Monday, January 23, 2012

Helping Hands

When I first told my mom I was pregnant and the news of us moving to a different country was already on the radar, my mother said, "You're going to need help."

And I said, "Mom. Plenty of women before me have had babies and raised them and didn't have 'help' - I'll be fine."

Fast forward: November.
We had Rafaella October 7 and my mom's helping hands had been here over a month. At the end of October she left back to NJ leaving us with our maid/nanny, Shelley. Thanks to her, I don't remember the last time I cleaned... like really cleaned. I organize. I am a master organizer. And due to my OCD, I make our bed most days. But really cleaned?? Can't tell you. With the help of Shelley, we don't clean and we barely cook. And to allow me to work on my book, she takes Rafaella for a little while everyday. Now I'll say, plenty of women before me have had babies and raised them and didn't have help, but being on the other side of that and having help, I must say, it is quite nice.

Fast forward: Today, January 23.
It has been a week since Nana came to visit. And as if Shelley's helping hands weren't enough, having Nana's helping hands has truly allowed us to move to that next phase in having a baby. The "we have our routine set and we know how to be parents, but now how do we begin to be ourselves again" phase. This phase includes things like going to the gym, going on a date with my husband - remember, we're still "newlyweds", getting back to Yoga, really getting serious about my book writing. Following the always inspiring words of The Alchemist, "When you want something the universe conspires to help you achieve it," I think the universe is helping me become all of the things I want to be without feeling guilty that I'm letting a part of myself down. I can be a good mother and still take a few hours off during the day to be a writer. I can write a book and still spend time with my baby. I can be a great wife while still finding time for friends. I am still an intellectual that can act like a babbling fool the second my Rafa wakes up and smiles at me. I can be it all.

When I was still pregnant, one of our good friends uttered the first half of the African proverb, "It takes a village..." as he handed off his adorable daughter to Husband to hold and watch for a moment. We thought it funny at the time, but have now truly internalized what that means. And what's beautiful is that when I now really think about "helping hands," I see that everyone has had a [helping] hand in raising our Rafa.

"It takes a village to raise a child" is right. And I'll say again, plenty of women before me have had babies and raised them and didn't have help. This is true. And the fact that I would be fine without help is true too. But at this point in my life "fine" doesn't cut it. I want to be whole and surrounded by people who have not only had a helping hand with our daughter, but who I know love her too.

So to all of you who have held her, clothed her, kissed her, sparkly angel faced her, asked about her, changed her, "Dios la bendiga-ed" her, helped install her carseat, were concerned about her weight, were concerned about our weight, offered to watch her, checked out pictures of her on this blog with your daughter who says, "Mom... look it's the baby Rafa" - to all of you who have had any part in this baby Rafa - you have changed our lives and become our village.

Thank you.

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