Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pure Joy

Yesterday my son turned one week old. In the past eight days my life has been enriched and blessed more than I could have predicted.

"...having a baby changes everything."

And it's true. Far from social habits or sleeping schedules, the true changes are in the new perspectives, relationships, and in the sudden urge to want to (as Koby puts it) "move into the woods and protect Knox from the world forever".

First change: In the moments and hours after Knox's birth I was overcome with love for my husband. Though our son was brand new, I could feel that our relationship had taken an even more beautiful shape as our identities suddenly changed. Now I can not only love Koby as my husband, but as the father of my child. Koby's support, encouragement, care and sweet concern were so evident during my labor and delivery - as well as the full nine months preceeding. When the hardest part of delivery came he was scared and proud and excited right beside me, quietly encouraging me when my body was completely exhausted.

Second change: We've created a family. And we've added to a wonderful family that I have never been more thankful for. Being Knox's mother is such a blessing in and of itself, but this new experience also fosters an entirely new dimension in the relationship I can now have with my parents - I finally understand the obsessive love one can only have for a child. I can understand fully how they hurt when I hurt, how they will incessantly call to make sure that my car is routinely inspected and oiled, or how they will give and give and give until you wonder if they have anything left. Koby, Knox, and I were surrounded by friends and family from the zero hour of labor through the 17 1/2 hours to follow. Koby's mom (hereafter known as 'Lovie')has been doting on us this week, cooking and cleaning and changing dirty diapers and next week, my mom will come and do the same thing. I can't even tell you how incredibly grateful we are, not only for the precious extra hours of sleep, but to know that we both have parents who have demonstrated for us the way to raise children.

Third change: More than anything else I've learned during pregnancy, the process of becoming a mother has taught me how INCREDIBLY little control I have over my own life. And now, over my son's life. Of course, we have all the necessary safety 'equipment' for Knox's time here. We have a solid car seat that is, in fact, so safe it took Koby three hours of hard effort until he was able to remove it from the car. We have a crib that can safely withstand my pregnant body's weight (don't ask). And I have Google at my beck and call - I know the signs of everything from cradle cap to jaundice. No, all of it is feeble human planning compared to the master creation that happened inside of my body for nine months. I know Knox is a gift and he doesn't belong to me, but I am so incredibly thankful and humbled and honored that God blessed Koby and I with him anyway and entrusted him into our care. Pregnancy and motherhood has taught me to rely on and appreciate God's grace and promises more than anything else that has ever happened to me.

And now, let's talk exclusively about Knox. Which is what I've been doing for the past 8 days without ceasing. You may have noticed a barrage of Knox-related photos and information blowing up the newsfeed on the various social networks to which you subscribe. I can't help it. I am utterly, irreversibly obsessed with Knox and I unabashedly think he is the greatest. Though I know full well I am biased, I am of the opinion that he is a very cute baby. The truth is that he is also a very well-behaved baby. He rarely screams or cries (KNOCKING ON WOOD) and he SMILES! (Can babies that young smile? I didn't think so, but he's doing it. Don't come back and tell me it's gas, he's an angel and he thinks I'm hilarious.) What's my favorite thing he does? I hope you wondered because I have so many things to list for you. I love it when his chin quivers, I love the pathetic noises he makes when I burp him after a feeding. I love the way he pulls my hands in close to his chest while he's eating and clutches them there for minutes. Koby loves his not-so-little yawns - Knox yawns and it consumes his face. He is merciless to the yawn. I love the angry/surprised faces he makes while making poopies. Sometimes I sit as I'm holding him and as I let my recently confused hormones run away with me I just want to cry over his little head because of how much I love him. (Yes you can laugh at that.)

I want my baby to grow big and strong but at the same time my heart breaks when I think about him growing up. I love baby Knox so much and I know this love will only grow as he does, but GOODNESS he is so cute and small. Although, I am already fantasizing about him being able to talk and saying "I love you Mommy'. I'm almost crying just thinking about it.

Speaking of that, Knox's first doctor's appointment was today, but no one warned me that the first 'well-baby check-up' is actually some scheme of torture designed by pediatricians to test a new mother's overtaxed heartstrings. We had to undress him down to his diaper and watch as he shivered on the changing table - his lips were turning blue! THEN they pricked his heel and squeezed and squeezed and SQUEEZED blood out onto a piece of paper for some archaic method of a blood test and as he whimpered and cried I actually almost cried (I promise I am not an emotional basketcase).

I wish I could put into better words my thoughts about the way I'm feeling since becoming a mother, but really, there's nothing else like it. Pure joy. That's probably it.