Meeting My Instincts

Parenthood is a powerful thing. When welcomed with open arms, I feel that it brings instincts that you didn’t really know existed in you.

A few weekends ago, Dominic and I were playing random things all day. We built towers, imagined it into a “choo choo” train, played race cars, did some gardening, and even played couch potatoes as we watched Daniel Tiger. It was a great day. When it was time for bed, he knocked out super fast.

Tristan asked if I wanted to watch a movie, so we finally sat down to watch X-Men: Apocalypse. This normally doesn’t happen because we tend to use this quiet time as “me” time or to catch up on chores.  It was going pretty well until Dominic woke up. Tristan got him to go back to sleep, then he woke up soon after. And again. And again. See, normally when this happens, I feel like it’s because he had so much fun during the day that he gets anxious when I’m away. This time, it wasn’t the case.

It’s been a good while since Dominic has been sick, and I forgot how anxious I get when he is.  Around midnight, I noticed quick breathing and a racing heartbeat.  I felt his body temperature rising.  Also, he wouldn’t sleep.  Tossing and turning, tossing and turning.  By 2am, I was on my phone Googling for possible situations we might be finding ourselves in.  I was one part drowsy and one part adrenaline when I laid him down in the bed and set up the humidifier which we had basically stored away since it’s been so long since we needed it.  My husband went down to get Motrin.  We cuddled until morning and probably didn’t get more than an hour and half of sleep that night.  Tristan was off to work, and I was nervous to be on my own.  Luckily, by the evening his fever broke, but it was a long day.  A long day of worrying, making sure I stay on track with maintaining his temp, and just making sure he was comfortable.  I probably watched more Daniel Tiger than I can possibly consider sane for an adult, but it was worth it.  I had made plans to go to the beach with my family, but I had to cancel, and still, I have no regrets.  I didn’t feel bummed.  Cuddling and caring for him was all I could think about.

For some reason, I was thinking the rough nights would end once infancy ended, but this night reminded me that I have years of caring for him to do.  I have years of learning and trying to do my best.  It reminded me of my parents and made me think of how much they sacrificed from caring for me and my siblings all of our lives.  When you’re an adult, you kind of forget that you were once a toddler too being loved on and cared for as the center of your parents’ universe.

I think a lot of the time, we – the new parents – sit around and wonder “How did our parents do it?  How did they figure it all out?  How did they manage A, B, and C?”  At some point, we start to realize that they didn’t have it all figured out.  They did what they felt was right.  They did what they felt was best for their kids and rolled with the punches.  It’s instincts.  Instincts you didn’t really know existed in you.  The sacrifices you automatically make, the changes you adapt to.

Parenthood is a crazy and powerful thing.  It opens up an entirely new layer of you – almost like meeting a new version of yourself, and you have to relearn yourself.  I’m learning my new priorities, my new joys, and my new purpose.  I never really understood the vastness of this parenting thing, but even with what I know now, I’m sure I still have so much more to learn.

You can find these cute mommy & me “Choose Happy” shirts by Skeletee Printing.

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