A couple weeks ago, a show I had set up to automatically tape on the DVR started popping up again with new episodes. The show is called "Something Borrowed, Something New" and it's on TLC. It's about daughters whose moms want them to wear their wedding dress, and a designer transforms the mom's dress into something awesome. The bride then has to choose between a new dress and the reworked dress. It's a fun little show and I remember watching it last winter. In fact, I recall eagerly watching the two episodes that taped every Friday night when I was home alone with Carter during my maternity leave. Seeing that show pop back up in my shows and watching it again has been a funny little throwback to that whirlwind couple months at the end of last winter.
Even weirder...right around the time Carter was born, there was another TLC show that was just about to premiere. I watched a LOT of TLC the entire time I was off, from the couple days I spent in the hospital, right through my seven weeks off, and during that time, I must have seen a few hundred commercials for this one show - "Welcome to Myrtle Manor". There was a very obnoxious, repetitive commercial for it, particularly at the beginning, and I swear that if there was a soundtrack to my maternity leave, that would have been on it. I watched a couple episodes once it premiered, but after my maternity leave I sort of forgot it existed. Well, a couple weeks ago, I saw a commercial for the new season of the show. The second I heard the name, I was momentarily, instantaneously transported back to last February with a clear vision of how I spent my maternity leave. It was so weird how the mere mention of the name of a show I had forgotten about (albeit by the same voice that did the original commercial) instantly took me back. I never realized how much of an impact that show had on that phase of my life. I can probably say the same for a couple other commercials, too, but that one definitely gave me a "Pavlov" moment.
I had another moment like that, too, when I was hanging out at my parents' house a few weeks back and heard one of them playing Candy Crush on the iPad. I gave up on level 65 ages ago, but that game was my constant companion during night feedings. The music brings back memories of those otherwise quiet, middle of the night moments.
I still look back so fondly on my maternity leave. It was so peaceful and fulfilling, which shocked me considering how hard my maternity leave with Jacob felt. I don't know why they were so different, but all I can figure is this:
1) This time the house was my comfortable little cocoon shielding me from winter, whereas with Jacob it was a 90-degree furnace. I also appreciated not having to go out or commute in the crappy winter weather, whereas with Jacob I felt like I should go outside to escape the heat in the house and to appreciate the summer...but it was such a process to go out, so I was plenty happy to stay in the house as much as possible this time.
2) Jacob was a terrible napper and I felt compelled to try to get things done around the house so often that I found myself constantly frustrated when he'd wake up early. This time I just tried to appreciate Carter's presence and enjoy my time with him. He spent a lot of time in my arms and was therefore a good napper...as long as I was holding him. But since I was okay with that from the get-go, it didn't bother me.
3) Everything started off so chaotic with Jacob and I can't help but wonder if I just never settled in quite right. This time everything went off without a hitch--well, at least once I got over being shell-shocked from delivering three weeks early after my water broke out of the blue at work. But I was half-expecting to go early and everything went so well afterward that everything just settled into place. I was also so grateful for the "normal" experience that I soaked up every moment of it.
As we head into the same time of year that was the stretch run last year, I'm certainly thinking back to everything that's happened in the past year. This was where it all started and it marked the last period I can refer to as "blissful" in our lives. In comparison to now, anyway. It's been a crazy year for sure, but when it comes down to it, I can't believe Carter's been here almost a full year! This time of year drives that point home loud and clear, and it brings with it the reality--we have a party to plan! That's a new one for this time of year, for sure!