I’ve been a mother for 18 months. That’s twice the amount of time it took me to grow him. And, now he’s here and he’s crazy and he’s 31 pounds of pure emotion, and truth be told, I couldn’t love anything more.
But, the other night, I was lying in bed thinking about the way things were before baby and it struck me – damn near everything in my life has changed in these past 18 months. I think it’s just the way I look at life now. My first thought immediately goes to Coen and how whatever I’ve done or am about to do will affect him.
While before I would ride the party bus til 4 a.m. and order pizza afterward in a drunken stupor, I now wish to be asleep by 11 and am lucky to down a half a glass of wine without getting a nasty hangover. If my phone rings in the middle of the night, maternal Nicki instantly assumes someone’s hurt and answers the phone in a huffy panicked voice, skipping the hello altogether and jumping right to the “What’s happened and how can I help!?” Old Nicki would answer the phone with a sleepy “Hellllo?” assuming it was just another drunk dial from her friendly happy hour leftovers. When I’m sick, I no longer loathe in self-pity, but rather lock myself in my room and hope to God I can barricade the germs to this one piece of house. When the annoying jack russell down the street won’t shut his pie hole during nap time, I am tempted to muzzle him myself and leave a note for the owners listing acceptable neighborhood barking hours.When it’s below zero, I start the car an extra 30 minutes early so the carseat warms up. When I cook dinner, I always consider what goes with hot dogs. Need a final example? OK…
When you have a pile of brand new boots and scarves and jewelry and movies and flannel pajamas, and the greatest gift you can say you got on Christmas morning was the 3-pack of front-row tickets to Sesame Street’s Elmo Live…
Life has changed. There’s no denying it.
Funny thing is, I kind of like the new me. I like caring for and protecting something so much that I would die for it. Kind of gives you a sense of back-handed pride or glory. Granted, it may have made me a bit more dramatic and distressed at times, but I try to keep it in check. And, it has caused me to look at life with a sense of purpose. I’m almost 30 and I’ve decided that I want to live forever. Because I now truly have something to live FOR. It’s a remarkable feeling. I dare you all to feel it. Just once. It will make you want to eat healthier, smile bigger, laugh louder, be more polite, contribute more time, and oh so much more! Pretty powerful stuff.
A few nights before Christmas, my husband had to call the paramedics because my blood sugar had dropped so low and so fast that he couldn’t take care of me himself. As I came to at 1:30 a.m. and rolled over with an IV in my arm and 3 medics in my bedroom, my first thought was of Coen. Thoughts were blurry, and I could barely answer the questions “What year is it?” and “What’s your dog’s name?”, but I just wanted to know if my baby was sleeping through the chaos soundly. He was, and I survived (embarrassed and shaken up a bit), but even in a moment of panic when nothing else around me made sense, my heart and head were concerned about 2 things: the man standing frightened in the corner and the child across the hall who might need his mother. A third item of concern was how my bra-less pajamas may have given the medics a bit of a “nip show”, but that was much lower on my concern list. Much, much lower.
I want to be around to see this kid be raised right. To become a man. To drive a car. To find a wife. To go to college. To have some kids of his own. And I will.
There must be some sort of chromosome or something else scientific-sounding that changes the way you act once you have children. Slows you down a bit. Makes you re-prioritize and make wiser decisions. I like being wiser and moving slower. I love being a mom. I love having a purpose. If I’ve realized all this in 18 months, just think how much I’ll know in 18 years!
Looking forward to the road ahead…