When I was pregnant, people always told me I’d love you more than life itself, but I didn’t understand. Up until the day you were born, I was stuck in only one emotion, fear. I practiced putting a diaper on a teddy bear and put it on backwards. I had a dream when I was pregnant that I went to pick you up in your crib and you were a grey kitten. I washed and folded your clothes, that admittedly were a size too big. I’ve never thought that I would be a perfect mom and I still don’t intend to be. I know you will love me, flaws and all. Which is how I’ll love you, too, because now I get it.
The day before you were born I had finally decided to embrace my pregnancy, two days past my due date. I got up and put on the most normal-looking outfit that I could muster, also makeup, and set out to spend the last day your papa and I would have as a family of two – although we didn’t know it yet. True to our own style, we bought you a pacifier that said “No Hablo”, and laughed about the pictures we’d take of you. The girl behind the counter looked at me and said “You’re adorable”, which was the first comment I’d heard in weeks that didn’t involve the size or shape of my belly. We apologized to you in advance for being raised by us – two people with no clue how to raise a baby. You didn’t mind, and you must have known we were finally ready for you, because I was admitted to the hospital that night around midnight. Remind me to tell you when you’re older why I had to drive myself to the hospital. I have a feeling you will laugh.
You were born during the third quarter of the Packer game, in a delivery that leaves me referring to you as “Hurricane J.J.”. However, when I thought I might lose you, I would have done anything in the world asked of me to make sure you were safe. That’s when I first felt like a mother. I saw your face for the first time on the screen of our camera, as they worked hard to make sure you were okay. They yelled out “9-10” and I said, “a 10 pound baby, are you kidding me?” but it was actually the time you were born. You turned out to be a perfectly healthy, almost 8 pound baby. You made quite the entrance and were already causing trouble, making us worry about you. I can see that probably won’t change, and that’s okay because I love that about you. The nurse told me your body temperature was a little low, so they tucked you inside my shirt and you instantly melted into my arms and fell asleep. I’m glad your daddy took a picture, because that’s the moment I realized you knew I was your mother. The rest is all a blur.
The first night home, I stayed on the couch with your bassinet next to me. I hardly slept because I stared at you all night. I couldn’t believe how flawless you were. It’s funny though, because looking back at your pictures, you had one eye swollen shut, marks on your face, and a cone head. I saw none of it. I didn’t want to sleep or miss a moment. I was never scared to hold you. To my surprise, I loved you immediately, which I swore up and down would probably not happen. I was a skeptic, and you changed me. That was only the first of a million ways you’ve changed me.
The next ten weeks were likely the only time in my life I would or ever will be a stay-at-home mom to you. We celebrated by watching “Let’s Make a Deal” everyday in our pajamas. I heard the song “Heart of the City” over ten times a day on the Chrysler commercial that seemed to play on a loop, and that song now reminds me of you. You humored me while I healed, like you knew I needed you to take it easy on me. You’re so sweet, and laid back – you must get that from your mama. 🙂 That’s not to say that I still didn’t end up throwing a tantrum on your nursery floor at 3:00 AM when you were three weeks old. “It gets better, right?” I asked through my tears to your daddy. He said yes, of course, as I watched him rock you, hold you, and feed you. I knew then that you have an amazing daddy. You know it too.
I’ve been in awe of every smile, syllable, sound, giggle, cry, and I hang on to every second we have together. It’s not always easy, but it’s all been worth it, just like everyone said it would be. Daddy and I talk sometimes about how we’re not really sure what we were doing with our life before you came along. I wonder how I ever struggled to get something done around the house. I also wonder why I wasn’t taking naps every weekend, because I’d sure love one of those right now. You and I cook dinner together every night, and you flap your arms and smile when daddy comes home. You still bury your head on my chest, except now it’s when you’re playing peek-a-boo. You’re turning into a little man, that is outgrowing his baby bathtub and eats sweet potatoes. Sometimes it’s hard for me to grasp, and daddy gets sad when we pack up another size of your clothes.
The past 6 months have been the most fulfilling, yet fastest months of my entire life, and I think your daddy would say the same. Thanks to DVR, we still get to watch “Let’s Make a Deal” at night. I fast foward through the commercials, and can honestly say that’s the only thing in my life that I want to go fast. I listen to “Heart of the City” everyday, over and over, when I’m at work.
I have a feeling I always will.