I said something recently that I really regret. I was on the phone with my mom, moaning about my daughter’s sleep regression and feeling really sorry for myself. After my start back at work two weeks ago, life has been tiring and complicated, due in large part to the fact that I’ve only been sleeping for a few hours at a time. My husband and I have been taking turns waking up with the baby and resettling her, but between the two of us we have gotten up a dozen times some nights. Anyway, I said something to my mom like, “Everyone says babies are such a joy. Well I’m still waiting for that part.”
I was upset and under the influence of exhaustion and frustration and was mostly being sarcastic, but still… I cringe.
Perspective. My grandmother passed away last week following several days in the hospital and many months of illness. It was and is a difficult time for my family, especially my mom, who pretty much camped out at the hospital. During those days, we talked and texted a lot more than usual. When the conversation wasn’t about my grandmother’s condition, it was about the baby. My mom needed comfort and distraction.
She frequently asked for pictures, wanted to know what baby girl was up to. She recounted things my dad had said she did when he babysat that week. We marveled over milestones she reached and reminisced about “when she was little.” I put baby girl on the phone so they could “talk.” She told me she couldn’t wait to have a “mini vacay” at our house. It was so cute, and I think it really helped her, made her feel happy – or at least provided a nice diversion – when things were very grim.
I used to think that the phrase “bundle of joy” was just a corny cliché, but at a time like this, it is clear to me that it is exactly what my daughter is. She is perfect and beautiful and special simply because she exists, and she brings joy to my family by doing nothing at all. Sleeping through the night is unimportant. Crying is so trivial. Blow-out diapers are a joke. These last few days I am finding it easier to be patient with her. I’m holding her tighter and studying her face longer. I am so thankful. She’s my – and my family’s – bundle of joy.