Friday, May 9, 2014

Bumpy Road

I guess it's kind of cliche to write a post about being a mother on mother's day weekend, but I'm feeling a bit cliche these days. It was exactly three years ago that I was hoping for a mother's day baby, so pregnant I couldn't stand it any longer. This time around is different. I don't feel the rush or the anxiety that accompanies a major life change. I don't feel the need to walk thay baby out, as so many suggest.

Sure, I miss sleeping on my stomach. And yes, it'd be nice not to have to pee every two minutes, but I know that everything will be so different once he's here. And while I feel prepared for the changes, more so now than with Aubrey, I still feel the need to cling on to my family of three and settled routine.

Anyways, it still amazes me that I'm a mom. That there's a little person walking around outside of my body that needs me to feed him and bathe him and tuck him in at night. He calls for me when he's scared and yells at me when he thinks he can get away with it. I have to discipline, teach, learn, love, give... So many roles to play and so many shoes to fill.

A lot of the times, I feel incompetent. Unable to provide all of the things he's looking for and needs. Especially these past few weeks, with him being sick, and everyone insisting I take him to the doctor. Was it wrong of me to be hesitant, to hold back until he felt better and let the virus work it's way out? I don't think I'll ever know- some may say it's cruel to let their child be sick, others may say I did the right thing. But it's those decisions in motherhood that make us what we are- mothers. We're not given a rule book, guidelines, tips and tricks to follow. What may work for one mother may not work for another. And so we're flying blind through this trial where, as it happens, we're responsible for a life other than our own.

No pressure or anything.

Those moments of uncertainty and insecurity are far overshadowed by the immense amounts of love and fulfillment, and not necessarily the love that's received but the love that's felt. How I can look at Aubrey, even after he's been given a lollipop and demanding another with tears streaming down his face, and love him despite his ungratefulness and his full blown toddler temper tantrum. It's the feeling of possession during the midst of his getaway in the middle of the mall. It's the insistence that my own child is smarter and cuter and better than any other.

As mother's, we're expected to be above par. More patient and more kind and more loving, and while those things may be true some of the time, we're still human. We still get frustrated and annoyed and angry and yell. There are still times when I wish it was legal to shove him into a dog cage with a bowl of food and leave him to fend for himself. There are days when I have to remind myself that others don't get the opportunity to be a mom and wake up at the butt crack of dawn to a toddler in their face demanding that "the sun is up."

I've come to terms with all of these emotions, including the feelings of self doubt and failure. I've learned to accept the fact that some days I will feel like supermom, the house will be clean and dinner will be cooked before 6 P.M., and other days I'll still be in pajamas when Todd comes home and my biggest accomplishment will have been finishing the cheesy romance on my kindle.

I've finally figured out that MOM doesn't equate to PERFECT. They are not one and the same, no matter what the pictures or words say. Anyone who tries to tell you different is a big, fat liar. This road is as bumpy as it gets and the only thing we can do is wear a helmet and pray to God we all come out of the other end intact...

Oh, and remember to be thankful for the easy breezy days, because there will be some***

***But only just a few.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there. I hope you know that you're a winner, even when you feel like a loser.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


We had a scare today.

A moment where everything could have changed, and even though it didn't, even though we came out on the other side mostly scratch free, I cried. I cried long and hard and couldn't stop crying because I knew that my heart could never handle a hurt like that.

Here's the story, and even as I begin to type it out, my eyes mist over and my mind begins to wander to the possibilities of how it all could have ended.

Before Aubrey went down for a nap this afternoon, I promised him we would go in the pool when daddy got home. So of course, as soon as he was up, he was ready to go. I brought him into our room to change him and started a conversation with my sister. Normal things. Aubrey had his suit on and left the room -- I thought he was going into his room to get a towel like I had suggested, or maybe even chasing my sister's dog Jade, since she had just been banished from my room. Either way, I didn't think anything of his absence. He wanders the house quietly all the time.

I'm not sure how much time passed- maybe five minutes, but probably no more than two. I was hunting down my own bathing suit when I heard the cry. The I'm-hurt-or-scared cry that sends me into a run no matter how pregnant I am. In a matter of milliseconds I was running through the house, trying to find him and already imagining the worst. Jade bit him. He fell and busted his lip again. He slipped and broke an arm.

But I couldn't find him, and I began to panic. Again, only a few seconds passed, but it felt like a lifetime. Then I noticed our German shepherd Odin standing at the patio doors freaking out, and I knew where Aubrey was.

