Motherhood: Five Months with August / by Vivian Chen

Dear Gusters, 
My sweet, happy boy, you’re five months old! This past month truly flew by. I can’t believe how fast time is going. And you’re getting so big! I left you for six days to shoot a wedding in Iceland and in that time it feels like you’ve grown exponentially. How did you leap to nine month clothing in a week? Your happiness is a constant and your joyous spirit is infectious. You are our ray of sunshine and I hope that smile and laugh never dims. Thank you for being a never ending source of love and for brightening our days. Thank you for keeping me grounded and for reminding me to be present and live in the moment. Mommy and daddy love you so so much!

Finding Myself Again

I left my milk in Iceland, dumped it into the volcanic soil as I drove the vast stretches of road along the southern part of the island. This was my first trip away from Gus, six full days after five straight months by his side. I cried a bit on the plane ride over, worrying and wondering if he’d be okay without me. And worrying and wondering if I would be okay without him. Life before Gus consisted of a lot more time to myself with solo hikes and road trips. But that felt like a lifetime ago. It had been awhile since I stretched those muscles and I was afraid that being alone would be lonely. But to my surprise it took no time to slip back into this familiar version of myself, the solo adventurer. Wandering around downtown Reykjavík on my own agenda, taking in the scenery as I listened to podcasts while driving to destinations I picked on a whim. But, as I’ve learned on this wild journey called motherhood, you can never go back to the way it was. My mom body still tethered me to my son 4233 miles away. The breast pump became constant reminder that there was a sweet boy at home who relied on me. Every three to four hours, my body told me to stop everything and pump. It didn’t matter if I was halfway to the next epic vista point or soaking in the Blue Lagoon. A full night’s sleep still evaded me as my body would wake up aching, shirt soaked through. My internal clock worked non-stop to make milk full of essential nutrients that would never make it to my son. And so I’d pour this liquid gold down hotel drains or into the earth on the side of the road, all the while trying not to think about how wasteful it felt. This ritual reminded me that it doesn’t matter how far away I am, I’m still Gus’s mom.