Sunday, March 25, 2007

Debbie Downer...

March 23rd, 2007

Have you ever come so close to the brink of utter and absolute exhaustion that it almost feels good? The kind of exhaustion that overwhelms when you collapse onto the couch or bed and your fingertips and toes begin to tingle with glee as they anticipate finally being able to just stop. No more squishy and hot interiors of the latest uncomfortably adorable Macys 50% off Steve Madden platforms, no more keypads to clinker and tinker on. It’s as if they’ve been screaming all day in sickened torture “Please leave us alone!” and now finally the silence of the absence of movement emerges victorious. Ahhhhhhhh. It’s that amazing feeling right before you slip into real sleep, entering the zone of semi- consciousness. Somewhere in between, “Gosh, I’m so tired, I’m glad to be finally going to bed.” and drooling. You know what I mean.

This is the kind of exhaustion that every new mother can definitely relate to. And don’t worry boys, I’m not excluding you here. I’m sure you’ve felt it t on occasion…say, after a long and tiresome night of endless basketball viewing while jumping up and down vigorously on the couch screaming at a television. Screaming to referees whom I’m sure will be taking into account your “Ridiculous! What is this?! Why don’t you take your whistle and blaaaaannnnnnnnnkkkkkkkkk!!!!!”opinions on their latest call.

Exhaustion like this is usually pleasurable pain, when it finally comes to an end. However, during the storm of daily activities, it’s not so pretty. The day before yesterday, the exhaustion of emotional, mental, and physical events began to combine- forming a tornado in the form of a terrifying, dangerous and unsightly little monster: Me.

In high school, my good friend Katherine, a.k.a. The Wise One, once built a brilliant analogy based on a brick wall. She said, “It’s like there a millions of little bricks building a wall, each one representing something small, yet thorny and bothersome in your life. As the wall builds and builds, it finally falls. Ladies, my brick wall is falling.” (In which then she, or I, or whoever was having the colossal and catastrophic meltdown of the typical 17 year old drama queen, would sit and sob).
It is something each of our girlfriends has referred to ever since the wise one spoke such clarity. It was months ago that I felt the beginnings of a wall begin to form, and knew that it would only be a matter of time before it would crash. Crash isn’t even the right word, because that would imply the large wall simply falling down. Explode is a better term….as the bricks shoot out into the surrounding landscape swiping everything and everyone within a 1,295,896 mile radius in their way.

I run my Dad’s office for his plumbing company. And let it be known, I realize what one might think when hearing of a daughter “working” for her father’s company, all of you jealous and doubting other employees out there, imagining the special privileges of the bratty little offspring. I’m here to set the record straight to all of you judger-faces: you are absolutely right.

I get free lunches from anywhere I choose, I come and go as I please. Day one, I began working at the same wage as the person who had to train me was working for. I get to meddle into every little private affair of the business, and occasionally, my opinion is actually heeded. In fact, as rarely heeded as it is, it will always be two steps ahead of your opinion, and this queen of the hill status is safe in the genetically bound relations of father/boss to daughter/employee. So there.

However, among this myriad of privileges comes a deep sense of loyalty and desire to protect this family owned operation. It is because of this I am proud to say that I indeed find my motivation to actually work, and work hard. This is no job for me, it is my family. (Enter Country Time Lemonade commercial background music…excellent speech Rachel…and cut.).

During a usual day of ho hum, bookkeeping business, it was my responsibility to keep tabs on getting payment, a rather large payment, from our contractor, whose name I will refer to as Big Jerk Constructors. The timing was getting crucial as they were stringing us out for payment, nothing out of the ordinary. I put in a call to Sherrie, whose name I will refer to as Sherrie ( because if she ever were to stumble upon this blog in a chance of 1: 89 billion I would want her to know I mean every word of what I say about her). The conversation played out something like this:

Me:”Hello, this is Rachel from Hansen and Sons Plumbing, may I speak to Sherrie?”
Receptionist: “Let me see if she’s here.” Pause. “She’s on another line.”
(Note: She’s ALWAYS on another line. Convenient, given it is time for payment to all subcontractors.)
Me: “I don’t mind holding, thank you.”
10 minutes later
Sherrie: “This is Sherrie.”
Me: “Hello Sherrie, this is Rachel. I’m sorry to bother you during a busy day, how are you doing?”
Sherrie: “Fine.”
Me: “I was just checking to see if a check is ready for pickup.”
Sherrie: “No.”
Me: “Any word on when it will be? Payments are due by the 15th, and it is now the 30th.”
Sherrie: “No.”
Me: “Okay, well thank you so much for your help.”
Sherrie: Click.

