What do you want to be when you grow up?

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I can’t help but wonder what kind of person Paloma will be. Will she follow a creative life? Will she want to go live in another country?
When I was 3 years old my mom bought me a 3/4 size violin and signed me up for Suzuki violin lessons. I REALLY hated it. I do remember playing twinkle, twinkle little star over and over. In Suzuki, they teach you first to play by ear. I completely faked reading the sheet music when they were teaching it.

When I was about 12, I wanted to be a drummer. Phil Collins was my idol. I’d watch MTV and sing along at the top of my lungs to his song ” In The Air Tonight”, I’d play air drums along to that part…you must know which place in the song I’m talking about, because you did it too!! In high school I enrolled in band. I told the teacher I wanted to play the snare. He said they already had plenty of people playing the snare and so he put me on symbols. He told me when there was an opening for a drummer he’d put me on it. Well, there NEVER was! I played the symbols one summer in the Tucson heat and after that I quit.

I joined the orchestra instead, they kicked me out when they found out I wasn’t reading music.
I remember wanting to be in cheer leading, I tried out and was never chosen.
I really wanted to go to cosmetology school, the program wouldn’t accept me.
I figured I’d go to a community college. My mom encouraged me not to go and to play music with her in Mexico instead. So I did!
There were times when things didn’t work out for me, I figured it was a sign from God, there were times when I thought it was just crappy!!!
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Oh there are PLENTY of stories I have about life working out for me, but how exciting would that be if I had a life where it was completely smooth and carefree? Isn’t it the challenges that wake us up? Hmmmmm….

Anyway…I am who I am, happy to be. Who do I want to be when I grow up?
Fun, loving and feisty! I could change my mind tomorrow.

Hairs to you!

Hairs to the best of us!

I know I’m hairy. It’s a CONSTANT observation. I shave it, trim it, cut it and it continues to grow!! So why in the world do I keep shaving, cutting, trimming, waxing when the stuff just won’t stop? When in the AMERICAN culture did it become SO important to get rid of it? When I had my c-section, the nurses had to “prepare” me for surgery. Well, they have to shave you. I was already out of it, because of the epidural. I heard one of them say “wow, I have never seen anyone have SO much hair”. I don’t know if ANYONE keeps up with shaving there when they’re pregnant, but if you do…wow, that is commitment!

In the Bibllical times women were supposed to keep their long hair, which represented her glory. A Buddhist Monk shaves the head as a renouncement of wordly goods. Yogi’s grow their hair for many health reasons. For one, letting the hair grow and tying it up in a knot on the top of the head energizes the brain. Amish men wear beards to show they are mature, but shave the mustache because it represents war and they don’t believe in war. Native American women cut the hair when they get a divorce.

Why do we invest so much time in hair, so much energy into it having meanings, shave legs, don’t shave legs? Everybody makes something of it. I have grey streaks, you don’t. The question not so much is hair, but why create dichotomy on what’s right and what’s wrong. Beautiful or ugly??

Gotta go and clean out my shower drain now, it’s clogged with hair.

3 Generations

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Since I am the daughter to a musician, I thought I’d share just a little something what that is like. Especially now, raising a child…makes me feel even more gratitude for my own momma!!l This is her in the picture above.  She DID teach me to “do what you love”! 

I’m finding it a little difficult to write about myself all the time on this blog. So instead I’ll write about my mother, her name is d’ Rachael. She’s a very private person. (so forgive me mom) But her life is so darn cool, I have to tell you just a little bit about it, because she NEVER WOULD!! My mom lives in Pitillal, Jalisco, Mexico. I get to talk regularly with her on Skype. In the background I hear chimes blowing in the wind. The house was built without many enclosed walls…so it’s like living under a ramada. She wants to know when we’re coming down to visit. I told her when Paloma starts walking. She tells me about the gigs she has coming up. Right now she plays many times a week at local restaurants and hotels. I can’t believe her schedule. The last gig she has at night STARTS at 10:00pm. I think that’s what she said…and goes til 11:30pm. If you ever visit Puerto Vallarta, you have to check out Archie’s Wok restaurant ( Archie was John Houston’s chef ). She’s been playing her music there for 20 years!!! I love to go there, order their Pad Thai, sip Thai iced tea and listen to her magical harp and flute music. She always wears flat shoes when she is setting up her p.a. but when it’s time to perform she whips out her purple velvet sequined high heel shoes and puts them on!! Her hair is long like mine. Unlike me, she’s WAY into her beautiful silver streaks that run through it.

