If you have known my family for any length of time, you know that we tend to make a ruckus in everything we do. We are not a quiet family. We are not a subtle family. And this was definitely the case when we decided to give Mom some grandchildren. She went from zero grandchildren to three grandchildren in the space of 6 months!
When it was my turn to have my first baby (I went last!) Mom was sick with a stomach virus! It just about killed her that she couldn't be there with me. We won't even discuss how I felt about it, particularly post-partum!! She had used all of her vacation days on the other sweet babies, so we decided she would come be with me after the first of the year (Drew was born in December). When Drew turned 8 weeks old, I would begin keeping my sweet niece, Lyla, three days a week. We decided Mom would come and stay that first week and help me get adjusted to my new normal.
I love a plan. I have been a planner for most of my life. My plans are all about avoiding pain, discomfort, trouble, challenge, and hardship. Guess who thinks my plans are hilarious? God. Yep, for just about as long as I've been making my plans, God has been changing them up right quick. The Lord and I have had many conversations about this, but that is a post for another day.
I had lots of plans about having a newborn. Don't get me wrong-I was not an idealist about having a baby. Quite the opposite. I'm pretty sure I got all the way to the end of the parenting section of the internet during my first trimester. I wanted to be prepared for anything. However, it turns out there were a few things I skipped over during all of my Googling. The main subject being the dread condition of silent reflux in a baby. Long time readers of my blog (all 8 of them) are more than familiar with the stomachache chronicles of my babies. Suffice it to say that when my first baby screamed his head off day and night and refused to eat, I was not prepared.
This gives you the backdrop to my mental state when Mom arrived on my doorstep at week 8 ready to help me get acclimated to caring for two babies. In my mind's eye, my hair is standing on end and my eyes are wild when she arrives. She was not stranger to that look. One of the first things she did was hug me tight and tell me everything was going to be ok. I blubbered. As I wandered around in a haze of no sleep and sweat, smelling like soy formula (also not in the plan...) she held her grandson (upright, at all times) and wondered at the miracle of it all.
She said, "I'm here to do whatever you need me to do." The one thing I had become fixated on was the putting together of my double stroller. It was the one with the frame you could put the infant car seats onto. Somehow, that stroller became the difference between life and death for me. Oh, fine. That's dramatic. But, I wanted that stroller put together, by gum, and we were just the team to do it. I can remember like it was yesterday, us sitting on the hardwood floor with those pieces spread around everywhere. It was tricky, because each infant seat is different. There were many variables. We laughed. We cried...FINE, I cried. Finally, we got it put together. It was a bright spot in a long first three months of Drew's life!
The day came when my baby girl Lyla was to come. I gave it about 15 minutes before I was ready to try out the stroller. (Can we say obsessed??) Added to the confusion of the contraption in general, was a series of straps that had to be fastened just right. You know, so you didn't lose a baby and whatnot. Can I also let you know that all of this occurred in the dead of winter?? So, the babies also had to be bundled in snowsuits. Because we were going for a walk, dang it!
Y'all. You know Mom thought I had lost my mind. But she never said so. She put on her coat and came right on along for our walk. She said encouraging things like, "Look at Drew! He's so happy outside!" This was code for "Thank THE LORD he is not crying!"
As much as I planned to know everything about being a mother, it turns out I knew zero about being a mother to Drew. Because there is only one him. For all of my planning and preparing, I wasn't prepared for how responsible I would feel. How the burden of making him ok would threaten to knock the breath right out of me. I cried big, wet crocodile tears when Mom's week was up. It was like Mary Poppins floating away with her umbrella.
I'm fairly certain I called her everyday of Drew's first year. Sometimes more than once a day. And sometimes just to say I'm sorry for putting her through what I was now going through. Over the early days of my children's lives she gave me SO many practical tips. Things I still think about weekly. And never once, not in any conversation, did she ever make me feel like I was nuts.
This alone would suffice as evidence of her massive love for me!