Fearless Readers! I just wanted to pop in to say that I miss you, and I miss blogging. I have so many posts in the works (in my mind at least!) in addition to my weekly letters to Beatrice. I confess that most of them are baby related for now (Is that obvious?), but I’ll be back soon with more to share. We just got my maternity photos and Bea’s newborn photos back, so I’ll be sharing more of those soon.
Thanks, as always, for following along with me as I try not merely living. 🙂
If you read all these letters at once, I hope they don’t sound like a broken record. It feels as though I’m always writing the same things.
This was a big week for us (maybe they’re really all big weeks to me, my love). We had a lot of firsts. Today you seem like a very different baby then you were just a week ago. For starters, you gained 1.5 pounds in one week. Last week you were 8.5 pounds, and now you’re over 10 pounds! I mean how does that even happen?! Because you’re a champ, that’s how.
You went on your first flight this week, and boy was momma nervous about it. Your pediatrician had told us to nurse you on take-off and landing to help with the air pressure, but you were so cool you just slept right through both. Flying? Check.
You went to L.A. for the first time (Los Angeles, not lower alabama. 🙂 we’re headed there in December). You met your Ba (your grandma) and your Bacs (your aunts and uncles) for the first time, and not surprisingly, they adored you. People were fighting to hold you, my Bean. You spent almost every waking moment in loving arms. Your Ba told us that the one swirl of hair on the back of your head means that you will be stubborn. Given my nature and your father’s nature, I told her I wasn’t surprised. 🙂 I wouldn’t want you any other way. Although I don’t speak Vietnamese, somehow this trip I felt like I could understand or sense more of what your Ba was saying to you and to your dad. You brought us even closer together.
This week you seem to have made significant physiological changes. You’re sleeping longer stretches, eating more, and your poops are totally different.
We had our first really hard day. I’m not sure exactly of the source of our hard day. Maybe being away and then coming back was confusing. Maybe you caught something on the airplane or maybe you were allergic to the spicy salsa momma couldn’t resist in the airport. But whatever the cause, Monday night, Tuesday, and Tuesday night were realllll rough. You couldn’t sleep. You threw up a couple of times. You scream-cried for long stretches. You got a bright red rash on your face, and needless to say, you were not happy. Your dad and I tried our best to calmly soothe you, but there were a lot of tears shed (mostly mine).
Perhaps these simple challenges are preparing both of us for all the hard times to come throughout our lives together. Some things are just hard. I will always wish I could make your suffering go away, but I know it will almost never be possible to do so. Often suffering can make us stronger, more humble, more grateful for the path we get to walk and the bright days we encounter along the way. So although in years to come I might want to mend your broken hearts and undo those big, awfully hard moments, they are what will help you to learn and to grow and to become more fully and gracefully your truest self.
Motherhood is a terrifying and wondrous thing. It’s hard to not let it consume me completely, but I think that’s mostly normal. I am still just me, and most days I feel like I’m totally faking it until I make it. I’m
trying to be being your mom as well as I can on instincts, but I’m mostly feeling my way in the dark. And sometimes, darling, that’s magic. Sometimes when you’re crying uncontrollably, I somehow know just what to do to make it better. And I feel myself exhaling with the ease of it–I was meant to do this.
And other times, the hardest of times, I can do no right. In those moments, I can think of nothing to make things better, my “instincts” are all tapped out, and I feel completely helpless. When you’re upset and I don’t know why and I can’t make it better, that’s the worst feeling. I feel guilty in those moments, like I’m not cut out for this job of momhood, and like I must have missed some of the instinct genes. But those moments always eventually pass just like all trying times. We’re finding our way together, you and I. And each week, there are literally hundreds of stirring moments where I feel as though I love you so much my heart may explode. Your noises, expressions, and habits are all so charmingly you, and as I get to know you I fall more deeply in momma love. Each week it seems that we master the things that were hard the week before, and then new challenges inevitably follow in those things places. At the beginning of this week, you and I turned the corner with regards to nursing. It was literally like one day we were still struggling, and just like that, we had it. Momma was healed and you were latching perfectly, and I was so grateful.
Although I am somehow never ready for the new challenges that come our way, I always, always, always feel like each new hurdle or challenge is surmountable so long as you are safe and sound and loved. Even when it’s hard–I was meant to do this.
Yesterday, a friend came to visit (Auntie Renske), and she was talking about how these moments that we are having feel so all encompassing right now, but that they will pass so quickly. I’ve been thinking about time a lot. Maybe I’ve said this before, but I think you’ve taught me that most of the world always seems to be moving so slowly and repeating itself so often that I don’t know how rapidly it’s changing and how quickly time is passing. But watching you is like watching the change happen right before my eyes. You literally somedays look different after you wake up from your nap!
A blogger I love dearly wrote once that she knew when she had her daughter that she’d signed up for a one way ticket, that there was no stopping time or turning back. That her daughter was going to be constantly changing and growing and that she was going to cherish each stage along the way (I’m very poorly paraphrasing from memory). And I wholeheartedly know that too (that this is a one way ticket), and I can’t wait for all the adventures we’ll have along each stage as you grow and change (likeomgwe’regoingtohavesomuchfun), but I also know that someday I will look back on these first weeks and give anything to hold your little body in my arms again, to see your sweet little baby face stare up at me, or to feel you fall asleep on my chest and watch you inhale and exhale slowly in the sunshine. So I am soaking it all in. I’m folding up your sweet baby-ness and tucking it into my heart so that I’ll always remember these beginnings.
Last night I couldn’t get you to stop crying, so I just started singing, “L is for the way you look at me, O is for the only one I see. . . ” and I sang with all my heart out and I held you tight and danced around the kitchen as though I was on the grandest stage, and when you quieted, I just kept singing and holding you and dancing and loving you so hard. And when you finally fell asleep in my arms I could have cried from the simple, pure joy of knowing that you were peaceful and not in pain anymore. Just keep growing my love, and I’m just going to keep soaking you in, breathing my way through the hard bits, and cherishing each day.