A Tale of Two Mommies

…because more seems excessive…

Tag Archives: new parenting

Dreams, Fantasies, and a Mommy with Game

I vividly imagined today for years, almost salivating over it, but the first month it is best to keep my fierce girl home and away from people as much as possible.  My husband returned to work from his paternity leave today, and my parents will remain in town to help for the next two weeks.  But, this girl is a reckless one living life on the edge.  Consequently, Mr. Man, the Warrior Queen, and I  were out and about all morning and afternoon just as I’ve dreamed for so long.

I don’t picture extravagances with my life visions.  Sure, I cultivate possibilities with my career type things; some goal or ambition.  But, my day-to-day life fantasies are usually mundane with all of their imperfections.  So, when thinking of growing my family, I don’t imagine grandiose relationships and activities.  I crave the common interactions and experiences; the tantrums, the laughter, the harried diaper change when I’ve forgotten a replacement for an empty wipes container.  I envision a life in all of its imperfections and joy; I think of my life as full of all the pieces that allow me to look back knowing something will not be missed because I wasn’t brave enough to take a risk.

So, while my daughter will be with my half of her grandparent sets for a couple more weeks until our routine begins, the temptation of an uncommitted today was too much for me to keep my twosome home for the day.  I contacted a couple of friends I’ve been unable to see since I blew past second trimester in the rearview mirror, and soaked a taste of my future humdrum life.

Surreal butterflies after my husband left for work.  The Warrior Queen slept in her swing.  I read book after book to my son who cuddled next to me under a ratty blanket I’ve had since college.  He insisted on carrying his sister’s bottle from the fridge to the sofa as he usually does, helped me feed her by gingerly touching the end of the bottle while I hold the bulk of the weight, and we were off to the races…Sounds perfect and touching, right?  Ah, but this is life, so how can I leave off my son not quite ready to eat breakfast and deciding to demonstrate this very day that he can, in fact, open the gate we trust will protect a portion of our downstairs from the reign of toddler terror?  It wasn’t a fumbling by chance accomplishment.  Nope, he was more successful on his first real attempt than I was when it was first installed.  Mr. Man had a plan too.  My husband removed my daughter’s play mat to our dining room/living room area because Little Man was doing what he does best with toys, ensuring they comply with rugged quality control standards.  So, this morning I’m preparing breakfast for the two of us, and hear the gate rattle open and his pitter-patter of feet on the way to retrieve this latest delight, dragging it back to where it belongs next to his sister’s swing, but not before raking it along our walls.  My son, however, knows that the gate should remain shut, so he made sure to close it behind him as he passed through each time…so conscientious of him.

But, this initial time passed, and I readied my children for our first stop to grab a snack.  I rocked the house with my organization and efficiency.  The diaper bag was arranged to perfection.  I situated the baby carrier on my person in preparation for the day’s events.  My daughter was fed and changed…Little Man was wearing a clean diaper, and waited patiently in the car for me and his sister.  I secured my fierce girl into her bucket and lifted her travel apparatus handle.  Warrior Queen spits up just enough for me to have to change her outfit and clean the bucket with water and a rag.  Exit the house attempt, take two…

Our first destination passed without incident.  Little Man didn’t break or suckle random drink bottles that I would have to purchase and subsequently throw away.  He even held my hand entering and exiting our favorite local coffee shop.  There is a first time for everything…

The second stop began just a strong, a music class at a local library.  We arrived at just the right amount of time before the program began.  One friend joined us, and I ran into a couple more.  My little girl was snuggled in the carrier; my sweet boy was having a grand time exploring the toys until the activity began.  Mr. Man continued to enjoy himself until the remaining five minutes of the program, then he wanted out of the room despite the arrival of a parachute.  My prodding to remain for an activity he loves yielded him diving onto his belly and initiating an impressive tantrum in the doorway that he managed to open…I guess gate mastering is not be his only skill achievement today.

