Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Old Friends

Last Friday, I attended the ten-year high school reunion of Central Visual and Performing Arts High School's Class of 1996. What a blast! It's really a fluke that I even got to go. The reunion committee couldn't find me. They were looking locally and under my maiden name. They didn't find Amy, my best friend, either. She was local, but now a Smith, and therefore a little tough to find. A friend of ours just happened to be at an event that used the same photographer that I used for my wedding. The photographer posted the photos on his website. When my friend went looking for her own photos, she found mine. Not many Schleichers around, so when she saw that name, she must have recognized me. There I was, in all my wedded bliss. We'd been emailing ever since. The reunion committee found her, I guess, and she found me. Isn't it funny how things like that happen...

It was more fun than I'd thought to see everyone and hear about their lives and families. Of course, everyone was excited for me when they noticed my own growing family. With Amy's own baby due three days after mine, we were known as "the mommies" and every picture with one of us also has the other. I guess not much has changed since high school. We were best friends then, and still are today.

Amy and I used to joke about being pregnant at the same time. When she got pregnant with Megan, her first daughter, I was planning my wedding. She told me I'd better hurry up. Two years later, we're both facing "surprise" babies, one almost on top of the other.

There were so many people I re-connected with at our reunion that I wish I'd had more time to chat with. I felt a sense of pride towards some of them--not that I had anything to do with their success, but just a general feeling of happiness for them, that they were doing so well. Some had abandoned or at least laid aside the music and art that was our focus in high school. Some, like me, had jobs that paid them to do what they loved then and still love now. I'm always happy for someone who's been able to realize a dream.

Now that I've been found, I'm looking forward to 20 years. I wonder where I'll be then...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A Plan

About three or four months into my vegetarian lifestyle, Nick and I went to my grandmother’s house for a family gathering. Just about everything served had meat in it. No big deal. We were new at this and a lot of people simply weren’t aware of it. I was sitting with one of my aunts and my older brother, eating when my aunt took notice of the lack of meat on my plate. When I told her I was a vegetarian, she said, “You can’t do that.”

My brother laughed. “Don’t tell my sister she can’t do something.” He’s right. It only makes me more determined.

I am my own person and no one knows me better than me. A close second is my husband, followed shortly by my mother. I suspect that she doesn’t like me at times, but at least she knows me. Isn’t that true of all mothers? I also don’t think she’s worried that I won’t love my children or that I won’t be able to cope with labor or motherhood. She knows how tough I am. She knows that I won’t let anything get in my way. (Mom, if you’re shaking your head at my assumptions, give me a call and we’ll talk.)

I am not worried about motherhood or labor. I can handle it. I can. If I couldn’t, then I’m sure the Good Lord would have foreseen it and prevented my pregnancy. After all, women have been doing this since Eve. She’s the cause of all of this labor pain stuff. I’m not worried about lack of sleep. I’ve never been one to sleep much anyway (what a waste of time!). I’m not worried that I won’t be able to breast feed. That’s what these things are here for. I will make them work. I’m not worried that I won’t be able to stand washing cloth diapers. They’re free once you buy them and my mom made it out ok, so I can do it too.
I know that there are women out there who have had horrific labors and really needed their epidurals. I know that there are women who tried desperately to breastfeed and just couldn’t do it. I know that cloth diapers are a pain and disposables, while expensive, are worth it for some people. That’s great. You’re all good moms and I would never presume to say otherwise. You know you better than I do, so I can’t say you did anything wrong or right, just as you can’t say I’m doing anything wrong or right. This is me. This is my space to say what I have to say, whether anyone likes it or not. I’m not saying that I won’t change my mind. I may get through one contraction and decide that this is it—no more pain. But I’m going to give it my best shot to go it alone, drug free. Breastfeeding is important enough to me for several reasons to make it work. I will make it work. I may decide that cloth diapers aren’t worth it. I doubt it. But I may. It’s important to me to give it my best shot. My mom did it. I can do it. It can be done. I’ve only come across one impossible thing in my life—dribbling a football. Not possible. I’ve tried. Oh, and that licking your elbow thing. Can’t do that either.

This is how I plan to deal with these things. (Key word here is plan.) It’s like a birth plan. I have a list of things I’d prefer to happen or not happen during my labor. Everyone not essential to the moment should stay out. No episiotomy. No pain medications. No strapping me to the bed. No c-section. Dim lights. Clothes on. My own music. Just Nick and me. This is what I’d like to have. Now, I know that babies have their own way of doing things and he/she may decide that it doesn’t want to enter the world headfirst (very wise outlook on life). It may be five and a half weeks late like I was and be 15 pounds. In either case, I may be in for it. Fine. We’ll do whatever we have to do. But that doesn’t diminish the importance of having a plan.

Don’t tell me that I can’t go through labor unassisted by drugs. Don’t tell me I won’t get enough sleep. Don’t tell me I can’t use cloth diapers or breastfeed exclusively. Don’t tell me I won’t go back to work after my baby is born or that I can’t have more children than is sane. I can. Trust me, I know me very well.