I’m sitting here typing this in the house all by myself. It’s so quiet I’m having trouble being productive. I have had two back to back all day marathons of doctors appointments*, so Atticus spent last night up at Grandma’s and then ended up getting stuck there when my Sister in Law started showing signs of going into labor. Bear ran up to take baby duty over, Grandma and Grandpa divvied up daughter/grandbaby responsibilities, and the whole family is holding their breath waiting for this little girl to make her way into the world.
*more on that another day.
When Atti was born and in the hospital without me, the hardest part was the intense loneliness I felt. People often tried to comfort me by reminding me that I shouldn’t miss him too much since he wouldn’t have been here yet anyway, but that did me no good. If I had managed to stay pregnant longer he might not have been *here* but he was still with me. Being at home while he was at the hospital was just agony. There were times when I felt that separation so keenly it felt like a death.
Prior to my week away last month, the longest I’ve been away from him was a measly 16 hours. Once. An anniversary dinner and hotel stay and then right back to baby as soon as we woke up the next morning. Because of his disability we have 8 hours of nursing care allotted to us every month and I’ve never ever used it. Not because I’m some ridiculous martyr, but because those first few months of distance made such an impression on me that I can’t help but be greedy for him. I want to drink him. I feel a literal, physical pull on my heart when I’m away from him.
Atti has developed a few new behaviors as a result of our time apart. After talking to me on the phone every night, now he freaks out if the phone rings and I don’t let him talk on it. Which of course is just him listening to the other person while he licks the phone and breaths heavily. The receptionist at the dentist office didn’t seem to enjoy that too much.
He’s also gotten so much more motivated to be wherever I am. During the morning I usually set him in the middle of our main living room, on that red circle rug that is so ubiquitous in the photos I take of him, and let him roll around and work on crawling and play with his toys while I spend some time connecting with my online world. He’s developed into a really good independent player, so I usually had as much time as I wanted. Now I have twenty minute bursts while he inchworms his way from the carpet to my feet and slaps the base of my chair until I pick him up. After a few minutes of songs and snuggles I put him back down on the carpet and he starts the journey all over again. He’s getting to be pretty darn quick.
At therapy we’ve been making fantastic strides towards his walking skills. He spends a lot of time in a gate trainer, which is basically a high tech version of those walkers that people had to stop using in the 80′s after one too many babies took a tumble. He sits in a seat that supports his weight and then steps with his legs to make the contraption move on the wheels. He wasn’t doing much with the gate trainer prior to the trip, content to let his therapist move his legs for him. Now I’ll sit five feet in front of him and offer him kisses, and he marshals all the concentration available to him to make those feet move and get to his momma.
I wonder sometimes. If we get to have another kid, will I be so connected to them? Is this the magic of motherhood? Or did something happen in those first few days, standing there in my hospital gown, looking at him in his isolette, me fighting for life to get back to him, him fighting for life to get back to me. I remember standing there feeling this *intense* spiritual connection to him. Like, so intense it almost had mass, kind of connection. I felt like what we had been through together united us, physically, chemically.
I certainly hope I don’t have to go through such a gauntlet again, but today, it was totally worth it.