[Written on Saturday night, but naturally I’m just now getting around to posting it.]
I just came downstairs from singing Ben to sleep. I tried at least three times to put him in his bassinet and he woke up and caught me. So I paced around and sang a little more James Taylor. A few more Garth Brooks. My arms slowly got sore but I just kept thinking – it won’t always be this way. Someday, even tomorrow, he’ll be bigger. I won’t be able to wrap my arms around him so completely. To feel his little body get heavy and limp as he falls slowly to sleep. To finally feel his tiny fingers release their grip from fist fulls of my hair. It’s going to break my heart in slow motion.
One thing I feel like I’ve done a good job of as a Mom is being present. Most days I feel like I’m really there with Ben. I read him books, sing to him, we dance together, and I delight in his every expression. I’m doing my best and motherhood is one of the first things in my life that I’ve truly felt good at from the very beginning. It feels like being his Mom came so naturally to me. I know this is such an incredible blessing. It also feels really good for me as a person, not just a Mom, to be so present in my own life.
As I walked back and forth in the tiny corner of our bedroom, I just kept thinking of all the joys yet to come.
I remember how I always assumed before I had children that when we traveled, we’d still go to all the places I wanted to go. I had dreams of being the cool parents who’d forgo Disney to bring our children to Spain, the UAE, Morocco, or Peru. I almost had an arrogance about it – didn’t other parents realize that the kids would be so much better off seeing the real world? And not some manufactured, kid centric craziness?
Some time ago it occurred to me, as I watched Ben’s face light up with joy over something completely mundane (OMG THE ITSY BITSY SPIDER? AMAZING!), I would go anywhere to see his face light up like that. There are very few things that would fill my heart up so completely.
So if he begs to go to Legoland, I will go to Legoland and I will effing love it. If he wants to listen to the Moana soundtrack 100 times in a row on our way to Disney World, I will sing right along with a smile (after all, the village of Montinui is all we need…can you tell we listen to the “Disney favorites” playlist a lot?). If I never see Morocco but I see his face light up with joy at the sight of Buzz Lightyear, that will be more than enough for me. It’s the same reason that as I sit here, my living room floor is littered with colorful, plastic baby toys I swore I’d never have. It’s crazy how differently I feel, mere months later.
I don’t know where I’m going with this but I do feel like becoming a Mom has made me the best version of myself. I think I’m more patient now. Being more present in each day has made me happier. I’m not constantly looking forward to the next thing. The next weekend, the next vacation, the next event. I love N so completely and seeing him love our son so unconditionally, it’s like being a Dad has just emphasized every wonderful thing about him. I love him even more now. I feel so grateful every day.
I don’t want to paint an unrealistic picture of parenthood or pretend our lives are perfect. I know we got a pretty easy baby (aside from the bumpy beginning) and I promise every day isn’t cake. Ben’s going through a pretty impressive sleep regression and I haven’t had more than 3 hours straight of sleep in several nights. It’s not easy but it’s temporary. There’s definitely a shift online lately to be “real” and share the hard parts of life and to be honest about motherhood. I’m grateful that other Moms are brave enough to share their truth, even when it’s not pretty.
But my truth is this: This part of life hasn’t felt hard. I expected it to. I worried it would. I feared that sleep deprivation would turn me in to the worst version of myself. That I’d feel insecure in my new body or unsure in my new role as a Mom. That having a baby would be every good thing and every bad thing people ever said. But instead its felt beautiful and joyful and the only part I hate just a little is the feeling that it’ll slip through my fingers if I’m not careful. I see it every morning when I question if my eyes are deceiving me or if Ben actually does look a little bigger.
I’m much more confident in my new role than I ever anticipated. I’m not sugar-coating things, I’m just really loving this time of our lives. I love Ben. I love being a Mom. I love N and who we have become as parents and partners.
So when Ben goes to sleep at night, part of me already misses him. The other part of me is happy to sit here with a glass of wine and five straight episodes of Queer Eye. I guess I should note that N went out for a friend’s birthday so I’m home alone and feeling all the feelings (though I promise I’m not drunk). I love my life and I hope someday when I re-read this blog post, I’ll smile and remember how good these days really were. Now excuse me, I have a date with my breast pump.