This weekend Andrew and I were reminiscing about when our son was a baby. I mean, he is almost 13 months. But 13 months is a lot different than 3 months. I miss the early days with him, when he needed to be held all the time, when it was ok to snuggle him as much as we wanted, when there was no such thing as spoiling the baby. When I would wake up and see my husband in the nursery, asleep with him in his arms in our green glider. Getting up with him in the middle of the night, sharing the responsibility, getting bottles and diapers and swaddles ready.
I have fond memories at our little house with our new little baby. The house I bought on my own at 30, because after I took the trip of a lifetime and recognized I didn’t need anyone or anything to live my life, I finally felt empowered and I took the leap into home-ownership. It was an adorable 2 bedroom home with a 1 car garage, a pretty red door and the cutest bathrooms. It had a kitchen with exposed cabinets and that 60s charm. It had an oven in the wall that was so small hardly any of my dishes fit in it, but man did it cook fast. My girlfriend and I painted half the basement right away – a beautiful shade of light blue, with white trim. It felt beachy and relaxing. I broke my foot the day I moved, and she helped me set up the basement so we could watch Star Wars and eat pizza. As time went on, I made more changes to make it mine. I hung pictures from twine in the hallway. I painted the small wall in the dining room a dark purple, and hung an eclectic mix of artwork around the window. It was so decidedly me. I loved it.
That was the house where one became two, when Andrew and I found out we were pregnant and he immediately wanted to move in. I needed a little time to adjust to going from being a solitary dweller to a house of two. I hadn’t lived with anyone in 10 years and it was a little overwhelming to consider, along with the fact that I was growing another person. He moved in, we bought a new bed that had no right to be in the tiny master bedroom, and we made it work. We cooked spaghetti and I splattered it all over our white cabinets. Andrew tried to make steaks on the cast iron skillet, and we discovered there was no hood fan. I came out of the shower and the house was filled with smoke. It was hilarious. We flew from that house to the hospital – a trip that took less than 20 minutes when it should’ve easily taken more.
That was the house where two became three, when we brought our little nugget back home from the hospital. That first week back was one of the longest of my life. We ran into a lot of difficulties, and while it all feels like a blur to me, those memories are much clearer for my husband. I can’t imagine what it was like for him, to go to bed and try to sleep while I sat bleary-eyed in our living room, trying and failing to feed our child. I can’t imagine what it was like to have to leave the house and leave us there, and what he felt like while he was away from us. I just know I missed him and I felt incredibly lonely when he was gone. My mom came over a lot. My parents both came over and would stay the night at our house, slept on our sofas, so that Andrew and I could get sleep. They would bring over food and watch movies and take care of Carson for us. I remember the first night Carson stayed with them, I cried as we were leaving. I felt like a terrible mom.
I never want to forget how it felt when Carson made us parents. All the doctor’s visits and diaper changes and swaddles and cuddles – all of those memories are some of the best of my life, and I never want to forget them. When he starts talking and talking and talking and asks incessant questions, I hope I never forget how excited I was to hear him start to babble in the first place. When he starts running around the house and inevitably knocks things over and hurts himself and breaks things, I hope I never forget how excited I was when he started to take his first wobbly steps. When he is so hungry nothing will fill him up and he spills food throughout the house and whines when he hasn’t had enough to eat and he neeeeeds another snack, I hope I never forget how excited I was when he started to eat solid foods. When he no longer needs the crib and is a big boy in his big boy bed, I hope I never forget how excited I was when he slept through the night in his crib in his own room.
It is a huge responsibility to raise a human. There are so many things that I am anxious about – how do you raise a child who is kind and compassionate, logical and aware, polite and courteous, and on and on? I don’t know. I know I want to be a parent who allows my child to feel his emotions, whatever they are, and give him permission and tools to handle them. I don’t want him to become someone who feels like he isn’t allowed to be sad, or angry, or hurt. I want to be a parent who doesn’t allow my child to get away with slamming doors or receiving a gift without saying thank you, or making a request without saying please. I know that motherhood is going to be difficult – the past 13 months have already showed me that. But it is so much more than difficult. My hope is that through each new phase of his life, I never forget the previous one. That I always remember that my little boy stole my heart the first time I heard his voice, and that nothing can change the love that I have for him.
Becky is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty on Tap. To apply to become a Contributing Writer, please click here.
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