I remember the early days of motherhood. The sleep deprivation. The confusion. Constantly wondering if I was doing the right thing, and constantly thinking I wasn’t. I remember staring in wonder at my son for what seemed like hours as he just laid there sleeping soundly. I remember envying him, for he had no worries, and I had all of them. I remember falling asleep together on the couch after feedings. I remember him falling asleep on me and not wanting to put him down even though I desperately needed to take a shower. I remember finally knowing what love was. I remember those first days of experiencing the urge to give up anything for my son. It has become second nature now.
The longer I am a mother I become more secure in my abilities as a mother. This is great, and it is what I longed for in those early days. Certainty that I can treat a fever at 3 am. Certainty that I can clean up vomit without doing it myself. Certainty that I can raise a healthy, happy, polite, well mannered child. The certainty that, without a doubt, I can make a bottle at 2 am when I have the worst flu of my life. With the certainty, though, there are sacrifices.
I rarely spend long periods of time staring at my baby boy with wonder anymore. There are moments that I do; when he does something new for the first time or when he says, “I love you, mommy” without me even saying it first. Gone are the days, though, of infancy. Gone are the tiny moments that you can have only with a newborn. Gone are the days of his father and I truly being a team trying to raise him. Gone are most of my son’s firsts.
I feel a ton of guilt for the time spent fighting with my son’s father. I feel guilty that I allowed myself to be so upset that I missed most of the joy of the first year of his life. I feel like there were not enough small, stolen moments of total happiness. There were not enough moments all spent together as a family. There were just plain not enough moments, and I would give ANYTHING to have a few back. I know though, that they aren’t coming back. I know that the moments that I am lucky enough to have with him NOW are the moments I can cherish.
I also know that for the rest of our lives we will be making memories and having little mother/son moments. In fact, just now as I was writing this and crying (I’m a big old sap), my little baby boy said, “What’s wrong, mommy? Why are you crying? I love you!” If only he knew how much I love him, too. And how much that little moment meant to me.