Moms, raise your hand if you thought childbirth was hard.
Okay, all of you. Great. Now go ahead and put your hands down.
No really, Bradford's mom, I saw your hand. I still see your hand. I get it. Your child birth experience was very hard. Probably harder than all of ours. You can put your hand down.
Now raise your hand if you thought bringing your baby home from the hospital and living those first three to five days with a newborn was actually even harder than birth itself.
Right. Most of us.
Okay so childbirth is difficult. I think -no matter what type of birth you had or if your baby was early or overdue or if your baby was large or premie - most childbirth stories have one common thread = difficulty.
But... then you look at that face. You look into those eyes. You smell them after their first bath. You marvel the ever-loving-hell out of how they grasp your finger when you feed them and that pain... wait -what pain?
Oh yeah, that birth pain.. kinda lessens - right?
Like oh maybe that wasn't so bad because look at that little nose. I could possibly even do this again (in three to five years.)
Thennnnnnnn you go home. Home sweet home where there are no helpful nurses and no beds that recline. Just a boat-load of stairs, (who the hell decided to buy a house with stairs again?!?!) danger lurking around every corner, a dog that is starved for attention topped with a revolving door of company. Combine all of that with the constant care of an ultra tiny human that you actually HAVE NOT A FLIPPING CLUE HOW TO HANDLE and suddenly this home care stuff makes that birthing piece look like a walk in the park.
Soon, however, you start to get into a groove. You figure out things and your baby's personality starts to emerge and then... what do ya know? Those first few days = not so bad. In fact, you might even be convinced to do them again (in three to five years) just so you can sit and marvel at the human you created.
So, all of this said, can you imagine how it might feel to say goodbye to that human after 18 years of day-to-day getting-to-know-you trivia?
If your answer was something along the lines of LIKE A VISE GRIP SQUEEZING YOUR LEFT AORTA WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY GETTING KICKED BY A MULE IN YOUR RIGHT LUNG - then you would be correct. That is, exactly what it's like.
But Dear Mamas, that pain is not what I'm here to discuss today. That pain is something you must do and so you will. Just like childbirth. Just like the first three to five days at home. You did what needed to be done.
I'm here to talk to all you mama's who DID, in fact, repeat that birthing process three to five years later. Those of you who will say goodbye to your child and still have to process the care of your child's brothers and sisters, pull it together, Girlfriend this game is going into overtime.
That's right - for as hard as goodbye day is - it is not the end of the game. And I know - you're tired. You've played and raised and grounded and praised your heart out for all four quarters of getting that child through the baby years, toddler years and school years and you just need this game to be over already.
But crack your knuckles and tighten your ponytail babe, overtime starts now.
Those other siblings - no matter their age - they're looking at you. They too, are navigating a broken ship. They too are left feeling overwhelmed when they see their big brother's empty room that night or their big sister's empty bed across from theirs. They too are on a new course now and it's up to you to show them how to do it.
It's okay to cry. It's okay to let them see you cry. (For Heaven's sakes do NOT be one of those parents who makes their children feel like it's never okay to cry. Crying is cathartic, you Jackweed!) But it's also necessary to smile, laugh, joke, make dinners, watch movies, order pizzas and go about life in a way that let's them know this is the new normal.
This is how you roll.
Come on Mama - you did not repeat that birthing/newborn care process to fail them now.
This post is my huddle pep talk to you. This is your water break, slap-in-the-butt now-get-off-that-bench-and-go-get-'em hoo-rah that you're going to need.
Courtesy of yours truly.
Now dig deep and be the fearless leader of your pack that I know you are. Make me proud. Better yet, make your kids proud. Because they're still watching and learning as you go.