“WATCH OUT!!!” I yelled.
My heart stopped 2 beats as I watched my 3 month old dangle off the bed frame. It was a 2.5 foot drop to the floor. My Mother In Law spun around and grabbed her in time. I was breathing heavily rapidly. I wanted to pull my hair out. I wanted to grab something and shake it hard. I wanted to scream and cry. All through the day and into the night, flashes of the incident constantly replayed in my mind. “What if she had fallen off and fractured her skull? What if she had twisted her neck and died? What if she became permanently damaged?” went on and on like a broken record.
That night for the first time, Lia kept crying incessantly. It wasn’t like her. She’d usually fall asleep in 20 minutes, but tonight she was howling for no apparent reason. She wasn’t sickly, she wasn’t uncomfortable, she was sleepy for sure.
What was going on?
After 2 hours she finally surrendered and fell asleep after some really hard rocking. Still, she’d wake up occasionally and continue sobbing. I lay down beside her, events from the afternoon still replaying in my head. Maybe she’s disturbed like I am. Maybe she’s disturbed by me. Maybe she senses my internal chaos and upset. I had to let this go, move on. I was still holding on to the shock when I didn’t need to. I was still holding on to blame for my MIL. The truth is, nothing happened in reality, but the story continued in our heads (My MIL was still blaming herself).
I’m living in a past that’s passed, and a future that isn’t happening.
Soon, Lia fell peacefully asleep and didn’t wake until her next feed.
I was bathing Lia today and found myself looking forward to the convenience that comes when Baby is able to sit up on her own. Lia is still 4 months and flops around, requiring support and the art of 1-hand bathing. “Then I’d be able to play with her, I’d be able to do more during her bath time with her” I rationalized.
I was living in the future.
I suppose its normal to look forward to who our children would grow up to become, how life would be different (or easier), how much more freedom we’d be able to enjoy, or simply being able to do the things we’re not able to do right now.
Later that night, it took me some time to fall asleep. I wanted to hug something. I wanted to hug her. I watched her sleeping soundly in her cot on my left. How I wished I could hug her to sleep. I missed the days we’d both fall asleep with her on my chest. She hates that now. She’ll squirm and protest. Sigh, “all grown up at 4 months old now” I lamented.
Here I was now living in the past.
You know what though? I have no regrets. I have had profound moments with her sleeping on me when she was just a few weeks old. I’d look down at her. One day, I thought, she’d no longer fit on my chest. One day further down the road, she’d probably cringe at the idea of hugging me.
The here and now with her moved me to tears.
“Better stay here with her now where she needs me,” in the present, not the past, not the future. I want to have a future with no regrets, and that thought often brings me back cherishing what we have going now, even if it’s 1-handed baths.
Every moment with baby is a Choice; a Choice to be present to who she is at this moment, what she’s experiencing, and who I am for her. Thoughts of 1001 other things that require my attention bombard me and pull me away from staying present to baby. These temptations and distractions force me to constantly reevaluate if I want to focus my 100% on her, or if I’d rather be doing something else. So far I seem to pick the former more because work or surfing Instagram can wait, but blink, and you’ll miss witnessing Life taking place.