I dream about him every night.
Not Elliott, though he is often right there in the periphery of my mind, but Ryan. I dream about my husband.
In these dreams, we are doing mundane things, the basic stuff of life… walking around Target, holding hands, talking.
Sometimes, I wake in tears. I miss him. A lot.
…which is ridiculous.
I am one of those incredibly lucky women who have daddy home right now. He has paternity leave. By the time he returns to work, Ryan will have spent six weeks, day in, day out, with Elliott and I.
And, yet, I find myself going through my day barely able to think of my handsome husband without tears in my eyes.
I am aware postpartum hormones aren’t kind… or logical (!!). So, there’s that.
Plus, we’ve established a sleep schedule that means we never lay beside one another. I generally sleep 10-4, and Ryan goes to bed when I wake. (This will change a lot once he goes back to work.)
In the days after the birth, we got only an hour or two of sleep at a time, and usually I got even less than that. When we realized I had a problem with low milk supply (Infertility is the gift that just keeeeeeps on giving.), it became clear that it’s not necessary for me to get up every two to three hours to breastfeed.
Being forced to supplement with formula means that Ryan handles at least two feedings in a row solo, stringing together six hours of sleep for mama. Like so many women, not being able to exclusively breastfeed my baby has felt devastating at times, but getting some semi-consistent sleep sure is a silver lining.
Upsides abound, but I’m hormonal, of course, and for me, that apparently means I’m chronically missing my love.
Walking around teary eyed because you miss someone who is in the other room is annoying all on its own, but it’s especially so when he’s standing right infront of me.
Of course, my feelings don’t really stem from missing his physical person. No, what I miss is our connection, a connection built over nearly nine years of “us” time. In the later years, our bond was forged around the idea of “just us.”
Right now, that connection is strained simply by the stress and emotional/physical exhaustion of caring for Elliott. Having previously kept alive only plants (and, let’s be real, they didn’t always fare so well), we have pulled out the big guns to do this new job like the overachievers we are.
We talk about how we will undoubtedly have to relax with future kids, should we be so lucky to have more, but right now, Elliott is our nucleus. United in our common goal, we are positioned like two sides of a teeter-totter: balanced, but just out of reach of one another.
Shockingly, Ryan isn’t hormonal, and so, he says he feels closer to me than ever before. This is hard for me to believe when I’m rocking a baby, spooning ice cream into my mouth, and feeling like I lost my BFF.
Of course, this isn’t all I feel or even most of it.
Having a baby means you are plunged into living life in multitudes and magnitudes. I’m not blissful or overwhelmed; I’m both. The experience is wonderful and difficult at the same time, and a far cry in both directions, at that.
I keep reminding myself of that quote you so often see floating around about parenthood.
The days are long, but the years are short. — Gretchen Rubin
Mostly, I’m grateful for that.
Last night, we went out on a family date. By “went out,” I mean we got showered and dressed in street clothes, and then Ryan climbed into the driver’s seat, I took my place in the back with the baby, and we drove around the city. The highlight was going through the Burgerville drive-thru and looking at the mansions in one of the fancy neighborhoods on the other side of the river. At no point did we get out of the car.
While cleaning off the makeup that nobody but Ryan saw me wear, I realized again how precious these long days really are.
No matter how my hormones try to convince me otherwise, I’m working side-by-side with the absolute love of my life to figure how to parent a little person we created together.
It’s a forest for the trees situation. Even in the moments where I question my ability to do this, I also know that I’m in the most beautiful place I’ve ever been.
If Elliott is my sun, Ryan is the moon and the stars.
They keep my world spinning.
I know that Ryan and I will eventually — probably someday soon, even — build our parenting confidence enough to trust that the baby is breathing if we take our eyes off him and put them on each other for five minutes.
Patience has never been my strength, but if I know anything from waiting on a baby for all these years, it’s that all things come with time.