I’d like to say that taking him  up in the elevator diffused a temperamental demeanor.  It didn’t…because my son is a toddler and periodically becomes a possessed bridge to the demonic afterworld.  I spent what felt like hours, but really was ten minutes chasing Mr. Man around attempting to have him relinquish toys he was schlepping like a nomadic hoarder, as well as just trying to contain him in an area that would cause minimal disruption.  In the process, the Warrior Queen mostly fell out of the carrier, so I was herding my son one handed.  Somehow I managed to hold my sleeping girl and both carry my son screaming down two flights of stairs and finally lift him into his car seat, but not before he unbuckled the car seat buckle that affixes his seat to the car.  But, despite the drizzle that was beginning to pick-up during the five minutes we were outside, and my son who decided to become persnickety at this specific juncture, we were off to the third and final location to meet another friend I hadn’t been able to see for months; an extra bonus, I would get to meet her two-month-old son.  Both of us having two cherubs with a similar age gap are now in the same boat.

The mall I brought my lovelies to has various things for children, which compensates for the general yuckiness of the environment.  To be fair, it’s gotten better over the last couple years, and it’s free…  My daughter continued to sleep in the carrier that I freshly adjusted.  My son had a fantastic time running around, and I mostly had the opportunity to chat with my friend.  It was only when our rhythm was halted feeding my fierce girl that things started to unravel a bit.  My son discovered the junk jewelry store I’m sure has special meaning for girls in middle school…and toddlers apparently…  He entered and started pulling cheap sparkly things off the jammed display racks.  Eventually, I apologized to the salesgirl and left the articles on the floor because trying to restore the items was creating more havoc than it was worth.  I ultimately lifted Mr. Man and dragged him kicking and whining from the store.  But, don’t feel too bad for Little Man; he became distracted by other things once the shiny trance was in his peripheral.  This pattern repeated itself in the electronics store and almost at a pastry shop…so glad I didn’t have to buy a box of cinnamon rolls…not sure I’d have the strength to toss those…

The morning and afternoon flew, and, before I realized it, nap time approached, so we took our leave.  My sweet boy allowed me to lift him in his stroller, and we made it home uneventfully.  Mr. Man gave me no argument about his sleepy time.  My daughter settled into her swing and slept after another of her bottled meals.  The day was everything I hoped and could have possibly asked for.


The Power of Song?

I sing to Mr. Man all the time.  I have a fairly terrible voice, but he doesn’t care, and sometimes it prevents him from launching feet into my chest and face while I’m attempting to change his diaper.  Little Man requests all sorts of songs throughout the day, and I love looking at his beaming smile during the multiple renditions of every childhood song I’ve had to learn throughout these two years.  Naturally, the Warrior Queen was along for the ride, unable to escape the tunes my son urged.

I’m also perpetually reading stories to my son.  All varieties from well written to garbage that I can’t remember receiving.  It doesn’t matter what it is; he just loves a tale.  When my daughter had the room to move in my belly, I often felt her flipping a certain way whenever I read a book to my son.  Once she ran out of room, such movements stopped, but I felt confident she continued to enjoy the entertainment.

Now that my fierce girl is born, it is too early to know if she will enjoy books on the level as her brother; I hope so.  But, undeniably my singing provides comfort I never expected.

My first indication was seconds after her birth, wailing as all newborns do when thrust into the outer world.  My singing calmed her so quickly it didn’t completely register at the time.  If my husband hadn’t recorded it, I might not believe it almost a week later.

As I did with my son, I held my daughter throughout those first days in the hospital singing even when she was asleep.  When she was unhappy and uttering her discontented squeaks, a chorus of some random tune would be hushed in melodic breaths, and she would settle.

One occasion occurred just after I fed her a bottle.  Within minutes of my placing her in her hospital Tupperware container, she began to fuss, clearly not ready to be on her own quite yet.  I returned her to the crooks of my arms, wide awake she focused on my eyes as I sang.  With every ounce of effort she kept her eyes open, but they became heavier as the moments passed.  My girl fought sleep as long as she could, peering through barely visible slits before losing the fight.  The slumber kept that time, but I continued to hold this sweet girl who already knows what she wants.  And, times such as these I’m only too happy to oblige.

