Shepherd. Oh Shepherd.
Lately you’ve been… less than awesome. Things have been hard for you and I’m sure you don’t fully understand why. Dad and I have some theories about what’s going on in your tiny baby brain, and mostly we think it’s about the addition of Valor. And maybe some molars coming in.
I think you’ve noticed that my arms are fuller than normal. And that I stay in bed longer and when I emerge, I’m holding a small creature. And I sit on the couch for hours at a time and just watch you playing instead of joining you, all the while that small creature is attached to me making weird noises. And that Dad has been doing almost everything with you, not both of us. And that when I am on the floor with you watching you play or I’m on the couch, there isn’t a ton of room for you to climb on me like you used to. And I’ve been telling you to be careful and “gentle” (whatever that means) whenever your big cloth diaper booty is near the small creature.
All this has resulted in you being really, really whiny. And clingy. And on a strike from your own sleeping space (read: you want to be in our bed, along with everyone else who lives here).
Now, normally I would say something along the lines of even though we’re in Thailand, we’re still Americans. And if I’ve learned anything about being an American, it’s that we do not negotiate with terrorists, so stop being one and get your crap together. I will not be shaken. These colors don’t run. Toby Keith. Something else patriotic.
However, I don’t think you’ve ventured into terrorism just for the sake of keeping us up more than the ACTUAL INFANT in the house. Like I said, Dad and I are pretty sure you’re having just really big feelings you don’t know how to process or deal with.
I think you’re scared there’s not enough love for you now. Not enough attention for you. Not enough Mom or Dad for both Shepherd and small creature.
I know it’s hard to understand right now, buddy, and trust me, I have my share of Mommy Guilt over this, but I am still your mom. Even though I’m slightly removed from the scene for the time being. There will, however, come a time when small creature (we’re working on saying “baby”) needs less time attached to mom and some space in my arms and on my lap will clear up again.
But, sweet Shep, no matter how full my arms are, there is always more than enough room for you in my heart. In fact, the addition of your brother, believe it or not, actually increased the amount of space I have for you in there. I thought I loved you like a crazy person before. It’s even more now, that crazy love I have for you.
I am still your mom. I will always be your mom, even if that looks different for a season.
One day, when you can process things and have actual conversations and maybe don’t poop in your pants, I will thank you. I will thank you because you were my first baby. You were the one who made me a mom and the one who taught me how to take care of a tiny, super new baby. And it’s because of you that I am able to take such good care of Valor. Maybe he will thank you one day too, assuming the same caveats of not pooping his pants and being able to speak apply.
We’re all working together to find a new rhythm- me, you and Dad. Valor doesn’t know what’s happening so he’s not much help in the “working” (or the “anything” for that matter) department. It’s tough now, but we’ll figure it out. And I am 85% positive you will come to the conclusion that there is enough love and attention and space to go around.
And that you will once again love your own bed.
And stop having meltdowns over everything.
Everything. Every. Single. Thing.
Shepherd, I love you. I love looking back at pictures from last Mother’s Day when you were a few weeks old and I was tired and worn out and sure I was doing everything wrong and thought you were broken (or about to be due to some massive mistake I was sure I was about to make). I was so insecure those first couple months in my mothering. But you changed that. You forced me to be sure and confident in the way I mothered. You needed a lot and drew a ton of attention to what you and I were doing (read: you cried many), and that forced me to grow a thick skin and lady balls and be able to confidently say, time and time again, “He’s actually fine, and I actually know what I’m doing.” or “No, he’s not hungry, he just wants to cry.” or “Yup, I know swaddling helps. If it would make him stop screaming, trust me, I’d do it.” and “Thank you so much for your unsolicited advice, random customer at Target. It’s so encouraging and helpful “. You didn’t help me with my sarcasm, but you made me able to not take everything so seriously. You helped me learn to go with the flow.
You made me the kind of mom I wanted to be before I was a mom.
You made me the kind of mom I’m proud to be.
So, Shepherd, happy You-Are-Partially-Responsible (only partially because really it was your dad and I ((and God)) who made this happen ((I’m talking about sex, but Dad says I’m not allowed to tell you about that until you’re much older, so ignore this))-For-Making-Your-Mom-A-Mom-Day.
Being your mom is the best job I have. And I love you more than words can say.
And, I promise, I will always be your mom. Even if there are tiny creatures around.