The Second Nine Months

Today Thalia turns nine months.

I had every expectation of writing a beautiful (but not sappy), engaging (but not long-winded), charming (but not flip), absolutely perfect (but not trying too hard) post about her. About how she's now been breathing oxygen as long as she was sucking in amniotic fluid. About how much my life has changed in unimaginable and unimaginably wonderful ways. About how I never thought I'd love another human being so much that it could cause physical pain--not even Chachi. Not even Chachi when he played guitar.

Instead, here I am at home (i.e. my hotel room) completely spent after another fourteen-hour day at work.

I'm feeling utterly crappy for flying my family 6000 miles across the country so that I can see them for ten minutes each morning. I'm eating Baked Lays and Boursin for dinner because I can't stand the thought of ordering room service for the eighth straight night. And I'm wondering how I can possibly plough through the exhaustion to generate any words remotely worthy of this occasion, let alone assembling those words into prose that won't make me want to cut my hands off at the wrists and never write again.

Thalia, I can only assure you that something better is coming when you turn one.

Oh God, the Cats in the Cradle lyrics have entered my consciousness and that's never a good thing.

So here is my promise to you: This will be not be another "I'll get around to it," like the New Year's resolutions that never get written, the screenplay that never gets finished, the promised lunch dates with friends that never get made. You're far too important to me. So like it or not, more effusive, embarrassing, overwritten essays about you than you can stand are in your future.

But you also have to know that the work I'm doing right now instead of writing about you--or watching you learn to clap, or feeding you new foods, or singing our little lullaby song as I tuck you in at night--is also all about you.

Please believe this. Because you need to help me believe it.


Anonymous dorf said...

Keep on writing. Keep on keeping on. It's your willingness to confront the honest truth of motherhood that makes us all sisters. We know, we get it, and we ache for you.

4/6/06, 5:00 AM  
Anonymous Tammy said...

Adorable photo and very sweet post. You're lucky to have each other and that's definitely a win/win!!

4/6/06, 6:10 AM  
Blogger sunshine scribe said...

She does. And you will. And it IS all about her.

Banning "Cat's in the Cradle" might be the ticket.

Sounds like Thalia has an awesome mom.

4/6/06, 7:26 AM  
Blogger Pattie said...

That is a beautiful post. I have a lump in my throat. You are saying what many of us are feeling. Oh, and the picture is pretty cute, too!

4/6/06, 7:59 AM  
Blogger movin'mom said...

aaawww yet another fabulous post.....

1. Thanks for getting Cats in the Cradle stuck in my head.
2. Did you read my Blog yesterday-perfect meal for a hotel room?
3. She will totally get that this is for her and you have to know that it is for you too! Did we leave Nate out of that equation?
4. Boursin cheese is in my fridge at all times and my 13 year old loves it with chips too!
5.The 445th thing that I like about mom-101- the way she thinks, I love that you have made something fabulous about Thalia's 9th month...what a reason for celebration. I have 4 kids and it was really all about their 1st birthday-oh how I wish that I had celebrated their 9th month. Brilliant!

4/6/06, 8:03 AM  
Blogger Nicole said...

You are such a thoughtful mom. I spend every waking minute with my two little ones and I don't seem to appreciate all the little things that you do. So, you are doing your daughter a great service and she's a lucky little girl.

4/6/06, 8:07 AM  
Blogger The Silent K said...

Well, let me help convince you that it is also about her.

She needs a mom who has goals, dreams, aspirations, and personality that is her own. She needs a mom who is a person independent of being a mother, she needs a mom who is well rounded, and not afraid of challenges, she needs a role model- just like you.

4/6/06, 8:32 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

It is all about her. You work to provide for her. You also have your own interests, because a mom that gives up all of herself for her child isn't a good role model to that child.

I think you're doing fine, and this post shows that you are a good mom.

4/6/06, 9:32 AM  
Anonymous madge said...

I can't see how she would ever glean anything other than devotion from you. If your real life personality is anything like your writing, she will never doubt how much you love her and how you do it all for her.

You are open and honest and obviously head over heels for her. She'll see that. Everyday.

4/6/06, 9:51 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

If you love her this hard every day/week/month/year of her life you'll have given her everything she needs. And more.

So she won't have to believe it. She'll know it. YAnd you, you already know it - you're reminding yourself with every word.

4/6/06, 9:52 AM  
Anonymous Christina/aka Kitty said...

