If I Were the Type to Write You a Letter
Posted on September 20, 2012
Hello my son. You are six weeks old and I suppose it is expected of me to say “I don’t believe it,” but the truth is baby boy Huyghebaert, I believe it. It feels like you’ve been around for six weeks because that’s how long I’ve had these bags under my eyes. Not that I don’t love them. It is all part and parcel of my new life with you and I know the changes haven’t been easy for you either.
Over the last week you and I learned a lot about one another. When I packed us up for trip a home to the Okanagan I folded our clothes in our travel bag thinking “Can I handle this? Leaving both your dad and our sanctuary behind?” Well, I didn’t know and I guess that’s what allowed me to make the decision to go. I didn’t know any better and neither did you.
Listen babe, it wasn’t a bad trip.
Not at all. But I did sit up some nights, cold with the settling reality that I am not super mom. I have shortcomings. I had them before and now I have new ones as a mother. I want to say that you’re not perfect either, but honestly for the most part you are. In short you are one of those babies who cries when you actually need something and not just to scream. But why is it you always need something? Ok, that is a stupid question I only ask at four am when I am hitting my limit. You are a month and half old. Of course you are dependent on me for all things and this is what I signed up for. However, apparently I am not always willing to see it your way or willing to be sympathetic. You are crying more than you have in the past and your little lungs are clearly strengthening which is a good thing… but alone in a room with you late at night with no husband to throw you into the arms of, Jonah, I’ve discovered some unflattering traits in me. After surviving you for a week alone, and you surviving me at all says we are probably pretty normal but here’s a list of the things I didn’t know until our first trip together had come to pass.
After I’ve done everything I can for you (feed, burp, hold, hug, rub, change, bounce, talk, smile,) if you don’t stop crying I have to put you down and leave the room. See, your dad will go to the ends of the earth for you and never stop trying to soothe you with his other worldly ability to stay calm. Whereas I get so angry at you, at me, at the world that if I don’t step away I worry about what I could do. It’s a terrible thing because I believe that you really do only communicate when you need something quite desperately but one of my shortcomings is that I can’t always read you like dad can and sometimes my frustration threatens to get the better of me. You trust me when I tell you I will never shake you or hurt you Jonah because I love you too deeply, but once in a while my love I will step away and just let you cry. Trust that will only hurt me more than it will ever hurt you, but I am your mother and that’s what we are here for. We take the bullets.
I seem to care too much about how your behaviour reflects on me. It is as simple as if you are happy and content I do not see this as my success but if you’re miserable and I can’t make you better I start to worry about how that makes me look in other people’s eyes. At your great grandparents house you were perfection with a capital “P” and I just kept saying “That’s just Jonah.” I didn’t give myself credit for knowing to change you before you realised you were wet or for keeping formula within an arm’s reach or even for sacrificing comfort to hold you much more than I should have, just because I know you love to be held. I was proud of you not myself. The other side of this is when you are just simply not having it and you are fussing and crying – if you’re acting up in front of my mother or in a restaurant then all I can do is think, “I’m failing, I’m failing, God help me. I am failing.” I should be thinking that babies cry some times and my responsibility is to help you the best I can and sometimes that means to let you do just that. Have a cry. There should be no shame in that. But there is. Great disappointment too. Not in you but in myself.
I’ve learned quickly that all my priorities from before mean nothing anymore because you are all my priorities. Some days there just isn’t time to shower or put make-up on. Other times I won’t be eating my dinner hot and more often than that I won’t be eating at all. And, Jonah that is ok with me because if I am providing what you need instead, those are the times I feel the most beautiful and the most fulfilled.
I’ve learned if you smile at me the morning after a grueling and sleepless night, I will forgive you any number of trespasses.
Finally, I’ve learned that writing in my blog how incredible your father is doesn’t allow me to never say it directly to him. Having to be responsible for you all by myself, even for just a short five days, taught me a hard lesson. And that is I don’t think I could raise you on my own and even if I could I wouldn’t want to. I need your dad to teach me patience and understanding because sadly I run dry on those two qualities a little more often than I should but your dad has that stuff up the wazoo. We are frigging lucky he is willing to put up with us both. When we got home last night baby Jo, neither one of us did a very good job of expressing how much we appreciate daddy and everything he does. I guess I also learned you are a lot like me and all of this might be the universe going, “Payback time.”
I’ll take pleasure in one day seeing you deal with a little of what I dealt with this week, Jonah. Projectile poop included. But until that day comes, I’ll be hugging your dad and learning from his example every step of the way.