Welcome to my blog! The posts are listed by date, with the most recent on top. Enjoy.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Family Togetherness

This year we celebrated both Passover & Easter because we are both Jewish and Catholic. My husband grew up celebrating Passover and I grew up with Easter. Since we've been together we have celebrated Passover many times, but I hadn't celebrated Easter in forever. Now that we have a baby and lots of friends with babies, these things are just so much more fun. Today I was reminded of when I was kid and how we loved painting the Easter eggs with my mom and then she would hide them and we'd search all over the backyard for them. And my aunt would spend hours working on our very special Easter baskets with all kinds of sweets that we couldn't find in Panama City but which she could get in the Canal Zone. Our Easter baskets were right up there with Santa Claus, they were that awesome! I have great memories of that time. And of my childhood in general, which is why I've realized now, having a child, how important it is to build some of these traditions back into our lives.

My husband and I might not be religious people, but we are deeply spiritual and committed to our families. We love our cultures traditions and we want to impart some of that onto Miles. And we want our families to be a part of his memories as well. We have spent most of our adult lives living far away from our families, spread out in different countries, not just states! Therefore, we need to take advantage of the fact that some of us are in the same city right now because who knows how long that will last. We need to live in the present, right? And we all benefit from this time. So in our own non-religious but deeply spiritual way, we had a great week of celebration and family togetherness. It was exhausting and so much fun!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Life Ain't So Bad

Life is so precarious. You can be running along having the time of your life and in a split second everything can change. Sometimes for the good, sometimes for the bad. But it's continually changing, so we should enjoy it every single day, right? What's that saying? "Live every day as if it were your last one". Recently, I've spent so much time worrying about the future and even the present, spending too much time bitter, angry or annoyed about one thing or another. I've been stressed out about time and scheduling and feeling fat and unhealthy (I know I'm not fat, but I do feel unhealthy....and I still haven't lost all my "baby" weight, so it's a bit depressing). The point is, I don't like being that way. It takes too much energy out of me. It's way better to be happy and care free, but is it possible to be that way when responsibility and life is weighing you down? I freaking hope so cause that's what I'm trying to be!!

Right now, my goal is to go with the flow and keep a positive attitude. It's easier said than done, but I'm managing. I have two mantras that I borrowed from Miles' Physical Therapist: "I accept whatever comes my way" and "This too shall pass". Both mantras can be applied to most situations and they seriously help me keep my chin up. And more than that, they make me grin. When I really look at my life and my situation, it ain't so bad! I live in this beautiful home with a loving husband and an awesome, healthy child. I work but still have a lot of free time and we're not financially struggling. I get to travel a bunch, I have tons of friends and family near me, I mean, life is good. So what if we might lose our house in some messed up insurance claim we're in. I don't know what the outcome will be, so for now I will enjoy every minute that I'm in that house! So what if if I don't have the time to exercise and take care of myself like I used to? Soon enough my son will be in school every day and I'll be able to focus on myself more. Or better yet, maybe I'll book some huge commercial campaign and make tons of money and be able to afford a trainer that comes to my house and helps me get back in shape! Who knows, anything is possible.

"Life is a constant struggle", that's another one of those sayings that I've heard all my life and which I finally truly get. Life is a struggle, constantly. I am overwhelmed by responsibility. I keep thinking things are going to slow down and that I'm finally going to have time to sleep, relax, exhale, whatever! I keep thinking that next week will be calmer, next week I'll have more time, but then I don't. The days fill up and next thing I know the week is over and I'm barely keeping up. I'm living on caffeine and eating too much just to have energy because I don't have the time to sleep. The thing is, it's not gonna change or slow down any time soon.
(Insert meditative breathing)
That's okay. I just need to carve out moments for myself.
(Insert deep breath).
Make sure to do one nice thing for myself every day, and make sure to laugh and smile and still have fun. I'm tired, but I can't be cranky all the time. I still wanna go out and have fun and feel sexy and enjoy my life......so here comes the balancing act. Keep repeating the mantras in my head and know that things could be worse or better, but this moment will pass and I can't dwell on it anyway.

The last few weeks have been jam packed with activity and I've still found time to sleep and read and write and catch up and exercise and go out. I've had a lot of fun and I've had a lot of frustration and that sounds pretty balanced to me. Yep, that's life, you have to be open to all of it.

Speaking of which, Zach, Miles and I were at Whole Foods the other day when this man who looked like he was in his 40's approached us. He teared up with love as he told us about his aunt with Down syndrome. He said she is an amazing person, "an angel and that's what others don't seem to understand, that people with Down syndrome are angels". He congratulated us on Miles and we left beaming with pride. It was such a sweet encounter, one of many that we have had and will continue having. Each of these encounters with strangers or friends teach us about ourselves, others and humanity. The lessons are priceless and the thing is, none of these encounters would happen if our life hadn't taken the turn it did, if Miles wasn't in our lives. So Life....keep it coming!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

How Others See Him

When I look at my son, I don't see a baby with Down syndrome. I see my son: a beautiful little boy with brown almond shaped eyes and long dark eyelashes. I see his silky brown hair, rosy round cheeks and a perfect nose. I see a huge bright smile form in a delicate little mouth with ten sharp teeth!! I see soft, chubby arms and yummy, chunky legs, a protruding belly button and a cute round belly. I see my sweet angel, my screaming monkey, my laughing clown. I see Miles, my awesome son. But I often wonder how other people see him. Like when a complete stranger looks at him, can they tell he has Down syndrome or not? I know he has the typical Ds features, but I don't notice them anymore. I just see him. So what do other people see?

Last week, Zach and I took our first little vacation without Miles. We were only gone for two days (two glorious, warm, relaxing days with tons of sleep), but I hadn't been apart from Miles for two days since last October. And although it's not a long time, when we got home and I saw him reaching out for us from his crib, I looked at him and saw it. I saw what I think other people see when they look at him.....a baby with Down syndrome. For the first time since we learned he has an extra chromosome, I saw that in him. It was such and odd feeling even though it only lasted for a few seconds, it grabbed hold of me strongly. I felt weird and uncomfortable and sad and happy. I felt everything in a flash. Just like that, it went away and there was my Miles, smiling his mischievous-happy smile that warms my heart. But the odd feeling stayed with me. Did I just experience how strangers and acquaintances see Miles? I always assume that those who know him well see him the way I do, but maybe they don't. How do they see him?
I mean, it's not like it matters one way or the other, it's just one of those questions I wonder about sometimes and lately, it's been on my mind.

I guess what tripped me up about the experience is that when I saw him, he really looked like has Down syndrome and I'm just not used to seeing that in him anymore. I'm not living on a cloud, I know my son looks "different". But it made me think about other people judging him for his appearance and not for who he is and that was scary. But that's also reality. People do it everyday to everyone and it's just part of living in our society. So Miles has an extra 21st chromosome and he looks like it. That's reality. Thank goodness that's not all I see in him because that's just one small part of who he is. The rest is so much more interesting and that's what I hope other people will be lucky enough to see in him.

When I look at Miles I see a little boy who loves coconut water, playing the drums and "reading" his books. I see a boy who's obsessed with lights, and fans and wall switches. A boy who points at everything and questions what it is. I see a baby who crawls at lightning speed every time he hears the refrigerator door open. A baby who cracks up when playing peek-a-boo and jumping on the bed. I see a little boy who stares me down, then with a twinkle in his eye, cracks that beautiful smile. That is Miles.