It’s a no-shower Sunday and I’m sitting in bed listening to Sam’s congested little chest, watching both Rocky IV and Gannon looking out the window at the still snowy ground and realized the last time I put my words to paper (electronic paper) was on my 32nd birthday. A birthday where I marveled at the beauty of my life and felt thankful that while things hadn’t fully turned out as I expected them to, I was still a very happy person who knew life was full of beautiful things. Unbeknownst to me, the girl who wrote that blog about her “missing” children was just about 10 days pregnant. I wrote about accepting that I may have to wait a little longer for the things I desired, but I knew that in due time, God would bring them to me. In my faith, I’ve always believed that God hears and acknowledges the desires of your heart. Since I was younger, specifically since my youngest sister was born, I’ve always known I wanted to be a mother. Perhaps God heard that prayer louder and with more urgency than the one where I state I want to be a wife. I acknowledge all too often that I’m just not good at relationships – in them, for reasons I’ve never been truly able to understand or explain, I feel threatened and lost. I want so badly to care for another person that I don’t let them care for me and in turn, I have a way of shutting out whoever I’m with. I panic at the idea that someone really could love and accept me for who I am. I’ve said out loud in my adult years that maybe it would just be easier to be on my own and have a child by myself than find the right man to raise a family with. Like I said, maybe God heard these prayers louder than he heard others.
Each day with Sam is a discovery of new things. I’ve never been so afraid as when I saw the numbers on the digital thermometer rise above 100 when he was just four (4) weeks old. Not ever do I feel as much joy as I do when he smiles at me. When I hold him and he falls asleep, I wonder if we would all sleep better in someone’s arms than we would curled up in a ball on our sides. When I feed him, I’m amazed that this little person is growing and has doubled his size based solely on what comes from my body. When I go to bed at 8:00 on a Friday night, there’s not an inch of my being that is sad I’m not outside the walls of our condo. Yes, I still crave and appreciate adult contact – girls dinners, book club, conversations with my friends, each day at work. But truthfully, I feel a sense of peace in being home with him and living life as Sam’s mom that escaped me before.
While life with Sam is fulfilling and happy, I’m far from figuring it all out. As I’m getting to know Sam, I’m also getting to know his dad. It’s not easy. He doesn’t live close and I’m trying so hard to learn how to co-parent with someone I really don’t know all that well while just trying to learn how to parent in general. He loves Sam and as much as he can be, is there and will be there for him. I know his intentions are good, but how do you trust someone you really don’t know much about? How do you just believe that things are going to work out and that he also trusts that I am doing the best I can raising his child from hundreds of miles away? How well do you need to know each other while maintaining some boundaries knowing you’re not a couple? When I try in my cloudy mind to navigate how to do this, I’m so clueless. It’s one thing to marry, have a child and divorce. It’s another to say hello knowing you’ll say goodbye and then end up in a relationship for at least 18 years with someone you planned on never seeing again. There are no books on this one… it goes back to the Golden Rule – “Treat Others The Way You Wish To Be Treated.” I can admit it’s difficult in sometimes testy conversations to not let pride get in the way and to remember there’s a 10-week old who will benefit from whatever positive relationship we as his parents create. I question myself constantly – do I text too much or not enough? If his dad stays with us, will it give Sam some kind of false hope of a normal family life that lasts longer than 2-3 days every month or so? Or if it’s all he ever knows, will that not matter? Who takes him to Disney? Will Sam feel sad that he may not have a dad around like his friends or cousins do? Did I do Sam any disservice by choosing to raise him this way? Can I on a day-to-day basis provide this little guy with enough to suffice until I inevitably meet the right person to share my life with, who with respect for Sam’s dad can step into the role of day-to-day father? I don’t know. I know God is helping me figure it out and I know that as long as I have to, I’ll do the best I can to give him everything he needs – I can teach him how to throw a baseball. I’ll take him to football games. Family is not always clear-cut or easily defined. But for us, the only word that does seem to fit is the only one that matters – love.