The 4th day — Recovery

It’s the 4th day of the year 2022. I already need to catch up.

Originally I had 1 day buffer on my daily writing. On NYE I used it. Now I’m always feeling behind.

I don’t feel like giving up. And I’m not going to cut myself some slack.

Not only that, but I’m also catching up again to one or two days ahead.

I need some days in the bank in case a NYE situation occurs again.

Today is all about recovery. Recovery of my body after the hard work of carrying the baby and delivering her. And even now, it’s still restlessly nursing her every day.

While I’m immersing myself in the love and happiness, I almost forgot to love my own body for its mine and it has been working so hard.

Its recovery needs time. It needs a lot of awareness and kindness.

I won’t hurry it in order to fit it into my old clothes.

I won’t rush it into doing sport or any intense workouts.

I’m not ashamed of it. Instead, I feel comfortable in my body now even more than before.

I’m nourishing my body as it nourishing my child.

I’m giving it love so it can transfer the love to the little baby.

Only kindness gives the time and space that the post-pregnancy body needs to recover.

Only after recovering can the body to be stronger and healthy again.

So I’m loving it, gently loving this carrier of bravery.


Six roses for her

My mom was never a fan of gifting flowers.

“Such a waste of money.” She said, “They are beautiful, but will die in a few days… I will never buy them. And don’t gift them to me.”

She preferred something practical over something that costs more because of its appearance and what it represents.

“Better you don’t gift me anything at all.” She used to say to me, “Save your money for better use. I get the gesture. That’s all that matters.”

When I was in elementary school, I bought her a very pretty, fake ring. It had a blue plastic gem on its silver-like ring. It didn’t look fake at all — to the 9-year-old me.

With the same amount of money, I could have bought her a single carnation. But since I inherited her pragmatism, after selecting among different colors of gems and different ring designs, I picked that simplistic looked, blue ring.

“This will not just last longer than a fresh carnation. It’s also beautiful. Mom is going to love it.” I thought.

She did say she liked it. And she was happy too. But still, after thanking me, she spent a long time telling me the importance of saving my pocket money for more useful stuff, or “for emergencies”.

“Mama, why don’t you wear the ring I gave you?” I asked my mom a few days later. She wore it right after I gave it to her, for a few hours. But then I never saw it on her finger again. 

I was worried that she didn’t like the ring. 

I was worried that she’s still mad at me for spending money unwisely.

“Well, I can’t wear it all the time, since the sweat and water will soon make the beautiful color fade…”

“But mama, you know what it represents?” I looked at her, thinking whether I should say something more here.

“Of course.” She smiled, “I always know.”

As a child, I was told to show my love for my mom. But I didn’t know how to.

Besides buying her something, I didn’t know what to do to show her that I appreciated and loved her.

Now she’s gone.

Now I know even less about how to show her that I still love her.

Less than the 9-year-old me.

So I bought her flowers. 

They are sitting in front of her picture on my desk right now.

I’m thinking of her every day, missing her every day.

I’m giving my best to live the rest of my life.

I don’t think she will mind me spending the 3 euros for six roses.

Even if she still doesn’t like me buying her flowers, I believe she will understand.

She will understand that gift-giving is a two-way street.

Being able to show her my love in any way, even if not the perfect way she’d like, is what I need.

Getting a response, even if a short complaint about wasting money, would still be perfect.

It was not exactly what I wanted to hear when I was 9. But at least reassuring.

Now it is impossible to get one.

All I can do now is to let the roses bloom for a while. For her. 

That’s what I need now.

What you have is not that bad

To the 15-year-old me:

I know that every morning you can’t wait to get out of the house.

I know that every evening you walk as slowly as you can while listening to heavy metal on your way home.

You want to spend as little time as you can to be in that house. Because your parents fight day in, day out.

I know you say to yourself “I can’t wait to leave this place for good. I don’t want to be around either of them.” 

You want to escape.

But believe me, what you have is really not that bad.

School is easy. You feel friends are closer to you than family is. 

It’s like everything outside of that house is just 100 percent better.

It’s like that house is hell.

Just because your parents fight over everything.

They are either loud or ice-cold or sarcastic to each other.

And to you too.

I know you hate being stuck in between them. 

I know you don’t want to choose sides.

But you don’t know what’s going to happen in the next 15 years, my friend.

