Sunday, May 1, 2011

Baby love and hindsight

So I have spent the weekend loving a 4 month old little girl.  **smiling**

The good news is her momma has asked if I will do the same every weekend.  I agreed unless I have something that would prohibit me from taking the Princess along with me.  Looking ahead I don't see anything that would fit that bill.  Hooray!

I know my last post was a bit apprehensive about how I would feel caring for a little girl.  It turned out exactly how I hoped.  Instead of pain, it was therapeutic.

She is the best baby.  Happy most all of the time.  Just a joy to have around for all of us.

And for all of you adoptive parents who read this, you'll love this one...

BF and I had a date night planned for Saturday night prior to me committing to watching the Princess.  We decided to go ahead and bring her along with us since we were just going out to dinner.  We knew that our dinner would be a little late because we were going to meet up with my 18 year old son to take pictures before he headed off to his senior prom.

We took the obligatory pictures (I will post them tomorrow.).  The teenagers were quickly fed up with all of us parents snapping hundreds of photos.  I believe it is our parental right. And my son knew he had to bear it, because I would insist. :)

After pictures, BF and I had trouble finding a restaurant that wasn't packed with prom dates.  We were finally able to get in at Outback.  I'm sure we were quite the sight, two almost 40 year olds acting like we had never carried a baby in a carrier before in our lives.  Let's just say we were a bit rusty.  It has been a day or two since our kids were that little (more like a DECADE).

People would come by as we sat in the waiting area and ooh and ahh over the baby as she slept.  We didn't say anything about her not being ours.  We just agreed that she is beautiful. (Photo to prove it. Don't mind the bow that slipped down her forehead, I didn't want to wake her by fixing it while she slept.  I did fix it later.) 

So we finally get seated and our over-exuberant waitress comes by.  She looks at the baby and says "How precious! Is she your first?  She sure looks just like you!"

I giggled, looked at BF then replied. "Actually she would be our 6th child, if she was ours.  But we are just babysitting."

I thought that was pretty funny.  Princess looks nothing like us. Not even remotely.  I still smile when I think about it.  Maybe that is just a waitress line to get better tips.  Whatever it was, it did make us laugh.

So we enjoyed our dinner and we were thoroughly entertained by the Princess.  It was very nice to have her along with us.  We took turns talking and playing with her.  We were just like first time parents.  I am sure we were pretty darn cute.

But that is one of the happy/sad things that I felt this weekend. 

BF absolutely doted on that little girl.  He held her, fed her, and let her sleep in the crook of his arm.  He tickled her face when she was awake and offered many times to take her from me so I could get ready, or eat, or whatever other thing I had to do next.

That was really hard to watch.  Knowing that he and I had a little girl together that we could have been doing all of those same things with.  If he were a deadbeat, this never would have been an issue.  But he is a terrific father. 

Watching him with Princess hurt my heart.  I loved watching him gush over her and be so attentive.  But that little voice in the back of my mind that makes me second guess my adoption decision kept saying "see what it COULD have been like".

It also hurt to remember that BF absolutely, without a doubt, did not want to parent another child when I told him I was pregnant.  In his mind, there was no viable scenario that included keeping our child. 

He didn't want me to parent a child alone, but he also had no intentions of committing to me.  He was done with kids.  No negotiation.  He didn't want the responsibility of another child. 

He also didn't want me to keep her because he felt like he would be obligated for a child he didn't plan for. 

Now in my rational mind, I know that alot of the things said during this time were during a period of shock for both of us.  Neither of us had any idea that we were capable of having more children, so an unexpected pregnancy was unbelievable.  Stress and shock do not create the most thoughtful comments or actions.

But that same man, who couldn't even fathom parenting another child, loved all over Princess.  I felt a deep sense of loss watching it.  It was almost like seeing in a crystal ball what "could have been" had I made a different choice.

Hindsight. Regret. And unrealistic expectations of the "what could have beens."

Truth be told, had I kept Brit, it probably would not have ended well for BF and me.  The stress of parenting a child from two separate households would have taken a toll on our relationship.

I probably would have been resentful, thinking it wasn't fair that BF wasn't helping enough. 

He would have been resentful that I made him parent a child that he did not plan for and that he had no control over whether I kept or not.  (The age old issue of a woman having all the 'rights' to maintain a pregnancy or keep a child.  No matter what the father wants.)

I am smart enough to know that keeping a baby for a weekend is nothing like parenting day in and day out.  When Princess went home with her momma this evening, I knew I had the rest of the night to myself.  My boys are big enough that I can have alone time without having to be a hands on parent.  I can even go potty alone!

If I would have parented Brit, I would have been exhausted all the time.  My temper short.  My stress level even higher than it is today.  Brit would have definitely not gotten the best of me.  She would have gotten what was left over from a working single mother.  She would have spent lots of nights out late at ball games.  Many hours in daycare.

Instead, Brit has a stay at home mom (Not that I think working moms can't be great moms.  I'm one and happy with it most days.)  She has never spent a single day in daycare.  Her daddy comes home every evening and loves all over her.  The world revolves around her (until her twin brother and sister are born!).  If you could paint an ideal babyhood, she has had it. (Knowing that she has no idea she is adopted yet.)

I am glad I didn't know how painful being a birthmother would be before I chose adoption for Brit.  If I had, I would not have made the decision I did.  That doesn't mean that the decision was wrong.  I think it is just human nature to make the choice that hurts the least.  And being exhausted some days would beat a lifetime of grief any day.

So I remind myself that those icky feelings of regret are no different than ones everyone has when we second guess ourselves and our decisions. 

Should I have married the man I did? 
What if I would have taken that other job instead?
Did we make a mistake moving? 

We all have these kinds of questions.  The difference is how we deal with them.

If I let it, it could consume me.  And boy, oh boy, do those feelings try to consume me.

I have to consciously decide that I cannot change the decisions I have made.  I am the sum of my experiences.  We all make decisions based on the best information we have available at the time.  Hindsight is always much more clear.  But looking back keeps me from looking forward.

Brit is happy.  I did what I thought was best at the time when I had to decide.

I never could get the picture when she was smiling.  Go figure!
So I will love on the little Princess I have with me on the weekends and I will be a blessing to her mother by caring for her child while she works.  Hopefully I can alleviate some of Sara's stress by caring for her daughter.  I will do my part to be part of the village that it can take to raise a child.  In return, loving Princess will soothe my soul.

I will not be jealous of Sara because she has her daughter and I do not.  I will rejoice that Sara has her daughter with her so she does not have to feel the loss of a birthmother. 

I will rejoice in watching BF love on her too. 

I will focus on what IS, not what I think I could have had.

I will know that I made a decision for the best for my child.  I will not regret choosing what I thought was best for her, not what was best for me.

I will remember that just because I don't have the relationship I wish I had with Brit right now, it may not be like that forever.  Time heals. My love for Brit will not wane.  I will be steadfast and always available for her.

I will love on the sweet Princess who God has placed in my life for reasons I may not ever fully understand.  There is a reason our lives have intertwined.

I will be fully present to the boys I do parent. I will not allow my grief to affect their joy.  I will be the parent to them that they deserve.

And I will seek God's will for my life, rather than trying to figure it out on my own.


m&msmommy said...

As always, I loved reading your words and "feeling" your heart. Princess is absolutely adorable!!!!!! :)

wsbirthmom said...

You have once again managed to take the words and feelings right out of my mouth and heart.