Big babies were a norm in my family. My brothers and I were 8 and 9 pounders. My previous three sons were pretty close, and while every pregnancy was different, this one was special in its own way.
I’ve always enjoyed being a mom, but carrying my babies was an immersion in emotions. None were officially planned. With the first, I was both excited and frightened. The second was welcome. I felt we could shed the rookie status. The third resulted in a traumatic loss, which I still grieve annually. The fourth was harder – because he arrived during the time when I should have still been carrying his sibling. I felt so conflicted.
But this fifth one, my fourth and final boy… With him, my appreciation soared. Mommyhood in your 20s and in your 40s is so different. There’s so much more to treasure because you look at life differently. He did not fit our pattern. Unlike his brothers, he was – tiny. When I left the hospital, he had lost weight, amassing only 5 lbs. 11 oz. I could hold his entire body in a single hand.
“Mom, I feel like I’m going to break him!” I bemoaned, with all the fear of a mom starting all over again, and yet, despite his initial fragility, he grew to be the roughest and toughest of them all.
I’m not sure that anything adequately prepares you to be a mom. Once you begin the journey, a most adventurous ride ensues. I think I’ve now experienced every emotion on the spectrum. I feel like an expert on both heartaches and headaches.
I celebrate their triumphs and their victories, some seemingly insignificant to passersby; but, most of all, I love – the love. The tiny squeezes. The toes that brush against my leg when someone sneaks into my bed. The philosophical conversations that sound like soundbites from Kids Say the Darnedest Things. I’ve learned to stop complaining about the chaos when everyone doesn’t respond exactly the way I want – because I realize in a few short years, they’ll begin journeys of their own. They’ll all be gone…
Now, I just want to sit. To soak in the serenity of watching the four sibings submerge themselves in what will one day be their childhood memories. I want to stop the clock, stifle the static, and stay in the moment. I want to savor every second that reminds me that I’m a mom. What a gift. I will treasure it – forever.
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