Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Quote for a Wednesday

"If Sir Isaac Newton had been a member of [a nudist colony], he wouldn't have needed a falling apple to help him arrive at the theory of gravity." -- Emily Yoffe, Slate

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Perfect Stage

See that very unhappy baby above, all writhing 8 pounds, 4 ounces of him? That's the first photo taken of my little Jack. I have a confession to make: I was not in love with the idea of his existence, even on the day he was born.

There's many reasons why, which I have written about in some articles, but the long and short of it was I didn't feel ready to be a mother. I'd imagined motherhood to be one way, and though the work/grossness/pain part met my expectations, the halo-surrounding-my-child's-head-from-birth part never materialized at the newborn stage.
Nor did any great maternal feelings crop up here, at the smiling, cooing, love-my-tummy-time stage.
Or even here, the I'm-trying-so-hard-to-walk-and-get-into-things phase.

See, I thought he was the cutest baby alive for sure. I proudly showed him off, dressed with him care, smiled at his antics, sang to him with big dreams in my heart, prayed over and LOVED him. He was my son, and I was (am!) proud of Jack.

Yet something was missing.

And over this last year, as he has turned two years old of all times, I have quietly, mysteriously discovered a different kind of love.

THIS sort of love. The love where you cry at the drop of a hat when your heart feels it will burst if it holds anything more inside. Where you cry at news broadcasts of wounded Iraqi children, because their mothers' pain is YOUR pain. Where you gaze at your son's sleeping form and wonder how you ever lived without him.

At the onset of the terrible two's, I wondered what Jack would be like. At 18 months, he had started to get really fun: talking up a storm, climbing over everything (okay, that part started at around 10 months!), developing a sense of humor, and displaying a zest for life I may have forgotten in my old age. But you know the popular idea: 2-year-olds are crazy-terrible.

How wrong, wrong, wrong!

Here is what I have been treated to over the past year of Jack's life:

(You don't know sexiness until you have seen your husband love your son)

I can honestly say this has been THE most fun stage of Jack's life, a million times better than I ever could have imagined.

He wakes up every morning, runs into our room and showers Nick and me with kisses. He speaks in full sentences, points out little wonders I would have missed, sets his own place at the table, helps me with cooking and cleaning, is potty-trained, makes friends on his own in the park and church nursery and randomly tells me he loves me throughout the day.

He's developed his own relationship with Nick, creating a new space inside my soul to love both my boys in a way I didn't know possible.

He asks me questions about God and Jesus, reproductive organs, bugs and birds and how tractors run that make me think.

He changes me, bit by bit, every day, always for the better.

At night, I kneel by his bed and pray over his life with a fervency I didn't know possible. I trace every part of his beautiful face with my eyes and fingers, memorizing every little detail. Something wiggles in my brain...where have I have done this before? Where have I tried to commit every last molecule of someone's face to memory?

It clicks....and my soul grows even more.

When I was 17 and crazy-in-love with Nick, he would hold me in his arms as we said our long goodbyes every night. I would stare at Nick's green eyes, giggle inwardly at his Normal Rockwell-freckles, and in general thank God I was in this magical bubble with the most amazing boy on earth.

When Nick left for boot camp, I didn't want to forget anything about him -- the taste of his kiss, the way his lips pouted every so slightly when he didn't get his way, how his whole face lit up when I walked through the door. And I spent serious amounts of time studying his face, willing myself to not forget a single thing. I knew even better times were coming (if such a thing was possible, and it was!), but I wanted to savor what I had, right then and there.

I was soooo in love with Nick. Now I find myself still there, but fully in love with another little man...with another one on the way. Another new one to love is coming soon, and I'm thrilled...all because of Nick and Jack.

Yet something inside me wants so desperately to savor these last few months, to know exactly how Jack was, to remember us as a family of three, to fully pay attention to just Jack and no one else, to never forget the perfection that is my son at this exact stage in our lives.

The perfect stage.

Yet just as life kept getting better with Nick, I know it will too with Jack and my newest love. It will be will be tough....maybe it will take time for me to fall in love with baby #2 like it did with #1.

Yet it will happen. And my heart will stretch and grow again.