About two months into life with little Jacob out and about in the world, I finally feel like I’m hitting my stride. It still hasn’t been so long in the grand scheme of things, but for Jacob, this is his whole life. And for me, as quickly as days can go in retrospect, when you’re in them and you’re getting to know a new little person, they can seem longer than they used to be.
There are a lot of things that people tell you will happen after you have a baby, both to you and to the baby. I thought most of these would kick in before they did. I know “normal” can consist of a great range, but still I often need to remind myself that my schedule does not necessarily dictate—scratch that, how about “rarely, if ever, dictates”—how things will play out.
The thing is, when you anticipate something will happen before it does, you quickly start to wonder if it will ever come to pass. Like fitting into your old jeans, for instance, or figuring out your little one’s cries. We are getting there on both counts, and while progress often seems slow, it is certainly steady.
There are new achievements for Jacob and me each week, and it is a great blessing to recognize and appreciate their timing, which is so often beyond my control. Raising a baby is the most powerful test of trust in God I have yet experienced. As sporadic as my prayer seems these past few weeks, I am experiencing grace quieter and more profound than I’d imagined. And as I realize how tremendously Jacob is loved—both by John and me and by all his family and friends—I find myself blessed with greater perspective on how God loves us, just for being, not for doing anything at all.
A lot of what we do to try to interpret what Jacob needs or wants is still trial and error, but I’m starting to feel like we have some handle on it. Generally, we can tell now if he’s hungry, needs to be changed, is tired, or is too hot, without trying to fix all of the above. Perhaps those who have been around babies a lot can do this more easily; maybe the signs for these things are common among lots of babies and it will be simpler with baby number two. But on the other hand, Jacob is a unique person, and has his own ways about him.
At this point I take great joy in knowing that I know this little baby better than just about anyone in the world. What a strange and precious job to have, learning who this person is more and more each day, figuring it out as he figures it out for himself. I think about my relationship with my mom, how she knows me better than just about anyone else does, and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to be that for someone else.
They say this parenthood thing is the best thing ever. And while it took a while for the shock to wear off, today I can confirm that they’re absolutely right.