What a sweet heart. What is even more pleasurable is when I arrive to their office when payment is finally ready (45 days late) and she throws in a million loopholes before I can pick it up.
I arrive at Big Jerk Const. , and notice a giant GMC suburban lifted with the license plate “SHERRIE.” Ooohhh, Sherrie is the “big dawg” on the corporate ladder of middle class American women bookkeeping, still earning a salary typically below the annual poverty level. Congratulations. You can just see the other women in the office cringe and half hide under their desks as the boney, 95 pound, 4’3” Queen saunters out of her private office
(You know the old joke that men in big trucks are trying to make up for something else? Apparently, it isn’t just men). She fake politely tells me my lien release must state something other than what it already states to receive payment. Of course I bow to her majesty’s request, seeing that she is holding multiple thousands of dollars at will, and do what she says. After stepping back into the office with the correct lien release, she sends one of her ladies in waiting to deliver the check. She only graces us with her presence when she gets to withhold the check, not to deliver it.
As I drove away, I thought to myself. What is it with us women? Was that money Sherrie’s? Did it have anything to do with her actual salary level? Was it going to make a difference to her whether we were paid or not? She works for a giant corporation, she isn’t the owner. The money simply passes through her computing system, she clicks a key, prints it, and sends it down to her supervisor and has him sign it (I’m imagining male supervisor, as women can’t seem to elevate above the glass ceiling in construction business management). Did it make her feel better today to be able to remind another nobody that she was a least a somebody slightly above their nobody? (Did that even make sense?)
So, why the hateful voice? Why the Queen of the bees attitude among women that are just doing the same thing she is….attempting to stay afloat in a world of ever shrinking martial success, ever increasing financial burden, and eternally tiresome attempts to be the perfect working mother, the Victoria’s Secret clad sexy and mysteriously playful wife, the diligent soccer mom, the corporate business leader in a fabulous suit, and yada yada yada. I don’t even want to play this game. I am not vying for the slightly upgraded black pleather chair that serves as the throne of the Big Jerk Constructor's book-keepees. Give me a pb&j sandwich, Lily Lu, and the park for the rest of my life and I’ll be content with my role as simply and beautifully: “Mom.”

Another day, as I arrived home to greet my beautiful baby Lily, she was not necessarily returning the pure delight that I felt at seeing her lovely little face. She was especially grumpy and whiny. I’ll even admit with some additional justification to follow: she hit me a few times when I took a no-no toy away from her. Justification: we must remember that before children can communicate they tend to hit as a way of expressing verbal frustration that they cannot yet speak. So stop judging! Oh wait, it’s me who is judging. I am judging myself. This is the speech I give myself as the other side of me says, “She is actually expressing repressed hurt and anger at a mother who leaves her four days a week to go to work. Why don’t you get your priorities straight? Oh, and by the way, good job at feeding her macaroni and cheese and green beans for dinner. Planning on adding protein any time soon, or are you willing to accept that your child’s possibly future mediocre I.Q. level can be traced to you neglecting to add a hog dog to tonight’s main entree?”

A few weeks pass, and Tyler and I are pouring over future job options. Tyler does not want to stay with his current company, even though the pay upon graduation will be substantially more than we have lived on, making it possible for me to stay home in six weeks! Hooray! Finally!
Hold that shout, not quite so fast. Turns out we have decided the job he is currently in simply won’t take him where he wants to go. We have to consider other jobs, jobs which will merge him onto the highway of engineering success a few miles (years) ahead. Problem is, these jobs start at a much lower salary. I guess I’ll be working two days a week. Still, much better than four. I am still sad.

