I few days later I was crying, rocking my new baby and wondering why people had children. He cried constantly, he barely slept, nursing was horrible, and I didn't feel like I could eat a bowl of cereal, much less a meal without having to pick him back up for some reason. It's not fun to hold a baby, or anything really, all the time. It was horrible.
I felt zero connection. I loved him because I was intellectually aware that he was my child, had come from my own body, but all I felt was annoyed obligation. I didn't understand how this was supposed to be my new life. I felt less like myself than I ever had and it felt awful.
As I rocked him and cried I was trying to figure out how anyone could have two children. I mean, of course the first time you could get sucked in, you wouldn't know. They are cute from a far. How in the hell were there any second children, much less third or fourth though?
I mean he was cute in an old man sort of way...when he was quiet.
Unfortunately he wasn't quiet that often.
We had trouble with eating. We had trouble with sleeping. I would drive to the grocery store, a few stolen moments away, and simply bawl my eyes out, staring at all the other people out in the world just living their lives. I hated all of them. I was insane with jealousy at their normality. I missed my life.
I probably should have been medicated. It sucked.
Amongst all of this though was this little boy. My son. Born on a beautiful, sunny October day and brought home in the pouring rain. It was like the weather was design to fit my mood. I was elated going into the hospital, excited and brimming with anticipation. Leaving I felt beat down, exhausted and disappointed in the entire situation, particularly in me.
It did get better though. Slowly, very slowly it got better.
I stopped crying every time I left the house.
He started eating...and smiling.
Slowly, very slowly, I fell in love.
I also cut my hair all off, which every woman knows is an important part of going through any major transitional period in our lives. It made me feel like I had some control. It allowed me to feel like it was reasonable for me to be doing something for me again, because I desperately needed to be doing something for me so I could do something for him.
Of course I had to take him with me to get my hair cut, nurse him mid-cut, and listen to him cry for 15 minutes straight at the end, but I got it done.
The whole first few years were very rough for me. It was a good thing he got cuter and cuter.
Oh so cute.
I still wanted my freedom though. I still dream about my freedom. I think a lot about what I would do if I had more time for myself. If I didn't have to take three kids with me to do things or pay a sitter $50 so I could go out to dinner with my husband, that sounds pretty damn nice.
But...today I celebrated that sunny October day six years ago that started the most wonderful kind of trapped I have ever been. I do not think being a Mother is a constant joy. I do not think my children are perfect. I often dream of a lot of different things....but that day six years ago started the most profound, challenging, amazing experience I have been blessed to have...and today I played glow in the dark golf, lost my mind in an arcade, and at pizza and cake to celebrate that beginning.
It all started with Aiden. That small, angry, screaming ball of baby has turned into an amazing, beautiful boy. That stranger is now my whole heart. And I rarely cry at the grocery store now, just on the really rough days.
My particular, Star Wars loving, Lego building, rule following, silly, thoughtful, curious, intelligent, creative, beautiful boy...thank you for starting this journey with me. Thank you for putting up with me when I had no clue what I was doing. Please forgive me for feeling like my care for you was an obligation at first, for I know now it's the greatest blessing. Not that you had much choice, but you always needed and wanted me, even when I couldn't figure out why we were being forced together because I really didn't like it.
I love you Aiden. You're turning out to be a pretty fantastic idea...even prompting the arrival of siblings one and two. You must have done something right.
At the very least you have taught me that I can in fact function on less than four hours of sleep, bullshit my way through a Star Wars re-enactment that I care nothing about, suppress a laugh when my child is crushed over the most ridiculous of situations, learn to make amazing pancakes, care about decorating for holidays, and watch the worst movies EVER and have the time of my life. Important lessons learned. I am sure there are many, many more to come.
Being your Mom probably won't always be this much physical work. It won't always be this intense, this constant in the same ways. It will surely always be this full of love though and I'm so grateful for it.
Happy Sixth Birthday Aiden! I can not wait to see how you amaze me next.