Saturday, November 30, 2013

Ephemeral Moments

When you're pregnant, people tell you that your life will never be the same once your baby arrives, but it's hard to fully prepare for it.  My son was born six weeks ago and the time has passed by in a flash.  Our initial days together have blended into one short window of time, yet it seems ages ago that I gave birth.

It's still strange to call him my son.  Just as it took time to start calling my boyfriend my husband after our wedding, I'm still not used to calling this baby that I carried for forty weeks and one day my son.  It sounds so official.  It's as if the use of that noun immediately moves me into the realm of full-fledged adulthood.  It was a move I was ready to make but it just hasn't entirely sunk in yet.

My maternal feelings are growing more every day.  It wasn't love at first sight as some mothers describe it, rather my son initially felt like a stranger to me.  Even though he shares half of my genetics and was a fixture inside me for nine months, it still took time for us to get to know one another once he entered the world.  We experienced some struggles the first four weeks but seem to have figured each other out recently.  I've become better at deciphering his needs and wants and he has become more reassured by me.  It's still a bit surreal at times to realize this baby belongs to me, is part of me, and that I am currently responsible for 99% of his health and wellness.  It's both sobering and comforting to realize how much he needs me at this stage of his life and how his future self will be influenced by how well I care for him now.

During the intense crying jags or the 3:00 am feedings I sometimes think wistfully about a time down the road when my son will be able to tell us what he wants and will sleep through the night, but I'm making a concerted effort to appreciate everything about these early days. I know many parents that look back longingly on this newborn period, and everyone says that kids grow up so fast.  There must be something to that cliché.  Therefore, I'm consciously trying to savor each moment with my son because there's no reversing to clock once you realize how precious this time was.

So, although I'm looking forward to the day he can walk along a trout stream with me and turn over rocks to find caddis casings, I'm appreciating the time I have with my son right now.  I inhale the smells of his milk breath and diapers, both of which only a mother can love.   I watch his eyes flutter and face contort as he falls asleep in my arms.  I enjoy our daily routine, as mundane as it may seem, because I realize how fleeting this window of our lives will be.

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