Being Us

Parenthood is amazing–don’t get me wrong.

But one of the hardest thing about becoming parents is that, naturally, your married life –and identity as a couple — changes.

Lots has been written about women becoming moms and men becoming dads, but aside from marriage counseling-type books (that assume there is a problem), there isn’t a ton out there explaining the how and why things change … and how we can work to ensure our marriage doesn’t take a backseat to parenthood. Continue reading “Being Us”

The Squiggly Black Line

Over the past five months, the squiggly black line (known as linea negra) that stretched as my belly grew and then shrank post-partum has now nearly completely disappeared.

It’s weird, in a way, how affected I’ve been by this slow dissolution of the mark — a mark which I found freakish and ugly in the beginning when it appeared and, later, came to view as badge of honor of sorts: it was yet another way for me to see Maya growing in the womb (as it got bigger as she got bigger). It was another way for me to connect with her, at least physically. Continue reading “The Squiggly Black Line”

Love Like None Other

<– After a prenatal “Baby Basics” class late this fall, I received this fortune.

At the time, it moved me to tears … and I had never even held her yet!  Yet nothing prepared me for something I experienced today with Maya.

First, she was on the swing and started to cry and all she wanted was to snuggle/nuzzle with me — it was the first time I felt truly needed and not in the sense of meeting her basic needs, but rather wanted. Like, she wanted me and my smell and body warmth — not because she needed to be changed or fed.

With her head buried in my chest and her knees curled up under her, I called my mom straight away … feeling all schmoopy. Continue reading “Love Like None Other”

*Anything* for You

This weekend I drove to meet up with a dear friend (who just had her first baby in August!) to go outlet shopping. She lives in Chicago and I’m in southwest Michigan, so since the outlets in Michigan City, Indiana, are half-way for each of us, that’s where we usually meet up for a day of shopping, eating, and gabbing.

I knew this was going to be my last long car trip for a while — and probably the last solo trip for a REALLY long time — and so I kind of let my mind wander as the scenery on I-94 flew by. All of a sudden, I was overcome by this intense sensation that just overtook my whole body. It was this fierce, protective feeling … and the thought swimming in my head was “I would do absolutely anything for you.”

I found myself rubbing my belly as I said it, and couldn’t shake the feeling: it was one of those sensations I didn’t want to lose. Continue reading “*Anything* for You”

Eat to Live or Live to Eat?

For the wild range of emotions I felt towards my maternal grandmother (Jeanette) growing up, I never once doubted my love and affection for her. Sure, as a kid, she drove me nuts … and embarrassed me often (there was only one Jeanette and to know her was to love her – all of her! )but I never, ever questioned her love or devotion to her family.

It was particularly in the last few years of her life — my teenage years, when my Bubby and I traded hand-written letters and phone calls and I found the incredible packet of love letters that she and my grandfather had written to one another during WWII — where I came to see her as a woman and truly appreciated and understood her, for all her flaws and all her humanity.

In those last years, as colon cancer ravaged her body, I came to see her not just as my mom’s mom or my heavily-opinionated grandma … not just the Jewish snow-bird who lived in Boca Raton, Fla. who would smother you in her (ginormous) bosom the second she saw you or show your picture to anyone on an airplane within earshot and give you peanuts or plastic “Fly Delta” wings from the flight with the grandeur of giving you a Mercedes (as well as some other knick-knacks she picked up along the way) … but as a real woman, one I admired, respected and adored.

(“So you’re the Melissa that Jeanette here was telling me about,” we’d hear from fellow passengers at baggage claim at Newark airport).

My grandmother, raised in the Bronx by Russian and Polish immigrants who owned a candy store (hello, sweets are in my genes!), was the consummate 1950s housewife. She cooked, cleaned, cared for the family, kept a strictly kosher home. And she was beautiful.

When I look at pictures of her from before my grandfather died, it’s hard to see how she was the same woman. She was strong, graceful, glowing. No wonder my grandfather had fallen for her. Continue reading “Eat to Live or Live to Eat?”

“You Are My Sunshine …”

youaremysunshine1Some of my earliest memories include my parents singing “You Are My Sunshine” to me in my crib.

My nursery was pale yellow (they didn’t know what I’d be at the time), with a rainbow that my dad painted when I was born.

So I guess as the prized first-born (ha!) you could say I grew up bathed in “shunshine” (as I pronounced it as a toddler), both literally and figuratively.

I loved the song so much that once I learned to talk, I used to add, “You’ll never know dear, how much I LOVEEEEEY you,” in this loud squealy-girly voice. And the song, to this day, always makes me smile.

Over the past few days, the notion of happiness/”shunshine” has been on my mind a lot — mostly because I’ve been feeling it without thinking about it. Continue reading ““You Are My Sunshine …””