Surf's Up!

Surf Guide magazine, Volume 2, Number 9, October, 1964.  Photos: Dr. Don James
Surf Guide magazine, Volume 2, Number 9, October, 1964. Photos: Dr. Don James

I just turned 30. A true milestone. I survived my twenties, which is nothing short of miraculous with all that moving and heart break, confusion and identity crisis'. I made it through my saturn return and as if all on cue i got married and had a baby just as my 20s came to an end. Now i'm 30, i have a husband and a toddler, and i feel as good, whole, and stable as the number does. 30 just feels nice and round and solid, doesn't it? There is just one specific thing that marks the era of ones 20s that i do miss at times... My Self-Centeredness.

How wonderful were the days of waking up whenever i wish, journaling about all my ideas, feelings, dreams, and wise epiphanies to my hearts content, shopping in actual stores and not just online, doing as much yoga and meditation as i want even if that means i don't get anything else done for a few days, getting to go completely underground when sick and not still have to take care of some else (especially when that someone else commandeers all the fluids you are painstakingly drinking for your own recovery and wants you to play peek-a-boo while crawling after them on your hands and knees). Self-centeredness is a luxury that no money can buy. Well, it does take some funding i guess, but it's so one dimensional. It's still just all about YOU. "Me" used to be my favorite word. Now my favorite word is Veda-Moon. That says it all.

The other night i laid in bed feeling a sadness that my 30th birthday had come and gone so quickly and quietly. I was never into loud birthdays. My mother can attest to the fact that i have cried at every single birthday party i have ever had since i was in the single digits. This fact about me has always seemed emblematic to me of my sensitive and slightly tortured nature. Like i came into the world a bit uneasy with the very fact of my existence and my birthday was a bit of a sore subject. But this year i didn't cry. And that is the point i am making here. I didn't have the time to cry, per say. This is the first year since i've been alive that my birthday wasn't all about me. We, my lil' family and i, were in Tulum enjoying the sun and sea. It was perfect in every way, but because of that whole lack of autonomy thing, i never really had much time and space to digest and integrate my shifting eras. I'm a real introvert at heart, deeply in need of quietude for reflection, time to write and share and connect within. And that is really the hardest part of motherhood for me, that lack of autonomous space for reflection. Sure i can get a moment here and there, but i'm talking about having the freedom to dwell in something for a day, not an hour. Motherhood is such a force of nature, nothing can prepare you for the loss of freedom that is about to occur once you have a baby. Surely, many women carve out lots of time for themselves or have lots of support from the get go, but being an attachment-minded mama without family nearby really compounds that for me. While the first year was magical and during it i was in bliss most of the time, in retrospect i am really glad its over! Because while time is lightening fast when you are watching your most precious seeds grow, it is also on your side while you come back into minor balance as these strange and wonderful humans you have in your care are standing on their own two feet a little more each day.

Every 3-6 months i seem to reclaim another piece of myself and it's exciting, like unwrap-all-your-birthday-presents-exciting. Each time you feel your child's dependence loosen up a little bit, another piece of you is returned to the source. You get the satisfaction of knowing that your little one is developing at their own pace with mama in abundant supply and the pleasure of having something beloved returned to you after so patiently having lent it to another. At 6 months i got back into my pre-pregnancy jeans, my body was somewhat mine again. At 8 months i reclaimed part of my sexy self when after months of pain i could finally make love to my husband again, pain-free! Each month or two or three has it's little victories, like being able to shower every day because a baby who walks can now stand in the shower with you as opposed to fussing in the lounger the entire time and having to rush out with conditioner still partly in your hair. At 15 months there is so much more physical space and that in and of itself is alleviating, even though we still spend a lot of time snuggled up in a carrier which we both love a great deal, she spends equal time chasing birds and deconstructing my linen closets. Freedom. Soon, after she is nightweaned, a whole new ballpark of freedom will be mine (and my husbands), and while watching a chapter in your baby's life come to an end can be a little misty in its own way, it also comes bearing gifts!

At the park recently i heard one guy liken parenting to Stockholm Syndrome. Sounds accurate to me! I love my tiny hostage taker and while occasionally i long for the time and space that lives outside the swift ripe tide of motherhood, i wouldn't have it any other way. And with a toddler versus an infant, the whole landscape is widening. There is so much more room for me to coexist now, and that's exciting. Devoting myself so sacrificially this past year has felt really rewarding and vital to Veda's wholeness and development, and while attachment isn't something that ends at infancy- it is an ongoing part of the parent/child relationship and connection remains vital- it morphs as quickly and magically as they do.

So here's to ripe tides and waves, mamas! Sometimes the undercurrent is gonnna getchya, sometimes you ride the waves like a pro, and other times you get to just float within the placid sea. Though our most recent family trip to the Mexican seaside tells me that the sea is almost never placid once you have children. And perhaps that is what this whole reflection is about.  So i guess i will enjoy the small victories and reclamation of myself, and just sink right into the wild ride of parenting, my 30's and family life! Sometimes i miss the self-centered quietitude of my 20s, but all the time in the world is nothing without the two wacky nuts that i get to share my life with now. Wouldn't trade it for anything. Truly. So ready for this! 30s, baby giggles, pockets full of rocks and leaves from the park, 3's company in bed, trifecta-love. I can't imagine having more then one but i know it will be awesomely nutty when we do it all over again!

I leave you with this; comedian Louis C.K.'s perspective on treasuring the small moments of stillness within parenthood: