A few weeks ago when we were at the beach Allen took full advantage of Braylen’s nap time and snuck in a nap for himself as well. I don’t so much think Allen really had to have a nap. I think it was more about me and he knew if he took a nap in the condo with the baby I could sneak away to the beach for a few hours. I didn’t ask Allen to do this, but I’m not at all surprised that he did.
I quickly grabbed my things, threw my Kindle and beach towel and the bag and headed down to the beach. When I got down to the beach I opened my bag to see this…
Tucked away in my bag amidst the sunscreen and towels lay Braylen’s favorite Elmo and her sunglasses. I couldn’t help but think…
No matter where I go, no matter what I do I am forever her mother.
Sure I was relaxing on the beach and reading a book but there isn’t a minute where I’m not thinking about her. What she’s doing. Whether or not she is safe. When I’m with her those thoughts turn into other thoughts. Is she eating the right things? Does she have a fever? Is it just teething?
I had always heard having a baby and being a mother would change you. I don’t think I was (or could have ever been) completely prepared for the way motherhood would completely rock me to my core. Hear me out, I love being a mother. I wouldn’t, under any circumstances, go back and change anything. But it’s normal for me to think on what used to be and compare then to what it is now.
Since Braylen’s arrival I’ve sort of felt like we had to leave the old Allen and Jennifer behind. Maybe not entirely but I’m not at all the same person as I was checking into the hospital that April night. Neither is he. We were forever changed by a tiny, precious miracle when she was placed in our arms the next day.
I often think back to the people we were before Braylen. So spontaneous. You certainly wouldn’t find me sitting at home on a Friday or Saturday night. We tried new restaurants and watched every new movie that came out that we were remotely interested in. I remember when I discovered The Melting Pot. I think we went 5 more times in the course of the next two months. Taking anyone we could talk into going with us. Sitting down for dinner for 2-3 hours and then seeing a movie afterwards? You bet. Vacations with friends, vacations by ourselves , vacations at the spur of the moment. When I was 36 weeks pregnant with Braylen we were getting ready to go to my appointment and Allen just decided we would go to Nashville for the weekend. He said, “get some clothes together and let’s go out of town after we leave the doctors office.”
Maybe we can’t do those things now. It takes much more packing and planning before we can go on a trip. Date nights are few and far between. I have to really want to see a movie to leave Braylen with a sitter and go. If we eat out, we do so quickly. Not wasting any time, not wanting to impose on that precious toddler attention span. We’ve had to stifle some of the carefree sprit. My husband who never worried a day in his life before Braylen was born, well, he worries now. That worry is inevitable.
But there are times when Allen plans something special. There are times when we have room for spontaneity and we take full advantage of that. We are different, but we’re different together. We’ve both embarked on this journey to be parents wholeheartedly. We talk about parenting together, we worry about Braylen together and we pray for her together.