Posted in Family, Parenting

The Love

I love her so much that sometimes my breath catches in the back of my throat as I think, unable to breathe, about all of the things I already miss about her younger days (only months ago I brought her home.) I think about the years ahead – the wonderous adventures, the lurking dangers. My heart beats extra loud in my chest these past nine months, swollen with motherhood – the pride, the joy, the fear, the unending love. 

At night, I often sneak into her room and kiss her head, messy with hair. I check that she is breathing as new mothers often do. As she lay dreaming about whatever it is babies dream about, I send my love out to her, so it may envelope her; envisioning it sinking into her skin like osmosis, becoming a part of her. Hoping she carries it with her always.

Sometimes the love fills me up, makes me whole; others it bursts from my skin and leaves me feeling hollow with fear. It pours out of me like the sand of an hour glass and it’s all time I cannot get back. Every moment is blissfully joyous and quickly gone, never to be relived excepting the few we take with us as memories. And this is just the beginning. 

I imagine in eighteen years it will feel different. I’ll know her then, her growing up will be real and so will her determination, know-how, and her own instincts. Maybe then it won’t seem so scary that she’ll be going out into the world. Maybe it’ll be more scary. By then I’ll know I succeeded in keeping her alive. I’ll have to trust that I taught her enough to keep herself alive. Though I know a mother’s job is never done, at some point she’ll take the reins of her own big life. Oh, how I hope it’s big.

For now I spend my days waiting to put her to bed, when I’ll know I’ve successfully mothered another full day; only to spend my nights wakeful, checking each noise, every sigh, listening to the beat in my chest as it grows ever louder. It’s a beautiful thing, this love. Like the ocean, it is vast and deep, pure and peaceful, strong and terrifying. 

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Today I am Grateful For… Date Night

Last night, I laughed harder than I have in a long time. I laughed more often than I have in a long time. I felt closer to my husband than I have in a long time. I felt more like myself than I have in a long time. All thanks to date night.

I know I am probably not breaking any news when I mention that new parents often get busy and don’t have as much time to themselves. Between planning meals, budgeting, talking about how much our baby ate, slept, pooped (color, amount, frequency – the romance of it all), walking the dog, and trying to catch up with family and friends, it’s more difficult than before to connect one-on-one.

Spending time alone together is something couples have to be intentional about before they go down the very slippery slope of ignoring their relationship for 18 years, coming out the other side with an empty nest and living with someone who is essentially a stranger. According to Time Magazine’s recent special edition on The Science of Marriage, divorce rates spike around the age that couples go back to just the two of them. Time alone with your spouse/partner is important, just as important as spending time with your kids. So you have to make time for both. It’s easier said than done, and sacrifices have to be made.

Last night, we made one such sacrifice. My mom (saint and goddess) watches our baby while we work… yes, we get free daycare by an amazing caretaker and family member. With both sets of parents here, we also have the back-up help of my in-laws, which makes us extra-super-double lucky. On Thursdays, my mom keeps the baby late so we can go to the gym together. Fitness is very important. But last night, we made the wonderful call of not going to the gym, and using the time to go to dinner instead.

We got home on a rare 75-degree day in February, walked our dog, held hands and chatted before we got ready for dinner. I put on make-up. He did his hair. We put in some effort for each other. My husband found a new sushi place for us to try, so we loaded just ourselves (no car seat or diaper bag) into the car and toodled on our merry way.

Arriving at Cherry Hills Sushi Co. (name drop because it was delicious) we bellied up to the counter and watched the friendly staff hand-roll our sushi. We tried flights of sake, which the staff educated us about in great deatil. We looked at each other and talked… without being interrupted. Best of all, we laughed. A lot. We both felt invigorated, youthful, and happy to be with each other in that moment. We had agreed not to talk about the weekend plans, the budget, or anything else on our adulting checklist. This freed us up and forced us to live right there in the present. Every aspect of our meal was fulfilling.

With the taste of ginger on our tongues, the smell of nori on our fingers, and the feeling of the love that brought us together in our hearts, we paraded back to my parents’ house to pick up our darling girl. Not before stopping for giant ice cream cones. Walking into my parents’ house and telling them about our evening, I could feel in my face the genuine happiness I was exuding.

We were still giggling when we woke up this morning.