Adventures in Labor, Part II

I started feeling promising contractions at around eleven-thirty at night Thursday.  I was out to the world.  My husband was sleeping in another room because he had a cold…again.  I had so many false starts with my contractions that I wasn’t taking them all that seriously; didn’t bother to time them for quite a long time.  For a bit I was dreaming of contractions, so wasn’t entirely sure which were happening and which were in my head.  Twelve-thirty in the morning it occurred to me that not only were they strong, but seemed fairly close together.  I tried tracking them on my alarm clock, and failed…miserably.  I levered myself out of bed the way all small and very pregnant women do in a bed that is too high.  I drop my legs with enough force to use gravity and momentum to actually get up without managing to hurt myself in this most seemingly mundane of tasks.  With that, I groggily and uncomfortably trek downstairs to retrieve my phone…I’ll blame mid slumber for my need to utilize my never before accessed cell stopwatch.  It took a good hour-and-a-half for the awareness to hit me that my contractions were five to seven minutes apart.  In no traffic it can take forty minutes to get to the hospital, but it isn’t quite so dramatic as all that.

With my son my water broke at three in the morning.  My contractions never progressed beyond vague discomfort at random intervals.  With the Warrior Queen I had intermittent and frustratingly hopeful contractions for four days.  I prayed my water would break in these early hours; in no way did I trust this latest contraction progression.

After excessive internal debate and a lukewarm urge from the on-call physician, I wake my husband.  I call my parents who arrive a bit after three in the morning.  Fortunately, my mother was prepared and only brought the necessities from her home…like her coffee maker…My husband and I aren’t coffee drinkers, which is why my mother had bought us such an appliance years ago that she’s utilized often.  It was a good laugh, and we were off to the hospital.  Some time during our twenty-five minute drive my water broke.

The triage continued far too long.  Once it was determined I had my prized ruptured membrane, the time was calculated when I would be induced at the latest.  The doctor I spoke to said it was pointless to wait the full twelve hours; this was happening shortly once a delivery room was available…that ended up twelve hours later.  No one communicated anything to me, so my husband and I sat in the claustrophobic triage room for thirteen hours waiting.  By then I had virtually no contractions; always glad to be consistent…

The delivery finally underway.  The Pitocin drip began; I was so sensitive to it with my son that active labor was under two hours.  I received my epidural with both pregnancies soon after starting the inducing process, and was unwilling to fully calm until the anesthesiologist finished the procedure in both instances.  This time active labor was four hours.  Not all that long in the grand scheme of this type of thing, but not according to my mother who had been texting with my husband.  Apparently she inquired when they were scheduling a C-section, but she had made such inquiries since my Gestational Diabetes diagnosis.  Had my contractions not started to become uncomfortable, I might have rolled my eyes at the time.

My son’s final push was forty-five minutes; the Warrior Queen was maybe five, and she was in my arms.  Thirty-seven-and-a-half weeks she weighted seven pounds and one ounce.  She was absolutely beautiful…or so I was told.  Twenty-hours of wakefulness and the contented bliss of holding my little girl; I didn’t take the time to really look at her.  On my bare chest she cried as all newborns do, but it ceased almost instantaneously as I sang some of my son’s latest favorite tunes that she spent months overhearing.

I finally saw my daughter’s face at one in the morning.  I had only slept for an hour, but the anesthesia finally left my limbs enough to walk to the nursery.  She is, in fact, as beautiful as everyone said.  I let her sleep, and managed to rest another four hours before waking for the day where a new beginning awaited.

The Buddy System

My husband and I were talking last night about how we became accustomed to the fairly profound change of having a young child; well, I was speaking of the transformation.  My husband was partially lamenting about not having time for himself any longer once he enters our homestead.  A part of me shares that lament, but I’ve been at home with my soon-to-be two-year-old so long that much of the independence I gave up is a very distant memory.  I also have the benefit of the end of my second pregnancy to haze any productive use of my nostalgia.

