When Kaylee was 2 weeks old or 2 months old, or heck - even 6 months old...when I was knee deep in my, "Really? I thought I could do this? I actually thought I was cut out to be a mom? When will I ever sleep again? I will never be able to function as a normal adult again - EVER." days...
...I wish back then I'd had a video clip of the future - a video clip of tonight - to play for myself on those early days that were filled with so much frustration. Those days when I couldn't look at Dennis without snapping something mean back at him, even if he hadn't said anything.
Tonight - I sat back and watched as my baby played with my mom and my dad. I just sat there and took it all in and watched in amazement at where we are at in our lives now.
I just welled up with pride at the things she's doing - talking in these cute little toddler sentences, pushing her dolls all over the house in a cardboard box, telling them, "Ready? Set? GO!" and then "All done!" when she's tired, putting together puzzles and coloring and painting, and showing affection - actually asking for hugs and "noses" (Eskimo kisses).
My once helpless skinny mini baby who just gurgled, smiled, ate, farted and crapped her pants all day is turning into this tiny little person with an extremely strong personality who occasionally makes an angry face at me while yelling garbled words that I can only guess to be some form of toddler profanity invented by another baby genius somewhere else in the world who passed it on to toddlers everywhere. Maybe they learn these toddler swear words (i.e. "MamaYOWado-doYOWnabuggaYOW!") by playing their Elmo DVD's backwards or something when we're not looking. I have no idea.
Anyway - to get back to my point - a night like tonight would have been a light at the end of the tunnel for me during those first few months when I battled the worst part of my depression. Maybe if I'd been able to see what it would be like - what our life would turn into - maybe if I'd seen that someday I would get the sparkle back in my eyes and I would experience joy and pride and contentment, that I would be able to laugh again - maybe it would have been a little easier.
Maybe I would have actually believed that it really would get better.
But, I didn't have a snapshot of my future, and I still turned out okay. And so did my kiddo.
Because, as hard as that time was, it ended.
The really, really horrendously sleepless nights and constant crankiness and persistent funk ended.
And if that's where you're at, yours will end, too. You'll reach a day where you look back, and the hard times won't seem quite so harsh. And it will be because you're strong and you're going to make it through. Even though it seems like the struggles of life right after a baby will never get better, they can - and they will.
Eventually, you'll be able to sleep again, you'll be able to laugh and to feel like yourself. There are different ways of getting to that place, but if you're willing to do what you need to do to take care of yourself, you'll get there.
And once you do, you'll wake up the next morning to pick Ranch dressing out of your kid's hair from the night before, but only after you stub your toe on a spare Mr. Potato head ear, arm, or hat. Then you'll proceed to eat a breakfast consisting of either Cheerios that went soggy because your kid took a monster dump right after you poured the milk, or once-delectable-looking scrambled eggs that are now cold because there was a toddler breakdown when the extremely overplayed Barney DVD began to skip.
You will then walk to the bathroom, and you'll imagine how amazing a 25 minute shower would be. You'll skip the shower because - well, who are we kidding? Do you really need an excuse to skip a shower? (You're a mom now - put in a headband and a ponytail and call it good.) You'll count to 10 v-e-r-y slowly, and then you'll jump right back into the chaos.
Because you are someone's mom. And even though it may not seem like what you signed up for in the first place, in so many ways, it's turned out to be even better.