I think I'm still pinching myself to see if it's really happening. When Kelsey and Rohan came over for a real informal day at the pool a few weeks ago, we had no idea what they were about to reveal to us. It was so informal, I had made sandwiches for Charles and I and they brought over a pizza. When it was time to bless the food, Rohan speaks up and kind of commands the table and says, "hey, I will bless the food, Charles." I think inside, Charles and I were like, oh, ok, well if it means that much to you. Rohan starts his prayer and blesses the food and the time together and so on and so on, but then concludes with "and God, please bless the little baby in Kelsey's tummy." I wish you could have seen my face.
I literally said out loud, "oh my God, you're pregnant?!"
After the initial few seconds of shock wear off, I am screaming and hugging and all the things you would expect at such a glorious announcement. I just couldn't wrap my head around it.....my baby girl, that sweet little precious chunk, was going to be a mama herself. As I sit here now several weeks later, I still can't fully grasp it.
I think as moms, we all inwardly dream of this moment from very early on. What will it be like to watch this little girl grow and blossom into a woman and have her own baby....who will be your grandchild? For those who may not know, this will not be my first grandchild. My son Coby and his wife Kenzie had my first grandbaby a little over a year ago and he has brightened my world in a way I did not realize a baby could. But for those who have both sons and daughters, there is a unique difference where the grandbabies come into play. Maybe it's the personality between the relationships. Not one better than the other, but different.
What is also unique about Kelsey is she isn't your average pregnant woman when it comes to all the planning. She would much rather let you do all the planning for her and just give her the list or the agenda and tell her where to be or what to buy. I guess that's a good thing since I have a running baby registry list already on Amazon that I add to almost daily. What's funny is that she does have a small list, and every time we are together and I show her the things I've saved, they are exactly the same things she has also saved.
However, when things are quiet and I have time to let my thoughts linger and go through the memories in my mind, there are some really good memories, but there are some things I would do anything to go back, erase and do all over again. I mean, are there any of us out there that don't have those thoughts?
For me, there are a few key things that stand out that if I gave enough time and energy to it, could keep me in a mindset of regret from now on. Instead of living in regret, my heart is to help Kelsey, other young moms not make the same mistakes I did.
Time is a thief.......so make the everyday moments matter. This is so cliche but I wish I could get the concept through every young mother's head. When you are in the middle of it, it makes you want to throat punch any old mom that would dare speak this to your face. I get it. I did the same thing. You've got babies and toddlers and you think, I've got plenty of time because for the love of all that is holy, I'm losing my mind swimming in diapers and first foods---which are MESSY.
I don't know when it happened exactly. It was like one day I turned around and all three of them were teenagers and if I could give you any visual image at all it was like I was sitting on the floor, grappling at everything I could get my hands on around me pulling it to me like a homeless person who was afraid of losing the very few things they owned. That's how I felt. I wanted to get it all back. I wanted to go back and savor the time and make more memories rather than just surviving day to day because I was tired or frustrated or even depressed. It's a gut wrenching feeling honestly.
So I bare my soul to tell you to take in the moments. Soak in the mundane and make it meaningful to your kids. Sing songs. Lots of them. Kelsey still remembers some of the silly songs I made up when she was little and it's so fun to see her face light up today if I start to sing one of them.
Stop worrying about what internet says or your parents say or even pediatricians in some cases and trust yourself. There is so much information out there now with the internet, Instagram and Facebook mommy groups that will give you 50 different ways to sleep train or anything else you want to know. I'm not saying they are inherently bad, but they can be paralyzing and cause more anxiety than they were originally intended to lessen. I heard recently that 80% of people go to Instagram to find an answer to their problem among the people they follow. I am guilty of this and I'm sure you are too.
The same can be said about your pediatrician. (Don't hate me yet.) Your pediatrician sees hundreds of babies and children and for the most part has a one size fits all approach to most things. They are either for or against pacifiers, sleep training, bed sharing, swaddling, blankets, Dock-a-tots, baby led weaning.....I could go on and on. And most of that goes along with the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) guidelines which takes an ultra safe approach to safety. For example, the AAP discourages bed sharing but I know that thousands of parents share the bed with their infant (especially in other cultures) without any worry whatsoever. Does that mean that because the AAP discourages bed sharing that it's dangerous in every situation? No it doesn't. It means that we as parents, trust our gut and we do things like bed sharing and make it as safe as possible (no fluffy blankets, no alcohol or drug use that could impair your sleep, etc). I also had a pediatrician tell me that if I didn't take away Kelsey's paci when she was nine months old, that I would ruin her teeth structure. I'm still rolling my eyes over that one and she kept it until she was almost two. You get the gist.
So trust that you have everything inside of you to make good, sound decisions for your baby and your family. Scroll Instagram, read the mommy pages, but ultimately listen to your baby, listen to your gut and make the decision that is right for you and your family.
Be intentional. I really had no concept of this when I first had Kelsey and any little bit I may have had took a nosedive once the boys were born and life took that unforgiving twist in the road. It just felt like we had so much time. And that one day, things would be different, more stable, or we would have more money and we could catch up on all the things. All the things. As I reflect now, I wish I had not made any excuse whatsoever to put off whatever those things were. Maybe it was a road trip, or a vacation or just more days crafting and showing them the world. Travel, see the world, go to the park, pet all the animals.
But being intentional is not just about trips and all the things. It's also about the way you want to parent, the values you want to instill, the traditions and legacies you want to build. I worked for a family once that was a young couple but they had really talked and discussed how they wanted to raise these babies and they were very intentional about so many things in their lives. I was amazed at how articulate they could be about how they spoke to their children or how they made sure to read a toddler devotional each morning as the two year old ate her oatmeal. They had already decided, this is who we are going to be, so all of their day to day efforts were pointed toward that direction. It was so amazing to me and it definitely imprinted something that I will never forget. Decide what kind of parents you want to be and how you want to lead these little people and make every intentional effort to do that.
Kelsey, you will make mistakes and you will doubt yourself on a daily basis, but that is ok and it's normal. Believe in yourself and decide what kind of momma you want to be to this little babe. Learn from some of the mistakes I've made and forgive yourself when you make your own. Cherish the time.....trust your intuition, and live the days with joyful intention. And when it all feels too overwhelming and you're ready to throw your hands in the air and cry......jump in the car, bring that baby to me, and let your momma give you a break, make you some good food and whisper in your ear what a wonderful job you're doing. I will always be cheering for you.
Congratulations, baby girl.