Thursday, May 23, 2013

My Village

Every now and then we get new epiphanies as parents that I want to sear into my heart and mind.

I now understand the magnitude of the statement, "It takes a village to raise a child."

Tonight I held my friend's sweet baby boy.  The last time I held him was almost a month ago when I was able to run down to the delivery room and meet this babe on his birthday.  I loved being able to meet him in that moment and cannot say more things about how awesome my job is. In my sleepy haze I went home and woke up to a text that he was being transferred to the children's hospital.  My heart sank and I cried tears on my friend's behalf.  That was a hard night not having any type of guarantee that Joshua would make it.  Sitting in Aimee's hospital room saying prayers with many an F-bomb as well as begging for God's grace and mercy and for Joshua's life to be spared and blessed.  In my head, those are the prayers that are broadcasted through heaven, because those are the most sacred of prayers. The depth of joy and sorrow that can be felt within the four walls of a hospital room covers the entire spectrum or emotion.   I did not fully understand that until I was not the one working in the hospital, but rather the one whose mother laid in the ICU bed.

A couple weeks ago I saw that little guy intubated and sedated with his open chest in his hospital bed.  My friends have walked a difficult path this month, and while I in no way can ever fully understand their experience, I now get what it is like to love a little person with your whole heart.  I understand how a parent's heart can break when you child is in pain.  I no longer have the ability to separate my emotions and sorrow when I see a really sick baby in the NICU.  I used to be able to compartmentalize really I want to sit with the parents and cry.  But there is strength in my tears.  There is strength in the partnership and compassion.

Aimee had watched Grayson for me almost weekly until she delivered.  When I had mentioned that I had to go back to work and didn't know how I was going to sleep, she told me to bring him over to her house without batting an eye.  It was no big deal that she was 9 months pregnant with two other children.  You just throw one more car seat in the van and let the girls entertain the idea of a baby in the house a bit sooner.  Whatever.  So with complete confidence I could drop my baby off and go crash in a guest bedroom, or better yet, go home and get a good couple hours of sleep.  Grayson would tag along and go to preschool drop off, or babble at the girls as he bounced in the exersaucer.  Jon and I have been incredibly blessed by the people who have been willing to watch Grayson, and I absolutely love the fact that it isn't a day all about him, but rather incorporating him into the lives of many families.  (Fear not, Grayson also has some great time with family members who have watched him, and he eats up every second of the one-on-one love and attention).

Before everything happened with my mom, I did not realize the power of community...and honestly, I don't think I experienced community at it's finest until I became a parent.

Mamas need mamas.

End of story.  Not only do I need the support and encouragement of other mamas, but I want Grayson to see that our family system is not the only one out there.  Things are done differently all over, and it's OK.  Because there is this binding string of love that ties us all together.  While I might not fully understand Aimee's experience or family, I get what is at the core.

So once again I am reminding myself to give in to the value of community. I am pretty sure I am going to have T-shirts made to hand them out to all of my villagers.  I am so blessed by my village, and also realize  that we all have the power to create it.  Those mom and tot swim classes are not for the tots...lets be honest.  Mama needs a social life and mama needs to build a village.  Not only that, but mama needs someone vent to about the extent of exhaustion that you are able to function at with young children, and she is hoping that people understand the mom code and won't flaunt the fact that their 2 month old is sleeping through the night while my 7 month old is not.  Support people, we need support.  I need to know that you too tried every pacifier in the store in a moment of desperation.  Or that you maybe also took your kid in the bathtub with you for 45 minutes when he was 3 weeks old because that was the only restful 45 minutes you had gotten in the last three weeks.  And please don't condemn me when I tell you I tried to let my kid sleep on his stomach, or his side, or in the swing, or in our bed, or in the freaking garage if he would have slept there... because sleep deprivation melts your brain.  Oh, you thought you wanted to give your baby away too at 6 in the morning when you slept maybe 10 minutes?  Glad I'm not alone.

Thank you to all my villagers.  Thank you for loving my son and bringing him into your life.  Thank you for understanding my core.  Who wants a T-shirt?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Babies and Messes

Sometimes I need to be reminded.  I need to remember that this season is short and I will miss it when it is gone.  I am easily caught up in my imperfect house and believe the lies that I should be able to do it all.  Should is a dangerous word, and unfortunately one often found in my vocabulary.

I should be able to keep my house clean while going to the grocery store, working my night shift job and advancing my career, all the while playing with and investing in my little boy.  Because I see other people doing it, so therefore I should be capable as well.

Maybe other people just make it look easier than it is, but today, this mama is putting the word should away.

Regardless of what I think the world expects me to do, I will remain conscious in my decisions about how I spend my time and my priorities.  I will remind myself often that those extra snuggles with my baby are worth way more than having a clean floor.  Those dust bunnies that have taken up residence in the corners of my floors will just come back in a week anyways, so it doesn't actually matter if I sweep the floors in this moment or not.

Not only will I prioritize time with my babe, but I will also take time for myself.  This is the time that is the easiest to give up.  While Grayson is no longer a newborn, working the night shift does take a toll on your body and I am almost always tired.  Granted working this shift is also a huge blessing because instead of Grayson missing me for a full twelve hour day, he only misses me while I nap for a few hours after I get home.  It is worth it to me to be tired for that time with my babe. But I need to reiterate to myself that it is OK to sleep while the baby sleeps...even if the baby is six months old.  While naps are the easiest time to get all my tasks done, it is also the time when I can rest when I need it.

While this all seems like common sense, it is amazing how quickly I will get sucked back into the spiral again, how quickly I will become panicked about the dust bunnies.  It takes a lot of energy for me to put away the word should, but hopefully, in time, it will become more natural.  So just incase I am not the only one that needs a reminder today here is a poem that someone put in a card for me when Grayson was born.  I am not sure who it is by, but it speaks to my ever running soul.

Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I've grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo

The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew
And out in the yard there's a hullabaloo
But I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo
Look! Aren't his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullabye, rockaby lullabye loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

G-Baby likes taking baths in the sink.

While normally I would only post pictures of my cutie, I thought today I would post pictures of the counter next to him.  Just keeping it real. It is easy to want to present a picture perfect front in public, but that just isn't my reality.  I have a baby and my house is usually a mess.  And in this moment I am big enough to not give a hoot.