Sunday, August 30, 2009

Late August thoughts

It's the end of August, again. The sun is down now by 7:30. And while the days are still hot, there is a sign in the air that I can feel in my bones. Fall is on its way.

My thoughts always turn at this time of to the first weeks of Thomas' life. I see the shadows in my living room at night in late August, and I am taken back to those first few supposed-to-be-idyllic nights of being a new mom. I was still giant. I could finally see my feet, but there were still swollen and ugly. The life that I had known had ended the Wednesday before, and I didn't see it coming back any time soon.

First, there was this person who depended on me for everything. He woke me up at night. He used my body for things I didn't realize would hurt so much, mainly feeding. He seemed to only want to sleep if I was holding him (the reason he still sleeps in my bed. I know, I know.) I was so scared he would die if I wasn't there to hear every breath. I was so glad to finally be a mom, and yet bewildered at what I had done.

I wondered where I had gone. Me. One day, I left Thomas inside with Shane and planted some re-blooming iris I had bought Before. I dug around in my flower bed for about an hour, and then sat on the porch. How vividly I remember wanting to feel like myself. I breathed for a while and tried to feel, inside, for the person that I knew I was, for the life that had turned a strange and unexpected corner.

I remember a process I went through at night to get ready for the marathon I would perform every 3 hours. I would set out 2 baby nightgowns (you know the ones, with the ties at the bottom, the three snaps at the top. It is one piece of baby attire that if I could, I would eat. They are so sweet.), and two flannel blankets. Every three hours, Thomas would wake up. I would sit down in the rocker to feed him, then change his diaper between sides. Inevitably, he would spit up on the nightgown he wore, so I would change him to a clean one. I'd rewrap him in a blanket, and sit back down to resume feeding. He would fall asleep for the time I took to finish his burping, and would promptly awaken within 30 seconds of being put in his crib. I can remember holding so still, laying in my blissfully soft and warm and dark bed, hoping he would go back to sleep, knowing he wouldn't until I brought him into said blissfully soft bed. We would repeat the process a few times each night.

I'm exhausted just thinking about it. Those times were both incredibly precious and incredibly not. I am eternally grateful that no matter what happens in life, I will never have to be a first-time mom again. Once you have done it, you know what to expect (to some degree). Granted, it is time you never get back with your child, but it is so. dang. hard.

This nostalgic time of year is tinged with so many emotions. I remember wondering where summer had gone. I went in the hospital for a few days, and when I came out, summer had gone somewhere. It all had to do with the dying light in the evening, and the marathon ahead. And now, when the light turns the same way, I can't stop myself from remembering this time so vividly. I would never, ever trade them, nor will I forget.