Hi Lizzy,

I've hesitated to post for a while b/c everyone's posts are so witty and thoughtful, I have had performance anxiety putting something down. But, I had to respond here---my belief is before the bambinos are about 5-8 years old (when they start remembering things), all you can do is create an environment in which they feel loved, warm and safe. So, even though you are only seeing her briefly while in LA, she is getting filled with mama love---for the rest of the day, she has daddy's love and the warm sunshine, smiling faces of people she meets, warm bottles, her favorite toy, etc. So, I don't believe this was a wasted trip for her.

It is no doubt harder on you than her. As a mutual friend once said: "guilt is a useless emotion". I'm home all day with my 3 and I feel guilty that they see 'crappy, tired, yelling, sick-of-them' mama too often.

Oh, and sweet for you to think of her 9 month birthday. Happy Birthday sweet girl!

4/6/06, 10:03 AM  
Blogger Shalee said...

Everything you have done and will do for the the rest of your life will be for Thalia.

Amazing and scary thought at the same time, isn't it?

Just make sure that she still hears or feels the words "I love you" each and every day. She will never be in doubt about where she stands with you.

I love the picture! Absolutely charming.

4/6/06, 10:18 AM  
Anonymous chelle said...

aww what a heart felt post. I agree with the commenters that stated that if you love her this much for the rest of your lives, she has everything she needs and more!

4/6/06, 10:25 AM  
Blogger zeldafitz said...

Oh man this hurt, "Oh God, the Cats in the Cradle lyrics have entered my consciousness and that's never a good thing." I think we've all got that inner mantra going on.

She is precious--truly. I bet you already knew that. I think the mainlined emotion of your post will say it all to her--because it speaks pretty loud and clear to me--if only in the aftertaste of Boursin and Baked Lays...

4/6/06, 10:46 AM  
Blogger Daddy D said...

great, i'll be singing that song all day now...

the cats in the cradle....

- Jon
- Daddy Detective
- www.daddydetective.com

4/6/06, 10:47 AM  
Blogger gingajoy said...

aww man, can we at least ship you some fresh produce out there? when my own boy was Thalia's age, I spent a lot of time traveling too. It killed me, but at the same time I loved the work. So far there appear to be no ill effects whatsoever. (except for when he hums "cat's in the cradle" when I pick up the car keys in the morning.

At the risk of being cheesy myself, you are so clearly an awesome mom. don't be so hard on yourself, lady. and get some sleep.

4/6/06, 10:55 AM  
Blogger gingajoy said...

aww man, can we at least ship you some fresh produce out there? when my own boy was Thalia's age, I spent a lot of time traveling too. It killed me, but at the same time I loved the work. So far there appear to be no ill effects whatsoever. (except for when he hums "cat's in the cradle" when I pick up the car keys in the morning.

At the risk of being cheesy myself, you are so clearly an awesome mom. don't be so hard on yourself, lady. and get some sleep.

4/6/06, 10:55 AM  
Anonymous Crissy said...

She is one lucky girl! You are quite a caring mom and I'm sure she knows it. You are teaching her that she will be able to do whatever she wants if she puts in the effort. Good for you! I think you just became my role model too : )

4/6/06, 11:18 AM  
Blogger Catherine said...

You definitely pulled it off -- a beautiful, engaging, charming, absolutely perfect post to Thalia. I need to take notes. You always manage to do it so effortlessly!

4/6/06, 11:27 AM  
Blogger something blue said...

She will believe it.

She'll count her lucky stars and be over the moon that you are her mom. She'll learn so much from your escapades. Not to mention that nothing beats the love of a devoted mom, which you clearly are.

4/6/06, 11:29 AM  
Anonymous neva said...

you'll save up all these wondrous things for her, and one day, when you're feeling lonely for your little girl (like 20-or so years from now) you'll pull them out and cry all over again. but in a good way, because you'll remember how much you loved her then and how much you will always love her, no matter what. because that's the way it works.

the phrase "you are--and will always be--my heart" is all you'll ever need to say. and she will always believe it... because it will always be true!

4/6/06, 1:00 PM  
Blogger Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

I tried to post a rather-long-winded comment a wee while ago but got the error screen and lost it. Buggrit!

Basically, it was just to say what the other ladies have said so well, and t'were it said, it is well t'were said quickly, because the lost comment was too long anyway.

You are fresh and funny and individual. Thalia will always be proud you are her mommy. Like Christina, above, I stay at home with my kids and I'm grumpy more than I'd like my children to see, sometimes. Some days are thrilling and beautiful, some are hamster-on-wheel days and some are flat out God-awful, but guilt is part of the deal, no matter what for both the SAHM and the WM. Don't assume you're doing it wrong because you feel guilty.

