It’s week three of my month-long Take a Shift Tuesday series.
Tonight’s installment is a throwback to the full-time stay at home mom days when Miller was a little. I stopped posting as many mom-related musings; I was getting pegged as a mommy-blogger, and that wasn’t my goal of Commode To Joy.
Even now, I squirm a little at posting this, not because I’m embarrassed, but because I sometimes worry about what you, dear reader, will think. Is it entertaining? Is it thought-provoking? Is it funny?
I’m casting those worries aside because the content remains as true now as it did then. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned about motherhood, it’s that while tantrums and attitudes can feel personal, our overall experiences are universal… connecting… reassuring.
Read the series, and enjoy your mental shift.
Fistfuls of Firsts
When they’re babies, we marvel at firsts — rolling over, solid foods, teething, crawling, walking, and talking. Everyone’s so focused on the baby’s firsts that we don’t often discuss parental firsts.
The first time you clean up a diaper blowout.
The first time you get puked on, and I mean puke. Not spit up.
The first time you sleep the whole night through, which usually happens long after the baby sleeps the whole night through.
“Is he sleeping through the night yet?”
The better question is, “Have you slept the whole night through yet?” I know parents with a first-grader/middle/infant combo who have had fewer full nights of sleep than the Cardinals have World Series Wins.
The first time you go to bed because it’s your bedtime, not because you’re falling on your face with exhaustion.
The first time you stay the night away from, or stay the night in your house, sans child.
Granted, parental “firsts” differ. Maybe that’s why they aren’t talked about as often. Just because they aren’t commonly discussed doesn’t make them less of a milestone.
The first time Muscato and I ate an entire meal at a family gathering without either one of us getting up to tend to Miller (who contentedly played with cousins) I mentally walked a mini graduation stage right then and there in all my Pomp and Circumstanced regalia.
Each first symbolizes new independence, for the child and the parent.
The truth is, I love his firsts. I love it for him and I love it for me. I love that Miller continually exhibits new forms of independence, because it makes it easier and easier for me to breathe…until he gets his driver’s license, I suppose. Or his first date.
This morning, for instance, I took Miller to my CrossFit Moms class. Unusually warm February weather meant running was incorporated into the workout. The giant garage-like gym doors were opened to make accessing the track easier.
Afterwords, a group of us headed for the door to walk the track as a cool down. Miller came along until he spotted the teeny tiny track rocks and promptly set about making mini mountains and filling his shoes like dump trucks.
I joined back up with him to scale the berm that sits center-track. After a bit, he carried on with his dirt-play so I could visit with some of the other moms. The physical distance that separated Miller and I while together could be measured in yards, not feet.
This is a first.
Last weekend, we attended a four-year-old birthday party. We’ve been to each of this little guy’s parties. Historically, my internal dialogue was as follows:
Is Miller content; is he hungry; I’m hungry; I need to eat; you haven’t talked with anyone, make conversation; is he playing well with others; shoot Mark needs to eat too; are the bigger kids being safe around him; we gotta go cause it’s nap time!
This year I was able to relax and enjoy Miller, food, and company. For once, I wasn’t wound with the anxiety of juggling a small child and small talk.
This is a first.
October 11, 2019
Just this morning I told my sister-in-law that I don’t remember the early days clearly anymore. They now have a haziness to them. It saddens me a bit — what if it makes me less compassionate toward other moms of littles?…
Then I opened this old installment and got a peek not only into a few days in the life, but also a glimpse into my thoughts at the time. It helps me remember.
If your “been there” is also foggy, maybe this will help you remember, too.
If you’re currently in the trenches (for some women these are actually glory days. God bless you.) maybe this will help you feel a little less alone.
Like so many women before me, I’m here to attest that you really do forget the trenches aspect of the early years. You really will look back on them fondly, longingly even.
But I’m also here to tell you that I’m good. I don’t need to relive it. What this installment has done for me is both memorialize the good times and give enough voice to the struggles that I don’t need to look in the rearview mirror any longer.
Not yet anyway.
I’ve still got a whole windshield of views ahead of me.
And that feeling? That wind in your hair full-throttle excitement for all that’s ahead?
It’s a very welcome first.