03 May 2012

BIGNESS, mercy, unicorns and babies

I'm sitting in the dark office with only the light of the computer. I need to be in bed now, but am having a hard time wrapping up the day.
It was a good day, really. A busy day. A mad rush intensity day at a client site. But it was good. So why am I off kilter wanting to procrastinate letting it go, letting tomorrow come?

Della is in transition from the baby room to the toddler room at daycare. Tuesday we had our formal transition meeting,  and next monday is her first official day in the toddler room. I did not truly realize that parenting would be so much about change and letting go whether or not I'm ready.
I'm feeling nostalgic? yes, nostalgic.  Loving where we are, but shocked at how quickly time is flying by. It has no mercy at all, time. Sort of like gravity. Merciless.

I hold my now big girl and sort of feel astonished, really. I have not even truly believed that she is here, and here she is, BIG and almost a year and a half old already.  I remember holding my hands over my belly while she somersaulted and wondering who this person would be, and here she is, wildly smiling joyful full of life ALIVE and growing in every moment.

We have moments where she looks me deeply in the eyes, or holds my face for a moment (stillness is so very fleeting in this one), and says momma, and I can barely breathe from it. I feel nearly crushed with the bigness of this, the BIG NESS of this.

I hold her and say, holy crap, look at me, holding a baby. Holding a real, whole person. Holding DELLA. It is just as surprising as holding a wild animal, or being in space. Astonishing.

I hear other parents talk about their kids, and they seem to be so at ease with the truth of it, of the fact that they are parents, that they have a kid or kids, that this just is what is. I confess to envy for those who seem so sure of the truth of their lives, effortless belief.

I know (with some sort of semi-sheepish self-compassion) that I am still in the infertility PTSD mode of worrying I will lose her. Of holding my hand on her back while she sleeps. I can't help it yet. I don't quite believe she is here, and feel, somehow, it is up to me, up to my quiet constant vigilance to stay in this dream.  As if I might wake up,  find myself without her.

This sounds SERIOUS and BIG but it isn't. It is more like a haze, a wash; not debilitating, but it is my truth. I wish I could say otherwise, I wish I could say I've relaxed into poopy diapers and baby-sized food and crumbs down my shirt and the wonder of folding pairs of tiny socks... but really, no. There are poopy diapers, and baby food, and crumbs and wonder, but there is also this ever-present tinge of disbelief, this veil of something that feels like a kind of distance, like in the old days when I held myself separate to keep myself safe.  It is a little like that but with a big big difference.  I am also much closer to my own heart than I've ever been. So to call it distance is not quite fair.  I've never been this rawboned, this opened up, this filled with an inexpressible love.

I'll go to bed now. Holding the dichotomy of such huge cracked-open openness and this persistent disbelief or whateveritis that feels somewhat unreal. 

how about you? Those of you who have made it into the land of unicorns and babies, does this feel real to you? if not, how do you feel about that?


Anonymous said...

Having a baby feels pretty real to me; it's hard not when I have such a warm, solid, soft thing held close in my arms.

But being pregnant...I often look at Gwen and marvel at how she came into being, because as time passes I'm less and less able to connect her to something that was once inside of me. Other than a small place that's sometimes a bit sore from my episiotomy, I have basically no physical reminders of pregnancy -- no stretch marks, no weight gain, nothing. All of last year sort of seems like a blur sometimes; I'll remember some event and think "Oh, has it already been a year since X?" when in fact it is now close to two.

I'm not sure how I can make my memories of pregnant-me more real. I wish I could.

Lisa said...

This is such a beautifully written post. I was feeling the EXACT same way a few days ago while holding my son just before bed. I was having a hard time believing that he was a real whole person and that I am, in fact, his mom. I chalked it up to feeling the bitter sweetness of his first birthday but perhaps this feeling will never go away. I understand your envy toward other parents, but I have to say...I think this haze makes us stop, take in the moments, really soak it in, and then move on. I really think I (and I speak from my experience only and what I THINK I may be like if I were fertile myrtle) appreciate my son in a way that wouldn't have been possible for me had I not had to suffer so much to have him.

sprogblogger said...

I still go in and sleep in his room when he's having a bad night (like last night. Stupid cough!) Because, yeah, I think I'm doing fine with the whole 'I'm a mom!' thing, and then something will happen to remind me that a big part of me still feels like if I don't pay attention every single microsecond, that something horrible will happen--that I will wake up--and this wonderful dream will be over.

So I go camp out on a toddler bed, and watch him sleeping, feel his chest rising and falling and rising again, and even though it means I don't get much sleep, it also means I don't have to fear waking up quite so much.

B. said...

I don't feel a continuous haze, rather an overwhelming wash of emotion that sweeps over me at the most perfect, and imperfect, moments. Those are the times when I'm most aware of how much I wanted THIS and of how precarious it can be. And the funny thing is that I get that sensation both when Charlotte tells me she loves me AND when she's screaming at me in an uncontrollable tantrum because I won't let her _____. Either extreme, good or bad, makes my heart swell. I've never felt more love in my life, and I would die if I lost any of it.

Kate said...

Most of the time I feel pretty normal, and then every now and again K does something wonderful and my heart bursts with joy that I'm somehow her Mama. She gave me the most tender kisses on my belly tonight after DH gave me one while I was lying on the couch, and she so tenderly stroked DH's cheek. Or she'll come out with some incredibly clever little statement. Or come and kiss me better if I say I'm sad (usually because she won't do something).
I don't know if it's just been getting better over time, or that work and life takes my focus away from being 100% on K, but I don't feel a constant anxiety. Just gratefulness.

Joannah Labrador said...

I feel the same way. I can't believe she's here. I can't believe she's mine. I'm not consumed with worry for her well-being, but I do check to see that she's breathing when she's asleep. Knowing she's most likely going to be my only child, every day just seems to pass way too quickly.

Emily Erin said...

I know what you mean; honestly for me, those moments stopped happening when I got pregnant with my second. Somehow living through pregnancy a second time allowed me to connect to my Mama-hood. Now I still have moments of holy-wow, is this really happening to me? and I still look in and listen to both of them breathe, but it's less common now. Perhaps it's also just the age a 3.5 year old is a very definitive person, separate and apart from me. As she asserts more and more of herself, more of me has to be dedicated to behavior management so perhaps that's how I can flow effortlessly into Mama-ness. In any case, I totally understand what you're saying and I've been there. Thank you for putting it into words so well.

Baby Smiling In Back Seat said...

After 2.5 years I do feel at ease with this being my life, but many times a day I get hit by realizations of wonder.

Em said...

Kate, thank you for this post. I am so glad I found your blog. Your writing is divine and the meaning behind it is so relatable for me. I stare and stare and stare at my daughter, trying to force myself to totally understand that she's real, that she's here, that she's mine, that she's part of me, that she's part of my husband...but I can't. I can't fully wrap my arms around her realness and I think that part of the reason is that she is always changing, always transforming. So I nearly wrap my arms around who she is today but then she does something for the first time or says something new, and that bigness that you talk about creeps in, and she is again unfathomable. So...thanks for this post. It really spoke to my heart.