My Dad and I met about a week ago today, to pour over financials and figure ways to cut back on overhead. Business has been currently tight as we are in between contract jobs. Difficult lay offs have occurred, and debt is racking up as we wait on payments from our ever wonderful and loyal majesty, Big Jerk Constructors. In the past few months, I have been able to catch a glimpse of what my Dad has dealt with my entire, mostly blissfully unaware life. Constant battles over obtaining money that is rightfully owed by contract, sly and devious contractors ready to weasel their way out of any possibly dime, dishonest employees, incredibly obnoxious and difficult customers, substantial debt as you float payroll while awaiting payments, safety inspections, tax audits, bidding and hoping and fighting for the next job, the next contract….it never ends. If my Dad was adding bricks, he’d have rivaled and surpassed the Great Wall of China in about 1987. For the first time, I was losing sleep while worrying about my Dad losing sleep over all the issues we had to lose sleep over.

It was on this day, after a phone call, he called me privately into the back of the office and told me, amidst some very red and sad eyes, that my cousin had just been admitted into a psychiatric hospital, possibly due to a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia. Chills literally ran down my spine as I thought of my completely normal, upbeat and fully functional 19 year old cousin sitting in solitary confinement, limited to visits of one hour a day from his parents, while blabbering nonsense. One day he was fine, the next he was convinced of false conspiracies and voices. To say that this was a heartbreaking and terrifying experience is an understatement. Suddenly his parents, who had just been dealing with a typical college age son coming and going from school and planning future life events, had to confront the possibility that it was all gone now. How does this happen? As I looked at Lily later that evening, running around in her diaper on a warm spring day, with all the wit and wonder of a beautifully mischievous little doll, I thought about my cousin. He is my aunt and uncles first born, their little Lily.
Luckily, after confronting such a scary possible diagnosis and after days of observation in the hospital, it was determined he was suffering from bi polar disorder. Although it is still a disorder, it is like a cold vs. cancer in the spectrum of mental disease. He will be able to manage. Hopefully, and prayerfully, he should be able to manage.

Today I went to a very pleasant lunch with my Uncle Ryan. He, Lily and I enjoyed our favorite Vietnamese noodles and then went to further indulge in Baskin Robbins ice cream. As we drove to the joint of heavenly, creamy caloric enjoyment we were discussing my Aunt Patty, who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis. She has been confined to a wheel chair for around 10 years now, and every year deteriorates worse and worse. He had mentioned that he wanted to see her, but she has refused all visitors lately, including my mother. This can only mean that her bed sores are getting worse. Even in the middle of crippling and lethal disease, she still clings to her sense of privacy and dignity. Having people around her witness the degradation of the human body under such conditions must be somewhat humiliating, I’m sure, even if the situation if far out of everyone’s control. I realized that her attempts to preserve her last few shreds of physical self respect wrenched at my heart strings even more than the actual disease.

Do you suddenly feel as if I’ve used my ultra talented literary skills and morphed you into a live script of the SNL skit “Debbie Downer”? (You know, the skit where the whiny, ugly girl shows up and rains on everyone’s parade by talking incessantly about everything that goes wrong, instead of right…) So sorry, I’m not meaning to depress anyone, the least of all myself.

The Secret would be ashamed. Quick…take it back. Rewind…..La La La. Flowers and kittens and Reeses peanut butter eggs. White cottony socks and sunshine.

Naaaahhhh. No thank you. Not right now. I am a huge fan of the Secret, but I insist that it is necessary for my brick wall to build, because how else would it then be able to explode and vanish, allowing me to see the distant and glorious horizon? I need to have a “this simply and quite utterly, literally, so wholly and completely sucks.” day. It is on this day that I honestly admit that the problem is with me. As Dr. Phil so correctly states “And the common demominator is YOU.” However, I must warn that although the problem is with me….the monster that I am might attack you. And if this horrid gremlin crosses your path someday, please accept my apologies now.

