We spent a glorious Saturday in the Land of Sparta. Hubbz, Baby Boy, my bestie and I gallivanted from patios to campus and everywhere in between. It was Welcome Weekend on the greatest campus in all the land. There were families everywhere dropping off new and returning Spartans. As we walked down Grand River be-bopping in and out of shops, we passed a Mama wiping the tears from her eyes. As I pushed my not-so-little 10 month old in his stroller, my heart made a deep pang in my chest. My brain reminded me “18 years is just the blink of an eye.” Yes, I will be his Mama forever. Yes, I will nurture and dote on him until my last breath on this Earth. However, in the blink of an eye, I will be that Mama on Welcome Weekend wiping the tears because my baby boy won’t be a baby anymore, but a young man. He will be moving into his college dorm, embarking on his newest adventure before we know it. A sense of urgency strikes a spot deep in my soul to not let a moment pass without savoring him, without teaching him, without enjoying him.
We cross the street to campus and head to Sparty’s statue, because it’s Baby Boy’s first walk on campus and we need a photo with the greatest mascot in college sports. As we round the path to Spartacus, the thought hit me that this is going to be one of those side-by-side photos I will make in 18 years. The then and the now. This moment is a memory we will look back on and reminisce about.
How little he was…
How young we looked…
How easy life was back then…
On our way up the walk to the statue, a Mama passes me. Her, her husband and son had just taken their picture in front of Sparty. She smiles and waves at my Baby B. I tell her we have to take a photo now so in 18 years we can take another. All she is able to say is “this is my 18 year…” before she begins to cry. I stop in my tracks and turn to face her. I take off my sunglasses and look her right in the eye and tell her “Don’t worry Mama, we will take good care of him, I promise!” She looks at me kinda bewildered. I explain to her that I work at the university. I tell her about what I used to do on campus and all about the support systems in place for him. It turns out, her son will be affiliated with the college I work in. I meet her youngest son, one of our newest Spartans. I lead with “Welcome to the Land of Sparta!” I tell them how to reach me should he need anything at all. I love being a resource for students, but something deeper hit me this day. I’m a resource for Mama’s. It has never impacted me this hard until I had a child of my own. These students that are filling our campus this weekend are all someone’s baby. That fact that has driven my work has taken on a deeper meaning and made my heart for our students open more than it already was. Though my job is in communications, the calling on my life is in caring for and supporting our students.
In the gut of my soul, my heart feels full. We Mama’s just want the reassurance that our babies are going to be ok. No matter what stage in life, no matter how old they get. We just want to be at peace with the notion that they are safe and protected in a world that can be really hard sometimes.
I can’t be everywhere for our son and if we’re being honest, it’s not healthy for me to want to be. There is One that can though. I think about God and the miraculous things he has done. I think on the biblical truths that are blessed reassurance for our son’s future. I believe God orchestrates our lives and the people we come in contact with. My deepest hope and prayer for our son is that he walks with the Lord and his burden is light. I pray that God puts people in our son’s life that bless him and support him. 18 years will go by in the blink of an eye. My sense of urgency is heightened to not let a moment pass without savoring him, without teaching him, without enjoying him.
** Mommyhood has kept me busy and I have 72,463,795 half-written blog posts laying around. In an effort to share them, I will be posting them periodically on #TBT’s… Today is one of those #TBT’s. This was started about 8 months ago when baby boy was about a month old. Enjoy.
This morning as I sat and nursed my sweet little boy, while the rest of the house slept, I aimlessly flipped through my Facebook memories of this day. I love looking back and seeing how far life has taken me. There were a couple rough years embedded in those posts and to see how far I have come from such a rough time is a testament to the glory and goodness of the God I serve. Today’s look back was enough to bring me to my knees while tears of humble gratitude flow heavily from my eyeholes.
