It takes a surprising amount of courage to admit you don’t have the happiest baby in the world. In fact, for the last two and a half months I’ve refused to leave the house because I didn’t want anyone else to know that my child was a complete mess. He spent every day screaming at the top of his lungs for all but about 20 minutes. Well here I am, humbled, and ready to admit that we most definitely do not have the happiest baby alive. My patience has been challenged by the 3-hour-straight screaming episodes that occur multiple times a day, and my joy for motherhood has been put on hold while I’ve used every ounce of energy to keep Zachary content for at least 10 minutes at a time.
Let me explain… it took us about 4 months to figure out that this intense screaming (all day long) wasn’t due to the fact that “some babies are just really fussy” (which is what the doctor had been telling us), it was because this poor little boy suffers from a severe dairy and soy intolorence. When I say “severe”, I mean SEVERE! He was fighting stomach cramps and digestive problems day in and day out while I drank gallon after gallon of milk. A huge part of my decision to not go back to work was influenced by the fact that this baby I cared so much about, couldn’t be consoled. I couldn’t comprehend leaving him with someone else knowing that he would be screaming the entire day.
These “episodes” have defined me for the last 4 and a half months, but, one thing I know, is that God makes sure every chapter of my life has a purpose. About 2 weeks after I made the decision to not go back to work, Zachary was diagnosed with an intolerance to soy and dairy. Once I removed all soy and dairy from my diet we had a whole new baby. So, for the past month, God has given me a chance to stay at home with this new baby. This wonderfully happy, talkative, expressive, and bright-eyed baby that fills my heart with a whole new love every day! Don’t get me wrong, he still isn’t the world’s happiest baby, but he sure is a whole lot better!
Life is now getting a little easier and I am now getting a chance to breath. I am finding purpose in this chapter and am realizing how intentional God’s plan for me staying home is. It goes beyond being able to spend every day with my son. It’s becoming about me. I look back at the person I was before I had Zachary and I don’t even recognize her. Not only was I consumed by a job that demanded more of me than I’d ever care to admit, I spent all my time rushing forward instead of living in the moment. I felt like life was a race and that I had to stay in first place.
So now that I’ve had a chance to slow down, I realize how precious life is and know that it’s okay to sit still for a while. As I’m sitting still, I’m learning more about my marriage, I’m building a deeper relationship with my family, I’m intensifying my faith in God, and most importantly, I’m discovering myself. I am starting to find joy in the simple things in life.
For instance, last night I rocked Zachary for an entire hour after he fell asleep. He will never remember that hour, and I will never forget it. I can take my time, go slow, and enjoy life. When Zachary’s graduating from high school, I can close my eyes and remember these moments. I can remember nursing him, rocking him, watching him smile at me while saying “boo” (for the 80th time in a row), dancing with him, and just being with him every day. I am pretty sure I have yet to go an entire 24-hours without taking a picture of him. The thing that I am enjoying most, is that he knows me. He’s starting to realize when he’s not in my arms and he looks for me. The fact that I am his and he is mine, is now what defines me. I am a mother, I am a wife, I am a daughter, I am a sister, I am an auntie, I am a granddaughter, and I am a child of God.
More importantly, I am not stressed, I am not too-busy for a phone call, I am not over-worked, I am not over-committed, I am not tired, I am not missing my child grow up, I am not a surface friend, and I am not taking life for granted.
I believe that, because of God’s perfect design for me, I do not have the happiest baby in the world. What I do have, is an extraordinarily simple life.