Grab a coffee and sit down. This one’s going to take a while. I’m going to get real honest. So, if you’re not into that type of thing, dump the coffee and keep on trucking.
Photo by Heart Shot Photo
My son turns one in a few weeks. I have a history of writing letters to my children to document the moment. And, I will do that because this little surprise we call Weston is a gift. He is endless energy and sunshine in a perfect little baby body. But first I must write this… this last year, it’s been hard. Like, really hard. Harder than running a marathon or moving across the country or even trying to get pregnant in the first place.
I’ve wondered to myself, Andy, my mom, co-workers, sisters, friends and the lady at the co-op… what am I doing wrong? Why does this seem so hard for me? Why does he keep getting sick? Why does he hate sleep? Why do boys jump off things and give me minor heart attacks twelve times a day?
I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in a year. Almost 365 days of less-than-desired amounts of sleep. I think I slept three hours last night. I don’t know. I can’t remember.
I’ve thought about throwing my career away. I’m not sure how it would be financially possible for our family. But, at the worst of times, I’ve thought it was all too much. I love what I do and believe I’m a better parent because of it. But, admittedly, I’ve considered making a poster with the corporate jargon of “work / life balance” and throwing darts at it.
I’ve worked hard to perfect a scone recipe. Because, if I can’t get sleep and am at a loss for all else, at least we can all enjoy scones with our coffee!
I’ve said mean things to my husband at three o’clock in the morning. And, woke up the next morning grateful to draw upon all the years we spent together before these massive bags under our eyes. Those times help in the moments when we curse each other to keep ourselves from cursing the littles.
I barely remember my maternity leave. I remember a day when I quietly cuddled Weston on the couch and another one in our bed. I was off work for 13 weeks. I don’t do math well but I think 13 weeks amounts to much more than two days. Nora didn't adjust well and I felt insurmountable guilt. So, in essence the first three months of my son’s life are captured by an endless abyss of nursing while simultaneously holding a crying toddler, walking with an infant strapped to my chest and a toddler running away from me, coffee and scone taste-testing.
So, yes, it’s been hard. I remember reading about having children and people saying things like little baby, you’ve taught me more about myself than I ever knew. And, with only one child I didn’t know what they meant. But, this Weston guy is a professor! He has
yelled lectured from a crib podium and taught me profound lessons about how uptight I am. He has closed the book on who I thought I was and opened a new one that helped me look directly in the mirror at who I am.
It’s been a long year. A tired year. A funny year. A year full of lessons and love and wine and hugs. And, it’s taken me a full year to say this… I wouldn’t trade it.
Today, it’s still hard. I might have less answers than when I started this quest called “two under two,” but the questions have been valuable. And, I think I have that scone recipe perfected. So, grab your coffee and stop on over at three in the morning. The professor will be in his crib partying and I’ll be researching the best concealer to cover under eye bags.
A version of this post previously appeared on amandawendling.com.