saving my life, right now.

Nobody told me about the bubble. I suppose I expected it, in the same way I expected motherhood to be wonderful and challenging all at once, yet I had no idea what any of it really meant until that beautiful Monday morning when I held him in my arms for the very first time, elated and sick as could be.

And now here I am, in this translucent bubble, protected yet exposed, safe yet vulnerable. People can see in and I can see out but nobody really understands what it’s like because him and I are the only ones inside. Sometimes our days are long and tiring and I struggle to see the joy that is all around me. I am mostly covered in spit-up and drool, watching him stare at me with furrowed brows as he tries to make sense of me and the world. He cries as all babies do, a lot sometimes, and is becoming more and more needy it seems. The neediness feels good and overwhelming, but mostly overwhelming.

And, despite the neediness, I cannot help but wonder: does he know me?

I am here day after day pouring myself, my whole self, into him and his life, and I am still not always sure. Even in the sincerest and purest of moments when he needs me the most, when we lie together in bed, side by side, him nursing and me stretching my neck as long as it will go to kiss his forehead. Even then, I wonder: does he know me? Does he know how much I love him, how much I care, how much I worry?

And just when it all seems like too much to bear—the diapers and the spit-up and the endless piles of laundry and the crying (oh the crying!), the lack of sleep and the extra weight that refuses to leave my hips, that is when it happens. That is when he smiles at me, his signature gummy toothless smile that makes me forget about all of it. And even though he will smile at you, there is a different smile reserved for me. The smile that happens inside of the bubble is different than the one that happens outside it.

His deep blue eyes, intense as the ocean tide, stare into mine as the corners of his mouth lift quickly, signaling familiarity. I know you.

He knows me. I am his mother and he is my son and here in the bubble, we both know it.

Today, in the midst of the chaos surrounding this house, the daily frustrations and fears, I am thankful for my eleven-week-old toothless wonder. His gummy smile is saving my life right now.

This post is part of the “In which we are saved” syncroblog by Sarah Bessey. If you have the time, I’d encourage you to take 30 minutes today to ponder and write about what is saving your life right now.

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17 Responses to saving my life, right now.

  1. Paulette Hawes says:

    Dearest Ash –

    The other day when I babysat and called to ask you a question, I had the phone on speaker and I swear Everett recognized your voice. I had him sitting on my lap and the phone was on the arm of the chair. When your voice came over the phone he kicked his legs and made a cooing noise.

    Yes, motherhood is a challenge – but the smiles and the laughter make it all worth it!!

    Love you,

  2. Britty says:

    Such a beautifully written post, miss.
    Britty´s last blog post ..THE HOME STRETCH

  3. kelsey says:

    i didn’t think Roo knew who i was until last week, when i went to pick her up from day care and she saw me from across the room and smiled a BIG smile. 🙂 usually she doesn’t seem to notice if it’s me or the day care lady. which breaks my heart!

    i’d love to hear more about your days at home with everett. i so desire to cut down hours at work, but i wonder how it will affect everything. my marriage, my energy, etc. it doesn’t really matter, though, because i feel like God is calling me to it. i’m staying where i am based on fear…which i hate. i’m hoping to take a leap of faith in the next year. maybe sooner. unfortunately, my boss reads my blog, so i can’t really talk about it openly on there quite yet 🙂
    kelsey´s last blog post ..Do You Ever Wake a Sleeping Baby?

    • Ashlee says:

      Maybe I’ll do a post on surviving stay-at-home-momhood. I would actually like to solicit as much advice on that topic as I feel compelled to share 😉

      I don’t know you personally, or your situation, but I will say this: I have never once regretted the decision to stay home with Everett, even on the hardest of hard days (and there have been some HARD days). If you feel like God is calling you to it, then I think you should get up and go! The rest will fall into place. The very day it was decided that I wouldn’t be returning to my freelance gig was the same day that our mortgage refinance was FINALLY finalized. We lost my PT income, but made up half the difference in the money that we’re saving each month on our mortgage. I don’t know if your decision is based on finances, or emotions, or a combination of both, but I believe if you feel called to stay at home, God will provide the financial security and emotional peace that doing so requires.

  4. Sarah Bessey says:

    I remember feeling the same way, in those first weeks, I will never forget those first sweet, toothless smiles. Oh, this is good.

  5. Lauren says:

    The way you’re describing that overwhelming love you have for your little one just makes me think of God. That’s how He sees us. Knowing He created us, knowing He loves us more than we know.. And yet He waits for us to recognise it. He can’t do anything to force it on us, it’s our own free that decides whether we will see it or not. And then we do. And God smiles, knowing He was there all along and we just needed to acknowledge it.

    Beautiful post 🙂 x
    Lauren´s last blog post ..An adventure in macaron making

  6. Truer words have never been said…can’t wait for the first “i know you mom” smile.
    natasha {schue love}´s last blog post ..Happy 1 Month Ethan!

  7. Lindsay says:

    I think that smile could save many days! A beautiful post…I remember those days of giving, giving, giving and how rewarding it was when they first began to smile back. And you are so right: there is a different smile for Mom than for anyone else. Blessings to you and your beautiful little man! 🙂

  8. SushiMama says:

    Absolutely nothing better than the feeling that your baby knows and loves you. I’m totally crying right now thinking of how amazing it is to be E’s mama, even though I too, am covered in spit up and breastmilk, and am googling such things as baby poop on the interwebs. Best time of my life, by far.
    SushiMama´s last blog post ..Post baby body

  9. Kelly says:

    So true, friend! Beautifully written.
    Kelly´s last blog post ..adventures in swaddling

  10. brittany says:

    this is so honest and wonderful to read! i’m due in a week and a half and i know have so much ahead of me, but i am looking forward to that gummy smile that makes it all worth it 🙂
    brittany´s last blog post ..peacefulness.

  11. TulipGirl says:

    He’s so precious! Before Hubby leaves for work in the morning he has to get a smile. . . *grin* It’s so fun to watch and that grin is just a drug like nothing else.
    TulipGirl´s last blog post ..Lots of Links: The Christian Connection

  12. Lottie says:

    i am going to be a stay home mum so any advice would be most welcome before the baby arrives, i think i need all the help i can get.

    and that smile is absolutely gorgeous 🙂
    Lottie´s last blog post ..if you really knew me…

  13. Kim says:

    He is GORGEOUS! I love your blog. Your honesty and openness is so… educational. I feel like it prepares me for life. Weird, I know. But I love when I see one of your blogs in my list of blogs to read.
    Kim´s last blog post ..Back To Basics

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