“Dada? Mama sick. Mama sick. Mama no home.”
We had just seen Cameron for the first time after leaving home for the hospital nineteen hours earlier to deliver his baby brother. For the first time in a long time, someone other than Mommy or Daddy had put him to bed the night before and for the first time ever, someone other than Mommy or Daddy had got him out of bed in the morning. He had just seen his Mommy be pushed into the room in a wheelchair holding a baby on her lap and very slowly easing her way into a bed.
So when Daddy and Cameron went for a walk down the hall, Cameron decided he needed to have a little heart-to-heart talk with his father.
“Dada?” Mama sick. Mama sick. Mama no home.”
Dan’s heart broke.
Our little boy, who had been so good for his Nana and his Papa and his Aunt and his Uncle knew something was wrong. Our little boy noticed that Mommy and Daddy weren’t home. Our little boy noticed the state that Mommy was in. Our little boy was concerned. He was concerned that Mommy would not be coming home again.
How do you explain soon to a toddler? How do you tell him that Mommy and Daddy will be home the day after the day after tomorrow? How do you tell him that even though Mommy and Daddy will be coming home, our entire lives have shifted to make room for a new family member? Even when Mommy and Daddy come home, things will be different.
How do you explain that Mama isn’t really sick? She’s just tired and a little bit broken and a little bit spent. How do you explain that Little Boy kisses aren’t all that is needed to heal her?
Soon wasn’t soon enough for me either.
Our hospital stay was actually quite a retreat, at least for me. Despite being interrupted at all hours of the night and day, despite the copious amounts of diapers and the frequent nursings, despite having pushed all ten pounds of baby through my body, it was a lot more restful than taking care of a toddler and a house while being overdue. It was restful – but never right. Unlike when I was in the hospital recovering from Cameron’s birth, I didn’t feel like we were easing into our new family. While Dan lay on the cot in our private room and while I snuggled our newborn baby boy in my hospital bed, I could never feel like this was complete.
We weren’t a family yet. There were still only three of us.
Going home wasn’t overwhelming like it was the first time. Going home was what we needed to do. As we pulled into our driveway and got out of our car, I watched my first little baby run towards me. I crouched down to his level and braced myself to be slammed into by all 30 pounds of toddler. My body could barely tolerate it, but I? I needed it. I needed that running, slamming hug from my little boy to jolt everything back into rightness.
After a hug for Mommy and a hug for Daddy and requests to see the baby right away, we made our way into our little apartment. As I eased myself into the recliner, I heard Cameron excitedly say to his grandmother,
“Nana? Mama home! Mama all better! Mama home!”
Yes baby, Mommy’s home. With you. With Daddy. With Baby Gavin.
Let our new life as a family of four begin. I could not be more excited.