Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The very best form of stress relief

There are several theme songs of my life these days.

Last month, I took on a work project. It's super-interesting, but bigger than I expected. It has consumed a large part of my weekdays and chunks of my weekend, too. A few weeks ago, my friend Wendy noticed that I hadn't written here one day and freaked out because she was sure something had happened to me. In the eight years that I've been writing this blog, I've rarely missed a post. But I was just overwhelmed. Theme song: The Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated."

When I'm with Ben, I regularly sing to him: made-up songs about what we're doing ("We're going to take a walk outside, a walk outside, a walk outside...."), songs from music class, classic tunes from my childhood. Theme song: "The Itsy-Bitsy Spider."

And then, there's the song "Everybody" by Ingrid Michaelson. I put it on the soundtrack of the montage I've made for Max's bar mitzvah, and it's been drifting in and out of my head ever since. Lately, it comes to me as I watch Max and Sabrina interact with Ben:

Happy is the heart that still feels pain
Darkness drains and light will come again
Swing open up your chest and let it in
Just let the love, love, love begin

One truth about having children is that a new kind of love enters your life—the deep, fierce, consuming, protective love you feel for your child that's unlike anything you've felt before, the new love you feel for your partner as you watch him with your children.

One truth about having a baby when you have older kids is that, once again, a new kind of love pours into your home and heart. I felt it in the weeks after Ben was born, and as Ben gets bigger, the love keeps growing.

I'm conscious of it first thing in the morning. Ben wakes up somewhere between 5:30 and 6:00 a.m. Max will hear him, walk into his room and make cute sounds with him as Dave and I pretend to sleep, then head into our room and force Dave out of bed. (I love Dave SOOOOO extra much right about then.)

When Max and Sabrina walk in the door from school, Ben lets out a happy screech. Sabrina likes to play with him for a while before she does homework. Sometimes she does laps with him around our first floor, holding onto one or both of his little hands as he toddles around. The most adorbs (as she'd say) thing is when she gives him baths.

The baby is into pointing. As he's sitting in his high chair, he'll randomly jab his finger at the ceiling lights or at the trees outside the deck door or at someone and say "YAH!" or "Blehhhh!" or "Dikkadikkadoo!" and we'll all burst out laughing and gaze at him adoringly.

Sometimes, Dave likes to dance with Ben around the kitchen when a good song comes on Sirius. He's partial to The Doors, Max likes Bob Marley, Ben is a fan of Raffi.

As I watch them sway, the stress of the day fades away and I feel the comfort and joy of having a good life, a loving partner, and beautiful kids to enjoy.


  1. My older child just left for college this past september and it's SO hard.... We still have child number two at home for three years, but we regret not having had a third child, as you did. I hope you don't mind me asking, at what age did you have your adorable baby Ben? Giselle (mom to Ashley and Larissa)

    1. Although I prefer Anon's answer below that I had Ben at 28, and while I would like to think that I still *look* 28, I am fortysomething.

  2. I think Ellen was ... uh, 28. Yeah, that's it. She was 28. :-)

    1. Thanks for that, whoever you are. You can do all of my p.r., k?

  3. Babies are the best medicine, for everything.


    1. Amen! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, Paige!

  4. I Wanna Be Sedated is probably every anesthesiologist's jam.


Thanks for sharing!

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