My last day of writing this challenge was March 10. The world has completely flipped upside down in twelve days. I've not been able to focus on the beauty of the everyday, so truthfully, I hadn't felt inspired to continue what I started here. But now, twelve days later, I am starting to accept that this is our new norm, and this is how our life will be for the time being. So here is my attempt to catch up on a few of the everyday writing prompts that spoke to me.
When we walked into your day care for the first time, you were 11 weeks in my tummy. I wasn’t showing. But this is how prepared I wanted to be for you. Your dad and I wanted to make sure that we picked a good place where we could bring you every day when we go to work. We were so close to signing with an expensive, fancy daycare. It was the best option we had found in our weeks of searching. I was willing to send you to a place that had a “curriculum” for 3 month olds. How ridiculous. I hope you know it’s because I always want the very best for you.
Then dad found your place. “Let’s go check out one more,” he said. We pulled down the long driveway. We walked through the creaky fence door.
"Alexa, play kids music."
I find myself asking this questions of the little black box on our counter at least once a day. Why? Because we have a little bopper on our hands. It's that little look he gets in his eye when he hears a tune he likes. He will stop whatever mischief he is getting in to, turn and look at us and start to bop up and down. It doesn't matter what it is. Well actually, I lied. It does matter what it is. He seems to have a very peculiar taste in music.
To blow-dry, or not to blow-dry? A seemingly mindless decision that needs to be made, and wouldn’t carry much weight for many people but it plagues my mind each day. I’ve gotten myself out of bed, but how much more effort do I want to put in? Could I get away with another day of dry shampoo? Ehh, it’s not that bad. I’ll just brush it a little bit. Throw my hair in a topknot while I shower. It will come out just fine.
We live by the ocean but some days I don't see it. I swore I'd never take it for granted when I picked up and moved across the country six years ago from snowy upstate New York. I left everything behind to take a chance on the greatest love I had ever experienced. The world was more beautiful than it had ever been to me. We fell in love by the southern California sunsets and the sound of the waves.
“Do you want bath duty or dish duty?”
This is a common question in our house. Both are equally exhausting. After dinner is done, it is quickly time to move on to the other tasks of the evening. The baby needs to sleep. Mom and Dad need to do some more work. The dog needs to go out. And then Mom and Dad need to sleep.
But neither of us really want to do it. We take one for the team. I’d like to say we take turns, but it typically is a task my husband takes on. Acts of service is my love language.
I Konmaried my baby clothes. I did not ask myself if that "sparked joy" and I did not thank them for their purpose. I just bought in to the teeny-tiny folding method. One onesie, turned in to two and then somehow I ended up with forty. It was amazing to me that I could fold my preemie clothes in to the size of a post-it note. I could sort them all by color, by sleeve length... whatever I needed to get through the morning.
I wake up. I hear the restlessness and the babbles coming from the monitor beside me. The beast awakes. It is time for us to face another morning together. How will it go? I never know. But I do know that quickly, the cute little dialogue he’s having will turn to screams. That will be the point of no return. I rush to piece myself together before this happens. Contacts in, robe on, hair in a bun, coffee made: check.
The stillness of this morning caught my mind. Each day of the week we hustle and bustle about this tiny place. Always thinking about what our next move is. Filling his bottles, making his food, walking the dog, getting in the shower, simultaneously checking email, news feeds and text messages. Making the bed, emptying the dishwasher, making a coffee and then forgetting a coffee was made. The tasks of the day ahead occupy our minds, and we often overlook the simple beauty that is getting a sleepy baby out of his crib. Walking in in the morning to those sleepy little eyes and sleepy little smile. Watching him lift up into a perch just waiting to be swooped up. Listening to the babbles on the monitor and debating when to interrupt his conversation with no one.
But today was different. In theory, I realize that this time is short. I know that one day, he won’t need me to feed him, dress him, change him. I know that he won’t want to snuggle, or curl on my lap, or think everything I do is hilarious. I know that he won’t want to pull at my hair, or earrings or feel the texture of whatever I am wearing. I know his room won’t always be this clean, color coordinated and perfectly imperfect. But today, we sat in stillness. He drank formula. I drank coffee. Both were the perfect temperature, which almost never occurs. The sun shone through the window and highlighted all of the perfectly curated nursery items I had spent hours pouring the internet for. He was content. I was content. Something else that almost never occurs. We looked at each other every few moments, and we would smile. Daddy was taking the dog for a walk, and it was just he and I.
I sat and thought this moment should be longer. I am present. I am happy. I knew that as soon as the bottle would run out, he would fuss and I would perseverate over whether to give him more, or whether to continue about our morning routine. I knew that soon the front door would fly open, and Daddy and doggie would rush in to see us. We’d talk about our plans for the day, and who had to do what and go where. This moment we were living in was fleeting, and I made the rare conscious decision to be present.
As my son gets older and learns to be a bigger human, I find myself looking backward more often. I miss the 5 lb. 2 oz. baby who arrived a month early. I miss the preemie clothes and preemie diapers. I miss the teamwork that was my husband and I as we did all we could to get through those first few weeks as a family of three. But what I miss and long for the most is the moments that I missed. Whether I be dialed in to a documentary on Netflix, or way too deep in an Instagram scroll or barreling through texts and emails, I know there were thousands of glimpses of my son at every given stage that I missed. I do not have a memory of what those are, as I never got to see them. It’s hard to grieve something you haven’t seen or experienced. But this morning, I vowed to myself as we go into a new decade and me into a new year of being a mom, that I will embrace simple moments more often and consciously take in the beauty that is the chaos of having a tiny human.
Originally posted on The MOPS Blog
Aside from a regular mom blog, I've decided to try my hand at creative writing as well. This is my attempt to turn my feelings on ordinary moments, motherhood and life into beautiful small essays to look back on.