When we talk on Skype, it’s obvious she is happy. She loves waking up in the tropics with her dogs and cat. She’s never quite as relaxed as when she’s home. Her kitchen is an extension of her heart. While we talk sometimes she’s busy preparing a feast for her friends that are coming over later, but she tells me she has to jump on her bicycle and go pay her telephone bill before her rehearsal in the afternoon…and away she flies with her purple lipstick on and big purple hoop earrings.

 

My first yoga class post c-section!

There is no doubt about it, I’m not truly sure what “being in shape” means anymore. Did I ever? Before Paloma, I was quite into my yoga practice, I was feeling good. Then during my 6 month of pregnancy I was starting to hurt. The extra weight, the child inside kicking me, the ache in my joints…was throwing me off. I eventually stopped my yoga practice in the final month that Paloma was born. I had no interest in it. Not even anything restorative, except for taking a hot bath. Since I had that major c-section surgery, my whole body is STILL recovering. I am numb around the navel and the inside of my navel is black. SO weird. I think it’s the “Linea Negra”. That line that runs down your stomach. I have no clue why the body makes that line. So bizarre. Anyhow, I’m getting to know a side of myself that is obviously delicate. My hair is getting grey very quick. The person I was before Paloma is gone. I suppose most mother’s feel that way after they give birth. I won’t deny or try to tell you I am happy about it because I miss that person too. In some ways I feel a little compelled to try to achieve that vigor I had before. Today was very humbling. Here’s what happened.

I have been researching yoga studios in the area so I can take a class, meet new people around here, see if I want to pick up teaching a class or two. I went to this yoga studio called “Satya Yoga” it’s in an artists community, the town is called Saugatuck. I love this adorable town. There’s a fudge shop across the street. A major plus!! I went to an all levels donation class this studio had advertised. I walked in and saw it was just one room. The teacher came up and greeted me right away. Her name is Kathy. She has super short grey hair and is built like Jane Fonda, probably the same age too. 3 other ladies were in the class all the same age as the teacher. I told Kathy this was my first yoga class since having a c-section December 19. The class starts in reclined butterfly pose. I thought….oh goodie, this is going to be just my speed. That was the only reclined position besides corpse pose at the end! Kathy had us doing a flow. Sun salutations, standing balance poses, lots of downward dogs and plank pose. Eventually Kathy saw me having a hard time and said “it’s okay Sapphire to go slow, stay in child’s pose”. She added, “this is going to take you some time to get back to where you were”. I smiled and thanked her. I went back to child’s pose and stayed there while the rest of the class were practicing downward dog splits. Postures I used to love, were now super unimportant to me at this place and time. I was thinking about Paloma back home smiling at William. Oh, I will continue to practice yoga…I’ll probably go back to Kathy’s class just so I can go across the street and have fudge. I did feel really good after class…I even noticed that natural bliss feeling you get after a yoga session. I took a before and after shot of myself just to see. This is the after photo.

I returned home feeling lighter and I was so excited to hold Paloma and kiss her sweet little cheeks. I didn’t even mind the scent of dried formula that gets crusted inside her fat cracks around her neck. Ahhhh…. I start again and it’s okay!

The Godfather, David…our Marlon Brando

David, my Godfather

I know David was shocked to find out I was going to have a baby.
But he never said it.
He’s a gentle giant.
He only offered support.
Once he told me “be impeccable with your word”.
He drives a Harley motorcycle in the spring, stores it in the winter.
He has a passion for grilling and traveling.
He’s super, duper smart.
He tells me to make up my own mantra…and “I’m too fat to wear new jeans” mantra is not a good one.
He’s a Doctor.
Having live music in his house makes him happy.
I think he’s read the Bible at least once.
I know he likes chocolate cake almost as much as me.
In his spare time he likes to tap dance.
That previous line isn’t true.
In his spare time he likes to give blood.
That’s not true either.
In his spare time he likes to find words like ” assiduous “.
That is true.
He has a son Adam and has raised him to be kind, loving, hard working and a ladies man.
My Godfather David is changing his middle name, why? Because it’s sexy.