After Ryan told me this sad information about my aunt, I had such a “this sucks” moment. Brick wall begins to lean, then tumble, then BOOOM….and suddenly I’m am silently screaming “God, I am reeeeally trying to understand, but you’re going to have a lot of explaining to do if I’m going to plan on trying to enter into your world, cause from where I’m standing right now, I don’t even want to talk to you at the moment! In fact, I'm not even sure you're there in this sick, infested, infinitely expansive and dark universe.” (I know, the monster is ugly). I am tired. I am exhausted. I am tired of being tired and exhausted. I am sad and I am doubtful. I think this is all just awful. I know that there are women in Africa that walk miles each day with packages on their head only to earn 20 cents to feed their children mush, and yet I feel like I trump them all at this moment.

Later, we were sitting and watching as Lily ate her very own, first ice cream cone. She was entirely covered in vanilla goo, and waving her ice cream around in pure squealish delight. Her three little teeth shone through, and she suddenly and completely voluntarily leaned over and kissed Ryan with the most ooey gooey globbery wet open mouth. Covered in slop, Ryan’s face lit up instantly, and he said, “Oh! You are just an angel from heaven!” And he really meant it.
And suddenly, it dawned on me that I really believe it. As I feel my brick wall falling and vanishing away, I can even see it in the distance of her greenish eyes. It’s a little soul of a pure being, smiling and fresh outta heaven. She is like a little representation that what is there is good, and as willing to love you back as you desire to love it.
Okay Lily, if you and what you are is what is actually there…I’m not sad anymore.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Perfect Moment Series - #2

To say that this is only the third perfect moment would be completely ridiculous. I wanted to begin documenting these moments in my life about two months after Lily was born, and already, I am failing at what I’ve barely begun!
My reason behind writing these moments down stems from my complete lack of memories regarding my two youngest siblings when they were babies. You see, I know that it was such a wonderful and fun experience watching them grow up, but if I had to tell you a specific memory, my current brain’s memory capacity is about the equivalent of an 82 year old retiree with althizmers (sp?) ( which hopefully a cure will be discovered within the next few years of my life….possibly even sooner if I join the next marathon for the cause. My hopes are suddenly seeming dim). I could come up with one or two specific favorite memories, and even then they may be laced with bits of pure fantasy.

And I hate hate hate that! It is terrible to know that you once enjoyed some extremely memorable moments, and you can’t remember them! There is a home video of my youngest sister when she is two. She is standing on a chair with her top on, and a little pink vest with no bottoms, just a diaper. She proudly stands on the chair with her little knobby knees that are dirty from her continuous adventures in the wild wilderness (i.e. backyard) and sings a song she made up, “Ca yon candy Ca yon candy ice cweam” (Translated: “Cotton Candy Cotton Candy Ice cream” her favorite from TCBY, the yogurt shop I worked at in high school). While watching it years later, it occurred to me I would never have remembered that adorable half gibberish song and her big blue eyes as she sang it if it hadn’t been captured on video. Without that, It’s almost as if it didn’t happen, washed away with the continues cycle of life as your brain dumps what it can no longer hold in conscious memory into some other hidden area nobody can seem to find unless under the supervision of a hypnotist. And heaven knows, there are some memories in that hole none of us would wish to retrieve.
Seeing that I can not afford a personal hypnotist, I am writing these moments down so years from now I can hopefully read them with a smile and say, “Ah ha! I totally remember that.” I will see it in my mind as clearly as the video of my baby sister.

Okay…onto something worth actually writing about: my perfect moments. Life with Lily has been nothing one huge accumulation of beautiful, perfect moments. There is no possible way that I would be able to remember them all from the time they begin to the time I get the opportunity to sit down and write about them. So Lily dear, if you are reading this someday, just know Mom did the best she could. I had to wait until you were in bed or in the arms of Daddy, because the moment I get on the computer and the clicking of the keys begin, you hear and come running to type with Mommy too. Seeing how you once completely reversed our computer screen so that everything was reading upside down, I can no longer allow such mommy/lily activities.

