baby blues, motherhood

Neighbors, newborns, and the prospect of letting go

Thank you for all your prayers, kind words, and well wishes. Musa is on the mend. The jaundice is slowly leaving his system and I can finally breathe though I know that with children there will always come moments when your heart feels chronically stuck in your throat.

There is so much to say but so little time what with the hectic schedule newborns put their mothers on and the challenges of breastfeeding and all that it entails. Hopefully over the course of the next few weeks I can share some of what’s on my mind, but I did want to note how staggering it is to become a mother of two. How much bigger your firstborn of toddling years becomes, seemingly ready overnight to head to college. And you realize that just that quick this newborn with eyes the size of Kansas will also grow up. And just like that they both will be off to college. We live in a neighborhood where 95% of the people have grown children who rarely visit. We’ve chatted with them, seen the photos framing their walls, shrines to the memories of the past, and when I hear the longing in their voices or take in their large empty houses it tears at me in a new way: Will my toddler who follows me room to room like a duckling, or the baby who grips my fingers tightly in his, will they simply grow up and away without a backward glance? I can’t imagine this, and yet surely these neighbors who devote untold hours to their gardens and surrogate their dogs for children couldn’t imagine it either.

Maybe its the ceaseless rainy clouds of Atlanta’s skyscape of late. Maybe its the hormones, but these are the thoughts coursing through me from time to time, attacking like waves over still water when I least expect it. Like waves I try to ride out the feeling and let the real truth settle over me like the grainy sediment that remains: I don’t know what the future holds but I do know that life is many things including a series of letting go. I can hold onto the sorrow portion of this bittersweet pill, or I can accept this eventual truth and focus on the moments before me. And right now? I have two little boys. They are their own people. They are also me. The most vulnerable part of me. The best part of me. Though my heart aches when I see my neighbors and the future that might come, today as I wade through dirty laundry and drink my third cup of tea in as many hours, I know one thing: Today, in this moment, I am very lucky.

Ever feel like this or is it just me and the hormones that are part and parcel of new motherhood? How do you find perspective or feel better about the eventuality of letting go while letting yourself live in the moment?

20 thoughts on “Neighbors, newborns, and the prospect of letting go”

  1. I love love LOVE this photo. Glad little Musa is getting better. love to you and the family. Looking forward to meeting the new addition soon iA. xo

    -Sakeena

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  2. So glad Musa's feeling better! And yeah. Every day I think about this. I think about how big Hen is, how little he is compared to how he will be. How he won't really consciously remember these duckling days. How I will have to remember for us both, but that he won't necessarily WANT to hear stories about himself that he can't really remember for himself. Bittersweet, yeah. But you're right–concentrating on the sweet is so much better than fearing any eventual bitterness.

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  3. Hormones and lack of sleep. For sure.
    I still cry at the drop of a hat and freak out over the smallest things. It's crazy.

    So glad the baby is better and I love the picture!

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  4. Hormones and lack of sleep don't help but as I've told you before, as the mother of a 14 year old and 11 year old, I still have these thoughts quite often. You have to force yourself to live in the moment. It's not easy.

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  5. I know it wasn't a multiple choice question, but I'd answer, “All of the above.” So happy to read that Musa's doing better, and thank you for sharing the wonderful photo of your beautiful children!

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  6. What you said is a harsh reality of life…but does it matter? What matters is experience of parenthood, love to give, to nourish them, to cherish them, to enjoy every moment with them…..

    They have to go and better go….life goes on!

    I am glad Musa is well….

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  7. Glad to hear Musa is better!
    I don't have an answer for you, just an anecdote: My 3 year old wanted to go see one of our friends around Christmas and I told her that she's busy because her daughter was home from university for the holidays. My daughter's reply: But why did she come back? When I go to university I'll never come back!
    I hope she'll change her mind …. πŸ˜‰

    Natalie

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  8. aww what a cute pic! Musa is sooo cute and waleed looks like a big brother πŸ™‚

    I strongly feel if you raise your kids right, they will revert back to you, maybe not when they are in college so much where they are exploring a new life- but surely there after. you moved on with life too leaving your rents behind. they will too, its that circle of life.

    go give your parents a call and tell them you love them πŸ™‚

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  9. It is not easy. Some days are just a race towards the night time routine, others I would so want to stretch and stretch until they end no more. I have no advice. I struggle with this too.
    One thing I can say, I appreciate my mum much, MUCH more now. I hope my children have children of their own, and realise how much we loved them from the very beginning. This kind of love is truly magic. Right?

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  10. Thank you so much Sakeena! Miss ya, kisses to your sweet baby girl πŸ™‚

    Susan, thanks for relating, glad to know its not just me.

    Jen, yes its probably a combination of both πŸ™‚ Thanks for your kind words!

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  11. Thanks Tracy, I guess its both comforting and disconcerting to know the bittersweet emotions linger beyond the baby years.

    Thanks Anon

    Kris, lol, yes you're right its a bunch of different factors, thanks for the reminder and your kind words about the picture!

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  12. Thanks Farah!

    Mystic, as always your wise words mean a great deal. Thanks for the important reminder.

    Natalie, ouch!!! I laughed and teared up at the same time reading that!

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  13. Anon so true, we WANT the circle of life ,and yet it aches nonetheless πŸ™‚ Thanks for the reminder, and yes my mom gets plenty of calls post-parenthood with appreciation πŸ™‚

    Thanks for your perspective pilgrimchik! And nice to see you here, its been a while, hope you are well!

    Mina, hugs you really hit the nail on the head– today was a rough as hell day with two kids and I couldn't wait until it was over, and then there are days that hurt your heart. Part and parcel of motherhood it seems. Miss reading your blog, unless its not showing up on my google reader? Love getting insight into what my next step in the journey of raising two boys will be πŸ™‚

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  14. When I read your post I thought about that ache that every mother feels… wishing she could hold onto the newborn forever, that the baby would stay a baby and not grow older. Yes, that is a sort of silent grief, not a big grief but just a little one. The good news is that there are plenty of joys to share with older children. Examples — I can hang onto my two-year-old's “infancy” by enjoying toddler nursing (yes, we still nurse). My six-year-old is a ray of sunshine in so many ways. My 8-year-old son still asks me to play ball with him (and I oblige when I'm not too tired!) And I love to read Harry Potter out loud to my ten-year-old daughter. So yes, I understand your sadness that the newborn won't be a newborn forever, but there are plenty of happy times ahead with your older children, I promise.

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