My boobs tingle.
That’s my superpower.
I know it doesn’t sound like much, but it’s weird and wonderful and slightly disconcerting at times. And it’s all from having a kid. See, when your milk comes in – assuming you’re a breastfeeding woman – sometimes you can feel it. It’s a vibration, a sensation, a feeling unlike anything I have ever experienced before. It’s quick, like a flowing rush, and doesn’t last long. But it tells me my child is due a feed. It warns me that if I wait much longer, I’ll go all hard and horrible and hurty and ain’t no one got time for that (mastitis, I mean). And apparently not all nursing mothers get this heads up. And so, you see, this is my special power.
As I write this, I’m ready for my kid to wake up and need a feed. There so goes, coughing. It’s one of the first things she does after waking up from a nap, the coughing. My husband and I used to hate it when she coughed as a really new newborn; she would thence launch into the most vicious screams that earned her our nickname of “grembalina.” But now, it seems, she just coughs. She’s graduated from the fourth trimester and has a whole repertoire of noises she can utilize instead of the on-off banshee-cry switch. She gurgles, she coos, she hiccups and burps (weird when it’s in the middle of nursing). She makes this wonderful faux-giggle noise when she inhales that means she’s really digging something she sees. She “talks” to herself right before nap time. She sounds vaguely like a cat. In essence, she’s in this great infant stage where she’s pretty easy, she isn’t yet teething, and she can now hold her head up with regularity. I think this is the stage parents (moms) miss the most.
To bring my life up to speed here, I’ve meant to update this blog a few times over the past two months. I know most people who blog will probably have this excuse somewhere in the annals of their webpages, but life gets in the way. For me, it was having a newborn while also finishing up a course for the military. I knew it going in that things would get busy at the end (birthing a child, etc.), but I took the plunge and figured I could always hit the pause button if I needed to. I almost did. I almost thought, nah, this is too much. It probably was. But I also thought that if I could just get through this day, this week, the next week, I would chip away at this requirement and then, one day, be done.
That done day was last Friday. I finished Command and Staff. And I couldn’t have completed it without the selfless help and sacrifice of a lot of people. Firstly, my mom. She took (and is still taking) time out of her life to babysit my kid while I was gone in class from 7-12 hours a day. She did it without complaint, without fail. And she did more than just that. She made my lunch every day. She made really good dinners every night. She ran errands. She let me sleep (and sleep in). She cleaned and washed laundry and sprayed pre-stain goodness on my child’s poopy onesies. I couldn’t have finished up class without her help, devotion, and selfless sacrifice.
And then there was my friend and his wife who let not only me, but my mother and seven-week-old infant stay with them for six weeks. Hurricane Florence cinched the fact that I couldn’t get a place to stay on base or out in town, and they welcomed us like family. I don’t know if I would have, could have, been that open with a friend and her family. (I would like to think I would be, but reality is different sometimes.) And my mother-in-law’s help from the very beginning of my journey across the pond set me up for success from the get-go. Of course, my ever-loving husband has also been there for me in thought, if not in the form of a thirty-second “I love you” phone call from five time zones away, nearly every day.
Our guest of honor at our graduation spoke about how your accomplishments are rarely just your own. We all have support structures in place helping us. We have to. I didn’t know I was going to be the honor grad until I saw the program for the morning, but her words rang true for me as I sat there. Our accomplishments are rarely just our own.