Friday, August 24, 2007
New VerMOMster in Town
As I sit here pondering how I might introduce myself to you, my 8-month-old daughter, Georgia, (that's her over there) sleeps surrounded by pillows on our bed. It is suddenly muggy and warm again after an early cool spell in central Vermont where we live and I have stripped her down to a t-shirt and her diaper. In typical fashion she babbled herself to sleep within minutes having skipped her mid-morning nap, the fan humming and children’s voices rising up from the street level of our building. Below us local kids delight in their maple creemees from the 19th century general store. The go-to Vermont cool treat, I imagine that some of the last creemees of summer are being enjoyed downstairs; today’s warmth a reminder that summer in Vermont is fleeting, you have to catch as catch can. School, if it has not begun already, on the horizon.
Along the highway—Interstate 89—the trees across the expanse of mountains, if you take the time to notice, have already begun to redden. Dulling to a muted greenish-brown, they merely hint at the transformation that will, in but a matter of weeks, turn the trees vivid again, in multiple shades now, attracting people from around the world to marvel at their oomph.
As I sit down to introduce myself my husband sends me emails indicating that there are dates I ought to write in my book. A new faculty hire at a local private college, he is amping up for his first semester as a “real” professor. New hire picnics, teas, and lectures abound. Having earned his PhD in Mathematics in the spring of this year, it is his diligence and intelligence that has paid off for our family.
For the last 4 to 5 months we have lived off our savings (and no small donation from Alex’s family) so that we could be with our daughter as she went through and recovered from surgery to repair several holes in her heart shortly after Alex received his diploma. Together we decided that I will continue to stay home with Georgia. Though it is true that Georgia, who has Down syndrome, has no shortage of therapists to meet with each week, it is not because of this that we reached our decision.
Instead it is that Alex’s position is but a year-long sabbatical replacement and we do not know where the winds will take us when the money (and health insurance) run out in May. Though it might make sense to be a two-income family for that exact reason, the chances of Alex finding suitable employ in the borders of Vermont beyond this year are depressingly slim (though fingers crossed would be a nice gesture). Though I have bipped my way through my fair share of jobs over the years the thought of starting another position that I know I will likely and soon-ly leave is daunting. Not to mention the job market in Vermont, which to be honest is better comparatively in the central region of the state where we currently live, than in the southern portion where I have also laid my head for a spell.
All that is to say nothing of the waiting lists in daycares. I don’t know if I was warned about such things, and if I had, I wasn’t listening. I played with the idea of no less than three jobs seriously just prior to and once we arrived in VT this past spring, but the lack of available space in—not to mention the cost of—daycare was prohibitive.
And let me just come right out and say that having your nearly 6-month-old baby go under the knife for open heart surgery just six weeks after a serious 8 days in the hospital bout with RSV will also put a crimp in your independent-minded, I’m-gonna’-work-and-the-baby’s-going-to-be-better-for-it-just-you-wait-and-see mama style as well. Suddenly germs aren’t just those invisible creatures you see cartoon-ized as grumbling green globs of mucous advertising for cough syrup on TV and in the pages of parenting magazines. Suddenly you understand what it means for your child to be truly prone to illness.
I am not knocking daycare, there will likely come a day when it is right again for us, I am pretty sure. It’s just suddenly, one day I was more vulnerable. With that vulnerability came fear that I am learning to overcome so as not to be too overly protective of my child.
I would be out and out lying if I did not tell you that for a long time—years—I have wanted to be a stay-at-home-mama. This, perhaps, since we’re being honest, may in small part be due to the fact that I have no tolerance for jobs. At least certain ones. You know, like the ones I tend to take. In truth, however, I have always wanted a child and now that I have one, I want to be there with her for as long as possible. It is for this reason I am most grateful that we were able to make the decision for me to stay home.
At least until we run out of money, or I die of sheer boredom. Which ever happens first. Because let’s face it, you can only watch so many episodes of A Baby Story, there are only so many times you can sing the canon of children’s songs, The Carrot Seed is a brilliant story (more on that at a later date), but by it’s 1 millionth read-through it gets a little predictable.
So there it is. For now, lest I bore you right out of this website and have my newly earned contributor privileges taken away (which I am thankful for and dorkily quite proud of, by the way), that is who I am. Tricia: a week from my 31st birthday, a first time mom to a little girl who has Down syndrome, the wife of a professor (a mathematics professor no less!), a stay-at-home-mom, a wannabee writer, an amateur photographer, a shower singer, a Vermonter—whether we end up staying here or not, it’s something deep inside. The old-timers might tell you you’re not a real Vermonter until your family has been here for fifteen generations or somesuch thing. And my family lineage, alas, starts with us—my daughter, like myself, born in Connecticut, my husband, New Hampshire. But there you have it, Vermonters three. Our chosen home. Whether we have a choice in the future or not.
Hi. If you want, you can read more about me here.
Posted by Tricia at 8/24/2007 04:03:00 PM