self-portrait, 22 weeks
I stayed up way too late last night - MIDNIGHT! I haven't seen midnight in ages, whereas it was once a regular phenomenon that Mikhail and I went to bed at 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. There was no good excuse for staying up. I shouldn't have done it, because my belly button and right side of my belly were hurting, and the longer I stayed up, the more they hurt. I was engaging in an activity we call "strollering" - named after the inordinate amount of time I spent during my pregnancy with Elan looking at stroller eye-candy online, reading reviews, fantasizing and fretting over this particular purchase. So now strollering is a verb in our household, for anytime you find yourself falling into an online vortex. The problem with window-shopping online is that the stores never close and your feet never get tired.
And then Elan got up at 5:45 a.m. today. Because he likes to torture us. (He did sleep in till 7:10 on Saturday morning this weekend, a complete anomaly, but my dad accidentally dialed us on his new phone at 6:30 - oops!).
Predictably, it was a screwy morning. One of those pregnant days where I feel like hormones have overcome my brain and taken up residence in the places where logic and memory once lived. I forgot things, showed up at the wrong time for appointments, and the kicker: felt bad about myself for being disorganized and distracted. Cried a lot -- for lots of reasons, and no reasons, all at the same time. Don't take this in an un-feminist way, but it is mornings like this when I'm glad I'm not responsible for important foreign policy decisions involving missiles and warheads and such. Of course, if I were President, maybe my kid would sleep in. They'd have a Secret Service agent all over that.
Anyway, I found myself thinking about kindness. Kindness toward myself, because I'm overwhelmed by all I have ambitiously taken on since starting to feel better. Kindness and compassion and sense of humor to replace what I was feeling: judgement about all my failings, large and small.
And just when I was thinking this word kindness so loudly in my head it was practically on my lips, I went into the bagel store that takes cash only and realized I didn't have enough money, and a complete stranger gave me his 75 cents in change, which was just exactly what I needed. I thanked him and put my sunglasses on so that no one would see the tears filling my eyes.
And then later in the day, I found myself capable of giving kindness to others. Kindness to a friend who's got so much on her plate and needs to be reminded of kindness toward herself. Kindness toward my husband, who declared that I should try to do almost nothing that involved leaning over or lifting today (laundry, picking up toys, vacuuming) and has done it all himself instead -- to try to help my belly feel better (and now it does). Kindness toward my son so that I got over my frustration at his latest fuss-a-thon; I sat with him pulled close to me and breathed long and loud until we were both calmer, and then we played trucks and went to the park.
When you're kind to yourself, kindness to others flows.