How is it possibly week 7 of Heidi’s little life already? I feel like I’ve been through the wringer, spit out on the other side, and now I’m feeling my arms and legs, completely shocked I made it out alive and in one piece (well….so far). It’s been everything (and also nothing) I expected.
If you’ve followed this blog, you’d know I began this journey pretty fearful. I was worried about being a good mom, about my life changing, about technicalities. What if I bought the wrong diapers, what if I cut her fingers as I clipped her nails, what if I failed to get her on a schedule, what if this went wrong and that went wrong? In fact, in the beginning I didn’t sleep much. That’s to be expected with a newborn, but it was mostly my fault and not Heidi’s! In fact, our first night home is a perfect, and kind of humorous, example of this.
That first night, we set up the pack ‘n play in our bedroom so she would be close by. It was about 11pm and we had finally gotten her to sleep. So I…ever so gently…laid her in the pack ‘n play, and I snuggled into our own bed with Cody. As I lay there, I realized how quiet it was….too quiet. I sat up and asked Cody, “Do you think Heidi is ok?” He replied of course she was; she was right there sleeping. But I couldn’t hear anything, meaning I couldn’t hear her breathing. So I swung out of bed and crept over to the pack ‘n play. I froze in the dark, waiting to here her little breaths. I didn’t hear a thing.
I put my head down right in front of her face, listening. Still nothing.
Panicky, I placed both hands on her small body, waiting for movement. I got movement alright. I startled her awake, and she began to cry a bit. I could almost HEAR Cody rolling his eyes in the dark. But she settled down quietly, if only for a few minutes, and I crawled back into bed. I started to cry. Cody asked me what was wrong, and I said, “I just don’t want anything to happen to her.”
She ended up not being able to go back to sleep, and she screamed nearly until dawn. Cody blames me for that one, and rightly so. We look back and laugh about it now. When we tell the story, he just shakes his head with that my wife is a nut job look on his face.
But even though it makes me giggle (who wakes up a newborn?? Honestly!), I still remember how I felt that night. Even though Heidi was right in my room, I felt so vulnerable having her outside of my body, open and exposed to whatever life (and God) chooses for her. It’s part of the cruelty, I am finding, of being a parent. And worse than worrying what will happen to her, I wonder what it will be like when she starts making choices for herself…choices I may not necessarily agree with.
I try not to waste time worrying about the future. I realize it’s pointless, and according to Scripture, it’s awful cocky of me to even talk about tomorrow because I’ve no idea what life will bring. But slowly, I am learning what having a daughter will do to us. What it’s doing to us:
- My prayer life has improved almost 100% (I was in a place where prayer was hardly a part of my daily life anymore). But praying for Heidi now is as natural as breathing.
- It’s also tough not to wake up smiling anymore. I wake up to her small cries at 5am, but as soon as I lean down and say “good morning, sweetheart,” she stops, grows quiet, and then a huge smile spreads across her face. That is the absolute BEST way to start the day…even moreso than my coffee.
- I’m learning to put her and my little family first. I’ve always had a lot of friends. I love to make plans and socialize and do things. But I’ve had to skip out on a lot, leave places early, and make sure Heidi gets fed and gets her rest. It’s her now before myself. This is really hard sometimes.
- Sacrifice….sacrifice…sacrifice. I joke (but am mostly serious) about how hard it is that I can’t do whatever I want anymore. It’s true. I miss being selfish. Like….so bad. Haha.
- Most things in life are starting to make more sense. My parents make more sense. All the things God our Father talks about in the Bible about wanting what’s best for His children make more sense. The redeeming and beautiful qualities of having a family, even though it’s messy and hard and sometimes makes you want to punch someone in the throat…makes more sense.
There will be lots more added to this list over the years. It’s interesting to see the changes taking place in us, and I want to write it all down.
Is she worried about her next meal? If she misses a nap? If she’s not on schedule, if she never makes friends, if I don’t match her clothes (ha)? No. She’s happy, enjoying the day, smiling at mommy, taking life in stride, and not worrying about the future. Granted, she’s not quite ABLE to do that yet, but it’s still refreshing nonetheless. God loves her much more than I do and His plans for her (and for us!) are good. I will trust that.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,
who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17