baby love

As soon as I began telling people I was pregnant last summer, everyone I knew who had kids started telling us, “It’s the most incredible thing in the world. You will never know how much you can love anything until you see that baby.” Every time they would say it, my HusBon and I would agree with them, nod, and smile. I was screeching on the inside. I was the most miserable pregnant person you’d ever met.

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“Oh, I’m suuuuuuure. Can’t waaaaaaait. It’s gonna be amaaaaaaazing,” I’d gush, secretly rolling my eyes at what I thought was over-dramatized emotion on their part. After all, I loved my husband, I loved my friends, I loved my family. Yes, yes, I get it. I will love my baby, my daughter, my child. Love love love. Love is all you need. Jeez.

I was completely unprepared for the entrance of this tiny gurrrrlll into my life.  Now, let me back up a second. Lightning didn’t strike at the hospital, necessarily.  I carried carry a lot of guilt and shame regarding my birth experience. I immediately clicked into auto-pilot in the hospital, dutifully changing diapers, nursing around the clock, receiving our well-wishers, taking the “obligatory”  24 hours postpartum-body selfie (SO FUCKING RIDICULOUS).

Even the first few weeks at home were a haze of breastfeeding sessions every hour or two hours, so painful, that my husband had to pinch a pressure point on my hand to distract me from the nursing pain. I loved my daughter, of course, but I was feeling a bit…mechanical. My only goal was making sure she was fed, clean, comforted, happy, thriving.

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Once I turned the corner at 8 weeks postpartum, I was feeling better. My thrush had gone away, so nursing was no longer like having my fingernails slowly pulled out. She was looking at me. She smiled at me. She rolled over. We were co-sleeping. She whimpered in her sleep, reaching for me, comforted once she felt I was there. All of a sudden it hit me. THIS WAS MY BABY. MY…BABY. I lost it. I held her in the darkness, while she was sleeping, tears coursing down my face, whispering,

It was YOU, the whole time, in there. It was YOU. I wish I’d known it was you.

See, now, that is how I fell in love with my baby. And you know what? It’s the most incredible thing in the world. I never knew I could love anything as much as I love her. I worry about everything now. I worry about the world in which she will grow up. I worry about her first skinned knee.  I worry about someone saying something mean to her. I worry about some boy hurting her precious little heart. I worry about how she will be so sad when Beedoo and Fenway pass away when she’s in high school.

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So with this great love, comes great responsibility. How is it possible that I am ready for this task? I am an “older” first-time mommy, 34 years old, plenty of life experience, completely aware of how I do NOT want to be. I just want to be the best mother I can possibly be. I want my daughter to be nurtured and protected, yet aware and smart. How on earth am I supposed to be able to do this?!

Every time the anxiety chokes me, my baby is my anti-dote. Her sweet face, whether grinning at me or placidly asleep, heals me. I thought I was supposed to take care of her, help her, make her feel safe? She does exactly that for me. There truly is nothing like this in the world, this… this Baby Love.

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the lost (now found) phone

I used to be a professional at losing important things. Keys, phones, IDs, wallets, credit cards, purses, jackets. Basically, anything that you might have with you when you go out drinking. With the help of Stoli O, I was the embodiment of Lady Gaga’s lyric: “where are my keys/I lost my phone.” Even when I’d realize something was missing, usually not until the next morning, I always had relatively good luck in recovering said object. That’s the plus of neighborhood bars where everyone knows you. Since those party days are over, I take secret pride in the fact that I have not lost any of those things in over two years. Until yesterday.

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We were enjoying the end of our Fourth of July weekend as a family. We took the baby to the beach for a little while and then went to get sandwiches and pick up the baby’s hat which, ironically, I had left at the restaurant we had dinner at the evening prior. Back at home, I asked my husband to take a picture of me holding the baby and the cat, wearing a Grumpy Cat tshirt that his nieces had sent him for Christmas. I posted the picture to Instagram and settled on the couch with the baby to relax for the afternoon.

