You won’t be getting any lesson plans or teaching stories out of me for a while, because my husband and I were blessed with a beautiful baby boy in February. My life has changed from taking attendance and searching out innovative ways to teach Shakespeare to tallying wet diapers and searching out innovative ways to get a baby to sleep.
I have been responsible for young lives before, but not like this. Never one whole life for one whole lifetime. So it’s been an adjustment. In a card from a friend, she shared age old words of wisdom with me to help me get through the adjustment and the challenges that come with it – “this too shall pass.” I had heard this phrase before, and had been clinging to it in the days following his birth. When his cries of hunger, boredom, and sleepiness were indistinguishable to me, making me feel helpless and inadequate, I whispered, “this too shall pass”. When he hit a growth spurt and was eating every hour, making it a challenge for me to shower daily or even eat regularly, I mumbled to myself, “this too shall pass”. When he was up every night crying until one in the morning, I said with assurance to him, “this too shall pass”. When he refuses a soother he was happily sucking the day before, I reminded myself, this too shall pass. When he kicks his feet and flails his arms and screams for no apparent reason, I cry to the Heavens, “this too shall pass!” and I dream of a day I will finish a meal or sleep for more than three consecutive hours.
But there is an ugly side to this truth. When he falls asleep in my arms and his little hand squeezes my finger, I realize with a start – this too shall pass. When he smiles at me simply because I smiled at him…..the little noise he makes before and after a sneeze……when we sit and ‘talk’ to each other……the look of wonder in his eyes as he discovers the ceiling fan, a blanket, his hands…….when his chin quivers as he coos. This all shall pass. My heart is stricken with joy and grief as each new stage passes by. And suddenly, the cries in the night do not jar me as much. When he wakes up immediately after I put him down, I am not as frustrated as I once was. The memory of his smile tempers his cry, with the bittersweet knowledge that it is all passing much quicker then I could have imagined.
So I don’t rush to put him down and sweep the floor or do the dishes anymore. I let the laundry pile up. I let the dust gather and the meals stay last minute. Because our little boy is learning to roll over , and this too shall pass.