[psst... have you checked out my Postcards from Parenthood Blog Carnival yet?]
Border guard: What were you doing in the U.S.?
Border guard: What were you doing in the U.S.?
Tracy: visiting friends.
Border guard: How do you know these friends?
Border guard: How did you meet them?
Tracy: Ummm… online? I know, that sounds a bit sketchy.
Border guard: It’s more common than you’d think these days.
Mac whimpers, eyes still closed, and I glance over at the clock to see the time. It’s 6:50 AM. I lift my shirt and hope that some milk will quiet him down for a little while longer. It works for a minute or two and then he opens his eyes. His hands reach out on either side. His two moms are there. Warm-bodied and groggy as usual. But something is different. His head lifts. He strains to sit-up but can’t quite get his abdominal muscles to cooperate. My body flattens so that he can see over me. The smile on his face widens as he realizes his good fortune. There is a second bed in this room. And OMG Auntie Tata is here! She was here when I went to sleep. She is here when I am waking-up! Auntie Tata! Auntie Tata! He doesn’t yet have words so he shrieks to show his delight.
“Sorry Tam,” my wife mumbles as she roles over, wishing that babies came with a snooze button. Tammy just smiles.
“Good morning Macaroni,” she replies to his squeals. And any pretend chance of ten more minutes of sleep is gone. Mac is smiling and hollering and slapping the bed with excitement. I pick him up and place him on her bed. He looses his damn mind with glee.
Andy, Mac’s dad, is down the hall in a separate hotel room with his friend Luigi (Tio Luigi if you are Mac). He asked me to text when his son was awake. Not accustomed to the early wakings of a baby I assume that he is still snoring peacefully. I send the text anyway, expecting that it will sit, unread, on his phone for a while. Instead, there is a knock at the door a few minutes later. Sleep can wait. Happy baby morning squeals cannot.
It is safe to say that my child’s mind is sufficiently blown by this point. Two moms, one Auntie Tata, and one dad all before 8 AM. Hotel life is pretty spectacular for an 8 month old. The four of us lounge around. All pajama-ed and bedhead-ed. Nobody cares. We are all looking at the baby anyway.
Mac is the star of his one-baby show and it is getting rave reviews. He opens with a round of “mum, mum, mum, ba, ba, ba, me, me, me,” and the crowd is riveted. He slows things down with an interlude of thigh slapping and clicking noises but nobody seems to mind. And then finally, the big finale, “baby, baby, baaayyybbbeeee” followed by a very loud shriek. Applause breaks out and he stops momentarily, perhaps wondering why there is no standing ovation.
Eventually Andy decides that Luigi is missing far too much and goes to wake him from his slumber.
“Would you like to take the baby with you?” I ask.
“Can I?” He seems surprised.
We have enough time to shower and get ready without the distraction of a baby symphony of sounds and tricks to slow us down. And then Dad is at the door with his hungry son. He looks like any other dad, passing off a milk-hungry baby to his mother. Of course, he’s not like most dads but there is a comfort in this new normal we are creating. The familiarity of tradition mixed with the newness of our modern family. Mac is still yet unaware of his uniqueness.
I fill the baby’s belly and we fill our own. We lounge around and we chat. Weaving tales of our pasts and hopes for our futures together. Mac’s new song of “me, me, me, me” reminds Andy of a friend from college nicknamed MeMe. He begins with the explanation that it was before TV remotes and then tells the story of MeMe who would ask other people to turn the dial on the television for him. All I take away from this story is “you were in college before remotes?”
In the clichéd words of The Grateful Dead, scrawled on yearbooks far and wide, what a long strange trip it’s been. The paths that we have all taken to bring us here, to this point in time, to this perfectly plump baby with his magical smile. I ask the room what they were doing twenty years ago.
I was an 11 year-old girl in Sudbury Ontario with long dark hair and thick bangs. I was crushing out on boys and reading Christopher Pike books under the covers. Tracy and Tammy were 17 and 18 respectively in Pembroke Ontario, riding in cars with boys, sneaking into bars, and imagining the world ahead of them as they graduated from high school. Andy and Luigi were both 23 and hadn’t yet met. Andy was graduating from Ohio State and working at a call centre where he hired psychics and live chat operators to man the line for various 1-900 and 1-977 numbers. And Luigi was living in Howard Beach New York, studying Mechanical Engineering and working as a ticket agent for Iberia Airlines.