Loving Paloma

Loving Paloma

I’m getting to know this little girl. What she likes, doesn’t like. When William and I discovered that she started smiling, we kept doing things to get her to do it.
Every time she’d smile we’d say “did you see that?”, “hey William look!!” Kind of funny..she can go from smiling to crying in seconds. Today I started singing the “Pattycake” song and making her do the movements. She seemed to like it. I was also reading to her a book my cousin gave me called ” What would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood.” by Danny Adlerman. I am amazed at how she sits and listens to the story and watches the pages as I turn them. William found an app on his phone that has nursery rhymes that he can read to Paloma without carrying a bunch of books around. However, to me, there’s nothing like a real book with paper.

I’m writing this blog while Paloma sleeps. I get interrupted often while I’m writing and she wakes up, so sometimes I’m on a roll, loose my train of thought because she wakes up, need to change her, feed her and by the time I come back to writing, I’ve lost that loving feeling. That just happened. I was writing about books with actual paper…okay…here we go….anyways, why is it that it’s fun to have a real book in your hands where you can turn the page? The feel of paper is nice too. I think about Paloma in our tech age, where she’ll get hooked on an iPad one day, or whatever there is out by the time she’s reading. We just saw “The book of Ely” with Denzel Washington. If you haven’t seen it I highly recommend it. I won’t talk about it, but it has to do with the last book on the planet. An actual hardback book.

Paloma Rose keeps us on our toes. Hey, like how I rhyme that? Just call me the “hip, happening, mamacita.”
She is surrounded by love everyday.
What a great job I have. To love Paloma.

William, the protector

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This is gonna be just a short and sweet story:
After a somewhat traumatic experience at the hospital, we arrive home and for the next 40 days, it’s our job to bond and love on Paloma. Sounds easy,
lucky for us we had a good family network at home. All arrows pointed to us “nurturing” this new addition to the family!!! I was in pretty bad shape, so I couldn’t do ANYTHING!!! I am so grateful for William, my Godfather David, my mom and sister. I kept thinking how in the world would ANYONE do this alone?

The day we came home with Paloma, it was my birthday and my mom and sister spent a ton of time making a cake. They made my favorite German chocolate!
The End…..
Just kidding, but really the cake was like this beautiful shrine….a “celebration” of surviving. They had the cake sitting on a table in the kitchen, surrounded by rose petals.
My mom also prepared for all of us a heavenly bean soup. The house had the aroma of food to comfort the soul. I had to find a place to sit and plan on being there for awhile. William brought me Paloma to cradle and breastfeed. Oh my gosh, was this awkward. It felt like trying to put in place a squirming greased pig the size of a football. My incision made it difficult to have her laying on me or anywhere near my stomach. That’s why it made it super crazy to get comfortable. When the pain medicine wore off, all I could think about was having more Tylenol. William took over MANY times while I rested and healed. He still does. He changes most of her poopy diapers, it makes him laugh. I don’t know why.
Life with our little “dove” keeps getting sweeter and those cakes made with love don’t hurt either!!!

I had a c-section, where’s the lollipops?

