Sara: Recently, one of my friends with two kids told me the secret of motherhood during times of transition – simply have no expectations. Two months ago, that advice would have been laughable and foreign to me. These days, I couldn’t agree more.
Just when I feel like I have Gus figured out, he (or life) manages to throw a curve ball. For instance, the first week and a half of Gus’s life, he would not sleep in his crib. He needed someone to hold him in order to sleep, no matter whether it was at night or during the day.
Justin: You know how you never see Clark Kent and Superman at the same time? I honestly thought that Gus couldn’t sleep if my eyes were closed!
Sara: Thankfully, after about two weeks we devised a routine that included Gus sleeping in his crib at night. Many evenings, we’re blessed and he gives us four hours of rest before his first nighttime feeding. After that, there’s no particular “normal” on how he will sleep. However, feeding, praying as a family, and reading several children’s books has helped him calm down and go to bed at night. Recently, I was patting myself on the back for how well Gus manages to sleep at night. Of course, that evening Gus “went crazy” about an hour before bedtime. After trying just about everything we could think of, Gus contently went to sleep upright in Justin’s arms. I figured Gus would be up again in twenty minutes, so we watched a bit of television instead of me heading to bed. Two hours later, I headed to bed. Finally, after four hours of sleep, Gus decided he was hungry. However, since he wanted several more night feedings, this made for a night of very little sleep for me!
Then, this Sunday at Mass, even though I had just finished feeding Gus less than a half hour before heading to Mass, Gus decided he was VERY hungry during Mass. So I took him to the cry room and fed him, but I felt like I missed most of Mass. When Gus was finally nodding off to sleep, a bird flew into the nearby glass window, made a huge thud, and woke up Gus. I was less than pleased at the bird!
However, these are a few of the experiences that have taught me that it’s best to have no expectations for how outings, nights, or feedings are going to go. When I have expectations that end up being higher than what happens (whether it’s cooking, cleaning, or simply what Gus can do), I end up being frustrated. When I have no expectations, I end up being happy because I feel the day went well – even if Gus manages to soil an outfit, pee on me right after my shower, or is just generally fussy. And the days that go super well are better than I could anticipate or plan anyway.
Caring for Gus really makes me see God in the small things. Just as Gus surprises me with blessings (like allowing me to take a nap after a long night, smiles during diaper changes, and learning new skills) when I least expect it, so too does God. By letting go of my plans on a daily basis, I’m able to see the small things God has blessed me with which are easy to miss in my typical overly scheduled life. If I knew what struggles were coming each day, I’d attempt to see how I could change it and lose my chance to grow in holiness with the struggles. God gives me the grace to get through the hard parts, and the good unplanned moments and blessings are sweeter than any adventure I could ever plan.