It took me a long time to get to love my baby boy. Unlike some moms, I was not engulfed by feelings of love the minute he entered the world. And not because he tried to kill me (I don’t hold that against him). Sure I felt something, I think, though in hindsight it is hard to remember. Any feeling I had was completely overwhelmed by how much he needed me. Nursing 24/7, colic, a disdain for sleep that he carries with him today – he was a high maintenance baby. Or maybe I was a high maintenance mom who had just spent my entire pregnancy doing what I wanted when I wanted.
In any event, his dependence on me was crushing.
You might be shaking your head right now, little Miss “I-Have-All-The-Answers” and “it’s-all-so-simple.” You probably think this was my doing. That somehow I made him this way. Maybe. Maybe not. But I have seen enough first time moms at this point to realize something was off. Not everyone had as hard of a time as we did – me and Gavin.
Now that he is 3, I realize he is just a particular person. He likes things just so. Without being able to communicate those preferences, I can imagine infant-hood was like prison for him. These days, he communicates like a champ. We can talk about things, I can reason with him, and we can generally come to a mutually acceptable agreement on any matter (except why he can’t have Italian Ices for breakfast).
And the fact of the matter is, I adore him. My heart explodes with unconditional love at some point almost every day. Making him laugh is like a drug to me. His hugs warm my heart and soul. Hearing his enthusiasm while singing invigorates me. Watching him overcome a fear inspires me.
One of our favorite things to do before bed is watch one of the HBO “Classical Baby” series. Typically it’s the Art Show or Classical Baby 2. On a rare but delightful occasion we watch The Poetry Show. The last poem, narrated by my dear dear
stalking target friend Gwyneth Paltrow, brings tears to my eyes each and every time.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of being and ideal grace. I love thee to the level of every day's Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light. I love thee freely, as men strive for right. I love thee purely, as they turn from praise. I love thee with the passion put to use In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith. I love thee with a love I seemed to lose With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath, Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.
It took us some time, but our bond is air tight.
Even when he drinks all my orange juice:
So to any new moms out there who might be struggling with this parenting thing I can assure you of three things:
1. You are NOT alone; and
2. All the pain you are enduring is SO worth it; because
3. It gets so much better!