Sapphire and Paloma

So, I’d like to tell you about my birth experience. But first let me say I am going to have to be honest about this and not try to sugarcoat it.
This is going to sound crazy, but part of the reason I waited to have a child at 43, was because I truly didn’t want to give birth,merely because of the pain I knew you had to endure.
When I was 6 months pregnant we ( my boyfriend and I ) moved up to Michigan. I was doing really well eating the foods my midwife in Austin recommended. By the time we arrived to Michigan I pretty much decided to eat whatever I wanted. I put on a lot of extra weight and it made it hard to move around. My hips were so tight I could barely walk. Just a couple weeks before the due date, I had hemmeroids so so bad that I couldn’t walk. I kept wondering to myself, how in the world is this baby going to come out? We took birth classes, I read books, heard birth stories and still I couldn’t imagine or believe this 10 pound baby was going to exit through the same place where I pee. One of the most unbelievable experiences I keep thinking about is how a woman gets checked to see how far along she is dialated. I’ve never been raped, but I can imagine this isn’t too far off. The midwife/doctor has to shove their fingers UP into your opening til they reach the cervix. Yeah. This doesn’t just happen once, like I thought it might be, but about 10-15 MORE times!!!!!!!! Come on, you have to be kidding me. I finally had to tell the midwife, that she was going to have to take it slow and tell me to relax specific body parts, not just to tell me “relax”!!!! At this point we’ve already been at the hospital 24 hours…I was doing my best to do this thing naturally, because of course I had endless friends and family tell me to go “natural”. My cervix was NOT opening. The midwife came in and gave us the next option and that was to administer an epidural. I was extremely hesitant, but giving birth naturally was starting to look dim by now. I shrugged my shoulders and said alright let’s do it. I was in a good deal of pain already with the contractions coming and going…I did feel like I was closer to dying than living. Once the epidural took effect, I didn’t care about much. I could still feel the contractions, but there wasn’t any pain, only sensation of my insides being squeezed. Probably an hour or so passed, the midwife had broken my water….still the baby was not coming out! The midwife gives me the last option, CESEREAN!!!! What could I do? What else is possible? Is this really happening to me? I envisioned candles and my mom strumming her harp, sister massaging my head, aroma of lavender and people smiling…telling me “one more push Sapphire!”
There was NONE of that. The looks on people’s faces were serious. Okay then, roll me into that bright lit, cold surgery room where I don’t know a soul and trust them to pull out my baby and keep me alive.
As they were rolling me down the hall, I heard one of the nurses ask, ” is there anything we need to be aware of with her? “. The nurse pushing the opposite side of the bed told the nurse, “no, just advanced age and can’t swallow pills”. What????? Did she say “advanced age?” I never thought of myself like that. I only saw myself “not aging”e as a matter of fact. It wasn’t long and they had me curtained off so I couldn’t see past my chest. My arms were strapped down in a T position. They numbed me above the pubic bone and asked “can you feel this Sapphire?” I said “no”. Soon after that I felt some massive tugging, pretty much like my insides were being ripped out!!!! Oh….they were being ripped out. William was in the surgery room too, all gowned up. Nothing like this bothers him. At one point he even was able to look over the curtain and see all my insides resting on my chest. Yuck. All I could think about was our baby girl Paloma. I couldn’t wait for this to be over and be able to kiss her. I was going to be a “mom”!!! Me, a mother. Good Lord.
A MOTHER!!!!!! To a child that is going to look up to me for guidance and love. Whew. That is quite a job I sure hope I can do. Let’s just get out of this hospital and situation and I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to do that IF I survive this. When my guts were being ripped out and they said they found a cist on my uterus, did I want them to remove it?…that’s when I thought I was going to be leaving this world behind. I was thinking of William raising our child on his own. Finally, they Pulled Paloma out and lifted her up above the curtain so I could see. She was dripping with blood and looked purple to me. Her eyes found mine and I instantly knew her. It felt like I should be holding her right away, but they took her and soon William was holding her and he put her close to me, so I could kiss her face. Before I knew it, they put me under. About 2 hours later they brought me to my room and I was trying to wake up from the anesthesia. They put Paloma on me to breastfeed, but I don’t recall any of that. My family was there waiting for me to wake up. I was still hooked up to an IV and for 2 more days still hooked to an IV being pumped with antibiotics. Eventually I told the nurse I’m done with that IV and antibiotics, go ahead and remove it. They were hesitant, but did as I asked. I was in EXTREME pain every time the pain medicine was wearing off. I was relieved that I was on the other side, but still I was so weak and recovering I couldn’t enjoy holding Paloma. We eventually left the hospital and headed for home on my birthday. On the way home I was quiet, reflective. I knew I had changed and was now no longer living just for my needs, but for this little baby sitting next to me in her very large car seat, was relying on me and William. I was also feeling bummed out because instead of bringing my family closer, it seemed to push us away from one another.
The birth story that I didn’t want, is the one I endured. I have no idea why. All the olive oil, positive thoughts, turmeric and mantras were definitely NOT going to work in this case. Paloma,we found out afterwards, had the umbilical cord wrapped all around her body and each time I had contractions it would get tighter. I am grateful for folks who spend years and years studying and then practicing and then actually DOING these types of surgeries so that women and babies can live. Will I have another child? I love the Spanish culture as they say ” si Dios quiere “. ” If God wills.” But if left up to me to decide I’d say “HELL NO!!!!” There is absolutely no way I would want to relive that story. BUT could I imagine my life without Paloma? Certainly not. This darling little girl that smiles her whole soul into mine? This little girl that one day is going to speak and call me “mommy!” No wonder women endure what they must to receive a gift so unbelievable.