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I don’t know why I’ve felt so reluctant to write lately. It’s strange, really… very unlike me. Usually, I tend to analyze and over-analyze and examine and self-dissect until it reaches the point of total exhaustion. But that hasn’t been the case here lately. Rather, I’ve purposefully been avoiding myself as much as possible. Staying busy with mindless, busy-work tasks that don’t require or allow me to think too much. My thoughts have been a scary, deep hole lately and I just don’t want to fall in.

There’s lots of little shreds and pieces of self-analysis that have passed through during the last few weeks. And because they’re completely disjointed in my head, I will now make a list:

1. I’ve been angry with my father, who is totally deserving (in my opinion).

2. I’ve been angry with my mother-in-law, who is totally undeserving (in my opinion).

3. I’ve been sad at my lack of true involvement the baby that’s currently residing inside of me. This is hard to explain, because I think “lack” gives an inaccurate impression. I’ve met people who aren’t excited about their pregnancies – very blase and annoyingly apathetic. I detest those people, and I’m pretty sure I’m not one of them. But I think that I may be acting like one of them. Why? Why am I not allowing myself to completely emotionally invest in this pregnancy?

4. I miss Mama horribly right now. It’s cyclical – I always miss her, but sometimes it’s a dull ache and sometimes it’s a debilitating, shattering pain. The last few weeks have been the latter. I need her right now. There are so many things that she should be here for – the first ultrasound, the first heartbeat, the endless discussion of all things baby-related. And her absence is a ripped, gaping hole that nothing can fill. She was so involved in Jennifer’s pregnancy – from the doctor visits to the shopping to the showers to the nursery. She was thrilled beyond words about “her Maggie” and nothing – not cancer, or chemo, or brain tumors, or radiation – could keep her spirits dampened when her grandbaby was the topic. My baby will never know her. How can that be? All these firsts are bittersweet – I’m so grateful that I’ve been given a successful (so far) pregnancy, but nothing is 100% good or happy anymore. Everything is tinged in sadness and loss… trying to understand that I’m a motherless daughter who is going to be a motherless mother. Reading those words, they seem to be just letters on a page. But they’re not. They’re my identity, all wrapped up into everything I do and everything I think and everywhere I go. I can’t leave it at home or lock it away in my little “yuck box.” It’s everywhere, and I feel completely overwhelmed with sorrow and loss every time I allow myself to think about my beautiful, passionate, irreplaceable mother.

It just sucks.

Bobby told me that I’m being selfish by letting my grief override the joy. I became very angry when he said this, and proceeded to roll over and pull the covers over my head (literally). But thinking about it, I realize that from his perspective, he’s right. He misses Mama, but there’s no gaping hole – he’s basking in the excitement of his own mother, who is completely beside herself at the thought of her first grandchild… and my dismal, Eeyore-like demeanor is detracting from his and his mother’s happiness. Selfish? Maybe. Avoidable? I don’t think so. I can’t pretend. I don’t want to pretend. I’m not going to pretend that this, my first (viable) pregnancy is all roses and laughter and sunshine. Because it’s not. I want and love this baby vehemently. But nothing is perfect without my mother.

But now, here comes the shift. I’ve cried, I’ve ranted, I’ve spewed my guts… and now I’m going to talk about other things that have no emotional attachment whatsoever. And again, I’ll make a list:

1. Our yard sale burgeoned out of control, and so was postponed to this coming Sat, Aug 30th. My dining room has been taken over by boxes and an inordinate amount of crap (Yard Sale Central is pictured at right… isn’t it HORRIBLE?). I can’t wait to reclaim my house after next Saturday… really, really. I have a fear that no one will come and then we’ll be stuck with all this stuff – oh puhleeeeease don’t let that happen.

2. My very excited mother-in-law & my very excited husband dragged me out Saturday for a day of shopping. Ms Linda purchased the travel system and high chair. Never even blinked at the price tag… just swiped that American Express and had Bobby load it up in her truck. After much research, we went to several stores and actually played with the floor models. The setting up and breaking down of strollers is no easy task, I tell you. The Graco Quattro Tour is one of the most popular choices, and they have great colors to choose from – but Bobby was cursing before he even got it completely folded. I’m sure that would be a lovely vocab lesson for the kiddo’s ears. I actually thought we would go with the Graco Metrolite, which is what Jen has for Maggie…. but we ended up with the Chicco Cortina. It’s gray & lime green… very snazzy and gender-neutral and the infant car seat has the highest safety ratings according to Consumer Reports. And random fact – did you know that “Chicco” is pronounced “Keyco,” not “Cheeco”? I know, whoda thunk it?

And the high chair is a Graco… I was very drawn to the vintage Jenny Lind made by Angel Line, but the Graco seemed much sturdier. Bobby’s mom tells tales of Bobby bouncing so hard in his high chair that it would skitter across the floor. Something tells me that if we have a boy, he will most likely take after his father and sturdy will be a necessity.

3. Bobby and I bought a crib, and Daddy’s going to reimburse us. Jennifer has made a detailed spreadsheet of all the items that Mama bought for Maggie, and she’s ramrodding an effort to ensure that Ziggy the Zygote receives the same amount of money. As Daddy so eloquently said, “The feeling of Mama’s not here, but the money is.” Guess I should be thankful for what I have. And I am truly, truly grateful that Jennifer is driving the effort for total equality…. because I wouldn’t do it myself. If I had to beg Daddy for money to buy the same things for our baby, I would just do without…

But the crib really is beautiful. We stayed with the Jenny Lind style, but purchased the model by Million Dollar Baby, which as the one-hand drop side. Bobby’s so into this baby stuff… he assembled the stroller and high chair within an hour after we got home Sat night. Would have done the crib too, but there’s just no room until the yard sale inventory is removed. I know that the today’s nurseries tend to lean toward dark wood for a boy and white for a girl… but I really, really love the classic, all-white for a baby regardless of gender. Lots of the crib bedding is very brightly-colored as well, instead of the more traditional pastels… I like the bright, colorful nurseries in the magazines, but I keep going back to, again, the more traditional nursery. One of the thoughts behind the bright decor is visual stimulation – after all, the pastels would be just a blur until their vision fully develops. But on the other hand, I’m not sure that I WANT the nursery to be overly stimulating. I want it to be restful, peaceful, a place that’s conducive to sleeping (through the night, preferably). So the compromise – when they outgrow the crib and go to a toddler bed, we’ll redecorate in active, stimulating colors.

And while I’m sharing all my baby gear thoughts, I might as well just keep going… Based on the info we gathered on our Sat shopping trip, I revised the registry to include a Britax convertible car seat. They’re expensive, but they have the highest safety ratings, and Bobby’s mom made the excellent point that money is better spent on safety than nursery decor and such. Chose the Evenflo Triumph for the secondary car seat, which has the 2nd highest safety ratings. A second car seat is a luxury… we would be completely fine without one – but figured it was worth adding.

I met a salesgirl at USA Baby that was extremely helpful – as a mother of two, she had the voice of experience, and she didn’t just try to push her own products to make a sale. She recommended the Maclaren umbrella stroller for age 1+… said that it’s very durable, easy to access, & lightweight. It’s a bit pricey for an umbrella stroller, in my opinion…. there are $20 strollers that would probably be just fine… but again it goes back to giving options on the registry. If someone chooses to get it for us, we’ll be thrilled – if they don’t, we’ll just go with the cheapo version when the time comes.

Whew. See, told you that I’ve been diligently packing my brain full of things that don’t allow room for “real” thoughts!….

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