What Had I Missed?

I sat there, with my baby in my arms, wondering.

Had I missed something?  Nothing seemed wrong with him.  He smiled, he ate, he held my finger as he nursed, he sat up in his high chair just like my other two children had.  Nothing seemed different to me, nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

I ran my hand over the peach fuzz on his head, and sighed.  He had been born with dark brown hair, like R’s, but it had all fallen out and now was reemerging as baby fine, yellow colored fuzz.  Like mine.   His eyes were holding that clear blue hue that had already turned gray and then later brown in my other two children.  These things, I could see, I could touch, I could know for sure.  But as he slumbered sweetly in my arms that warm afternoon, I wondered.  Could I be missing something?

I was more lax with him, I knew it.  It certainly wasn’t something I did often, I chastised myself, sitting here like this, absorbing every detail of my baby son.  There was never simply any time to do it.  There were dinners to make, children to pick up from activities, playing to be done, and of course the never ending work on my computer.  I spent much of my time with my two younger children on the phone with other adults, just to hear their voices, feel like I was connected to something other than diapers, Goodnight Moon and car seats.

And more than just the normal stay at home mommy crazy that I knew I was absorbed in, there was more.  I knew that I was not just trying to do what millions of other moms did within the four walls of their house, struggling to keep up with the daily tasks of running everything smoothly.  I was also trying to keep up with the demands of a celebrity job, a tenuous thing without a job description, a contract or a payment system.  A job run much more by the whims and fancy of people who did not have the patience to hear that this or that was delayed because I was worried that my son hadn’t pooped in two days or that I needed to potty train my daughter.  A job that could easily be hoisted onto the next willing fan if I was ever found to have stumbled, as evidenced by the recent dismissal of Elizabeth.

It was a job I loved and hated all at the same time, but couldn’t bear the thought of losing.  Still, as I sat there in the quiet still of my living room, watching the warm summer sunshine outside, listening for the return of Z from his friend’s house or Melinda’s slow waking from her nap, I wondered.  What was I giving up by having this feather in my cap?  Was I giving up sanity?  Surely.  Was I giving up my own chance at resurrecting my teaching career?  Maybe, though my part time gig at the university was quelling my feelings on that front, somewhat.  Was I giving up time with my children, my family?  Absolutely?

Was it worth it?

Had I missed something that should have been obvious to me if I hadn’t been so distracted by which fan was saying what about whom and my worries about how keep my skillset above everyone else vying for this role?  The baby in my arms squirmed in his sleep, unconsciously turning his face towards my warm chest and snuggling in further.  He seemed sweet, normal, perfect.

I didn’t know.  I couldn’t say.  But I did know that if somehow we pulled through this in a few days having learned that this was just a false alarm, I vowed to do a better job at keeping my priorities more towards my family and less towards far away people.  They certainly weren’t going to be the ones to be there at the hospital with me if my child’s skull needed to be cracked open and a shunt put in place.  From now on, I silently prayed, I would find a way to prioritize what was really important first.


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