Friday, February 7, 2014

That Woman: We're Heading Stateside


We're seven weeks in to life with Ash, and it's magical.

Magical.

The first few weeks are hard and exciting, then things get rough if and when baby gets colicky, so you try a few things, figure out a plan, and attack. Then baby gets better, happier, and then the cooing and moments-that-sound-like-giggles-but-aren't-exactly start and it's falling in love like the first moment all over again.

I've learned to truly appreciate the Asher Yatzar blessing that Jews recite after going to the bathroom thanking HaShem for the proper functioning of the body. With a colicky baby whose gas and reflux make him a mini Godzilla, you realize the blessing of communication and proper body function. Can you imagine not having the ability to say "it hurts here, please help me" ...? That's a baby's life.

And now, with baby having calmed down a bit, we're off to the United States so he can meet his Grandma Deb and Grandpa Bob, his Uncles John and Joe, his cousins Owynn and Oliver, and his Aunt Jess. And ... maybe, just maybe ... he'll meet another new cousin if she shows up on time.

I'm scared to death of becoming "that woman" on the plane. You know, the one with the screaming child that won't calm down. I don't sleep on planes in any circumstances anyhow, so I don't mind being up and about with Ash while Mr. T catches some Zzzzs, but being "that woman" has always been my greatest fear when it comes to parenthood.

Assuming all goes well and the three legs of the flight go according to plan, we'll be stateside on Tuesday for a few weeks in Nebraska and Colorado. I'm hoping for snow, lots of cold weather, and all of the comforts of being back in familiar surroundings (Target, gluten-free and vegan food out my ears, and the ease and quiet of a life I know well).

I'll admit I'm anxious about going home. The fact that I call it home is enough to get me lashed here in Israel, too.

When you make aliyah to Israel, you are home. Right? But I still refer to Nebraska as home. If home is where the heart is, does it mean my heart is in the U.S.? Does it mean I'm not really committed to life in Israel?

It's stupid that I'm eager to shop at Trader Joe's and pick up the gluten-free food that made life easy and liveable back in the U.S. I'm excited to go to Target where the clothes are inexpensive and fit me. I'm elated to see coworkers I haven't met yet and to spend even half a day working with them in a "normal" work environment for the first time in a year and a half. But at the same time, it isn't stupid. It's just the life I know. The life I've been comfortable with. It's the life I know how to live. Emotionally and financially.

Since Ash was born, I've been scared to death of postpartum depression because of what I've been through in the past. I've been keeping the most obsessive and close tabs on it. Luckily, I haven't been experiencing depression.

But am I happy?

There's something a little askew right now, and I'm worried that going home is going to show me that little bit that I'm missing. That nudge of what I need to feel stable. And then what?

I suppose we'll see what two weeks in the U.S. does for me. Maybe I'll have the reaction of some friends that people in the U.S. are commercially obsessed and life there is miserable. I have an inkling that it will be quite the opposite of reactions.

Either way, I hope Ash doesn't make me "that woman" on the plane. Let's start there.  

4 comments:

  1. I recently read a story about a mom who created some gift packs that included ear plugs and a kind note that indicated that she would do her best to keep the baby quiet and that she appreciated their patience. She gave them to those seated around her. On another note, nursing during take off and landing will help immensely with the pressure changes. Here is an example - http://www.hlntv.com/article/2012/09/04/polite-parents-give-airplane-passengers-candy-gift-bag

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  2. Hello! I've been reading your blog for a year or two, so I thought I should introduce myself and not just be a creeper!

    I can completely relate to your uncertainty about 'home': I've lived outside of the US in different places for about four years, and even though I have no desire to live in Los Angeles where I grew up, there's something so terribly easy about being there. Something like knowing exactly where to go to buy a bathing suit or thread for sewing, or being able to send a package without thinking about it. For me, I know that's not a hint that I'd like to move back but it certainly makes me realize that I've been functioning at a certain level of stress all this time! It's pretty hard to make a life somewhere new, but it's really rewarding when you think about how strong you are for doing it.

    And I don't have children yet, but I too am scared to death to be 'that woman'. But as a regular passenger, I can say that people are much more understanding when they see that the mother is trying her best not to bother people. I end up feeling bad for her rather than put out that there's a baby crying. So don't be too worried! Good luck :) ...and nice to meet you!

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  3. I once walked across the Atlantic with a recently weaned toddler, but I never traveled with anyone under a year or who annoyed the other passengers besides that one trip. Babies are generally fine if they are nursing.

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  4. I always just nursed the baby as much as possible .... then there is always walking them up and down the aisles. As you are getting on the plane you might touch base with the flight attendants. Ask which lav is best for changing, if they can move to a row with an extra seat (so nice to have for stuff and the extra tray table). Also you can call the airline now and request a baby bassinet, which some people really like. I had a lot of success giving nose drops about a half hour before take off and landing and nurse nurse nurse. Good luck. 4 - 10 months is such the perfect time for international trips! Ask me how I know ;-)

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