It’s midnight or 2 am or maybe 3, I don’t know. All I know is this is ridiculous. I look down at my first born son, mere weeks, months old, crying and flailing, latching and unlatching, and I groan out a sigh.
Loud and heavy I sigh and I hope the air leaving my lungs will take my despair with it. This can’t be how life is supposed to be. I am powerless to help this small person who has waltzed into our lives with a grocery list of expectations and zero instructions as to how to meet them.
I wonder if we did the right thing, doing all this.
I mean, we were only 21 and 22. We’d only been married some 16 months when we made The Decision. Maybe I rushed God. Maybe I really screwed up. Maybe this wasn’t meant to be. It didn’t feel like it was meant to be. It felt like exhaustion and suffocation and helplessness.
And then that one Unthinkable Thought arrives. There in the clouded recesses of my mind creeps up a whisper, a lie, a damn lie, and yet, I listen:
I regret this. I wish I’d never…
O, Lord, how can I think that? I try to shake it purely for the principal of the thing, but it is something of a guttural response and it comes from a place of vulnerability. A deep place of fear.
Much of those first months – even nearly a year – with OBoy were defined by fear. Was I doing things right? What should I do now? What if I’m not? What if…
And behind it all, that lie, that question:
Should this even be?
:: :: :: :: :: ::
A little brunette baby stares up at me and cracks a smile. And, by ‘little’ I mean 90th percentile for both height and weight, but it’s relative.
Last night there had been midnight and 2, 3 and 5 o’clock feedings. I’m frustrated and exhausted all the way through to my bones as only a mother can be. I struggle so hard to keep my eyes open, and for a few moments at a time, I fail.
But when I open them, there he is, still smiling and kicking at the air; “Goo-goo!”
This time, when a thought rises up from my gut, like a groan, a sigh, it is Thinkable. It is Love.
I would do anything for you. Anything.
My heart, my very livelihood, he is – they are – and any whisper of the Unthinkable regret is long gone. I know now that this is Meant To Be, and I know it deeper in my core than my exhaustion or frustration can reach. I stroke his impossibly soft hair and he flails his arms with excitement. It’s so different this time. So many moments have been stuffed full of the divine, of Unearthly Love and now my mind is clear enough to hear it, to know it when I see it.
I am a good mother. These are my boys. This is how it should be.
:: :: :: :: :: ::
Friends, I’ve thought it. In my weakest moments, I’ve believed the lie of regret. For me it was a matter of mental illness and within days of addressing that, I felt the beginnings of relief. I know it is safe to tell you. I know because the love that swells up in my heart for this sweet baby, OBrother, is the same that swells in my heart now for OBoy. It was not him, it was most certainly me.
From where I stand now, with my cleared view of things (and I don’t just mean retrospect, I mean clarity where there used to be depression), I don’t regret a moment of it. I know it’s so fleeting, I know these boys are meant to be mine, I know they are a gift and that I am blessed to have them.
I love my boys. They are my heart. I would do anything for them.