6 month mark – family dependence
-Jasper is now almost a year old. I wrote a few entries during the year but never posted them online. This is post from when he was 6 moths old –
Being a mom is hard.
I heard one of the new moms say that in my ‘moms group’ a few months ago, a group I became apart of after Jasper was born. I thought to myself. Sure it’s hard. But so is everything else. But today, that statement felt true. How am I to be a sustaining individual that tries my best to be happy, healthy, positive and genuine (while at the same time eat healthy, be on time, not procrastinate and be accountable) and then raise an entirely separate individual that I just met who happened to come from my body only six months ago and raise them to have similar aspirations, as well as provide an environment that allows them to eat, sleep and speak, grow and learn?
Listening is also hard. Being is hard. Breathing in hard. And vice versa. Listening can be easy, being can be easy and breathing can be easy. Nothing is simple, and nothing is complicated at the same time. It’s what you need it to be for when you want it to be. When I’m feeling unsorted like this I usually turn to my mom. I love my mom and the support she provides. Do we get along all the time? No. Do I think she’s a bit crazy? Yes. But she is always the person I go to when something is wrong. So who’s really the crazy one? I hope despite the environment that I provide Jasper, I am one of the first person’s he tries to call when he’s troubled. And I hope I can supply careful, non judgemental advice the way my mom tries to when he’s going through something.
Today my baby boy is 6 months old. It really has gone by fast. The first three months were a blur and felt long but also short. Time has really changed for me since I became pregnant. This type of growth is entirely new to me and I’m sure will continuously evolve. I was speaking to my therapist a week ago about my grief over the feeling of Jasper constantly changing and my sadness in the shortness of each phase. But then she explained that I am the constant and he is the changing matter. That actually helped.
The idea of Jasper’s existence is still new to me. And it was something that was much on my mind as I watched the fires in Fort McMurray through the media outlets. I’m home most days so I found it hard not to become obsessed. I don’t live there, and neither does my immediate family. But I have family history there and I wondered if it was also going to extinguish like some of the unfortunate parts of the city have. One of my distant cousins unfortunately lost her house in the fire, but my great aunt and uncle’s house remained intact including the fridge and freezer even after the power outage. The gravesite my family was buried in was untouched even though five feet beyond the fence the trees and houses were consumed by flames. And the land that my great grandmother, great uncles and great aunts grew up on didn’t burn either, which has been bought up by developers. When we visited this summer my aunt walked with us towards the Snye we visited the land and it was built up all around with condos. That small section of the block that my family grew up on was the only part that was untouched by development. Even the raspberry bush that my mom and aunts, uncles, grandma, great uncle and aunts, and great grandma and grandpa use to pick from was still there, right along the sidewalk where people who now live in the new condos could also pick from. I chose to believe this was profound.
My family went up a week after they opened the city up after the fires to help pack up my Great Aunt’s house. As I watched my grandma pack up her sister’s and nieces belongings (who have now both passed) I watched carefully to see what she would salvage. When I came up to help a few weeks ago I had no idea that I was going to come home with objects of my own that contained their memory. I scanned through pages of trapping guides, receipts from the fur that my great aunt trapped and sold off, knick knacks of fish (because my second cousin loved to fish) and religious iconography, and native crafts that belonged to people that I share a blood line with. Life is hard. But so is sifting through all these items that represented a life that no longer existed. Aunty gave me my great aunts china. It is beautiful. I have china, but not like this. The edges of the gold bleed from time and the floral pattern is ornate. I look forward to having dinner at my table with these pieces and hope Jasper and my numerous nieces and nephews are a part of that, moving the memory on.
Below are photos of Jasper in Levi’s original baby clothes. My husband’s mother lovingly kept them all this time. Even though their house also caught fire and they lost near everything when Levi was in elementary, these clothes survived. While 30 + years is not really that long ago, it was at the start of my husband and my existence so it is special to us. I have placed Jasper in all of these clothes and photographed him at every angle in them. But now that Jasper has nearly grown out of all of them I have carefully folded them back up so that they can have another life with another family member. Being a mom is hard, but I have learned that being without family is harder so for that I feel incredibly lucky.
one week old
three weeks old
eight weeks old
eleven weeks old
twelve weeks old
four months old
four months and two weeks old