Making Humans

Our son, Cort Oliver, was born on March 6. Three months have passed already since he was born, but I haven’t written any of it down until now. I’ve been in a total, sleep-deprived, love-struck haze since. 

Growing a human being in your body is exhausting, nauseating, literally back-breaking. At times during my pregnancy with Cort, especially at the end, I was so weary that I just wept at the end of the day (also, hormones).

Then, after you grow another person, you have to give birth–break yourself open to make way for new life. It’s simultaneously so beautiful and awful and terrifying. You welcome your baby into the world, already an exhausted mess, and then you only get to sleep in three-hour increments (if you’re lucky) for the foreseeable future.

Add to that the fact that we’re lucky enough to be doing this for the second time, which means there is already one toddler at home. No more sleeping while the baby sleeps like I did when my daughter was born. 

So we try to figure out how to teach a two-year-old not to be horrible and it does have to be taught. I’m completely exhausted and my patience has worn thin. Am I really going to argue with a tiny human again about why we say please and don’t hit and need to share? How many times will I drag a miniature, screaming terrorist from the library (we just love books)? 

It’s no wonder that I’m beside myself.

Yet, I wake up for 3 am feedings and hold this tiny new life close to me. I press my face against the top of Cort’s fuzzy baby head and will all of my love to pour out over him. He is so small and soft and sweet and I am undone. I can’t hold it all in my heart, my love for these tiny people and the man who helps me raise them.

Yet, the pitter-pat of tiny feet and a bouncing, curly little bedhead  greets me each morning, with “Hi Mommy. I swept well.” Is this the girl who grew from our love ? A walking, talking, considerate, wonderful,  hilarious, independent little firecracker of a person?

I carry it all in tension–the contradiction of being ridiculously happy and ridiculously exhausted, longing for the days when they will be older and things will be easier, but also wanting it to last forever, missing their little years almost as they happen. 

And through it all, I am learning. First of all–that I have so much to learn. And also that I am both weaker and stronger than I ever knew. That I cannot do this on my own. That my husband is so much more than the man I chose to marry–that his patience and strength and kindness run even deeper than I knew. That we will be grateful one day that we’ve put in the hard work of making humans.


Motherhood: Doozies and New Days

Today might have been the hardest day of this almost-18-months of motherhood that I’ve experienced yet.

Ailey and I have both been epically sick, so much so that Trent had to stay home one day this week with the two of us, for which I am eternally grateful. Even as I type this, she and I are alternating coughing fits. It’s been a real party. In addition, tiny lady is teething four molars and at least a pair of eye teeth, which apparently is no walk in the park, although I do not remember my own experience.

A lot of mothering is just getting to know your kid, and to be honest, a year and a half isn’t that long to know someone. Ailey and I have a lot more to learn about each other. I’m so thrilled that we get to do this together, and today was one of those days that teaches me that we still have a ways to go. Hey, idiot, you don’t actually know it all. Don’t we all need a reminder of that every so often?

So, there were no major tragedies in our house today, but we just couldn’t get on the same page. There was a lot of crying and a lot of snot and exactly zero naps. Then, all of a sudden, it was bed time and I stayed downstairs while Trent read books and brushed teeth and listened to the whole delightful thing over the baby monitor. I married such a good one, who reads the same book over and over in silly voices, and asks a tiny girl if she wants to pray with him before she sleeps and then waits for her to say ” ‘men” to end the prayer. 

Then, all the frustration of the day leaks away with the rainwater pounding windows outside and I’m reminded that even these rough days count. This is it–our life–and it’s a good one. We are growing and learning together, and even when it’s hard, it’s so good.

I walk the dog before heading upstairs for the night and realize I actually need a rain coat. It’s pouring, which is rare here, and I love it. There’s a bunny seeking shelter under a tree and we’re walking in the rain, which is washing us and the world around us new for tomorrow.

she who grows 

These past few nights have been rough, short sleeps punctuated by tiny cries from a tiny, sick little lady. We fall back asleep intertwined, with a little toddler body sleeping soundly strewn across mine and I am weary.

So physically exhausted and wmitionly tried, hurting on behalf of my sick baby, sicker than she’s ever been in her short life.

And I think about the woman I was before I was a mother, whose only sickness of concern was her own, whose sleeping (and eating, and overall being) came on her own terms. I remember her a little fondly and a little knowingly, the way you think of someone younger who has still has a bit of naïveté tucked neatly under her belt.

It’s not that we need to be mothers to mature, but it’s one of the many experiences in life that grows you quickly if you let it. This tiny one needs me and doesn’t understand her body’s revolt. The shocking fact that I’m in charge feels like a surreal slap–reality crashing into me as I rub my baby’s back and coo soothingly that “this will pass.” 

And maybe I could remember the woman I was before with a little envy, too. There are days like that, if I’m being honest. She who was free and untethered, who slept when she wanted and did what she chose.

Instead, I am choosing now to grow, to pour into another life, and make this less about me. I know another tiny lady who will grow better because of this choice.

And I’m praying for grace and wisdom as we grow, she and I, realizing I have less of those traits than the woman I was thought, but chasing after them anyway.

And here we are.