Then, I had Easton. From the very first second he was in my arms (or on my stomach), I knew that this just got real. Really really real. I knew it was going to be tough with the amount of time, dedication and selfless giving that is required to be a good parent (NOT perfect parent). What I wasn't ready for, even though I thought I was, was the worry and the bond that was forming and growing every day.
His first night in this bright new world, I sent him to the hospital nursery for a few hours so we could rest. After 20 hours of labor, I couldn't form a sentence any longer and was honestly afraid I might drop him if I kept him with me. The nurse left the room with him and I felt this sticky, dark knot form in my stomach. What if he stops breathing? What if someone drops him? What if he's scared? What if he doesn't know who I am yet? Is he confused? Oh, the thoughts just kept coming.....and they haven't stopped. They never will.
Every tragedy you experience close to home or hear on the news or read on the internet hits home in a way you never thought possible. That could be us. The Boston bombing. The shootings in Newtown. The child abused and killed by his babysitter's boyfriend. The little girl who drowned in the pool behind her house. Where it used to hurt my heart to hear these stories, now gives me heart palpitations and cold sweats. It's personal.
I had heard that this was something you could never be ready for. I agree. Sure, 96% of my time is spent hugging and kissing and playing with this adorable cheeky fella, but there are times that the heart-wrenching worry is so strong that I just want my mind to be turned off so I can stop thinking of such horrible possibilities that could befall our household. It's tough loving another human being in such an endless, spiritual way.
The connection I feel with my little boy is on a level I've never experienced before. It IS spiritual. Everything about our relationship is pure and whole and true. I've never felt that way with anyone. When he touches (smacks) my face and looks in my eyes with his big blues and jabbers away, another part of the hardness and anger and sad and hurt Shannon falls away and is replaced by this light, happy, loving, WHOLE Shannon. His love has healed so much of me that was broken and hurt. It's something that continues every day. I wasn't expecting to receive such a gift. I thought I was going to be the one nurturing, comforting and loving him. Not the other way around.
I used to look around our house and wonder what it would be like to have baby stuff everywhere, to be frazzled and exhausted and then to hear a baby laugh and it all be okay again. Now, I know how that feels and sometimes, when I'm frazzled and exhausted and that little stinker spits up all over me or whacks me in the face in a fit of joy, I just laugh because it's the most amazing thing in the world to know I'm all of these things because I have a son.
Being a mother is like living in a body controlled by ten personalities at once. It's so schizophrenic. You're happy and laughing one minute, then 20 seconds later you're wracking your brain trying to figure out what happened to make this happy boy lose his mind and turn on the waterworks. Five minutes after that, you're
I wouldn't trade a minute of it.
There is absolutely zero down time. No "off switch". It's a 24 hour, 7 day a week job that I try to do in the best way possible every second I can. It's emotional and life-altering in every way. It is also the most rewarding, amazing, imperfectly perfect job I've ever had the honor and privilege of doing. I thank God every day that he gave me the chance to show my worth for this beautiful baby boy. I hope I never disappoint him or let him down, though I know I will. I pray that he never once doubts my love for him, but that I'm always able to show him tough love when necessary. But, above all else, I hope that we raise a kind, gentle, loving, hopeful young man and that he knows just what a Godsend he has been to me.