Before you have a baby, you don't really realize the impact that the change will have on your life.  Intellectually, you know that you will not have much free time after the baby comes but it is hard to make sense of what that actually means.  When I was about 7 months pregnant, I remember going to have my make up done at Sephora because I knew that it would probably be my last personal indulgence, at least for a while.  I remember walking through the mall and thinking to myself, "I should take my time because I probably won't have the opportunity to just dawdle around in a shopping mall for years."  My last month or so of pregnancy, I had those kinds of thoughts a lot.  I knew it was coming but I had no idea really what it would mean.  As I have explained, I didn't mind giving up social engagements.  Mostly, I just wanted to make sure my friendships stayed intact, so I would make plans every so often just so people didn't think I had disappeared entirely.  But I felt no pressing need to have a girls getaway weekend or get out to concerts or restaurants.  Until about 5 years ago, my favorite restaurant was Islands so it isn't like I am some wild foodie or anything.  I did have trouble figuring out how to exercise and do other personal things, like get a manicure.

In April or May, I convinced my work to let me participate in the "Israel Ride" (www.israelride.org).  This is something that I have wanted to do since I started working for JNF almost 5 years ago.  It is a bike ride from Jerusalem to Eilat for which participants raise money to support one of our very important partners, The Arava Institute - a graduate program in environmental studies where Israelis, Palestinians, Jordanians, and others from around the world study together with the understanding that the environment knows no borders.  The program focuses on the environment but also helps in creating a common language and dialogue between Arabs and Israelis.  Super cool.  I knew that by sending me, my organization would benefit as I would be connecting with so many people on the ride who probably didn't know much about our work outside of this one program.  I also knew that this would be an exciting challenge for me - to get in shape, to see Israel in a whole new way (from my bicycle seat), to meet new people, and to have a weeklong glimpse at independence.  The idea of leaving Max for a week was heartbreaking.  I knew it would take enormous strength and faith to go away and just trust that he would be fine.  Everyone who I expressed concerns to said the same thing, "You know he will be ok, right?  You will be a wreck, but he will be fine."  I really believed that to be true.  Part of what made me want to do this was just the challenge of working through my own separation anxiety.  Of course, the challenge of finding the time to train was toughest of all.  A colleague of mine signed up to do the ride.  He called me to tell me he was up to (who remembers?) how many miles a day and had lost 15 pounds.  How far was I riding?, he wanted to know.  Well, I was getting up in the morning and nursing Max and then getting him ready for daycare and then taking him there and then rushing off to work and then getting off work just in time to pick him up and then bringing him home and going through our evening routine and by the time Ted got home, I was HUNGRY and then I would get tired and we'd go to sleep. So, I was up to 0 miles.  Pretty awesome, right?  In the 5 weeks or so before Max died, I had actually figured out how to get an hour or so in about 3-4 days a week.  The morning of Max's "incident", I started answering emails and doing some work early while Ted was taking care of the morning routine.  I got Max to daycare at 8 am and then was on my bike by about 8:10 and rode for about an hour, I came home and showered quickly and sat down to work, I had a meeting scheduled in Beverly Hills at 11:30. My cell phone was in my purse on vibrate.  I almost missed the call.  I happened to glance at my purse and saw the phone lighting up on top.  My advice is that if you are a parent and your phone is on vibrate, put your phone in your pocket, put it on the table in front of you or put it in your lap.  You don't ever want to miss an emergency phone call - I'm sure this will never happen to you but emergencies happen and you don't want to miss it.  When I would ride, the phone was in a little pouch under my seat.  I would have never known it was ringing if I had been on the ride when the call came in.  All of the scenarios make me sick and yet, none of it really matters, since he is gone.  At least I was with him as long as was humanly possible.  Still, he is gone.

Last night was bad.  I hardly slept.  I tossed and turned all night, waking up every hour on the hour.  I also have a conference call this morning at 8 am.  It was originally scheduled for 7 am but another West Coast colleague and I said, "no way".  It takes most of the night for me to fall asleep.  Sometimes (rarely) I am actually able to sleep in.  I've got to take the sleep where I can get it these days because it is HARD for me to come by.  Anyway, I was up all night thinking about Max.  I was thinking about the fact that I am not a mommy anymore.  I can sit in the Sephora store all weekend long if I want.  I can go out to concerts, meet my friends for drinks and long dinners, Ted and I could plan a last minute weekend getaway and not have to think twice about it.  BUT - I don't want to do ANY of those things.  I don't DO any of those things.  I don't want my time back.  Time is my enemy.  I want my MAX back.  I miss HIM....and I was thinking about this - I miss my nose against his cheek and my cheek against the top of his head.  I miss the physical body of Max that Ted and I MADE.  When my grandpa died, I missed him SO much.  I thought about him all day long and I missed being with him and laughing with him and all of his stories and the love for me that he had that I could feel in my soul. I missed hugs from him I guess but I didn't feel the urge to cuddle him or squish my face against his....I mean, that would be weird.   As hard as that was, this is 100 times worse.  It just is.  So, with endless time on my hands, and a feeling all day long that I just want the day to end, I sit up all night long making my days even longer, creating even more time.  I went from not being able to imagine giving up my time, to looking for teeny tiny windows of time, to having way more time than I want.  It has only been a little over 2 months.  The LONGEST 2 months of my life.

1 comment

Kimberly Bonheim Birbrower said...

I'm thinking about you and Ted tonight. I don't know what to say except that I am thinking of you both and you are in my prayers this Rosh Hashanah.