It isn’t so much that my husband was complaining; most of the facets of our son’s loud plod through his life are things he loves and embraces, giving purpose and unique happiness to his existence.  But, there is the constancy of care and attention that can drain as much as it bolsters.

As I mentioned, I’m used to it.  There are very few moments that are solely my own.  Sure, I have the daily nap time…assuming my kid doesn’t decide to take Mommy’s bad day and increase it ten-fold by forfeiting this one meager break that cascades into an avalanche of awesomeness until it is late enough to bid him goodnight.  But, when all goes as “planned,” I amaze myself with how much my life’s changed, and how little I think back to the way it was.  This was not the case during the first year.  Maybe I’ve finally found myself along the way, or at least enough of myself to feel comfortable with uncertainty.

While I most definitely appreciate my Saturday free time, it occurred to me during the conversation that my Saturdays don’t hold the same desperation they did in the beginning.  I find myself not having the dramatic personality transformation after that single extended break.

The Warrior Queen may be born in as little as three weeks, and I wonder what it will be like, aside from the predictable sleep deprivation and all the spousal and life hatred that brings.  Little Man was my first for so many things, but my daughter will be my first with me as a person as well as Mommy.

The Simple Truths of a Cover Girl

There are certain things I do as maintenance, which is my code for small physical upkeep that consists of vanquishing Bubbe from the old country by waxing my eyebrows and mustache or clipping my toe and fingernails.  If I manage a haircut before it becomes reminiscent of a shag carpet that’s been trampled upon for decades, so much the better.

I’m not particularly vain, but I don’t like to look horrible either.  Sometimes it’s a struggle to feel good; the weeks I’ve been experiencing as of late with a relentless cycle of tenacious, albeit relatively mild, illness reminds me of that.  Mommyhood is hard in simultaneously trite and inexplicable ways; the grind easily apparent on my face from time-to-time.  Exceedingly sensitive skin interferes with my ability to wear make-up, so a sleepless night or two becomes the following day’s black luggage.  With all the pleasure and joys the experience of primary caregiving brings, it saddens me that the toll becomes more perceptible to the world than the better person I’ve become from this new life.  And, while I am not necessarily concerned about judgment, I’m not comfortable that the struggles might be more obvious to the world than the peace and beauty of my experiences.

Since my son was born almost two years ago, I think back to what helped pull me through the initial consumption quagmire of his external life, knowing this will be my reality once again in a few scant months.  I’m sure I should say that the blessing of my beautiful newborn son carried me through sleep deprivation and other jarringly unpleasant conditions; the pressure of such expected jubilations are an undercurrent to part of the harsh reality for a mother caring for an infant in the first months.  On some level combustible joy exists, but on many others a cloud of regret and fear hovers not all that far off.

But, perhaps oddly, when my hair was fixed and my nails were short just the way I like them; when my lip and eyebrows are waxed, and the most alluring aspects of my shadowed, sleep deprived complexion; I feel a certain strength and loveliness about the pulls of the experience.  There are other important efforts for my self-care that are pivotal in my enjoyment of my Mommydom journey, but these simple, controllable pleasures are profound constants for me.

Let Them Eat!

I am a pathetically hopeless foodie with a level of euphoria washing over me from eating foods bordering on something that should be developed as its own, separate mental health disorder category.  At one-year-old my son possesses the foundation of the same characteristics.  While I cannot say if his experience is an out-of-body one, he certainly experiences great pleasure from any tasty morsel crossing his pallet throughout the day.

Prior to my food enthusiast’s birth, my husband and I ate in front of the television, hunched over whatever appropriate dishware for the dinner I prepared.  Eating at the table was reserved for burrito night, or any other meal that was certain to feed our floor in such a manner that its signature would be immortalized on our Home Depot rug.

