Tuesday, March 25, 2014

.Updates From The Bath Tub.

I never post anymore because every time I sit down and try to write, it ends up being very mom-y and this is not a "mom" blog. At least that's what I tell myself as I'm furiously backspacing. I have such contempt for those blogs; aren't their lives just a big freaking ball of rosy sunshine? My kid has a rash on his head of undetermined origin and a couple days a week I practically bolt out of the house, drive as fast as I can to the nearest gas station, and hide out in my pickup and cry while inhaling some kind of Hostess snack. 

Pin that on your perfect Pinterest-board life, Super Mom.

I f**king love my son; intensely, overwhelmingly, rabidly, with-every-last-frayed-fiber-of-my-being love him. I would rip off my own arms and feed them to the wolves for that boy. And it is the intensity of that love that makes motherhood such a trying experience for me. 

He cries. He wails. He hollers and bellers and shrieks. His tummy always hurts. He's so demanding and nothing ever seems to soothe him or make him happy. He can't help it...he has his mother's puny constitution. A lot of the time there is absolutely nothing I can do to ease his pain or to make him smile.

Good Lord, it makes me want to throw myself under a passing cow truck. I'm his mom for shit's sake...that's my job. The whole purpose of my existence is to care for that little man and provide for his every need. In my mind, to fail to soothe him is the most epic failure I could ever perpetrate (clearly he also gets his penchant for dramatics from me). Sometimes all I want to do is paint my nails or go brush the muddy crust out of my horses' ratty tails or sit in the bath until my fingers are prune-y. But that sweet little boy just cries. 

My mom and grandma are always telling me to just go do what I need to do, he'll be fine. They love hanging out with Wee Man. But I get this horrid raging guilt because I'm the one who went and got myself knocked up therefore I am the one that needs to be there, 24/7, to feed him, change him, rock him, play with him, bounce him, put his woobie back in his mouth...that is my responsibility and I can't stick my family with it.

It's ridiculous, of course. If I were to try to keep up with that charade I'd literally die of the exhaustion and heartbreak. Maybe someday I'll get it through this blessed rock-hard skull of mine. His Grandma and Grandma-grandma happily change diapers and give bottles and burpings while I go walk with the dog or drive to Sonic for a Dr. Pepper. I take baths long enough for the water to at least get cool before I get done, and sometimes at 4 in the morning when Sam will just not go to sleep, my own mommy dries my tears and tucks me in to bed and rocks my baby so her baby can sleep until the next feeding (postpartum depression absolutely feeds on exhaustion). Then I wake up in the early morning when there is just enough light to see my son smile that gummy smile of his at me, and I go about it all again. 

I'm not sure I'll ever be able to stop expecting so much of myself as a mother. I did as much before motherhood and suffered the same crippling effects when I couldn't make things go the way they were "supposed" to. In my mind, I'm smart and capable and so should just be able to do the things that should be done. 

Life doesn't work that way...this isn't a mommy blog.

Someday I'll be able to write again about things that don't have anything to do with having a child. Right now, though, that's what consumes me, so that's where the words will come from.

My bath water's getting cold...and I think I hear my baby calling.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

.Family and Friends.

This weekend, my son's dad came to visit him for this first time since he was born, and it was definitely a learning experience for both of us.

We never really had a relationship to speak of, and much of my pregnancy was spent at one another's throats about the situation we were in. He was there for the birth of our son (he lives in another state) and stayed with me in the hospital, but it was a very tense time and even in first few weeks after that I was very angry at him for a lot of things. Even so, he checked in every single day to ask how the baby was doing and I sent him pictures and videos, and I tried my level best to put aside my hurt feelings for the sake of my child. So when he told me he was going to be coming back home to Idaho to see Little Sam, I felt an overwhelming mix of emotions from anxiousness to excitement -- I wasn't sure how we were going to get along but I couldn't wait for him to see all the amazing changes our baby had already gone through in the six weeks since his dad had seen him last.

We decided that he would stay at my house rather than his parents' so that he would be able to get up during the night with the baby and spend as much time actually doing daddy things as possible. I wasn't entirely sure that I wouldn't smother him in his sleep, though he promised me he'd do his best to stay out of my hair. I wasn't convinced, but I knew the arrangement would be the best for Sam so I made sure the spare bed had clean sheets and gave the bathroom a half-hearted once-over with a Chlorox wipe.

It turned out to be the best decision we could make.

He learned how to make bottles and put Sam in his car seat, and how to give him a bath. He learned how to deal with Sam's fussiness, was there when our doctor diagnosed him with acid reflux and prescribed him medication, and he stayed up nights when Sam wasn't feeling well. When Sam could only sleep in his bouncy chair, his dad slept in the recliner while I slept on the couch, and when Sam was hard to comfort he rocked him to sleep and would sleep with him on his chest for hours, both of them snoring like freight trains. For a whole weekend we went everywhere as a little family unit. It was uncomfortable and awkward at times, but I remembered the good reasons that I had been so fond of him in the first place, and I watched him fall in love with our little boy and glow with pride when he showed his son off to friends and family. We were able to just be parents without any of the other bullshit getting in the way.

We are single parents. We will never be a couple. We have separate lives and that is how it will stay. But we are friends now, I think, and we are a family. His family is extremely welcoming and kind to me as the mother of his child, and my son is surrounded with love. I know someday that Sam is going to ask why his daddy doesn't live with us, but I don't fear that day as much as I used to because whatever the answer, he'll always know that Momma and Dad love him more than anything. He'll always feel that his family is whole -- even if it is a little different -- because we love him enough to put aside any differences that we may have had and put his best interests first. As a mother, that is one of the biggest blessings I could ever receive, and I will forever be grateful for it.