I turned the volume down on Alanis Morrisette’s peculiar throaty voice on the radio as I pulled in the driveway. I looked in the rear view mirror to see him tangled in his seat belt and buried under his belongings. Rough day at the office, I laughed to myself. I left the car running to let him sleep.
The aimless cold March air swirled in through the tiny cracks of the car windows and mixed with the with the heat that was cranked on high. It almost gave the illusion of a warm summer’s day – in particular when he had colic.
The witching hour started at seven at night and wouldn’t end until the next morning. Shawn and I would pack him up in the car at odd times like 11:30pm and just drive. He’d fall asleep and we’d sit there in that SUV we bought in the December prior when we found out we were pregnant – that cute SUV for that fresh new beginning for the happy new young family, with their cute hopes, and all that breathtaking dreamy bull crap they feed you in parenting books – listening to the hum of the car motor and our hearts hurting so bad in a parking lot somewhere.
We were absolutely torn to shreds.
Not by him. No, he was beautiful. In his complete stillness of those morning hours, we would marvel at how absolutely perfect he was.
We would feel guilty that we had, only moments earlier, joked about dropping his screaming 7 pound 6 ounce flailing self on a stranger’s doorstep.
“This house doesn’t look too sketchy. We will pick you up in the morning!” my husband and I laughed so hard until I started to cry along with our infant.
Our spirits were torn by the never ending – ear piercing – spine shrilling – screams of colic, the sleep deprivation, the arguing over unannounced visitors, folding washcloths four times over and stacking them in colour coordinated piles because my postpartum depression and anxiety said that’s what had to be done.
It was supposed to be the happiest time of our lives so said every signed copy of every Hallmark card from family and friends.
It was quite the latter.
Not one of them told us that it was going to be so damn hard.
Not one of them said, “It’s OK to not know what you’re doing because we don’t know either.”
We didn’t know that when one obstacle was over, there was another around the bend.
Teething, sleeping in a big boy bed, toilet training, eating anything, fighting demons in the dark, school…
That parenting is a learning curve and people will judge you and your actions more then they will support you.
No one told us that it was OK to say “NO” and to make choices that were right for us.
Parenting can be a challenge at every step but at the same time yo…
This boy has filled all the cracks in my heart I never knew I had.
I don’t know why some moms get postpartum depression and some don’t. Or why some will recover completely and some like me will go on to battle illnesses like bipolar disorder or general anxiety etc.
I don’t know why some beautiful kids are diagnosed with such big huge adult illnesses like OCD or general anxiety or other mental illnesses and why some kids do not.
Maybe it’s because the way they we are all put together in the womb.
A mix of faulty chemicals, genes, and DNA.
That all it took was a trauma like a pregnancy or being bullied by a jerk teacher at school to trip the mess of wiring in our brains.
Or maybe God said it was this one – “This one looks brave enough to handle whirlwinds of thoughts and emotions and all external catastrophes that I will toss at them.”
I don’t know.
I don’t know.
Why it was me or you or him or her.
But I do know that in the moments of stillness when he’s finally at peace, I am in awe of his bravery, his life, our life.
I am a mom.
I fought to be here for these moment of silence, the moments of chaos, to learn to work through challenges together, to create memories so spectacular that we forget the not so good ones.
Motherhood is so hard and no one tells you that you’re doing a good job.
So to ALL you Mamas,
If no one has told you yet…
You’re doing a damn good job.