Last night, I dreamed that I was nine months pregnant. It was so realistic. I could feel the swell of my stomach, feel the baby twisting and turning and poking out limbs. I woke up confused about why I was sleeping on my stomach because, oh, I was way too pregnant for that. But then I remembered that I'm (thankfully) not and so I can sleep on my stomach for maybe the rest of forever.
It made me think about February five years ago. Entering into this month knowing that I'd most likely have a baby in this month. Scared, excited. Ready to be done, but yet, afraid to be done because what was I going to do with a baby?
Part of that time is a blur. I don't remember much of my life before kids. Not because it was a meaningless life--it wasn't--but because the last five years have held so much that I forget that they haven't always been my life. But I remember Uno tournaments with Shane, both of us on the cusp of this new life, enjoying those last few days when it would be just us. I remember that every night, I would sit in the nursery, complete but for a baby. I would rock in the glider and imagine what it would be like with a baby at my breast, tired but surely so happy. I would place my hand on my stomach and say, "You can come out any time now. Whenever you're ready. We're ready to meet you. Your mommy and daddy and grandparents are all ready to meet you."
I would dream.
The hours and hours that I spent in labor with Luke are a blur. I remember only snippets, hours of walking the halls, of watching the buses arrive at my school in the morning and being thankful that I wasn't there, that I was in this miraculous moment instead. I remember thinking he'd never be born. I remember wondering if I was right, if he would be a he. I remember being so out of my mind with pain at the end that I felt like I was outside of my body. I remember being so tired that I could hardly lift my head or speak, yet I was pushing with strength that I didn't know I had, strength that was beyond me. I remember the way my mom yelled when he was almost born.
I remember the feeling when his feet slid out of me. Feeling empty, yet so whole.
Holding him, at last, at long last. At first, I didn't even know that he was born, then all of a sudden he was in my arms. In that instant, I forgot that he hadn't been in my arms forever.
Part of me can't believe that Luke turns five this month. I can't believe that he's been in my life for this long, that he isn't still that baby who fit in my arms as if they were created just to hold him. These past five years have been a struggle to learn how to be a mom, to learn how to raise a son. I don't always do it right. In fact, most times I'm certain I'm doing it wrong, but I keep trying. Someday, I hope he'll know how hard I tried to do right by him. I hope he'll know that I never meant to yell or not be 100% present in the moment or not be as patient as I should.
I hope he'll be as proud of me as I am of him.