Sunday, July 18, 2010

Two Years Later

Two years.

It's been nearly two years since I posted an entry on this blog.

To say a lot has happened would be quite an understatement.

I'll attempt to summarize where I've been:

Let's see. After Gustav, I settled back into my job as a second grade teacher and tried my best to get my students back on track after a week of hurri-cation. I unpacked and reorganized everything we evacuated with: my wedding dress, our photo albums, random mementos from Japan, dirty laundry, canned foods, random journals, cat food. During this process, I found out I was pregnant.

Seeing the blue, capitalized word, “PREGNANT” on the clear blue stick sent a shock of pure elation and fear through my entire body. We had both suspected I was, in fact “PREGNANT,” but were not prepared for the finality of it. The “what? No way” of it. I took another pregnancy test, a different brand, later that day just to be sure. Yes. Two pink strips. Not just one.

So I began carrying a little bean in my body, a bean that began growing amidst the confusion and calamity of Gustav, in the insipid nothingness of Tallahassee. A bean that grew with me throughout the entire school year. A bean that was born a beautiful boy we named Zade Andre Dayeh on May 14, 2009. He just turned 14 months old a few days ago. He just started walking a few weeks before that.

Zade has drastically changed our lives, and completely enriched them. Until now, I struggled to write—no, wait, I didn’t even attempt to write—about the experience of pregnancy, birth, and motherhood. It’s all been too beautiful, too special, too all-encompassing to put into words. The hardest part of all is to describe how I truly feel about Zade, and how Zade has made my marriage to and love for Haz so much more complex and deep.

In the first few months of my pregnancy, I continued to work on my attempt at a novel about an adolescent girl who struggles with her parents divorce. Haz and I continued to go out to eat, see movies, hang with our cats, and travel (we went to Vancouver in October 2008 and New York in December that year). As Zade grew larger inside me, these activities became more and more infrequent.

In February 2009, as I became 7 months pregnant, we bought a house in Gentilly. A house whose character and soul were hopelessly buried beneath rat droppings, hot pink and purple paint, rotting carpet, old sticky whisky bottles, and empty bottles of Viagra. A house whose detached garage was infinitely more livable. I still don’t know how we convinced ourselves to take the plunge. We got a great deal. We saw the potential. Our teacher/helper/do-gooder selves wanted to help it. Our good friend and new neighbor said we could do it. But our 1940s blue cottage on Spain Street needed drastic, dramatic, near total renovation.

The next few months were a blur of racing the baby clock to get it all done. We hired our new next door neighbor Gerald’s (not to be confused with our other friend Gerald) son-in-law as a contractor to completely gut the house’s only bathroom and scary, cave-like kitchen. Haz put his heart and soul into painting the entire interior. I helped where I could, mostly focusing on painting doors and baseboard so I could be off my feet. So many friends, good and worried friends, helped us. Isabel, Andy, Noah, Dave, Tiffany, Katherine, Jenise, Gerald & Gerald: thank you, thank you, thank you. The Westbank Dayehs were there too: helping us pack up our Lakeview apartment, install the microwave, paint the picture rail. Thank you!

In those few months before Zade (a time we now call “B.Z”), glass was shattered, walls were smashed, new appliances were purchased, toilets and laundry rooms were moved, floors were refinished, granite was installed, rats were chased out, several truck loads of us stuff was relocated, and tons and tons of baby furniture was all put together.

The night I went to Touro to start my labor (or continue it, depending on your perspective) was the night we were supposed to finish painting and arranging the guest room. Zade wouldn’t allow it. He arrived, crying, and then my Mom arrived, on a plane, tired with no bed, blinds, or curtains in her room. But there was painter’s paper, paint trays, spackle, and some random fire-bellied toads in a tank from my second grade classroom. Haz and Isabel miraculously moved this stuff while I struggled to nurse Zade and stay awake.

I pretty much stopped writing altogether once we bought our house, and the not writing continued with the arrival of Zade. Writing will never have the importance for me that it once did. My family, my Mom job, is number one. I’m also a wife, a teacher. Oh yeah, and a student. Sometime after that I still consider myself a writer. It’s something I like to do, maybe love. But it’s definitely not the same love I attach to MOTHER. Mom. Wife. Teacher.

Perhaps this blog will help me bring it all together. Maybe Zade will let us sleep tonight interrupted. Maybe it won’t, maybe he won’t. Either way, I’m having fun, I’ll be writing more soon, and sleep is overrated.

But naps on the other hand….

I always need more!

1 comment:

tincan said...

Loved it Britener. So heartening to read about your wo derful ife and how you embrace it all with such passion and love.