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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Domesticated and Drab Me

Does life change after motherhood? Yes. Will I seek to reverse this trend in the coming year? Yes.

You see, I have lost myself somewhere along this journey and it’s time to reclaim the “real me”, whomever that may be nowadays.

It all came to me as clear as day in the early dawn hours of this morning, December 31st, a day generally fraught with good intentions and guilty resolutions. On my way to administer the last spelling test of 2010, and assign a small Russian writing exercise, sort of a final, last-ditch nod to the sputtered-out schoolwork that had tapered off over the last week, I realized: I have sputtered out, as well.

It was there in my bathroom, nerve center of the whole house, where whispered confessions are accepted in confidence, where hopes and dreams are discussed in safety, where dogs lounge and family members find their way for a hug or encouraging word. I was finishing up my hair and makeup, putting on some earrings when I saw they didn’t go with my outfit. At all.

Benedetto had gifted me with these lovely crystal dangle drop earrings over the holidays. There was a time in my life when they would have looked just right, even before 8:00 am.

“If they’re too much, we can return them,” he suggested.

“No, they’re great! What fun!” I exclaimed. As a tea-totaller, and not on medication of any sort, I can only ascribe this total leave of commonsense to my current identity confusion. I USED to wear earrings like this, but sadly, not so much anymore.

I took off the big crystal teardrops and replaced them with some similarly-snazzy, chunky pieces. These went better with my velour “hostess outfit”, for want of a better term. I was tired of long, handknit sweaters from exotic places, comfy as they were, or business suits, too restrictive for a day at home. Flowing pants and an elongated top gave the appearance of relaxed and refined elegance.

Or so I told myself, wondering if I would burn in hell for lying… to myself. Was that even possible?

Strolling into the kitchen to embark on my first of the last official acts of 2010, namely, feeding the dogs, and chopping potatoes, Benedetto was nice enough to comment, “Oh, you look nice!”  Good of him to notice that I was trying, at least, even if we had no big plans.

Sad to say, the pants and top were very similar to a velour track suit that we had bought his mother who was confined to an old folks’ home, but made the occasional foray out into the world at large, and received many visitors. She always felt cold, so we purchased a warm and comfy outfit, in a beautiful shade of blue.

My ensemble, on the other hand was more fluid, not sporty at all, black velvety pants and rich ruby red tunic. I thought it looked good.

“Hey, Mama,” in walked Petya. “Isn’t that outfit the same like we bought for Babushka Rose?”

I narrowed my eyes at him over the heap of potatoes.

“Don’t say that,” Benedetto advised.

“It’s similar, you’re right,” I told him.

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

“Well, I’m wearing an outfit that’s maybe better for a babushka and not for me,” I explained. “It’s like saying I’m already an old lady.”

“You’re not an old lady!” he protested. “How can you be a babushka? You’ll always be my mama!”

Out of the mouth of babes… and into the ears of the aged. Just when I thought I might need to throw flour in my hair and buy a Chia pet.

I recall when a good friend became a mother. Everything was about her child, non-stop. They did nothing without the baby in tow. I was speaking to another friend, in another country, with a baby about the same age.

“Nonsense,” she counselled me. “If you’re boring after you have children, it must be that you were boring before you had children.”  And she would know: she wore 4-inch heels throughout her pregnancy, not to mention fancy jewels, great hair and makeup.

Was I truly this shallow? Apparently so. I spent much of my waking time catering to others whether inside or outside the home, and somehow missed “myself” in the process. To constantly give to others, I needed to feel good, myself. I knew all about the helpful advice for new parents: “Take time for yourself.”  Yes, and um, when would that be?

Well, this new year, I’m going to give it a shot and actually cater to myself once in a while. (Just a little.) How about you?


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