My first night home from the hospital with Luke, I was so confident. He was sleeping well, nursing well, and didn't really cry at all. He was all settled in the bassinet next to our bed, swaddled and sleeping soundly. I remember clicking off the lamp and having a half-second to sigh at the joy of being back in my own bed before he started to WAIL. Honestly, I hadn't even put my head down on the pillow. I picked him up. He didn't want to nurse. He didn't want to snuggle in the bed with me. He just SCREAMED. I had sent Shane to sleep in the guest room, thinking that one of us should be rested in the morning (rookie mistake). He screamed and screamed and screamed. I tried rocking him, my newly post-partum body sore, hurting in places I'd never imagined, skin loose and unfamiliar. He screamed while I was rocking him. I tried putting him in the swing for the first time. In the dark, unfamiliar with the swing, I managed to hit his head on the swing. He screamed louder. I sobbed and wondered to myself if I was really cut out for this, only 48 hours into it and I was already a half step away from breaking my new baby. Finally, in a last ditch attempt, I started to sing to him. The only song I could remember in my tired haze, Hush Little Baby. He started to quiet, but still fussed until I held him tight my chest, walking, swaying, and singing. And walk, sway, and sing we did for hours, the same song on repeat over and over and over, until I was so tired that while (thankfully) standing next to the bed, my knees buckled and I collapsed from exhaustion. I didn't catch myself, but I reached out and gently deposited Luke on the bed before I hit the ground. At this point, obviously, I swallowed my pride and enlisted Shane's help.
I learned my lesson Tommy's first night home from the hospital and made sure that Shane was in the room with us. Except that as Tommy woke up at midnight, I whisked him into the bed, laid him next to me, and had him latched on and nursing before I even realized what happened, before I even fully came out of that dreamy sleep and realized that I had a newborn again. What a difference a kid makes, huh? Except that Tommy is the king of false advertising and the older he got, the worse his sleep became (and still is, thanks for the 3:30 wake up call, TOMMY) and so, hours of walking, swaying, and singing Hush Little Baby became my life again. I've learned more songs since then, but it's always struck me as the truest. Of course, we want to do what we can to make our kids happy, but none of us run out and buy them diamond rings. Yet, even if everything we've done falls apart, we'll still love them 'til the end of time and hope that they know that. I'm probably not ever going to buy my kids a billy goat, but I'll go to the ends of the earth to make them happy.
Sometimes when I'm standing in front of the room teaching, I find myself swaying gently from side to side. I stop and mentally admonish myself that my students must think I'm crazy, that they don't understand the motion that grips you when you become a mother, they don't understand that once you begin swaying, you never stop.