Babies and such.


Wouldn’t it just figure that my last baby doesn’t like to cuddle. In fact, he is the most anti-cuddle baby of all of my babies. (all two of them!) I swear to you, this boy was born wanting to sit up right. From just weeks old he hated to be held like a baby, which is all too ironic because, you know, he is a baby. He loves to be held so long as he’s sitting up and able to see all of the oh so very exciting things going on around us. He loves to play with my face, stuff his little hands into my mouth, talk to me and giggle, and when he’s really tired he even leans in for a nice open-mouthed, sloppy kiss now and again. Which is probably my very favorite thing, if there was a way to narrow it down to just one favorite thing.

A few days ago Beck started showing signs of being sick again, which was wholeheartedly discouraging to me. Didn’t we just get over sickness? Will it never end?! I said good-bye to sleep, I pulled out all of my essential oils and humidifiers and snot-sucking-bulbs, and I said BRING IT ON. But only in a slightly more discouraging and less optimistic way, and with a couple of “here husband take this baby I need a twenty minute nap right now!” moments. Post bath-time I pulled out the big guns: oregano oil. I diluted that sucker real good with some warm coconut oil and I massaged it all over his tiny little feet. Virus be gone! I said a mental prayer: bless that he will sleep better tonight, that he will feel better, and that I will be strong. Please bless! Because sick babies are so very sad and so very draining.

Mothers, let’s be brutally honest for just a quick minute. Do you ever have those occasional moments when you’re running on fumes and you think to yourself: what would I be doing right now if I had never had children? Usually I would be sleeping. Sometimes I would be backpacking through Europe or eating out at a fancy restaurant. I would always have a flat stomach with a six-pack set of abs and a nice pair of full, non-deflated boobs that fill a 36B cup. Even a 34B would be just fine. I would likely be living in New York City with the hubs in a tiny apartment. We would be traveling the world. And we would be very rich, of course, because we wouldn’t be buying diapers or paying off labor and deliveries or the cost of a second mortgage in daycare. We would wake up early and stay up late and be insanely spontaneous about life.

Two nights ago I was running off those “what would I be doing…” fumes. It was after I had gotten up with baby B for the fifth time before 1:00 in the morning. My eyes were stinging and my reasoning was anything but logical while I was in dire need of some sleep and some sanity. In between B’s bouts of crying, I found myself dreaming of lying in a hotel room bed. I closed my eyes and imagined it all: I could hear the cars passing by on the highway outside of the hotel window while the noisy fan buzzed, softly swaying the thick hems of the faded floral curtains. I imagined myself wrapped up tight in those stiff commercial cotton sheets, cuddled next to the hubs and dreaming up our adventures for the morning. We would wake up in time for the continental breakfast, eating crispy bacon and sipping mediocre coffee in the lobby. We would pack up our things, check out of the hotel and continue happily on the road, our kayaks strapped to the top of our humble car and our bikes strapped to the back, in lieu of our next destination in this life of travel that we lived.

Another cry from the nursery broke me from my dream. I begrudgingly pulled my tired body out of bed and walked into the nursery where I mechanically scooped my baby into my arms. He squirmed for a few seconds but quickly went heavy, letting his body mold itself into the crook of my elbow while he slept soundly. These are the rarest of moments for me now, him sleeping in my elbow like that, but when it happens I feel like that’s the very reason God gave me an elbow at all, to have the perfect nook for my babies to lay their heads. I stood there next to the crib with him in my arms and I stared down at his perfect angel face that illuminated softly in the dim glow of the night light, while days like this by Kim Taylor hummed in my head.

It was in that beautiful moment that I had a breakthrough of sorts. My dreams of the sleep I would be getting and the adventures I would be having without my babies quickly flew out the window, and in their place I was hit with a surge of gratitude. The kind of surge that makes your knees go weak, makes you smile in the dark, makes your chest ache while you worry that your heart will crack from the overflow inside of it. The realization hit me in full force that there was truly nowhere else I’d rather be. Tired, illogical tears streamed silently down my cheeks while I stared into the face of this perfect being that I created, and I thought about what an awfully fun adventure he and his brother have made our lives and what an awfully fun adventure we all will have for the rest of our lives together. The kind of adventure that nothing else could or will ever compare to.

And so it was that at 1:00 in the morning I stood over a crib, utterly exhausted and filled to the brim with silly happiness, holding my sleeping baby in the dark. My tired mind was suddenly alert while I soaked in the recognition that it truly is the small moments that make life worthwhile. Those small and nameless moments, such as when your baby falls asleep in your arms. When you’re entire family is tangled together on the couch watching AFV before bedtime on a regular old Wednesday night. When your husband makes you laugh so hard that you cry and drool toothpaste all over your pajamas. When this happens multiple times, because he always tells you the funniest things while you’re brushing your teeth. When you’re caught in a ridiculous downpour while in the middle of a Sunday afternoon walk by the river. When you’re hand in hand with him while walking slowly down the hospital isles, pushing the cart that holds your tiny newborn baby who just joined the world. When you spend the afternoon setting up self timer photo shoots around town just to catch a good family picture. When you’re jumping on the trampoline with your first born child, who tells you that you’re his very best friend. When you eat homegrown carrots fresh from your garden. When you read the same book for the fortieth time, because it’s his favorite. When you're on the quiet drive home from a traditional Sunday night dinner at Grandma's house.

It’s those small moments that you never realize are so perfect while you’re in them which make life the very best.

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