Last night I wanted to quit. Just for a little bit. An hour, tops. Just long enough for someone else to come in and put this squirmy, wakeful, fussy baby back to sleep so I didn’t have to be the one begging.
I just need someone else to do my job between the hours of 2 and 4 a.m.
I didn’t think so.
Truth is, it’s hard. It’s hard to consciously suppress my own desires and needs and wants in the face of another who demands that the world revolve around him. By world, I mean me, of course, because after all, what else is his world?
All I wanted last night was to crawl into bed and sleep undisturbed until morning. Sometimes all I want is to eat a meal without someone in my lap. Sometimes all I want is a new pair of TOMS but instead I buy dance lessons and Girl Scout dues and string cheese.
Am I the only one who thinks string cheese is expensive?
So I walked away. For five minutes. I put him in his bed and he cried and I laid on the couch and prayed he wouldn’t wake up his big sisters who are fond of telling me to just deal with him when he’s crying.
Well, I dealt. For five whole minutes which I know is nothing in the realm of “crying it out” but at 3:23 a.m. you do the best you can.
Then, I picked him up and he snuggled into his favorite place between my chest and the crook of my arm and let me soothe him to sleep. I crawled into my bed at 3:33.
So I guess a five minute “quit” wasn’t so bad after all.
When I look at him he smiles back. Always, invariably, big two little tooths winking at me, smiling. I see his grin that spreads to his eyes fringed in lashes longer than mine and I snuggle him close and kiss and kiss and kiss all over those fat baby cheeks and I look again.
I can’t stop marveling at him. He is beautiful. He is perfectly and wonderfully made. He is mine for this little while.
And for a time I didn’t know how much I wanted him.
I didn’t know how much I would need to have another baby to hold and cuddle and love and I never once imagined that this baby would be my only son, my calming force in the dramatic tirade of strong-willed girls. I didn’t know how much I would fall in love with this baby whose gestation kept me in hiding crying in the shower crying out to God that I could never do this again.
I’m so blessed to have been trusted with this little life.
So I look at him. I drink him in. He folds his hands in prayer when he’s sleeping. He buries his face in the crook of my arm. He looks at me and smiles and there’s a dimple in his cheek.
Just like mine.
I can’t stop looking. I can’t stop seeing the miracle.
They still seem too little for this.
They pose whenever the camera comes out.
Gus is still not sure what to think.
His uncle Corey wore this thirty years ago.
My children will eat anything we grow ourselves.
Swimsuits can’t dry in the rain.
She’s almost always smiling.
He is always chewing his fingers.
He love his mama.
She loves him.
One year ago, I was trapped by the daunting realization of motherhood times four.
Today I gave up my early morning sleep to listen to that baby boy squeal all up and down his tenor range while attacking the bumper in his cradle.
One year ago, I forced joy at my daughter’s seventh birthday, and then cried in her daddy’s arms because now I would forever mark the day I first became a mother with the day I realized I didn’t think I could do it again.
Today we’re five days into being eight and a whole year into mothering four (because it all starts at conception) and she’s still the greatest teacher of grace I have.
One year ago, I was overwhelmed by the “I don’t haves” of financially-strapped stay-at-home life.
Today I revel in the moments I’m present for because I’m not heading out our door at breakneck speed to continue a life that gave us less than what we have now.
One year ago, either daddy or I read bedtime stories each night.
Last night, Madelynne read Jesus to him, Annabelle read Hop on Pop (my favorite Dr. Seuss) to anyone who was listening, and Amelia brought me Cat in the Hat to read to her and nursing Gus.
One year ago, I was finding joy in the small, silly moments of life with three daughters.
Now, I’m seeking joy everyday in the random, grace-filled moments of motherhood.
….baby Gus chewing his blankets
….the way his face lights up when I come in the room
….Amelia’s swirly hair that is the envy of all her aunts even when I haven’t brushed it in a couple of days
….Madelynne’s delight in having her own space
….the way Annabelle talks about her teachers, this year Mrs. B is the authority on everything
….trying to teach selflessness and failing and realizing that perhaps the best teacher will be the act itself, so today I’ll be calling the local soup kitchen and setting up to take the big girls to volunteer
….trying to get the Word into their heart and realizing I need to put more of it into my own first
….is it irony that the best view of the pre-dawn sky is out my bathroom window?
….regretting that I was so negative for so much of my pregnancy, but thankful that despite all my shortcomings, being honest and open about that struggle has blessed others whose story is similar
….so much joy in hearing of so many friends who are walking this journey of parenthood right along side us…especially my dear friend who isn’t facing a NICU on this go round but should deliver a healthy full-term baby boy soon!
Linking up with Miscellany Monday and A Holy Experience this morning. Now it’s off to pour some cereal and tag some consignment. Blessings!