Common wisdom pushes for formal family dinners; I know this.  I spent months ruminating on this simple structure as though the Nobel Award Committee has a specific reverence for this category above all else.  The beginning months of my child’s life were spent pondering the specifics of family dinner, but like most things during this first year, the actualization proved more natural than expected.

My son rarely ate baby food; I opted for feeding him whatever I was eating.  Certainly there were no complaints from the immediate family peanut gallery (The extended one is another matter, but those are stories for another time…).  In the beginning, our meals continued on the sofa; the ushering of food almost never occurred in the highchair.

But, the day arrived when the bottle would be replaced by the sippy cup, marking the end of Little Man’s main feedings on my lap while I watched bad reality television that made me feel better about my genetic contributions to this planet.  Now he requires meals so substantial that I feel confident this two foot person’s portion would satisfy a linebacker on a low achieving team.

Now our previously ignored table finds its Renaissance as the three of us sit around it every evening.  Not only does my son heartily eat whatever we shovel in his mouth, but now he eagerly jams fistfuls of delicacies in his own mouth as we eat beside him (These days he even manages to deprive his lap of its accustomed meal.).  I hope I always remember his wide, beaming smile displaying every tooth during his full mouth giggles in between new bites and sips of his drink.  It won’t always be like this, but for now I can pretend.

Mommy, and the Meaning of Life

Motherhood brings about various ponderings.  Some seem randomly induced by minimal sleep, but other percolate throughout daily rituals. (I’ll call them rituals because it makes me feel better that I’ve managed some semblance of an organized structure for my toddler.).  Sometimes I like to consider my daydreams profound characterizations of my experience as a newish mom because then I feel like I have some minute trace of the thinker and problem solver I was before my son was born.  Of course, if I reflect on the happenings of my day, I am always the problem solver, but it feels so foreign that I don’t always recognize myself; not always a bad thing, but sometimes scary nonetheless.

More often than not when I have a moment to reflect, it’s what it means to be a mother, and what it means to be a woman.  Sometimes they are exasperated sighs as my son continues to wail at my feet, inconsolable unless held.  Sometimes cynical laughs as my husband has the luxury of completing chores around the house, opting out of childcare for the moment.  Recognizing that he isn’t wrong with his proclamation of their necessity, but acute awareness he is making a choice.

Reading nonfiction books about femininity and society among the glorious smut that captures my gender in its many facets, always seeming inaccurate and astute at the same time.  How is that even possible?  Horrifying historical context made even more terrifying that so little has changed.  Overt prisons of perception morphed into self imposed expectations, which seems more amorphous than the explicit messaging of earlier times, but maybe hindsight is 20/20.

I determined staying at home full-time equates to losing my identity, constructing a new one that potentially stores who I was in an attic box, only remembered in brief glimpses of the past.  As things progress and opportunities avail, I’m not sure having my pre offspring self emerge is welcome.

Sure, I am Mommy.  I am the beacon of comfort and kisses, of stories and smiles, of calm and consistency.  But, aside from my perpetual appendage for the last year, holding with him my intense love and his smiles that melt me every time they spread across his face, I must relearn the individual I was so certain of when it was easy to separate myself from others inhabiting the world.  I’m not sure how to do that, and I’m not sure where to start; understanding that the process started with our attempts to conceive.

But, alas, my musings must come to an end because the little person in my charge decided he is well rested.  He stands in his crib waiting for me to make my entrance from behind a closed door with a smile.  The humorous thing about all of my laborious perseverations on this topic is that my son already knows with great confidence the answer to all of my questions.  While his mouth cannot articulate it, he has explicit understanding of who I am, as his caretaker and as a human.

A Rose By Any Other Name

My little man is one, and with it I reflect on the year when time stood still and elapsed in seconds simultaneously.  Home full-time with my son has been one of extremes, leaving nothing in the middle.  Distinct and sometimes surprising moments of highs that seem more like gestures or whispers of events so commonplace that without effort would be buried in his future.

