Some days are a little easier or harder than the others specifically when raising a child. Many times we just coast through the days, maneuvering the little bumps and twists and turns that come with the greatest of ease and drop at the end of it with a little more knowledge than we started with and a little more appreciation for the little lives we have been given charge over. Then there are days when nothing is easy. We burn the toast, we spill the coffee, we leave for work without said coffee (only to realize 10 minutes into our commute that it’s sitting on the kitchen counter…), technology at the office isn’t working, we miss lunch and end up eating a bag of chips instead, and the whole drive home with mascara goop in the corner of our eyes, a wrinkled shirt and flat hair we think of our little people at home who can’t wait to greet us when we walk in the door. That is, until they see you, run to the other parent or child care provider and refuse to to even look at you, much less smile at you or welcome you home in any way. <sigh>
You spend the evening doing laundry, picking up snacks left all over the house, giving baths and then finally it’s time for bed. Yeah right. The battle of wills between a full grown adult and a toddler at bedtime should be what they make movies about, not WWII or the fall of the Roman Empire. Those little unreasonable, diabolical, sassy faced and mouthed little ones can give even the fiercest competitor a run for their money. But when their eyes finally close and they settle in next to you and they fall asleep, they are the most beautiful little angels in the universe. We parents are hopefully able to go sleep soon after and get ready for the next day, stirring once in a while to check on our sleeping cherubs and comment on how beautiful they are.
The guilt that plagues me as a mom of a NICU survivor is not more than or stronger than that of a mom of healthy from the start kiddos. But I will argue that it is different. The moments of guilt over whether or not I did enough or too much when I was pregnant or while she was in the NICU growing healthy lung tissue so she could breath on her own. The moments of wondering if I should be working with her more or harder or smarter or whatever to get her to catch up on her development that she had missed those first four months. The moments of pure joy when she does all the things they are supposed to at their age. The realization that she HAS caught up. Yes, maybe the talking isn’t coming as quickly as it may with other kids, but that’s just the thing, no one kid follows the “guidelines” exactly to a t. And while my daughter may not be saying a lot of words yet, or sentences, I can feel her taking it all in. Absorbing language and preparing herself for a deluge of talking right around the corner. Other kids at her age may have been saying “dog, cat, cookie…” but my daughter is waiting until she’s good and ready to start a discussion about music or movies, or her family or possibly why the squirrels in the neighborhood need us to focus on climate change a little bit more. My little one is saving her language skills for the important stuff.
So, I will enjoy the few days I have left before every other sentence uttered starts with “why?” and I will enjoy the game of trying to figure out what she wants from points and squeals. I will bask in the little moments where all she needs to say is “mama” when she reaches out for a hug, all the while knowing that her brain is gathering up the courage to unleash the verbal storm that is brewing. I tell everyone that this pandemic has been brutal for everyone other than Luna Bell and it remains true. She is making such huge strides and I’m excited to share the biggest one with you in the next few weeks.
Some days, as a parent, it doesn’t feel like you are doing anything right, and then out of the blue the biggest steps get made. The sun shines brighter, colors are brighter, progress is made and and everything is right. You remember to take the coffee you made to work, you get a lunch and the toast turns out perfect. You make it home with hair still looking fresh, make up in tact and your tiny angel-chid is still napping (we won’t talk about how she woke up at 3:30am ready to play and didn’t go back to sleep until long after I went to work) and you actually get to finish the blog post you started two weeks ago! Some days you have remember and save for the rainiest, cloudiest, bullshitty-ist days. Some days.