Monday, June 17, 2013

Building Immunity

Yup, I'm that blogger that went back to work and didn't write ONE post in the last few months. I never wanted to become her, but here I am.

I have lots of reasons: I was finishing a very tough school year. I was learning how to balance being a mom, wife, teacher, friend, daughter, etc. Hell, I'm still learning. I was so busy that I only had time to work, eat, sleep, and be with LF and KG.

The truth is, exhaustion and family time won out over my blog. I just wasn't willing to give up my 8:30 bedtime while everything was so overwhelming. But, now that my school year ended, I'm hoping to make a blogger come back. Other than going to the CVS Minute Clinic for an ear infection (mine, not LF's), blogging was first on my list for summer vacation. I'm feeling a little rusty, so hang in there with me while I get my writing legs back.

All in all, LF is turning into an amazing little man. He does new "tricks" often. The latest: turning back to belly in his crib, over and over again. Too bad this is often when he is supposed to be sleeping! He smiles, laughs, and plays his days away. He loves to "talk," grasp things, play with new toys, touch and explore faces, and watch the world with wonder. He is close to sitting on his own, and is loving daycare, despite being sick a lot (more on that later).

The transition back to work went better than expected, and actually helped me get over the hump with my postpartum depression. I missed LF every day, but having a piece of my pre-mommy identity back was incredibly good for me. Selfish or not, I know I improved enormously in the last few months. Of course, the series of colds and viruses that have plagued LF make me feel very guilty. Luckily, there's no choice in the matter. Both KG and I have to work for our financial health, so I can only beat myself up so much about it. He's building immunity, right?

Speaking of building feels as though I've been building some of my own lately.

There have been several moments since LF was born that I've said, "I'm the worst person to be his mother." That might sound awful considering what it took to get LF in the first place. But, since he was born, I have discovered parts of myself more vulnerable and raw than I ever knew existed. Although I theoretically knew motherhood was a tough job and unexpected things would happen (babies get sick, babies cry, babies do things that are unpredictable) I did not know when I was pregnant that I would often be unable to emotionally process those things without completely losing it. Seriously, I see moms who can let all those things roll off their backs without ridiculous amounts of worry or anxiety and I am green with envy. I on the other hand often freak out. Actually, not just often: ALL THE TIME. Illnesses, sleep disturbances, eating, reflux, you name it. Something with LF throws me and I can't eat, sleep, or smile. So, I get these moments when I feel like LF deserves a different mom. One who won't turn into a neurotic mess at every sneeze and sniffle. One who is a pillar of strength all the time. I know some moms like this, and I so wish I could channel their abilities.

Most recent example? LF ended up with a terrible virus that landed us in urgent care on a Sunday when his temp reached 104.4. During the week he battled this fever, he also had to have a chest xray, a botched blood draw, and more. I wanted to be strong for him. I really, really tried to put on a brave face and distract him with smiles and songs. But, there were many times when I could. not. do. it. Instead, I wept right along with him and had to lean on my mom (who just moved here with my dad from Los Angeles! OMG!). At one point, I asked a nurse in his pediatrician's office whether my crying was marked on a list to give nurses a head's up. She smiled kindly and told me that most mothers would be on a list if that was true.

Still, I know I take it too far. It is counterproductive and wastes time and energy I need. Plus, I'm going to be in this job for a long, long time. KG reminded me of lots of things to come: teething, injuries, teasing in school, heartbreaks. It is all coming, ready or not.

I know I need to toughen up. I know I can't continue to make myself sick with worry. It isn't good for me, KG, or LF. But, I'm just not there yet. I especially know that compared to some people very close to my heart, I have nothing to worry about. LF is a happy, (sometimes) healthy baby who is going through all the normal bumps in the road.

Perhaps with every new experience (both the scary kind and the wonderful kind) I'll build a thicker skin and a little more immunity.