Sometimes I feel it rising up in me like a bubble, one that I try to swallow down with a deep breath and a smile. But that does not always work. Especially when lunch and milk end up on the floor after an attempt to make a break down the driveway after unprompted yelling in the car. Especially when one more ignored request goes by.
In that moment, I feel myself be the parent I don’t want to be and before I get down a deep breath, I raise my voice and lose my cool. Add in some sleep deprivation, and it’s the perfect conditions for a not proud parenting moment.
And why? To get the blocks put away? For something that really, truly does not matter?
But today is a new day, which luckily for me means a clean state, two happy kids and some perspective.
I was struck this morning by the abundance of simple joys that have filled the past week.
Louise fell asleep on my chest, perfectly centered with her bottom fitting in the crook of my arm. Her quick breathing was the foil of my heartbeat.
Noah asked to hold Louise while we read books to her. He filled in the “beeps” and periodically kissed the top of her head.
Greg settled into the big comfy chair and propped Louise up on his knees so they could make faces at each other.
Louise woke up when she heard Noah telling her hi and trying to reach her through the bars of the crib.
Noah pretended that his round blocks were a horn [like Curious George] and played us a toddler rendition of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.
My mom made us dinner and invited the entire family. Noah watched my mom walk back to the car in the rain to get a chair and said “come back please.” He also ran laps around the dinner table. Everyone had a chance to hold Louise, have a drink and enjoy each other’s company.
Greg and I went on a lunch date while Noah was at school and Louise sat next to the table. After being cooped up in the house all week, bi bim bop had never tasted so good.
These are not profound things, but they are profoundly special to me.
I woke up at 3AM and realized Louise had picked a birthday. A mere, but intense and painful and hectic, five hours later, she was in my arms.
My prayers have lately revolved around labor and delivery; both that I could handle the pain and that she would be healthy. Momentary discomforts and screamed expletives aside, I can handle a lot for the sake of her. The prayers were that I would remember it.
And now she’s here, and she is perfect. Twenty inches and eight pounds four ounces of her beautiful self. She knew me the moment the nurse put her on my chest and she heard my voice.
The first thing we did together? Rest. For a moment with her heart beating against mine, I whispered that she is my strong, brave, beautiful girl. And that she is perfect.
Happy birthday, Louise. We are so happy you are here.
I want to see your face and kiss your cheek. I want to run a finger along the edge of your foot and watch you spread your toes. I am ready to see you make your dad melt and for your big brother meet you for the first time. Come on out, kid. Your family is waiting.