We make our decisions based on all sorts of factors and then we second-guess them because the subject, our children, is so difficult and important to us all. More alarming would be if we never had a moment's doubt we'd chosen the best way for ourselves and our kids.

The best we can hope to do is to stamp something of ourselves on the choices we make and you do that beautifully. That way our kids will see their mother before they see their mother-who-stayed-at-home, or their mother-who-went-to work. By that I mean, our kids are less likely, anyway, to label us SAH or GTW than we are and, if we are less anxious about it, we'll relax, enjoy the ride more and impart more that is memorable about ourselves on our children.

God, i wish this had worked first time around! i'm making a pig's ear of saying what I want to say now but am too tired to start over. Basically, my sentiment is that I think Thalia is a very lucky wee girl. Her mammy rocks!

Now why couldn't I have just said that at the start? Sigh - battling some insomnia these nights and feel both greyer than the bra-strap on a hooker who has just washed her smalls on a hot cycle with a dark sock, and dumber than the woman who broke her teeth on her new vibrator.

Looks like a posted a long comment anyway.

4/6/06, 1:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome post, but more importantly, does this mean there will be a birthday cake tonight?

4/6/06, 1:35 PM  
Anonymous Melissa said...

Damm girl, you made me cry. I've been in the smae place you are. In fact today I am at work, while my baby girl is home with her daddy and a fever and ear pains. And I can tell you as a mom who works full time and sometimes way to much overtime, my kids are still the most important thing to me. ANd at 4 and 20 months, I think they know it. Don't be so hard on yourself. SHe'll always know you love her. And that you did it to make her life better. My mom worked and went to school my entire childhood and she is my best frined in this world. Just enjoy the moments with your daughter and remember them when you are stressed. SOmehow it makes things better.

4/6/06, 1:45 PM  
Blogger Mel said...

I wish I had more time to comment... but if I did you would have a novel in here, so you lucked out.
As it is, I can only say "what Krista said."
And you're doing a great job, BTW; showing your daughter that a woman can have a career and a family at the sane time is never a bad thing.

4/6/06, 1:46 PM  
Blogger Mel said...

Eh. 'Sane' time, 'same' time... same diff, right?

4/6/06, 1:47 PM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

Happy 9 months to Thalia. You love her more than you loved Chachi? That's serious.

You're a great mom. It's obvious from the way you talk about Thalia. And she knows, and she will always know.

4/6/06, 2:44 PM  
Anonymous sweatpantsmom said...

Beautiful post.

Just to echo all the sentiments here, you are a wonderful mom.

And I think that sentence should read: 'What a lucky girl, that her mother would miss her so intensely that she would fly her 6000 miles just to see her for ten minutes each morning.'

(Cats in the Cradle - this has always been a sadistic, inside joke between my hustand and I. whenever he's late coming home, misses kids' event, etc, I start singing it to him. I'm just cruel that way.)

4/6/06, 3:38 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

she so cute!

4/6/06, 4:39 PM  
Blogger mothergoosemouse said...

She's beautiful. And you are a wonderful mother. I know the guilt, and it's just not good for any of us. You are doing the right thing - for her, for you, for your family. Promise.

4/6/06, 4:48 PM  
Blogger Builder Mama said...

I don't think I can add anything better than what has already been said.

It makes my heart swell to feel the love in your posts about Thalia. And if I can feel it, I know she can too.

4/6/06, 8:13 PM  
Anonymous MetroDad said...

Beautiful post, M101. Seems we all never get enough time with our children. But the sheer enormity of your love for Thalia is extremely touching and beautiful. She's an adorable girl and I'm sure she's happy with ANY time she gets with her cool-ass talented mofo mom!

4/6/06, 8:38 PM  
Blogger Mega Mom said...

It never ceases to amaze me that our whole lives are about us (ok and brothers, sisters, friends, parents, partners, etc.) and in an instant (ok, 9 months) it is forever changed (ok, until...no, I was right the first time...forever).

The Mother's Guilt does seem to lessen over time, but I can't give any hints as to how to make it stop. just try to remember that you are absolutely the best Mother for that beautiful little girl.

4/6/06, 8:54 PM  
Blogger MrsFortune said...

Boursin? Love it.

And of course, love this post, too ... you always come up with just the right thing to say. Or at least it seems like it to me, even though you probably feel it's far from what you wanted to say, it says a lot.

4/6/06, 8:59 PM  
Blogger MommyWithAttitude said...

