Bringing Up Baby

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I have lists. Lists of bloggers whose words I visit for specific purposes — when I need a tip, when I need to cry, when I need to laugh.

And when I need to take a deep breath of calm, I visit, Michelle, the amazing writer at this little light and today’s featured blogger. If you have not read Michelle’s words, please read on and then visit her at her place, where she embraces the joy in the every day.

When I first read the words below, I felt tearful and inspired. I had chills as I read. So many of her words stick with me and have popped into my day-to-day. Michelle captures the essence of how we all grow as we raise our humans. And I am thrilled to host her here as my first Raising Humans guest.

~~~~~

I waited so long for that kid.

So. Ridiculously. Long.

You would have thought that when he arrived, I would have been completely prepared for this motherhood thing.

baby sleeping

Sure, the nursery was ready. I’d done as much nesting as a bird on bed rest could do. We had the crib and the diapers, the changing table and the pretty “tree” wall-cling from Pottery Barn Kids. And we’d already decided on a name, though these days I mostly call him Bug.

And yet, I was so far from knowing what was about to happen to me, my life, my Type A-ed-ness, that I look back now and laugh.

The kind of laugh that doubles you over and makes you cross your knees for added security.

Before The Boy was born, my husband and I went through a period of time when longing for a child was our foremost emotion.
It eclipsed all else.

Whenever I looked around and laid eyes on new moms and their sweet-smellin’, soft-pink-and-blue little babies, it all seemed picture-perfect. Effortless. Friends never mentioned how hard it was at times—how much of a metamorphosis going from woman to mother might be—and that ignorance made the wanting so much more difficult to bear.

My first inkling that personal growth was involved in child-rearing came one afternoon when, in response to perhaps a comment I’d made or the sad doe-eyed look I was throwing her way, my sister-in-law held my young niece and told me “It’s not all perfect, you know. Sometimes there’s s*&t on the ceiling.”

And she meant it. Literally. {Though she couldn’t quite explain how it got there.}

Until that moment, I’d envisioned parenting as a pretty straightforward and simple job: baby needs clothes, so you clothe baby. Baby needs milk, so you feed baby. Baby needs cuddling, so you cuddle baby.

Oh, but of course, it’s so much more.

Raising another human is the ultimate gift of service.

Your child is born with a personality and charms and quirks. He may be so like you in some ways, and so not in others, and knowing how to nurture what’s positive and correct what truly needs correcting—and not just what goes against your grain—might not come naturally. Sometimes the situation and its answer are black and white, and sometimes your next steps aren’t as clear without a little self-reflection.

My caring for Matt went beyond keeping his little body warm, his belly full, and his mind and soul filled with all that’s pure and joyful and lovely. It involved my setting my own demands—and sometimes my personality—aside in deference to what was best for him.

I don’t mean not caring for myself: I continued to shower, wear outfits I liked, and had coffee with the girls. I mean going beyond what was often not the most natural choice for me: playing sometimes instead of folding the laundry, slowing down so he could take it all in as opposed to racing to get somewhere, allowing him to mess up and do his thing and make mistakes without hovering nervously over him, frantically searching for order among the chaos that could only help him learn.

It hasn’t always been easy for me, but of course, pushing myself beyond my own comfort zone has always been worth it.
In the years that have passed since Matt’s debut that beautiful June day, I have watched my son grow from a newborn to a toddler to a boy.

And he’s watched me grow, too.

From a young gal who once underestimated all that parenting would entail … to the mom who knows exactly what a challenge and an honor it can be.

~~~~~

guestpost_this_little_light_michelle_photoMichelle Colasante is a girl, a wife, a mom, and an extreme coffee lover, who blogs at this little light : embracing the joy in the everyday. At TLL, her goal is twofold. One is to shine a light on all those small daily wonders we so easily overlook as life’s big dramas play out. {She’s the first to admit, though, that she’ll occasionally ramble on about life’s little annoyances, too.} The second is to provide encouragement, support and resources for those who’ve experienced the loss of a child through miscarriage or stillbirth.

She’d love for you to stop by

6 Comments

  1. Just so proud to be here, Tricia…thank you!
    michelle @ this little light recently posted..Watching Them Grow at Raising HumansMy Profile

  2. How touching! Thanks for sharing…did you ever read Kelle Hampton’s blog? She’s also an amazing writer. (BTW found you on SITS!)
    Suzanne recently posted..Back To School OrganizationMy Profile

  3. Man, this was like reading a page of my own diary! Thank you so much for sharing with us!
    Shirley recently posted..What I Did Today (Or Yesterday?)My Profile

  4. I make a point to telling soon-to-be-mom’s that they ARE going to cry, on their babies heads, from pure exhaustion. They may think I’m mean now, but I was so grateful when one of the other mom’s said, “Oh Honey! Everyone does!” when I bemoaned what a rotten mother I was, because who would cry on their babies head? I needed reality given to me by someone who’d made it out the other end and was not only happy, but had a living healthy child to show for it (I swear I thought my baby’s life expectancy was very slim if left solely up to me).

    Oddly enough I’m turning into a Type A from Sooo Totally Laid Back…
    :)
    In from SITS
    Student Mom (Jenn) recently posted..Tro Fuel and Toe Food.My Profile

  5. I really enjoyed this and I couldn’t agree more.
    Becoming a mother is the greatest gift in the world.
    Lovely guest post.
    Susan recently posted..Friday Fancies : Ice Cream DreamMy Profile

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