My days start sometime between four and five a.m. these days. I'm awakened by Emerson squirming around beside me, intermittently emitting a shout to let me know she's ready to be picked up. I prop her up to a standing position and she immediately begins to roister around the bed, stomping her feet, giggling, and loudly blowing raspberries as she lunges for my face to say "good morning, mama." This sort of thing carries on for a while until I resign myself to the fact that my day is beginning at five a.m. Again.
It's not long before Em will be begging me for her first nap of the day, though, so I'll soon find myself bouncing on a big, blue birthing ball (the only way she will nod off to sleep). I sit and I bounce with not much to do but watch the day awaken outside my screen door. I stare at the house across the street—I've come to know the front of that house quite well in all my hours spent bouncing in the living room. The house is yellow with red trim, a color combination that truly irks me. But, there's also the black and white photo of Alex and I on the wall next to the door, and I spend a lot of time staring at that, too. It's one of the photos from our engagement session—Alex is holding me in his arms while we are locked in a kiss, standing on the beach down the street from our old apartment. That photo speaks of our passion, of the days when we were so obsessed with one another that we could't keep our hands off of each other. And now, our hands are busy changing diapers, patting burps out of our baby's belly, carrying the child who will not be put down. But, Emerson carries the torch for us, she is proof of our love—our genetics dancing together across her face, our nurturing kind of love hiding in the warmth of her skin.
And there will be passion again someday.
It's crazy to realize that this time last year I had just conceived Em (eight days, and three hours ago, to be exact). And now she's here, she's three months old, and I am a mama. All of that is still a lot to process (I probably say this every month). I catch glimpses of myself holding my baby in the glass cabinet door in the kitchen, or the bathroom mirror as I wash poop off of my hands after a diaper change, and the image is confusing. Beautiful, but confusing. Who is this woman, and who is this baby she's holding?
My own face has become almost foreign given all the time I spend staring at Em's. So, I put a little bit of makeup on the other day to reclaim the existence of my face. It's been four months since I've worn any—wow—and boy did I feel like a different person. It's amazing what a little bit of mascara, under eye concealer and blush can do for a gal (bye, bye signs of sleep deprivation!). Of course, I hadn't washed my hairs in days, but that's neither here nor there.
Three months, and we are slowly piecing this life together as parents. It doesn't look the same, but it's starting to feel normal. Of course, everything is about to change as Alex goes back to work in a few weeks after being home since Em's birth, and I will become a full-time mama (the same as now, minus the help) and a part-time aspiring artist.