Balance, grace and dignity

“Mommy!” A little voice close by. Very close.

I shake myself awake.

“Mommy!” More emphatic this time.

By Jess Heid john's mom works

By Jess Heid
john’s mom works

I peel my lids open. Crystal blue eyes are just an inch or two from my own, a pale little nose nearly squashed against mine.

The stage whisper only a three-year-old can manage without sounding fake rings out one more time. “Mommy! Hide for your life!”

* * *

When my husband and I welcomed John into our family in 2010, we were somewhat prepared for the obvious changes. We expected sleepless nights. We anticipated dirty diapers and some crying, and some limits to our social calendar.

I even expected I would feel a little different about my career. I figured there would be days I wasn’t so sure I shouldn’t be at home with my wee one, and days when I couldn’t wait to get to work to take a break.

I did NOT expect that every day I would know less confidently what I was doing. That every day would bring opportunities to question my intentions, my methodologies, my every action. That I would be 150% making it up as I went along.

My cocky nature fought that realization. My husband, too, struggled to realize that we, the “competent” ones, hadn’t a clue.

Then we made peace with it. Slowly, we began to accept that it was ok, and that NO ONE knows what they are doing.

So we had another kid. And to represent just how life-altering a decision that was, Charlie arrived in an ambulance going 75 miles per hour on an overpass en route to the hospital.

And here we stand, a family of four, in a new city, in new jobs, in new schools, with almost nothing in common with our life one year ago.

* * *

“Why am I hiding, John?” I manage to mutter sleepily.

“There’s a monster coming. He is going to eat us.”

* * *

Most mornings, I don’t need an alarm clock anymore. One of my boys wakes me up. Sometimes, it’s with scary horror movie setups of monsters coming to eat us. Sometimes, it’s an anxious cry of a baby wondering when his next milk will arrive. Sometimes – all too rarely – it’s a warm little body snuggling its way into my bed to say he loves me.

Every day is different. Every day is uniquely not-what-I-expected. I am a wife, a mom, and a professional, and I have no idea how those pieces fit together.

Some days I feel like I’m finding an elegant solution, fitting uneven edges together to make a beautiful picture of an amazing life.

Most often, I feel like I am putting square pegs in round holes over. And. Over. And. Over.

It ain’t pretty all the time, but it’s my life, and I invite you to join me on the ride. We’ll laugh, we’ll cry …I’ll lose my balance, fall from grace, and give up what dignity I have ever had. But then I will stand back up, giggle, find the nearest son of mine, assure him I’m not nuts, and hug the daylights out of him.

You in?

Jess Heid is author of the john’s mom works blog.

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