Wednesday, July 17, 2013
this guy was meant for me.....
I’m going to tell you a story so personal, only a handful of people know it. A story about me that reveals more than most people know a story I was trying to spit out over dinner yesterday with a friend... but couldn’t... because I’m better at divulging myself more eloquently on "paper" than with my mouth...
If you could see a younger version of me... the one that was twenty nine, you would meet a woman who commanded a certain power and leadership. Independent, smart and rising in the ranks of the NYC agency scene, I was racing to the zenith of something with a wake of broken hearts behind me. My vigilance spread across every aspect of my life, gym 7x a week, yoga 5x a week, work 24/7, sleep optional and a pair of leather pants for every occasion. My trajectory consisted of one thing... get to Executive Vice President by 30 (this did happen along with partnership). Consequences of how I got there were irrelevant, my effect on others inconsequential. I cared about one thing... winning.
I was never one of those girls who played "house" as a kid or imagined a wedding or a baby. In fact if I saw a pregnant woman on the street it would send me running, because I was afraid that somehow she might be contagious. While my other girlfriends and sister may have been on that mission, I had my eye on one prize, increasing my success and trampling anything that got between me and my ambitious goals.
When I met my now very ex husband, I did what I always used to do in those days... walk into the room, point at the guy with whom I'd be with and 'win' him too. I will forgo the "love" story and get on with what hopefully will be the point of this missive.
When Randouche Mastelbate proposed to me... I laughed. Yes, I looked the love struck man in the face and laughed. Me? Married? Engaged? That convention for those other people sure, but me? F@#$CK no! It may sound cruel, but I really did laugh, I thought he was playing some kind of prank. But he wasn't, he was being totally serious.
Something came over me, I let go and I looked into his pained eyes. I did love him... and something happened... I surrendered... (one of many times I have surrendered in my life) and ... I got married. My wedding was one of the greatest events of all time, we exchanged vows under the BKLYN bridge, had a reception in a DUMBO loft with Superfine food and Organic Grooves.
... and I had a new mission, to make us 'the' coolest power couple ... I opened him an art gallery in DUMBO, my agency based in the back office was raking in real dollars and my staff did my bidding while I went right back to world domination, we became increasingly popular in the arts circles and scenes of choice, we moved into this gorgeous duplex loft, meals were sourced all over town, entertained fabulous parties, at art openings we would laugh at the whispers, "omg, are those the Mastels? yes, yes, it's really them" we ... we... had it all and...
then.. 9/11... I lost all of my business in 4 days and then... how this happened is a miracle... I GOT PREGNANT.
We didn't want kids. But remember I didn't want to be married either. I made being married "cool" somehow, that it would be different but now... aching, confused, plagued... I got pregnant. I never wanted children. For a million reasons and rants, I was not going to have kids. I didn't believe it, peed on multiple sticks that instantly reverted to plus signs, blue lines, pink dots (I peed on a lot of sticks).
I told my parents I was pregnant at dinner, they were floored. Their response felt like what I would have gotten if I were a teenager. Cowering in my seat, I knew... this wasn't really happy news. My sister seethed with jealousy, this was her plan to get married and have kids, not mine. I'm not "mom" material, this is going to be a wretched disaster.
Days later, I'm sitting in my father's car. He's not an affectionate guy, but he was holding my hand. "I don't know what to do dad, I'm so scared."
"If you want to get rid of it, I'll go with you," my father said, "we'll save your marriage, it's the right thing to do."
With that, I made an appointment.... I was going to terminate the baby. In my Elissa Jane style... I made the appointment for 2 days before my 12 weeks were up. This would not be an impulsive move. I'd read whatever I could read and research before making a "choice" I had fought for years to have the right to have. I believed that doing due diligence here would be important and that before I went ahead and made this drastic decision, I'd plan and give it proper thought.
The eve of my appointment, I choked.
I had a check up around 9 weeks and heard the baby's heart beat. I thought I didn't care...that my mind was made up. Something tweaked in me... I took 'responsibility' for the life inside me and chose to take this on. I cancelled the appointment... and well.... my son turns 11 this week.
