“It’ll be the hardest, most rewarding job you’ll ever do..”
I didn’t sleep last night. Luca woke up every hour on the hour either screaming in pain (from what I could only deduce was his reflux) or just wanting to be comforted. I have an exam this morning on information I was barely able to study this weekend. I had been having anxiety attacks the past few days because I feared I’d fail. I thought if I failed my exam the class would be over and I wouldn’t graduate on time like I had fought so hard to be able to. I would sit there and pace out different scenarios: failing and having to retake my class, not showing up and feigning a sick excuse to give myself a bit more time, going and doing well (fat chance, right?), studying all night and sleeping during the day when I came home (if Luca would take a nap that is…), or going to sleep because I was exhausted and waking up early enough to study. I went with the last option. At 8pm, an hour/ hour land a half earlier than his usual time, my son began fussing and rubbing his eyes. I couldn’t believe that he’d be tired already. We cuddled and he fell right asleep. I thought, oh maybe I can study for a small amount of time since he went to sleep so early. I was very wrong. He woke up twenty minutes later screaming, and that was only he beginning of my night. By 9:30 he has nursed for five minute comfort sessions at least five times and then finally took a longer session to go to sleep. It took me till eleven that evening to get him to stay asleep. He had horrible gas that made him fidget and flair until he woke himself up every time I put him down. By 12am he was up once again. We laid together and I prayed and begged my little boy to go to sleep so that I could also. He fell asleep once more and woke up once again at 1 am. Not until 4 am did he finally sleep longer than 45 minutes to an hour when I finally let him lay next to me in bed. At this point I wanted to cry. I was frustrated and angry because not only was I failing at putting my baby to sleep, but I was also failing at figuring out what was wrong so I could fix it so he could sleep. He woke at seven for the day and I fed him as usual. I couldn’t look at him the same as I did every other morning. I was exhausted, I was frustrated, and I was afraid for the test I had earlier this morning.
I studied from 7:30 until we left the house at about 8:30 and had his father take care of him while I did so. Anthony, his father and my fiancé, drove me to school that morning and on the way Luca became fussy once more. I didn’t understand what was wrong and so I leaned over and to try and figure out why my infant was once again so distressed. He took my hand quickly and held onto my fingers tightly, like his life depended on it. He fell right asleep. It was then that I really began to cry.
I had been so angry all morning because I hadn’t slept, because I couldn’t study, and because I was again calling myself a failure as this little boys mother. I was fighting so hard to be perfect at everything that I was forgetting it was okay to make a mistake, to falter for a moment, and to not be perfect. I was forgetting that even though I was fighting for my education for him, I still needed to give myself a break FOR him. My baby only understands that mommy is there not that mommy has an exam or that mommy needs sleep. And it seems that no matter how much I falter or how many mistakes I make he still wants me. So I may call myself a failure over and over but to him I’m mommy: the one who feeds him, cuddles him when he’s upset, the one he smiles at in the morning, the one he looks for when in someone’s arms, and the one who’s hand he needs to hold when he wants to fall asleep in his car seat. No matter how many times I can’t figure out what’s wrong or calm the hard nights, I’m still the mommy he wants.