This week has been a tough one for me. We all have weeks like this, where there are more pajama days and sneaky naps than usual. The combination of processing that a too young, vibrant "old" coworker passed away, taking care of my son while he battled a rough cold, jet lag & teething all at once, and missing my husband while he was out of town for work was unprecedented.
In addition to the pjs and extra sleep, another crutch I used to help get through the week was tv. I typically try to limit the amount of television we watch because it turns my son into a zombie. The alternative to endlessly streaming shows was to either a) muster up the energy to interact with him and keep him distracted from the discomfort or b) let him deal with this torturous trio head on. Our remote control became my new best friend.
Saturday came. My husband was coming home that night. My son and I were cuddling while watching our 1,384,526th episode of Super Why. We had almost made it to the end of the week. I gave his toddler stomach a rub and couldn't help but to notice his cute little belly button.
My first thought was admittedly a vain one. I have a hard time thinking about belly buttons without recalling that mine had turned into a pig snout following my C-section. A pig snout might be cute on a pig - but trust me, it's not as endearing on my stomach.
Very quickly afterwards, my thoughts went back to his perfect belly button. How he wasn't born with it, but rather how its shape and size were randomly defined at the hospital. And how, before that cut and tie, his umbilical cord used to be connected to me. How it was there to keep him alive, to support his growth. How the nutrients from all of those BBQ sauce drenched chicken salad wraps I ate while pregnant made their way into his belly through that entrance.
I can't think of a stronger emotional and/or physical connection that two people can have than a mother has with her baby, inside and outside of the womb. My belly button thought detour also reminded me of a time when I could feel his little movements before he was born. This change in perspective was a much needed one. It helped me to begin thinking positively again. I gave him a big cuddle.
Rather than focusing solely on the struggles I'd been facing, I switched gears and began to count my blessings. Count with me?!? (Sorry, turning off Mommy Mode for a sec...)
1) I had the privilege of knowing my charismatic colleague. He was someone who I had the opportunity to work with and who made my work days brighter when we talked. He was the type of person whose laugh you could recognize from around the corner, and he laughed a lot. I see his photo, and I can hear that laugh. It feels like a private joke, one that I'm fortunate to be a part of.
2) My son got a cold and jet lag from traveling for Thanksgiving to see family and friends who we hadn't seen in too long. He got past it in less than a week. As for the teething? It stinks, though it's something we all go through. And we do get through it.
3) As a result of watching TONS of Super Why, my son impressed "Da Da" this weekend with his ability to recognize many letters of the alphabet. Thanks, Whyatt! You kept my son entertained and taught him a thing or two. Much appreciated.
4) My husband was traveling for work last week near his hometown. He moved five years ago so we could be together, and he gave up the chance to easily see his people over weekends for us. This week, he was able to go out for his sister's birthday dinner, spend an evening with friends who have a quickly growing family, and hung out with coworkers he doesn't get to see everyday. Not to mention that this trip is for a job he loves and makes him happy.
5) I received a new order this past week for Take Care Package. And it wasn't just any order. It was from someone who had received a Take Care Package before, and they sent the same package they received to a friend. It gave me confidence that I'm on the right track if their gift resonated with them enough to purchase it.
6) The grand finale of my belly button stream of thought was a song that we sing from one of my son's favorite books, Belly Button Book by Sandra Boynton. It goes" "Belly belly button, you're oh so fine! Ooh, belly button, I'm so happy you're mine!" There's no set music to accompany this tune, so feel free to add your own. My tone-deaf version of this jam never fails to make me smile.
While this refreshed perspective didn't wash away all of challenges of the week, it did give me balance, which I so desperately needed. It helped me to find the energy to reconnect more meaningfully with my son. And with myself.
Who in your life do you have your strongest connection with? Short of an attached umbilical cord, how do you stay connected with that person?