Thursday, September 3, 2009

W.A.S.P.'s and Latkes

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Jaime and I are special. We come from opposite sides of the country, with two very different families, (that get along swimmingly) with two very distinct growing up stories. Food, schooling, family time, recreation, religion/ spirituality, earthly goods, communication etc, etc.....verrrrry different. With all that going on, we still met and decided to partner with each other for the rest of our lives, not to mention embark on raising a child. Plus, we like each other a whole hell of a lot.

Here we are, just starting out on that crazy ride called parenting, when *whamo*! We have a kidlett that is quite special and brings with him into this life a whole host of needs that are not typical of the madness that is first time parenting to begin with.

For the last week or so Jaime and I have been bumping up against each other in this thing called parenting. I would say that normally we turn like cogs intertwined. Maybe cog is not the right word but I'm talking about the big wheels in clocks that have all the grooves and rotate, making the clock tell it's the image?

Actually I would say that for the last week or so we haven't been "bumping" against each other so much as we've been rubbing irritatingly and/or feeling miles apart. Not so easy and/or comfortable when there's always so much at stake each moment of each day. Also, not so much fun when the underlying feeling is that you love the other person so much and miss them terribly even when you don't want to be around them.

.....Still with me?

So it had gone on long enough and we set aside our regular vegging out (Top Chef and Project Runway are back on- blessed be) to have some reconnection time. It's a conversation that we've had numerous times in the last 16+ months. How different our lives our as a couple, how different my life is from hers, how normal her life feels at times, how my life doesn't resemble any kind of normal that I've ever known....and on and on.

We were talking about how different our coping skills are given our backgrounds.

Jaime said something like "You know it's kind of like when someone dies. As a W.A.S.P. you put on a brave face, have a funeral and then get on with life sort of like it didn't happen."

To which I countered with "We tear our clothes and shut down for 7 days."

She said "We smile and cross our fingers that it doesn't come up in conversation because we might cry in public, which one really shouldn't do because it might make people uncomfortable."
I said "we cover the mirrors in our house, make sure to wear black so everyone knows and say the Mourner's Kaddish (prayer) for a year."
We went on with a few more examples. So much fun.

This was actually the breakthrough moment of our conversation and made us both smile and laugh.

Jaime and I will continue to bump up against each other, cogs screeching and scraping, but more often than not nicely in sync. We are both in love with our son Simon. We are in love with each other. Neither one is in question, both are absolute.

And Holy Heck, both are magnificently hard sometimes and in such different ways. Parenting is hard. Parenting Simon is hard. It's not the loving him part that's hard- that's easy. Even when he hasn't napped in days (napped yesterday!!!) or when I'm holding him down for a blood draw, scheduling his appts, cleaning up vomit etc, etc, my heart is still so full of love for him. Sometimes it's that heavy thick-with-sorrow kind of love but mostly it's the juicy-like-a-Jolly-Rancher-candy kind of love.

Loving Jaime has also been so easy. Even when we are scraping along I am so aware of how much I miss the sweetness and want to get back to it. It means that I always carry an apology in my pocket. I might forget which pocket it's in right away or it might be the "I'm really sorry that was hard for you" kind of apology, but it's there.
I think Jaime and I genuinely do feel bad when the other person is having a hard time even when their hard time might be facilitating ours as well. The magic trick we are working on is letting the other person have their hard time, being there for them, and remembering that how it gets played out is not necessarily about us, even though it's coming our way.

Simon requires a whole lot from us, emotionally, physically, financially, spiritually,
you-name-it-lly and that includes Jaime and I loving each other and working together as best we can. He deserves it. I deserve it. Jaime deserves it.

Mayo and Matzah.
WASP's and Latkes
Christmas Trees and Maimonides.

It's all good
and hard
and my family.

Like Justin says "I'm lovin' it."

Here are some pics of the growing boy
I got new shades!!

I like em'!!!!

I look gooood!

Story time with Julian (1 month apart but look at those different sized heads!)
Simon's new favorite pastime- Zerberting Mommy


Eleanor Chrom said...

Seems like everyone is feeling better today. See you tomorrow. Will call from the hotel probably after 4pm.

Maia said...

Oh dear ones I'm so glad and impressed you can make time to figure this stuff out. You are a real model and someday I hope to follow it. I can relate to the struggle between those two cultures in particular and subsequent deeply ingrained reactions that bump up against each other...and for me it's within the same mind/body! It's exhausting and confusing and more power to you for working through it amidst everything else.

Elizabeth Stark said...

I had to read parts of this aloud to Angie. So funny and moving and right on. You guys are truly amazing and wonderful!