Thursday, August 15, 2013

Fears aside

I know every mom in the history of the world has little questions and fears when a new baby comes into her family.  Whether it's the first or the fifth, there are so many unknowns.  Will he be a good sleeper?  Will he be healthy?  Will he latch properly?  What if he's colicky?  What if he and his sister don't get along?  How will I love another as much as I love the first?

I have this one fear that is a little different from most people's.  You see, this is my first son.  And said son has the genes of his father, who went through a stage in life in which he looked like this:
We all go through awkward stages.  My husband turned out super handsome, so if this were the only concern, I could rest easy.  However, my family has always suspected that we are related to this actor, whose last name is the same as my maiden name and who is from the same part of Yorkshire, England as my grandfather:

There are just one or two slight family resemblances that lead me to fear...


But we saw our little man again last week at a special check-up, and the sonogram was in 3D.  I should never have worried or feared.  Just LOOK at him.

Clearly, little man is so handsome that he's already practicing his GQ modeling poses.  He puts Blue Steel to shame.  Daddy's handsome genes are so strong that anything else was kicked to the curb.  He'll probably still have his own awkward stage, but I'll try not to let his school photograph him with fake knocked-over paint cans and I think he'll do okay.

Joking aside, I've found in my life that most of things that I'm genuinely afraid of turn out to be no big deal when I actually have to face them.  If I'm being honest, I really do have a lot of anxiety about this new little guy and how he will fit into the framework of our family.  We have a pretty precious rhythm right now.  Sweet Pea is precocious and fun and I thoroughly enjoy our days together, no matter how busy or slow they go.  I love our spontaneous nature and our quiet, sleepy afternoons.  I love cuddling her and I worry about how easily she will share those cuddles.  Our bedtime routine is long and sweet and all about her.  I haven't figured out how we're going to share it yet, and deep down there's this little ache that says that I don't want to share it very much.  And honestly?  I have no idea how to raise a boy.  I'm not a boy.  I didn't have a brother.  Boys have always been a little scary to me.

Speaking of scary, last night we went through one of the most frightening experiences we've had yet as a family.  Hubby was helping Sweet Pea brush her teeth and I was answering an e-mail when I heard a strange popping sound outside.  My mind immediately went to firecrackers, but the popping was louder and more inconsistent than I know firecrackers to be.  I mentioned it to my husband and told him that I thought it sounded like a gun, except how could that be?  We didn't think too much of it and kept on with bedtime.

A few minutes later, we heard a series of cracks that were so loud, so right outside our window, that all three of us instinctively hit the ground.  I'm not kidding.  I'm almost 30 years old, and I've heard a lot of fireworks and I'm pretty familiar with the sound of a shotgun, and my brain immediately went to no-questions-asked shotgun.  We rushed into the bathroom and sat there looking at each other in disbelief while we listened to another round.  Hubby called 911 and we were told that half our county's police force had been dispatched to our neighborhood and not to move from the bathroom.  We sat on the floor in fear and prayed and sang, and I texted a few neighbors, all who fully believed they'd heard gunfire and were also sitting in their basements.

We listened to sirens and eventually all was quiet.  Sweet Pea snuggled sleepily in my lap and played with my hair.  Her sweet little self didn't really question why we were camped out in the bathroom; I love her unmitigated trust and how clearly she feels safe as long as she has her Daddy and Mama.  I tried to control my wild imagination, but it was hard.

After about 25 minutes of waiting and wondering and only hearing quiet, Hubby called the non-emergency line back.  They told him the situation was resolved and all was safe.  It was teenagers.  Teenagers with fireworks.  We felt frustrated, annoyed and stupid.  We felt less stupid though when we discovered that no one in our neighborhood thought it sounded like fireworks.

Fireworks.  Not gunfire, no one scary, just silly teens shooting off beautiful, sparkly fireworks. They must have been some fireworks too for how loud they were.  Right away I felt even more annoyed that we missed seeing them.  Sweet Pea loves fireworks!

And so, as I start my third trimester, I can't help but think that this how I'm supposed to think about what's to come in just a few short months.  Not with fear, not with anxiety, not with uncertainty or worry, not expecting disaster, but with expectant excitement.  With joy at the wonders that will sparkle in front of our eyes as new siblings meet each other and learn how to live life together.  I can't wait to snuggle our tiny guy.  I can't wait to let Sweet Pea pick out his clothes and help me dress him.  I can't wait to watch them play together.

I know there will be a lot of difficult moments, pops and explosions of frustration and exhaustion.  Times when things look less than beautiful.  But I'm trying to choose not to give voice to most of my fears, because I know that when the smoke clears, what will be before us will be beautiful and special.  It will be fun.  It will be blessed.  

A tiara on my belly.  Because, "No, Mama, he's a princess!"
I have nothing to fear.  

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