It’s that time of year again and the Christmas tree is up. As I sit in the living room nursing Beau, the hue of lights on the tree surround me with a familiar warmth. The gentle glow of the room reminds me of those first couple of weeks after we brought Beau home. I “slept” in the living room because after a c section it was easier for me to get on and off the couch, rather than the bed. I tucked Beau’s bassinet beside me and kept the Christmas tree lit. I told myself that I kept the tree on because it provided me with sufficient light to keep an eye on Beau’s breathing and to safely take him in and out of the bassinet. But truthfully, I believe I left the tree lit because it was a beam of light during those lonely and hopeless nights.
There were many nights I would wake up soaked because my boobs were overproducing milk and I didn’t know that breast pads were even a thing. I could barely call my husband’s name into the next room, because pain would radiate throughout my entire body any time I engaged my core muscles. I was on pain medication that made me feel like my house was a spaceship and the lack of sleep produced an unequivocal level of delirium. My c section incision ripped open, rendering me even more fragile and helpless than I already was.
During that time, our tree stood proudly and served as a a symbol of peace and happiness. It reminded me of all of those warm and fuzzy feelings I get when its this time of year. It retained a sense of hope for me during those long nights in the living room.
As I sit here rocking Beau amongst that familiar glow, I find myself reflecting on how much has changed this year. Last time the Christmas tree was up, Beau was a delicate newborn. He could barely see far enough to appreciate the lights and decorations and I didn’t have to think twice about him trying to climb up the tree or eat the bulbs. Beau has flourished from a tender infant, to a fiercely spirited little boy.
While Beau has been accelerating physically and mentally, so have I. Motherhood has gotten easier, although the worries and trials have only just evolved. My body has recovered and I finally feel in control of my thoughts and emotions again. I feel as though people can take me seriously as a mother now, and I don’t look like I’m playing “house.” That is until, I take Beau’s sippy cup apart and can’t put it back together. With every triumph as a mother, there’s been a hand covered in poop or a melt down in public to mildly humble me. I’ve learned to tread lightly and to take each day as it comes. I wish I could tell the me that stood in front of last year’s tree how far I would come as a mother. Last year’s me would be so proud.
The Christmas tree has always served as a beacon of hope in my life. From when I was little girl, running down the stairs on Christmas morning to now as my first year as a new mom comes to an end. The tree reminds me of how far I’ve come and how much more I have left to go.