Jan 11, 201309:33 AM
Living, loving, laughing, and learning in the new New Orleans
Baby’s First Carnival Season
Ruby and me on her first Mardi Gras in 2007 with a friend of my dad's. Yes, she is smiling at him.
It …it’s been a long week. Honestly, it’s been a long month – Ruby’s birthday party, her actual birthday, her class holiday party, the school’s holiday bake sale, Christmas, New Year’s, lots of friends in from lots of faraway cities, all on top of the normal everyday stress of work and family and getting to school on time and buying groceries and rushing to pediatrician appointments. But this week. Oh, this week has been particularly long.
My husband started complaining of back pain weeks ago, but just periodically – after a soccer game, after rearranging all of the backyard furniture. Then the pain increased to the point that he was hurting after rocking the baby to sleep. Then to the point that he couldn’t carry the baby at all. And now we are at the point where he straight-up can’t function: he can’t sleep, he can’t walk, and even strong prescription pain medicines barely touch the pain. It’s been a merry-go-round of doctors, urgent care, prescriptions, MRIs, X-rays, more prescriptions – we basically have half of Rite Aid on our bedside table. And thankfully, we finally have an answer and what we very much hope will be a solution: An MRI revealed what his doctor described as a “huge herniation” in one of the discs of his lower back, and he is scheduled for surgery next week. (I know you mean well, but please, please, please, unless you have A) a medical degree and B) his MRI and charts in front of you, don’t tell me he just needs physical therapy or rest or a massage or chiropractic care.)
Although I absolutely understand that he is the one suffering, the past few weeks haven’t exactly been easy on the rest of the family either. Without our parents, who have been so beyond amazing; our upstairs neighbors, who have been helping us immeasurably; and our friends, who have changed poopy diapers, listened to Ruby’s endless renditions of Janis Joplin’s “Mercedes Benz,” folded laundry and picked up takeout, I don’t know where we’d be.
But with hope on the horizon, I am actually letting myself take a deep breath and look forward to Carnival. Haley Adams’ blog on Wednesday about her first Carnival season reminded me: “Hey, this will be Georgia’s first Carnival!”
I didn’t get excited at all for Baby’s First Evacuation. I got moderately excited for Halloween (I bought a lamb costume), Thanksgiving (I bought a smocked dress for her to wear to dinner) and Christmas (I bought an ornament; my mother-in-law bought a Baby’s First Christmas bib). But I am really excited for Baby’s First Carnival.
I realized, though, that I’ve never really done Carnival with a baby. Ruby was a super-tiny, fragile 9-week-old infant for her first Mardi Gras, and we were still living in Missouri, so we missed most of it, just making Bacchus, where some family friends hold an annual party on the route, and then wandering around the Quarter with Ruby in a Moby Wrap on Mardi Gras Day. Georgia, at 7 months, is old enough to actually enjoy parades, and I really think she will – she is a laidback baby who smiles at everything, loves music, loves people and never seems to get overstimulated. But even if I didn’t think she would like the parades, there’s no way she’s avoiding them because Ruby is obsessed. If I didn’t get out of parades last year, when I was six months pregnant, there is no way I will get out of them this year – and honestly, I don’t even want to. I love the fact that both of my girls will one day be able to say that they have never missed a Mardi Gras.
2013 is just 12 days old, and already it has overwhelmed me in many ways. But in New Orleans, as we well know, there is always rebirth, a chance to start over, around every corner.
Happy Mardi Gras, whether it’s your first or, as it is for my father, your 57th!