Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Oh Yeah, I Just Used the Word 'Phoenix'

Parenting turns your life upside down and your heart inside out. There's a huge line of demarcation in my life: BEFORE THE BIRTH and AFTER THE BIRTH. I barely remember the former (okay, slight exaggeration). I think I used to go get coffee and read, or something. And shop. And write. And think about things other than what color and texture someone's poop is today and whether it's a sign of imminent doom or radiant health.

Everything everyone says before you have the baby, the stuff that makes your eyes roll and the stuff that you think you don't care about, is true. Sleep, and your attitude towards it, is forever changed. Your tummy looks like it's been through a war--and suffered defeat. Your memory is suddenly so bad that you fear early dementia. You look like What Not to Wear's best nominee yet (you have visions of Stacy and Clinton hacking your wardrobe of baggy jeans and milk-stained T-shirts to bits).

However, out of the ashes of the ruin of your body, routine, free time, and sartorial prowess, a phoenix really does emerge: a great, fierce love. I've heard dozens of times that to have a child is to allow your heart to forever walk outside your body...or something like that. Cheesy, but sweet, I used to think. Now I realize that it's not Hallmark pap. It's just a statement of fact.

This is the first time in my life that I know without any internal debate or question that I would gladly step in front of a Mack truck if it meant protecting my son. Again, it's just a fact, not heroism or duty. I think hormones play a large part (and are the culprits behind my early senility, as well. Fickle schlubs). I love my husband, but I have never had many thoughts about dying for him, perhaps because men are the protectors. This is the first time I have had something to protect.

By the way, some of you have mentioned wanting to see a picture of Noah. Ryan and I decided not to post pictures of him, but if you want to e-mail me and I feel okay about it, I'll send you a link so you can see our photos (discernthetimes at yahoo dot com). I would love to post them, but we've seen a few things happen online that make us feel uneasy about letting the wide world know too much, and my name is attached to this blog. I would do it if the blog were more anonymous.