I can’t. That’s what I thought.
We pulled in the driveway over four years ago, me in the back seat with this new foreign person, aching in every way. And I thought those words. I thought, I can’t.
I asked Ryan to take the baby in without me, to introduce him to the dog without the excitement of me, the dog’s everything, in the picture. So I stood outside and shivered in the heat alone, looking around at everything being different than it had been just a few days before, all overly bright and textured from the pain pills. Standing there in my suddenly roomy maternity shirt, I shivered. Empty.
Ryan came out and said everything was going fine. The dog sniffed the baby and the baby slept. There were no big events as I had imagined.
I walked up the steps, not quickly because of the surgery, and passed through the door. I looked down at the sleeping child in the car seat. Our child. My child. In our house. My house.
I walked slow circles in our tiny living room, trying to figure out what to do. My Mom and my husband said that I should take a nap, but I don’t do naps. I just nodded and repeated over and over that they should get me if the baby needed to eat, and I disappeared into our room, knowing I wouldn’t be able to sleep. I sat down, frozen and staring, thinking and thinking.
The baby, I thought.
It was all new and foreign and big and too much. What was ours and mine and we and us was over and done and final and past.
There was a new ours and a new us that I didn’t yet know and so it scared me.
I sat on the bed and shook with fear and tears like never before. Until I was empty. And then I called for him, my husband. The we from before. I told him the truth. That I was sad and alone and hurting and scared. That this wasn’t anything like the movies or the books and that I was guilty and ashamed for feeling so empty and alone. I told him that I didn’t know what to think of the fact that my life would never ever even once be the same again. That I was grieving that. That I was sorry. Sorry that I didn’t know I would need to do that. Sorry that I wasn’t prepared for it. Sorry that I felt sorry.
Then that tiny boy, that little sleeping guy opened his big blue eyes and asked to eat with screeching sounds. And I loved him deeply despite my shaking and shivering. So I sat for the first time on the bed that was once ours and mine with this new baby on top of that macaroni shaped pillow thing that everyone said I needed to have. I struggled to get him all lined up and open-mouthed to eat.
I struggled. And I loved him enough to share something that was mine and ours and now his.
Tonight, over four years later, he was pounding on the door on those same steps I walked up slowly when we first brought him home. After playing outside with Daddy and his brother and the dog, he was screeching and wanting me. He cried Mama! Mama! until I ran for him and opened the door. I was there like before and I asked him, what sweetie? why the fuss?
Mama, I needed you. My hands are cold.
So I pulled off his mittens and I covered his hands with my own warm ones. Because they are mine and they are his and they are ours.
And I can.
This post is linked to Blog Nosh magazine’s HOPE carnival sponsored by Tide’s Loads of Hope, an amazing effort to bring hope to those in distress. The call is to write a post about HOPE and link up for a chance to be featured. This was the inspiration for the above post, as I thought about the times I’ve felt hopeless and discovered hope in the midst of the fog through the beautiful things of grace, such as the blue eyes of my first baby boy.
This post is also linked to Tuesdays Unwrapped at Chatting at the Sky, a chance to write a post about the beauty in everyday moments and experiences.