What my new baby teaches me about letting go.
This past Sunday was my wife’s first official Mother’s Day celebration. 11 weeks ago, we had our first child, Madison, a baby girl. What an incredible experience. If you have children, you know what I mean. It can be super tough, not very much sleep, but at the same time, unbelievably rewarding. Of course, my respect for moms jumped through the roof after watching first hand how Lauren handles Madison and her needs. She is with her all the time, Lauren barely gets to sit down and relax for a meal without worrying that Madison will wake up from her nap, or start crying, or need to breastfeed. It’s beautifully daunting.
I’m Dad. I help out where I can. I put Madison to sleep every night, I do the middle of the night diaper change, I play a little during the day when I can squeeze some time away from work, I go on family walks when I’m available. I’m lucky because I work some of the day from home, so I can take a little break and be right there with them. We’re very lucky.
Of course, I wanted Lauren’s first Mother’s Day to be wonderful. I wanted her to be happy, to feel special and loved. She requested we take her out to a nice brunch, which we did. I also got her a card, some flowers, and a small gift. We ate brunch with my cousin’s who are in their 80’s and who will be like grandparents to Madison. See, on my side of our family, Madison is without grandparents. My mom died at 63 and my dad at 68. They both died of heart disease in 2005 and 2007 respectively. The last 10 years haven’t really been enthusiastic for me when it comes to Mother’s Day or Father’s Day celebrations, but this weekend that changed.
Lauren had a wonderful time. Madison was incredibly well behaved, which isn’t always the case when we take her out all day. She must’ve known that it was Mother’s Day. Later in the evening I put Madison down to sleep and while I was doing my usual rocking and singing, I started to well up a bit. I was thinking about how grateful I was that Madison was the reason Lauren is a mom. The tears continued to stream down my face as I rocked back and forth. I was hit with the beauty of life. It is so precious and I was having a moment. I’m a real man, so it’s okay for me to cry.
What I didn’t realize is that the vulnerability would trigger thoughts of my own mom. I thought about how much I missed her and how sad I am that Madison will never get to meet her grandmother. It’s a tricky thing to live the dichotomy of life. I am so happy for Lauren, but I also have sadness and hurt of my own. I know this is Lauren’s first Mother’s Day and I’m sure that things will change for me over time. It’s been over 10 years since my mom passed, but every so often, the emotions become overwhelming.
So, as I sit and rock my 11 week old to sleep, I try to wipe the tears from my eyes thinking about the loss of my own mother and the pain and sadness. I look down at my sweetest little one and I know, that she is going to be a very special daughter to her mom. So a new beginning happens. My wife is blessed as a new young beautiful mom. She will have so many wonderful experiences together with Madison. We will have a ton of incredible celebrations on Mother’s Day. Oh the dichotomy of life. Phew!
It’s not as simple as ‘out with the old and in with the new.’ And I guess, sometimes life isn’t that black and white either. Life is so incredibly rich with feelings and experiences, thoughts and desires. It’s really what makes us tick, our insides, not just the organs. So this Mother’s Day reminded me to take it all in and be present. Be present with the sadness and the pain. And be present with the joy and the adventure and to let go of the past.
Everyone says it goes by too fast, if they’re right, I don’t want to miss a moment. Thanks for listening. @teddymcdonald
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