When Jude was born I had no clue what I was doing. I had prepared, read a few books, and bought all the required items, but I had no idea what I was actually doing. The first night home from the hospital he cried every time, I put him down. My mom and I took turns staying awake holding him. At one point during the next 10 days, I was desperately trying to figure out how I was supposed to sleep and get up every few hours to nurse and stay awake while I nursed him. This just seemed impossible. I finally stumble upon the idea of Attachment Parenting and co-sleeping. That made all the difference in the world. I purchased a sling and co-sleeper. I carried J.D in a sling and nursed him on demand. At night I stayed awake for his midnight feeding and then off to sleep I went until 7 a.m. He nursed the night away when he wanted and I got some sleep.
J.D was in San Diego during this time. He was in Navy Seal training and had come for Jude’s birth and for 10 days at Christmas. From January to July I was in Las Vegas and J.D was in San Diego. I remember telling J.D about Attachment Parenting and co-sleeping. He said that was fine with co-sleeping, but he wasn’t comfortable with a baby in the bed and really Jude should be in his own crib.
I know had J.D and I stayed together I would not have been a very good mom. I was divided on trying to make him happy and put the needs of my son first. I remember J.D telling me when Jude was 3 months old that it seemed like I was more interested in the baby than in him. Um really? He told me he couldn’t wait for him and I to get back to how we were. I didn’t question that, thinking that somehow I could balance my son and my asshole husband.
When I moved to San Diego, he talked of buying a motorcycle. I asked how exactly that would work with our son. His solution was that he would ride the bike to work and then we could get a baby sitter for the weekends and take off on the bike. He wanted me to join a gym with him and start working out like we had done before Jude was born. Once again, I asked him how that was going to work. He said I could meet him at the gym when he got off work. I said, “So you will work until 5 or 6 and then we will meet at the gym and work out until 7 or 8 and then we go home and Jude goes to bed?” He said that sounded fine as Jude was a baby, and not likely to miss out or care.
No way would I have been able to spend time with my son and meet any of his needs had I stayed married to J.D. J.D had no concept of a child or putting anyone except himself first. At least once a day I am thankful my marriage imploded and I got the opportunity to be the best mom I can be.
My son likes the new vacuum cleaner that I bought. He asks to vacuum everyday. It completely makes me laugh seeing him decked out in his construction hat, and googles to vacuum. The protective gear is in case any dust should get in his eye or something fall on his head. He’s 5 and seriously just cracks me up.
I love that he is so helpful. We don’t call things chores, but contributions. He is part of a family and in this family we contribute. We discussed my contributions (rent, food, gas, clothes, toys, etc.) and his, keeping his room clean, putting away the silverware. The new vacuum cleaner is now his contribution too. He told me he needed to vacuum because I missed spots. Seriously!! I am glad he has an interest in keeping things neat, I know I am horrible at housekeeping and dream of hiring a maid. I will honestly admit that I am slop. When my son was 4 I asked him to clean up the clothes on his bedroom floor. He called me a hypocrite (yes he really did). He said, “Mom you’re a hypocrite.Look at your room, you have clothes all over the floor.” I had no words!! But of course he was right, my clothes often make it to the floor and maybe the laundry basket when I do laundry.
I imagine my son as a young man, this boy, this man that I am raising and I wonder how much he will keep of who he is now. I wonder how the things he sees now and hears will shape him when he is 12, 15, and 20. How much will these memories mean to him?
I signed Jude up for a sports camp this summer, six weeks of flag football, soccer and T-ball. I will admit my boy looked so cute in his jersey! The first game was last week. Since the kids are three, four and five year old’s the point is to just have fun. Jude loves it, the smile on his face when he runs after his coach is priceless.
Today we got to the field early and a few other families had a arrived. One had their little girl playing. She was not interested even though she was dressed in her jersey and matching skirt with pink ribbons in her hair. She much preferred to pick flowers than run after a ball. Her dad ended up playing catch with Jude. It was a moment, watching Jude playing catch with this man. He introduced himself, Ryan and even cheered for Jude during the game. I wanted to to tell Ryan how much that meant to me, that he included my son, that he took the time to learn my boys name.
I felt the ghost of J.D sitting next to me, watching our son. In some ways, I am glad he was absent, he would have started reliving his own football days, like some of the other dads. Shouting out that their son was the next Tom Brady or Jerry Rice. I know J.D would be hard on Jude, expecting some version of himself at that age, pushing Jude to do more and be better, never enough.
The other part of me was sad that J.D. was missing this moment. Missing his son, holding tight to the football, running as fast as he could. He was missing the pride in Jude’s face when he caught his coaches flag and turned to find me and wave. This moment like hundreds of other’s he missed.. I hurt for J.D and the choices he’s made that took him out of his son’s life. It killed me to sit there watching this game, missing J.D. wanting to share the moment with him, but knowing it was impossible.
I watched Jude’s face, wondering if he felt the loss, did he realize that his father was supposed to be throwing the football to him and not Ryan? Did he realize he was the only kid with a mom and grandparents and no father? If he did, it didn’t show on that shining face.
Today was not my finest mommy day. I spent most of my day feeling frustrated and yelling at Jude. The little things just drove me insane. He stepped on one of his toys and hurt his foot, a toy that I just told him to pick up. In fact he was supposed to be cleaning his room when he stepped on the truck. Of course I mentioned that had he not left toys on the floor he wouldn’t have stepped on the truck and hurt his foot. Clean up and bed time seem to be my worst moments. I’m tired and so is he. I end up yelling and he ends up taking forever to do everything. 45 minutes later we are both close to tears. I think I want him to go to bed so that I can have some time to myself. I call it ‘Me Time.’ I can read, write or watch a grown up movie without the constant interruption.
I know in a few years Jude will be wanting to spend much if not all his time away from me. I understand that I am supposed to cherish every moment, that one day I will look back with longing. Believe when I say that for the most part I do cherish every second and moment. I know that one day very soon Jude will ask me to drop him off around the block from school so he can avoid being seen with me and he won’t want to spend every second with me.
When Jude was about 7 weeks old and I hadn’t yet figured out the whole co-sleeping thing, I was awake at 3 am trying to nurse Jude on one side and pump on the other. I was tired and when I looked at him I remember wondering how I was every going to get through the next few weeks. I knew that the 3 am wake up would soon be the thing of the past, but in that moment things seemed never ending.
Lately bedtime seems to be never-ending. I think I need to figure something else out before we both loose our minds.
Before I had my son, my life was pretty superficial. I went out to clubs, shopped and generally spent my time engaged in meaningless television shows, work and always looking for the next thing to do. I went to L.A. almost monthly just because I could and I saw every Cirque show in Las Vegas. Some of it was fun, some was an utter waste of time. The other day I was at Target by myself and it was a joy, a luxury to wander the aisles with no little offspring, jumping out of the basket, asking for things or touching everything. I’m not complaining or rather I hope that I don’t sound like I’m complaining. I love my kiddo, wouldn’t change one thing about him, but my life is just so different now. Eating out at nice restaurants, once a thing I did almost daily, is now reserved for special occasions or when my son is with my parents. I have learned to eat quickly!
One change that I wouldn’t change for the world is my son’s face in the morning. When he wakes up he wraps his little arms around my neck and looks so happy to see me. I love hearing him tell me about his dreams and the thoughts that immediately pop into his head. I can’t image missing any of this.