Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Being Present

When I'm asleep, it needs to be dark. Not just lights off, but major league goth club type dark. I have coverings over my windows to block out ambient light. Additional light truly drives me insane. I like to sleep in a "nest" of pillows. One on each side of me and two under my head. This gives me a boundary so I don't fall off the bed and also, makes me feel safe and secure. 

This morning, Nate woke up early and came down to "snuggle".  When he wakes up before me, he likes to come downstairs into my bed and "snuggle".  Snuggling means he jumps into my bed, hogs all of my carefully arranged blankets and takes my pillows. He will then proceed to wriggle around the bed and stick his little rump in the air. Sometimes for fun, he'll breathe heavy through his mouth. This is his way of waking me up so that I'll get out of bed and turn on the Wii for him. This doesn't always work on me, as I have learned his scheme. I usually tell him that he can go upstairs and get himself something to eat while Mom is attempting to revive from the sleep of the dead. He's a little older now, so I know I can trust him for about 3o minutes without worrying he'll set the house on fire. 

Today, when he came down, he asked if he could snuggle and I said yes. He got right in next to me, but he didn't do all the normal wake mom up activities he usually does. I waited for the wiggle worm. I waited for butt aerials. I waited for the labored breathing. All I heard was a quiet steady breathing, not unlike him sleeping...hey! Was he asleep? Really? In my bed? Is it possible?

There was Mr. Sheridan, sleeping like an infant, snug next to me. I couldn't believe that he was there. It was so unlike him. It suddenly hit me that this was a rare moment in time, it could also be a rip in the space time contiuum, so I knew I didn't have a minute to spare. I attempted to enjoy having my boy sleep next to me. 

Moms of children this age remember what is was like to have your tiny newborn sleeping against your chest. It is an incredible bonding experience. You feel all the love and the magic between you as you watch your little bundle of awesome breathing. You are blissful as you, too, are transported to dreamland with your sweet baby close at hand. I recall fondly how Nate's miniature rump fit perfectly into the palm of my right hand. He loved being held as an infant. We spent many nights snuggling during late evening feedings.

Nathan is now 80 lbs, 4 ' 8"  and is all legs & frenetic energy. Getting him to stop for a hug is like the world falling off it's orbital axis. Long hugs are out of the question, as they take time away from "stuff". There are days when I yearn for some delicious nap time with my boy, the both of us just dozing on the couch or the bed, sleeping peacefully during a lazy afternoon. 

That hasn't happened since Nathan was 2 1/2. 

Pouncing on the experience, I quickly wrapped my boy up, burrito style, in his blankets and attempted to sleep myself. I still had a good 30 minutes of sleep left. I wanted to enjoy this. 

And my mind factory kicked into gear. All the cogs and wheels and pulleys and levers started moving. The brain was in motion. Thoughts had to be thought. The day had to be planned. What was I forgetting? What is due today? Don't I have an appointment? I ran through Nate's day in my head. It's Tuesday, no gym, will he want school lunch, does he have clean clothes, boy that child needs his hair cut.......on and on and on. 

All of these thoughts are swirling inside my head like bats. I tried mentally shooing them away so I could actually experience time with my child. I was plagued like Johnny Depp in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" where he says, "We can't stop here, this is bat country!" except I don't take psychotropic drugs. 

I realized a little later that what I was trying to do was meditate. I was attempting to be there and be aware of my breathing only. I wanted to experience this tiny moment in time, as it was important to me. My overactive brain would not stop for a second and it was, I felt, preventing me from having this mini nirvana with my child. I started getting mad at myself for not doing better, for fighting with my anxiety inside my head at 6:45 in the morning, when the whole time, my charming child is snoozing away next to me. After I stopped self deprecating for 5 seconds and came to the conclusion that the more I argued with myself the more I was missing this opportunity, I held Nathan a bit closer, nuzzled into his big mop of boy hair, and breathed. I was transported, if but for a moment, back to his infancy. 

But not even there, truly. It was more to a place where we bonded right after he was born. I had a C Section and didn't hold Nathan for almost 4 hours after the procedure. There are those stories where mothers say they did not bond with their children well after a c section and that their relationship was never the same. I had that fear as well. I had pushed and pushed for almost 3 hours before an emergency c section was scheduled. I had felt sad that I couldn't bring him out on my own and felt like a complete failure. When they brought Nathan to me around 10 PM, I had no idea what to do. This was the first time we would be introduced. What if I failed this too!? I said to myself, you know, all he needs is love. I picked him up gently and brought him to my chest.  Nathan immediately snuggled next to me as I held him to my left shoulder. He just breathed. As did I.

This reminds me of an Erma Bombeck poem, "If I Had To Live My Life Over" where she says in it: 

There would have been more 'I love you's; more 'I'm sorry's.'
But mostly, given another shot at life,
I would seize every minute...
look at it and really see it ...
live it ... and never give it back.

 That's why they say the present is the best place to be, because it is such a gift. I'm trying to live that life, Erma.


  1. @Brenda: As do I! I know they won't always be here, so I try to cherish them as I can.