An experiment – check it out

I’m working on something new. Being open-hearted.  It’s an experiment.  Check it out here:

http://fahrinkermally.wordpress.com/2013/05/02/craving-connections-an-experiment-in-being-open/

 

 

Advertisements

One more time…

We have a new address – click this:

fahrinkermally.wordpress.com

Looking forward to seeing you on the other side!

We moved!!

Hello Friends!

We’ve moved to a new site:  fahrinkermally.wordpress.com

Join us there – we’ve only just begun! 🙂

Her word is Feisty.

A few weeks ago, I had a friend over for lunch.  She came with her beautiful baby girl, Lucy.  Though Lucy and Amira are exactly the same age, they couldn’t be more different.

Lucy’s mom said to me, “Her word is ‘Placid’.  As long as she is fed, she is perfectly content to just sit there and be happy.”  And it was true.  Lucy wasn’t up for crawling or rolling around or getting to things.  She was beautiful and happy, just sitting in one spot, laughing and playing with whatever was rolled her way.

We pondered over a word for Amira.  We threw around spunky, spirited and vivacious, but none of those really felt right to me.

Yesterday, my little family and I were spending time with my larger extended family, where there were two other baby girls, also the same age as Amira.  Baby girl Layla was sitting with her leg in front of baby girl Zoe, and baby girl Zoe was getting mad because that leg was preventing her from crawling forward.  When someone went to help Zoe, her father said, “Don’t.  Let her figure it out herself.”

If Lucy is a cool blue, and Zoe is a simmering yellow, Amira is a fiery red.  She has never been placid, not even when she was in my belly, kicking my ribs for 5 months straight.

When Amira started rolling, she didn’t just roll over.  She rolled over and over and over, right across the room.  When she started crawling, nothing could stop her.  Certainly not some little leg in her path.  Not even two big adult legs in her path.  Not even if those adult legs are curled up making a veritable mountain for her to climb.  She will make every attempt to climb it, over and over, clawing and scraping and fighting, with no hesitation.  At some point, she may just give you a look and then go around you.  But she is stopped by nothing.  She gets where she wants to go.

When Amira wants to stand up, she stands up.  And when she can’t get it the first time, she tries and tries and falls and gets up and tries and falls again and hits her face on the ground and cries while trying to get up again.  Sometimes I wish she would relax, but mostly, I am in awe of her persistence.

She gets places and gets into things and onto things and under things.  She crawls and climbs and reaches and grabs and pulls and pushes and I know one day way too soon she’ll be jumping off the highest thing she can climb up on, no matter how many times I try to stop her.  No matter how many times she falls.  No matter how much it hurts.  She keeps getting up, again and again.

It came to us in a moment.  Amira’s word is Feisty.

She is spirited and spunky and animated and courageous.  She scares me half to death with it all, but I hope to God she never loses one ounce of it.

IMG_0825

We still have a million amazing moments every day.

Image

Remember back in September when all I had all that breastfeeding drama?  Well, it didn’t end there.  I took the herbal supplements, I took the prescription drugs, I pumped, I gave Amira my stockpile till it was gone, and I never made enough breast milk to keep up with her demands.  The drama went on and on, and I persisted in giving her breast milk any way I could for as long as I could, but I couldn’t do it as long as I wanted.  So after 8 months of martyring myself to give her all that I could, it’s done.

My feelings about this are mixed.  The last few months were HARD.  I’m glad they’re over.  I’m glad that I can finally stop worrying about feeding her and just feed her.

I’m glad I can stop timing our lives around when I have to pump next, and just be with her, and play with her, and enjoy her, and give her a bottle when she needs it without having to schedule everything around a little motorized device in a black bag that I think they tried to design to look like some kind of designer handbag but that really needs a redesign because it looks like a relic from 1987.

Oh, the hours we spent together...

Oh, the hours we spent together…

I’m glad that I no longer have to deal with those terrible blocked milk ducts (another benefit of breastfeeding that no one told me about before I had a baby).  They kept me from taking care of her, and enjoying her.  I’m so so glad that those are over.

But I’m also sad.  I’m sad that the closeness we had while I was breastfeeding was so short-lived, and that it’s over for good.

And I’m mad.  I’m mad that I couldn’t just feed her the way I wanted.  I’m mad that after the easiest of pregnancies and deliveries, the one thing that had to be all DRAMA was the breastfeeding.  I would have taken morning sickness, stretch marks and 24 hours of labour if I could have just fed her the way I wanted, for as long as I wanted.

I’m jealous that other women can breastfeed and I can’t.  I see these women – some of them are my friends – and I wish so hard that it could be me.  I know I’m not the only one.  I know there are so many other women out there who have problems breastfeeding.  But of course, the only ones I see – the only ones I let myself see – are the ones to whom it seems to come so easy.

But now it’s done, and it’s time to get over it and move on.  Amira is healthy and happy and we have a million amazing moments together every day.   I gave her my best.  I always will.

100 Moments of Gratitude

 

Centenarian birthday candles spell out '100'

WordPress is telling me that this is my 100th post.  In almost five years, I’ve managed to sit down and write something on this blog 10o times.  For some people, that won’t seem like a lot. But for me, it is.  It could have been more.  It could have been less.  But I made it to 100.  Each word I put down here has been one less word, one less worry, one less burden to carry on my own.  Here, I can lay them down and let them be.  I can come back to them if I need to, but the words, the worries, the burdens, aren’t mine to carry alone anymore.

