Once Upon a Time in a Mall Food Court
Posted on November 10, 2012
I never get tired of waking up in the morning to find my husband absent from our bed. And, no I don’t mean that like it sounds. What I mean to say is I never grow tired from rolling over to find him gone, moved to the living room with Jonah. I listen to hear their conversation and inevitably I will hear Hubby say “Hello, my son.” or “Yeah, that’s my boy!” even “Hey, dude. Hey dude, you’re so cute I want to put you in a pie!” Whatever that means I don’t know but it is heart-warmingly cute to hear secretly from a room away. After each sentiment Hubby whispers to Jonah there is a pause and then the sound of baby Jo’s laugh. I can’t imagine a better way to be woken up. I don’t know whether Hubby gets up every morning because he wants to give me the longest break possible or if he secretly loves the solo time he gets with his son. Jonah wakes up pretty regularly now between five and seven am, and every morning J is with him until I rise (much later) and I’ve never heard a complaint from Hubby even if he’s only had an hour sleep the night before. I know for sure that J is in love, head over heels for his new son and that these are some of the most precious moments of my life. Something’s in the air.
Maybe it is for Hubby what it is for me, the coming together of our parental roles and the ease of which we feel within them. I think the onset was slow, at least for me because at first I felt very uncomfortable with my new role as a mother. It feels more like we are in the swing of things now and I hadn’t really realised how well we had hit our stride until yesterday. Hubby and I were out shopping around for Bestie’s birthday gift and of course we had our mini Huyghebaert in tow. The whole experience felt unburdened and easy. I’d drive us around, Hubby would tend to Jo, he’d get the stroller in and out of the car and I’d carry the baby. Getting Jonah ready to go and packing up the diaper bag was practically mindless. A mere few weeks ago, packing that bag was a headache and I’d always end up forgetting something, or I would way over pack making the outing plain onerous. Yesterday we didn’t over think it. We knew we had to get out so we grabbed Jo and we went. Maybe that was the secret. Anyway, after retrieving what we needed Hubby and I stopped at the mall food court for some classic mall eats. He had Chinese and I had Japanese and we ended up eating off each other’s plates. In the middle of our well deserved lunch break, I can’t remember who said it but it came up that I was handling being a mother with (dare I say it) style. That it looked like I had mastered the art of being an on-the-go mom. I had Jo sitting up on my knee with one arm around his waist and my other hand was handling the chopsticks shuttling them to and from my mouth with ease. I was also holding a conversation with J as well as keeping Jr. J happy and entertained. In that moment where I felt the most singularly happy I had felt in some time, I realised I could maybe let go of feeling a little terrified of everything motherhood. It’s like we moms expect ourselves to be comfortable with our new lives the second our kids pop out of us but the truth is we have to grow up as much as our kids do in the first few months to be confident about our abilities, inwardly and out. Sure I was terrified on day one when Jonah cried and I didn’t know why, I was terrified because I was supposed to be. But now when Jonah cries I have any number of tools in my arsenal to help calm him and the most important part is now I know he will calm down. Eventually he will and it’s because every day I grow more confident in myself. Being in public with Jo is kind of like the final frontier for me facing my terror. I used to think that whenever Jonah had a breakdown in public all eyes would be on us, judging us, and I wouldn’t be able to sort out what his issue was and I would die from embarrassment. My ability to replay this nightmare in my head with movie epic colour and sound made me nervous to say the least and to my chagrin I did have one or two situations in real life where Jonah had mega breakdowns in public, but I survived them. And, it allowed me learn valuable lessons. Lessons like don’t freak out, okay? Sometimes your kid is going to lose it out in public and after throwing everything you’ve got at him short of shaking it out of the little guy you may just have to go home! Just pack it in and go home and try again later on. Don’t panic because babies eat panic and then panic more themselves. Know that you can get that kid in your car and then take a minute to cry right along with him. There is absolutely no shame in that. I had to realise that on some days Jonah just isn’t in the mood to sit in his car seat and watch mommy try on pants at the clothing store, just as I sometimes can’t stand to walk around Future Shop with Hubby for the eighty millionth time! Some days I can, some days I want to throttle his ass. Jonah has the same right to flip on me and knowing all this has been my salvation! I am not a bad mother, I am a mother and shit happens! The good news is after you figure this out for yourself it seems to make those moments of total mama/baby public meltdown disappear. Something in me clicked one day and I thought, when Jonah looks at me and sees me angry or panicked or even unsympathetic … well, that can’t be helping him feel good about whatever the situation is either and honestly? That thought really helped. I swear I have one of the happiest kids but on the other hand if he wants to pull a stunt when I am ordering my morning coffee, well then mommy knows she can handle it. Right? Because shit happens and babies cry. Babies cry at home and even louder in public.
You know, it’s definitely not all roses and bloody perfection around my house twenty-four hours a day, but just as I am hitting my limit at two am when my husband is finally walking through the door, a very important thing happens. J kisses my forehead and scoops Jo up into his arms and looks at his son like he hasn’t seen him in a lifetime and turns to me and says, “Don’t we have a beautiful boy?” And everything that was a trial that day seems to wash away and I only remember the way my husband looks with my baby in his arms when I put my head down to sleep.