There are the moments that have long since passed, never to return.  In the hospital I remember the way his movements in my arms mirrored this movements in my belly; it made the transition to his life in the outside world less abrupt, and my longing for those internal motions less severe.  I miss his rooting.  I miss his bright, angry red face so upset that it froze with sadness, producing no tears or sound.  This probably makes me a terrible person.  I miss the way he periodically stretched in my arms in mid slumber while I held him, so content afterward that my limbs felt gratified.  Now I can only watch it from afar.  The initial explorations of food; his gentle tapping on our limbs and pleading glances requesting a sample of whatever food my husband or I were eating.  And, his first assertions of preference; shaking his head, “No,” mostly meaning just that, but sometimes the gesture was just proof that he had the capacity for an opinion.  Now the uncertainty is gone as he consistently pronounces his negation on any given event he wishes to cease.

There are increasingly rare moments like of him sleeping on me, sprawled with his mouth open and small tongue just poking through.  Periodically, his lips engaging in phantom sucking, reminiscent of his love for the pacifier he long since consciously forgot.

Some of the moments were even more fleeting, as when my son was first learning to feed himself.  In quiet rapture I’d sit as he poked at his food before bending over to retrieve whatever tasty morsel with his mouth.  It wasn’t long before he consistently used his fingers like the growing boy he is.

Then there are those sweet times of him distressingly crawling with his rapid slaps on our wood floors in search of me, repeating, “Mmm…Mmmeh…Mmmeh…Meh-meh…” because he cannot say “Mommy” just yet.  My yearning for these sounds probably also makes me a terrible person.

And, there are the wonderfully grotesque baby kisses.  Of course, there are his sparsely toothed smiles that capture what pure joy must be.  Mr. Man has many smiles, but a favorite is the one stretching across his face while I smatter small kisses on his neck.  I’ll never know if this smile is due to receiving affection or from his intense ticklishness, but I love it just the same.

Then there is the laughter; there need not be a reason; all of his laughter stands alone as the pinnacle of any day.

Some moments are so routine that it takes effort to value them each time they occur.  It is impossible of me to grow tired of watching my son independently playing on the floor, studying his world with every object thrust in his mouth.  His pleading looks enlisting me to play once he grows weary of his current object .  I sit on the floor and he crawls on me, the precursor of a hug.  His interference with my strength training exercises, as though for him it is code for, “Tackle!”  His glee with my singing; he must be the only person to inhabit the Earth who appreciates it.  The realization that I may never go to the restroom alone again, forever to wipe with little hands resting on my knee.  I have countless images of loud approaching slapping hands before small eyes and a huge, happy mouth appear through a cracked door that is seconds from flinging open with one mighty effort.  His delight in most foods.  His curiosity with everything.  He almost walks independently now, so I savor those speedy, determined pushes of the walker I thought he would never use.  I love his gentle pads up my leg to a standing position.  My little man crawling away from me when I attempt to wipe the streams of snot that periodically coat his upper lip.

Or the anomalies that I almost miss in the moment…almost.  Times when I’m holding him as he is ready for a nap.  He lays his head on my chest with outstretched arms, clinging to whatever article of clothing I happen to be wearing at the time.

The surprising elation my son has for my father that I never expected, and the looks they exchange.  It’s a secret language they both share.

All those good times far outweigh the bad, but the lows can have the emotional intensity of labor.  In the moment feeling endless, consumed with guilt for not singing praises of every aspect and experience of this year.  Reminded that love is like that:  happiness, sadness, growth.

The Edge of Reason

I wonder whose brain my son’s will resemble.  Understandably he will become his own person, but will he excel with ease academically like his father, or will he encounter years of struggle as I did?  Illiterate through the fourth grade and a poor reader for decades after, I wonder if my son inherited my deficits.  Similar to my experience with reading, I spent my afternoons meeting with teachers in order to minimally understand mathematics.  Unnecessary embarrassment prevented me from achieving success in remedial classes; I opted for mediocrity at best in regular ones.  This among other obstacles helped form who I am and the approach I take to pushing through barriers.  I cannot say that every outcome resulted in pride for myself and loved ones; much of the time failure and disappointment were more reliable expectations.  Now on the other end of such obstacles I consider the path I wish for my son.

