September 14, 2010

The Mind's Dark Places

Last night I woke up for my usual middle-of-the-night stumble to the restroom. My insomnia has gotten much better - I have even slept through the night a couple of times! But I do usually wake up at least once or twice for some reason or another, usually having to do with my own need to pee, the cats, or Charlie. I am usually good about falling back to sleep pretty quickly, but last night I was up for a couple of hours.

I decided to work on organizing the photos on my computer, because they are such a mess. I found myself in the Charlie's First Year folder on my desktop, rooting around through all the videos I shot. Here's one I found, when he was not even two weeks old:

This video kills me. I sat and watched it in the dark, smiling like a dope but with tears in my eyes. If there's any advice I had to give to new parents, it's to buy a video camera and take lots of footage of your baby. (Not to mention a good camera, so you can take lots of pictures.) They grow so fast that it's almost shocking to go back and see their little mannerisms and expressions and cries. But I can tell you one thing, that you will never regret spending that money, and you'll never regret taking a minute or two to shoot a video or take a photo.

I'm in full-on nesting mode, working like crazy on getting the house organized and clean and ready for Burt Reynolds. I'm trying to balance that with preparing for his birth and spending good quality time with Charlie and getting enough rest and hanging out with Roy and being social. The days are busy and they pass like raindrops. one right after the other. At night, when things finally settle down and are quiet, I often find myself close to tears. The thought of another baby to hold and love fills me with so much happiness, and when I think of all the things I want to do with him, I am so excited, so full of love for this little one that I have yet to meet.

And then that is followed by the immense sorrow I feel at not being the mother I wanted to be for Charlie for most of his first year, for being so terribly sad all that time, for not being able to breastfeed, for not being able to bond quickly, for being afraid of him when all he really needed was for me to love him. And love him I did, I do, it just seems as though I could have been better at it. I could have been more there instead of off in my own head trying to deal with everything that happened.

I'm scared of the same thing happening with Burt Reynolds. And still grieving so helplessly over the way I became a mother. My hope is that years down the road, I will be able to take an honest look at it all and forgive myself and know, really know, that I did the best I could.


Eric's Mommy said...

I had my boy 8 years ago and we didn't even have a digital camera! I have no video footage of him when he was a baby.

Don't grieve over the way you became a Mother :( I became a Mother almost exactly the same way. Our deliveries were VERY similar, not what I had planned either.

Sara said...

FWIW, I think you are a great mama! The evidence is the sweetest boy ever,Charlie. Both Charlie and Burt Reynolds are ridiculously lucky to have you as their mom...even on your worst day!!

Patty said...

I loved this post! What a beautiful soul you have! You don't have to wait for down the road, etc. The fact is, you really are not only doing a fine job in EVERY way, but also you are doing the best you can every minute. It's just the judgmental part of ourselves that keeps saying we should be doing things "better." The only thing that needs forgiving is to forgive yourself for judging yourself!

amber said...

Oh Leslie, you're a great mama! I think you're being too hard on youself - it's so obvious how much you love Charlie and I can't imagine that he doesn't know and feel that every single day. {{hugs}}