Over the past week, Mike and I have put together Baby G’s crib, stroller, and painted his/her changing table. As obvious as these tasks seem when you’re expecting a baby, these physical representations of this new addition to our family have really made the reality of having a baby very, well, real. To say that having a baby is a priority shift is the understatement of the century. Until now, life has been mimosas and the E! Network: I’ve had the luxury of being a workaholic, taking my laptop to bed with me to continue my day when inspiration strikes. I can be selfish in the shower, taking a few extra minutes to shave, exfoliate, and deep condition my hair without worrying about the infant that has been put down for a nap. I can go on a work trip with little-to-no notice, which when you’re in Public Relations is pretty common. That’s all about to change. My sleep schedule, my work schedule, my Type A neuroticism… it’s all falling to the wayside in comparison to the little boy or girl who is now my #1 priority.
My first act of true motherhood came when I decided to take a full month for maternity leave. I’ve worked through sickness, personal struggles, whatever. So when my boss graciously said “Take as long as you need,” I shrugged and went, “I will be able to be back at my desk in two weeks, no problem.” I thought: I’ll work out of my home office, and schedule conference calls around the baby’s sleep schedule! How incredibly naive. I’m sure seasoned mothers everywhere are laughing at the assumption that I would have the baby’s schedule down within a matter of weeks. Who do I think I am?
I didn’t realize that motherhood is life’s ultimate trump card. When I first felt the baby make a real movement, I was already mourning the loss of not having Little One in my belly anymore. It made me realize that all of these pivotal moments with my child (in utero and out) are precious. That when he or she is pulling the old family truckster out of our driveway on their way to college, I will regret every moment I didn’t stare at their little sleeping newborn face. While I love my job, I will have to learn to put down my iPhone at 5 o’clock in time to make it to every dance recital, hockey practice, and holiday singalong. Life can wait, if Little One has questions about God, the New York Giants, or why peas are green. This is the stuff of life; well, it is now.
It’s no secret that Mike and I are on the younger side for becoming parents. I always thought that would hinder us somehow. That I might mourn the loss of my “young and reckless years” while watching my friends backpack across Europe or live in Thailand (Hi, Connor). While I revere and adore my friends for their chosen paths, and love to see them enjoying their lives, I secretly revel in the happiness of my own choices. I’ve seen the Eiffel Tower, the vast landscapes of Ireland, and nothing has yet to compare to the sound of Baby G’s beating heart or Mike’s face after seeing the baby on the ultrasound screen for the first time. It’s the Taj Mahal of life experiences.