I have an app on my phone that has reminders and a ‘to-do’ list. There are consistently at a minimum, 5 items on that list. I also receive a daily email that gives me an update on new posts from blogs that I follow. It usually contains links to somewhere between 8 and 10 new posts. It also suggests new blogs and other posts to follow based on the links that day. I am subscribed to 3 work related, and a handful of non-work related podcasts that come out with new material daily to weekly as well. I have 2 email address’s (that I check), 2 Instagram feeds, 1 Facebook account, and my own personal blog.
All of these ask for, and many of them demand, my attention.
No matter how I try, how productive I am, how long my son naps for, how late I stay up, these aforementioned items are difficult, near impossible, to accomplish on a regular basis. The excitement I feel when I have whittled down my ‘to-do’ list to a few items is disturbingly satisfying. But there always remains a few more items to do, a handful of blog posts to read, multiple new podcast episodes to digest, many, many emails to address, new Instagram feeds to enjoy, photos to upload to social media, updates on Facebook to make note of, and posts to create for my own space, here, that I love so dearly.
It was at some point in Leo’s first few months that I realized there was too much on my plate. I’m so glad I caught it early. Because sometimes, not multi-tasking is so much more important than getting everything done. Tuning in to the now. Savoring the day to day actions that are easily thought of as mundane, but which are the things that fill my heart with happiness. Throwing the frisbee in the backyard with my dog. Lying on the floor making my son giggle, making dinner with my husband. I have made a conscious effort to try to tune out, to slow down, to NOT multi-task over the past few months. It’s difficult, but I’m trying. I enjoy the little things so much more.
Perfume is my thing. I love it. Some women buy shoes; some buy purses. I like to experiment with fragrance. I’ve heard that scent is the strongest sense tied to memory. I find this so true. I can recall specific time periods in my life just by imaging and remembering the scent I was wearing at that time.
My earliest scent memory is the fruity, spunky perfume I wore in middle school and even into high school. It was called Tribe, and I’ve looked for it every time I go into a perfumery. I’d love to smell that scent again, to take me back to the days of soccer games under the lights, sitting by my pool in my family’s backyard, hanging out by the bonfire at my friend’s cabin. I haven’t ever been able to find it, and I’m sure they don’t make it anymore. But there have been a handful of times in the last decade when I’ve thought I’d caught a whiff of Tribe. And it instantly brought me back to those days.
In college, I moved on from Tribe, and started wearing scents you had to buy at perfumeries, or department stores; as opposed to the local drugstore which supplied me with my perfumes before this. My first fragrance I wore with regularity as a young adult was Sarah Jessica Parker’s Lovely. And maybe I became intrigued by the idea of the fragrance from my days watching Sex and the City, but once I tried it, I was hooked. Smelling Lovely triggers memories of exciting times in college – exploring Chapel Hill, girl talks with my best friends, and nights out downtown.
Medical school found me ready to try something new, and I moved on to my next scent, which I still use intermittently today. Stella has been my go-to for maybe 7 or eight years. It’s also the scent my husband associates most with me. When I wear it, he says I smell like ‘me’. I made it a point to wear this fragrance on my wedding day and it reminds me of my husband.
I wore Valentino’s Valentina for a year or so during my residency training. It was a mysterious, heavy scent that I enjoyed, but that was relatively short lasting. My honeymoon unearthed a new brand that would become my obsession for the past year: Sisley. I wore the Eau de Sisley 3, and it is a light, airy scent that takes me back to the beaches of St Barth and newlywed bliss.
I just ran out of my bottle of Sisley and was going to buy another when I was introduced by a friend to my newest favorite: Jo Malone’s Wood Sage and Sea Salt. It’s so delicious. I’m already halfway through my bottle. It’s a bit of a deeper, more seductive scent than I usually wear, but we’ve been inseparable. And because I’ve worn it the last few months, it reminds me of my baby Leo, and will always make me smile.
I’m a new momma. Or is is mama? I’ve been trying to figure that out ever since I became one. But apparently, it’s either. But I digress.
Since becoming one, I can now say with confidence: I get it. I completely, totally understand. Things that parents have been saying in books and articles and blog posts and conversations. Your child becomes your everything. Your child is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen. Your child grows and changes every day. Your child’s first smile is what happiness grows from.
I’m overwhelmed with emotion. It seems nothing else matters besides this little family I’ve created. I could let everything else go, as long as my 3 boys are by my side. And it sounds so clichéd. Even writing it, I feel like I’ve heard people say this so many times before. I guess I always had figured it was true, it made sense and it seemed obvious; that having a child changes you and is the type of all consuming love one has never experienced before. But I had no idea how intense these emotions would feel. How my heart feels like it is bursting out of my chest when my little boy coos and smiles at me. I now know there was no way to comprehend these feelings until actually having my child.
So, I get it.
I want to show him the world. I want to protect him from evil and from sadness. I want him to experience all I’ve gotten to see, hear, eat, smell and taste. I want these things and so much more for him. And I want less for myself now. I get it.
The first month of Leo’s life has been full of joy, love, and amazement; but also rife with challenges. There have been successes, and there have been failures. A prelude to what parenting will likely be.
Having my mother and sister here has been a wonderful gift.
My mother arrived shortly after Leo was born. She promptly began cleaning – our floors, our bathrooms, our laundry – cooking, changing diapers. She even got up with me to keep me company during late night feeding sessions. She helped get us through a broken kitchen faucet, a broken refrigerator and a new momma with a fever to 103 for three days. All within Leo’s first 2 weeks of being home. Plumbers coming in and out of our house, breastfeeding with shaking chills, and sleep deprivation were a lot easier to handle with my own mother here. And as usual, she asked for nothing in return – albeit a few Coca-Colas and chocolate. Which we were happy to buy: in bulk.
When my sister came, thankfully there were no major new house disasters, and I was no longer sick. Jax arrived with the recent knowledge and experience of being a new mom. Her help around our house and her gentle reassurance were amazing. Taking a line right out of our mother’s book, she also cooked, cleaned and helped with 3am feeding sessions.
These ladies even gifted me a massage and Aunt Jacquie babysat Leo for an hour so this new momma could relax.
Dropping them off at the airport was difficult for me. I didn’t want to see either of them leave. But I also felt a little stronger, and a little more confident than before they had arrived. They both injected new life into me. My life, and Leo’s life, is so much richer for having these two strong women in it.