Every once in a while you get to Friday and you just feel incredible, I mean little kid incredible. Remember the kind of excitement you had as a kid? A back to school shopping excursion, a new toy, a trip to the movies, sitting in the front seat. I’ve got that today. Partly because yesterday really felt like Friday, but more because it’s just been a long week.
I wrote a super long entry on Tuesday and my computer froze. Isn’t that always the way? The one time you don’t save, or the one time you don’t do x, y, or z because you figure just this once it won’t matter, but it does. Good old Murphy’s Law. Luckily it balances out with one of us demonstrating an uncanny knack for sometimes doing just the right thing and having things fall into place like some sort of Hallmark Hall of Fame Sunday night special. The entry, gone like a letter to Santa burned in the fireplace, was about me learning a huge lesson. I’m pretty proud and I think a lot of time ~gulp~ I forget that I don’t know everything. God, that’s hard to say.
As I think I have explained pretty clearly, we have had some ~ahem~ struggles in getting Briar to go to sleep. It has been hard for me because we have had such an incredible journey so far. Just about everything has been a breeze. We had a great labor and delivery. Breastfeeding has been just the most incredible experience. I have loved every minute of nursing Briar and watching her grow, knowing that my body produced what she needed to grow. Briar has rarely been fussy, and during the times that she has been, I have been able to soothe her easily.
One of the toughest things we’ve encountered had been dealing with Sean’s struggle to balance the demands of his work, with his desire to be at home and spending time with his girls. In the early months it was tough because Briar didn’t always respond to Sean’s cradling her in his arms when she was fussy. He would pass her to me and say, “She just wants you.” Looking back I can see that I didn’t realize how painful this might have been for him. I was too blinded by the euphoria I was feeling at being able to care for every need that our daughter had. It had been several years since I had really enjoyed my professional life. And with Briar I finally felt like I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing. I gave it my all, living and breathing Briar. It is only recently that I realized how blessed I have been to have someone who didn’t feel threatened or jealous by how ravenous I was for this new relationship and the role of mom. Sean never complained about me holding Briar every minute, or forgetting about us. Instead he said things like, “I love watching you with her,” and “I’ve never seen you so happy,” and “I always knew you were going to be an incredible mom.”
About a week ago something happened that made me replay in my mind all the times Sean stood off to the side, while I handled whatever Briar needed at any given moment. A new era has arrived. You see, Briar has let us know that she will not go to bed for me. It does not matter what I do, how hard or for how long I try. Ferber, The Baby Whisperer, The No Cry Sleep Solution, rocker to crib, nurse to sleep than crib, singing, white noise, massage, bedtime stories…She will not go to sleep. I thought this was a phase, something we would have to survive and eventually she would grow out of it.
Then one night, Sean came home from work at about 10:15. Briar and I had been trying to go to sleep to no avail. He walked in the room and took a look at me as I collapsed on the bed and just covered my face. She had been wailing on and off for about 2 and half hours. I felt pretty well defeated. I was more than a little embarrassed to have to admit that I had been trying to get her down since before 8. I didn’t want him to be frustrated, I didn’t want to have to try and rationalize why she wasn’t asleep. As my mind was racing trying to figure out how to resolve the situation Sean said, “Go downstairs.”
“Why? No, I can’t. If you get her down what am I going to do on the nights when you work late? I have to figure this out!” I said with my voice threatening to go to a whiny panic screech.
With a look of utter confidence and calm he smiled at me and said, “Let’s not worry about every other night, let’s just focus on tonight.”
What was I going to say to that? He was totally right. The only way to describe how I felt would be to compare it to a walk on a dark night. You’re all alone, in on an unfamiliar stretch of road, there are creepy sounds here and there that you can’t place, you are scared and unsure of how you are going to make it from point A to B, heck, you don’t even know where point B is. Enter another person. Sean walked out of the shadows, put his arm around my shoulders and said, “Let me take you home.” Suddenly I wasn’t alone, I wasn’t failing, I just needed someone there with me. It was such an incredible moment for me, because it defined in that one sentence what marriage is all about. Sean helped me see what we needed to do to move forward and how we could do it as a team.
I walked downstairs, sat on the sofa and listened as Sean tended to Briar. He came down after about five minutes and closed the door behind him. I told him I didn’t want her to be up there crying it out. He smiled at me and said she wasn’t. “She’s asleep.” I was incredulous. How had he done it? I hadn’t been able to. Then I realized that I can’t do every single thing for Briar every single time she needs something. Sometimes it needs to come from someone else. It brought a lump to my throat and put an ache in my heart. Spiraling into a bit of self-pity I looked over at Sean and it hit me. That’s not a bad thing. Briar came from both of us and I need to share her and the responsibility of her. It’s good that she needs Sean. I need him too. We three are a wonderful team. I think we are going to learn a lot from each other. Sean and Briar, by the way, are, as I think my sister would say, “Pretty fuckin’ rad people to share the journey with.”
So, I am looking forward to this weekend. Tonight, as Sean puts Briar to sleep, I may just go sit on the porch, look up at the sky, and thank a star or two for my good fortune.
Like I said, litte kid excitment!