It's not that late, but it feels late. Any time after little britches goes to sleep, I suddenly feel it all creep in on me. It starts low in my back, probably due to the fact that for nine months any abdominal strength I possessed was eaten away. I don't know where it went.
All I know is that it had to go, it seems, to make room for the 7 lb., 14 oz. mass of my son and it wasn't returned once he was delivered. So, my back aches. When I sit, when I lay down, when I pick him up out of the crib or put him on a blanket on the floor to wiggle around. It's constant. But, then I think of how I gave birth without any drugs and I'm honestly impressed with myself all over again. Plus, childbirth makes everything less painful and dramatic.
I told my husband today that the past 2+ months feels like one really long day. I feel like it started on March 22nd when I got my first contraction at 1 o'clock in the afternoon and then it was a whirlwind including a hospital stay, the miracle (truly) of life being placed in my hands... life that God used my husband and I to create for His glory (think of it!) and everything is a blur of feedings and tears and diapers and a level of exhaustion that causes some serious frustration at times when I find I'm not near as lovely as I'd hoped and rounded with baby smiles that cause pure bliss. It has been one very long, very beautiful, day.
My son loves playing pat-a-cake. This past weekend we took a road trip to Northern Ohio for a wedding of a friend and so it was Joel's first big outing. I was terrified. I've been terrified since I found out I was pregnant and knew my entire experience as Lauren's Matron of Honor was going to be seriously altered from what I... and she... surely anticipated. But it went beautifully and I was reminded how lucky in love I am. Of friends, of husband, of baby. Anyway, Joel was such a good boy that Daddy praised him and said he could get a toy. And since Daddy bought Joel a toy, well, Mommy had to buy one, too.
Anyway, pat-a-cake. I bought him this Fisher Price musical book thing and I may love it more than he does. But we (I) sing along to every nursery rhyme and wiggle his legs and arms to go along with the lyrics. For instance, when we're singing about ants marching, I make his legs march. When the mouse is running up the clock, my fingers race up his tummy and tickle his chin. And when we're baking a cake for baby and me, I do the appropriate arm gestures and he smiles. He smiles big. And that makes my heart feel big.
And it makes the very long day and the absence of my abs and the inability to sleep longer than four hours (on a rare, good night) at a time, well, diminished in a way. In a few hours, when he's awake and I'm sitting in the dark in our living room, all bleary eyed and hungry only because I'm tired, it may not feel so easy. It'll probably feel really difficult, honestly. The idea of sleeping eight hours might make me tear up sometimes. I won't lie.
But... but my baby is so perfect and delightful. He's so innocent. He's not trying to make mommy tired or frustrated. He just needs me. Gosh darn it... he just needs his mommy. And when I remember that he is just not a little person, but that he is our little person, it eases the knots in my back. Because he's so worth it. He's worth everything. He's worth me wearing ratty t-shirts and stretchy pants. He's worth me not having a date night with my best friend and husband since the Friday before he was born. He's worth my head not resting on my pillow nearly long enough, or getting out enough, or brushing my teeth enough.
On the final stretch of our trip home from Ohio, I was in the back seat with our little man and I was just gazing at him. At how beautiful he is. And I mused to Aaron, "Can you imagine our life without him?" And of course he couldn't. I know we were great before he came. I know we had fun and loved being together. And of course we still do. But now our love has grown. It's like when you start dating and you eventually realize you love. And then you promise forever and get used to all the quirks you thought were cute when you were dating, but now, suddenly, they make you crazy. And then you make a life. Another life. Not just a life of two, but a life of three.
And it just makes you better and your heart bigger.
Love does that. True love, with all the attributes quoted often from the Bible, makes you a better, more complete person. When we love, we are kind. When we love, we are patient. When we love, we don't give up. When we love, we don't fly off the handle so easily. Love in a Godly marriage does this. And love in a God-given parental relationship does this, too. It has to. Because if you don't love how you're supposed to, how God loves us and equips us... you can't do this role justice. I could not be the wife I hoped to be and that my husband needed without Christ. And I certainly cannot be the mother that Joel needs without God's grace.
Babies make you bigger... in so many more ways than I originally suspected.