Monday, June 8, 2015

Observations from time to just be...

On Saturday, Ryan gave me the morning off. There was a bridal shower downtown (meaning, 1 hour travel time each way) for someone at our church. There's just something about a shower that means good food and great conversation, and I was just ready for a morning "off." I love being a mom, but there's no lie that it does get wearing after a while, no matter how much I love my little girl!

So, Ryan decided he'd take Hadassah to the zoo instead of spending the morning at home with her asking for mommy. We built it up all day on Friday, trying to teach her the concept of "tomorrow" as well, so when Saturday came and we told her "it's tomorrow! That means today daddy is taking you to the -" she chimed in with an excited "zoo!!"

She was pretty thrilled to go on her daddy-daughter date, as we kept calling it, and gave a great smile as they prepared to head out the door. She was still confused when I said goodbye and closed the door instead of going with them, but she didn't cry, had fun, and gave Daddy no trouble as he took her to see her favorite animals, let her feed goats and sheep at the petting zoo for a long time, got an ice cream treat, fed her lunch in the taxi, and put her down to nap. This girl likes her nap so much even that wasn't a problem - I didn't know, as I've always been there to lay her down for months, but she went right to bed with no protest. I could tell she'd made great memories too, as she seemed just a little closer to Ryan after that, and excitedly chattered about her "dada daughter date!"

It was my first 6 hours straight alone during the day since she was born. I love being connected to my little one, but I am thankful for this break in nursing before the next little one comes and I have an attachment never far away again. ;) I had an hour before I had to leave and crepes to make to bring along, so I was delighted when a friend from the states unexpectedly called and we got to talk while I cooked and cleaned up. It was pretty awesome being able to talk without constantly keeping an ear out and trying to occupy a busy little one, I must admit!

I left the house, still carrying a bag with food for the shower, but it contained no diapers or sippy cups... talk about feeling like I was forgetting something! ;) The subway was busier than I thought it would be, so I ended up standing for 20 minutes or so on line 5, as I didn't have a toddler in my arms, so no one offered a seat. I did get to carry on a conversation with someone, though... talk about another weird experience - talking in English on the subway with someone I didn't know! There was a fun group from the Carribean here for a few weeks to attend a seminar at a nearby university, so I enjoyed learning some about them and answering their questions about life in China. I smile at how often I have been asked if we have to abide by the one child policy because we live here - "definitely not." But then, the smile fades as I realize how sad it would be to be forced to follow it, as so many here have to.

Anyways, that ride passed quickly, and I got a seat at the metro line transfer, as I was one of the first in line for the empty cars. I'd planned to journal, but instead, I just sat. I didn't have to occupy or wrangle anyone, so just sitting was such a treat! And it gave me a time to look around. I could people watch, because for once I wasn't the one being watched. Without my blond haired, blue-eyed little lass, I was just a normal person, sure, a foreigner, but nothing of special interest to anyone. Do you know how refreshing that was? I'd forgotten how nice it felt to not have almost all eyes directed my way. I appreciate the friendliness and interest - usually - that a lot of strangers take in Hadassah, but it felt so good to just feel like a normal person again.

The commute really wasn't that bad when it came down to doing it alone. Not that I'd want to do it daily as some do, but it gave time to think and rest. I saw the city with new eyes, too. I enjoyed the sites of the more foreigner-friendly area as I walked through the French Concession area, the cleanliness, the peacefulness. Life would be very different for us if we lived in a different part of Shanghai - a little more understandable, a little less lonely.

It's been a question we've had for a while now: should we move downtown? We have been starved for church fellowship, but we just can't get over the commute Ryan would be forced to take every day, and the hours less we'd be able to see him as he'd likely miss breakfast and lunch as a family, whereas now he enjoys both. It's just not us, not something we'd thrive in, and I really don't want to exchange time with my best friend in order to have a little more time with new friends. But, there's no question that life would be easier. And, being out in it, I saw how more people could really truly enjoy Shanghai all the more. More in the heart of things, you have access to a lot more, public transportation gets you pretty quickly from one place to the next, and it truly is an amazing, busy city. I like the quietness of life in the suburbs, but not the distance it puts us from pretty much everything and almost everyone (in terms of church friends).

The shower was lovely. The food - a brunch - was absolutely delicious. I was glad I had being pregnant as an excuse to eat a little more. ;) The group and atmosphere was delightful. I didn't get into many deep conversations, but I enjoyed being a part of everything without the need to go off and attend to little needs. I just sat and ate and listened to the story of how the bride-to-be met her love and the proposal, and the fun "about them" games. I laughed and ohhed over the gifts, and did enjoy brief conversations with some people I don't usually have time to talk to. 2 1/2 hours passed before I knew it, and though things weren't fully over yet, I was one of the first to leave. I knew I wouldn't get home for an hour, and I wanted to have at least a little of that precious Saturday nap time with Ryan.

I got to journal on the way home for the first leg of the journey. I wrote about how refreshing it was to have a little time alone, and then felt baby immediately kick - "okay, not quite alone!" :) Line 5 was crowded so I had to stand again. Pretty soon I'll be showing enough for people to offer their seat due to the baby belly, but for now I enjoyed just not getting any extra notice. I got to look out the window and just think, just be... I got to be just Anna for a little bit. I wouldn't trade the name "mama" for anything, but sometimes I do feel a little, I don't know, like I'm not sure who "Anna" fully is anymore!

The rest of the Saturday was perfect too. Ryan and I loved sharing stories from our separate mornings (he beat me in terms of the cuteness factor for sure!), we had time outside as a family, and went out for supper and really liked all of the Asian food we ordered (traveling 10 minutes by taxi to a nice mall area helped the food quality be better). Hadassah always loves running through the mall courtyard, and this time there were some small carnival rides she got a thrill out of watching. We were a family. Much as I enjoyed my morning alone, I am so thankful that this is what I have to come back to. :)

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you liked the bridle shower! I still remember going to yours!
    -H. S.