2 years ago, I was a mom, but my role was extremely different than it is now. I was working full-time, in graduate school full-time, and then trying to be an involved mother whenever possible. Collin was the primary caregiver in our family, and he was the one who cooked all the food and kept the home fires burning. He changed the majority of diapers (all cloth, to his credit); he put her down for her naps and for bed a lot of nights while I was at work or at class. He knew all her favorite songs and books and toys. He knew what her favorite foods were and how to get her calm down when she was fussy. He entertained and cared for our baby girl almost all day every day.
Then we switched roles. And moved to California. And I remember that first day he drove off on his motorcycle to work in Marina Del Rey for a cut-throat marketing firm and I stayed home with Sen all day for the first time ever. As the sound of his motorcycle faded into the distance, the realization that it was just me and Sen (and Zuri, of course) crystallized.
“So. What do you want to do today?” I asked my 15 month old friend. I had so much to learn about her, about our relationship, and about myself as a mother.
My motherhood looks so vastly different now; I spend my days (and honestly still a good chunk of my nights) with my tiny pal, Sen. Besides the fact that my role changed from being a full-time working mom to being a primary caregiver, Senya herself has changed so drastically since that first day we spent together in Topanga, California. She’s quite the conversationalist now, and she has a lot of excellent opinions. She has a highly developed will, a fantastic sense of humor, is unbelievably emotionally intelligent and expressive, and she is extremely physically active. It takes everything I’ve got to keep up with this little package of tremendous person.
I have always loved hard work with a good pay off. I love climbing mountains, backpacking, running (all of which are on hold at this point of almost full-term pregnancy). I loved both undergrad and my master’s program, and my favorite professors were the ones who pushed me the most to do my best work.
And that is what it’s like for me to parent. It’s intense. It’s challenging. It takes everything I’ve got. And it’s rewarding. It’s meaningful. It’s beautiful beyond words to know another human being so well, to care so closely and so intricately for someone that they feel as familiar as another being can. To be wanted and loved so innately by someone is sacred; to be so needed by someone else is something I don’t take lightly. As my good friend Sarah once said to me about the business of raising kids, “It’s their SOULS [that we’re shaping, that we’re influencing, that we’re in charge of nurturing]!” That’s an enormous responsibility.
Anyway, all this to say, I think from time to time while I’m in the midst of being with Sen during the day, “I should blog about this; I should write a paper on that.” By the time I sit down with my computer at night, though, I can’t remember a darn thing. I know I wanted to expound on our recent switch back to eating a whole foods and plant based diet. I wanted to get really specific and make it interesting and attainable yet factual and science based why we have been adhering to a vegan diet again.
And now after my day is done, I’m finally sitting here trying to compose a blog post. And when I think of the topic of being vegan, the only mental note I took that I remember is to say, “freeze your bananas.” You won’t regret it.
I’ll make it back here sometime soon(ish) to report on the plant based eating. But until then, I’ll just say that I’m happy to give my resources to my tiny friend. Last night as she was drifting to sleep she said to me, “Because I am only 2, tomorrow I will run and jump and play. But one day, I’ll have to go to school.”
And she’s right. This is her moment to be free and wild. These are the days I will always remember and I will never regret.
**Really, though, if you’re making a protein shake, a smoothie, or anything blended…adding frozen banana will make it so much better. I keep bananas sliced and in a container in the freezer so that they are ready to just blend anytime I’m making a protein shake (which is at least once a day).