|On the truck ride to the airport in all his, "heyyyy it's 4:00am and I'm wide awake!" glory.|
I have always been excited for our annual visit to Mexico. We are incredibly blessed to be able to fly down here and spend time with Eduardo's family. I can't imagine not seeing my family but once a year for less than two weeks. But something felt so different this time. With Santi, all I could think about was how much I don't like flying, how much I wanted to have his family meet him but didn't want to travel there, I much preferred the idea of appearing there magically. Why was I so fearful? What did I really feel anxious about? Why wasn't I trusting in God fully and sharing that with others? All I found myself doing, instead of praising The Lord for this blessing, was telling people how much I was not looking forward to the flight, making it sound like I was hardly excited for the trip at all.
Now we are here, and I feel a strange sadness inside of me. Even though the flights were stress-free, checking in 2 large bags and a carseat, while lugging around a laptop bag, camera bag, diaper bag and carry-on suitcase, was so much less chaotic than we had imagined. We had a great adventure twice in the airplane restroom that consisted of diaper changes, diaper blow outs, two changes of baby pants, and potty breaks for ma and pa. I tried to feed him during both take off and landing, which his pediatrician recommended to prevent baby ear pain, but he slept through both landings so I didn't force it.
Honestly, the biggest flying tip I can give is to feed baby every time they fuss, make sure their diaper is clean, and get a window seat. The noise on the flight put him into a deep sleep most of the time, which was such a blessing! He gave into a few thirty minute naps and one full hour long nap in my arms. Side note: We checked in the carseat free of charge since we didn't purchase a third seat on the flights for him, and for babies under 2 it isn't required for them to be buckled in to their own seat. The passengers were kind, we didn't receive any angry stares when Santi fussed for a nap or a meal, and praise God for no turbulence! I should be thanking my Father instead of swimming in my sadness.
Seeing his uncles Carlos and Pablo, Eduardo's brothers, was such a joy. They have fallen hard and good for their first nephew, causing a mini-fight over who got to hold him first in the airport. Once a million lovely hugs were exchanged, we took the 40 minute drive home to see Santi's abuelos (grandparents)! This was such a beautiful, unforgettable moment. We pulled into the house and I could already see tears in gma Isabel's eyes, while gpa Humberto was smiling from ear to ear. This is it, what we have all been waiting for - it's really happening! I'm pretty sure we were all flying, not a care in the world, only pure, genuine joy. We handed Santi off to Eduardo's dad first, then his mom - she squeezed him so tight and long, as the tears ran down her cheeks, "mi bebé, mi bebé," she said to him. It really could not have been more special than that.
Isabel and Pablo's girlfriend, Cris, made us pozole (traditional red chili pepper stew with pork and hominy) and kindly set aside a veggie-loaded, animal-free version for me. I had this bowl times two, the second one loaded with twice as much romaine on top. She also packed us fruit for the drive from the airport to the house, which felt amazing on my tummy since we hadn't had anything but bananas and dried figs since our early 3:30am breakfast. It's amazing how fantastic food tastes on a very empty stomach, and the fatigue that two flights cause the body to feel. After dinner we chatted with family and a long-time neighbor of theirs, then I gave my parents a call.
This is when I started feeling blue. I had a heavy headache from not eating or drinking enough throughout the day, and I was really sleepy. Edu's papa held Santi and bounced him to sleep at his normal fussy hour of 5-6 p.m. and the Carrillo brothers were catching up on iPad, Macbook, fancy cameras and all-things-electronic chit chat. I don't know what it was that made me feel so far from home. My mom's voice on the other side of the phone filled me with a strange nostalgia, as if I hadn't seen my parents in years. Could it be because I have seen her daily for the past 11+ weeks of Santiago's life? Does becoming a mom myself make me feel more dependent of my own mom's care and company? Why is it that, as I held Santi that night and fed him, tears uncontrollably took over my eyes, as if he is all I have from home?
I'm telling you, this was a completely new experience for me. Mexico is my favorite place on earth, more than Disneyland (or the real Disneyland that I call Ikea), more than my home itself. Or is it? It has been since my sophomore year in high school, my first mission trip with the church's youth group, where I truly felt God tugged on my heart and filled me with a love for this Southern country. I used to count down the days until the trip, wish I could live here and never leave, squeal at the sight of the first Spanish word I saw painted on a local shop.
It was such a weird feeling arriving here with a heavy heart. I really think it has to do with my rocky emotional state in general, not because Mexico is any different. On Monday I was struggling to hold back tears all day. My biggest mistake was not giving my feelings to God right when the morning came. I waited until the drive home from physical therapy that night to open up to my loving King, while He was ready and willing to lift the load for me the moment I felt it on my shoulders.
What am I holding in? Maternity leave is coming to a close, and I couldn't be more unready. It has been such a blessing being a full-time mommy. Even on the hard days when all I want is a friend or family member over at the house, someone to talk to and share baby Santi with. It breaks my heart that I can't be there for him once January comes around, that responsibility is in my hands and I have to be a working mommy. Although we have been heard by God, and He has answered our prayers for Edu's (almost) sister-in-law to move up here and watch Santiago full time, all I feel is envy. She is going to live the life I only pray I could live: at home with this precious baby boy, teaching him all the sights and sounds of this world, taking care of him, singing to him and playing as he grows - Monday through Friday. Hear me out , we wouldn't have it any other way when it comes to who is with him while I work, since our immediate family members aren't an option, but goodness me... This is so. hard.
Anyhow, that combined with mommy guilt (not pumping on one side every time I give him the other side in order to fill the freezer, bring nervous about Santi having enough pumped milk each day I work, working enough hours on the computer to bring home an O.K. check twice a month, cooking delicious meals that satisfy my hubs, blogging about baby on a daily basis, sharing vegan recipes with the world each time I make something new, organizing Santi's videos from birth to two months for gift ideas, making a pelvic floor repairing movie to share with mommies everywhere, and Christmas gift planning) is probably the real reason I am so emotionally unstable. Or shoot son, maybe I already have a second baby in the oven (ha ha, I only joke)!
Anyhow. Day one. Followed by a challenging night of baby not able to sleep (3 hrs, followed by short 30 to 60 minute naps alllll night, then a glorious 2 hour stretch from 8-10am to give mama and baby strength for the day, a big gift from God as I see it!) and now, hopes for a beautiful day #2. Let's do Mexico the right way, shall we? On good sleep, being well fed, and more focused on the blessings that God pours out onto us!