It seems a trap of parenthood is envisioning the great future of offspring, living out unrealized dreams and ambitions.  Parents can wish for the elements of greatness:  intelligence, charm, perseverance; as though such traits magically manifest themselves in a being; as though outcomes are determined within our fibers in the absence of the external world’s influences.  Perhaps it’s an empathic fear of short-term pain taking up residence in the best piece of ourselves.

What to expect of my son?  I want for him the same character and strength as many parents over, but I don’t wish him happiness.  Rather I wish him things in my control that hopefully will provide for him moments of fulfillment and accomplishment.  I am not sure what equates a path to success or the components of him filling the shoes of a worthwhile member of society capable of leaving the world a better place with each step.  I’m not even sure where to start, except that I try to step with purpose, so the waves of life don’t wash away the entirety of my imprints.  But, I also don’t want my son to be forever reinforcing my foot’s outline behind me.  I want him to grow and learn, and maybe step further away from the water’s edge.


From time to time I think about my delivery and brief stay in the hospital. I close my eyes and try to recall all the feelings and sensations of the process…well, not all of them. Even with an epidural, some of it just isn’t all that pleasant… But, I try to remember the final feeling of him leaving my body with a warm, ticklish “Whoosh,” and those first few moments of his life with us.

I go back earlier in the day and think about the experience. Waking up at almost exactly three in the morning to an internal, “Pop.” I replay those early, groggy curiosities and phone calls to the on-call physician, and the waiting…a lot of waiting. And, while I waited, my husband went back to sleep; how nice to be able to do that. I spent the hours until nine in the morning crocheting and watching the same Law & Order: SVU episodes that kept me company throughout my pregnancy when I didn’t have the motivation to leave the house. The surreal quiet between me and my husband…after he decided he felt rested enough to resume the day… The casual conversations that spoke of our near future, yet avoidance of all the questions elephants held on cue cards in the backseat of the car.

I remember the call to my parents as I was about to enter the second stage of labor, and telling them to fly up in the morning, knowing full well they wouldn’t wait. They missed the first word of their only grandchild’s birth.

I think of the exceptional nurse in the delivery room. I think of my husband who was told to eat before it was too late, only to be called back within fifteen minutes. I recall the sudden onset of intense pain when induced, and the equally sudden relief after the anesthesiologist’s success on his second try. I think of my husband entering the room, expecting to tend to me north of the border, yet was enlisted to hold my leg. I remember him saying, “Such a beautiful baby,” even though he can’t. Then, I was holding him, this exquisite, tiny being who made it known he was not having a good time of things.

I was taken to my room after various hands assisted with things I never imagined would require a team.

My parents taxi to their gate with a voicemail greeting of my son’s birth, and my mom’s elated proclamation that they were on their way to the hospital. Even a year later, I’m not sure how I managed to hold her off until the morning.

I remember all the other nurses whose personalities became more rugged as the shifts progressed, but there was something comforting about the snarkiest one on the overnight shift my second night.

Having brief, but the best night’s sleep I had in months to awaken unable to contain my excitement to see the little person with perfect lips and a sleepy gaze. Looking at my little man’s features as he slept, and wondering if it was okay to hold this sweet little boy who was resting bundled in his Tupperware container with his name printed on the back. The overwhelming memories of holding my son when I was alone in the room, in the quiet. The strangeness of being pregnant mere hours before, and holding him, finally, in my arms. Realizing that my voice alone gave him calm in this new, scary world. Unable to imagine him in the future, but feeling no rush for him to grow.

Now almost a year of firsts have passed, but I think to my first the most. Whoever he is and will become, he forever will be my son.

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