This past weekend, I took a quick trip with my family to a nearby city to help me get some quality time with my kids away from the pressures of my “office” aka my house. Hard to relax on the couch when you work on the couch too.
So we quickly packed a bag and hit the road. For the drive down, I had four Capri Suns (only to give them during the last 10 minutes or so; I did not want to hit a rest stop restroom), a box of Cheerios, a couple bananas and some pretzels. I packed three outfits for each kid and grabbed my daughter’s inhaler, nebulizer and EpiPen. I loaded up a new movie on the iPad and we were set.
I packed that bag in the same amount of time it would have taken me to pack the diaper bag to take my daughter to Target when she was a baby. I almost amazed myself by how much my “Mommy groove” has improved over the years.
When I laid eyes on my daughter for the first time, I could barely breathe from the fear. In front of me was a real, live baby, with my blood and her daddy’s blood running through her veins. Life just got real. The nurses handed her to me and I got the hold wrong. “No, do it like this,” one of them said, positioning her in my arms so her head was resting in the crook of my elbow. Dang, I thought. I was already making mistakes?
There were a lot of bumps in the road: learning to breastfeed (ouch), postpartum depression (tears), sleep deprivation (yawn). When she was about six weeks old, I sat on the floor in the middle of the living room (really just an open space off the kitchen in the tiny apartment we lived in) and wondered aloud when her mother was coming to pick her up.
She kind of giggled and I had to laugh at the question myself. I was her mother. This was it. No one else was coming for her. She was mine. She always would be.
I wasn’t a baby-wearing co-sleeping mama, but I felt intimately connected to this little girl. She was a chunky baby at birth (almost 9 pounds), so I (not so creatively) called her my little “Chunk-Chunk.”
Chunk-Chunk is 5 now. Five!! I see her running around on a playground and I think, “Who would have known that the little girl I was so scared to hold would have grown up to be this beautiful, confident, talkative 5-year-old?”
People always tell me, “Cherish these moments. They grow up so fast.” And children do inexplicably grow faster than we’re ready for, but slower than we think they will. I’m at the stage where 5 so quickly turns to 6 which so quickly turns to 10 and so on and so on.
It’s hard to believe I’ve been a mommy for five years now. Although I feel like I’m no longer a rookie, I know I’ve learned a lot and will continue to learn a lot about being a mommy to my two. My kids are really, really well taken care of. I’m proud of myself.
If I could go visit my new mommy self in the hospital, I’d kiss her gently on the forehead and tell her how amazing her kids are going to be and how wonderful she’s going to do as their mom.
Were you nervous in your first few months as a parent? What would you say to your new parent self?