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HusBon decides he’d like to go for a run down to the lighthouse and back. He insisted that I take the baby in the stroller for a walk and meet him at our local favorite restaurant a mile from the house, and we could walk back home together. I was not interested. In. The. Slightest. But, being the sweet wife that I am, I went upstairs to change into something suitable for walking in the Okinawa heat at high noon. I brought the baby outside and put her in her stroller. I put the diaper bag in the stroller. I got my headphones from the car. My husband mocked my headphones, “why are you going to wear those earmuffs? What are those, beats by Dre?” I rolled my eyes and went back in my gym bag in the car to get earbuds. I put the buds in my ears and reach into the stroller pocket for my phone.

Wait a minute. Not there. Where IS my phone?

Run back inside and check the couch. Nope. Run back outside and check the diaper bag, my wallet, under the baby, in the stroller cushions. Back inside to look on the kitchen table, in the laundry room, in the baby’s room, in my bedroom. No, no, nope, and no. What the eff. At this point, I just leave for the restaurant, figuring I didn’t look closely enough because I was rushing. I’ll find it when I get home.

I walk silently down to the Whale in the 90 degree heat, feeling a little nervous. What if I need my phone? What if HusBon gets hurt on his run and needs to call me? I quiet the crazy for a while and just enjoy the walk, mind wandering. I make it to the Whale without incident, and the baby is passed out in her stroller. I sip a beer and wait for Mark to show up, which he does shortly, sweating profusely and in need of a “recovery beverage” or two. We sit outside on the little patio, under an umbrella, and relax for a while, having fun with the baby once she wakes up.

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Once the baby enters close-to-meltdown mode, I leave and head home. Once I’m home and showered again, I look for this damn phone. WHERE IS IT?! About an hour later, I load the baby into the car and fetch my husband. We drive to the grocery store for a few things. We come home and look for the phone. The baby eventually goes to bed. We look for the phone. We light some sparklers after dark. I stop looking for the phone. I’m sure I’ll find it in the morning.

I do NOT find it in the morning. I drive to Family Mart for iced coffee to fuel my tearing apart of the house. No luck then, or in  the afternoon. Mark turns the couch upside down and looks inside the frame. We sweep up the dog hair that was collected under the couch. No phone. He asks if it was possible I put it on the top of the car. I scoff, saying I don’t put things on the car roof because I am afraid I’d forget them and drive off. I lament my mom brain situation to a couple girlfriends on Facebook Messenger. Everyone assures me I will find it, since it has to be somewhere in the house. It doesn’t show up on the FindIphone App. It’s a lazy day for me and the baby because I feel unsettled not knowing where the phone is. It has over 4,000 pictures and 230 videos saved on it. Mostly of the baby. Not everything is backed up.

We make a trip to the grocery store in between the baby’s naps. I worry and rifle through things I’ve already completely turned upside down in my search. I let the dog out to go the bathroom and stand at the window, holding the baby on my hip so she can watch him sniff around the yard. I look at my car. Something catches my eye.

YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME.

I run outside and pull my stupid iPhone off the roof of my car. It has rained a total of 5 times since yesterday when I must have put it on top of the car when I switched my headphones for earbuds. I have driven the car to pick up my husband, twice to the grocery store, and once to Family Mart. I text my friend to tell her I found it, and she responds, “I dropped my phone weird a week ago and needed to get a new one. Yours goes on a wet and wild road trip and nothing happens.” I am lucky for sure.

In all seriousness, I do not remember putting the phone on the car. I don’t remember picking it up to bring it outside. I am on auto-pilot for so much of my day, it’s ridiculous. Usually the “mom brain” doesn’t matter. No one gets hurt if I make coffee and have to reheat it over and over because I keep forgetting it in the microwave. It’s not a big deal if a load of laundry happens to stay in the washer all day and needs an extra rinse cycle before it hits the dryer. Who cares if I have to keep restarting a movie because I get distracted by Instagram and keep missing what happens in the first five minutes? But this could have been awful. I could have lost some of my most precious pictures and videos of my little girl. I am so happy I found it; I’m so happy it still works; I’m just happy, happy, happy. Hopefully, I will be more mindful in the future, but I doubt it. You can’t fix mom brain, unfortunately.