Owen had his two month appointment today. He is literally thriving. He gained FOUR pounds in one month! 13 lbs, 3 oz. That is one fat, thriving baby. I take pride in each of his delicious, silky-smooth rolls of fat. Because he and I did that together.
As I watched my son smile and flirt with his all-too-gorgeous doctor and then impress her with his amazing muscle tone while raising his head during tummy time to flirt with himself in the mirror, I realized…we have made it. We have reached the point where I have slid on the mantle of motherhood and wear it gently and calmly. We have a rhythm, a dance, and an ease to the way we interact. He knows me and I know him and we both give to each other. Remember how overwhelmed I was by the symbiosis of breastfeeding? Well, here I am, at my knees with awe at the symbiosis of our relationship.
My little fat, happy, squirmy, man is an integral part of me now. I could list his accomplishments for you – cuddling with his monkey, amazing neck control, turning to make eye contact with us, smiling, smiling, smiling, blowing bubbles, etc, etc, etc – but they would bore you into a glazed over look as you realize that my son is developing right on track. But in my eyes? He is a superstar. I build dreams for what he will do and then quickly tell myself that he can do whatever he wants and doesn’t have to follow any prescribed path I may construct for him.
And me? I am a superstar too. I can stroke his ever-so-soft hair and make his eyes droop and his lips smile. I can get the perfect combo of jiggle-rocking that will put him to sleep even when he’s screaming in protest. I can babywear my baby while housecleaning and feeling oh-so-productive. I can take him on outings and breastfeed in public like it’s no big thing. Basically, I’m a mom.
I realized something about being a parent. I have always loved looking forward to the future, but have never been very good at being in the moment. Parenthood is the best of both worlds. Not only do I get to spend my days looking forward to each new milestone - when will he start grasping? When will he give the first real laugh? I can’t wait until he can sit up! - but I also have learned, for the first time in my life without the assistance of alcohol, to just sit and be in the moment. When Owen was first born, I would need an iPhone, a kindle, or Netflix to entertain me during the endless bouts of breastfeeding. Now, hours will go by where I realize I have just been staring at my son’s eyelashes, petting the cat, complaining over dirt in Owen’s neck folds, and talking to him about nothing at all. This may sound like I have degraded my mental capacity (and I may have), but I like to look at it as if I have become more zen. I am not worrying about paperwork, laundry or other unimportant stuff (like hospital bills??), I am just enjoying my time in the moment. So thank you, Owen, for teaching me that simple yet oh so difficult skill. I may never be so good at it again.
Because I have become so good at being mindful and being in the moment, I haven’t been so skilled at actually documenting the moment, aka blogging! There are so many things I want to blog about – relationships, postpartum sex (!!), mommy friends, maternity leave/going back to work, identity shifts, and all of the goddamn company we have had (no one ever told me that having a baby meant opening a Bed&Breakfast in your house!), but instead of writing these entries, I just stroke my baby’s hair and rock away in the rocking chair. Oh well.
Before I leave you with a photo montage (because I can’t help myself), I need to acknowledge one thing that happened that really deserves a post of its own, but if I wait around to write it it may never get written and that would just not be fair. Awhile back I shared that our dog Monte was diagnosed with cancer. We had been fighting it for almost a year and he had been doing really well. But in the past few months he began to deteriorate and the cancer came back. At the end of the pregnancy we were just hoping he could make it to meet Owen. Then we were hoping to get him through the holidays. We got one wish. We got to see him with our baby. Giving him kisses. Dropping toys on his lap when the baby cried. Greeting him at the door with huge licks on the head. Nuzzling his hands. But we didn’t get him through the holidays. The day before Christmas Eve, we had to put Monte down. It was very peaceful, poignant, and tragic. He was my first “baby” and I feel so lucky he was able to stick around to meet Owen. I feel like he knew we were moving from one stage of life to the next and he stayed around long enough to witness it and pass the torch. We will always miss him.