Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Back from Michigan

I can't believe that we are already home again. I feel as if I spent too much time there, and not enough. It's amazing how different it is to visit family when you have kids. With kids, every second is taken up with making sure they are fed, clothed, changed, and overall feeling okay. When I used to go home to visit, I would spend the time hanging out with my sisters, maybe go shopping, spend some time writing, and ponder my life when I lived in Michigan. Now, I feel as if it's: wake up with the kids, throw a cup of coffee down my throat, feed her, feed him, have a piece of toast, change them, think about running some errands, maybe make a phone call (are you kidding?!)...and on and on. When I was home, I barely got to have a full-fledged conversation with any of my family, because I was only listening with half an ear. The other half was making sure that the kids were okay, and I even have a husband who watches out for them! The problem is that I am so over-protective of Owen. It seems that everywhere we go, there is some danger lurking, especially stairs. I am so paranoid that he is going to die under my care, that I overthink everything. I can't rest for one moment!

What makes me the most sad is that I get to spend so little time with my parents. They are in their 70s, and who knows how long they have left, especially my mom, who has had multiple health issues. (I guess after 11 pregnancies and nine babies, there might be some issues...). But every day seemed to be as if we were running around, not really stopping to enjoy ourselves, although Erik did make sure we went to the park with the kids. The weather was beautiful. I really can't believe we had such amazing weather. The day of Tess' baptism, it was almost 70 degrees. I mean, this is the first weekend of October, that never happens in Michigan (although, with this whole global warming thing, of course it's almost 70 degrees in October in Michigan!). We had an amazing day, and the ceremony was beautiful. The priest, who has married all my sisters and done Owen's baptism, knows my family really welll, which made it that much more special. As he was doing the ceremony, he did what was a sort of homily, about what we need to give Tess. He reminded Erik and me that we need to always show Tess what love between a man and woman is like: we need to love each other and show affection, and respect, and take time out for ourselves as a couple. Otherwise, our daughter will never had a good role model to base her own relationships on. He also told us that we need to instill confidence in her; if we do that, she will be fine. He pointed out to Erik that as much as a mother has a guiding influence on her daughter, sometimes it is the father who shapes the world she will call love. That is so true. It made me realize how much our children learn from what we are. I look at my parents and I see how much they still love each other; how much they need each other. I hope that Erik and I are like that, so that our children can learn from example.

I'm always happy to come home, and be back in my own life, but I miss my family terribly when I leave. The day we left Michigan, Erik and I took the kids for a walk to the park before we had to get on a long plane flight home. I told him that as much as I love my family, there is something about Michigan that makes me feel claustrophobic. I can't explain what it is, but I always feel so much better when I get back to LA. Maybe there is something in my past that I haven't addressed, and it still haunts me.

Everyone was so in love with Owen. They all marvelled at how much he was talking, or trying to. He really has begun to say a lot more words, and also to put words together. I just love when he says "Mommy," so much, that I always answer, "Yes, Owen?" and then he says it again. I never knew I would be so thrilled to hear him say it. But I am. I'm sure Tess will say it a lot sooner, and a lot easier, but for me, Owen is so incredibly special that I really do celebrate every milestone.

When we got back home, we came into the house (which was so quiet, compared to all the loud voices of my family), and Owen went into the den, sat down in front of his bookshelf and took some books down to read. He seemed genuinely happy to just immerse himself in his books and the quiet. I can understand that. After I come away from my family, as much as I love them, they are so very loud, all competing to be heard above the other. Owen was so overwhelmed at the party that he wouldn't let go of Erik and then fell asleep in his lap at 4 p.m. and slept until the next morning! But I have to remember that Owen is a gentle soul, and he needs his quiet, and his space. Perhaps he is more like me that I know.

It is good to be home. And now, I must attend to my fundraiser for Down Syndrome Research. I will update you all soon on that.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had a great trip, but ready to get back to the regular days ahead.

9:49 AM  

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