You don’t know that your parents are going to repair their relationship from then on. They will still have ups and downs, but they never will go on that long with their “war”.

So you don’t have to think about running away anymore.

You don’t know that you will move half of the globe away from them.

You will get what you have always wanted — to escape their control, almost completely.

But you don’t know that you will miss this time so much — when you are 15, being in high school.

When you can spend every moment doing the things you love. (Reading, writing, and well, learning too)

When you have the closest friends that you feel like you want to be with forever.

When you can find either an apple or an orange, or a small carton of yogurt every afternoon in your school bag — your mother doesn’t want you to get hungry before you come home.

When you can have dinner with both of your parents every night.

When you still have both of your parents alive.

It’s really not that bad.

What you have right now, I mean.

Life does slowly move in the direction that you’ve always wanted. 

Something goes better. Some other things will go terribly wrong.

No matter how much you want to escape from your parents now, how disappointed you are of them when they say those hurtful things to each other, I want you to know this:

In the future, they will find their way back together.

And they will stick together, persistently, until the day death parts them.

No matter how anyone defines love, this is love.

They love each other. And they will not stop loving you.

So take off that pair of earphones. I know the loud music has been hurting your ears lately. It’s giving you a headache now.

Just go home. 

And go to the kitchen, to give mom a hug.

You do it far less than you should.

So go, hug her. 

And hug her one more time if you can, for me. 

It’s the thing I want the most in the world but I will never have again.

From the 30-year-old you

If I can keep living, here is my plan.

Where do I see myself in three months, one year, five years, and ten years?

Provided that I’m lucky enough to live that long.

I have never been a fan of making plans. 

After my mom died of cancer a while back, I gave up making plans for myself altogether.

Planning things was one of the things she liked to do. Not just for herself, but for every one of us.

Planning was also the reason why she didn’t get to enjoy much of her life.

She just retired at that time. And since we the children already moved out and started our own lives, mom finally got to live her life free from work, and from her household responsibilities.

She wanted to hang out with her friends more. They made plans to travel through the country in the next year.

She wanted me to get married to my then-boyfriend, and have kids. “Sometime in the future I’d love to be a grandma,” she used to say, “I will take care of her/him for you if you need. You know, if you want to focus on your career.” 

But planning was also the reason why she suffered a lot when she got the bad news. 

Planning means setting up expectations. Expectations for the good stuff: the positive, happy, and ambitious ones. The more you invest in making this plan, the more hurt you get when it doesn’t get to become reality.

A month ago I became a mother myself. I spend many minutes every day thinking about what death means to me now.

Since my mother passed, every day I had to face my own mortality and the unpredictability of everything in life. And now, it didn’t stop. The rational side of my brain asks me more urgently: what would my death mean now? What if there is no tomorrow? What will happen to my little baby?

“Enjoy the present moment.” I tell myself, “Enjoy it now so that if anything happens at any time, you know you’ve had the most out of this purest love that you possibly could.”

But being a new mom means you can’t help but look forward to the future. You can’t stop yourself from imagining what it would be like for you and your baby in a month when she grows bigger and stronger; a year, when she starts to walk; three years, when she’s able to learn and plan with other kids in kindergarten; and six years, when she’s going to school for the first time…

Wait. What if anything happens? What if I don’t get it to see all of these happen…

I don’t want to make any plans for myself to help her go anywhere or be anything in her life. I’m afraid.

I’m afraid of making plans.

I’m afraid of plans fail to realize. I’m afraid that I will fail my own expectation.

But maybe, just maybe. 

Can I be a little unafraid? Can I be so bold that I make a little bit of plan for the nearest future without carrying the weight of possible death of myself?

The best I can do is to say, maybe the 6 to 12 months.

I’m up for all the challenges for new mothers. The books say she’s going to go through some very important stages in the first year. So I’m all about recording every little step she takes along her way, from taking photos and videos to writing stuff down. 

I want to make a multi-media project recording her first year in this life.

That’s my gift to her. 

As for myself, I’m doing this — writing, every day.

This is already what I want to do the most. Being a newborn’s mom in Germany finally gave me the chance to do it.

So even when my writing sucks and nobody reads them, I will keep writing and keep posting, every day.

Till the foreseeable future as I’m still breathing.

Every moment until the end of that future is my moment.

And every moment is crystallized into words, including the ones you are reading right now.

Thank you for being here for my plan.

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