Everything is Altering

This post was happily featured on Babble on April 18, 2012 as the post I am most proud of us a mom! One week ago I gave birth to our precious son, Carston Cook Levey Friedman. We have been affectionately referring to him as Little Man.

During labor I spent a good amount of time on Facebook and Twitter. It was amazing to feel like so many friends and family were part of the process.

A Twitter friend, Sarah Buttenwieser, sent me a message after he'd arrived, part of which said: "#everythingaltering."

That phrase, "everything altering," kept running like a loop through my head over the next 24 hours. I kept saying to myself, "Everything is altering. Everything is altering." Of course, the link to "altar" and worshiping him and all the promise he holds (as the Midrash says, "With each child the world begins anew") was not lost on me either.

I also kept thinking about the choice of tense. Everything alterED the moment he entered the world. As any mother knows, the moment when that little human life is both forced out of you, by you, and also slips out of you, on his own, is indescribable.  Everything changed in that moment.

And, yet, my husband, John, and I still remained ourselves. Life shattered for a brief moment and was then put back together with so much more love than we knew before. We were fundamentally changed and fundamentally the same all at once.  Case in point: On the day we left the hospital an article about John's research (which I've written a bit about before) appeared on the front page of The New York Times (and check out Nicholas Kristof's column tomorrow, which also discusses this work). He spent the next several hours on the phone with reporters and even doing a live interview from home.  I snuck in half an hour of work on an article I have coming out next Sunday in The Boston Globe Magazine on afterschool math enrichment centers.

So much the same, yet completely different.

Because it is not that everything alterED, but that it is alterING.  Every sigh, sound, thought, movement has a new meaning. And this is a continual process of negotiating new challenges together and renegotiating identities and expectations.

As I take in lots of wonderful advice (one wonderful example written by Rebecca Sullivan, "Pilfer Disposable Hospital Underwear?") and continue to share our evolving journey with loved ones, I look forward to finding out where this altering will take us as individuals, as a family, and as professionals.

This Saturday will capture many of those changes. We'll spend the morning following the US Marathon Trials, since John is a serious runner and running fan.

Then we'll watch the Patriots game (Go, Tom Brady!).

Finally, we'll switch to the Miss America Pageant. This will be the first time in many years that I won't be watching with friends while hosting a pageant party. Carston has been studying up on his favorites though. Once the preliminary competitions end tomorrow night, I plan to post my thoughts and predictions on this year's interesting group of contestants.

In the meantime, we'll be altering away.

ETA: I love that motherhood means entering new conversations and dialogue. Continued thoughts from Standing in the Shadows blog!