Here is a memory that is freshest in my mind, it’s a good thing I’m finally writing it down because it is probably due to expire in 2 days:

One night, Tyler was out of town on business for the week, so Auntie Sarah was over staying with me due to my paranoia, sparked from being alone in a dark house and watching too many episodes of CSI. We were laying down to get Lily to sleep in our big bed. Lily miraculously (and this is truly miraculous given her curious and insatiable appetite to move around and constantly see EVERYTHING) was still as she lay in bed with us. She didn’t try to squirm or climb over Mom or Auntie Sarah. In fact, you couldn’t even see the normal plotting in the sparkle of her brilliantly young little eyes to escape. Instead she looked at each of us with a smile, and began giving out kisses to each of us, one at a time while “being soft” and stroking our faces (we have had to teach her to “be soft” and lightly stroke our cheeks as she has discovered her passion for hitting you hard across the face for the neat slapping sound and pleasurable release of 12 month old aggression).
As she would do this, she would coo “ahhhh”. Sarah and I, completely delighted and loving every second of Lily’s attention, looked at each other and would giggle. Lily noticed this, and began giggling, or fake giggling on purpose. She would lean her head back and look and the ceiling and make a “ah ha ha” “ah ha ha” noise. Witnessing this, we began laughing harder at her wonderful attempt to join the grown ups, and she would again do it…”ah ha ha” “ah ha ha”. It wasn’t just the laugh that was so darling, it was her amazing little profile. Those round cheeks, and that mouth that would open to reveal one tooth and rubbery pink gums looked good enough to eat! Her smile and pleasure at entertaining her fans, even at bed time, made for a moment both Sarah and I were positively dying over.
It was so fun to see it in Sarah’s eyes too, that complete surrender to how astonishing and enthralling this little person can be. You can literally feel that you fell even deeper in love with her right then, just when you thought it couldn’t get any better.

The Glamorous

Attention to self: I now putting myself at serious risk of being made fun of and dated if some future posterity stumbles upon these entries because I am about to mention a song that is a part of current pop culture of my day:

GLAMOROUS….by Fergie/Black Eyed Peas.

I’m already embarrassed. But, there is a point.
Lori (Nonna) watches Lily every Tuesday while I’m at work. In addition to being an already wonderful and helpful grandma ( along with Lily’s other wonderful Gamma Lexis, we are too spoiled), Lori watches Lily at our house in order to save me the drive and keep Lily in her favorite surrounding: home.
There is a particular favorite part to these Tuesdays with Nonna, for me: The sparkling blue Cadillac Escalade truck I get to drive to work. Lori and I trade cars so she will have the properly mounted, Emergency service checked and approved, Eddie Bauer car seat for our darling girl. Leaving Lily is completely horrible, and it must be said that I cannot wait for the day to be a stay at home mommy, but driving to work in plush leather interior, seat warmers, a sun roof, and a navigation system that I have absolutely no idea how to actually navigate does help to dull the pain slightly. I put on my oversized sun glasses, and cruise down the highway thoroughly basking and enjoying the stares of other people, whom I can only assume are thinking, “How the heck did that 20 something year old end up in such a nice car…lucky (fill in the blank).”
And I must shamefully admit that I love every second of this narcissistic royal commute among the lethargic peasantry as they make their way to Starbucks and onto work. Even if it is a figment of my imagination. It is fabulously fabulous.

One day, while driving to work in the Escalade, the “Glamorous” song came on. As Fergie herself would coin it, I was my Rachelicious self in “my ride” while imagining driving along some posh boulevard in Hollywood with Papparazzi en tow while blasting the song away. Reality: Driving down the Pyramid Highway in Sparks, Nevada heading for Hansen and Sons Plumbing to begin handling the paperwork over a severe toilet leak in a disgruntled contractor’s home. If this isn’t pure delusional bliss, I don’t know what is.

I pull up to Hansen and Sons as if I were Charlize Theron (what a glamorous name…) walking into the Ritz Carlton in NYC. Once again, loving it.

