A woman came into the office this morning, and I see a lot of people who I don’t always remember but this woman I did-because when I met her, she had just had a baby and looked tired and frumpish and I felt sad for her at the time. Now I have to laugh ruefully because I think people probably see me in the same light, and probably don’t feel sad for me since I chose this.
I have been arrogant, because I sort of thought it would be easy. Or maybe not easy, but not quite so hard. I had not taken into account how different each of my children have been, did not plan for a pregnancy that was not good and a precipitous and very scary birth, and certainly did not plan for a baby who is, let’s face it, a high needs baby. Nor was I prepared at all for how I would feel when leaving her at daycare for the first time, and every day since. Going on my fourth week back at work, and while it might be getting easier for Josie, it isn’t getting any easier for me. Where did this woman come from, this woman who literally aches for her baby during the day? I don’t know, but I surely do feel Josie’s absence, or rather my absence from her. Maybe because I am older, maybe because I know she is my last one, maybe because I remember how fast it all goes, it’s just been a struggle.
But…of course I wouldn’t change it. I am working so hard at trying to accept that this is how Josie is; she needs/wants ME, and she cries, and often we can’t really console her (though I am reluctant to label her as a colicky, or even difficult, just…needy), and she starts to cry real tears now, and my heart breaks over and over again. I don’t love her more than my others, not in a second-but baby love is different, and she has forced me to open my heart wide and love her even more, and it has caused a shattering in my life. She sleeps best like this, nursing and holding on:
And there have been so many other things going on! Owen in kindergarten now and Eli a senior, Sam coming into his own in seventh grade and Hannah trying to figure out how to manage becoming a true adult who has to make sacrifices….Aubry turned a year old and started walking, and when Steve and I get home from work, she waves and says “Hi!” and comes over for hugs. All of this and more, too much and not enough to say all at the same time.
But here I am, feeling like I am starting over and yet picking right back up where I left off, and I feel tired and overwhelmed, yet so full that I am overflowing-both literally (ha) and figuratively.
This for me is grace.