Berkley is a Daddy’s girl. She’s also a sibling’s girl…if there is such a thing. When she’s sad or tired or sick, she wants Dada or brother or biggest sister. She has never been a Mama’s girl. Yes, she loves me. Yes, we spend time together and we have a special bond, but it’s different. When Shelby was a baby, I went back to work for a semester and worked part-time as a night-school administrator for two years, but for the 9 years after Jesse was born until two years ago, I was a Mama. A full-time homeschooling Mama. They all adored their Daddy, but Mama was the super hero parent who was there all the time. Dad worked long hours in teaching and in ministry, coaching in the evenings half the year. He was fun-time Daddy, there for the tuck-ins & the important moments, but just like most dads, he was working most of their waking hours.
Tables turned for us almost two years ago, right before Berkley was born. It was no surprise that swapping roles has flipped the kids’ emotional connections to us. I mean, I should say, it should’ve been no surprise. I honestly had no idea what to expect because everything was so new. So different. But, I’m awake and aware now. I’m engaged again. I’ve rearranged my work time and I’m as present as I can be. I’ve been working hard at this. That’s embarrassing to admit. It should not be something a mother has to “work at.” It’s the truth, though and I want to voice it.
So, this brings me to last night. We are out of town. New place. No routine. Bedtime came and Berkley fought it hard. Like, she deserves props for how hardcore she fought it. No nap, up till 10:00. Then, everyone took turns trying to get her to sleep, but the only person she wanted was me. She cried for me. Me. Mama.
As I type these words, with tears streaming down my face (no exaggeration) I realize how ridiculous it sounds. Every baby cries for her Mama, right? James just asked me what I was typing and I told him I couldn’t talk about it without completely losing it. It’s that big of a deal for me. I laid down with her and sang to her like I have hundreds of times before, but last night, she was looking deep into my eyes, rubbing my face and hair with her tiny hands and singing along. I was choking out the words through my tears. I fell asleep with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and peace that God is redeeming the time I lost.
The coolest thing about this whole situation, though, is that with Berkley, James has had the opportunity that most fathers never have with their babies, to spend most of his waking hours with her. He has had the tender moments that usually only mothers have. That’s a gift he is keenly aware of and that I would never take away from him. It has all unfolded beautifully, even if I have regrets and feel like I have missed out. She’s not the worse for it. She has a unique experience that will shape her to be the woman God created her to be. She’s so very loved.
I’m just so crazy over the moon about her and all of these stinkin’ kids I can’t stand it. I hope she and I continue to bond like mad, and the rest of them too.