Parents, do you agree that a baby alters everything in your life? Each year during the Advent Season, our church focuses on a message. This year it is, A Baby Changes Everything. In general, the message refers to Jesus and how his birth not only changed the lives of Mary and Joseph but also the course of history. Along with that overriding theme, the title of our message got me thinking about how our Barbee babies have changed everything for us.
Two weeks after being born, our oldest son acquired colic, the mysterious condition that virtually responds to nothing. We tried all types of gas drops, pharmaceutical and homeopathic (the homeopathic worked the best). We spent hours carrying, rocking, driving, swinging, swaddling, patting, pacifiering this tiny being. The only thing that remotely worked was placing him in the front carrier and bobbing up and down in a certain way. The neighbors may have seen us performing this maneuver through the window and thought we were crazy, but we didn’t much care. There was one thing we could count on each day and that was Brooks screaming and crying from 6:00-9:00pm. Nonetheless, we woke up every morning looking forward to another day with our little boy.
The first three months of motherhood felt like an eternity, but then, in what seemed like a blink of an eye, he was a happy four-month old who laughed and loved being held. Since then, he’s been an utter joy in our lives. Our sweet Brooks is unique, observant, wise, and kind.
Then little Case came along three-years later. My husband and I literally held our breath as week two came and went with no appearance of colic. I know that we could have survived it again, but I’m not sure Brooks would have much enjoyed all that hollering from this new little addition who was already wreaking enough havoc in our home.
Case was very calm, but he enjoyed waking up all night. I never thought I could function during the day after waking up five times in the night, but you learn a lot about yourself once your become a parent. We would swaddle that little monkey, swing him, nurse him, put on the sound machine, and he would still wake up after sleeping for about two hours. He didn’t sleep through the night until he was 10 months old.
Now, at almost two, he loves to sleep. Unless teething or otherwise ill, he sleeps for 11 hours straight at night and takes good naps. I used to hunker down beside his crib, praying for him to sleep. Now I sneak in there after bedtime and watch him as he breathes deeply, sleeps soundly, and dreams sweet dreams. As I watch our funny, athletic, silly, mischievous toddler, I realize all those sleepless nights were definitely worth it..
Sometimes, instead of thinking about the inn in Bethlehem or the manger or all of the other sentimental, sweet parts of the story, I think about Mary swaddling her baby and nursing him to sleep or Joseph holding him during the night so Mary could get some shut-eye.
Yes, it is certainly true that a baby changes everything. We sleep less, travel less, and go on less dates, but we worry more, laugh more, hug more, think more, and love more.
For me, those changes have made my heart more fragile but life more beautiful, and in spite of the hard work that is parenthood, I would not trade one minute of it for anything in this entire world. In fact, I would be willing to go back and do it all over again.