MOMMIN’ AIN’T EASY
Just four short days after giving birth to an 8 lb 11 oz hambone of a baby boy, River Williams Parish, my husband and I were up and off to see the pediatrician. Lawdhammercy, what a feat! It seemed like it took us an eternity to wake, feed, burp, change, dress, load and head out. Once we were in the car and around the block, River started to cry. But, not to worry, his Mom, yours truly, is in the back with him singing every Beatles song I can recall because, who can cry when hearing the Beatles? River can. Yes, apparently, even the sweet sound of the Beatles couldn’t soothe River. Then there was the diaper bag… You know, the one we forgot. My husband said, “Jill, do you really think he’s going to need a diaper change between the time we leave, make the appointment and get back home?” I nod my head, “Yes, he’ll probably need fifteen. My-lanta!”
We finally get to the parking lot of the pediatrician’s office. Of course, there’s nowhere to park. So, my husband parks illegally. Friends, let me tell you this one thing, I’m a rule follower. Not parking in an actual parking space challenged everything in me. We get out of our illegally parked car, and Patrick, my husband, trucks it across the parking lot with baby in tow while I move at a snail speed behind him. “Wait,” I yell at Patrick. A car was pulling out near where we were illegally parked. “Give me the keys, and I’ll get the car parked in that space.” And, without a thought, my tall, brawny, linebackeresque husband hell mary’d the keys over his shoulder and into the sky so high that I completely lost sight of them. I threw my arms up in the air and I shrieked, “ARE. YOU. EXPLICATIVE (don’t judge). KIDDING. ME.” Poor Patrick looked back at me like he’d seen the devil then forged into the office to a) get our son checked into his first appointment ever and b) get the heck away from his wildly hormonal and sleep deprived wife.
I bent down to pick up the keys (which seemed like it took twenty-five minutes) and, as I stood up, a car pulled into the spot I’d planned to move into and, from periphery, I see the most perfect looking, young, energetic, boss of a Momma be-bop up the stairs with her baby. Let me guess, we’re going to the same office. Glory be! I walked in, sat down quietly beside my doll of a husband and baby and looked to my left to find the perfect looking Momma who, witnessed my meltdown, sitting right beside me with her perfect baby and perfect diaper bag that she actually remembered. We exchanged pleasantries. I wanted to crawl under my chair, but I wasn’t in good enough physical condition to do so, and, if I did, I might sleep through River’s appointment.
The last three months have been comprised of countless “Humble me, Lord” moments. Though I was as prepared mind, body and spirit as I could be in the forty weeks and one day that I carried River, I now know that nothing can really prepare you for motherhood. And, as fixated as I was on this precious gift of an angel boy that God so generously blessed my husband and I with, I was also completely overwhelmed with the elation and exhaustion that comes with having a newborn baby. Oh, and the diapers and butt paste, well wishes and gifts, fluctuating hormones and on demand feedings. There have been and continue to be so many things happening and changing that I still cannot compute them all.
I think sleep deprivation must be by design. It forces you to forget all the hurdles and remember every smile, every coo and every single warm snuggle. I can barely remember a day without River. Having him is my greatest reward, and, as cliche as it may sound, my greatest adventure.
Being a Mom for such a short period of time has changed me, challenged my purpose and exposed my shortcomings. I wish I could tell you that I’ve got it all together, but I’d be lying. What I can tell you is I know today that, above all, I’m River’s Mom, and that’s the greatest title I’ll ever hold. No other responsibility will ever trump him. My sole purpose in life is to love him, care for him and raise him up to know the God that created him. And, though my shortcomings are infinite in number, I hope the best in me, the God in me, will shine through in such a way that the bad sifts through like sand and the good flows into this baby boy like water.
To all the Moms out there, my ten gallon hat is off to you. We exist because of you. The good and the glorious things in this life are a byproduct of all the goodness you’ve poured into your little ones. When I struggle, I know that you have walked before me in the same struggle. And, when I look at my baby and smile and he smiles back, I bask in the same joy you have so many times before. Babies are God’s gift and a great reminder that a little bit of heaven resides in all of us.
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