It seems every blogger out there has a list these days. I said I wouldn’t. But for the past 18 months, I have found a list compiling in my mind and on my heart. So here goes… I’m jumping on the list band wagon!
1. I never imagined the hours upon hours I would hold him in my arms.
I’ve wanted to be a mama for as long as I’ve wanted anything. However, when I envisioned motherhood, I saw carefully planned schedules. I saw babies lying peacefully in cribs. I saw a perfectly kept house because nap time is when I would keep it that way. I saw cuddles and hugs in plenty… But after they napped by themselves. Who could have guessed that my baby would want nothing to do with napping… Unless the nap was taken perfectly tucked into my arms? And who could have guessed that I wouldn’t mind even one tiny little bit?? I happily hold most days away. It’s amazing how much I can accomplish with him propped on my hip! It’s amazing how much I can’t accomplish because he’s propped on my hip… And that *has become* perfectly ok with me!
2. I never imagined the fear that would grip my heart in the dark hours of the night.
Like the fear of the first night home from the hospital and the realization that it’s up to me to keep him alive. Like the fear of wondering if he’s eating enough or if I’m strapping him into the car seat correctly. Like the fear of watching ANOTHER video of a child abduction attempt. Like the absolute terror of the sound of pneumonia or bronchitis. The words alone cause my own chest to tighten. The sound that said illnesses create in the chest of my beloved baby boy, causes my hands to go numb in worry. As I type this on my phone, he sleeps in my arms, and I am filled with anxious wonder because on Thursday, I took him in for a cough and they said that dreaded word: pneumonia. So, I count the breaths. I watch the rise and fall of his chest. My nerves urge me to cover my ears and rock in a corner with some distance between me and the sound of the crunching in his lungs. I cringe at the discomfort he must feel and my own lungs burn in sympathy. But I will sit here, perfectly still, and provide the cradle in which he rests. I will quote scripture and hum praises until this storm relents and when it does, I’ll dance carefree in the sunshine with him… Until another worry rolls it’s way into our night.
3. I never imagined the state that his world would be in as I watch him grow from my belly to a bundle to a toddler to a boy.
I didn’t foresee the headlines or the hate or the violence or the peril as I envisioned raising my family. What do I tell him? How do I protect him? How do I teach him to value life in a world that is so desensitized to death? In uncertain times like these, I surrender to the peace that passes understanding… But sometimes… I have to dig really, really deep to find it. All I know, is to ask God to keep him tucked in the shadow of His wing and to fill him to overflowing with His perfect love. A love so inviting and so filled with truth that it leaves hope and acceptance in the wake of his path. May he forever know to whom he belongs, and may he invite others to the safety of the fold. God bring Your peace to the midst of our circumstance!
4. I never imagined the constant.
The constant watching. The constant GOING. The constant exploring. The constant peril. The constant joy. The constant “ONness”. Before I had a baby I was a person who desperately needed my own time. Time to organize (my therapy). Time to watch tv with popcorn (without sharing). Time to be quiet. I knew having a baby would change the ability to have that kind of time, but refer to #1. I would have plenty of down time while they lay peacefully in their crib or played joyfully in their play yards… No. Being a mama has been 100% constant. I have to force myself or sometimes even trick myself into taking a moment to bathe or read or eat while his Daddy has him. But usually… I just clean. And after a few minutes, I join them. Because I miss him so!
5. I never imagined how distracted I would be.
Before Oliver was born, I quietly judged other mamas. I would become frustrated at times when they couldn’t freely do the things I could do. I understood. But I was a tiny bit annoyed. They forgot to call me back. They kept one eye on me over coffee and conversation and one eye ever on their child. Their hair looked disheveled. My babies would have to understand that this Mama needs to be cute… Hahahahahahahahahaha! Ever want to go back in time and punch yourself in the face? I do! Shut up, pre baby America! Just shut up! Fast forward to now: I am forgetful. Really forgetful! I have forgotten important events. I have actually stood up my besties. I have cancelled for fevers at the last minute. I have one eye on the girlfriend and one eye on the baby… Always one eye on the baby.
6. I never imagined how much I would despise the word “just”.
“Just do it this way.” “Just do it that way.” “Just, just, just.” From the doctor’s office to the grocery store line… And it JUST makes me feel at worst, inadequate and at best, misunderstood. No baby or situation is one size fits all. Your “Just” and my “just” just doesn’t work for everyone. Can’t we “just” agree that there is little easy about motherhood and we all “just” have to find our own way? You know what I hate the most about that word?! What I hate the most about it… is that I say it too… But can we JUST love and support each other, please? Can we JUST applaud the uniqueness of each mother/child bond and JUST keep our judgemental comments to ourselves? I’m talking to myself too…
7. I never imagined how proud I would be.
Surely I haven’t turned into one of those people who relentlessly talks about their baby and what he can do. Oh but surely… I HAVE. I am utterly and completely fascinated by him. I find myself engulfed in watching him explore and learn. I am dumbfounded as I watch his abilities increase daily. And I am painfully aware of how quickly each phase is passing by. I drink it ALL in. It is intoxicatingly beautiful. He is MINE and I want the whole world to know.
8. I never imagined how much I would second guess myself.
The research and the advice and the decisions. It starts at day one and it is so overwhelming! Thank God it isn’t really all on my small shoulders. Thank God I know the God who created this wonderful being and He is guiding me to be the best Mama for my little Bear, who is in fact, His little Bear. Thank God He knows the future and I just have to focus on today. Now if I can “just” remember that!
9. I never imagined how bad I would look!
A few minutes ago, after several sleepless nights and a handful of peanut butter crackers for supper… As I cleaned his nebulizer attachments for the fourth time today I dared to look in the mirror. The red encircled eyes and 3 day old mascara (you read that right) stared back at me. My clothes fit more snug. My hair is messier. I used to be poised. I used to be polished. But then… He takes my once slim face into his loving little hands and he kisses my unglossed lips like I’m the prettiest girl in the whole world. I’ll have a spa day when he’s 5… Maybe. Until then, let’s pretend that flowy shirts and smudgy eyeliner is on the cover of Vogue!
10. I never imagined the tremendous LOVE that would wash over me every single time that I look at this son of mine.
Every breath, every hug, every laugh, every cuddle. I LOVE him. I LOVE being his mama. I love the messy part and the quiet part and the loud part and even the tired part. I never could have imagined the empowering, sustaining, and satisfying love that would carry me through the very long days and the very short years. It is unwavering and unconditional. It is perfectly guided by my heavenly Father’s perfect love for me! I never, ever could have imagined the love! It is by far, my favorite unimagined!