Oscar is two months old today, and God only knows where those photo op stickers are for his chest (sorry, Mom) – must have gotten lost in the holiday hustle & bustle, along with any remaining shred of vanity, sanity, and all sense of time.
I read a headline this morning that claimed it’s “colder than a crater on Mars here in Minnesota today,” so it’s just my luck that I’m out of coffee. I haven’t showered since Tuesday and my clothing choices for the day waver between the grey robe, the white robe and/or the comforter. I’ll survive though. I’ve got some honey for my black tea and the warmth of a sleeping babe on my chest. I’ve also cranked the thermostat to 75 in an effort to regulate the heat differential between upstairs and downstairs; what can I say? It’s a drafty old house. To hell with prudence.
I go back to work in 12 days and I can hardly stand it. I feel like I’m just getting to know Oscar. And I like him. A lot. I know that might sound silly – of course I’m going to like my kid – but I mean it. He’s got a funny little personality and I enjoy spending time with him. Most of the time he’s pretty easy going and handles being put on hold fairly well, which, unfortunately, happens quite a bit when Dylan is around. Only in his face is he prone to skepticism – furrowing his brow and narrowing his eyes – but he’s also quick to smile. In fact, I was fighting the urge to nod off with him in my arms last night when I opened my eyes and caught him staring at me in the darkness, grinning ear to ear. What have I done to deserve that beautiful smile, I wondered? I was in between moments of wakefulness, barely even paying attention to him and there he was, lying in my arms, full of adoration for me. It makes me feel unworthy and fearful one minute, but filled with gratitude and devotion the next. It is when faced with such enormous responsibility that I have to work hard to still the stirring in my chest as waves of doubt and anxiety begin to rise; I look ahead and worry about how we will raise them and if we will make the right decisions. I worry there isn’t enough time for me to learn all the things I still need to learn to know what the hell I’m going to do or say when the time comes for a parent to do or say something meaningful. Mostly, I fear their teenage years, and the heaps of hypocrisy from my own past I’ll have to wade through in order to keep them on the straight and narrow…
But that kind of thinking can get overwhelming. So for the time being, I’ll just hold him close to soak in his smell and nuzzle his soft, soft cheeks (finally – the baby acne has subsided!). I’ll relish the smiles and take comfort in the notion that the passage of time could merely be an illusion; hence this phase of parenting known as “the longest, shortest time.” And, when I return to work in 12 days, I’ll do so with the knowledge (thanks to those smiles, those reaching fingers and grasping mouths) that two sweet little boys await my return home as eagerly as I do.