I started sharing these words long after I started writing them.  The first time I shared this with the world, I was trembling.  But I knew that if I ever wanted to get anywhere with these words, I couldn’t hoard them anymore.  So I closed my eyes, held my breath, and hit “share”.  Since that first time, the response I’ve received has been overwhelming.  I’ve had several people publicly – and many more people privately – tell me how they have enjoyed what I’ve written.  They understood, sympathized, and were even helped by my words and experiences.  And even though I still tremble every time I hit “share”, those words of support and encouragement ring in my ears, and they help me to keep moving forward, and keep sharing, no matter how fearful I may be.  And for that, I am so, so grateful.

I am grateful for every moment I hit “post”.  I am grateful for every moment I hit “share”.  I am grateful for all of the unsolicited kindness people have shown me as I inch forward on this path.  And these 100 posts are 100 individual moments of gratitude for the life I have and the people I am privileged to share it with.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Being mindful of gratitude is something I’ve been trying to do a lot the last few years.  And I notice that when I’m at my lowest, gratitude just isn’t present in my day to day life.  Even as I write it, it sounds so Oprah to me, but the truth is the truth.  And being consciously grateful every day really does help my spirit.  And so I continue to try and try and try.

Our little family of three started a new tradition this past holiday season that I know we will continue every year from now on.

Anyone who knows me knows I love Christmas.  I AM CHRISTMAS.  And since I met Stu, I have insisted that we celebrate Chanukah as well as Christmas.  Lighting Chanukah candles wasn’t at the top of his priority list before we met, but through our five holiday seasons together, Stu and I have lit those candles every year.  We tried the traditional Jewish prayers a few times, but they didn’t sit well with us.  We aren’t a religious pair, and all that Baruch Atah blah blah blah was hollow to both of us.  It was insincere and empty, so we put it aside.  This year, with the addition of Amira to our family, the tradition took a new and inevitable turn.  A turn towards gratitude.

Christmasukkah

This is what love looks like.

Each day for Chanukah, we lit the requisite candle.  And for each candle we lit on each day, Stu and I shared with each other one thing we were grateful for in our lives.  We agreed that we wouldn’t repeat things during those eight days, which meant that we each had to come up with 36 unique things we were grateful for.  Depending on how general or specific you are, that can be tricky.  In the end, we may have repeated a thing or two, but it was the loveliest time of day for those eight days, and we shared some really beautiful moments as we talked about what was most important to us.

To some people, those candle-lighting prayers are non-negotiable.  And to them, I say god speed.

But for us, giving voice to what we were most thankful for was sacred.  Those moments were truly divine.

My Wandering Heart

As this year comes to a close, my heart is so full.  Full of love for Stu and Amira and the little family we’re growing.  Full of love for our extended family and friends, who have come together in a beautiful village where Amira will be raised with love and laughter and celebration.  And full of sorrow for those 20 families in Connecticut – 20 families – whose lives were changed forever a few weeks ago.

There have been other awful tragedies involving children – I know they happen in different ways all over the world every day – but this one had a very different effect on me than any before.  The non-stop media coverage (print, tv and social), the violence of the situation, the tender ages of the victims, the geographical proximity, and of course, my new role as parent,  made this awfulness almost too much to bear for me.  I couldn’t talk about it for a long time.  It made me shut down in a way that I haven’t experienced before.

Stu said something that day that rang so true for me.  He said that when you have a baby, you get stronger than you knew you could be, but you also become so much more fragile than you were before.  He’s absolutely right.  I know without a doubt that I would do anything to protect Amira.  I would run through fire, swim with sharks, or jump out of a plane.  Things I would never have done before I had a baby, but for her, I would do any of it without a second thought.

But I have become fragile too.  I can’t watch anything on tv that has to do with children being hurt or sad or unloved in any way.  I have become the queen of the romantic comedy, because it’s the only kind of movie I can watch now.  Law&Order SVU used to be my favourite tv show, but now I can’t go near it.  Fluffy, nonsensical reality tv suits me just fine now.  Everything to do with children hurts in a new and exquisite way that it didn’t before.  I can’t even think about anything bad happening to Amira.  I – the girl who has always had an overactive imagination – have now entered a realm where there is a whole world, a whole potential reality, that I cannot even begin to imagine.  I’m simply too fragile for it all.

Because now I have a wandering heart.  That is what it feels like to me to have a baby.  As if my heart is now outside my body, doing what it wants when it wants, and I have very little control over it all.  It is learning to talk and learning to crawl and learning to walk.  It’s trying new things for the first time that I already know how to do.  It is exploring the world, and will inevitably feel not just it’s beauty, but also it’s pain.  And it makes me all too aware of how easily it can be hurt, dented or broken.

Fragile.  Oh so fragile.

So for this new year, I will send out a wish, articulated perfectly by Goran Persson, the former Prime Minister of Sweden.

“Let our New Year’s resolution be this: we will be there for one another as fellow members of humanity, in the finest sense of the word.” 

Happy New Year, Everyone.