My pregnancy was a total drag, nothing like the movies. My birth was also one of those crazy stories riddled with extra trips to the emergency room, some RN freaking out that I had placenta previa (I didn't), 11 hours with my legs up, all sorts of drugs to make the baby come out (he wouldn't).
I had a birth plan. Did I? Do you know me at all? Yes I did. My birth plan was close to 8 pages long with instructions on just about every detail. I brought 10 copies which I distributed to nurses, RNs, etc... and also put one in my chart and on the door. I had every detail mapped out. At the hospital, I had two bags full of "gear" to get me through from special pillows to a stack of CDs so I could DJ through my experience with the perfect tune for every stage of the opening of my cervix. None of this happened. My naturally planned childbirth was moved to an emergency special monitoring area where I was unhappily drugged up with labor inducing cocktails, monitors and an overall feeling of failure.
Nothing about this was going as I planned. It was time for a C-section, there were no other options. As they rolled me into the table, my compassionate DR ordered Randouche to go get my boombox and put on my requested soundtrack. This would be Future Sounds Of London "LifeForms" and in less than 10 minutes ... they cut, oh wait, the baby's head is bigger than we thought, they cut again... ok... we can get him out now... Zoren was pulled from me and displayed to me in a grey and red messy ball of tiny human with thick black hair.
There was no turning back now, the baby was here.
In the years that have followed I've learned patience, letting go of expectations, acceptance and what unconditional love really is. I've done my best to make Motherhood 'cool' although there are times this has to be the most mundane uncool typical life on earth. Don't ask me how many times I've cooked "circle pasta with butter." We don't eat at a dining table or keep a schedule. I had to go to a counselor to learn how to 'discipline' my kid. I don't do well with PTA or school authority. At one point I took on the role of Den Mother, that lasted six months. I could care less if my son tests well, although he's in some 90-something percentile for awesomeness and tests well without much effort. He is smart, loves to read, gets great grades without trying, kills it at every sport he tries and has the insight of a very old soul.
I haven't told this to too many people for a myriad of reasons. Guess if I'm blogging it, it's no longer a private story is it?
Somehow, over the years, I've forgotten all about that era... because it feels like there is the life before I was a mom that is fading deeper and deeper into the annals of my memory banks... and the person you see now is a result of acceptance and the gifts I've gotten from the lessons being Zman's mom. Let me tell you … being his mom is the easy part, it is LIFE that is freakin hard!!!
You see, what I think I'm trying to say is... getting married, having a kid... that wasn't "me". But now I cannot imagine loving myself more than I do now... as the person who has learned and grown over the past 11 years.
If 29 year old me looked at 44 year old me... she'd spit, barf, chastise, berate and decimate me for what I've become. I'm everything I said I'd never be. Trust me, there's much I'm grateful for... my 20s were a selfish wonderful time, I saw the world, traveled with bands, had an apartment in Amsterdam, lived out of suitcases, made gobs of money and spent it unwisely, I lead my universe.... and had I not been through all of that, I may have resented my son.
Look... life doles out all kinds of stuff we can't control. Like... I was on the pill and I got pregnant. Life is full of surprises. What if I didn't say yes to Randouche? And we didn't have Z? And I didn't take that job? And I didn't get on that plane, or sign that deal or ....
There's no way to carve out or control the expectations of what we think life is supposed to look like. I am learning every day that all I have is what is in front of me.
When I look at the Zman, I see the world through his eyes, learn lessons about attachments, being reactive, the challenges of being different and carving out a self esteem, being socially awkward and that catching crayfish in the stream in front of our house can be really cool!
I get that loving me on my own is no longer an option, that if someone wants to be in my life they need to love 'us'... because we are this unit that can't be compartmentalized for very long. It's a blessing and a curse I suppose, to realize that I can't separate myself as an individual chick anymore, that I have this person tethered to me regardless of what I do.
It's really amazing that Zoren turns 11 tomorrow. That 11 years ago today I was strapped into a bed with all kinds of drugs and monitors I didn't want, in pain, in fear, in panic.... but he arrived, a perfect bundle of awesome ready to reinvent me in ways I could have never imagined.
Happy Birthday lil buddy...