If you know our story you know the journey to the Mommy Club was a hard one. Infertility was our reality while trying to get pregnant and it was the most difficult road I have ever walked. Very early on this sweet Sunday morning, the day of our little boy’s baptism, I look back.
Facebook reminded me this morning of a blog post I posted one year ago today. I climbed up on a cold, hard hospital table and endured the worst infertility test of my life. I can now honestly say, it was a pain that made child birth seem like a walk in the park… No joke.
I still to this day have no idea why God picked Hubbz and I to go through the trials of infertility. I suspect it’s because God knew I would share our journey. There are so many couples on the same walk and so many of them don’t talk about it. There are women silently hurting and because of shame or embarrassment don’t talk about it. There is a stigma around infertility and I like to think that maybe in my little spot on this planet that I can help erase that stigma… Or at least shake it up a little. I like to think that our story can help others know they aren’t alone.
Infertility sucks. I can try and sugar coat it and look at the silver lining but at the end of the day, it sucks. It is through this helpless despair that I boast that there is a need for our God in our lives. A God who became human and endured the worst of the worst for you and for me. A God that sees, hears and understands all of it- even that thing you think he won’t understand- He gets it. A God that I have shaken my fists at and threatened to walk away from- yet a God that always showered me with mercy, love, grace and forgiveness.
I sit here on this Sunday morning, Baby Boy’s baptism day, and I am humbled. My sweet Hubbz asleep next to me and our little miracle fast asleep in my arms- I lean my head back and rest it on the headboard and I exhale.
God, you are mighty and your love is unfailing. In my shortcomings and pure human failure you bless me more than I deserve. I look back a year ago today and I am humbled at the profound goodness of your ways. I didn’t understand your ways and your timing but you have taken my immeasurable heartache and used it for good. You redeemed our hurts and our sadness a hundred times over. You God, are incredible and all I can do is bow my head, face my palms upward, and thank you. You are a mighty God that we serve.
Nine months into this Mom Gig and I’ve decided that motherhood is just a bunch of teary-eyed moments strung together. Sometimes it’s a little weepy tear, other times it’s a full on ugly cry. For a chick who used to think crying made you look weak AF, this revelation amuses me.
My latest bout of tears occurred over two Graco 4Ever car seats. It’s a Sunday morning and I am in the kitchen with Hubbz. We are unboxing our latest purchase… Car seats. One for my car and one for his truck. (Well, maybe I should be honest here… I am unboxing them. Hubbz is keeping me company, cracking jokes, drinking his coffee… And perfecting his photobomb game.) I set them on the table to inspect them. My Mama Sense is heightened because the safety of my tiny human is at hand. (In case you don’t know, Mama Sense is like Spidey Sense but for Mom’s. It’s a real thing.) The car seats look pretty comfy. Nice, sturdy, safe. I feel like if I were a tiny human I would love to take a long, afternoon car ride nap-a-doo in one of these. Hubbz read all the ratings and these are pretty great middle of the road purchases. I’m reading the manual because my “type A” personality tells me I must. Hubbz pokes fun at me and reassures me he knows what to do- but alas, humors me anyway while I read cover to cover. #hegetsme
I am reading about “installing the latch in the rear-facing direction” and it hits me… My kid is getting a new carseat. While I know some of you seasoned Mama’s are rolling your eyes, I am over here fighting back eyehole leakage. I remember the first time I strapped my kid into his infant seat. I stood in the hospital room alone with him. Hubbz went to get the car and the nurse had left to get the wheelchair. I stood there looking at my son- kind of amazed they were letting me leave with him… Was I qualified to do this!? I double and triple checked the straps. Through my sleepless awe I remember looking at him and saying “Little guy, I’m not gunna be the perfect Mama, but I promise I will love you with reckless abandon.” While I would love to say he looked at me and smiled… He didn’t. He was fast asleep probably annoyed that this lady that wouldn’t stop holding him and kissing his little nosie was now talking to him. I checked the straps again and when the nurse came back, I asked her to please check them just to be safe. #TypeAPersonalityForTheWin.
