Yesterday was my very first Mother's Day. It was surreal. It still gives me chills and makes me feel a little shocked to wake up and find that there is a baby in my house. And that he is part me and part Daddy and part himself.
I took note of his darkening eyelashes, the little pieces of hair that are growing back after a nearly complete balding process and as I was admiring his cute little self, I was startled to see a glimpse of the little boy of the future. Something about his expression and his hairline made me feel like I jumped forward a year or so and I saw my little man as a little man. Precious.
After an early morning run of little to no sleep for both myself and my little bundle of Joel, I was comforted and relieved from the exhaustion by him miraculously falling asleep and staying asleep from around 7 a.m. until nearly 11 a.m. Just what mommy needed to feel like mommy, again and not a monster. And he sweetly cooperated with his morning feeding (ie: no projectile puking all over me and the couch) and fell asleep easily, on his own, which left me to eat leftovers from my Mother's Day breakfast yesterday (thanks, honey!) and still have time to unclog the toilet in the hall. The joys of being home full time. It's not just always about cuddling a cute baby. Just so you know.
I think one of the joys of having a baby is watching your friends have babies. It's kind of like how when you're dating and see little bouncing hearts everywhere, that you want the same for those closest to you. And when you get engaged, you want them to get engaged. And when your wedding goes smoothly, you want theirs to as well. And after you go through a sixteen hour painful but awe-inspiring and in your opinion, perfect birth experience, you want the same for those you love who are growing little people,... who will grow up to be friends with your little person. Life is so cool like that. To think that my best friends are possibly having some of my son's best friends... it just makes me grin and grin. How beautiful is life when you see it all strung out and knotted together this way?
This morning after inhaling my breakfast (you never know how long you have your little spot of piece and quiet) and dealing with the minor plumbing issue of the day, I was holding my Joely-Poly in one arm and a gift for my friend, Jamie's baby girl (arriving in August!) in the other. And I was talking to Joel about this new little girl, his little friend, Heidi who would be here soon for us to love on and pray over and I was instructing him on his role of being a boy. That it's his job to look out for his little friend Heidi. That as he grows up, it's his job to be a warrior. A protector. A hero. And his bright blue eyes were locked on mine as I explained these things to him and I asked in a cooing, Mommy voice, "Are you going to be a good friend to Heidi?" and other words about princesses and manliness and you know what my son did? He grinned at me. Madly. As if to say that, yes, he understood. Yes, he could do that.
But right now, he's just my baby. Right now, if it's okay Mom, I'm just going to be little and chubby. He's 10+ lbs. of adorable that I cuddle, feed, clean up after and pray stays asleep just a little longer in the early hours of every day. Someday he'll pretend sticks are guns and that our dog, Ruger, is his horse. Someday he'll prefer to be outside with his Daddy rather than inside with me. Someday he'll grimace at all the pictures of him in his frog and "Beep Beep" car sleepers. But for now, he's little and it's okay for him to fall asleep against my shoulder. And it's okay if I can't stop kissing him and sometimes wake him up because I can't help myself.
He's just a baby.
As my husband and I learn to parent, as we learn our son, as we struggle to establish and maintain sleep patterns and bath and sleepy-time routines, we have to remember that our son, right now, is new to this life out in the open. Eating, sleeping and all that goes along with that, is new to him. Touch is new. Smells are new. Sleeping in a crib is new. Being cold, crying and those big, fat alligator tears that rip my heart out are all new. He will be big and strong and messy. And I have faith he will grow to be a good little boy, a good man who will be a good friend and good at protecting and looking out for others.
But right now, we will look out for him. We will be his heroes, his protectors. We have to be. Because he's learning everything from us. He'll learn how to be a good friend to little Heidi. He'll learn how to spell his name and look out for the good of others. He'll learn how to love. And the scary... and wonderful thing... is that he's learning that now. As we cuddle, coo and bounce our way through days and night, we're starting that process. We're starting love. In patience and in apologies for impatience, in well-timed bottles and compulsive, can't-help-ourselves kisses on his fat, little cheeks... it's love
There's a plaque I have in the main area of our house that says, "Love Begins at Home".
So it does. So it does.