The other day Everett and I were playing in his little room before bedtime; it’s his favorite place in the house, complete with toys and a window he loves to look out of. He’ll stand on his highest tippy toes, saying “whassat?” (what’s that), when he gets tall enough to see the blooming trees outside.
There was this small moment–it only lasted a few seconds–when Everett and I looked at one another, and I couldn’t believe how old he was. It all of a sudden hit me.
I thought of the six month old baby I’d put in the stroller every day in the summer for walks, dressing him in a simple three button onesie. I thought about the mother I was then, still so marveled in the newness of motherhood. I’d push his stroller with a pride I had never felt before, feeling so accomplished to finally have my baby.
And as he continued to play, I started to cry.
I cried because he’s not that baby anymore. I cried because I’m not that mother anymore.
The butterflies feel like they’ve fluttered away. Is this normal, Mom? Or am I just a cold person now? Should I still feel giddy to be pushing a stroller or to have Everett in the grocery cart?
I don’t know.
I feel used to being a Mom now. And I don’t mean that I take it for granted. I don’t mean that I don’t love Everett any less. I don’t mean that I’m not happy being a mother. The thrills aren’t completely gone–I still light up when strangers comment on his curly hair or sweet disposition. I still get giddy when he tries to share his cracker with me (it’s SO cute). But something just feels different.
What I mean is that I’m comfortable now–I’m used to loving Everett.
And this sudden shift in my thinking has happened recently, I guess since he turned one years old.
When Chris and I first started dating, there was all that magic and newness and learning about one another. And then our relationship hit the stage where you could fart in the same bed or sit in silence in the car without any awkwardness. Even though some of the beginning sparks were gone, we had established something much more real and concrete.
When Everett was first born, I was so absolutely overwhelmed with love. It was exhilarating to love in such a way, and I can compare it to when Chris and I were in that “honeymoon” stage while dating.
But Everett’s love is different from what I share with my husband. I can’t really explain how, but I know that you and every other mother out there understands the difference.
I choose to love Chris. I choose to love him after our little arguments, I choose to love him when he makes me frustrated or continually leaves cups all over the house, with an inch of milk left in them. And by choosing him over and over, I am constantly reaffirming my commitment to him–the commitment I made at our wedding, under your willow tree and in front of our families.
I don’t choose to love Everett. My love just is, and it feels like the most natural thing in the entire universe.
But with the thrill and newness of my first baby’s first year over, am I normal to feel comfortable and established in the way that I love him? Should there always be those butterflies or is it okay for the routine of our every days to blend it all together? Will I feel all those same beginning delights with the next pregnancy?
Again, I don’t know. These are things I wish I could ask you.
I’ll leave you with this, a quote I saw and saved when Everett was just a newborn.
“I say to you my child, I will explain as much of life as I can, but you must remember that there is a part of life for which you are the explanation.”
Everett is still the answer for multiple parts of my life, if not just about everything. So I know that even though my love is shifting and changing and rearranging into a more realistic and steady phase, how I feel for my baby has not diminished, and it never will.