Tuesday, April 15, 2014

story you'll tell

When Asher boy was an itty bitty baby, you know, way back almost eight big months ago, he cried. Screamed. Almost constantly. It took all of my very best effort to keep him from crying and sometimes that didn't help either. It was exhausting and consuming and made me question everything I thought I knew about being a mama.
itty bitty sleepy cuatro baby

Sweet baby
We took him in for his first pediatrician appointment and our doctor, who we love so very much and who has watched us grow from a really excited, freaked out family of three to this family of six that we are now and has honored our wishes and shared her expertise, said, "Just remember that he's portable. You can take him places." Jim and I nodded politely and got in the car and told each other that we believe that he would one day be portable, but that he wasn't at that point. Then we drove home and I summer hibernated with the boy for a few more weeks because it was all I could think to do.

I know that we still have one five hour drive and one ten hour drive ahead of us on this road trip so there is still room for a huge letdown, but so far we have either been in the car or at a museum for three entire days and the Asher boy is a dream. He smiles all day long and he is irresistible to the point that a waitress and a random woman in the elevator tried to grab him out of my arms and grown men tickle his back and strangers make faces at him in hopes of a smile. They just can't get over him. Then we lay the stroller flat and cover it with a blanket, bird style, and he takes a nap that lasts 30 minutes long or one and a half hours long or somewhere in between and he wakes up ready to rock.

He is officially portable.

For a small blip of time, but a time that felt it would go on forever, I kind of thought I would lose my mind. I cried. A lot. I felt like I'd never be able to do anything well again. I wondered how I could ever be enough for all four of these kids I love so much and take a shower. How I could make dinner and teach spelling. How I could wash the laundry and braid Audrey's hair. It was a time full of love for my family and my new baby, but questions about me as a mama, wife friend, functioning human.

Then we took him to the chiropractor and found the reason for his pain and discomfort. That, combined with the fact that he grew and matured and changed so quickly like little babies are known to do and my hormones evened out and I stopped feeling like the biggest failure known to humankind and we are here where we are today. And it is so delightfully swell.

Don't get me wrong. He still thinks sleep is for the weak, but we're working with it. And someday he could be a two-year-old that's full of sass or a four-year-old that's full of whys or a seven-year-old who is such an artist he is compelled to draw on walls or a ten-year-old who runs away to the neighbor's house or a 12-year-old who, who. . . I don't know.

Isn't that the fun of it? The wonder of it? The beauty of it?

That we are all in the middle of our story and we could never even begin to guess the ending of it.

That there are times it will be so much worse than we thought possible we'll think we've cried all the tears we can cry. The Epic Fail portion of life. But there will be other times so sweet, so tender, so full of surprise and love, that the hard times are forgotten and hope is restored and we breathe a deep cleansing, "Thank you, God" breath and forge ahead another day. The Big Love of life.

The best advice I've received came from my sister-in-law. I was in the throes of parenting frustration times infinity and she said, "Someday this will be a story you'll tell."

And she is so right.

And I've got a portable baby to prove it.
What's the best advice, parenting or otherwise, that you've received? What stage of your life felt like it would go on forever, but is now just a story you tell?

1 comment:

  1. I think the best parenting advice I received is that if you love with all your heart and show that love consistently while raising your children, things will work out. There will be challenges of course but love is the best medicine. The stage of life I thought would go on and on was when Cory, my son, was a baby. He screamed all day every day for nine months. He only slept 5-6 hours/night. I finally had a meltdown - a huge meltdown because I couldn't take the crying and seeing my baby in pain any more. I called the doctor and told him he had to do something because I was on the verge of hurting someone - likely my baby. The doctor performed a surgery that he hoped to perform after Cory was a year old and the next day he was a perfectly happy baby. I never thought I'd live through it but now it makes for great story-telling.