Sunday, July 10, 2011
July 10, 2011 ~ Day 212
Well... less than nine hours to go.
Less than nine hours until we hit our six year anniversary.
Six years to the minute (5:01am) when the world tipped on its end,
and ~ holding hands ~ my husband and I fell off of a cliff into this amazing, vast, uncharted territory
...which turned out to be a Wonderland.
A little dazed, a little lost, we looked around to realize that the landscape had completely changed. We had changed too.
Something else ~ something profoundly new. We were no longer alone on this winding, hilly journey called Life. Someone had joined us... someone incredibly unique and extremely small.
He belonged to us, and we belonged to him. There was no beginning, no ending, just what was real - and HE, he was real.
This creature of such strong emotion ~ he sobbed uncontrollably at the least provocation. He giggled and grinned with the tiniest tickle to the tummy or feet. He snuggled, and cuddled and gazed with fierce concentration at us, watching our every move.
He was SO MUCH. It was SO MUCH.
He ate. How he ate! Ate as if food were a miracle, as though every sip of milk and each ounce of pureed carrots were manna from Heaven, nectar from some magical ancient vine.
Sleep? Um, no. Not so much. Not for about seven months. This child denied the importance of sleeping at night. His nights were meant to be enjoyed! Nights were his playground... his time to writhe and express intensely personal views. Exhausted, we mere mortals stumbled in his footsteps.
(Have you ever been sleep deprived for seven months straight? This may explain A LOT about the unexpected changes in my personality during that first year back at work... FREAKING TIRED.)
To our awe, our amazement... we, who had barely managed to keep house plants alive... we managed to feed and water and nurture this baby boy well enough that he popped off the top of the pediatrician's growth charts. (It's all that 'love fertilizer' we covered him with, I liked to tease.)
We grew entire chambers in our hearts that we'd never even imagined.
We grew patience without limit.
There is no way to understand this exact kind of love unless you've physically walked into a room that is covered wall to wall with feces ~ and when I say wall to wall, I mean floor, walls, toys, books, sheets, crib, paintings and YES, YOUR BABY, covered from head to toe in poop. Eating it. Laughing as he sees the look of horror on your face.
And realizing that while you would NEVER willingly clean up any other human being's feces spread over some of your most cherished possessions; that somehow it doesn't matter. You look at that little face and you know that you'd never fully understood love before a moment such as this.
So you dive into the muck with your kid... you tackle the mess one step at a time. Wash the baby, scrub the floors, launder the toys and bedding, throw away the books, wipe down the walls with bleach, and SING - the entire time you SING songs to this child, as he sits happily two feet away strapped into his rocker, loving every moment of excitement that this episode has brought into his limited existence.
An hour, two hours later - when you finally finish cleaning and look at your own hands... raw and ruddy from repeated scrubbing... you realize that your life will never be the same again.
You will never be that carefree, lighthearted, spontaneous woman of the past.
Then from his high chair, your son laughs out loud. Looking at his chubby little face you find yourself laughing too. Laughing so hard that tears stream down your face. The two of you share this moment, and you're struck by the powerful feeling that this child is teaching you to take life less seriously.
He's teaching you how to breathe.
* * * * * *
Six years have nearly passed since we became Mom and Dad.
Sometimes I wonder, if I met my old self on the street in passing - that girl I used to be at 17 or 22 or even 28 -
What would we talk about?
What would I think of the naive, romantic, freewheeling optimist I used to be?
Would I like her? Would I relate to her? Would I grin privately after hearing my own strong views about "What I'll be like as a parent"?
Would I envy my sister-self her freedom?
Would I pity her the loneliness? The solitude?
Here's what I think:
I think I would give that woman (Me, Version 1.0) a big, huge hug. The biggest hug ever.
Then, tenderly and with enthusiasm I would squeeze her hand, smile and say -
"Girl, whatever you do - hang on. You're in for The Ride Of Your Life.
(No, things will never be the same again. Yes, it is absolutely Worth It.)"
* * * * * * *
Happy Birthday, sweet son. I love you so much... we both do. May six years old be your happiest and most fulfilling year yet! No matter what may come, your Dad and I will be right there by your side along the journey.
To my husband ~ Happy 'Parenting Anniversary' honey. Six years in, and I really believe we're getting better at this every day! We've come such a long way... a lot to be proud of.