Baby Love (and Other Things)

March 10, 2010

I get it now. I understand why so many women think motherhood is the greatest situation in the universe. Ok, so it still isn't everything to me. I confessed to my best friend early in my pregnancy that I always thought I'd be touring Europe and sipping lattes in French cafes at this point in my life. And that's not my only constraint: I'm forced to cram writing and beading projects in between feedings, laundry, and housework. But I get it.

The lightbulb blinked on about a week ago when I realized that William and I had finally settled into a pleasant routine. He was nursing fairly well and had started responding to me with smiles and coos. It was one of those moments when he looked at me with a joyous smile that my heart melted like butter in the sun. He cannot comprehend love, but he can somehow sense that he is loved--and that astounds me.

This week, he has started compulsively grasping objects that come within his reach. As soon as I pick him up, he grabs a fistful of my shirt and clings to me. The sensation sends me soaring to the heights of motherly love.

When my husband and I first talked of having a child, we didn't think there was room in our lives for a little one. Now it feels as if William has filled a gaping hole in our home that we didn't know existed. Many women say they cannot imagine their lives without their children; the same is true for me, except it seems that William has always existed somewhere. His expressions and noises seem familiar to me somehow, beyond the short six weeks that I've known him. It's both lovely and frightening--frightening because I've never felt this attached to anyone. Anyone. And if that attachment were severed...I don't even want to think about it.

At the same time, I'm realizing just how tough marriage can be. The commitment I made to "better or worse" is getting a real workout these days. Don't get me wrong: my husband is still a wonderful man. He came home yesterday and cleaned the kitchen, swept the entryway, and changed the litter box--all without me asking him to do so. He just seems different, especially since William's birth.

When I first started dating my husband, there was a sweetness about him--an inner glow. This glow was composed of a playfulness, a peace, a desire to dream. Now that sweetness appears to be smothered by anger or boredom or...something. I want to believe that sweetness is still inside of him somewhere, but it's been so long since I've seen it...I almost fear the worst.

I've thought about him lately--thought to myself "Is this still the person I married?" and "Shall this, too, pass?" And then he picks up William from his play mat and spends nearly an hour exchanging coos and smiles with him, and my hope returns.

Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

Teri K said...


(And he's still in there. He's bored with his current job, at loose ends, feeling more responsibility than he ever expected at his age, and I wonder if he's struggling, even unconsciously, with being a Dad who recently lost his Dad. This is the stage where you put some effort into being connected, keep doing some of those old fun things even if they're not as fun right now, and ask God for some advice. But yes, he's still the same man, you're just getting to know him better. He may be feeling the same way about you. :) )

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