Back at the kitchen table, I stand with the manual in my hand. The car seats are starting to get a little blurry because the tears are pooling. I try to brush it off but all I can think is that my baby boy isn’t a baby anymore. He’s a babbling, crawling, standing up on his own, 6 teefers in his mouth, little boy. I look up at Hubbz who, by the look on his face, is clearly confused as to what’s happening. I tell him that our little guy isn’t so little anymore… And then I ugly cry.
Nine months into this Mom Gig and I am convinced that motherhood is just a bunch of teary-eyed moments strung between a lot of laughs and a lot more WTF’s. I am realizing that each moment of motherhood is sacred and precious and beautiful. More than any of that, each moment is fleeting. (I invite you to remind me of this wonderful sentiment in the midst of chaos that is sometimes my life.)
This whole upgrading the car seat thing reminds me of two things:
1) Ferris Bueller was onto something profound. “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” (See Mom, watching that movie so many times during my childhood really did pay dividends while adulting.)
2) The moments to make an impact on our son’s life are fleeting and we must make the most of them right now in this moment. There is so much we need to teach him about having a heart for the Lord, loving all people and being a loyal and trustworthy man. 18 years seems like eternity some days and other days, I know it will be just the blink of an eye.
The little infant seat that has securely toted around our son for the past nine months is officially retired for the time being. In it’s place, a big boy seat. With it comes the gentle reminder to slow down, embrace the moments and enjoy each stage of car seats.
So, I’d like to start dating again. And I don’t mean men.
What did she just say?!
Let me explain. You know how when you meet a new friend and you don’t jump right in, instead you date them for a while. Grab manicures or a quick lunch (you know, things with timeframes on them) to see if it’s a good fit. Then you grab a glass of Happy Hour or dinner- if that goes well, you introduce the husbands and see if they mesh. So like I said, I’d like to start dating again. Match-Maker, Match-Maker, make me a match. A Mom to have fun with, that’s a real catch. Where do I put out an ad for that? Is there a Tinder for Mom’s? This may sound crazy but I’ve thought about it a lot and I am totally serious… I need Mom friends. It all started a little over a week ago…
It’s a Saturday and my Mama, Baby Boy and I are galavanting around town picking up finishing touches for my house. I am standing in the checkout line at one of my favorite home stores. Actually, I’m not in line, I am flirting with getting in line while I peruse the trinkets that the store so carefully places in my path for the up-sale. (UGH, Damn you up-sale!) Baby Boy is cooing happily in his Baby Bjorn looking around at all the things. (Sidenote, I LOVE more than anything on the planet wearing Baby Boy in his carriers. It’s one of my favorite perks of Mommyhood.) Anyway, my Mama and I were in the midst of discussing candle scents when a woman interrupted us. She apologized but wanted to know how I liked my Baby Bjorn. I enthusiastically offered my thoughts. She thanked me and we both went on our way. The whole conversation was maybe 72 seconds long but it left me overjoyed to be able to talk to another Mom about Mom things. (Pre-Mommyhood Dez would have definitely rolled her eyes by now and checked the score to the Tigers game… It is not lost on me how the times have changed.)
Next store, Mama and I were in the checkout line and this time Baby Boy was sleeping snugly in his stroller. The lady in front of me turned a few times to look at my stroller and finally asked how I liked it because her and her husband were thinking about getting the same one. I again enthusiastically offered her my thoughts. This whole conversation took about 139 seconds and again I was left overjoyed to be able to talk to another Mom about Mom things. (Pre-Mommyhood Dez would definitely have assumed I went off the deep-end getting excited about baby strollers… Again, it is not lost on me how the times have changed.)