After completing a day’s work, Tyler called me to let me know it he was going to be home first. We decided he would stop and trade cars so I could run a couple of errands after work and he would get the Escalade back to his mother.
All too quickly my fantasy day came to a close as Tyler drove away and left me with reality: a 1995 Buick we purchased from Great Grandpa Don. And not just any Buick according to his grandfather, this one has automatic windows. Uh huh. And an auto theft protection key lock, as if we should be so lucky. The body of the vehicle is a gem as well, the front end actually points out in the middle, as if it was a swordfish driving dominantly among a sea of shrimp and flounder. Thank you, humility once again in check.
As I drive to the nearest TJ Maxx and Walmart (alas, not Louis Vutton or Kitson boutique) I can feel my face turning as red as the stop lights I confront. I look side to side and hope nobody I know is around. Once again, my favorite song is blasted:“Glamorous”.
Irony. Mr. McNew (my 10th grade English teacher), I finally get it! And to you, Ms. Katie Hagan ( bitter girl in high school, angered by her inability to reconcile intelligence with good looks and a friendly personality....therefore voluntarily eliminating her potential good looks and friendly personality), I'm not the dum chearleader you always thot I is.
In the song she talks of first class flights and champagne, etc. etc. As I parked my Buick in the Walmart parking lot, I began thinking. What is glamorous?
Driving in the Escalade with toasty buns is definitely more than comfortable. But was I happier? Is that what life should be, or what I think the pinnacle of achievement really looks like? No! Does money really buy happiness? Of course not! Should I be in Hollywood? Absurd!
Or worse, am I coming up with this self reflecting nonsense only as a coping mechanism due to the fact that I simply can’t afford the glamorous, and therefore need to make those that can afford the first class flights all over Europe seem shallow and empty?
I consider myself a happy, extremely fulfilled individual. Whether driving a Buick or Escalade, neither of those two have ever factored into my equation of a + b = happiness. However, I never even knew this in its fullness, this depth about myself until having Lily. This enormity of realization that came over when my purpose in life really began, the day I became her mother, gave me the perspective I have always needed. I put on my oversized, generic sun glasses and flipped my hair as I strutted into Walmart for the latest rollback savings.
While driving home in the Buick, which happens to purr beautifully like a kitten and only costs approx $27.00 to fill up on gas, I began smiling and laughing as I thought a previous evening when Lily pooped in the bath as I was bathing with her. Tyler came in and couldn’t seem to get a grip on the situation as he squealed like a girl in disgust, “What are you going to do?!!! What are you going to do?!!!!!”
Glamorous. However, Fergie failed to mention that part of the song….

I thought of how she turns and runs with an item she knows she’s not supposed to have when she is caught. I thought about how she gives kisses with her mouth wide open, the most slobbery and delicious of all kisses. I thought about how short and mini and cute she looks in her princess pajama’s before bed. I thought of how she attempts to reach down my shirt, whether in public or not, when she wants nurse. I thought of how she dances to the Wiggles, and blows kisses bye bye, even to the passer-bys who aren’t saying it to her.. So many things…so many glamorous things.
As I pulled the Buick into the garage after purchasing the $49.00 worth of groceries we could actually afford, I greeted my husband and baby who had already fallen asleep together in our bedroom lazy boy chair. He was snoring, and her little fat face was laying sideways on his chest so that her mouth was slightly open with her cherry cheeks and puckered pink lips, slowly dripping sweet baby drool onto his T shirt. I smiled and thought to myself, “Fergie, you don’t have anything on this.”

However, that does not mean I won’t be driving my own Escalade someday.

Perfect Moment Series- #1

June 2006

Reader’s discretion advised:
The “perfect moment series” is full of complete mushy gushy ooey gooey sentiments of a new mother absolutely engulfed in the miracle of a new little person. Read on at your own risk of a tear, an eye roll, or overwhelming nausea.

My day started out rather well, I actually awoke fifteen minutes before I had planned to awake to begin the day, I sailed through my morning and afternoon activities with my husband and baby and had just had the family over for a BBQ. I flew into a sort of rage however, upon my family leaving the house, when I discovered bits and pieces of chocolate cake smeared into the carpet along with crushed nacho cheese Doritos.
After a fifteen minute tirade to my siblings about the responsibilities of houseguests upon leaving their hostess’s dwelling, I finally finished cleaning up the house with my husband and then crawled into bed.
Lily had just woken up….lovely. Probably from the ranting voice of her mother in the other room five minutes earlier. There she was, laying in her crib with her button up light yellow sleeper, all soft and ‘cottony’ wrapping her chubby little frame. She instantly smiled and began kicking her legs as she looked up at me, as if she were ready to get up at 11pm to start her next day. “Oh dear…,” I sighed as I picked her up and kissed her, and brought her in the bed to nurse, and hopefully fall asleep.

