Tuesday, August 25, 2009

working backward and looking forward

Well, well, well. We are back in Portland, and boy do I have a lot of catching up to do! I think I'm going to work in reverse to catch you all up.

So, first of all, jet lag and one-year-olds.... SUCKS!!! When we traveled from West to East, it worked out really, really well - a very early morning and a long day of travel actually resulted in a very short adjustment time for the boys. Of course, it was also nice to have them wake up at 8am instead of 5am! Coming back, though, has been really rough. By the time we left MA, the boys were regularly waking at 6am, so that meant that in Oregon they have been really thrown off. Keeping them up until 7pm has been pretty tough, because of course their little bodies still feel like it's 10pm! Just two days after arriving in Portland, though, Max is back to sleeping only 10 hours, the stubborn little guy, meaning that he was up and ready to go at 5am today. This is my ongoing struggle - putting them to bed at 8 is just too late. I need some down time, and evenings are long and hard as it is. But the fact that I cannot get Max to sleep for more than 10 hours just kills me every day!!

I think I'll put up a seperate post about flying with twin 1-year olds. It was an adventure both going to MA and returning. VERY different than flying with them last December. As with all things baby (especially twin babies), creativity, perserverence, and a sense of humor, even if dark, came in very handy.

We had the most wonderful visit, though. Four weeks of time with my parents, Memmae and Popi, meant that they got to experience lots of our routine and many new accomplishments on the part of both boys. They really bonded with them, and I can tell that part of the difficulty for them in settling back down at home has been separation from their grandparents.


Getting back to Portland is fraught with meaning for me as a mama. The last month closed my first year as a mother, and also brought to an end the time I had set aside to be staying at home with the boys. Financially, I can't swing it anymore. We're losing our private health insurance this month, and I haven't been able to find the time to grow my business to the point where I'm making enough regular money. It's all ok - I have room to be flexible and deal with these changes and challenges, but it means that I am going to have to find reserves of energy, clear thought, frugality, and patience in deeper places than I have yet had to search.

the birth day mama and her boys

The next few months loom in front of me and seem to be a kind of proving ground for me as a single mother to my beautiful sons. I face the reality that I will be spending less and less time with them at a point in their development when they are learning, changing, and accomplishing new things every day. I will certainly miss many of their milestones in the moment of unfolding. I fear the sadness I will feel on days when I spend time with them only in the hardest hours of their day, and when I think of them growing more attached to other care givers, I feel both happy for their expanded world of people who love them and loss at having to share their precious daily hours with someone else.

When I was 21 and in my first marriage, I started trying to have children. Fifteen years, three relationships, countless pregnancy tests, 12 cities, three languages, a Bachelor's Degree, hours and hours of therapy, yoga, meditation, self-reflection, and a complete re-orientation of my life later, I am a mother. Everything in that list except becoming a mom seems now to just have been stepping stones - secondary to the drive and deep, consuming desire to be raising children. To say I wouldn't change a thing wouldn't be true - I don't think I have fully come to terms with all of the loss I endured over those long, heartbreaking years - but to finally be living my dream of having children is miracuous, and is the source of rivers and oceans of gratitude.

The next chapter to unfold is the one where I get to continue to co-create a family with the boys and - for now - my sister, and it's also the part where I get to dream up and realize the contribution I want to make through my career. I have just become aware of how I put aside getting clear about my vocation in my quest to be a mother - how exciting (and scary) that I can now begin to hone in on my talents, my strengths, and the unique way I can give back to this world through my work. I have walked in enough shoes, worked a great variety of jobs, and seen myself succeed in diverse situations to know that if I can just empty my mind of fear and expectation, I can and will discover my calling that is ready to emerge from within. It will be when I find that familiar excitement and joy that I will know I am on the right track.

And so we go on. I'll try in the upcoming posts to catch you up on the last month, and hope you'll share your own victories and inspirations with me as I knuckle down in the months to come. I'm glad to have this place to try to make sense of it all.


  1. Wow. I applaud you flying with two one-year olds. I cannot imagine.

    Good luck to you in the months to come...sounds like you have a lot to sort through.

    I'm sure you've tried everything to get more sleep, so disregard this if you've tried it, but I have found that the later I put my kiddos down, the less they sleep. Have you tried an earlier bedtime? I know it seems counterintuitive, and it may not work for YOUR babies, but I've heard this from many twin mommas, and it seems to work for mine. Just a thought.

  2. Oh Celeste I love your posts!! I am so bummed I didn't make it up there while you guys were here, but glad things went well!

    Love you, and congrats on your first year as a mama!!

    (P.S. Any tips on flying with 9 month old twins and 3 adults would be very helpful!!)

  3. Yes, I need flying tips too! We'll be flying across the country with two one-year olds in Sept. (I will have another adult with me which should help, I hope!)

    I too love reading your posts. When reading this one, although you are at a crossroads and somewhat worried about the future, and sad about the past, what I felt for you was a gratitude and happiness that you have your sister with you on your journey. And that M and S have grandparents that love them and bonded with them for a nice, long visit. And of course, the three of you are lucky and blessed to have each other!

    I wonder if you can find a job with off hours (afternoons?) so you will have more time with the boys while they are awake? I know you'll be super diligent about choosing childcare but I'm actually really happy working. The babies love their nanny and she CLEANS! So at least as far as cleaning the house goes, I actually have less work to do at home on the days the nanny works. It's really nice to come home to a clean house and napping babies. I can do some paperwork, email, cook, etc., then focus on playing with babies when they wake up.

    Good luck with the job search and childcare search. It'll be a challenge but you are up to it! I know it'll go well for you. Keep us posted (of course!)