Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Grand Canyon Smiles

Thanks to Son #1, I am up now, 11:47 p.m., pumping before going to bed. I had planned to pump right after our movie finished. About 10:20. But then I wouldn't have something to post about.

After the movie finished, just as we turned it off, we heard a noise from the other room. Someone was awake in there. (Although this can sometimes be a pain because it can be hard to get them to go back to sleep at times, it is secretly one of my favorite things. They are just so cute when they wake up.) So, I hurry in there to find Son #1 lying on his back, staring up at me, all smiles. He always looks so thrilled with himself, like he's won the competition, won the fight of getting mom to come in and pay him some attention. It cracks me up every time. I find this little face with a smile so wide I could fit the grand canyon in there.

You just can't help responding in the same fashion.

He won. I picked him up, and oh! what smiles I received.

(He was proud. I just know it.)

After being pulled out of bed, he was hugged and kissed and giggled at by me and Dad. After about 10 minutes, I decided it was time to get serious and get him thinking about going back to sleep. This is cute on the occasional night, but I'm not thrilled about it being a nightly occurrence.

After turning off the lamps except for a dim glow, I wrapped him up and lay down, holding him close to me. With his binkie in mouth, his fluttering eyes calmed and his little hand reached out to find mine. Slowly, ever slowly, his breathing slowed down, he stopped opening his eyes every now and again to look around, and fell asleep.
Lying there in the darkness and looking at him, I was thinking about this quote from Tuesdays with Morrie:

"'The truth is, when our mothers held us, rocked us, stroked our heads--none of us ever got enough of that. We all yearn in some way to return to those days when we were completely taken care of--unconditional love, unconditional
attention. Most of us didn't get enough.'"

(Tuesdays with Morrie, p. 116)

A year ago, life for me was so different. I didn't think we had money to spare. What I was going to wear each day was a bigger deal. Most of the time I know I probably didn't look professional enough. I felt really good when I was all "put together" in a cute outfit with my hair and makeup all done. I felt amazing when I had all that and rocked my job to boot. I had a position with authority, feeling important as lots of different people would need me for several different things simultaneously. I had to be responsible, dependable, know what I was doing. I managed bank accounts, paid bills, supervised other employees, was the assistant to the owners. You get the idea. Some days, I felt really important. Other days, I left feeling like someone used and abused and unappreciated. Those days were rough. I'd wonder, Why am I even here anyway? Do they realize what I do for them? (Ungrateful, I know.)

As I snuggled my little boy tonight, I was thinking about how life has changed. I feel really great these days when I am even "put together," so to speak, before 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon. What with feeding and rice cereal and diaper changing and reading books and singing and playing and getting a nap in the morning when they do because I am still super tired and getting up and doing it all over again to be followed by a pumping session and naps and then maybe, just maybe, I'll get a chance to put on my makeup or take a shower or just put on some clothes other than my pajamas. I can get ready in the morning if I have to, but takes a lot more effort. I keep thinking it will be easier when the pumping and nursing and everything else stops. So, give me six more months, and maybe I'll be there. But what's really great about it is this: Yes, I do feel great when I am put together. I feel fantastic. I feel like a super mom. But, that isn't what makes my day anymore, what makes me feel accomplished.

It's the grand-canyon-smiles. It's the relationships we put energy into.

What is so amazing about giving love and taking care of these two little individuals' needs all day long is that it has changed me. The love I feel for and from them is something I've never had before. They honestly need me. The office can go on, the rest of the world can continue. But if I didn't get up every morning to take care of them, they couldn't do it themselves. (Granted, I know this aspect changes as they get older and can get out of bed themselves, can use the bathroom, can make their own food, etc. But then I think a mom (and parents in general) are still crucial, but in different ways. At least, mine were for me.)

I like what Morrie said, and I think he's right. That unconditional love is something that we all yearn for and need. But, that being said, the only thing I think Morrie was missing in that quote was that, as a mother, I sure feel like I will never get enough either. Snuggling tonight, I was thinking, "I will never be able to say I've had enough of this."

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