Two posts ago, I mentioned a comment I had made to Adam in a moment of frustration. I had said to him, in reference to my brain turning into mush these days:
Do you realize that I sit at home and, from the ground up, teach a human being how to live life? I started with a child who knew nothing and I have to teach him everything. Do you know what that does to my brain?
Since I thought those thoughts and wrote those words, I've been trying to think about them in a different light. That day, I was focusing on the fact that the most conversation I get in a typical day consists of baby sign language, songs, numbers, colors, and the alphabet (which means, WATCH OUT once you get me alone with an adult. I will. TALK. YOUR. HAIR. OFF.). That day I was focusing on the fact that I don't make hard decisions, I don't talk about fancy things like politics and finance, or art and literature. I don't wake up at the same time every day and I typically don't go to bed until after 11pm. I don't have a car to drive fun places, and I can't afford a gym membership that offers free babysitting. I don't bring in a substantial amount of money, and the money I do bring in goes right back into my photography business (especially when I have a habit of losing and/or breaking things). I can't remember diddly squat, I'm constantly losing my keys (though J promises me it's endearing. She's nice like that), and I'm not 'using my degree' I worked so hard for. That's what I was focusing on.
But what if I stopped thinking about the negatives, and started seeing just how beautiful it really is to be the person who raises a human being.
Today the sun was shining through our kitchen window in just the right way. You know what I mean, when the rays are visible and maybe you pull out a kleenex and you can see all the little dust floating down that ray of sunshine? Well, today I was taking off my socks and snapped them in the air (gross image. Poor Axton), and little flecks of lint started to dance in the orange glow. Axton's eyes got big and round, and his mouth made an "O", his lips curling over his teeth. He spread his hands out and tried to touch the dancing little white dots (I know, try not to think about the fact that they were from my dirty socks, it makes my story prettier). I sat there and watched him marvel at seeing this tiny phenomenon for the first time - something I've seen countless times in my life. I've seen it so many times, I failed to recognize that, despite it's common occurrence, it is still magical.
Not too long ago, we were sitting in his bedroom playing with toys and a fly came buzzing past him. Axton's eyes snapped open and he says, "Where'd it go?" his hands out in the 'questioning mode'
I pretended to look around for it, really dramatic and worried. Then I snatched out my hands really fast, and said, "There it is!" and pretended to catch it.
Oh boy did Axton think that was funny. He started laughing, and his face turned bright red and I lost the sound of his laughter. Then he stopped short and said again, "Where'd it go?" So I reenacted my fly-catching sequence and this time he started laughing so hard he started to tip backwards. It was like slow motion, he just kept falling. I swear he was defying gravity and the bounciness of his laughter was keeping him afloat parallel to the floor for longer than possible, but eventually he did tip right over. He was laughing so hard, he fell over folks!!! He actually fell over. When was the last time I laughed that hard, at something so silly and innocent? Man, I must be a good actor, but either way it made me feel fantastic.
Sometimes I make that boy give his mama a kiss 50 times a day. Most of the time, he is still happy to do it, too! Anyone else would have said, "Okay, you're done lady!" after 3 kisses. But not him.
Raising Axton 'from the ground up' means I get to live the goodness and the sweetness of this life all over again. It's almost like I get a second chance at life - a second chance to notice things I missed - or have long forgotten since becoming an 'adult.' I already said it once, but there is no better word for it: Childhood is magical. And I get to see a tiny portion of it through my son's eyes everyday.
And that, my friends, is a true gift from God.
And you know what, I do make hard decisions. I have a feeling, too, that those decisions will only get harder as Axton gets older and is faced with even more serious things, like friends, school, church, liiiiife in general.
When I stop and really think about it, I can honestly say there is nothing else I'd rather be doing than raising this little boy from the ground up. I know I pretend to feel sorry for myself occasionally, but the truth is, I am sorry to mothers who cannot do the same thing. I am sorry to mothers who have to drop their kids off with someone else and miss a lot of amazing things that their child learns. I realize me staying home with Axton is a complete luxury, and I do realize I am blessed to be able to do it.
I remember, back before I had Axton, reading someone's blog that talked about the first time their kid went to nursery. They said that it was the first time their child had really been left with someone they didn't know. I didn't understand that - I thought, "Well then, this will be good for them, right?" And now, here I am, years later, and I am in the same boat. I haven't left Axton with someone he doesn't know. Ever. And in less than two months, he, too, will be going into nursery. I worry for him because I've seen the way he acts in group settings and it's not too pleasant (which surprises me a bit, and I'm hoping it's just a phase). And while yes, I do think 'it will be good for him,' in whatever way that means......it's still hard.
I have never questioned the goodness of people's hearts like I do when I think about leaving Axton in nursery.
Can you believe that? These are church-going people who have been called by the Lord to serve in the nursery and yet I still worry. Will they be kind to my son? Will the other kids pick on him? And if they do, will the teachers notice and stick up for him? Will he learn bad habits? I can't even imagine what it would be like if I had to work and I had to leave him at a daycare. I think I would have to be medicated for anxiety. Like, seriously. And I am not even going to think about the day he goes to kindergarten. It chokes my throat up just thinking about it.
This is a round-about way of trying to remind myself that "from the ground up" is EXPONENTIALLY important (yes caps-lock was necessary). It may turn my brain into mush in some areas, and I'll never have my old body back, but it has turned my heart into gold. Pure, liquid gold. So undeniably vulnerable and attached to this little boy. It has strengthened my spirit times a million, it has forever changed the way I see women. I have more respect for women I knew in high school because I know they are moms now and I know what they have gone through. It makes me connected to the universe, and, somehow, ironically, even though he has my heart walking around in his body, I am now more whole because of him.
Love this good takes work this hard - God knows it, I know it, and I'll bet you know it, too.
See photos of my little obsession here.
2 years ago