As I drove home with my Mama and Baby Boy I couldn’t help but think about these Mama’s that I briefly talked to. I wanted to text them to see how they liked their Baby Bjorn and stroller. (That’s possibly super weird… I know.) These interactions got me thinking about how radically my life has changed in these last seven months. Sometimes I look in the mirror and wonder who even am I anymore?! I know you might think I am kidding but I am FOR REAL! Do you know that I didn’t even watch the NFL Draft this year? Yeah, seriously. I settled for following it on my phone. Do you know I only watched half of the last day of the Master’s this year? Oy vey. Let’s not even talk about the fact that it’s mid-June and I have yet to pick up a golf club. I’m not going to lie, this makes me die inside a little.
In addition to finding my new identity while being a Mommy, I am learning that balancing friendships and Mommyhood is hard. I’ve realized that I have no idea where to meet other Mom’s with the same likes and interests as me. Where are all these fabulous Mom Groups I hear about? How do I find them? I am beginning to wonder if they are like good babysitters and delicious recipes… When you find a good one you keep it on the down-low so you don’t have to share… I mean, err, not that I do that or anything.
I feel like I need a dating app but for Mom’s… If it existed my profile would read:
Hi, I’m Dez. I am a Wifey of 10 years to Hubbz and we are first-time parents to a 7 month old baby boy who is our happy little miracle. We have a 5 lb. Maltese who is an old lady dog and thinks she’s a German Shepherd. I like yoga, football, the feeling of sand between my toes, Jameson on the rocks, delicious sushi, the game of golf, floppy hats and stilettos. I need me some Jesus like I need the air I breath… but I cuss like a sailor sometimes. When I am in the car alone I like to roll down the windows and drive with music cranked up as loud as it will go. I am a horrible singer, but I sing at the top of my lungs anyway. I love to hostess Dance Party USA in the middle of my living room any chance I get. I play a mean air guitar. My motto in life is “No pants are the best pants”. If you’re a Mommy interested in laughing till you pee a little and ruining your diet over Taco Tuesdays, by all means, #swiperight.
100 Days of Yoga has been interesting to say the least. I’m learning a lot about myself and my priorities. I’m learning even more about being mindful and living consciously. What is kicking my butt the most though is the fear. 100 Days of Yoga is terrifying and not for reasons you may think. It’s not the commitment or the physical activity that freak me out- it’s something horribly vain and kinda ugly. In my best effort to live my life out loud I gotta talk about the fugly.
100 Days of Yoga is terrifying because of the Social posts. Yep. Good old Social Media. (insert eyeroll) Everyday I Insta and Snap a pose of my yoga practice for the day. Here’s the problem… Have you ever seen a curvy Italian chick, 7 months post-partum with still a little junk in the trunk do yoga? I promise you, it ain’t all Lululemon and Lily Lotus models… It’s more like, “How do I duck tape down the boobies and make sure the bum of my pantalones don’t rip apart? Also, does this pose make me look fat? And where did that fat roll come from!? That’s not there when I stand up.” These are real thoughts that happen in my brain.
So here’s the thing I’ve realized. When I come to the mat, there’s no good downward-facing angle and selfie stick to accompany me. While I may be able to manipulate the Insta filters a little, at the end of the day, there is still a full-bodied full-body pose in that frame. That full-body pose full of imperfections laid out for all the world to see. For a girl that takes (probably) a little too much pride in her appearance, that’s terrifying to think about.
Each meeting with my mat brings me one meeting closer to being comfortable in my own skin. I am clinging to the verse in Psalms that reads “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works my soul knows it very well.” Note that I didn’t say I’ve mastered living that phrase… Just clinging to it, white knuckles and all.
I have come to peace with the fact that I am the proud owner of legs that resemble a running backs. And if we are being super honest, I will probably never in my life have a thigh gap. The thought of admitting that seemed terrifying but now that I actually typed it, I dig it! I thought this whole 100 Days of Yoga thing was just going to help me reshape my physical body… Turns out, it’s imploded my idea of what it means to be sexy and it’s reshaping my soul.