I’ve been thinking about this post for a couple of weeks now. It’s been sitting in my draft folder, growing, shrinking, usually depending on my mood. The thoughts I want to jot down about this past year come to me late at night — or rather, early in the morning — when Sam wakes up and wants to be held or fed, or just reaches out his little hand to make sure I am still there in the darkness.
I am still here, little man.
It’s a cliche, but I am not sure there are enough words to describe this past year. I am still trying to get over the fact that my body grew and pushed out a person without causing permanent damage in either of us. But what I gave birth to was a little animal who needed warmth and food and my scent. And now there is this little person living in our house, who takes up his own space, has likes and dislikes, opinions, has his own smell, a big voice. He has smelly feet at the end of the day, and apple sauce in his hair, and has morning breath, and mood swings, and cranky days. He also has a sense of humor and a twinkle in his eye – like he knows your every thought and likes you anyway. He can clap and bounce up and down to music and can stand on his own for longer and longer every day.
He is my little boy.
Except he isn’t *mine*, is he?
There, I just had to stop writing, because I was getting all teary. And that’s just stupid, crying from your own writing.
But that’s one of the things this past year taught me – my emotions are exactly *this* close to the surface. I believe that you go a little crazy when your baby is born — the pain and the emotions, the constant worry and the sleep deprivation are just a bit too much for the human brain and body to handle and so you go coo-coo. This explains why all parents, including mine and yours, are all a bit insane.
And I guess I was crying too because thinking about the Big Stuff: Birth, Life, Values, Childhood, Morals, Parenting, you name it, are just too much to think about every day – so you don’t. You get lost in the daily grind of feeding, diapering, wiping the drool, playing, diapering again. This is probably good. But then when the Big Stuff hits you, it’s BAM – crying.
And I am weepy too because so much of this year I just can’t remember. When other parents say “it goes so fast” they are not kidding. In fact, it goes SO fast, that big events and milestones just whizz by and are gone, without warning. When exactly did he get so big that I didn’t have to hold him up on a Boppy anymore when I feed him? When exactly did he start holding his own bottle and feeding himself? When exactly did he start having an opinion about what music we listen to in the car? What makes the sleepless nights easier to get through is the thought that in a few weeks or months or years he will not want or need to be comforted at night, so I need to get all of the rocking and singing and sweet skin smelling in NOW.
I also get emotional when I think about the many ways Sammy has held a mirror up to my face and said: “Here, mama, take a look at you. This is you — at your best and your worst.” Some days, the picture is not so pretty. Most days it is tolerable. And there are some brief moments of brilliance.
But this is all heavy stuff. And maybe a bit too melodramatic for such a happy occasion. Most of our days are spent in awe and joy and amazement at our little creation. Some nights when Sammy can’t sleep and Drew finally brings him to our bed at 3 a.m. we both just watch him sleep, whispering about the funny shape of his nose, or the way he curls his fingers in his sleep, or the tiny twitches around his mouth. Even during the day Drew and I will look at each other and ask: “How did he get here? How did we get to be so lucky?”
It hasn’t been an easy year. Everything I knew about myself and every relationship I hold dear has been tested – many times it felt like to the breaking point. But nothing was broken. We all survived. And we are all still here to eat cake and pop the bottle of champagne we bought a few days before last New Year’s Eve when Sammy was still in my belly, waiting to surprise us all.