Beautiful post! As others have pointed out if you were with her every minute of every day, you would STILL find many ways to feel inadequate and many things for which to feel guilty. I think that's just the way it works.

4/6/06, 10:30 PM  
Blogger J said...

I loved this comment:

We know, we get it, and we ache for you.

And the ones about how you being you, and not just a mom to serve her, will serve her well as an example someday. You don't want her to ignore her children, but neither do you want them to be her whole life. Balance in all things. You, by the way, ROCK as a mom. :)

I remember when Maya turned 9 1/2 months (because she was 2 weeks late), and I thought, "Wow, you've been outside of me as long as you were inside of me." Amazing thought. I had forgotten that, since she's 10 years old now....thanks for the special reminder of a special time in our lives.

4/6/06, 10:49 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Awww. My heart aches for you. I hope work calms down fast so you can have more time to kiss those sweet, chubby cheeks!

4/7/06, 12:20 AM  
Blogger GIRL'S GONE CHILD said...

Beautiful post. Thalia is lucky to have you as her mother. All that love is apparent. Only you know what is right for her and you are doing an amazing job.

Happy nine months to both of you.

4/7/06, 1:21 AM  
Anonymous Irene said...

It's nice to see another working mother blog. I was starting to feel guilty that I was working like mad and not a SAHM. You're right - the reason that you work is about your child. I want to make sure my boys go to college so I work like a fiend to help pay for that far away day.

Happy nine months!

4/7/06, 7:11 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Chicky said...

After a 14 hour work day if you still want to spend your precious down time writing about your daughter, then you can rest (ha!) assured that she knows her Mama loves her. She's a lucky baby girl.
Happy 9 months, Thalia!

4/7/06, 8:33 AM  
Blogger Emily said...

Very sweet post...

Happy 9 months, little Miss Thang....

4/7/06, 9:27 AM  
Blogger On top of my game said...

Beautiful post! Beautiful baby girl!

4/7/06, 9:31 AM  
Anonymous Petite Mommy said...

What a beautiful and touching post. I know you are a wonderful mom and I totally get how you feel. Happy 9 months to your precious daughter!

4/7/06, 10:54 AM  
Blogger Jess Riley said...

What a lovely post! Wow. Not even Chachi. hehe

When I become a mom (if I do, hope I do), I want to be like you. :)

And Thalia is so gorgeous!

4/7/06, 1:20 PM  
Blogger Wendy Boucher said...

No jokes today. Happy 9th month Thalia. You're lucky you got your mom.

4/7/06, 6:47 PM  
Anonymous Mama C-ta said...

Oh gosh the ending was the kicker, almost made it w/out crying. I can be a bit hormonal still! She's such a beauty. My son will be 9 months if 4 days. Hard to believe.

4/7/06, 11:54 PM  
Blogger IzzyMom said...

At least you're planning on writing something. I've never written anything for my almost 10 month old son. As for Thalia's visit, noted by a previous commenter, it's quality, not quantity. She knows you love her.

And stop it with the Cat's Cradle. That song is pure guilt that you really don't deserve.

4/8/06, 1:09 AM  
Blogger Everyday Mommy said...

I'm a raging-ranting conservative from a red-red-red state (I'm sure you've flown over us), but I still love your blog.

4/10/06, 7:53 PM  
Blogger Andie D. said...

Oh crap. This post made me cry. I was the "bread winner" when my son was young. I missed a lot. It almost broke my heart, and I felt a lot of guilt.


But in reality, he had no clue. And was none the worse for the wear. In fact, he's thriving. And it wasn't as though I NEVER spent time with him while I was "winning the fucking bread". I spent some serious quality time with him.

We ALL do what we can. And by writing about your beautiful daughter, you're assuring her that she's loved, and important.

4/11/06, 12:35 AM  
Blogger jennster said...

i just read your interview.. how are you this fabulous already?!?!?!! you crack me up!

4/11/06, 3:52 PM  
Blogger Hello Kitty said...

I totally relate. I work 40 hours a week with 2 days in the office and 20 hours at nite from home... Constantly feel like I'm too stressed to really be there for them during the day when I'm "off". (Frankly I find work to be my "off" time!)
But then I remind myself that mamma needs to work some to be happy. And sometimes I feel the stress and sleep deprivation keep me in this slap-happy state that appears to be fairly entertaining for the children.
It's all good.

4/11/06, 10:13 PM  
Blogger tracey said...

happy 9 month bday sweet girl.
snif snif.

4/14/06, 12:36 AM  

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