I wouldn’t wish years of struggling to get pregnant on anyone – not even my worst enemy. It’s a horrible feeling to want something so badly and yet not be able to have it. It’s a painstaking process of broken dreams, doctor’s appointments, unanswered questions, and saving money. All the while never really knowing what the outcome is going to be – all the while wanting and wishing, waiting and wondering.
I thought we’d spend our entire life savings on IVF or adoption. The life savings that consisted of approximately half of each and every one of my paychecks automatically deposited into an account that I purposely made as difficult to access as possible. I did my due diligence to ensure we wouldn’t touch that money for anything else.
For too long, I thought I’d never have the opportunity to call myself mama or to kiss a boo-boo or any of the other things that come with having kids. I never thought there would be picture books and blocks scattered all over the place that I’d be forever stepping on. For that matter, I thought I’d never get the privilege of tiptoeing ever-so-quietly into a certain little someone’s room each night to check on him or bringing him into our bed each morning because he’s like an alarm clock that’s set for 7 AM, seven days a week.
I remember way back when we spent our nights on the couch together. The little guy couldn’t have been more than a few months old. I was all too content to be up with him. What’s just a rite of passage for most mamas, felt incredibly surreal to me. It felt a little too much like a dream that I was going to wake up from at any moment. And I was so afraid. Sometimes, I still am.
“They’re only little for so long.”
“You can’t get this time back.”
“Don’t wish these days away.”
Every time I hear them, I get tears in my eyes. They’re so right. I may never get the opportunity to do this again. When I hold my son and he leans into me and puts his head on my shoulder, I think about how lucky I am. And when I walk into his room at night and cover him back up, I think about how all of my dreams have finally come true.
And to everyone who tells me I’m spoiling him?
I do it because I want to. And because I can. Because that $10 dump truck made his eyes light up as we opened it and he squealed with delight when I handed it to him. And of course because what’s it to you if the little guy has a few too many toys? What does it matter if I trip over them every day? He’s only going to be little for so long. Someday, I’ll miss all those toys. Someday, I’ll long for these sweet days that everyone else will have since forgotten, but I’ll remember them forever. I’ll remember stepping on a block late at night and muttering a few choice words under my breath and I’ll remember laughing hysterically because daddy tripped over the little car that we accidentally left in the hallway. Obviously, it never occurred to the little guy to pick it up and put it away.
Look, I get it. I understand that you want to spend time with my son, but so do I. I can’t get this time back. It sucks, I know. It feels like I barely have time to do more than blink in the evenings and it’s bedtime. How does that happen? We get home and hurry through what we absolutely have to do so that we can hang out and read and play because those are the things that actually matter. Time is a thief and I want to cherish every last possible minute of it. I don’t want a break. I don’t have any desire to get away for a while. I’m content right where I’m at. In the trenches is exactly where I want to be for now and forever. And you know what? There’s absolutely nothing in life that I’ve ever wanted more than what I have right at this very moment. All I want is just to be the best mama that I can possibly be to my sweet boy.
And to everyone who wishes me luck in the future?
This parenting thing isn’t so much a game of chance. It’s a matter of believing. Believe that you can and you definitely will. Believe that you’re an awesome mama because you totally are. The little guy will do things in his own time and on his own terms. I’m not going to wish these days away. Spilling milk all over both of us really isn’t all that big of a deal. In hindsight, it’s actually kind of hilarious. Being up all night sucks at the time, but this too shall pass. Nothing lasts forever, I promise. Once you finally get things figured out, something will change and you’ll have to start all over again. Being a mama will humble you more quickly than anything and everything else you’ll ever experience in this life. Some days, you’ll think you can’t possibly get through it, but you will. One way or another, you’ll push past it and keep going. And that, my friends, is what’s so incredibly amazing about it.
It’s crazy to think that this little boy is mine and that my body carried him and kept him safe and brought him into this world. A year and a half later and I still can’t get over the fact that he’s a spitting image of his daddy and yet he’s a ball of fire just like me. I look at him and so wish that I had a pause button because it’s going too fast. I can’t even begin to wrap my head around how quickly he’s growing up.
I don’t always expect people to get it. I know that not everyone does. Just let me live my dream, though. When it’s all said and done, that’s all I can ask for.