This is Hard

It’s getting harder. The comparing thing. I mean, not doing it.

Grayson is doing well. He’s a hard worker, but he also likes to cuddle with his momma (well, really anyone who will let him rest his head on their shoulder). He’s making progress, but it’s slow. His rate of progress isn’t as fast as the other babies, and he was already so behind. The gap is getting wider.

We’ve gotten to the point where Grayson has friends who are months younger than him that are doing things he can’t do yet. His friends his age are racing around the house crawling, getting into everything (ok, so that part I’m not jealous of). They are waving goodbye, saying “MaMa”. They are on the cusp of walking. Will Grayson be walking even by his second birthday? We don’t know.

There are so many things that Grayson rocks at. Hugs, oh, those sweet hugs. Pick him up and he wraps his little arms tight around your neck and squeezes tight. And his kisses- so wet and drooly, but sincere. And he’s smart. Put his fish and his cup in front of him and ask him to choose one of them- he picks the right one every time.

But I’m sad for him. I’m sad that his 10 month body can’t do what his 10 month brain wants to do. He’s not on the move, exploring every nook and cranny of his world. I’m sad that he can’t splash in the bathtub and play with toys because he can’t sit up yet and is still stuck in the infant tub. I’m sad that when we go places, I’m not sure how much he can see- does he notice things that would fill other babies with wonder?

He’s smothered in love, though, and he’s happy. I know he is. His face lights up when he hears his name, his little body twitches with excitement when he hears his favorite songs, and he relaxes contentedly in my arms right before bedtime.

My counselor says part of my sadness is mourning the loss of the child I was expecting. That’s a tough pill to swallow since the baby that grew inside me all those months is here. But she’s right- Grayson’s life is not what I had imagined it would be, especially since I had a completely normal pregnancy and had no warning of this journey. I feel guilty morning this other, imaginary child when I have Grayson- who is the joy of my life and I love him, accept him, and adore everything about him- just the way he is. But I guess anytime life takes a turn you aren’t expecting, even if it’s a very good one, there is some sadness and letting go of a dream.

I re-read this post I wrote months ago and was reminded that life in Holland is different than that in Italy, but still amazing. And especially amazing because I’m in Holland with my G-Man (who, as my SIL pointed out, would look awesome in wooden shoes!).


  1. Sarah on August 6, 2011 at 3:31 am

    Beautifully written! I adore you guys. And G is doing so amazing – he's progressed so much in the last few months. Just enjoy those amazing cuddles, mama… sooner or later you'll be missing them as he's darting from place to place with no time for hugs.And have Lil' G save a few more snuggles for me!

  2. Erin on August 6, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    I cry every time I read the Holland post, it is so beautifully written and I imagine to be true. I enjoyed re-reading your post too, and where you were in your thoughts at that time. It really is amazing to me how far he has come, his progress is thrilling to watch and I know he will continue to make the same forward strides. That being said, I am sure it is hard, very hard, and it may be that way for a while, and that is understandable. It is human nature to compare. But we know he will get there and him saying mama, sitting in the tub playing and running will be all that more celebrated. Anyone who sees you knows of your love and his love for you, he has the strongest and most intense reaction to you and it is beautiful to watch, he is lucky, you are lucky, and we are lucky to be friends with you all. xo-

  3. Traci on August 6, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    This made me cry, E. I don't like it when my friends are sad. I am glad that you are able to honestly share your feelings, though.Just know that your friends mourn with you, rejoice with you, and love with you! Mr. G is one strong dude. And so are you (well, I guess you are a dudette). We are all proud of both of you!

  4. Kathleen on August 6, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    I love you Elizabeth! I know it must be so, so hard what you're going through. I'm only two weeks into motherhood and it seems like everything is hard, even without extra challenges. It's so great that G *is* making progress, and I can't wait to see him soon!

  5. Stefanie Blakely on August 7, 2011 at 4:02 am

    I am so glad I re-read your Holland post– it puts so much in perspective for me, which I really, really need right now. Your honesty is so beautiful and brave– I can't imagine the challenges that you're facing. I don't know how I would handle them.Here's what I do know: I know that you're an amazing mother. I know that G is smart and he's a fighter (not to mention he's adorable). I know that your husband loves you both dearly. I know that your challenges will be many, and they will be difficult, but your strength is greater than any of them. This, I am sure.Your therapist sounds like a smart lady—I think that so many of the struggles we face during motherhood (whether they involve our kids or ourselves) have to do with expectations and whether or not we/our kids can meet them. I’ve struggled with my expectations of myself A LOT, as you know.So much love to you, sweet E, and I want to be here for you in whatever way I can.

  6. Esperanza on August 9, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    Reading your most recent post I realized I hadn't commented on this! I'm so sorry it took me so long. I need to find a better way to mark the ones I want to comment on in my reader.Anyway, back to the actual comment. I think it would be really hard to watch other babies reach their milestones especially when you don't know when Grayson might meet his. It would be one thing if he had a known condition that had it's own time table but he doesn't he is just Grayson doing things in his own time in his own way. That must be really, really difficult because you have no idea what you should be expecting when. At least I would find that very difficult. I don't think I really realized that until you mentioned that you didn't know if Grayson would be walking when he turned two. I think that would be quite hard, the uncertainty of it.And I think you can absolutely mourn what you were expecting and still love Grayson with every fiber of your being. It's not that you're mourning the child you thought you had, but just the way you thought life would go. Just like when I had my ectopic and I not only mourned that baby but just having things happen happily and as you expect they will, mourning the happily ever after that most people get to experience. I think it's a similar thing with what you're going through. And I think it makes perfect sense to feel sad that Grayson can't do the things he wants to do. That would make me sad too. It breaks my heart to see Isa wanting to be with the other kids her age who are walking all over the place and I know she will get there soon enough. If I didn't expect she'd reach that milestone soon?! I'd be devastated for her.Comparing is something we all do. Lately when I start comparing my life with others I try to not just look at those who have it better than me but also those who have it worse. I know this isn't the best way to practice gratitude but for me, right now, it's what works. So when I'm thinking of how sad I am that I have to go back to work and I can't be a SAHM like so many of my blog friends I just remember how lucky I am that my job has fixed hours and I can't get stuck at work/traveling until after Isa is in bed. Then I feel better about the situation. Maybe something that can help you too, when you're having one of the harder days. And hopefully after lots of that you (and I!) can see what others have but remain grateful for what we have even without looking to those with less.PS I must admit, I'm jealous of all the cuddling you do. I'm a big cuddler but Isa does not abide by cuddling. She didn't even like it when she was a baby (baby wearing was not successful in this house, despite my numerous attempts). Cuddle Grayson for me, will you? I could use a good baby cuddle. 😉

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