I came across this picture today. It's of me & Jack the day he came home from the hospital. Notice the distressed look on my face masked by a smile. I knew I was supposed to be happy. Here I was, bringing my first baby home from the hospital. He was healthy (obviously he had a great set of lungs!) & he was beyond beautiful.
But, I was freaked-out beyond belief. I couldn't sit. I could barely walk. I was more tired than I had ever been in my life. Three weeks from bringing him home not only did we have to be out of our apartment, but we were relocating to St. Louis- a place we grew up but hadn't lived for years & years. And, all Jack did was cry. We couldn't lie him down. He would cry & cry. He would nurse & be done & then 45 minutes be ready to eat again. All day & night long. I vividly remember whispering to myself during one of his crying bouts, "Don't shake the baby. Don't shake the baby. Don't shake the baby."
I thought this moment was what it was to be a mother. I could see no further than the situation I was in. The only thing I knew for sure was that I was never going to sleep more than an hour stretch again & that this child was going to cry for the rest of my life.
Fast forward 3 1/2 years...
We got another crier on our hands. She cried for about 9 months & then finally got happy. We thought we had "paid our dues", but not only was Annie's infant temperment eerily similar to her brother's, it ended up being more extreme. Surely our 3rd will be a dream baby, right?
But, these 2 babies have stolen my heart over & over & over again. There are few, if any, people that I would rather spend my day with than Jack. He's so funny, so sweet, Mr. Cuddly, & so full of joy. He tells me he loves me a zillion times a day (who wouldn't want to be around that??) & at 4 1/2 he has officially passed through infancy & toddlerhood & into the world of being a little boy. He loves to wrestle with John & his friend Grayson. He loves to play Star Wars (today he was Luke Sky Walker, I was Leia & Annie was "a BAD Storm Trooper") & he loves nothing more than to run around a playground.
Annie is still Miss Touchy. She loves her Mama more than anyone else, but Jack makes her laugh the easiest. Since the day she was born she hasn't liked other people to hold her & she isn't shy about making her feelings known. But, she also has the best smile in the world. She lights up a room. She's started playing peek-a-boo & giggles & giggles. Her favorite times are mealtimes, bath time & when she's only wearing a diaper. She's our roly-poly sweet girl. I love that I get to spend every day with her.
Having children has been the best thing I've ever done in my life. Cumulatively, I've had over a year of sleepless nights, 2 bouts with reflux, seizures, hip dysplasia & all around general crankiness for months from both of my babies; but I really wouldn't change any of it. My children have made me a better person. They have forced me to think of someone other than myself. I would do anything for them.
Today I sat in our rocking chair, rocking Annie who was feeling bad & battling a bad cold & Jack snuggled up next to me to rock too. I wanted to freeze that moment- snuggling with both of my sweet babies, their heads on my shoulder, just rocking & rocking.
I know these moments are fleeting. Jack has shown me that they stay little such a short time. I feel like I blinked & he become a boy. I'll blink again & he'll be a teenager & then a man. Same with Annie. So, I savor these moments I have with them. I savor the crying- even when it drives me batty. I savor the sleeplessness for I know that one day, much, much too soon my house will be quiet again & I'll wonder where my babies went.