Thursday, February 26, 2009

Not Exactly According To Plan

Your husband is out of town for two weeks. Before he left, you were so confident, you practically pushed him out the door. You had it All Planned Out. You wouldn’t miss a beat at work; you wouldn’t miss a beat with the baby.

Within days of your husband’s departure, the baby gets her first cold, and your caregiver situation fails you. Your boss is annoyed but agrees to let you work from home, and soon you find yourself doing conference calls while wiping your daughter’s rapidly running nose and willing her not to cry until the call is over. You edit manuscripts while she sits on your lap at the computer, and even though she’s coughing and wheezing, she keeps looking up at you and grinning and slamming her gooey little hands gleefully against the desk and keyboard and you are frustrated by her roving hands but oddly satisfied by the comfort of her weight in your lap and by the way you can bury your face in the top of her head as you work.

Most nights, she wakes up screaming. There is one night when she is particularly inconsolable, so at 3AM, exhausted and desperate, you pull up the Mills Brothers on iTunes and dance with her in the muted light of the computer screen until she lays her sweaty, tear-stained face against your shoulder and falls asleep. As you sway to the beat, the floorboards creaking under your feet, you stare at your husband’s side of the bed and will yourself to be brave and not cry, but you are missing him so badly there is a tinny taste at the back of your throat.

Three more days, and the Spice Family will be back together. Yay!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

This Is What It Feels Like

Alice bumped her head for the first time the other day. She was sitting up and toppled suddenly to the side in that clumsy way that babies do. As she fell, she conked her head on her father's knee. Her eyes went blank with surprise at first, and she squinched up her face and wailed, huge tears rolling down her cheeks.

I picked her up and propped her on my hip and shushed her, and she immediately curled her legs around me and laid her head against my chest, and I was filled with this gigantic feeling of fullness, a buzzy, squeezy feeling in my heart and in my gut that I couldn't quite identify. It wasn't until I pressed my lips to the top of her head that it occurred to me:

This is what it feels like to be a mom.