It has occurred to me that Naomi is going to teach me far more in her lifetime than I will ever teach her. She was teaching me before she was even born… so I thought I would start writing down the gems I’m learning in the hopes I’ll remember all the things to thank her for.
Naomi and I were in the Times Colonist on Saturday (Family 411: Bonds That Yield Benefits). So exciting. As a happy coincidence I had washed and blow dried my hair that day. Bonus. If you look at my wrist though you’ll see that there are two ratty hair elastics waiting to whip my locks into a ponytail at a moment’s notice. Naomi’s first newspaper appearance! Definitely going in the scrapbook (there isn’t a scrapbook yet. There will be a scrapbook).
The article mentions that there were “initial trials.”
Whoa Nelly, were. there. ever.
In the first few weeks I was completely bereft of the ability to apply perspective to anything that was happening in my life. Naomi was going to cry FOREVER. She was never EVER going to sleep. I was going to be a hot sweaty mess FOREVER. I was going to live the REST OF MY LIFE in sweatpants and every time I applied mascara it was going to end up running down my cheeks forming black/brown puddles on pukey t-shirts FOR THE REST OF ETERNITY DON’T EVEN TRY TO TELL ME OTHERWISE AND PULL OUT YOUR LOGIC SHIT RIGHT NOW.
One day about 2 weeks after Naomi was born I found myself in Naomi’s room. I was raw. Emotionally and physically I was the equivalent of numb-bitten scraped skin not yet healed over. I was exhausted to the point of confusion. Nursing made me clamp my eyes shut in protest. My neck muscles howled. I was permanently bracing for the cry that was going to come any second and jolt through me like lightening.
John walked in. He looked put together. He gave me a smile and a quiet “hey babe” and probably did something productive like fold a tiny receiving blanket. At that moment John’s put-togetherness frayed the last tenuous thread of my confidence and I had to ask a bad question that was only going to make me feel worse:
“Sometimes do you think to yourself…”
I paused. I paused because what I was about to mumble was unforgiveable. It would solidify my position as a terrible mother, a weak wife and a small human being. There was no way John felt the same way. No one was ever supposed to say or think it but here I was about to give it oxygen. I was going to say it. I had to because if I didn’t it was going to get Bigger and Scarier and pretty soon it would get so big it would need it’s own room and I would spend guilty minutes (hours?) trying to close the door on it and maybe I wouldn’t win.
“Sometimes do you think to yourself, Oh my god, what have we done?”
I couldn’t take it back.
I needed to take it back. I was floating and I was going to be slammed onto the ground. Exposed. Out of air.
And then, the reason I married this man boiled down to a heartful, shining kernel:
Oh yeah. Totally. I’m told it’s completely normal, everybody thinks that. Don’t worry babe, it’s supposed to suck sometimes.
I wasn’t an ogre. My transgression was excusable.
If I had brushed my teeth I would have smooched him all over.
I am learning that nothing lasts forever. I have had moments of hollow doubt but know those pass and leave me happily anticipating Naomi’s next hug. The challenging things are temporary (last month she went through a week when she shrieked all. the. time. Did you know your mind peels when accosted by the same shrill pitch over and over? It does.). The sweet things are temporary (the first conscious sound she made was a gutteral ahhh in the back of her throat. We used to talk back and forth that way. She doesn’t do it anymore). Last night she woke up at 9:40 and 11:01 and 12:30 and 2:22 and I-lost-track-after-that but tomorrow it will be different and in a few nights more she’s going to text me to say she’ll be home at midnight and I’ll long to shush her little body in the rocking chair by the light of night.
The good stuff and the challenging stuff is temporary and the really hard stuff makes room for incomparable shine.
We had trials initially. We’ll have more. They won’t outnumber the pearls. It’s all temporary.
I’ll keep learning.
Age (in newspaper photo): Just over 10 months
More my baby, my teacher