I have a baby, a baby of my very own. A boy, a beautiful boy, whom I call “son.”
I still can’t believe it.
He’s been here almost two weeks, and for the last 13 days, I’ve pondered what I could write. But words — at least, my words — are so inadequate. And so, being a bit of a perfectionist, I don’t write at all.
The other reason I haven’t posted, though, is that whether my new baby is eating, sleeping, or peeping at me with his dark, inquisitive eyes, I’m busy staring at him. I can’t get enough, somehow. My heart has been completely captured.
You know that overplayed Aerosmith song — “I don’t want to close my eyes/Don’t want to fall asleep/’Cause I’ll miss you, baby, and I don’t want to miss a thing…” –? Well, somehow, that describes the last two weeks of my life. Of course, the reality of newborn sleep patterns has increased my exhaustion to the point that I gladly close my eyes — but only if he’s snuggled up next to me!
So yeah. I’m amazed. I know every new mother is, but I’m reveling in it, savoring every feeling and moment, knowing that this baby is my first, and I’ll never have another first. I never want to forget the moment I pushed him into the world, wailing and wiggling and mine. Or how he felt when they laid him on my chest and I realized I had a son. Or the overwhelming joy of waking up in the middle of the first night and staring into the sweetest face I’ve ever seen.
The way he moves his hands, the way he stares back at me and makes me the happiest person in the world, the softness of his baby skin, the smallness of his body in my arms… I love it all. I love him.
I have a son, and that makes me a mom. This is hard for me to believe, too. If anything, I feel like I’m just pretending to my my mom, doing all the things I used to watch her do. I sit on my bed, propped up by pillows, nursing my baby and flipping through a catalog, and I feel like I’ve become my mother. I whisper in the ear of my wailing baby, or hold his hands close to his body to make him feel safe while I change him, or happily let him soil my clothes if holding him will make him feel better — and I feel like my mother. And when I feel that, I figure I must be doing a good job.
Because my mom is amazing, you know. The first few days we just might not have made it, were it not for the fact that she was here, cooking and washing and helping me learn the secrets of mothering. The first few night we definitely would have lost it, were it not for her suddenly appearing in our doorway, telling us that it sounded like the baby needed to be burped, or walking, or changed, or whatever code she interpreted from his little (but loud) cries. And fortunately for baby, she was here to help me through the first tumultuous days of nursing — a learning curve for both baby and me that I had not anticipated. She was our hero — er, heroine — over and over. How many times did we fall into bed, the baby finally quiet, and whisper, “She’s awesome…”
Yeah. Someday I’ll be like her.
I am a mom, and Ryan is a dad. Overnight, he went from never having changed a diaper to being an expert. Due to blood loss, almost all of the last two weeks have seen me laying in bed or sitting on the couch — and walking very slowly to get from one to the other. Ryan has risen to the occasion. All through the night, when the baby needs to be changed, Ryan gets up and does it. Over and over and over. And when the baby needs to be walked, Ryan gets up and does it. It’s their bonding time, he says. That may be true, but anyone would prefer to do such bonding during the day, and not when their sleep-deprived bodies are screaming at them to go back to bed.
Dads do more than take care of the kids, though. Dads take care of the moms, too. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a thousand glasses of water in between have been served to me — along with the iron supplements that he never forgets. Dishes, unmade beds, laundry, and dirty bathrooms have all been attended to by him. I think he’s quite the champ (and I’m making note of these secret skills he possesses; he never told me he could clean a bathroom!!)
So, our lives are changed. Little Ryan Jameson, a total stranger two weeks ago and now our much-loved son, has turned our good night’s sleep into a series of mini-naps, has single-handedly transformed my hamper into Mount Everest, and has completely won us over simply by being ours.
What will he be? Where will he go? What will he do? We’ll dream and pray and see him fulfill destiny. But for now, I’ll just wonder at the softness of his cheeks as he sleeps in my arms, both of us fully content to just hear the other breathe.
I love my little man.