And now here we are. Twenty years later. Five different paths have twisted and contorted all to bring us here. To this Hilton GardenInn in Watertown NY. To this baby with his infectious giggles and chatty collection of sounds. To this:
Which is exactly where we are all supposed to be.
Clicking on the juggling mom below will register a vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs. Also, this post is linked up with yeahwrite.me. Click on the image to check out some great blog posts and then go back on Thursday to vote for your favorites.
There are few things I like better than "new normal" :D Good post my friend!ReplyDelete
The new normal is pretty great isn't it?Delete
Love this post! It is mind boggling how every moment and twist and turn...every break up and meet up, every journey whether across town or across the world and every decision made or not made, brings us exactly to where we are in this moment. I wish I was a fly on the wall in that hotel. I love this family that Mac has. Good job all of you!!!ReplyDelete
Aw. Thank-you Julie! I'm loving this family too :)Delete
Sounds like a fun trip. It's neat that you can all get together! I can't believe how big he's getting!ReplyDelete
It was indeed very fun. I'm looking forward to the next one.Delete
First of all I need to say that Mac is completely and utterly scrumptious! Oh my. And second - how amazing that he has so many wonderful people that love him to bits. And third - I love the idea of going back 20 years with people you did not know back when and marveling at how today came to be. Pretty damn cool.ReplyDelete
Thank-you! We think he's pretty great too ;)Delete
Beautiful baby with a beautiful family. I contemplate twisting paths and sliding doors a lot in my own life. It is just mind blowing how a minute could have made all of the difference in the pathway of our lives. EllenReplyDelete
It certainly is mind blowing. So much can depend on one email or one chance encounter.Delete
Oh my heart - this was beautiful! Thanks for including us in your modern family!ReplyDelete
you are very welcome. Thank-you for reading.Delete
I agree with Ellen---gorgeous family, great story. ErinReplyDelete
AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME story. Mac is one lucky little dude to have such an amazing family!ReplyDelete
Thank-you. We feel pretty lucky to have him!Delete
Greetings from St. Louis! I’m wondering if you would consider submitting a version of your story to an anthology that's under development? If any of your followers have stories, I'd love to hear them, too. I’m actively seeking story submissions for two books on motherhood for Publishing Syndicate (Not Your Mother’s Book…On Being a Mom and Not Your Mother’s Book...On Moms-to-Be). I especially need some good stories for Moms-to-Be. These are NOT Chicken Soup -- they are stories for a new century. Adoption stories also welcome. Contributors earn royalties. Thank you!ReplyDelete
Guidelines and submission form at:
It sounds like a perfect twist of fate. Not to mention, a wonderful morning!ReplyDelete
it was certainly both of those things!Delete
What a wonderful story, the blendings and mixings of love and friendship is obvious. VERY well done!!ReplyDelete
Aw, what an adorable baby! So much attention, he has it made.ReplyDelete
Hopefully it doesn't all go to his head!Delete
What a beautiful family you have. I love your "new normal," with all of its lovely pieces and people. And I love how you describe watching Mac as a trip to the theater or symphony. They truly are entertaining, aren't they?ReplyDelete
that lil macaroni is totally cute! i just discovered your blog. i saw the summary of it on top mommy blogs and it definitely intrigued me. looking forward to reading more!ReplyDelete
lydia @ the adventures of Mommaloo
Thank-you very much Lydia!Delete
I love the way you tell this story here. Lovely post!ReplyDelete
This. is. AWESOME! Beautiful family and your son is SO lucky to have so many people that obviously adore him. Thank you for sharing, this post warmed my heart today.ReplyDelete
Well your comment warmed my heart. Thank-you.Delete
all that love, spilling over him and coming back to you. it is amazing.ReplyDelete
We are truly very, very blessed.Delete
Nice to meet you all. Great post. The first pic, of Mac on the bed, is fantastic.ReplyDelete
Awww... you have a beautiful family and your story is so compelling.ReplyDelete
Yeah for happy families, conventional or otherwise. It is wonderful to see so much love packed into one room. Now I am so very curious about the "rest" of your story... Thanks for inviting us in.ReplyDelete
The whole story is available if you click the "prequel" and "HIMYMs" tabs on the right.Delete
Interesting story, thanks for sharing. Glad everything worked out well!ReplyDelete
What a lovely family! Your baby sounds and looks so incredibly happy!ReplyDelete
Thank-you. He is. At times anyway ;)Delete
A lovely family indeed!ReplyDelete
What a lucky little boy!! He has so many people to love him!ReplyDelete