I was telling Mike how overwhelmed I felt the other day. I said, “I just need to try and stay calm. I was reading in my journal about after Penny was born and I wrote how I felt totally panicked and overwhelmed the first week, but that even by the second week I just felt . . .”
Here Mike interrupted me and said, “underwhelmed?”
We had a good chuckle at the sad thought of being totally underwhelmed by something as life changing and incredible as a newborn baby. Then Mike said, “We need you to be just whelmed. You don’t hear that very often, that someone is just the exact right amount of whelmed.”
And yes, I would like very much to be the exact right amount of whelmed. Right now I am anything but. Mike is spectacular. I feel like he is this pillar that keeps my whole world from flying apart. Yes, he jokes and teases when I am on the verge of panic, but he also keeps me calm and keeps me feeling like all will be well again and my current frettings are just part of the package of life with a newborn. He has been taking care of everything around here. And by everything, I mean even all the things that are not one bit in his nature to take care of – like dishes and laundry and small tidying projects. He seems to know that my sense of calm revolves around a few main relied upon normalcies – if the kids still get bathed, if the house stays relatively tidy, and a few other insignificant things of that nature can be relied upon, my world seems much more steady and sure, and Mike, bless his heart has been making sure all of that happens as well as extra kindnesses like making me lunch, taking the older kids off to run errands so I have some time alone with Anders, etc. We didn’t have this luxury with our first three kids. Mike had school and tests and multiple part time jobs to attend to, but I am loving him having a few days off to keep my world steady. I feel so extra aware of how blessed I am to have him and so extra in love with him. Next week I will be thrown head on back into the thick of life, and while I’m a little scared, I also feel like my confidence about how life will work out with all the newness to it will increase quite a bit as I see that I can somehow manage things.
With all my talk of being overwhelmed and a bit ready to cry at any given moment about things like, “How do I run errands with a newborn again?” and “How did I get my other ones to eventually have nap times?” and “How will Jesse adjust so he isn’t so overly whiny and sad?” and “How do I ever run again?” there is a definite conflicting feeling going on. In exact opposition to these feelings is the feeling of desperately wanting to hold on to this phase.
I keep staring at his tiny perfect features, at his sad little chin that quivers uncontrollably when he starts to cry, at his scrawny little arms shaking nervously if he is unbundled, or resting scrunched up against my chest as I rock him on my shoulder, and I can hardly bare the thought that he will outgrow all this newborness in only a matter of weeks. It seems almost unfair that all of this perfect and helpless newness will be left behind. Obviously it is fine as it happens because each new thing they do and learn only seems more wonderful, but I honestly almost keep feeling like maybe we only get them as newborns for such a short while because it is simply too much of a sacred thing. Is that wrong to say? They seem totally sacred to me. They seem incredible and impossible, and I almost feel like we only get that tiny newborn for a little bit so we don’t have a chance to take it for granted or to feel like it is in any way common or, in any way, anything but a total and real miracle.
So, that’s the whole craziness of life for me right now. Overwhelmed with responsibility and stress about how life will ever get back to normal, and yet overwhelmed by the thought that it will get back to normal, that I won’t get to keep this tiny unearthly phase with my little Anders for much longer. Clearly if I was rational, that feeling would cancel out the other – I would realize how short this time is and embrace it with all its chaos, knowing that life truly WILL go back to “normal” all too quickly, but, alas, I am hardly rational at all, so both feelings just exist – completely, and completely opposite, and side by side in me. What a crazy thing it is welcoming a new life to your own existence!