I ran out into the backyard and found him standing in the pool, choking on water, soaked from head to toe. As I mentioned in a previous post, Aubrey hates water on his face. He won't go under unless we force him and we haven't done that since he was young enough to hold his breath when you blow in his face. And so I knew, in that instant, that Aubrey had gotten his bathing suit on and went outside to swim. ON HIS OWN. Whether he fell in or not, I'll never know. How long he was under, I'll never know. All I know is that, by the grace of God, he was able to find his way back to the steps and keep from drowning. But he was scared, and he was choking, and I grabbed him and shook him until I was sure that he was alright and real and alive.

And I couldn't stop crying.

And praying.

And crying.

In a mater of just a few minutes, the world shifted. It could have exploded and it hit me right there how very fragile life is. How precious and wonderful and scary and heartbreaking. So while my tears were tears of fear and what if's, they were also tears of relief and realization. I looked at my boy and his quivering lips and I held him close, felt his little heart beat against my chest and felt his feathery lashes flutter against my neck. I reassured him instead of punishing him, hopeful that the scare would be enough to keep him from wandering outside on his own again.

Maybe life is full of these scares, these moments where we realize how one small second could change everything. Maybe, without them, we would continue to take things for granted, like our safety and our convenience and the very breath in our lungs.

I know that, from now on, I'll be more careful. The gate around the pool is going back up and the doors leading outside will stay locked. I'll be more aware of where he is and try to remember that, even though he's independent and smart, he's still a curious, mostly sometimes disobedient three-year-old boy.

And, of course, I'll remember to hug him a little tighter, just because I can.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Just a Phase

I'm pretty sure aliens came into my house in the middle of the night and switched out the toddler version of Aubrey for some sort of man-child version.

He's always been a pretty big kid. Tall for his age, chunky even though he's the pickiest eater, and more verbal than most adults. But lately, I look at him and I think to myself "He's not a baby anymore." I was worried that he had lost weight when he got sick since he refused to eat anything for almost two whole days, but it seems that he's bigger than ever. Maybe it's the new skinny jeans or maybe it's the long hair. Either way, I'm beginning to look at him differently. Longer and harder, watching the way he moves and interacts and lives.

A friend of mine asked me the other day if I was sad about Aubrey not being our only baby anymore. I answered quickly with a resounding No, because I wasn't. I wasn't at all. But then I started thinking about it- thinking about how, right now, he's my best friend. I don't like to go places without him when I know he can come too. I don't want to leave him for however many days and not see him until Rory is here. I don't want to come home and have to turn on the TV for him just so I can nurse a baby. I don't want to tell him we can't go to the park because Rory is sleeping.

I know it won't last long. I know that once we get adjusted I'll wonder how I ever lived with just one. I know that my heart will be so full of love that it won't matter that we've sat in the house all day in our jammies, or that Aubrey has been watching cartoons for the past 3 hours straight.

I'll have to remind myself that it's just a phase, that it'll pass and I'll miss the days when they were both little enough to be entertained by TV and wooden toys.

On Friday, we left the house for the first time in more than a week. It was invigorating. Even though it was hot as Hades and Aubrey was semi-cranky and I forgot to bring a water, it was nice to be able to get out and see the world (aka Royal Palm Beach/Wellington.) We went to Target, where I actually bought what I needed to buy and nothing more. We went to the park, which was strangely empty and I thought would be mildly disappointing to Aubrey. Turns out he doesn't care who's there or not. There were structures to climb, after all! We stopped by Chickfila because I eat it more often than I should and PEACH MILKSHAKES. I'd like to blame it on the pregnancy cravings, but the fact of that matter is I have a sweet tooth the size of Texas and no self control.

After a long, much needed nap (for the both of us) Todd came home and took Aubrey in the pool, which was finally warm enough to enjoy. It sits unused for a majority of the year, despite the heat, but once it's usable, it's good. It becomes a daily ritual to jump in in the late afternoons, when the sun is still out but not as deathly penetrating as the early hours. And its strange because Aubrey has this really weird thing about water in his face or touching his face with wet hands. He HATES it. Like, gets anxiety he hates it so much. But in the pool? It doesn't matter. It's a whole different playing field out there.

I like to sneak out there and watch them, so caught up in there own little world that they don't even notice I'm there. Todd pretends with him, listens to him and teaches him. He pushes his boundaries without freaking him out and without getting frustrated when Aubrey refuses to comply. He shows him things he's not supposed to do in return for trying something new.

And everything I know to be true is reinforced. That Todd is an amazing father and that he will continue to be nothing less with the next however many babies that come along. It's good to know that some things never change, that some things are not just a phase.