How?

one baby.

A mystery, I am insufficiently prepared.
I am awed and afraid, overcome by love and fear.
I bring her home and there she is.
When she cries, I cry.
I wonder: how will I be a mommy to this baby?
I read everything I can and try to meet every expectation.
I follow all the baby rules (which later turn out to have been wrong).
I over-sterilize, overthink, overcompensate for my weakenesses.
I wash and scrub and make organic homemade babyfood.
I try my hardest.  I feel alone and inept.
I try not to inflict any permanent damage.

two.

Just when I think I get it, that I’ll be able to do it with ease-
A preemie, born early, struggling to breathe.
I know nothing – again.  Her needs are a mystery.
She is so tiny it scares me.
When she cries, I cry and when I cry,
her sister cries.
I don’t know what I am doing,
but we have to find our way.
I dress her in doll clothes and learn
to mommy two.

three babies.

We are getting our groove
when she arrives quietly and easily.
Somehow she gently becomes a part
of our busy lives and we’re learning
to diaper with one hand while stopping
a fall with the other.
Life is frilly dresses and french braids,
a full-sized family.
If you can handle three little-bitties, you can handle anything.
I am getting my sea legs, my mommy-groove.

four.

The boy arrives. 
My deep and secret longing fulfilled.
The boy turns our sweet pink world
upside down.
Everything is different with a
baby boy: changing diapers, potty-training,
you name it.
How will I mommy a son?
Whew!  I am worn out.

five babies.

The fifth and final is on her way.
The pregnancy goes well.  No surprises.
I have been here before.
The labor and delivery are picture-book perfect.
The nurse comes in with a checklist of things
I must demonstrate to her to prove I can care for her
before they will let me take my baby home, things like
nursing her, bathing her, changing her diaper.
I have no strength to posture, but I ask the nurse,
“How many children have you had?”
She signs off on the checklist.
I am learning everyday.  I am becoming
an expert in the care and feeding of babies.
How will I mommy these perfect five?
*Sigh.

One adult.  Two.  Three adults.  Four.  Five perfect adults and the ones they have married.

And again, I have no idea what I am doing.  I feel alone, afraid.  When they cry, I cry.  I wonder: how will I mommy these adult children?

2 thoughts on “How?

  1. I think being a mommy to adult children is tougher then babies. The wondering if you taught them everything they need in life and knowing you didn’t. There is alway something you’ve left out. All we can do is sit back and watch, give advice when needed and most importantly pray.

  2. I am so glad I found you! (meaning your page, but also glad that God allowed me to meet you!)
    You are so sweet and so kind! I super love the way you write!

    PS: I’m the other brazilian, from Mariana’s baby shower… the one that was brought to church by Hunter :)

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