...then he'll be home. FINALLY. What a long, strange trip it's been. ;) 8.5 months ago I said goodbye to my husband after a few days notice as he headed to Afghanistan. Once the door closed and I heard him drive away, I looked down at the tiny precious 25 day old infant in my arms and wondered how in the world we were going to get through the 1st year of his life as a duo (I didn't know until about 6 months later that Sam would only be gone 8.5 months, that day we thought we were facing a year deployment). I felt such a weight drop on my shoulders. I alone was responsible for every single second of Little's life. No more "I'll take the first shift so you can get some sleep", no more "could you change his diaper this time", and no more "please just take him for a second so I can shower". Juuuuuuuuuust me.
I fought through the next few months on prayer and coffee. There was no sleep, shower, or teeth brushing that didn't get cut short by the sound of a crying baby. There hardly is now, either, I just have learned to manage my time better and what cries I can ignore long enough to get those things done. Things slowly became easier as I got the hang of this single parenting thing - well enough so that I feel like I'm treading water rather than drowning. I've gotten used to runny noses being smeared on my shoulder; learned when to forgo baby wipes and instead use damp cloths as not to sting a diaper rashed baby bottom; become quite adept at eating, applying mascara (yeah, that one happens often................pbbbbt), making bottles, putting away groceries, okay almost EVERYTHING one handed; memorized my way around the entire city while waiting for a sleeping tot to finish his nap in the backseat; and have reluctantly come to terms with the fact that no matter what I do, I will absolutely look like total crap for the foreseeable future. I have eye bags the size of Texas, a visible scalp from the post partum hair loss, an extra 8 lbs still clinging on for dear life to my lower half, and am never without carrots, peas, snot, or some other disgusting baby related liquid somewhere on my shirt. And Some of the more memorable fights of the last 9 months:
- The Battle of the C.Diff Toxin and it's resulting 7 straight weeks of diarrhea (him, not me, see sentence above about gross stuff on my shirt)
- Spoon vs Screaming Head Turning Baby
- 6 Hr Drive vs Screaming I Want Out of My Car Seat Baby
- Tired Sore Arms vs Screaming I Will NOT Nap in My Crib Baby
(do we see a pattern yet?)
- The Case of the Congested 8 Month Old
- Mother of the Child vs Relatives Who Think They Know Better........mhmm there have been several of those battles
But then there have been the days when I woke up at 6:30 to the sweetest little babbles coming from down the hall, the big brown eyes that lit up when he started to recognize me, the heartmelting grin that broke out on his tiny face one day and erased everything else that was going on. I've gotten to watch a tiny fleshy unresponsive lump turn into a laughing, grabbing, wiggling 9 month old. When Sam left, the only thing that came out of Andrew's throat was the sound of wailing - now he says dadadadadadadaaaaaaaaaa, mama, bbbbbbb, okay (yeah, he said ok at the doctor yesterday and the nurse's eyes bugged out of her head), and laughs and squeals. He was a helpless lump when Sam left, and now he sits, grabs handfulls of my hair and yanks, picks up tiny fruit puffs and puts them in his mouth, and arches his back while kicking his legs when I do forget to use a wet rag instead of an alcohol drenched baby wipe.
This child brings such joy to my life. Every time I look at those little round cheeks and he flashes me a glimpse of those 2 bottom teeth, I forgive him for screeching his head off at 4 in the morning and knocking the bottle of formula over before I got the cap on it. Every time those huge crocodile tears come spilling out of his beautiful eyes as he gets a vaccination, my heart breaks and I don't care that he hasn't let me shower in 3 days. What we've made it through in the last 9 months is just bananas. I feel 10 yrs older than I was in January. Even if Sam hadn't left, I'd probably still feel at least 7 yrs older but maybe I wouldn't be as tired. I just love this little boy that God gave me. No, Mom, I definitely do not want another one - but I sure am blessed to have this one.
I've learned that I don't "need" anyone's help, but it sure is welcome! I'd be greasier, grayer, and sicker if I didn't have Tanya to watch him every now and then for me. I'd have lots more bruises from being so tired that I can't walk straight if my mom never came up to take the night shift those 3 or 4 weekends the first 2 months after Sam left. I'd question if I was doing this right more if I didn't have Gran telling me what a good job I was doing raising such a secure, happy baby by myself. I'd have ended up in the hospital that one week I had the allergic reaction to bacitracin if Donna hadn't been able to come stay with me and look after tot while I drugged myself with Nyquil and sinus medicine. I'd have survived - more importantly, TOT would have survived - without anyone else but I'm darn glad I didn't have to. I don't need Sam to come home to rescue me. What I need, is for him to come home and experience all the love and joy that I've gotten to with our son. I can't wait to watch the 2 of them together - playing, eating, snoozing.......I just want so much for Sam to get to be Andrew's parent. Ok, and change the gross diapers. And get up at 4:30 a.m. if Andrew needs something. And clean his ears when it looks like he rubbed Cheetos in them. heh heh
I've had him all to myself for almost all 9 of the months he's been here. It's going to be strange to share him. What will I do with all the extra time and sleep I'm going to get? ;)
Donut of Misery: 97% done, 3% to go