confess to you I absolutely love McDonalds Chicken McNuggets and their Coca-Cola. I'm also a sucker for a beef mexi-melt at Taco Bell? So should I deprive you of those joys when you are young? I don't know. Am I a bad mom if I don't let you try it? Am I a bad mom if I let you eat it too much and then you become a terrible eater like me? I was raised on "Restaurant Row" as kid. It was McDonald's, Burger King and Long John Silver's on Michigan Ave. I loved all three. I loved going with mommy to Burger Chef too. We had some fun times there.

I try to cook honey but honestly I'm not the best at it "on the fly". I just buy sort of pre-made meals and then eat them on the couch like I did tonight. Dad was gone so I got out the "Stroganoff Steak" and put it in the microwave. It was meant to be served with veggies and some noodles. But I ate it right out of the box it was heated up in. On a scale of 1-10 it was a good solid 6. I don't know the solution. But I've been eating dinners like this for years. When I was single and bored I'd go to the grocery store and by cheap caviar, crackers, expensive cheese and prosciutto and pate. Don't ask me why I'd buy that combination of foods. Maybe I was having my own little party and I wanted to make a platter? I don't know but it was good at the time. But when you grow into eating solid foods I can't have you eating meat out of a box or liver pate on crackers for dinner. I also can't have you eating all the sugar cereal I'm so in love with. I've started buying Gorilla Crunch at Trader Joe's to transition from the Cookie Crisp cereal.

Well I'm trying honey. I really am.

I love you,