This is my littlest one.
In this particular picture, he's one day old.
Oh, the memories! I was so blissfully in love with him.
To be able to love someone you just met with such intensity is one of life's greatest mysteries to me. Love at first sight at its best.
Days passed and all I could do was look at him, drooling over his every move. Cooing and goo goo gaa gaaing him, anxiously waiting for a little smile, a little sign that he could hear me and show me he was also in love with me, the whole me, not just my breasts.
I felt so complete. So blissful. It must have been all the oxcitocin released during breastfeeding.
And then, within a few weeks, I saw this:
That was pretty unusual, I thought. The kid was looking straight at me, with a certain expression on his eyes, as if he was telling me "enough with the pictures already woman! you're interrupting my sleeping pattern".
So I stopped.
I dismissed my gut feeling that something was peculiar with this kid of mine; I dismissed the notion that he was different that the other two; I thought "for goodness sake, he's just a baby, he eats, poops and sleeps; how can anyone know this early there's a difference?".
And so I just kept on keeping on, doing the everyday things a mother has to do.
Suddenly I found him doing this at eight months:
Climbing up a mattress, all the way to the top, and then roll down, laughing all the way, squirming around with his little brothers. I suddenly realized he was crawling, walking and being very adventurous and fearless, keeping up with his brothers every step of the way.
He was only eight months old!!!
I felt that gut feeling again. I was up against something different in my short mothering career; this kid was definitely different; he was more forceful, more demanding, more outgoing, more fearless, more challenging.
And more beautiful every day.
And my heart went pit-pat pit-pat every time I saw him doing something new.
And my heart melted every time he showed me his silly faces.
Or when he rested peacefully in the couch, watching Poo bear, right after his shower, all snuggled up and cozy.
Or when he was so valiant, following after his brothers, attempting a bunch of things that made my blood pressure sky rocket and leave fingernail marks in my camera, anxiously waiting for the hurt that might come from attempting to climb up a tree at 18 months.
Indeed he's different.
I haven't figure our just the fullness of what I'm dealing with here.
All I know is that along with this difference, came a challenge: I cannot raise him the same way I have so far raised the other two. The methods I used with the other two do not work with him. Nothing I have successfully done with the other two works with this one.
I found myself feeling depleted by the end of the day (heck, sometimes I am depleted, deflated and defeated by mid-morning!!!).
I feel frustrated. I feel like giving up. I'm at the end of the rope. At wit's end.
I. JUST. DON'T. KNOW. WHAT. TO. DO.
Plan and simple as that.
I guess I could tell you all about the temper tantrums, about his kicks and punches, about his screams, about his defiance, about his challenges to me, about his yelling (oh Lord! the yelling!), but just thinking about it makes me feel tired, let alone bringing myself to write about it.
I'm at a total loss for ideas, or even strength.
Then, as I was watching The Lord of the Rings last night, one scene caught my attention, one phrase shook me out of complacency:
"This task was appointed to you; and if you do not find a way, no one will"
Those words were spoken directly to me last night. Regardless of the scene in the movie, or the plot going on, those words, at that specific time, were for me.
I get shivers just thinking about it.
This is my task. This is my mission. These children a MY gift from God. If I fail at this mothering mission, no amount of success in any other area of my life could ever make up for it. Success in anything else would still be a failure.
So I need to buck up and face it. This is my mission. There is no quitting.
Now, where's that link to the lady trying to raise godly tomatoes? Or that website about get-off-your-butt parenting? Oh, and what about the 'parenting isn't for cowards' book?
Much work ahead.
Gotta get to it.
Encourage one another.