People who say they sleep like a baby usually don’t have one. Bringing home a new baby changes your life . . . forever. Newborns have a distinct way of literally waking up the entire family. God gave babies the ability to cry for a very good reason. They can’t be ignored. This new little person might be small, but they let everyone in ear shot know when they are hungry, tired, bored or in need of a diaper change. Babies demand our attention, our time and a life-time commitment.
It’s a good thing God let people start out as bundle of soft cuteness. Babies are simply irresistible. There is nothing more beautiful than a newborn just out of the bathtub with a shiny nose. On the other hand, babies need constant care day and night. Some babies are good eaters, sleepers and poopers and some aren’t. Some babies adjust easily to new people and situations and some don’t. Some babies are easy to sooth and some aren’t. Some babies have a happy pleasant disposition and some don’t.
Parents never know what flavor they have until the weeks and months of sleepless nights and busy days stack up on each other and wear you out. Then right about the time you’re ready to throw in the towel, your newborn smiles at you and you’re ready to try again for the rest of your life. You see God also gave babies soft round cheeks and charming toothless grins for a reason.
When I brought my first premature baby home, I was more than hyper-vigilant. I was afraid that if I stopped watching her, she would stop breathing and die. So I stared at her like a hawk, even peeking when I showered. After a few weeks of no sleep and constant anxiety I realized I couldn’t go on like this forever. So I got on my knees and cried. Then I asked God if He would please watch over her while I slept. I had forgotten that God was already watching over both of us.
That was my first lesson in learning the difference between what I could actually do something about and everything I was worried about. As the years went by and more and more babies came to my house, I learned other things as well. I learned that everybody has several chances to have a happy childhood and I wasn’t going to miss my second chance. I learned to laugh at myself. I learned to relax and enjoy my children. I learned to worry less about how my sons and daughters looked to others and more about how they were feeling inside. I stopped trying to control them and worked more on controlling myself. I learned to make big and little choices with my heart.
And I learned about loss. When three of my babies didn’t come home from the hospital with me, I learned to never take anything for granted, especially babies. Everything can be taken away. I also learned that days melt into weeks . . . weeks race into years . . . and children grow up.
In the end, I suppose the best thing I’m still learning is how to love. So now I’m back on my knees again asking God to watch over my grown children and grandchildren while I sleep. I have learned to leave the universe in God’s hands - not mine. That’s where it was and is all along.