gratitude-a-thon day 720: the best job i’ve ever had

jake red 1
Sometimes I couldn’t believe my eyes when I looked at this boy. He was such a bundle of adorable.  This suave little dresser (who continues to be a guy who loves clothes) was about nine months old here.

Tomorrow my baby son, the kid who made me a mom, after three years on the infertility roller coaster, located on a fault line, with only Ben & Jerry’s to eat (I guess some people would think that’s an upside, but it was not) will be 21.

No big deal, kids turn 21 all the time. But this is my first time to have a kid turn 21. And MY GOD, it’s kind of something.

Can anybody explain the time continuum to me? I mean, in words I’d understand, without like, quantum physics, or calculus, or  stories of stars that don’t make it to earth for 400 years, but in a way that gives me the ability to get how yesterday morning this kid was a citizen of my uterus, and today he is a college student living La Vida Loca at a university in L.A. (Fight on, USC Trojans)?

That first year was a long ride. You know how when you’re going someplace it’s always longer than when you’re coming home? Well, that’s how it was. I was going in the direction of becoming a parent. This is not easy stuff. It is not one of those really cute Pampers commercials. NO, it is not. I went from a 35 year old advertising copywriter, who loved working, to a stay at home mom, and it was like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, except in the end I didn’t have wings or pretty colors, just exhausted eyes, and a fat stomach. Things were different.  I had tried so hard to conceive the baby, I forgot to think about what it would be like to actually have one in my house EVERYDAY. Not that you could ever, in your kookiest, most bizarre and craziest dreams EVER begin to imagine what it is like for two people to go to the hospital and come home as three. Because it is cray cray, I will tell you right now. Even though people do it all the time, it is still one of the most unimaginable miracles ever.

And a miracle it was, to go from a warrior of infertility to a mom. To hold that bundle of baby, day in and day out, that curious, delicious, absolutely charming boy was everything to me. But there was a learning curve. I had to figure it out. How to nurse (with bleeding nipples) and live on a teeny tiny four minutes of sleep, and give in to the fact that I was no longer just me, or just me and my husband, but me and my husband and a child. Forever more. And that scared me in that first year. As much as I loved that little baby with the gigantic eyes, it scared me as much as if the ghost of Einstein showed up in the living room to explain the whole time situation.

Anyway, I did it, that first year. Somehow, I figured it out, a little here and a ltitle there, and I became a mother, a parent, an over-protective mama bear with a keen instinct to  protect my baby at all costs. Don’t get in my way, don’t even look at my baby cross-eyed or I will end you. That was me. And it’s basically remained me. And I’m thinking this turning 21 thing won’t matter that much to that persona, because as long as I am breathing in air, I wlll fervently love, adore, cherish, and try and protect that little guy. That’s the best job I’ve ever had. Hard won, but the best damn job ever.

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