Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Putting on the Brakes

I find myself savoring the smallness that Claire is right now. And it's wonderful. She's already doubled her birth weight and looks like a full-on baby right now. No newborn. She's rolling over, alert, cooing and just insanely beautiful. I'm not going to lie... I thought having two beautiful babies prior to her meant I would birth only a face a mother could love, but we didn't. She's stunning. And maybe it's a mother's bias. I'll wear those blinders any day.

I am guilty of not savoring it all with Benjamin. I spent the majority of his babyhood being terrified something would happen to him. The other half was spent trying to speed things up to what Andrew would've been like and things he would've been doing. Not intentionally, but grief does that sort of thing. I was eager to get him out of his bucket seat and into a convertible carseat. I was eager for him to eat table food. I was eager to be done with breastfeeding and eager for him to crawl and walk and be independent because those were all things I knew Andrew would've well mastered by then.

It's not that I wanted Benjamin to be Andrew (though thankful I was able to experience another boy at all), it's just that my mind never fully reset the idea of not having a child who should be three-and-a-half-years old now. I just always internally expected to be a part of that other group of moms who I see at the parks with their preschoolers now and have full conversations about what they are making for dinner and what they learned in school that day. I think it's finally starting to settle and we're seeing Benjamin as a two-year old who is amazing and learning and saying new things everyday. The person he is.

Just today I asked him if he wanted to go to the playhouse after dropping Dad's car at the shop and he said, "Yes I do." He speaks so well now. He also told his Dad the other day when asked if he wanted to potty-train yet, "No Daddy, No(t) yet."

I feel saddened that I wanted so badly to speed things up and be ahead where we belonged with Andrew. I feel like I missed some of the wonder and excitement. Just last night we were looking back at old pictures and videos from Benjamin's first year in Elliot's phone. I was absolutely amazed that he looked the way he did in some photos. Yes, I remember. It wasn't all that long ago, but time is a thief. Well, so is grief. It robs you of so much if you're not careful to take it all in. And even then, it's easy to forget with the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Claire is giving us another shot at this babyhood business. And it's awesome. Well, the 2:30 a.m. wakeup call this morning and the 4:30 one and the 5:45 one and the 7:15 one... well those aren't wonderful. But to have the chance to see her beautiful face and to know she is all ours and needs us? It's beyond the most glorious thing we've ever experienced. I just wish we weren't so terrified with Benjamin and confused in our grief timeline that we let some of that slip right through our fingers like quicksand.

She can stay in that bucket seat a little while longer.


Veronica said... [Reply to comment]

oh god Brandy, this spoke to me... and I have so much to say in the ways in which I relate (and am still living that alternate version of what I'm SUPPOSED to be doing/experiencing) but I'll start by saying Claire is gorgeous. You're not bias. She's a stunning baby girl, no doubt.

Now, to this losing babyhood business.. yeah, I was there for almost all of it. I was caring for Theo and mothering him as the newborn, infant and baby he was...but I was almost always split somewhere else in my head. Alexander was front and center in so many of the experiences. All the "should have beens"...Thinking that this was all supposed to be lived 14 months before...
Even now, I'm at the park...and I swear every other attendant is a 2 year old and something months old boy. I don't dare to ask... it's like I can sense it. As I push Theo in the baby swings and he takes in his surroundings in a serious manner (lighten up dude, yeesh) I find myself thinking all of this should be "behind" me and I should be running after a little boy right now.
It's awful. I'm present more now I feel than in the newborn days, but still... I know all the other mothers sitting on the sidelines watching their kids run around probably aren't thinking these suck-the-life-out-of-me type thoughts.

Anyway, rant over. This post had me nodding is all...

Those two blondies are freaking adorable.

Caroline said... [Reply to comment]

I definitely do think I have been more present for Mary's first few months than I was, mentally, for Finn. A lot of that was grieving Cale and a lot of that was first but not really first time parenting.

Glad you're able to soak it in some more this go around

Sarah said... [Reply to comment]

Yes, yes, yes. I've been wanting to write about something similar to this. We had Eleanor before losing Genevieve, but I really feel like I lost a lot of memories when Genevieve died. Maybe I blocked that stuff so that I wouldn't think so much about what I was missing. Having Henry has not only given me another chance with babyhood but has also given back to me a lot of memories from Eleanor's babyhood.

Brie said... [Reply to comment]

I absolutely agree and feel this post in so many ways. Let's soak up every little moment with our babies. I feel like Carla is my fresh start. I thoroughly enjoy each stage and am savoring every little moment. I'm in no rush for this little one to do big girl things.

Laura Jane said... [Reply to comment]

one thousand times, yes. I mentally fast-forwarded through the first six months with Grace because I was willing her to keep living. I also couldn't stand not to be with her 24/7 because I felt like my being with her kept her alive. With Pipes, I can breathe a *little* easier and feel like I can leave her with people other than myself, it's such a weird sensation.

I am savouring P. More than I was able to with G, for sure.

And you're totally right, Claire is delicious and beautiful and I love her, too.

Laura Jane said... [Reply to comment]
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tiffany said... [Reply to comment]

i feel like baby girl's infant-hood was a blur. i spent so much of it just taking it day by day. this time has been a tad bit easier, but since he's a boy, i feel the anxiety/fear creeping in hardcore again (espcially since we are almost to month 4).

she is stunning though.