We were going to co-sleep with our boy. For as long as he wanted. For as long as he needed it. For as long as... well... for as long.
As we discuss attachment, as we let the tears roll down when we need them to, as we continue to move forward with much hope for the next day and the next, I am reminded of our beginnings. It's been almost two full years since we brought our Leone home. Since we first laid eyes on his beauty and held his tiny hands in our own.
Sometimes I wonder if I was a better mother before I was actually changing diapers, before I was fixing up the bottles, before I was washing the clothes that were covered in grass stains and mushed strawberries.
I think it's safe to say that before being a mother was my reality, I pretty much had it all figured out.
That all changed as soon as Leone was placed in my arms. When the responsibility for making the right decisions was placed directly in front of my face. Smiling up at me. I remember staring into those incredible brown eyes and thinking I might have to bend over and vomit because, holy shit, was this really happening? I didn't know how to be a mother. I just knew how to go to sleep when I wanted to and how to order a pizza if I didn't feel like cooking.
Tesoro reminds me that we did co-sleep with our wee one. We made it a priority while in Ethiopia, and we tried our hardest once we made it back to our home. The truth? I don't remember that. Me, the one who is the memory keeper.
I don't remember those moments. Those precious treasures.
What I do remember are all of those times afterwards. When we would lay on the floor beside his crib, singing songs and rubbing his back. Trying to be in the same bed with him, wanting to rock him to sleep, wanting to make him feel safe and warm and oh-so-loved- but clearly being told by our boy that being held close was not something he wanted.
If we could go back, I would reject those thoughts of ours. I would have been the mother I had planned on being- the one who had read all of those books about attachment but who wasn't afraid of causing her child the discomfort that comes from learning that it's okay to let go and let someone else take care of you. I would have been the mother who fell asleep in the rocking chair with her baby in her arms, knowing that each step was one step closer to the place we all yearned for.
Damn. I would have been stronger. I would have stood by my gut. I would have been the best.
Two days ago I ordered some books. This one and this one. I hope they will help.
Have I mentioned that we spent hours in Leone's room, right beside him in the middle of the night, making sure he was comforted by the sound of our presence if not by the warmth of our bodies pressed upon his? Although we didn't co-sleep for weeks, months, years- we can say we were there. We were there. We are there.
Last night he woke up crying. As Tesoro and I struggled to move our bodies out of bed, trying to decide who should go for it, he started wailing, "Mama! Mama! Mommy!" I found my footing and made it to his room in two seconds flat... "I'm here, baby... I'm here... Mama's here." And as I placed my arms down to rub his back, preparing myself to settle down on the floor beside his crib, he reached up for me. He reached up for me and grabbed my hands. How pathetic is it to say that my heart shattered into five million pieces, so ready and willing to comfort him in a way that I had been dreaming about since the beginnings of us?
We settled in a rocking chair, covered up in his blanket and Zebra and Elmo, and we connected. We rocked, we touched, we loved, we connected.
Forward. With hope.