It’s officially March and I’m dreaming of Spring. Who’s with me? I can close my eyes and smell the grass, the warm breeze, and hear Lucas’s squeals as he runs through the park. I miss the beautiful flowers blooming in Central Park and our family picnics. Lillie was born in August and we had a short but sweet taste of what life would be like as a family of four come the warmer days. No bulky jackets and layers upon layers, missing mittens, and kids who want to rip off hats even when it’s 10 degrees outside. I’m pretty over running home to avoid the cold after school pick up is done and anxiously awaiting Ivan to get home. I love being active with the kids and there are so many adventures awaiting us – museum dates, exploring Central Park (because even though I have lived in NYC my entire life there are always new pockets to be discovered), Lillie experiencing the feeling of grass between her bitty toes, and lots and lots of pop-pops (as Lucas calls them) from the ice cream truck. I am waiting for our little apartment to be flooded with delicious light and for the windows to be cracked open letting in that glorious Spring breeze. I want the sun to hit our cheeks. I want my freckles to come back. Spring, we are ready.
Lillie Sol is 2 weeks young and she is already a true New Yorker. We have been to Central Park a handful of times already and I can attest to how much the fresh air and family time has done us all some good. Lillie and I sit in the shade and nurse/cuddle/nurse while Ivan and Lucas rough house. These family afternoons in the park have been such a gift and I’m not so secretly a bit sad about next week when Ivan goes back to work. In the mean time I’ll be soaking in these moments, my people, and of course our big ol’ backyard – hey Central Park! Looking good girl!
Lily Jade is an amazing diaper bag company and they were kind enough to send me their Elizabeth Bag which I am officially obsessed with. I love that it converts into a back pack and allows me to be hands free while wearing Lillie. There are also a ton of pockets perfect for organizing all those tiny baby bits and bobs and honestly it’s just plain beautiful.
My budding, curious boy has the world at his fingers. For now it is up to his father and I to show him..to give him the freedom to touch, dance, explore. Academics are important, sure. But in all honesty I don’t believe that a standard classroom regimen is the key to success. In order to find your true calling, to find your passion, to find out who you are, the arts are key. I want Lucas to try an instrument. To feel the smooth keys of a piano beneath his long fingers. I want Lucas to dance! To feel the rhythm of a salsa ballad run through his core. I want Lucas to paint. To watch his own masterpiece take form with every brush stroke. To me, this is living, and I want to give Lucas every opportunity in the world to feel these tangible emotions and make a decision based on his life experiences on what path he chooses to take as an young adult. Maybe he will be a scientist. But he also may very well choose to be the next Felipe Polanco.
So instead of another episode of Sesame Street where a screen was teaching him about the color green, we headed off to the museum. Where he could learn by exploring and experiencing the rich colors (green included ;).
It changed me for the better.
I look back on my early twenties and remember all the complaints..the moaning and groaning when I couldn’t wiggle my skinny bottom into a pair of jeans. Or how I just had to lose an extra pound or two. Truthfully, I’m still working on my post-baby confidence and have found myself in moments of weakness wishing I could somehow instantly transform my body. But then I step back and remind myself of the bigger picture.
My tummy might be soft to the touch but I am thankful. Thankful for my body that for months carried and protected my gift from God until he was ready to meet us. And then there are the times we are snuggled in bed and Lucas lifts my shirt to rub my stomach. He turns his head up to look at me and gives me a smile filled with so much love it almost hurts.
My thighs may have cellulite but I am thankful. Thankful that I have strong legs that allow me to run and chase my free spirited boy.
My arms may jiggle but I am thankful. Thankful that each night I rock my baby until I can hear a soft snore in my ear and I feel his body go heavy and I know he his dreaming. Arms that can throw my son in the air and make him giggle like nobodies business. Arms that wrap around his small body when he’s scared or upset and only mama can comfort him.
My breast feeding journey began with a baby who wouldn’t latch, nights of crying and no sleep, but I am thankful. Thankful that I never gave up and that for one full year I was able to nourish my son and watch those plump cheeks and delicious thighs grow because he was getting all the nutrients he needed from his mama. A gift only I could have given him.
My nails are short, never painted, and I’m lucky if I remember to moisturize my poor hands, but I am thankful. Thankful for the tiny paw that fits perfectly into mine and who holds onto me as we walk hand in hand on our adventures.
My face is often naked and under eye bags are front and center but I am thankful. Thankful because my unadorned cheeks are your favorite to kiss.
When I look in the mirror I am most certainly not perfect. There are a million flaws to be seen, circled, and criticized. But then I think of my son, my creation. Who looks at me with a love so fierce, it’s penetrating. Who never cares if my hair is washed or if my nails are manicured. His love has given me the confidence of the most beautiful super model in the world. Unlike said super model, I don’t make a million bucks a day, but I am paid in infinite kisses, impromptu dance shows, half eaten cookies covered in slobber, and a love that is never ending. I think I know who the winner is here. So thank you mi amor, for giving me a confidence I never knew existed. Until you.
There’s a reason why NYC has been dubbed the melting pot of the world. A city that never sleeps and is immersed in culture. Within a 5 block radius of our apartment we can choose between Indian, Chinese, Italian, Tai, or Japanese cuisine. Lucas has developed quite the palate. There are countless playgrounds to choose from. And then there’s the best back yard (in my humble opinion) that ever was – Central Park. One of my very favorite cultural gems is Spanish Harlem. On our walks through El Barrio Lucas dances to the blaring salsa music coming from tiny apartment windows and the smell of maduros (Lucas’s favorite treat) fills the streets. Oh, and the art! From painted classics that fill giant white rooms on Museum Row to the equally special street murals, a part of our daily routine is learning about and appreciating all the masterpieces our city has to offer.
I think what I Iove most, and what I’m truly excited for, is Lucas’s exposure to all walks of life. I see Lucas float from child to child at the playground and it prides me to know he doesn’t see color. He doesn’t know color. He looks at me with widened, excited eyes as if to say “look mama, I made a new friend!”. What could be better than that? To raise our children to look for the amazing qualities in a person and befriend them because they love what’s inside – that’s all that really matters, isn’t it? So thank you New York City, our very own mecca of culture, art, and love, for helping me raise my son to be the man I know he is destined to become. A stand up human being who accepts the world with a big heart and sparkling brown eyes that see no cultural boundaries. Just beauty.