Bonding Part 2
Posted by JLK
I’m not a Christian but OW is a devout Lutheran, son and grandson of Lutheran ministers. We have silently agreed that I will accompany him to church on high holy days and a few other times during the year.
Yesterday was the annual outdoor service and picnic. This is one of the days I agree to go and we managed to get the twins, both dogs, and us out the door and to the church before the service started. This is almost enough of a miracle to make me believe.
The boys were both tired and a bit grumpy, but I knew that they’d probably fall asleep. Grandma took Jelly and I held Peanut Butter because I knew he was hungry. It was a beautiful day and we sat in the shade of a huge tree near the church. I sat near the back and off to the side for a little extra privacy. As I sat there in my folding chair, nursing and listening quietly, I realized that I never take the time to just sit with my babies. I’m almost always in a rush to accomplish the next task. If one is nursing the other is getting fussy. If Peanut Butter falls asleep I hurry to get him to lie down so I can take care of Jelly. If I’m lucky enough to get them both asleep at the same time, I race to get to the washing machine, the kitchen, the toilet scrubber, the vacuum cleaner. If one is awake and complaining, up he goes on my back while I race to get to the washing machine, the kitchen, the toilet scrubber, the vacuum cleaner.
So as I listened to the hymns and nursed Peanut butter, I was free to do nothing but stare at him. I wasn’t playing with my cell phone, I wasn’t thinking about folding a load of laundry, and I wasn’t making mental lists. Because he was nursing and sleeping I didn’t even have to participate in the up and down of the service. I had an entire hour to just sit and look at him. To look at each hair in his golden eyebrows; the folds of his ears; the blue vein that curves around his right temple; the particular way his hair swirls at the edge of his hairline; the buttery smoothness of his skin; the scratch on his cheek; the length of each fingernail; the shape of his lips; the pads on his feet; the weight of his tiny body in my arms.
And it was beautiful but sad for me at the same time. I’m sad that I am so anxious to prove my worth as a new stay at home mom that I don’t feel I have the luxury of just sitting and staring at my babies. Who will wash the clothes? Who will cook dinner? Who will sweep up the pounds of sand the dogs track in every day? These things have to be done. It’s not an option for us to have no clothes to wear, or to eat take out every night. Beyond that, the house devolves quickly into chaos if I don’t constantly work on keeping the hotspot surfaces from being overtaken by clutter. It’s amazing how quickly that happens. As I write this, I’m looking around at the stuff – the STUFF – threatening to devour us because I’ve been too down to take care of things for the past few days.
In the meantime, the boys have become just a part of my household routine. I’ve mentioned before that I’m worried that I’m not bonding appropriately with the twins. The affection I noticed felt while taking that hour to look at my little Peanut Butter must be part of what the bonding feels like. I was more at peace during that hour than I have been in a long, long time.
How do I continue to develop this with both of my boys while dealing with the practical realities of feeding my family and maintaining our home?
That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.