I made a blog-rule yesterday. I get Sundays off. In fact, I made another rule just now – I get ANY day off that I want. I’m large and in charge and I make the rules! So there.
I spent my Sunday visiting a friend who just had her first baby – an itsy bitsy teeny tiny preemie girl named Nora. I have to admit, I have never seen a human being so small! She was like a little tangible miracle child with pinky fingers smaller than a thumbtack. Holding her was like holding air with feet. Her skin was like molding clay, and her mini beat-up nose looked like it was placed there after-the-fact to fill what little space was left between her eyes and mouth. She was beautiful and her parents (and grandparents, and great grandparents) knew she was perfect. Watching the interactions between them all made my mind wander…and from my wandering mind is destined to come another blog post…
I’ve only been to a hospital once to visit a newborn baby – my sister-in-law’s daughter, Addisyn. Waiting in the lobby area for 3 hours until everyone was cleaned up and ready to be seen felt like an eternity. I remember going through a rollercoaster of emotions – from “I can’t wait to meet her” to “Alright, let’s get this show on the road.” Then you hear the nurse say you can come back and it immediately returns to “I can’t wait to meet her.” That was 2 years ago. (Note: 2 years ago, I was busy planning a wedding – not painting a nursery – so having my own was far, far, FAR from my mind).
I got married, took blissful vacations to Italy, Aruba, and New York, bought a house, planted a garden, killed a garden, got a dog, almost killed that dog, and got pregnant – in that order. I’m proud of how much Nate and I squeezed in to a year of marriage, honestly. I didn’t doubt that I could afford my mortgage, I didn’t doubt that I was destined to kill my garden, I knew I could take care of a puppy. It’s that last one….that “got pregnant” one….over which I doubt myself. Am I alone on this? Someone please tell me I’m not alone on this!?
Back to yesterday in Nora’s nursery…
I stood in the doorway and waited for my friend to put her “assets” away from breastfeeding, so I could give her a big congratulatory hug. Then, I spent 5 solid minutes just staring at their new addition. I’ve never been one to reach out and grab a baby because I was just “dying to hold her.” I’m the one that stands in the corner until she is placed into my arms, pointed in the right direction, fed, changed, and silent. THAT is how I like to hold children. Prepped, quiet, and ready to return to their rightful owner at the first sign of uneasiness.
So, as you can imagine, yesterday a whole new set of emotions floated through my body, very different from the ones that I experienced with Addisyn. This time I was resting baby #1 on top of baby #2 (which would be much more dangerous if baby #2 wasn’t protected by gallons of amniotic fluid and a very hefty uterus). This was going to be the new me in 3 months. I will be the rightful owner of Baby Boy Brunner. I will be the one that my friends wait for to prep, feed, change, and point in the right direction while they wait in the corner. My whole mentality is going to have to change. I’m going to have to replace my uncontrollable fear with undying love…does that sound like a gargantuous task to anyone else?
And I’ve heard it from my husband, family, friends, and every parent I have communicated with in the past 6 months – “You’re a natural.” Really? Shouldn’t a “natural” be someone who knows which end of the diaper is up? Shouldn’t a “natural” be ready and willing to sacrifice her own sleep for the sleep of her child? Shouldn’t a “natural” NOT drop toe-stub-induced F-bombs only moments after reading in her pregnancy book that Baby can now hear noises outside of its womb? Right. I’m a natural.
As I was holding Nora Jane in my arms and picturing myself holding my little dimpled mini-Nate, I started to readjust that way of thinking. Maybe there is no such thing as “natural.” Like anything else, it’s learned. Not like text-book-learned or go-to-class-learned, but maybe more like love-it-so-much-the-everyday-experience-is-worth-it-learned. You know, like eating or sleeping – we love it, we do it because we love it, and that classifies it as “natural.”
Maybe. Or maybe I was just trying to make myself feel better about being a better eater and sleeper than a mother.
Either way, it was a much needed moment for me – my only moment thus far of, “OK, I can DO this.” And I still believe it today.
Step out of your corner, Nicki. There is no right direction.