so last night was crazy. melby woke up about every hour and a half, and i, for whatever reason, kept waking up even in between those small stints of sleep. the cat adopted one of the christmas ornaments as a soccer ball and was running the length of the house with it throughout the night and then, around 3 am, i heard the wa wa waa waaan of muffled voices, like charlie brown's teacher had taken up residence outside our bedroom window. one of the neighbors was sitting in his car listening to talk radio at full volume with the windows down. because that made sense.
needless, to say, i woke up less than refreshed. sometimes nighttime just feels like torture and, regardless of how tired i still am, i'm ready for it to be over so i can stop pretending i'll sleep.
i was chatting with one of the fellow new mamas from my birthing class yesterday and she said something about appreciating this “hard tired gritty season,” this crazy period of adjustment as we figure out who we are in an entirely new role that leaves us responsible for the physical and emotional growth of a whole human, while also affording us very little sleep to integrate or get any perspective on that process.
people on the other side of said gritty season tell me all the time to cherish every moment because it goes so fast! which i hear and appreciate, cognitively, but i am definitely still in the phase where it all seems so endless.
maybe, this time, hearing it from another mom in the trenches, i actually heard it. that, yes, this will not last forever and i truly believe that at some point, i will miss waking up and patting my bundled girl on my shoulder so many times per night until her body finally relaxes into sleep. i believe i will miss that closeness, the smell of her skin, our bond, the stillness of the night, the way in which i am her whole world, her place of comfort, her everything. i do believe that.
this time is gritty. it's a lot of cold meals and clothes covered in spit up and endless laundry and piles of shit all over the house and wondering what on earth is going on/ will this ever end/ why is there so much body on my body/ where did my abs go. but, when fellow mama said those words, i was reminded of other gritty times. namely, pretty much all of my college career and post college flailings. honestly, i was drunk most of that time. i felt tremendously horrible and lost most of that time (a connection between the two?? noooooo). it was gritty af.
but now, in retrospect, i also remember it fondly. the friendships i created, the rawness with which i lived, the richness of emotion that comes with floundering so blindly: those things were powerful. and they are beautiful in memory. and sometimes, even, i do miss living that chaotic, wild, tumultuous life.
so in some ways, i have been here before. i have been in the grit and then out of it. and just like i might benevolently tell some maybe depressed twenty-something that they should cherish their blissful lostness, their period of discovery, i will also tell myself that i believe one day i will miss eating cold food and not sleeping, because my tiny girl wants me so terribly often.
because so much of what is hard in our experience is lovely when we stand and look back at it. because it shaped us. and only once we've moved through it can we understand how valuable that molding was. they are times of transformation-- so painful and seemingly impossible in the process and so tremendously cherished in hindsight.
i can't talk myself into sanity. i can't talk myself into not being tired or being comfortable with motherhood until i've simply practiced it. i can't talk myself into anything.
but i can understand that all these moments are magical. and someday i'll feel that.
there is magic in the hard, in the tired, in the grit. there is magic now.