Wanna know what I wish someone had told me just before 10:44 AM on July 20, 2004? "Savor these moments. The years will go by faster than you could ever imagine." Can't say I would have believed it at the time, but let me tell you, here we are, almost 8 years later, and I believe that with every ounce of my being.
My sweet Ethan Michael graced us with his presence 5 weeks early, weighing a whopping 5 pounds, 12 ounces. He was SO tiny. Ethan was very much a planned baby. For one, I wanted to be a mother my entire life. No, really. Two, Jay and I were destined to be together (all together now: "Awww!") and by the time we finally got married at the ripe YOUNG age of 21, we had already been together for about 6 years. The decision that it was finally time to try to conceive was within months of our wedding.
The excitement of seeing those two beautiful lines on the pregnancy test could never be relived. I was so excited, my hands were trembling. Seeing him on the ultrasound was just as incredible. Proof, that my body was sustaining a tiny little life. A tiny life that I helped create, and that would only be mine for many months. Movements that only I would feel. Hiccups that would remind me that he was there.
When he was born, I felt like superwoman. Not only did my body carry this baby, but my body delivered him, and he was so perfect and healthy.
No one tells you these things. And if someone DOES tell you these things, you don't actually GET it until you experience it. And the experience was amazing.
Not only does no one tell you how amazing it is, no one will tell you what a challenge you are facing. Can you picture that? "Hey! You are expecting. Congratulations and, uh, good luck, cause those babies will change your life in more ways than one...hope you can handle it!" Yeah, that wouldn't fly real well.
When we brought Ethan home, all of a sudden, it hit me. This baby was MINE. No one was going to come pick him up, because I wasn't babysitting! Who IS this little boy? Why is he crying? DOESN'T HE KNOW I LIKE TO SLEEP? And GOD please tell me why he cries EVERY SINGLE NIGHT from 5 PM-10 PM??! He was a stranger to me. I didn't know WHAT the heck to do with him.
The guilt. OH, the guilt. I wanted this baby so bad, and now I felt so overwhelmed by his mere presence. He changed my life, and I wasn't sure I really wanted my life to change. Whatever happened to showering when I wanted to shower? Or grocery shopping without having a ginormous car seat taking up all of the room where the groceries went? What. the. heck.
All of a sudden, I felt terribly incompetent. The thought that women have babies all the time and do just fine was something I couldn't even fathom. The thought that not only did women have babies all the time, but that they would have MORE than one! Crazy women! CRAZY!
It was all just so overwhelming!
Now here I am, my sweet 5 pound boy will turn 8 this summer. I look at him and I don't see an ounce of "little boy" anymore. Now I see "kid". Sure, in my heart he's a little boy. Heck, in my heart he's a baby, but he has definitely changed so much, just within these past few months.
There was a time he lived on chocolate milk and air. Now he can polish off a full can of spaghetti-o's and THEN ask, "What's for dinner?" When I go to kiss him goodbye at school, I don't get those precious little lips, I get a cheek or a forehead, and if I am .0002 seconds too slow, I don't even get that. He reads chapter books and can maintain a conversation. He asks questions that I can't answer (or don't want to answer....) I go to scoop him into my arms, and I realize: he's not a 20 pound toddler anymore. I have no idea how much he weighs, but trust me, there is no "scooping" going on.
If I could say one thing. Just ONE thing, to a mother as she enters those first moments of motherhood, it would be to savor it. Savor it ALL. Sleepless nights, "witching hour" evenings, spit up, diapers, runny noses. All of it. Because I promise. It goes by way too fast. And I promise. You will look back and yearn for those moments.