Sunday, September 27, 2009


When the first of my friends to have kids was expecting his first child he said to me, "When people tell you about negative things about having kids they are very specific: morning sickness, the painful labor, the sleepless nights, colic, changing diapers. But when it comes to the positive aspects they are very vague: 'It's wonderful; it will change your life.'" Truthfully, expecting a baby was terrifying, labor makes every athletic endeavor I've ever done look like a joke, and taking care of Benjamin the first 3 months made any training I've ever done look easy.

I don't expect to blog much about my family life. I don't want to spend a lot of time complaining. There isn't much enlightening I can say that hasn't been said before. I don't want to spend a lot of time bragging. It's hard not to, I'm a very proud Mama, and I'm a competitive person, but this is one area where I think competitiveness is ugly and would hurt Benjamin and my friendships with other Moms. I also want to respect Benjamin's privacy. I always run my posts that mention Raybon by him before I hit publish, but I can't do that with Benjamin. But I thought I'd at least make an attempt to articulate what is so wonderful about being a Mom.

1. Having somewhere to pour all my love into. I love my husband, and I love my other family and friends, but I think even Raybon might take out a restraining order against me if I ever poured as much of myself into him as I put into Benjamin. Benjamin wants and needs it. I don't mean to demean my own marriage or romantic love in general, but for all those women who wonder why they sometimes love too fast or too much, it makes a lot more sense that your heart works that way when you have a baby. Love at first sight for a baby is unquestionably a wonderful thing. You feel like an idiot when you change who you are for a man, but you absolutely have to do it for your child.

2. Babies are pure. Some may think this isn't good Christian theology (others might be fine with it), I know, but I believe Benjamin is absolutely innocent. He has no knowledge of good and evil, and thus can do no wrong. And having no knowledge of good or evil, he never judges me either.

3. He is so incredibly real. I hate when people say that a baby's smile is just gas. FYI, everyone, the scientific evidence shows the contrary. He smiles with his whole face. His joy is all consuming, so is his sorrow. He is also wise in a way that most of adults have lost touch with. He knows my real smiles from my fake ones. I can't fake my happiness when I'm tired, but when I realize that he isn't asking me to, I find a real smile under the fake one.

4. It's wonderful to watch him grow and develop. He is so incredibly alert, bright, and curious. He loves listening to people talk. He enjoys looking around at new things to observe and reach out and touch. He looks pleased and proud when he is able to do something new. He loves being read to. Last night I read to him for a half an hour, and he was focused the whole time. I had no idea that babies had so much desire to learn and grow all on their own. While Benjamin's development is important to me, I hope I never hurt him by pushing him too hard. So far, just figuring out ways to help him follow his bliss is working out just as well.

5. Being a Mom is getting to be fun, not just hard work. We laugh together and goof off. They say to limit visitors when a baby is first born, and I can understand part of the reason why. I could never be as sponteaneous in front of even my closest friends in the same way I can be with Benjamin. He laughs so easily when I'm silly, but I'd be too self-conscious to be that way in front of anyone else.

Anyway, I know that wasn't poetic or thorough or articulate, and I feel like he deserves much more. I can't put my heart and love into words, and I feel like it should fill a whole book, but I'll leave it at that.

Friday, September 25, 2009

My Son

"...God heard me, heard my heart, and gave me the one thing that's ever worked in my entire life, someone to love." - Anne Lamott, Operating Instructions