That’s when it hit. For the second time…. What I have now coined “ A Perfect Moment.”

Since having Lily, my life has generally been more beautiful and wonderful on a daily basis. It has been impossible to call any day a bad day when she is there to smile at me and kiss and cuddle. My days are beautiful days, my life is charmed. But Perfect Moments are different. They are moments when things around me seem to hush, and the overwhelming and almost crushing realization of what I have and am a part of hits. It is at this awakening I feel a rush of the truest sense of joy, the fullest level of fullness (is that possible?), and I am moved to a deep and real feeling of swelling, loving emotion. This is not the neurotic premenstrual syndrome hitting, or the motherly sense of tenderness that I have learned of before, it is an entirely new sensation. At the risk of sounding cliché, it is almost indescribable.

The first perfect moment was about three months ago. I was busy rushing to my next destination during a busy workweek, with Lily buckled securely in the back seat. I had to stop and get gas, and so I pulled over at the nearest station, whined to myself about the latest rise in gas prices, and began pumping. While filling up, I climbed into the back seat to wait with Lily, since at her very young age (2 months) once the car stopped so did her patience with her carseat. I began to talk to her, and as I did she looked right up at me in the eyes, and smiled the most genuine smile I had ever seen. She had smiled previously before, a few times at home, but this smile was different. It was a smile of recognition, and one that seemed to jump out and say what her little body couldn’t express: she was saying. “I love you!” I knew it! I felt it. The excitement and happiness and utter melting of my heart all combined at once and I immediately coined this experience such a ‘perfect moment’.

This second perfect moment began tonight, when I undressed Lily out of her sleeper, although cute and cuddly, because I knew she would be too hot in our big bed with our giant comforter swarming as I nursed her. Tyler and I were both in our lightest summer pajamas, and we crawled under the crisp, freshly washed sheets and threw our comforter off the bed and laid with Lily in between. She instantly stopped her fidgeting, usually fussy self upon awakening during the night. Instead, she stretched her arms out so that each arm was touching Tyler and I, and she looked back and forth, pausing each time to study our faces with her twinkling, almond eyes. Her fat, round, porcelain white body barely stretched to the length of my arm and Tyler’s elbow, and there she lay, with her soft round belly rising and falling with each breath. Her belly button barely peeks out from her big diaper, and she pulls her little pink toes (courtesy of Mommy) up to her chest until she literally resembles a ball of the most adorable baby fatness. She had her binkie in, but I could see her smile peeking out of the edges as I slowly opened my eyes to a squint to look back at her.
You see, the doctor told us if Lily was to awake in the night, even for a feeding, we were not to look her in the eyes and begin smiling or playing. This would only stimulate her further, and hence prolong the awful nightlong jaunts that we occasionally dealt with. But how could I resist those eyes? She slowly grabbed and touched my nose and lips, as if I were some creature whose planet she had just arrived at and was here to study. She looked very closely and studied my features, much the same way as I have studied hers for the past six months. I don’t know what she was thinking in that little, new mind of hers. But I could feel that she loved me as she touched and studied. How does this happen?
This was when I was slammed with the perfection of my life. Here I was, laying in my soft bed with my indescribably wonderful husband and our most precious and perfect creation in between us. Looking at her, it doesn’t make sense that that Tyler and I claim responsibility for her existence. No, something much greater than us created her, and we are blessed enough to get to hold possession and take credit for a time. I relaxed and forgot instantly about everything around me and just soaked up the feeling of them there with me, allowing the feeling of joy and completion to just sink in a settle for awhile.
I smiled, and this was no smile intended for anyone else. Tyler had already fallen fast asleep and Lily was close behind. This smile was for me, for the circumstance surrounding me. It was genuine. I am happy. Truly and utterly happy. It was at this moment, as Lily lay content feeling safe between her mommy and her daddy, drifting off to sleep, that I wiped a tear from my eye as I realized I had just experienced another perfect moment.