What the hell is this?

I Can't Stand [Meeting] You is a collection of all the ridiculous things I've written to and about drummer and composer Stewart Copeland.

I actually did meet him for about five crazy seconds in 2007, again for a few exciting moments in August 2009, and my most recent (and most thrilling!) encounter took place in October 2009, where I proved myself capable of being, yet again, a total dork in the man's presence.

I can't believe what I get up to. And neither should you.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Dear Stewart,

Hello, my friend,

Last night was a rough one. Patrick's band played and though I didn't go with him (I'm really not crazy about going out on work nights), I didn't go to bed until he got home, and even then, I stayed up a little later than I should (with a 5:30 a.m. alarm time, I'm smart if I get in bed by 9:30 and go to sleep by 10. Last night we stayed up until 11). After finally falling asleep, I found myself awake at 2 a.m. and unable to get back to sleep. I tossed and turned until about 4:30.

It wasn't just random wakefulness (though a few friends have told me they too were awake around the same time)... I guess I'm starting to panic a little.

In two weeks I will be halfway through my pregnancy and I have no idea what to expect.

I know nobody does, really, with their first baby, so I realize this isn't anything unique to me. I was just thinking about what kind of parent I'm going to be, if I'll be able to keep my house clean enough, how I'll handle doing things outside my comfort zone (conversing with strangers, for example; having people over to my house; feeding people), what I'll do if my baby requires extra stuff (therapy, medication, whatever), what it's going to be like to breastfeed and then to eventually have to go back to work... and to all these questions, and a whole bunch of other ones, I was just coming up with a big fat "I don't know." I was really getting a bit worked up about it: hence the 2.5 hours of lost sleep. I think the key to my anxiety is that I just need to relax and take it all one thing at a time.

That is so not my usual method of dealing with things.

Did you (or perhaps your wife) ever notice that when you tell someone you're expecting a baby, many people take that as an opportunity to tell you about their near-death, traumatic experience? Two of my co-workers did this to me and while maybe if I weren't pregnant now myself, I wouldn't mind hearing these stories and could provide the required amount of empathy, now, I'm usually just sitting there in shock wondering what the hell these people are thinking. One of the stories, as hard as it was to listen to, however, had a theme that (had my co-worker known) was custom-tailored for me.

I won't bore you with the specifics, but in a nutshell, what my co-worker realized was necessary in order to make it through the experience, was to force herself relax. And God help her, I don't know how she did it, but she did. Because "force" and "relax" are two words that really don't belong in the same sentence.

(All the stories people told me luckily had happy endings.)

I've mentioned before (somewhere) that every time somebody tells me to relax, I pretty much instantly do the opposite. This goes for high school boyfriends (well, come on, like you didn't tell some girl to "relax" when you were in high school), former bookstore co-workers, massage therapists, my flute teacher, manicurists, the dentist, and various other clinicians and/or doctors. I think it explains why I really enjoy yoga, and also why I don't ever go. If you think about that, and what you know about me, it will make sense.

And I know that in order not to stress out my baby, my child, my teenager, and to instill confidence and security and all those feelings that I know little kids need, I'm going to need to start now by relaxing. I mean, I don't want to be so laid back the kid walks all over us or goes nuts with the rebellion or whatever, but see? I'm even all worked up about not getting worked up.

How do I do this?

Is this whole thing going to knock me on my ass? Am I going to rise to the occasion? Will I be an interested, involved parent? Will I be like the friends who are great parents and have super kids, or will I make too many mistakes or spoil my kid and end up with a nasty stranger in my house? Will I listen and inspire? Will I listen and be inspired? How do you know if you're going to be any good at this?? I wish I'd figured this out ahead of time. Because now, you know, this train's a-rolling. My shit has a finite amount of time in which to be together.

I know that Patrick will be right in there with me, but he doesn't worry about this stuff. He has fine tuned the art of relaxing about things. He takes things as they come.

I need to be like that.

Love you,
Irene

2 comments:

paulinho said...

you will be amazing. you are ready for this. not in the "ready for a geometry test" way, but you will find strength you didn't know you had. and although the baby will change your life, it doesn't mean that you lose your identity. keep doing the things you love. kids need to see that their parents are engaged, loving, interested and interesting.

dufmanno said...

I used to break down survival by the hour, telling myself "I've made it through the first six hours, now I know I can do six more".
Most of the first few weeks was always a blur of consistent but reassuring routine. Everyone is anxious but you'd be surprised what you can do and what your body can tolerate.
You are going to do great.
I won't tell you to relax because I never did and I still don't.