Thursday, February 4, 2016

Parenthood - The New Frontier

I realize that I haven't said a lot of positive things about parenthood yet. The first 3 months are a bit dicey as we move around in a sleep deprived state of adaption. It's all about survival. But as we arrive at the end of the 3 month stage, I wanted to share some thoughts I've had as I neared the end of my maternity leave and in the blurry mornings before work this week. Below is something that is uncharacteristically sappy - something I never quite pictured about myself - but it rings true just the same. I don't feel the radiating love or mush that some people talk about, but I feel this.

Knish has changed from a sleepy newborn to a giggling baby. So much change yet so much the same. She is still so new yet has always been here - as if our lives have been saving room for her. We are still learning how to listen to her, and how to comfort her, and how to make her giggle. But we're all getting better at living together.
From the very beginning, Knish will raise her left eyebrow from time to time. My mom did the same thing - with the baby pictures to prove it. When Knish does it, I see so much of my mother in her, and it's almost like a reassurance from beyond.

Knish's smile is infectious (what is it about baby smiles??). She can now recognize Hubs and me, and will smile when she sees us almost every time (that won't last long, I know). She smiles at toys and at nothing at all. Everything is wonderful and entrancing to her.

I'm back at work this week and I'm very lucky to have been home for so long (by American standards), but I'm still struck by how time can be so slow and so fast at the same time. Days full of tedium and endless new experiences. Knish is still so new to us yet she fits right into the family. I am amazed at the duality of every feeling - nothing is simply anymore. Complex feelings of love and guilt and freedom and dependency. 

And as much as I had wanted a baby, felt the achy love of what could be, it was still always hard to picture myself a mother. I never felt like my life was incomplete without a baby, much like I don't feel a different "completeness" now that she's here. I'm glad she's here and she's definitely ours. But there are some parenting cliches that are hard for me to identify with. And yet I am so amazed by this baby. From her neck rolls to her sweet yogurt breath; the way she sleepily looks at me and slowly recognizes me before smiling in the mornings; from her eyelashes to her Johnny Bravo cowlick. It's all so familiar and new and sweet.

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