This is the official 11 week photo. I am starting to show. I actually like that I am starting to show, but right now I am in that awkward stage where if people do not know you are pregnant, they think you have just gained a little weight. I am ready for people to look at me and know I am pregnant as opposed to pudgy.
The thing that is showing a little too much is the gray hair on my head. I cannot wait until the second trimester so I can visit my hairdresser, Tracy. My roots and I miss her terribly. Right now I am a little too salty up top and it makes me feel as old as I am. I like to live under the illusion that I am really only 33, which is how I feel.
This week the dumplings are as big as figs. I have two little figs growing in there and on Wednesday we are going to get to see them again. I cannot wait.
In the meantime, for your viewing pleasure you must see Jonathan as a baby. His cousin read my last blog post and sent me some scans she had of ‘Jonny’ — the only people that call Jonathan ‘Jonny’ are his cousins, Stacy and Jennifer — and their kids. It’s so cute. I wish these were color (those are coming when I get the slides converted), but these are too cute not to share.
The smile in the second one is priceless. I cannot wait until all of the color slides are digitized. I am taking them to Costco this week!
The thing that has been on my mind the most this week has been traditions. When you think about Passover and Easter — or any holiday really — even Valentine’s Day — there is always the opportunity to create tradition. I have seen tradition streaming up and down my Facebook newsfeed all week. One of my friends created a Passover musical called, Plagues. Other friends have Easter decorations, hunts, cookies and pictures galore. I have a friend who has the Valentine’s Day tradition of buying everyone in her family new pajamas for Valentine’s Day and taking a family photo in them. Another friend has family Olympics every summer when they go to the lake.
Every family has traditions around food, holidays and other family gatherings. These moments always bring pictures full of smiling, happy children — unaware someday they will long for the simplicity of these simple childhood moments. The pictures are also full of parents hoping they might realize it sooner.
I’m not sure if they ever do. I’m not sure they’re supposed to.
The one thing I know about tradition is that kids love it (even if they don’t realize it is a tradition just yet) — and they often remember it differently and in way more color than the adults around them creating the said tradition. Sometimes I am not even sure the adults know they created a tradition until the kid looks at them wondering where it went?
Jonathan and I were talking this weekend, and he looked at me and said, What is your obsession with a farm, with space — where is this coming from? What are we going to do with it when we get it?
Coming from someone who grew up in Los Angeles, this was a reasonable question. Our childhood’s were so vastly different.
I finally had to admit that one of the greatest traditions I had as a kid was going to Arkansas and roaming around that farm. Yes, I made cookies with my Mom and my Dad — and did all sorts of little things with my parents that would qualify as traditions, but going to Lead Hill, Arkansas was the biggest of traditions. The foundational tradition that was responsible for a lot of who I am. I blogged about Arkansas ad nauseam during 60 Days On the Mat, but I never really tied it into anything I was trying to give our children until Jonathan asked me this question.
As I think about the things I had that I wish I could give my kids — this is the first thing that pops into my mind. I loved being there. I was never calling my mother begging to come home. My Mawmaw was a complete blast, she was like a hillbilly Auntie Mame, and when I was young, the whole vacation seemed like a party. Even going to farm school and sitting in the back of the classroom listening to rednecks learn about farming techniques was a barrel of laughs. It was amazing how something so simple could bring me so much joy.
Somewhere inside my 43-year old brain, I think creating a family homestead on a piece of land will give my kids a glimpse and that life. Of course, I can never give my kids a glimpse of that life without Mawmaw, and there was and will only ever be one of her. We will never own a 500 acre farm, unless one of us wakes up with a degree in agriculture. Jonathan will never sit on a John Deere tractor and run a hay baler. Nor will I, for that matter. I will, however, gladly ride around on a riding lawn mower.
So, I sit searching for how I can pass on that experience? How can I pass on that little piece of my life that was so special?
The truth is you can never give your children exactly what you had because they are not you. They would never see it through the same eyes that you saw it — even if you could give them a similar experience. They have different grandparents, different generations, different interests — they’re different people.
We all know, trying to recreate anything is never satisfying. Living in the past is always a recipe for depression. Anytime we try to recreate, relive or long for some moment in time, we are cheating ourselves of this moment in time. The most important moment in time. As a yogi, I know this, and yet I cannot resist letting my mind wander to farms and catfish ponds and camping with Uncle David.
I think back now to things my Mom and Dad would tell me about when they were little, and it’s not until I started to think about raising our children that I really began to appreciate all of the stories. I started to appreciate their perspective. Now I wish I could go back and interview my great-grandparents and my grandparents. I wish I could somehow capture a piece of who they were as adults that you can never even begin to comprehend until you are at least 30.
Children aren’t supposed to get it all when they’re kids, or even when they are young adults. We almost have to be selfish to grow-up. For a long period of time we are selfish and then we wake up one day and realize how fast it is all going and we start pulling on reins trying to slow it all down. We start longing for what was.
As I talk to the little dumplings, I dream about creating a homestead that is bigger than your average home lot, but not really qualifying as a farm. I am not sure if they will ever get to feed a baby cow or chase cows from one pasture to the next or catch a catfish in a pond, or catch a horse from the pasture using Nilla wafers and then ride him around the field until their Mawmaw is screaming at them to get off of him.
They’ll have their own childhood memories. I just hope I can make most of them good ones. I am sure I will screw up some tradition I did not even know I started and I will probably start some tradition they will wish I had not. I guess the important thing to remember in all of it is to be flexible and be present. Try not to take any of it too seriously.
And it is true, they will miss ‘this’. Whatever ‘this’ turns out to be. We all do.