It had been one of “those days.”
Not a bad day, necessarily, just a long one, full of running and missed naps and much whining, and an early bedtime because we were all just fed up.
I couldn’t wait to watch Idol, and to tidy the house that had been neglected all day because the kids and I had been out and about.
The girls were quiet immediately, exhausted from the chaos in their normally regimented little lives. I couldn’t believe it when, 30 minutes later, I heard Olivia in the monitor, her groaning turning to crying turning to the moaning of “Mamamamamamama.” “Ugggggh,” I complained to Dearest, ”Really? I have not had one second of break from that kid ALL DAY. Why can’t she JUST SLEEP?!”
I stomped up the stairs, grumbling to myself about the messy house and the one show that I enjoy watching. I plucked Olivia from her crib before she woke Soph, plopped down with her in the overstuffed rocking chair in the nursery, and commenced rocking. I fumed while she buried her head in the crook of my arm, and I rocked. I looked at the clock, and I rocked. In my mind I begged her to just hurry up and go to sleep, and I rocked.
Liv squirmed. I started to think about my energy, about my breathing, focused on relaxing my tense muscles, and I rocked. I felt Olivia’s fists start to loosen their grip on my shirt. I looked at my sweet girl. She is so big, so heavy, so formed as a human being, I hardly think of her as a baby anymore. Suddenly it was good, having her in my arms, and I let go of my anxiety, of my needs, of my demands on her. I thought about a writing by the Buddha I had read the other day:
He who loves 50 people has 50 woes; he who loves no one has no woes.
In that moment I flashed back, back to Dearest and I walking through our just-framed out house, giddy with excitement over the possibilities this place held and the future that would unfold here. We gazed out the holes that would one day be the windows, and referred to this room as “the nursery.” I thought about the years that this was just a guest bedroom, too big for its little full sized bed, too quiet and too empty. The door to this room was closed for 3 long years, I couldn’t face it, this space that embodied all the disappointment I was feeling. I didn’t want to believe that this would be a guest room forever. But sometimes I wondered.
We were so fortunate, I reminded myself. We had so much: the resources, the fortitude, the support, to tackle infertility. We had luck on our side. Our girls were born healthy, beautiful, brilliant.
I fought back as my anger turned on myself. How could I resent my baby needing me? I would do anything for my daughters. I knew that the first moment that I saw their heartbeats on the monitor, and I know it more with each passing day. I am so aware that it won’t be too long before we are dropping them off at school, reminding them of their curfew, walking them down the aisle. For now though, for such a finite time, they need me. And so I rocked. For longer than I had to.
I love my girls. I love my husband. I wouldn’t trade my woes for anything.