Happy Birthday to Cal.

When they held Cal out to me we cried. Curt cried an ugly cry because the baby had red hair

like his mom.

There was confusion in the operating room because they couldn’t locate the on call doctor to help remove my ovary. The anesthesiologist counted down the minutes to my doctor and I wiggled my toes and felt them.

Almost forty five minutes later, they wheeled me back to my room and a tornado touched down. Somewhere near by.

I waited almost two hours for my baby.

He had red hair, white hair on his face, and pointy ears. He was a funny looking baby and looked like a hobbit. The white t-shirt kept falling off his shoulders and his nose was smushed up between his eyes…like a silly scowl.

He didn’t latch and he didn’t poop but his jaundice stayed stable enough to come home three days later. Finn was indifferent and the nights were so hard and I was sad. So sad.

The first year and a half of Cal’s life simultaneously slipped away from me and hit me in the face. All at once. Every day. I couldn’t get comfortable. Hated myself. Hated my husband. Became obsessed with shopping and my nipples bled over and over because Cal never latched correctly.

It got worse before it got better. Doesn’t it always?

And I don’t recognize that person anymore. I’m sitting in my kitchen and my funny boy is in bed. It’s the night before his third birthday.

Three. We’ve grown up a lot, he and I.

He talks with an accent. A high pitched drawl. He asks everyone on the trail, “How your day?” “What your name?” “What your dog name?” The little old ladies smile and say, “Well aren’t you a social one?”

He has none of the intensity that my oldest does. He refuses to draw, refuses to help cook unless I give him a butcher knife and a potato, and he still asks to be rocked to sleep.

His eyebrows are so blond. Transparent. If you squint you can see his eyelashes.

He is loud and jabs the grass, the tree, dirt, plants with a stick. He cries for food and steals my fork to eat salad.

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He pees for treats and plays naked and he is truly a joy.

I feel so much guilt when I think about the mom who parented Cal in the beginning. She wasn’t great but I know now that she did the best she could.

Cal is my last kid. The last baby I will ever nurse or potty train or strap in a five point harness. He is, my last three year old.

Some days I’m okay with that but birthday eves are always emotional. Since I became a Mother, birthday eves leave me feeling a little lost. I want so badly to have the right words to describe Motherhood and my kids and the passing of time…but I always fall short.

Motherhood is spending an hour holding that funny looking baby¬†propped up on your knees so you can see his small scrunched up face while obsessing about the things you SHOULD be doing. It’s joy and sadness at the same time. Motherhood is wishing you could have it all again, every second, from the beginning, while at the same time cursing the repetitiveness of daily life. It is celebrating bedtime while missing the warmth of a red haired baby on your chest.

 

 

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