Happy 10 weeks Amaya, and happy belated Valentine’s day. I usually don’t celebrate this Hallmark holiday, but since it is a reminder of love, I figured I’d jot down a few thoughts on one of my favorite topics.
This past weekend was our first trip to Austin, and Amaya slept the entire drive both ways (except for a quarter mile where we dropped under 60 mph due to traffic). It was beyond amazing to have her meet both of our extended families. I think she met almost 30 new people in a span of 3 days, which sounds like a ton to me. I was overwhelmed to arrive and see Andy’s mom set up the house with a pack n play, diapers, an infant rocker, and a boppy for me. It was so joyful to see all our aunts, uncles, and cousins coo over Amaya and rock her to sleep. It made my heart melt to see my friends hold her and immediately love her so much. Maggie even cried! It was precious to see my grandparents hold her for the first time. I also had so much fun watching our parents just sit and talk to her when she was awake. It made us both realize how amazing it is to have help with grandparents around and also reminded us the importance of family. I always imagined Amaya would grow up in Austin, but Houston isn’t looking so bad now. I really want her to embrace her big, loud, crazy family! Those of you who have family, especially grandparents nearby, don’t take them for granted.
I remember reading how some moms take awhile to really enjoy their babies. Just 5 nights ago when Amaya was going through a growth spurt (her second leap in development), she was super fussy, and I was up from 3-6am with her. I remember rocking her while she kept crying and saying, “I’m going to throw you out the window!” And this time I didn’t feel bad because I know I didn’t mean it But it’s seriously hard to like your child sometimes when they can’t reciprocate or really interact with you, or when you’re at your wits end. But last night I was lying in bed with her while she sucked her hand and tried to soothe herself to sleep, and I felt this overwhelming sense of love and joy. I had spent a few hours playing with her and really observing her closely; she was smiling, making eye contact, and talking, and she just looked and felt like she had grown so much. I also felt deeply connected to her, really understanding what she wanted and needed over those few hours, that I began to feel this sense of peace within myself. It’s funny to observe how I’ve always loved her unconditionally, and I always believed she recognized and loved me too. But now I can see the impact of that love on her face and feel it within my entire being. There is no other joy like it in this world.
Love and Marriage
Marriage has changed alot for Andy and I since having kids. I thought getting married had changed our relationship a bit – we were more financially conscious, more planful, more communicative. But since Amaya, there’s a whole new level of compassion, honesty, teamwork, humility, and love. It took me awhile to realize, in my jealousy of Andy going to work, that he missed her and wanted to spend time with Amaya when he came home, but she would often be sleepy or fussy. I realized recently that bath time is his one-on-one time with her, and he loves it. She’s happy and calm, and he doesn’t often get to see that side of her in the evenings after a long day. I also realize saying sorry can go a long way and that being stubborn or right has no space in our relationship. Most of all, everything (chores, bills, cooking, etc.) can wait until after we have time to connect as a family.
To be quite honest, I miss the days where we would daydream about moving to California or just lie in bed together and waste away half a Saturday. Now making time for each other is a funny dance in between feedings and while Amaya is napping, and we also have to make time to cook/eat dinner, work out, and get me to bed at a decent hour. It can be pretty exhausting, but it has made me appreciate Andy’s patience and honesty so I don’t feel like I have to live up to some crazy expectations or get upset that I’m not fulfilling his needs. This weekend we had a very open discussion about what the next four years looks like for our family. After being together for nearly 15 years, it was eye opening to see how much we have both evolved as people and as a couple in just a few months. I’m more thankful than ever to have such an engaged and thoughtful partner, and I’m excited to see how our lives continue to evolve together.
This weekend I also recognized that I could be taking even better care of myself. I’ve been working out every weekday and am feeling great physically. I even made it to my first yoga class last week! It was difficult but felt like coming home. However, when I’m out, I found myself always checking my watch and wanting to rush back to feed Amaya instead of taking my time and letting Andy give her a bottle. Andy noticed I was doing this and asked me to take a minimum two hours next time I go out. I hadn’t been planning on doing anything for myself while in Houston but with grandma’s help and Andy at home, I figured now was the time to take advantage. So I spent nearly 3 hours getting mani/pedis with Allie, eating froyo, and going through Camila’s hand me downs for Amaya. It was a simple afternoon but something I cherished so much, and it was great to spend time with one of my favorite people. For the first time in awhile, I felt very present and focused in the moment the entire time I was with her. I came back home feeling refreshed, full, and grounded.
Love – A Virtuous Circle
I’ve written in the past about how you must put on the oxygen mask first before helping others. It’s a great metaphor because you can’t be your best for others unless you take care of yourself first. Maybe this realization brings me full circle to the first topic and how I’ve come to feel even more connected to Amaya, to Andy, and to myself. Love, in all its glory, is so effortless when you allow it to happen without want, expectations, or contingencies. When I can cut through the talk in my head and all the noise that constantly surrounds me, I realize I am enough. I don’t get stuck in fear, jealousy, or anxiety. I am one with myself, and I can hold space for others. So the old adage stands true: all you need is love.