Princess: The Princess takes on motherhood
The Aspen Princess
Guess what, you guys — I’m a mom!
So go ahead and add that to my list of creds: newspaper columnist, freelance writer, snowboarder, perennial teenager, yogi, desperate housewife of Basalt, pug mom, lover of platform shoes and proud resident of the Fryingpan.
Oh, and mom.
I have a son.
I can say, “My son, Levi.”
I got to do that today when I made his follow-up doctor’s appointment: “Hi, I’d like to make an appointment for my son, Levi.”
I filled out his first form the other day. Date of birth: Jan. 19, 2016.
Where it said “Mother,” I wrote my name.
I felt my first flash of pride when the nurses all commented on how beautiful he is, even though I’m sure they say that to all the moms. I do think he’s pretty perfect looking even though I get it that every mother thinks that about their baby, but for real: He doesn’t have any weird newborn rashes or wrinkly skin. He has this cute button nose and light peach fuzz on his head that’s as soft as the finest fur Ivana is hocking over at Dennis Basso. He smells clean and pure, like the midwinter air after a fresh snowfall. He’s super-tiny, just over 6 pounds. When he curls up on my chest and I rub his back, it’s smaller than the palm of my hand, his tiny spine as fragile and delicate as a bird’s.
That’s all the good stuff.
Truth be told, I’ve been getting my ass kicked.
Everyone tried to tell me how hard it would be, and I just didn’t get it. I was convinced I’d pop this kid out no problem, maybe even with enough force to catapult him across the room. I’m a yogi, dude. I did yoga, like, four days a week my whole pregnancy. Month eight and I still had the meanest backbend you’ve ever seen. I know how to breathe — hello. I got prana; I got shakti flow. Namaste, bitches.
Well, it pretty much went as badly as it could have.
I’m actually hoping it will forever change my standards for pain and endurance. What, pedal my ass for a 100-mile ride? That’s only, like, eight hours of pain. Run a marathon? Dude, four hours of pounding the pavement is nothing. Not only would hiking Highland Bowl feel like a walk in the park, but I’d get to go outside, breathe fresh air and savor the views and the feeling of being in my favorite place on the planet.
Oh, great. Now you made me cry.
Crying jags come at the slightest provocation as I sit here homebound, recovering from a C-section wherein I was basically sawed in half like one of those magic tricks where they put a pretty lady in a box and saw her in two. Only there was no magic, and now I’m benched for six weeks. Six weeks! Six weeks with no yoga, no bowl hikes, no cross-country skiing with our cool new Chariot.
My right leg is still half numb below the knee because I had an epidural for almost 14 hours and have been told that some “residual medication might be trapped in there” and that it will “work itself out” and so, oops, sorry, they basically left me half paralyzed.
Then I have to figure out this whole taking-care-of-a-newborn thing. It’s easy in the daytime when he’s super-sleepy and soft-looking, like a halfway-melted marshmallow. He has this wise look on his face like he’s trying to remember something, like what happens when you die or if there is a God or why the rivers flow and the tides rise and fall and where the rains come from. But then he has a primal need and he forgets whatever wisdom he was supposed to impart from some other place and time that he was sent here to deliver to me.
Nighttime takes on a different quality. I feel more frantic, stressed and unsure of myself. His cries are louder, piercing through the darkness. They take on a more desperate quality, like he really is suffering and not just communicating with me the only way he can. I have to remind myself to breathe. I feel my face get hot, and I begin to sweat, almost with a tinge of shame or embarrassment.
Ryan is a natural, of course. He was born to be a father. He handles the baby with no hesitation or fear. He talks to him as if Levi can understand his every word. He dances with him, cradles him in his giant arms, knows how to calm him with the vibration of his deep voice and easy, confident energy. Ryan takes care of me, too, making sure I take all my medications and get enough rest. He has taken on all the nuances of modern motherhood, from how to work the breast pump and sterilize all the bottles to how to work the damn oxygen tank we were sent home with on account of little lungs trying to acclimate to the elevation.
Even little Gertie watches over him, gently licking his head, feet and ears and then sitting stoic by his side as if it is her job, staring up at me with her giant eyes filled with concern. I am starting to wonder if she really is a dog or just a figment of my imagination.
Eventually the sun comes up and the baby goes down. The love I feel for my baby and husband swells with the light of day. I am cradled by the valley I call home, the water of the river sparkling in the morning light, and I know I am the happiest I have ever been. We are a family.
The Princess is loving her big boobs. Email your love to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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