My hair is turning brown. I’ve been eating chicken. The last time I swam in the ocean was the day Sprout was born, a month ago. We had been sent home from the hospital after my contractions all but stopped once we were admitted. To revive our spirits, we jumped in the ocean in our clothes on our way home at 9 a.m. with the Junior Lifeguards. The other day I found a dirty diaper in my hot car and it made me happy. This July is different than any other.
I think back over some of the advice I’ve been given about being a mother. Bunches of it that was accepted with a nod and a smile exited out the backdoor of my mind before it ever settled anywhere, but things my mom and Scott said stayed.
My mom said that people don’t remember crying their eyes out as babies and babies know that you are trying and that they are loved. Scott says he knows Sprout is going to have a good life and not to worry about small stuff. While we were still in the hospital he and I agreed that we are glad she is our adventure this summer.
I am not worrying about surfing with great white sharks in Oregon this year, I’m putting breastmilk on a diaper rash at 3 a.m. and walking 10,000 steps around my dining table. Paradise, for the moment, has been holding a sleeping newborn on my chest and drinking watered-down lemonade with ice on an under-stuffed sofa. I’m proud of myself for learning how to feed and swaddle and calm her and for making it one block away to the taco shop for lunch.
I can’t wait to dive into the ocean again. I feel like everything about it will be better than I remember. I might even drink a little. I feel the ocean influences me in different ways now; in the way I rock Sprout to sleep; in the way I stay calm when she screams in the middle of the night; in the way I say I love you to her three hundred times a day even though she can’t say it back.
There’s a lot of me that’s different now in this new ‘butterfly state’, as the doctor called it, and most of it has to do with the fact that I stay home all day and am on call all night. I honestly can’t believe the world is overpopulated. Parenting is hard. It’s kinda like you have to learn how to do everything all over again. I’m currently typing this with one hand so I can rock Sprout’s bassinet and have a few extra minutes to finish writing it. But she is magic. She can scrunch up in a ball on my chest. She can make this funny little ‘o’ with her mouth. She sneezes twice in a row and has bendy knees and a nose that snores and tiny hand dimples and a gummy little mouth. Every day we know each other more. If this summer has anything to say to me it’s that these little things are what matter this year.
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