Dancing for Two and Other Changes

“Begin to be now what you will be hereafter.”

                                                              – William James

So the past 8 months or so have been a process of becoming. Something New. Slowly and steadily, I’ve been acquiring a gravity that I didn’t have before. I’ve had to accept new limitations, both physical and mental, and stare them in the face. I’ve tried to change some of them, and tried to make room for others as they grow more and more persistent.  The inevitable will not be ignored. I’ve had to shift almost everything about my life-how I work, how I play, when and where I spend time….hell, even the gear I travel with has changed.  I’m leaving behind who I was to become someone totally new. At least, she feels totally new to me. She looks about the same, which makes the transformation a bit more surreal and confusing.

This must be why new moms do drastic things with their hair.

Me, 8 months ago:  

     Me, Now:

Easy changes to see. Harder to describe. I’ve got roughly 5 weeks left in my first pregnancy. I say first because I always pictured myself with two kids, a dog and some uber-cool lifestyle that allows for constant adventure. I’m still working on several of those.We shall see where Life takes me in the next few years.

Time is running out on the things I can do pre-parenthood. The nursery is only half done, and there are several little adult-like things I’ve got to do in the next few weeks to complete the transition into “Responsible Parent.” I’ve got books to read, projects to finish, plans to make, loose ends to tie up, and places to go. Being restless, excited, moody, and slow-moving is a frustrating combination. But it goes with the theme of my life right now very well: How to be many conflicting things all at once. I’ve had to reorganize all my ideas about my limitations, my abilities, my priorities, my shortcomings, and my strengths. Is that too vague for you, Reader? I realize I’m speaking mostly in broad generalizations, but the lessons of Life are rarely specific. Unless you’re in a sitcom.

Oh, I do have one, slightly sad lesson that has been made very clear to me. I am, for now, dancing for two, and I think #2 is tired of being pressed to the side of my body by centrifugal force every time I do a swing-out. So she told me last night- very clearly– that dancing is off of the agenda for the next few weeks as a physical activity. I was hoping to make it all the way to the end, dancing along. Not gonna happen at this point. I’ll have to content myself with walking and weights. My body was just not build to haul around this bulk efficiently.

So as I roll along towards the completion of this Most-Important-Project-So-Far, I”ll have to fall away from my favorite activity and find a new outlet for my (ever-waning) energies. In the meantime, every day is different for me, and that is something I’m trying to appreciate…as I roll to the kitchen yet again for another snack.

Week 34- “I’ll be in the kitchen.”

Week 34- I can’t believe I’m already here. It’s sort of surreal, just being in a defined (and I do mean defined) phase of life that you can’t ignore and can’t change. No choice but to be in it- in the moment. This must be something of what it’s like to actually follow through with a plan. Normally I’d just get distracted and wander off to a new fascination by this point in a project. Now I wander off, toting my growing daughter, to follow shiny things that catch my fancy. Everything has changed, and surprisingly little has changed.

Clearly, I take myself seriously.

What’s changed: I’ve finally started waddling. Supposedly taking longer steps makes you waddle less- but ask anyone who’s every met me/danced with me/run with me/seen me in person. I’m short. I have petite legs, and now that those petite legs are supporting an additional none-of-anyone’s-damn-business-how-many pounds, the practice of taking longer steps is one that will have to wait until…never.

I need momentum and strategy to get out of bed/a chair/a car. It’s been a long time since basic movement required pre-planning. And I wander to the kitchen on auto pilot. Seriously, sometimes I find myself standing in my kitchen, looking around for I-know-not-what. My hubby jokes that if he wakes up at night and I’m not in the bed, he knows I’m down in the kitchen, eating. It’s my default location now.  Ironically, I’m sort of getting tired of eating all the time. (Please don’t throw things at me for saying that.) I’m not really a foodie and I don’t enjoy eating all the time. So I’m looking forward to not being demonically hungry all the time.

So, week 34- I’ve begun setting up the nursery in earnest now…sort of. There’s some heavy lifting that I can’t do alone. Fortunately, I have help and offers of help.

Many, many thanks to my friend Emily, who came over yesterday to help me work one the nursery, for doing in 2 hours what would have taken me a half day (and a nap) to accomplish. Here is where we are at right now: YouTube Video of Baby Howell’s Nursery.

I wanted to get everything prepped for the arrival of baby stuff.

So I’m now officially 6 weeks (give or take) away from a temporary disappearance from public life in any form. I hope to be back in dancing shape quickly and am looking forward to ‘training’ for Lindy Focus 11. I really can’t express how much I’m looking froward to running again. Or sleeping on my stomach. Or working up a good sweat working out. Or wine and sushi. There. Are. No. Words.

FYI to my dancing friends: The expanded Howell family will be traveling to The Big Easy for the Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown in late September. That will probably be the first event I attend after Baby H’s birth, so even on top of the fact that I love, love, love NOLA with all my heart, I’m looking forward to it that much more. Having said that, if I’m a bit of an overprotective bitch while there (you know, making you wash your hands before touching her, drop-kicking anyone with a cough away from her, etc.), please chalk it up to New Mom Protectiveness and back away slowly. I’m legally immune from prosecution in certain states due to my hormone levels. Something about ‘temporary insanity.’

ARGH! I miss dancing!!!!


I discovered a blog this morning that I wanted to share. Here is the post she put up that caught my attention initially: An Open Letter To All Parents From A Non-Parent

I think I want to kiss this woman. Her other posts are captivating to read as well.  I really like her writing style.

Taken completely from her site, the following poem by Whitman and pic (read: I can’t take credit for this bit of daily inspiration):

I exist as I am, that is enough.
If no other in the world be aware I sit content,
And if each and all be aware I sit content

One world is aware, and by far the largest to me, and that is myself
And whether I come to my own today or in ten thousand or ten million years,
I can cheerfully take it now, or with equal cheerfulness,
I can wait.

~Walt Whitman